More waffle from Peter Joseph…

July 2024 Forums General discussion More waffle from Peter Joseph…

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  • #90740
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Two members did attend the Zeitgeist meeting in London on Tuesday, but haven't yet got round to reporting what happened and what they thought beyond saying that "funny money" and decision-making by technocrats came up.

    #90741
    Hud955
    Participant

    It was a good meeting. There were about 30 people there.  The main part was a talk by a guy called James Phillips who describes himself as the Project Co-ordinator for TZM Education.  Apparently he does a lot of work going into schools and talking about TZM.   It was pretty standard fare, introducing the organisation and its views for newcomers.  He was pretty hot on the Venus Project, which interested me.  In fact most of his promotional material – big displays all round the room were Venus Project stuff, not TZM.  His repeated theme was that science (measurement) provided the only real basis for a rational system of values – a claim which lead directly into the technocratic/anti-democratic argument.  I raised the question what would happen if the population or a section of it asserted values other than purely technocratic ones, things that couldn't be measured.  He eventually conceded that as there could be no public power of coercion within a resource-based economy that technocratic values could not be imposed – implying that there must be some alternative way for the population to express their collective will.  His back-foot arguement though is that through education, people would naturally come to accept technocratic decisions as the only rational ones.  It hadn't occured to him that maybe some people might disagree and be doing a bit of education of their own. This opened up space for a discussion about democratic control which Danny pressed home chatting to some members after the meeting.  One other interesting thing he said, apparently in passing, was that 'Of course we don't expect everyone will follow us'  which suggests he envisages some sort of enclave of TZMers in a largely capitalist (?) world.  And yep, he kicked it off with a funny money argument, and referred repeatedly to it throughout the session.  (So much for Michael Joseph's attempt to distance the movement somewhat from those early claims).  James was  clearly one of the faithful.  It's really quite amazing that, for an obviously intelligent bloke he couldn't (or didn't want to) see the huge flaws in his really rather simplistic argument.  It wasn't challenged. There was an extended attack on 'the money economy' aka capitalism much of which could have come from one of our own speakers, followed by a description of what a resource based economy might look like.    'Transitioning' – getting from capitalism to a resource based economy – took up a fair bit of his discussion afterwards, and seemed to be what exercised the concern of a lot of visitors.  His answer seemed to be: learn as much as you can and find out what you are good at so you can contribute.  Vague enough.  But he clearly believed that capitalism (or should I say 'the money economy') was in the process of collapse partly because of the proposed spiralling system of debt created by the banking system and  partly because of so-called technological unemployment (people being forced out of productive work by machines). Which all goes to show that a rationalist understanding will take you a fair way to understanding the inefficiencies and destructiveness of capitalism, but it won't help you to understand exploitation or  power structures, or give you a clear view of  where to go from here.  (He expressed the old utopian hope that TZM would eventually get funding/investment to start building their circle cities and that the movement would grow from there.  Presumably, all it will take is for the capitalist class to see how sensible their proposals really are.It was interesting though to have a discussion with people whose compass was pointing in roughly the same direction as ours without being overlaid with tons of leftist elitism.  Most of the people there were looking for a collective and social solution to the problems of capitalism, free from property and property values.  Though they are mired in some pretty unhelpful mindsets, they are miles ahead of the occupy movement.

    #90742
    Brian
    Participant

    Your report is a pretty accurate account of the numerous talks James Phillips is giving in schools.   However, to me James is living in a time warp of before the split with TZM and TVP took place and when it was common place to try and link the idea of circular cities with a RBE.  TVP (Jacque Fresco) has always stated that the circular cities would be islands in a sea of capitalism, but this is not the current thinking in TZM (Peter Joseph).  In fact lately I'm constantly picking mentions of a Global Resouce Based Economy (GRBE) which seems to imply they are starting to widen their horizons somewhat.James has in fact been challenged on several occasions by TZM supporters regarding this rather gaping hole in the circular city theory.  But always insisted that these models of a RBE would be the stepping stones towards a global moneyless economy for unless the model is observable it is impossible to assess and quantify how the impact a RBE will affect human behaviour.  Which means he's failing to rigorously apply the scientific method to the theory of circular cities.Nevertheless, it should be plain by now that any speaker from TZM is merely expressing their own opinion and not necessarily the current message which Peter Joseph is attempting to get over.  

