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Re: Liberalism and Marxism

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  • William
    Message 1 of 42 , Sep 12 11:28 AM
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      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Josie" <josephson45r@...> wrote:
      >
      > Jim,
      >
      > Thanks to you and Wil for engagement with this sensitive topic. I agree it's one thing to describe different forms of violence, as Zizek aptly does, and another to discover ways to confront them effectively.
      >
      > Returning to the topic of systemic and objective violence you'll notice, that although such violence is less direct and obvious than subjective violence, indeed it's often plausibly deniable, the effect on its victims is no less deadly. Conditions which lead to high infant mortality, starvation, and other lethal crimes often originate in forms of violence so ubiquitous and anonymous, they're difficult to isolate and prevent.
      >
      > Here's a telling lacuna regarding the `background' Zizek criticizes Critchley for ignoring. An AP story circulating this morning, makes absolutely no mention of lobbying and campaign contributions, those very activities which deny citizens equal access to their representatives and redress of the unequal advantage corportions have. The article is entitled "Analysis: Is government's role to fix economy?" What a ridiculous question. When government officials are elected already indebted to corporate gazillionaires, some of whom actually draft their own legislation and hand it to our representatives, how isn't this one of the most insidious forms of violence ever conceived? By fueling political polarization, the beholden media completely and conveniently ignores core problems.
      >
      > I doubt there's a more relevant issue today than violence. But to assume we've exhausted our understanding of this human stain, is in my opinion, premature. If we continue treating the symptoms of violence, and not its source or cause, we're either going to become globally totalitarian or destroy ourselves with WMD's. If we were as greedy for the welfare of our communities as corporations are for profits... The problem is we're more oppressed and fearful than we admit and out only for ourselves— right where they want us. Enough of us have just enough to lose that we won't risk losing it for others; how is this different than having more and not wanting to lose any of it, philosophically speaking?
      >
      > Still wondering,
      > Mary
      > mary, Is your objection to violence or to competition? As a base competition seems the biologic norm ,a baseline to evolution and progress. It seems the cosmos exists within the framework of competative interaction. It is postulated that when at the macro scale when two galixies collide the more massive will dominate the other. Far below the biologic level the physics of mass segregates winners and losers by mass. At many levels the survivor is the biggest, the fastest ,the most Achilles like. That blood may be spilt seems to me an artificial demarcation. Neitche would point to will, not sanguinitity. How bad do you want it and what are you willing to do to get it? In a competative show down it is talents and will that carry the day. Even at the elemental level this universe operates by those basic rules.They might be considered cruel but the basic fairness of survivel is maintained. The better will triumph and the weak will perish. I do not see a way around this hard norm. What system would you suggest to the galaxys to make this universe more gentle. I see the competition as most intrinsic, truly fundamental. Bill
      > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "eupraxis" <eupraxis@> wrote:
      > >
      > > Jim,
      > >
      > > Thanks again.
      > >
      > > Jim: "I would include strikes, boycotts, rejections of elections, takeovers of city centres (like in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, etc.). From what you write, you seem to think these forms of protest count as acts of violence. You write: "One mode of 'violence' might even be to reject elections, for example.""
      > >
      > > Response: More to the point, as corroborated by Mary's citation, it is Zizek's opinion as well.
      > > ---
      > > Jim: "Another indication that you do not take the word `violence' to mean what I take it to mean is suggested by this sentence of yours: "the violence is perpetrated by [the] power structure itself, not the mass of people." "
      > >
      > > Response: Well, first of all, the State is a coercive entity in any circumstance. Power is not created by the State, but is wrested from the people against them, and this even in the best of States. In a failing state, power becomes nakedly self-interested; all pretensions to notions of right and justice are exposed as such. The people are preyed upon, especially as they express needs that the State discounts. That is the 'first violence.'
      > > ---
      > > Jim: "... The sort of violent direct action I disapprove of is shooting people, poison gas attacks, setting off bombs, attacking people with fists, sticks, baseball bats, rocks, etc. Such actions kill and maim. These are examples of violence."
      > >
      > > Response: As such, sure, who wouldn't disapprove of these? Can you not see a context where such would be appropriate, though? Or should a populous eschew any kind of violence in the face of State violence? I ask this theoretically, of course.
      > > ---
      > > Jim: "... My rejection of Zizek's view as expressed here [p 348] is that violence, like power, corrupts, and those Russian and Chinese idealists who resorted to violence – killing, maiming, torturing their opponents, became corrupted by their violence acts and their resulting utopias became the dystopias of Soviet and Chinese communism where the mass of people were NOT free, NOT equal, and were murdered and tortured by the former idealistic revolutionaries who became the cruel ruling elite."
      > >
      > > Response: I think the Tsar would have agreed with you. If asked properly, he would have conceded power and refrained from gunning down all of those starving people begging from sheer starvation, yelling, "Papa, Papa!."
