Anne Jaclard: Raising Our Collective Consciousness

by Diet Soap Podcast on October 10, 2013

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The guest this week is the radical thinker, writer, and editor Anne Jaclard. Anne Jaclard is a long-time activist in the U.S. women’s movement and international solidarity movements and her current work concentrates on the theoretical and practical relationship of philosophy to revolutionary organization and we discussed her paper and lecture ‘Let’s Mobilize the Left to Reject the Dogma that Workers Need their “Consciousness Raised“.’

I want to reiterate my thanks to everyone who donated to the Think the Impossible book and podcast tour through Kickstarter because this weekend you’re sending me back to San Francisco where I’ll be reading or performing as a part of the Writers with Drinks variety show at the Makeout Room along with Kim Stanley Robinson, Tom Barbash, Kim Wong Keltner, Mollena “Mo” Williams, and Tatyana Brown. If you’re in San Francisco I urge you to turn up. The Makeout room is at 3225 22nd. St.

There are a couple of sound clips in this episode. You’ll hear the New Seekers and Chad African talking Coca-Cola along with Joan Baez and Noam Chomsky.

  • Carl Davidson

    It’s not simply the workers who need to with conflicted consciousness and develop into better ‘organic intellectuals’ of their class. It’s also the left who see themselves as somehow apart from that class. As the ‘Old Mole’ put it, the educators must themselves be educated.

  • Harriet Logan

    The fetish-sizing of ALL ‘workers’ by the Left is not really being opposed here by Anne Jaclard, who actually takes a rather standard traditional doctrinaire marxist and workerist notion that workers simply are always wholly with it in in the top of the class struggle already, and that intellectuals are always simply behind them in needing to catch up with that high level of what the bulk of workers’ consciousness is already supposedly at. However, that really is not the case in imperialist countries, since the workers in any imperialist country can have extremely different and much more backward in class consciousness attitudes than the workers in more exploited countries most usually do.

    Lets examine some of what Jaclard wrote….

    ‘I am arguing that the main impediment to transforming the world is not workers’ supposedly low consciousness, but rather the left’s presuppositions and elitism.’

    Sorry, but all those trillions of dollars coming out of capitalist pockets to propagandize the working class really do lower their collective class consciousness and understanding. it is a simply erroneous idea to think that Leftist organizations are the major impediment to working class mobilization, when that is so very truly far from actually being the case. PLUS, all that plain brute force brought into play by capitalists against their slaves surely must count as being some sort of ‘impediment (to workers) transforming the world’? One would think so, and I know that I certainly think so myself.

    ‘I am arguing that the left needs to mobilize itself, first and foremost, to re-think and re-organizeits theory and practice.’

    Yawn. Who does not agree with you about this, Jaclard? Your notion is no revelation to many I think.

    ‘Operating from the perspective of needing to raise others’ consciousness, the left not only fails to lead them—who wants to be talked down to?– it frequently stifles mass movements for change. I’m thinking of the abrupt demobilization of the single-issue anti-Vietnam war movement that was dominated by the Socialist Workers Party (American Trotskyists)’

    Jaclard is actually dissing a Left success of relatively recent era, which was the huge mobilization of the Left at that time, when we opposed ourselves to allowing the Pentagon to continue to engage in its wars. What happened afterwards was a tragedy, as the SWP 9and the International Left as a whole!) failed to continue to engage the US government in mass actions designed to further impair the Pentagon from being able to function unimpaired. The International Left kind of went on vacation of a sorts. …and has never really returned form it either, one might mention.

    ‘, and the more recent anti-Iraq war movement that actually shrank instead of growing when its leading organizations refused to criticize Saddam Hussein and political Islam on the grounds that we should only talk about U.S. imperialism (as if such position could possibly have broad appeal!).’

    So here we here the essence of Jaclard’s desires for the Left to become in the future. And in it we find that she is terrified that we of the Left might continue to turn off workers in the imperialist countries, which still mainly continue to fully support the imperialist military here. Jaclard is scared we will alienate pro imperialist workers, so she proposes that we echo the imperialist propaganda for their poor tiny ears, INSTEAD OF OPPOSING that propaganda vociferously.

