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[Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam International



Paul thank you for sharing that painful reality
Yours
Tom


On 23 January 2014 16:25, Dr. Paul C. Mocombe <pmocombe@mocombeian.com>wrote:

> Tom,
>
> May i also recommend Laurent Du Bois's "Avengers of the new world" as
> well...great analysis of toussaint ' s position.  Toussaint was a despot,
> who made himself governor for life of French saint-domingue.
>
> Essentially, what happened to Haiti after the revolution was what the
> africans and dessalines wanted.  Alexander petion, following the deaths of
> christophe and dessalines, allowed the majority of the africans in the
> north to maintain their own land where they practiced subsistence farming
> and sold their goods on own provincial markets, while the mulatto and petit
> - bourgeois classes in the south established commercial ties outside of
> haiti.  There was no or very little intervention by the state in the
> affairs of the peasants...For example, I can trace ownership of my
> families' land back to the time of the revolution. ..my grandfather farmed
> the same land to send my dad and me to university.  Today, we must decide
> what to do with the land amidst the emerging bourgeois state and it's
> decentralization efforts and development of the productive forces.  Many
> peasants are being thrown off their land for hotels, industrial parks,
> commercial farming etc.  (The case of Ile la lavche, small island off the
> southern coast of haiti where the government wants to turn it into the
> countries main tourist destination is a large example of what is going on
> in haiti today).  In a country in which 60-70 percent of the people are
> peasant farmers who have been on their land since the 18th century this is
> very problematic...similar to the English situation with the end of the
> feudal era.
>
> Yes, we, and I include myself in this statement, consider capitalism a
> white destructive socio-religious ethos, which stands against our african
> communal vodou ethos.  I was raised on kreyol proverbs such as, "cooked
> food has no ownership"; "hands together the load is not heavy"...and many
> more.  This view was usually juxtaposed against the individualism of whites
> and the mulatto elites in the capital city of the island.  In fact, we
> continuously juxtapose the two positions by calling ourselves either the
> children of dessalines or the children of petion...the children of petion
> want to allow the whites and wage slavery on the island, and the children
> of dessalines want to remove ourselves from the global economy and live as
> our ancestors did...subsistence peasant farming...the government today is
> walking a tightrope on this issue...investing millions of dollars into the
> agricultural sector by supporting the peasant classes, many are refusing to
> get off the land.
>
> Witnessing this entire process unfold, I have begun to question
> everything, modernity, progress, enlightenment, social change, etc., I
> learned in grad school...
>
>
> Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
> President
> The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
> www.mocombeian.com
> www.readingroomcurriculum.com
>
> <div>-------- Original message --------</div><div>From: Tom Richardson <
> tom.richardson3@googlemail.com> </div><div>Date:01/23/2014  10:39 AM
>  (GMT-05:00) </div><div>To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <
> xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu> </div><div>Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the
> Few | Oxfam International </div><div>
> </div>Hello Paul
> A fascinating post. I had never heard of black opposition to the original
> Haitian Revolution. I shall have to get CLRJames off my shelf. Your example
> does perfectly illustrate your original question with its sense of
> insoluble quandary.
>
> Off the top of my head, and not meant as a destructive rejoinder, just
> where I am, I tend to assume/presume that any 'change' is towards a fuller
> development of the productive forces and a trend towards a fuller assertion
> of humanist materialism (philosophical sense).
>
> So, if Toussaint's vision was of a movement towards property-owning
> bourgeois formal democracy, as was the French version across the Atlantic,
> rather than a continuation of a subsistence farming economy, and a
> shamanic-spirituality sharing people, then I am on his side, whatever the
> establishment of capitalist forms and their exploitative nature.
>
> But that leaves me unable to dissolve your stony question. Unless my next
> observation / query elicits an illuminating answer , for me at least.
>
> Crucially,do you write out of a conviction that the problem with capitalism
> is that it is essentially a white socio-econo-politico-cultural form which,
> when it meets them,  will (intend to) destroy the more cohesive social
> forms of  any (e.g. Indian sub-continental, African)  grouping for whom the
> moment of human contact and the cultivation of welcoming sustaining
> society, with non-exploitative (e.g. prohibition of extortionate interest
> under sharia law is the limit of my knowledge but you will be able to
> supply many more) social forms is of paramount importance?
> As indeed my comment on C18th Haiti above betrays.
>
> Marx talks about this quandary in his discussion in Capital of the effect
> of British rapine and regulation in the (former) Indian sub-continent,
> although that will not get us very far in a polite discussion of social
> change if I am trying to persuade you that my sense of historical progress
> is one that you should share.
>
> Unfortunately that is where I stand, shocked at the apparent finality of my
> own statement, at present.
> Yours
> Tom
>
>
>
> On 22 January 2014 23:29, Dr. Paul C. Mocombe <pmocombe@mocombeian.com
> >wrote:
>
> > Tom,
> >
> > I hear what you are saying...i would disagree with that...toussaint
> > louverture
> > During the haitian revolution maintained haiti as a french plantation
> > colony with wage-labor.  To him that was a change from slave labor, but
> to
> > Macaya and Sans Souci and the newly arrived africans on the island, who
> > wanted to practice their vodou and have their own plot of land to grow
> > their own crops and practice peasant farming as they did in Africa, it
> was
> > the same system.  In fact, Macaya and Sans Souci and many of the maroons
> on
> > the island fought against toussaint, christophe, petion, etc. because
> they
> > felt they had become white men by attempting to reproduce their ways
> under
> > a different name.
