Thursday, 30 June 2011

Help Wanted

The Tasks of Emancipatory Social Science

Is to envision alternative realities in regards to a collective project in which we challenge various forms of human oppression. The word “Science” is used to stress the importance of developing systematic scientific knowledge about how the world works beyond simple social criticism or social philosophy.

The word “Emancipatory” refers to a moral purpose. In the production of knowledge to eradicate of oppression and to create conditions that will encourage human flourishing.

Finally the word “Social” implies human emancipation which depends upon the transformation of the social world and not just the inner life of a person.

To fulfill this mission we have three basic tasks:

1. elaborating a systemic diagnosis of the world as it is(capitalism sucks)

2. envisioning viable alternatives(Fill in the blank)

3. understanding the obstacles, possibilities, and dilemmas of transformation.

Today my comrades we focus on part two.

Viable Alternatives

So remember we are trying to develop coherent, credible theories that will eliminate, or at least significantly reduce, the harms and injustices of our current institutions and social structures.

The alternatives will be elaborated and critiqued through the lenses of: desirability, viability and achievability.


As you know the exploration of desirable alternatives without the constraints of viability and achievability is the domain of afternoon pot smokers and social scientists.

Unfortunately such discussions are thin on detail                                                  and thick with the enunciation of abstract principles.

For example Marx’s description of communism                                                     being a classless society with the famous phrase

“to each according to his need , from each according to his ability.”

does not include an articulation of how to make this theory a reality.

Though these discussions help us formulate our values and strengths                 

they do relatively little to inform the practical task of transformation.


Would transforming existing social structures and institutions generate the Emancipatory results intended?

A common answer to such question is:

“Sounds good on paper, but in reality it will never work”

The most famous example being: comprehensive central planning

Which Failed on a account of “information overload” due to a complex economy and the effects of “no incentives” amongst other things.

Viability must consider historical context as well as prevailing cultural conditions.

For example “a generous basic income” may be tenable in a society with a strong work ethic and a sense of collective obligation but may not work so well in a selfish consumeristic world.

We must ask ourselves if the alternatives are achievable under existing social conditions while keeping in mind the future is an unknown entity.

In 1987 the Soviet Union was a communist country. No one thought the collapse of the Soviet State and the consequent transition to capitalism would transpire within a few short years.

We can hypothesize about what is possible under current conditions but the further we look into the future the less certain we can be about what is achievable.

As with most plans…viable alternatives are more likely to become achievable realities if they are well thought out.

Interestingly what is achievable is in part dependent                                            on the beliefs people hold about what is attainable.

i.e. social limits of possibility are not independent of beliefs about those limits.

This is different than the limits of biology or a physics…                               which are real, untransgressable limits of possibility.

ex) what you believe about the “speed of light” “how tall you are” “the color of the sky” has no affect or effect on said phenomena.

Claims about social limits of possibility are different than claims about physical and biological limits, for in the social case, the beliefs people hold about limits systemically affects what is possible. (Read that twice) 

Developing compelling accounts of viable alternatives                                        is one component of the social process                                                       through which the social limits on achievable alternatives                                   can themselves be changed.

Of course it is no easy matter to make a credible argument                that “another world is possible” so I’ll leave that to my readers for now…

But keep in mind people are born into societies                                                that are already made.

The rules of social life are internalized and seen as natural.

People are pre-occupied with the tasks of daily life, making a living, coping with life’s pain and enjoying life’s pleasures.

The idea that things can fundamentally change for the better (is farfetched for most);

1.because it is hard to imagine               a workable alternative

2. because it is hard to imagine successfully                                        challenging existing institutions

of  power and privilege.

“Another World.”

Even if one agrees with the diagnosis and critique of the existing order… the natural response of most people is fatalistic…there is not much that can be done to change things

so they smoke weed, take a holidays, watch tv, buy cheese dogs and see astrologers.

This fatalism of course does not help                                                                      as in a sense it becomes self fulfilling.

