Tuesday 1st of December 2020

the great reset...

beware

Gus prophetizes the Great Reset is a product that ain’t going to happen. Or if it does, it will fizzle with sunset...

Some bods of the elites are presently working to structure a new economic system to provide a better comfort zone for most of us. Good luck. It’s not that they should or should not. It’s that anyone who has tried to place humanity into a box, has ended up with egg on their face, or blood on their hands — or got shot, or committed suicide. The Great Jealousy, the Great Loonitude of individuals and the motley crew alliances are going to sink the product. This is why, the US is trying hard to “reinvent” NATO, every second day, in order to maintain unity in the disunity between itself and Europe against a decided enemy — Russia. Without an enemy, sloppiness and disinterest soon seep in. Rot and decay are part of life. 

Most of us, people of the earth, are plodding on at our own level, regardless. Yes every time some engineer or politician or priest sees a writing on the wall, a plague of rats or of small covidoleons, or see people waiting for a bus that has broken down a mile up the road, they will think of cashing in with improvements to the time-table.

Did I say, we’ve been there before? The Romans did a few Great Resets by plundering around the empire up to Caledonia, by killing Caesar and by setting Rome on fire… then a new reset came with Constantine who decided the Roman Gods were illusions to be replaced by a belief in a guy nailed to a cross by his predecessors, namely a certain Herod. 

In the form of new Reset ideals came JJ Rousseau’s Social Contract… Rousseau was a sad fraud despite believing in what he was exhorting. Voltaire was more astute in showing that crap as well as elevation of intelligence belonged to our human nature — but most of all, unless we're in pain or destitute, we should be happy to be part of the bourgeois world that is the intermediary between the bottom class that toils and the noble class that knives each other. 

We reinvent the wheel everyday… Confucius was a Great Resetter...

Soon, there was the American “Revolution” which, in short, was no more than a dispute of the rich, against the mother country that was trying to bleed them with taxes. Money, far more than philosophy, became a key element of the US psyche. This was a Great Reset: freedom to own a gun and a few slaves, the latter to make cash, the former to protect the cash, while a sprinkling of religious methodism would keep the big guy in the sky happy on Sundays… Then came the French Revolution, spurred in spirit by the intellectuals in search of freedom for all, in which many good men and women lost their heads. It took a 231 years (!) to arrive at Macron… We’re still plodding — trying to solve the unsolvable conflict of religion, extremism and satire. Seriously: a Great Reset?

By mid 19th century, as the cotton mills in Manchester were spinning industrially to the product of US slavery, Alexis de Tocqueville had studied the US system of “democracy” (especially its prisons), of which "Tocqueville believed that equality was the great political and social idea of his era, and he thought that the United States offered the most advanced example of equality in action. He admired American individualism but warned that a society of individuals can easily become atomized and paradoxically uniform when “every citizen, being assimilated to all the rest, is lost in the crowd.” He felt that a society of individuals lacked the intermediate social structures — such as those provided by traditional hierarchies — to mediate relations with the state. The result could be a democratic “tyranny of the majority” in which individual rights were compromised.” 

We know the feeling.... Thus came the US civil war as a Great Reset, the product of which is still the racism, overt and covert, that ruins the ideals — and shops being robbed by looters today. We’re still on the umbilical cord of tethering civilisation, due to our need to feel part of a group — especially groups of glorious plunderers, be it of a local shop by breaking windows to acquire a flat TV set — or being plundering merchants of the East Indies and China by trading opium and robbing them of their dignity, which we considered they did not have because they kept robbing each others anyway, like with a caste system, in which the higher echelons are still forbidden to clean dunnies...

Communism would flower should the plunder laissez-faire of private enterprise be handed over to the State. This was not going to go well with the rich in need of becoming richer. So the system that kept reinventing itself in various Great Reset, like fascism, was never designed for equality, but to give everyone the opportunity to become more equal than most, by being cleverer and more willing to push, shove and bully the traditional Jews or homos and yobbos… With its couple of Great Resets, America became the land of opportunism, gunslinging, racism, dangerous competition, slavery, civil war, conquests, corruption and deceit. De Tocqueville was right to ask the question about a democratic “tyranny of the majority” which would be used to hammer ignorance and exploitation of the populace by the people at the top of the pyramid — the rich and the sociopaths, the sociopathic rich — while the intelligent dudes at the front of the curve would philosophise in white robes.

