The answer to right-wing extremism isn’t to have an accommodationist centrist Democrat in the White House, which seems to be this Bernie-bashing writer’s main argument. We need to fight for the equitable, sustainable society we need. And there are opportunities to win over big parts of the Republican base on issues like taxing the rich and regulating Wall Street — which have broad popular appeal even if they’re anathema to the GOP’s donor class.
if the current system works for you, then yeah, why risk anything on a candidate like bernie? a time for revolution will never come in the minds of the privileged.
Never vote for someone who hates you
The richest one percent of the world’s population now own more than the rest of us combined. 62 people own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population. Bernie is THE ONLY candidate talking about this.
Trump Rallies are a lot like revival meetings. Speaks a lot in generalities, mostly about how great he is, answers questions form the fans with a bunch of generalities about how tough is is and will be. Lots of persecution of the “others”. Never any specifics or details on answers, lots of blather. The PT Barnum of our age.
There ARE options; http://www.jill2016.com/plan
The first principle of non-violent action is that of non-cooperation with everything humiliating.
– Cesar Chavez
“Whatever the fight, don’t be ladylike.” -MOTHER JONES
An American businessman is on vacation in Mexico. Every day he sees aMexican fisherman go out at dawn and then come back with a boat full of fish at noon. The fisherman then unloads his catch and quits for the day.
The American approaches the fisherman and says “excuse me, but I’m really curious. What do you do after you bring your boat in at noon?”
“Well”, says the fisherman, “I go home and have a big lunch and then I have a siesta with my wife and family. Later on, when it’s cooler, I play outside with my kids. Then in the evening, I go into town and sit in the square with my amigos and we drink wine and play the guitar and sing songs.”
“But why don’t you go out for a second catch?” says the American.
“Why would I do that? asks the fisherman.
“Well,” says the American, “you would earn a lot more money.”
“And why would I want that?”
“Well, eventually, you could earn enough to buy another boat. And then you could hire other fisherman to work for you.”
“And why would I want that?”
“Well, you’d keep making more and more money. And eventually you would have an entire fleet of fishing boats”
“And why would I want that?
“You’d be so rich you could retire. Every day you could have a big lunch and a siesta with your wife and family. Then you could play outside with your kids. Then in the evening, you could go into town and sit in the square with your amigos and drink wine, play the guitar and sing songs.”
I’m not not violent. -Nina Simone
“The United States is essentially a one-party state. It has two factions of the business party.”
– Noam Chomsky, on Charlie Rose Show
Voltaire nailed it in Candide – the simple superficial man won’t recognize the real El Dorado because he will always seek the promise of more gold beyond his grasp.
Whenever there is a mass shooting, especially when one is done at a grade school, the national news should show the slaughtered children, all of them, up close. Really show what is happening. Hell I don’t even have kids, funny I should care so much.
The Right’s false historical narrative that the Founders wanted an armed American public that could fight its own government. News & Politics. A big obstacle to commonsense gun control is the Right’s false historical narrative that the Founders wanted an armed American public that could fight its own government.
Post photos like tees:
WARNING GRUESOME AND VIOLENT IMAGES
STOP COVERING UP FOR THE NRA and Gun nuts. Show what is really happening.
People with guns tend to shoot people and people without guns have a tendency not to shoot people. Its that simple.
The study also found that guns are “disproportionately owned” by those who are more likely to have trouble with anger management and impulse control.
Because its a bro thing..white guys rallying around their oppression..they all just relate…
The NRA, a business marketing corporation aka a lobbying group. , is monopolizing the way guns are distributed in the country- illegally
Statistics show that several orders of magnitude more deaths of innocents are caused by guns than instances where they were used to foil crimes. In fact anyone who hasn’t been trained in combat handgun tactics has no business carrying one in public in the first place. 99% of the time people without training when confronted with a live fire situation, either piss themselves and never draw their weapon, or they do and recklessly shoot the wrong person.
The Right’s false historical narrative that the Founders wanted an armed American public that could fight its own government. News & Politics. A big obstacle to commonsense gun control is the Right’s false historical narrative that the Founders wanted an armed American public that could fight its own government.
Guns are part of the “cult of masculinity” sweeping the nation.
“We’re talking about masculinity in a period of rising feminism and changing gender roles.” Women are leaning in. Hillary Clinton might be our next president. The patriarchy is far from finished, but men on the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum especially are feeling threatened.
For men who look to guns to validate their sense of masculinity, the prospect of restrictions imposed by an external authority is disempowering and emasculating.
the patriarchal system, which privileges a certain set of masculine behaviors, values, and practices, provides men with “a clear and justifiable reason to own guns.” It cements their identity as masculine men.
America’s gun problem has everything to do with America’s masculinity problem
Black Americans Are Killed At 12 Times The Rate Of People In Other Developed Countries
Pro gun Freaks kill each other with….GUNS!
Nation Resumes Complex Debate Over Whether Thousands Should Be Killed Each Year for No Apparent Reason.
We all know the profile of these mass shooters, 20-30’s year old white MALE, middle class and mentally ill. We are in the midst of a mental health crisis and these people have nowhere to turn to for help. Meanwhile They are preyed upon by the NRA and politicians.
There is the self-fulfilling prophesy that the NRA promotes, that the government is coming for your guns so get more guns! White males hoard these guns under the fallacy that they will one day overthrow their government. A government that has drones that can shoot you from 30,000 feet up in the air. A government that has jet fighters and nukes. No machine gun can take on a nuke, jet fighter or drone. Follow the money. The NRA, gun manufacturers and politicians are making bank off of these suckers who then turn into mass murderers. The inventor of the AK-47 has said he wishes he’d invented something to help farmers instead — “for example a lawnmower.”
Toddlers in on the action!
The Birders Are On our Team!
No other country has these problems
ROAD RAGE KILLS?
SLEEPING WITH YOUR WARM GUN
Police chief: I was sleeping when I accidentally shot my wife
DID SHE BUY HER GUN AT WAL-MART?
Methods That Police Use on the Mentally Ill Are Madness
Why do so many American cops believe that shooting a schizophrenic man dead for failing to drop a screwdriver is an acceptable outcome?
