Thursday, June 07, 2012

Wisconsin's Fight Worth Fighting & The Venus Transit

I wonder whether Tuesday night's Wisconsin re-call election results are a forerunner of what to expect in November's General Election? Will that Venus Transit of the Sun, which was progressing as the people voted and votes were counted have brought in a very early flavour of the "new" period which will run until the next Venus Transit in 2117? Or was it the last breaths of the "old" cycle? I don't offer that in all seriousness, but am interested that the event did take place in tandem with that rare Transit.

Yesterday morning I read around the net a while to try to understand what had happened in Wisconsin. Last year the people there seemed to be "getting it", rising up against a Governor who would attempt to strip the union rights of public emplyees (among many other things). But when they had a chance to boot him out they booted him in again with a 7% lead. What gives?

At Counterpunch Steve Horn's piece Wisconsin and the Left offers explanation. Some clips:
Sure, there are refrains, such as “this was an auction, not an election,” and that “money won this election.” But people still voted and have agency. And Walker won by a long-shot.

Many important questions arise for those who consider themselves, broadly speaking, on the left: a) Why the grassroots attraction to right-wing populism? b) How’d the left (both liberals and leftists alike) get steam-rolled so badly? c) What’s next for the grassroots activist of a left-leaning orientation now that, bluntly speaking and when looked at through a sober viewpoint, the cause has been so badly bludgeoned since last year’s “Uprising”?

Right-Wing Populism Explained

Many schools of thought exist as to why people of a working class background have flocked toward the Tea Party. There’s Thomas Frank’s “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” argument, which posits that, in essence, working class people are duped by wedge issues, such as abortion and gay marriage, into voting against their economic class interests. This, of course, assumes the Democratic Party is the “party of the people.”

There is also the Chris Hedges’ “Death of the Liberal Class” argument, which says what he conceptualizes as the “liberal class” is dead and has lost its legitimacy among the United States’ citizenry. Another way to refer to the “liberal class” is to call it the “liberal elite.” This argument is far more compelling and complex than the Frank argument.

Hedges posits that long ago, liberal elites abandoned the rank-and-file of the working class, though they have continued to, in a hollow manner, speak on behalf of it. Because an untold number of people feel abandoned by liberal elites, its void has been filled by an organized and outraged right-wing populist front, argues Hedges. Hedges argues that Wall Street Democrats like President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama serve as Exhibit A of the liberal class. I would take that a step further and say so too did Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett.

Then there’s the Noam Chomsky argument, which in most ways mirrors the Hedges argument, but directly addresses the question of the Tea Party. In a speech he gave in Madison, WI in April 2010, he stated, “Ridiculing Tea Party shenanigans is a serious error, I think. It would be far more appropriate to understand what lies behind them and to ask ourselves why justly angry people are being mobilized by the extreme right and not by forces like those that did so in my childhood, in the days of formation of the CIO and other constructive activism.”

What Happened to the Left? Emma Goldman had it right when she stated, “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.” Labor and the left in Wisconsin committed suicide when it demobilized a legitimate grassroots movement and turned it into an electoral campaign. It has been a long, slow death.
Establishment Democrats and top labor union leadership coopted a nascent left grassroots movement in Wisconsin last year, and may be seen to have botched the re-call election by selecting the wrong candidate to run against Scott Walker. Tom Barrett wasn't the choice of the labor movement in general. Former Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett had his own problems with public employee unions. After selection there was little support from establishment Democrats, no effort to mobilise voters. President Obama's single tweet on Election Day endorsing Barrett was too little too late. But then President Obama is not big on union rights, they offend his masters.

A good assessment of the situation comes from a regular commenter at Alter-Net: "waytomanybottlesofspicedrum"
"The establishment "left" (unions, the Democratic Party etc.) is not left at all, and they really don't want anyone from the lower ranks to prosper, because they know the days of major economic growth are over and other people prospering would jeopardize their jealously guarded privileges.

Those who've made it have pulled up the ladder and are just mindfucking the hopefuls who think they might someday make it. Yet, people who would support an authentic left are so demoralized they find themselves unable to break away from the parasitic establishment "left."

The establishment left also discourages passion and anger - all that "irrational" stuff - which handicaps the leftist base as any kind of serious political power. I think it was George Bernard Shaw who said that rational people don't change history, irrational people do. Well, look who's winning the political battles of recent decades - those with ideological fury and anger, who don't care if they appear emotional or foolish (the right wing).

Plus, the whole vision of the left is outdated. The days of a fast-growing economy and a prospering middle class with job security are permanently gone. They aren't coming back. The right-wing has a relatively coherent vision of how to do things in the new circumstances: shore up established privileges, oppress and exploit the weak, scapegoat the outsiders. The left, on the other hand, has no vision for society that factors in the reality that the Western World, the original Industrial Core (Europe and North America), is on the decline. The leftist values of egalitarianism and fair treatment and all that stuff will have to be re-conceived to fit the context of modern civilization's decline, otherwise they'll just seem inapplicable and ridiculous.

These are major obstacles, and I'm pessimistic the left will overcome them and reconstitute as a relevant and serious force in politics. I think we're more likely to gradually revert to a decentralized feudal-type order run by strongmen, where ordinary people survive by working for and pledging loyalty to the strongmen, in return for protection."
As another commenter, Michael, implied, the best course now may be to stand back and let it roll - let the oligarchs, the "aristocracy take the people to school again.
When you have yokels talking about how unions were something you needed 'maybe 40 or 50 years ago', well there's someone who needs a child dead from a workplace accident, and no legal recourse thanks to tort reform."

So..... what do we have after the Venus Transit, evidence of the beginning, or of the end of a cycle? We must take into consideration other planetary transits we're currently experiencing: Pluto through Capricorn, Uranus through Aries, both planets of change/transformation transiting signs whose astrological interpretation are of matters in conflict: business and the status quo (Capricorn), and pioneering initiation (Aries). At various times in the near future the planets will form exact sharp square, conflicting, aspects to each other.

The fight will, in one form or another go on then - and on....and on!

A quote from Isidor F. Stone
“The only kinds of fights worth fighting are those you’re going to lose, because somebody has to fight them and lose and lose and lose until someday, somebody who believes as you do wins.”
The new, long, Venus cycle could simply signify a change in attitudes, as people begin, but slowly, to open their eyes to what is, and to what might be, if they fight on - or if they don't.


Anonymous said...

It is always disheartening to here that the days of "prosperous middle class " are gone- The minute most people believe this -it will be true- The masses have huge amount of power that the elites don't want them to know about- This is what America is based on- will always come back around.

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~~ Yes - a huge amount of power - if only they remained undivided. The elites work hard to keep them sharply divided as a first line of defence. Once enough of them understand this (it could take a long time!)......then a turning point would be in sight.