Diagnosis,  and  prognosis  

 
 
This  was  sparked  originally  by  a  piece  from  a  Slovenian  philosopher  /  writer,  Slavoj  Zizek  –  
delightfully  written  and  provocative.    However.  

 
Zizek  finishes  with  Mao  [paraphrasing]:    “All  is  chaos,  and  the  gods  are  in  their  
firmament.”  
 
And  just  how  did  that  chaos  turn  out  for  the  Chinese  …?    How  many  tens  of  millions  
had  to  starve?    The  prospect  for  a  ‘great  leap’  …  actually  went  backward.    Years  
would  have  to  pass,  before  China  could  begin  to  join  modern  world  events.  
 
However,  the  Mao  quote  does  surely  highlight  Zizek’s  thesis:    that  we  should  look  to  
the  Trump  outcome  to  get  us  off  our  duffs  and  actually  do  something.    He  even  
ventures  to  rule  out  the  ‘Hitler’  threat,  for  the  US  (on  grounds,  we  note,  that  could  be  
debated).  
 
What  of  this  proposition,  that  we  should  relish  the  opportunity,  which  a  Trump  win  
(supposedly)  offers  us?  
 
Before  we  get  to  the  heart  of  it  –  the  impetus  to  leftward  ‘action’  –  take  just  a  moment  to  
contemplate  one,  only  ONE,  of  the  (monumental)  costs.  
 
The  Supreme  Court  corruption  will  infest  for  decades  –  decades.    And  the  stench  will  reach  
every  corner  of  our  society.    There  will  be  no  hope  that  money  will  be  forced  out  of  our  
politics  –  surely  the  most  injurious  link  succoring  elites’  control  over  our  governance.    That  –  
alone  –  will  serve  to  solidify,  not  degrade,  the  ruling  status  quo.  

 
Yes,  for  sure,  there  will  be  all  sorts  of  impetus,  to  counter  and  to  resist.    As  we  see,  
already,  in  street  protests,  some  quite  large,  this  morning  (Nov  10)  in  at  least  25  
major  cities  across  the  US.  
 
But  identifying  this  ‘impetus’  does  not  get  us  home,  as  far  as  I  can  see.  

 
 
 

TO  FRAME  THE  REVOLUTION?  

How  would  we  frame  a  revolution,  if  we  could?    Robespierre  was  cited.    Do  we  want  
a  French  revolution?    I  do  not  think  that  model,  either,  with  its  blood  and  gore,  
comes  with  much  to  recommend  it.    So,  neither  Chinese  nor  French  models,  at  least  
not  those  bruited.    At  least  as  far  as  I  can  see.  
 
So  what  do  we  want?    
 
 

 

Forward,  how?  
page  2  

 
First,  to  notice:  
 

Myself,  I  have  been  saying  if  Hillary  acceded  to  the  Presidency,  then  in  four  years  we  will  find  
the  pitchforks  out.    Hillary  would  have  been  unlikely  to  enact  the  radical  change  needed.    
And  then  they  may  win.  

 
But  those  pitchforks  came  out  this  time,  already.  
 
We  missed  it.    In  some  quarters  anyway,  it  is  popular  to  say  that  the  utter  failure  of  
the  polling  and  pundit  classes  concealed  from  us  the  fact  that  the  pitchforks  are  
already  out  now,  this  year  …  but  does  that  get  at  the  larger  reality?  

 
 

THE  LARGER  VIEW  

If  we  take  in  the  big  sweep,  we  can  be  clear.    Now,  over  long  decades,  certainly  
evident  from  Reagan’s  time,  even  before  –  the  inexorable  shift,  of  wealth  and  power,  
into  hands  of  fewer  and  fewer  families  has  been  evident  to  anyone  who  would  look.  
 
The  concomitant  diminution  of  all  the  rest  of  the  populace,  likewise,  was  inexorable  –  
and  evident.    More  and  more,  those  who  were  pushed  off  into  the  American  
underclass  fell  laughably,  embarrassingly  short  of  the  supposed  per  capita  Gross  
Domestic  Product  /  GDP,  the  calculated  average  that  supposes  to  say  we  are  a  
wealthy  country.  
 
