Struggle and Substance: Convicted of High Revolution

From Jaguar Press:

We are made sick in this world. Fed on garbage and medicated on fear, our bodies are reaching their toxic limit physically and psychically. Who could tell us not to get fucked up, when we have to deal with genocide, factory slaughter, and the perpetual betrayal of our democracy and freedom. When the tortures of capitalist society circle our heads like a bloody carousel, where is there relief? This article will examine briefly the relationship between alcohol and marijuana and revolution.

We find solace in the effect of altering our perception and the routine of addiction. Alcohol is one of our favorites, of course, and we get drunk and act stupid and laws get put on the books and the drunks go to jail. It’s subject to absurd levels of social control and cultural stigma so that we have a hard time breaking from the mind numbing routine—drinking at a bar or a house flirting, hooking up and feeling strong/not-so-strongly about the experience.

It is a tool of and in some cases a pillar of patriarchy and a sustainer of the status-quo. Frederick Douglass said, “When a slave was drunk, the slaveholder had no fear that he would plan an insurrection… It was the sober, thinking slave who was dangerous, and needed the vigilance of his master to keep him a slave.” Major brewers and distillers target their products at the poor and restless to calm us so, ultimately, alcohol retards spiritual/anti-capitalist growth….

Read the rest right here.

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  • CC

    “Following Marx, Marcuse believed that the historical purpose of the proletariat was to be a revolutionary class. Its task was to overthrow capitalism. But that presupposed that capitalism would drive the proletariat into economic misery, which capitalism had failed to do. Instead, capitalism had produced great amounts of wealth and–here is the innovation–capitalism had used that wealth to oppress the proletariat. [...] Capitalism's producing so much wealth, therefore, is bad: It is in direct defiance of the moral imperative of historical progress towards socialism. It would be much better if the proletariat were in economic misery under capitalism, for then they would realize their oppression and then be psychologically primed to perform their historical mission…”

    Stephen Hicks, Explaining Postmodernsim (2004), p 154

    • simmer

      The suspicion I have towards treating as a distraction any alleviation of suffering the working class world-wide must endure is that, by mindlessly holding out in anticipation of some predicted secular apocalypse (eg. the above mentioned fulfillment of our “historical mission”) we will no longer attempt to chip away at the subtle and pervasive mechanisms of control that maintain the status quo.
      We don't need to end racial profiling. It can be done after the revolution. Clothe the poor, feed the hungry? We'll do that after the revolution, and not a second before. By this logic the 8 hr day and minimum wage should be counted as defeats. I want to see a world that is completely different than the one I see now, but belief in the eventuality of revolution, especially bloody revolution, is is a sublimation of this desire, not a means of fulfilling it.
      It's interesting that Hicks would use Marcuse's arguments to suggest that the working class would need to be more economically miserable in order to revolt. He probably knows more than me about it, but as I read it, Marcuse saw a unique form of “psychological preparedness” arising from the global recognition of a divergence between that which was materially possible in the wealth of the 60s (the end of scarcity) and that which materially existed at that time (manufactured scarcity).
      If anything, I'd take this as an argument that a certain degree of affluence is necessary among those oiling the cogs of the death-machine before they are inspired to act against it in any meaningful way (he did not count violent rebellion as a goal, but as a symptomatic, reactionary affirmation of the system in place).
      The war on drugs has been, in effect, a means of perpetuating the status quo. In its inception it drove racial and ethnic divisions between young and working class Americans. In it's most recent incarnation(1980s-now) it justified the military occupation of communities of color by police forces both in the US and in other countries.
      This policy's discontinuation, whether in the piecemeal decriminalization of illicit drugs or the implementation of harm reduction policies, will have 2 effects in our country: the removal of a pretense for military action against the communities that truly have a score to settle with our government, and, by our own government's admission, the creation of a better environment for treating the drug dependencies that subvert the efforts of those communities. Why anyone who has thought seriously about qualitatively changing the status quo would argue against changing US drug policy is completely beyond me.
      Furthermore, the argument that black-market weed should be relied upon for financing is ridiculous. There are plenty of less conspicuous ways to raise money. Get a haircut, get a cosigner, and start a construction, cleaning, or professional consultant business. The last thing we need are activists getting stuck in jail for anything other than activism.

  • simmer

    The suspicion I have towards treating as a distraction any alleviation of suffering the working class world-wide must endure is that, by mindlessly holding out in anticipation of some predicted secular apocalypse (eg. the above mentioned fulfillment of our “historical mission”) we will no longer attempt to chip away at the subtle and pervasive mechanisms of control that maintain the status quo.
    We don’t need to end racial profiling. It can be done after the revolution. Clothe the poor, feed the hungry? We’ll do that after the revolution, and not a second before. By this logic the 8 hr day and minimum wage should be counted as defeats. I want to see a world that is completely different than the one I see now, but belief in the eventuality of revolution, especially bloody revolution, is is a sublimation of this desire, not a means of fulfilling it.
    It’s interesting that Hicks would use Marcuse’s arguments to suggest that the working class would need to be more economically miserable in order to revolt. He probably knows more than me about it, but as I read it, Marcuse saw a unique form of “psychological preparedness” arising from the global recognition of a divergence between that which was materially possible in the wealth of the 60s (the end of scarcity) and that which materially existed at that time (manufactured scarcity).
    If anything, I’d take this as an argument that a certain degree of affluence is necessary among those oiling the cogs of the death-machine before they are inspired to act against it in any meaningful way (he did not count violent rebellion as a goal, but as a symptomatic, reactionary affirmation of the system in place).
    The war on drugs has been, in effect, a means of perpetuating the status quo. In its inception it drove racial and ethnic divisions between young and working class Americans. In it’s most recent incarnation(1980s-now) it justified the military occupation of communities of color by police forces both in the US and in other countries.
    This policy’s discontinuation, whether in the piecemeal decriminalization of illicit drugs or the implementation of harm reduction policies, will have 2 effects in our country: the removal of a pretense for military action against the communities that truly have a score to settle with our government, and, by our own government’s admission, the creation of a better environment for treating the drug dependencies that subvert the efforts of those communities. Why anyone who has thought seriously about qualitatively changing the status quo would argue against changing US drug policy is completely beyond me.
    Furthermore, the argument that black-market weed should be relied upon for financing is ridiculous. There are plenty of less conspicuous ways to raise money. Get a haircut, get a cosigner, and start a construction, cleaning, or professional consultant business. The last thing we need are activists getting stuck in jail for anything other than activism.