Uncategorized · World Turned Upside Down Pamphlets

World Turned Upside Down – and the 2016 election.

INTRODUCTION: The world which is now turning upside down is the world I grew up in and lived in. Not an eternal world. Not an eternal truth. That world is now ending. It was a world whose governance, economic systems, relations among peoples and nations, and knowledge base were designed in reaction against World War II, and as a response to the decolonization struggle then ending the European imperialist era of globalization. Those were really different times and 1945 was not the first remaking of the world. Remember Galileo. 

The summary of the pamphlet with live links below. The full text here


May 23, the Austrian elections

June 27, the United Kingdom voting for Brexit.

June 30, the Philippines inaugurated a new President, Duterte,

On July 9, in Japan, Prime Minister Abe’s political coalition won a 2/3 majority in Upper House elections.

On July 12, the International Court of Arbitration ruled decisively against China’s economic and military claims for the SE Asian islands

July 15, the military in Turkey attempted a coup d’état in Istanbul.

Oct. 2, The citizens of Colombia voted by the smallest of margins to reject a peace agreement.

Oct. 27, The Chinese Communist Party awarded the status “Core Leader” to Xi Jinping, the first leader since Mao and Deng to have such a high sounding title.

In Real Life There are no Intermissions. The musical Hamilton inspired this essay which turned out to be the first of a series of six. Several moments in Hamilton are worth listening to in their own right: In the musical history lesson, as in most American school history textbooks, as the battle of Yorktown ends (1781), defeated Red Coats march off the field and their song echoes back. (start at 2.30 for the world turned upside down phrase). Just before Act 1 ends George III warns about the risks ahead: “What comes next?” And as HAMILTON reminds us, it is really important to try to be “In the room where it happens.” It’s all too easy to meet intense conflict with fear and depression. The work ahead for us in 2016 might not entail violent combat but it would be very hard. Hence the repeating anthem “I won’t throw away my shot.” As every leader learns the rebels may have won the battle of Yorktown but “You have no control who lives or dies or tells your story” 

Deeper than elections. The pamphlet raised opened up several more topics centering on my reflections rather than links to the wider world. The topics included the possibility of Redefining Wealth Buddhism and Poverty by David Loy; the need to become more Merciful in a punitive world and my fear that with advancing automation more and more human beings would suffer Worklessness. Metro and Non-metro data US Dept. Of Agriculture-  Trump and Romney electoral differences and lYouth unemployment, OECD data.

Women’s work. The defeat of Hillary Clinton by a charlatan dressed up as a successful man left me reeling. Though in this pamphlet Womens’ work was just one issue in the deeper than elections category it returned in its own right in every succeeding pamphlet.

Humo(u)r: Every Court Needs a Jester 

The Revocation of US Independence: It first appeared after the 2000 recount fiasco and the election of George W. Bush. (Not actually written by John Cleese, though often attributed to him.)

My favorite satirical commentators in the USA, immigrants all Samantha Bee — Full Frontal 

John Oliver — Last Week Tonight 

Trevor Noah — The Daily Show
Each has shows that are available on-line, at least to some degree. 

Obama is another fine American humorist. His last 2016 event is also available for or appreciation today.

Remaking this webpage in the spring of 2020 the poem included in this pamphlet, written by Rob Knapp just before Obama’s first election, sounds still more important.

after the election 

after the election?
anguish will continue—either the easy kind,? the fault of my enemy,?
or the hard kind,?
the anguish my ally makes with my conniving

after the election?
all beings will still need saving whether it rains red or blue 

after the election?
bodhisattvas will still arise—either the easy kind,?
chanting like my friends,?
or the hard kind,?
those who see suffering I cannot but only my enemy can. 

after the election?
all beings—all—will still need saving. 

Rob Knapp October 2008