My Resoc Interview
By Nikos Raptis at Nov 06, 2009
1. At a public talk someone asks you, "okay, I understand what you reject, but I wonder what you are for? What institutions do you want that you think will be better than what we have, for the economy, polity, gender, race, ecology, or whatever you think is central to have vision for?
For the economy, I have not much to say. Mike Albert and others have already presented a vision with which any honest person will agree. Personally, I think that the notion of "balanced job complexes", beyond its practical and ethical content, will offer an opportunity for men and women to "train" themselves in dexterity, practical matters, etc, but most importantly to "coach" themselves in humility.
For the polity, I think that the most important (and difficult) problem to solve in a "ParPolitic" society is that of the Justice system and of the Police. To award to an, arbitrarily chosen, individual (a judge or a policeman) or to a small group of individuals, the power to decide the fate of a human is a risky solution. Especially for the police, how do we weed out the individuals who choose to become (professional) policemen for rather "peculiar" reasons? In existing societies the majority of policemen (close to 100%) are torturers.
For culture, I think that the dominant expressions of human culture are music and propaganda (propaganda in its original and "innocent" meaning, i.e. the "propagation" of knowledge, information, art, etc through, television, films, books, etc). Especially music today has become an enormously potent instrument of cultural imperialism. All over the planet the music that has prevailed is a kind of music that is striving to bolster its nonexistent musical quality by, for example, wearing a baseball cap sideways, or moving the pelvis in a "strange" way, etc. Through the ages music was "cultivated" by ordinary people. A process that produced the "demotic" ("folk") music. A music of extremely high quality for most of the peoples of the world. Then this evolved in a "technically advanced" music with Bach and Handel its most eminent "creators". Unfortunately this latter music had been usurped by the elites, especially by rich old "ladies", who used it as a token of superiority from the unwashed masses.
If the above view is correct (which it is!), and if this "technically advanced" music makes a person's life richer, for his entire life, then it seems that the unwashed masses are deprived of an important aspect of the human culture: the music of Bach and Handel. The unwashed masses are not given the chance to approach ("know") this music. The Madison Avenue "garbage" promoted as music excludes this approach. The claim that ordinary persons cannot "understand" this music is wrong [see "Note" below]. In a ParCultural society all people will be given the chance and the means to acquire this cultural treasure. Also, why should not Black American kids be given the chance to devote their extraordinary talents to compose or perform this technically advanced music?
[Note: Mikis Theodorakis is recognized as one of the most important composers of the 20th century. Mikis in the late 1940s spent a couple of years in the "Makronesos Concentration Camp" which was devoted to torturing and breaking the spirit of Greek leftists. While there, Mikis taught his fellow-prisoners, ordinary young men of the unwashed masses, the elements of "technically advanced" music. Years, after his release, he met in Athens, a former fellow-prisoner. The first thing that the young man asked of Mikis was to complete for him the lesson he had given on the island of Makronesos on the..."art of the fugue"! End of Note.]
Concerning the musical "garbage" spread by the US "Imperium" on the face of the earth, any claim that the "strange" rotation or "jerky" movement of the pelvis is a result of the inner content of that "garbage", as a kind of dance, is at least dishonest. All one has to do is watch the dances of the Russians and of the other Slaves, of the Irish, of the Cretans, of the Turks, of the Scotts, etc, etc, dances which have their roots in early human history.
By the way, the bedrock of the Pareconish vision is honesty. Honesty in thinking, in behavior, etc. For example, as long as we talk about culture, take abstract paintings: are not the ecstatic comments about a painting composed of only a vertical and a horizontal straight line a dishonest posturing? Furthermore, that the CIA promoted abstract art as a "hostile" act against Soviet "realism", leads us to what conclusions about the honesty, not of the promoters, but of the western societies?
Finally, I would like to ask of the people in the audience, not to be too hasty in deciding that there is a lot of exaggeration in the above comments (especially about music). A calm and honest review of those comments might find "some" truth in them. Maybe, a lot of truth.
Now, to address not only what I "think is central to have vision for", but to discuss what I think is more than central, what is "vital" for any society. What is vital is: electricity, water-supply, sewage system, and transportation. A major disruption in any of these technological fields of society could bring about chaos.
I think that a pareconish confrontation of the problems in these technological fields could start...today! In all these fields there are three levels of operation: the managerial level, the engineering level, and the workers level. Today, the managers of these fields, whether the fields are state or private owned are political appointees. Therefore, they are irrelevant. Sometimes, they do not even have a technological background. All they do is apply the decisions of the top political dogs who are mostly lawyers or economists. The engineers have a theoretical background in their field but most of them are rather distanced from the practical operation of their work or are just indifferent or most of their work is bureaucratic reporting to the politicians. Of course there are engineers who know their field in depth both theoretically and practically. Finally, there are the workers who are the people who really keep the above systems in operation. Most of them, although they might lack the "refined" theoretical understanding of their field, have a "tacit" (instinctive) understanding of their work which is extremely precious.
So, in a pareconish society, the engineers and the workers together could find sustainable (i.e. rational) solutions that will guarantee the survival of society.
Furthermore, worldwide, there is a huge reservoir of experience, intelligence, and honest thinking that can be exploited: the retired engineers and workers in these fields. Men and women between the age of 65 and 75 can make a great difference, pareconishwise.
2. Next, someone at the same event asks, "Why do you do what you do? That is, you are speaking to us, and I know you write, and maybe you organize, but why do you do it? What do you think it accomplishes? What is your goal for your coming year, or for your next ten years?
Having lived through the barbarity of existing societies for more than three quarters of a century, I consider it my duty to offer any experience that I might have to younger people. I think that, although, most people initially reject a novel notion offered to them, in more lucid or less egotistical moments they see the rationality in an honest vision. My goal for the coming year is to do what I am doing now. This text is an example of that. Ten years are too...long for me.
3. You are at home and you get an email that says a new organization is trying to form, internationally, federating national chapters, etc. It asks you to join the effort. Can you imagine plausible conditions under which you would say, yes, I will give my energies to making it happen along with the rest of you who are already involved? If so, what are those conditions? Or - do you think instead that regardless of the content of the agenda and make up of the participants, the idea can't be worthy, now,or perhaps ever. If so, why?
Any solution for the present mess should be INTERNATIONAL! I shall join the effort (as much as I, physically, can) unconditionally.
4. Do you think efforts to organize movements, projects, and our own organizations should embody the seeds of the future in the present? If not, why? If yes, can you say what, very roughly, you think some of the implications would be for an organization you would favor?
Yes, I agree that the movements should "embody the seeds of the future in the present". [See my view on the above technological fields].
5. Why did you answer this interview? Why do you think others did not answer it?
See 2. above, why I did answer. About others: People are inherently lazy; the only wise attribute given us by our "divine" creator.