One alternative is to not worry too much

about the details but instead create an inspired vision

grounded in anger (at the injustices of the world) add hope and a dash of passion (for what is humanly possible).

but the history of human struggle is filled with heroic victories, led by charismatic visionaries,

which was tragically followed by new forms of domination, oppression and inequality.

So remember to develop a                                                                    systematic, robust, sustainable,                                                            scientifically grounded conception

of “another world”

and pass the joint…

and oh yeah, by the way, what’s for dinner.


The central task of social change is developing coherent theories of achievable alternatives.

This ain’t easy as many viable alternatives which are deemed achievable are in fact only side effects of “wishful thinking” and since no one that I know of, can see into the future many of the contingencies of future developments will not be considered.

The chance of achieving change to existing institutions and social structure relies upon a couple of factors.

First consciously pursued strategies

Secondly the relative power of the social actors,                                             both those who oppose and those who support                                                  the alternative realities in question.

it is unlikely that Emancipatory alternatives will just “happen.”

They will probably only come about if people work to implement them,                and are able to overcome various obstacles and forms of opposition.

Success will depend upon:

1. The balance of power contending to implement and resist Emancipatory alternatives.

2. Social structures including the unintended effects of human action and the result of conscious actors to transform their conditions.

Thus the achievability of consciously pursued strategies                                 depends upon the strategy creating the condition to implement the alternative and having the necessary potential to mobilize social forces                                to support those alternatives when the conditions occurs.

Developing an understanding of these issues is the objective of the third general task of Emancipatory social sciences: The Theory of Transformation…

To be continued.


Wednesday, 29 June 2011

A One Page Story

As the young boy with red hair walked slowly up the straight road he spotted a wolf running with two domestic dogs.

The wolf was very thin and the two domestic dogs were larger, muscular and friendlier.

When the dogs saw him, the young boy that is, they stopped, turned around and headed in the opposite direction.

After a short distance the wolf separated from the pack (of three) and trotted into the desert, stopping about 25 yards from the main road.

Here he sniffed the wind and stood incredibly still. He was barely visible against the sandy brownness of the terrain and for a moment the young boy thought he had disappeared.

The domestic dog, tails and heads wagging, headed half hazardly in the direction of a parked car; upon arrival they lay down in the shade.

Though it was early, the sun was already high in the sky, the asphalt was hazy from the heat and, besides the dogs, the world appeared, as the young boy usually thought it did.

He took a sip from a green bottle and wiped the sweat from his brow.

It was Sunday. He thought it was Monday. He was going to school.

He looked into the desert but he could not spot the wolf and now wondered if it had been a coyote. He tried to think of the differences between the two but the only detail that came to his mind was size, wolves were bigger.

A bird cried in the sky and he remembered his mother whispering “Only death will separate us.”

Now he hated words and was silent.

“Perhaps, he knows, if he gives voice to the anguish, he will be consumed,” speculated the psychotherapists and grief counselors.

“No one knows pain, as intimately, as a young orphan.” 

But despite their (mental health workers) coaxing he would only nod or shake his head. This infuriated some (social workers) who viewed his dumbness as obstinacy and as failure.. 

They resorted to electrical shocks; his body recoiling in the charge; but still he was silent.

This encouraged some to increase the voltage, though this was not endorsed by all and still he was silent.

The boy was good looking in that athletic, blond haired, blue eyed, sort of way making his resistance some what sweet.

The author wants to say, “There is no answer.”

but of course that is different.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Notes for the Desert

June 28, 2011

Tuesday afternoon and I am in Las Vegas.

The weather is sunny and hot, over a hundred and there is strong easterly breeze.

June wore yellow panties and a yellow bra and we had sex a couple of times.

I am looking for a camper van…with a plan to drive across the country, Canada that is, in the month of July.

I am interested in radical politics or a radical egalitarian society.

Standing in the line waiting to be searched by security was uncomfortable. Most people looked slightly frustrated, confused and scared; we were herded into humiliating situations for our own good.

I would rather take a chance of being blown up by a bomb in the sky, than having to be subjected to airport security regulations and pat downs.

I drank half a bottle of Jim Bean, in the airport, on the plane and at June’s house. My sleep left me covered in sweat and today I am half the man I use to be.

