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 Post subject: The Loss of Utopia
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 8:01 am 
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The Loss of Utopia
by Dylan Evans


Ever since Plato, western thinkers have dreamed of ideal societies, utopias that could perhaps never be fully realized, but which at least gave us something to aspire to - noble, beautiful visions of what society might one day be like. Thomas More, Tommaso Campanella, Francis Bacon and Karl Marx all painted pictures of a future in which there is a strong sense of community, in which work is fulfilling and leisure is used wisely and creatively. Now, at the dawn of the 21st century, this long tradition of idealism has all but vanished. We have no vision - just the paltry consolations of consumerism.

Sixteen years ago Francis Fukuyama saw the collapse of the Soviet bloc as "the end of history". What he meant was that liberal democracy had emerged triumphant over all alternative forms of human government. There is more to history, however, than government. Indeed, all the major visions of utopia place far greater importance on more mundane matters, such as the nature of work and leisure, and the structure of local communities, than they do on the grand questions of governance.

More, Campanella and Bacon all agree that everyone must work. When work is shared out between all members of society, Campanella calculates that each person will have to work no more than four hours a day. That would leave plenty of leisure time, as well as energy to use that time wisely by, Campanella suggests, attending lectures. Even Marx, who is remembered more for his economic and political theories, started out with a vision of everyday life in the communist society, where a person might "hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner". By reducing history to the question of governance, Fukuyama consigned the more difficult questions about work, leisure and community to oblivion. The "end of history" was just a euphemism for the end of utopia.

Visions can be dangerous, of course. Marx's dream became, for millions, a nightmare. In the 90s, all ideas of radical social transformation came to be regarded with suspicion. It was as if humanity had finally grown up, and left such adolescent fantasies behind.

But if idealism without a dose of reality is simply naive, realism without a dash of imagination is utterly depressing. If this really was the end of history, it would be an awful anticlimax. Look at the way we live now, in the west. We grow up in increasingly fragmented communities, hardly speaking to the people next door, and drive to work in our self-contained cars. We work in standardized offices and stop at the supermarket on our way home to buy production-line food which we eat without relish. There is no great misery, no hunger, and no war. But nor is there great passion or joy. Despite our historically unprecedented wealth, more people than ever before suffer from depression.

The major political parties are reduced to tinkering with the details of our current system. Their only objective seems to be: more of the same, only perhaps a little bit more cheaply. They have no grand vision.

It is this complacency, this lack of idealism, that is in part responsible for the repugnance with which Muslim extremists view western society. When George Bush speaks of exporting democracy to the Middle East, he should realize that liberal democracy on its own is a limp, anemic idea. If the west is to provide a more inspiring ideal, then it is time we devoted more thought to the questions that Plato, More and Marx placed at the heart their utopias; the question of how to make work more rewarding, leisure more abundant, and communities more friendly.

Dylan Evans will be speaking on morality at the Royal College of Art, London, on Saturday, October 29. www.dylan.org.uk.

© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 2:55 am 
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To try to claim that the experiment with Marxism, called Russia or China was/is in any way other than a totalitarianist system, is to continue to avoid the issue, and give credence to the propaganda agenda of corporate control in our country. It is like trying to claim that the founding fathers intended democracy to be part of the constitution, when they were actually protecting their wealth and land ownership, and democracy was the furthest thing from their minds; a necessary evil, but evil nonetheless. Listen to the radio show on the "Myth of the Founding Fathers" in the American History post. The myth of communism as evil was perpetrated by America's leaders for fear that the American people would find out that these ideals are alive and well in the structure of elitist corporate America, and helped shape the structure of the constitution. They want us to believe that we live under a capitalist, free market system. The myth of that is that some must win to have it seem to be alive, but it is more akin to a system like a lottery, where rewards are heaped on the few who show the talent to amuse or create, so venture capitalists can profit, from the poor and the oppressed. This is true in religion, sports, entertainment, corporations, education, etc. as the ghettos, the poor and the homeless of America can profess.

