Foto by tgw, New York City, October 2010
I'm rereading the Communist Manifesto for the first time in many years. I'm reading it along with Ortega y Gasset's classic Revolt of the Masses. I was never a Marxist. I read Das Kapital, and though I found it abysmally written, I was fascinated by the research Marx had done in the London libraries and the conclusions he reached in terms of Capitalism--actually in terms of the captains of Capitalism and how they and not the system if left unregulated and uncontrolled would exploit the workingclass--Marx's proletariat--and through that exploitation set themselves apart from the peasantry, the workingclass, in what became the owning class--the Power Elites of Capitalist society. Marx unfortunately believed this owner-class exploitation of the workingclass would eventually drive that workingclass to REVOLT. They were bright enough, unlike the peasants, to see they were being worked to the bone for the profiting of their workplace owners. Once this workingclass, this proletariat, revolted and won, and Marx believed such a revolt wouldn't last but a few days, they would need a whole new form of government and along with this new government a whole new way of life--leading to an eventual state that would be the opposite of the Capitalist state.
In 1848, the French people had become sick and tired of the royal snobbery of the court of Louis Philippe (at one time popularly called the Citizen King). Plus Louis Philippe's administrative council had gradually abandoned Louis's liberal policies and royal attitudes and as a result, workingclass salaries dropped to almost peasant levels and soon France found itself in an economic depression. It was natural for Marx to think this overthrow of Louis Philippe was the start of his proletariat revolution. Louis had abdicated the throne by then--leaving Paris at night in a taxi under the name "Mr. Smith." But the hope of a proletariat revolution all blew up in Karl's face when once the workingclass had kicked Louis Philippe off the throne and out of town, they accepted his grandson as king. Then later they changed their minds and declared France a republic and elected Prince Louis Napoleon as their president. In return for their kindness, Louis Napoleon declared himself president for life, eventually saying, "Ah, to hell with this president shit," to then pompously declare himself Emperor of France, presenting himself thereafter as Napoleon III. So much for Marx's proletariat revolution happening in Paris in 1848. He would go the rest of his life looking for the place for this proletariat revolution to happen--maybe Germany--maybe England...but no. Marx died without ever seeing a proletariat revolution. Ironically, Marx could not have predicted the Russian Revolution of 1914. Marx looked down on Russians. He thought of them as peasants. For instance, Marx didn't care at all for Bakunin. Ironically, it wasn't the proletariat of Russia that revolted; IT WAS THE RUSSIAN PEASANTS, the class Marx thought totally out of the loop when it came to revolting. It was peasants who were revolting to Marx.
Louis Philippe is an interesting dude. He had a similar life to the Marquis de Lafayette--and they lived around the same time, too. Louis in the 1790s came to the United States, first to Philadelphia, where his two brothers were living in exile. From Philadelphia he moved to New York City, where he lived in a friend's mansion on the corner of Broadway and 79th Street. From New York City, he moved to Boston, where he lived in rooms above the famous Oyster House restaurant, the oldest restaurant in Boston. He at one time taught French while in Boston. He lived in the USA for 4 years before he and his brothers tried to sneak back into France via Havana, Cuba, but instead they were arrested in the Gulf of Mexico by a British ship and taken to Havana, where they stayed for a year before they got a ride to England, from whence Louis returned to France and became King. At first, King Louis Philippe was very liberal, a trait he said was due to his stay in the United States (and eventually he traveled all around the US, as far west as Nashville, Tennessee, and as far north as Maine). His ideas were so liberal and popular the French soon called him the Citizen King. But like all royal fops, he soon conceded his liberal thinking to his royal fop court who proceeded to act more royal and to care less about the people and especially the workingclass and the peasant class. There soon came an economic depression and that was the reason the workingclass rather politely overthrew Louis Philippe's regime. After his abduction from the French throne, Louis and his family moved to England, where he died in 1850.
