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Thursday, September 29, 2016


Candidate Gary Johnson reminds us that even though libertarians are just Republican assholes who like to smoke pot, it'll still be up to Democrats actually to manage to legalize its medical and recreational use.


Chad Lott said...

I get what you're saying, but I have been less than impressed by what Democrats have been up to, especially locally. For example, the 1/4 city ownership Oakland is proposing for businesses operating in the city is terrible.

Dale Carrico said...

Less than impressed as compared with whom though? My point was that Republicans talk about liberty but then support warlords with private arsenals, bullying, christianist intolerance, sex police, abusive cops, surveillance, wage-slaves and undocumented indentured servitude, and libertarians talk about liberty and even about legalizing pot but turn out to be patently ridiculous incoherent self-marginalizing anarcho-authoritarian killer clowns who still read Ayn Rand and Tom Clancy.

The Democrats are all we have, and they are all we are ever going to have, and they are leading the way to legalizing recreational cannabis use and ending the racist war on drugs -- and yes, I know the history of prohibition, reefer madness, the drug epidemic and crack baby hysteria and Crime Bill and the role of Democrats in waging the racist war on drugs, just as I know the Democrats who fought it then and recognized it was failing first and who are fighting to end it in earnest now.

I am very ready to complain about lukewarm organizing efforts, indifference to issues of access for precarious medical users in the race for corporate profits and also worries about racial disparities that seem still to haunt post-legalization enforcement, and even straight-up misinformation still getting peddled on health risks, impaired driving, nonsense about addiction and gateway drug foolishness. And so on and on.

But legalization of recreational cannabis is an obvious good, cannabis harms nobody (outside a possible adolescent developmental window that can be addressed with education, regulation, treatment incomparably better than the present dysfunctionanl prohibition), its legalization will end the outrageous injustice of prison sentences, property garnishment, and criminal records for thousands upon thousands of nonviolent users, it will encourage a more rapid dismantlement of the failed evil racist war on drugs, it will provide wholesome alternatives to the abuse of alcohol and opioids and prescription drugs for those seeking relief from chronic pain and emotional distress, and will open up avenues for transformative joy and insight to folks restrained from these experiences by illegality -- many precisely the uptight kinds of people who would benefit most. I know you know all that.

Legalization must happen. Like legalizing gay marriage and letting queers serve openly in the military (and I say this as a gay guy who thinks marriage is a vestige of human trafficking and abhor the militarization of our society and the war crimes out of which "American exceptionalism" is made) and encouraging diverse representation in mass media and ending rape culture in the military legalizing recreational cannabis is one of those developments that makes American culture healthier, happier, more actually emancipatory in its promise. It is an unalloyed good, it needs to happen.

Democrats are the ones making it happen, they are all we've got and we've got to have their back even as we educate and pressure them to do better. My god, it feels like I say this about pretty much every issue at this point, turning into an old grumpy dude is really a drag.

Chad Lott said...

I don't know that I agree that it's only Democrats making it happen. Unions, which are heavily Democrat as you know, have fought legalization efforts for years. And just the other day Chelsea Clinton implied pot may kill people.

It looks more like a coalition of people at all the events I've been to. Growers and business owners seem to lean Libertarian or Bernie (which I guess you could count as Democrat), some people are straight up against parties in general. There are more than a few conservatives around, plus the Silicon Valley vultures. Patients are all over the place politically.

The only reason I'm bristling a bit is that recently many of the really crappy ideas have come from Democrats. Oakland is especially shitty on this. That said, at least they're ideas towards legalization, which as you say, is good.

But there are for sure hardcore Democrats up in the mix in a major way, and they got the ball rolling. I'm friends with an absolutely wonderful retired couple who have been active in the Brownie Mary Party for years, doing great work with AIDS charities and legalization efforts. I think you'd adore them.

Someone could do an incredible course on all this. It hits pretty much every social and economic issue imaginable and the arguments mobilized by all these interests are, well, interesting.

Dale Carrico said...

I don't disagree that Democrats number among those who are dunderheads on this issue -- as on so many issues. I still say that it will be because of organized Democrats who are not dunderheads on this (and some who are but go along with those who are not) that legalization will happen and that we are at the point when it is legislation that needs to happen, that the fruition of long generations of work in other modes is arriving at its moment and that moment is different from the time that precedes it and that the moment is partisan, compromised, reformist, progressive in ways that are ambivalent, at once triumphant and disappointing.

