imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

CopWatch LA

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List





IMC Network: www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech
printable version - js reader version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Strategies Of Containment

by crazy_inventor Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013 at 4:42 AM

Many of us on the left have been kettled at demonstrations: surrounded by a wall of police, herded into a small area, and prevented from reaching our goal. But we are also kettled by the thought police, and that's even more insidious. This strategy of containment is used politically to confine potentially revolutionary energy into an area where it can't reach its goal. Instead of by cops, we are corralled by institutions that purport to be progressive or even socialist. This pseudo-left diverts our energies away from organizing a militant working class and towards supporting the Democratic Party. Their base is not in the working class but among slightly-left-of-liberal professionals who prefer progressive policies because they will benefit from them. They are well educated and have access to financial and political power. They communicate professionally and persuasively. Like the wall of cops, their message is clear: You must stay here.

Strategies Of Contai...
zinn_on_obedience.jpg, image/jpeg, 500x377

Strategies Of Containment

By William T. Hathaway

22 February, 2013
Countercurrents.org

http://www.countercurrents.org/hatahway220213.htm



Many of us on the left have been kettled at demonstrations: surrounded by a wall of police, herded into a small area, and prevented from reaching our goal. The term is a translation of kesseln, the German military tactic of enclosing an enemy force within a tight cordon of troops and gradually wearing it down rather than attacking it directly.

But we are also kettled by the thought police, and that's even more insidious. This strategy of containment is used politically to confine potentially revolutionary energy into an area where it can't reach its goal. Instead of by cops, we are corralled by institutions that purport to be progressive or even socialist. This pseudo-left diverts our energies away from organizing a militant working class and towards supporting the Democratic Party. Democrat congressman Dennis Kucinich referred to this when he described his calls for a more peaceful US foreign policy as a way to keep peace activists within "the big tent" -- the Democratic Party. The Democrats like to have a few seeming progressives like Kucinich in their ranks to create the illusion that they are the party of change.

They also have media and political groups on their periphery that are often critical of their policies but consistently promote the premise that this party is our only chance and with enough effort it can be made progressive. They spend their energy trying to convince the Democrats to move left. Their base is not in the working class but among slightly-left-of-liberal professionals who prefer progressive policies because they will benefit from them. They want to reduce the accumulation of wealth by the superrich and direct more of it in their direction and some of it down to the masses to ease discontent. As befits their class, they are well educated and have access to financial and political power. They communicate professionally and persuasively. Like the wall of cops, their message is clear: You must stay here. The only way to change the system is from within it. There is no alternative.

To prevent militant rank-and-file activism, labor bureaucrats also kettle workers into pro-capitalist unions tied to the Democratic Party. The union hierarchy exists to block independent action by the workers. The leaders speak with populist rhetoric, but to keep their privileged position they collude with employers to force lower wages and poorer working conditions onto their members.

The goal of these pseudo-left media, political groups, and unions is to hold us within capitalist institutions, thus rendering our efforts futile. The police kettle us physically and the pseudo-left tries to kettle us mentally, to keep us in the system.

"Working within the system" is a strategy promoted by the system itself in order to divert demands for fundamental change into superficial reforms. But this gradual approach has been proved to be a sham. Hard won improvements in wages, health care, and retirement benefits are being reversed under both Democrat and Republican presidents.

Instead of advancing Roosevelt's modest reforms, the Democrats have undermined them. They have consistently served the needs of capital for imperialist wars and exploitation of workers. When they allowed wage increases in the 1950s and '60s, it was largely to stimulate domestic consumption. When they supported equal employment opportunities for women and minorities in the '70s and '80s, it was largely to expand the labor pool so corporations could reverse the earlier wage increases.

It's not just greed that causes corporations to be vicious. The system requires this. Slashing labor costs is the only way they can maintain dominance in the face of low-wage competition from emerging industrial powers such as China and India. The corps are shifting their economic pressures onto us, the workers. They've lowered wages to the point where young workers are earning less than their parents did. The only "progress" is that now we all have an equal opportunity for the lousy jobs that are available.

The Democrats led this attack on workers when they were in office and colluded with it when they were in the opposition. Labor union leadership cooperated in this betrayal of their members. Throughout it all the pseudo-left clucked in disapproval but continued to support the Democrats. This pattern continues today.

But more and more people are now breaking free of these strategies of containment. A look at the historical record and the experience of our day-to-day reality show we've been kettled with lies. It has become obvious that capitalism can't produce long-term prosperity for its workers. Its profits must continually increase, and it has three ways of generating those: exploiting our labor by paying us less than the value we have added to the product; innovating new ways to lower costs; expanding their markets. Now that these last two methods are approaching their limits, the exploitation must increase to produce the required profits.

Liberal prosperity was a feature of the Keynesian phase of capitalism, a 30-year bubble of better wages that occurred only in North America and Europe when it was necessary to stimulate consumer demand. But those conditions are gone and can't return. The world market has become more important than the home country, and selling there requires low prices, which in turn requires cheap labor.