Have we gone full circle? Are we at a Great Reset moment? We always are, under different moniker, but this time, “it’s the real one” we are assured by the same dudes whom we have let be in charge of our “economies”. What have the sociopathic rich which in the past used to be kings, emperors and despots — all sucking our blood for glory, got in store for us now? Lollies? Have the vampire of society finally vanished with “democracy”? Keep on dreaming and make sure your blood is bright red. 

The Great Reset of the Industrial Revolution brought us a few headaches. The list is simple enough but the problems are major: global warming, pollution, plastics, apparently more virulent plagues, conflicts on a world scale and a population out of control, like rats, locusts or mice in a field of wheat, and life-saving medicines that prolong our bodies beyond usefulness while our minds fade away in dementia or become addicted to gambling our life anyway. Are we all addicted to a Great Reset, but with different timings of syphilitic transmission, while searching for happiness?... Do we need a Great New Reset? Who will be in charge of this exciting new venture? Washington DC, the Pentagon, the World Economic Forum, or us, the brave farmers with pitchforks who dream of a holiday on a cruise ship? Are we different enough not to conform to a Great Reset that will allow the rich to plunder our richness, which we extract from digging bigger holes in the ground so we can buy a new dishwasher? 

Should we throw rocks at the police, leading to more policing and curfews, so we can feel good at liberating our anger on fire? Have we got a chance to avoid the Great Reset? The covidofear is making us swallow a big swab (or Schwab) of it — but will it be long lasting happiness, short live pleasure or sadistic pain as our freedom illusions are hemmed in again, like they were under the Catholic Church Big Con till the advent of the Big Reset brought in by the Enlightenment, which many of them idiots are still fighting with religious beliefs, 250 years later? 

Is an economic reset going to make us swallow a bitter pill or solve the future — now ploughing through the crowds and killing us on the pavement of life? Can we solve the “world's problems” individually? Do these problems exist? Should we let the big boys and large girls tell us that we have to turn off our coal-fired power stations otherwise the Sydney Opera House will completely disappear under water by 2207? Even the big boys and large girls don’t agree on this possibility brought to you by the science of statistical analysis of past and present events, and the reactivity of substances to sunlight...

Are our democracies working? not as well as they should… Back to the drawing board or back to business as usual?… Or do we, like a Donald Trump keep throwing twittering nonsense, making a nuisance of himself and keeping us on the edge of madness, bowl the balls? Or do we return to the nice days of the Reader’s Digest? 

Keep away from the kerb…

And by the way, I have solved the equation of the ellipse circumference. I won’t show it to you yet. Too many robbers of ideas out there.



Gus Leonisky
Local mad artist.

cartoons from the early 1900s...

pitchers

 

This cartoon from Punch 1912... The Great Train Robbery — a movie made in 1905 — was so popular that ... you know the rest... Let's not mention Ned Kelly, the first multi-reel, feature-length film ever produced in the world...

 

Picture at top: People demonstrating in Victoria (Australia) on political, economic and military issues received such bad copping from the police that the press ran articles and cartoons against the police (Punch 1912).

the "other" great reset...

Slavoj Zizek: Biden’s just Trump with a human face, and the two of them share the same enemy


Slavoj Zizekis a cultural philosopher. He’s a senior researcher at the Institute for Sociology and Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana, Global Distinguished Professor of German at New York University, and international director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities of the University of London.


The threat of violence erupting over the US election result next week is exposing the limits of liberal democracy, and both candidates’ rejection of left-wing ‘extremists’ is liberal opportunism at its worst.

In the run up to the US presidential elections, different forms of populist resistance are gradually forming a unified field: “Armed militia groups are forging alliances in the final stages of the US presidential election with conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers who claim the coronavirus pandemic is a hoax, intensifying concerns that trouble could be brewing ahead of the election day. Leading advocates of anti-government and anti-science propaganda came together at the weekend, joined by the founder of one of the largest militia groups.”


Three dimensions are at work here: conspiracy-theories (like QAnon), Covid-deniers, and violent militias. These are often inconsistent and relatively independent: there are conspiracy theorists who don’t deny the reality of the epidemic, but see in it a (Chinese) plot to destroy the US; there can be Covid-deniers who don’t see a conspiracy behind the epidemic, but just deny the seriousness of the threat (such as the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben), etc.


 

But the three dimensions are now moving together: violent militias legitimize themselves as the defenders of freedom, which they see as threatened by a deep state conspiracy against the reelection of Trump, with the pandemic as a key element of this plot; if Trump loses reelection, it will be the result of this intrigue, which means that violent resistance to Trump’s loss is legitimate.