> >
> > Similarly, the black american in order to convict the society of not
> > identifying with their christian values and liberalism had to behave like
> > liberal christians to highlight the hypocrisy and contradictions of the
> > state...i very much doubt it had King protested to practice vodou and
> > peasant farming america would have integrated blacks into its
> > discourse...however, the latter position would have presented an
> > alternative way of organizing and reproducing society against the
> > protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism of the American social
> > structure.
> >
> >
> >
> > Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
> > President
> > The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
> > www.mocombeian.com
> > www.readingroomcurriculum.com
> >
> > <div>-------- Original message --------</div><div>From: Tom Richardson <
> > tom.richardson3@googlemail.com> </div><div>Date:01/22/2014  5:36 PM
> >  (GMT-05:00) </div><div>To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <
> > xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu> </div><div>Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for
> the
> > Few | Oxfam International </div><div>
> > </div>Hello again Paul
> > Re-reading your reservation/explanation I can see that I have not
> answered
> > your assertion that no new structural concept was proposed. I think that
> > the thought behind my answer is that to bring about a functional change
> in
> > a concept whose behavioural demands are not  actually met / practised is,
> > effectively to have posited a structural concept - or am I getting too
> > sophisticated (pejorative sense intended) here -
> > I'm not sure what the problem is, since change, of whatever sort, can
> only
> > come about either by the efforts of those within any given society
> > attempting to achieve an actual adherence to behaviour(s) that their
> > society posits as arising from its guiding principles, or by suggesting
> > that certain forms (social/economic/political or all of the above ) that
> > that society already has, could be more beneficial / productive / moral
> by
> > changing them in certain ways that are presently resisted by interest
> > groups within their society, even if those proposing such change are not
> > themselves practising or able to do so, under present conditions (hence
> the
> > necessity of Andy B.'s 'collaborative effort/actions in order to get to
> > where the change-wishers want to be); i.e the proposers are not
> themselves
> > able at the moment of proposing change to constitute a changed entity
> That
> > state of affairs seems unavoidable and so, not a question for analysis,
> to
> > me, but I have no philosophical training, despite some inclination
> > Enough already - I've gone on long enough
> > Tom
> >
> >
> > On 22 January 2014 15:14, Dr. Paul C. Mocombe <pmocombe@mocombeian.com
> > >wrote:
> >
> > > Tom,
> > >
> > > I would agree with your yes...but for me their actions were
> > > structural/humanist.  That is, as adorno points out in identitarian
> > > logic...the thing (human) convicting the society of not identifying
> with
> > > itself....is identical with the thing it is convicting...so the black
> > > american leaders, like king, remained the thing they were against.
> They
> > > were americans simply convicting the society of not fully implementing
> > its
> > > structural concepts...they were not asking for new structural
> concepts...
> > >
> > >
> > > Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
> > > President
> > > The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
> > > www.mocombeian.com
> > > www.readingroomcurriculum.com
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > -------- Original message --------
> > > From: Tom Richardson <tom.richardson3@googlemail.com>
> > > Date:01/22/2014  9:52 AM  (GMT-05:00)
> > > To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
> > > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam International
> > >
> > > Dear Paul
> > > At the risk of being facetious, and I am actually serious, the answer
> to
> > > all three questions must be yes. But you didn't ask me and I'm looking
> > > forward to Andy B.'s answer(s).
> > > Tom Richardson
> > > Middlesbrough UK
> > >
> > >
> > > On 22 January 2014 14:47, Dr. Paul C. Mocombe <pmocombe@mocombeian.com
> > > >wrote:
> > >
> > > > Within the logic of
> > > > "Men make their
> > > > own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make
> > it
> > > > under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing
> > > > already, given and transmitted from the past", how is it people come
> to
> > > > change the world?  Dialectically (negative)? Based on your logic,
> andy,
> > > > would you say that the leaders of the black american civil rights
> > > movement
> > > > changed the world?... if so, was that a humanist act or a structural
> > one?
> > > >
> > > > Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
> > > > President
> > > > The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
> > > > www.mocombeian.com
> > > > www.readingroomcurriculum.com
> > > >
> > > > <div>-------- Original message --------</div><div>From: Andy Blunden
> <
> > > > ablunden@mira.net> </div><div>Date:01/22/2014  8:50 AM  (GMT-05:00)
> > > > </div><div>To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <
> > > xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
> > > > </div><div>Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam
> > > International
> > > > </div><div>
> > > > </div>Humanism and individualism (either methodological or ethical)
> are
> > > two
> > > > quite different things. Humanism is an extremely broad category, and
> I
> > > > think that very broadly humanism on one side, and structuralism
> > > > (together with functionalism and poststructuralism) on the other is
> one
> > > > way of viewing the social theoretical and ethical matrix. I identify
> as
> > > > a humanist because I do *not* see people (individually or
> collectively)
> > > > as prisoners of structures and functions, "interpellated" and
> > > > "subjectified" by great social powers, but rather that "Men make
> their
> > > > own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make
> > it
> > > > under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing
> > > > already, given and transmitted from the past". There is absolutely
> > > > nothing individalist about that position, but since agency is not an
> > > > illusion, it does pose the serious problem of how agency exists.
