Thread: "Why Don't The Poor Rise Up?"

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  1. #1
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    Default "Why Don't The Poor Rise Up?"

    So! I'm slated to speak on a panel for the launch of a new book called "Why Don't The Poor Rise Up?" - a significant chunk is available to read *for free* on Google Books.

    The premise is, in some ways, straight forward. However, there's room for some more nuanced explorations around questions like, "How are the ways in which the poor are already rising up made invisible?" and "What is the relationship between the left's understanding of 'the poor' and our understanding of 'rising up'?" and so on.

    I only have 8 minutes to speak, so I'll have to be succinct, but . . . I'd love to hear all y'alls thoughts, even if at best I'll be conveying a sloppy synthesis.
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  3. #2
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    They don't rise up as they are constantly disarmed by the establishment. Trade Unions used to be able to drive countries to a standstill if the government tried to screw over the worker, but now, the Unions kowtow and quickly go back to working for the government. This applies to all unions pretty much, regardless of the sector they 'stand up' for.
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  5. #3
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    I read the introductory section. I find it odd that it spends more time advocating a course of action as opposed to answering the question that it puts forward in its title but maybe there's more of that in the assembled pieces. It also struck me somewhat as a little odd where it would take a somewhat negative perspective of those it called 'state socialists', such as Marx, whilst quoting positively the likes of Amilcar Cabral and Frantz Fanon but whatever.

    Talking about Fanon, the topic reminds me of a part in 'The Wretched of the Earth' where he's talking about all the things that prevents individuals from having the confidence to rise up and he says, "In capitalist societies the educational system, whether lay or clerical, the structure of moral reflexes handed down from father to son, the exemplary honesty of workers who are given a medal after fifty years of good and loyal service and the affection which springs from harmonious relations and good behaviour - all these aesthetic expressions of respect for the established order serve to create around the exploited person an atmosphere of submission and of inhibition which lightens the task of policing considerably. In the capitalist countries a multitude of moral teachers, counsellors and 'bewilderers' separate the exploited from those in power. In colonial countries, on the contrary, the policeman and the soldier, by their immediate presence and their frequent and direct action maintain contact with the native and advise him by means of rifle-butts and napalm not to budge. It is obvious here that the agents of government speak the language of pure force." In other words, all these traditions and this pervading ideology of capitalism does more than any police baton could to suppress dissent. In fact, an iron fist only reveals the truth of the situation to the person it strikes which is why some white workers, who have never experienced police oppression, cannot comprehend the frustrations of black workers in regards to police oppression. It is definitely something that I feel rings true in my own thoughts about the question 'why don't people just rise up?' or however you want to word it.

    I would be interested to hear what your own thoughts on the piece and what you're thinking about talking about.
    Modern democracy is nothing but the freedom to preach whatever is to the advantage of the bourgeoisie - Lenin

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  7. #4
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    'in what ways is revolt made invisible' and in what ways is revolt kept separated to avoid continuity

    how does the draw towards social activity or commune or w/e get used to draw people back to the society that broke and cast them out to begin with
    "whatever they might make would never be the same as that world of dark streets and bright dreams"

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    The question is premised on a false binary: rising up or lying down. Reality is much more complex. In the first place, the "poor" is not a homogeneous group. As we know from basic intersectional theory, there are many different vectors of oppression at play at any given time with a single person. The "poor" are not just economically oppressed, we can suffer from any number of other oppressive systems at the same time. Thus, to ask why "they" are not "rising up" is a shit question in the first place. Many of the poor, if we want to speak generally, are rising up and have been for centuries.

    The real question, and the one I'd raise if I was on this panel, is why we feel the need to ask this terrible question in the first place. Perhaps it has to do with a fundamental disassociation between those who ask and the subject of their question. Do those who ask consider themselves poor? If so, are they rising up? If not, then why are they asking?

    Questions like the OP can be reformed to make a point: why don't black people just obey the law and not get shot? Why don't women wear less attractive clothing to avoid sexual assault? Each of these questions carries a misunderstanding of structural systems built into it as a premise.
    If we have no business with the construction of the future or with organizing it for all time, there can still be no doubt about the task confronting us at present: the ruthless criticism of the existing order, ruthless in that it will shrink neither from its own discoveries, nor from conflict with the powers that be.
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    The question is premised on a false binary: rising up or lying down. Reality is much more complex. In the first place, the "poor" is not a homogeneous group. As we know from basic intersectional theory, there are many different vectors of oppression at play at any given time with a single person. The "poor" are not just economically oppressed, we can suffer from any number of other oppressive systems at the same time. Thus, to ask why "they" are not "rising up" is a shit question in the first place. Many of the poor, if we want to speak generally, are rising up and have been for centuries.

