Friday, June 2, 2017

Crisis+Quotation: Climate Accord*2, Macron, McCarthyism, Corbyn + More On Diggers

Sections                                                                     crisis index

1. Summary
2. Quotation (about the Diggers)
3. Crisis Files

This is a Nederlog of Friday, June 2, 2017.

1. Summary

This is a crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:

I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) and about the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I probably will continue with it, but on the moment I have several problems with my computer, my modem, the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible, and my health.

It may be that I'll be off for a few weeks, that is, I will publish nothing or little for a few weeks. I don't know yet, but I will keep you informed in Nederlog.

And what I will do for the moment - since I am still looking at 35 sites every morning - is to list the items I selected, but without any of my comments. Today I selected five items, and they are below and link to the originals, but on the moment I have no comments, basically because that takes too much work on the moment.

2. Quotation (about the Diggers)

As I have said above, I am writing less these weeks for various reasons. But I do like to quote good bits.

The following quotation is not very good, but it is interesting, at least from my own point of view, and it allows me to make a number of points about the Diggers, for the quotation is from Peter Coyote, who was a Digger from 1966-1975, while I am still working on the Diggers (whom I like but don't quite agree with, and about whom I knew a little but not much from 1967-2016). And in case you don't know much about the Diggers, here is a link to considerably more information.

This quotation is from 2004:

From the mid-1960’s to the mid-‘70’s, I was a member of an anarchist community called the Diggers which later evolved into a larger, more amorphous group called The Free Family. [a] During this period we lived communally and without hierarchies and formal leadership. [b] We sought first and foremost personal authenticity, and secondarily political and social systems which would permit authentic men and women to thrive. [c] To test ourselves we eschewed the use of money and performed our acts anonymously, believing, perhaps over-simplistically, that a person who was not getting rich or famous, pursued goals because they reflected heartfelt desires. [d] Our aim was to re-imagine America and then make those imaginings real by acting them out. [e] To that end, we fed hundreds of people every day, for free, established free medical clinics, free stores, free festivals, even a free bank. (Try imagining that awhile). [f]

Comrades on the ideological Left critiqued us for not having an overarching political ideology within which we operated, but that was not the case. [g] We had reviewed Communist and Socialist alternatives seriously (both permeated counter-culture political fancies) and could see the strangulation of authentic individual evolution in Socialist-realist art and Mao’s Cultural Revolution. [h] We understood that ideological rigidities, whether capitalist or Communist, spelled disaster for creative possibilities and social solutions. [i] It was hard to imagine people actually throwing themselves on the barricades to be the ‘proletariat bourgeoisie’, but we knew that people would defend their rights to live in ways they had discovered compelling and necessary. [j]

And here are my comments (which you can skip unless you are seriously interested in the Diggers):

[a] Yes indeed - but this is silent on two somewhat fundamental issues, at least from my point of view, which is that of a Dutchman of 67 who is trying to understand the Diggers fifty years later, and who has meanwhile read quite a lot about them, also with a sympathetic eye, because I am a philosopher, a psychologist and a philosophical anarchist:

(i) I agree that the Diggers were important and new, but The Free Family was mostly communal living by former Diggers and sympathizers that covered several hundreds of persons in the 1990ies and - it seems - considerably lesser numbers now, while it is not even mentioned in the Wikipedia: I think this was important for those who were involved in it (and there is a quite good and well-written bit on the Diggers site from 1978 (!))), but I also think this was considerably less important for others.

(ii) I would say that the original Diggers (who started in the Mime Troupe) were active as Diggers from 1966 till 1968, but far less after 1968, and indeed it seems as if quite a few were hooked on hard drugs from 1967 onwards, which was - in my eyes - a serious mistake (and Peter Coyote tells he got free from hard drugs in 1975, whereas Emmett Grogan died from an overdose in 1978).

[b] I have been involved with several communes in the late 1960ies and early 1970ies, and I agree these were the ideals, but I also insist that (also then) the practices were rather different: Firstly, there always were implicit hierarchies due to age, sex, education and/or intelligence, which are relevant differences that always exist, and secondly, while indeed there were no formal leaders, there were informal leaders, both in the communes I knew, and in the Diggers.