In October 2020, the FBI revealed that a right-wing militia group planned to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and take her to a secure location in Wisconsin. There, she would undergo a kind of people’s “trial” for her “treason” for imposing tough restrictions to curb Covid infections and thereby, according to the militia group, violating the freedoms guaranteed by the US Constitution.

Does this plan not recall the most famous political kidnapping in Europe? In 1978, Aldo Moro, a key figure of the Italian political establishment who evoked the possibility of the big coalition between Christian Democrats and Communists, was kidnapped by the Red Brigades, put to a trial by a people’s court and shot dead.

Angela Nagle, the academic and writer, was right here also: the new populist Right is adopting methods that were decades ago clearly identified as belonging to extreme Left “terrorist”groups. This, of course, in no way implies that the two “extremes” somehow coincide: we don’t have a stable center symmetrically flanked by two extremes.

The basic antagonism is the one between the establishment and the Left, and the rightist violent “extremism” is a panicky reaction triggered when the center is threatened. This became clear in the last presidential debate when Trump accused Biden of backing “Medicare for all,” saying “Biden agreed with Sanders”; Biden replied: “I beat Bernie Sanders.”The message of this reply was clear: Biden is Trump with a human face, in spite of their opposition they share the same enemy. This is liberal opportunism at its worst: renounce the Left “extremists” out of the fear of not scaring the center


Trump plays an ambiguous game here – when he is asked about radical rightist groups which propagate violence or conspiracy theories, he seeks to formally distantiate himself from these problematic aspects while praising the group’s general patriotic attitude. This distancing is empty, of course, a purely rhetorical device: the group is silently expected to act upon the implicit calls to violence Trump’s speeches are full of. When Trump attacks alleged leftist violence, he does it in terms that are divisive and a call to violence. Exemplary is Trump’s answer when he was asked about the violence propagated and practiced by the Proud Boys group:


“Within minutes after US President Donald Trump told the Proud Boys, a far-right group with members who espouse white supremacism, to ‘stand back and stand by’, on national television on Sept. 29, 2020, members of the men-only group took to fringe social media sites to celebrate what they considered a ‘historic’ moment for their ideological push against leftists.”


This is (if I can be pardoned for using this problematic expression) Trump at his best: he does tell them to stand back, i.e., to restrain from violence, but he adds “and stand by,” i.e., get ready – to do what? The implication is clear and unambiguous: be ready to practice violence if Trump loses the election. Even if the danger of an actual civil war exploding in the US is probably vacuous, the very fact that this possibility is widely talked about is significant.


And it’s not just the US that is moving in this direction: take a look at the stories in Europe’s media; in Poland, liberal public figures complain that they are becoming spectators at the dismantling of democracy; the same is happening in Hungary.


At an even more general level, a certain tension which is immanent to the very notion of parliamentary democracy is gaining visibility today. Democracy means two things: the “power of the people” (the substantial will of the majority should express itself in the state), and trust in the electoral mechanism: no matter how many manipulations and lies there are, once the numbers are counted the result is to be accepted by all sides.


This is what happened when Al Gore conceded defeat to Bush in the 2000 US election, although more people voted for him and the counting in Florida was very problematic – the public’s trust in the formal procedure is what gives parliamentary democracy its stability. Problems arise when these two dimensions get out of sync, and both the Left and the Right demand that the people’s substantial will should prevail over electoral formalities. And in some sense they are right: the mechanism of democratic representation is not really neutral, as the eminent French philosopher Alain Badiou has written:


“If democracy is a representation, it first of all represents the general system which sustains its form. In other words, the electoral democracy is only representative insofar as it is first the consensual representation of capitalism, which is today renamed ‘market economy.’”


 

One should take these lines in the strictest formal sense: at the empirical level, of course, the multi-party liberal democracy “represents” – mirrors, registers, measures – the quantitative dispersal of different opinions of the people, what they think about the proposed programs of the parties and about their candidates, etc.. However, prior to this empirical level and in a much more radical sense, the very form of multi-party liberal democracy “represents” – instantiates – a certain vision of society, politics, and the role of the individuals in it – politics is organized in parties which compete through elections to exert control over the state legislative and executive apparatus, etc. One should always be aware that this frame is never neutral, it privileges certain values and practices.


