In this issue we will take up the theme: How to Run a Political Campaign on Next to Nothing.
We all know that political campaigns are enormously expensive; that, in fact, it is this cost which plays a great role in the ability of concentrated wealth to corrupt our public life. The politician laments he has no choice. This is not true. The reason he appears to have no choice is because he has placed his personal ambition over and ahead of the goal of public service. He wants to get elected, and will do whatever is believed necessary to accomplish this goal.
This means never speaking frankly, but always fudging the truth so that certain standards of appearence are met. It means constantly compromising values so that those who offer money, or other kinds of power in support, will be willing to continue that support. It means indulging, once in office, in a rather extraordinary game, called the rules of Congress, which exists soley to maintain certain degrees of status, dominance and power. The result is that the People's work never gets done, and only the wants and needs of concentrated wealth are met.
Money spent by political campaigns on television advertising has only one purpose: to so over simplyfy the real issues, that there exists no real dialogue, and no politician has committed himself to more than the most useless generalities and pieties. Just like we are sold a set of cultural values that are lies (wealth makes you happy, cars sexy etc), political television advertising is nothing but smoke and mirrors and we should be ashamed for believing any of it.
This is a rape of our political soul and we need to stop being passive with regard to it.
In the year 2000 elections, no current office holder should be re-elected. Clean out the house completely - serious Springtime cleaning. Don't vote for anyone who advertises on television, or who indulges in meaningless retoric. Don't vote for people who get their name printed on the ballot (the political parties helped them get there). No bankers, no lawyers. The system is corrupt from top to bottom and needs total renewal.
We have a right to write in the names of those we want to vote for, and if there are any ballots that won't allow that, then sue the local government that does that, and then write your vote on a slip of paper and put that in the ballot box, anyway. Don't follow the rules. We are the foundations of the Government, and we don't Consent to this corruption anymore.
Send as many working people to Congress as possible. Waitresses, truck drivers, secretaries, nurses, fast food workers, fry cooks, carpenters, farmers, etc. etc. etc.
Will it be chaos? Doesn't have to be, if there really are politicians that want to do public service. A congressman needs a staff, so why shouldn't a waitress, who is now a congresswoman, have the former congressman as part of her staff to help her understand the stupid rules, so she and her fellow uncorrupted American people can fix the mess that has been left for us to fix. If the old guard actually wants to play a role, then they can get in there and serve, while the real people make the decisions.
Will the stock markets go crazy if this actually starts to happen? You can bet on it, just don't place your bet using stocks and bonds. Okay, next: how to find the candidates, especially for non-local offices, and how to let others be involved.
Well, if you're not just siting at home watching TV all the time, letting the moment of opportunity pass by, and if you are actually doing some of what is said in GMG #2, then you are involved in Renewal Meetings. So the first thing is for the different meetings to find out about the other meetings. And, of course, if people are talking to each other, then various people already know about more than one meeting. So, to make it easy, adopt some kind of name - make up your own, but include some idea that lets others know you're doing your part (for example, the north Paduka renewal of america meeting). By the way, you can't wait until January 2000 to start this, it has to start today, the day you read these words.
Don't know how to start a meeting? Make some copies of the various issues of GMG and hand them out, inviting people over to talk about what is in them. Nobody has to agree, just show up to talk.
Remember, don't complain, solve problems. Okay, do it, form a meeting and then get in touch with the other meetings. We have phones, faxes, e-mail, photocopy machines and VCRs. So many people have these things, that we have all the tools we need - as long as the dialogue is happening. I guarantee you that there are thousands of so-called old folks (retired people), with clear minds and computers, that are willing to be data resources as the true voice of the people starts to warm itself up through the Renewal Meetings.
Individual meetings will find among themselves certain individuals who have the qualties we need. These folks then go to meetings of meetings, like representatives. Out of these dialogues will emerge the quality people we need to send to Washington and to the various State and local goverments. All it takes is for people get off the couch and start talking to each other and getting excited because its time to wake up and fix the problem. We're going to do it!
