I am shocked—shocked!—to find that politics is going on in here!

Meanwhile, among the state Leftists….

At Common Dreams, Progressives discover that party politics has mechanisms to favor insiders, and to make it difficult for candidates to get a nomination without the approval of the party aparat. Most react with horror, and decide to change this stifling state of affairs—by committing themselves even more fervently to partisan politicking. This time in the name of strengthening our democracy, which requires wresting control of the Party out of the hands of the very people who write the rules of engagement. See, if you can win, then you can change things so that the party establishment can’t keep you from winning anymore.

Elsewhere, Stanley Fish discovers that the government-appointed directors of politically-run Universities sometimes put partisanship and political cronyism above academics in appointing senior administrators. The way he reckons it, a good result, if there is one, will not justify a bad practice, and putting someone with no academic experience in charge of an academic institution is just that. Nor is it necessary, even in the straitened circumstances (hardly unique to Colorado) the university faces. There is another way, and Michael Carrigan, one of the three (Democratic) regents to vote against Benson, pointed to it when he told me, I can’t believe that there are no candidates out there with both business acumen and academic credentials. He is right. Those candidates were out there and they still are. Perhaps the next university tempted to go this route will take the trouble to look for them.

image: a hamster runs on its wheel

Mister Buckles is taking back our democracy from the party establishment!

Playing the government game and taking the government’s patronage means playing by the government’s rules. The longer you keep walloping at it, the more stuck in it you get. Primary goals — like solidarity and social justice, or intellectual discovery and creation — have already been replaced by secondary goals — like winning elections or tugging on legislative purse-strings. Soon the secondary goals are swallowed up by tertiary goals — spending four-year election cycle after four-year election cycle bashing yourself against the hardened barricades of the Party establishment, or wrangling with political factions over the best process to find and bring in a boss combining the right balance of academic chops with the political connections needed to keep the university mainlining politically appropriated funds. This is no way to make a revolution. It’s not even a way to make small change.

In anarchy, there is another way. When the things that matter most in our lives are the things that we make for ourselves, each of us singly, or with many of us choosing to work together in voluntary associations, there will be no need to waste years of our lives and millions of dollars fighting wars of attrition with back-room king-makers—because we will not need to get any of the things that they are trying to hoard. There will be no need to fight battles between academic senates and Boards of Trustees over the right balance of academic competence and political savvy in a university President —because when universities’ funding rises from the people who participate in, or care about, the academic community, rather than being handed down by the State, the university has no need for political bodies like Boards of Trustees or smooth-operator self-styled Chief Executive Officers. We will not need to get any of the favors that they might be able to grant. When we go after the State’s patronage, politics makes prisoners of us all. But freedom means that when the powers that be try to rope you along for something stupid, or try to snuff out something brilliant, we can turn around, walk away, and do things for ourselves—whether they like it or not.

Further reading:

Advertisement

Help me get rid of these Google ads with a gift of $10.00 towards this month’s operating expenses for radgeek.com. See Donate for details.

11 replies to I am shocked—shocked!—to find that politics is going on in here! Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. Bob Kaercher

    Aaaawwww…Maybe Mister Buckles will eventually wind up dead spinning that wheel without having accomplished a single damn thing, but doesn’t he just look oh-so-cute doing it?

· September 2008 ·

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2008-09-29 – Not One Damned Dime:

    […] This is a losing approach — because there’s clarity in a simple demand of No—hell no! that you lose amidst the complicated details of everyone’s latest Great New Plan, once you start horse-trading and concede that it might be O.K. in principle to grab billions of dollars out of working people’s pockets and give it to a bunch of hat-in-hand robber barons begging to go on the government dole, if it can be tied to advancing your other political goals. It’s also the wrong approach, because no matter what strings you might manage to attach, there is no justification whatsoever for this massive act of robbery from working folks. If the things that Progressives want to get are really worth getting, then they should fight to get those things done on their own; there’s certainly nothing to be gained by hitching them up to this act of plunder. If they cannot practically be got except by conceding to this massive privateering raid, then they are not worth the cost of getting them, and we ought to talk about ways that we can get the things that we really want, outside of the stifling limitations of electoral politics. […]

