Exit the Progressive Era Failures…


That’s the problem, as long as the Left tries to compete with capitalism on its own turf it will always lose. The point is to exit the game rather than compete with it. Leave the board and there are no pieces to move around, smash, enslave, corrupt… time to forget the Voice, and Exit the Game. Of course on a Global Chessboard or a Realm of GO where does one go? That’s the BIG Question of our time… maybe it’s not a place, as much as it is a retroactive change in the Players and the Game itself… a reconditioning of the very symbolic field of play on a global level, a mutation, a slow substitution of the board itself and its subtraction and replacement by an alternative strategy…

The Progressive strategy has failed us… maybe fail better, a different strategy? An alternative? Fail better with something new, a creative strategy outside the box of democracy? Is there such a thing? Can we even create concepts or strategies anymore?

A friend Ivan Niccolai on FB, said:

Oh I know you weren’t defending capitalism, I’m arguing for a type of reformism, but today it is radical after 40 years of neoliberalism. We need time, we need space to think, we’re all precarious, simply not needing to worry about rent, or do a bullshit job, is far from a minor demand. What will come after that, who knows, but it would be huge first step.

I said:

Yea, exactly my point: we need space to think… that’s what I mean by Exit… a “space of thought and reason, as well as strategy” to think outside the box of localism and globalism… to create something new… a real alternative that isn’t bound to the repetitions of the past failures…”… and, of course that means building consensus and collective help systems outside current failures.. we act atomistic when we are singularities and plural… we seem bound to the subordinated and outmoded, habitual traditionalisms of the Left and unable to move forward, and like those on Salvage who seek to bewail our fate in melancholy estate we seem to be in a slump a bleak funk… we’ve got to fail better, try better… crawl out of our shit holes and help each other… Yet, it cannot be reformism… it cannot be resurrected Progressivism of any form… it must be something creative, something new for our moment… Maybe, we need a “space of heterogeneity” and subversion, a site of transgression outside the Law, outside the homogenized thought-worlds we’ve been habitually repeating for so long.

11 thoughts on “Exit the Progressive Era Failures…

  1. I cut this from http://community.middlebury.edu/~harris/classical.improv.html

    Improvisation might be metaphorically described as the act of stepping out of the fixed and fossilized world of the Past, standing for a moment on a tight-rope Wire representing the moment of the Present, while preparing to test the waters of the Future with an exploratory toe. Yes, this is a mixed metaphor, but it is intentional and it is perhaps like much of life itself!

    Improvisation in one form or another is the premise of all living beings, which are constantly maneuvering one way or another to escape the formaldehydization of homeostasis. It is a condition of life for a proto-amoeba to improvise its status by splitting in two, making possible both survival and extension in teh same stroke. If God or some thinking being had just designed a new form of life, his next act would probably be fidgeting with it in some experimental way, to add the last touch to his creation as an act of Improvisation. What is sexual reproduction in its myriad forms but a way of re-mixing a thousand code signals to improvise some slight variability in the coming generations?

    If these remarks seem fanciful, I note that attitude as a part of the improvisatory instinct. There are many metaphors for the problem of change as against tradition. For some situations the static state of mind is OK, for others it misses the point. Recall Heraclitus’s statement that “All flows….. ” like a river, and a river has a direction from the past into some sort of down river future. You cannot step into the river twice because it has changed while you climbed down the bank. All is Change, and he who deals with the flow of the world, does so with an Improvisatory mentality, which can turn and re-fashion each chunk of the passing data. Last year I was showing a woodworker how to sharpen his chisels in a better way, it was quicker and they turned out razor sharp; but he said he would continue to do it the old way, because “it was the way I was taught”. We all do most of the processes in living “the way we were taught”; habit and imitation are the cement which make a “Culture” possible, while change and improvisation move it slowly into new directions.

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    • Zombies will remain Zombies: Last year I was showing a woodworker how to sharpen his chisels in a better way, it was quicker and they turned out razor sharp; but he said he would continue to do it the old way, because “it was the way I was taught”. Sadly, this is how the world implodes… People don’t want to be saved, they want to just be left to die in their own way… It’s as if we’ve entered the last stage of collapse, mental and physical… While some of us still fight the good fight, others have resigned themselves – ahead of time, to oblivion. We must let the dead bury the dead, and work only with those who still strive to live…


      • You can’t force people to change and it seems arrogant to go around thinking that you can save people from themselves. In the end the best way its to be an example of how to go through or bear with a significant collapse in one’s own life. If this is a know-how before some crisis it is not all bad news as your Chinese master may have reminded you because crisis is also an opportunity. So say everything is working fine and the next thing you know, shit happens, and your staring at a useless hammer or whatever tool in your hand and your mechanical routine is interrupted. Now you have to take time to think because your attention has been distracted by a surprising turn of events that you didn’t anticipate. What you were anticipating is getting the table finished by the end of the day. Now you need to find a way of replacing the activity the broken tool was doing with something that operates along the same lines well enough to go on with the table. You have to hack or improvise a solution or use your cunning intelligence to get through the day and if it this fails, well then, there is time to be philosophical and ruminate on life beyond that of a useful worker or you start thinking about the holiday you have coming. Maybe you give this activity a name like “poaching time” from the boss and think about how your Real self is not tailor-made to make the same table over and over again, day after day. In the last instance there is life beyond being a tool of some cause. Although to some extent being a tool is necessary to survive there is the possibility of producing free time to be a real human in person.


