Wednesday, November 05, 2008

US elections: Welcome to the “School of the Democrats”

This is an excerpt of the post election assessment of the 2008 elections from John Peterson, national chairperson of Workers Int'l League as well as founder of Hands Off Venezuela".

By John Peterson, Socialist Appeal (U.S.)
Wednesday, 05 November 2008



Film maker Michael Moore calls it the end of 28 years of rule by Republicans and Democrats who act like Republicans. At long last! The Bush years of war, terrorism, Enron, Katrina, domestic spying, mass layoffs and off shoring, raids and deportations of immigrant workers, attacks on the unions and declining living conditions are over! Or are they?

As we have explained time and again, on all fundamentals, Obama represents the same interests as Bush and McCain. The only real difference is greater his charm, eloquence and intellect. A cunning politician who knows full well whose interests he has been elected to defend, he will, like Bill Clinton before him, be used to carry out attacks on the working class that even the Bushes couldn't get away with - albeit with a warm smile on his face and a charming twinkle in his eye. Obama was above all elected on the basis of what people want to see in him, not what he really represents. "Hope" and "change" are powerful words in these times of turmoil and uncertainty. But sooner rather than later, Obama's true colors will be revealed. He may be riding high for the moment, and millions of people are elated, but we can predict that in the not-too-distant future, increasing numbers of his supporters will begin to feel confused and betrayed, bitterly disappointed, and then angry. They will be looking for answers and a way out of the crisis that still confronts them, and will be increasingly open to the ideas of revolutionary Marxism and socialism.


This is an excerpt of a much longer article here.



John Peterson

58 comments:

sonia said...

This is EXACTLY what I have been saying to my panicky right-wing friends (like Beamish, Beak, Paganm etc.) who are running around screaming that he sky is falling and that a Marxist will soon be in the White House.

John Peterson is wrong about Marxism (it is not what he thinks it is), but I think he's right about Obama.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

I'm so happy he won, I spent a great deal of time weeping, it means so much.

Larry Gambone said...

An excellent article, I read it in its entirety. I see certain possible similarities between the present situation and that of the Kennedy election. In 1960, the Civil Rights Movement was developing and the New Left was in an embryonic state. No one (especially the “experts”) would have guessed what was in store for the USA (and the world) in a mere 7 years. Kennedy was a conservative Democrat Cold Warrior, but who spoke of change and hope and had an aura of youth and vigour. Millions of Americans took him at his word and began a serious push for peace, civil rights and the eradication of poverty. Kennedy had to be pushed kicking and screaming to act in these directions. His recalcitrance, plus the action of being in a mass movement for change radicalized a large section of the youth, who then went way, way, beyond DP corporate liberalism. I think the possibility exists for a similar development with Obama, with the following differences: 1. It won't be just the youth that will be radicalized, but the adult working class 2. The social movements and the anarchist and socialist organizations are already there, on the ground – “the wheel does not need to be re-invented” as in the 1960's. 3. As the article states, Obama's ability to maneuver is limited. 4. An economic, environmental and social crisis of massive proportions exists 5. the US Empire is in decline. These factors lead me to conclude that the radicalization could be much more profound and effective than 40 years ago. After a generation of brutal reaction, the American people may surprise the rest of the world and become an inspiration once more, as the 1960's Movement inspired us back then.

The Pagan Temple said...

Hey I know. Let's all hang big banners with Obama's picture from the city streets, so every time anybody goes anywhere, they'll see a great big huge picture of the dear leader. Wouldn't that be so inspiring?

troutsky said...

sonia, by now we all know Beaks excessive hyperbole, it masks his intellectual inability to put things in proportion.

Larry, I agree with your analysis to the point where you say "social movements, organizations are in place.." I don't get around like I used to but my experience is this anti-capitalist tendency is embryonic, tentative, factionalized into Social Forum types, labor, anarchists and Party types. "Progressives" will not be ready to assume any real power yet.

The Pagan Temple said...

Troutsky-

"Progressives" will not be ready to assume any real power yet.

Do you smoke cigarettes? If you do, we'll see how much power you think progressives are ready to assume when you buy a carton of smokes a year from now.

Mad Zionist said...

The real story here is that the country has shifted from a center-right base to a center-left base. This will not change until Republicans commit themselves to selling conservative principles to inner city blacks and hispanics.

Grassroots efforts are needed, boots on the ground are required. The GOP has become the party of the white male, and with the massive population explosion of blacks and hispanics, if they don't do outreach to these communities they will never win another general election.

Dave Marlow said...

I thought Peterson's article was poorly conceived. His message is more or less correct (i.e. identifying Obama as a ruling class candidate) but his views reflect the anti-pragmatic approach the left took (and failed with) in this election.