Video's should be made of the meetings of meetings and these can then be copied and carried by hand back to the originating meeting. Our Country is overrun with camcorders, and they can be put to use. Don't need to hire a hollywood director to invent a war, when ordinary folks can make their own video pictures of the real thing, the rebirth of the Spirit of America.
As the candidates the people want to run emerge from the process of meetings, then using VCRs and photocopy machines and all that stuff we have laying around already, we just apply some labor, distributed among all of us, and get the word out. Vote for Miss Jones, write in her name.
Of course there will be meetings who want this one and meetings that want that one, and if 100 people are being run for congress that way, no one we need will get elected. Solve the problem! Don't get hung up on this one being better than that one. What's important is that someone, some ordinary American, goes to the seats of political power not owing anybody. So the meetings have to have pre-elections and pick someone that everyone will stand behind because the issue is not who in particular but who in general. If we infight over who in particular then we've lost before we start. Again, what's crucial is to agree among ourselves, in a process we control (the Renewal Meetings) to send an ordinary American - black, white, gay, lame, doesn't matter - to the seats of power.
I guarantee this is going to scare the pants off of the rich. Next Issue: Bypassing the so-called Free Press.
New Hampshire Constitution, Article 10 [right of revolution]: Government
being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the
whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one
man, family, or class of men; therefore, whenever the ends of the government
are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other
means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to
reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance
against arbitrary power and oppression , is absurd, slavish and destructive
of the good and happiness of mankind. (June 2, 1784)
"I want these people shot!", he yelled, trying to shake off his medication induced mood swings.
"This is treason, this is mutiny, this is wartime. I'll sign the excutive order. If soldiers won't follow orders, I want them tried and shot."
The room got very silent. No one could think of what to say. When the President's breathing slowed and the flush started to recede from his face, General Archer went on.
"During our investigations, this man appeared one day. You can see how nervous he is. He wasn't expecting to end up here in this room. He is on leave and came to the Pentagon and sought out our investigating teams by name. He had some inside source and said the right words and knew the right names. He also says he is expendable. He is ready to die. But that's not the strange part. I'll let him speak for himself. You are not going to believe this. Sergeant! Front and center, and lay it out for everyone."
Archer smiled. He wanted to see the faces while this low ranking idiot tried his spiel on real players.
Chief Master Sergeant Eric Morrison whipped the sweat off his palms on to his uniform trousers. He was nervous all right, but not so much from fear of consequences. This was a crucial moment and one that might make or break everything. These guys would either laugh out loud, as Archer seemed to expect, or they just might realize what real hope there might be. He didn't know, and he didn't like so much depending on this. It was crazy, and it was his idea, and the group said, okay, its your idea, you do it.
He moved toward the table, near a corner, facing the President, and
took an at ease kind of brace, feet 18 inches apart, hands behind his back,
as if he was delivering some messages to officers he was familiar with.
He even tried the old trick of imagining everyone was naked, but in a room
with this much power in it, it just didn't work. He tried to concentrate,
for he was close to throwing up because of his nerves. Even in combat,
he'd never been this frightened.
"F* this sh*", Guyon Anton shouted at the couple hiding behind the counter. Up came the glock, and Anton started spraying bullets. There was screaming and the smell of gunsmoke, and bottles exploding. When the clip was empty he didn't even look over to see what had happened. He just turned and stomped out the door, kicking over displays on the way out.
He was pissed and hungry. His limo was outside, motor running. He'd left his condo forgetting to bring cash and didn't want to go back. Jumbo, his driver and body guard, only had a gas card, no cash either. So Anton thought he would just make a withdrawl at the mom and pop on the corner, but they didn't have anything in the til and said there wasn't anything anywhere else, and so he just smoked um. Served their chink asses right.
Jumbo opened the door, his face behind the dark glasses its usual impassive expression. Anton grinned, the shooting had fed something inside him, lifted him up. He'd just sign for sh*, he didn't need cash to flash, at least not always.
The limo started up and joined the small bit of traffic. This was a closed off area. Cops didn't come here anymore. The national guard had been withdraw when it was thought the army would be sent in. More and more people were moving out, expecially the asian f*ks, but Anton didn't care. People still wanted drugs and he supplied them all their happyness needs, for just the right price.
