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Beware Of The Flash Mob

Politics / Social Issues Jul 22, 2014 - 12:54 PM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop


Time Is Counted for the Elites
American writer Charles Johnson in his 1986 short-story collection 'The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Tales and Conjurations' used different themes to describe the already six-year-long revolution, or so-called revolution of the Reagan-Thatcher duo. Its sociopathic agenda was most brutally stated by Britain's Mrs Margaret Thatcher. She said: “There is no such thing as society”. Only “the markets”.

Johnson used the image of a bag of broken glass or mercury spilled on the floor - deliberately thrown down and causing a chaotic mix in which liberationist as well as reactionary and anarchic, and other strands including mindless violence multiply simultaneously and out of control.

Not “seemingly out of control”.

Internet at first seemed a key ally in the elite plan to deconstruct society. It saturated the public with round-the-clock dollops of news, views, factoids, theories, half-truths, plain lies and outright delirium. The more the merrier! Johnson drew the title for his book from Goethe's fable or parable of the same name written in the late 1790s. Goethe had been more than just impressed by the then-recent French revolution and its descent into what historians call La Terreur, as the revolution fed on itself, totally ruined the economy and descended into repressive and bloody chaos – paving the way for Napoleon's dictatorship which the Corsican general declared in 1799.

Like the effects of Internet, the degenerative process had “high gain positive feedback”. It was self-amplifying and ran out of control - or using the Bahasa word for the random walk of the dangerously insane, it ran amuk. But the important point is that neither Internet nor the New Economy destroyed the future.

If there is a single conclusion of what Goethe's parable means in this context, we can note his parable has antecedents in Ancient Greek myth, and means “Don't meddle with what you don't know”. What started by design went out control and took on its own strange new powers. Of course these included the power of the mob, or Flash Mob.

The Terror of 2014
Although its early to draw any hard and fast historical conclusions, what was called Arab Spring in 2011 was already a different phenomenon from the so-called Color Revolutions of several ex-Soviet states during the 1990s. In particular, the massive near-instant street demonstrations, of exactly the same type called the Kiev Maidan revolt of early 2014, were what political historians call “pre-revolutionary”.They were apolitical rather than political – and they were easily “recuperated” by existing elites, the military and by oligarchs.

Also however, the Flash Mob of 2011 has moved on to become the Armed Mob. To a certain extent the Kiev government of western Ukraine locked in an ugly, complex and multi-layered civil war with armed movements in eastern Ukraine, which Vladimir Putin's Russia hesitates (and hesitates) to 'recuperate', can be compared with the ISIS-Al Qaeda mobs of Syria and Iraq.

As we know, the western powers led by the US, and the local paymasters of ISIS – the Sunni regimes of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf states – are hesitating on any attempt to recuperate ISIS or destroy it in an inevitably long and bloody military campaign. To be sure, in the Syrian civil war and until early in 2014, the west and the Gulf states enthusiastically armed and supported ISIS or “Daerch” but the Sorceror's Apprentice process was operating full-tilt!

Whether or not the Kiev Flash Mob government shot down Flight MH17 or the armed separatists of eastern Ukraine did it – using the same sophisticate military equipment, probably a BUK – finally does not matter. Both factions are well armed, especially the Kiev Flash Mob government. Whether or not the Sorceror's Apprentices “organising” the war against Bashr el-Assad's regime in Syria thought that ISIS would not spill over into Iraq like a bag or mercury thrown on the floor – and recover massive amounts of weaponry from Baghdad's “chocolate soldiers” - does not have any final importance.
The Flash Mob has moved on. It is now armed and dangerous.

A Question of Semantics
Totally lacking in any reports or comments on a constantly-rising threat to “the world as we knew it”,the role of semantics or semiotics is also important. If the Flash Mob signifies the strivings for democracy, the signifiers of heavily armed and growing militia movements – are either false or even fantasy referents for a supposed conquest of democracy. Put another way, if you say “dog” but I think “cat” every time you say it, we are more than just “out of synch” in our communication.

This is exactly the same defect which fatally delayed perception of the massive damage caused to the economy and society that was set in train by the “neolib” sorcerors of the early-1980s. What happened and still happens today – spilling over to politics, foreign affairs and geopolitics – is that the so-called “referential framework” of our mature, late-stage western democracies was destroyed.

Even in the 1980s, the deliberate act of “fuzzy-edged thinking” - or unknowing - had already created a form of intellectual chaos. Historians can already point to political chaos being the real net result of the massive armed campaigns of the western democracies starting at the end of 1980s and led by the US, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and other countries of the Arabian peninsula, sweeping north and west into Europe with the Kosovo campaign. Today, intense hesitation before calling any other war shows the Sorceror's Apprentice is beginning to understand what happened. And is scared.