Peterson seems to grasp at every last straw he has to demonize Obama as much as possible. Perhaps his worst attack deals with the economy, in which the only substantive issue he can raise is that Obama voted for the $700 billion bail-out.

Obama needs to be heavily critiqued from the left but the reason that the working class was so enthralled by him is because the left, in its current form, is defunct. We have become the dialectical opposite of Bush's neo-conservatism and thereby facilitated Obama's victory.

If Obama approves the Employee Free Choice Act, we could actually begin to cultivate revolutionary class consciousness.

sonia said...

Larry,

In 1960, the Civil Rights Movement was developing and the New Left was in an embryonic state. No one (especially the “experts”) would have guessed what was in store for the USA (and the world) in a mere 7 years. I think the possibility exists for a similar development with Obama

Do you mean that you're expecting Obama to re-invade Vietnam, bomb Hanoi again, use napalm, send Cuban-Americans to be slaughtered at like Bay of Pigs, while black leaders are killed in Memphis, Watts is burning and Hells Angels are killing Black Panthers in front of Rolling Stones at rock concerts ?

Such a pessimist you are...

Troutsky,

this anti-capitalist tendency is embryonic, tentative, factionalized into Social Forum types, labor, anarchists and Party types. "Progressives" will not be ready to assume any real power

That might well be true. However, a more pertinent question would be whether those "Social Forum types, labor, anarchists and Party types" are really "progressive"....

I once had an eye-opening experience when I read an article written in a Nazi newspaper in the 1930's. I bet you never read anything real Nazis actually wrote. Otherwise you wouldn't be so sure those "Social Forum types, labor, anarchists and Party types" are so "progressive" after all....

Dave,

Peterson seems to grasp at every last straw he has to demonize Obama as much as possible.

Actually, it's people who claim that Obama is a Marxist who are grasping at straws. The man who praised Ronald Reagan for leading America away from 1960's "excesses" (see this video), can hardly be called Marxist...

Larry Gambone said...

Troutsky, Please don't think I am making too much of the state of US socialists. I am only comparing the situation today with 1960. Then the movement was almost non existent. (As but one example, the IWW had 100 members then, all but a handful of which were pensioners.) Today it consists of a host of small groups and is a long way from being as influential as in Spain, France or Latin America but exists nonetheless. In a time of mass upheaval a group with 500 members can leap to tens of thousands, almost overnight.

Dave Marlow said...

Sonia,

I don't disagree. The criticisms levied against Obama that title him a socialist are absurd. At the same time, I have been equally dissatisfied with the left's criticisms in this election. I don't think it's en either/or.

FJ said...

...but it's no accident that he raised far more corporate money than John McCain or that world stock markets have risen on news of his victory. He is Big Businesses' choice to get them through the tough times ahead.

LOL!

I guess the US stock market no longer counts.

Sell it to someone who's buyin', Renegade Eye.

WeezieLou said...

no personal offense meant, but i'm really done with smart-ass cynicism. the only reason david letterman is still on the air is because his show doesn't run too long. is it really that wrong to HOPE?? to suspend disbelief? to not skewer just for the sake of skewering? i'm choosing positive energy in my life - i know, it's out of fashion, but i'm done living under a self-imposed aura of negativity. it really IS self-imposed.

Larry Gambone said...

The honeymoon will be short. Clinton hack Emanual has just been appointed C of S. and it looks like Volcker (Mr Rust-belt creator) or Rubin (Mr. bank de-regulator) will be his economic honcho and Holbrooke (Kill them Timorease) will be Defense Sec. Meet the New Boss! Same as the Old Boss?

sonia said...

Weez,

is it really that wrong to HOPE??,

Nothing wrong with hope. I hope Oama will be a great president.

The problem are with people who are hoping for class warfare and class genocide. Hopefully, their hopes will be dashed.

Larry,

I hope you're right.

sonia said...

Weez,

is it really that wrong to HOPE??,

Nothing wrong with hope. I hope Oama will be a great president.

The problem are with people who are hoping for class warfare and class genocide. Hopefully, their hopes will be dashed.

Larry,

I hope you're right.

Renegade Eye said...

This is a good discussion.

Sonia: You understand Obama better than the other rightist bloggers. I think linking Obama is idiocy, and trying to by McCain is one of the reasons he lost the election. The capitalist class won't let a Marxist slip by as president of the USA.

Somehow I have to squeeze in to this comment, not to miss the movie Slumdog Millionaire. I saw a screening yesterday with Graeme.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill: I wonder what you'll think of Obama, 100 days into office, which by the way is Mayday 2009.

Larry: I really liked your comment. I'm sure I'll reference it for quite awhile. It helped me put things into context.

Obama's cabinet is telling.

Pagan: There are some who want Obama's picture everywhere. Not to worry, it will be short lived.

Cigarette smokers keep the health industry filling beds.

