Focusing the Flames ~ Of Class War and Coalitions

(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Crosspostedy Goodness from my blog,The Wild Wild Left

I have been pointedly not following the Jane Hamsher flamefest. I guess she cosigned a call for recalling Rahm with Norquist.

Why, then do I mention it at all? It seems in this busy week spent on everything BUT politics, a semi-vacation from my obsession, it fits nicely with the essay that had brewing in my brain in the background all week. Yes, on sub-levels the internal writers dialogue never ceases no matter what I’m doing.

Then on Christmas day, I read Cassiodorus’ essay on Docudharma, “On the possibility of a class coalition,” and the subsequent commentary. It was a provoking and well-cited work, that I would ask my gentle readers to use as an introduction to this work. I would ask my wild and hard-assed readers to, too. Heh.


This sentence seems to echo around the Liberalsphere this week: “Your political-class elites suck; my political-class elites rock!” Then the flames abound.

I shake my head in wonder. How can we survive as a coalition when we cannot even sustain ties within the community of our own echo-chambers? Are even we, the best among the Political-junkie, citizen-journalist, self-educating left so infantilized by our society and education that we cannot empathize with others perceptions, cannot as adults accept disagreement without cutting ties and creating enmity? (I was tempted to use the intentional misspelling and go for enema-ity, for we tend to flush out as ‘waste’ those who we see as flawed)

We are all the sum results of our life’s experiences, for better or ill. That is what we bring, no more, no less, to the table in this fight. Our personal realities create the being, create the actions and thoughts and create the blind spots we have with one another.

So Hamsher “failed” her idolizers, and now they are hurt and angry. I get it. I’ve regrettably done the same with some of my own allies. In just a heartbeat, you can turn the most dedicated and driven activist into someone who just gives up entirely on the process. Even the most focused of flames can go out.

And unfocused flames like those at the GOS? Their scorched Earth policy leaves activism a barren wasteland.

Its a Class War. How do we learn to Focus the Flame?

Choosing Adulthood.

Quoting John Taylor Gatto’s “Against School” (linked above)

School has done a pretty good job of turning our children into addicts, but it has done a spectacular job of turning our children into children. Again, this is no accident. Theorists from Plato to Rousseau to our own Dr. Inglis knew that if children could be cloistered with other children, stripped of responsibility and independence, encouraged to develop only the trivializing emotions of greed, envy, jealousy, and fear, they would grow older but never truly grow up.


Maturity has by now been banished from nearly every aspect of our lives. Easy divorce laws have removed the need to work at relationships; easy credit has removed the need for fiscal self-control; easy entertainment has removed the need to learn to entertain oneself; easy answers have removed the need to ask questions. We have become a nation of children, happy to surrender our judgments and our wills to political exhortations and commercial blandishments that would insult actual adults.

This is the single largest obstacle we have to overcome. I myself wrote, not long ago, of my initial reaction to someone doing something incomprehensible to my personal “code” as such, was to cut ties or run: An entirely childish response, but one taken by many adults. We have indeed, learned to prefer our “safe” zones, and not work at relationships or consider that we may be wrong.

A perfect example of such thinking is also apparent in online I/P discussions. It becomes a childish play of “you did this first” and degrades into personal attack and hurt feelings. Now, I am all about feelings. There is no activism without a deep seated love of humanity and personal attachment and dedication to such. I am also all about logic. Facts matter, and having all the facts is the only way to analyze any situation.

Do you not think the “unschooled” yet brilliant creators of this Nation’s Constitution disagreed vehemently about things both Political and Personal? Of course they did, but they did it in an age where arguing was considered constructive, instructive to the process of learning.

Deconstructing our nurtured tendencies to be infantilized is a long and hard process, but one upon which we must make a concerted effort to prevail.

From the same article:

childish adults regularly conflate opposition with disloyalty.

A driving need for the human race is to feel connected. As adults we need to be able to feel that connection with those alien to us, as well as those who feel kindred.