> > > > This is an important ethical and scientific question. If you stand on
> > > > the side of structuralism, you may be able to describe and even
> explain
> > > > how societies reproduce themselves, and how people betray each other,
> > > > make wars, waste their time in fruitless struggles, and in general
> show
> > > > themselves to be subjectified and interpellated, but it can never
> tell
> > > > you how a social formation at a certain point failed to reproduce
> > itself
> > > > and was overthrow in favour of another, how people act in solidarity
> > > > with others, how people stop a war, how struggles turn out sometimes
> to
> > > > not be fruitless and in general how people change the world.
> > > > Science is always for a purpose.
> > > > Structuralism is for the purpose of interpreting the world; humanism
> is
> > > > for the purpose of both understanding and changing it.
> > > >
> > > > Andy
> > > >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > > > *Andy Blunden*
> > > > http://home.mira.net/~andy/
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Dr. Paul C. Mocombe wrote:
> > > > > I have a problem with this notion of humanism being thrown around.
> > > > >  How is your humanism any different from althusser's "humanism"?
> > > > >  Althusser, for me, represents an aspect of our being in the world
> > > > > which highlights our unreflective acceptance of rules and ideas as
> > the
> > > > > nature of our being in the world...Whereas the humanist claim Andy
> > and
> > > > > rauno point to speaks to a sort of cartesian rational or
> > > > > self-conscious individual being.  The latter two want to establish
> > > > > society based on such an individual, I.e., subject...whereas,
> > > > > althusser is suggesting that not only is there no such individual,
> > but
> > > > > "there is no subject but by and for their subjection.."   So it
> > > > > appears as though you humanists are attempting to do what
> capitalists
> > > > > have done, manufacture subjects...will your humanist subjects be
> > > > > better than the laborers and consumers of capitalism?  In what
> sense?
> > > > >  How will you reproduce them?  How will they be defined?
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
> > > > > President
> > > > > The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
> > > > > www.mocombeian.com
> > > > > www.readingroomcurriculum.com
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > -------- Original message --------
> > > > > From: Rauno Huttunen
> > > > > Date:01/22/2014 5:13 AM (GMT-05:00)
> > > > > To: ablunden@mira.net,"eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
> > > > > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam International
> > > > >
> > > > > Hello,
> > > > >
> > > > > I am also a humanist but I still like to read Althusser.
> Althusser's
> > > > > theory of science and social theory are very interesting
> > > > > (generalization I-III, intransitive causality [generative
> > causality?],
> > > > > ideological state apparatus etc.). With the help of Giddens is
> > > > > possible to make kind of humanistic interpretation on Althusser's
> > > > > social theory.
> > > > >
> > > > > Althusser's former student (many famous French thinker were
> > > > > Althusser's students; Foucault, Derrida, Bourdieu, Badiou,
> Debray...)
> > > > > Jacques Ranciere is also very interesting. He break away from
> > > > > Althusser's school in 1970th and started his own kind of humanistic
> > > > > critical social theory. In his book "The Nights of Labor: The
> > Workers'
> > > > > Dream in Nineteenth-Century France" Ranciere claims that
> > Althusserians
> > > > > really don't care about working class, their intentions, their
> > > > > feelings, their thought, their dreams etc.. Althusserians say that
> > > > > they represents the objective interests of working class but
> actually
> > > > > they are telling to working class how workers should think and
> feel.
> > > > > For Ranciere Alhusserianism is just another form of ruling elite's
> > > > > ideology; ruling class ideology is just replaced with Althusserian
> > > > > party ideology.
> > > > >
> > > > > Rauno Huttunen
> > > > >
> > > > > -----Original Message-----
> > > > > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
> > > > > [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
> > > > > Sent: 22. tammikuuta 2014 4:34
> > > > > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > > > > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam International
> > > > >
> > > > > I don't know how you claim to be an optimist, Paul. For my part, I
> am
> > > > > deeply hostile to Althusser's entire project. Structuralism is
> itself
> > > > > the paradigm of the ideology of modern capitalism. I am a humanist.
> > > "Who
> > > > > will take that self-conscious act?" you ask. Obviously the answer
> is
> > > > > that the agent will be a collaborative project, itself the product
> of
> > > > > many collaborative projects, and yes, organic intellectuals have a
> > role
> > > > > to play it that project. But "a gramscian organic intellectual" is
> > not
> > > a
> > > > > serious answer, as if it were a case of one person. But "The
> > majority"
> > > > > (or intellectuals I presume you mean) is an empirical abstraction.
> So
> > > > > what? Who is counting? As if intellectual act as a unity according
> to
> > > > > majority votes of all intellectuals? Abstractions!
> > > > >
> > > > > Andy
> > > > >
> > >
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > > > > *Andy Blunden*
> > > > > http://home.mira.net/~andy/
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > Dr. Paul C. Mocombe wrote:
> > > > > > But your position, andy, begs the question who will take that
> > > > > > self-conscious act...a gramscian organic intellectual?  Where are
> > > > > > they?  They are not in africa for instance...evo morales in latin
> > > > > > america?  I am with althusser on this one.  The majority have
> been
> > > > > > interpellated by and through ideological apparatuses that present
> > > > > > capitalism as the nature of reality as such.  The masses think
> they
> > > > > > can all be and live like Mike (michael jordan), the atlanta
> > > > > > housewives, and basketball wives.  They love capitalism more than
> > the
> > > > > > capitalists....
> > > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > > > Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
> > > > > > President
> > > > > > The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
> > > > > > www.mocombeian.com
> > > > > > www.readingroomcurriculum.com
> > > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > > > -------- Original message --------
> > > > > > From: Andy Blunden
> > > > > > Date:01/21/2014 9:00 PM (GMT-05:00)
> > > > > > To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
> > > > > > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam International
> > > > > >
> > > > > > Which brings us back to what on Earth is meant by "mind," Paul,
> but
> > > no,
> > > > > > it is not my understanding at all that capitalism exists
> > irrespective
> > > > of
> > > > > > the armed bodies of men and their political off-shoots which
> > protect
> > > > > > those relations. Unlike you though, Paul, I do not ascribe a
> > > > personality
> > > > > > to "the Earth," or "humanity," "the poor," or "us academics."
> What
> > I
> > > am
> > > > > > saying however is that the overthrow of capitalist social
> relations
> > > and
> > > > > > thus the state which protects it, is a self-conscious act, a
> > > > > > collaborative project, not something which emerges mindlessly out
> > of
> > > > the
> > > > > > social process.
> > > > > >
> > > > > > Andy
> > > > > >
> > > >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > > > > > *Andy Blunden*
> > > > > > http://home.mira.net/~andy/
> > > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > > > Dr. Paul C. Mocombe wrote:
> > > > > > > Bill,
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > You speak of capitalism as though it has a mind of its own,
> I.e.,
> > > the
> > > > > > > free market.  No such thing as  Karl polanyi demonstrates in
> "the
> > > > > > > great transformation...The state has kept capitalism alive and
> > > going
> > > > > > > amidst it's crises.  The question becomes can we have a
> humanist
> > > > > > > capitalism somewhere between adam smith's "theory of moral
> > > > sentiments"
> > > > > > > and his "wealth of nations." Revisionist Marxists such as
> > Bernstein
> > > > > > > grappled with this question, and it continues to plague twenty
> > > first
> > > > > > > century socialists.
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
> > > > > > > President
> > > > > > > The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
> > > > > > > www.mocombeian.com
> > > > > > > www.readingroomcurriculum.com
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > -------- Original message --------
> > > > > > > From: Bill Kerr
> > > > > > > Date:01/21/2014 8:15 PM (GMT-05:00)
> > > > > > > To: Andy Blunden ,"eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
> > > > > > > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam International
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > My contention is that capitalism has these economic
> > > characteristics:
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > 1) General increase in standard of living
> > > > > > > 2) Increasing gap b/w rich and poor
> > > > > > > 3) Instability: periodic economic crises
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > If you only talk about (2) without mentioning (1) then it is
> hard
> > > to
> > > > > > grasp
> > > > > > > why people put up with capitalism. Bill and Melinda Gates just
> > talk
> > > > > > about
> > > > > > > (1) and ignore the other aspects. See
> > > > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > >
> > > >
> > >
> >
> http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304149404579324530112590864
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > If you can't stomach Bill and Melinda there are other version
> of
> > > this
> > > > > > > narrative. This video (Hans Rosling, GapMinder) is interesting:
> > > > > > > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbkSRLYSojo
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > The historical record suggests to me that provided (1) is
> > > maintained
> > > > > > then
> > > > > > > people will continue to tolerate capitalism. Whether capitalism
> > can
> > > > > > > maintain (1) depends on (3). The crisis of 2008 and the Occupy
> > Wall
> > > > > > Street
> > > > > > > movement suggested to me that it was time to do some serious
> > study
> > > of
> > > > > > > Marx's unfinished project or alternatively other economic
> > theories
> > > > > > such as
> > > > > > > Post Keynesian (Hyman Minsky, Steve Keen et al) which recognise
> > the
> > > > > > > inherent instability of capitalism. My tentative conclusion is
> > that
> > > > we
> > > > > > > just
> > > > > > > don't understand capitalism and it is very hard to understand.
> > eg.
> > > if
> > > > > > > capitalists can muddle through the downturns by printing more
> > money
> > > > > > > and the
> > > > > > > very serious economic downturns can be delayed by 70 years
> (Great
> > > > > > > Depression to 2008) then that might be a formula for survival
> (?)
> > > > > Absurd
> > > > > > > simplification on my part.
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > On Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 11:16 AM, Andy Blunden <
> > ablunden@mira.net>
> > > > > > wrote:
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > Which means, does it not Huw, propagating a counter-ethic, so
> > to
> > > > > > speak,
> > > > > > > > since arguments against an ethic are just words, and the
> maxim
> > is
> > > > > > always
> > > > > > > > "do as I do not as I say." But an ethic is meaningful, I
> > believe
> > > > > only
> > > > > > > > within some collaborative endeavour. My relationship to you
> is
> > > > > > > meaningful
> > > > > > > > only in connection of what we do, as we, together. I believe
> > that
> > > > > > > "Do unto
> > > > > > > > others as you would have them do unto you," is fine as far as
> > it
> > > > > > > goes, but
> > > > > > > > is inadequate to this mtulicultural, fragmented world.
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > Andy
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > > > > > > > *Andy Blunden*
> > > > > > > > http://home.mira.net/~andy/
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > Huw Lloyd wrote:
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > >> Going back to reference to the bubble and social psychology,
> > it
> > > > > > > seems to
> > > > > > > >> me that the "super rich" are to be pitied too.  I am not
> sure
> > > > > > > living in a
> > > > > > > >> bubble is such a nice thing, especially given the immaturity
> > > > > > > required to
> > > > > > > >> sustain it.