Troutsky: Larry is correct, that under certain circumstances, whole layers of people move politically. In Venezuela we're doubling in size quickly.

MZ: If the GOP doesn't listen to you, they are done. You are late with the correct advice.

Dave: In the time Chavez faced the coup and the strike, we brought up the issues of workers control over the factories and the peasants control the land. It was advanced and unrealistic at the time. Now it is part of the national dialogue there.

The Labor Party in the US, is like our 1917. With Obama in power, atleast the left won't have Bush to focus on. It is the time to raise demands on Obama as you promised you would do this or that, so we demand you keep your word.

I agree the left had no serious electoral response. Supporting Obama would be disorienting and sowing illusions. The Democratic and Republican Parties are the right and left foot of big business.

The problem with American Trotskyists, is that they were good unionists, but not good Marxist theoreticians. In the 1934 Teamster Strike, they closed down Minneapolis as trade unionists. They didn't take things farther as calling for nationalizations.

My group holds office in Brazil in Lula's party, and have held major offices in Pakistan. The thing is not to be parlimentarians or unionists.

A good start for unionists is stopping Taft Hartley. It was used by more Democratic presidents than Republican.

FJ: Obama is the best choice to save capitalism.

weezielou: Not wrong to hope. It is wrong to not judge Obama, with same scruitiny as Bush.

John Peterson said...

Nice post, Ren! ;-)

The points raised in my article aren't "straws" but facts from the mainstream media.

Every person Obama appoints, every speech he makes from here on out, every thing he does, will further alienate part of his base. Americans have tried the Republicans. They're now trying the Democrats. The country will be increasingly polarized both to the right and to the left, but I think the general trend will be to the left. The idea of a mass party of labor will seem less and less "out there." The same goes for the ideas of socialism and Marxism.

Sorry to break it too you folks, but capitalism has failed. Condolences! Next frame!

BTW - Nice reference to the Who! "Won't get fooled again!" :-)

Larry Gambone said...

Sonia, I don't think any one here is looking for "class genocide". We just want them off our backs, that's all, as in Joe Hill's song "Dump the Bosses off Your Back." We are the ones to suffer class genocide, as the neoliberal policies have shortened the lives of millions of working people world wide, not to mention the deaths in imperialist wars. We are also the ones against whom class warfare has been fought, no holds barred, these past 30 years. Though we are not pacifists, what will result from our resistance to corporate state domination will be mild in comparison to the crimes committed against us.

sonia said...

Larry,

I don't think any one here is looking for "class genocide". We just want them off our backs

Russian revolutionaries in 1917 wasn't looking for class genocide neither, but they still ended up committing genocide first against their opponents, and later against their own comrades as well.

And if you really want the capitalists off your back, then stop bitching about US sanctions on Cuba. When capitalists actually are "off your back", it turns out you cannot survive on your own...

Pathetic...

John Paterson,

every thing he does, will further alienate part of his base.

Well, good riddance. For every disillusioned leftist, they will be 10 pleasantly-surprised right-wingers like myself taking their place...

capitalism has failed

Capitalism has failed even worse in 1929, but it is still around. Oxygen fails from time to time as well, but people still need it to survive...

John Peterson said...

Oxygen "fails"? That's a new one... In any case, systemic failure of the world's dominant economic / social / political system is a bit different than temporarily being a bit short of breath. There's plenty of oxygen around - but the system's lungs can no longer put it to use.

I think Larry's hit the nail on the head on a lot of points. If Obama is not change people can believe in, people will have to make that change themselves. He's like the sorcerer's apprentice, and has unwittingly helped unleash the pent up frustrations that have accumulated over decades. Only there isn't the old, wise, "master" wizard to put everything back in its place, to clean up his mess. Obama is the best they have - and they're lucky to have him - but it won't be enough to save their system in the long run.

But capitalism won't fall on its own - it has to be consciously replaced. That's why I do more than just write about this stuff, and why I think others should do more than just comment on this stuff. Get involved! www.socialistappeal.org

Dave Marlow said...

John,

While I absolutely appreciate the driving ideas behind your article and I recognize that a lot of the criticisms you make of Barack Obama are entirely accurate, it seems as though your stance lacks any degree of pragmatism.

One section that comes to mind is when you discuss Obama's similarities of F. Roosevelt and your only critique of Obama is built on hypothetical scenarios and a series of rhetorical questions: "Will Obama repeal Taft-Hartley and other anti-labor legislation? Will he implement a national living wage?" etc.

Have you read into the Employee Free Choice Act? Pannekoek calls unions "schools for Socialism" because proletarian consciousness can be built through the struggle that accompanies union activity. You issue forth the calling for a revolutionary party at the end of your article but how else do you propose we build such a party than by assisting the organization of labor against the capitalist class?

