A War Of Position

A War of Position . . .

*** This post will be changed and updated ***

This website was started in 2001 out of dysphoria and exasperation from the state of political discourse.   It began as a desire for a more developed discourse; something more than slogans and catchphrases.  Though it’s arguable that there never was any depth, there is a desire for it.  Even Gramsci, and those before him, wrote of the problems with demagogy in politics.

There is a lot of demagogy and hyperbole  about political terminology.  We see the misuse of the terms ‘fascism’ and ‘socialism’ and other such terms. We see, today, this claim that infrastructure and social spending are “socialism” from the Left.  On this website, these terms are intended to all be use for their literal meaning.  There’s no emotional appeal to the use of labels.  Merely an attempt to explain complex theories and systems into a few words for brevity.

If we hope to abandon moral relativism and emotional decision making, we must focus on a way to have these discussions based on rational discourse and not demagogy and hyperbole.  Slogans and catch phrases are great agitprop, but they are not great discourse.  Society and societal relationships are complicated things that cannot be summarized into a few characters.

The glossary page with be used to define these terms for this site.  If any term comes into question that is on the glossary page, the definition listed will the be the definition used on this site.  Arguments of pure semantics rarely resolve any issue – unless the issue is semantic itself.

What we see develop is a fundamental lack of understanding of basic systems.  These basic systems get supported or dismissed based on emotional appeal, rather than understanding.  It’s time we stop having these discussions based on preconceived notions and false understanding.

Fuck Mike Rowe

I had done a series about a year ago on Mike Rowe and didn’t publish most of it.  I simply released the Sighed Effects’ No SWEAT Pledge to counter Rowe’s SWEAT Pledge.  I decided not to waste my time or energy with the rest of it.  Today I ran across a post on Facebook where the topic was Mike Rowe.  He made a statement in support of agricultural technology.  I agreed with the sentiment but pointed out that Mike Rowe is nothing but a shill and an apologist and propagandist for the elites.  This created a lot of ire amongst those who consider him a “blue collar hero.”

mike-rowe-665x385But he really is not a blue collar hero.  He’s nothing more than a propagandist for the elites.  This isn’t some accusation I use lightly.  The thing is… I liked Mike Rowe.  I enjoyed his shows.  I felt he did a pretty good job showing how the working class were invaluable and that “dirty jobs” were really under-appreciated.  He was a sort of champion for the blue collar worker.  I really wish he kept his mouth shut outside of his television programs now.  I’ve been reading and hearing what he has to say for the past few years now and it disheartens me.  (Mostly because I will no longer be able to enjoy any show he is a part of or anything that he is involved.)

If anyone doesn’t know who Mike Rowe is… just look him up.  He has a Wikipedia page.  The Blaze and other neo-conservative sites tout him around like their poster child.  What concerns me is not that he promotes blue collar jobs as valuable and demands that people have a level of respect for manual labor.  That is a noble endeavor.  Rowe has gone from respect for manual labour beyond rugged individualism and straight into classism.

In 2008, Mike Rowe launched “Mike Rowe Works.”  This was meant to be a resource for trade skills and skilled blue collar jobs. Seems helpful enough.  He’s also worked with Association of Equipment Manufacturers in a campaign called “I Make America.” He’s done quite a few of these things.  It’s great that he does this.  Just like he showed on Dirty Jobs, these are the people that keep the country functioning.  These are the jobs that keep society functioning. I don’t take exception with any of that.  I applaud these efforts.  I don’t even believe it’s wrong that he states “a four year degree isn’t for everyone.”  I often say that myself.  I had a friend that went to a trade school immediately after graduating high school.  He went into sound engineering.  He knew a young age he wanted to be a producer.  His education in sound engineering was all he needed to start producing.  If someone finds a trade that they want to pursue and it’s a labor of love, they should pursue it.  There’s nothing better in life than being able to flourish doing what you love to do.  There was really one statement that made me step back from Mike Rowe:  

To be clear, I’m not anti-college; I’m anti-debt. If you can afford it, by all means go for it. But I reject the idea that a four-year school is the best path for the most people. I went on Piers Morgan Live because I have a scholarship fund that trains people for jobs that actually exist, while rewarding the kind of work ethic I think we need to encourage. I want to spread the word.

fc1473aaTo be clear:  I’m not anti-manual labor; I’m anti-elitism.  Maybe Rowe doesn’t realize what he is saying here (but he says it often enough), but it doesn’t take a PhD to see that Rowe is claiming that knowledge and higher education are the domain for the wealthy and privileged.  Rowe has gone from defending the working class, to claiming that the working class should “know their place.”  Claiming that education should only be available to those whom can afford it isn’t defending the working class… it’s limiting them.  That is just the fundamental problem with this claim.