June is watching a Korean movie. I am typing in the den.

The eleven internal contradictions of capitalism as reported by Erik Olin Wright in the book “Envisioning Real Utopias.”

1. Capitalist class relations perpetuate eliminable forms of human suffering.

2. Capitalism blocks the universalization of conditions for expansive human flourishing

3. Capitalism perpetuates eliminable deficits in individual freedom and autonomy.

4. Capitalism violates liberal egalitarian principles of social justice

5. Capitalism is inefficient in certain crucial respects.

6. Capitalism has a systemic bias towards consumerism.

7. Capitalism is environmentally destructive.

8. Capitalist commodification threatens importantly broadly held values.

9. Capitalism, in a world of nation states, fuels militarism and imperialism.

10. Capitalism corrodes community.

11. Capitalism limits democracy.

Some people (who?) believe history is predetermined. That means these people believe in fate, in a certain destiny, that free will is an illusion. Our lives, individually and collectively, have been marked out.

Capitalism is preordained and a necessary step in evolution.

This is a theory.

In reality capitalism is now seen as a “given” and part of the natural order. Though not too long ago many believed, “another world was possible.” This is no longer the case.

Manifest Destiny

In the 1850’s many white Americans believed they were a superior race who were destined to rule the planet.

This preordained destiny was already laid out but would take human effort and will to bring it into the physical realm.

Cosmic grooves on the cutting edge…

through hard work and effort

your preordained destiny be realized…

manifest destiny has been used to explain/ justify

human cruelty and is the basic premise of capitalism.

Marx thought capitalism was a necessary but eventually the internal contradictions would cause its collapse. The agent of change would be the exploited working people.

As of 2011 this has not transpired.

For an Optimist:

The example of water is useful. There is no material change by increasing or decreasing the temperature until you hit certain predetermined thresholds;

100 degrees for steam and 0 for ice.

The way a people organizes themselves economically may change materially if certain threshold are met. What these thresh holds are, is a matter of debate.

Historical materialism is based on the premise the supreme instinct of man is self preservation. Therefore the pattern of human conduct is governed by the need to survive.

“The expansive idea of flourishing refers to various ways in which people are able to develop and exercise their talents and capacities, or, to use another expression to realize their own individual potential. This does not imply that within each person there is some unique, latent, natural “essence” that will grow and become fully realized if only it is not blocked. The expansive idea of human flourishing is not the equivalent of saying that within every acorn lies a might oak: that with proper soil, sun and rain the oak will flourish and the potential within the acorn will be realized as a mature tree. Human capacities and talents are multidimensional; there are many lines of possible development from the raw material of the infant. These capacities may be intellectual, artistic, physical, social, moral or spiritual. They involve creativity as well as mastery. A flourishing human life is one in which these talents and capacities develop.

Certainly without things like adequate nutrition, housing, clothing and personal security it is difficult for people to flourish in a expansive or restrictive sense.

Political Justice

“Freedom” is the power to make choices about one’s own life; “democracy” is the power to participate in the effective control of collective choices that affect one’s life as a member of the wider society.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

A religious blog


last night i dreamt

of the price of oil…

it was going down


gold prices would follow…


this is bad news

for environmentalists…

but an ongoing story…


economic growth equals

resource depletion

and externalized cost

say pollution


Animal Factory


every time i eat an animal

one must die and it cost money

the sentience is gone…


as every human is unique…

so is every animal.


Ching Ching


rape the planet,

pimp the worker

murder the animals

advertise incessantly


ideally: lessen the cost of production

ideally: without effort


this is not the way of the world

this is the way of “capitalism”



the abuse creates stimuli

an over excitement…

a prevalent meta narrative



Gil Scott Heron

Rage Against the Machine

Trent Reznor


Friday, 24 June 2011

Freelance Friday

America touts itself as the land of the free, but the number one freedom that you and I have is the freedom to enter into a subservient role in the workplace. Once you exercise this freedom you've lost all control over what you do, what is produced, and how it is produced. And in the end, the product doesn't belong to you. The only way you can avoid bosses and jobs is if you don't care about making a living. Which leads to the second freedom: the freedom to starve.

— Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine


Life is a Death March

one step closer

moment by moment

the underlying earth

provides a heart beat

diminishing returns employee people

to use non renewable resources irresponsibly

de facto;


must occur for


to continue

obvious but deadly

the system is not limited

by the very human quality of aging

it is in fact outside

the material world

and exists as a mental construct

or an abstract

pain and death are real

psychic or otherwise

people to consume,

used both ways …

as subject and object

consume the people

consume that “is”

the system

is replacing nature

as the means of our survival

unexamined we believe

capitalism means

the world

has more to give

we have more

to take…

abusive husbands

and addictions

have many friends

How can we take more than we can ever replace?

hope will come in the future

in the space of human goodness

which has not been a good bet

Evolutionist-continue to evolve and

develop the capacity to ensure survival

though it has become apparent our ability

to be concerned about future generations and the poor

is not keeping up with our quest for profit.

we are living longer shallower lives…

boo hoo as a rich white male I cannot complain

I don’t see many seniors at “Rage Against the Machine” benefits.

I am merely following my impulses

The propaganda machine

known as advertising

I have no accountability…

I blame

my father,

my mother

I too am in a daze

Bombarded by messages

I never wanted to hear

uninteresting jobs

concurrent people

and mainstream music.

the cost of advertising

per car sold is close to $700

the consumer picks up the tab…

do not sell cars at a loss is a rule

unless the government is subsidizing

make cars

like fashion

a new one

every few years

a new look,

a new suit,

plastic surgery…

changing our image

re-inventing ourselves

in the this

more and more

man-made environment.

as we get hungrier

i.e. the resources run out…

we hurry to take even more…

as if we can defy death…

I will have enough children

enough money

enough memorials of my existence

un-won vanity is a crime


a denial…

sure to decimate your ego

leave your business affairs

your face book page


why decimate fish stocks to the point of being non renewable

not allowing children to witness this miracle…

smart phones and easter island

it is easy to kill it is hard to create…

art is simply an addition…

violence is subtraction…

a diminishing of other in the case of capital

with lowered cost of production and more efficiency.

(work harder get paid less)

an internal contradiction

cost of production

+ lower wages

+the harder the worker works

(-the better)

=the logic of capitalism

IF the worker is a machine that is fine

“human beings”

want to be rewarded (fairly)

ie not exploited

They feel cheated

when their wages are going down

are required to work harder

in the factory/ office/ field

it is a metric

most resent the concept of

“something for nothing”

which is the cry of this generation…

which was sung

by me long ago

I ask the clerk at Home Depot,

where i use to work

how things are

she resignedly replies

at least I have a job.

She is from Chile

it is better here than it is there…

though not for the reason

one might expect

not a more advanced nation

we are a more violent one…

Canada has looted South and Central America

for the last couple hundred years…

under the umbrella US imperialism…

for whatever reason we believe

in some sort of manifest destiny

deserve the spoils of conquer

until that attitude is tempered and

in fact reversed

there will be incredible suffering

both in nature and

with the oppressed

a dollar a day

in the first world:

the homeless

the sick without money

the unemployed

the working poor

the seniors

the safety net getting thinner and thinner

but not to worry as the times get worse

the games will get better

go canucks


Thursday, 23 June 2011


last night at the gym i found time went much faster when i was talking

re:the (un) sustainability of civilization with a good looking middle aged teacher who worked with autistic children…

she wanted to know if i had a blog where she could see my poetry…i didn’t really know her…

so i told her books is where it is at…



will have chips…

money will be chips…

we will be under control…

surveillance nation

we have set the bar with our

over consumption.


we cannot make concession.


we can not slow down


We will protect our way of life.


We will spend mostly on military


we will privatize education,

health care, housing and pensions


labour will be abolished


we are the world.


We will jail the poor.


progress will march on…


death watch just started


“life is but a dream”

ask “an old person”

who had a nightmare

(being exploited)

during his time

on the planet…


broken and sad

he reaches for heaven.       

