Sunday, May 21, 2017

Who are the Nine Percent?

Who are the Nine Percent?

I suggested that the election in the UK offers a good example-- with previously unaffiliated people flocking to join labour.

The leaked Labour manifesto got support from a majority of Brits according to polls.


Of course, the Tories are ahead in the polls and Corbyn very much behind.  None of that matters.

The issues have been clearly defined.

Privatisation vs nationalisation.

Inequality vs equality.

Predatory capitalism vs socially responsible capitalism.

No, the "Corbynistas" are not ideologs of any kind -- they just care about the Quality of Life.

Labour will lose -- and by losing,win for not being taking over the government while the country slides into economic chaos will not shake the resolve of a leader who has held to the same principles for 30 years --nor deter the many who have joined because they are "mad as hell and won't take it any more" -- only confirm their commitment. This is a "committed minority" -- yes, now nine percent and counting.  

Right now, the "majority" is still too much in the comfort zone, too willing to accept what has been the status quo for so long.


If Labour loses, we will finally see the backs of the Blairites in the Labour Party, who will hopefully officially defect to the Right where they have always been anyway.  At the very least, they will be blamed for the loss by a majority of their party who loathe them anyway. 

If Labour loses, things will get worse in the UK.  The Tories will double down on failed policies.  The Media will double down, supporting them.  Both will lose credibility together.

And Labour will be able to sit back and say, "I told you so".

And Corbyn?  A prophet has no honor in his own country.  But he was never in it for honor or honors anyway. 



Friday, May 19, 2017

Joseph Nye: The Conning of America



This blog is about "public diplomacy",  "soft power" (an erectile dysfunction of the mind) and Joseph Nye.  But before we go to those things, let me digress...


What do you call the most brightest guy at Harvard? Answer: Maintenance.  


What's the difference between a poly sci seminar and a circle jerk. With the circle jerk, you get satisfaction.

There!  Got that out of my system.  I just so tired of jokes about sleazy lawyers, who at least do something -- unlike the  tenured but otherwise unemployable upper middle class people in government and academe -- especially political "scientists" or, as I prefer to call them, political scientologists.
Better Call Saul

What, for example, is "public diplomacy" or "soft power"? As these terms are used by people like Joseph Nye, who, while hardly an intellectual, is an excellent con artist.  

Remember that a good con never appears that way at first. 

Here’s Wikipedia, pretty much paraphrasing Joe:


In international relations, public diplomacy or people's diplomacy, broadly speaking, is the communication with and dissemination of propaganda to foreign public to establish a dialogue designed to inform and influence. There is no one definition of public diplomacy, and it may be easier to describe than to define it, as definitions vary and continue to change over time. It is practiced through a variety of instruments and methods ranging from personal contact and media interviews to the Internet and educational exchanges. 
People in the biz’ of course adamantly deny that "public diplomacy" is propaganda --just as I pretend that what I do in PR is something more than putting lipstick on a pig (oh...and eyeliner, too!)


And Barack should know

Now!

Our Pig of the week, Joseph Nye on the term he invented: "Soft Power"...




Makes sense right?  Of course, it does.  And please note Joe's lack of wrinkles -- that will be important later.

However Joe did not invent "Soft power" -- just came up with a name for something that has been around since the Paleolithic.  In the biz', we call this the "Naming Game".

Names are important to get attention.   But  names come and go, as people get tired of them.  They are too often style  not substance. 

More recently we call "soft power"  "cultural diplomacy" (cf. Arendt, Berridge et al)  Which proponents say is what the Beatles were doing way back when Nye was still a student at the prestigious prep school he went to before Princeton and joined State.

So, all Nye is doing is dressing up a fact with a catchy phrase. Lipstick on a pig ....

Back in 1785, Thomas Jefferson in 1785 commented....
you see I am an enthusiast on the subject of the arts. but it is an enthusiasm of which I am not ashamed, as it’s object is to improve the taste of my countrymen, to increase their reputation, to reconcile to them the respect of the world & procure them it’s praise.

Jefferson was impressed by Bourbon style.  Of course, a few years later, there was a huge shift in fashion....



Culottes were out, Sans Culottes were in.   Culture is populist, something that Jefferson, as an aristocrat did not quite get.  More about that later....

In the 50s, the State Department --the Womb of American Government and  one of Nye's umbilicals  --  tried to spread American "culture" -- or what they wanted American culture to be --  with stuff like the Voice of America, which was not all that effective compared to, as mentioned, the Beatles, who weren't even American.  So, the social facts were clear.




