“I feel powerless to avert these tendencies and yet somehow feel guilty in complicity. I think that’s part of being american. I also think that it also requires a level of self-respect and self-awareness to counteract these tendencies.” You seem to have these qualities, as do most of my friends. and we should continue to be conscious of them. But, unless you’re proposing a radicalizing business model, this is a fact of economics — surely we’ll go along with the progressives, but we need a leader to change it. (ARE YOU HER?)

“But it isn’t a fall from grace, and we aren’t regressing, per se. You could watch a television commercial and say “Look at how stupid Americans are now, buying/watching/being tricked by all this crap”, but what is the alternative? What would you rather have? When has it ever been better? The 50s? The 30s? When people were hanging each other in public squares? Was that a golden age?”

Last paragraph: CALM AND PRECISE. CALM AND PRECISE. if everyone wanted to be so careful in their readings, blogs wouldn’t exist. they (interesting blogs) simply aren’t the medium for such things. now i’m guilty of my own hyperbole — so instead, let’s change that: please, everyone, write interesting blogs which dissect and complicate issues we are all engaged with. Is this the space of ghostisland? Or is it more creative? Or are they the intermixed? (they certainly aren’t the same thing)

Back on track: no offense, but you’re not being calm and precise. you’re conflating 2 million years of human history with a naive crisis in the present. Though I agree with what you’re saying, I don’t agree with your methodology. It’s fine to propose a question or two to the “radical” community, but what do you expect of such a community? It would be interesting for you (or someone else) to publicly articulate the conception of the radical that you’re thinking of.

As a student of both radicals and non-radicals, I tend to side with the latter, however right they may be, because they tend to tell the truth. hyperbole is inspiring, but history is fascinating: let’s use both to construct reasonable, practicable world-views.


How does “radical politics bloody its fist pounding at the obvious”? Do you mean this in the context of the human race you provided: a race, which, “destabilized populations of easy-to-kill animals with such speed and ferocity” and “once it got a little crowded…immediately commenced eradicating each other with an endless enthusiasm, as the vast majority of all species on Earth seem to do”? I think this reading ascribes too much weight to evolution, science, and human nature in its understanding of history and radical politics. That said, the events you describe and your plea for calm and reasonable critique seems important.

Though, I wonder: how can one be calm and reasonable in the scenario you have sketched? A critique of our social order needs to have as complex and expansive a concept of responsibility as the social order itself is today. Our individual actions and even actions of individual nation states are thoroughly intermingled. But, this complexity of global affairs under global capitalism musn’t cause us to shy away from a political critique of oppression and imperialism. At stake is the notion of who’s accountable for the criminal acts and violence so pervasive in our society; war crimes and criminal wars such as: Israel’s occupation of Palestine and continued aggression against a dislocated population deservant of reparations, and Obama’s Middle East Wars entail both individual actors who slaughter innocent civilians directly and indirectly (through crippling infrastructure) and high up actors such as Cheney, Obama, Gates, Eric Holder who set the conditions for such practices.

BEN SEGAL’S remarks provide some insight into the potential and shape of radical critique: critical praxis, which “takes history seriously and seeks radical change from a standpoint of hard, clear, and non-idealized historical memory….Foucault’s notion of ‘archeology’ is a perfect example of this. Radical politics can then work from a better understanding of the determinant and often hidden structures that tend to lead to humanity’s violent and destructive behavior.”



  1. 1 paisleyreich
    November 11, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    I left a comment that hopefully clarifies some of what I was trying to say on the original post. I’ll try to respond more specifically to the questions you bring forward when I am home from work and can devote some more concentration to it. thanks for your response.

  2. 2 scottsjackson
    November 12, 2009 at 2:00 am

    You opened up an interesting debate though!

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