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This somewhat bizarre commentary on contemporary society and the building revolt against the governmental and economic oppression being felt is set in France. This version is a translation from the original, which includes good endnotes that clarify some references to French agencies, governmental or commercial entities and revolutionary or terrorist groups.
But American readers (hearers) will be instantly able to envision the analysis in the American context. This is not a classic format nor is it classic content. The authors' introduction clarifies that this is not a composition based on their own viewpoint It does involve an analysis or reflection on what they have observed.
They present this as a compilation of comments and viewpoints they have picked up and recorded in barroom discussions and backrooms, on street corners and in various locales where the general populace discuss the problems of the day. They present a basic view that can be called Marxist in the formal sense, and they carefully define their viewpoint, indicating that their commentary on what they have compiled focuses on the perspective of group or society, that is communal concepts.
They dissociate the term commnune-ism from the classic Leninist concept known politically as Communism. The committee refers to a "new idea of communism" to be promulgated in informal circles and back-room locales. They describe what they understand as communal living in society. The perspectives here seem closer to the scenario in Marx's original analysis of early capitalist industrial society in Europe. But you will see it is not exactly Marxism as we have known it, either.
The perspective is quite disdainful about the possibilities of the current society, but does not fit neatly into what we have known as "Communism" in the 20th century. Much of the ideological rhetoric is still similar. They note that a whole generation has known economic turmoil. They conclude that the economic turmoil and unemployment are "no longer a temporary crisis."
The authors zeros in on the City as the locus of both economic limitation and dissent contributing to the insurrection. They see the modern urban area as the stealer of identity that causes isolation and traps individuals and families in economic cycles they cannot control. They attack the materialistic focus of modern consumerism and "oppose the reign of commodities."
The reader-listener needs to listen carefully to sort out what they are really saying, not just try to dump these guys into a comfortable, recognizable bin of classification, so they can be easily dismissed.
As Glenn Beck says in the cover notes, "I am not calling for a ban on this book. It's important that you read this book. ... And let me tell you something: Don't dismiss these people." But keep in mind their commentary arises primarily from the French situation, which is considerably different from the US.
The committee's analysis might be helpful. And I daresay many Libertarians as well as self-styled "Conservatives" in the US will agree with much of the view of government they find here. At any rate, the commentators relate informative instances from recent history, the last hundred years or so and in recent days, to indicate a rising discontent with the entrenched patterns of government, and the increased pressures of government and the allied corporate structures upon the common people.
What they are talking about is commented on regularly in the American phrase "I just can't seem to ever get ahead." The committee indicates how they see the wave of recent protests in European cities related to this growing discontent, which they say is bubbling higher and higher into a full-blown insurrection any time now, if economic and social conditions do not improve.
One thing many will agree with is the analysis, drawn out in Disk 3, that the solutions to the many problems identified on a worldwide scale are being presented by the same people who caused the problems. The cynicism, or realism, of the committee's perspective is expressed in their analysis that the proposed solutions are usually primarily beneficial to the very same financial and industrial sectors that seem to have caused the problem in the first place.
The Global Warming Crisis is one of their cases in point. They similarly point out, "There is no Environmental Crisis. The Environment is the crisis."
It appeared to me that they are not so much advocating violent overthrow of governments and business systems as describing the process already underway. Think about it: if they wanted this to happen, why would they be warning people about it!? They could just be quiet and let it happen. Now that they have warned us, the insurrection might be prevented.
On the otehr hand, raising awareness of the causes of discontent, which constitute injustices, might raise a clamour to change the conditions. Maybe they think if they warn people that this is already happening, the rest of us who are so frustrated with the government intrusions and incomptencies will join the insurrection and make it happen more quickly! Hmmnnnn.
At any rate, what is important to me is that they have identified that it seems to be happening. They have flagged key events and trends as indicators. This is the important aspect of this work. For instance, the Longshoremen's strike on the US west coast in 2002 shut down the US import business from Asia for 10 days.
This event showed how easily the strongest economic power in the world could be brought to its knees. See what you think about the description and their understanding of the situation.
This work is interesting, even if rather bizarre. Thoughtful and fact-filled, but the droning ideology seems to suffer from the over-simplification most other current political ideologies suffer, settling for too simple an explanation. But you will find valuable the instances they cite and describe.
The great limitation of the ideological aspect of this is that I heard no proposal of a society that might take the place of the current econo-industrial-police state once the insurrection becomes successful.
This is where utopian views have always failed. This is where Lenin's implemented program immediately failed to meet the standard of his purported guide, Karl Marx. Lenin sold out Marx. Lenin actually overthrew a people's republic that had already overthrown the Czar. He focused on the power and the control.
The "Communism" that resulted was just another form of the same materialistic dehumanization, it just limited personal freedoms even further, and the oppression took a different, but no better, form.
The particulars of the instances they relate need to be in your conscious awareness as you try to figure out what is happening in our society and world at large, and understand the dynamics. This is a perspective you need to take into account.
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Reviewed on Amazon and Thoughts and Resources 16 August 2010
Last edited 30 November 2010
Orville Boyd Jenkins, EdD, PhD
Copyright © 2010 Orville Boyd Jenkins
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