This point feels like a variation on one I have been hammering at for months now, a topic that has been a source of deep distress for a while, so forgive me for using your observation (and of course I know what you mean and of course I know you know what I mean) as the occasion to go out of bounds a bit.

None of what I am saying about Democratic partisanship in this or any progressive cause (and for me, progressive is defined as yielding progress toward sustainable equity-in-diversity), is to deny that intellectuals, activists, artists, social workers on the ground do indispensable work on the ground, set the stage, pressure the status quo while declaring themselves libertarian, green, anarcho-blizzblazz, what have you.

But the work they are doing needn't be partisan at all -- though there can be organizational resources and a willing audience in the Democratic party even for quite radical ideas and campaigns that won't manage legal implementation for well over a generation if intellectuals/activists get the rhetoric right and this is one of the reaosns I am proud to be a Democrat even when Democrats are behaving in ways I am not proud of otherwise.

But, yes, when I am teaching queer and/or green polycultural socialism in various courses I don't think of myself as a Democrat particularly, nor was I doing Queer Nation sit-ins, or anti-war marches, or adjunct unionization agitprop as a Democrat so much as a democratic socialist responding to real problems impinging on my life and pressuring the status quo and opening spaces for coalition.

Dale Carrico said...


And yet I am a Democrat (to the left of most Democrats I know) who also knows that until queer lifeway diversity, sustainability, anti-militarization ARE partisan, until their assumptions, aspirations, affordances ARE invested at the level of platforms and other connections of legible constituencies with working legislative language all my talk and work for queerness, sustainability, peace (and, our present specific topic, the healing, relief, joy, provocation, transformation, justice of legalized consensual recreational cannabis use) is inevitably worrying at the edge of systemic problems, kibitzing at the discourse, indulging in edifying subcultural collegiality.

Sure, sure I hope that my teaching, writing, marching, meeting managed to be truly helpful to real people, to be provocative and clarifying for our thinking of the problems and possibilities at hand, to be righteous and noble as far as it goes, and I do know that such collective work is indispensable to progress whether or not my own poor contributions ever managed so much. But all that movement work, all that intellectual work, all that public protest, all that social support builds up to a moment in which laws can be changed and infrastructural affordances invested and even though that moment is inevitably compromised in ways the radicalism preceding it need not always seem to have been it is still the moment when the change is registered in the realized world. And that moment is indispensably partisan, and the party it has to be partisan in in the epoch of self-marginalizing reactionary dysfunction has to be the Democratic Party.

What feels to me like ignorance verging on denial on the difference and also the interplay of equally indispensable radical political work and partisan politics in the making of change in the real/realized world has been something driving me crazy throughout this campaign season especially -- as so many folks doing radical movement politics with which I identify treat partisan politics as dispensable in ways that squander momentum and demoralize the radicalized and too many privileged ignoramuses indulge in symbolic radical-to-pseudo-radical anti-partisan revolt through the partisan political process which is divisive to no good purpose except for the pleasures of self-indulgence it affords.

Of course, I've spent a lifetime irritated by the flip side within partisan politics of out-of-touch orthodoxies undermining the emergence and change of winning and working coalitions, as well as cynical and corrupt professional cadres and wannabes dismissive of radical ideas and movements. All of this is of course quite evident and a permanent vulnerability, especially in a duopoly the Republican half of which has gone too crazy to function as a viable opposition and hence lets Democrats take too much for granted. I have lost friends and have been excoriated by allies in taking this up this stand, and I haven't gotten over it.

Bizarro Freedom said...

Best description of libertarians is still that they are "anarchists" who wants police protection from their slaves. Which showcases how little anarchist they are but it still a good description, dumb, contradictory, elitist and meaningless.

Dale Carrico said...

Hello, my friend! I definitely agree with you about so-called market libertarians/anarcho-capitalists, of course... where we tend to disagree is in our assessment of left libertarians/anarcho-socialists who seem to me to disavow the ineradicability of deep disputation inhering in interpersonal plurality preceded and exceeding any state-forms/socialities, usually by retreating into naturalized parochialisms and utopian separatisms (which is the "spontaneism" against which I endlessly rail to your annoyance, and which I believe is in evidence from Kropotkin through Graeber), unscalable individualisms (which I think is the go to move of many of the reactionary anarchisms that aren't specifically market-focused, for instance racist/sexist eco-anarchisms and lots of the lame lifestyle boutique anarchisms that haven't quite worked their way to doctrinal positions and are "more of a feeling"), or falling back on classic liberal and democratic proposals while pretending to a radicalism not in evidence (which is what Chomsky does in my opinion, truly respect him though I do whatever our differences on this subject).