Since Nye is one of the architects of neoliberalism and worked for State he is all about "power" which also means sycophancy.. And "diplomacy" for him  means powerful men in black ties exchanging jokes at the urinals.  No, I don't think he is anti-feminist - he's a liberal -- so he's in favor of women peeing standing up side by side with the guys.  


So, for political scientologists,  creativity becomes  "influencing the preferences of others" -- kind of like a weird hat or joke for a pickup artist, just something to get you in the door, the window of opportunity, the diplomatic vagina or rectum.

Jospeh Nye and Friends

Similarly Art and cultural communication become instruments of power,  mere accessories to "public" diplomacy -- like vibrators in sex.  Not that I have forgotten the importance of urinals, mind you.


The trouble is that "soft power" (now called "cultural diplomacy") is non-governmental, indirect, and Socratic -- and, as with the Beatles, often populist if not anti-authoritarian.


Nye moved on from the limp dick concept of "Soft Power" in the Naming Game to "smart power", so beloved of Hillary Clinton.

Empathy:  "We came, we saw, he died"

I suppose you have noticed by now the huge difference between what people like Nye and Hillary say and what they do.  For them this is "diplomacy".  For most people it is lying, a form of control.

Implicit in the neoliberal notion of power is control --   by the Few over the Many, by Patricians such as males of Nye's class or Wannabe Males of Hillary's class,  over the Hoi Polloi.  Since cultural evolution is driven by more or less random memetic mutation -- ideas spontaneously generated and communicated virally -- it cannot be controlled in the way that authoritarians would like.  


But "smart" power  -- ah... that combines a lot of stuff - mostly expensive -- but all delivering a lethal combination of  seduction plus coercion. $$$$$$.  And, of course, a lot of lies.

One great thing about smart power is that is so much easier to blame the victim, who doesn't really know they were getting fucked until it happens.



Still, you are fucked.  Which means we are back to propaganda

And to that giant sucking sound you hear?    Hordes of  ad company people, media whores, university professors, retired civil servants , PR people and similar morally destitute riffraff on their knees in front of government officers doing what they do best.

Public diplomacy:  the art of the blowjob. It sucks -- literally.


"Smart Power"? Think pimps
  
Pimp juice is good for your skin.

And Joe Nye has great skin as I mentioned earlier.    

He is a shining example of the principles that rule in the Propaganda...sorry, PR...sorry... Public Diplomacy industry. 
There is the Peter Principle -- Nye is clearly promoted beyond his competence -- and Dunning Kruger -- the idea that dumb people tend to think they are really, really smart --and my own Oracle's Razor:  the dumber you talk, the more you get paid.  Sometimes shit is more valuable than food.




Do I exaggerate?  Am I insulting?  

I am insulting.  But I do not exaggerate.

Nye's numerous articles in the Media insult the intelligence of your average  middle school student. So tit for tat. The esteemed professor merely regurgitates the semi-digested glob of the media organs his articles appear in.    But, hey, WaPo and NYT pay him. This is the intellectual version of bukkake.   


And it is all because the  results of "cultural diplomacy" aren't always what the American Establishment wants. The "facts" need constant tweaking.  Dealing with the "people" is like herding cats.



People just don't manage very well.  Take, for example,  Vladimir Putin -- who Nye unfriended long before Facebook even existed. Vlad was supposed to be like Gorbachev --a well meaning, trusting, naive wuss or like Yeltsin, a drunk corrupt buffoon.  Like he's Russian, don't ya know?

Alas, Putin is not only Russia's leader -- he is first of all promoted to his level of competence -- which is an anomaly -- and also a cultural phenomenon.   

Hugely popular in the Russia for his athleticism, open-ness (yes, he does hours of unscripted  Q&A with ordinary people ), and love of animals, Vlad delivered Russia from the chaos wrought by Yeltsin, raised living standards, increased the lifespan and reformed he economy.  He is respected almost everywhere --except in the English speaking world where he is the Great Satan.   He did something unique -- he did not try to change Russian culture -- he tried to express it. 


Does he quash dissent?  No more than happens in the US.  Think: Occupy, which represented a huge American cultural shift in thinking. 


It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves –was coordinated with the big banks themselves.