    Jaclard falsely pretends that is was somehow a Left failure to not jump into the imperialists’ pile on against Saddam Hussien when it was happening, and begin shouting the loudest vitriol about him of them all! That would have gained us pro imperialist worker’s support in our own imperialist countries! Whoopppeee! Hurray! ( …or so thinks the workerist mindset when it combines with imperialist liberalism as well).

    Jaclard falsely attributes a decline in antiwar mobilization not to it being that so many workers (and ‘intellectuals’, too) remain tied in the US almost COMPLETELY to the Big Business run Democratic Party, but rather that the Left did not join into the imperialist mobilization using racist propaganda directed against Islam and Muslims, Arabs and official ‘others’. YES, she is actually excoriating us for not having done just that! That is really you being quite backward and politically sick, Anne Jaclard, and not you being pro working class.

    • Doug Lain

      Harriet Logan: You asked Anne why she bothered to express the truism that “the left needs to mobilize itself, first and foremost, to re-think and re-organize its theory and practice” and suggested that this is obvious and uncontroversial. However, I note that you yourself had difficulty keeping this truism in mind as you listed your doctrinaire objections to her essay.

      On the subject of the workers in the first world and their backwardness, their less developed class consciousness, when compared to the workers in ‘more exploited countries,’ a couple of questions arise. Just what is ‘class consciousness’ and just what does it mean for a country to be ‘exploited.’

      It seems to me that there are two kinds of ‘class consciousness,’ that is there is the consciousness, or more accurately, aims of a working class person that conform to the aims of means of production. This is sometimes called a ‘trade union mentality’ but it really is just a rational attempt to win the game of working life on its own terms. However, there is also the kind of ‘class consciousness’ that comes from realizing that the game one is playing, the kinds of relationships that are available, the mode of production, none of these things are natural facts. There is, in other words, the realization of the working class as a class capable of being productive for itself. There is the kind of working class consciousness that holds that working people are in fact the people who materially produce the world and that they ought to determine the reasons and systems and relationships and aims as well.

      I don’t see much evidence of this second kind of class consciousness in the US or the “more exploited nations.” In fact, it seems to me that the only argument in favor of less backwardness in the ‘more exploited nations’ (and I doubt that exploitation is really what is at issue, but instead think you’re talking about poverty) is that suffering itself is noble and that those who suffer more are more moral. I have to say that seems rather backwards to me.

      The question of whether the anti-war movement’s stance on Saddam Hussein seems to me to be quite secondary to the main theoretical question: That is, how does one help develop a new working class consciousness, a new productive relationship, collectively and for oneself.

      • Harriet Logan

        Doug, you managed to misunderstand the whole nature of my criticisms of Anne Jaclard’s ‘Raising Our Collective Consciousness’ altogether. In fact, you really didn’t address what I said at all, and I don’t think you understood what I was talking about in regards to nationalism vs internationalism and how that relates to class consciousness, that Jaclard states she wants to raise.

        So let’s look at the points you did come to make about what I previously wrote, in short …

        ‘In fact, it seems to me that the only argument in favor of less backwardness in the ‘more exploited nations’ (and I doubt that exploitation is really what is at issue, but instead think you’re talking about poverty) is that suffering itself is noble and that those who suffer more are more moral.’

        How you drew this out of what I said is really hard for me to understand? I not once talked about any ‘moral’ issues or the other. I didn’t mention poverty either. What I did talk about was me having said that the pro imperialism of the working classes in the imperialist countries makes the working class in these places much more conservative and less supportive of working class issues of solidarity (class consciousness). However you fail to address that issue at all, but instead just abruptly state, without any real evidence offered whatsoever, that class consciousness appears to you to be equally backward in both imperialist countries and those countries exploited by the imperialist countries! Not so though, Doug. To the contrary!

        Not having addressed the issue of the difference in political consciousness, according to whether a national block of worker is being victimized by a foreign capitalist power , or whether instead the national block of workers lives inside that imperialist capitalist country itself and ACTIVELY IS SUPPORTIVE of the imperialist exploitation and victimization of OTHER workers under the military and imperialist economic attacks of their own national capitalist class?… you then continue thus wise below-

        ‘I have to say that seems rather backwards to me.The question of whether the anti-war movement’s stance on Saddam Hussein seems to me to be quite secondary to the main theoretical question: That is, how does one help develop a new working class consciousness, a new productive relationship, collectively and for oneself.’