Bizarro Freedom said...

I actually did not want to start this debate again, just wanted to share a funny quote but since we have started it.

The "spontaneism" that you claim to see seems for me highly flawed and seems to not correspond towards anything I have read after all is not social movements "spontaneous" in that they are organized by people directly and done for specific local actions or larger actions as in they are not created by decree from polticians or other authoritarian figures. It seems like you blindly see all "spontaneisms" as being a concept from hayek or von mises when in fact the "spontaneity" claimed by anarchists from Kropotkin to Graeber is radically different and have nothing in common unless you believe in the old stories that oppressed people need to have theory come from the outside and be organised by a political party or other hierarchical organizations which is not the vibe I get from reading you.

I have no idea what unscalable individualism is suppose to mean since you afterwards critise the monster that is lifestyle anarchism. So i will hope over that point.

Yes lifestyle anarchism (post-left anarchism) is bullshit and reactionary which is why they are constantly critised all over the place by anarchists. Trust me no one hates them more than other anarchists who actually wants change and no one critises them more. There is a reason why there are gaps in the american anarchist movement and between it and the rest of worlds movements and organisations.

Chomsky for me is a tricky question (while yes I truly respect him and his books on imperialism, militarism and other social questions are great food for thought) since he many times obscures rather the reveal anarchist ideas by (understandebly) generalised statements. For example anarchism is not classical liberalism taken to logical conclusions. From the very start anarchism was born criticising liberalism, pretty telling the book was called What is Property? and the conclusion of it was that it was theft.

Dale Carrico said...

The "spontaneism" that you claim to see seems for me highly flawed and seems to not correspond towards anything I have read

How can you say it isn't something you have read when you have read me say it so many times? (Joke.)

It seems like you blindly see all "spontaneisms" as being a concept from hayek or von mises when in fact the "spontaneity" claimed by anarchists from Kropotkin to Graeber is radically different

Of course there are differences -- it's just that I don't much care about them because all the variations, right and "left," seem useless and dumb to me, for reasons we've rehearsed a million times by now, and the similiarity seems to me more salient and clarifying given that basic assessment.

anarchism is not classical liberalism taken to logical conclusions

That's for sure. I just said that some of the more sensible anarchists at their most sensible just seem to me to be re-inventing classical liberal wheels (as when Chomsky insists that any exercise of authority must be answerable to those over whom it is exacted and then declares this essentially anarchist). I think anarchists would be better off just being liberals if they are going to be liberals -- and I also think that if they want to be radicals critical of liberals they should probably be democratic socialists.

Bizarro Freedom said...

But if you admit that there are differences (huge ones, my opinion) than it seems disingenuous to do the equalvalence fallacy that you do so often it also weakens the overall argument against the bullshitters by not understanding or making the differences and sharp raptures clear. After all democracy is a term utuilsed by many different people for absolutely different and opposite reasons so not making it clear whether it is emancipatory or not. I mean USA invaded Iraq to institute democracy and Afghanistan to liberate the women of the region (of course these reason were superficial and propagandistic but it still does not change the fact that it was done in the name of democracy).

What he (Noam Chomsky) has declared is that skepticism and questioning authority is within the realms of anarchism, not the defining thing but one amongst many. But this is not a classical liberal claim, in fact vast majority of liberal texts and thinkers have justified and argued in favor of authoritarian social relationships. I mean Locke argued many many times for the absolute need patriarchical, hierarcical and domnating social relationships. He argued that propertyless people were essential useless and should be slaves. Even the best classical liberal JS Mill in his best moments argued that capitalist exploitation was justified if cooperatives failed on the free market which of course ignores a whole host of problems and issues.

I thought anarchism was a "democratic" socialist theory if by "democratic" socialism that you meean they want self-rule, self-gorvernment, self-management, industrial democracy(the favorite term of Proudhon) and confederal networks. After all anarchism is a socialism it has some of the best criticisms of liberal theory since it is not tied to the schema of advocating government regulation as an answer to every problem but advocates instead community welfare, collective and organising resistence. Democracic socialism in my opinion is an incredibly vague term that means less than many other terms to describe an emancipatory socialist position since protest all you want but in the democratic socialist camp are a whole host of imperialists and authoritarians that has justified things from british rule over India to praising Cuba as a good model for socialism to supporting military break up of strikes and supressing other forms of rebellion and revolts.