Cop on Cop Violence
More than two a day, according to a Washington Post analysis. That is more than twice the rate of fatal police shootings tallied by the federal government over the past decade, a count that officials concede is incomplete.“These shootings are grossly underreported,”
SHOPPING FOR GUNS IS DANGEROUS
EVEN THE DOGS GOT IT
So where were the “good guys with guns”?
dog shoots man
Michigan Republican Official Fatally Shoots Self in Eye While Trying to Adjust Bra Gun Holster
SOUNDS LIKE AN ONION ARTICLE ALRIGHTY
Leaves citizens defenseless against government with world’s largest military, vast stockpile of nuclear weapons
Each time these shootings happen, we exhort each other to “let our elected leaders know how we feel.” I would like to point out that this approach, aside from having failed miserably, is entirely inadequate.
These shootings take place on a weekly basis in the US, and the majority of Americans want reform of gun laws to reduce the violence. Yet we cannot act — everyone acknowledges — because of the immense power and influence of one organization in particular: the NRA.
The NRA has a budget of $228 million, almost half of which is garnered from its membership of 4 million Americans.
To combat the organized power of the NRA, we would need to support and fund an organization of potentially comparable size and influence, with an agenda that combats the NRA and works in our favor: promoting the abolition of semi-automatic weapons, stricter identity checks, the repeal stand-your-ground laws, etc.
This might mean backing an organization with which we do not agree on every point of policy or strategy. That’s hard — we all want to be pure and above reproach. But this crisis is ongoing and will not be solved until we act.
WE HAVE TO ACT, NOT AS INDIVIDUALS, BUT AS PART OF A LARGE MOVEMENT.
The best candidate that I can see to counter the NRA is the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence: http://csgv.org/ There is also the Brady Campaign: http://www.bradycampaign.org/
While one class is being encouraged to try, and forgiven when they fail, a different set – the creative or activist types who aren’t doing it for the money – are being sent the message that they must behave like tightrope walkers, or maybe robots, if they want to remain.
Kal Spelletich, an early pioneer of Burning Man type kinetic sculpture, says gentrification has decimated his community of friends much as the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s did.
Back in the day, says Spelletich, “I step out my door in San Francisco and there’s a guy on roller skates, in a nun’s costume with tons of make-up and jewelry with a big old beard, and that gave me license to do whatever I want.”
“As I lose my friends and family, it’s not like they get replaced by other artists and freaks, it’s a net loss. For a 50 year lineage of radical art to just stop – it’s devastating.”
“The saddest thing is that when I used to hang out with my friends everyone was talking about their creative projects, the poems they were writing, the opera they want to make, the crazy robotics project … now the people who are left are so scarred they’ve lost the magic and poetry and fun rebelliousness of making art and they’re all stuck in an endless dialogue about displacement.”
My dear friend lost his uncle this week.
He sent me this photo today, that he took just this past year.
Goodness, a true pillar of strength.
Few have moved so many mountains.
I aspire to just an iota of his accomplishments…..
Many many people rolled over for HUAC, The House Un-American Activities.
Cowardice and bullying at its worse.
I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent this implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions, whether they are religious or philosophical, or I might be a vegetarian, make me any less of an American. I will tell you about my songs, but I am not interested in telling you who wrote them, and I will tell you about my songs, and I am not interested in who listened to them.
What other field would people work at cafes and bars so they could do their own work? Would the terrorist bankers who just destroyed the world economy work in poverty at odd jobs just so they could gamble the worlds capitol at night and on weekends, on their dime?
Hence we know they are not on their real path. You know you are on that path when you will pay to do your work. This is one reason people attack art, it proves just by doing it how important this work is.
And, we are doing a workaround capitalism.
Nelson Mandela changed my life.
The 1980’s were my university years. By 1985 the divest from South Africa movement was gaining energy. I was living in San Francisco and Berkeley was jumping off. They were running protests and demonstrations. They built a shantytown. And there were running battles.
I moved to Austin Texas to go to grad school in 1986 and the divestment movement was taking off there as well. More shantytowns and demonstrations and it drove the cops and University officials CRAZY. The racist frat boys on campus couldn’t stand it. There were running skirmishes, the shantytowns were attacked. There were massive demonstrations to get the University, hell, the whole world to pull their money out of South Africa’s racist apartheid regime. It seemed like it would never ever work. College kids making global economic demands. There were constant warnings from the mainstream press that we were hurting the people we were trying to help. Pulling money out of their economy would be a disaster. That the country would spiral into a civil war and utter disaster.
Eventually most Universities got on board, faculty were supporting us.
Suddenly, one by one, the schools pulled their endowment money from the corporations based or doing business in South Africa. Then corporations did the same. We couldn’t believe it. The old saying, follow the money was true. Once enough schools pulled out, businesses started to do the same. It seemed in no time. Nelson Mandela was released from prison after 27 years. South Africa was a mess, but we felt like our actions helped free their leader and started the election process there which led to Nelson’s election to president.
We won. Wow. Civil disobedience works. We were empowered. The horrific Apartheid government was toppled and hope and true change was in effect. He was a radical but he was peaceful, not out for vengence. He didn’t allow revenge killings. So noble. He helped free the whites of South Africa, from the impossible position they were in.
These were not my first protests at all…… But something was different. It ended how we wanted it to. All of the Anti-war demo’s, anti-violence, anti-gentrification, workers rights, etc. actions….have never seem to amount to anything since then.
He was so brave, all those years locked up. Noble. Proud in the face of such horrors.
If I learned anything, you can remain compassionate and humane in the face of brutal sociopaths. It throws their ridiculousness back in their face. And, follow the money. The corporations run the governments, all they care about is money. Hence, boycotts work. Joe Mangrum…..boycott Walmart? Though I have never bought anything at a Walmart so, I already am.
I reckon I keep going to demo’s and trying to be an activist hoping we can have such a good results again……and there was nothing like running battles/skirmishes to get you to come back the next day.
I used to sing this song in my head when we were running from the cops or being beat on or while i was handcuffed waiting interminably forever to be booked, unloaded from a police bus, car or cell; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xjkxYaUD9E
Countless intellectuals and activists likened the Palestinian struggle to the South African struggle……it is essentially the same black hole.