Obama's "changes" won't bring forth revolutionary socialism but the pragmatic leftist shouldn't have expected that result. Rather, we should look to using the changes he makes to build the movement and use his unique place in power as a way of cultivating revolution.

It's a well-written article but my experience in the union movement led me to not only vote for Obama but also to believe that the left needs to restructure itself now more than ever.

sonia said...

Dave,

Wait, "capitalism has failed" but it's "the left that needs to restructure itself" ???

You're falling into the familiar "You cannot similtaneously overthrow and reform the same thing" dilemma. (Anti-Communists in Eastern Europe faced the same dilemma in 1989).

Either capitalism is evil and should be overthrown even if it works.

Or capitalism isn't evil and should be improved and reformed constantly to become even better.

When somebody claims that capitalism is both "evil" and "has failed", he is very confused. If something has really failed, there is no need to overthrow it. You can just go out and celebrate....

Larry Gambone said...

"Russian revolutionaries in 1917 wasn't looking for class genocide neither, but they still ended up committing genocide first against their opponents, and later against their own comrades as well."

Er, Sonia, we are talking about the USA in 2008, not Russia in 1917. If you haven't noticed there are some slight differences.

Larry Gambone said...

Sonia, Cuba still has bosses. Note that I said "dump the BOSSES off your back". Any socialist worthy of the term is against bosses both corporate and bureaucratic. Socialism is about worker self-management, as I have pointed out endlessly to you.

Dave Marlow said...

Sonia,

My calling for the left to restructure itself has nothing to do with its opposition to capitalism. The problem with the left is that it has made itself irrelevant, in large part, due to the anti-Bush ideology it has embraced over the last eight years that has nearly eclipsed its original opposition to capitalism.

The Pagan Temple said...

So then, under socialism, there are no "bosses", just people who work together in cooperation for their own best interests. No one person or group will rise to the top and become dominant, thus there will be no class conflicts. I think I got it now.

Never going to happen. It's against human nature, which craves domination. It's a safety valve. The only difference is between those who want power and others who want security. Those who want security will give power to those that have the stomach, heart, and brains to exercise it.

Rule by committee will always degenerate into mob rule unless a strong hand grips the reins. All it takes is the right set of circumstances to bring it about. The resultant chaos will result in tribal warfare and politics until someone emerges on top. Back to square one.

Larry Gambone said...

I suggest you study some anthropology PT. People do not "crave dominance", they crave recognition.
Dominance is the way the weak, the stupid, the psychopathic force us to pretend we respect them, getting the recognition they crave.
Prior to class division and the state necessary to inflict it, there was little power of domination, but a great deal of status differentiation. The difference between status and power is the difference between the late Pavarotti and Bush. The former was admired world wide but any village bureaucrat had more coercive power over you. Bush has all the power in the world but is despised by everyone.

Humanity managed to survive for at least 100,000 years without dominance, indeed, had bands been full of the sort of sociopathic behavior that you admire, they would have fallen apart and the human race would have most likely died out. The sort of sociopaths who today become CEOs or right-wing politicos were either killed or exiled by most non-state societies. In my own experience, in my neighborhood and in the organizations I belong to or have belonged to, there is also little evidence of this craving for domination. Those who do try, usually immature males, are usually sent packing, or at least ignored and laughed at. There are leaders, of course, but these are people who have shown themselves worthy of respect through their character and actions. They (we) do not need to coerce anyone, for exemplary action, discussion and persuasion is how things really operate at the grass roots.

sonia said...

Larry,

In my own experience, in my neighborhood and in the organizations I belong to or have belonged to, there is also little evidence of this craving for domination. Those who do try, usually immature males, are usually sent packing, or at least ignored and laughed at

You live in Canada, right ? You should travel a bit. Nobody is laughing at "immature males" in Congo as they rape and pillage entire villages...

Larry Gambone said...

And what does that have to do with anything Sonia? Do you really believe that the rape and pillage of the Congo is something innate?

And travel I have - Chile, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, the UK, France, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, much of the US and Canada, and wherever I go, when I encounter ordinary folks, the vast majority of them are decent. (As Orwell who spoke of the fundamental decency of the working classes)

Larry Gambone said...

That should be "due to something innate."

WeezieLou said...

yes, impt to use same level of scrutiny for all elected officials. but i want to sit back a bit and watch, see, listen - before i jump.
let his style, actions, methods play out a bit - not to mention, see what type of puppy he picks!

FJ said...

FJ: Obama is the best choice to save capitalism.

Indeed he is. It'll be both a financial and political lesson that the country won't soon forget, I can guarantee you that.

Palin in '12! ;-)

Renegade Eye said...

FJ: The media likes a comeback story. She'll have to moderate her politics, and learn Africa is not a country.

Dave Marlow: Your position is the position of the anti-Bush left. My position is not the mainstream left position in any sense. I don't identify with "the left" in the abstract.

