Stop whining, start winning (part 2).

Caitlin Johnstone writes:

People ask me “Well, what should we do? How do we fix this thing?” And of course my only possible answer is, “Do what I’m doing! Or your version of it.” Of course I’m doing the thing I think we should do to solve the problems of our species. Why would I be doing anything else?

Johnstone does excellent work. But what she does is what everyone else on the left does: They tell you what’s going on. They tell you about the problem.

That’s important work, and somebody has to do it. But talking about problems is all the left ever does. It never discusses solutions.

Can you imagine Bill Belichick spending the entire week before a game talking about what a great team the Rams are, what a great coach Sean McVay is, and what a great pass rusher Aaron Donald is?

If you’re going to be successful at anything, you must spend far more time thinking about solutions than problems. Yes, you need to understand the problem. But somewhere in the world are medical researchers who can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about Lou Gehrig’s disease — except how to fix it.

An understanding of the problem is not enough.

Winners focus on the things they can control. Spending any time thinking about what you can’t control is literally waste.

Belichick sizes up the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. He looks at their tendencies, and watches a lot of film. But then he spends all his time figuring out what his team is going to do. He puts together a game plan, thinks of all possible adjustments he might need to implement in-game (always with an understanding that the circumstances of the actual game may force decisions on him he hadn’t been able to foresee), and spends his time having his team practice his game plan.

Belichick’s goal is to force the other team to react to what the Patriots are doing, and not the other way around. If you’re reacting, you’re losing. To win, you have to be the win who is setting the tempo, dictating the terms of the contest. You want to be the one who is imposing your will on your opponent, not the other way around.

The left spends all its time reacting, and having the establishment’s will imposed on it (the left). The left does this because it has no way to play offense. The left has no way to set the terms of the debate. The left has no way to mount an attack, because it spends no time thinking about any solutions.

Saying you’re for Medicare for all (for instance) is not a solution. It’s a wish. Think about it this way: You want Medicare for all. Fine. What’s your plan to get it?

The U.S. ruling class never wanted the population to have Social Security. But because of a threat to the system, they relented. They never wanted the population to have Medicare or Medicaid, but because of a threat to the system, they relented.

If the left is going to win Medicare for all, it has to threaten the capitalist system itself. But you can’t threaten the system by simply saying you hate capitalism. Elites don’t care about your feelings.

You also can’t threaten the system with any form of socialism. Every form of socialism (whether market or centrally-planned) is an economy in which the capitalists are gone and the managers now have the ultimate say in society.

The working class never sees any capitalists, but they answer to managers every day. As a result, workers hate managers far more than they hate any capitalists. Slogans like “the 99% versus the 1%” resonate on the left because the left is made up of managers. But they don’t resonate with the working class. And they never will.

If you truly want to win anything, you’re going to have to start by acknowledging the existence of participatory economics.

The left ignores and actually hates parecon because parecon has implications that the left doesn’t want to face. But parecon is something the left has complete control over. And parecon represents a massive threat to the the capitalist class because it also represents a massive threat to the managerial class. That distaste that virtually all managers have for parecon is precisely what gives it its power.

No power in the universe can prevent the left from acknowledging parecon’s existence, except the left itself. And the left has been doing just that for 30 years. But if the left and those within its orbit actually want to set the terms of the debate — actually want to impose their will on the capitalist class — parecon is literally the only way to do it.

The left will continue to lose until it acknowledges the existence of pareconish theory. Once it does, it will be surprised by how quickly it sees mountains move, and it will start to wonder why it took so long to get started.

I have a theory, and I’m giving you a testable prediction of my theory. But you’re going to have to look in the mirror first.

One of these things is not like the other.

The World Socialist Web Site‘s top dog David Walsh outdoes himself in his commitment to reach out to women:

There were no witnesses, Reade never contacted the police and the statute of limitations has long since run out.

There’s quite a bit of corroboration. Reade told several people at the time. I’d ask if, for all your brilliance and flawless theory, you understand anything about the psychology of rape victims. But you don’t, and you don’t care to.

Tellingly, the Biden-Reade issue dominated the American news media in recent days

A credible rape allegation is a mere issue?

In part, the promotion of the Reade accusations is a deliberate effort to divert attention from the social and economic calamity.

You’re so stupid. Katie Halper broke this story well over a month ago, and the liberal media have been burying it the entire time. They do not want to cover it, and are only doing it now because they have no choice.