THE DEBACLE OF HOUSING IN SAN FRANCISCO
When I decided I wanted to be an artist in 1980, I was seeing it as a
sort of underground coalition of interesting people and freaks with
great ideas, who hung out together in bars, basements and coffee
shops, forming a hugely interesting community of creative thinkers and
doers. There isn’t much time to hang in coffee shops and bars now. Now
the running dialogue is a reaction to the corporatists and
capitalists. We don’t hang and talk about the revolution or our
exciting new piece we are working on any more. The wind has been taken
out of our sails. We react to the corporatists and capitalists, we
are not proactive. Our dialogue has been taken from us. I feel like we
have played right into their hands in more ways than one. We engage in
their scarcity of housing dialogue. We try and engage a discussion
with the landowners, why would they pay attention? From what i can
tell their art form is eating over-priced food.
It is so sad as everyone moves away and the scene is decimated. Maybe
that is being proactive, moving away and not trapped in the racket and
scam that housing has become here. The head fuck, stress and wasted
energy. I do know i am so sick of this discussion, there is nothing
poetic or magic about it. And I do not see any answer for it in the
Life during wartime.
First off, I do not own property, anywhere in the world. All of my family has moved out of SF. The wind has been taken out of the sails of San Francisco artists. Maybe that happened a long time ago. It disheartens me for such a vibrant scene to die off on my watch. A watch I started in 1979.
As far as housing, it has been like listening, living watching BAD news for over 25 years, We all have PTSD from it. I truly believe this. We live in fear of losing our homes, family and friends, hoping for a natural calamity to save us (earthquake) that is sad if not pathetic. We react to the enemy (the landed gentry) we are not proactive.
There is a genre of artist, the activist/housing one that is born from this calamity…… thriving from the negative. This is not positive energy. I remember folks like this developing bodies of work during the Gulf wars, reacting to the power brokers’ moves. Granted they are reacting to their times.
This is the constant main topic in my scene and has been since 1998. Yet a taboo subject in some ways. See below for a bunch of answers I was asked for an article in a local paper that was never run.
May we all segue gracefully when it is our time to move on.
well, things will only get worse before they will get better; http://www.theonion.com/articles/report-nations-gentrified-neighborhoods-threatened,2419/?ref=auto
Meanwhile, Back to my original thoughts;
today i spent many wonderful hours in my studio, working on an op amp for an interface that can read your “auras, vibe or character”.
Can hardware/interfaces sense peoples’ unique auras and interpret this? Can I harvest a unique signature from volunteer/participant so robots respond uniquely to the individual? Can a robot respond to ones individuality?
I see a way to tackle the relationship between religion and belief,
technology and science……. Can technology do spiritual work?
Can a praying robot help? Why do prayer wheels or flags work?
(components of buddhism). Is spirituality quantifiable? Why is an
atheist interested in this? Can I scientifically conduct experiments
on wether this works? I see it as very open ended and fluid, quasi scientific….. Are spirituality or souls quantifiable? Can I crowd-source energy to trigger my robots?
What are robot best at? What are humans best at? What about the grey area where these two things are evolving?
So many questions. I believe I can do all of this with my work and
have seen it manifested to varying degrees before. Also today I started a robotic hand that turns palm up and touches the middle finger and thumb together, then opens its fingers and the hand simultaneously spins down. I also watched the grey rainy skies for a bit.
AND; here is a funny video of some of my work;
The corporate state seeks to maintain the fiction of our personal agency in the political and economic process. As long as we believe we are participants, a lie sustained through massive propaganda campaigns, endless and absurd election cycles and the pageantry of empty political theater, our corporate oligarchs rest easy in their private jets, boardrooms, penthouses and mansions. As the bankruptcy of corporate capitalism and globalization is exposed, the ruling elite are increasingly nervous. They know that if the ideas that justify their power die, they are finished. This is why voices of dissent—as well as spontaneous uprisings such as the Occupy movement—are ruthlessly crushed by the corporate state.
This is the Faustian bargain that comes with being a 21st-century American. We are a nation of stubborn individualism and lethal gun violence. It is hard to pin down exactly when Americans made the collective decision that periodic massacres of the innocent are the price that we supposedly pay for our liberties.
Maybe it dates back to the late19th century when Americans in peaceful communities embraced the myth of the Wild West and the gunslinger. Maybe it partially reflects the tabloid fascination that accompanied the gangster era of the 1920s and 1930s. Maybe it has something to do with the way that movies—that most American of art forms—have successfully turned mass violence into a mass commodity.
The NRA and ALEC are allowing the mentaly ill to hunt and kill our children. The NRA preys on mentally ill people to cash in. Follow the money. We are living through gun corporations fantasy and our nightmare……..
the big one hasn’t even happened yet……..we are literally, as a nation, staring down the barrel of a gun.
This is also our failed health care system in action.
We are being held hostage by politicians and a bunch of scared white people and it will not end until something major is done though it may be to late….
The US needs a massive mental health care discussion and help.
And anti-depressants are not the answer and may be the problem.
Who in his right mind wants to live in a country where maybe twice a year a crazed individual guns down dozens of people in schools and theaters?
The 2nd amendment calls for a well regulated militia. So, REGULATE IT!
Ladies and Gentlemens,
The 411 people running for president in 2012.
Take a good hard long look…..
WHY BOTHER TO THROW AWAY YOUR VOTE TO A DEMOCRAT?
+STOP THE GLORIFICATION OF BUSY+
I’m writing an article on the effects of the economy on the arts in the Bay Area for XXXXX and I’m asking a handful of artists/writers, arts administrators, and arts supporters who I believe would provide interesting and insightful perspectives to contribute by answering the questions below. The piece will be published at the end of March 2012.
I hope you’ll participate! If so, please return this to me by February 29th.
Let me know if you have any questions.
6 months ago I was asked for some answers to some questions for an article. I think they didn’t like my answers seeings how they never ran the article.
The test of all beliefs is their practical effect in life. If it be true that optimism compels the world forward, and pessimism retards it, then it is dangerous to propagate a pessimistic philosophy.
– Helen Keller
In general – have you felt a change in the economy in SF?
YES! Very much so. It is time to rethink the old paradigm. This is as bad as it has been in my 23 years here. At least in the late 1980’s early 1990’s it only cost $250.00 a month to rent a room and a burrito was $2.50. My wages sure have not increased on par with the cost to live here. You have to get more wiley.
What have you observed? How has it/is it affecting the arts community?
It is destroying the community.
SF is over as a cultural capitol. Oakland is on the rise. I reckon the trust fund kids will be the only “artists” left in SF in a generation. So, artists need to show their own work beyond relying on just mainstream venues. Show in your garage, backyard, front porch, garden, kitchen. Get a posse together, 3 people are a movement!
