"...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

Oct 31, 2011

Chomsky's Agonistes

Some people, apparently, take criticism of Chomsky personally. It's like he's a prophet, or something. It's like criticizing the Chompers is criticizing their own awakening to the banal venality of human endeavors.

This may come as a surprise, but it doesn't take ruling class terminology to figure out that rich people with lots of guns suck.

I know it seems like an epiphany to comfortable, well off technicians plodding along in academia and the suburbs, but it's really not. I don't recommend getting pistol whipped by a cop with a grudge, but it doesn't take a credentialing mill to figure our that the cop is manhandling your carcass because he's got the gun and the backing of the people with the money. It does, on the other hand, help to have comfortable white male skin, a suburban existence, and a college degree to treat with the proposition that "rich people suck hard, which is how they get rich, and then they hire a few poor people to fuck up the rest of the poor to protect their property" as some kind of world-shaking revelation.

Anyhow, I don't understand the impulse to personalize a defense of famous and wealthy people. They are famous and wealthy precisely because they're willing to make the compromises which most of us do not make. Men like Noam may understand the contradiction between writing about bad capitalists and doing so for profit. He may even feel a wee bit of the angst when it comes to staking out an anarchist position from the safety of a military-industrial institute with longstanding ties to the professional torture community. A man like Chomsky may harbor a little shame for regularly outlining the evils of the world order in the driest, most distancing, most academic, and elitist language possible, while routinely using resonant and ordinary idiom to persuade his alleged allies to end actions which might obstruct Israeli crimes against Palestinians.

Here's all you need to know about that man Chomsky, so-called anarchist, so-called radical:

"When teaching at MIT, he often receives undercover police protection."

Now I'm sure Chomsky's Internet Defense Brigade will argue something along the lines of, "But hey, dude, he's like been threatened with death."

To which one might reasonably reply, "And that's nothing like actually dying from an Israeli sniper's bullet, while attempting to cross the street on the way to buying basic foodstuffs at siege and sanctions prices. And besides, there's a fairly clear demarcation between anarchist and comfortable fucking academic who takes death money to teach dolled up Kant-on-the-Brain, all the while writing for-profit tomes about the evils of the profit system. On one side of that line are anarchists, who can be annoying and purist and all sorts of odd and corrosive. On the other side, there are wealthy professors who own more than one home, have investment portfolios and inheritance plans for their children, belong to the ruling class, and accept undercover police protection."

If you're on the side with the undercover police protection, your claims to "anarchism" and opposition to the concentration of power are suspect, at best.

So, what is Chomsky, then?

Chomsky is a gatekeeper. 

Like Elizabeth "I laid the foundation for OWS" Warren, Michael "OWS happened because of my movies" Moore or that  posturing fascist assclown, Zizek. Their purpose (and there's no coordinated conspiracy here; it's just what they do) is to misdirect outrage into runnels of sophistry and philosophizing, or into party politics. 

On the way to burning out the toll stations, perhaps it might be worth showing these gatekeepers the appropriate lengths of rope. Metaphorically, of course...

Oct 27, 2011

Safe For Business

The Huffington Post's front page, as of 9:53 pm, October 27, 2011 EST:

From the Linkins opinion piece:

"...Over at The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof has enunciated an excellent defense of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, aimed at dispelling the notion that the Occupiers are some single-minded mass movement targeting the capitalist system for destruction. In fact, Kristof says, 'while alarmists seem to think that the movement is a 'mob' trying to overthrow capitalism, one can make a case that, on the contrary, it highlights the need to restore basic capitalist principles like accountability.'
Kristof says that what Occupy Wall Street represents is 'a chance to save capitalism from crony capitalists' and an entrenched system of 'government-backed featherbed[ding]' that amounts to 'socialism for tycoons and capitalism for the rest of us.' As Kristof notes, he's seen this before: Years of covering the '90s-era Asian financial crisis brought Kristof face-to-face with the same critique. It's now unspooling in the United States and having its own deleterious effects, such as the near-intractable income inequality that was, at long last, reported on fully this week (perhaps thanks to the presence of the Occupiers themselves).

Kristof's right to suggest that the Occupiers aren't 'half-naked Communists aiming to bring down the American economic system.' This isn't the 'Project Mayhem' of Chuck Palahniuk novels -- we're talking about a movement that's spurring people to move their money from 'too big to fail' banks into credit unions. That's not exactly 'smash the system.' That's more like a group of people seeking out a means to maximize their power within the system, or using consumer choice to preserve, enhance and improve the best parts of the system. As Matt Taibbi notes in a fitting companion piece to Kristof's, 'These people aren't protesting money. They're not protesting banking. They're protesting corruption on Wall Street.'..."

(internal links, excepting the Kristof original, removed; italics mine)

Note to self: this is why formlessness is a virtue. Here, this right here explains the demand for shadows and black hands. This Kristof clownshit is what you get out of democratism, consensus building and reformism. You get to the gate, and the keeper is all like, "Hey fuckfaces, you can't look like radicals. So, let's get you some public relations and a press agent. And like, no way dudes, that's what I went to college for..." 