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Power Of Now (my ass)

Here is Kierkegaard on the media:

"On the whole the evil in the daily press consists in its being calculated to make, if possible, the passing moment a thousand or ten thousand times more inflated and important than it really is. But all moral elevation consists first and foremost in being weaned from the momentary."

Does this mean that to be moral one must transcend the momentary looking to both the past and the future for perspective and awareness…acts informed by both an historical and future perspective and not how shall we say

immediate gratification,

living in the moment

while the corporate beings

have become monsters

in your midst

plan to attack 

(smaller government is the goal)

imagine a government  controlled by corporations is the most profitable

who are benefitting immensely


and see nothing morally reprehensible

with the disparity between the rich and the poor

and in fact can justify with

evolutionary philosophy, religion, and most importantly in late stage capitalism with the assumed beliefs of capitalism internalized

to the degree the talented rise to the top

not the truth of

the billionaire CEO cannot be Ghandi and in fact

is not opposed to violence 

The the reality TV shows

now tell you what your reality is            

during next crisis…

                                      says Naomi Klein…

as things get worse,

the shock treatment

gives you general amnesia

you believe it is normal


labor is grateful

hungry and cruelly

the powerful dominate

the working class worship

“celebrity” (royalty of old)


Marx was wrong…

the working class

would not be

an agency


for if believed

an idea

is never wrong

the reality

of ones situation

in the particular

has nothing to do with

Angelina Jolie

the mainstream media

is selling an ideology

which is an abstraction

and those are alienating   

                                                         abstraction that is



of consumerism

which is on

90% of the time

in shopping malls

to break the spell

                                     travel and nature and love.

call it propaganda if you will










and you wish to forget the past…though some have argued to sleep at night the victims must remember while the perpetrators have to forget…          

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

A quiet riot

Where I live there has been a riot on the street,

after the canucks lost in a seventh game,

if we can even call it that…

a few police cars were tipped over, some people broke a window, some stores looted and a few fights…no one was killed and it was like being in a bar, last call and all the guys who didn’t get a chick wanted to fight…or at least raise a little hell…

since time immemorial…males have always likes to get a little high and howl at the moon…women too…

who wouldn’t riot…

the goalie who is being paid ten million in fact loses both game six and seven…

soft goals…why is it ok for the rich to make mistakes?

in web 2.0 which is basic snitch world…

these kids who broke the windows etc. are coming forward and apologizing to the city publicly for their behavior… most are under twenty five…

What is the underlying cause of this mass civil disobedience ?

The official line is a few anarchists incited the crowd and people are generally dissatisfied with the way of the world or

they acted out their displeasure egged on by the urgings of a few troublemakers…

for many it will be the bravest/freest thing they have ever done…

they will spend the rest of their lives in cubicles, controlled sport, condos and shopping malls,

they will meekly agree with the consumer culture and consume…

they will see no option and will quietly brag

to their grandchildren of the time they set a police car on fire

laugh and have a shot of whiskey…

Remember: the right wind does not want you to have a memory

small government so the market they control owns public institutions like health, education, housing, justice, etc.

the free hand of the market is only free in the pursuit of profit…criticizing the neo conservatives for not being good at governing or running the country in the best interest of the many is actually giving them A COMPLIMENT.

The conservative invented a war to continue the transfer of public funds into corporate coffers…ie. the war in Iraq had more contractors than soldiers…

that was a corporate war…


other people being murdered

like people who are not like us,

like brown and poor

pray to a different god

don’t take baths


Vancouverites are more concerned about the vandalism

after a hockey game than our countries contribution to the deaths

of people in Haiti, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan,

kill the fish on the grand banks

rip up the prairies for tar sands

Humanities descent into…

corporatism seems unfriendly

everyone has a camera in 2010 or 2011 …

The neo conservative Francis Fukyama

two great passions are photography and sound recording,

neither one can be considered an art…

too great a passion for control

if accurate it is more real life….

remember what the Indians said about souls and cameras

even partly right we have little left…soul…that is brothers

the young people who participated in the riots are apologizing


or were they scared of the punishment as the city has been almost unanimous in its condemnation of the destruction…jail is not an option

sport with no substance…

The difference between incarceration and freedom will be high speed internet.