    #90743
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    "Nevertheless, it should be plain by now that any speaker from TZM is merely expressing their own opinion and not necessarily the current message which Peter Joseph is attempting to get over. ""James Phillips who describes himself as the Project Co-ordinator for TZM Education."Doesn't the fact that he has an "official" title cloud the issue of stating a personal opinion or whether representing the TZM's overall position. Does he offer a disclaimer for the responsibility of his speech at the beginning of it?

    #90744
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Thanks, Brian,. I see that James Phillips was billed on the advertising for the meeting as representing the Venus Project as well as Zeitgeist. That would explain why the meeting seemed to be a regression to the time when Zeitgeist was linked to the Venus Project of establishing a circular city in the Amazonian jungle financed by the UN or some friendly capitalist. I thought TZM had abandoned this silly idea. In any event, the report of the meeting will give you and Socialist Punk a clue as to where to put the accent in your discussions with them on Monday.

    #90745
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    ALB wrote:
     In any event, the report of the meeting will give you and Socialist Punk a clue as to where to put the accent in your discussions with them on Monday.

    Was that a deliberate pun? l A way around the moderator1 notice above? Ha Ha 

    #90746
    Brian
    Participant
    alanjjohnstone wrote:
    "Nevertheless, it should be plain by now that any speaker from TZM is merely expressing their own opinion and not necessarily the current message which Peter Joseph is attempting to get over. ""James Phillips who describes himself as the Project Co-ordinator for TZM Education."Doesn't the fact that he has an "official" title cloud the issue of stating a personal opinion or whether representing the TZM's overall position. Does he offer a disclaimer for the responsibility of his speech at the beginning of it?

    Good point Alan in regards to what is considered an "official" and "unoficial" title or project with TZM.  It depends on what particular Admin Team (Global/Country/City Chapter) the title or project is supervised by.  Starting from the top with the Global Admin Team they would most definitely not recognise the "Project Co-ordinator for TZM Education" as an "official title or project"  for the movement, however on the other hand the UK Chapter do.This lack of a coordinated approach stems from what I've said earlier in reference to the mushroom effect on the structure and organisation of TZM globally.  And this is the result of a lack of a listed registered membership being established right from the begining.  Why TZM  had (and never will) have a listed or registered membership stems from Peter Joseph using the Civil Rights Movement and the experiences which came out of that, has a framework for structure and organisation for TZM  – which is loose and flexibile to ever changing circumstances.This framework allows individuals to come up with ideas on how to promote the TZM Mission Statement through a variety of projects at a local or country level.   If the project is thought to be positive its given the go ahead and the person(s) who introduced it are then deemed to be the official project coordinators.  Once it embedded and developed its then passed to the Global Admin Team to consider for inclusion into the Global Program and hence become part of the official global projects.In this respect the UK Education Project is still in its early stage of development, although its been going for over 2 years.  I suspect the main reason why the UK Admin Team have not as yet passed this particular project to the Global Admin Team is due to its current association with TVP and the consequences this could have on its future development.How this project fares once Fresco pops the bucket is anybodies guess but I'm sure that James Phillips is considering the issues and problems involved there.

    #90758
    Brian
    Participant

    This is being imposed on TZM by Peter Joseph whether they like it or not.http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/orientation

    #90747
    ALB
    Keymaster

    It will be interesting to see how, when it's published in full, this new Orientation Guide differs from the previous one. In the meantime here's how the new one tries to differentiate TZM from "Marxist Communism" (a must in America, it appears). It's a bit tortuous and even accuses Marxism of being a "Moral Philosophy" (which some here might like):

