Posted 2 years ago on Nov. 29, 2011, 10:01 p.m. EST by metapolitik
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[Originally written: June 2010. This is a 'living document' and as such, is periodically updated, revised and expanded. This is a short excerpt. For the entire article, please visit: http://metapolitik.org/article/approaching-metapolitical-discourse]
Metapolitics [mɛtə pɒlɪtɪks] (sometimes written meta-politics) is metalinguistic talk about the analytic, synthetic, and normative language of political inquiry and politics itself. In simple words, it is talk about the way we talk about politics.
Example: If one studies, analyzes, and describes a language, the language used for studying, analyzing, and describing the object language is a metalanguage.
In current usage and praxis, the term metapolitics is often used in relation to postmodern theories of the Subject and their relation to political theory. In its broadest definition, metapolitics is a discipline that studies the relationship between the State and the Individual.
Metapolitik.org grew out of my strong desire to start a 'Deep Green Social Democratic Revolution'. As others have noted, Capitalism as we know it is no longer sustainable and as such, cannot continue it's current trajectory of greed, cronyism and environmental destruction. To quote Alex Knight:
"Capitalism requires growth. A system that requires growth cannot last forever on a planet that is defined by ecological and social limits. Capitalism is therefore fundamentally unsustainable – sooner or later it will run up against those limits and the system will stop functioning. At this moment we are in the midst of a crisis which is calling into question the future of this system. Now is a perfect opportunity to envision a new way of living in the world that can meet human needs while also respecting the needs of the planet. It is time to build this new world."
Thus, Metapolitik is based on the understanding that modern 'Capitalism' (Corporate Socialism or Corporatocratic Fascism) is what author Douglas Rushkoff would call "legacy software" -- that is to say, an outdated, societal 'operating system' that no longer continues to serve it's intended purpose. While 'Capitalism' did great things for us back in the 20th Century (helped defeat the Nazis and rebuild Europe, etc...) ...It's pretty much out of steam. It cannot continue on it's current trajectory without dire consequences -- both ecological and economic. In many ways, it seems insulting to even call it 'capitalism' any more. More like: Corporate Socialism a quasi-fuedal, quasi-fascist corporatocracy in which the lobbyists who spend the most get the legislation that they want passed and in which dramatic condensation of wealth in the hands of a tiny minority of people have rendered our economy completely dysfunctional and utterly incapable of serving the needs of the body-politic. Not only is this a thoroughly un-democratic situation, it is not in the spirit of true capitalism. If it were pure capitalism - free market capitalism - we would all be independent contractors.
The Body Politic, in any developed country - tends to be a vibrant and diverse mix of people, cultures, colors, creeds and ideas. While this diversity makes the twenty-first century among the most interesting times in history to be alive, it also makes open discussion and analysis of our differing socio-political views incredibly challenging.
Metapolitik.org seeks to address this by formulating, exploring and codifying new methods of charting, mapping and analyzing aggregated data sources and displaying this political data at a glance in an easy to read format. As well as to create a collaborative platform for interaction that allows us to share, disseminate and decipher this data in as holistic, non-authoritarian and thoroughly decentralized a manner as possible.
'Deep': is a reference to the term 'deep-democracy', coined by psychiatrist Arny Mindell to describe a political system that enables a deeper, more democratic level of socio-political interaction. In a deep democracy, citizens will have direct influence over public policy, without the need for the parasitic political class that we have grown so accustomed to. It is now possible to achieve this with the aid of the Internet.
'Green': of course, refers to the concept of 'green politics' - which is to say - a political ideology which places high importance on environmental goals, while achieving these goals through broad-based, grassroots, participatory democracy (thus, 'green politics' are inherently 'deep democracy' politics by virtue of their grass-roots approach). Green politics are advocated by supporters of the Green movement, which has been active through Green parties in many nations since the early 1980s.
Social: simply describes the inherently social aspects of society. Though the term 'socialism' has been demonized and vilified by the right, we already live in a socialist economy in many ways. All societies socialize some resources and capitalize others depending on an essentially arbitrary set of values that are ascribed to each respectively. In the US, examples of socialized resources include bailouts for banking cartels, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Workers Compensation and Unemployment Insurance. Just as communism is - at it's core - about community.
Open Source Democracy
The term 'open source' comes to us from the world of software development and refers to a set of production and documentation standards that promote access to the end product's source materials or 'code'. Some consider open source a philosophy, others consider it a pragmatic methodology. Before the term open source became widely adopted, developers and producers used a variety of phrases to describe the concept.
'Open source' eventually gained hold with the rise of the Internet, and the corresponding need for a massive retooling of computing source code. This in-turn enabled a self-enhancing diversity of production models, communication paths, and interactive communities. A new, three-word phrase: "open source software " was born to describe the environment that the new copyright, licensing, domain, and consumer issues created.
Douglas Rushkoff defines an open source democracy as 'what happens when the open source development model is applied to the economy'. In 'Applying the Theory' he observes:
"...It would mean coming to appreciate the rules of the economic game for what they are: [arbitrary] rules. Operating in a closed source fashion, the right to actually produce currency is held exclusively by the Federal Reserve. Quietly removed from any relationship to real money such as gold or silver by Richard Nixon in the early 1970s, US currency now finds its value in pure social construction.
"Whether or not we know it, we all participate in the creation of its value by competing for dollars against one another. For example, when a people or businesses borrows money from the bank (an agent, in a sense, of the Federal Reserve) in the form of a mortgage they must eventually pay the bank back two or three times the original borrowed amount. These additional funds are not printed into existence, but must be won from others in the closed source system. Likewise, every time a student wants to buy one of my books, he must go out into the economy and earn or win some of these arbitrarily concocted tokens, US currency, in order to do it. Our transaction is brokered by the Federal Reserve, who has a monopoly on this closed source currency.
"Meanwhile, the actual value of this currency, and the effort required to obtain it, is decided much more by market speculators than its actual users. Speculation accounts for over 90 percent of US currency transactions in any given day. By this measure, real spending and the real economy are a tiny and secondary function of money: the dog is being wagged by its tail.
"What if currency were to become open source? In some communities it already is. They are not printing counterfeit bills but catalyzing regional economies through the use of local currencies, locally created 'scrip' that can be exchanged throughout a particular region in lieu of Federal Reserve notes or real cash. The use of these currencies, as promoted by organizations such as the E.F. Schumacher Society, has been shown to accelerate the exchange of goods and services in a region by increasing the purchasing power of its members. There is no Federal Reserve surcharge on the creation and maintenance of cash, and no danger of government currency depreciation due to matters that have nothing to do with actual production and consumption. Introduction