My comrades hold offices in Lula's party in Brazil. In Pakistan we have thousands of members, and held office in the PPP for years. Those parties no matter how bankrupt, are based on the working class, unlike the Democratic Party. We support parties like the Labor Party in the UK and Israel, PSUV in Venezuela, Socialist and Communist Party in France etc. Pragmatism isn't the word. It just is a fact that parties like that, are the first place workers head to, when in motion.

Pagan: A human infant is worthless alone in the wild, compared to say a baby cougar. Raising a human being is a social enterprise. The computer I'm using is an exercize in social cooperation, from building the parts, assembly, transport etc. Thousands of hands went into it.

Humans survived by cooperation.

Weezielou: I can live with that.

Sonia: I'm not sure how evil got in the discussion. JP said failed. That doesn't exclude the capitalist class being in power. As we have talked about before, revolution doesn't necessarily or mechanically come out of the worst conditions. depressed conditions can demoralize people politically.

There is only legal genocide. There is no such thing as "class genocide."

Larry: How do you relate to the NDP?

Larry Gambone said...

The NDP? I work closely with the grass roots and local leadership of the party. (Also with the Green Party.) I voted for the NDP in the last election and will also do so in the provincial election. At the local level, there are no major differences between myself and the grass roots of either the NDP or the Greens. I do not hide my positions on things, while avoiding both the "A" and "C" words and any political jargon. But no one disagrees with me. This is something I also found when I was working. I would talk up revolutionary syndicalism all the time, without using those terms and other workers would agree and even say stuff more radical than me.

Larry Gambone said...

I should say "major differences in practice" between myself and the NDP and Greens. Of course, if we went into a heavy ideological discussion major differences would appear. But what we do at the local level, such as fighting the developers, trying to find humane solutions for the addicts and homeless, support for First Nations struggles, support for workers struggles, opposition to NAFTA, the Iraq and Afghan Wars etc we are always united.

Renegade Eye said...

Larry: The Greens in the US, are not functional as a party. They expelled Nader, and he took their best activists. Each chapter has a different agenda. Many support the Democrats.

It is no secret, I would join the NDP. I wouldn't come in as a social democrat. I would fight for a program.

That is different than Trotsky's entryism. It simply is Ted Grant's cardinal political rule, that when workers move, they first go to the groups they know. Trotsky's entryism was case specific, one time tactic.

sonia said...

Ren: I'm not sure how evil got in the discussion

Larry: fighting the developers


That's how. When you "fight", others will fight back. And then you have a war. And war is evil.

Larry,

Chile, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, the UK, France, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, much of the US and Canada,

Wow! That's quite a representative sample of the wold's most troubled spots. You should also visit Aruba, Bora Bora, Sweden and United Arab Emirates to really learn about the misery in the world.

And afterwards, after those gruesome, dangerous trips, you might consider relaxing in one of those quiet workers' paradises like Venezuela, Zimbabwe or Bolivia, where great, progressive leaders fight the developers, try to find humane solutions for the addicts and homeless, support First Nations struggles, support workers struggles, oppose NAFTA, the Iraq and Afghan Wars etc and everybody is always united.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Ren, there will be some that will never be happy, they live in a fictional world, for now, I'm happy and I'll temper my hope with realism soon enough but for now, happiness flows forth.

Even to all the miserable communists and naysayers that frequent your blog.

Ducky's here said...

I do find it amusing that Obama, like Clinton, inspires calls of Socialism. Indicates a pretty serious problem somewhere (press, education, religions institutions).

The issue for me is whether Obama represents a problem because he will encourage policies that don't completely rape the working class. He is more likely to keep them docile and unorganized than someone like John McCheese.

It's a dilemma.

Larry Gambone said...

Sonia, you didn't learn English last week, you know very well that “fight” is used as a metaphor and as a synonym for “struggle” or “action” or “militant response” and has nothing to do with war.

Your attempt to rebut my argument with PT is futile. PT, wearing his social darwinist hat, claimed that humans in general have a desire to dominate. If this was the case, the will to dominate should generally appear at all levels and groups of society. I show how this is not usually the case among working people. Pointing out the horrors of societies under stress does not undermine my argument. It does not show a general tendency to dominate exists, it only shows that under certain conditions such proclivities come to the fore.

You are intelligent enough to realize the fallacious nature of your argument. This is not the first time you have engaged in such practices. You impress no one by acting this way and only demean yourself. Dishonest argumentation is the way of the coward, it might make you look like you win, but you don't, you delude yourself into thinking you are right, but deep down you know you are the loser. Yet, I don't think you are a coward. I don't know why you behave this way. Far better for one's mental health to have as near as possible a rock solid basis for one's beliefs, and if you can't find this basis, to change your beliefs. In other words it is better to be true to oneself than to some narrow ideology or set of prejudices.

