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More on UK self-organization

Stirling is right:

What is happening in London is not yobbery or hooliganism. These people are prepared. They are wearing masks, they are carrying tools. There are thousands of them. It is not like the Vancouver riot over a hockey team's failure to win the Stanley Cup. It was not a "riot against corporate failure." This is an insurrection, incoherent, unclear, unable to assume power, but as clearly, it is a political act. These rioters are prepared, they have broken kettling tactics, they have beaten back riot police. Whether they can continue is doubtful on this round. But there will be a next, and a next, and a next, because the very austerity [sic]

All true. I agree, also, on "incoherent, unclear, unable to assume power." Of course, it's OK for a financial professional on the left in Canada to say that. If you're some poor schlub in America, and you say that (as I said), well, you suck and you're a fascist. Well, as always, take what you like and leave the rest.

UPDATE The Boomer Hate at the end is fun, stylistically, but it's a well-worn conservative trope. Always a bad sign.

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BillF's picture
Submitted by BillF on

Dunno about the "Boomer Hate". In this, Stirling seems to speak with one voice with Chris Hedges (viz Death of the Liberal Class) and it's not easy to imagine much of what Hedges writes being characterized as "conservative trope".

Jessica Yogini's picture
Submitted by Jessica Yogini on

I don't remember the exact quote, but some blogger who I read frequently said something along the lines of "the elite knows how to do violence."
The corollary of that is that violence in and of itself will not help, but will play into the hands of the elite. It is exactly what they need strategically and what they will help engender in many ways, both conscious and unconscious. The time will come when physical force will prove useful in carefully chosen situations where it is necessary to defend the new networks of trust and cooperation. And when we are capable of containing and healing the moral price that the use of force always involves.
But the spin-off rioting in the UK was the exact opposite of that. It was attacks from one segment of the excluded primarily against other excludeds or the the barely included. It is not the beginning or even the foreshadowing of positive change. Most likely it will be crushed, with multiple forms of damage to the most vulnerable: further erosion of freedoms, increased difficulties for future actions that actually would be positive, increased tensions among different groups of the excluded, an increase sense of despair, an increased sense of self-justification among the well-off non-elites, and increased reliance on the elite thugs for protection from their imitators among the excluded.
And if this is not crushed, it was not the dawn of a liberation movement, but the dawn of a mafia based on rent collecting as hit men for some international extractive industry. This could lead to something like blood diamond gangs or the self-enriching nation-impoverishing government of some economically backward nation with oil. An organization, well and easily integrated into the elites plundering, that is given a tiny cut of the action in return for keeping a nation prone and incapable of functioning for itself. Not to anything positive.

There is a truth that we sense and that we carry. Some sense of how magnificent we together could be. It drives us wild to see how inferior things really are right now. One way we cope with that is to root for everything and anything that fights against our own elite, even to root for things that are not actually any better. Another way is comforting myths about what people are like in actuality right now, projecting some of our shared potential onto the actuality. This causes us to overestimate the role of the elite in creating our problems and underestimate the significance of our own cultural entrainment to the degeneracy of the elite.
Perhaps someday in a better future., we may see a lot of that as almost cute, like a somewhat crazy yet attractive mate. But right now, even if it is understandable, it is not helpful.
Sterling is brilliant and visionary. I hope he stays on our side. But there is a trajectory commonly followed in which the most intense supporters of change forward evolve into reactionaries in their despair and in their contempt for who the non-elites turn out to actually be right now. And Sterling's incorrect division of us by generation is not a good sign.

Andre's picture
Submitted by Andre on

New Brunswick, asked his 17 year old son his opinion of the goings on in London, and the kid said "They're practicing!" "What are they practicing for?" He said "For when anarchy comes." I mentioned that the powers that be will not allow anarchy, and my brother said, "Yea, well, that's what they're practicing for."

Submitted by lambert on


It's not clear to me why we can't replace the entire managerial class with crowd-sourced decision making. The results could hardly be worse. The 17-year-old might like that idea.