Furious Apology and Eager Entreaty

I was born in 1947 which put me in the college class of 1969. By 1966, with many in my generation I was horrendously disenchanted with our country. We couldn’t get no satisfaction. We were not gonna take it anymore.

By 1967, I with many in my generation, had decided we were outlaws in the eyes of America. Confident, brash, committed, we would change the world. And we did. Uprisings everywhere. Minds bending, breaking, realigning. Revolution in the air. Hard rain no more.

But even so, it wasn’t all roses because as much as my generation accomplished, we didn’t accomplish nearly enough. 

We revved up nicely, for a good start, riding roads blazed by the Freedom marchers, lunch counter sitters, and civil rights disobeyers. Zero to sixty faster than a souped up Chevy. Peeled out with pizzaz and quickly exploded from campus to campus and community to community. 

Tumultuous weeks and months passed. We adopted new personas and mindsets. Good. We congealed those personas and mindsets beyond flexibility. Bad. We fought the state and private power. Good. We fought each other too. Bad. 

Clashing certitudes. Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong. The inflexible self we saw staring back at us from the movement mirror disturbed all who lacked a self delusion gene. 

A few years of pyrotechnics, and for some of us our own stridency became too much to bear. We went to where it was quiet. For others of us, harsh and persistent repression dissolved our dissent. Our motion melted into the tracks of our tears. Depression and hopelessness hurt, and we pursued more private paths – slip sliding away from dissent. Ultimately, all too few retained new views. The few persisted year in, year out, and slowly, incomprehensibly, advanced toward gray. Time waits for no one.

Racism diminished. Sexism diminished. Authoritarianism diminished. Pollution diminished. Wars were blocked. We achieved very much, very quick. But it wasn’t all roses. There is no point denying that we sought the world, but attained much less.  

Blacks, Latinos, Asians, and others benefitted. Jim Crow died. But, for every two blacks who were slaves in 1860, one black now languishes in jail. Tally the effect of jail on that one person and on that one person’s relatives, and the scale of devastation is incredible to behold, and, somewhat understandably, most don’t look. Racism persists.

Women benefitted as the most public patriarchal gender and sexual differentials were addressed. But rape persists. Violence persists. The insanity of deference and indignity persists. Gay marriage is meaningful progress but the new world we sought was not supposed to have one in five women raped over the course of their lives. Yet that is America, and that too, for most of us, is more horrifying than we can contemplate. Perhaps not wanting to contemplate such horror explains why so many peruse Tweeter feeds about J Lo or Justin Bieber, instead of rape surveys. Where did all the flowers go. Sexism persists.

Authoritarianism declined too. Seeing what it was next to what it now is, you would surely agree. But even so, authoritarianism persists, as millions and even tens of millions simultaneously watch Twitter feeds – caught a giant idiot wind that makes tornados look like summer breezes. Our lives data-ized into the greedy hands of government and corporate overlords. Cops and courts still run wild. Remember the hippie/radical demand: do not fold, spindle, or mutilate? Sadly, we are folded, spindled, and mutilated – and most peculiarly, many of us applaud and sing gimme more, more, more.

Ecology, though dealt with seriously over the years, now nonetheless threatens humanity like never before. Temperature rising. Hard rain falling. Humanity approaching cliff. The abyss invisible due to entertainments and smokescreens blocking the view. We may plummet, applauding.

And private power? It thrives. I read the news today – oh boy. It told me the planet’s 85 richest people now have more wealth than its 3.5 billion poorest people. Is that the crown of creation?

You don’t need an acid trip to visualize the meaning of that. Jam the rich 85 into a single large magic bus and you could even have you, me, and our immediate families ride along as servants in the last 15 seats. Figure that the bus is 150 feet long. Shove the poor 3.5 billion half of humanity into a line of 35 million buses stretching to the moon and back, and up to the moon again, and back again. That’s a hell of a caravan. 

