"...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

Jul 2, 2010

And the lesson which follows, or the insight which you might please yourself to have...

If the form of power remains stable over time, then capturing power does not alter the relation of the governing faction to the governed population.

In other words, we can call the following claim, that "if only [insert preferred identity group] had power, it would all change" a big, fat lie. Or, with a nod to human affection and charity, a giant motherfucking mistake. Or a misunderstanding of history, itself an infective replicator in the various bodies politic with its own remarkable longevity.

Admission to the ranks of power, even by violence and conflict, requires first and foremost an adherence to the form and logic of power.

You don't get the job unless you want to do the job.


ASP said...

Your problem is that you mistake a claim for equality with the claim for power, and criticize the former based on the goals of the latter.

Jack Crow said...

You just really don't understand what I'm writing, ASP. Perhaps this comes from your devotion to the forms of authority, themselves.

Your argument invariable rests on punishment, restraint, constraint and control - in other words, thse are arguments for the revocation of the autonomy of the many.

You seem to consistently argue the belief that power over others does not derive from the deprivation of their lives and labor, in the first.

This is nearly the opposite of the point I'm making. In short, power is derivative. Some must rule, but others must obey. Without obedience, those who govern cannot extract and convert the resources which preserve their power.

Power is about - power, not about human good.

You arguments, in this light, are just one more set in a long lineage of authoritarian pronouncements, albeit with seemingly correct social, gender and ideological symbols.

Good day to you, all the same.

ASP said...

My devotion to authority? Keep your insults to yourself, thank you, I have no use for them. Your misrepresentation (or misunderstanding) of what I'm saying points to the fact that you have no desire or inclination to listen to anyone but yourself, or others who believe the same as you think. I don't share your opinion so my opinions must be distorted to such extent that I become "devoted to authority." It was nice talking to you, Jack.

ASP said...

Your argument invariable rests on punishment, restraint, constraint and control - in other words, thse are arguments for the revocation of the autonomy of the many.

All references I ever made to punishment, restraint, constraint and control were in relation to suppression of oppression of vulnerable and underprivileged people. Unrestrained autonomy would result in the implementation of Social Darwinism, where the mightiest prevail - namely, precisely in the oppression of the vulnerable and the underprivileged, it is my opinion. I have never argued for the revocation of the autonomy of many, only for the revocation of the power to oppress. That translates into a "devotion to forms of authority" and "authoritarian pronouncements"? Amazing.

Jack Crow said...


In the briefest terms possible: taking power over others reinforces the form of power itself, which exists to control (a) resource extraction by (b) making sure that only those who rule take the majority benefit of that extraction.

Those suited to ruling others are drawn to the stable form of power, in the first.

Ideology does not trump that stability. Neither do, it seems, other social constructs such as gender, ethnicity, national origin, language or religion.

In fact, when any subset of identity becomes attached to the idea that the capture of power will allow its membership to finally bring justice, it only ends up reinforces the form of power itself, all the while transforming its structure into one which closely resembles the stable form.

In other words, feminists who think that they can use the State to transform society end up becoming feminocrats, because the -cracy invariably subsumes the feminism.

ASP said...

Feminism is not about "taking power over others" but about achieving equality. It is not about "capturing power," but about eliminating the divide along which power is distributed to one against the other - essentially eliminating a form of power. If patriarchal power is dominance of men over women, then equality between genders eliminates that dominance. This will not be accomplished without both transforming the private sphere as well as the public (political, economic, scientific, intellectual, social, etc) spheres.

Jack Crow said...


I don't believe I write exceedingly complex sentences, despite my predilection for odd clause breaks.

Perhaps we have a language barrier or a meaning disconnect?

I did not suggest that "feminism is about capturing power."

I stated - and I believe rather clearly - that feminism which assumes the method of power capture becomes feminocratic, in short order, with the -cracy subsuming the feminism.

ASP said...

Perhaps we have a language barrier or a meaning disconnect?

No, I think we just fundamentally disagree.

Charles F. Oxtrot said...

ASP, that's some brilliant trolling you're doing. Really. I mean, why else intentionally misread Jack's entries, and why else launch into your own harangues that are disconnected from his entries?

You do already have your own blog, right?

ASP said...

I'm not misreading anything intentionally, and my "harangues" are not disconnected from his entries, they refer to previous discussions we've had, to which his current entries are related.

Andromeda said...

JC, great post. You're absolutely right with this one.

Nothing about an unchanging power structure will change simply with "the changing of the guard" (if you will).

You can call power structures by different names (dictatorship, democracy, etc.) and you can dress power players in different "clothing" (Democrat, Republican, etc.), but you are still supporting the same base structure.

Until the current (and historical) form or structure of what we call "power" falls away---or is destroyed from the bottom up by the oppressed---nothing will ever change. As you said, "You don't get the job unless you want to do the job."

The very idea of "power" requires that one or some individuals be elevated over the "masses."

I think the only thing that can save us from this endless cycle of "power" is a shift in paradigms to rule "power" obsolete in favor or something called "willful servitude."

By this I mean that no one would consider him or herself to have a value that is either superior or inferior to that of anyone else. It is only when everyone agrees that we are all of equal worth (but have differing talents arising from differing experiences in life) that we will be able to work harmoniously in a collective manner to end the cause of human suffering---and this would require a collective commitment to serving the good of mankind, both on an individual level and as a whole.

Pipe dreams, I know, but I truly believe that mankind is inherently capable of this feat---but before it is possible the folly of "power" must be recognized.

Sometimes life under the concept of "power" feels like a long, long car ride. I see the destination... Are we there yet? :-(

Jack Crow said...


If you continue to insist upon meanings that can only be tortured out of my prose, you most certainly are misreading me.

I never suggested the points which you argue against. You are, therefore, tilting at windmills.

ASP said...

I don't know who goes to other people's blogs and spends hours on lengthy discussions because they get a kick out of arguing over issues they've completely invented all by themselves but I'm not one of them. You've accused me before of wilful misreading, and, like before, I offer the same defence: I am either stupid, or your writing allows the reader to interpret it in different ways than you intended it to. Either way, it's obviously annoying and I hate to be a nuisance so I'll refrain from further commenting. I suspect you won't regret much loosing the input of someone with a tendency towards authoritarian pronouncements and a devotion to forms of authority.

Jack Crow said...

Sure, ASP - the problem is all me. Of course. It has nothing to do with your assertion of arguments I haven't made.

I accept all responsibility for your attempt to square peg the round hole. For example, when I repeatedly argue that a very specific sort of feminism which seeks power ceases to be feminism, because power negates the critique of power, I naturally mean that all feminism sucks and girls are just cootie ridden poopy doodoo heads.

If it helps.

Good day to you.

ASP said...

For the record, last time you accused me of wilful misreading, Ethan said he understood what you were trying to say largely the same way as I did. So I don't think that a suggestion that your statements may be open to different interpretations is that impossible.

I have misread what you were trying to say initially, here, but when you clarified what you meant I said we fundamentally disagree. I didn't continue asserting you were trying to say something you weren't trying to say.

I said we disagree not because I think you meant to say that all feminism sucks and girls are just cootie ridden poopy doodoo heads, but because I disagree that critique of power will invariably be eliminated by feminist actions which seek to achieve equality between genders by equal participation of women in all spheres.

Jack Crow said...

Christ, ASP.

It's okay to type out, "Yeah, I don't get what you mean."