Saturday, June 17, 2017

Crisis+Quotations: Stone, Trump*2, 'Russia-Truthers', Corporations - Aphorisms+Diggers-2

Sections                                                                     crisis index

1. Summary
2. Quotations
3. Crisis Files
4. On the Diggers - 2

This is a Nederlog of Saturday, June 17, 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. Quotations

As I have said above, I am writing less these weeks for various reasons. These are the ninth ten of my aphoristical reactions [1] to Chamfort's aphorisms:
Most wit, especially of those who are famous for it, is not spontaneous but cultivated or learned by heart. This is not wit but its pretense.

Public opinion is the product of the human average, educated and led by the nose as it has been by priests, clergy and media. Accordingly, it cannot be other than base, prejudiced, misinformed and banal.

There are few things as contemptible or as dangerous as public opinion in times of religious or political fanaticism.

Public opinion always is an artificially colored excretion of the tastes and ideas of some human average.

As long as one hopes, one lives.

Nothing promises as much, and delivers as little, as human hope.

Human beings live virtually all day in hopes, in dreams, in illusions, in wishful thinking. This is typically human, and is a source of much that is good, whereas it only tends to be bad when people start acting on falsehoods they believe in, especially when it moves them to persecute others.

There are very few human ends that turn out as one expected, and this is the more so the more emotions one invested in one's ends.

Nearly all social careers have been made by men who would have sold their souls to the devil if only they could.

The ambitious deserve neither admiration nor commiseration: They are all egotists, and nearly all hypocrites.

Intuitively speaking, the ratios of good to bad men, and of intelligent to stupid men, are both similar and independent, and in the order of one in ten.

The prime weakness of all intelligent and good men is that, being both rational and reasonable, they lack or avoid the usual means of the stupid and the bad.

To be reasonable among ordinary men tends to be as easy and pleasant as it is to be sane in a madhouse.

The good lack the means of personal aggrandizements and self-defense that seem natural and necessary to the bad.

Human society is a conscious attempt to improve the chances of life and happines of its members, generally at the costs of all men in the neighbouring human societies, and of the weak, the stupid and the honest men in one's own.

A democracy where the majority of the ignorant and fools may decide who will govern them, seems like Russian roulette on a social scale - as testified by the rise of Mussolini and Hitler.

There is more from where the above comes from. And the last one - like all the others - is from 2008, that is from pre-Trump days.

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. Oliver Stone Hopes ‘The Putin Interviews’ Can Ease
     U.S.-Russia Relations

2. A Psychiatrist Uses the Army's Field Manual to Show How
     Trump Is Mentally Unfit to Be President
3. The Fallacies of the ‘Russia-Truthers’
4. Government Of, By, and For Trump
5. Wrong Way Economics: Trump's Roadmap for Corporate
These are all well worth reading.

4. On the Diggers - 2

This is an attempt to outline why I like the Diggers. This ought to start with my own age and background and history, for these are all quite relevant, but I skip these here.

What I like about them is this:

- they rejected the personalities and careers that were open to
- they rejected capitalism, capitalist roles and property
- they tried to acquire new personalities and revolutionary
- they tried to practise what they preached: "Do your own
  thing" and "Everything is free"
- they made anarchist communities, both in 1967 around
  Haight-Ashbury and later at several places
- they were original in several respects: in freedom, in ideas,
  in practises, and in ideology

1. they rejected the personalities and careers that were open to them

Note that this was mostly part of a far wider movement, that were "The Sixties", that made very many things possible that were hitherto impossible on that scale:

A new kind of music, much more freedoms of various kinds, more money, the influence of politics and of the Vietnam war, an opposition between the young generation and their parents and grandparents, and the spread of ideas by music and by the alternative press. There were some antecedents, viz. the Beatniks and the Bohemians, but these were very much smaller groups, that also had far smaller means to get well-known.

Then again, the Diggers were the most radical in rejecting personalities and careers:

They believed ordinary personalities were made up of hypocrisies and conformisms, that much limited and falsified people; they believed ordinary careers were based on conformism, egoism and greed; and the Diggers rejected all of that.

What they replaced it by were basically three things: (i) "Be free - everything is free", "Do your OWN thing"; (ii) a renunciation of one's previous personality and values, and the adoption of an "everything should be free" notion plus a new practice of life based on far more freedom and considerable doses of dope of various kinds; (iii) a kind of communes - of various kinds - for most of the serious inmates.

There was the idea that (ii) was a kind of enlightenment, but I do not think that was true (for real enlightenment requires a lot of knowledge and a lot of training). What is true is that you got some rather liberated personalities, who did and dared to do far more than ordinary people, and who also had rather different standards and norms than were normal (which again found expression in their abnormal clothes and hairstyles). This helped a lot in setting up the Diggers.

2. they rejected capitalism, capitalist roles and property relations

This was political and very outspoken with the Diggers, indeed in part also because of their "Everything is free" practices (free food, free health care, free sleeping, free stores, which again all were supposed to help people to be free and to do their own thing). But the main theoretical thing was their denial of property relations, together with their practice of giving things away for free.