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >> I don't think it is the super rich which are to be
> combatted,
> > > > > > rather it
> > > > > > > >> is the inane notion that this is something to be admired or
> > > > > > > desired.  This,
> > > > > > > >> it seems to me, is a more obtainable and more rewarding
> > > exercise.
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >> Best,
> > > > > > > >> Huw
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >> On 22 January 2014 00:07, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
> > > <mailto:
> > > > > > > >> ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >>     But your foundation is active in combatting inequality
> > > through
> > > > > > > >>     literacy. "Every step of real movement is more important
> > > than
> > > > a
> > > > > > > >>     dozen programmes," as one very serious theorist said.
> > > > > > > >>     Andy
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > >
> > > http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1875/letters/75_05_05.htm
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >>
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > > > > > >> ------------
> > > > > > > >>     *Andy Blunden*
> > > > > > > >>     http://home.mira.net/~andy/ <
> > http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >>     Dr. Paul C. Mocombe wrote:
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >>         At 38 I am differing to my elders on this
> > one...albeit,
> > > I
> > > > > > > >>         agree with Andy...too young to be pessimistic, but
> > what
> > > I
> > > > > > have
> > > > > > > >>         seen happen to black america has really disappointed
> > me.
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >>         Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
> > > > > > > >>         President
> > > > > > > >>         The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
> > > > > > > >>         www.mocombeian.com <http://www.mocombeian.com>
> > > > > > > >>         www.readingroomcurriculum.com
> > > > > > > >>         <http://www.readingroomcurriculum.com>
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >>         -------- Original message --------
> > > > > > > >>         From: Andy Blunden
> > > > > > > >>         Date:01/21/2014 6:36 PM (GMT-05:00)
> > > > > > > >>         To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
> > > > > > > >>         Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam
> > > > > > International
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >>         David, you are quite correct that agreement on
> > > > > > fundamentals of
> > > > > > > >>         theory is
> > > > > > > >>         by no means necessary for collaboration (though on
> the
> > > > xmca
> > > > > > > >>         list this is
> > > > > > > >>         feasible). In a sense, the very meaning of
> > > > > "collaboration" is
> > > > > > > >>         that such
> > > > > > > >>         disagreement on fundamentals is suspended.
> > Nonetheless,
> > > in
> > > > > > > >>         raising the
> > > > > > > >>         proposal on this list your are inviting
> collaboration
> > on
> > > > > > > >>         formation of
> > > > > > > >>         the concept of this project, and I have accepted the
> > > > > > > invitation by
> > > > > > > >>         criticising your concept of the proposal. You have
> > > > > > propsed the
> > > > > > > >>         writing
> > > > > > > >>         of an article countering the narrative of Ayn Rand
> > that
> > > > > "the
> > > > > > > >>         ultra-wealthy are the engines of advancement and
> > > > prosperity
> > > > > > > >>         and the
> > > > > > > >>         saviors of society" and to argue instead that "the
> > > gradual
> > > > > > > >>         shift in
> > > > > > > >>         political control of the economy over the past 50
> > years
> > > > > > by the
> > > > > > > >>         ultra-wealthy has reached a kind of tipping point in
> > > > > > which the
> > > > > > > >>         gains in
> > > > > > > >>         disparity are so dramatic as to overwhelm any sense
> of
> > > > > actual
> > > > > > > >>         self-interest." My response is "Well, hello!" This
> is
> > > > > > > hardly news,
> > > > > > > >>         David. This has been argued (correctly) for several
> > > > > > > centuries. The
> > > > > > > >>         wealthy have always been a class of parasites;
> social
> > > > > > > progress has
> > > > > > > >>         always been only in the teeth of opposition from all
> > but
> > > > > > a few
> > > > > > > >>         of that
> > > > > > > >>         class. I would argue that it is better to enter some
> > > > actual
> > > > > > > >>         project
> > > > > > > >>         aimed against capitalism and ineqaulity and
> > participate
> > > > > > in the
> > > > > > > >>         argument
> > > > > > > >>         about strategy and tactics. Being 68, after 50 years
> > of
> > > > > such
> > > > > > > >>         participation, I accept a somewhat arm's length
> > > > > > participation,
> > > > > > > >>         but the
> > > > > > > >>         protagonists (wether real or imagined) are those
> > > actually
> > > > > > > >>         engaged in
> > > > > > > >>         that struggle in any formm about how best to further
> > > that
> > > > > > > >>         struggle. Not
> > > > > > > >>         the *generalities*, in my view. But I am pleased
> that
> > > > > you are
> > > > > > > >>         taking up
> > > > > > > >>         the battle and I wish you well. All I can do is
> offer
> > my
> > > > > > > >>         reflections on
> > > > > > > >>         your object-concept, as others have and will.
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >>         Andy
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > > > > > >> ------------
> > > > > > > >>         *Andy Blunden*
> > > > > > > >>         http://home.mira.net/~andy/ <
> > > > http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >>         David H Kirshner wrote:
> > > > > > > >>         >> It would appear ...
> > > > > > > >>         >>    >
> > > > > > > >>         > Doesn't appear that way to me.
> > > > > > > >>         > In fact, it's not clear to me, contrary to Andy
> and
> > > > Paul,
> > > > > > > >>         that in a practical endeavor one has to come to
> terms
> > > with
> > > > > > > >>         foundational issues, at all.