I have fallen prey to that feeling of “disloyalty’ and the knee-jerk reaction to it both politically and personally. Admitting you have problem is the first step in overcoming it and changing the very way you think and react in the future. Growth has to be living, changing thing by its very nature. We MUST choose to grow, or stagnate in our childishness.

Earlier, I opined that man is only the sum of his experiences. Consider that our true power is in both creating (for others) and experiencing (from others) new and different experiences between people; thus changing our own lives as well as theirs.

Conformity is for children; diversity adults.


Ends, Means, and Methods

One of the foremost questions of the Left is that of process. What is effective? What is considered acceptable/unacceptable to our “Liberal Values” in trying to further our agenda?  

The arguments on both sides of these questions are so persuasive that I often find myself alternately agreeing with both those who wish for only gentle, peaceful dialogue and those who want to turn the fight ugly.

Working with my accepted premise that the culture of the United States is based on perma-childhood and the intentional thwarting of a mature society, I would offer that the message has to fit the audience. I suggest strongly that as emotional beings, that strong images and bold language does more to change the fabric of our collective perceptions than simplistic reporting.

In my essay, “Revulsion Begets Revolution” I spoke strongly about the use of images as a primary tool for creating opposition to War. I stand behind that opinion.

I also believe righteous anger and fiery rhetoric is an essential tool in making people feel enough to break out of their childish safe-zone complacency and begin to question their worlds as adults.

I have seen the effectiveness of the Right in using these tools to push the Overton Window and create support for things questioning, adult, fully-functioning adults would never support. Is it predestined that we become what we fight against should we choose the path of inflamed rhetoric? I say no. Not if we do it with focused intent. We MUST back the fiery propaganda with information and facts, thus changing the realities of the people we reach. We must encourage them to question while possibly being over simplistic in our original messages. We must no longer demand blind loyalty to simple answers; rather we must start with simple answers while slowly introducing the idea that there is no such thing as a simple answer.

We must play to the audience we have, while teaching them to be the audience we want them to be.

This must include criticizing our own leadership of the Left. This must include opposing legislation that does more harm than good. This must include demanding higher standards among our Representatives.

This must include agreeing with our “opposition” when they are CORRECT about something.

It means being an adult by example. It is hard as hell to concede a point to someone in whom you are in polar disagreement on almost every other issue.

I will offer that President Obama spoke about these coalitions as a candidate. Great in theory, and in agreement with much I have said here. His failure was in that he did not understand that this growth is a process, and we are not yet dealing with an adult population. In his efforts to listen to all sides, he neglected to hear or argue the case with any due diligence against the status quo.

The status quo includes a huge power structure to whom keeping the status quo is the consummate goal.

Woodrow Wilson said, “We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class, of necessity, in every society, to forgo the privileges of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.”

Obama chose to ignore the fact that we are up against YEARS of think-tanks and economic clout; all of which have intentionally dumbed-down the lower classes of America. He refused to fight fire with fire.

I am beginning to think the Politicians themselves are a lost cause. They will never “vote” for campaign finance reform, or lobbying reform, and bite the very hand that feeds them. They no longer represent us.

We need to reach the People directly.

A Coalition of Class

For this argument, I am speaking about the creation of a coalition with those on the Right. The first thing we should recognize is that we all want essentially the same things. Prosperity and Security. It is the process to the creation of these things on which our paths diverge.

The greatest obstacle in our infantile society that must be overcome is the FEAR.


Fear has been used as an effective tool against our society, and has been used with the full intent of men who have studied history and marketing. Fear has historically been used both to subjugate people and move them to supporting wars. Never before have we had the Mass Media tools with which to push the Fear.

At the very core of this fear is fostering DIVISION between us. I wrote “A Cast(e) of One” not long ago about those very divisions.