One bus, out front, would have you, me, and some of our sisters and brothers huddled in the rear watching the 85 rich folks up front celebrating under a flag displaying a dollar sign that waves wildly overhead, with the 85 enjoying the most opulence any humans have ever experienced, and with us goggle-eyed. Then would follow 35 million more buses, each one sparse as a desert, and if not aligned through space in 4 lengths to the moon, then aligned circumnavigating the planet 40 times. How convenient. There is no need for a cop to tell the poor to go to the back of that line. The poor aren’t even in telescope range of seeing the front of it.

We wanted the world. We were smart. We had courage. What went wrong? The traditional left answer is that we were great but the times were just not propitious. “Objective conditions” didn’t permit us to do better. 

I don’t buy that. In my view, my generation, even at its best, was not all roses. Yes, the rich and powerful did everything they could to commandeer the lead bus and to relegate billions to the rear. And yes, the rich and powerful had the lawyers, guns, and money – plus the media. And yes, the rich and powerful used their every advantage at every opportunity and in every manner they could conceive, including even murdering us. All true. All a factor. But not the whole truth. 

I bemoan the miserable trajectory that has left us where we are because my generation contributed to that trajectory. We fucked up. 

When we thought we could win a new world, when we thought that the ship could come in, when we were prepared to dance on the graves of mastery – our dreams were not naive. The better history we sought could have occurred between fifty years ago and now, just like it can still happen between now and fifty years from now. Not easily, of course. But possibly. The answer was indeed blowing in the wind then. But we let it blow away, blow up, blow out. The liberating history didn’t happen, but it could have happened or at least we could have been well on the way by now. Objective conditions are always tough – but human will can always rise to the occasion. And so the fact that a better history could have and should have happened over the past five decades, is the locus of my apology. My generation should have solidified our views while retaining sensitivity and flexibility. Objective conditions did not make that impossible.  We should have turned our protest into positive program and molded our separate desires into a shared agenda. Objective conditions did not make that impossible. And had we done such things, history could have been different.

I like an IPad as much as the next guy, even more I bet – but would I like an to have IPad or to see peace? An IPad or justice? An IPad or dignity? Ten billion IPads or liberation? Was that the choice? If it was, we all would have said, give me liberty, keep your damn IPads. However we knew we could have had liberty and spiffy electronics too. We could have had it all – though we didn’t. 

The Freedom riders had discipline. They had perspective. They had unity. But in the end, we who came next didn’t have enough of any of that. Not enough dignity. We weren’t serious enough. We weren’t informed enough. We didn’t inform ourselves and others enough. 

Millions upon hundreds of millions of people did nearly nothing. But our current plight, and their’s, and that of their kids and of our kids, is not mainly rooted in that massive failure to act. Oh, sure, if everyone acted, everything would be different. But to ask for universal resistance without stages and steps by which it could develop is to ask for magic. I am not bemoaning missing magic. I am bemoaning what was real and what could really have happened, but didn’t. I am not talking about everyone being revolutionary magically, at once, without any patient, persevering process. That was impossible. I am talking about huge numbers of people becoming revolutionary over an extended period via a plausible process that would have rested on those in my generation who first followed after the Freedom riders. That was possible. And so certainly got going, and arrived at a lot of revelations, and my point is, if we had made better choices once we were on the move, once we saw what’s going on, our impact could have percolated and multiplied way farther than it did, even yielding a profoundly different trajectory from then until now. 

Suppose that I and many like me in my generation, young, strong, ready to rumble – and who, for whatever reasons of upbringing and luck happened to understand the patriarchal, racist, and classist horrors of society, and who had been luckily blessed with some confidence, and who had luckily seen clear to some activist insight – had done better. Can you see the potential?

What if instead of one Howard Zinn, there had been 100,000 as wonderful as him by 1975. I won’t list other exemplary folks, but the point is evident. Take all the people who chanted to win a new world, all the people who marched to win a new world, all the people who cradled rocks and ideas to win a new world – and ask, what would have happened if a million people in the U.S., from 1968 forward, had been patient enough, disciplined enough, committed enough, and unified enough to stay the course? 

