Window Shopping During a Time of Revolution

As revolution looms, Americans size up their options for the future.

35 Comments. Leave new

  • So, what, your guiding principle has now become “If I just keep saying revolution is coming every day for the rest of my life, I’m bound to be right eventually?”

    There isn’t going to be a revolution, Ted (and once again, thank God for that). The sooner you let go of this little fantasy, the sooner a) you can start to deal with the problems of this country in ways that will actually benefit the population now; instead of ways that will hurt the population now and benefit the population five generations in the future and b) reclaim at least some of that connection to reality that made you such a good cartoonist- well, when Bush was President anyway.

    • Actually, @Whimsical, revolutions are always inevitable. Bet on them. Nothing ever lasts forever. It’s only a question of when any given revolution will occur. Will one happen here next year? Maybe not. But the odds are a lot higher now than they were in, say, 1986.

      I think it’s interesting that you think I was a better Bush-basher than an Obama-basher. Could it simply be that you’re a Democrat? That’s fine, many people are, just asking.

  • Is this really the mindset you see in OWS protesters? If so, I was more right than I thought about their intentions. Why work when you can just take? Why pay off your debts if you can get someone else to do it for you?

    The OWS mindset is: We want to be better and more obedient consumers.

    OWS should be renamed OTP: “Occupy Taxpayer Pockets”.

  • @exkiodexian: I understand your complaint, but I simply don’t think looting can ever be described as “obedient consumerism”. It is pure Consumerism, yes, but obedient, no. I don’t necessarily endorse looting, but at the same time looting does actually damage the system and does so severely if done on a sufficiently grand scale. If people have been so heavily conditioned to seek out material possessions that they have reached a point where they are willing to circumvent the way the system prescribes that they do so, they still undermine the system and the system still collapses if they continue. The destructive portion of a revolution can be waged by people who don’t even realize that they are waging it they can just be satisfying their own selfish needs and wants in a manner that undermines and rots the system. The key driving forces and tactics in revolutions don’t have to be elegant, pretty, conscious, or redeemable acts or ideas. Whatever works.

    Personally I would actually savor the delicious irony of a hypothetical revolution that destroys capitalism and consumerism via excessive personal greed and rampant need to consume. It would be proof that evil can destroy itself and that the universe does indeed have a sense of humor.

  • Their slogan could be “Buy locally, loot globally.”

  • As we learned in Katrina, not all looting is created equal:

    If the outraged mobs steal iPhones, that’s a lot less understandable than the outraged mobs stealing food and medicines. If the outraged mobs burn thrift stores, book shops and libraries, that’s a lot less understandable than the outraged mobs burning hedge fund offices.

    Today on my way into my temp job (which I am genuinely glad to have because it beats starving to death), I walked past an OWS protest over Defense Contracts. Six people walking with signs. 18 cops standing around watching them. Where’s all the outrage over the police wasting resources?

  • @someone: That’s one way of looking at it, I suppose. The problem is that nothing meaningful will come out of such a collapse. It would just rise again. If the system collapsed because of refusal to participate, then the chance of meaningful change arising from the ashes is much higher.

  • @Ted

    Fine, if you insist on semantics, yes, eventually there will be a revolution. And even a stopped clock is right once or twice a day.

    Im 43, and I’d bet money it won’t happen in my lifetime. And I have severe doubts that it’ll happen in yours. The odds may be a lot higher now then they were in 86, but an increase from .000005 to .000010 is nothing to get exicted about, IMO.

    It’s just a sad way to ignore the real, if imperfect. solutions to todays problems in favor of some far off fantasy solution that will make things JUST the way you want them. And because you’re ignoring the present in favor of your mythical revolutionary future, things continue to get worse.

    Last, to answer your question: No, I am not a Democrat. I vote and work for Democrats because I cannot, in good conscience, allow the Republicans to do more damage to the country, and like it or not, anything other than voting and working for Democrats does exactly that.

    What I am is a pragmatic liberal; one who understands that change comes in increments. And that the best thing we can do to ensure lasting change is to use the system as it actually works to get the best outcome we can get, and than fight to build on it for the next go round. Not to have a temper tantrum and empower those who will roll back the increments of change that have been made merely because the change has not gone far enough or fast enough to suit us.

    And yes, when Bush was President, you cartoons were grounded in reality, a quality that has been lacking in your cartoons since Obama got elected, and SEVERELY lacking the more enamored with this fantasy revolution you become.

    • @Whimsical wrote:

      “Last, to answer your question: No, I am not a Democrat. I vote and work for Democrats because I cannot, in good conscience, allow the Republicans to do more damage to the country, and like it or not, anything other than voting and working for Democrats does exactly that.”