How are these changes affecting your life as an artist and/or arts administrator/supporter and your work?
Oh, it has always been a rollercoaster ride. Ups and downs. Things have always been hectic. Especially if you are doing noncommercial non-consumable art. Most of my economic support has been abroad, mostly in Europe. Even India and Africa. Those places andUniversity gigs here and abroad as a guest lecturer and visiting artist. The past few years everything is drying up. You have to work harder and better.
Do you see any benefits resulting from the economy in the Bay Area? If so, have you benefited?
Less commercial mainstream art! YAY!
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
– George Bernard Shaw
Do you see changes in the work being created – are there trends that you see connected to the economy?
We have a power that terrifies the corporate state. Any act of rebellion, no matter how few people show up or how heavily it is censored by a media that caters to the needs and profits of corporations still chips away at corporate power. Artists have so much power and strength. There is movement. It is starting, again, to be actualized beyond the classical/traditional venues. If artists are willing to pay for it themselves, essentially be their own Medici’s, then we can not be stopped, are anti-capitalist and self-sustaining. We can do whatever we want.
San Francisco is ranked #5 in wealth in the nation (Capgemini). Given that the Bay Area has a vibrant artistic and socially progressive history and an abundance of financial resources, yet artists and arts organizations here are still seriously struggling, what is your experience with and thoughts on for-profit companies investing in the arts in the Bay Area? What do you believe drives the focus of their support (if you’ve observed/ experienced this support)?
What a farce, pure capitalism does not give a shit about culture. Is exists for production, consumption and the quest for capital. This is a form of fascism.
But in a way, it is the same. There was never money here for non-commercial experimental non-gallery art. There are a bunch of silly over-priced restaurants in the Mission! Look at those yuppies eat! There goes a boatload of money every night.
You know you are on the right path when you will pay to do your work. To make your art. Write your prose. Do you think those Banksters would have worked at a coffee shop, a bartender, construction worker or waiter so that at night and on weekends they could destroy the world economy for free? That is what makes art so powerful, threatening and confusing to non artists, corporate pariahs and especially politicians. We have found our passion, our reason for existence and we will pay to do it. The only reason most people ”work” is for money. Period. So, the ones who were in art for money will, gladly, now go away.
Art is not a luxury, not akin to an overpriced bottle of booze you buy instead of paying the electric bill. Art, in all of its facets, is a necessity in society. Otherwise what do you end up with? The quest for capital. As bad and as hard as the 1% have tried to manipulate art markets for a 1% of the artists who actually sell, they will fail in the end.
Predatory financial Capitalism is warfare…. It operates like pillaging armies, seizing land, infrastructure, other tangible assets, and all material wealth. In the process, countries and ordinary people are devastated.
Experience shows that success is due less to ability than to zeal. The winner is he who gives himself to his work body and soul.
– Charles Buxton, 1823-1871
What do you think about the Occupy movement – nationally and locally?
I have waited for this my whole life; when the people wake up and realize we are a nation of sheep run by wolves. Well, it has started. Will the people get behind it is the question and not expect/rely on the usual 1% of activists who take all of the lumps for the 99%?
Oakland is NOT Manhattan, and its issues are not the same as anywhere else in the country.
What kind of resistance will be necessary to alter the trend of corporatization of public institutions of art? It seems like Anonymous and Wikileaks are the only forces we have besides human bodies against the plutocrats. We think we’re supposed to work for free until someone hits the jackpot, but that’s just because of the way our system is built. It is about time artists woke up and took control of their lives and didn’t sit around waiting to get picked to go to the cool kids’ party aka; the SECA Awards or some such other awards system akin to the Oscars. It is time to hit the reset button and imagine our utopia and then set out to realize it.
Thanks for asking XXXXX!
If the radicals should frighten the liberals as little as possible, surely the liberals have an equal obligation to get fiercer and more willing to confront — and to remember that nonviolence, even in its purest form, is not the same as being nice.
I have waited for this my whole life; when will the sheeple wake up and realize we are a nation of sheep run by wolves, well, it has started. Will the people get behind it is the question and not expect/rely on the usual 1% of activists who take all of the lumps for the 99%?
I would think the militant pacifists would just do their own demonstrations that are “peaceful”, instead of glomming onto the more activist demonstrators…..and worrying about what they are doing, sorta like armchair quarterbacking, yelling at the players from the sidelines. Being to busy and then then complaining is a lame excuse.
Anticipate resistance as much as you can, and do whatever it takes to steer clear of known sources. If surprised, find the flow and go with it. As an Aikidoka friend once put it: If someone attacks you, lean into them. Become part of their attack. And then: become the part that goes horribly, catastrophically wrong.
police attacked non-violent protesters.
Sabrina, you’re falling into the mental trap of the liberal’s need to pretend to themselves they have any meaningful influence within the deeply corrupt system or control over its capacity to deploy violence. Liberals suffer many types of cognitive dissonance…
In the first case you’re reversing the order of events. Kal is spot on: first, we were non-violent, and in response to that the corporate state violently cleared out all the Occupations. You’re subtly blaming active resistors for the violence of the police, when in fact State violence always *precedes* its resistance, e.g. what the police are now meeting. The State will administer violence as long as we visibly raise issues of class and economics, reaching out inclusively to other discontents, contesting capital’s legitimacy and power to control public space, resources, production, distribution, and expose the illusion that it exists to serve the public interest. It will meet us with violence if we’re non-violent, because that threatens their narrative that we’re a danger, a contaminant and the public needs them to protect health, safety, order. No amount of public outrage that can be mustered will stop it, until the State is dismantled (and Egypt is discovering there are many layers to fight through until a revolution is real.)
Occupiers, somehow, in our non-violent occupations weren’t non-violent *enough* to appease the State, to keep it from beating and gassing us out of public view. You treat state violence as a fact of life to be accepted, naturalized, fait accompli. You’re right, it’s part of the very definition of the State: the monopoly on the legitimate use of violence. You don’t direct your arguments to it, to challenge its violence, only those who fight it, blaming the victims of state violence for being too provocative. Like blaming a rape victim for fighting back, and wearing that provocative black sweatshirt.
