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The last days of radicalism

I like the idea or at least the tradition of the Italian vendetta … or as the Latin origin would have it: “Vindicta” … “A rod used in manumitting slaves … deliverance … “

“In Roman law. A rod or wand; and, from the use of that instrument in their course, various legal acts came to be distinguished by the term; e. g., one of the three ancient modes of manumission was by the v indict a; also the rod or wand inter-vened in the progress of the old action of vindicatio, whence the name of that action.”

To me it symbols a kind of natural justice, delivered when civil justice is absent or deliberately denied … even a kind of “poetic justice” could be seen as a comfort of a successful “vendetta” by fate … by mute Nemesis.

Yes … certainly a “deliverance” from a perceived injustice, be it by person or persons known, corporations or political opponents … Radicalism against conservatism could be seen as a vindicta; a deliverance from oppression of bland and suffocating mediocrity in life.

Clarence Darrow, in his 79th year, saw the publication of his brilliant dissertation “On Selecting a Jury”, in Esquire Magazine, May 1936:

“The late Clarence Darrow was 79 when this achieved print. Active practice was definitely over for the lawyer who never, in more than fifty years at the bar, appeared on the side of the prosecution, who never, in scores of capital cases, had a client executed. We gave him a fairly pedestrian assignment, asking him to write a piece giving a few pointers on jury-picking. It was greater luck than we merited to receive in return this winged answer to profounder questions than we had the wit to ask. For here is no less a thing than a golden epitome of all the wisdom that has accrued to an ever-youthful spirit in the late evening of a well spent life. Far more than a mere footnote to the tricks of his trade, it is a philosophic summation of the practical answers to any present day Pilate who might jesting ask “What is Justice?” It is an answer wise though witty, compassionate though cynical, the answer of the man who said of the great Governor Altgeld what might equally well be said of himself: “Even admirers have seldom understood the real character of this great human man. It was not a callous heart that so often led him to brave the most violent and malicious hate: it was not a callous heart, it was a devoted soul . . . that spoke for the poor, the oppressed, the captive and the weak.”

His own assessment of the bias of “justice” in that same article can be read below:

“In the last analysis, most jury trials are contests between the rich and poor. If the case concerns money, it is apt to be a case of damages for injuries of some sort claimed to have been inflicted by someone. These cases are usually defended by insurance companies, railroads, or factories. If a criminal case, it is practically always the poor who are on trial. The most important point to learn is whether the prospective juror is humane. This must be discovered in more or less devious ways. As soon as “the court” sees what you want, he almost always blocks the game.”

This publication by Darrow could be seen as a kind of fulfilled “vendetta” against those who would victimise the same; “… poor, oppressed, the captive and the weak.” He left no stone unturned as he dissected the bulbous, inflated buffoonery of civil laws that worked mainly for the wealthy and privileged. Those were the days when a radical attitude toward the conservative establishment was a respected and almost a desirable quirk of the human condition. These days, however, it seems almost a dirty word, where “people of taste and style” are more savvy to avoid distasteful confrontation for what can only be described as acceptance … acceptance of what is described as the “inevitable”, the “reality of the situation” and an avoidance of anything that smacks of the distasteful in either language or opinion … ”one’s upbringing … doncha know!”… when all the time it really is just simple cowardice.

“Acceptance in human psychology is a person’s assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it or protest it. The concept is close in meaning to acquiescence, derived from the Latin acquiēscere (to find rest in).” (Wikipedia).

And then there is this:

Often when I discuss acceptance with students or clients, a common argument is put forth: “Acceptance is no good. It is passive and accepting things as they are is giving up. It is resignation to something unpalatable.” But that is not the real meaning of acceptance. There is no better explanation than Jon Kabat-Zinn’s in, “Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness”: “Acceptance doesn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, mean passive resignation. Quite the opposite. It takes a huge amount of fortitude and motivation to accept what is- especially when you don’t like it-and then work wisely and effectively as best you possibly can with the circumstances you find yourself in and with the resources at your disposal, both inner and outer, to mitigate, heal, redirect, and change what can be changed.” (p.407). In other words, desiring the world to be something it is not at the moment is stopped and ruminating thoughts about how things “should be” are put aside. Then change what can be changed.

Acceptance helps reduce what people experience as negative. That is only half of the solution to improving one’s quality of life, however. It has been purported that it takes five positive experiences to counter one negative (Gottman) or, more generally, your brain responds to positive events like Teflon and to negative ones like Velcro (Hanson, Mendius). So, the new goal is to allow the positive to resonate, to be prolonged, not in a desperate grasping fashion, but instead through mindfulness and allowing it to permeate one’s attention. This helps counter the balance, and swing experience to the positive.” (Psychology Today, June 27, 2015).

What a load of middle-class wank, but taken alongside the silence or the defensive acquiesce in regards to the “majority decision” on refugees etc, the “outrage” against the minutiae of political behaviour and the pathetic seediness of sexual misconduct of the politically ugly and degenerate and one has to wonder if with such limp-wristed pontification, we, the people are not moving into the last days of radicalism.

