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"Forget the Rest" blog


Study Group mtg Wed May 20: economic implications of nuclear militarism for NM

May 16, 2015

Dear friends --

You are invited to a meeting at Study Group World Headquarters, 2901 Summit Place NE, on Wednesday, May 20, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.  There will be wholesome snacks and good company, as usual!

As those of you know who were at the previous meeting, we are looking for potential full-time "hires," i.e. research fellows, and interns.  We can, we believe, provide a modest stipend, in-kind support, training, and networking for highly-qualified persons.  We can't provide real-world salaries at the present time.  (Those don't exist here for any of us.)  Such a program is the only way we know of to expand the hours per day available, but it will be costly in terms of time especially, so we need be very picky about this commitment.  Successful applicants will need to present an uncommon combination of skills, willingness to work, maturity, willingness to take direction, and to persevere.  The Study Group has an internal culture more akin to Washington, DC than to New Mexico.  Despite almost no money, we play in the big leagues.  We have to.  That can create some culture shock.

Who and where are such people?  That's not a rhetorical question.

At our last meeting we discussed "The Swamp," the complex of negative net energy and miscommunication phenomena associated with a politically demobilized, privatized (to use the word in a different way than is usual) society.  The Swamp arises from many causes and we can’t fix it. We simply must avoid it.

This past week we had an excellent meeting in Santa Fe.  Highlights include:

  • New Mexico is so undemocratic and culturally conquered it cannot save itself via standard liberal political reform, which is widely failing.  Like the country as a whole it has been sliding downward politically and is very likely to get worse.  New Mexico is an occupied territory, and "liberal" Santa Fe is no exception – far from it.  [Albuquerque, the Nuke City, is obviously no exception either.]  Far more radical measures are needed.
  • For a variety of reasons, there is no possibility for a grassroots disarmament movement, sensu stricta, in the U.S. or, especially, in NM.  To the extent nuclear issues are salient, overt nuclear politics in US civil society is guided and controlled, or in other cases tethered, by powerful private-sector interests which seek to perpetuate the status quo for their own personal and corporate financial gain and for their personal careers and prestige.  All the way up to the pinnacles of power, the actors involved cannot accurately assess what to do or what they are doing because the ideas, values, and behaviors involved are so universal -- and required.  Mere citizens are at the mercy of a long chain of manipulation and social engineering, much as ordinary Ukrainians were in the Maidan "color revolution."  The blind lead the blind.
  • We want to convey to you and to others a dual sense of great possibility and extreme danger at this moment in history, more than ever before.  People tend to see neither.  The future will be very unlike the past and frankly it will be full of human suffering and extinctions.  For the most part progressives deny all this.
  • Probably the greatest danger and obstacle we face is mild reformism, or “liberal progressivism” as Bob Anderson called it last week.  Fake policies promoted by political poseurs, the naïve, and cynical opportunists.
  • Wrong turns are legion, so we want and need an aware, alert phalanx, a solid core.
  • Narcissistic issue framing will go nowhere interesting or real.  No “purity of our precious bodily fluids,” please.
  • Loyalty is essential for all serious relationships and endeavors (marriage, politics, the military, diplomacy).  It’s not about “the issues.”  It’s about people, and truth, the latter being an ideal that is very much at risk.  When truth as an ideal goes, people are next. 

At Wednesday's meeting we won't be presenting further on the wider organizing problem, e.g. the need for full-time commitments, at churches especially.  The main thing we said again in Santa Fe is that people have to dig deeper.  We make a big mistake if we try to make it easy.  Middle-class Americans are very wealthy and powerful.  A full-time organizer or lobbyist will cost very little if in-kind support -- material, social, intellectual, and moral -- is available.  But enough of that.

If you have ideas about people who should be there on Wednesday, please let Trish know.

On Wednesday we hope to discuss the economic and social implications of being a nuclear weapons state, and the economic benefits of clawing our way out of that condition.  Tom Luebben especially brought this topic up.  We were already committed to producing a fact sheet on this so we aim to do that early next week in time for the meeting and also present to you the wider implications of our status in a way that we hope will be useful in your own activist work and in other organizations, schools, and churches.

Best wishes,

Greg and Trish

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2901 Summit Place NE Albuquerque, NM 87106, Phone: 505-265-1200

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