Ego as a social construct

The ego is a social construct. What we experience as “I” is mostly composed of words, which are self-evidently social entities (In the beginning was the word). We even dream in words most of the time, don’t we? While the origin of the written word can be attributed to the development of taxation, the origin of oral language is unknown. There are many theories. (I even tried to read Chomsky,  whom I regard as a political ally – OMG, way above my pay grade). You too can read the Wikipedia entry for “Origin of Language.” I love the idea that […]

Happy birthday to me

That’s me in the picture. I’ll be 75 years old on July 26, 2019  (Mick will be 76) and the Cuban Revolution will be 66 – 66 years since the seminal battle on July 26 when Castro’s rebels attached a military barracks. 60 years since seizing power in 1959. Cuba is arguably the most purely socialist society – and most successfully so – in the world. We need to embrace this fact. Free excellent health care, 100% literacy, great schools, international solidarity, cooperative spirit, exquisite cars, terrific beer, delicious ice cream, music, dance, and visual arts to die for. Indomitable […]

Happy Mayday!

Happy Mayday! I proposed in my previous blog post [ ] that catastrophic climate change could not be stopped under capitalism, that only the central planning that comes with socialism could prevent the catastrophe. But what is socialism? The word has been so dragged through the holocaust and the gulag that one is tempted to drop it and come up with a better term. But Bernie Sanders has done us the great favor of embracing the term. I know there are people who wish he wouldn’t use it, especially since his core proposals are not really socialist in the sense […]

My Summer Vacation

MY SUMMER VACATION: I went to Spain on vacation this summer. Traveling is overrated. It took us five days to get back to Oakland – don’t fly Norwegian Airlines. I was surprised how prosperous the country was, how fabulous their transportation system. Barcelona has 4 different ways to get where you’re going: subway, underground light rail, surface light rail, and buses. Subway trains were three minutes apart. I wasn’t aware until I returned that Barcelona and read the New Yorker that “Barcelona is the heart of a new global political phenomenon known as municipalism.” I read up on the Spanish […]

U. S. Imperialism

If capitalism collapsed on a world-wide basis in 1929, as I believe, then we have to face the fact that it was saved by World War II – that the combination of militarism, socialized spending on armaments, the destruction of the infrastructure of Europe and Japan, and the drastic reduction of population in places like the USSR and Germany was what saved capitalism, and provided for its post-war regeneration. There is nothing in place – the UN lol? – to prevent the same scenario from repeating itself. Sooner or later the economic system will collapse again. We dodged a bullet […]

Viva Mexico!

The election of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) could be a turning point in the hemisphere. The early 2000s saw a proliferation of socialism in Latin America, not just Cuba any more. Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, Peru, Venezuela, Argentina. Of course El Salvador and Nicaragua, who fought and defeated the United States. The 2010s saw a right-wing resurgence. It’s one fight. We are one people. It’s not good enough to back “humane” immigration policies, okay, no f-ing concentration camps for the tender aged. Obama didn’t incarcerate people, but he did deport a record number of undocumented. This should be a […]

The arc of history is long but it bends toward justice

Somehow I am still optimistic for the long term. Short term not so much. As MLK said, “the arc of history is long but it bends toward justice.” I believe this is true. Short term, I think we’re in deep shit. Concentration camps for tender aged children? How bad does it have to get before the left realizes that it is our disunity which has fostered this situation? I’m going to be harsh here. People who vote their “conscience” instead of voting strategically are guilty of what we used to call bourgeois individualism, the antithesis of solidarity. The objective is […]

Class struggle

The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. The ruling capitalist class, internationally, sees the writing on the wall. The elites’ attempts to establish something like fascism are acts of desperation. The tax bill is a reflection of the current weakness of the working class, a chance for the owners to get it while they can. It’s not just greed. They need this money to negotiate their survival once the working class gets it together to fight back. Consider the advances of working class power in the twentieth century. The Russian Revolution in 1917. The New […]

How do we get from capitalism to socialism?

Ever since the October Revolution 100 years ago today, socialists have spoken as if revolution – the seizure of state power from the capitalists by violent or nonviolent means – has been the be all and end all. Yet capitalism emerged gradually within the belly of the beast, as it were. It could be argued that capitalism emerged in the process of feudal societies trading with each other. While feudal societies taxed their peasants so that the aristocratic elites could enjoy the fruits of surplus, it was the merchants involved in trade that were able to accumulate sufficient capital to […]

The Rise of Classes

One of Lanchester’s points in his New Yorker article, “The Case Against Civilization” that I wrote about in my last blog  is that it took 4000 years for hunter-gatherer societies to settle down and adopt an agricultural system. They were reluctant because hunting and gathering worked just fine for them, thank you very much. He doesn’t say it, but one can surmise that ultimately force was involved, because once agriculture predominates, you also get taxation, writing – originally developed to keep track of taxes – and the State, with the development of classes, one of the oppressor and one of […]