Speaks truth to future power

I’m only on page 18 and historian Alfred McCoy has me excited inside a nonfiction tome as if I’m reading a fiction epic:

Born of war and conquest, empires are unstable, even volatile forms of governance that often exhibit contradict attributes — they are constant yet changing, idealistic but barbaric, and powerful yet fragile.… When a ruling political party retreats from rationality into delusional politics, that nation forfeits both its claim to and capacity for global leadership.

Alfred W. McCoy. To Govern the Globe: World Orders & Catastrophic Change. Haymarket Books. 2021. page 18.

The writing synthesizes disparate stimuli and phenomena that I’ve witnessed and bundled them in ways that better explain for me what’s happening. How what is occurring right now is not unique, as I’ve know it isn’t. McCoy is unsparing in his analysis and descriptions of the arrogance and corruption that constitute delusion. This is most refreshing when the common self-congratulatory statements tend to be “how America’s greatest days are ahead.” We know they are not.

The sooner the people decouple their sense of self from their nationality and the nationalist tendencies in state building, the clearer we will be about meaning, vitality, and who’s decline this is.

Some maxims:

“the concept of geopolitics has proved more useful for those who prefer to analyze empires rather than build them.” (24)

geopolitics is essentially a method for the management of empire through the use of geography (air, land, and sea) to maximize military and economic advantage. (19)

an exploration of world orders requires an understanding of the term “empire,” which has carried an ideological taint that long barred its serious study in the United States. (15)

lacking the boundaries of a nation-state or the powerful, visible presence of an empire, world orders might seem intangible or even imagined. (15)

world orders are much more deeply rooted, resilient global systems created by a convergence of economic, ideological and geopolitical forces…. Lacking the sovereignty of nations and the raw power of empires, world orders are essentially broad agreements about relations among nation-states and their people’s, lending them an amorphous, even elusive quality. (9)

Great Mystery we honour

My grandmother had always referred to the universe as the Great Mystery.

Richard Wagamese, Indian Horse, page 65.

“We need mystery. Creator in her wisdom knew this. Mystery fills us with awe and wonder. They are the foundations of humility, and humility, grandson, is the foundation of all learning. So we do not seek to unravel this. We honour it by letting it be that way forever.”

Ibid.

The transformation that comes from practice and doing the same tasks over and over for many days. The chores build strength and speed and competency. The isolation fosters individuation and delight at the ability to accomplish and notice the changes that come with being able to simply do and with time master at what was once impossible.

Is it this, is it feelings

Is it shame? The shame of being a man with a penis and having had sex with women recently or decade earlier? The shame of being a U.S. citizen/an American who has tolerated the two party politics and dynamic between Democrats and Republicans for so long that they’ve squashed other political party alternatives?

Is it the horror of living in a misogynist nation state that does not guarantee maternity leave and therefore does not invest in parental leave nor provide a safety net for family leave. These notions are placed on the shoulders of the individual, not to be determined by policies to guarantee for all.

Is this inaction complacency to these domineering forces and stifling systems? Or a delusion that this greatest democracy in the world is not collapsing and convulsing.

Or is this some symptom or definition of stupidity. Socialized into apathy and subjugation.

Bone tooth wrong

60 years after being assassinated, the final bone of Patrice Lumumba is supposed to leave Belgium to be carried back to Congo by his children this month. There’s no mention of a second tooth and a bit of one finger that the same Belgian, former military, one time assassin, may have kept in his home for decades.

But rather than simply being allowed to collect the remains, the family and others in the diaspora campaigned for an official handover ceremony.

https://www.politico.eu/article/lumumba-tooth-belgium-unfinished-reckoning-colonial-past/

A public ceremony between two sets of public figures, many of whom are stooges or thugs. So one set of thugs handing some things over to a set of stooges, of a different nationality. But, the public speakers (of all nationalities) will have noted that you don’t speak bluntly about the aggressions of the government you’re ceremonializing with.

I’m cynical about any such ceremony. I suppose a public spectacle is necessary though I don’t know that it’s better than a private exchange. But, the public visage will largely be performative more than symbolic done for the cameras, not for the civics.

Reparations (as summarized by M4BL here) consists of five parts = acknowledgment of harm + compensation + restitution + rehabilitation + cessation with guarantees of not repeating.

The Belgian government does not seem to offer any compensation nor restitution nor rehabilitation. Maybe part of the public ceremony could be some verbal statements of never doing such heinous acts in foreign policy nor domestically.

But, it will be lackluster whatever does happen. And with that, I will feel disappointed by the arrogance of the former colonizers who still inherit the excesses of their grandfathers.

All the things

How once everything—the good and the bad—seemed like a reflection of the place you were born and how these days, instead, everything—the good and the bad—seems written in the depth of our flesh.

Trick, by Domenico Starnone, page 109.