> > > > > > > >>         > The fact that social psychology may not have the
> > > > > > foundations
> > > > > > > >>         right doesn't imply that it has no insight to offer,
> > or
> > > > > > that a
> > > > > > > >>         make-shift frame of reference can't provide a stable
> > > > enough
> > > > > > > >>         foundation to move people forward (collectively and
> > > > > > > >>         individually). Indeed, isn't that the necessary way
> > > > > > forward in
> > > > > > > >>         any practical endeavor, given the absence of fully
> > > > > worked out
> > > > > > > >>         foundational perspectives (and given the need to
> > > > > address the
> > > > > > > >>         world as we find it, without the theorist's option
> of
> > > > > > > >>         restricting the domain of inquiry within tractable
> > > > > > parameters)?
> > > > > > > >>         > David
> > > > > > > >>         >
> > > > > > > >>         >
> > > > > > > >>         > -----Original Message-----
> > > > > > > >>         > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
> > > > > > > >>         <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
> > > > > > > >>         [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
> > > > > > > >>         <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>] On Behalf
> > Of
> > > > Dr.
> > > > > > > >>         Paul C. Mocombe
> > > > > > > >>         > Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 6:12 AM
> > > > > > > >>         > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity;
> > > ablunden@mira.net
> > > > > > > >>         <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>
> > > > > > > >>         > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam
> > > > > > > International
> > > > > > > >>         >
> > > > > > > >>         > Andy and david,
> > > > > > > >>         >
> > > > > > > >>         > It would appear that any counter - narrative would
> > > > > have to
> > > > > > > >>         be anti-dialectical and counter-hegemonic, I.e.,
> > > > > > > >>         anti-individual, anti-capitalist, anti-humanity...
> > Can
> > > > > > such a
> > > > > > > >>         counter - narrative come from a humanity, including
> us
> > > > > > > >>         academics, subjectified to reproduce individual
> > wealth,
> > > > > > upward
> > > > > > > >>         mobility, and status at the expense of the masses of
> > > poor
> > > > > > > >>         around the world, paradoxically, seeking our
> bourgeois
> > > > > > > >>         lifestyle? >
> > > > > > > >>         > I ask because,  it would appear that the earth,in
> > > > marxian
> > > > > > > >>         terms, as a class for itself, has been begging for
> > > > > > humanity to
> > > > > > > >>         change the way it recursively reorganize and
> reproduce
> > > > it's
> > > > > > > >>         being-in-it over the last 100 years, but we
> > consistently
> > > > > > > >>         refuse.  Instead, turning to dialectical measures,
> > > > > fracking,
> > > > > > > >>         carbon credits, neoliberalism, etc., to attempt to
> > > > > > resolve our
> > > > > > > >>         problems and maintain the protestant ethic and the
> > > > > spirit of
> > > > > > > >>         capitalism as an "enframing" (heidegger's term)
> > > ontology.
> > > > > > > >>         >
> > > > > > > >>         > I am not a pessimistic person, but it appears that
> > in
> > > > > this
> > > > > > > >>         case we are all dead we just do not know it yet.
> > > > > > > >>         >
> > > > > > > >>         >
> > > > > > > >>         > Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
> > > > > > > >>         > President
> > > > > > > >>         > The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
> > > > > > > >>         > www.mocombeian.com <http://www.mocombeian.com>
> > > > > > > >>         > www.readingroomcurriculum.com
> > > > > > > >>         <http://www.readingroomcurriculum.com>
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >>         >
> > > > > > > >>         > <div>-------- Original message
> > > --------</div><div>From:
> > > > > > > >>         David H Kirshner <dkirsh@lsu.edu <mailto:
> > dkirsh@lsu.edu
> > > >>
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >>         </div><div>Date:01/21/2014  2:50 AM  (GMT-05:00)
> > > > > > > >>         </div><div>To: ablunden@mira.net
> > > > > > > >>         <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>,"eXtended Mind, Culture,
> > > > > Activity"
> > > > > > > >>         <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu <mailto:
> > > xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
> > > > >>
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >>         </div><div>Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the
> Few |
> > > > > Oxfam
> > > > > > > >>         International </div><div>
> > > > > > > >>         > </div>Andy,
> > > > > > > >>         > I suppose social psychology's unitary and
> > a-historical
> > > > > > > >>         ascription of the human sense of material well-being
> > as
> > > > > > > >>         relative to other people (rather than as relative to
> > > > > > one's own
> > > > > > > >>         past) gets it wrong from the start. Still, I think
> it
> > > > > > provides
> > > > > > > >>         a way to understand the individual pursuit of
> wealth,
> > > > > carried
> > > > > > > >>         to its limits, as anti-social and destructive; an
> > > > effective
> > > > > > > >>         counter-narrative to the libertarian ideal of the
> > > > > individual
> > > > > > > >>         unfettered by societal constraints. We badly need a
> > > > > > > >>         counter-narrative to regain some kind of political
> > > > leverage
> > > > > > > >>         for ordinary citizens.
> > > > > > > >>         > If anyone would like to help pull that together in
> > > > > the form
> > > > > > > >>         of a paper, please reply, on-line or off-.
> > > > > > > >>         > Thanks.
> > > > > > > >>         > David
> > > > > > > >>         > dkirsh@lsu.edu <mailto:dkirsh@lsu.edu>
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >>         >
> > > > > > > >>         >
> > > > > > > >>         > -----Original Message-----
> > > > > > > >>         > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
> > > > > > > >>         <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
> > > > > > > >>         [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
> > > > > > > >>         <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>] On Behalf
> > Of
> > > > Andy
> > > > > > > >>         Blunden
> > > > > > > >>         > Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 12:13 AM
> > > > > > > >>         > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > > > > > > >>         > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam
> > > > > > > International
> > > > > > > >>         >
> > > > > > > >>         > I certainly hope so, David, or at least, I hope to
> > > > > read and
> > > > > > > >>         participate in acting out the opening chapter of
> that
> > > > > > > narrative.