        Wrong again. The central issue in class consciousness is the issue of solidarity intra world nations. In the US for example, we simply do not have a working class that cares a damn about other sectors of the world working class. THEY ARE NOT class conscious except in most minimal manner in having any understanding regarding the central issue of having class solidarity for all workers of the world. They are not now for Workers of the World Unite. They believe in American nationalism and the concept of American exceptionalist superiority compared to others living elsewhere. In short, American workers support capitalist nationalism, and do not accept world wide worker internationalism as valid ideology. THEY ARE A MOST BACKWARDS GROUP of workers.

        Because of that, whether we should be or should not be parroting the US ruling class’s attacks on Saddam Hussein or anybody else that they are choosing to target for military attack, is a primary issue for us to be discussing. You seem unable to understand why that is so though, Doug? Why might that be? War or no war is always a central issue for workers.

        I raise the issue of the working class being pro imperialist in the US and other imperialist countries allied with the US, and you call me ‘backward’ and ‘doctrinaire’ for doing such? Why so, Doug? It’s really the case, is it not? Or do you think that US working class support for the Pentagon and US imperialist war making is now negligible and of no import? Or do you find this has all supposedly nothing to do with issues of their class consciousness?

        • Doug Lain

          I think we’d have to debate your theory of imperialism and see how it connected to your conception of class and exploitation before we could talk substantively about the consciousness of the working class. Is that something you’re willing to do?

          • Harriet Logan

            Go ahead and start the discussion off then, Doug. In fact, I think that we already have. Is there something I said so far that you feel in disagreement with me about?

            • Doug Lain

              I would say that I’m unsure about the US working class having a “pro imperialism” ideology perhaps because I don’t understand what you mean by internationalism.

              What would the economic reason for the US working class to be pro-imperialist? Is it in the interest of the US working class to support imperialism?

              • Harriet Logan

                Nationalism is the exact opposite of internationalism, Doug. The core belief of the nationalist is that one’s nation always comes first in respect to having rights, and all other nations all come in second in that regards. Imperialism is where a stronger country, using nationalist pride, imposes its will on another country, politically, economically, and often times militarily as well.

                In imperialist countries, workers oftentimes much more identify with the nationalism promoted by their own ruling class than they ever do with working class solidarity across nations that is the core of internationalism. Instead of standing together with workers of other counties in fighting for the common good of workers everywhere, the workers filled with nationalist pride support their own capitalist ruling class’s efforts to dominate the countries of other workers.

                Nationalist pride is always seen as a trans class phenomena that pushes for and promotes a trans class pride in ones own nation over worldwide class solidarity inside one economic class.

                ‘What would the economic reason for the US working class to be pro-imperialist? Is it in the interest of the US working class to support imperialism?’

                The idea is simple. US workers are encouraged to think of the US nation as some sort of home team in football or other sport. You are expected to cheer for the home team, and that includes all, not just workers inside the US. In the US, we are encouraged to see ourselves as Team #1 !!!!!! We are told that we are First Place. This is powerful incentive for most uS workers to think nationalist and not think internationalist. PLUS, many of the more privileged sectors of the US working class derive their pay checks through their imperialist military machine as well, whether directly or indirectly. Solidarity with workers elsewhere does not pay the US workers’ bills, while solidarity with capitalist nationalism can do just exactly that.

                • Doug Lain

                  It seems to me that it’s only in the interest of the US working class if one limits one’s interests to the level of a higher paycheck as opposed to more direct forms of power. Why would the US working class be more likely to do that?

                  • Harriet Logan

                    Sorry, Doug. But I think that for most workers in the US, one good paycheck in hand is worth a jillion or more of YOUR ‘ words about more direct forms of power’ being preached to them in the abstract. You see? The paycheck can buy them a house, a car, or some boy or girl toys. Your talk of workers’ power doesn’t look quite equal to that for them. That’s just the way it is, Doug.

                    • Doug Lain

                      Okay. So I agree with this, but I don’t think it’s only US workers who are “backwards” in this way. I think the Left is just as culpable of this inability to seize power for itself, just as guilty of this Trade Union mentality or Capitalist realism

                    • Harriet Logan

                      What is different in the US most especially as compared to other imperialist countries , is the huge size of the military industrial WELFARE package for workers though.

