Friday, May 24, 2013

Why I'm supporting

I've become increasing convinced that regular electoral politics is a waste of time, at least in the U.S.

Here is some related material, then I will weigh in. From the Lewis Shiner interview of Robert Anton Wilson:

Shiner: How about politics?

RAW: I've gotten increasingly agnostic and I've gotten older, and increasingly wary of ideologies, including my own. So if you tied me to a lie detector, with a gun to my head, I would have to say, most of the time, I'm somewhere on the libertarian-anarchist continuum. But I distrust myself. I distrust being rigidified and getting dogmatic, so I keep challenging my own assumptions and looking at alternatives. Knowing how dumb I am, I don't want to become another dogmatist. I saw what happened to Ayn Rand and sweet Jesus forbid it should happen to me.

Now my political activity consists of making regular contributions to Amnesty International, which I regard as insurance, not as charity. Amnesty has a very simply policy, namely, "People should not be locked up for their ideas." I'm all for that. I figure anybody in jail for his or her ideas is depriving my brain of nourishment. If they could get out and publish their ideas it might inspire me; it might give me new ideas; it might cause brain growth. As long as one heretic is locked up, part of my brain is locked up and I'm not getting the nourishment I need. So that's the one thing I still contribute to regularly: Amnesty. My wife contributes to the American Friends Service Committee — I don't, because she's already doing it. That's about it. I'm very cynical about politics. I have a wan, nostalgic hope that Jesse Jackson will win, just because a black president would restore a balance. So would a woman president, of course.

Anarchist Charles Davis, a guy I follow on Twitter, has some similar thoughts in this piece, "The Limits of Liberalism."  I suggest reading the whole thing (he's an easy read) but here's his advice on "making a difference":

Instead of banking on a politician improving our world, my advice? Improve yourself. Be an example to others. Work not on the behalf of a political party, but your community. Put simply, forget the polling booth and head to the soup kitchen. At least then you won’t be complicit in a bloodied, immoral system.

Well, we got the black president RAW mentioned, and he's even a constitutional law professor and a liberal, and the result is that the FBI is spying on a peaceful antiwar journalism and activism site, 

You could argue that FBI spying gives some street cred, but I was alarmed when I read on the site that the organization has lost money because several important donors don't want to worry about being investigated by the FBI. 

So I made a $25 donation to yesterday. They do a great job of producing a lot of journalism with a rather small staff. If isn't quite your cup of tea, I've tried to put up links to other worthwhile peace and civil liberties groups.


fyreflye said...

For those who don't know, Charles Davis
also has an excellent blog at

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

Yes, it's very good. I read it all the time.