You’re also treating as a real thing a mental constructs like “mainstream America” (along with “public sympathy”, “public opinion”, “eyes of the public” et al) which is homogeneous and monolithic, includes no one who can see state violence for what it is and who might respect those who resist and defend their bodies and their rights. You mistake these occasionally useful maps for real territories. The occupations were cleared and silenced — public outcry, such that it existed, was utterly insufficient to protect even this modest outcry and attempted exercise of rights. That tactic failed. It doesn’t matter a rat’s ass what “the public” thinks about Black Bloc tactics, because the public in aggregate is apathetic, reactionary, brainwashed, naive etc.
It’s interesting, your imaginary “public”, with its delicate tastes and fickle sense of morality, doesn’t speak or act — instead others speak for it. Sometimes this is the corporate media, or the State, or institutionally embedded experts. In this case, you speak for it and claim to understand what it thinks and will say and do if we just do what we’re told — but that is in your mind. It’s a kind of superego that you’ve internalized through enculturation, through officially-mediated, mythologized representations of historical movements. As a mostly imaginary psychological mechanism, and as a rhetorical trope, it’s nothing to form a political movement around, to base your whole strategy on appeasing the public tastes and “morality”. What country have you been living in!? That might work for gay marriage over 4+ decades, which doesn’t actually threaten profit; it will not work for a movement that challenges the elites’ right to have everything they want.
Before WW2, people who saw fascists for what they were, were labeled “premature anti-fascists”. Their modern equivalent are people who see the police and the larger system for what it is — a corporate/military fascist police state that’s consolidating its grip on the economy, political system, media, criminalizing dissent, militarizing the police, disappearing whistleblowers and “associates of terrorist organizations” with indefinite detention or “extraordinary rendition” to be tortured elsewhere, etc. These people know to start fighting back, once non-violence fails, as it has. Others, your counterparts leading up to WW2, tried to *appease* Hitler, by making deals, allowing Axis to grow stronger, until it was too late and war couldn’t be avoided.
People such as yourself fundamentally misunderstand the ecology of resistance necessary for a mass movement. You don’t understand the historical context of an MLK or Gandhi, because the received history of Civil Rights, or Labor, or Indian independence movements is dumbed down and distorted. MLK supported the right of the Vietnamese people to fight back militarily. The civil rights movement always contained factions who prepared themselves for self-defense. America was made to see the advantage of listening to King so that they could avoid Malcolm X. And what the actual struggle looked like has been sanitized into an ahistorical image.
Similarly, Gandhi was part of a movement that included active resistance that countered colonial violence and forced the British to listen to Gandhi who they’d have happily ignored. Please watch the following: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NK4LCxyRLg
Great post from David Taylor about the criticism of Occupy Oakland this weekend:
“After talking to folks and looking at a lot of raw footage it seem pretty clear to me that what went on Saturday was OPD gone wild. If you were surrounded by police on all sides and tear gassed and beaten while being contained I bet you might tear down a fence or try and get into an open building for safety. I find it pretty upsetting that many activist friends are more upset by a model in city hall being turned over than by marches being mass arrested and reporters with press credentials going to jail. If you don’t like building occupations as a tactic, which I think are a good idea, that is fine, organize something better, but don’t mistake that tactic with police reports of unfocused rioting.
“What happened on Saturday was a failed building occupation that then turned into a march that got attacked with massive force for hours by the police and after getting beat up for too long some kids got pissed and did some stupid shit. Kids have been doing stupid shit in social movements for a hundred years an will only stop when we organize well enough to give them a tactical alternative as opposed to just tell them to play nice after they get their heads smashed in all day. I blame myself and an older generation of experienced direct action organizers for not putting in the hours to create strategically tactical alternatives that can capture these kids imagination and make it clear why movement discipline is important. We have not done that so I don’t think we have any grounds to lecture them like stern parents. We know that building occupation was a disaster but we have yet to organize a building occupation that makes tactical and strategic sense and tells a clear story about access to resources and corporate control over our communities and lives.
“If we think it is ever okay to march without a permit we have to look at Saturday as serious police escalation that we need to stand up against and not a case of anarchists gone wild. And if we think that the tactics of the protesters were stupid we need to not condemn them, because frankly they don’t give a shit what we think and all we are likely to do is drive folks underground where they are going to do something really dumb, remember the Weather Underground. What we need to do is ORGANIZE something smart and powerful that captures everyone’s imagination.”
The police lie lie lie. The local corporate media are eager accomplices — watch them help craft the police story for maximum troll effect You cannot make a public display of civil disobedience to the 1%’s corrupt system, no matter how non-violent, without the police zombies beating you, inflicting chemical torture, locking you up for daring to speak up, and the media zombies saying you had it coming. Let’s be clear who the violent ones are.
At nearly every turn of this movement, people have emerged saying that our actions are “alienating” to some putative group out there. I tend to regard these claims with a great deal of skepticism.
Alessandro Morosin says: heavens no, a “confrontation” with the police that is “intentional?” when the OPD “intentionally” guns down unarmed people in the streets, time after time, these are just bad apples in our democratic system, and I don’t lose faith in that whole system. but when protestors start scaring the hell out of the mainstream establishment, i disassociate from the whole movement. The protestors in Egypt and Tunisia should have never “confronted” their own regimes, either. They should have just peacefully complied to a violent status quo of rigged elections. Better to have U.S.-backed capitalist dictatorships in power than to have the oppressed people rocking the boat. signed, a liberal Democrat
Good Morning! Love that people are so engaged and care so much. That is what is all about. In the end, if you truly want change, you have to get engaged, get active and be………… an ACTIVIST! This would mean volunteering your time. I know, no one has the time or money to do this. But sitting on the sidelines and barking at the players on the field never gets much of your vision accomplished.
Ted, the police choose where to allocate their troops, see above. If YOU wan to help change the world, git off the internets and out into the world and engage. One reason their is an uprising is because of the cutbacks because there is no money because some thieves took all of the money. The 1% needs to learn how to share.
If we are an alternative to the status quo and deluded ‘follow the rules’ kind of life, why would we want to spend our time bashing our own because they’re black blok? I’m sick of hearing about those bad boys. Let’s focus on the bad boys that are loyal to the STATE, who are costing millions and who are REALLY hurting people. More folks supposedly interested in Occupy are hung up over BB than the OPD. Shit that’s stupid. Also, just think, our cops could walk, refuse orders all at the same time. Other countries cop do it. Instead, who are they loyal to — government! When cops protect the State against the people’s wishes that’s fucking fascism. It’s might be textbook fascism.