      If you vote Democratic and work for Democrats, you are by definition a Democrat.

  • @Whimsical said: “What I am is a pragmatic liberal; one who understands that change comes in increments.”

    This is the sort of b.s., defeatist attitude that has given liberals a bad name. What nonsense. When the elite want something, they fucking TAKE IT! They don’t sit around going “well, we have to give this time because change only happens in increments.” They fucking SMASH and GRAB! There are so many examples of this you could literally fill this entire blog with them. And what’s the liberal response to this? “Hey, let’s take it easy here. We need to move slow. No need to be hasty.” What cowardly bullshit.

    The fucking financial sector co-opted our government and rolled back all kinds of regulation in one fell swoop, setting the stage for the disaster that is continuing to unfold. The liberal response? “Let’s not be hasty here. Small increments. Steady as she goes. Don’t rock the boat”. Fucking roll back those changes in one go, and add even more regulations that choke these fucking greedy execs until they bleed out of every orifice. If that doesn’t work, then revolution. THAT should be the progressive way. Anything less is more of the same. Or as Obama called it, “change coming to Washington”. Yeah, we all see how that worked out. Thanks, but no thanks.

  • @ex-

    “Fucking roll back those changes in one go, and add even more regulations that choke these fucking greedy execs until they bleed out of every orifice.”

    That’s as sad a denial mechanism to avoid dealing with today’s problems as Ted’s little revolution fantasies. The system simply doesn’t work that way; and the more you ignore the ways the system actually works in favor of fantasy, the worse the problems get (which just reinforces the false premise you’re starting with).

    Cause you see, this:
    ” When the elite want something, they fucking TAKE IT! They don’t sit around going “well, we have to give this time because change only happens in increments.” ”

    This is false. What is happening now is a direct result of a 30+ year campaign by the elite to chip away at the barriers that keep them from having what they want, bit, by tiny incremental bit. And this campaign was aided and abetted by liberals who had (and have) the mindset of “Well, things aren’t going as left as I’d like, as quickly as I’d like, so fuck it. Instead of fighting harder and building on what we’ve got, I’m going to take my ball, go home, and dream of a glorious revolution.” And while they dream of a revolution that will never come, they ignore the very real ways to solve the problems around them and the world gets worse. Wake up!

    The right is winning, because the right remembered something the left forgot. Lasting change comes from the bottom up, and it comes a tiny little bit at a time, not from the top down. It took 30+ years for the right to get where they are now. Until the left undesrtands that it’s going to take at least half that long fighting at full force and fervor to reverse what the right has done, they aren’t going to get ANYWHERE.

  • Today Democracy Now! reported that “Obama Has Weakened More Lobbyist-Opposed Health, Public Safety Regulations Than Bush.”

    Very important to keep those Republicans out of power, right Whimsical? The Democrats are SO much better, right?

    Wake up.

  • @Grouchy

    Care to link to the actual article so I can see how much of it is fact versus how much of it is Obama bashing, Democrat bashing propaganda? How many of those regulations were completely, utterly useless in the first place, so no actual harm was done by weakening them? The “Argle Bargle! We can NEVER get rid of regulation!” mindset is JUST as bad as the “Herp! Derp! We can NEVER have regulation!” mindset.

    So, without that link, I really can’t comment on your article.

    What I can comment on is that I’ve never claimed the current crop of Democrats are “so much better” than the Republicans (though given that the current crop of Republicans would start WWIII and take it nuclear, as well as start a depression that would make the one from the 20’s look like the boom times of the 90’s, I’m gonna stand firm on them being better).

    What I have claimed and continue to claim is that if the left pulled its head out of its ass and its nose out of the air, they could get Democrats who are “So much better” than Republicans elected.

    I’m doing the hard work necessary to build a better Democratic Party (and by extension, a better country). Anybody dreaming of revolution or anything other than a long, hard slog to take our country back, nanometer by nanometer are the ones who aren’t fully awake.

  • Do your own damn research. An idiot could find what I referenced in less than 10 keystrokes.

    Look, I don’t care if you find it or not. You’ll support Obama not matter what he does. That’s the difference between us. I supported him until he proved he didn’t deserve it. No one wanted to see a REAL reformer more than I.

    If (or, rather, when) the current Democratic/Republican regime is overthrown, your type will be the last to see it coming. Mainly because you’re too dense to even understand that the “two parties” are really just one.

  • You refuse to support your argument then; as I expected. Says a lot about you, Grouchy.

    As for the rest of your post, no surprise- it’s as off base as you always are. You’re pretty much completely wrong about everything; Especially me.

    Though, I will say if you looked at Obama and expected a reformer in any signifcant way, you have some nerve calling anyone else asleep; cause you were having one hell of a dream.