2600 people die in coal mines every year or every month in china…

a premise of non renewable resources would indicate a bleak future in an exponential growth economy…it is not too late but it is getting on…the reality on non renewable resources is darker still

…sing along

the corporations are connected to the military

the military is connected to patriotism and dollars …

the weapons are amazing and have required great ingenuity…

not one of my friends even knows how to do algebra let alone make a bomb…

instead of publishing like most intellectuals do

I’ll just keep it under wraps and pretend it doesn’t really matter. ..

young children running around outside will never know what it’s like to own a dog…

most will never sleep under the stars or swim in the sea…

I am told over and over again that the natural world is dying

our economy is unsustainable

The premise behind the book writing business is if enough truth is brought to light then there will be change…

the decline is subtle like a baby growing as man adds more and more pollution to the environment…we underestimate his need for comfort

the belief system behind the capitalistic system is unexamined says Moonboots

grasping we become more scared…

pensions being nonexistent does not create a mood of safety and security and instead sends everyone scurrying to ensure their survival…

where have all the good times gone…?

come on feel the noise…

Monday, 13 June 2011


As the middle aged man with no hair sits at his computer listening to poems he recorded with good musicians…he screams but his lyrics are fine…and the songs could be used…

Worse crimes are being committed to ensure wealth in the first world….                      people are working very hard in poor countries so we can live good lives here…or young girls are being sold into prostitution…or drones are shooting old men in Pakistan 

we all know…

evolutionists will argue these steps are required and a solution will be found

people have endlessly created problems then solved them…they point to advances we’ve made in science and technology…like putting a man on the moon…

Why feed people with no money                                                                                                                                       when we can feed fat people with money…? 

your lover will be found on the internet and already your guilt has been commodified

I read the NY Times and a 32 year old trader in commodities buys a condo for 1.6 million and spends another million renovating it…on Sundays he watches football on his big screen TV…his girlfriend says he can relax and even cooks…his living is big enough to play fetch with his dog…

am I suppose to be happy for him…?

This is not unusual in New York and would not even be considered excessive.

No one is shocked or surprised….while half the world goes hungry or cannot even get fresh drinking water

or 700,000 people are homeless in America and 18 million homes are empty. ..

celebrity and spectacle…gold rules..

From Derrick Jensens book “The Culture of Make Belief” page seven.

The Night Riders a KKK’s nineteenth-century incarnation would visit the homes of black people with the intent of, among many other things, terrorizing them into not using their recently gained right to vote.

And given the rates with blacks, Latinos, and American Indians, are imprisoned and on death row, it could be argued that a good part of the the judicial and penal systems in the United States constitutes a giant racist, terrorist organization. Simply looking at the numbers it becomes clear that judicial and penal systems have achieved the segregation of black males into prison on a scale of which the KKK and their puny brethren could only dream.

clip_image002 1920-2006

In 1980 approximately 500,000 people in the US were incarcerated and by 2006 it was well over two million…

if you include the number of people on parole, awaiting trial or on probation the number skyrockets to over seven million or just over three percent of the adult population…

70% of prisoners are, as the government says, non white…                                      almost all will be poor.

The current US incarceration rate is just below 800 people per 100,000 which is comparable with the Soviet Union’s level prior to World War Two (1.2 to 1.5 million people were in the Gulag prison camps and colonies) 

US Numbers? or (are they people?) in state, federal or local jails,


Total           2,096,300

White          693,800

Black          841,000

Hispanic       442,000


Total 201,200

White 92,100

Black 64,800

Hispanic 32,300

We can thank the war on drugs for the fourfold increase since 1980…as the percentage of violent crimes as been flat…

I’m glad the Gipper is dead…union busting brain dead B actor…

I remember the sun hot on my back and the towels we used were rags…

Harper keep your hands off my weed and don’t you dare criminalize it…otherwise we’re all going to get active…

Stock well day.

Thursday, 9 June 2011