LostYonder

LostYonder wrote

While his critiques of western imperialism feed youthful minds of radical politics, in the end he undermines himself by his own privileged status and failing to reckon with the deep structures of exploitation.

Plus, has he said anything new/different in the past 20 years?

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LostYonder wrote

Good question! Not really sure it is traceable back to a single experience or reading or idea, but a process of slow movement and awakening. From my early high school days I leaned towards Maoism which was shattered when I traveled to China in college. That left me wandering a bit, leaning towards postcolonial critiques of the west, critical theories and politics that disrupted the current system, but with no real vision of what came next.

I focused much of my graduate education and academic work on critiquing liberal formations and ideas, particularly the nation-state and have always been adamantly anti-capitalism (though operate within it very much, so a bit of a hypocrite, I know).

What really pushed me towards anarchism though was probably the Arab Spring and then the Occupy movement. I saw the diverse possibilities of people working together to transform their worlds. The extent to which such non-movement movements were destroyed by the state and state interests was shocking (not that the state had such vindictive power, but that there seemed to be so little resilience of such anti-state practices). Thus I turned to anarchism to start learning more about how to imagine and foster values and aspirations that have the capacity to actually resist state oppression.

Still learning and still wondering how to imbibe such ideas into people who are otherwise so comfortable with the false security of the state/capitalism system we live in...

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LostYonder wrote (edited )

Does civilization actually exist or is it an imagined construct, much like the free market, the nation, etc.? Because the vast majority of people believe civilizations are real, there are certainly policies and actions that are taken that make civilizations manifest, but are they real?

What is a civilization to begin with? an imagined world of interconnected cultures, societies, economies, geographies? If so, where are the boundaries of any assumed civilization?

To be anti-civ is it to reject that civilizations are real or to resist against actually-existing civilizations?

Or, do we mean by civilization merely the outcome of social evolution over time, an assumption of one groups superiority over another because they are more civilized, at least in their own eyes? That too is an intellectual construct we know to be false.

How can there be post-civ when civilization doesn't even exist??? Or, is it just post-civilizational thinking???

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LostYonder wrote

That doesn't make it center. As an economic ideology it is about advancing the interests of capital, corporate rights, limiting state welfare programs, privatizing all state services and public goods (what came to be known as "restructuring" in the 1980s/90s that destroyed millions of lives and economies around the world).

Of course, the limitation we have is that the political spectrum between left and right is already completely skewed as it is state-centric and defined by western political sensibilities (i.e., liberalism). Given what it is, neoliberalism is pretty far right. Libetarianism is today a neoliberal political formation.

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LostYonder wrote

One should add that there is only a slight difference between neoliberals and neoconservatives. Neocons take neoliberal ideas and mold them into the interests of the nation-state while neoliberals are more, in theory, against national borders and policies that disrupt the free market and free flow of goods and capital.

Neoliberals are imperialist in the interest of capital. Neocons are imperialist in the interest of western nation-states, embedded in capitalist formations.

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LostYonder wrote (edited )

One of the challenges is the multiple uses for the term "liberal". In the US liberal refers to the democratic party and thus implies a left leaning orientation. Thus when people use the term neo-liberal they also automatically think it refers to leftist thinking. However, liberal also is a broad term encapsulating a range of philosophical ideas emanating from the European "Enlightenment". Most strands of western thought emerge out of liberalism, particularly political ideas. Marx is certainly immersed in liberal philosophy but attempts to offer an internal critique. Thus critical theory, emerging from the Frankfurt School (Adorno, Benjamin, Arendt, etc.) provide one avenue of moving outside of liberalism, but mostly as a critique of it rather than any clear alternative.

Neo-liberalism emerges from this later usage - it is a transformation of a broad philosophical idea into a particular political/economic ideology. As an ideology neo-liberalism is in fact right-wing, combining libertarian ideas with western imperialist interests and corporate capitalism. It became naturalized in the US and UK in the 1980s under Reagan and Thatcher and every president and prime minister since, be they republican or democrat, tory or labor, have advanced the neoliberal agenda. Neoliberalism has pushed the leftist democratic party and labor party to the right of center today. Clinton, Obama, Blair have been nightmares to anyone with a true liberal vision (not that such a vision is any better). But just because it is embraced by democrats and labor doesn't make it leftist - it just makes them rightists!

David Harvey has a pretty in depth take on neoliberalism? https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/07/david-harvey-neoliberalism-capitalism-labor-crisis-resistance/ http://davidharvey.org/2018/11/video-a-history-of-neoliberalism-with-david-harvey-interview-with-chris-hedges/

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LostYonder wrote

In short, tourism is a mode of capitalism - luxury spending, consumption of places, etc., etc. The basic question is, can one travel without being a tourist? is it possible to visit a different place to enjoy whatever it has to offer without consuming it? in recognizing that travel, more often than not, requires monetary investment of some kind, is it possible to visit a place without reproducing capitalist relations of consumer and server?

In today's world - no. But I do think there are ways we can mitigate the capitalist and negative impacts of travel. This often is translated by many to find more "authentic" experiences, places, and people than in touristed sites or hanging out with the locals, going native, etc. But all of these are just other expressions of capitalist penetration, not to mention the intellectual exercise of constructing "authentic" and "local" to begin with.

Ultimately, I think it is mind-set rather than just a set of practices. Though that requires further reflection...