The decade inside of —

The point of the departed arrow is not merely to pierce the bullseye and carry the trophy: the point of the arrow is to sing the wind and remake the world in the brevity of flight. There are things we must do, sayings we must say, thoughts we must think, that look nothing like the images of success that have so thoroughly possessed our visions of justice. May this new decade be remembered as the decade of the strange path, of the third way, of the broken binary, of the traversal disruption, the kairotic moment, the posthuman movement for emancipation, the gift of disorientation that opened up new places of power, and of slow limbs.

Bayo Akomolafe

How I tell it

“But so much is storytelling.”

I can tell a version that redeems everyone, or I can parrot a story that I’ve heard countless times since childhood.

It’s a bizarre, scary, daunting and liberating epiphany to notice that it isn’t just the events of what occurred but how I assign meaning to the occurrences that can influence, if not wholly determine, how I feel and what I suggest to listeners whether a single person or hundreds.

This is a trick about storytelling as it is a subtlety of self-perception. Recently, I told of four instances where a similar threatening dynamic occurred across 10 years and when I recounted them together, as a part of a set, I started to read new meaning into the dynamics coloring my life.

Over the last three weeks, I’ve seen how readiness to tell ones story depends on an agency to be the one to elaborate and describe. To be the subject rather than an object of a fly on the wall, a nuisance, or a passive extra in some larger event. It has been remarkable to witness the shift happening, as well as the consent or non consent to share, to tell.

Ailments > Healings

Earlier I read a phrase that the meager attempt of a solution providing resolution to a tremendous problem was akin to:

aspirin for cancer

And I jumped to the metaphor that the machinations of Democrats and the Democratic Party are antibiotics — over-prescribed and increasingly ineffective.

There are various fronts and flanks and subcommittees among the Democrats: senators and congresspeople within the federal system, legislators across the states, and those at the municipal and local levels; the Blue Dogs; the New Democrats; the Progressive Caucus; the social liberals who purport to be fiscal conservatives; the alumni of the Obama administration, the alumni of the Clinton administration, and those who worked in both; co-sponsors of the Green New Deal; the military hawks versus the peaceniks; and the Squad. Obviously, there are others but this is an incomplete list.

And there’s some sparring, jockeying, subterfuge, allying and aligning between different individuals and certain camps. I speculate that there’s not cohesion or unanimity on the benefits and reasons for growing the numbers of D elected officials as some of the DS in Congress do not care for other DS, and some of them are capable of befriending and cuddling and aligning with Republicans. The split between the Bernie Sanders supporters versus the Hillary Clinton supporters became a leadership vote (and upset) within the Nevada Democratic Party that is now causing the power and roles between the national body (the DNC) and the state parties to be renegotiated. Even though many leaders of the state parties may not have stood with the current NV leadership on the Bernie/Hillary vote, they are seemingly with the outsiders and insurgents-who-have-become-officials interns of data files, money and bank accounts and some other forms of power-sharing or power-grabbing.

That being said, the suggestions that what will salvage or strengthen the levers of power and structures of politics are more Democrats are offering a miserable remedy for a severely broken apparatus.

The continued dependence on a two-party system inhibits us from destroying some of the legal and financial structures that are barriers that essentially prohibit new actors from entering politics. When the legal barriers are too high that they are nearly impossible to alter, we are told to settle into the limited notion that we most work within the Democratic or Republican Party, which is inadequate for the ailments that we face. There are special interests who maintain the status quo and they do not wish to move towards greater democracy.

They will not accede without demands. so we must make many demands.

Blowback: haunts the future

From the 2000 book Blowback: the costs and consequences of American Empire (published by Metropolitan Books) by Chalmers Johnson, who was in the Navy, stationed in Japan, researched China, then did intelligence work or informant with and for federal agencies.

“There is a logic to empire that differs from the logic of a nation, and acts committed in service to an empire but never acknowledged as such have a tendency to haunt the future.” (pg 8)

“The United States, however, is the world’s most prominent target for blowback, being the world’s lone imperial power, the primary source of the sort of secret and semi secret operations that shore up repressive regimes, and by far the largest seller of weapons generally.” (pg 11)

Staying this after acknowledging how Russia, Japan, and Israel had received blowback in the 1990s, none of which compared with the magnitude of energy and animosity directed at the US.

“Blowback itself can lead to more blowback, in a spiral of destructive behavior. A good illustration of this lies in the government’s reaction to the August 7, 1998, bombings of American embassy buildings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. (pg 10)

Juicing War

But it is easier not to mistreat prisoners if you no longer capture them.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/03/opinion/us-war-afghanistan.html

Samuel Moyn says a lot in that piece about the lies, deceit abd immoral of US warmongering. What I would add:

But it is harder not to war when you’ve juiced it with $700B annually.