What do politics and monkey shit fights have in common?

harper-bush-monkey.pngIt’s been my experience that Marxists are a peculiar bunch.  Peculiar not in a bad way necessarily, but just peculiar nonetheless.  Most of the orthodox Marxists I’ve met want people to get engaged in politics; want people to get interested in politics and social movements; but we just don’t want people to be interested in what I suppose can be termed the ‘pop culture’ elements of politics at all.

You know what I mean by this.  It’s the part of politics that would be more on the monkey-shit-fight end of the spectrum of intellectual stimulation as opposed to an-evening-reading-Proust end of the spectrum.

It’s Polls as opposed to policy.

It’s Cults of Personality as opposed to principle.

It’s Idiotic right-wing conspiracy theories as opposed to ideas.

For the most part, I couldn’t agree more with my fellow comrades, and, as those of you who read this blog regularly know, I do enjoy (and, in fact, thrive off of) the more cerebral elements in politics.

But that said, the fact of the matter is that sometimes, regardless of how cerebral we may think ourselves, a political “monkey shit fight” is just plain fun to watch!  Sometimes you don’t want a steak, sometimes you just want a bag of potato chips.  And for those of us who run in left-wing circles, it’s been my experience that we tend take flak for this as being somehow less progressive or less committed to revolutionary change.

For years now I’ve been trying to reconcile these two things — intellectual, progressive, socialist political discussion, and pop-culture politics like polls and image politics — in my mind.  But it wasn’t until the other day, during one of my now frequent stints bashing Ron Paul die hards who believe their own spam that I came to a realization.

I realized that, just as I don’t necessarily need to root for one group of monkeys in a monkey shit fight in order to be entertained and captivated by the spectacle, so too can I be captivated by things like polls without really caring which one of the capitalist parties is winning and which one is losing.

So what do politics and monkey shit fights have in common?  Well, with the way politics is structured in North America where there is no real genuine choice — they’re both similar insofar as the results will largely be the same regardless of which group wins at either competition.

But it doesn’t make us any less progressive to nevertheless enjoy the fight.

23 Responses to “What do politics and monkey shit fights have in common?”


  1. 1 dinosaur 16 August, 2007 at 10:49 am

    The way politics are sturctured in most marxist countries doesn’t give a lot of choice either.

    My wifes family came here when Stalin started killing millions in Russia.

    They should have been so lucky to have been given a choice of eating.

    Do tell me a marxist country where you are allowed different results. Off the top of my head I can’t think of one that is willing to be removed by anything less than bullets.

    Maybe if Bush did that he would offer the same choice.

  2. 2 paulitics 16 August, 2007 at 11:09 am

    Dinosaur – there’s never been any Marxist countries. The USSR was the farthest thing from Marxism and even a cursory overview of Marx’s work reveals that.

    I hate Stalin’s legacy and his atrocities probably more than you do, so I don’t understand what you’re getting at.

    P.S. If we want to be technical the very phrase “Marxist Country” is a contradiction in terms.

  3. 3 winston 17 August, 2007 at 3:56 am

    LOL

    So if evil-empire was not a commie based country, then what was it?

    I mean, commies always find something to hide behind. How Pathetic!

  4. 4 paulitics 17 August, 2007 at 9:29 am

    Winson – does it look like I’m hiding behind anything? I put socialist right in my title, I’ve got a hammer and sickle on my sidebar and the word socialist again on my sidebar. If I were trying to hide my Marxist roots, don’t you think I’d have done a better job of it than that? Or do you just really think of me as that truly incompetent?

    If you can’t see the blatant difference between what Stalin and the USSR did and what Marx wrote, then you’ve clearly never read Marx.

    It always makes me smile when people who’ve never read Marx enter into these kinds of debates. Do you realize how ridiculous you all sound when you make these kinds of arguments? I’m not saying there aren’t intelligent critiques of Marx (there really are some important ones which have merit) but, seriously, this isn’t one of them.

  5. 5 dinosaur 17 August, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    So if evil-empire was not a commie based country, then what was it?

    They always say that “it went wrong” well how can you bring about world wide revolution and destroy property rights etc with out millions dead? Every place they tried it it went wrong.

    Paul I did read the manifesto though it seems to blend with NDP policy. But every time someone tries marx or ahem communism and it goes to crap they say they didn’t try it well enough. Maybe we should say the same about our non choices in democracies, ie Canada is as far from a democracy as you can get.