The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, in a groundbreaking scoop that should once more shame major US media outlets (why are nonprofits now some of the only entities in America left breaking major civil liberties news?), filed this request. The document – reproduced here in an easily searchable format – shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens.And how odd that if you really want a good look at American society and politics you have to go to RT!   
--Naomi Klein


The American plutocracy for whom Joseph Nye is an icon, along with Obama and Hillary, is opposed to real culture change because it cannot control the results.  So, for it "cultural diplomacy" is not about fostering culture creativity but about suppressing it. 


The Republic was established with an Electoral College because the Founders felt that decision about how ran the country could not be entrusted to the roughly 14% or people allowed to vote. 




Remember  the "American Dream"   at the end of WWII when much of the world lay in ruins.? 


The world was in ruins.  But...

The US came out of the war prosperous, at least if you were white.   Everybody could afford a home, if you were white  Higher education was pretty much free if you were white.   People had all sorts of new consumer goods. American TV and movies ruled the world, along with American advertising.  Beer was everywhere.   Freedom!  Democracy! Yay! (if you were white).

Sounds good for America, right?  Great "cultural diplomacy",  too right?

Wrong!

In Europe, people hungered for their own versions of the American dream --but to get there meant very Un-American socialist revolutions and socialist governments. Then,  back home, the children of the Greatest Generation took all that stuff about freedom and democracy seriously -- so they (the Boomers) wanted sex and drugs.   Black people wanted rights.  The Anti-War movement boomed.  This is what happens when people take cultural shifts seriously.

"Soft Power" is  not "soft" but "pop", in the sense of "populist".     Emergent culture of this kind is  therefore often anti-authoritarian leveling the legitimacy of existing  power structures and subversive of existing institutions.  Which is why the Obama administration conspired with local and state authorities to destroy the Occupy movement.   

Subversion.   Means to overturn from below.  Popular culture is by definition "below", along with the "Many".  "High" culture is the province of the Few, like Jefferson's Bourbons.   but the Bourbons lost their heads thanks to the popular will.  Popular culture is driven by the natural selection of memes in an evolutionary process of adaptation to circumstances.


People like Nye. Hillary, Tony Blair and others -- people who were born into  authoritarian privilege -- naturally don't understand or like Popular Culture, unless it is controlled.    In fact, they don't really accept that it self-generates and mutates -- they must always assume that it is orchestrated by Somebody in Control, with an agenda. From their point of view somebody always has to be in control.  And all they have to do is wrest control.   Kill Saddam. Kill Gadaffi.  Kill Assad. 

Therefore, when the Nyes of the world see  a populist movement their immediate reaction is try to suppress it.   A good example is Trump.  It couldn't be ordinary people are just pissed off, could it?   Trump's an idiot -- so he couldn't create a movement.  No, it had to be Putin, the Great Satan. Worse, a cat-lover,.

In the Ukraine, Joseph Nye will tell you it couldn't be that Eastern Ukraine did not want to be governed by a bunch of NeoNazi thugs with ethnic cleansing in mind -- it had to be...um...Putin -- responsible for "naked aggression" which presumably means a lot of naked blonde girls crossing the border into the Crimea.

The Russian Menace


People like Joseph Nye  are not paid for objectivity.  Oracle's Razor again.  So much for the meaning of a PhD.

By and large, Public Diplomacy” programs are just money making schemes for our modern version of camp followers -- in the universities, the media and PR --not to mention the bureaucrats who want jobs after retirement.   They are almost never about cultural exchange and creative cross-fertilization.

Governments, in particular, like to choose things  already proven in the marketplace of ideas, kind of like movie remakes.   The trouble is that these things were consensuses generated  by conditions that did not remain he same -- and were originally in any case almost always "out of the box".  

The institutional mind hates "out of the box"   It is a box-maker.

By the time governments and their supporting institutions get to them they are like old toys which are dumped back into a new box, labelled, say,   Cool Britannia or Cool Japan or -- of course, -- the American Dream. (aka "Make America Great Again"). 

The governments spend a lot of money on the box.  What's inside is more or less irrelevant. In Japan, it's Hello Kitty and pedophilic "otaku" culture.

But that helps buy BMWs and summer homes for people in the business.


I naturally think that that is a waste – no one is going to buy me a BMW, not that I could afford parking anyway.


Still, if you are listening out there, Cool Japan, my knee pads are well-worn.