  • An idiot could find what I referenced in less than 10 keystrokes.

  • An. Idiot.

  • You’re the one making the argument, you’re the one with the obligation to back it up, Grouchy ole pal. I don’t have to do a damn thing.

    Put up or shut up.

  • I see Whimsical is as silly as ever. The operative word was “Lobbyist-Opposed”. Hmm. An idiot also could figure that means the regulations were important. The reason liberals have failed the country is that they think they can change things slowly in this system. They’re complete wusses. They shoot so low, then have nothing to negotiate away anyway. And if any change does happen, it is reversed or worsened in no time. Yes, we must’ve all been asleep to think that a “Hope and Change” slogan meant Obama was casting himself as a reformer. How outrageous of us!

  • Answer me this: How do other nations have encompassing healthcare systems, longer vacations, longer leaves for parents having children, longer life expectancy for infants, more real rights for workers, etc.? Why do other nations have less money to wage incredibly expensive wars? It is because the people in power are a bit more afraid of the people. Their people will go on large strikes, shut down industries, shut down corporate activities, and just plain demonstrate harder than we do. Do you think anyone in power really tunes into trolls arging with each other? All trolls do is beat their keyboards into submission. Make the government respond to the people – not the other way around. Hit them where it hurts. Money talks, bullshit walks.

  • @exkiodexian

    With the phrase “Occupy Taxpayer Pockets” you sound more like a libertarian/teabagger rather the the proto-revolutionary that you’ve presented yourself as until now.

    Frankly, the strategy of pitting workers against non-workers by the dwindling Right in regards to OWS has been an abysmal failure. There are far too many people that have lost their jobs or are in danger of losing them for that strategy to work.

  • @Whimsical

    The problem with “doing things in increments” is that homeless, hungry, indebted, and other assorted types of desparate people are less likely to stick to what you consider an acceptable timetable for change. So if a revolution isn’t possible, then mass rioting becomes inevitable if change doesn’t happen quickly enough.

    Please don’t consider the above statement an endorsement of mass rioting, just food for thought.

  • alex_the_tired
    December 1, 2011 8:01 AM

    The problem is that we have a two-tier system.

    One group still thinks that the system is supposed to work this way: Taxes are collected to pay for society. Everyone lives in society and derives benefits. So, childless people pay for the public schools. Why? Because those children will more likely grow up to be contributing, useful members of society if they receive an education. And why are there free school lunches to the poor? Beside the notion that a starving child is not an accomplishment to be proud of, the small amount of money expended to feed that child helps to save money in the long-term because a nourished child is 1. more likely to pay attention in school, 2. less likely to become sick, 3. more likely to see the benefits of the system and be willing to contribute and participate.

    The other group consists of people who have been convinced (mainly by propaganda released by the very rich and by the other less-rich people who believe that propaganda) that everyone who is rich deserves to be rich and is rich because of their own effort (clearly bullshit, but considered an unshakeable tenet of the faith by the group). So, schools shouldn’t be funded because it creates an “entitlement” society. Tax cuts should continue because that’s not an entitlement. Why isn’t it? Because it isn’t. Stop being so difficult. If you read Rand or talk to someone very rich (i.e., your betters) you’ll understand eventually. Anyway, don’t fund schools because people who really want to learn, will somehow find a way. If children are starving, their parents need to work harder. Feeding hungry children is wrong.

    That’s the basic problem. One group looks to society as a mutual-aid society, the other group looks to society as an aid-goes-one-way-right-to-me-only society.

  • @:ex I disagree. If the system burns itself out that doesn’t mean it will reconstruct itself. At the risk of going to far with a potentially bad metaphor, if a log burns itself out it doesn’t reconstitute itself from its ashes, however, other new things can regrow from its carbon an mineral rich detritus.

  • @everyone here: Now Now Now we are all passionate and this is important so it is natural to get heated, but lets try and be cooperative in our discussions.

    Here is your link Whimsical:
    It did take less then 10 key strokes to get it, but it would still have been nice if Grouchy hadn’t been so, well, grouchy, about providing it.

  • alex_the_tired
    December 1, 2011 10:01 AM

    Re: Destroying the system.

    Destroying the system is not, by necessity, a back-to-the-wheel proposition.

    For instance: Say the new system does away with the drug laws. The prisons empty out. That doesn’t mean that the prison system isn’t still going to exist. There will be a pause between governments and then a lot of the materiel will be repurposed. Okay, the roads stay. We’ll need some of the prisons for the bankers. Keep the libraries, long enough to build nicer ones, and then tear the crappy old ones down. …

  • If the revolution is about electronic gadgets, the revolutionaries are not much better than the system in place now.

