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Alienation can be considered part of the process of capitalist exploitation, but it can also mean feeling cut off and isolated from the surrounding world.  Alienation in the Marxist sense means that capitalist production separates the worker from the object or service he produces, leading him to separate the effect of his own labour from the products he uses that are made by others. At the same time, he becomes no more than a product or object himself.

Thus the more the worker by his labor appropriates the external world, sensuous nature, the more he deprives himself of the means of life in two respects: first, in that the sensuous external world more and more ceases to be an object belonging to his labor – to be his labor’s means of life; and, second, in that it more and more ceases to be a means of life in the immediate sense, means for the physical subsistence of the worker.                                                  
In both respects, therefore, the worker becomes a servant of his object, first, in that he receives an object of labor, i.e., in that he receives work, and, secondly, in that he receives means of subsistence. This enables him to exist, first as a worker; and second, as a physical subject. The height of this servitude is that it is only as a worker that he can maintain himself as a physical subject and that it is only as a physical subject that he is a worker. (emphasis his)
This separation can often lead to alienation in the sense that I use it here: the feeling of being cut off from society, which leads to feelings so deadened that the outside word seems unreal. This is a common feature of depression, a disease, and dis-ease is an appropriate description, so common that it is considered the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide.
perspective view of workers in protective gear assembling electronics
    Communism, cooperative working associations, and unions were meant to address not only the economic injustice of capitalist working conditions, but also the loss of identity that comes with the lack of control over circumstances in working life. Justina  expresses this aspect in her diary on Venezuelan workers’ cooperatives:                                                                                                                                               
The key to overcoming capitalism’s human devastation and systemic greed is to be found in joining together with other members of one’s community or work place and acting to transform our economy and thus our society into one that places human needs and aspirations at the top of our priorities.

    Unfortunately, most people in a capitalist system feel that they have little choice as to their working circumstances, and so try to regain their sense of self through how they spend their spare time, but often this is set apart from working life. Television, movies, and the Internet are one way of reconnecting, but they usually have very little relation to making a living wage. Some hobbies might use skills learned in the workplace, but they are often individual rather than collaborative efforts, and knowledge remains closed to society as a whole.  However, in this case, ordinary people in one town, and then other nearby towns and villages, combined their industrial and home-based skills with a love of creativity to convert an existing tradition, the local Guy Fawkes bonfires, into a spectacular celebration of their own individuality and collective spirit: The Somerset illuminated carnivals.

Three large illuminated carnival floats line up along a narrow street in Wells, Somerset, dwarfing onlookers.

Several elements combined to make Bridgwater a particularly likely place for these carnivals to begin. Guy Fawkes bonfires had been held there since 1605, and were immensely popular. The parading of effigies as a form of social punishment and rough justice was already present in Skimmington, a Somerset tradition that was also occasionally used in a humorous way to collect money for charity. Bonfires were times when ordinary people could get symbolic (and occasionally literal!) revenge on landlords, officials, and other powerful individuals who had aroused their ire. Later on unpopular bosses and strikebreakers were turned into effigies and burned, all under protection of Royal decree.

16th century plaster carving showing a skimmington ride: two men cary a third who sits astride a pole while playing a woodwind instrument

     Another important contribution was that Bridgwater was remote enough from London that many minor transgressions, which would have been punished otherwise, were overlooked. Bridgwater had a had a reputation for both independence and contrariness  as well. From the Peasants Revolt in 1381 to 1896, when the