> > > > > > > >>         >
> > > > > > > >>         > I do think that the "99%/1%" narrative was a
> project
> > > > > doomed
> > > > > > > >>         to failure however, as it conceived of itself as a
> > > linear
> > > > > > > >>         expansion which would somehow bypass social and
> > > > ideological
> > > > > > > >>         differences. It did not conceive of itselfr as a
> > project
> > > > at
> > > > > > > >>         all. Just a mesage about the one true world which
> > > > > > everyone had
> > > > > > > >>         to come to. Truly magical realism. The plot lies
> > > > > implicit in
> > > > > > > >>         the opening chapter, but it is always far from easy
> to
> > > > > > see how
> > > > > > > >>         the plot will unfold itself though the multiple
> > > > story-lines
> > > > > > > >>         entailed in this conundrum, Andy
> > > > > > > >>         >
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > > > > > >> ------------
> > > > > > > >>         > *Andy Blunden*
> > > > > > > >>         > http://home.mira.net/~andy/
> > > > > <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >>         >
> > > > > > > >>         >
> > > > > > > >>         > David H Kirshner wrote:
> > > > > > > >>         >  >> The operative narrative, at least in the U.S.
> > > > > context,
> > > > > > > >>         dictated by Ayn Rand, is that the ultra-wealthy are
> > the
> > > > > > > >>         engines of advancement and prosperity and the
> saviors
> > of
> > > > > > > >>         society. What is in their best interest is in all of
> > > > > our best
> > > > > > > >>         interests. We very badly need a counter-narrative.
> > > > > > > >>         >> Andy, is this practical project something that
> can
> > be
> > > > > > > >>         undertaken and completed in real-time as a
> theoretical
> > > > > > project?
> > > > > > > >>         >> David
> > > > > > > >>         >>
> > > > > > > >>         >>
> > > > > > > >>         >> -----Original Message-----
> > > > > > > >>         >> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
> > > > > > > >>         <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
> > > > > > > >>         >> [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
> > > > > > > >>         <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>] On Behalf
> > Of
> > > > Andy
> > > > > > > >>         Blunden
> > > > > > > >>         >> Sent: Monday, January 20, 2014 11:06 PM
> > > > > > > >>         >> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > > > > > > >>         >> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam
> > > > > > > International
> > > > > > > >>         >>
> > > > > > > >>         >> David I have plenty of experience with desparate
> > > > > measures
> > > > > > > >>         over teh
> > > > > > > >>         >> past
> > > > > > > >>         >> 50 years, and I have come very late to "the
> broader
> > > > > > > >>         theoretical project." It is absolutely essential
> that
> > > the
> > > > > > > >>         practical project and the theoretical project are
> one
> > > > > and the
> > > > > > > >>         same.
> > > > > > > >>         >>
> > > > > > > >>         >> Andy
> > > > > > > >>         >>
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > > > > > >> ----------
> > > > > > > >>         >> --
> > > > > > > >>         >> *Andy Blunden*
> > > > > > > >>         >> http://home.mira.net/~andy/
> > > > > > <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >>         >>
> > > > > > > >>         >>
> > > > > > > >>         >> David H Kirshner wrote:
> > > > > > > >>         >>   >>    >>> Andy,
> > > > > > > >>         >>> Sometimes, in order to create a
> counter-narrative
> > > > > > that can
> > > > > > > >>         be effective in the here and now, one has to step
> > > > > outside of
> > > > > > > >>         the broader theoretical project. I guess, for some,
> > this
> > > > > > would
> > > > > > > >>         constitute a distraction from the real work,
> perhaps a
> > > > > > > >>         violation of the true mission of that scholarly
> > > > > endeavor. For
> > > > > > > >>         others, it might be a legitimate (even if imperfect)
> > > > > > effort to
> > > > > > > >>         apply what one has come to understand from the
> larger
> > > > > > project.
> > > > > > > >>         For others, still, perhaps simply a political
> activity
> > > > > > > >>         undertaken with theoretical tools, but with little
> > > actual
> > > > > > > >>         relation to the theoretical project.
> > > > > > > >>         >>> Perhaps these are desperate measures that these
> > > > > desperate
> > > > > > > >>         times call for.
> > > > > > > >>         >>> David
> > > > > > > >>         >>>
> > > > > > > >>         >>>
> > > > > > > >>         >>> -----Original Message-----
> > > > > > > >>         >>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
> > > > > > > >>         <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
> > > > > > > >>         >>> [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
> > > > > > > >>         <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>] On Behalf
> > Of
> > > > Andy
> > > > > > > >>         Blunden
> > > > > > > >>         >>> Sent: Monday, January 20, 2014 10:29 PM
> > > > > > > >>         >>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > > > > > > >>         >>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few |
> Oxfam
> > > > > > > >>         International
> > > > > > > >>         >>>
> > > > > > > >>         >>> Well, that's the project I have been
> collaborating
> > > in
> > > > > > > >>         since I was a teenager, David, but it has its
> > > challenges,
> > > > > > too,
> > > > > > > >>         you know.