Both were quite radical:

Very few of "the Left" denied property relations, except - perhaps, possibly - after the socialist revolution, while the Diggers insisted these relations were falsifying everything and should be renounced here and now, instead of being put forward to some completely indefinite and vague future, and the Diggers also maintained the provisions of free food, free health care, free sleeping and free stores, were in part to help people, and in part to show people what would be possible if most things were really free.

Both were mostly new in "the Left".

3. they tried to acquire new personalities and revolutionary careers

Indeed they did (and see point 1.). One of the things to keep in mind here is that the Diggers were rather young (three out of the four main leaders were around 25 in 1967, the fourth around 30), and another thing to keep in mind is that they did quite soon acquire alternative personalities, but did so in part by marijuana, peyote, mescaline and LSD, and in part also by heroin and amphetamins. [2]

And these personal changes enabled them to engage in various revolutionary things that also were not done by the other leftist groups, and notably life-acting and the provision of free stuff (food, health care, sleeping, commodities).

I think the life-acting was a mistake (it doesn't face the dishonesty of actors acting from some script trying to move naive others to be honest and real), and I think the provision of free stuff failed to wake up the majority of those it was given to, but both were quite new, and both also were initially successful, at least to a considerable extent, while the life-acting was a development of the acting techniques practised by the San Francisco Mime Troupe, where it should be remembered that the Diggers originally all were members of the Mime Troupe.

4. they tried to practise what they preached: "Do your own thing" and "Everything is free"

One other radical thing in which the Diggers differed from most other leftist groups and ideologies was that they tried to practice what they preached, and indeed did not care much for preaching without a corresponding practice.

Then again, I think their main slogans (which did make them quite well known) were somewhat mistaken: "Do your own thing" denied responsibility, knowledge and intelligence, and indeed sometimes tended to insist that doing your own thing was good also if it were irresponsible, ignorant or stupid. It is not, but this was not often seen, neither by the Hippies, and also not by most Diggers, at least not initially.

Also, under capitalism it simply is false that "Everything is free". It was possible - then and there, by hook or by crook - to provide quite a big number of free things to quite a big number of willing recipients, but it also turned out, already in 1967, that only a relatively small minority of those who received free stuff, quite possibly in part because they were young people that did not know much of politics or morals or ethics or philosophy, were motivated to do more than receiving free stuff and doing what they pleased.

But it is also true that the Diggers did make quite a few things free for several hundreds to several thousands of recipients, depending on what they gave, and that they were quite new in doing that.

5. they made anarchist communities, both in 1967 around Haight-Ashbury and later at several places

The core of the Diggers seemed to have lived communally (in various forms) from the beginning. And when it turned out that - for various reasons - the Digger ideals of doing your own thing and providing basic commodities for free more or less failed (here are two reasons among many more: because far too many young people were drawn to San Francisco to try to indulge in its freedoms, and because the San Francisco mayor and police were much against them), quite a lot of the original Diggers moved out from San Francisco, indeed already in 1967, and started to make various communes - anarchist communities - of their own. This was called The Free Family rather than the Diggers.

Most of these communes collapsed again in the early or late Seventies for various reasons, but there still was sufficient fellow feeling and mutual support from several hundreds of persons (and their children) in the 1990ies, and there still are (in 2017) one or two of these communes in existence. (See Black Bear Ranch)

6. they were original in several respects: in freedom, in ideas, in practises, and in ideology

I think this must be started at the end, namely the differences in ideology:

The Diggers were quite well-informed about the various leftist groups and ideologies of the Fifties and the Sixties (indeed a proportionally large number of the Diggers had socialist or communist parents or backgrounds), and they were rather unique (with a few others, like the Black Panthers) in rejecting the leftist ideologies as a kind of moral conformism, that mostly conformed to capitalist values, norms and practises, while it insisted it was "moral" because it also was against capitalism, and it provided well-paying jobs for some (conventional, conformist) leftist leaders. For the Diggers, it seemed that if you can't practice what you preach, it is mostly nonsense. That was one - radical - difference from the traditional left.

Also, because the Diggers were much interested in personal freedom and in personal authenticity, and possibly in part because many took LSD or were strongly influenced by "Do your OWN thing", there were quite a number of ideas and practises that were either new (indeed including a considerable amount of nonsense) or that had never been practised on the scale the Diggers practised them before.

In any case, from my personal point of view, that is quite well informed about Marxism and Leftism in the 1960ies, the Diggers had more original ideas and plans than the other prominent Leftists of that time, such as Provo in Holland, the French students of 1968, or the German students of the late Sixties and early Seventies.

More to follow on the Diggers.

[1] These are aphorisms of my own. I like them and therefore reproduce them. Nicolas Chamfort was French and lived from 1741-1794. He was extremely witty. (And I admit neither he nor I are friendly about the majority.) Also, while I say these are "ten aphorisms", there usually are more: I am speaking of "ten" due to the original grouping (which has been deleted in this presentation).

[2] Incidentally: I am an opponent of taking hard drugs and always was.

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