    The real question, and the one I'd raise if I was on this panel, is why we feel the need to ask this terrible question in the first place. Perhaps it has to do with a fundamental disassociation between those who ask and the subject of their question. Do those who ask consider themselves poor? If so, are they rising up? If not, then why are they asking?

    Questions like the OP can be reformed to make a point: why don't black people just obey the law and not get shot? Why don't women wear less attractive clothing to avoid sexual assault? Each of these questions carries a misunderstanding of structural systems built into it as a premise.
    So to the more nuanced aspects brought up, in what ways is our species at war with the totality, and how does that remain invisible. The panel spot could spin the notion that there has been some specific expectation of rising up. Refusal is revolt, crime is revolt etc,..
    Last edited by Ele'ill; 15th September 2017 at 17:50.
    "whatever they might make would never be the same as that world of dark streets and bright dreams"

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    Maybe they don't have a class consciousness, if even such thing still exists. The poor revolted in the French Revolution but were subverted by the bourgeois class, etc.
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    Hi, thanks a lot for this great important topic. I wrote a minutes ago, something related to this. Of why the poor and the left today is so weak.

    One of my theories on why there has been a rise of the right-wing, people, poor people, regular income people, shifting toward the right-wing and toward the far-right wing, is that because most countries have a right-wing political system (capitalism, privatized businesses and services). It does not require a lot of fighting, violence and anger and reage to support right-wing options and far-right options. While leftist options since they are anti-capitalism (which is the political system of the whole society and status quo) requires a lot more fighting attitude, a lot more will to fight, will to combat, to protect yourself if you are a leftist activist against the right-wing system, the right-wing traditions and the right-wing philosophy of life.

    And since most humans are scared of every thing, weak paranoid, it is a lot easier to support political commentators that present themselves as revolutionaries like Alex Jones, Michael Rivero, Michael Savage, David Duke etc. who at the endof the day are not really radicals and revolutionaries, because those political talking heads are pro-capitalism. And being pro-capitalism in a country governed by capitalist parties is not revolutionary and does not require any fighting, any warrior attitude at all. While being pro-communism in countries ruled by capitalist parties rerequires a lot more fighting, against the majority who are anti-communism and pro-capitalism. And I think that's maybe why there is a rise in the right-wing political options. Maybe humans are weaker, the warrior instincts of people have been maimed and destroyed by the excess of technology, schools, religion etc. And also, the whole left of the whole world is not doing their job like they are supposed to. The left is a pretty bad shape right now. And it is the task of leftist activists who hate capitalism to be like heroes, saviours of the left of the whole world

    So! I'm slated to speak on a panel for the launch of a new book called "Why Don't The Poor Rise Up?" - a significant chunk is available to read *for free* on Google Books.

    The premise is, in some ways, straight forward. However, there's room for some more nuanced explorations around questions like, "How are the ways in which the poor are already rising up made invisible?" and "What is the relationship between the left's understanding of 'the poor' and our understanding of 'rising up'?" and so on.

    I only have 8 minutes to speak, so I'll have to be succinct, but . . . I'd love to hear all y'alls thoughts, even if at best I'll be conveying a sloppy synthesis.
    "All you read and, wear or see and hear on TV is a product begging for your fatass dirty dollar." -Hooker with a Penis
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    There is also a problem in the leadership of the leftist parties. Many intellectuals, and leaders of the marxist left offend oppressed people who are new into marxism, into socialism. And who because they are new into socialism write things sometimes that offend and might harm the leftists who are older, who are more well-read in marxism literature. That happens a lot in parties like The Socialist Equality Party of USA of David North, Jerry White, Niles Neimuth, in Marxist think tanks, like the owners of the website marxists.org, in the Socialist Party of USA, and I think that might kill the morivation of oppressed people to keep supporting leftist parties, so at the end of the day, those oppressed who have had negative experiences with marxist comrades, might go back to the traditional parties like Democrats and Republicans

    Because nobody wants to be in a political party, in a group, where they are treated like trash. There is a lot of elitism in many marxist parties. I was a member of the Socialist Equality Party of USA and I used to be a regular commentator in their news website World Socialist Website, but I had to quit, most people there are not friendly at all. They are very cold, harass and offend others, and maybe that's one of the major reasons of why many leftist marxist parties never grow and why traditional capitalist parties even in the middle of economic crisis are able to have more popularity. Another reason might be that the socialist experiments of Venezuela, Brazil, the latest scandals of some leftist presidents involved in the Odebretch scandals, in which Lula Dasilva and Dilma Rossueuf have been accused of corruption scandals, might kill the motivation of people to support socialism. And also the inability of Nicolas Maduro to nationalize corporations and to force Venezuela toward a workers-state, which is what Hugo Chavez had in mind. Also has killed the motivation of many people to support socialism. There are other causes as well