[c] I think this is formulated too positively: What most of the Diggers and most of the hippies wanted was freedom without responsibility. (And see Lenore Kandel on that topic in the San Francisco Diggers Documentary.) Most wanted to do as they felt, and they did not want to accept or indeed to articulate which personal responsibilities and what sort of ethics are involved with "being free". There were also some who did behave responsibly, in some sense(s), but - I think - they were in a minority.

Second, there was an ambiguity in "being authentic" that was never fully articulated or worked out, namely between being, in some sense, more enlightened than those one tried to convert (through being alternative, taking LSD, or in some personal or political sense), or in simply being different and more honest. I agree most of the Diggers were different and more honest, but I don't think any or many were enlightened in any realistic sense (for this tends to take a lot of work and thinking).

[d] I agree that the Diggers were original as regards money, and many seem to have worked for quite a few years on very little money. Indeed, one of the main motives for setting up free food, "free medical clinics, free stores, free festivals, even a free bank" was to give others the chance of living in a system where many things were shared and communal, hoping they would adopt that kind of living, and reorient themselves personally and socially. I think this mostly failed, but it was worth trying.

I think the anonymity had (also) another function: It allowed the anonymous persons to do what they pleased, without being made personally responsible, legally or otherwise.

Finally, while being anonymous and neither getting personally rich nor personally famous did make a considerable difference (ordinary politics is done by persons who are not anonymous and who try to get famous in order to get rich or to get power), surely there are more "heartfelt desires" that are personal (free sex, shooting as much dope as you please, doing what you want) that may be corrupting rather than liberating.

[e] I think again this is formulated too positively. Stated a bit differently, it amounts to the thesis "I have a fantasy I want to act out, and you have to agree because I mean well". And one problem with that is that there are very many fantasies, but only few of these are practical and realistic.

[f] This is true, important and was also quite new, politically, but most of it did not last long, and was limited to parts of San Francisco (and indeed also was much opposed by the authorities and the media).

[g] This is also true, and seems to correspond mostly to the differences between anarchistic philosophies and approaches, and non-anarchistic dittos: Those who were not anarchists but were leftists generally wanted other kinds of states and other kinds of governments and other kinds of politics, whereas the anarchists were mostly against the state, against governments, and were strongly for personal freedom.

[h] This is also true, and again seems to correspond mostly to the differences between (i) anarchists like the Diggers (and the Provos) and (ii) socialist and marxist groups of various kinds (of which there were many in the Sixties).

[i] It is true "ideological rigidities" were involved, but both in the capitalist and in the "communist"/"socialist" countries the basic fact was (especially in the authoritarian "socialist" states) that these rigidities were imposed by powerful governmental institutions, that included the police, the secret services, and many kinds of physical repressions (such as being locked up in a madhouse in the Soviet Union because of one's opinions).

[j] This sentence is quite difficult to understand, and I concentrate on the first part. The difficulty there is that the actual people who make real revolutions, and who die in the streets, who are arrested by the police etc. etc., almost never make it to the new governments and other hierarchies of power they helped surrect. Also, those who do the actual fighting often have quite other kinds of ideals than those they help to power.

3. Crisis Files

I have been writing on the crisis since September 1, 2008 (Dutch) and with considerably more attention since June 10, 2013 (English).

If you check out the
crisis index you will find that I wrote in over eight years nearly 1600 files, that nearly all consisted of a reference to one or more articles that were partially quoted and mostly commented.

I will continue with that, simply because I think the crisis is a very important social, political and economical event, but meanwhile I have turned 67 and need a little rest,
so what I'll be doing the coming weeks (at least), is selecting 3 to 6 files from the 35
sites I consult every morning to see what's happening in the world of politics and econonomics, and present them, but now without my comments.

Here is today's selection:
1. Advocates: Trump Pulling Out of Paris Climate Accord Is
    "Suicide Note to the World"
2. French President Emmanuel Macron Offers Refuge to American
     Climate Scientists
3. Trump Pulls U.S. Out of Paris Climate Accord, Drawing Fire
     from Opponents Around the Globe (Video)
4. Beware of the New McCarthyism
5. With Bold 'For the Many' Platform, Corbyn Rides Sanders-Like
     Wave in UK

These are all well worth reading.

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