Friday, November 18, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
the biggest economic challenge we face today is not income inequality, greedy corporations, Wall Street corruption or the concentration of wealth among the top 1 per cent. It’s the increasing failure of young men with high-school degrees or less to latch on to the world of work.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
I have seen this before, and I am pretty sure I posted about it like 2 years ago, but now it comes as a pretty picture that is being circulated on facebook!
Monday, November 7, 2011
I wonder what qualifies this person to start judging others for bettering themselves and getting a degree. Not that it matters, but my MA is in sociology (or applied social research) and my main topic is access to education... I'm not sure where this queer theory stuff comes from, except that I post about it often on this blog.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
[I am] in a fix. But I can’t help wondering whether she, and not the greedy Wall Street bankers, is the author of her own misfortune. Just what kind of jobs did she imagine are on offer for freshly minted sociology graduates? Did she bother to ask?
The class of people who expect to find self-fulfillment (and a comfortable living) in non-profit or government work, by saving the planet, rescuing the poor and regulating the rest of us. They are what the social critic Christopher Lasch called the “new class” of “therapeutic cops in the new bureaucracy.”
It’s not the greedy Wall Street bankers who destroyed these people’s hopes. It’s the virtueocracy itself. It’s the people who constructed a benefit-heavy entitlement system whose costs can no longer be sustained. It’s the politicians and union leaders who made reckless pension promises that are now bankrupting cities and states. It’s the socially progressive policy-makers in the U.S. who declared that everyone, even those with no visible means of support, should be able to own a home with no money down, courtesy of their government. In Canada, it’s the social progressives who assure us we can keep on consuming all the health care we want, even as the costs squeeze out other public goods.
Did it occur to her that it might be a good idea to figure out how to support her children before she had them?
If she’d only applied a bit more critical thinking to herself, she might be able to pay the rent.
Margaret Wente believes that Occupiers are blaming the wrong people in identifying capitalism as a fundamental problem. She says "It’s not the greedy Wall Street bankers who destroyed these people’s hopes. It’s the virtueocracy itself. "
Well, if Wente can pick the "virtueocracy" to blame, I'm going blame her. And capitalism. But I'm especially going to blame her for her badly-argued, feebly-researched, mean, system-apologist excuses for "journalism." Because surely she is responsible for at least that.
Won't you join me? This week, whenever we identify some wrong in the world, some injustice, some oppression, some situation whereby some groups of people mysteriously end up immiserated in relation to others, let's blame Wente
Also, I will write more about the educational aspect of this either this evening or tomorrow!
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Why is it that when I talk to a person who associates themselves with the right I get called a communist? And when I talk to a person who associates themselves with left I get called a libertarian? Come on now. I am better morally than either of the two possibilities that have been presented. Communism leads to totalitarianism. Libertarianism is absolutely oppressive. Fuck both of them, I want a new ideal to strive for.
communism does not necessarily lead to totalitarianism... that is just how it has played out on certain occasions.
at risk of sounding like a neoliberal--which is not what I'm promoting at all--communism is absolute tyranny over individual. It requires that your needs be the same as everybody else, it requires a homogeneity of thought that impinges the creative process. There is nothing desirable about the equality that the communist promotes. I would prefer a principle which limits oppression over the individual, rather than increases it.
I have heard this argument many times. That communism cannot account for individual differences, which I think is absurd. How does capitalism account for individual differences? By upholding sexist, racist, heterosexism, ageist and ableist hierarchies?
And how would communism create any kind of homogeneity of thought impinging on the creative process when so many Marxist work is based on the creative capacities of the people or on reaching our full human potential? To me, capitalism (and any form of organizing with differential power relations) requires a homogeneity of thought... as Marx says "the ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch ruling ideas". If workers didn't uphold the ideas of the ruling class, they would revolt.
I was on my cell phone at this time and had limited ability to respond, but I wrote;
it is a misconception that communism would require homogeneity. Look at the famous quote "from each according to ability to each according to need". Difference is accounted for. Your argument is like saying you don't like cats because they're yellow. It makes no sense! Don't confuse Stalinist Russia with communism.
So ,he was offended by the cat comment... which, in retrospect, was kind of rude, but I thought it made a certain point. In his next response, he argues that communism requires giving absolute power to a small group who are supposed to act in the best interest of the people, and then says
Dismantle the power of the few and you have yourself a properly functioning democracy. Which is way better than communism for sure.
ummm... that's what the communism I imagine would look like... a "properly functioning democracy," not hoping a few people will act in everyone's best interest. So I said
Its not communism if a small group has power. Communism only exists if wealth and power are held by everyone. As soon as the heirarchies between powerful and powerless (or less powerful) begin to develop, you have something else entirely being called communism.
Still not accepting the difference between communism and what has been passed off as communism on specific occasions, he used Russia as The Historical Example of why communism is inherently wrong using Nietzche's will-to-power to back up his point.
These "historical" arguments using one specific example of communism not working to show why communism will never work might be the thing that annoys me most about arguments on whether or not it is feasible. And I responded by saying
You are looking at history selectively. Some communist states did not turn totalitarian- some were overtaken by capitalism through war others fell apart for other reasons (our "civalization" being forced on to them for example), some near-communist societies do exist (zapatistas). I will accept that honest attempts at communism haven't worked out, and that some attempts were not actually attempting communism, but I don't think that (or nietzche) proves definitively that communism is impossible.
I could keep going and show the rest of the arguments here, which continued to bring up Nietzche, but I don't think it is relevant to my post (or in the interest of keeping people reading my blog when the posts are too long).
I think the main point of this post is that several of these arguments play out all the time and I am tired of them because they don't make sense.
1. Stalinist Russia was not a communist state. It's demise does not prove communism to be impossible.
2. Different ideas are not only possible, but encouraged, in a communist state. Communism does not require everyone to do the same thing, think the same thing, have the same needs, or go back to a technology free society where nobody gets anything that we might consider a luxury (another common assumption).
3. Communism does not give power to a few people to make decisions for everyone. Communism would require full democratic participation.
I could really dissect the debate and come up with dozens of misconceptions that tend to play out on a regular basis, but, I am going to stop with these three for now. Feel free to add your own in the comments section if there is a common argument that you find particularly annoying.
I think these misconceptions are part of why so many people who I might consider to be communists do not embrace the term "communism." And, if we don't start using the word more often, how are we going to change these misconceptions?
Edited to add: A friend pointed out that this is somewhat simplistic, and I thought I should acknowledge that they are correct... I could turn this into three (or more) separate posts and make it far more nuanced and whatnot, and I might someday do that, but for now, this piece that does oversimplify some things will have to do!
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
"I'll be your best friend... just kiss me"
So Wendy bent down and kissed the frog. She didn't really want to, but after all, he had been very kind to her -- and he didn't really have more warts on his face than princess Viola.
For the princesses in this book, the old rules no longer apply. They might still wear tiaras, but they do things their own way!