Tere said...

The idea of socialism in Europe is very different from that. In USA private enterprise is greater than the public and most people are not big winners, we need help from the state in health, education, the State must ensure protection Minimum to citizens, I do not like this economic liberalism, nor communism practiced by Cuba that only spreads misery and makes people were left without waiting to take initiative.

sonia said...

Larry,

Pointing out the horrors of societies under stress does not undermine my argument.

You are intelligent enough to realize the fallacious nature of your argument.


And you're intelligent enough to realize that claiming that "Humanity managed to survive for at least 100,000 years without dominance" is somehow contradicted by the mysterious disappearance of Homo neanderthalensis circa 25 000 BC at the hands of a species called Cro-Magnon (who are our direct ancestors)...

Larry Gambone said...

Lack of dominance WITHIN a band does not mean lack of conflict with other bands. However, science does not buy the idea that we wiped out our Neanderthal cousins, though this had been ONE of the theories. You would know this if you were interested enough to spend 2 minutes Googling the subject, see:

1. The mystery of what caused their demise has baffled scientists for decades - Live Science 12/9/07
2. A multi-university study argues the disappearance of Neanderthals was not due to competition from modern humans, as is widely believed. Physorg.com Jan 19/06
3. The bones from the Mladec Caves represent the only known remains in Europe that can be linked directly to "Aurignacian" stone and bone tools, ornaments...
While the bones -- from six individuals found in the caves -- are generally regarded as "modern," some of the fossil skulls show "archaic" features, among them heavy brow ridges and protruding bone in the back of the head, that are more associated with Neanderthals. "These characteristics could be explained by interbreeding, or seen as Neanderthal ancestry," team leader Eva Maria Wild of the University of Vienna said in an e-mail. "The finds are essential in the ongoing debate over the emergence of modern humans in Europe. The discussions will continue.Anthropologist Erik Trinkaus of Washington University in St. Louis, a member of the Wild team and a leading exponent of the Neanderthal disappearance-through-interbreeding school, said the new findings have thrown the debate over Neanderthals' fate "into a jumble."
May 19 2005 Wash. Post

Renegade Eye said...

Daniel Hoffman-Gill: Obama had a news conference, and had liberal and conservative advisors on the economy with him, acting as a think tank. He had nobody from labor.

After 8 yrs of Bush, the bar is low for what is an improvement.

Ducky: The country is moving left, and Obama is trying to govern from the center. His hands are tied by the 46% who didn't vote for him. For example withdrawing from Iraq requires making deals with Iran and Syria. Israel and the Saudis don't want Iraq to have a Shiite government.

There will definetely be a honeymoon for awhile with Obama, not forever.

You are incorrect that the worst conditions are a prerequisite for people getting active. Much has to do with leadership.

I think being anti-McCain would be unhealthy like anti-Bush. It covers up for the Democrats.

Rahm Emanuel?

Tere: Cuba is in bad shape after all the hurricanes. The main overall problem, is lack of workers democracy.

Larry + Sonia: Good discussion.

The Pagan Temple said...

Sonia-

"That's how. When you "fight", others will fight back. And then you have a war. And war is evil."

War is not always necessarily evil, and when it is, sometimes it is a necessary evil. The causes of war almost always are evil. War itself is just lancing a sore, without which the infection just spreads and makes matters worse.

Ren-

"A human infant is worthless alone in the wild, compared to say a baby cougar."

Not to the mother cougar looking to feed the baby cougar. I don't leave animals out of the equation, and all things being equal, that is precisely what mankind is-an animal.

As for Neanderthal Man, has anyone wondered whether he might have simply evolved into Cro-Magnon Man over time? Humanity did go through some bottlenecks in its history, which would account for the genetic mutation?

The fact that there seems to be some overlapping doesn't discount this possibility, it just demonstrates that not all members of the Neanderthals evolved. Some evolved, the rest just faded away.

People that don't believe in the human drive to acquire security by means of domination and/or alliances should study our ape kin. Perhaps the next travel itinerary should include a stop at the nearest available habitat of your friendly neighborhood mountain gorilla.

If that don't do the trick, a study of the social make-up of your average chimpanzee troop might help.

Don't smile at them and if you do, don't show your teeth. They take that as a threat.

Yes, I know we are "higher evolved" than "lesser animals", but that doesn't change the fact that we have a genetic predisposition towards violence, conquest, and domination aimed at protection of self, family, tribe, and ultimately species. You fail to take this into account at your peril.

I can get people to agree that the police should be armed with nothing but lollipops and cotton candy if I can only make the argument that this will somehow protect their families. Its how you frame your argument that matters, not that some group of people might at one point voice agreement with you out of frustration or anxiety. They might even add that they should wear smiley faces instead of badges. It doesn't prove anything.

sonia said...

