"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Mar 10, 2011

Strung Up in Wisconsin


Intended to write about letting my oldest skip school today, about "schooling" as "besting, defeat" in common usage, about the colonization of minds and bodies, and how this sort of all relates (I believe) to disciplining boys into assholes, girls into repositories for asshole ejecta (pun half intended), porn and war. A meditation, if you will. Not an exposition. Stan Goff has mapped that territory already, and he's a damned good cartographer.

Maybe later.

For now, the AolSwoonington had a great and greatly ironic headline, reading:

"Labor Vows To Step Up Recall Effort Against Wisconsin GOP, Challenge Anti-Union Bill in Court"

...and reading it, I coughed up a mouthful of blueberry mini wheats and nearly choked to death on my own amusement.

I don't mean to scoff too mightily, but -  really?

That's what "labor" wants - to remove some Republicans from office in a so-so state?

To what end?

Presumably, to replace them with Democrats. Because we all know how labor friendly their policies will prove, right?

Anyway, the editorial posing as a report starts off just so:

"Dealt a major setback Wednesday night in a high-stakes battle over union rights in Wisconsin, labor leaders nevertheless insisted that they would emerge from the three-week long saga energized and eager to continue fighting."

So, let's get this shit straight - "labor" actually means "labor leaders."  Never mind the abuse of the word "saga," for a moment. This fight - which amounted to some invigorating and festive street protests, the peaceful occupation of a state capital, and the mild toleration of local law enforcement - energized the bejeebus out of Wisconsin working folks so damned much that their leadership came up with the fuck all brilliant plan to...

...bog down in partisan electoral politics to the ultimate benefit of corporatist Democrats, invest labor and loot in rooting through the pig's trough court system, in order to declare victory, in the end, with a "compromise" that cuts benefits packages, real wages, pension contributions and anything else that might keep the various states from becoming full time milice operations.

Fucking winners, these union bosses.


Hours after Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) and his Republican allies in the state Senate took nearly everyone by surprise and pushed through a stand-alone bill stripping public employees of their collective bargaining rights, labor officials pledged to ramp up efforts to recall Republicans and challenge the legislation in court.

Whoa nelly. See, here's the thing. The Wisconsin Republicans did not strip any rights from anyone.

"The State cannot give rights, and the State cannot take them away," a wise poet once mused.

I'm not sold on the concept of "rights" to start, but that's neither here nor there for the purposes of our little rant. What ultimately matters has very little to do with what some elected poombahs do or do not write into a law which may or may not be realistically enforceable. What matters, for those who care to preserve their liberties and the fruit of their own collective labor, is action.

How we live our lives. Not how we dance on the puppet strings of those who pay themselves to manipulate us.

But, that's what "labor" appears poised to do, in Wisconsin.

To put on the strings and to twitch in reaction. To cede momentum, organization, ground and initiative to a disciplinary system organized for and completely in the hands of its mortal enemies. Friends, comrades and strangers -  this legal, judicial and legislative system does not operate for the benefit of we who are ruled. It cannot. Organized ownership demands its own protection racket, and none better exists than the one it currently has - a system which they are right now, as we read and write, streamlining and militarizing in order to better govern the range of fast approaching available futures.

When we engage the ruling class and its factors and agents on ground it controls, on territory it defines and maintains at our expense, and to our detriment, we cannot expect to win our contest, our fight or our struggle.

We should not even describe it as such. There's no struggle, here. There's no fight. It's over before it starts because the outcome not only depends on the mediation of our mortal enemies, but on their enforcement mechanisms.

Any victories which we might achieve can only appear as such; they won't actually defeat the opponent - and they serve the immediate interests of those who rule us. Assume, for a minute or two, that labor manages to spend effort and treasure successfully recalling a few Republican state senators, finding also a judge sympathetic to a reading of law and the Wisconsin State Constitution which preserves the legal fiction of protection for collective bargaining.

Who will fill those seats?

Who has the money, the organization and the institutional support to capture those vacated seats?

Who benefits from vacating a couple of Republicans?


Corporatist pig NAFTA passing, warhawking, revolution breaking, union busting, greenwashing, TARP voting, bank bailing, abortion limiting, rape apologizing, big business...


And to rub this point in, and all the way to the bone, your labor "leaders":

"...While there was some initial chatter (and even some protesters chanting) about the possibility of a general strike -- a large-scale strike by all workers in particular industries -- labor officials say it is not in the works at all. Union leaders for both Madison and Milwaukee Public Schools teachers, as well as the Wisconsin Education Association Council, also put out a statement urging its members to go to work rather than the statehouse to protest on Thursday. 

One area labor will be focusing on is stepping up efforts to recall Republican senators. Only one Republican, Dale Schultz, voted against the bill on Wednesday. A moderate who previously proposed a compromise, Schultz may therefore now find himself spared from Democrats' recall efforts. Eight Republican senators are currently eligible to be recalled, and Walker will find himself in a similar situation next year -- once he has been in office for a year..."

And what will they do with a few extra seats in the Wisconsin Senate? Or in Ohio. Or Indiana. Or New York. Or in Congress?

They'll do what Democrats do, friends. They'll take the time and labor of working people, they'll buy up and block off the right and just anger of migrants and immigrants, they'll bottle up homosexual agitation, they'll corral conservationists, they'll ignore peace factions, they'll continue to pretend and protect with law the belief that uncompensated household labor is a gift and a given, they'll keep their boots on the necks of black people everywhere while they increase funding for the drug war and the prison industrial complex -  and they'll damned sure make safe the way of capital.

Because the idea, the manifestly excellent idea which some actual workers actually imagined - general strike! - scares them into a sweet, wriggling terror.

Because, and this may in fact be an exact truth, how we live our lives matters. It really fucking does. And if we live them in open, organized, cooperative defiance of the rigged system with which they rule us, we shift the very arena of contest, and the ground of struggle belongs to...


We gain the initiative. We do it.

They know this, the bosses and factors of the ruling class. They know it in their marrow and bones, and often far deeper and with greater understanding than we do.

Which is why they expend the cake they do to get us to believe that a court date and a new election represent the real victory against them...


Anonymous said...

I was so hoping that the sympathetic response of the republican leaning police to the democratic leaning teachers would bring someone to realize that it is not the Ds or Rs but the B(osse)s that are the problem, but when you are as poorly educated as Americans are, it was as idle and stupid a hope as theirs.

Anonymous said...

That's mighty fine, Jack.

I definitely appreciate the passion running throughout. This is not a time for soft-pedaling, meliorating wimp-prose.

Joe said...

I like how it's described as a "surprise move." Is anybody really surprised when these fuckers discover some arcane rule that allows them to ram some piece of legislation down our throats? And if there isn't a rule already, they'll make one up. This result was a foregone conclusion, as you correctly note.


Americans are perfectly well educated...to suit the needs of those same bosses who are running the state house.

fwoan said...

Wow, excellent post, Jack. As always you snap me out of some misty-eyed optimism and show me reality - no matter how ugly it may be.

Jack Crow said...

Folks, I appreciate the replies. I have thoughts a'brewing in response.

Anonymous said...

yes, yes, yes! But obama has done the best he can...and, and, and....the republicans are pure evil. how can you be so politically naive?

see sapient at obsidian wings for details.