One Life, Many Lives

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One Life, Many Lives

Democracy is how human dignity is preserved institutionally. Socialism can only be brought about by individual commitment and effort, not by top-down political mandate. Capitalism is the economic face of fascism, and the sociological face of settler-colonialism and its imposition of slavery — and of genocide.

The most important struggle in the world today is that between Democracy and Fascism. This is more important than the struggle between Socialism and Capitalism because until the world is democratic it cannot achieve socialism, and without World Socialism no effective counteraction and adaptation to Climate Change can be implemented. A human civilization that would perish by Climate Change would necessarily have to be fascist, and a human civilization that would prevail against the existential threats of Climate Change would necessarily have to be democratic and socialist.

Fascism has many varieties but all are easy to recognize: wherever human dignity and democracy are suppressed, that is where fascism rules. While it is easy to see that potentates and the wealthy are fascist because that is the ideology that sustains their privileged positions and schemes of self-aggrandizing and exploitative inequality, it can seem paradoxical that working-class people would willingly choose to act as functionaries in the enforcement and bureaucratic mechanisms of fascism’s machinery, until you realize that human weakness and lack of moral character and a lack of a sense of honor are common.

Patriotism is a hoax, the only values worth fighting and dying for are: family and honor. And World Socialism means including all peoples and their communities within your allegiances to “family” and “honor” — just as those people would, in that ideal, include your family and your right to dignified living, within their allegiances to “family” and “honor.”

We humans are only as good as our willingness to take care of each other. It is very easy to see our deficiencies in this regard, but it is better to try overcoming them. That effort will be as eternal as the continuation of our species, and the mark of its success will not be the eventual achievement of some perfected societal advancement, but that at any moment a serious effort continues in that direction.

It is not possible to achieve that success for the world if the preservation of your uninterrupted comfort is paramount. There is no blame in being annoyed if such interruptions must happen, but there is no honor, and there is great shame, in seeking to avoid such annoying inconveniences by making excuses justifying the sacrifices of the lives and liberties, cultures and independence of other peoples, just to preserve your material comforts and ego.

So: am I an idealist and a romantic?
Yes.

Have I judged people harshly based on their responses, or lack of them, to the Russian-Ukrainian War?
Yes.

Do I worry this might reduce the number of my friendships, and perhaps significantly?
No.

Most friendships are quite superficial, and I have learned not to expect too much from “friends,” because most people just want you to play a supporting role in their own dramas of receiving attention, and for that they often want you to compromise your ideas and principles so as to harmonize with theirs.

For everybody, the first step toward World Socialism is the development of a well-integrated and principled moral character. The chasm, between the sordid reality of “now” and the projected idealization of the desired “then,” is never a justification for surrendering to defeatism. We are only as good as we do.

I seek to be truthful, not popular. I aspire to be worthy, not acclaimed nor egotistical, even knowing how socially challenging and personally difficult achieving that can be. I cannot think of a better way to make an anonymous life significant, and fulfilling.

The Ukrainians are fighting for their lives, families, culture, personal honor and national independence, and we support them because their struggle is one of the sharpest points of conflict in the world today that is also for the defense of democracy, and of our own morally humane honor.

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3 thoughts on “One Life, Many Lives

  1. Patriotism a hoax? That’s not the half of it. It’s a tool for those in power to reinforce their power by exploiting poor humanity’s grasping for security in the familiar and its fear of the faraway other. For the life of me, I can’t see how my definition doesn’t apply to the president of Ukraine and his incessant public relations campaign.

    Your invoking of honor establishes your credentials as a romantic. Falstaff spoke for the unromantic plain man:

    ‘Well, ’tis no matter; honour pricks me on. Yea, but how if honour prick me off when I come on? How then? Can honour set-to a leg? No. Or an arm? No. Or take away the grief of a wound? No. Honour hath no skill in surgery, then? No. What is honour? A word. What is in that word “honour”? What is that “honour”? Air. A trim reckoning! Who hath it? He that died o’ Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No. ’Tis insensible then? Yea, to the dead. But will it not live with the living? No. Why? Detraction will not suffer it. Therefore I’ll none of it. Honour is a mere scutcheon. And so ends my catechism’.

  2. Dear Manuel. I used to go to Louis every day for sustenance, as he was so indefatigable a blogger, and have not until now found something or someone to replace that…until now. I am so grateful to people like you who put in this kind of effort to fight the good fight.

    I have also not come across a more helpful definition of democracy than yours: “how human dignity is preserved institutionally”. Is there a verb that can be added to make institutions less passive….”animated and preserved” perhaps?

    Also, thanks for introducing me to the work of Timothy Snyder. I bought a couple of his books today (myself on a shoestring budget). I am a person who even just six months ago was definitely a ‘campist’. This was a huge transformation for me. I had to realize that I was someone who, since becoming a ‘leftist’, had somehow come to value my own ideological purity over the experienced fates of suffering populations.

    I had agreed with Louis (and you) on Syria and Libya, but found myself arguing ‘campist’ arguments when the Ukraine war started, and had to ask myself why after being shamed by an actual Ukrainian I was speaking with. It was humiliating at first, but ultimately liberating.

    I wish you all the best, and please continue to write as much as you can.

    In solidarity,
    Nathan Johnson

    • Dear Nathan,

      Thank you for such a kind and generous letter, I certainly appreciate it. I also like your attitude about learning something new: “humbling at first, but ultimately liberating.”

      All the best,
      Manuel García, Jr.

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