Larry,

, science does not buy the idea that we wiped out our Neanderthal cousins, though this had been ONE of the theories,

Well, if Hitler had won the war, the "science" wouldn't buy the idea that Germans wiped out their Jewish "cousins" neither, though it would have been ONE of the theories (spread by anti-Nazi dissidents)...

History is written by victors. Didn't you read the inscriptions in Lascaux caverns claiming that the Neanderthals were eaten by mammoths ? There is also that ancient hieroglyph in Altamira claiming that the Neanderthals never existed and that their genocide is a myth invented by the Jewish lobby...

Pagan,

has anyone wondered whether he might have simply evolved into Cro-Magnon Man over time?,

Yes, some erotic cave paintings from Niaux showing Neanderthal women being raped by Cro-Magnon men, seems to support that theory....

Larry Gambone said...

Your response is just rubbish, Sonia. I am talking about the science of Paleontology, not fantasies. But if you want to believe in such irrational stuff, go ahead, that's your problem not mine. I see little point in going on with this debate...

Renegade Eye said...

Pagan: The whole discussion is based on your assertion that under socialism there will be no bosses. Socialism is different than communism, the higher stage. There is even going be capitalism existing under socialism.

Revolution is not one day everything is turned around known to humanity.

If you come from a bourgeoise society, you don't shed everything bourgeoise. Socialism is a transition period.

The major corporations and banks will be nationalized under workers control.

Larry and Sonia: Good move to end what will become circular.

The Pagan Temple said...

Ren-

"The whole discussion is based on your assertion that under socialism there will be no bosses."

I'm not the one that said that. It was somebody else who said down with the bosses in so many words. The implication seems to be that under socialism workers will be united under an umbrella of democratic control, or something like that.

"Revolution is not one day everything is turned around known to humanity."

Yeah, I know that everything won't be turned around, but there would be significant disruption. It depends on whether it came about democratically. If that were the case, the disruption would still be significant, but minimal in comparison to what it would be if it came about, say, by judicial fiat, or through other coercive means. Then the revolution might well be bloody, and reactionary.

"If you come from a bourgeoise society, you don't shed everything bourgeoise."

Isn't the bourgeosie the middle class? If so, it is counterproductive to want to eliminate it, or to degrade it in any way. That would be like trying to run an automobile without a transmission.

All the great powers of the world in history-Babylon is an example-had a strong and vibrant middle class. Babylon was the Britain of the Ancient World, a nation of shopkeepers. When they go, everything else seems to fail, starting from the inside, in many cases ultimately falling to outside forces. There will always be external forces with which to contend.

"Socialism is a transition period."

It is a period of stagnation. Look at Europe. Ask yourself, if it fell apart tomorrow, what would rise to take its place? I doubt it would be communism, at least not by natural progression. You would have to build it up from socialism, or force it through, but either way, it would be an artificial construct.

"The major corporations and banks will be nationalized under workers control."

If they are nationalized under workers control, then the workers would have to be in control of the nation. That will probably never happen. It sure never happened anywhere else. You have nothing to point back to for a reference to this, except maybe for Pol Pot and his Camere Rouge. He was a teacher, and I guess his followers were mostly workers and peasants.

Most other such communist leaders were career politicians, bureaucrats, military officers or academics. They were not workers, nor did workers have any real control under them.

The working class by their nature are not highly educated beyond their specialized training. If they were they would be professionals, artists and craftsmen, or business leaders. They cannot run a government of a nation, and so long as that is the case, they will never have control over industry. It's a pipe dream.

A less kind person might call it the kind of pipe dream that comes from a few too many bong hits.

Larry Gambone said...

Pagan, I was the one who said there would be no bosses under socialism. I stick by that, but qualify it by saying this would be in a fully developed socialism. Like Ren says during the transition period there would be a mixed economy - of cooperatives, nationalized worker-run industries and individually owned or family enterprizes. Thus, there would still be some bosses, but they would only control a minority of the economy. (And as I stated before leadership is not the same as being a boss.)

As for the working class, you really do not understand what it is. Everyone who works for someone else, who gains the majority of his/her income laboring for someone else - is a member of the working class. This is both the marxist and anarchist definition of working class. Therefore doctors who are employees of a hospital, college professors, teachers, technicians, scientists employed by a corporation are workers.

Furthermore, you do not understand those to whom you reduce the concept of working class - the blue collar workers. Far from being ignorant schmoes, they already largely control production in a work place. It is just that they have to ignore, work against or hide from the bosses to do so. Anyone who has ever worked as a blue collar worker - and I did for most of my work life even though college educated - knows that most bosses are, at best, mediocrities who have no idea what goes on and the work gets done in spite of them. And it stands to reason that someone who has been doing the job for 25 years understands it better than some twit with a two year certificate in management studies who has never done it. (I could entertain you for hours with stories about these imbeciles.)

