cj#907> Mark Douglas Whitaker re: “THE NEW CULTURE”


Richard Moore

Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1999 04:46:32 -0600
To: •••@••.•••
From: Mark Douglas Whitaker <•••@••.•••> Subject: response to
Brian Hill, on media, finance, and mobilization

Thanks, Richard, for passing this along. And thanks to Brian if you
see/talk to him. Pass this along to him if you want.

There are many discourse threads in this (Brian's) piece. It's interesting
how there are micro level threads of ecological identification, grass roots
activism--pretty unhierarchial--with macro ideas about philosophy of
history that still pose an ideology of 'progress,'yet far from the
'modernist project' of abstract totalitarnisms, and more along the
post-modern route of diverse and localized complexes.

The ideas of innate collapse of political economic relationships is
exchanged for the collapse of states through corruption and expanding
degradation and 'dropping out.' This is quite reminiscent of work of Peter

Sort of a neoliberal Marx--neoliberal bioregionalism, bioregion as
proletariat, Bioregional Industries as the vanguard elite, Marx and Hayek
and Soleri (architect) combined. "Bioregions of the world unite (or
disunite)." Made in California.

>(Here's the feeling I had with the Amarakarei of the Inka Region of Peru.)

>Where some of us are doing our best to create community out of the
>Hell-fires of a dying civilization, Others of us are struggling to
>maintain our traditional cultures in the face of this same civilizations's
>throes of violence.

First, let me say I am impressed with Brian's 'historiography' as it is
called. Few few people talk about (or are even willing to think about) that
there are a plurality of political economic interests 'innately,' or that
'monocultural integration' of peoples does come and go (at least
historically, though we are at at massive world integration state unlike
anything in 'history.' Still, impressive. I would qualify this with a few
dull statisitics that show we are far from actually at that place he would
likely describe as 'on the brink' of 'unstoppable change.' I would
reproduce the following in this message, yet what I want to cut and paste
is copyright protected. It is located at:

It basically is a demographic report giving some perspective of how
numerous is this 'green' shift we are talking about, culturally speaking.
It profices useful 'ideal types' for concepts of different lifeways.
Suffice it to say it is estimated as affecting only 1/4 of the United
States population in this estimate is seen as experiencing any change on
the level of which Brian describes, far from the


>"The media is the message" (the process is the goal), global literacy
>means universal consciousness. We all have some understanding of each
>other for the first human time. This is the global macro-culture, the
>world community of humans. Theoretically, at least, when we reach a
>certain quality of global literacy, e.g., when lies and deception are
>banished from the media, the macro-culture will slip into balance with
>global life processes - unified bioregional tribes.

I pose that there are 'lies' in the media for two background rationales. I
am leaving 'lies' undefined, though I am sure many people realize how
problematic meanings and interpretations are of what 'lies' are (bias in
information acceptance, bias in interpretation, one way causal mechanisms
are several basic assumptions upon which describe our cognitive processes).
One, 'lies' helps to diffuse interest in challenging existing systemic
relationships, i.e, you are likely going to be uninformed by American
Express that it funds hugely degradative hydroelectric plants. Two, there
is a market for lies because, generally, people only want information that
makes sense of their experiences, there is a market for small
interpretations and this market is connected, grows even, with the systemic
relationships of the first rationale I mentioned. There is a feedback
between one and two, an expanding reiteration.

As interested parties wanting to open the media (and thereby wider cultural
debate), we require alternate organizational structures that integrate ways
to remove both case one and case two. Removing case one is challenging
existing power relationships in the media or political economy. Removing
case two is finding ways to localize the information inputs of media, to
break up monopolies of interpretation and expand the quality of local
coverage (and thus, I would argue, local political relationships and
cultural frames of action.).