In hindsight, I was working “logically” through my own feelings, fostered by having been schooled in viewing myself as “inferior.” It quite bothered me to realize that even among my closest allies, there were many with whom the “class division” was so broad that while we worked closely, I would never attain the level of friendship reserved for those they considered equals in class. Again, humans long for bonding and acceptance at every level of the class strata. It was a good work, no matter the genesis of it, one of which I am proud.

There is a new level to this in my thinking now.

We have to overcome our own fears as well, in order to make alliances with those who might not welcome us at their tables for a nice dinner with their intimate circles. We also should be able to welcome anyone to our own, without fear of judgment our lesser means. In the end, we need to bond over our commonalities not focus on our differences. In the end, it matters not whether or not they LIKE us personally. It only matters that we have a common agenda to improving the quality of life for everyone.

The Class War will be a great equalizer of sorts in creating commonalities.

In order to create coalition with those who are on the right, it is IMPERATIVE that we frame the discussion and use every tool we have to bring them to the table. At the table, we must use every resource we can to fight ignorance with fact.

Their quality of life is denigrating as quickly as our own.

We need to, in fact MUST employ the effective tactics used thus far to diffuse the reality of the causes of that denigration to focus it on the TRUE causes of our economic and social collapse: Class Warfare.

To those who will say, “Facts don’t matter to them!” I implore you to consider, “If you can tell a lie repeatedly enough to make it their reality, so can you repeat the Truth often enough that it becomes their new reality.”

For every time they try to paint immigrants as the problem, gays as abomination, or use race to wrongly focus the rage of the infantilized masses, we can respond with equal vigor, “Death to the Bankers!” Of course, we will not mean literally to put Wall Street to death, but once we have their attention, we can begin to focus the anger to the FACTS of why we are disenfranchised, why we are becoming an impoverished society. We need to focus their anger where it belongs: Those keeping us ALL down, those trying to DIVIDE us.

False fear is what destroys coalitions, while warranted fear is what creates them.

The right strongly fears Big Government, and with the Government we have in place, who can say that fear is wrong? We need to restore this to a government By and For the People, not Corporate as Persons, who wield all the buying power, thus ALL the power.

Know thy enemy.

Make sure everyone begins to see that enemy for what it is.

Focus the Flame.


Truth be told, we need them, and they need us.

So, how can we pine for change of our Society, while ostracizing at least half of it? How can we be squeamish when someone rightly allies against things that are BAD for our Society?

We cannot and must not.

Gone are the days when a Rainbow Coalition can be made against the White Exceptionalist Structure, because the Elitists have gone Global. Gone are the days when a United Farm Workers or Union Label coalition can be made, because the jobs are gone, and people are being forced to compete with each other to survive in what has become a Thunderdome of survival necessity. Gone are the days of effective marches and sit ins, when they can microwave crowds and effectively stop by flipping a switch our very means to communicate. Gone are the days of real Journalism, when other than this Media, all others have been co-opted by the very people trying to keep us from revolting against our plight of exponential wealth disparity.

All we have left is “We the People,” and as such must make a Coalition based on nothing more than that fact. Our common humanity and the desire for “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

All we have left is bonding under the premise, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

We only have one enemy, those who are trying to take these rights away from us.

We only have one war, and it is not with one another.

The war is a Class war, and unless you are Uberrich, you are losing it.

Unless we Grow Up and are willing to make coalitions we have lost this Class War.

Unless you fight every step of the way, you are helping them win by default.

All that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.

I leave you with this challenge:

Work hard to throw off the yoke of childishness put upon us by our society. Heal disputes among yourselves, and be willing to accept differences and new ideas. Create alliances where there is a common goal, with any who share that goal. Quit demanding uniformity in others, or even yourself.

Preach the words of Truth by any means necessary, yet work with the idea of education in mind: Real Education and the Questioning that Adults employ to grow.

For none of the side-issues or disputes are worth losing this War.