Wasn’t the use of chemical weapons against his own people one of the reasons it was felt necessary to remove Saddam Hussein from power?
We are the 99 percent. We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we’re working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent.
We are the 99 percent that does almost all the work in America, yet gets only a tiny share of the wealth. We are the 99 percent that holds America together, but gets shut out of the political discussion in Washington D.C. We are the 99 percent that keeps on being asked to take all the sacrifice, while the top 1 percent gets more tax breaks and subsidies. We are the 99 percent, and look to the streets – because we are not going to lent majority any longer. Economic justice is overdue!!!!!!!!
pepper spray olympics:
Weird scene. Chemical weapons are cruel and unusual and weirdly sadistic, especially used in this kind of premeditated way on non-violent people. If they’re going to drag them into arrest anyway, I do not understand why they needed to pepperspray them (but frankly don’t care to hear whatever fucked up rationale they had for their inhuman actions).
This touches on something I’ve been thinking about: counter-psyops to the psyops that militarized police have developed to intimidate, even terrorize the public attempting to actually exercise alleged rights. The cops certainly seemed confused and collectively ashamed, huddled like a cowering dog who knows he’s gone too far, and the crowd manages to create a moral victory for itself rather than feeling defeated. Interesting.
Something is horribly wrong here. This is happening all over. Our militarized police (look at these goons) have been given a green light to go psycho on the nation in a horrific way. This is some sick shit. And a way to terrorize people into silence and submission.
there are many many more.
The 1% and their paid operatives–local city officials–are striving to protect an unjust, inherently dishonest status quo. Lacking a moral mandate, they are prone to the use of police state forms of repression.
Because any exercise in freedom makes people in our habitually authoritarian nation damn uneasy…a sense of uncertainty brings on dread–the feeling that something terrible is to come from challenging a prevailing order, even as degraded as it is.
i envision city centers with large permanent occupies, sheet metal walls, all road warriored out, barb wire, burning trash cans, picture 1996 burning man
i think “they” will never stand for real estate being occupied. that is how they destroyed the world economy and indebted everyone. It is all they got. How about putting grandmothers and their families back in their homes that were foreclosed on…..it would go a long way to healing and it is the moral high-ground.
December is get people back into their homes month who were swindled out of it! Grandmothers with children FIRST!
“We had 50,000 people in the streets yesterday demanding the redistribution of wealth. If the media is so intent on reporting on broken windows instead, I’d like to take them to some streets in East Oakland, where there are rows of empty houses that Black and Latino people were foreclosed out of, with dozens of broken windows and rats living where families used to thrive.” Maria Poblet of Causa Justa Just Cause
It’s really not worth getting in a tizzy over a few broken windows. Putting the emphasis on the perfect behavior of ALL demonstrators, rather than the perpetrators of our barbaric “civilization” is to fall into a dead-end trap. Once you go there, you’ll spend the preponderant amount of your time and thought trying to police others… There will be more property damage and probably more skirmishes with police in the days and weeks and months to come… get used to it. it’s part of the process. That said, it’s fine to have a commitment to creative, pleasurable, subversive actions, but don’t waste your time trying to control everyone else… by: Chris Carlson
It is funny, i study Zen. I sort of sometimes think of myself as a pacifist. I really do not believe our country has any moral high ground to be involved in an military events beyond our immediate borders. Way down in my heart something tells me a little of this is nececarry.
I am conflicted obviously.
But, anyone who was there last night, or any time they have seen the police riot knows deep in their soul how sick some of the police are. I mean mentally handicapped. Sadists. Sociopaths. They represent a part of our society that is also ill. They were put in their small position of power by that sick part of our society. That sick part needs to be slapped sometimes.
Anyone who has gone to demos for the past 10 years, or hell, for 40 years on my part, knows how armored up, militarized and robo-copped the police have become. It is reason enough alone for the people to rise up and break something. I also believe, any true activist should get arrested…… several times. Just to have an inside look at our justice system.
You will come out a changed person.
And, agent provocateurs need to be outed and dealt with in an appropriate manner.
the backlash against predatory lending, home foreclosures and the federal bailout of the big banks most responsible
FDR bill of economic rights
Of course the notion that this is all a media fabrication is ludicrous. Dylan Ratigan didn’t invent four million people in foreclosure, he didn’t invent ten trillion dollars in bailouts, and he didn’t invent Wall Street’s $160 billion bonus pool the year after the crash of its own creation.
People not normally engaged in politics are coming out of the wood work so it raises a question of how we engage them more substantively and long-term
Emergency support/rapid response
The campaign has three primary legislative goals to break the cycle of corruption in our political system:
- Reform our campaign finance laws to limit the impact of special interest money on policy-making;
- Reform banking and Wall Street oversight laws to protect everyday Americans; and,
- Transform our tax code to reduce our debt and enable lasting economic growth.
1. Demand infrastructure investment
2. And a works program like the tried and true WPA.
Employing millions of unskilled workers to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads, and operated large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects. It fed children and redistributed food, clothing, and housing.
3. Ending corporate personhood
4. Reinstate Glass-Steagall
In response to the Great Depression, Congress passed the Banking Act of
1933 to separate investment banking from commercial banking.
1. I suggest that protesters demand infrastructure investment
2. A works program like the tried and true WPA.
Employing millions of unskilled workers to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads, and operated large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects. It fed children and redistributed food, clothing, and housing.
Religion is what keeps the poor from killing the rich -Napoleon
vote with you dollars, however few they may be!
You do a work-around, we live embedded in a BAD system, live your life free-
embedded in a bad system indeed.. be free live life by example take risks..push for breaking the two party system, demand debate! when we cast a vote for the least worst..we may as well shoot ourselves..until the two party system is broken we will never have a non-corporatists …call them out.
speak truth to power
Good Work Egypt!!
Now make sure the military hands off power to the people!
My beef with Beck is not with his obvious promotional skills (he rakes in $35 million a year from various ventures), but with his disdain for truth and his distortion of history for profit.
“Experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to…the general prey of the rich on the poor.” The wealth of the richest 400 people in the US grew by 8 per cent in the last year to $1.37 trillion. Source: Forbes 400: The super-rich get richer, September 22, 2010, Money.com The rich talk about the rise of socialism to divert attention from the fact that they are devouring the basics of the poor and everyone else. Many of those crying socialism the loudest are doing it to enrich or empower themselves. They are right about one thing – there is a class war going on in the US. The rich are winning their class war, and it is time for everyone else to fight back for economic justice.