You get a "defense" of your sweat and blood and the gift of your permanently irredeemable time that makes a mockery of your suffering and insecurity at the same time as it re-frames your rebellion, your unrest, your protest as a confirmation of the goodness and rightness of the status quo. Sure, sure, there are some problems with bad actors and wormy apples. But, the mediators and gatekeepers are eager to tell you, "...what you're really pissed about is the fact that the big bad baddies are acting like, um, bad guys. Now, if only there was a way to make power safe for everyone, then we could get back to the business of doing business, which is like never about sucking people's life and labor and turning it into toys that rich pricks forgot they even bought..."

Fuck. You get "dissent" that is safe for business.

Tomorrow, some rich bastard will shit out more expensive feces, as valued by the price of the food that went into his mouth hole, than something like four fifths of all people on the planet will spend on feed for their families for a month.

Tonight, some wealthy fuck will get into a car the monthly payment for which will equal your total food, rent and transportation needs for the next two months.

Right now, one of the bankers who do "good capitalism" on a regular basis, in contravention of the claims of do-gooder reformists like Linkins and Kristof, will be earning in a single commission, after taxes, what it will take you and your lover two years to make, before taxes, expenses and fees are deducted.

We don't fucking need reform.

What's needed are the Brigate Rosse, dillingers, robin hoods, diggers, levelers, Rebeccas, Munster rebels and red emmas with their whips.

What we need are bankers who've forgotten how to sleep.

Against the light; or, physician give thyself an iatrogenic disease and die already...

The reformist operates from a peculiar vantage; he has the light to his back, haloing him with his own contempt. He is learned, enlightened. He hangs out his shingle, he gives it illumination.He tacks his degree to the wall, and he wants you to see it. He's got a license to have this mission. He's got a geas. A need. To bring the light. To deliver the world into it.

The reformist is a good servant: he fancies himself a physician, a bringer of cures, an apothecary of bright tomorrows. He's a shopkeep for sickness' sake, and it's illness what keeps him in silks. He has a bag of purgatives, a schedule of drugs, a timetable for treatment by which to beat back the disease. Like a physician, he keeps a little hatred for his patient in reserve. And he's got a patient in mind, right from the start:  sick and corrupted society, a sorry little whore suffering from self-inflicted social infections; she's mostly unlettered, bold in her stupidity, resistant to his cures, and a beastly thing better suited to the yoke than to honesty company. It's a rough trade, healing this whore, but the doctor is not above a little leeching.

But that's alright. He came for the fight.

The reformer needs the world sickened, and in darkness, else he cannot save it.

He's going to do battle with corruption, and he's got the light at his back.

In that he's like any other son of the light. He wants to shine it on you, on us. And that ain't even the scary part, his need to illuminate every darkness, to cast out shadow and doubt, to have the whole score of life written up in a well lit ledger, showcased in a hall of mirrors and bright lanterns. To take the credit for his cure, and to be celebrated for it in the light of day.

No, that's not the worst.

What ought to give us pause is the light, itself. 

Maybe you have a moment to ponder it: the reformer, the would be king, the general, the academic with a system, the social diagnostician, the guardian of women's honor, the prince of art or industry, the salvificating preacher and enemy of sin, the witch hunters and vice squaddies, the therapist who will cure you of your own self - how is that they style themselves, er, as a rule?

Let the shadowed silence hold you for a minute.

Dispel the light.

All those once and future redeemers arrive first as heralds of a new day, a new dawn, an enlightenment, the bright future, the well lit path towards a better tomorrow. They offer cleanliness, and a lighted walkway to improvement.


It's a good bet that a man at the head of an invasion, or about to steal other people's children and remake them, save them, or offering a cure to society's ills, or with a plan to root out the sicknesses of crime and criminality, or with a mission to elevate women towards the perfect, to cure faggots of their gay, to rescue the mudders from their low and crowded living - he comes in the name of the light.


Every godsbedamned time someone kicks off a war, or a crusade, he calls on the name of the same god, over and over and fucking over again.

His god is a god of light. His cure is enlightenment, knowledge, purity and purification, the facts in the light of day, a cold coruscation, a revelation, a banishing of darkness, ignorance, shadows, doubt and the improper conduct which beggars the fools who live a bit to the left of the rays of the sun, who linger in shadows, or hold their hearts back from the unforgiving gaze of an eye that never closes.

He would deliver...

...salvation, redemption, enlightenment:

The fire glow from an auto-da-fé.

An interrogation lamp, anywhere.

An army psychologist's field notes, spotlighting breakdowns, radiant with insight into the deconstruction of women and men.

A mayor, by press conference camera light, brandishing enemies: low women and black gangs with mind darkening drugs. The police chief to the left of him, the prosecutor to his right.