The  Oracle  of  Omaha,  Warren  Buffet,  is  wont  to  point  out  that  the  American  GDP  of  
$54K  means  an  average  family  of  four  would  –  using  the  calculated  average  –  expect  
to  enjoy  over  $200K  a  year.    When,  in  stark  fact,  well  over  forty  million  of  us  live  
below  the  poverty  line  –  which  is  not  even  $25K  for  a  family  of  four.    Just  to  be  clear  
about  how  obscene  our  peril  has  become.  
 
The  riches  of  the  society  –  concentrating  further  and  further  into  the  hands  of  fewer  
and  fewer  –  in  fact  have  become  completely  off  limits  to  a  very  large  and  growing  
number  of  the  electorate.    ‘Average’  GDP  was  /  is  a  façade,  a  joke.  
 
[We  have  not  even  touched  on  the  stunting  of  our  education  districts,  which  doomed  
a  large  portion  of  the  underclass  to  subsist  on  sound-­‐bite  politics  …]  
 
And  now  we  are  surprised  that  there  is  a  dispossessed  and  discontent  underclass,  
with  their  pitchforks  out?    The  tens  of  millions  in  poverty  –  alone  –  constitute  wholly  
two-­‐thirds  of  the  Trump  popular  vote.    What  did  we  expect  them  to  do?  

 
FURTHER    
 

Nor  the  least:    As  technology  –  both  communications  and  transport  –  have  loosened  
travel  and  contact,  so  there  are  easier  and  greater  flows  among  disparate  peoples.  

 

Forward,  how?  
page  3  

For  which,  see:    immigration.    In  developed  –  both  Europe  and  the  US,  particularly  –  
societies,  the  traditionally  dominant  white  majority  has  found  itself  under  pressure,  
for  power  and  for  means  to  a  livelihood  and  for  …  
 
That  is  a  most  powerful  impetus  for  what  we  see  as  racism,  the  anti-­‐immigrant  
anger  that  increasingly  emboldens  ultra-­‐nationalists  everywhere,  certainly  Donald  
Trump,  or  at  least  many,  many  of  those  who  elected  him.  

 

Combining  an  enforced  impoverished  life  style,  with  acrimonious  reaction  against  
brown  and  black,  or  Asian,  skins,  is  a  most  potent  formula,  for  ‘raising  the  
pitchforks.’  
 
But  we  did  not  see  this.  

 
 

DEMOCRACY?  

Are  we  even  a  democracy?  
 
We  have  all  the  trappings.    And,  supposedly,  we  set  a  standard  for  the  rest  of  the  
world,  to  follow  and  to  emulate.  
 
A  respected  study,  from  Princeton,  puts  the  lie  to  this.    No,  we  are  not  a  democracy;  
we  are  a  plutocracy.    Where  moneyed  interests,  that  very  tiny  minority  who  rake  in  
most  all  the  goodies,  also  call  the  shots,  have  the  political  power,  actually.  
 
How,  after  all,  did  we  think  they  were  able  increasingly  to  drag  most  all  the  marbles  
into  their  tinier  and  tinier  corner  of  –  what  was  supposedly  –  our  society?    It  takes  
power,  to  enforce  draconian  theft,  from  all  the  rest  of  the  society.  
 
And  we  did  not  see  this.  

 

THE  FIRST  STEP  TO  REVOLUTION  
 

Open  our  eyes.    See.  
 
Clearly  –  we  must  be  clear  in  our  vision.  

 
 

NEXT  

We  need  leaders,  who  can  articulate  a  vision  –  this  time,  a  vision  into  the  future.  
 
We  had  that,  in  Bernie  Sanders.    We  did  not  speak  up  early  enough,  nor  firmly  
enough.    Including  myself,  who  must  accept  and  admit  failure.  
 

 

Forward,  how?  
page  4  

There  –  clearly  –  are  leaders  out  there.    Just  review  the  last  year  or  so.    They  are  
evident.    We  need  to  approach  them,  encourage  them.    We  need  to  consult  on  our  
choice,  of  who,  to  lead.    With  the  various  means  at  our  disposal  to  consult,  among  
ourselves.  
 