The real ire for Mike Rowe began for me when he started spouting off about university debt.  He has said numerous times that a college education is fine –– for those whom can afford it.  This is really just classism couched in “real talk.”  There’s no attempt to subsidize higher education and actually lower the costs for a university education.  There’s no attempt to point out that some people actually have the ability to become accomplished academics but do not have the financial resources.

Part of the problem is this issue of a zero sum game on every issue.  Rowe is right that college isn’t for everyone.  If someone wants to become a plumber, they can learn that trade without having to go to college and take on the debt required to obtain a university education.  Why should someone who wants to become a plumber have to go into debt to learn English literature?  Conversely, why should someone who wants to be an English professor have to be a plumber?  It goes both ways.  And what this really comes down to is the Protest Work Ethic (at best) and anti-academic sentiments (at worst).

yyeS3xDIt’s true that no everyone wants to spend their hours deliberating the concepts of Gramscian hegemony or Lacanian structures.  They shouldn’t be forced to do that.  But why should someone who wants to focus on these concepts be forced to do something they don’t want to do because they have been “priced out” of that area?  Even in academia there are subsets of knowledge.  And there are subsets within those subsets.  A history professor does not have the same scope of knowledge as a technical engineer or a physics professor.  A medical doctor and a lawyer have different areas of focus.  Not everyone wants to follow academic pursuits, but some people do.  The problem is that many cannot afford it.

The solution to college debt for Rowe lies in making everyone trade labor.   Continue reading Fuck Mike Rowe

Test Post Z

Test Post – Zed



Happy New Year

As 2014 ends and 2015 begins, Sighed Effects is undergoing a serious change.

I still haven’t decided if I’m going to just archive the old posts or what.  There will be an entirely new site layout, products, and a new tone.

2015 marks the break with Liberals, Progressives, Democrats, and any supporters of traditional society and neoliberal capitalism.  Capitalism exploits the workers.  It creates inequality and all that other shit I constantly go on and on about every day.

“It gets a whole lot Blacker and a whole lot bigger . . . “

300x300There’s also the issue of the lack of support from Liberal voices in the unrest that is coming.  It compounds the previous issue.  The conditions are ripe to seize this moment and really open the door for discourse and action to invoke real change.  Instead we get more placating platitudes asking Black people to sing We Shall Overcome and telling college students to work at Starbucks whilst being buried in a life of debt.

The Democrats in United States subscribe to the same neoliberal capitalist principles that the Republicans support.  The only difference is the verbiage given to wedge issues.  The Democrats don’t want poor people to die of a lack of medical care.  Instead, they want to provide them with basic medical care and give them a low wage job so they can sell their labor and produce more for the wealthy (and consume more).  Their answer to Black people being brutalized and discriminated is to open more cake shops.

“Don’t burn down your own communities.”  – In other words, first of all… somehow the Walgreens in the Black neighborhood is the Black Walgreens.  Second, why does it have to be “their community”?  The statement itself smacks of de facto segregation.  It’s not their own communities… the idea is that it’s all our own communities.  The fact is that the Liberals are not anti-racist, they are just anti-racism.  Meaning, they want to hide racism.  “Go out and open cake shops, and contribute to the capitalist, economic monster that is the foundation of your oppression.”  That’s the message.  Basically, don’t burn their shit down… because that’s where their stuff is located.

They are too invested in the system to change it.  They want to change things, but only to increase production.  Only to make their conscience clean.  Only to make this exploitive system more palatable.  As this year ends, it’s time to say “no more.”

No more exploitation.

No more racism.

No more nationalism.

No more sexism.

No more classism.

And how do we achieve this?  The only answer I can conclude is actually counter-intuitive:  Support the Republicans.

1-15--guillotineThe Republicans don’t pretend.  They do not want to help the poor.  They want the poor to be near death or dead.  They don’t want to help the working class.  They want the working class to produce more and receive less.  They don’t want to expand the economy if it helps these groups.  Keynesian economic levers will only make capitalism more tolerable and increase profits for the wealthy.  It’s the policies of the Conservatives that will cause poverty to grow and the working class to be increasingly desperate.  Republican policies are policies that will create an enormous chasm between the wealthy and the rest of the population.  And how does that work out in antiquity?  Let’s ask Marie Antoinette.

Aside from that… I must admit that there’s a concerning increase in fascism in the United States.  The attitude being put forward that “Black people that do not act respectably deserve to be shot and killed by police” is terrifying and strikingly similar to historical conditions that did not end well.   Between that and the lack of support that will be generated by breaking all ties with Democrats, there’s an issue of viability.  For that reason, I will likely be largely avoiding any party politics and focusing solely on the exploitative issues of capitalism.

2015 is almost here.  Hang on.  Sighed Effects is about to release a heavy sigh.