However, it is a fact of political life in America that while the deaths of 65,000 people and the collapse of jobs and incomes have not shaken the Democrats, who are as callous and removed from the crisis as Donald Trump, a sex scandal is another matter.

Wait, did you just call a rape allegation a “sex scandal?” Yes, yes you did.

Reade’s allegations are treated seriously, not because of their intrinsic importance, but because of the social layers with whom they resonate, the upper middle class on which the Democrats rest and rely.

Okay, David Walsh is clearly a moron. And, if it wasn’t already obvious, sexist as hell. “Not because of their intrinsic importance?” So, in other words, rape isn’t important. I presume Reade should have just relaxed and enjoyed it?

However, having fashioned and animated the Frankenstein monster of a sexual harassment witch hunt, they now discover it is not so easy to make their creation go away.

Not “sexual harassment.” Rape. Just FYI.

Without providing the slightest evidence Reade is telling the truth, Valenti goes on to argue that “it is feminists’ responsibility to come to the aid of a woman who accuses a powerful man.

Oh for fuck’s sake, this is so offensive. Yes, there’s no evidence, Dave. You’re right. The economy is the base, everything else is superstructure and irrelevant. There was no sexism in the Soviet Union, and there wouldn’t be any sexism if people like you were in charge, because there is no such thing as sexism. Or rape.

God, you’re such a fucktard.

For the working class, the crisis of the Democratic Party over a sexual misconduct allegation under the present disastrous circumstances should be further proof that this is a big-business party and resolute enemy of their interests and needs.

Okay, let me explain this so your pea-size chauvinist brain can understand: Sexual misconduct is running around on your wife. Rape is a felony.

This is just so offensive. Tara Reade was raped by Joe Biden. But David Walsh’s world view is so fixated in Capital and the Communist Manifesto that any notion that not everything is about class can’t penetrate his neanderthal brain.

A clean historical break with the Democrats and the turn toward socialism is on the order of the day.

A socialism where rape and sex are the same thing, apparently.

The left is the overseers.

If capitalism is the virus, “solidarity” can’t be the cure. It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison.

Capitalism is way of organizing economic activity. Every society has an economy. An economy is producers making stuff, consumers using that stuff — and an allocation mechanism that mediates the transfer of stuff from producers to consumers.

Solidarity is not a way of organizing economic activity. It’s a value that says that I should care about you and you should care about me. It’s an admirable value, and any good economy should propel it rather than squash it. But it’s not an economic system.

You get no argument from me when you say capitalism is the virus. But if you’re going to be anti-capitalist — which I certainly am — then you have to get serious thinking about what you’re going to replace it with.

In particular, you have to think about allocation. Everyone on the left wants to overthrow capitalism. There’s no shortage of people on the left who will tell you how bad it is. For its replacement, they will talk in vague generalities about “socialism” or some variation on this theme.

But the question of allocation has to be confronted. Capitalism uses market allocation. Socialism uses either markets or central planning. In markets, prices are set competitively and solidarity is systematically destroyed. In central planning, the entire society becomes inexorably authoritarian; that is the logic of central planning.

Suppose I give you a magic wand, and you can create any kind of world you want with it. What kind of economy do you create? In your vision of how an anti-capitalist economy should function, how are resources allocated? That is, how does stuff made find its way from producers to consumers? You can’t be anti-capitalist without grappling with this question.

The reason the left refuses to grapple with this question is because it’s a deeply-classist, coordinator-class left. The left is not a working-class left. That’s why, 30 years after the introduction of the formal mathematical model of participatory economics, the left still ignores it.

In the same way, say, the New York Times acts like Herman and Chomsky’s propaganda model of the media doesn’t exist, so too does the left act like parecon doesn’t exist. The left will acknowledge the existence of participatory economics at the same time the media acknowledges Manufacturing Consent: never.

The only revolution the left is interested in is one in which it, the coordinator class, is in charge. The left wants to overthrow the capitalists, and install themselves as the new ruling class. I’m not saying they’re doing this consciously. They essentially never are. That it, they’re not self-aware or in control of their actions.

But the people on the left are the children of the coordinator class. They grew up at the ends of cul-de-sacs. They world view is inherently managerial. They’re not duplicitous curs who are cynically trying to manipulate the working class in order to get their way. They’re generally good people at heart.