protest march in 19th century Bridgwater: Somerset marchers against starvation
military was called in to smash the brick workers’  strike, Bridgwater workers were often on the wrong side of official policy. One example of this is squibbing, the use of large hand-held fireworks, which even now require windows to be boarded up where it is performed, and in the past, when they were still manufactured locally and were considerably larger, caused numerous injuries, occasional deaths, and once levelled four houses.
     During the early years of the modern Carnival, the Home Office sent people to forbid explosives manufacture and performance of squibbing. They were resisted. When people were jailed for offenses, collections were gathered to support their families or pay their fines. In short, Guy Fawkes was always a time when low wage workers on the farms, and later in the factories, could reclaim a portion of their individual identities. Their distance from the seat of government and their cohesiveness helped ensure that their independence was not punished as much as it might have been otherwise. This helped give them a predisposition to resist the alienating conditions of industrial capitalism.
     Most carnivals have elements that counteract feelings of estrangement through subversion of the status quo, whether that be the control of the Church over morality in traditional Fat Tuesday festivities, or social stratification and racism in celebrations such as the Caribbean carnivals and their diasporic offshoots in places such as Notting Hill.  While Bridgwater Carnival still has occasional flashes of ritual subversion, particularly when the squibs are set off after the parade, the event has not been a truly antiauthoritarian since the burning of effigies ceased in the 1920s. Its role in counteracting the power of the state, its capitalist manifestations, and the resulting alienation currently lies elsewhere.
     Like similar spectacles, Somerset carnivals create a world outside of everyday life during their performances. The difference between them and most other carnivals is that the other worldly aspect lasts all year for the participants. After next year’s entries are voted on in January, the concurrent design work and extensive fundraising begins.
Ramblers carnival club float with dancing pirates, animated squids, sharks, rays, and thousands of lights
Depending on the design, a cart can cost upwards of £30,000 to construct. A very small portion of this can be generated from prize money and the small amount they receive from souvenir and video sales. While fabrication of the carts and costumes, practice for the production, and fundraising to support them might seem onerous, and there are some members who use all their leisure time doing them, these are tasks that are usually cheerfully undertaken. One club member describes the process this way:
1. Work my nuts off fundraising and building all year (but I love it).
2. Pull entry out the shed (and cry like a baby)
3. Get the pride of entering a procession with our entry, enjoy myself all the way around the route, and try to entertain the crowd.
4. Get hammered, do some bad singing.
5. Get more hammered, do some dodgy dancing.
6. Wake up not knowing where I am and how the flumping hell I got there.
7. Once sober enough to drive carry out necessary repairs on entry.
8. Repeat steps 3-10 for the remaining 6 carnivals!!
9. Take pleasure in smashing the bloody entry up.
10. Attend as many Dinners and presentations as possible with fellow carnivalites and repeat steps 4-6.
11. Return to step 1 and repeat all again.
    Other aspects set Bridgwater Carnival and others in the West Country carnival circuits apart from carnivals such as Mardi Gras. The participants consider them primarily as a fundraiser for charity. While competition for the most elaborate and well-presented cart is fierce, the amount of money tossed by onlookers into the charity carts is the most important goal, and concern for this aspect unites all the competing clubs in a mutual goal which addresses local needs. The towns and villages that have carnival clubs also gain because the carts are so expensive to construct that club members put on numerous bingo nights, cabarets, reviews, fetes, and markets, so that there is a constant roster of events on the social calendar in many places that would not have them otherwise. As well, those that attend these events have an investment in the success of their carnival club further reinforcing community bonds.
     Carnival benefits the participants as well. Experienced personnel pass on their expertise in industrial skills ranging from wiring, painting, mechanical expertise, and computer aided design, as well as sewing, make up, and performance. The skill sets that have largely been lost in a large proportion of the working class as Britain attempts to refashion itself as a service economy are preserved, and the many young people who are involved learn skills no longer taught in secondary school, as well as the value of cooperation. Initiative, inventiveness and creativity are rewarded rather than suppressed, as is often the case in working life.
older carnival club member advising two younger members on construction methods
    Carnival participants are just as likely to be involved in manufacturing or service industries where their labour is only a small part of a greater and inscrutable whole benefitting someone who may or may not be known to them, so Carnival does not address alienation in its Marxist sense. Nonetheless, the psychic aspect of deracination from a greater whole, and the feeling of helplessness this engenders is moderated. By forming small groups, where each individual is important and decisions are made democratically, and then forming confederations with other groups with similar goals, the Bridgwater and other Somerset clubs have enriched themselves and their communities, and incidentally light up the dark gloomy nights of November for those of us lucky enough to see a carnival first hand.
 