    I’m reading about what they did in Spain when the commies attacked the state it is scary. Especially when you read the stories vs hearing that they killed 10% of the population of madrid. Killing 10% sounds tame you hear that every woman between the ages of 10-50 had been raped and how they killed all the nuns is more a cult of satan. There are pages and pages in pawns in the game on atrocities.

    H/T for you Paulitics

    Another marxist makes himself president for life!

    Well, with the way politics is structured in North America where there is no real genuine choice
    Chavez changes constitution now President for Life

    Course they have a real choice bullets or shut up and keep your head down.

  6. 6 paulitics 17 August, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    Dinosaur – It would have been useful if you’d have at least tried to read beyond the confines of the 30-odd page Communist Manifesto before proclaiming yourself an expert on Marxist history. Just some friendly advice.

    However, that said, you have — as you claim — at least read the manifesto which does at least put you a few steps beyond 90% of the remainder of the population who feel comfortable pontificating as to ‘where Marx went wrong’.

    Sadly, however the vast vast majority of Marx’s work (historians are still compiling all of his work and, at latest count, I believe it’s around 20 encyclopedia-sized volumes with more to come) is not contained in the little pamphlet which you read which, after all, was intended for barely literate 19th Century workers.

    If you’re going to criticize me, it’s also useful to have read what I’ve actually written.

    I never said that what happened in the USSR merely “went wrong”, as you aptly put it. Where can you find in this blog that I’ve written that? Please tell me.

    Can’t find it? That’s because I’ve never written it.

    In fact, if you had been familiar with Marx and the history of his work you’d have realized that from the very outset, the USSR was not Marxist and it only got worse and farther away from Marx’s ideals the longer and bloodier it’s reign continued. For instance, if you had been familiar with Marx’s work and the history surrounding the Russian Revolution, you’d have realized that one of the first things that Trotsky and Lenin did upon seizing power was to ABOLISH the soviets (workers councils) which Marx had argued needed to play a central roll in democracy.

    That’s just one example.

    There are countless others, but I’ll leave you to do the research on your own if you’re interested (but somehow I highly doubt that – you’ve already made up your mind).

    As for your reading of the Spanish Civil War, I am moderately surprised that you’d blindly take the side of the fascists, but I don’t understand why you bring up the conflict at all in the first place. As I’ve said before, no truly Marxist state has ever been established and just one of the very many proofs of this fact is that it is impossible to be a fully “Marxist state” all the while remaining a state at all. So what does the Spanish Civil War have to do with the issue at hand?

    However, incidentally, after you finish reading your book about the Spanish Civil War, I’m more than happy to present you with other material which document how the Nazis and other fascists throughout Europe were sending money and weapons and soldiers to the fascist Franco and how Hitler probably would not have invaded Poland had his fascist-supported side not succeeded in overthrowing the democratically-elected government.

    Seriously, have you read about Franco and his role in history?

    Moving back on topic, if you can find me a Marxist state in history — EVER — please bring it to my attention. But I will tell you that unlike you, who’s only read 30-odd pages on Marxism, a sizable portion of my entire academic research is on Marxism and I can’t give you the name of a single Marxist state. I wish it were otherwise, I truly do. But sadly, wishing doesn’t make it so anymore than a state calling itself Marxist makes itself a Marxist state.

    As for your comment of Chavez. Since you get your news from LGF, I have no comment on that, but if you care to take in some actual primary source documents, you’d see that, among other things, a) Chavez isn’t President for Life by any stretch of the imagination; b) He didn’t give himself the powers, the democratically-elected Congress which is elected through proportional representation gave him temporary powers (which I nevertheless personally oppose, but that’s neither here nor there); and c) That these powers are nevertheless much more modest than the powers the U.S. Congress has given to George W. Bush.

    P.S. – I WISH the New Democrats actually stood for the ideals that Marx stood for. Sadly, they are the biggest sellouts of their own supposed cause yet they claim to be the party of virtue. If your side had an ounce of testicular fortitude, you’d call them on their crap and their total sellout of socialism as opposed to validating their hollow claims to leftist ideals as is done when ministers like Solberg pejoratively call them ‘socialists.’

  7. 7 dinosaur 20 August, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    Dinosaur – there’s never been any Marxist countries. The USSR was the farthest thing from Marxism and even a cursory overview of Marx’s work reveals that.

    If you can’t see the blatant difference between what Stalin and the USSR did and what Marx wrote, then you’ve clearly never read Marx.

    They always say that “it went wrong” well how can you bring about world wide revolution and destroy property rights etc with out millions dead? Every place they tried it it went wrong.

    If you’re going to criticize me, it’s also useful to have read what I’ve actually written.