All for the illusion of control.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Isms and Asms: Orgasmic Politics

In my last post, I talked about the progressive “committed minority” that drives social change.  That brings us immediately to “identity politics” and a whole range of contradictions.
 


Obviously there are many “committed minorities” – with specific identities -- feminists, LGBT people, blacks, Latinos, the old, the young, Democrats and Republicans , Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc. etc.  Not to mention, “political people’-- Democrats and Republicans. 

How about the 9 percent at the top -- loosely referred to as the “Upper Middle Class” – the elite who own a huge chunk of the nation’s wealth -- perhaps 40 percent?    This is the “professional” class – academics, administrators, lawyers, business owners, doctors, media people and assumed to have tremendous power.  


Some of these “minorities” constitute more than 9 percent of the population --registered Democrats, for example.  


But “Identity” groups including the Privileged --cannot be agents of change .



Because any group that you can label – feminist, black, white, middle class, working class, Democrat, Republican, or Elite (“Privileged”, “Upper Middle Class”) – and soon on – is defined by not just by that label --but by the special interests and ideological underpinnings their social denominator connotes.

  
 
By definition, they therefore cannot be “populist” – a term that is increasingly bandied about -- important --but poorly understood.  "Identity" groups self-define as extra-ordinary or exceptional -- not as "ordinary".  In some sense, this is a very American thing since the country touts its own "special" identity, with it own needs paramount.  This is a country where Identity=Individuality.  And "individuality" is what separates you from others -- not what connects you.  Fuck you, Jack.




A committed minority that wants change is a "minority" only in terms of the changes that it wants -- say, women's suffrage or civil rights.  Their actions are not expressions of individualism -- but collective.  So,  they do not emphasize being different from others or exceptional -- but the same -- and they insist that the change they want is for everyone, not for just them.

This is quite different from, say, "Feminists"  who concern themselves almost entirely with their own gender and  occasionally appear misandrist, as with Julian Assange or even Donald Trump.

 

The "committed minority" I am talking about - the one that generates progressive change is "populist".

Populism is about people --in general – most, if not all of all them. “Progress” or “change” must reflect their interests. It reflects our basic social nature, as cooperative animals, rather than (say) solitary predators.  15,000 years ago it was sine qua non that you got by with a little help from your friends  -- or died.  

Of course, the Nine Percent at the top sneers at populism  as somehow vulgar.  Hillary used the term “deplorables”.  When Nancy Pelosi was told by a student at a Town Meeting that polls indicate that about half of young people are not committed to capitalism she replied, “We’re capitalist – that’s just the way it is”.  End of discussion.  

End of the Democratic Party, too!

Trump is a narcissist.  So he thinks he is the People. He does not ridicule their vulgarity -- he  glories in it and tries to out-vulgar them.



Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans  represent the  commonweal, the public, the people  -- but only themselves and a narrow, socially privileged class: nine percent and above.


The nine percent below -- the ones that actually create change are not privileged --or at least not corrupted by privilege or opportunism -- are focused on basic change , undistracted by ideologies such as
Capitalism, Socialism, Centrism,  even patriotism.   

Ordinary people aren’t interested in “isms”.  You can't eat an ism. You can't fuck it.  It won't keep you warm..

Fundamentally people are not "intellectual" -- they feel -- they  do not think.  All human beings are basically visceral, which of course explains why you  have Trump as President and not Hillary and why politics is entertainment until it begins to hurt.

If anything most people want  “asms”, not "isms.  

Spasms. Orgasms  Completion.  Action. Satisfaction.  Yes, the Internet is mostly porno .
 


So the "committed minority" that gets things moving must be ordinary people, concerned not so much with ideas as with making things work, where the focus is visceral -- things like food, shelter, sex, security and the like.  


A good example is in the UK where the Labour Party has expanded hugely with thousands of new members.  These new members are often derided as not really "Labour" -- but rather "radical socialists", "Trotskyites", and so on -- "extremists".    In fact, they are not the Ultra Left or Extreme Left -- so much as students, housewives, restaurant waiters, garbage men, small business owners, dog walkers, accounting clerks and officeworker --"ordinary" people who will never be rich or powerful and  have rejected ideology -- "isms" -- in favor of things such  income and housing security, better healthcare, and free education.

Tony Blair (like Barak Obama) wanted to be rich and powerful and shifted all over the political map to get where he wanted to go.  His politics were all about his success, nothing more, nothing less.