He settled back into his seat and hardly paid attention when they crossed over into Cop controlled Southside areas. Sure his car was known, but nobody made a move on him. His homies were everywhere, inside the area and outside. Nobody was going to screw with him. His grin grew wider and light flashed off the two gold front teeth.
In about twenty-five minutes they were at the club. For a week night the crowd was lite. Only fifty or so hanging outside, waiting and hoping for the bouncers to let them in. Anton went in, Jumbo at this side. Someone was at his table. For a second he frowned and then he recognized Hex man, his accountant, hacker, electronics wiz. It was cool. Hex man was cool. The night was cool. A couple chicks caught his eye and he gave them a sign. Later, it said, have to do some biz first.
The grin disappeared when the Hex man told Anton about the meeting coming up with the shadow warriors. They were starting to flex some muscle, to make some demands. Anton might have to put some people in their place. His grin came back. It might be fun.
Two hours later, after some quick sex in the back of the limo, Anton made the meeting. It was inside the area, in an old warehouse. He'd called in some support. About two dozen of his men were around, some outside the building, some inside. All were armed, Uzi's or Mac 10's. A couple of shotguns.
There were a lot of homeless about. But they didn't bother him. They had few, if any, weapons. They were dependent upon him. He didn't care for this shadow warrior crap anyway. He'd preped his lieutenants. If needed they were prepared to waste the whole lot. People needed to know who was in charge. It was a different world and he was the king.
There was a fire with real wood of all things. Some nice chairs around it. One clearly for him. He saw some ice coolers too. One of the homeless shits stood up and offered him a brew. Why not, thought Anton. This is hospitality. This is nice. Maybe I won't need to do anything tonight. Inside him the hungry thing was not happy, but there would come another time.
Anton sat and sipped the beer. The fire was nice. Made the cool fall night warm and the light it gave off was pleasant to the eyes.
All of a sudden Anton felt this pain in his stomach. Terrible pain, hot, spreading out all over the inside of his gut. He started to choke and cough. He tried to sit up, his legs wouldn't work. He couldn't speak. As his lights went out for the final time he could see Jumbo and Hex man looking into his face. He didn't understand. He was too stupid and self centered to understand how some necessities naturally lead to betrayal.
While the body was being removed, Hex-man, Jumbo and one of the warriors, a vet, watched. Jumbo spoke, one of the few times anyone had ever heard him say anthing.
"That solved the mutha'f*kn problem".
Hex-man and the vet looked at each other and laughed quietly. It certainly did, they both were thinking.
After the body was removed Hex-man had the other gang members open the
trunks of their cars. Small arms and high tech electronics were handed
out to the shadow warriors. Encrypted communication devices, cell phones
and walki-talkies, were now out on the streets. Everyone who could think
two thoughts in a row understood that the violence had to tone down, otherwise
the gains made would be lost. Territory existed that could be kept. Negotiations
with the city were in process. A cease fire was possible. Women and children
(for Hex and Jumbo where both married and fathers) would be safer. It was
better for everyone.
Margaret opened the door, her usual social smile not quite making it to her face. The others, having arrived in a group, in Gail's huge van, could see her mood as they entered, and easily become caught up in it. It was time for serious considerations, even though no one had a clue what to do.
In spite of herself, Margaret had spent the rest of the morning thinking. She'd put together lunch, finished the laundry, but none of this commanded her mind. It was the radio that started her off. The talk show host had some Christian fundamentalist psychologist on, and the discussion, if that was what you could call the yelling and shouting, had gotten heated. People were suggesting suburbs put up walls, the niggers were coming. Others were talking about Jesus saving everyone if they would just pray and be saved. The dialogue was all over the place, it had no center. But somehow it touched something in Margaret. A kind of stubborn place. She wasn't going to passive anymore. It was time to do something.
She had done more than set her usual good table. Every place had a legal pad and serveral sharpened pencils. She'd made a lot of coffee. If asked for liquor, she wasn't going to give it. The other women picked up the mood. They hung their coats and stored their handbags in an almost silence, just looking at her and at each other.