Gremlins carnival club young members in elaborate space costumes
   What lessons might this hold for systemic change for the rest of us? Business psychologist Dr. John Potter uses the Ramblers Carnival Club as a case study in a motivational management video produced by Live Action Media to show that companies could learn from the democratic nature of the club and its resulting empowerment.  Unlike the current model of corporate hierarchy, there is “little evidence of command and control leadership within the Ramblers team, no evidence of toxic leadership and very little indication of any personal squabbles”. That “people; working unpaid and in their spare time, can be creative, motivated and filled with passion given the right circumstances. What they need is a vision, an opportunity to grow as individuals and the feeling that they are making a valued contribution to something worthwhile.” This echoes Justina’s observations that the cooperative model can place human needs and aspirations at the top of its priorities.
     As for those of us who are stuck in a job where forming a cooperative would be impossible, and change in hierarchical management is highly improbable, change can be accomplished individually through sharing any ability, especially work skills, which might enrich others. Teaching anything from art to computer or accounting skills to young people, who might not learn them otherwise, will benefit both you and the community at large. Collaborations such as putting on a spectacle as they have done in Somerset, or setting up other programs such as collaborative gardening or car repair workshops help everyone to rely on each other rather than the corporate system. It’s time to subvert the current system of alienation in all its manifestations. Sharing knowledge is a good beginning.

*****

     I attempted to make this diary as short and to the point as possible, a difficult task for me as the Somerset carnival circuit is one of my passions. I wrote my master’s dissertation on the lack of governmental support, or even acknowledgment, of them. When I began writing it in 2010, Notting Hill was promoted as the oldest carnival in England. While it was a watershed event for the West Indian population of London, whose working class was profoundly abused after their immigration to England after WWII, my premise was that Bridgwater, like Notting Hill, had its foundation in similar working class struggle, and was likewise important to its own community for that reason. I would like to think (though it’s probably hubris) that all the moaning and growling I did while doing research helped. Both the Lottery and Arts Council have funded pre-carnival festivities for children this year, and the Bridgwater squibbers were included in the Olympic opening ceremonies at the sailing venue in Weymouth.
    What could not be included, either in that paper or in this diary, is that the Illuminated Carnival is one of the few unique indigenous English art forms that has survived and continued to evolve throughout its history. The best entries are technical marvels with stunning costumes and make up done to professional standard…by farmers, bricklayers,  factory workers, and homemakers: ordinary people who refuse to let their lives be ordinary.

Printed material I have used include:
Brown, R. and Hocking, C. (2004). Remember Remember: The Story of Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival.
Cozart-Riggio, M. (2004). "The Carnival Story". In Cozart-Riggio, M. (ed.), Carnival: Culture in Action - The Trinidad Experience.
Evans, R. and Nicholls P. (2005). Somerset Carnivals.
Ingram, M. (1984). “Ridings, Rough Music, and the Reform of Popular Culture in Early Modern England”, Past and Present, Vol. 105, Issue 1.
Tallon, A. (2007). “Carnivals and Regeneration”. Town & Country Planning, August, Issue 72, pp. 256-260.

More information can be found at:
Bridgwater Carnival website: pictures and general tourist information
http://www.bridgwatercarnival.org.uk/
 BBC website: links to more pictures and articles, including non-Bridgwater venues
http://www.bbc.co.uk/...
Carnivals in Somerset Promotion Project: a consortium of academics and practitioners who have done a stellar job of publicizing the rich history of carnivals and their current role in the community
http://www.cispp.org.uk/
And most importantly, YouTube, where there are a great number of videos of individual entries and even whole parades. Some of the best short ones are:
http://www.youtube.com/...
http://www.youtube.com/...
http://www.youtube.com/...
And then there’s squibbing:
http://www.youtube.com/...

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Comment Preferences

  •  Have you ever read the Myth of Sisyphus by Albert (9+ / 0-)

    Camus?

    That work captures the essence of the working man and woman's condition"

    The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor.
    http://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/...
    Camus went on to say:
    The workman of today works everyday in his life at the same tasks, and his fate is no less absurd
    We the working class are caught in a cycle of reptitive motion. We are automatons. We rise, we eat, we dispense energy through labor, building another's wealth and empire, we return home, we eat, we go to sleep..only to rise the next day and recycle our daily routine until we...die.

    Our sons and daughters inherit our toil and our absurd fate. They too repeat the cycle and they too pass it on to the succeeding generation.

    Such is the absurd fate of the working man and woman.

  •  Hi fellow travellers! (9+ / 0-)

    We need volunteers for posts August and September. Most importantly we need a volunteer to do a Labor Day diary, we even have a suggested topic, if we could find a brave volunteer, how does this sound: "How Capitalism Shatters Our Lives" and ways to combat it through worker's  economic and social  control of their jobs."

    Diary schedule:

    August:

    12:
    19:
    26:

    September:

    2:
    9:
    16:
    23:
    30:

    I know that we have had some volunteers for future posts, can people indicate the dates they have accepted to do and a topic so that we can let people know in advance? :)

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 03:25:39 PM PDT

    •  I've got in-laws (3+ / 0-)

      from the middle of August to the middle of September. I love them to bits, but they expect a lot. House painting will commence next week :P
      I will be back on track by October though.

      "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

      by northsylvania on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 03:37:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Am headed to visit relatives at the end of (3+ / 0-)

        August through early September in South and North America. So I am hoping that some of our comrades will volunteer! Heck, house-painting is a big expectation; it is amazing if I get the dusting done and trying to keep the spare room free of cat hairs, I think my in-laws have given up on expecting anymore, thankfully! That thud you just heard was my mother turning over in her grave. :D

        "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

        by NY brit expat on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 03:49:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yikes--That does look empty. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justina

      De air is de air. What can be done?

      by TPau on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 07:24:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I sent a message, but, apparently, (0+ / 0-)

      no one reads the messages for this group.

      I have a great idea for a diary for this series.

      Give me a date,
      and I'll write it up,
      and post it to the queue.

      Reply to this comment,
      or answer my message to the group.

      •  Hey big jac, I missed the message and I (0+ / 0-)

        do try to read them. I am so sorry! How does the 19th of August sound for you? Would really appreciate it; I love your stuff. We repost to several other sites as well: voices on the square, firedoglake, star hollow gazette and are trying to get it together to post on wild wild left and rev left.

        Write to me directly, it is easier for me to follow everything.

        "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

        by NY brit expat on Sat Aug 11, 2012 at 05:16:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Think I'm on for the 19th of August. Will be (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      northsylvania

      doing an analysis of the shift from "sex" to gender as the primary defining paradigm for feminism and how this distorts or buries certain aspects of women's oppression.

      BTW, there is a good series of debates on feminism in the anticapitalist chat for those who are intrested.

  •  Wow! Thanks Northsylvania for an (9+ / 0-)

    incredibly informative piece. As an ignorant American, I have always viewed Guy Fawkes celebrations in places that I have lived as reactionary manifestations of both conformism and tied to support of monarchist foundations of this country; the history of the celebrations, after all, were to support the survival of the monarchy and Parliament from the threat of Catholicism (see Guy Fawkes). I never knew about the use or subversion of these festivals in this manner; I am wondering if this is the case in other areas and not only over in Somerset. The fact that this is a ritual subversion is simply fantastic and gives me a new insight into these festivals which I really appreciate! Thanks!!

    The continuation of rural crafts and manufacturing skills is really amazing and that this is an essential aspect of the carnival to celebrate these skills and knowledge really cheers me up tremendously; the English working class was one of the first that was alienated from its means of production and its skills; to know that some of it not only has survived has cheered me up. Greatly appreciated and a wonderful piece which was not only informative, but made me smile broadly!

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 03:37:18 PM PDT

    •  As a historical aside, (7+ / 0-)

      one of the reasons Guy Fawkes was popular initially was that the Tudors had repressed traditional activities such as Church Ales, which often had a performance component. All Souls (November 2nd) was also a time when the poor could legally beg for things such as fire wood and food. During Guy Fawkes, they just wandered around town and took all the wood that wasn't nailed down. Not all of it made it onto the bonfires.

      "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

      by northsylvania on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 03:43:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You may not be aware of this, but my (5+ / 0-)

        knowledge of things relating to Guy Fawkes has increased tremendously ... I had once asked someone who was having a bonfire why and he tried to explain it to me and failed, leading me to try to get some information. What I learned tonight demonstrated that my tiny sources of information missed completely this history! :)

        "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

        by NY brit expat on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 03:53:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  A better source (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Justina, NY brit expat, BruceMcF, G2geek

          would be E.P. Thompson's Customs in Common, which continues on from The Making of the English Working Class. Custom was a huge part of what passed for the law, and from the 16th up until the 18th century, much local customary rights were stripped away. I've only glanced on this aspect here, but would like to investigate further. The problem is that parish records about Guy Fawkes in Bridgwater are spotty. Most information dates from when the Bridgwater Mercury began publishing.

          "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

          by northsylvania on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 04:09:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There are no local archives? I found some (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            northsylvania, Justina, BruceMcF, TPau, G2geek

            amazing things at local union archives in Leicester and when I went to the Cooperative archives in Manchester, people were thrilled that someone actually wanted to look at them. Local archives are amazing in the UK, people are proud of their history. Given that this is working class based, I wouldn't be surprised if local trades groups or their historical societies have records.

            Custom was the law for large part throughout feudal and pre-capitalist societies; I'll check out Customs in Common, I love Thompson's work.

            "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

            by NY brit expat on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 04:51:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The county archives in Taunton, (0+ / 0-)

              have the really old parish records (First mention there of Guy Fawkes is of three fatalities from squibs in 1716, which is rather late.)  A lot of the really good stuff from the early 1800s is in the hands of a reclusive gentian Bridgwater, who spent years gathering it. What I would really like to find out is what happened in the 17th century.

              "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

              by northsylvania on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 04:40:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Wonderful Diary, Northsylvania! (7+ / 0-)

    I would never have imagined that fireworks and Guy Fawks festivals could be used to demonstrate what non-alienated labor look and feels like, but you have done it here!

    The alienation of labor at the point of production is the very crux of why capitalism is so destructive to human beings.  It is not merely that capitalism exploits the workers by stealing their hours of labor, the very hours of their lives, and turning the surplus value so stolen into an immense wall of capital which then is used to oppress them further, i.e.,  it is not just that capitalism distributes the profits from stolen labor inequitably, but it steals the very human dignity of the worker by refusing him/her the opportunity to control what is produced and how it is produced.  It forcibly suppresses the right to think and act as a full, autonomous and creative human being.

    Your Bridgewater carnival example shows how autonomous human beings can come together voluntarily to not only work and create together, but to jointly support their larger community by jointly deciding how the charitable proceeds will be used for the needs of the community.  When has capitalism ever done that?

    Your point about teaching others the skills that are no longer taught in our schools is another excellent discussion.  I have always thought that all students should learn not only academic skills, but practical manual skills such as those you describe so well in your post.  Most of our schools no longer teach manual skills, but your carnival cooperation does!  It is time to unite the thinking, doing and creatively helping our communities in all of our lives.

    Occupy Wall Street did this in some of its manifestations.  There was a great deal of creativity engendered on many different fronts.  We need to do more of this on all levels.

    Thanks again for a wonderful post!  (And thanks too for liking my article enough to reference it!).

    Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

    by Justina on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 04:50:09 PM PDT

    •  Thank you (8+ / 0-)

      for reading and commenting.
      I think Shawn's comment above sums up what most people feel about life under the current system, and as you say, "It forcibly suppresses the right to think as a full, autonomous and creative human being."
      Creativity is definitely not encouraged in our society, especially for those that are "untrained" artists outside the sanctioned commercial market. This is like saying that only Olympic cyclists should be encouraged to own a bicycle. Exercising one's mind through creative problem solving is just as important as keeping your body working well.

      "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

      by northsylvania on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 05:06:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed completely! (6+ / 0-)

      So much knowledge and skill has been lost in so many places. This is tangential, but I was listening to someone from Ecuador recently and she was telling me that due to peasant displacement to urban areas, knowledge about plant and herb use was being lost which has an impact upon healthcare and agriculture. Recovering lost knowledge is an important part of the food sovereignty movement and is an essential thing for the women's movement in many areas. Crafts knowledge, techniques and skills are also being lost due to mechanisation and deskilling; this is a long-term loss in advanced capitalist countries and is also being felt in many countries of the periphery. This is so incredibly important, the loss of this knowledge, many of it tacit, which needs to be directly transmitted from skilled craftspeople and peasants is having a tremendous impact creating not only the empowerment of monoculture and production but is impacting on destruction of many things including skills, knowledge and techniques in some many areas.

      "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

      by NY brit expat on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 05:07:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You wrote : (5+ / 0-)
      "It forcibly suppresses the right to think and act as a full, autonomous and creative human being."
      I think capitalists are now encroaching into
      schools/classrooms to promote further alienation right from childhood. I see eerie parallels between schooling and workplace.  "No Child left behind" and "race to the bottom" only strengthens my suspicion. Dumb down kids in the classroom through relentless testing, take away play time and arts classes, extend  school days and cut summer break so they will all be "well-prepared" for workplace of the 21st century. There are talks about drop-outs but I wonder how many are because of alienation felt by kids.

      George Carlin said it best :

      "The word bipartisan means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out”. - George Carlin

      by Funkygal on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 05:14:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Free play, running wild, making up adventures and (4+ / 0-)

        stories are all the carnival equivalent of childhood. For kids, every day is a carnival. Too bad they are being controlled and dumbed down by the capitalist designs.

        "The word bipartisan means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out”. - George Carlin

        by Funkygal on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 05:20:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  George Carlin Nails It All: They Own Us. (5+ / 0-)

        Thanks so much, Funkyfal, for posting the Carlin "lecture on capitalism", he captures the whole stinking fraud in a few, caustically funny words.

        Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

        by Justina on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 05:25:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I will never see "American Dream" any other way (4+ / 0-)

          since I listened to Carlin's. I seriously want to puke when Obama or Romney or the 1% mention "American Dream".

          "The word bipartisan means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out”. - George Carlin

          by Funkygal on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 05:31:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I think it was always my impression that the (0+ / 0-)

          carnivals and more ribald festivities that almost every country has have always been the space where the rules allow regular people to let off steam and challange the status quo --although they have been bought off and corporatizied, it is still the one area where traditional values are disbanded.  Unfortunately, the ruling class allows us these orgies as a safety valve rather than an opportunity for real change (i.e. the Halloween Parade in the village in New York). Even though they are used to difuse change oriented energy, there is usually a subversive element in such events.

          •  On the whole (0+ / 0-)

            I tend to agree. To paraphrase Terry Eagleton, because the State licenses Carnival, it can not by its nature be considered revolutionary. Carnivals such as the very large one in Viareggio, Italy, and others on the Continent, seem to have a much greater political component than any I have seen here. Nonetheless, they are often supported by their local, and even national governments.
            What interests me is that grass-roots organisations such as those in Somerset, but also in places like Notting Hill, are either not supported by the State, or are actively discouraged, by increasingly restrictive rules, and requirements for ever greater amounts of liability insurance. The artist-led carnival entities receive large amounts of state support to make up for this. I could not prove that the central government felt any overt threat from the content of Somerset or Notting Hill festivals, but circumstantial evidence leads me to believe that the organisational method rather than the political commentary makes them a more subtle threat. Top-down organisations are easier to control.

            "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

            by northsylvania on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 05:25:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Beautiful diary Northsylvania. Guess the (4+ / 0-)

    attack on public spaces is by design (atleast partly)  to prevent the proles/unwashed/peasants from getting together and you know, getting ideas - like carnivals and all that. And the capitalists get their profits too from grabbing up public spaces. What's not to like?

    Maybe we can have carnivals hanging effigies of Wall street terrorists and the like.

    And  a detour : Iran actually hangs banksters, oh my  :
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/...

    Nouriel Roubini will be proud. Meanwhile JP Morgan adviser and war criminal Tony Blair says no to hanging :
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/...

    Aaaaahhhhh..... for the joys of enlightened West and the backward East........

    "The word bipartisan means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out”. - George Carlin

    by Funkygal on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 05:28:59 PM PDT

  •  Outstanding diary, northsylvania! (6+ / 0-)

    I wish I had more time than to tip, rec, and dash. Once the dissertation is finished later this year, I'll be able to participate more.

    Reasserting the importance of the commons is ever more important as late stage capitalism seeks to colonize it. Figuratively and literally.

    "Space Available" is the largest retail chain in the nation.

    by Free Jazz at High Noon on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 05:36:18 PM PDT

  •  Great Diary! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northsylvania

    As a historian of working class self activity, I just want to say what a great diary this is. I wish I  could have been here earlier.

    To me, the diary stands for the crucial, central point of Marxism: look to the self-activity of the working class in order to understand what is really going on, as well as for guidance as to what needs to be done. Working class culture provides a key way of getting there.

    Thanks very much.

    "When Adam delved and Eve span, Who then was a gentleman?" Fr. John Ball (1381)

    by Le Gauchiste on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 10:19:59 PM PDT

  •  Thank you all for reading. (0+ / 0-)

    I'm sorry to have left it hanging, but it was 1:30 AM, and I was beat.

    "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

    by northsylvania on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 11:58:24 PM PDT

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