"Socialism can only arrive by bicycle"

Discussion in 'transport' started by co-op, Feb 11, 2011.

  1. co-op

    co-op Free the rhubarb crumble!

    Well that's what Jose Antonio Viera Gallo said when he was part of Allende's govt back in the day.

    Now there are different ways of interpreting his quote but one thing that's always seemed really clear to me is that at least one of the many possible opposites is definitely true; that carheads are always, somewhere in their miserable hearts, torys.

    I'd suggest this is mainly because cars represent a a literal manifestation of 'power' in our public spaces - both as machines which generate power, and as weapons which can be used to kill, injure and terrify non-car users. They impose a hierarchy and also normalise that hierarchy so that it disappears to many and appears "natural". On the streets, one class is allowed to murder another and it's an "accident". While projecting this violence, they also (increasingly?) project the status-needs and jelaousy-invoking needs of their owners into public space via their display function.

    They also promise to turn into reality some of the fantasy-promises of consumer capitalism; total individual control, total individual autonomy, the sexualisation of your life via correct consumption, the de facto privatisation of public space etc etc but I'd see these as largely secondary or epi-phenomenal to their main role.

    And, returning to the hard reality once more, they require fossil fuels and the planet-destroying pathology that accompanies those, not to mention endless imperialist wars against innocent civilians all over the world.

    Just musing really, started off thinking about this as a result of gibbering anti-cyclist comments on another thread by someone who (I think) thinks s/he's a lefty but who obviously reflexively identifies with cars and therefore hates bicycles, and worse, cyclists.
  2. ernestolynch

    ernestolynch Banned Banned

  3. co-op

    co-op Free the rhubarb crumble!


    It's this kind of over-intellectual nit-picking that is losing the hegemonic idea-space for the left.
  4. Athos

    Athos Well-Known Member

    For once, I agree with Ern.
  5. Lo Siento.

    Lo Siento. Second As Farce

    any collectively planned economy is going to have far fewer cars, obviously.
  6. co-op

    co-op Free the rhubarb crumble!

    I wasn't really thinking of the practical realities of a more socialist society - although it seems likely that most of these would have far fewer private cars. More of the emotional identification with cars and whether that's possible if you're not a tory. Can a lefty love cars? - or at least love their use in the public spaces of our cities and towns?
  7. beesonthewhatnow

    beesonthewhatnow going deaf for a living

  8. Oswaldtwistle

    Oswaldtwistle Banned

    Me too.

    Sorry co-op, this is tosh.
  9. co-op

    co-op Free the rhubarb crumble!


    No need to apologise, I'm finding it interesting.
  10. seconded
  11. fredfelt

    fredfelt Mostly unknown member

    Co-op - you'll find this interesting.

    The Bicycle and the New Economy: Towards a Curated Consumerism - http://bespoke.onthefourth.com/?p=1083

    Here's a quote

  12. Oswaldtwistle

    Oswaldtwistle Banned

    So you are trolling, basically?
  13. fractionMan

    fractionMan Custom Title

    Is this is why the soviets made such shit cars?
  14. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen Bulla liberali in perpetuum.

    After 23 years' experience as an otherwise much fatter man on a bicycle, In the days of the Internet and copious public health reality shows, I see excessive car-use and lack of cycling / walking as a sort of active self-harm - I'm so glad I didn't acquire the car meme as a kid.
  15. fractionMan

    fractionMan Custom Title

    I just hate driving and I'm crap at it.
  16. weepiper

    weepiper Jock under the bed

  17. copliker

    copliker ...


    "That's enough."
  18. fredfelt

    fredfelt Mostly unknown member

    Co-op - I see your point. In the more market driven economies, including the economies with little state expenditure, the car typically rules the road. In the more social democratic countries you have proper cycle infrastructure, decent public transport and even pavements!
  19. co-op

    co-op Free the rhubarb crumble!

    No because I genuinely do find it hard to see how a car-lover/cyclist-hater can ever be anything except a tory and I wonder if anyone wanted to contradict that or provide arguments against the case.

    What's happened is that there is a queue of people going "bullshit", "twaddle", "tosh" etc - ie unargued - and puerile - abuse. I'm always interested in responses to questions which imply lack of support for the zeitgeist, many people are always going to just shout la-la-la and put their fingers in their ears and that's what happened. In a page or so we might get some responses worth replying to but I couldn't guarantee it.

    Why do you think driving cars in our public spaces is a politically neutral act? (if that's what you think)
  20. co-op

    co-op Free the rhubarb crumble!

    Well my point would be that this correlation is systemic, ie that the flatter the wealth/power hierarchy in a state, the less likely that state is to indulge the powerful in bullying the weak (ie the typical car-bicycle relationship). But where wealth and power hierarchy is wide or widening - eg the UK - it would be natural for that to be expressed as favouring the right of the powerful to bully and intimidate the weak.

    All of this would be fine (or at least, ideologically consistent) if you are a slavering neo-liberal tory etc, but I wonder how the car-favouring lefty justifies that position, in fact I'm wondering if it's possible to justify it from a left-wing perspective.

    Anyone care to try and do that?
  21. stupid dogbot

    stupid dogbot Haughty and Superior

    It's this kind of talking pseudo-intelligent hyperguff that makes no one want to pay any attention.
  22. co-op

    co-op Free the rhubarb crumble!

    It's this kind of people missing my joke that makes me realise I probably shouldn't do stand up.

    And neither should you.
  23. stupid dogbot

    stupid dogbot Haughty and Superior

    I won't. But nevertheless, you should try talking less patronising crap if you want people to notice you. :p

    You'll still be dull as fuck, banging on about the same thing over and over and over and over again, but hey.
  24. southside

    southside Banned

    There's an element of arrogance to cyclists tho that really irritates me, its a sort of I'm doing my bit for the planet, therefore I'm on the road and I am more blah blah blah.

    I saw a bloke on a bike the other day who was so paranoid about being on the road he was lit up like a disco on wheels with lights everywhere and high vis clothing. I remember thinking if I were that paranoid about being on a bike I'd take the bus.

    I'm always aware of them when I'm driving but there is an element inside of me that wants to pelt them with rotten eggs as I drive past.
  25. Sigmund Fraud

    Sigmund Fraud 893 all the way.

    In defence of co-op I think this is a pretty unexplored subject. Someone (it might have even been you co-op) posted up on here before about the connections between 1930's English fascism and the motor industry - interesting stuff.
  26. Proper Tidy

    Proper Tidy Arsed

    Top Gear...
  27. fredfelt

    fredfelt Mostly unknown member

  28. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen Bulla liberali in perpetuum.

    It's not only that. I daily get held up by dozens of people choosing to sit in tin boxes.

    Mostly younger than me and going in the same direction - only I get to enjoy parkland while the sit there in their tin boxes ...
  29. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model every man and every woman is a star

    i hate cyclists but i don't have much time for car drivers either. at least car drivers don't drive at 5mph in front of buses in bus lanes. and car drivers don't hurtle down towpaths like the own the footpath. and it's rare you'll see a car driver manoeuvring his vehicle along the pavement.
  30. fredfelt

    fredfelt Mostly unknown member

    Gentlegreen. A bit of pop psychology may be useful here. It's easy to confuse arrogance with assertiveness. Accusations of arrogance are often made when an assertive person undermines the accusers own agenda.

    With this in mind when a cyclist breezes past someone sitting in a traffic jam it's no wonder that s/he's often thought of as arrogant. In reality they are probably just enjoying a ride.

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