                      And YES, Leftist leaning intellectuals are often prone to being bought off by positions and salaries as well as workers might be. That does not work to change anything about the mindset of the American worker and the effects Pentagon supplied welfarism has on American workers.

                    • Doug Lain

                      Isn’t that welfare package ultimately a product of US worker’s own labor? That is, aren’t the workers being exploited?

                    • Harriet Logan

                      Of course American workers are being exploited. What is done through Pentagon welfarism is that American workers are increasingly tiered into 2 groups. One group then gets to pay for those in the other group who are designated soldier ‘heroes’ by the economic elites.

                      That ‘hero’ uniformed group gets many benefits that the other civilian group simply doesn’t get, and that then the civilian group actually has to go and pay for the other group to get while they are left out in the cold. It is a most effective way to divide and conquer American workers with. The gargantuan military apparatus has essentially been used to create an artificial type of caste system based on subservience to imperialist ideology.

                      Doug, why are you asking me these rather silly questions? Have you not thought about any of what’s before your eyes here in the US? Or perhaps you might be British? I don’t know, so I ask you?

                    • Doug Lain

                      US soldiers make up about 2 percent of the US working class. The benefits of your typical soldier (say veterans benefits) can’t be much of a drain on US working people. The vast majority of military spending does not go to soldiers. This idea that there is a caste system within the US working class and that US soldiers are on top of it is, it seems to me, in error.

                      Again I ask you why you think US workers are more likely to be backwards than workers in other parts of the world.

                    • Harriet Logan

                      Your figure of 2% is way way off, Doug. I asked you if your ignorance was due to you being British and not really being much attuned to what is going on in the US? You gave me no answer, I see.

                      The real figure tops 10% when we total all vets, military contractors, active duty soldiers, and YES, police forces together, and way tops that when we total in families of vets who themselves receive benefits coming from the Pentagon. When we add in workers at places that make weaponry for the military we probably then get up to a minimum of 25% of the US population being in some way tied to continuous war production, imperialist military, and Police State policing, all of which are linked to having a reactionary political consciousness and being a non class conscious part of the working class in the US.

                      Your 2% figure is just willful denial here, Doug, on your part. But I wonder what your personal motivations are for being in such denial about acknowledging the huge influence the military economy has on the US workforce?

                      ‘Again I ask you why you think US workers are more likely to be backwards than workers in other parts of the world.’

                      I already answered this question for you, Doug. I will answer it one more time and if you repeat the question again, I will just ignore it next time round.

                      US workers are supportive of the imperialism of their own ruling class. Many other national work forces of the world don’t even have an imperialist ruling class to be supportive of even if they wanted to be such supporters.

                      Once again, I have to ask you why you want to ignore such facts, Doug, since you have clearly shown that that is the case. Are you truly insisting that the US working class has not been supportive of the imperialist foreign policies of its ruling class? Is that your argument?

        • Aaron Aarons

          I am in general agreement with you, Harriet. I take exception, however, to your use of the concept of “backwardness” to describe pro-imperialist workers. They are no more nor less “backward” than is the petty capitalist who defends the system that provides him his cut of the surplus value produced by the global proletariat. In other words, these workers defend their position as exploiters of that same global proletariat.

          It should also be recognized that many of those pro-imperialist workers are being, or have been, proletarianized, but their consciousness is such that they want to restore their privileged position in the global economy rather than join the global proletariat in overthrowing it.

          • Harriet Logan

            I generally do not like to use the word ‘backward’ because it usually is taken as a completely GRATUITOUS pejorative word, and most often with some reason to being seen in that way. I did use ‘backwardness’ recently, but in the context of comparing the general working class consciousness in countries like the US, Australia, and Britain to say the working class consciousness in countries of those who are victimized by imperialist wars. Workers who fall victim to the participation in war making carried out by workers from imperialist countries, generally do have much greater sense of themselves as not being privileged in some manner, and are therefore more open to the idea that all is not simply hunky dory in their own countries.

            ‘In other words, these workers (in the imperialist countries) defend their position as exploiters of that same global proletariat.’

            Exactly, Aaron.

            I would never use the word ‘backwardness’ in the context of comparing workers in the US to capitalists or upper Middle Class professional people here. Of course US workers are going to be more angry about their situation than the US upper crust will be, and oftentimes they will direct their anger against others they perceive to have less status they they have themselves might be seen to have though. That I might say is a very definite political ‘backwardness’ of not having much class consciousness of so many US workers, since it echoes exactly how the capitalist class sees US workers themselves, as a whole.