But they think like coordinators, because they are coordinators. So their reflexive world view is one in which they have freed themselves from the yoke of capitalist-class rule. They are the overseers who know perfectly well how to run the plantation on their own, but still must answer to the plantation owner. Their ideal world is one in which the plantation owner is gone and they can manage the operation on their own, without having to answer to the big man in the big house. But they have absolutely no intention whatsoever of ever getting out into the fields under the hot sun and doing their fair share of picking the cotton.

Picking the cotton is working-class work. Smart, educated coordinators have a reflexive revulsion to the idea that this work should be shared equally. Again, this isn’t because they’re bad people — it’s because they grew up on cul-de-sacs, and it’s just how they see the world.

The left is a coordinator-class left. It’s not going to help the workers pick the cotton, ever. That’s why it won’t and can’t even acknowledge the existence of parecon. And that’s why it’s reduced to saying stupid bullshit like “capitalism is the virus, solidarity is the cure.”

“Always with you what cannot be done.”

Dear Trotskyists, what did Katie Halper ever do to you?

The Times and the Post failed to report Reade’s allegations for weeks after the story was broken by Sanders supporter Katie Halper on her podcast in March.

Why describe Halper as a “Sanders supporter?” How is that even remotely relevant to her interview of Tara Reade?

The Trotskyists have already felt their identities threatened by Sanders — which is odd, because Sanders is (to quote Jimmy Dore) a cartoon. The only time Sanders ever exhibits any spine is when he throws supports like Tulsi Gabbard, Zephyr Teachout, and Matt Orfalea under the bus. He’s sort of like Obama in that regard — feckless against the right, but a complete stud when crushing people on his left.

But the World Socialist Web Site can’t let it go. I don’t mind them hating Bernie — that’s easy. Think of all the people who are poor who contributed a few dollars here or there to Sanders in 2016 and 2020. They were hoping for Medicare for all, and instead got emails exhorting them to donate to the DNC and support Joe Biden.

Taking money from poor people and then screwing them with it is what TV preachers do. It’s unforgivable.

But their constant need to shoehorn anti-Bernie sentiment into seemingly every fifth sentence on their otherwise generally good website is just incredibly weak tea. Trotskyists: Bernie’s no threat to you. Stop acting like he is.

What it indicates is that they have no self-awareness, and no plan to actually win anything. They’re afraid someone like Bernie might come along and actually win something, and then where would the Trotskyists be? Who would care about their socialism then? If a self-described “democratic socialist” were to win something without following the officially-approved Marxist dogma, the Trotskyists are afraid they’d be out of work.

In fairness to the World Socialist Web Site — which really is a good site — no self-awareness and no plan describes the entire left, not just them. With the possible exception of Jimmy Dore, everyone anywhere in the vicinity of the left just engages in constant nonstop whining about how powerless they are.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The left is in complete control of its destiny. The only thing preventing the left from winning is the left. If the left ever actually gets sick of losing and decides it’s ready for a change, no power in the world can stop it from winning.

First, though, it has to acknowledge the existence of participatory economics. Until that happens, the left is going to lose forever.

The system is not broken. It is working perfectly.

You see this sort of thing all the time once you get anywhere in the vicinity of the left, and it drives me nuts:

The Fed has used the coronavirus crisis to double down on a failed strategy of supporting financial markets while the real economy declines.

Were the atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan failures or successes? They were designed to go boom and kill a lot of people. They went boom and killed a lot of people. That makes them stupendous successes. The fact that they were designed to do something horrible, and that they did in fact do something horrible, is irrelevant to assessing them as successes or failures.

Our financial system is designed to further empower and enrich the already powerful and rich. And it’s doing that quite well. That makes it a spectacular success. The fact that millions, or hundreds of millions, or even billions of people are suffering tremendously as a result is irrelevant to assessing the success or failure of our economic system. It’s doing what it’s designed to do.

The smart, educated coordinator class the owns, operates, funds, consumes, and produces the content for everything anywhere even remotely associated with the left is virtually always saying some variation of, “The system is broken.” Despite their education and intelligence, they are essentially uniformly incapable of understanding the logic that the atomic bombs were successes, not failures.

Why is that? It is because virtually the entire left are all latent socialists.

What I mean is this: As I have written previously, socialism is the liberating theory of the coordinator class. And the left, as I noted above, is a thoroughly coordinator-class left.