    Maybe they don't have a class consciousness, if even such thing still exists. The poor revolted in the French Revolution but were subverted by the bourgeois class, etc.
    "All you read and, wear or see and hear on TV is a product begging for your fatass dirty dollar." -Hooker with a Penis
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    The question is premised on a false binary: rising up or lying down. Reality is much more complex. In the first place, the "poor" is not a homogeneous group. As we know from basic intersectional theory, there are many different vectors of oppression at play at any given time with a single person. The "poor" are not just economically oppressed, we can suffer from any number of other oppressive systems at the same time. Thus, to ask why "they" are not "rising up" is a shit question in the first place. Many of the poor, if we want to speak generally, are rising up and have been for centuries.

    The real question, and the one I'd raise if I was on this panel, is why we feel the need to ask this terrible question in the first place. Perhaps it has to do with a fundamental disassociation between those who ask and the subject of their question. Do those who ask consider themselves poor? If so, are they rising up? If not, then why are they asking?

    Questions like the OP can be reformed to make a point: why don't black people just obey the law and not get shot? Why don't women wear less attractive clothing to avoid sexual assault? Each of these questions carries a misunderstanding of structural systems built into it as a premise.
    There are many binaries, not necessarily all are false. Rich/poor, reality/unreality, homogeneous/ heterogeneous, oppression/support, progress/regress, etc. In fact, falseness is part of the false binary of false/true.

    The real issue is the historical development of the revolt of the poor (revolt of the masses as Ortega y Gasset termed it.) You say yourself that the poor have risen in the past and are rising up now. If so, where and when? There are the Peasant Rebellion, the French Revolution. Where are the current risings of the poor? Was Nat Turner's Rebellion a rising of the poor?

    The poor don't have weapons, they don't know military strategy (see Engel's Intro to The Civil war in France,) they are hungry and weak, they haven't reached the point where they have nothing to lose, but what's worse, they see the rich as superior human beings, i.e., they have no class consciousness.
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  16. #11
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    Can I ask how the talk went? What did you choose to discuss and what was the response of the audience?
    Modern democracy is nothing but the freedom to preach whatever is to the advantage of the bourgeoisie - Lenin

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    Can I ask how the talk went? What did you choose to discuss and what was the response of the audience?
    It's not until Wednesday. But I'll defs post my "debriefing" thoughts.
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  19. #13
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    The real issue is the historical development of the revolt of the poor (revolt of the masses as Ortega y Gasset termed it.) You say yourself that the poor have risen in the past and are rising up now. If so, where and when? There are the Peasant Rebellion, the French Revolution. Where are the current risings of the poor? Was Nat Turner's Rebellion a rising of the poor?
    It's not about "where and when." That is fitting a revolt into a historical paradigm and in some ways it cripples any revolt. It ascribes to it a beginning and an end. For many of us the revolt is everyday life; it "began" when we were forced into an exploitative, oppressive, colonial system. When does it end? Look at what happened to the USSR, a system that was dedicated to a "where and when" approach to revolt. These ideological narratives are overly binding and restrict the tools necessary to adequately maneuver within the system at hand. We cannot conceptualize revolt (other than in hindsight); it is only ever actualized.

    The poor don't have weapons, they don't know military strategy (see Engel's Intro to The Civil war in France,) they are hungry and weak, they haven't reached the point where they have nothing to lose, but what's worse, they see the rich as superior human beings, i.e., they have no class consciousness.
    This is remarkably patronizing and insulting. If anyone is acting like a "superior human being" here it is not the rich, it is you. This is an ongoing issue with much of the left and this idea that we can dictate or prescribe what other people should do. Substitute the words "black people" for "poor" and you can see how sad your statement is.

    - - - Updated - - -

    So to the more nuanced aspects brought up, in what ways is our species at war with the totality, and how does that remain invisible. The panel spot could spin the notion that there has been some specific expectation of rising up. Refusal is revolt, crime is revolt etc,..
    Yes, "rising up" usually involves some specific expectation; this is an excellent point. In fact, it is a decisive aspect of the totality: framing. I believe that this war remains invisible because ultimately it is a war against cannibalism, and you cannot make visible that which is you, at least not in this society.
    If we have no business with the construction of the future or with organizing it for all time, there can still be no doubt about the task confronting us at present: the ruthless criticism of the existing order, ruthless in that it will shrink neither from its own discoveries, nor from conflict with the powers that be.
    - Karl Marx

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