Me personally, I prefer Norm Gallagher’s simple response when told of the bankruptcy of a particularly nasty building company:

“It couldn’t’ve happened to a nicer bunch of bastards!”


  1. Nearly Normal Frederick

    This essay is very much about the deeply rooted origins of human violence.
    Please check out these very sobering websites which explain why nothing fundamental ever really changes, and indeed gets worse as time goes on.

    This writer/researcher is featured on this website : as is the work of Joseph Chilton-Pearce. Pearce has been researching and writing about what he calls our MONSTROUS MISUNDERSTANDING for over 40 years beginning with his book Magical Child. Another notable and disturbing book is Evolution’s End : Claiming the Potential of Our Intelligence.

    Although we are all victims/products of what is pointed to and described in the first two sites, unfortunately members of the working class are far more likely to be brutalized by the toxic “cultural” practices described on these sites.

    Check out the work of Allan Schore too via his book Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self: The Neurobiology of Emotional Development.

    It seems to be that Kabat-Zinn is essentially describing a process whereby one cultivates ones Emotional Intelligence – a disposition entirely lacking in most/all of our leaders, and indeed in our dreadfully sane “culture” altogether.
    The very real and important concept of Emotional Intelligence was coined by Daniel Goleman

  2. Nearly Normal Frederick

    Check out this website too, it features the work of Michael Odent.
    Odent’s work is also feature on the Touch the Future website.
    Via our monstrous misunderstanding we quite literally do pass the “sins of our fathers and mothers” (and our grand parents too) on to our children – almost indelibly so.

  3. Joseph Carli

    NNF…What I read in the above quote from Psychology Today was the “dumbing down” of radicalism…an acceptance rather than a protest against …for the possible…possible / perhaps / maybe a change later on down the road a tad..trouble is, in a world that will never remain static, new problems / solutions arise every day and one is compelled to either confront these issues or they can back up till they reach explosive level.

  4. paul walter

    It parallels a thought that crossed my mind today concerning Cash and her victimhood…here was a person who probably voted for cuts to DV shelter funding and the like, never did another a favour in her life.

    Now, when caught out, comes a whining plea of victimhood against Dougie Cameron, who hails from the docks and shipyards of the hard city of Glasgow. Nobody cares, even if in the remote chance she was in some way right, because people understand who and what she is.

    Doug gets the benefit of the doubt also, because he has earned his manumission as a long term campaigner for underdogs from his underclass,. Now, he is liked and trusted and most would not hesitate to take his word against a hard, miserable creature like Cash.

    Even her own disown her. Even Tony Abbott, who some how seems enhanced by his repudiation of her- Cash is now thought of someone lower than Abbott?!

  5. paul walter

    Yes, radicalism has died in Australia. There is no longer a huge hungry working class, the country is too well fed to be “radical” any more.

    Only when all has been taken away while Australians sleep and they wake up in a middle of a Great Depression witht themselves and their kids hungry, will any radicalism be reborn in the Napping Country.

  6. Joseph Carli

    Yes. starts a revolution on a full stomach!..The country “is too well fed”…trouble is, it is fed on credit and desperate wages cobbled together from casual / part-time wages from possibly two or more jobs…running around like cut snakes…It may last as long as they are young and fit, but believe me..when they get a tad older, tired and destitute…the reality will hit home..perhaps by then, the country will be run on 457 cheap labour.

  7. paul walter

    As you said above,Joseph, it is no accident dumbing down re both media and education has intensified as financial shonkiness of a globalised nature develops.

    But the proles have already forgotten 2008, “too big to fail” and “sovereign risk”. They think sovereign risk is about one of royals again pregnant, then resume watching the latest episode of “Naked Scandinavian Dicks and Tits” on telly.

  8. David Fitzpatrick

    As if AIMN is offering a solution. Our entire lettered classes are cynically aligning themselves with aggressive war. You are too much!

  9. Joseph Carli

    David Fitzpatrick….Three, short, vague sentences are not enough…please extrapolate! … or don’t even bother to comment..There are already too many “residentials” here that give cheap shots..what we want is expansive debate….over to you!

  10. Roswell

    I can’t say that David’s comment made much sense.

  11. David Fitzpatrick

    This homily is hardly “expansive debate” and in any case addresses nothing of current political significance. That was my point. Thanks for helping me make it.

  12. Joseph Carli

    Waddya want..a f#ckin’ crutch?

  13. Des Maddalena

    Sounds like a lot wasted text about nothing. If you want to talk about radicalism you need to consider that our current LNP authoritarian leaning conservative government is radical in respect to what the Australian community expects. Their total disregard for Human Rights with respect of the boat refugees is anti-Australian when comparing our previous fair-go attitudes to people in trouble. The governments attitude to the Global warming crisis and pro coal stance is also radical and against all common sense logic. If we then look at radicalization of the Australian community we see it is becoming more radical in its behaviour via protesting against the radical government actions- lock-ons over fracking and Adani coal mines and massive loss of confidence in both government and the main stream media. Radicalization is moving outside community accepted norms. Both governments and the poeple in Australia are becoming more radical not less.

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