What if we had not only marched, but had developed organizations able to plant seeds of hope and desire and able to orient and magnify the inclinations of each individual participant into collective action by all participants together. What if those who went first had welcomed, nurtured, and empowered others into participating as well, and then they had done the same with still more people? Can you see the prairie fire of change that would have swept society? That didn’t happen, but it was not because it was impossible. Objective conditions weren’t pleasant but did not preclude greater success. Rather, we lacked sufficient will.

I read the news today, oh boy. The news told me that there is a new punishment for young folks who irritate their parents in the geographic center of the best and the worst – which is, of course, America. Hey Johnny, hey Susie, you have been bad. As punishment, put aside your electronic gadget and go out and play. Yes, it is now considered a punishment to tell a child to stop texting, stop instant messaging, stop Facebooking, stop Tweeting, stop gaming, and go out and play with a real friend. Where have all the flowers gone – where has sanity gone, too.

So my fury is for those who saw society’s nasty truths but turned themselves off to changing society. It is for those who initially joined the fray but later left the scene. Their exit, stage right, was understandable but also horrible, and I admit that I feel some fury for the millions of my generation who awakened but soon retreated. I feel some fury for my generation raising kids who are themselves now nearing fifty – can you believe that? – such that more often than not those kids don’t know shit from shinola, as the saying goes. But the biggest fury I feel is for myself. 

With others, I sought to build massive media. It isn’t massive.

With others, I sought to create and spread vision. Some is created. Little is spread. 

With others, I sought to build lasting and worthy organizations. Some structures emerged. They aren’t lasting. 

With others, I sought to create unity in diversity. But we don’t have much unity – with diversity or otherwise. 

So the reality is, I, and others, failed. 

1964 was fifty years ago. In 1964, looking back fifty years, was World War 1, and when I was listening to Dylan and the Rolling Stones at the beach while getting ready to go to college, to me World War 1 was the age of dinosaurs. Hell, to my ears, even World War 2 was prehistoric. And so by analogy I understand that my generation’s glory days are not the age of Aquarius but instead the age of dinosaurs for today’s youth. And I understand why today’s youth don’t know beans about my Sixties, and don’t care that they don’t know beans about it. But, and now I direct my words to today’s youth – please don’t forego the associated lessons that could be had from what we did back then – and especially the lessons that you can learn from our mistakes. There is no need to reinvent every wheel. I wish we had taught our lessons vastly better than we did – and our not doing so is still another reason for self-directed fury. But despite that we didn’t teach as we ought to have, please discern and learn the lessons anyhow. Once you have done so, use your wisdom to do better. Your lives depend on it.

But is it too late – as no doubt many feel? Is there no road from where we are now to where we need to be later? 

No, it is not too late. Our time is not yet forlorn. Our history is not yet over. 

Fukishima, austerity, the NSA, and fracking beckon us into barbarism. Communes in Caracas, mass marches in Athens, indignation in Madrid, squats all over, and whatever new resistance arises tomorrow, wherever it arises, in whatever form it arises, beckons us into a better future. The question, ever more pressing, is barbarism or liberation?

There is high water everywhere. Humanity drowning even looks likely. But we need to see that there are ladders humanity can build up and out of the rising tide, and we need to see structural opportunities to lower the waters, as well. The ladders will be slippery. The structural innovations are daunting. Nonetheless, we need to climb above the tide and build alternatives pressing it back down. Just like we needed to do years back. But we need to climb and build better this time.

Find a vision. Share it with others. Snag it to the present with program and strategy. Point it to the future with gains that improve people’s lives today while arousing desires for more gains tomorrow. Create alternative structures that plant the seeds of the future in the present. Act on what you believe. But don’t do it alone. Do it united with others. 

My generation – lost, lost, lost. But history reveals that in seeking social change, you lose, you lose, you lose, you win. Generations are entwined. Mine and yours. One with the next, one with the last. And now it is your turn. We did the losing part. Start winning.


