Thursday, 23 June 2016

play the identity politics game to become a game-changer

To see the big picture, we must shift our conventional dualist view to an holistic perspective. The hybrid capitalist/socialist system we've lived in since the mid-20th century is our fundamental reality that few realise exists: most people habitually focus on only one of those dimensions, instead of on both.

The gfc bail-out of failed Wall St corporations enraged the political right in the USA because it was a blatant socialist use of taxpayer funds. The only political leader here to mention this was James Shaw in his victory speech a year ago, advising us to get real and understand that the control system is hybrid.

The globalist Bilderberger project will proceed regardless if it takes the Brexit hit. The controllers know it is lifting too many third-worlders out of poverty to be allowed to fail. Their traditional strategy of using puppets from the left concurrently with puppets from the right will retain support from the political establishment of most countries. The democracy sham captivates mainstreamers.

So for the cognoscenti, our choices hinge on identity politics - we are constrained by the culture of individualism to do our own thing, so the status quo will persist accordingly. To shift away from it to a better world requires collaboration, working together for the common good. Been there, done that. Hell is other people, right? Identify with the former path, we're merely commentators, so we're part of the problem. Even if we know we're also part of the solution. Both/and logic applies.

So, if we identify with a small group of folk who are actively trying to catalyse the solution, then co-creating a better world gets more traction. Play a different game than the one the controllers have set up. Become a team player. That's how the Bolsheviks did it.

The left/right democracy game uses the neoliberal agenda to recycle what worked in the 19th century - when the market prevailed over the bureaucrats. It's a business-enabler system, in which both left & right have a common interest in creating wealth & jobs for mutual benefit. The controllers ensure that the right get most of the wealth, the left get barely enough, but leftist leaders get political careers as lapdogs of the capitalists & more wealth than their comrades (Clintons, Blair).

Now we're living in a time when the masses are starting to lose faith in the system, thus the drift towards something different. But few see the alternative clearly yet, so inertia recycles business as usual. The more we agree on how to constitute the alternative, the more it will coalesce as an option in the public mind. Remember how many years the Bolsheviks took to develop consensus around their plan. Remember that `bolshevik' means minority!

Tipping points are significant, but not in a predictive sense. The notion derives from chaos theory in the late '80s, before Gladwell made it famous at the millennium. It's germane because we're all enmeshed in complex systems, which can enter rapid transitions into quite different states at different times. Some are gaian/natural systems, some social - some are political, some are economic systems. Holism isn't so ephemeral really, and the notion of interlocking subsystems with cascading influences is conveyed in popular culture by the `turtles all the way down' metaphor…

The timing and outcome of such transitions are indeterminate, both in principle and practice. This view is now established in the science of complexity. The political relevance is that any status quo is vulnerable to being destabilised by unforeseen obscure factors. A good example: most historical accounts of WW1 cite the assassination of Arch-duke Franz Ferdinand as the trigger. A cascade of political shifts rapidly shifted various countries around Europe into war.

If activists become conscious of their identity affiliation with any group of folks who aspire to catalyse solutions to social problems, they can shapeshift into that identity whenever they are ready, willing & able to spend time and energy co-creating a better way of doing things. This shift away from subjective individualism and narcissism enables the collaboration we all need more of.  If we use the spirit of play, co-creating a better world can be fun - then collaboration becomes enjoyable rather than hard work!  Forging a group identity on a common-interest or mutual-benefit basis then becomes the next stage in the development of the political expertise of the activist, and it is when competence is demonstrated by both contributor and group in the interface with mainstream society that the game-changing begins.  That's the triggering of the tipping point, when the transition from the status quo to something better is catalysed.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

cultural transforms

Life's a struggle for many, often grim for some of us for years. During such periods you'll feel better if you recall that you weren't born an Ik.

The Ik are an ethnic group of about 10,000 people living in the mountains of northeastern Uganda near the border with Kenya. They featured in anthropologist Colin Turnbull's ethnography The Mountain People (1972), from which Joseph Tainter (The Collapse of Complex Societies, 1988) condenses this account: “the Ik live in such a food- and water-scarce environment that there is absolutely no advantage to reciprocity and sharing. The Ik, in consequence, display almost nothing of what could be considered societal organisation. They are so fragmented that most activities, especially subsistence, are pursued individually.”

Each person spends “weeks on their own searching for food and water. Sharing is virtually non-existent. Two siblings or other kin can live side-by-side, one dying of starvation and the other well nourished, without the latter giving the slightest assistance” to the former. “The members of a conjugal pair forage alone, and do not share food. Indeed, if both members happen to be at their residence together it is by accident. Each conjugal compound is stockaded against the others. Several compounds together form a village, but this is largely a meaningless occurrence. Villages have no political functions or organisation, not even a central meeting place.”

Children are minimally cared for by their mothers until age three, and then are put out to fend for themselves. This separation is absolute. By age three they are expected to find their own food and shelter, and those that survive do provide for themselves. Children band into age-sets for protection, since adults will steal a child's food whenever possible. No food-sharing occurs within an age-set.”

If you perform a reality-check on this, some qualified confirmation can be obtained from their Wikipedia page . “Turnbull himself mentions his sources' uncooperative nature and tendency to lie.” “Milton Obote nationalized traditional hunting lands as national park for European tourists, and prevented the Ik from hunting in their traditional hunting grounds. After a couple of generations of starvation conditions, the Ik, originally a cooperative, child-loving tribe, became a group of selfish cruel people who don’t trust or help anybody.”

Overall, living with the Ik seems to have afflicted Turnbull more with melancholy and depression than anger, and he dedicated his work "to the Ik, whom I learned not to hate". “ Since Obote first came to power in the early '50s it's actually only 20 years that this radical cultural transformation took!!

We can only marvel at the extent to which cultural transforms can eliminate goodwill between humans, eh?

Archie Tucker, the English linguist, accepted an invitation to come up and see just what this extraordinary language was, for it certainly was not Sudanic or Bantu. Archie finally pronounced, with no little satisfaction, that the nearest language he could find to this one was classical Middle-Kingdom Egyptian!” — The Mountain People, Ch. 2, p. 35. Not the only African tribe with an ancestral northern origin, either.