This respect for royalty is still present in the White cultural and political way of thinking in the United States. Just this morning (Monday, October 25), the top story on the commercial network newscasts here in New York City were all having to do with commoner Kate Middleton and her live-in relationship with the fawned-over Brit fop, Prince William Mountbatten. The worthless Prince, a drag on the British economy, and the commoner Kate have been off and on fornicators for several years now since meeting while both attended the University of St. Andrews. The reason for this story headlining our New York City morning news had to do with this illicit couple being seen in public together for the first time since their latest reunion (they bust up and then reunite every 6 months or so (and I know, make-up sex is sometimes the best sex we ever experience)) at the wedding of some Brit high-falutin' somebody. The well-quaffed network news babes, my gosh, were all aglow with rumor bins of questions: "Does this mean that the charming Prince is going to perhaps marry his commoner girlfriend after all?" "Ooooh, Liz, that gives me the chilly-willys. Doesn't it you?" "Gosh, that it does, Jillian. We should be so lucky, right? I mean, it's right out of the Cinderella story, isn't it?" "And, of course, the big question, girls, is will this commoner Kate become Princess Kate?" The bubblehead conjuring went on and on and I, the ultimate Anglophobe and royal-fop hater, began ridiculing such bullshit waste-of-time news by thinking, "Gee whiz, boys and girls, just think, this commoner Wales girl will one day let Prince Bill bang her 'long time' without a rubber--oh, sorry, royal fops, you guys don't use rubbers; that's right, you're under divine law not civil law, sorry...." Now I'm thinking, I wonder, did Bonnie Prince Charlie use a rubber while he was banging Camilla Parker Bowles bowlegged out in the muddy fields while his wife, Diana, America's Princess, and mom to the fawned-over little princes, was out in the stables entertaining the stable hands? "Just think, boys and girls, when Prince Willie makes Commoner Kate preggers, a little royal fop of a worthless child will pop out. The wowsy couple of course will be praying that it's a male child, and with his or her first breath, he or she will gain a plush seat of leisurely comfort in the Nazi-backgrounded House of Windsor's inheritance. Don't that just tickle you all pink and Aryan white?"
As I switched that news for idiots newscast off (I cast it off) in disgust, all the little news babes were beaming with delight as they chewed over the possibilities of this commoner gold-digger marrying the little Nazi-background prince and to perhaps one day have one of her little worthless children perhaps one day become the king or queen of Merry Ole England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and what's left of what the sun doesn't set on. Yee HAW! But, and this is my free advice to Prince Willie, "Keep an eye on this babe, Willie--like when she starts getting heavy into horseback riding and hangin' out down at the stables--don't forget where you come from. Oh, and I hope someone doesn't spill the beans to Katey that the House of Windsor and the Scotch-drinking Matriarch Elizabeth Mountbatten are almost bankrupt. So, good luck, William--and remember, too, though your father looked like a mule running backwards, he still got himself plenty of good roaming flying fucks in his day--the roving eye, Willie, me boy--you got it. And this Kate the Commoner will skin you alive if she catches you imitating your father or your mother whether in the muddy fields south of Windsor Castle or in those stables back of Buckingham...or hell, those stables back of all your Grandmother's divinely given properties." Maybe President Obama will graciously send the Good Queen some of his liberally handed out bailout money.
And I hate picking on President Obama. I like the dude. I wish he were sincere. But he's not. He's simply a politician who gambled on winning a race to the White Man's House and he won it and he's collected his prize--he's now a millionaire and he's set for life even if he's never elected to any political office ever again; plus his wife is now as first lady primed and ready for a political career or a book-signing-speaking-engagement career should she choose to get in a race herself; plus his two daughters will grow up with the best of lives and opportunities and Ivy League educations and hanging out and making love and plans with the choice men of their future....