    I thought I did, :)

    Why if “Marxism” has resulted in famine and dictators for life every time it was tried would anyone ever want to try again?

    What would have to happen to get it right this time so we don’t duplicate China, Russia, Cambodia……

  8. 8 paulitics 20 August, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    Your entire argument is structured on a fallacy. “Marxism” hasn’t resulted in any famines or dictators because, as I’ve said many many times now, there haven’t been any Marxist countries, there have only been dictators claiming to be Marxist.

    Incidentally there are many dictators who also claim that they are humanists and democrats, but we are rightly suspicious of them. I don’t know why you’re having such a difficult time understanding this concept.

  9. 9 dinosaur 21 August, 2007 at 8:46 am

    There are many countries that claim to be democracies like Canada and the USA sure propagandists will call Bush a Fascist which is ludicrous.

    People voted for him 52% in 2004 and in a year i’m guessing for all their railing he will not make himself dictator for life.

    as I’ve said many many times now, there haven’t been any Marxist countries, there have only been dictators claiming to be Marxist.
    You haven’t answered my question,

    What would have to happen to get it right this time so we don’t duplicate China, Russia, Cambodia?

    Sure it says in the book that everything will be perfect but thats just a sales brochure and not reality.

    Reality is that every time someone calls themselves marxist their immigration policy is never an issue.

    I can write a book about democracies but you’ve seen them in operation warts and all. Thats what you base your commentary on but re marxism it’s how it should be from a book?

    How do you collectivise the masses without mass starvations that brought my inlaws to Canada.

    Some estimates say that marxists have killed over 100,000,000 people. Though when they fertilise the killing fields or gulags, that is reality, not a nice book that has no bearing on reality.

    I’ll ask again,

    What would have to happen to get it right this time so we don’t duplicate China, Russia, Cambodia?

  10. 10 paulitics 21 August, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    Okay dinosaur – you really need to understand that arguments first of all need structure and second of all that grammar is not a ‘make it up as you go along type of thing’.

    The majority of your comment is unintelligible either as a reasoned argument, or even as English.

    For instance, what the hell are you trying to say when you write: “There are many countries that claim to be democracies like Canada and the USA sure propagandists will call Bush a Fascist which is ludicrous.”?

    Seriously, have you ever heard of sentence structure before?

    Now the only two parts of your comment that I could salvage as intelligible, I think, are also the two most important parts.

    First, you write “Sure it says in the book that everything will be perfect but thats just a sales brochure and not reality.”

    Really? This is another one of those dinosaur quotes my readers have grown oh-so-fond of. Tell me dinosaur, where does Marx write that “everything will be perfect”? Is that in the Manifesto? Das Kapital? One of Engels’ works? Where? Anybody who thinks that ANY political system is/will be perfect and will cure everything including acne is an idiot. Plain and simple. And the fact that you think that that’s what socialism posits really doesn’t speak well for you.

    Second, you do ask a fair question. You ask: “What would have to happen to get it right this time so we don’t duplicate China, Russia, Cambodia?”

    Obviously this is a huge question which could (and has) filled books, so you’ll have to excuse the fact that my answer will be woefully incomplete.

    My answer is that there are any number of things that need to happen — and because of this, the likelihood of them all happening in our lifetimes or even our children’s lifetimes seems to me to be small. However, I would say that first of all, there would have to be an economic crisis brought on by capitalism which would open people’s eyes to the sheer exploitation of the system.

    Second of all — and by far, most importantly — the change, in my opinion, would have to eschew Lenin/Mao-style vangardism as it is far too easily corruptible. It would therefore have to be a complete and total social movement founded on the principles of the radical expansion of democracy.

    Third of all — and this is something which Marx addresses quite extensively — it would have to be a global movement and could not be confined to mere parochial nation-states.

    Now, I’ve answered your question in a serious fashion, do you care to take a serious poke at the questions I’ve put to you over on the other post, or is this whole question asking thing a one-way street with you capitalists?
    https://paulitics.wordpress.com/2007/08/19/i-fought-hitler-and-all-i-got-was-eternal-damnation/

  11. 11 paulitics 21 August, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    Okay dinosaur – you really need to understand that arguments first of all need structure and second of all that grammar is not a ‘make it up as you go along type of thing’.

    The majority of your comment is unintelligible either as a reasoned argument, or even as English.

    For instance, what the hell are you trying to say when you write: “There are many countries that claim to be democracies like Canada and the USA sure propagandists will call Bush a Fascist which is ludicrous.”?

    Seriously, have you ever heard of sentence structure before?

