Friday, October 25, 2013

Riding your bike to the revolution

-- Critical Mass, the monthly flashmob on bicycles, is happening again this evening.  If you're not a fan of anarchy in action, then steer your car away from it.  Don't be like Ken Hoffman or even my friend Neil and whine about it.

It's just another component of the disruptor society we live in now.  Adapt.

-- There's some polling out that suggests that politicians are missing the boat on the issue that is at the forefront of Americans' minds...

If only the politicians would listen to the polls. Yes, you read that right. What is happening in Washington symbolizes a dangerous disconnect between the priorities of the voters and those of their elected leaders.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll this week found that 75 percent of all Americans consider the economy to be in “not so good” or “poor” condition. The 2 percent in the poll who pronounce the economy to be in “excellent” shape presumably work on Wall Street.
The voters get it. “I have done a lot of focus groups in the last few years,” says Republican strategist David Winston, who advises the House and Senate GOP leadership. “And there’s one number that people know — and that’s the unemployment rate. And they’re sophisticated about it. They know that the unemployment rate understates things because of people leaving the workforce.”

Every poll tells the same story about what animates voters. A mid-September CBS News/New York Times poll, conducted before the government shutdown, found that 34 percent of Americans call the economy and jobs “the most important problem facing this country today.” In contrast, only 8 percent highlighted health care and a paltry 6 percent singled out the budget deficit and the national debt.

...but apparently not Texans' minds, and certainly not in the minds of Houstonians

Political analysts said economic development is an important policy discussion, but a less useful political one. A recent poll showed 12 percent of voters chose jobs and the economy as the city's most important problem, behind crime, roads and traffic; two years ago, 43 percent chose jobs and the economy.

I would suggest, obviously, that this is because the Houston and Texas economy are booming.  This irony seems to be another part of the Lone Star disconnect previously mentioned.

-- Speaking of revolution...

The British left weekly New Statesman has taken a chance on an up-and-coming rogue editor, but the actor-comedian and newly welcomed progressive-minded firebrand Russell Brand seems so far to be a brilliant and elegant choice.

Tapped to guest-edit the magazine's 'Revolution' issue this week, Brand is making waves both for his feature-length essay on the topic but also with a televised interview that aired Wednesday night on the BBC with veteran Newsnight anchor Jeremy Paxman. In the ten-minute interview, the 38-year-old Brand points at the futility of voting in a corrupt democratic system determined to serve the interests of the ruling class and not only predicts, but guarantees, that the "disenfranchised, disillusioned underclass" created by the current economic and political system—both in the UK and worldwide—will rise up in popular revolution against the failings of the current corporate-controlled paradigm.

Paxman questioned why a comedian such as Brand, especially one who doesn't vote, should be trusted to offer his views on the political system.

"I don't get my authority from this preexisting paradigm which is quite narrow and only serves a few people," Russell responded, himself questioning why voting or not voting in a corrupt lopsided system should provide moral or intellectual authority. "I look elsewhere for alternatives that might be of service to humanity."

In response to Paxman asking if he saw any reason for hope, Brand jumped at the question "Yeah, totally. There's going to be a revolution. It's totally going to happen," he said. "I ain't got a flicker of doubt. This is the end—it's time to wake up."

Russell Brand is my kind of leftist.  However he rejects participating in the political system by not voting -- the premise being that voting lends an air of authenticity to a system too corrupt to change with just votes -- which I do not agree with.

Early voting results locally seem to suggest that a tide may be turning in this regard... yet another contradiction here in Deep-In-The-Hearta.

I think I need to pump up the tires on my bicycle.  You know, just in case.


Greg said...

Russell Brand reminds me of the professor at my major midwestern university who had his office decorated with pictures of himself with Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega, and various Marxist leaders from around the world. He used his Intro to US Government class to rail against the evils of the capitalist system and the exploitation of the masses.

Right up until the semester he was gone.

It seems his uncle (who had put him through college) had died, leaving him several million dollars and control of a closely held corporation that manufactured electronics. Rather than divest himself of his new riches and give the workers control of the factory, he held on to it all. Given the chance to walk the talk he had been mouthing for so many years, he showed himself to be just another bourgeois communist who didn't really believe what he had to say.

Russel Brand says there should be no profit and no rich people -- but sustains himself in a phenomenally wealthy lifestyle because of the profits of the tax-break laden entertainment industry. Hypocrite!

PDiddie said...

Yeah, not a huge fan of Brand's as it relates to his tactics (as previously mentioned).

He's about to find out -- if he hasn't already -- that the cost of revolution has to be funded in part by capitalists who have soured on capitalism. So he should be getting lots of requests right about now to put his money where his mouth is.