"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

May 13, 2010

They Need Us Until They Don't...

Joe Bageant captures the Spectacle (without having to call it such):

"...This great loom of media images, and images of images, is so many layers deep that it has replaced reality. No one can remember the original imprint. If there was one. The hologram is a hermetic snow globe, a self-referential circuitry of images, and a Möbius loop from which there is no logical escape. Logic has zilch to do with what is going on. The smallest part holographically recapitulates the whole, and vice versa. No thinking required, we just cycle and recycle through an aural dimension. Not all that bad, I guess, if it were not generated by forces out to fuck every last pair of eyeballs and mind plugged into it.

The investing class has put thousands of billions into movies, TV and other media to keep the hologram lit up over the past six decades. Which is to say, keep the public in an entertained stupor, awed, mislead, and most importantly, distracted. But the payoff probably runs in the trillions.

For the clear-eyed citizen, there is a growing inner horror and despair in all this, with nowhere to turn but the Internet. The Net is a cyber reality, no more real than the hologram, and indeed a part of the hologram, though not quite yet absorbed and co-opted by capitalism. We take what relief we can find.

However, for the unquestioning rest, the hologram, taken in its entirety, constitutes the American collective consciousness. Awareness. It enshrouds every citizen, defining through its permeation the daily world in which we all operate. Whether we love or hate it, there is no escape. Go live in a shack in the woods. Call that escape. But everything in the outside world continues to run in accordance with the humming energy of the hologram. There is no cutting our umbilical link to the womb of this illusion, this mass hallucination. There is only getting a longer umbilical cord, closing your eyes, and pretending that what the rest of the nation does has no effect on you. We were all born and raised in that womb. We can no more divorce the neurochemistry and consciousness it shaped in us, than we can deny that we had an earthly mother and are of her tissue. Our consciousness is born of the hologram's connective neural and electrical tissue..."

When I wrote,

"At some point after the nth restructuring of economic exchange, will workers finally liberate their owners and appropriators from the need for workers, rendering themselves so much excess flesh?

Will they recognize that finality of their condition, and fight it, or will the surviving laboring class, employed in such extraction and production techniques as result in cornucopia for the few no longer recognize themselves as laborers?

Would such a transition cross a clear threshold, or would it only appear comprehensible in reverse, scouring the past (our present?) for the signs of the series of moments when labor's extractive power had provided enough material and authority to those who ruled and governed them that they no longer served any purpose as laborers?

Would this condition emerge first in developed, capitalized nations where the capitalist class had already largely emancipated itself from the restrictions of labor, utilizing surplus populations instead as consumers, unskilled service workers and armed staffers?

Would it unfold differently in those former colonial nation states where the comprehensive colonization of common space known to the developed world proceeded instead in fits and starts, interrupted by interventions and ungoverned crisis, resulting in an uneven patchwork of authority, fealty and resistance?

Would this disparity between the Euro-American dominions, the territorially expansive but unevenly developed nations such as Russia, Turkey, Brazil, China and Iran, and the "underdeveloped" peripheries compel the several factions and combinations of capital and control to vie for access to remaining convertible resources, by simultaneously withdrawing public commitments to superfluous domestic populations and extending armed authority over regions ripe for extraction?

Would this accelerated contest for access to extraction zones replace the former competition for productive labor, especially as labor itself produces the systems and machinery which reduces the import of its class?

Would this hasten the deconstruction of the welfare state, its public educational apparatuses, and the minimum safeguards of the regulatory regime - since labor, now working to survive while creating the conditions of its abolition, can no longer bring even electoral and political pressure to bear on the disciplinary functions of the state?

Would political activity, under such circumstances, only serve to further alienate laborers from the fruits of their own labor, directing their productive efforts into a system which cannot serve their interests and retain coherence and authority over them, at the same time?"

...I had no idea that Joe would, in his own way, answer some of those questions to such satisfaction, and in such a timely fashion:

"...Meanwhile, gangster capitalism needs that hologram to maintain the illusion that life is not cheap, and that Jennifer Anniston's ass can be yours in mind and dream (Personally, I'm a Julianna Margulies fan -- The Good Wife"). And most of all, "The Gram" is required to keep its captives deluded and sated enough to remain productive and consuming -- not to mention hating the right people -- right up to the last moment before total collapse, and they are no longer needed. The higher owning/investing class is safe, no matter what happens. Oh sure, as Edward Bellamy wrote, a few of them topple from their high perch on humanity's coach during the hell bent journey, but their class remains..."

1 comment:

Andromeda said...


I have some thoughts on this but would rather share them with you privately. Shoot me an e-mail at VvAndromedavV at gmail dot com when you have a chance.

Thanks! :-)