The risks are many in these days of surveillance and in an increasingly militarized Police State. The risk is high, but the effects of Losing are unthinkable.

Coalitions, and the Focus of the Flames are the only way to prevail in this, the end-game Class war.

Peace out,



Skip to comment form

    • Diane G on December 27, 2009 at 16:45

    Are you?

  1. or sub-groups, on both “sides”. Generalizations… well, sometimes necessary or helpful for shorthand, but, in a broader view, not so much.

    When I get going thinking along these lines, I tend to think of people I know (vs. books Ive read, heh). The uber-xtians in my family, a very interesting bunch they are. Id love to dialogue sometime with the 20-something of that gang.

    It’s hard, what you talk about here Dianne, very difficult to challenge and question one’s own values and such. I still wonder… my sisters and I have have countless convo’s re our family… both my parents were Depression era & WWII vets. As kids, we grew up thinking of ourselves as “poor”. I dont think we were “poor”, just plain ol’ middle class. Mom was frugal (ha!!!!) and … well… lots of stories there.

    Anyway, theres also regional and ethnic heritage factors… Mom was Massachusetts Irish. I found out just how Irish she was when, in my late 20’s I married an St. Louis Italian-heritage guy who… his Dad (like 90% of StL ?) worked at the factory Anheiser Busch. Whoa. Catholic though. Somehow that didnt hold much stock for Mom. LOLOL. The whole thing was a real eye-opener for me. Mom never NEVER said anything about him being Italian. She just made it very clear to me that he was “beneath me” classwise. I resisted that attitude from her and argued it. He was one of the most well-read people Ive ever known, very bright and savvy, even though “self taught” (no college). One of nine kids, he never had the opportunity to go to college. I didnt realize until further down the road how radically different his and his family’s values were from mine though. It was like… his parents’ attitude was more like “How dare you? Who do you think you are…? Better than me?” for him even wanting to go to college. Totally alien to me, that attitude. Unthinkable. Heresy. I gradually came to understand better what my Mom meant.

    Thank gods we didnt have kids. 🙂 (It was a fairly brief marriage, for a number of reasons, but he remains to this day, one of my favorite people on the planet.)

    Anyway… I think people are very sensitive, me for sure, when you get into it, really…. about class “issues”. Your buttons get pushed. There’s a LOT of “beneath you” kind of kneejerking, and much of the time, you dont even realize it. I catch myself all the time. So theres an awful lot of education and counter-propaganda to be done.

    I want to comment also, theres was some back and forth in a different essay, re “poor”. I really think its something we need to be in tune with in all this. Theres some huge differences between being “poor”, being “broke”, and being “The Poor”. Especially for some of us in this age/generation range… who are now 40 or 50 somethings. And 60’s. Ill come back to this.

  2. so many years that I cannot count. It is the ultimate

    destroyer of all political entities. It is an all consuming cancer. IMHO, you don’t form coalitions and  look for issues of commonality at the same time. Rather, we should look at the overarching threat that has been, and is,  the most frightful menace to our survival.

    The United States is not on a mission from god to police the world. It sucks our treasury dry and kills with sanitizing efficiency. It is, as usual, coctail entertainment for the intellectuals who don’t have to see the blood flow from strangers. And it has been entertainment since Gulf War One, as we watched video from the cameras in the cruise missles.

    The one issues that is a transcendent moral imperative is to stop killing NOW. Congress is trembling and terrified to oppose the MIC. If we cannot stop this runaway train, we are doomed. As I’ve said many times before, this is the greatest diversion any nation can face, which sucks all the air out of any federal budget before any constructive legislation can take place.

    The first coalition that should be formed is one against our sanitized and bankrupting foreign wars. Just look at Joe Lieberman, the perfect example of how the formula works: Make sure that war funding is issue number one, and then complain about the deficit when other legislation is debated. We have not left the f*****g 20th Century, a century that appears to have given us such great growth and creature comforts, yet has taken us to the brink of total self destruction.

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