  1. avatar
    David Jones February 1, 2014 4:19 am 

    As someone born in 53, what I found most interesting about the piece are the counter-cultural references, mostly lyrics of songs that raged through our heads at the time.
    A case in point is Dylan, who commanded so much respect and attention, a balladeer/intellectual, who totally walked away from Guthrie and political engagement. Then there was John Lennon, a gifted poet/rocker whose politics were totally uninformed and incoherent and who influenced MY Generation.CrosbyStills Nash (especially Stills) clueless, Stones- the same- Animals.,Kinks, Hendrix, none of them read a word of Marx or Bakunin. The hippies and the Age of Aquarius- total disaster for Left organizing and then there were the Pranksters! Ginsberg, Abbie Hoffman. Circus stars.

    Lots of young people thought those cultural icons were “talkin revolution” but they were just writing songs. Street Fighting man was just to dance to, or “drop out” to . OK, Phil Ochs, Seeger, they talked about capital but they were drowned out. Zappa was a cynic.

    The disciplined ones who did pick up a book ( and guns) like the Panthers were targeted and swiftly eliminated but my point is, the ideological foundation, critique and vision, was never popularized in music, art or poetry. Rock and roll, while it pissed off parents, was never about institutional change. Maybe students at Colombia or Berkeley knew what a General Strike was but the workers hated their long hair. So I blame the musicians. ( sorry James) For What It’s Worth.

    • avatar
      James Wilson February 1, 2014 12:32 pm 

      I agree Dave. We shouldn’t let the buggers get off so lightly. Then came that useless bullshit punk movement.!!

      Give the finger to the rock n roll singer
      As he dances upon your pay check
      Sales climb high through the garbage pale sky
      Like a giant dildo crushing the sun

      There was Guthrie and others but let us not forget those across the Atlantic. The songs of Ewan MacColl, for instance.


    • avatar
      Michael Albert February 1, 2014 2:43 pm 

      There is more than one way to judge people for their behavior and choices. One, for example, is to say – what is ideal, and then how far from ideal was what a person opted for? Dave you and I might very well disagree quite a lot about what is ideal – in part perhaps due to different information, in part due to different values and understanding. Set that aside… I think this way of judging people is rarely helpful.

      So, what is the alternative? IT is to judge a person’s choices and behavior not against an ideal, but in context. What did the times and circumstances cause people to typically do. What did the person being assessed choose to do? That is a different approach.

      You can still judge the choices, not the person, any way you want.

      It would take us too far afield, and honestly I am sure take too much time, for me to reply to the specific formulations you offer here. Suffice to say, if I were to opt for words like you choose, I might call you clueless about the actual intricacies and dynamics of the times…but let’s instead just say we disagree, strongly.

  2. avatar
    James Wilson January 28, 2014 9:24 pm 

    I think in some way Michael, Joseph was actually handing out a backhanded compliment. In another way Joseph seemed to echo the words of Alex Carey who suggested that what the sixties did, in particular the anti-war effort, was to give the rifling classes the impetus to reinvigorate their PR industry and put it into overdrive, along side of all the other nasties they unleashed as the post war economic golden age came to an end. The bastards had to reassertion themselves!

    I understand exactly what you are saying and the match towards or for change has to be as relentless and ruthless as the right’s. Even more. Hard to do and hard to achieve but necessary. We can’t start and slowly dissipate as seems to be the usual case and energy, knowledge and desire of the young is absolutely necessary.

    Joseph, your hearts in a good place but withdrawal is not the answer and never has been. You allude to the need for vision of some sort. Michael makes mention of that in his article. I believe it to be vital. Value based vision that can actually deal with the massive numbers that make up the “we” you talk of. That fosters what you call reciprocal engagement and not commercial engagement. The huge “we” you mention requires greater consideration than you think. The diversity within that we is greater than a simple notion of withdrawal from capitalism can support. On mass withdrawal is a pipe dream. Vision needs to be clear, not vague and needs to offer real alternative institutional structure to the current monstrosities.