Finally Gail got everyone to laugh, by unbuttoning the sleeves on her dress, even though it wasn't really made that way, and rolling them up before sitting down. It was a help, it took the edge off the underlying tensions.
These women didn't have the lives they had by being passive. In fact they were, in their way, very active in their communities and schools. Nothing got done without them. But the larger world they had ignored, and now it was coming at them like a flood. They would change or they would break. They knew this without even having to talk about it. If any group of human beings knew about bending and not breaking, it was women.
Estes waited in the large drawing room, while Arthur met the guests at the door, took care of the coats and ushered them in, one by one. Each one he greeted, while another servant, coached by Arthur's patient and impecable style, mixed each one their favorite beverage and brought it to them. They all made a bit of small talk.
The ones who had never been to the Retreat before admired the view from the drawing room, which overlooked the glass enclosed pool below. Estes would point to his grandchildren at play there, identifying one or another, as to age and lineage, and school. Some of the parents, some of his children, could also be seen, near the bar at one end of the pool complex. For a moment, his heart stalled, as the thought of a certain once favorite child slipped into his mind unbidden. He refused to indulge himself, and to engage in self recrimination for having disinherited them. He turned his mind to other matters.
Everyone was now present, and had had a few minutes to get comfortable, to enjoy a drink or tea, as was their preference. Estes nodded to Arthur who stood by the door, indicating that Arthur should leave and close the door behind him. Arthur gave a small nod in return, a slight bow, and closed the doors but did not leave.
It took a moment for this to register on Estes's face, and the others, noting his surprise turned toward the door as well, looking at the servant who seemed to have something unusual on his mind. Arthur stepped quietly forward a few paces and spoke in that same gentle, yet precise manner that was his usual form of address.
"Gentleman, if you don't mind taking a seat, there is something important you all should know. Master Estes, you too, if you don't mind. It will only take a moment."
Estes was so nonplused that he did as asked. His mind could not take hold of this unusual behavior, so unexpected it was. When they were all seated, some feigning a relaxed manner that none of them truly felt, Arthur began to speak again.
"If you don't mind a bit of history, it will help make things easier." He paused, making sure they were not going to interrupt him.
"Centuries ago, in the middle East, a cult of assassins lived, who, having taken years in its development and organizing, managed to have members placed as servants in every royal household. Any ruler could be killed at will, usually with poison or blade"
There was a gasp, as each man looked at his drink. Several rose, and there began some angry shouting. One or two took out cell phones and placed calls to body guards waiting with the limousines. Estes stood up feeling a deep rage, and started to walk toward Arthur, wanting to kill this man whose foolishness was ruining this meeting before it had even begun. He stopped when Arthur removed a small silenced handgun from underneath his suit coat and behind his back
Gunfire could be heard from in front of the house. These men were all suspicious of each other, and the panic calls had made for its own kind of chaos. Arthur stood silently, watching each man carefully. In a moment the gunfire died down, and shortly thereafter three slow raps sounded against the doors, clearly some kind of signal to Arthur.
"Please gentlemen, be seated. You are wasting your time, and perhaps your very lives. If you would be so kind as to quiet down, I haven't finished explaining reality to you, yet."
But these men were not used to taking orders. They were order givers, and one of them pushed forward toward Arthur, saying that he (Arthur) would pay for this with his life. When Arthur calmly shot the man in the thigh, it became instantly much quieter.
At Arthur's instructions a tie was turned into a tourniquet, or perhaps better said, a pressure bandage. The shot had been well placed and was only a flesh wound. Arthur continued to be impecible.
"I wish I could say that there was such a modern organization, but there isn't. There are a few of us, yes, but our means are small, as are our numbers. You have been poisoned, but, if you will listen carefully, you will not die, nor will your children and grandchildren.
This last brought another collective gasp, but it was clear Arthur, at least for the moment, held all the cards.