Like once again Obama has a chance to whip up the voters against these total idiot Teabaggers and rich-boy antagonists and playboy financiers.... Shit, most of these assholes ruling us now are two-bit 2nd-story lawyers--streetcar chasers they used to be called--accident chasers--you know, the lowest of low lawyer types. Most of Congress. Our president. Lawyers who think things out in the garble of legalese. Whose loyalty is to the person who pays the best fee or holds them on the highest retainers. Those that aren't lawyers are poor little rich boys and sons and daughters of rich business-lawyer-politician daddies, like G.W. "Dumbass" Bush was, a Yale Business School C-minus student, and like G.W. Bush's old pappy was, G.W.H. Bush, the son of a politician who was the son of the man whose banking establishment (in cahoots with the Harrimans) managed Hitler's money for him during Hitler's attempt to liberate Europe from the Jews, Gypsies, Blacks, and Gays--and don't forget, Hitler was a vegetarian Christian, which means, all he had to do was confess his sins before the Great WHITE Throne of Judgment and, zip, like that, the boy's in Heaven. Can you imagine going to Heaven and Hitler meets you at the Pearly Gates!
--surely there's been an entertainer called Pearly Gates, hasn't there? I remember Peg Leg Bates, but no Pearly Gates.
Whew. Even a writer gets tired after such a prolix haranguing.
But I'm running away from this current bunch of fools racing toward their seat in the Power Elite. For example: Meg Whitman, the ex-eBay CEO, running against loose-wigged Jerry Brown, a California governor's son and continuous political parasite. And Good Ole Meg's worth probably several cool billion dollars and she could easily retire to one of her 15 or 20 homes or condos--or to her private island estate and live out a life of luxurious glee. But NO, not this babe-with-balls. Though she's a billionaire and she's a Harvard biz grad and she's in the Business Hall of Fame, she's still not accepted with open flies (to prove they have balls) and skulls-and-bones secret handshakes into the Good Ole Boyz back-room where the good-time partying and cash exchanging events take place and the discussions as to what's gonna happen in world affairs are trumpeted--those events where the big players from K Street are wining and dining the suckers waiting in line to cash in their billions for solid-gold chips and the chance to enter the big back room where the serious gambling goes on. Meg's rich as hell, but her wealth ain't got her enough Power yet. POWER. POWER. That's the prize at the end of the race. To get into the POWER ELITE! That's as high as a rich person can go--into the Fortune 500 or into the Forbes 100. Are women politicians as greedy for POWER as men politicians? Hey, Meg Whitman has spent close to 200 million dollars of her own money to try and win the race for the governor of California, a job that pays a bag of chicken feed compared to what Meg now makes in one hour off her Military Industrial Complex and Goldman-Sachs stocks or her land-grabbing investments. POWER. NOT MONEY. Money is worthless. These people have no money (as I revealed in a previous post, I was once married to a woman who was the right-hand man to one of the wealthiest men on the East Coast and she was constantly coming home and calling this man a "paper cowboy" because she said all his so-called money was in paper--paper contracts, paper deeds, paper legal agreements, paper transactions, paper accounting books--she said they never had any cash--and they never paid their personal credit cards either) per se. And money to our government, as we know, is so much monopoly money. I mean when the government needs money, hell, they just print up a new batch. In fact, the private-corporation Federal Reserve (under ex-Bush playboy and profiteer Ben Bernanke) is fixing to give the OK for the printing up of another trillion or so dollars of nosediving US dollars. Why? As an economic stimulus, they say. It's good for the stock market gamblers, of course, who don't deal in money anyway--or if they do deal in money they deal in it on the Foreign Money Exchange. Like, come on, isn't it ironic how we are in the worst depression in modern times--a depression that is spreading all over the world, by the bye--and yet our stock market is performing brilliantly. I just read the other day a statistic that said 80% of stock market investors were the 1-percenters--corporations and our wealthiest goons--including Meg Whitman. Average schmoes in the market--less than 8% of investors. While you may own 100 shares of Exxon-Mobil, just think, Warren Buffett probably owns 100,000 shares of it.