The corporations, and those who run them, consume, pollute, oppress and kill. The little Eichmanns who manage them reside in a parallel universe of staggering wealth, luxury and splendid isolation that rivals that of the closed court of Versailles. The elite, sheltered and enriched, continue to prosper even as the rest of us and the natural world start to die. They are numb. They will drain the last drop of profit from us until there is nothing left. And our business schools and elite universities churn out tens of thousands of these deaf, dumb and blind systems managers who are endowed with sophisticated skills of management and the incapacity for common sense, compassion or remorse. These technocrats mistake the art of manipulation with knowledge.
get out there and march and agitate-
The origin of May Day is indissolubly bound up with the struggle for the shorter workday – a demand of major political significance for the working class. This struggle is manifest almost from the beginning of the factory system in the United States.
Let us divest from the Apartheid State of Arizona.
Which is really just an extension and bailout of the Industrial prison complex.
Not that there is a whole hell of a lot I purchase from there.
Wow, I always thought the workers were zombies and cult like at Cafe Gratitude!
the laughingstock of 70’s & 80’s new age-ers!
this place needs to be boycotted
Café Gratitude espouses a raw food diet and a philosophy of self-transformation. But some current and former employees say it’s left a bad taste in their mouths.
Socialism refers to a broad set of economic theories of social organization advocating state or collective ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and the creation of an egalitarian society.
To sing a wrong note is insignificant, but to sing without passion is unforgivable.
– Ludwig van Beethoven
We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty.
– Edward R. Murrow; 1908-1965
play, “The Crucible”, Rod Serling’s teleplay, “The Monsters Are Due on
Street”, these iconic works of art are warnings of what a few small
incidents can do to destroy a community.
“He, who will not reason, is a bigot; he, who cannot, is a fool; and he, who dares not, is a slave.”
– William Drummond
“Americans used to roar like lions for liberty. Now we bleat like sheep for security.”
– Norman Vincent Peale
The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre _ the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.
The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
– H.L. Mencken
“Fascism should properly be referred to as corporatism for it refers to the situation in which corporations and the government share power.”
– Benito Mussolini
Assorted politicical quotes
“The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire against it in times of adversity. The banking powers are more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. They denounce as public enemies all who question their methods or throw light upon their crimes. I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the bankers in the rear. Of the two, the one at my rear is my greatest foe. Corporations have been enthroned, and an era of corruption in high places will follow. The money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few, and the Republic is destroyed.”
– Abraham Lincoln
SOME TERRORISTS WEAR SUITS
Friends Don’t Let Friends Vote Republican
Things you have to believe to be a Republican today:
Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush’s daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush needed a “we can’t find Bin Laden diversion.
Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.
The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.
A woman can’t be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.
Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.
The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches while slashing veterans’ benefits and combat pay.
If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won’t have sex.
A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our long-time allies, then demand their cooperation and money.
Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy. Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.
HMOs and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.
Global warming and tobacco’s link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.
A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense. A president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.
Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.
The public has a right to know about Hillary’s cattle trades, but George Bush’s driving record is none of our business.
Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you’re a conservative radio host. Then it’s an illness, and you need our prayers for your recovery.
What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the ’80s is irrelevant.
Feel free to pass this on.
If you don’t talk about this to at least 10 other people, we’re likely to be stuck with Bush for 4 more years. Sound familiar? 4 years later, same old quandry.
Friends don’t let friends vote Republican.
Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good.
– Mohandas Ghandi (1869-1948)
The tendency of aggression is an innate, independent, instinctual disposition in man…it constitutes the most powerful obstacle to culture.
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
GOOD INFORMATION SOURCE:
Politicians, like diapers, have to be changed frequently – and for the very same reason.
Why republicans are scum:
The Census Bureau reported
that there were 37.8 million Americans living in poverty in
2003, an increase of 1.3 million over 2002, and that the
number of people without health insurance rose from 43.5
million to 45 million.
The Bush Administration issued a new rule
that will permit the EPA to approve pesticides without
finding out from wildlife agencies whether the chemicals
will harm plants and animals protected by the Endangered
In the weeks following the attacks of September 11, 2001, President Bush’s press secretary Ari Fleischer replied to criticism of administration policy by warning that “all Americans need to watch what they say, watch what they do”. This challenge to free expression emphasized the climate of war, repression, and xenophobia that continues to run through American society.
A 57-year-old partially deaf Texan veteran with
skin cancer was called up to report for active duty
Senator Pat Roberts, the chair of the Senate Intelligence
Committee, proposed eliminating the CIA, removing the
National Security Agency from the Pentagon’s control, and
creating three new spy agencies governed by a national
intelligence director. The American Civil Liberties Union
warned that the federal government has been using
corporations to carry out surveillance of citizens because
private firms are not subject to many privacy and
When the Pentagon used Sept. 11 and the war on terrorism in an effort to get its training exercises exempted from eight environmental laws, including the Endangered Species Act, the GOP-dominated House gave full approval. The lame-duck Democratic Senate rejected all but an exemption to the Migratory Bird Treaty, a “compromise” that allows the military to blast rare migratory birds like the American eagle in the defense of freedom. This case illustrates Republican arrogance. The Los Angeles Times reported that an administration lawyer, arguing for military readiness, contended that naturalists benefit when the military kills birds because “bird-watchers get more enjoyment spotting a rare bird than they do spotting a common one.”
positions I’m for…
stem cell research
national health care
OR: portability of health-care bnefits
portable retirement accounts
public works projects
privacy (opt-in and not opt-out — and I won’t change my position after being elected President)
strong FDA regulation
strong SEC regulation
strong environmental regulation
social security system
against the death penalty
The Bush administration has announced plans to open 60 million acres of America’s last pristine wild forests to logging, drilling, and mining. It’s the biggest single giveaway to the timber industry in the history of our national forests
Israel is a tiny liberal democracy surrounded by a sea of fascist, totalitarian, Islamic dictatorships, where women are property (teenage girls are raped and then executed for ‘adultery’), minorities have zero rights, and an oligarchy controls all the wealth and uses theology as a cloak to enslave their people, keeping them uneducated and in poverty, and these leftists are bosom buddies with these societies, yet froth at the mouth with hatred for Israel. Israel has .0016 the amount of land that the Arab nations have, and have had to defend themselves against four aggressive imperialist wars by the Soviet-armed Arab nations, and yet Israel is the colonialist imperialist power. It’s this issue most of all that demonstrates that there is something very evil going on with these people.