Rachel put down her coffee cup. Arnie and Tim had quit making jokes. Throughout Nick'c eatery voices quieted as well. There was a mood in the air, and in this mostly trucker cafe people were angry and fearful and tired of watching things happen over which they had no control. When Rachel had pulled in there was a bunch outside watching some State Troopers cover a tow truck that was repo-ing someone's rig. The crowd was angry, and rocks had been thrown at the smoky's cars as the whole group drove off. Now everyone was inside, eating, drinking beer and coffee, and arguing.
But there was no center. No way to link everything together so they
could cooperate at something, in spite of how much they knew they needed
to work together in some kind of way. Everyone was kind of surprised then,
when this seemingly homeless hitchhiker climbed on a table and asked for
everyone's attention. (cont. next issue)
The traditional social forms have been eroding for centuries. At the same time the individual has become inwardly stronger than the community, because of the driving inner need to self determine moral values. This is happening all over the world, not just America. Although in other places, peoples and cultures, the form and nature of this change varies.
The net effect of this is that it means that Western Civilization is dying, perhaps even dead. Now usually we think of the death of a civilization as involving some kind of inner decay, followed by outside enemies coming in and taking over. But in the modern world, with its near global economy and its media integrated pseudo-culture, history doesn't quite repeat itself.
Civilization isn't really the physical infrastructure anyway. For a civilization to die, it isn't necessary that there be a material collapse, because a civlization is actually more of a psychological artifact than a physical one. It is more of shared world view, and a determined set of social relations, than it is a state of material progress. With the loss of traditional ways in communities and families, and the increase in the need for personal moral autonomy, the civilization - the common social order and world view, that we once called Western Civilization, is gone.
It is much more accurate to see modern life as a kind of intense social chaos, where everything is in flux and movement. There are no more rules, which is one of the problems at the top as well as at the bottom. The "family values crisis" has a corresponding symptom among the ruling elites.
In the past, to a degree, the aristocratic ruling elites shared certain common social patterns and also common religious and ideological views. But this too has passed away, so that at the upper levels of modern civilization, social chaos exists as well, because all that the elites share in common anymore is a powerful tendency to immorality and animal apetite. The apparent pursuit of culture is a fraud, regardless of the support given to symphonies and other arts. Among the elites, this old world cultural interest is a mask, a mere habit. Its real core values have long since passed away and been forgotten. The obligation of the the nobility, an old ideal, an old paternalism toward the less fortunate, has died away and nothing has come to replace it.
Think about it. Tradition has weakened for all, not just the not-rich. At the same time the elites, as well, have felt the driving need for self autonomous morality, that has arisen in the mysterous depths of the evolution of human consciousness. What is sad, is that because money and power are so tempting, few individuals can make the needed right choices given the absence of any communty moral authority. A very wise man once remarked "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, then for a rich man to get into heaven." Who among us could pass by what wealth and power offer?
The rich, being human, have become prisoners of their own creations. And, in a world where civilzation is in chaos, were values and philosophies mean little, and appetites and hungers are given free rein, what guidence is there for the souls of the rich. In this world we all inhabit, everyone is potentially lost.
It is important to appreciate that in this time of moral and social chaos, in this time of the dying of Western Civilization, certain elements of these great changes are shared by all human beings. If we but look at our own lives and at the lives of our nearest and dearest, we will clearly see that ambiguity and confusion is the rule. Inwardly we all suffer this absence of outer given structure and form. This condition transcends class or religion. Whether rich or poor, Amish or Catholic, for the individual, finding what is right to do in any given situation is near impossible (Many try to solve the family values crisis by holding on to the old, by making inviolate former community values. This will work for a time, but it is just a few sandbags before a flood.).
Life forces the self to action, to choice. We are not to be allowed to escape (unless into suicide, extreme states of addiction, or madness). Life is an alchemical crucible, and we are to choose whether we wish to strive to find some moral light within, and to shine with it, that is to become gold; or whether we will give up to our animality and our appetites, and fall into an inner state of rigidity and weight, to become lead (One can choose to follow the old value, but that still has to be an active choice. If it is coerced by some kind of community pressure, then the deep psychological dynamics of the age are denied).
So this is what we have in common - individual moral crisis. The question
is:: What kind of new civilization will we create out of this chaos. (cont.