>The socially conscious financial revolution which is presently taking
>place is a great step toward people owning their economies. The socially
>conscious financial community began in the early 1970's (for more
>information see Social Investment Forum, 711 Atlantic Ave, Boston, MA
>02111) with such campaigns as the boycott of South Africa. This investment
>community now manages $650 BILLION in assets.

from: http:www.sit.wisc.edu/~mrkdwhit/3strat.htm PRESENT HISTORY
        This is a short introduction to where I see we are presently. With
the increasingly unopposed neoliberal putsch of transnational corporations
and their respective nation-state governments which abet them, the world's
economy is in increasingly being conducted across international lines, even
for what once would have been a simple 'local' transaction. Transnational
corporations (TNC's) increased in number from 7,000 two decades ago to
37,000 presently (1995 figures). TNC's have two trillion dollars in
property values, and fully one-third of total private sector productive
assets are owned by TNC's worldwide. Remarkably, 30% of world trade is
merely parent-subsidiary transfers between branches of the same TNC, which
solidifies and embeds these paths as linkages of investment flows. This
characteristic of TNC world trade makes TNC oriented trade more than the
global total trade in goods and services.

        Continuing the theme of the United States centrality in this
globalizing economy, the United States is simultaneously the world's
largest foreign investor as well as the largest site for foreign direct
investment. International direct investment (IDI) increased in the
1970's-80's by 10 times, three times faster than the increase in global
merchandise exports, and four times faster than industrial nation-state
economies taken as a single average. [Fry, 1995] It is far from surprising
that this economic dislocation and fluxing in the world could be related to
a systemic level of violence expanding as economics and politics are shorn
into two, something which the United States even is far from immune.

. . . .There is a small window of opportunity while the globalized system
is yet to be 'formalized' into structures which will by are definition be
out of local or even nation-state political control. I am thinking of the
'quietly tabled administrative' agendas like the MAI, which moves to place
TNC's on a sovereign legal tier above nation-state political feedback and
nation-state law--a regime where democratic procedure is effectively
censored as 'obstruction.' The nation-state, our political feedback
capacity, is being dismantled.

So, on the abstract level, what is required is a double flank 'pincer'
movement which both pressures globalized capital (in the form of TNC state
bias) from the nation-state level and pressures on globalized capital
financial organizations on the international level. Yet what structures
could provide such systemic pressure? And remain in place in the face of
what would likely be a huge media propaganda blitz which frames localized
interests as misguided or undemocratically inclined?

. . . . So three major areas where I see that there should be a meliorative
pressure: (1) a manner to address media bias, since the media effects and
rarefies political control, (2) means to provide localized political
pressure which is sustainable on the level of globalized capital dominated
nation-state politics, (3) and a means to provide international pressure on
world financial organizations like the World Bank, which could be said to
be a virtual monopoly organization which sets the terms of development with
the greater part of the Third World being forced to go to such institutions
since there is little competition on that level of economic domination. All
of these could be summarized in one phrase: what is required is a mutually
interrelated means of action on many levels to provide a proactive response
to globalization of economics and assure the increased potential for
national self-destination. This translates into "how can we maintain/create
a democratic procedural system?" (MORE ON THE WEBSITE,


I would agree with Brian that there is a 'dropping-out' generally going on.
I'M PERSONALLY all for it. I would only qualify his jubilance that this
will be unilikely powerful enough to do anything about the state level of
corruption he identifies as well. Brian has offered the 'manifesto' and
spirit of solidarity that I see occuring as well, though on a more
qualified scale. I offer some dull political ideas on the above website to
complement it. 'Dropping-out' will only go so far before a homostatic
relationship sets itself up between those who have dropped out and those
who still participate in the 'monoculture' as he calls it. For me, I see
monocultures as he describes as still going to continue.
Marx as well, like Brian, felt that eventually the state monoculture will
'wither' away leaving happy distrinct localist versions of society. This is
unlikely, I feel. Monocultures will stay. Much of my ideas is what to do
about this. "Brian's way' will only go so far before people move back to
cities, etc. I suppose I am for giving us the simultaneous
'choice/experience' between a bioregionalist ethic and urban 'monoculture'
experiences. The variation is good for us, I feel. We require more examples
of how to integrate these two phenomenon in a cultural and political
economic sense, instead of posing them as somehow distinct.


Mark Whitaker
University of Wisconsin-Madison



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