    Parecon is a such a vision. Albeit restricted to the economic sphere it addresses these issues with a view to inter connectivity with much the much wider and extraordinarily complex whole of social relations. A vision that should be spread, as Michael suggests, far more widely and with hope, not based on its feasibility necessarily, although that of course is a necessary fight, but on what it offers as an alternative. As a creative possibility that tries to deal with the complexity of economic relations, with a view to wider ramifications, in a way that fosters and maintain values. It is the only vision of it his sort. All others pale into comparison as vague notions, academic exercises or visions of Hope, which is where withdrawal sits.

    Until visions like Parecon, are embraced seriously and not debated out of existence, visions of hope, like withdrawal, are more screams of despair. The hearts in the right place but I’m not sure about the head!

    • avatar
      James Wilson January 28, 2014 9:26 pm 

      Auto spell check is a bitch. Yes Joseph, I’m using a god damn iPad.

      Rifling classes is meant to be ruling classes. Didn’t check what I wrote so I apologise for any other bad errors in typing, spelling, grammar etc..

    • Joseph Valentino January 29, 2014 4:59 pm 

      i’m glad you read the ‘oh stop it’ correctly
      but withdrawal?
      engagement is the exact opposite of withdrawal
      what is there about Apple to like? its institutional structure? its wealth distribution model? its production policies? a purchase is a vote in favour of an institution, as money is the lifeblood of any commercial venture, and the sole means of perpetuating its policies, its structure, and its effects on the lives of practically everyone and everything on the planet, at this point. I don’t see how channeling one’s energies into entities that are socially inclusive, non-hierarchical, and mutually respectful, and not putting those same energies into supporting and sustaining entities which are pollitically, socially, and environmentally reprehensible, is in any way ‘withdrawal’. It seems to me, rather, that supporting those institutions that actively participate in the dismantling of the Great Society, so to speak, and its goals and vision, is actual real-life ‘withdrawal’ on a daily basis.
      What are we afraid of losing? Some dubious ‘convenience’? It is exactly that hesitation upon which the foundations of the Right’s resurgence was based.
      I also don’t’ see how capitalism=diversity, or supports diversity, or engenders or protects diversity, or has any connection to human diversity at all. It actually truncates diversity in human expression, just as it truncates diversity in many other species as well; all in the name of maximising profits and stream-lining production, of course.

      • avatar
        James Wilson January 29, 2014 9:15 pm 

        I know what you mean Joseph. I was referring to withdrawing as being a withdrawal from those insidious institutions and relations that is capitalism In ways that you describe. Not putting our energy into supporting them and looking at new ways of being. That is what I meant. I didn’t mean withdrawal from making change at all. I am also not suggesting that there aren’t things that people cannot do or should not do, if they wish, in this regard, now. I was merely trying to say that there needs to be greater coherent vision attached. I do not believe change will come merely by doing what you suggest. I did not mean to suggest, nor believe that capitalism=diversity(in fact, quite the opposite). Merely that the “we” is huge in numbers, and IS composed of naturally, greatlly diverse wants, desires, wishes, yearnings a etc.. Any idea of how to change things, and any vision of the future has to be able to deal and accommodate this diversity. Even foster it, without compromising solidarity, equity and self-management. Sorry if I was unclear, but I feel there needs to be greater correlation between vision and strategy and that vision needs to be clear and coherent.

    • avatar
      Michael Albert January 29, 2014 6:40 pm 

      We agree about vision, of course…but there is participatory society, along with participatory economy.

      And we agree that these, or other vision, must be taken seriously and shared, if serious progress is to occur, both due to impact on feelings of hopelessness, and for the direction it can lend.

      What is striking, however, to me at least, is that neither the economic or the broader social vision gets any serious widespread media attention – even on the left where you might expect it to be extensive. So, even with media silence, there are growing numbers of advocates of these aims, yet you would be very hard pressed to find mention of them in alternative media. Submissions do occur, but rejections follow. All the reasons for this – well, I think that is not obvious.

      But it isn’t just a matter of the people who make the editorial decisions – it is arguably also the writers, who don’t want to address such matters, for the most part.

      • avatar
        James Wilson January 29, 2014 9:36 pm 

        I agree also Michael.