We  need  to  get,  finally,  behind  a  leader.    There  can  be  several,  of  course,  working  
together  in  a  mode  they  agree.  
 
Then  –  in  a  messy,  but  real,  democracy,  internally,  among  us  who  are  concerned  –  
we  need  to  sort  out  long-­‐range  vision,  immediate  goals,  and  means  to  get  there.    
Which  will  be  a  continuing,  ever-­‐evolving  thing.  

 
IN  PARTICULAR,  A  FUNCTIONING  FOURTH  ESTATE  
 

Real  society-­‐wide  democracy  can  come  forth  only  with  a  vibrant  fourth  estate,  the  
press,  now  in  all  its  many  forms.    Facebook’s  enabling  niche-­‐y  –  false  –  “news,”  that  
inflamed  widely,  is  a  disgrace  of  the  first  water,  as  the  prominent  example.    But  only  
an  example.    The  cable  TV  press  –  and  leave  the  laughable  Fox  out  of  it  for  now,  CNN  
actually  took  the  ratings  wars  this  time  –  failed  most  grievously.  
 
They  did  not  call  out  Trump’s  constant  stream  of  (egregious,  and  egregiously  
obvious)  lies  –  they  did  not  call  him  out  every  time.    They  did  not  highlight  pointedly  
the  great  distress  of  a  large  segment  of  the  American  electorate.    
 
Cable  TV  journalism,  instead,  feasted  on  the  ratings,  as  they  chased  day-­‐to-­‐day  the  
next  salacious  thing  to  come  out  of  Trump’s  mouth.    Insuring  his  media  coverage.    
And  insuring  the  incitement  of  the  worst  instincts,  rousing  pitchforks  out  of  
slumber.  
 
When  the  press  might  –  instead  –  have  been  the  honest  journalists  a  democracy  
demands.  
 
In  my  view,  high  on  the  agenda,  for  a  sound  revolution,  is  extreme  pressure  on  our  
new  fourth  estate.    Not  the  least,  on  the  fractionating  effect  of  so-­‐called  social  media.  
 
Tech  minds  can  –  should,  must  –  put  themselves  to  work  on  how  they  may  repair  
the  great  damage  they  have  done.    Damage,  when  they  create  tools  that  appeal  only  
to  human  tendencies  to  self-­‐aggrandizement,  to  clubbish-­‐ness  among  only  the  
‘faithful.’  
 
There  can  be  tools  that  ‘bring  us  together.’    And,  rather  than  vitiate  valid,  investiga-­‐
tive  news  organs,  tools  orchestrated  so  that  they  restore  the  strength  of  a  fourth  
estate,  which  tells  truth  to  power.  

 
 

 

 

Forward,  how?  
page  5  
NOW  

 

Because  we  missed  our  signals,  the  fortifications  to  the  status  quo  are  –  woefully  –  
all  that  much  more  hardened.    To  our  great  chagrin.  
 
We  must  now  proceed  in  the  face  of  the  –  much  further  –  horrors  that  will  rain  down  
on  us,  with  a  Department  of  (Anti-­‐)Justice  …  etc.  
 
We  can  enjoy  that  Trump  –  now  past  the  easy  part,  lying  his  way  into  power  –  will  
next  face  all  the  mess  that  trying  to  preserve  his  particular  status  quo  will  bring  
down  on  him  and  his.  
 
And  we  will  have  that  mess,  to  build  from.    Instead  of  ‘chaos,’  his  mess.      
 
If  we  take  a  clear  view  of  the  realities,  and  we  proceed  to  identify  leaders,  and  to  
cobble  together  a  vision,  and  a  path,  growing  out  of  the  realities  –  then  we  may  be  
able  to  proceed.  
 
We  will  take  comfort  that  Hillary  Clinton  –  the  not-­‐Trump  –  was  the  will  of  the  
people.    That  side  did  win  the  popular  vote.    Despite  all  the  trashing  our  hoped-­‐for  
democracy  has  suffered.    Despite  plutocratic  inroads.  
 
 
Hmmm  …  she  did  win  …  what  then  are  immediate  next  steps?  
 
 
What  is  to  be  done?  
 
 
 
David  Allen  
 
Concord  MA  
 
 
November  10  2016