Called non-local entanglement in quantum physics, spillover effects from certain atomic events are comparable to what the Sorceror's Apprentice did - triggering a runaway process of change. These atomic events can shift from one domain (eg. subatomic) to large-scale molecular. This can happen not just rapidly, measured in nanoseconds, but simultaneously. This simultaneous breakout is due to still not completely known relations and interactions of so-called “weak” and “strong” atomic forces and we can directly compare this to what has happened in economics, society, culture and international relations since the 1980s.

No Easy Way Back from The Brink
The fundamental problem is starkly simple. Since the 1980s, the defeat of knowledge and rational thought, has happened across the board in western society – whether it concerns politics, morals, culture or the economy. This has happened for at least 30 years.

The renowned early atom physicist Niels Bohr said that there is no such thing as a “quantum world” but only an abstract description of it, because “We are suspended in language”, that is by semantics. There is a constant need for clear and accepted social and cultural paradigms, but if or when these are shredded for any reason, by any process, there will be serious and lasting damage.

The early 1980s elite quest to steamroll a new economy and ramrod a new polity into place, over and above western society, on the back of society, where belief supplants knowledge and credulity replaces conviction, is a Sorceror's Apprentice parable for our times. Exactly like Goethe's fable, it also underlines the critical role of time in what we have to call a chaos-type process.

In a “normal society” and through time, the ruling semantic, cultural, ideological, and other paradigms in society are verified, or falsified and rejected. This inevitably has political impacts. Evidence as widespread and bizarrely different as the ISIS movement, Occupy Wall Street and the death of the so-called “great newspapers” which trumpet the elite's propaganda points to a resounding and stubborn no vote for “deconstructing society”, today.  In politics and the western democracies, or former democracies, when the so-called “incumbent governments of the two-party system”, are switched around in a meaningless ritual they are almost instantly unpopular, distrusted and even derided.

One tentative conclusion is that western society, in what we can call a groping random walk, is trying to find its way back from the brink. Historically, this is almost always a violent process. After three decades of “deconstructing society”, there is now a countervailing but chaotic set of opposite processes under way. Outside western society, in the Arab world this Newtonian physics principle of action and reaction has already turned very violent.

Put another way, by throwing society down on the floor like a flask of mercury it is no surprise that society regroups itself, like mercury beads, but moves on in a different way from previous. This triggers the elite panic fear of anarchy, instability, civil disorder, civil war – and their overthrow. In other words this is action and reaction. Repression is used by the elites to smother this fear, in an entirely historical process – proving once again that History is not dead!

Logic and Leadership
Used in QM or quantum mechanics, decoherence stands in relation to incoherence like the particle or corpuscular theory of light stands to the wave theory of light. Both co-exist, like the Flash Mob and repression. The result is called “radicalization” for both parties.

Our problem is the post-1980's cult of no logic and no leadership.  The crises that are operative today are difficult to list because they are so many, but they are surely inter-related. We could list the finance and debt crisis, economic stagnation, the ecological and environment crisis – and even the “crisis rhetoric” used as a ruling-class propaganda tool for public opinion management. This “crisis rhetoric” frames rampant social injustice and economic inequality as a lumpen, undifferentiated and unavoidable “humanitarian crisis”, somewhat like starving children in Africa.

For a Lost Generation of Youth – not only in the Arab world but in Europe with some countries like Spain “boasting” 50% youth unemployment – this elite denial is like using a baton to goad an angry bull. Elite rhetoric as trumpeted by the “great newspapers” still claims that due to the “New Economy” both the economy and peoples' lives are “far superior to past crisis eras”. Thanks to Internet “the mass” will be informed. Thanks to Good Government “the mass” will be protected.

Incoherence is by definition not a steady state in physics, and there are often twinned states of constructive and destructive incoherence running together. In society and politics this often translates to violence and is usually but in no way always linked to economic crisis. There is no specific and basic need for economic crisis to trigger the Flash Mob.

One example before the Great Depression of the 1930s was Rosa Luxemburg and the German Spartakist flash mob movement or uprising of 1918-1920, which was put down using heavy artillery by the Kaiser Army. Her rallying cry of “Socialism or Barbarism?” sparked a massive coalescence of different groups, parties and factions opposed to the Kaiser regime and its defeated army of World War I. For the so-called established order this was instantly perceived as Anarchy, and the Spartakists were answered – with 155mm and 203mm artillery shells by the Army, which certainly “deconstructed” the movement. The death toll is unsure and disputed, but probably more than 35 000 died over a period which dragged on as far as 1923 in a near-civil war context.

Next, Germany experience the most extreme hyperinflation ever known. It was literally necessary to fill a wheelbarrow with chaff paper money to buy a loaf of bread. Using banknotes to fire the family stove was commonplace. All savings were totally destroyed. For the Nazi Party, this was the golden opportunity to tout its extreme, violent and bizarre ideology.

By Andrew McKillop


Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2014 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisor.

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