            However, workers in even oppressed by imperialism countries oftentimes do exactly the same thing when dealing with others less fortunate than themselves (with their own national oppressed minorities say…). But they also DO NOT usually see themselves as repositories of superior NATIONAL cultural values like many workers in the US have come to think they have. For an example of this, how many homeless people here do you see with flags on their shopping carts with all their belongings piled in? Quite a few. You simply won’t ever see such a sight in other countries.

            YES, here in the US, even many people in the street have convinced themselves that they are still AUTOMATICALLY just super special people just by being part of the ‘Team USA’. That is national pride and not working class pride being expressed. And it is not any sort of real class consciousness at all. That is in pretty short supply here in the US, and I think it is in an even greater short supply in the US than what can be found in the exploited by imperialism, subject countries.

            • Aaron Aarons

              You misunderstand my objection to the use of the word “backward” and its derivatives. The problem is that the word has no meaning in the context of social and political ideas, and tells us something about the person using the word but nothing about the person or ideas to which it is applied. You could replace “backward” with “zampilligated” in writing about such things and you would providing just as much actual information, with the advantage that “zampilligated” doesn’t pretend to mean anything, while “backward” has a strong emotive connotation and the dangerous illusion that it really means something.

              Or, if you believe that “backward” has an objective meaning in the realm of political and social thought, you haven’t explained what that meaning is.

              • Harriet Logan

                I think the word is completely useless when mentioned only in a mere pejorative manner.

                On the other hand, when it applies to something that can evolve, such as working class consciousness which we certainly hope does eventually evolve forward as capitalist society begins to break down even more, then the word ‘backward’ or the phrase ‘less backward’ can have some real meaning to it. It does have ‘an objective meaning in the realm of political and social thought’ when a comparison is made.

                It is a word that most often is meaningful, when it makes a comparison of some sort, such as the following examples……

                It can be said that workers in Czarist Russia were a lot less politically backward after they suffered their experience fighting for the Czarist Empire in WW1, than they were before WW1 began. In this context we are saying that they had became more revolutionary in spirit having now developed a revolutionary consciousness, while they hadn’t had that before being sent off to be soldiers in WW1. Lenin had thought the Russian proletariat to be rather backward compared to the German, but after the Russian Revolution he was kind of proven wrong about that.

                In the context of the American working class today, one can really use the word in meaningful manner to describe how many of the workers in this country are believers in the world being only several thousand years old. That is backwards compared to how European workers no longer are so intellectually descended into magical thinking like this, while in this country this sort of cultural backwardness is STILL fueled by so many Americans religiously literal interpretation that the Bible is true history told by God. European workers have made some advance while Americans have not in relation to religion. Americans thus can be seen as backward compared to Europeans in this regard.

                So the words backward and backwardness do have real meaning, but not in the way perhaps that my mother used to use them to insult my dad with… ‘John you are so backward! You are so stupid!’…. end of conversation then for her. ‘

                • Aaron Aarons

                  So, for you “more backward” means, among other things, “less revolutionary”. But if some workers are less revolutionary, or anti-revolutionary, because they are benefitting from imperialist looting, are they “backward workers” or are they workers who have “advanced” into the lower rungs of the bourgeoisie?

                  Your presumption (and Lenin’s, if he did use a Russian word equivalent to “backward”) is that there is a natural progression toward your version of “class consciousness”, so that those whose ideas are farther from that are “backward”. Also, you call workers who believe in Christian myths “backward”, presumably because they reject scientific knowledge that contradicts those myths. But aren’t “Marxists” who still defend the idea that “workers”, regardless of their economic and social status, are objectively revolutionary even more “backward”, since the evidence contradicting those beliefs is far more accessible to them than the evidence about the age of the earth is to believers in Christian myths?

                  • Harriet Logan

                    Yes, I think that do we need some comparative description for those in the working and middle classes that are not inclined to support change to try to deal with capitalist injustices and destruction to ourselves, Mother Nature, and the future generations ahead of us.

                    ‘So, for you “more backward” means, among other things, “less revolutionary”.’