This non-neutrality becomes palpable in moments of crisis or indifference, when we experience the inability of the democratic system to register what people effectively want or think – this inability is signaled by anomalous phenomena like the UK elections of 2005: in spite of the growing unpopularity of Tony Blair (he was regularly voted the most unpopular person in the country), there was no way for this discontent with Blair to find a politically effective expression. Something was obviously very wrong here – it was not that people “did not know what they wanted,” but, rather, that cynical resignation prevented them from acting upon it, so that the result was the weird gap between what people thought and how they acted (voted).

A year or so ago, a similar gap exploded more brutally with the rise of the gilets jaunes, or yellow vests, in France: they clearly articulated an anger that it was impossible to translate or transpose into the terms of the politics of institutional representation. Which is why the moment Macron invited their representatives to a dialogue and challenged them to formulate their complaints in a clear political program, their protest evaporated. Exactly the same thing happened with Podemos in Spain: the moment they agreed to play party politics and enter the government, they became almost indistinguishable from the Socialists – yet another sign that representative democracy doesn’t fully work.

In short, the crisis of liberal democracy has lasted for more than a decade, and the Covid epidemic has only made it worse. The solution to this is certainly not to be found in some kind of more “true” democracy that will be more inclusive of all minorities – the very frame of liberal democracy will have to be left behind, which is exactly what liberals fear most. The path to true change opens only when we lose hope of change within the system. If this appears to be too “radical,” recall that today, our capitalist system is already changing, although in the opposite sense.

Direct violence is as a rule not revolutionary, but conservative, a reaction to the threat of a more basic change: when a system is in a crisis, it begins to break its own rules. Hannah Arendt, the political philosopher, said, violent outbreaks are, in general, not the cause that change a society, but rather the birth pains of a new society in a society that has already expired due to its own contradictions.

Let’s remember that Arendt said this in her polemic against Mao, who himself believed that “power grows out of the barrel of a gun” – Arendt qualifies this like an “entirely non-Marxist”conviction and claims that, for Marx, violent outbursts are like “the labor pangs that precede, but of course do not cause, the event of organic birth.” Basically, I agree with her, but I would add that there never will be a fully peaceful “democratic” transfer of power without the “birth pangs” of violence: there will always be moments of tension when the rules of democratic dialogue and changes are suspended.

Today, however, the agent of this tension is the Right, which is why, paradoxically, the task of the Left is now, as the US politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has pointed out, to save our “bourgeois” democracy when the liberal center is too weak and indecisive to do it. Is this in contradiction with the fact that the Left today should move beyond parliamentary democracy?

No: as Trump demonstrates, the contradiction is in this democratic form itself, so that the only way to save what is worth saving in liberal democracy is to move beyond it – and vice versa, when rightist violence is on the rise, the only way to move beyond liberal democracy is to be more faithful to it than the liberal democrats themselves. This is what the successful democratic return to power of the Morales’s party in Bolivia, one of the few bright spots in our devastated landscape, clearly signals

 

 

Read more:

 

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/504705-slavoj-zizek-biden-trump/

 

 

Raise the Red Flag...

 

Donald Trump has finally contracted COVID-19, and much of the civilised world immediately broke out into spontaneous celebration. There’s one good thing about this particular global pandemic : the virus seems especially interested in right-wing political leaders, although it hasn’t managed to kill any yet. Trump joins our own Peter Dutton, Britain’s Boris Johnson, and Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right President of Brazil who has tested positive an incredible three times. 

And it’s not hard to see why this keeps happening. After a visit to a hospital treating coronavirus patients, Johnson boasted that he “shook hands with everybody”. A few weeks later he was sent to the intensive care unit. Bolsonaro’s virus denialism has led to a social catastrophe which has claimed nearly 150,000 lives.

 

Read more:

https://redflag.org.au/node/7397

 

The problem is these guys, Trump, Johnson and Bolsonaro, do not have much pre-existing life-treatening disease (apart from sharp-shooters bullets) and can become immune to the popular sentiment in favour of a populist rattle. Anyone above the age of 65 should make sure they stay as healthy as possible — and those in home-care, 80+, with a faded memory have little chance of surviving the Covid, let alone the bad food of the joint. 

 

CH

 

See also:

 

https://redflag.org.au/node/7429

 

 

Read from top. Methinks we might get a surprise a couple of days before the elections — and in general, we, the plebs, will carry on plodding along, like a bunch of Candides around the world (see:

a chain of events in the best of the worlds...)

...