Insurrection and Utopia, Part 1: “We are Eating From a Trashcan; This Trashcan is Ideology.”

“The greatest threat to the system isn’t just learning things aren’t what they appear to be, but beginning to imagine a world where things are different. If something is outside the “parameters of acceptance” for the dominant ideology it presupposes that there are limitations to the system; if there are limitations to the system it can become old, worn out, made useless, and ultimately replaced.

So the Ruling Class will violently defend it’s doctrines at all costs. Can we beat such an invincible enemy, an enemy whose literally shaped us all our lives? How can we achieve that? Can we ever free ourselves and stop eating out of the trashcan of Capitalist Ideology?”

Desultory Heroics


By Dr. Bones

Source: Gods and Radicals

It all started innocently enough. A friend asked me a question on facebook:

“How can you advocate anarchic revolution when your political vision is so far in the minority?”

The underlying premise was a good one: In a country of 300+ million, how can you call for the upheaval of society, the breaking of societal and political bonds, when so few would readily identify as Anarchists/Socialists/Communists/Leftists/Anti-Capitalists/What-have-you? It’s a question often thrown at the Left and unfortunately many haven’t fully wrapped their heads around it.

In a way it’s a watermark. For an ideology or political vision to go from outright dismissal and laughter to being asked to provide real world examples of what would be done if it came to pass is a sign of growth; it is a signal, an omen, that the winds are beginning to blow in our favor and many…

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12 thoughts on “Insurrection and Utopia, Part 1: “We are Eating From a Trashcan; This Trashcan is Ideology.”

  1. I would agree, but add this, socialism based on the freedom of the individual without the tyranny of any form of state/government. Small, self governing/sustaining communities, yes, large governments, “the state”, no.

    We need to rid ourselves of this ancient evil (the system/order), if humanity is ever to survive. Or at least, this is my perspective. It certainly will not happen in my lifetime.

    So have that space ship ready, my friend, I’m ready to leave!;-)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Absolutely! Humanity suffered too much pain because of capitalism. It should be given a chance to socialism in a global measure, but in a way without states hegemony and that elites not involved. The other side, my spaceship always ready, my Earthling friend, but Galactic Council assigned me in here for 78 years, is meant that I cannot leave here before 78 years. You know the Council pay me my salary and if I am fired from job I would be flat broke on this planet.:) Already, we should see at least a socialist revolution once a time before leaving, we deserve this!

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  3. Hi Sojourner,

    Not entirely sure what to make of the article. It’s a hodgepodge of ideas and insights being served up on the run, so to speak, which isn’t to say that it wasn’t interesting. The focus of the article seems to be the tension between the trance like prison of ideology and the impulse to revolution. This, roughly speaking, is how I see that tension:

    Epochs are times of stability, when a social order — however unjust or just, repressive or lax — is more or less persistent over a period of time, when social roles are more or less clearly defined and the majority of people adhere to their assigned duties and accept, if not always in gratitude but grudgingly, the rewards deemed to be their due by the norms of the dominant ethos of their society. Epochs, in other words, are the historical periods in which ideological conformity, and not critical dissent, is the rule.

    When the system begins to break down, when large numbers of people begin to suffer acutely from not having their basic needs and expectations satisfied in customary ways, the end of the epoch draws nigh, people begin to be shaken out of their ideological trance, to wonder about what the fuck is going on. They notice that between the promises being preached by the elect from on high and the paltriness of the miracles being realized on the ground, there is a painful discrepancy if not a chasm.

    When the people begin to suffer en mass and the suffering becomes sufficiently intolerable, that is the time of possible mass upheavals, and there is no telling how turbulent the coming storm might be or what it may leave in its aftermath.

    The aftermath will certainly be a new order, a new epoch dominated by a new ideology, the mindset or culture of whoever will then comprise the new ruling class. This mindset will most certainly and in many ways resemble the dominant mindset(s) of what went before: it will be reactionary or progressive on the basis of what was because nothing in the evolution of culture or modes of life ever emerges into the light of day that isn’t largely a variation of what went before.

    Therefore, the likelihood of a socialist aftermath will depend upon how far and wide the ideals of socialism will have been disseminated before the upheaval happens. You cannot make a revolution; but a revolution can to some degree be be co-opted. That is the most that progressives can hope for.

    To my mind, if the aftermath of the next upheaval turns out to be a step forward rather than backward, industry will be geared more to the satisfaction of human needs; and the pursuit of technological advances to enhance productivity — rather than being motivated as it is now by a mindless drive to pad and monopolize profit margins — will be used to drastically reduce the workday for everyone.

    Everyone talks about freedom, but no one really says what in fact it is in concrete terms: it is leisure.

    That society which maximizes ‘personal leisure time’ for the citizen, also thereby maximizes the ‘individual freedom’ of the citizen. The more you have to work, the more you have to attend to the needs of others, the more hemmed in you are by ‘necessity,’ then the less ‘freedom’ you possess as an individual.

    A society that truly prizes the individual and his freedom will try in so far as it can to increase for all its citizens in as equitable a fashion as possible a maximum of leisure time, to create the ‘space’ in which each person, unharried by the hurly-burly of making ends meet, can explore and discover, alone or in company, the joy of engaging in self-selected and self-directed pursuits.

    Technology reduces work-time and the drudgery of work, and that should be its only socially useful and redeeming purpose.

    If someone asked me what I had in mind when I speak of my hope for a socialist future, this would be the outline of my answer.

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  4. Haha! Ok my Earthling friend, I will send them a note for you. But there is a bureaucracy at Council center. It could spend for a while, yes, there is bureaucracy in everywhere at universe. And for the period of reaching note will pass 4 years among the planets. So you should wait about 5 years for the ship:)

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  5. “If someone asked me what I had in mind when I speak of my hope for a socialist future, this would be the outline of my answer.”

    Yes, it would be mine as well, from a societal/collective view. In the sense of the collective, this would make great sense to me, and, of course, it would be a vast improvement over the consume and slave away collective we are trapped in now.

    Your definition of an epoch makes sense as well. I have never thought of the past as being cyclical, in this way. I guess I have been looking at the past as being one continuous same-old, same-old, with some variations on the main theme; the greed/power driven few ruling the ignorant/disenfranchised many.

    To be honest, much of what I am being exposed to, now, is new to me. Music took up a large portion of my life, and I will admit that I am no expert on these matters. So I am not laying down anything I think or believe, at the moment, as being an absolute, beyond, of course, my view of the powers that be and their agendas. On an issue like this, I am seeking information. Conclusions, if any, will come later, if ever.

    Thanks for taking the time to communicate this.

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  6. Pingback: A note on the tension between ideological inertia and the impulse to revolution | Taking Sides

  7. The solution in my mind is discarding the left-right paradigm and starting to collaborate in areas where the libertarian right and left agree – ending the wars in the Middle East, abolishing the Federal Reserve and private bank debt-based money, legalizing marijuana and possibly other rights, restoring the Bill of Rights.

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  8. Sounds good to me.

    Although, as I think you know, I don’t believe the bill of rights is worth the paper it was written on, just as with the rest of the document. I prefer universal rights, upheld on that basis alone, to “granted” political rights that can be rescinded at the whim of any despot psychopath.

    I thought about you, and your experiences with this government, when I was reading this, and then I saw that you had read it as well.


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