    Quote:
    The “Prima Facie” FallacyThe first is the “Prima Facie” association. This simply means “upon first appearance”; “before investigation”.[63] This is by far the most common type of objection.A classical case study is the common claim that the observations and solutions presented by TZM are simply rehashed “Marxist Communism”.Let's briefly explore this as an example. Referencing “The Communist Manifesto”[64] Marx and Engels present various observations with respect to the evolution of society, specifically the “class war”, inherent structural relationships regarding “capital”, along with a general logic as to how the social order will transition through “revolution” to a stateless, classless system, in part, while also noting a series of direct social changes, such as the “Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State”, “Equal liability of all to labour.” and other specifics. Marx creates players in the schema he suggests like the ongoing battle between the “Bourgeoisie and Proletarians”, expressing contempt for the inherent exploitation, which he says is essentially rooted in the idea of “private property”. In the end, the accumulated goal in general is in seeking a “stateless and classless society”.On the surface, reformations proposed in TZM's promoted solutions might appear to mirror attributes of “Marxism” if one was to completely ignore the underlying reasoning. The idea of a society “without classes”, “without universal property”, and the complete redefinition of what comprises the “State” might, on the surface, show confluence by the mere gestures themselves, especially since Western Academia commonly promotes a “duality” between “Communism” and “Capitalism” with the aforementioned character points noted as the core differences. However, the actual Train of Thought to support these seemingly similar conclusions is quite different.TZM's advocated benchmark for decision making is not a Moral Philosophy[65], which, when examined at its root, is essentially what Marxist philosophy was a manifestation of.TZM is not interested in the poetic, subjective & arbitrary notions of “a fair society”,”guaranteed freedom”, “world peace”, or “making a better world” simply because it sounds “right”, “humane” or “good”. Without a Technical Framework that has a direct physical referent to such terms, such moral relativism serves little to no long term purpose.Rather, TZM is interested in Scientific Application, as applied to societal sustainability, both physical and cultural.[66]As will be expressed in greater detail in further essays, the Method of Science is not restricted in its application within the “physical world”[67] and hence the social system, infrastructure, educational relevance and even understanding human behavior itself, all exist within the confines of scientific causality. In turn, there is a natural feedback system built into physical reality which will express itself very clearly in the context of what “works” and what doesn't over time,[68] guiding our conscious adaptation.Marxism is not based on this “calculated” worldview at all, even though there might be some scientifically based characteristics inherent. For example, the Marxist notion of a “classless society” was to overcome the capitalist originating “inhumanity” imposed on the working class or “proletariat”.TZM's advocated train of thought, on the other hand, sources advancements in human studies. It finds, for example, that social stratification, which is inherent to the capitalist/market model, to actually be a form of indirect violence against the vast majority as a result of the evolutionary psychology we humans naturally posses[69]. It generates an unnecessary form of human suffering on many levels which is destabilizing and, by implication, technically unsustainable.Another example is TZM's interest in removing Universal Property[70] and setting up a system of “Shared Access”. This is often quickly condemned to the Marxist idea of “Abolishing Private Property”. However, generally speaking, the Marxist logic relates the existence of private property to the perpetuation of the “bourgeois” and their ongoing exploitation of the “proletariat”. He states in the Manifesto “The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property.”TZM's advocated logic, on the other hand, relates the fact that the practice of universal, individual ownership of goods is environmentally inefficient, wasteful and ultimately unsustainable as a universal practice. This supports a restrictive system behavior and a great deal of unnecessary deprivation, and hence crime is common in societies with an unequal distribution of resources.At any rate, such “prima facie” allegations are very common and many more could be expressed. However, it is not the scope of this section to discusses all alleged connections between Marxism and TZM's advocated Train of Thought.[71]
    #90748
    Brian
    Participant

    This new Orientation Guide already differs from the original in that it's going to be far longer and drip fed to the movement over the next 2 years.  If it's eventually completed it won't surprise me if it's offered on sale as a small book.  And unfortunately, consisting of turgid explanations on the reasons why TZM insist on using jargon and waffle to distance itself from the political challenges which lie ahead.It's already starting to contradict itself by attempting to distance TZM from "class war" when not so long ago Peter Joseph acknowledged in a tv interview on Russia Today that TZM like the Civil Rights Movement it models itself on is a participant in the class war.