I’m not saying the left is intentionally or even consciously socialist. In most cases, it actually isn’t. But because it’s a coordinator-class left, it makes coordinator-class choices. It implements coordinator-class values. It essentially never does any of this consciously, but consciousness in this case is irrelevant.

Because it’s steeped in coordinator-class logic, what it really wants, deep down and largely unconsciously, is the liberation of the coordinator class.

Saying the system is broken is a way of saying, “Put us in charge and we’ll fix things.” The left is always broadcasting a signal to the working class that says, “Help us overthrow the capitalists, and we’ll make everything right.”

The coordinator-class left does this because the coordinators, by themselves, lack the power to overthrow the capitalists. They need working-class support in order to do it. But they have no intention of actually liberating the working class, because to them, that’s terrifying anarchy.

To use the analogy of chattel slavery: The coordinator-class left is the overseers, capitalists are the plantation owner, and the working class is the field slaves. The overseers (the left) know perfectly well how to run the plantation, but because they don’t own it, they have to do what the plantation owner (the capitalists) tells them.

They resent the plantation owner because he has the ultimate say. They actually run the operation while the plantation owner sits in his mansion and does the antebellum equivalent of hookers and blow, and this pisses them off.

But without the help of the field slaves (the working class), the overseers lack the power to take the operation away from the plantation owner. So they’re constantly telling the field slaves that the operation is broken, but it would work so much better if the field slaves would just help the overseers oust the lazy and parasitic plantation owner.

And of course the plantation owner is lazy and parasitic. But what the overseers never ever tell the field slaves is, “Help us overthrow the plantation owner, and we’ll join you in the fields doing our fair share of picking the cotton.”

Because the overseers have no intention of ever getting out under the hot sun and doing their fair share of picking the cotton.

So too with the coordinator-class left. It has absolutely no intention whatsoever of ever doing its fair share of the shit work. That’s for the working class. Their are many rationalizations the left uses to justify this position, but they are beyond the scope of this essay.1

How does this flow from the logic of saying the atomic bombs were failures and not successes? That is, how does this flow from the logic of saying the system is broken? Because if you say the system is a success, then there’s an obvious next question: “Okay, if the present system is doing what it’s designed to do and therefore a success, what kind of system should we have? What should a system be designed to do?”

And therein lies the rub. What the coordinator-class left wants deep down (and again, largely unconsciously), is some form of socialism. It doesn’t matter to the left if it’s centrally-planned socialism (à la the former Soviet Union) or market socialism (à la the former Yugoslavia). All that matters is that it’s socialism and not capitalism — all the matters to the left is that the capitalists have been overthrown and the coordinators are now in charge.

This explains the absolute invisibility of participatory economics on the left for the past 30 years. In a participatory economy, the overseers would have to do their fair share of picking the cotton.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: The human race will literally go extinct before the left even acknowledges the existence of participatory economics, much less implements it. The left likes to bleat eloquent about the existentialism of things like global warming or the need for radical social change. But the left doesn’t believe any of it.

When an alcoholic truly hits bottom and is not completely bereft of self-awareness, he leaves no stone unturned in his quest for sobriety and to fix all the things in his life that he has so royally screwed up.

The left is not anywhere close to this point, though. Why would it be? The left is basically a collection of small businesses. As long as money is coming in, there’s no existential threat. And once the money stops, there’s no business, so that that now-defunct left outfit stops broadcasting. It has passed the event horizon into the black hole, so whatever it might want to broadcast now is irrelevant.

I’m not saying the left is a bunch of money grubbers. Actually, the overwhelming majority of people on the left are decent, honest, and sincere people. They really do want to help. If they really were money grubbers, they’d have studied business and finance in college instead of English and philosophy.

But they are still coordinators. Their fathers were coordinators. To borrow from Jimmy Dore, they grew up on cul-de-sacs. Coordinatorism is what’s in their bone marrow.

I have very low hopes for the future of civilization. In theory, all this is fixable. But in reality, alcoholics invariably have to hit bottom before they can change — and even then most don’t, because they lack the requisite self-awareness.

I don’t see the left changing. I see civilization hitting bottom (not anytime soon, but eventually), and rule by strongmen springing from the ashes. Not parecon or even socialism will spring from the ashes; chaos favors dictatorship.

But as I write this, it is not too late. The ship could still be turned around before plunging over the falls. It won’t be, but it could be.

It will not and can not happen, though, without — at minimum — an acknowledgment by the left of the existence of participatory economics.