If  Jeremy Corbyn wanted anything -- it was probably just a new bicycle .  The Media paints him as either a doddering incompetent or a psychopathic ideologue.    But he was always on the right side of history.


Many in the public disagree.

New members have flocked to Labour because they see in Corbyn a man who wants the same basic things they do.  We all want a new bicycle.  And Corbyn is a man whose honesty and commitment has been proven again and again over thirty years of service. 



Corbyn's platform in the upcoming UK Election is straightforward, practical -- and non-ideological.  The basics:  income security, housing security, health security, education and so on.  It is also supported by most Brits. 

That unfortunately does not mean that the British will vote Labour. 

Old habits die hard.

Still the good thing about member of a "committed minority" is the commitment part.

Corbyn has said that he will not resign if he loses.  And the extreme bias of the MainStreamMedia (MSM) and the Parliamentary Labour Party will contribute to radicalization of the nine percent -- and after that -- the majority. The Young quickly become the Old.  The Center will not hold.


Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Nine Percent. The Power of Nine.


It is not the One Percent that count!


Donald Trump is the best friend Progressives in the US have ever had.   As you will see, he has just managed to radicalize nine percent of the population --   and while that may not seem much at first glance -- it means change for the rest of us.

 Hillary, if elected, would have been a continuation of Obama, a conservative in liberal’s fleece (to mix a metaphor) – no less right wing than any TeaBugger -- and no less dangerous to human rights, the environment or world peace – not to mention toxic for progressives – because she was someone the sheeple -- a majority of voters at least -- called their own.    How fortunate that we do not live in a democracy and she wasn't voted in.


Liberal = Conservative

For a majority of people, leadership is all about appearances.


Obama was a handsome man with cute kids. He looked Black – so he must be liberal, right?  Because blacks are…well…blacks. – even the white ones.   

Hillary is a woman and wears pink pant suits so she must be liberal, too because women are…well…women, even the ones with balls.

Yet both Hillary and the Obummer were pretty much the same as  Trump.

No,  sheep are not actually stupid. But they are programmed to follow anything white and wooley.  Sheeple.? Baaaaaaaaaaah….  You too -- right over the cliff.
Are you next in line?


It is not for nothing that we about “fleecing” a mark.  The public is a flock --  born to sheared and eaten.

Now, Trump is ever so WYSIWYG.  


Paint-on tan.  Bad dyed hair.  A man who is proud of how little he has read, who twitters and tweets and thinks in phrases of thre words, rather than sentences.  He is superficial and greedy.  Bad

 No GoodAppearances, remember.  The Donald looks authentic.

Which….wait for it! ... makes him one of Us!



You are the Donald.   Because you think you are authentic. Come on -- 'fess up -- you think you are real -- all indications to the contrary.

Oh, oh….  the pain of contradiction.


That is why we have “Liberal Moderation”, which is a way of reducing conflict.

It is a sort of dinner time politics thing that accepts all sides of an argument --politely-- in order to move on to dessert, no matter what the actual content.  Back in the Reich....  "Shall we gas the Jews?"  "Please pass the butter".  "That might be a little extreme".  "Maybe gas the Slavs instead".   "Would you like some bread?"

A few people throw up after dinner.  

Cognitive dissonance is like really, really bad indigestion.  It puts things in perspective.  


 This is why "Nice'" people pretend not to be interested in politics, which we all know is not 'nice':  throwing up is icky.

They don't talk about politics over dinner.  They also often don't vote, which makes talking a side, even though, as we have seen, the "sides" are often the same, and the real choices -- Jill Stein, for example, are not seen as choices at all. If they voted, it might come up at dinner, which might mean something else coming up all over the floor later. You get the idea.


Now, Trump has politicized a minority of people.  

This happens when the family is eating spam & beans most nights because Daddy lost his job and Mommy is working minimum wage at a coffee shop.   This affects dinner time conversation. 


He campaigned on “change” just as Obama did.  So a lot of people voted for that.   (When will we learn that “change” for a politician means “whatever is best for me and mine”?)


But Trump did the unthinkable -- he  delivered.  It was an accident -- an unintended consequence -- and not exactly the change promised or  wanted-- but change anyway.

He didn’t have the money. He didn’t have the media on his side.  He didn’t even have the votes finally.  But he won.  It is the death of politics as we know it.   He killed the GOP .  He killed the DNP. He didn't kill American democracy -- just clarified our lack of one.