    Now the only two parts of your comment that I could salvage as intelligible, I think, are also the two most important parts.

    First, you write “Sure it says in the book that everything will be perfect but thats just a sales brochure and not reality.”

    Really? This is another one of those dinosaur quotes my readers have grown oh-so-fond of. Tell me dinosaur, where does Marx write that “everything will be perfect”? Is that in the Manifesto? Das Kapital? One of Engels’ works? Where? Anybody who thinks that ANY political system is/will be perfect and will cure everything including acne is an idiot. Plain and simple. And the fact that you think that that’s what socialism posits really doesn’t speak well for you.

    Second, you do ask a fair question. You ask: “What would have to happen to get it right this time so we don’t duplicate China, Russia, Cambodia?”

    Obviously this is a huge question which could (and has) filled books, so you’ll have to excuse the fact that my answer will be woefully incomplete.

    My answer is that there are any number of things that need to happen — and because of this, the likelihood of them all happening in our lifetimes or even our children’s lifetimes seems to me to be small. However, I would say that first of all, there would have to be an economic crisis brought on by capitalism which would open people’s eyes to the sheer exploitation of the system.

    Second of all — and by far, most importantly — the change, in my opinion, would have to eschew Lenin/Mao-style vangardism as it is far too easily corruptible. It would therefore have to be a complete and total social movement founded on the principles of the radical expansion of democracy.

    Third of all — and this is something which Marx addresses quite extensively — it would have to be a global movement and could not be confined to mere parochial nation-states.

    Now, dinosaur, I’ve answered your question, care to take a poke at the questions you’ve been dodging over at the other post?

    https://paulitics.wordpress.com/2007/08/19/i-fought-hitler-and-all-i-got-was-eternal-damnation/

  12. 12 Michael H Anderson 15 December, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    You’re young. I can see that from your teeny picture. You’re ignorant. That follows. It’s never going to happen, so maybe you should consider quitting the Lazy Motherfuckers’ Club and get on with living? Maybe a bit early. Your claim that atrocities have never happened under Marxism becausde there have “never been any Marxist countries” is the height of half-witted rationalization, so I’ll wager it’ll be many years yet.

    But one thing I’ll guarantee you: early or pathetically late, the moment you do start taking personal responsibility for your life, you’ll be done with this lobotomized bullshit – guaranteed.

  13. 13 Michael H Anderson 15 December, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Oh, and PS – do go ahead and reply, but you’ll be the only one reading your sophomoric shitwit raving. I have already wasted more than enough time on you, and will forget you the moment I leave this message. Run and collect your Christmas dole check, you thwarted little sparrowfart.

  14. 14 RPJ 16 December, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Wow, what an arrogant and defensive asshole Michael H. Anderson. When you actually have something to bring to the conversation do drop in again. Until then, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

  15. 15 A guy that probably wont respond... 17 February, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    Ok… i just wanted to say how marxism wouldn’t work in the usa first off… really it never did work, im speaking of the economic side of it for marxism is anti-social status, which would try to eliminate the social classes… which is bad… very bad… the source of social status is the money you make, thus the government would control your money, and if you had an original idea and created something new… guess what? the government owns it now and you get 0% profit from it… its essentially that ‘redistribution of wealth’ crap which would never work simply because people are entitled to their own ideas and deserve the profit from their idea and no-1 had the right to take that from them. and one last thing… stallin got his ideas from karl marx… yeah… so… its pretty much the same. and really its kinda what obama is doin right now( although i wish he wouldn’t…) the government is already forcing us more and more, controlling more of our options each day, such as USA citizens have to have car insurance in order to drive, no choice in it, if ur caught without it, ur arrested and car impounded. and in obama’s healthcare plan, basically the same thing, even though its been proven that when it comes down to it, insurance companies dont wanna pay up. Marxism is a system that will essentially fail for all countries that have used his work have had limited freedoms… very limited… and there was nothing the people could do about it… because really… the government doesn’t give a crap about ‘the people’. thats why they make 2000 page bills so regular citizens cant understand it. if we were to give the government more power then we pretty much couldn’t do shit then… and dude… really… plz find something better to do than to support a douche bag that contributed to communism… and i dont really see why you would support it… they would treat you shit just like ever other person…

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  1. 1 I fought Hitler and all I got was eternal damnation?? « Paulitics: Paul’s Socialist Investigations Trackback on 19 August, 2007 at 2:22 pm
  2. 2 Propaganda in Action: Ontario’s election “priorities”? « Paulitics Trackback on 19 November, 2012 at 6:57 pm

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