Bizarro Freedom said...

Anarchism a it is a socialiam also has some of the best critiques aginst liberalism since it acknowledges what GDH Cole pointed out that in capitalis relations poverty is not the worst thing from it, it is the servile slave like obediance that it commits people to. Big problem is not exploitation but the fact that this exploitation orginates and flows from oppression, social control and obediance to masters. Anarchism 100 years before Foucault pointed out that the factory was remarkably similar in design and in structure and organization to prisons and armies.

Dale Carrico said...

if you admit that there are differences (huge ones, my opinion) than it seems disingenuous to do the equalvalence fallacy

If you admit two obviously related discourses are not identical it seems disingenuous to talk about their similarities as a way of clarifying those relations... says nobody because it would obviously be silly.

You are more sympathetic with left-anarchists than market-anarchists (as am I, a lot of the time, especially when left anarchists are making art or doing activism or actually proposing socialist and democratic arguments) and seem to think that difference matters more than the conceptual and figurative continuities between them. I don't agree.

If you think left anarchism is much less "vague" than democratic socialist proposals I don't know what to tell you. And just because I recognize the indispensability of government to democratization and advocate accountable harm-reduction model policy-making as a shared problem-solving space and public investment in public and common goods including the maintenance of a legible scene of informed non-duressed consent this does not mean I think "government regulation [i]s an answer to every problem" -- what is this, Fox News? And needless to say I am gratified to be informed of the hypocrisies of Locke and JS Mill about which I have been lecturing undergraduates in feminist political theory seminars for two decades. I've said a million times that left anarchists can be perfectly nice people and allies on the street but seem to me quite muddled in ways that waste time and undermine practical effort and misdiagnose problems that would be clarified by thinking themselves simply democratic socialist instead, and I honestly don't think this is truly far enough from your own view (you have said you aren't an anarchist yourself, has that changed?) to justify our usual retreats into definitional corners from which we spit logical entailments at each other. So, I'm not going to accept your invitation to dance the anarchism is socialism dance again, because that is the question under discussion and assertions aren't arguments but that is inevitably where this always goes with you: all the right anarchisms you don't like become non-anarchisms because you don't like them and all the anarchisms you like become socialisms even though there are socialisms that aren't and the ones that are would be better off just being socialisms and at this point we're just talking past each other about something nobody else cares about at all to no discernibly good purpose and usually the next round of debate starts to include insinuations that we are being obtuse or deliberately misleading at one another and we forget that we agree more than we disagree and we get disagreeable for no good reason. Why do that again?

Bizarro Freedom said...

Just so you do not take offense, I am not angry and you are right we agree more than we disagree but I do feel slightly hurt that you will go as low as calling fox news on me or state that i am lecturing when i am simply making a point.

Dale Carrico said...

I'm not angry either. I thought the government is the solution to every problem crack was a bonehead move is all. I teach rhetoric. Anyway, we can laugh about it instead of arguing about it since we don't even disagree after all. Nerves are wearing pretty thin here in the States right now.

Bizarro Freedom said...

Yeah but my point was more related to how government regulation is not socialism nor democracy while it can support them for me socialism and democracy are deeper than just regulating the market. Thought this was obvious considering your blogposts about mixed economy. But i get it the tensions are running high especially considering you have a fascist (i mean this in a technical manner not insult) running for president who uses anti state rhetoric. But just as a final point for me the flaw of your "continuities" is that they are so broad that they aquire meaningless characteristics since again democratic socialism have continuities with imperialism and general authoritarianism. I am not saying one is better than the other as terms simply that if differences matter in one instance they matter in all. After all, for all of your accusation that I exclude all anarchisms i do not like from it(i have never excluded lifestyle (or postleft despite my distaste and dislike of them) you do the same thing when you claim that anarchism is not a socialism despite the fact that its historical, logical and rhetorical claim and facts that they are a form of socialism. It seems you exclude the ideas you do not like from socialism more than i exclude things from anarchism. I want every authoritarian form of socialism be excommynicated and stated as not being apart of than beautiful word Socialism but i can't for all the shit leninism is a form of socialism simply one i reject.