imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
Tell the NSA: StopWatching.US

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 - json version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles
link:

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 http://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

In LA, San Diego, Sacramento and 147 Other Cities, McD And Other Fast Food Workers Picket S05 1:08PM

Did LA pro-Israel group conceal right-wing identity from Hollywood celebs and media? S04 11:39AM

Stop Circus Animal Suffering – Protestors Urge Audiences to Shun the Wild Animal Circus S02 4:49PM

Anti-blackracism in the U.S. S01 12:10PM

New Zine on Activist Collective Living A29 9:19AM

LA Fields Two Marches Against Police Executions Photoset 2 of 2 A21 9:09PM

LA Fields Two Marches Against Police Executions Photoset 1of 2 A21 7:01PM

Running Down the Walls 2014 A20 8:48PM

Weaving the Past: Journey of Discovery Extends Exclusive Engagement A19 3:37PM

Los Angeles Declares “Hands Up!” in Peaceful Protest of LAPD Murder of Ezell Ford A18 4:09AM

Ezell Ford and Ferguson Solidarity A17 6:35PM

Family and Supporters of #Justice4Fords Protest LAPD Execution of Ezell Ford in South L.A. A17 2:49PM

Southern California Swarms to Save the Bees in Solidarity with Honey Bee Day Around the Gl A17 5:30AM

L.A Supports August 2nd International Gaza Protest Photoset 4 A05 7:03PM

L.A Supports August 2nd International Gaza Protest Photoset 3 A05 6:45PM

More about KPFK via Pacifica turmoils A05 6:29PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

OECD Takes Strong Stance on Corporate Tax Avoidance S17 7:06AM

Sergey Lavrov: World Class Peace Advocate S17 5:14AM

War Winds Near Gale Force S17 4:31AM

Stop Circus Animal Suffering – Protestors Urge Audiences to Shun the Wild Animal Circus S16 12:14PM

Kiev Grants Donbas Limited Special Status: Hold the Cheers S16 12:13PM

Nuclear Bomb Witness, Mobile Audit Club Daily Forewords, ISIS good Sissies like Reid Fag, S16 10:15AM

police training problem S16 8:19AM

How Neoliberalism Gained Hegemony S16 7:11AM

Dreaming War, Threatening Humanity S16 5:56AM

18 Ways AntiHealth Departments Connected To Drug Co. Pawns In The CDC Do Harm S15 2:59PM

Israel's Genocidal War on Palestine Without End S15 1:55PM

Israeli Persecution of Palestinians Unrelated to Defense S15 7:48AM

Beat the Heat S14 6:32PM

Israeli High Crimes Against Peace Examined S14 1:30PM

Russell Tribunal on Ukraine S14 10:16AM

TISA versus Public Services S14 9:29AM

Russia Denounces New Western Sanctions S14 6:13AM

I demand right to inform Chch post-quake victims of human rights truth and ethical plan. S13 6:28PM

Abbas Blocks Israeli War Crimes Investigation S13 1:20PM

Wolf Patrol enters Yellowstone backcountry to document and protest Montana wolf hunt S13 8:45AM

3 More NW Illinois Counties Show Insect Resistance to Monsanto's GMO Bt Corn S13 8:00AM

IDF Soldiers Denounce Israeli High Crimes Against Peace S13 6:45AM

Mustafa Barghouti on Operation Protective Edge S13 3:41AM

Jewish Voice for Peace= Jewish voice for Hamas? S12 11:37PM

Artists, Actors and the creative Community for Israel S12 11:22PM

Marijuana – A Real Danger to Young Lives S12 2:53PM

Washington Hawks Want Greater Middle East Spending S12 2:38PM

MSM Ignore International and Constitutional Law S12 11:34AM

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