      > > ---
      > > Jim "If a revolution cannot start well, it will not finish well, in my view."
      > >
      > > Response: You have no reason to make that conclusion. Such things as revolution are fluid circumstances. But, since you bring up the Soviet revolution, what was the bad beginning there again? What was Lenin's big mistake? Where had he gone 'wrong'?
      > > ---
      > > Jim: "...Compare the Russian and Chinese revolutions with non-violent revolutions – those of Gandhi's idea, Havel's Czechoslovakia, for example. These non-violent revolutions did result in something better than what went before. Gandhi's independent India, Havel's capitalist Czechoslovakia were not perfect, but they were, arguably, better than what went before. Hopefully this will also be the case for Tunisia and Egypt.
      > >
      > > Response: Havel's Czechoslovakia was not a revolution; it wasn't even an Event, in Badiou's sense of the term. It was a consequence of other kinds of processes, not the least of which was the economic failure of the region. And Gandhi was a pacifist, but no one familiar with the India/British situation would really want to make the claim that it was non-violent situation! Why do you think Britain left there, after all? (I have grave problems with Gandhi, and especially with his posthumous reputation.)
      > >
      > > Jim
      > >
      > >
      > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > Wil,
      > > >
      > > > Thank you for your full response to my criticism of Zizek's attitude to violence. You put forward a robust defence of the Zizek position. However I am not totally convinced.
      > > >
      > > > I think you mischaracterize my position if you think that I think that the only forms of non-violent direct action against the forces of capitalism are mass letter-writing campaigns and dress-down Thursdays.
      > > >
      > > > I would include strikes, boycotts, rejections of elections, takeovers of city centres (like in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, etc.). From what you write, you seem to think these forms of protest count as acts of violence. You write: "One mode of 'violence' might even be to reject elections, for example."
      > > >
      > > > Another indication that you do not take the word `violence' to mean what I take it to mean is suggested by this sentence of yours: "the violence is perpetrated by power structure itself, not the mass of people."
      > > >
      > > > For myself, non-violent direct action by the mass of the people, which I approve of, would include strikes, boycotts, rejections of elections, takeovers of city centres, mass trespasses, damage to property. Such mass actions can bring a nation to a standstill and can drive a ruling elite from power.
      > > >
      > > > The sort of violent direct action I disapprove of is shooting people, poison gas attacks, setting off bombs, attacking people with fists, sticks, baseball bats, rocks, etc. Such actions kill and maim. These are examples of violence.
      > > >
      > > > Perhaps we are just disagreeing about the definition of the word `violence' rather than what we advocate as acceptable actions in our streets and subways, and on our buses, trains and planes.
      > > >
      > > > However, I do think there is a disagreement of substance between myself and Zizek. Consider this passage from "In Defense of Lost Causes":
      > > >
      > > > [Simon Critchley blurs] the crucial difference between two opposed political logics: radical egalitarian violence (what Badiou calls the "eternal Idea" of the politics of revolutionary justice at work from the ancient Chinese "legists" through Jacobins to Lenin and Mao), and anti-modernist "fundamentalist" violence – a new version of the old liberal-conservative identification of the right and left "totalitarianism." (p. 348)
      > > >
      > > > In others words, for Zizek there is "good violence" (the radical egalitarian violence of Lenin, Mao, etc.) and "bad violence" (the anti-modernist "fundamentalist" violence of al-Qaeda). From what you have written, I think you follow Zizek in this distinction.
      > > >
      > > > My rejection of Zizek's view as expressed here is that violence, like power, corrupts, and those Russian and Chinese idealists who resorted to violence – killing, maiming, torturing their opponents, became corrupted by their violence acts and their resulting utopias became the dystopias of Soviet and Chinese communism where the mass of people were NOT free, NOT equal, and were murdered and tortured by the former idealistic revolutionaries who became the cruel ruling elite.
      > > >
      > > > If a revolution cannot start well, it will not finish well, in my view. Compare the Russian and Chinese revolutions with non-violent revolutions – those of Gandhi's idea, Havel's Czechoslovakia, for example. These non-violent revolutions did result in something better than what went before. Gandhi's independent India, Havel's capitalist Czechoslovakia were not perfect, but they were, arguably, better than what went before. Hopefully this will also be the case for Tunisia and Egypt.
      > > >
      > > > Jim
      > > >
      > >
      >
    • Josie
      Jim, You overlook the advantages of your parliamentary system. With our two-party, winner takes all elections, different platforms and perspectives are
      Message 42 of 42 , Sep 15 7:24 AM
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        Jim,

        You overlook the advantages of your parliamentary system. With our two-party, winner takes all elections, different platforms and perspectives are obliterated from public discourse by the exigencies of running for office. I suspect you have less gridlock. With only two choices, we're forced to expect policies we despise and equal opposition to those we embrace. This is how idiotic candidate are elected by idiotic voters with idiotic results, to use Bill's parlance.

        Mary

        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:

        Even in your own country, the electorate has had the opportunity to vote for an anti-capitalist presidential candidate such as Ralph Nader in recent years.
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