then we can step back and talk about the tactics to make change happen. I have been somewhat fixated on the controversy about the black bloc, the whole diversity of tactics debate since the Chris Hedges cancer of black bloc challenge. My friend Austin Kelley sent along an interesting link this morning that makes the point that while we argue about a single tactic, and while we argue about diversity of tactics as if it is one thing (diversity - doesn't that mean a bunch of things?) , we neglect the strategy that ties tactics together. Here is some of what Austin sent along:
“[A demand] is a goal which is not only a thing but, like capital at any moment, essentially a stage of antagonism of a social relation. Whether the [demand] we win will be a victory or a defeat depends on the force of our struggle. On that force depends whether the goal is an occasion for capital to more rationally command our labor or an occasion for us to weaken their hold on that command. What form the goal takes when we achieve it…emerges and is in fact created in the struggle, and registers the degree of power that we reached in that struggle.”
I have been working this past year on street politics issues with the City of Olympia. One aspect of this work has been a push to get public bathrooms available in the downtown core. There has been recurring commentary about the use of the downtown alleys for urination and defecation. A relatively simple solution to the problem to the extent that it exists is to make sure that public bathrooms are available in the downtown area, especially after hours. There are issues with security, maintenance, etc, but this is not rocket science, we can address these issues if the community makes a choice to have bathrooms available in downtown Olympia. We were able to get the bathrooms at Heritage opened 24/7 when Occupy Olympia negotiated to move from Sylvester to Heritage, but that was only a partial and temporary solution. We need bathrooms throughout the downtown where folks can relieve themselves and we need a free comfort station where showers and hot water are available for folks who do not have access to 3 bedrooms and 2 baths in their rambler existence.
Here is the frame: In 1972 a bunch of computer nerds were commissioned by the Club of Rome to complete computer modeling of finite resources, rates of consumption and population growth. The output was a book called The Limits to Growth. It caused a bit of a stir because the computer modeling predicted that global economic collapse and precipitous population decline could occur by 2030. Wikipedia has a pretty well referenced page on the The Limits to Growth.
The original study was criticized by lots of folks who thought that growth could somehow become sustainable, that more resources would be found, etc. The methodology was criticized. This study was not popular with economic growth globalists.
The Limits to Growth has been revisited on a number of occasions. Most recently an Australian physicist named Graham Turner completed a thirty year look back at the computer modeling and Turner's study is published at The Smithsonian. This kind of thing is like disneyland for nerds. Graphs, charts, all sorts of variables to argue about. It's a wonderland for slide rule afficionados. Needless to say, it's hard to present on CNN, MSNBC, BBC in a way that has gets the message across.
We do have options in the next election.
Lots of coverage of the republican primaries out there. Few signs of intelligent life in that pile of smoking offal. Going to move on. There must be more important stuff going on.
Oh, here we go: Chris Hedges has a good piece in Truth Dig about the NDAA - National Defense Authorization Act - and what a dangerous piece of legislation the NDAA truly is. Like the presidential authority to use drone weaponry to assassinate US citizens or our "enemies" anywhere in the world, this NDAA piece of legislation may look less scary to some in the hands of President Obama (I don't know why that is? He's pretty aggressive.) than it might look in the hands of a President Palin, but once presidential authority is asserted, it is seldom relinquished, so you have to look ahead at how the NDAA would work with President Santorum or the like. I don't like. Indefinite military detention.
It seems likely to me that the Supreme Court Inc. will break out 5 to 4 to scuttle as much of the President Obama's health care program as possible, perhaps all of it. This is a pyrrhic victory for the opponents of Obama, but may not be all that bad a thing for those of us who think that health care reform based on private insurance and fee for service profitability has always been a poor choice. The anemic public option that might have kept a foot in the door for the better single payer (Medicare for Everyone) option was dropped by the even more anemic Democratic Party when they were pressed by the Republicans.
Robert Scheer hits the mark in my estimation with his article: Five Hypocrites and One Bad Plan that ran at Truth Dig. I think that the five justices in question are simply adhering the hypocritic oath and performing true to form.
Paul Krugman came out today with his view that the 5 right justices would seize on any argument that would allow them to strike down progressive legislation, and if that is true, then maybe it would not have mattered if health care reform had included a public option.
What do you think? Are the Supremes going to strike it down? Cast your votes and predict the score. I am going with the easy prediction: 5 to 4 to strike the law down.