> > > > > > > >>         >>>
> > > > > > > >>         >>> First off, these observations about social
> > > > > psychology and
> > > > > > > >>         well-being:
> > > > > > > >>         >>> The point is to have a unit of analysis and one
> > > > > which is
> > > > > > > >>         as valid for making observations about psychology as
> > it
> > > > > > is for
> > > > > > > >>         social theory. And in general, this is lacking for
> > what
> > > > > goes
> > > > > > > >>         by the name of "social psychology." People do not of
> > > > course
> > > > > > > >>         govern their behaviour by evidence-based
> > investigations
> > > > > > of the
> > > > > > > >>         likely results of their behaviour.
> > > > > > > >>         >>> People don't set out to "grow a bigger economy"
> or
> > > > > "have
> > > > > > > >>         more wealth than someone else". The thinking of an
> > > > > individual
> > > > > > > >>         has to be understood (I would contend) within the
> > > > > contexts of
> > > > > > > >>         the projects to which they are committed. That is
> the
> > > > > reason
> > > > > > > >>         for the relativity in the enjoyment of wealth (which
> > is
> > > > > > itself
> > > > > > > >>         of course relative). People make judgments according
> > to
> > > > the
> > > > > > > >>         norms of the project in which they are
> participating,
> > > and
> > > > > > that
> > > > > > > >>         means semantic, theoretical and practical norms.
> > > > > > Understanding
> > > > > > > >>         the psychology of political economy is as of one
> task
> > > with
> > > > > > > >>         that of building a project to overthrow the existing
> > > > > > political
> > > > > > > >>         economic arrangements and build sustainable
> > > arrangements.
> > > > > > That
> > > > > > > >>         requires a multitude of projects all willikng and
> able
> > > to
> > > > > > > >>         collaborate with one another.
> > > > > > > >>         >>>
> > > > > > > >>         >>> That's what I think.
> > > > > > > >>         >>> Andy
> > > > > > > >>         >>>
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > > > > > >> ---------
> > > > > > > >>         >>> -
> > > > > > > >>         >>> --
> > > > > > > >>         >>> *Andy Blunden*
> > > > > > > >>         >>> http://home.mira.net/~andy/
> > > > > > <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>
> > > > > > > >>
> > > > > > > >>         >>>
> > > > > > > >>         >>>
> > > > > > > >>         >>> David H Kirshner wrote:
> > > > > > > >>         >>>   >>>     >>>      >>>> I've been sketching out
> in
> > > my
> > > > > > > >>         mind, but not yet had time to research and write, a
> > > paper
> > > > > > > >>         tentatively titled:
> > > > > > > >>         >>>> The Psychology of Greed: Why the Ultra-wealthy
> > are
> > > > > > > >>         Despoiling the
> > > > > > > >>         >>>> Planet, Tanking the Economy, and Gutting our
> > > > > Culture In
> > > > > > > >>         the Quest
> > > > > > > >>         >>>> for More
> > > > > > > >>         >>>>
> > > > > > > >>         >>>> The premise is that the psychological metric of
> > our
> > > > > > sense
> > > > > > > >>         of material well-being is not accumulation, relative
> > to
> > > > our
> > > > > > > >>         own past wealth, but the comparative measure of our
> > own
> > > > > > wealth
> > > > > > > >>         in relation to that of others. (I believe this is a
> > > > > > > >>         well-established principle of social psychology.)
> So,
> > > for
> > > > > > > >>         example, instead of trying to grow a bigger economy
> > > which
> > > > > > > >>         requires a large and healthy middle-class (this is
> > what
> > > > > would
> > > > > > > >>         provide more actual wealth for the ultra-wealthy),
> > they
> > > > are
> > > > > > > >>         eroding the middle-class as quickly as they can--a
> > > > strategy
> > > > > > > >>         that maximizes disparity.
> > > > > > > >>         >>>>
> > > > > > > >>         >>>> The major thesis (in the U.S. context) is that
> > the
> > > > > > > >>         gradual shift in political control of the economy
> over
> > > the
> > > > > > > >>         past 50 years by the ultra-wealthy has reached a
> kind
> > of
> > > > > > > >>         tipping point in which the gains in disparity are so
> > > > > dramatic
> > > > > > > >>         as to overwhelm any sense of actual self-interest.
> > > > > Hence, we
> > > > > > > >>         see increasingly irrational and self-destructive
> > > > > behavior by
> > > > > > > >>         the ultra-wealthy (e.g., the fraudulent housing
> bubble
> > > > that
> > > > > > > >>         created what U.S. economists refer to as The Great
> > > > > > Recession).
> > > > > > > >>         The conclusion, of course, is a call to action to
> take
> > > > back
> > > > > > > >>         control of our political systems so we can set more
> > > > > rational
> > > > > > > >>         policies for the economy.
> > > > > > > >>         >>>>
> > > > > > > >>         >>>> I don't know if this thesis extends so easily
> > > > > beyond the
> > > > > > > >>         U.S. situation to the world, but if this project
> > > appeals,
> > > > I
> > > > > > > >>         would welcome a collaborative effort--perhaps even
> one
> > > > that
> > > > > > > >>         somehow encompasses the whole XMCA listserv as
> > > co-authors.
> > > > > > > >>         >>>>
> > > > > > > >>         >>>> David
> > > > > > > >>         >>>>   >>>>
> > > > > > > >>         >>>>     >>>>       >>>>        >>>   >>>     >>>
> > > >>
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