        I had a talk with a fellow IOPS member regarding this. I felt that the “left”, or at least many within it, for some strange reason I cannot nail, seems scared of vision. I cannot seem to understand how movements or achievements of the past, like the Spanish Rev , garner so much interest, talk and discussion, while a vision, like Parecon for instance, somehow generates a degree of interest but , from my very inexperienced position, seems to get debated out of the picture quite quickly and sort of forgotten. Like, “we have dealt with that, let’s move on to more serious matters.”

        It is also interesting that there are anarchists, like Andrej Grubacic who see the great value in a coherent max/min vision like Parecon, while I find so many just do not wish to deal with it. It somehow confounds them as it doesn’t fit the historically set idea of what anarchism is about. In this sense there is a similarity between Marxists and anarchists. A kind of doctrinal stubbornness that is hard to penetrate and which I feel has a significant fragmenting effect on strategy. And further, moves people’s attention away from vision, even discussing it, to more “pressing” and practical matters and projects. Which also helps place vision in the dark recesses of the mind to be easily forgotten. There is some kind of fear of vision or it’s just too hard for some to handle. (I’m also not suggesting one doesn’t learn from the past, like the Spanish Rev)

        • avatar
          Michael Albert February 1, 2014 2:37 pm 


          Well, contemporary efforts to propose a set of long term, and often even short term aims, typically get ignored or short shrift, I agree. This is not really a contestable overservation. All you have to do is survey the main sources of left discussion and debate to test the claim.

          Parecon may be the extreme case – I suspect it is – because in the case of parecon in addition to fear of dealing with vision, or general reasons for avoidance, there are also reasons of not liking certain aspects – balanced job complexes and equitable remuneration – but there are other cases, too. Few write about the issue, either proposing or criticizing. When someone does, it typically gets no real assessment. People like to say they are for a better world, but not what it would involve, the latter is too risky, pushy, or whatever – other than being liberated and other such phrases that have no institutional content and are unchallengeable on the left.

          I would be hard pressed to say that Parecon, or elements of parsoc, have been seriously debated and dismissed. Rather, I think they have been overwhelmingly ignored in print, other than in a very few venues, mainly Z, but have arguably quite surprisingly, made headway even just via those.

          The trouble is, suppose Joe reads next week about parecon in some essay or interview or something, on Z, or maybe on another site – though the latter is still quite rare. Joe is interested, but notices the absense of any wider discussion, plus hears various friends – who have virtually no familiarity with it – saying it is idiotic, or an idiosyncratic and thus irrelevant product of few people, etc. This leaves Joe at a loss. Parecon seemed to Joe very interesting and promising – but should Joe give it any more time? Why would he? Others who he assumes know more, don’t. They say they have seriously dealt with it and found it dumb – they haven’t – but Joe believes them. It is a hard set of barriers to overcome. And when various periodicals of the left – nearly all – refuse to critique it, or to support it, or even allow reviews of it – the main thing that exists is silence. Joe doesn’t have the time or energy to try to buck that. He moves on.

          Andrej is a good friend. His initial attitude to parecon was rather like what you describe from others you have known. In time that dissipated and his support for parecon grew. This makes sense – such things should take time, as one hears, views, assesses, etc. It takes becoming familiar, and then thinking about the vision, talking about it, etc. The issue is the motivation to do that if no one else appears to be – and if lots of folks are saying to do so is stupid. Andrej, unlike Joe, was in position to talk with a very strong advocate – in this case me – and work through diverse concerns. Thus the different outcome.

          I agree, as well, with the rest of your comment – quite strongly.

    • avatar
      James Wilson January 30, 2014 12:54 pm 

      Reassertion themselves? Forgodsake! Reassert.

  3. avatar
    Michael Albert January 28, 2014 7:05 pm 


    “Oh stop it?” Seriously? I suppose if you were to demonstrate that something I wrote was wrong, or ill conceived, or ill motivated, that might make at least some sense – but I don’t see it.