                    True. ‘Backward minded’ should be used realistically to describe those who look backward to what was there in class society before, and ‘forward’ should be used to describe those who would want to change the future from being merely a mere continuation and repeat of the ruling class’s past domination of all society. That is forward thinking as opposed to backward thinking.

                    You then ask me…. ‘But if some workers are less revolutionary, or anti-revolutionary, because they are benefitting from imperialist looting, are they “backward workers” or are they workers who have “advanced” into the lower rungs of the bourgeoisie?’

                    And what sector of the working class anywhere has, or might have possibly have, ‘advanced into the lower rungs of the bourgeoisie’, Aaron? High School, University, and Pro football and basketball players haven’t even done that, because the fact that Oj Simpson and Michael Jordan play golf now doesn’t represent them advancing into being big capitalist owners of the finances and means of production. Oprah Winfrey’s, Clarence Thomas’s, Michael Moore’s, and Obama’s personal success does not mean even that small groups of workers are now entering Big Business circles.

                    What has happened in the US though, is that now the welfare engine of the Pentagon’s war machine has privileged certain sectors of workers who pass through their soldier ranks, who are then given special access to medical care, house ownership, educational funds, pensions, business loans, car loans, disability designations, and 10% or more discounts on most of everything. This has imo tiered the US working class itself into Right Wing imperialist minded privileged groupings, and those minimum wage ‘lowers’ who are stomped on and made to pay for the privileges of this other block of higher ranked workers the upper classes have created via the Pentagon and its squads of police and jailers now found most everywhere.

                    You also suggest to be true when it can’t possible be seen in such manner…

                    ‘Also, you call workers who believe in Christian myths “backward”, presumably because they reject scientific knowledge that contradicts those myths. But aren’t “Marxists” who still defend the idea that “workers”, regardless of their economic and social status, are objectively revolutionary even more “backward”, since the evidence contradicting those beliefs is far more accessible to them than the evidence about the age of the earth is to believers in Christian myths?’

                    Here YOU are comparing apples to oranges though, Aaron. Backward in one comparative sense does not mean backward in an entirely another comparative sense. Workerist Leftist intellectuals discussing working class consciousness with other socialists is not the same sort of backwardness as the literal Bible types discussing their Biblical interpretations together with similar lost souls is.

                    I might find those who think that the working class of Britain or US to be on exactly the same ride as the working class is in Turkey or Mexico to be ‘backward’ in their understandings, but that has little to do with the ‘backwardness’ of religious nuts. It is as if you are trying to compare some kid who has trouble with memorizing his addition tables with somebody who is now having trouble with comprehending calculus.

                    • Aaron Aarons

                      When I referred to “the lower rungs of the bourgeoisie” I was referring to the layer of the population that receives, by one or another channel, a small portion of the surplus value generated by capitalist exploitation of the global proletariat. Perhaps I should have used the term “petty bourgeoisie” instead.

  • dola

    1. The Chomsky on Occupy / Raising Vibrations / Graeber mix over the “Forever Young” song is a masterpiece. You’ve outdone yourself, Doug.

    2. Speaking of vibes, Harriet gives off one of being an ol’ Stalinist who blames the backwardness of the “slaves”/workers for there being no revolution 40 years ago. She pretty much personifies Anne Jaclard’s critique of the kind of anti-imperialist who thinks that if the option was ever allowed by the mainstream left in its permitted rallies and official campaigns, regular folks would be too dumb to confront more than one class enemy at once, wherever those reactionary forces are denying the self-determination of people around the world. It’s incredible how we live in a globalized, uber-networked world and yet this kind of left-chauvinism today would make the worst of the 2nd International blush. No need to dive deeply into the “analysis” that Harriet makes of Jaclard’s comments about the Iraq war movement except to say that it is a willful, disgusting misrepresentation of what she actually said. Harriet can’t be serious if she thinks Jaclard faults the left for not “join[ing] into the imperialist mobilization using racist propaganda directed against Islam and Muslims, Arabs and official ‘others’.”

    Then again, maybe it’s not about seriousness. There was a “yawn” she felt the need to register; maybe Harriet is just really tired and needs to sleep it off.

    • http://www.thenorthstar.info/ Pavel Dubrovsky

      hi michael good to see you here. please can you aide by our commenting policy (http://www.thenorthstar.info/?page_id=3994) and avoid ad homs? thanks.

