Activism in Decline: The Facade of Revolution


Metamodern Metablog. Activism

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” – Anne Frank


By Damien Rush
Kent State (above)

This is what American activism used to look like when diverse ideologies collided with a corrupt or failed system. As Nixon was lying about troop withdrawals from Viet Nam, he was escalating in Cambodia. I knew a recon Marine who “wasn’t” in Cambodia with the CIA. Talk about scrambled eggs; this guy would almost hit the deck when a car backfired. Maybe one of the things that blew his mind was seeing all those merchant ships from General Electric and Westinghouse harbored at the enemy’s ports. Go figure. Free Trade?

It was the war to end all wars’ ending. A lot of money was being made. Americans were getting sick of fighting a war they weren’t prepared to win. And then the activism at Kent State happened. The profiteers and anti-communists wanted that war so badly that a propaganda campaign began against their own youth.

Those “dirty bums”, etc. A lot of them were, but still, when some of the guys in Viet Nam heard about the activism and the shootings at Kent State, even they were appalled. As the years went by more facts started come out. None more disturbing than some of the allegations in an expose posted in the Free Republic by motorcity70. It tells of communist subterfuge and chicanery.

”But the fact is that the killings on the campus were the predictable result of almost two years of Communist agitation by such terrorist gangs as Students for a Democratic Society.” – source

Spontaneous civil action is not always as spontaneous as it seems as in the example of Kent State. Often there are moneyed special interests with a larger political agenda lurking in the shadows. There is evidence to show that Kent State was brewing for this disaster beginning in 1968, two years prior to the shootings.

None the less, the powers that were found out just how organized and pro-active those dirty bums could be. Colleges were raging with violent activism after Kent State. With the war, heavy activism in civil rights and the cultural revolution that was occurring, all the rednecks threw the red scare into it. They basically instigated the mess with their fascist anti-communist bullshit.

The Metamodern. Where world issues, art and contemporary lifestyles converge through the digital looking glass on metamodernism.

Ironically the underlying influence of communism was destroying all credibility of legitimate or democratic socialism in America through its insurgency. Problem, reaction, solution. The fascists’ hard-hats brawling with the communists’ hippies. And in between it all, those seeking real pragmatic change through dialogue and peaceful demonstration got lost in the scuffle.

This brings me up to the current tone of activism as in the “Occupy” movements, etc. The government and corporations have been so tapped into the movements it isn’t funny. In fact they’re probably the brains behind half of the activism seen with the faux-demonstrations witnessed today. Kind of like how Rome finally gave in to the Christians. Good politics.

“The young characters are fluent in a hackneyed language of protest, fighting for what they believe in, standing up for something, supporting good causes and making a difference. But their naïve and self-congratulatory efforts suggests that privilege and nostalgia may play a role in watering down contemporary notions of activism. ‘I’m an old lady who lived in the South during segregation,’ one of Wolitzer’s high school staff remarks. ‘I have seen political protest and it doesn’t look like this.’ As web tools have made it possible for some forms of protest to become more passive, activism as a concept has also been loosened from its socio-political moorings.” – From Sex and War on the American Stage: Lysistrata in Performance 1930-2012, by Emily B. Klein (2014)

So next time they “allow” the “trustifarians” to pitch their tents, paint their little signs and have their protests and festies, think about a time when activism had balls. Aside from L.A., Seattle or Ferguson this country has gone pure pussy. Unless you’re black. They stopped shooting and beating up on white college kids for their activism after Kent State. Now they have rubber bullets to shoot us with when we exercise our civil rights. But we still need a permit. After we get permission to exercise our civil rights – then they can shoot us with rubber bullets.

Seriously; what defines a protest anymore? Anyone who’s unemployed, homeless or who has a little time off comes out. They hold hands, pass the bowl and sing Kum-bay-ya, as platoons of tactical police come marching out to guard the perimeters of the banks that hired them.

Everyone listens while nobody acts, but for a little press coverage. Maybe a few people get pepper-sprayed and zip-tied, but when it’s all said and done everyone goes home and back to work for the same machine that put them out there to begin with. Until when? Until the next black kid or school gets shot up, or faux-capitalism and another fraudulent bank run destroys the economy – again.

Being a child of the 70’s I’ve been able to observe the reinvention, or as Jonathan Matthew Smucker writes, the “fetishizing” of revolution in America. It’s been commercialized and sensationalized almost to a pop-culture statement of fashion. It’s cool to wear the badge of the revolutionary. We all fantasize about being the “outlaw”; but to what end? According to my observations, civilization has been on the three steps forward, two steps backwards plan at best. Only to be continuously thinning out the heard of reasonable and pragmatic thinkers among its ranks.

A revolution means change and I’ve seen a lot of change, but not much improvement. A revolution is supposed to be the first step for change, not a game of reverse psychology to placate the masses and send them back to sleep. And as a result of all the “change” I’ve been seeing, I’ve become that same old cantankerous geezer bitchin’ about what was happening back in “my day”. I shudder to think, but the cycle of entropy continues. How much longer is this progressive pro-active child from the 70’s going to have to wait before anything changes for the better? Forty years; fifty years; and now it’s goin’ on sixty.


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