We're now in the consolidation phase of capitalism, when global competition eliminates the less effective predators and wealth concentrates in fewer and fewer giant corps and the rest of us become their vassals. We have to overthrow this barbaric system and build a humane one or face an increasingly degraded life.

To direct this struggle successfully, we need a political program based on the lessons of history and a strategy for implementing it. We need a militant base within the working class that can defend workers independently of the unions. We must break decisively from the Democratic Party, that graveyard of social movements. We need media that inform the working class rather than delude it. And we must do all this internationally, coordinating our efforts with workers in other countries to build democratic socialism, where the people decide how the economic life of society will be organized. When the resources and productive capacity of the world belong to its people, they can use them to meet human needs rather than to generate private profits for a few owners.

This is the challenge of our time, an historic battle for liberation. It's an enormous job, but no more difficult than other evolutionary changes humanity has mastered. The best program I've found for building this economic democracy is the Socialist Equality Party's: http://www.wsws.org.

William T. Hathaway is an adjunct professor of American studies at the University of Oldenburg in Germany. His latest book, RADICAL PEACE: People Refusing War, presents the experiences of peace activists who have moved beyond demonstrations and petitions into direct action, defying the government's laws and impeding its ability to kill. Chapters are posted on a page of the publisher's website at http://media.trineday.com/radicalpeace. He is also the author of SUMMER SNOW, the story of an American warrior in Central Asia who falls in love with a Sufi Muslim and learns from her an alternative to the military mentality. Chapters are available at www.peacewriter.org

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
THIS is the type of media we need. crazy_inventor Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013 at 5:13 AM

Local News

Segregation in the City of Angels: A 1939 Map of Housing Inequality in L.A. A15 7:44PM

Justice Dept. seeking info, IDs on 1.3M visitors to protest website DisruptJ20.org A15 1:04PM

San Francisco Rally Protests Hate Crimes in Charlottesville A14 5:38PM

New Google algorithm restricts access to left-wing, progressive web sites A02 1:52PM

Tracking Twenty Years of Stockton Killings by Law Enforcement A02 1:27PM

Garcetti Cronyism - Why and How to Ignore Your LA Dog License A01 5:05PM

Nation's Worst Meltdown Was In LA J31 4:54PM

As RV towing resumes in LA, officials say program won't 'target homeless' J31 1:15PM

Class War on the Waterfront: Longshore Workers Under Attack J21 10:18AM

Limits to Growth Published Forty Years Ago J18 5:15AM

KPFK's Indy Media on Air Now on Wednesdays J25 9:13AM

Lessons From Portland’s Clashes With Fascists J13 7:36PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Three reading samples on George Orwell's "1984" N17 3:55AM

Syllogomanie N17 12:28AM

The Shortwave Report 11/17/17 Listen Globally! N16 5:05PM

Paraphysique de la collaboration N15 10:11PM

October 2017 Honduras Coup Update N15 9:23PM

National US Gov as wellas EPA slow to act on Abandoned uranium Mines Cleanup in Southwest N15 10:50AM

OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Comedy Fundraiser N14 10:47AM

Republicans against the Poor and the Sick N14 4:16AM

Paraphysique du conformisme N13 11:25PM

Global Warming / Climate Change has Become a New Religion - What's it all About? N13 11:20AM

Crétinisme et jobarderie psychophysiologiques N13 8:21AM

Crétinisme et jobarderie psychophysiologiques N12 10:08PM

"The Public Trust Doctrine," Wealth Inequality, and Iraq N11 12:08PM

Anthologie de la subversion carabinée N11 1:20AM

US Executions Violate The 14th, 8th, and 1st Amendments To The Constitution N10 10:51PM

BUSTED: Watch LAPD cops plant drugs in black suspect’s wallet – unaware body cams were on N10 5:32PM

FBI suppressed exculpatory evidence in Leonard Peltier's trial N09 5:16PM

The Shortwave Report 11/10/17 Listen Globally! N09 4:19PM

Slavery as a Human Right N09 8:46AM

Fbi are human monsters who must be put out of business N09 5:51AM

Entropie ou l'anarchie inversée N08 11:11PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” with Voice Artist Rob Paulsen, Fri., Dec. 8 at The Tower Theatre N08 12:36PM

Free Updates on Hurricane Help and Recovery Efforts 1 800 665 2843 N08 11:08AM

Benjamin Tucker American Mutualist: Mutual Banking Part 3 and Final Conclusion Part 4 N08 10:06AM

lapd shootings 1998 - 2015 N06 11:21PM

Historical ND Compromise Proposal Unveiled N06 12:08PM

US and China: International Policy as a Zero-Sum Game N06 6:59AM

Putanisme patriarcal, putanisme social N05 10:33PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2003 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy