1. It is always a cause for rejoicing when master documentarian Adam Curtis - the man who brought us such essential series as The Power of Nightmares, The Century of the Self, The Trap and All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace - takes to his blog in order to share his incredibly valuable insights into past and current events. In his most recent wide-ranging post, he discusses the influence of American Marxist thinker, Murray Bookchin, on the recently-updated Utopian ambitions of the Kurdish "terrorist" organization PKK.
Bookchin was born in New York in 1921. In the 1930s he joined the American Communist Party. But after the second world war he began to question the whole theory that underpinned revolutionary Marxism.
What changed everything for him was the experience of working in a factory. Bookchin had gone to work for General Motors - and he realized as he watched his fellow workers that Marx, Lenin and all the other theorists were wrong about the working class.
The Marxist theory said that once working men and women came together in factories the scales would fall from their eyes - and they would see clearly how they were being oppressed. They would also see how they could bond together to become a powerful force that would overthrow the capitalists.
Bookchin saw that the very opposite was happening. This was because the factory was organised as a hierarchy - a system of organisation and control that the workers lived with and experienced every second of the day. As they did so, that hierarchical system became firmly embedded in their minds - and made them more passive and more accepting of their oppression.
But Bookchin didn’t do what most disillusioned American Marxists in the 1950s did - either run away to academia, or become a cynical neo-conservative. Instead he remained an optimist and decided to completely rework revolutionary theory.
Curtis eventually segues into a discussion about the various "perfect societies" as imagined by some of America's leading post-war think tank technocrats - people like Herman Kahn and B.F. Skinner - including video footage of their chilling predictions (perscriptions?) that will sound chillingly familiar to Modern ears. I mean, just check this insanity out...
Anyhoo, if any of these vitally important issues is of interest to you, then I urge you to check out Curtis' blog post for yourself, and make sure to watch all the videos and follow all the links with which he stuffs his latest message. I also suggest you bookmark it and check back every once in a while.
2. So... according to this rather unflattering exposé, it turns out James "The Amazing" Randi - world-famous "debunker" and hero to "rational skeptics" the world over - is nothing but a great big liar with his pants on fire! And a self-admitted one, at that. Wow... you could knock me over with a feather!
3. And, finally for today, just look at this 19th century underwater ballroom in an English lake...LOOK AT IT!!!
|This is under a lake, and those are GLASS bricks!|