    • Harriet Logan

      This is a completely false personal view you have attributed to me though, dola.

      ‘Speaking of vibes, Harriet gives off one of being an ol’ Stalinist who blames the backwardness of the “slaves”/workers for there being no revolution 40 years ago.’

      No, I did not exactly tag the description of ‘backwardness’ on anybody or any social group. In general, I did blame the US working classes support of the imperialism of their own capitalist class for working against workers’ real interests throughout the globe. That is actually the case certainly, dola. And that is not using the description ‘backwardness’ in any sense that the word might mean to be nothing but a lack of some sort of political education within the US working class.

      I do ‘accuse’ the American working class only in so that I do mention that much of it has been simply bought off by the military-industrial-governmental war machine. That’s where the paychecks come from, That’s where the accolades for being supposedly all great heroes comes from for the military types COMING OUT OF THE US WORKING CLASS AS VOLUNTEERS for their capitalist class (nation, as the grunts view it).

      So that’s not me really engaging in any ‘accusation’ so much it as simply being an acknowledgement that it has been basic fact here in the US (and lesser extent in other imperialist countries as well) , and a fact that much of the workerist marxist Left intellectual types have great trouble in seemingly coming to grips with.

      Further I am dead serious and on direct here below, dola.

      ‘Harriet can’t be serious if she thinks Jaclard faults the left for not “join[ing] into the imperialist mobilization using racist propaganda directed against Islam and Muslims, Arabs and official ‘others’.”‘

      Sorry. Jaclard does not directly fault the Left for being sufficiently obnoxiously racist in their propaganda against Muslims and Islam. She simply targets us Leftists for not making them a central target of our political polemical offensives, RIGHT ALONGSIDE THE PENTAGON PROPAGANDA MACHINE DOING IT….. in their definitely racist manner.

      Dola, I might now ask you if you think we should do just that? Do you think that we Leftists need to go out and shoot the Mullahs down as Jaclard does? Because Jaclard most definitely said that she does believe that we should. In fact, she said that by not doing such, we have lost the US working class politically from siding with us! We lost being able to build a movement and sustain it, supposedly because we did not target Saddam Hussein for our polemics is what she accused the Left of doing. She wrote that, and I did not make it up out of thin cloth as you accuse me of doing.

  • RealTimeHistory

    I find the discussion between Logand and Lain to be quite interesting. I think I agree with Logan, that the US workers are aligned with the “American Exceptionalism” of the capitalist Military Industrial Complex. It seems to me that US workers have insulated from those of the rest of the world, by a sort of cocoon of disinterest in matters that don’t seem to affect their own bottom line.

    While the politics in this country have been eroding away the wages, rights, and privileges of US workers, they have not been able to connect that process with their own support of US imperialism. It still remains a part of the US worker’s credo to “support the USA, right or wrong”. They honor the veterans with flag waving, yet allow horrible cuts in the VA’s programs to repair the grievous wounds that decades of wars have inflicted upon our veterans. But they do nothing to curtail those unending wars in the first place.

    They rail against the loss of jobs in the US, but do nothing to curtail the international capitalism that is the cause of both the loss of jobs in the US and the exploitation of poverty and starvation of foreign workers. Instead, they support the likes of Walmart by buying the cheap imported goods, never connecting their inability to afford US-made products (if they were even available) with the imperialism of their employer. Imperialism that is directed at the US worker as much as it is embodied by the presence of US troops all over the globe.

    I agree with Lain that “…there are two kinds of ‘class consciousness…”, ……[the] aims of a working class person that conform to the aims of means of production.” and the second, “… the realization of the working class as a class capable of being productive for itself.”

    It is the crux of the issue, I think, that US workers should (as Lain puts it) that: “…working people are in fact the people who materially produce the world and that they ought to determine the reasons and systems and relationships and aims as well…”

    The US worker is separated from the larger, global workers’ movement by the very past successes that led to that concept of “American exceptionalism”. That success has been exploited by US business, in that the material comforts and false trappings of material wealth have been offered as a substitute for any real control over the “…reasons and systems and relationships and aims…” of the use and applications of US and global resources, and their application to improving the quality of life of all workers (really, all the people) on the planet.

    I look forward to the continuation of this discussion.

    Live Slowly, and Prosper!

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