I'm pleased that you Alkemi, have begun to recognise that we are living in a dystopia like atmosphere and that we don't have that freedom, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness promised in our constiution. When "We the People" became "We the Elite VS, We the Workers for the Elite", as now both parents must work to support their pursuit of happiness, which leaves our children alone, and sews the seeds of unrest among our most valued resource, our future. The idea of competition and more work for less pay keeps us obligated to slave harder for the dreams we're fed. See Plato's cave- it's in front of you and believe the illusion.

From Alk-
Quote:
Look at the way we live now, in the west. We grow up in increasingly fragmented communities, hardly speaking to the people next door, and drive to work in our self-contained cars. We work in standardized offices and stop at the supermarket on our way home to buy production-line food which we eat without relish. There is no great misery, no hunger, and no war. But nor is there great passion or joy. Despite our historically unprecedented wealth, more people than ever before suffer from depression.


Alex Carey: Corporations and Propaganda
The Attack on Democracy (1995)

Quote:
Alex Carey said that the people of the US have been subjected to an unparalleled, expensive, 3/4 century long propaganda effort designed to expand corporate rights by undermining democracy and destroying the unions. The 20th century, he wrote, is marked by three historic developments: the growth of democracy via the expansion of the franchise, the growth of corporations, and the growth of propaganda to protect corporations from democracy. Carey’s unique view of US history goes back to World War I and ends with the Reagan era.

Noam Chomsky dedicated his book “Manufacturing Consent” to the memory of Alex Carey. Chomsky says that the Australian sociologist would have written the definitive history of propaganda in the US, had he lived to complete his work. This is a fairly complex production with many voices, historic sound clips, and source material. The program has been used by writers and students of history and propaganda.


Alex Carey: Taking the Risk out of Democracy, Corporate Propaganda VS Freedom and Liberty
with a foreword by Noam Chomsky was published by the University of Illinois Press in 1995

http://www.tucradio.org/0817careyone.mp3

Some of the corporate systems, developed over the years, to counter and descimate the unions with propaganda against the workers rights. Accusations of communist or fascist influence and anti-Americanism, were fed to the Public to justify the violence and greed that corporations enlist to sway the view of the average citizen.

Second half of this documentary.
http://www.tucradio.org/0824careytwo.mp3

It is difficult to justify this system and to boycott its products, like coke/pepsi, water ownership, wal-mart/home depot, GM/organic foods, pharmaceuticals/medical schools, doctors/health insurance etc. etc. It's a desire to wage war on the lower classes within America and around the world, by either monopolizing on its money or resources. There is a lot of talk about ethical funds. How many people buy into these high interest mutual funds, buying from banks like Citi, Deutsche, First National etc.? Where are they getting their portfolios filled from? Who and what are they helping to finance? Do they care if it's arms and war they're supporting? Haliburton and Carlyle? As long as interest is high and a profit to be made, do they care? Today on CNN(Contains NO news), they were asking if it was a good investment in CHEVRON? Really, as a consumer or a rich elite? We as average citizens invest daily at the pumps and in our heating bills, etc. already. Only the rich can invest in stocks and bonds that finance these mega corporations, while they exercise carte blanche to rape the world and the environment. We only float them with our needs to survive, which they steal from us at every opportunity, so their stock value rises to fill the pockets of their investors and themselves.

Who's side does CNN wish to project in the news? Look at it- all elite and high finance news. When they do show human tragedy and poverty, it is usually as an outsider, somewhat disdainfully at the way the poor lives, not seeing the agenda, or actually addressing the policies that continue this oppression, as a socio-economic formula to keep the status quo functioning. Listen to the part on Think Tanks in part 2.

By boycotting, it means very little, as the distribution of wealth, justice arm, our foreign policies, military and the use of the poor to finance and fight their wars, guarantees their success against our objections. We can never win, unless we change the systems; political, financial, social, heirarchal,corporate, educational and spiritual, to break their hold on our freedoms and rights. We are run by a TRIPARTHEID SYSTEM of bought out compliant leaders in the political/corporate/unions. They are in it together to keep the status quo and America intact. We are the losers in a system of checks and balances, THAT AREN'T REALLY THERE TO HELP THE POOR. THEY ONLY HELP THE RICH OPPRESS US.


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