Friday, May 24, 2013

Why I'm supporting Antiwar.com

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, Antiwar.com. 

You could argue that FBI spying gives Antiwar.com 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 Antiwar.com yesterday. They do a great job of producing a lot of journalism with a rather small staff. If Antiwar.com isn't quite your cup of tea, I've tried to put up links to other worthwhile peace and civil liberties groups.


2 comments:

fyreflye said...

For those who don't know, Charles Davis
also has an excellent blog at http://charliedavis.blogspot.com/

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

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