      • Whose saying: “You can’t force people to change and it seems arrogant to go around thinking that you can save people from themselves.”? There are no Saviors, and to enforce change sounds more like a Tyranny… Are you serious? I’m suggesting that some will do just that: think for themselves, act for themselves; while others will remain trapped because of habit… that’s all. I’m not suggesting enforcing change on those others, I’m suggesting we let the ‘dead bury the dead’ – let the others remain Zombies if they want… we others should find an Exit Strategy! Part of that would be to create a “transitional space of heterogeneity”, a zone of freedom where people can come together and discuss openly issues without being confronted by the same old ideological squabbles… that might be a start… Most of the rest I agree with you on… 🙂


      • No man, you know the you, surely you know the you I meant. Maybe I could (not “should” because it is a question of capacity) have stuck to the one since you changes so much. This would provide a stable shore that is unified at least by a joint direction of attention towards a firmer possibility than the one provided by ever shifting subjective identities. A possibility that is not metaphysical nor totalitarian is the future oneness born by the challenges to melody provided by a counterpoint expressed in the moment while thinking fast to get through an aporetic situation like an octopus does when it sprays its cloud of ink to avoid danger or like an ancient orator breaking out of a habitual rhythm in order to wake up the sleeping audience. Well, I am out of time now. Sorry to be so brief — I am no Zizek. I like to get to the compact, unified essence real quick and save some seeds from the silo for a future planting in my empty mind void of everything except Real stuff which is very malleable like bread dough.


      • Sorry, I am not in a good mood. My mind is very dark right now. I am being a Groucho Marxists today. I apologize, I just felt that you were being a Nazi editor and it set off a paranoid stream of persecutory thoughts. I feel like a victim right now being harassed by what I perceive as intellectual positions on this or that topic. I am contemplating re-writing the whole comment so that it is clear the you is not you in flesh and blood, in-person, — but a generic one that is a whoever in-person and in the last instance beyond any further subjective positions we could take on this matter. In this way a joint attentiveness might hearken towards a firmer ground that is not a topos of conversation that could constitute a substantive possibility for the use of language and yet offers the possibility of presupposing an axiom that like a transitional object is a soothing refrain to the darkness of the big stage in the comment field. Is this hard to understand S.C.?

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      • No, I wasn’t harassing you… and, definitely not of the Nazi kind… 🙂 lol just trying to make sense of it all… I agree with most of what you’ve said, I just have added my own thoughts where appropriate to the mix. 🙂

        Sometimes you get a little overly verbose and abstract, a mishmash of ideas all strung together that seem at odds. For me that complicates issues. Sometimes even I have to stop myself. Have to get back to basics and write simple, declarative statements, rather than the long winded variety.

        But, yes, if your in a dark mood today, I can perfectly understand… hope it ends better. 🙂


      • Okay, I get it. The mixing bowl becomes a mishmash of seeds from the silo of culture that are at odds with themselves when they are too abstract. Period. Breath… I guess I am sad when I don’t have enough space to move around or feel like I am inside a straightjacket able to do little and say even less. Sadness is surely the lack of desire to both move and talk. This lack of activity makes our ideas dense and without distinction. In this regard ignorance is not without its companion — a melancholic cloud. Just saying this makes me feel better or lets me see that joy rather than dragging a texture down quickens it by bringing about less dense and more porous ideas. Porous ideas makes for a lighter texture that is being lifted up because it makes holes in the dark night of the understanding created by taking an intellectual position on this or that that more often than not is used to harass simple minded victims like I feel sometimes. It is easy for me to react like Nietzsche said a looser reacts, namely, full of envy and jealousy for, in this case, strong thinkers who have a deep knowledge of great, prestigious writers of the past. Reacting like this makes me a persecuting victim. There is no shame in being a victim. It is when we look for an object of hatred outside ourselves to attack that is not productive of happiness because joy only occurs when one is self-critical of one’s own propensity to be an intellectual bully or worse. This puts abstraction aside for is not this simple distinction between activity (joy) and passivity (sadness) a basic ordinary distinction of concern to all?

        Joking aside, a broken tool or mental or physical collapse of some kind is a traumatic encounter that brings about sadness that we know as such because, depending on the situation, space is taken away to both move around and let words out. This is why making room, opening space to move about and let words out is always the culture of the living and probably best defines the cultural activity of those who care about clear and distinct ideas that yet are not part of black and white thinking or any kind of dualistic either/or because they are always in process, nuanced shades of black and white.

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