He also did  not kill the military, State, the NSA, the CIA and the One Percent (to which he belongs) which are stronger than ever – although now we can more clearly see their hairy butts shitting all over us.     


The change that Trump has wrought no doubt means that the  public as a whole are getting the shitty end of the stick –  but, yes, things are now much more out in the open. 
Still a pay-toilet,  America is now a toilet with no door.

Suddenly we don't even have the illusion of choice.


And how have most people responded?   A few asked "Why do we  have to pay to shit if there is no door?"  A problem since spam and beans produces a lot of excrement.


To continue this metaphor, the Democratic Party hunched down on their mistakes – straining to give us even more shit than before.  Constipative Dissonance.  Naturally, the Dems blame the Other -- Aliens.  The  Russians.  The Venezuelans.   Aliens from Outer Space.    

WikiLeaks?  Nah.  The Aliens!

And the GOP?  Hahahaha.  


Oh, when have they not been history?  They haven’t even got around to noticing that the Tea Party have their balls in a jar.  Gopsters are jumping around for joy at the notion they can take the US back to the Golden Age -- the Middle Ages  with all those fun medieval tortures.  

Goppy people also like blaming Aliens.   Aliens from Muslim countries, Aliens from Mexico. Aliens in China.

You are probably asking why we --left and right -- have such a "thing" about Aliens.


But it is a momentary thought -- and then you go back to a  video game  about...um...killing aliens.  


I digress....as is my want.... That is the nature of this blog. Not "regressive" left but digressive left.


In any case,  whatever Trump has done -- or will do -- 90 percent of people don’t (won't)  get it.   They will bitch about the spam and beans -- but after a while they will get used to it, like all the other shit they put in their mouths.  Shit in /  shit out.

And anyway, they still have Netflix.

A majority of Americans, for example,  applauded that recent  war crime against Syria – where we bombed a airfield and maybe a nearby village, to tell Bashir Assad not to use chemicals on his people, which he didn't do and we had no reason to believe he had done.  This was a crime even under American law.  "Hooyah!" said just about everyone.

70 percent of Americans cheered when Trump dropped the “Mother of All Bombs” in Afghanistan despite the fact that:


•    It probably wasn't that effective militarily
•    It recent history is any indication, it killed more civilians than combatants
•    It just royally pissed off the Afghans who will just fight harder


As the French philosopher Baudrillard has written: we no longer care about reality -- only about the Spectacle.

The Taliban responded with a successful attack on an Afghan military base, which was barely noted in the American Media.


The One Percent were happy.  They profit from the idiocy of the 90 percent.  Replacing those spent tomahawks and MotherFucker bombs just keeps the money flowing upwards out of your pockets into theirs.  War = $$$$$.


So. in summary,  were are fucked by ninety percent plus one percent.... That's a fuck rate of ninety one percent.


The remaining 9 percent of the population are pissed .....

And that is the Good News.  Nine is the Magic Number   


History (and statistics) teach us all you need to effect social change is a committed minority of 9 to 10 percent, --given 90 percent don't really care -- and one percent are too busy counting pennies.

This 9 percent, however,  have to be ordinary people radicalized to  become zealots, rejecting compromise and consensus and getting angrier with the day.  


The radicalization part is important because if you were born a zealot, you are probably psychotic or religious (almost the same) -- which tends to result in things turning out badly. 

What we need are Grannies with guns.

The Digressive Left


Now, the Death of American politics and the Rise of Trump more or less guarantees radicalization of a significant number of people.

This Nine Percent will stick to their (pardon the pun) guns, as long as the situation does not improve -- which -- under Trump -- will be the case.  They will also not compromise with the "Moderate Majority"., the "Center", the "Middle", the Flab Class.   Why compromise with or seek consensus with  idiots?  That is not democracy --but idiocracy. 

Trump's  nine percent are, as I have said, ordinary people who do care about ideological abstractions --“capitalism” or “free markets”  “education” “freedom” or “democracy” or “justice”  all ambiguous terms which mean different things to different people at different times.    

The Radical Nine are motivated by present reality -- Trump --  not what they learned in High School.  They also hate spam and beans every night.

They may have their  mythological or religious fantasies, but the pressure of reality is too great for panaceas when you are just really, really pissed and steak for dinner and a toilet with a door.     

Of course, radicalization has its dangers.  As we mentioned, some people are born zealots.  A few are twisted by experience. 