    Do you think I am unaware of how much was accomplished? Falluja was tiny compared to the bombardments of earlier times. The limits on violence were, even as horrible as it was, were largely a result of the earlier movements, and the one focussed on Iraq, of course.

    More boradly, whether something succeeds or fails actually depends on what the something was seeking to accomplish. That seems a truism. The Sixties I was part of was trying to achieve a better world – but not just in a few regards – but fundamentally. And it indeed made great gains in many regards, some that have been partially eroded since, some not. But regarding its real aim, it certainly failed and also left us with way less means than it could have, to continue. The rest of your comment – it is hard to follow what it has to do with what I wrote. Perhaps you were just expressing your view on somewhat unrelated matters, not trying to react – in which case, fine!

    • Joseph Valentino January 29, 2014 5:21 pm 

      i actually liked your piece, hence the “stop apologising” remark.
      but: falluja was not tiny by any means. To find any ground invasion comparable would mean returning to times and places pre-vietnam, which is exactly my point; and another reason there’s no need for apology. It would not have been conceivable in 1975, or 85, or 95: the requisite mindset did not exist.

      • avatar
        Michael Albert January 29, 2014 6:31 pm 

        Glad you liked it. But apologizing wasn’t a mere tactic or insincere. I really mean it. I do think we could have done vastly better. I do think we should have.

        I am also not sure what you have in mind by “requisite mindset” but I think maybe we disagree. To improve the world dramatically, even to revolutionize basic institutions, is always within reach. A great many people had more than enough awareness to apply themselves to attain whatever additional awareness might have been needed, and to teach and otherwise convey it.

        Right now, the gap between what the average person knows, and what one needs to know, is really not all that great…the issue of will, desire, and especially feelings of hope, those are another thing…

        Let me put it slightly differently. Suppose one says that we in the sixties and the subsequent period – or really, at any other time – did as well as we possibly could have hoped for – as well as was possible. That would be a horrendous bit of news because there is no reason to think that people are going to ever be genetically different than we were, or less disposed to being oppressed than we were, etc. And most of what folks call objective material conditions are anything but that. That is, the same objective material conditions, depending on diverse factors and on people, can yield horrible or highly desirable responses. It is only hindsight that distinguishes in that respect.

  4. Joseph Valentino January 28, 2014 5:33 pm 

    oh stop it
    it’s taken 30 years for conservatives to undo what was accomplished in the 60’s alone
    don’t forget the massive relentless re-programming of the american mindset that was initiated in the 80’s, as military-minded reaganites set about “beatin the vietnam syndrome”, and turning a skeptical reluctance toward acts of armed Aggression into more than just a begrudging acceptance of military necessity but into a veritable yearning for violent adventurism among the american youth…remember: the internet is a military project…computers, graphics, video games, were all military projects, with a military aim: inculcating requisite skills in handling hardware with little or no conscience about destruction…would Falluja have been possible without 20 years of preparatory video gaming?… how was the ’91 Gulf War marketed to us? Playboy dubbed it the Nintendo war…it’s not that the 60’s failed…it succeeded too well, too quickly, perhaps…hence the relentless rightwing backlash, which has been incremental and steady these last 35 years…it’s time to put the ipads down, to stop participating in the Capitalist endeavor, to make decisive definitive choices about how we really want to live our daily lives, to construct a valuation system that is not based on an abstraction like ‘money’, to forge relations based upon reciprocal engagement not commercial transactions, to take a hard long look at entities like google amazon microsoft walmart monsanto chase et alii and decide if these are the kinds of institutions we want to invest our energies in…a purchase is an investment…either we make these choices, or the planet will make them for us…it’ll be alot less unpleasant if we take it upon ourselves to disengage from this runaway trainwreck of an economy/lifestyle that we now have, than what we’ll be confronted with as a species if we leave it to the planet to do the dismantling for us…culturally we’re in an analogous situation to that of the 1950’s…which means that the seeds of the next 1960’s are already in the ground, awaiting some warmth some light some moisture, to spring forth into vibrant diverse and extravagant forms of what this planet excels at pumping out: life

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