“I’ve often found that if I go down the list of ‘liberal’ issues with people who say they’re Republican, they are quite liberal and not in sync with the Republicans who run the country,” Moore said.
“Most don’t want America to be the world’s police officer and prefer peace to war. They applaud civil rights, believe all Americans should have health insurance and think assault weapons should be banned,” he said.
“President Bush promised America that he would add 5.5 million jobs to our economy by the end of this year,” said Deni Frand, executive director of People For the American Way’s New York office. “Instead, millions of jobs have been lost, and millions of Americans have been feeling real pain because of his policies.”
10 million Americans unemployed.
You should be more afraid of a stupid man than of an evil one.
– Christina of Sweden
√ BILL OF RIGHTS
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
The judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another state, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign state.
From 4 years ago, funny how little has changed….
“Republicans: The No.1 reason the rest of the world thinks we’re deaf, dumb and dangerous.”
By Garrison Keillor
Something has gone seriously haywire with the Republican Party. Once, it was the party of pragmatic Main Street businessmen in steel-rimmed spectacles who decried profligacy and waste, were devoted to their communities and supported the sort of prosperity that raises all ships. They were good-hearted people who vanquished the gnarlier elements of their party, the paranoid Roosevelt-haters, the flat Earthers and Prohibitionists, the antipapist antiforeigner element. The genial Eisenhower was their man, a genuine American hero of D-Day, who made it OK for reasonable people to vote Republican. He brought the Korean War to a stalemate, produced the Interstate Highway System, declined to rescue the French colonial army in Vietnam, and gave us a period of peace and prosperity, in which (oddly) American arts and letters flourished and higher education burgeoned-and there was a degree of plain decency in the country. Fifties Republicans were giants compared to today’s. Richard Nixon was the last Republican leader to feel a Christian obligation toward the poor.
In the years between Nixon and Newt Gingrich, the party migrated southward down the Twisting Trail of Rhetoric and sneered at the idea of public service and became the Scourge of Liberalism, the Great Crusade Against the Sixties, the Death Star of Government, a gang of pirates that diverted and fascinated the media by their sheer chutzpah, such as the misty-eyed flag-waving of Ronald Reagan who, while George McGovern flew bombers in World War II, took a pass and made training films in Long Beach. The Nixon moderate vanished like the passenger pigeon, purged by a legion of angry white men who rose to power on pure punk politics. “Bipartisanship is another term of date rape,” says Grover Norquist, the Sid Vicious of the GOP. “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.” The boy has Oedipal problems and government is his daddy.
The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk. Republicans: The No.1 reason the rest of the world thinks we’re deaf, dumb and dangerous.
Rich ironies abound! Lies pop up like toadstools in the forest! Wild swine crowd round the public trough! Outrageous gerrymandering! Pocket lining on a massive scale! Paid lobbyists sit in committee rooms and write legislation to alleviate the suffering of billionaires!
Hypocrisies shine like cat turds in the moonlight! O Mark Twain, where art thou at this hour?
Arise and behold the Gilded Age reincarnated gaudier than ever, upholding great wealth as the sure sign of Divine Grace.
Here in 2004, George W. Bush is running for reelection on a platform of tragedy-the single greatest failure of national defense in our history, the attacks of 9/11 in which 19 men with box cutters put this nation into a tailspin, a failure the details of which the White House fought to keep secret even as it ran the country into hock up to the hubcaps, thanks to generous tax cuts for the well-fixed, hoping to lead us into a box canyon of debt that will render government impotent, even as we engage in a war against a small country that was undertaken for the president’s personal satisfaction but sold to the American public on the basis of brazen misinformation, a war whose purpose is to distract us from an enormous transfer of wealth taking place in this country, flowing upward, and the deception is working beautifully.
The concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few is the death knell of democracy. No republic in the history of humanity has survived this. The election of 2004 will say something about what happens to ours.
The omens are not good.
Our beloved land has been fogged with fear-fear, the greatest political strategy ever. An ominous silence, distant sirens, a drumbeat of whispered warnings and alarms to keep the public uneasy and silence the opposition.
And in a time of vague fear, you can appoint bullet-brained judges, strip the bark off the Constitution, eviscerate federal regulatory agencies, bring public education to a standstill, stupefy the press, lavish gorgeous tax breaks on the rich.
There is a stink drifting through this election year. It isn’t the Florida recount or the Supreme Court decision. No, it’s 9/11 that we keep coming back to. It wasn’t the “end of innocence,” or a turning point in our history, or a cosmic occurrence, it was an event, a lapse of security. And patriotism shouldn’t prevent people from asking hard questions of the man who was purportedly in charge of national security at the time.
Whenever I think of those New Yorkers hurrying along Park Place or getting off the No.1 Broadway local, hustling toward their office on the 90th floor, the morning paper under their arms, I think of that non-reader George W. Bush and how he hopes to exploit those people with a little economic uptick, maybe the capture of Osama, cruise to victory in November and proceed to get some serious nation-changing done in his second term.
This year, as in the past, Republicans will portray us Democrats as embittered academics, desiccated Unitarians, whacked-out hippies and communards, people who talk to telephone poles, the party of the Deadheads.
They will wave enormous flags and wow over and over the footage of firemen in the wreckage of the World Trade Center and bodies being carried out and they will lie about their economic policies with astonishing enthusiasm.
The Union is what needs defending this year. Government of Enron and by Halliburton and for the Southern Baptists is not the same as what Lincoln spoke of. This gang of Pithecanthropus Republicanii has humbugged us to death on terrorism and tax cuts for the comfy and school prayer and flag burning and claimed the right to know what books we read and to dump their sewage upstream from the town and clear-cut the forests and gut the IRS and mark up the constitution on behalf of intolerance and promote the corporate takeover of the public airwaves and to hell with anybody who opposes them.
This is a great country, and it wasn’t made so by angry people. We have a sacred duty to bequeath it to our grandchildren in better shape than however we found it. We have a long way to go and we’re not getting any younger.
Dante said that the hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who in time of crisis remain neutral, so I have spoken my piece, and thank you, dear reader. It’s a beautiful world, rain or shine, and there is more to life than winning. (c) 2004 In These Times