The Fulcrum of the Present Crisis: Some Thoughts on Revolutionary Strategy Reply

An interesting new work by Carson.

By Kevin Carson

Center for a Stateless Society

Center for a Stateless Society Paper No. 19 (Winter 2015) [PDF]

The Cult of Mass, Lionization of Protest Culture & Other Industrial Age Holdovers

Protest Culture. The so-called “cargo cults” of New Guinea, Micronesia and Melanesia evolved in response to the influx of American manufactured goods during World War II. Native islanders identified the goods – at least in the received version of the story – not with any material process of production in the countries it came from, but with the proliferation of air bases and air fields in their own countries. The cargo cults, accordingly, operated on the principle of sympathetic magic to stimulate the further delivery of Western manufactured goods by building airplanes and air control centers out of woven bamboo.

Richard Feynman later applied this phenomenon, by analogy, to what he called “cargo cult science.” Cargo cult science equates “science” to incidental features of science like test tubes and lab coats, with no understanding of what constitutes real science: the experimental method.

More generally, a “cargo cult” in any field of human endeavor is an attempt to generate a social phenomenon by replicating all the incidents and stage props commonly identified with it in the public mind.

There’s a danger, in a period of upheavals like the Arab Spring, Occupy, M15, Syntagma, and subsequent networked movements, of our being led astray by a revolutionary cargo cult. The danger is that we will identify “revolution” with incidental things like demonstrations, barricades, slogans and posters.

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