"...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

Apr 2, 2010

Mine Own Limitations, Revealed (yet again)

In responding to this, JR Boyd asked me to consider the following:

"I would encourage you to think about the way in which class struggle informs this dynamic. The ruling class has particular objectives, but they are to a greater or lesser degree frustrated by the "everyday choices" of ordinary people. So far as the "arena of power" goes, think about the ways in which prevailing class power depends on the relative subservience of everyone else, and how the ruling class must modulate its approach in cases where people depart from their assigned roles. What we get in reality is a synthesis of this balance of power, reflected in society and its institutions. But where the balance lies precisely is something we want to be aware of, as it can explain a lot about what is going on around us and why."

(I can see now that my argument flirted with a pervasive pessimism, one which I nonetheless loathe to extirpate.)

Incredibly challenging insight, and great grist for the mill. I find that a worthy response proves more difficult than originally I imagined...


JRB said...

Hey there, buddy.

I should add that this is something I'm trying to do myself. It's easy get drawn into an analysis of society that overemphasizes one class (usually the ruling class).

But I think what Marx shows us is that we can't really understand the ruling class without acknowledging the relationship between classes, which is always in flux, and which prompts the ruling class to make choices within certain constraints.

So if you take something like health care reform, it's not just a straightforward story of the ruling class getting what it wants, so therefore Dennis Kucinich is a fraud, and so on. That's a lot of the story, but there are all kinds of contradictions that are present owing to the fact that parts of the ruling class were actually aligned with the working class on certain issues (like the costs imposed on employers), while at the same time united against the working class in others (as with big government's intrusion into the private sphere, in principle).

It's challenging to think in terms of "the whole" when we are used to focusing on specific parts. It's not something you can just say, "Okay, I'm going to do this now." It takes time to develop that skill. So I wanted to say that I am aspiring to it myself just as much as I encourage it in others.

Jack Crow said...

I have ideas, expanding on the LtoV, especially with relation to the extent and expanse non-industrial effort, caloric consumption and calorie release - but I really have a had time wrapping English around my non-verbal thought patterns, subject-wise.