ISIS, for example,  was born in Iraqi prisons.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, contemporaries of al-Baghdadi describe him in his youth as being shy, unimpressive, a religious scholar, and a man who eschewed violence. For more than a decade, until 2004, he lived in a room attached to a small local mosque in Tobchi, a poor neighbourhood on the western fringes of Baghdad, inhabited by both Shia and Sunni Muslims.
 The Americans created Al- Badhdadi.

Hitler was not quite an ordinary man -- he was a limited  artist who could draw landscapes and buildings but not people, lived on the street,  sold postcards to Jews and loved Jewish singers, he bought into conspiracy theories -- Jews, Communists and so on.  He was radicalized by poverty, failure, and finally WWI.    As time went on his zealotry grew and intensified.   Failure, prison, and repression did not matter. He was going to make a difference.

After years and years, he managed to sway first 9 percent -- that magic number -- and finally the mass of Germans, offering  prosperity and social programs that benefited people in concrete ways -- and were retained and even developed further by the postwar German state.  

Hitler's antisemitism and Aryanism came from his culture -- unconscious ideologies.  We have our own versions of such things.

But try to imagine a Hitler without the Aryan mythology -- without the antisemitism, racism, and the other viciousness that resonated so well with the German Public Id. That Hitler -- the vegetarian who liked animals so much he passed laws to protect them -- might very well have created a thousand year Reich!

As mentioned, many of his programs live on today in Merkel's Germany and the EU.


In the UK, the most significant nine percent were socialists. They suffered for 70 years -- but did not compromise.   

Their Trump was Hitler. And after WWII, they led the 90 percent to reform the UK offering advances in education and healthcare that led to Cool Britannia in the 70s.     With Tony Blair however came compromise -- and the Labour Party died until (perhaps) resurrected by Jeremy Corbyn.

As Yoda says, we must eschew the Dark Side.  Even if it means living in a swamp for years and years.


This should be a lesson for American progressives.  Stay grounded.  But do not compromise.   

The focus needs to be on basic humanity and the community, empathy and cooperation, a sense of fairness and balance -- from these things flow the opportunity American culture purports to offer but never delivers.   Follow Yoda -- not Darth Vader.

Trump has provided the moment.

Americans can  hear that giant sucking sound (as Ross Perot famously called it) – in this case, resources, wealth and rights and privileges being vacuumed upwards to be hoarded by a few people at the Top, who haven’t the faintest idea of what to do with it.  They can hear an equally giant flushing sound.  That’s your children and their future being disposed of.  

The issues here are not "redistribution" or "capitalism" or any of these things often used as code words in ideological discussions and which mean different things to different people.  Rather the issues are   "hoarding" and sharing -- not to mention   the right to live your life your own way.  Police violence and racism and gender discrimination are not issues -- bullying and standing up to bullies is.  These are all things that even chimpanzees understand.  So why not Americans?

Plain language.  Plain thinking. You have heard the expression, "Think globally, act locally".  Nonsense. Think locally.  Act locally. "Global will look after itself".  It all starts at the community level.

Take single payer health insurance in Canada.  It began in Saskatchewan under the Tommy Douglas's CCP socialist party in 1962 and was at first bitterly opposed.  The CCP stuck to its principles and the plan proved so successful -- and saved so much money -- that everyone everywhere in Canada wanted it. 


But you need that committed minority to stick to their guns. 

You need the nine percent.
 

The 90 percent won't do anything themselves.  As mentioned, many  don’t even vote.  They are a huge aggregate in which inclusion dilutes the power of each individual. Aggregation means passivity, a mindless mob.

 The one percent have money and power – but they are very few – which ironically they think amplifies their power.   

The 9 percent are many – but not so many that their rage can be diminished by numbers.  Unified by commitment, aware that they are the minority – their power is amplified.  If they do not give up.
A committed minority must be an ethical minority. 

Power = intensity x time.


Of course, this assumes the "committed minority" wants to sway the majority and is not led astray by impractical belief systems or mythologies.  The Tea Party, for example, is simply reactionary and lost in abstractions, more cultish than "committed".     

Ten percent of the US population is three million or so people.  If they are all of one mind, focused on just a few things they want, inflexible and uncompromising and willing to do what it takes, even – if necessary – violence in defense of person.   Then, you have a revolution.  The 90 percent go with the flow.  The one percent get their heads lopped off.


Can’t happen?


The American Revolution  ?