As I said, while I'm rereading the Communist Manifesto, I'm also reading Jose Ortega y Gasset's Revolt of the Masses. A book I find so fascinating I classify it as one of those books I am perpetually reading, i.e., Thorstein Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class and C. Wright Mills's The Power Elite.
"Advanced civilization is one and the same thing as arduous problems. Hence, the greater the progress, the greater danger it is in. Life gets gradually better, but evidently also gradually more complicated. Of course, as problems become more complex, the means of solving them also become more perfect" [p. 66, Revolt of the Masses, Mentor Books ed. 1950].
Come on, think about that. Progress breeds solutions, yes, but it also creates more and more complicated problems. These problems demand deeper and deeper thinking solutionists. Solvers. And this is the big-picture problem. We the People of the USA know the problems first hand. What we don't know and aren't getting are fact-checked solutions to the problems only solutions that just don't add up after they're put into law. Computers aren't helpful really. They think too fast. They solve hypothetical problems in the blinking of an eye. But their solutions are complicated in themselves. Like browsers. The more advanced and safe the browser the more complicated the problems associated with keeping that browser advanced and safe and protected and whatever.
"But each new generation must master these perfected means. Amongst them--to come to the concrete--there is one most plainly attached to the advance of a civilization, namely, that it have a great deal of the past at its back, a great deal of experience; in a word: history" [Ibid. p. 57].
This should lead one to wonder why President Obama has specifically voided looking at "a great deal of the [our] past." Look to the future, he says. "There's hope on the morrow." Thinking in hypotheses toward an unknown future.
"...there is not one stock phrase of the many that human experience has produced regarding revolutions which does not receive distressful confirmation when applied to this one [the Russky Revolution of 1917]. 'Revolution devours its own children.' 'Revolution starts from a moderate party, proceeds to the extremists, and soon begins to fall back on some form of restoration' [like the Chinese Commies now becoming one of the richest economies in the world; a Communist country now with property owners and new billionaires galore--side by side with the poorest peasant class as well as workingclass in the world], etc., etc. To these venerable commonplaces might be added other truths less well known, though not less probable, amongst them this one: a revolution does not last more than fifteen years, the period which coincides with the flourishing of a generation" [Ibid. p. 57]. Which leads to a brilliant footnote explaining how what the flourishing of a generation means in terms of a generation being based on 30 year periods.
If I remember my Hegel correctly, I believe he's the source of "history repeats itself"--I may be wrong about that, but Hegel did say we progressed, then we regressed, then we progressed again. Even old Charles Dow, the original Dow of the Dow-Jones Average, believed in cyclical events in terms of investing in the stock market. Dow based his business cycles on the effect the moon had on the tides.
I mean look at how We the People collectively learned nothing from our losing of the Vietnam War--in spite of the Pentagon Papers revealing what a sham of a war it was and what a cruel and devastating effect it had on the Vietnamese people--2 million of them died so that We the People of the USA could lose 55,000 of our own young men in trying to bring these people we knew absolutely nothing about democracy and freedom and liberty and justice for all. OH HOW FUCKING HYPOCRITICAL and PHONY THIS COUNTRY AND ITS PEOPLE ARE! There's no unity in this country. We love divisions. Look at our sports leagues. Many divisions. Look at our corporations. Divisions. Our gossip is divisive not humorously positive. Our comedians now are verbally mean, snide, pompous, and definitely very not funny--especially the fatty ones--especially the big fat Black chicks that come on with that phony Wendy Williams Black pretense.... I pause and catch my live-and-let-live breath. As Chester Riley used to say, "What a revolting development this is."
William Bendix (a Mexican-hating racist) as Chester A. Riley (with his daughter, Babs) from the ancient teevee show "The Life of Riley"
Another Jazzman Has Bought the Farm:
Marion Brown, 79, American jazz saxophonist
for The Daily Growler
--------------------------------No Need to Dig for Truth Here---------------------------------------