The long wade through the institutions?

A friend recently observed that I am basically like everyone else – my greatest strength is my greatest weakness (contextual power etc etc, maladaptive yadder yadder, skills that got you here won’t get you further blah blah). In his opinion, my intellectual and emotional tenacity both kept me in the game and (my words) have stopped other people wanting me on their team in the game, even though we are on the same side.

He has a point, I think.  The cosmic joke that the gods are playing, in my case, is that I have – in the immortal words of the police chief in LA Confidential – the eye for human weakness, but not the stomach for it.

I can see what Compass do wrong. I can see (can’t everyone?!) what the SWP and the Trots in general (Counterfire/People’s Assembly) are doing wrong.  And the Greens. And also the soi-disant “non-hierarchicals” of Climate Camp/no dash for gas/whatever they call themselves these days.

And – the gods really are cracking themselves up – I can usually come up with feasible ways around those mistakes, using the same space/time/budget.

And my innovations, except when I do them myself (and yes, I do sometimes have the time/money/bandwidth), do not gain a moment’s traction, because they are presented by me (with all my baggage) and because they would re-arrange the distribution of power/attention away from the people who like (need?) the opportunity to stand on a podium with a microphone lecturing people about innovation and participation.

I am sick of having to do “criticism sandwiches” (with thick slabs of praise either side of the mildest suggestions) . I am sick of people who claim they want a better world but as soon as you point out the flaws tell you that you are the unreasonable spawn of Satan.

Mostly I am sick of authority that is unjustified, and of authority that pretends to care while breaking the rules it sets for everyone else.

Do I have the stomach for a “long march [well, given sea level rise, wade] through the institutions“?

No. And my excuses are these –

  • I am now too old for that shit.
  • It is too late in the day.
  • (therefore) It doesn’t actually matter any more.
  • You can’t “adapt” to accelerating into a brick wall.  There’s nowt left to play for, except our own mirror tests.

I am aware of the self-contradictory, self-exculpatory and self-indulgent nature of this. It’s almost as if I am doing a “selfie” a la Obama.


About dwighttowers

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One Response to The long wade through the institutions?

  1. Sam Gunsch says:

    excerpt: “Do any of them strengthen the self-activity of the majority of people?”
    Taken from the post at “Trots in General” link included above:

    I doubt such a critical matter could be put more succinctly.

    Context for excerpt: “How many national “Stop the Cuts” movements do we have now anyway: PA, CoR, UtR, NSSN, do Right to Work or the People’s Charter still exist? How has the left been strengthened as we have “grown” from 2 to 3, 4 or 5 of them? Do any of them work to strengthen the self-activity of the majority of people?”

    Seems an excellent analytical and evaluative question in general; that is, I think it ought to be applied as standard practice to any element/feature/practice/tactic of movements, NGO’s, activists, etc.

    I read “self-activity” as citizen engagement in politics/democratic governance.
    We ENGO’s here in Canada have not had much success at this, and I believe, it’s mostly why many significant legislative gains of the last decades have suddenly been trashed. I know for certain I ought to have pushed this more.

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