· November 2008 ·

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2008-11-12 – Shorter Bonaduce:

    […] But be that as it may, his complaints of utopianism seem strangely selective. As Yglesias himself points out, Cato is hardly alone in its failure to achieve practical results: American progressives aren’t doing all that great a job of resisting corporate power or stopping the government from sticking its hands into workers pockets for the benefit of endangered capitalists, landlords, and moneylenders. He then uses this as an opportunity to praise the Institute for Justice and to throw out a recruitment pitch for libertarian allies in Progressive causes. But what he seemingly fails to consider is that maybe the problem isn’t with a lack of numbers, but rather with the toolkit itself—that those tools are really traps, which end up enveloping and smothering any attempt at realizing your p…. […]

  2. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2008-11-17 – A brief history of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the “Friend of Labor”:

    […] has been the graveyard of social movements for over a century now, with one movement after another being diverted from grassroots action on behalf of their primary goals into the secondary or tertiar…. And once they go in, movements more or less never come […]

— 2009 —

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2009-06-09 – The Crash:

    […] For some excellent commentary, see Brad Spangler’s remarks, Misconception: Radicalism undermines reform efforts. I’d just want to stress, in addition to what Brad has to say, that the kind of co-optation and self-vitiation that Brad talks about aren’t just tendencies, and they aren’t just the work of some clever set of minimal-statist manipulators. I think that they are built in to the electoral-reformist project itself, necessarily and always — that they are structural limitations that you will always face if your politics is hitched primarily to influence the state or trying to gain a base of power within the state. The process itself only admits of certain outcomes, and the process itself also tends to consume those who put themselves into it. (For more on why, see GT 2008-11-14: So you are in favor of personal money holes? and GT 2008-02-25: I am shocked! shocked! to find that politics is going on in here.) […]

  2. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2009-10-07 – Welcome, FreeTalkers:

    […] 2009-04-04: The State of the Debate, GT 2008-02-25: I am shocked!—shocked!—to find that politics is going on in here! and GT 2008-09-10: The Stupid Campaign Season Distraction discuss problems with electoral politics, […]

— 2010 —

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2010-05-17 – The Clean Water Act Vs. Clean Water:

    […] Anarchist theory may be, we have to deal with the real world. But down in the real world, walloping on the tar baby of electoral politics constantly gets big Progressive lobbying groups stuck in ridiculous fights that elevate procedural […]

  2. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2010-12-07 – Get the Gun Out of the Room.:

    […] Rad Geek People’s Daily (2008-02-25): I am shocked!—shocked!!—to find out that pol… […]

— 2014 —

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People's Daily 2014-01-28 – Welcome, Reasoners:

    […] 2009-04-04: The State of the Debate, GT 2008-02-25: I am shocked!—shocked!—to find that politics is going on in here! and GT 2008-09-10: The Stupid Campaign Season Distraction and GT 2013-08-17: Direction of Fit […]

  2. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People's Daily 2014-11-17 – man 5 reformism:

    […] But what you get at the end of all those filters is always something quite different from what you were hoping for. Or if it was just what you were hoping for, your hopes and dreams are kind of terrible. In either case, it’s questionable whether this actually counts as the more practical approach to social and political change. In either case, you should broaden your horizons. In Anarchy, there is another way. […]

Post a reply

By:
Your e-mail address will not be published.
You can register for an account and sign in to verify your identity and avoid spam traps.
Reply

Use Markdown syntax for formatting. *emphasis* = emphasis, **strong** = strong, [link](http://xyz.com) = link,
> block quote to quote blocks of text.

This form is for public comments. Consult About: Comments for policies and copyright details.