The Pagan Temple said...

Okay, thanks for clearing that up. If you include everybody that makes a living under somebody else, that makes a big difference. I'm all for worker's rights, I just think it gets carried too far when you start talking about eliminating the bourgeoisie. Most of the people you would include in your definition of working class are bourgeois, as I understand the meaning of the word.

Also, I want to add that I never meant to imply that blue collar workers were "ignorant schmoes". I just said they would not be capable, by and large, of running a country. But, neither would most doctors. Neither would most lawyers, etc.

The higher up the ladder of leadership you go the more experience at leadership you should have. Ideally, this would consist of people who have risen from democratically elected leadership positions at the local levels, on through state and then, after gaining experience, through to the national level.

The political class we have today is raised and trained to run things, but it shouldn't be that way. They run things the way they are told to run things and they are not close to the people.

That's why I was so impressed by Sarah Palin, and why I can understand to a degree Obama's popularity with his supporters. They are both closer to the people they represent than your average politician.

There is no reason why a person that is close to the people can't be capable of running government, I never meant to imply otherwise. It's just the reality that they are few and far between, especially when you get down to the actual middle class and working class. The fact that there are so few of them is why workers will never have any real power under a communist system, as there have been even less of them under those systems. They too are mostly career bureaucrats, not from the working class, even under your extended definition. They tend to be bureaucrats, academics, and military leaders.

I would rather vote for the child of an illegitimate sharecropper who has risen from city council and mayor on to state representative, on from there to national office, than for someone from a privileged background who has been to all the right schools and knows all the powerful people and knows how to say all the right things in a speech somebody else has written for him.

The first person knows and understands me because he has lived my life in many respects. The second one can't know and understand me even if he wanted to.

Political parties have made it impossible for qualified leaders to arise from among the people.

Larry Gambone said...

I don't want to eliminate anyone. What I seek to eliminate is the power of a minority to dominate and exploit the majority. The way you do this is not by physically stamping out that minority, but rather by introducing a greater level of democracy in society. Self-management would eliminate the need for bosses, neighborhood councils and delegation of power would eliminate the need for political bosses, but this elimination is only that of a social role, not of the actual person.

The term “bourgeois” has several meanings. 1. As we use it here, it refers to the owners/controlers of the means of wealth production. In the past, the term also included the professional classes, but this has much less meaning today as these groups have been increasingly turned into wage or contract workers. 2. There is also “bourgeois” in a cultural sense. Secular art, the novel, baroque, classical and romantic music, Enlightenment philosophy etc. was the work of the bourgeoisie and is now the common cultural heritage of humanity. 3. There is also “bourgeois” as an attitude. These are the prejudices common to many bourgeois, ultimately rooted in bourgeois ideology. These would include racism, thinly veiled contempt for the working classes, vulgar materialism, an instrumentalist view of humanity and the world in general, and an underlying, tacit, philosophical approach that is fragmented (anti-holistic) and dualistic.

Working people are not bourgeois in sense #1. All highly literate people are bourgeois in sense # 2. Many, but not all, workers accept at least some bourgeois attitudes, and are hence bourgeois in sense #3. But this is to be expected for the dominant ideas tend to be those of the dominant class. Hence socialists and anarchists spend a lot of effort challenging bourgeois attitudes in the working population to create a counter-hegemony.

I suggest that the reason why we need “experts” in governance is due more to the highly centralized and hierarchical nature of government in state capitalist society and the need to maintain a system of exploitation and domination. This has little to do with any innate problem of governing a large population. But this is another topic altogether. As for the “experts” themselves? The Twentieth Century saw about 200 million people killed by government , ie, by those same “experts”. Somehow I don't think the common man or woman would have done any worse.

The Pagan Temple said...

Gambone, I know what you mean by eliminate. If I had thought you meant actually eliminating the people's lives, I would have pointed that out specifically as objectionable. I just didn't understand precisely what you meant by bourgeoisie. Thanks for clearing it up. I had the idea it simply meant the upper classes, including the Middle Class. Going from there, I assumed you advocated eliminating class distinctions, not the people that made up the classes. Which, I don't agree with either one. I believe in workers rights and in access to education and opportunity, but where you see a barrier you need to eradicate I see a goal to aspire to.

Renegade Eye said...

Larry: There are times when you think your vocabulary is universally understood, when it's not. At Sonia's blog people were clueless as what I meant calling Stalin conservative or that reformist doesn't mean reformer.

Larry Gambone said...

Part of the problem, and this does not apply to our rational critics like Pagan Temple, is that these people do not want to understand what you say. They are in a state of denial. To understand you, to admit that you might know a thing or two, to admit that the world is far more complex and contradictory than an apology for the system tarted up as an ideology, would crack the armour of their denial.

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