    If looters were eying bread or milk or rice in the window, maybe then their revolution would take hold.

    You are not going to get Amerikans’ fat asses to revolt while they are playing x-box and getting their nutrition from Wal*Mart in the form of high fructose corn syrup.

    When they are lean and hungry, then they just might take up arms. If the power grid lets them unplug for a couple of hours.

  • @Ted

    “If you vote Democratic and work for Democrats, you are by definition a Democrat”.

    Uh, no. No more than if I change my own oil, I am by definition a professional mechanic.

    If you want to go by my voter registration, I’m an independent.

    If you want to go by which party’s platform I agree with most, I’m a Green.

    Voting and working for Democrats is what’s necessary to save this country from being a fascist theocracy, so for now, im doing that. Because I (along with everyone else) has a moral obligation to this country, I’m doing what must be done. But it’s what I do, not who I am.

    “”The system simply doesn’t work that way…”
    That’s right.
    Which is why the system must be destroyed.”

    Uh, no. There’s about a thousand other things that can be done (and have a much higher chance of a better outcome) than jumping straight to the most extreme. For starters, learn a little patience, and use the way the system actually works to get what you want in 10-20 years, rather than 100-200.

    The right is kicking your ass because they undretsand how the system works and are willing to play by those rules to get what they want. The only thing stopping the left from playing by the rules the system works by to get what they want is the left themselves.

  • @someone

    Well, grouchy owes you a debt of thanks, but after reviewing the article, I can see why he wouldn’t offer it up himself: As I suspected, it’s context-free crap. Getting rid of regulation in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing, so the fact that Obama modified more regulations than Bush is meaningless.

    I disagree with your claim that mass rioting is inevitable. My father, my grandfather, and my great grandfather all dealt with conditions that were worse than today, and they did it without rioting.

    Which brings up an interesting point: Talking with my father and grandfather about why they were liberals while I was growing up, they would tell me they were liberals because they wanted better lives for their children and grandchildren, and were prepared to fight as hard as they could, as long as they could for that even if they never saw a lick of improvement in their own lives. (I’m paraphrasing).

    The cry of todays liberal seems to be “Improve MY life, or Revolution!”. And we’re getting our ass kicked. Coincidence? I think not.

  • revolution looms? LOL good one, random boring protests where yuppies talk about workshops looms.

  • @ Whimsical: I agree that the article doesn’t give much details, it is not exactly context free but you are right it is getting a bit context light. I think the key issue there is not just that Obama is modifying regulations, which you are correct, can be a good thing, its that Obama is having a ton of meetings with corporate Lobbyists and then modifying the regulations to match the corporate lobbyist requests more often then Bush was.

    In a better age this might not have necessarily been as dire a thing, but in the current era where most US corporations are interested in raping and pillaging everything and everyone, reducing the US to a third world country, and bringing back slavery or as close an approximation thereof as is possible, this is a very bad sign. Honestly one would have to be a pretty naive and diehard Obama supporter to imagine that anything good could be happening there. This is a pretty clear “worse then Bush” indicator even though the report is light on the specifics of the evil going on as you have pointed out.

  • While i understand and lean in Ted’s direction, I don’t think that cutting off our nose to spite our face or maybe better, throwing out the baby with the bathwater is really needed.
    In fact, a real revolution destroying much of the past system is ptobably even more difficult than getting all the trolls on this site to stop digging around in their own shit. A glance at Russia today shows the same old trolls, intent on exalting themselves and diminishing others still playing their old negative narcistic games.
    Instead – wht not do “revolution – ala mode”? Simply shut down enough industries, corporations and transportation systems long enough to get a strong message across? I don’t think it is necessary to run rampant, only to target things that will get attention and cannot be tolerated as easily as the OWS stuff . Sadly, the very people who can help accomplish this are the same people holding on to the old system by the skin of their teeth – hoping for “a change we can believe in”. Huh?

  • @someone

    “its that Obama is having a ton of meetings with corporate Lobbyists and then modifying the regulations to match the corporate lobbyist requests more often then Bush was.”

    The article actually doesn’t say that. It says that Obama has been meeting with lobbyists (not necessarily a bad thing), and that he has changed regulations (not necessarily a bad thing). It relies on people’s anti-Obama bias to make the ASSUMPTION that he has changed the regulations to match the lobbyist requests, without actually stating, or certainly providing proof that he has done so.

    Context-free crap.

  • @rikster

    “Instead – wht not do “revolution – ala mode”? Simply shut down enough industries, corporations and transportation systems long enough to get a strong message across?”

    Because you’d be handing the right the excuse to institute martial law(in the name of public sfaety, of course) that they’ve been salivating for for ages.

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