    #90749
    ALB
    Keymaster
    Quote:
    TZM's advocated benchmark for decision making is not a Moral Philosophy[65], which, when examined at its root, is essentially what Marxist philosophy was a manifestation of.TZM is not interested in the poetic, subjective & arbitrary notions of “a fair society”,”guaranteed freedom”, “world peace”, or “making a better world” simply because it sounds “right”, “humane” or “good”. Without a Technical Framework that has a direct physical referent to such terms, such moral relativism serves little to no long term purpose.Rather, TZM is interested in Scientific Application, as applied to societal sustainability, both physical and cultural.[66]As will be expressed in greater detail in further essays, the Method of Science is not restricted in its application within the “physical world”[67] and hence the social system, infrastructure, educational relevance and even understanding human behavior itself, all exist within the confines of scientific causality. In turn, there is a natural feedback system built into physical reality which will express itself very clearly in the context of what “works” and what doesn't over time,[68] guiding our conscious adaptation.Marxism is not based on this “calculated” worldview at all, even though there might be some scientifically based characteristics inherent. For example, the Marxist notion of a “classless society” was to overcome the capitalist originating “inhumanity” imposed on the working class or “proletariat”.

    It is ironic, even amusing, that ZM should be in effect answering our characterisation of them as "Utopian Socialists" by adopting a more-scientific-than-thou attitude.This has some relevance to the debates we have had here and elsewhere as to whether socialism is a "moral" or "ethical" issue as well as a "class" and "scientific" one.  Rejecting "moral philosophy" and "moral relativism", ZM argue that the case for a classless, stateless, moneyless world society (which they call a "resource-based economy" and we call "socialism" or "communism") is based on a scientific understanding that "the capitalist/market model" is against empirically observed and scientifically validated "human nature":

    Quote:
    TZM's advocated train of thought, on the other hand, sources advancements in human studies. It finds, for example, that social stratification, which is inherent to the capitalist/market model, to actually be a form of indirect violence against the vast majority as a result of the evolutionary psychology we humans naturally posses[69]. It generates an unnecessary form of human suffering on many levels which is destabilizing and, by implication, technically unsustainable.

    An interesting approach which we have been tempted to adopt but never have since we've been reluctant to accept any theory of a behaviour-determining fixed human nature.I wonder whether ZM has debates about whether the case for a resource-based economy is an ethical as well as a scientific issue. Probably not because their "Train of Thought" commits them to the view that there is only one answer to every problem and that this is to be found by scientific enquiry, conducted by scientists, and not by popular debate and vote. A legacy of their Technocracy origins.

    #90750
    J Surman
    Participant

    Brian's 'turgid' I definitely agree with.Taking a long view on socialism/TZM it seems to me that the more we are able to engage with them, in whatever forum/debate/discussion it can only further socialist aims. There are a lot of folk out there tuned in to TZM – members or not is not that important – looking for a viable alternative that fits with their views. The more they are exposed to the WSM/SPGB the more (some of them) can see that we are basically heading the same way—-and have a credible history.

    #90751
    Brian
    Participant
    J Surman wrote:
    Brian's 'turgid' I definitely agree with.Taking a long view on socialism/TZM it seems to me that the more we are able to engage with them, in whatever forum/debate/discussion it can only further socialist aims. There are a lot of folk out there tuned in to TZM – members or not is not that important – looking for a viable alternative that fits with their views. The more they are exposed to the WSM/SPGB the more (some of them) can see that we are basically heading the same way—-and have a credible history.

    Which is the very reason I've been advocating that socialist attend the UK TZM Team Speak 3 meetings where the opportunity to put the socialist case is freely available.  TZM is a global movement and all Chapters hold their meetings on TS 3 which effectively means that most languages are spoken there.Agreed TS 3 is a difficult medium to get familiar with but I can assure you its well worth the effort.

    #90752
    J Surman
    Participant

    Re TS3 Brian: I understand what it's about from following this forum – unfortunately we have incredibly limited band width here (some people will be tired of hearing about it I'm sure) and TS3 is out of the question, as is youtube, downloading videos, even audios are a problem. And going to a restaurant, probably with very loud music, with good band width to engage in an online discussion isn't my idea of fun.But, please keep up the good work!

    #90753
    ALB
    Keymaster

    This talk of TS3, etc reminds me. What happened at the UK chapter meeting a week or so ago that Brian and Socialist Punk were going to take part in?

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