Emerging Cottage Industries
By Steve Hunt at Nov 18, 2008
With the new Administration and the changes in the overall nature of Politics in the United States (on the surface at the very least), it is going to be interesting to see what new and not so exciting Cottage Industries spring up. I will spare the readers the depressing details of the history of those which sprung up with the last shift in power, namely AM hate radio, the Grover Norquist style think tanks (one of which is on trial in Oklahoma City today!!! whoooeeeee!!!) Mega Churches, the list goes on.
Something along the lines of three or four years ago, I speculated in a blog somewhere, I forget where, that there would be a lot of "Seeking Social Justice!" entities (think tanks, do tanks or whatever) formed in the near future. Now, I am wondering if this is what we are about to see, and I want to share a brief portion of an interview with Palagummi Sainath to clarify where I am going with this:
From "Orissa's unemployment problem should be solved with minimum destruction of Natural resources"
OD : As a rural journalist what are your views on N.G.Os and development?
P. Sainath : You can not find a single body called NGO, because there are many. The word NGO does not represent any single organization or entity; its amourphous. There are many good NGOs who are highly responsible for their people and there are some NGOs who are lagging on this regard.
OD : But on an average what is your view about them?
P. Sainath : On average I will say that many of them are not working sincerely. There are bad people in good NGOs and good people in Bad NGOs and bad people in bad NGOs too. But some of them are working in important areas and fields and potential is there to work. But I would like to see that if the NGOs, in stead of working on behalf of people, promote the spirit of self dependence among people, then its more an effective way.
My job as a driver for FedEX gives me a lot of time to think about things, no radio allowed in the truck and sometimes a bit too much time between stops. It is hard work and you can get kind of upset about certain things if you have a functioning brain. Two weeks ago, I was working and got several calls from people that a local hot shot elegant dinner party attending puke-bag lobbyist was not just talking crap about me on our local NPR station, but was telling some bizarre lies about me to boot! As you can imagine, this kind of upset me. The reasons should be fairly evident.
Here is a short exerpt of what this hoodlum was saying on this show featuring a panel of "Trust us, we're experts!" types, the topic was something along the lines of emerging media and it's role in Politics. Now keep in mind while listening to this, I live in Oklahoma City, have lived here 29 years, and this boob lives in Norman Oklahoma!:
Ok I confess. I have snuck into a couple of Super Bowls, that is not the part this boy is lying about. I did this horrible thing, and I did it for various reasons, most importantly was to show how easy it is for white guys like me to put on a suit and tie, and then can go around and tell people things and watch them believe you, as did the security who let us in both times. This was a point that this lobbyist frog totally missed, but I think deep down he knows that what I did was just exactly what he does for a living, and what a nice living it is! So ok enough of that. The point being is that all this time contemplating people like this all the while working my butt off and being held to tremendously high standards, it is totally impossible to ever not allow the two words into my head that Cornell West has used on occassion. Those two words are "Cowardly Careerism".
Like Sainath, I believe that there are people doing good things, and there are people who are not with regards to all these little (and sometimes big) non-profit groups that spring up all the time. Some lobby, some organize, some hold dinner parties for the poor or oppressed. All on the surface seemingly very worthy causes. But to me, right now there are far too many people doing this kind of stuff right out of college rather than immersing themselves in the population, especially the working population ala Bill Fletcher Jr.
There will no doubt be a lot of opportunities available for progressive people in the coming years that were not over the past three decades. Some of these will be wonderful for everyone, like the things Van Jones is talking about. On the other hand, there will be many grandiose entities that arise which do little more than provide a place for well connected Sons and Daughters of fancy Democratic operatives (and their aesthetically pleasing chums) to be shielded from the horrors of the working world. Most of these will undermined the efforts of so many who have worked so hard to get to this point.
It is hard to say how much money has been wasted over the past three decades on the cowardly careerism's of the Republican set. Thomas Frank's fine new book chronicles a lot of this and I highly recommend reading it for numerous reasons, one of which is a case study on a lot of things we progressives need to not do now that we have some power.
I could go on and on and segue and segue, but I'd like your opinions on these matters.