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LostYonder wrote

We've put into place a system of economic and political relationships that limits our capacity to actually be human and to see that system as superior and infallible, at least in an imagined capacity to correct itself. the assumption of self-correction - that with planning we can make everyone happy, that with proper technology we can over come climate change, etc. - is highly destructive...

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LostYonder wrote

Isn't the underlying issue commodification and profit? The question is, how do we do away with (abolish) profit as the underlying force of social relations? If there is no profiteering, than there is no extraction.

Our bodies "extract" vitamin D from the sun as plants "extract" energy (simplistically) through photosynthesis. But these are are predicated on systems of interdependence and sustainability which profit making disrupt and destroy.

Or am I missing something???

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LostYonder wrote

Add in there that in the Israelization of India, the Muslim minority is the target. In 2002 in the state of Gujarat, where Modi was then Chief Minister, he orchestrated a pogrom against Muslims that killed more than 1000 innocent people and destroyed entire neighborhoods. In the state of Assam today, hundreds of thousands of Muslims are having their citizenship taken away simply because the borders moved following Partition in 1947. These leaves all the Muslims in Assam as suspicious, leading extremely precarious lives. And now there is Kashmir and the wholesale slaughter and mass imprisonment of Muslims.

India is a living nightmare for its 170 million Muslims - the second largest Muslim population in the world...

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Reply to by !deleted18270

LostYonder wrote

Buddhism is intricately interwoven into the prevailing economic systems. Tibetan Buddhism is feudal, at best, enslaving thousands to serve the extremely hierarchical sangha.

In Myanmar, Buddhism is a mafioso system thriving off corruption and military protection. In Thailand it is capitalist and deeply nationalistic. Across the world, Buddhism is an extremely violent religion not just through its systems of oppression and its hierarchies of belonging, but also towards non-Buddhists - for which it has a long history of intolerance. Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar are only modern manifestations of Buddhist violent intolerance...

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LostYonder wrote

Here are a couple of things I had bookmarked, though it has been a few years since I went through this stuff. Some of it is common sense, but some of it might be helpful. I didn't end up talking to others as the woman I was concerned about woke up and left her abuser...

https://www.joinonelove.org/learn/help_a_friend/

https://www.thehotline.org/2017/02/16/supporting-someone-returning-to-abusive-relationship/

https://www.safehorizon.org/programs/supporting-someone-emotionally-abusive-relationship/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/presence-mind/201510/how-help-someone-in-abusive-relationship

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LostYonder wrote

This is a pretty fucked up situation! I am sorry you have to deal with so much - but the fact that you are reaching out, trying to seek a solution for your sister is an amazing first step. quite honestly though, nothing is going to help until she wakes up to the reality of her situation and sees for herself that she needs help. The fact that she is so blind to the danger she is placing her children in is disturbing, though certainly a usual pattern.

There must be several organizations that you can find online that work with abused women - reach out to them and seek advice. They have seen it all, they know what you can do to really help her. Get assistance/guidance from people who know what to do. Do not call in CPS at this point...

Hope your sister sees the light soon!

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LostYonder wrote

find a supply of dead animals to put in his yard everyday (or garbage)

spray paint his car - "entitled animal killer"

slowly buy up all the stock in his company and have him fired

pay a prostitute to report a story of exploitation and rape to the local paper

pay the prostitute to seduce him and take pics then blackmail him

flatten his tires every few days, put sugar in his gas tank, a rock in his windshield wiper

make anonymous public statements about his scandalous behavior, including that he was friends with Epstein

have fun with it!

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LostYonder wrote

My first reaction to this question was, like a few others, make it free. But on reflection, it is more complicated than that. Any public service comes out of a state apparatus to collect funds, construct and organize transportation systems, and ultimately to regulate those systems. Further, transportation systems predominately serve the interests of capital - to move laborers from home to work and consumers to places of consumption. There are other uses, but the driving force of transportation is capitalism.

Destroying it is unfortunately also not a solution. Most of our cities and towns, particularly in the US but increasingly everywhere, are constructed for cars. Our cities are predicated on unequal transportation options and destroying public transportation will impact poor and marginal classes most dramatically.

In short, we have created a dependency on public transportation. The issue is reorienting it away from moving laborers and consumers to fostering inter- and intra-communal connections, for creating paths of exploration and appreciation of diverse places in the larger communities in which we live. It needs to be retooled away from its capitalist and statist foundations and ultimately fade away when those structures are destroyed (sounds like a vaguely familiar argument, I know)...

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LostYonder wrote

Leftist/radical to a point. The privilege that we white cishet men have is unimaginable and so naturalized in our own constructions of the world and structurally reinforced that being able to truly step out of it is near impossible.

First, mentally and ideologically, we can certainly espouse radical ideas, including significant critiques of our own privilege. Though, most of what we espouse is theory advanced by other white cishet men. Few of us engage the ideas of oppressed thinkers.

Second, in action, we can be on the streets but, as a previous thread had exposed, we have the privilege of punching Nazis that people of color don't have. Even in how we protest, commit illegalist activities, confront those in power, we are protected by our privilege. Our actions are defined by our privilege.

Third, few of us actually have the capacity for empathy, care, and to hear (not just listen) what others are saying. Privilege has ingrained in us particular modes of sociality that preclude true radicalism. Again, many of us attempt to transcend our conditioning, but it is a struggle with our own privilege.

The mere fact that one will argue that we actually can be radical is itself an indication that true radicalism remains elusive...

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