Money And Power Are Good Things In The Right Hands
Current mood: hopeful.
The amount of power in the hands of the wrong people is alarming. I want to state an opinion that may be counter-intuitive to most progressives but I think there is some truth in it. Before I get to it, let me introduce a very simple premise: Power is money and money is power.
Unfortunately, due to leftover Marxist stuff and a massive sixties hangover, most people on the left overlook this fact over and over again. Meanwhile, most people on the right are not only aware of this but use it to their advantage every day of their lives. What will actually influence the world?
1) Protest marches? The largest coordinated protest in world history happened just before the Iraq war started. How long did it prevent the war from happening? 2) Anarcho-punk-freak culture? We all need a place to be at home but as far as I can tell, left leaning alternative culture has little effect on world events. I mean, don't get me wrong, its a great thing, but in pragmatic terms it is extremely limited. By pragmatic I mean "As an effective force which actually prevents things like Corporate mono-culture, global warming, socialism of the rich, and so on" (Some notable exceptions are the new influence of blogs and internet based political groups). 3) Alternative economy? Granted, barter and farmers markets are a great thing but do they effect the status quo in any way that you don't have to rationalize a bit to point out?
Before I say anything else, I want to say again, all these radical things are great and very important. But in a time when things are going from just scary to really terrifying, at a time when we are actually looking down the barrel of worldwide feudalism, it may be a good point to take stock and look at what really works, what could really change things and what is really practical.
People on the left, particularly young people, need to be RICH. They need to have the means to start networks such as FOX. People on the left need to understand the language of the rich. It is of much greater importance to understand economics, technology and how the people in power actually create policy than it is to understand Che Guevera's philosophy of agrarian uprising.
Howard Zinn is fantastic and does the world a great service but the left has a thousand Howard Zinns and not enough Rupert Murdochs. Naom Chomsky is a fine researcher and disseminator of information but the left desperately needs some Diebolds, some Cheneys, some Bushs etc.
I don't mean the left needs some reactionary pricks that want to drag the world back into the dark ages, I mean the left needs some people with strong convictions who actually have the means to put their ideas into practical action and who are willing to fight dirty. My vision for the future isn't a million kids with liberal arts degrees and "Anti-Capitalist readers" tucked in their hemp shoulder bags, my vision for the future is a million kids with technology and business degrees from M.I.T. living the good life and using their power and influence to ACTUALLY MAKE CHANGES IN GOVERNMENT AND PARTICULARLY IN THE MEDIA. Why is this anathema to progressives? Fear of money on the left is the ultimate ally of the robber barons. Kids calling bands or writers "Sell outs" when they become successful benefits an elite who don't want the riff raff living next door to them. Worst of all, this naively anti-money attitude limits the one pointing their finger to a mental ghetto of limited means, limited power and even limited personal happiness. MONEY won/stole the last two elections. MONEY created Fox News. MONEY created the Iraq war. MONEY created the oil lobbies, the MIC, etc.
A good example on the positive side is somebody like Fat Mike of fat records. Fat Mike is not a real political guy but he took his power ($) and put it to real, tangible use with Rock Against Bush. This tour went on for months and planted seeds in the minds of an enormous mall-culture generation that wouldn’t go anywhere near a protest march. This is not condescension on my part, its simply the truth. What if somebody more sophisticated than Mike did the same thing with even more means?
George Soros is an even better example. He is not perfect—there may even be extremely reprehensible things about him—but while we are on the street throwing pies, he is in the air firing bullets. I wish we all were.
Part of the problem is the idea that corruption is inherent to Capitalism. While this may be true, capitalism is an abstraction. Every system ever introduced, including Anarchism, has had corrupt incarnations. The question isn’t "How are we going to get rid of capitalism?" The question is what are you (am I) going to do with your (my) life right now that will make an actual difference in a world which is dying? Capitalism, if used as a tool can be an effective medium for change in the world. The Sierra Club is a good example of this. They don’t just argue about policy, they buy land and protect it. They don’t just bitch about the flood, start making a boat. If people of conscience, intelligence and decency began to have real power the possibilities for change in this world would be limitless. Real power these days is rarely created by anything other than real money. This is not cynicism, its simply the truth. If you don't walk with your own two feet to where the action is, don't complain that you got left out of the party.
(Note: Anybody can repost this anywhere they want. But please don't use it as a jumping off point for more tedious argument directed against the ideas here. If the left has too much of anything, its petty infighting and self indulgent rhetorical kibitzing. If we disagree we must learn to remember we are still on the same side...people on the right do this to an amazing degree and that's why they have this mysterious leverage called CONSENSUS. If you don't learn from your enemies methods you will learn from your own defeat.)
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