The preacher man, highlights in his hair, fulminating against the music of the devil.

And the reformer, jaw taut with righteousness, half hovering over his seat, his mouth white with the tension and urgency of his salvific cause, suffused with the fluorescence, with the afterglow of his purpose.

The reformer would cure you. He would enlighten you. He would save you from yourself, from your habits, afflictions and addictions. From your base behaviors. He would elevate you, lifting you up closer to the cleansing sun.

Clean and light, that's the reformer's endgame. A world scrubbed and illuminated, a succession of bright days, alternating between classwork, intestinal cleanses, consensus exercises and moral edification. Wholesomeness, in a word.

A clinic.

And a clinical outcome.

So it's best, I guess, to keep this in shadowed mind when you meet one on the wayside. Maybe you don't have to take one of his needles out of that bag of cures and tricks and stick him with it. But maybe you do. You never can tell, really.

Oct 25, 2011

Massachusetts Delenda Est

“...'I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do. … I support what they do,' Ms. Warren said of Occupy Wall Street..."

That's some mighty exaggerated ego, Madame Candidate.

Then again, the same candidate, on Iran:

 “...'Our number one responsibility is to protect Americans from terrorism, that’s our job, so being tough on terrorism is enormously important,' said Warren yesterday at a campaign stop in Gloucester...We should take nothing off the table, but the facts are still emerging,' the Senate candidate said when asked if she would support military action against Iran..."

And on OWS, earlier this fall:

When asked about the OWS protesters, Warren answered (question begins at approx. 50:00):

"Everyone has to follow the law. That has to be the starting place. But no one understands better what the frustration is right now. The people on Wall Street broke this country and they did it one lousy mortgage at a time. It happened more than three years ago and there still has been no basic accountability and no real effort to fix it. That’s why I want to run for the United States Senate. That’s what I want to do to change the system.”


So...plus ça change plus c'est la même chose, and shit, eh?

(h/t commenter Frederick, chez IOZ- and Ian Welsh, for the earlier Warren quote on OWS)

Oct 24, 2011


"Empowers" is a term which traps its users. It gets you thinking that power is a possession, an item which can be packed away and employed later as needed.

Power cannot be owned.

It is not a trait which can be made use of, or a reserve of strength which can be tapped at a crucial moment.

Power is a relation.

It requires, at a minimum, one who submits or surrenders, and one who controls.

Yes, we have power lines and electrical power, and you can as easily speak of motive power as you can political power, but these usages of the word as not as divisible as might be cavalierly assumed. They are contextual, as with all language.

There is nothing particularly free, horizontal and liberating about the control an electric company has over its monopolized and captive consumers. And the car which you might drive from debt-house or rent-rooms to your box-of-labor-suffering is a tether attached from your needs to your death, and to all of the commodities you produce and consume on your way from one dark to the other.

And so on.

Like that.

Until you die.

Oct 23, 2011


I don't know why or how you put up with men.

I really don't.

It's like putting up with a skin rash, or a persistent cough, maybe? You may not want it, but it's part of being alive?

I don't know. Running a one in six chance of being raped is no doubt worse than living with a risk of pneumonia.

I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to do it.

If men were groped, leered at, pawed upon, demeaned, had their generative organs legislated and regulated, paid less than women, excluded from conversations as a matter of custom, raped at rate of one out of every six of us, abused, beaten, expected to be fuck-ready at the drop of the drawers, used as a symbol of wickedness, employed as a cause of social decay, held up as an impossible standard of beauty, castigated as the cause of criminality, excluded from vital decisions, blamed for moral failures, incriminated for how female children turn out as adults, standardized as the set of traits which define weakness and vulnerability, chided as vehicles of sin, idealized as unobtainable prizes, and all as a matter of tradition, culture, law and religion...

...we probably would have torched the world with nuclear death in a pique of self pity by now. Hell, we've already brought the human race to the brink more than once, without being treated like women.


...there's that.

Oct 21, 2011


The "complete withdrawal" from Iraq is a pretext to re-invade. White hats can't ride in and save the day if they're already sitting in the saloon.

Just ask the Lebanese, the Gazans, the Burmese, the Persians, the Algerians, the Irish and the Iraqis themselves.

But, the really great thing about Obama's "end to the Iraq War" is good liberals getting all party loyalist because Mittens thinks it's a bad idea...

Dancing With the Stars and Stripes

You should read Justin's Dancing With the Stars and Stripes.

(But I'd put my un-money on Chavez. It's been weeks since an MSNBC retired brasser or Foxpundit used the words "Monroe Doctrine". Plus, there's a king's levy of nativists just waiting to get breathless about the connections between Iran, Venezuela and Mexico...)

Obama's Victory

Libya, in chaos.

A new "breeding ground for terrorists," which should cover at least two decades of discretionary spending and security centralization.


Bush did not handle Iraq with incompetence, as liberals have argued, in defense of good war doctrine. Obama has not poorly managed the NATO destruction of Libya, a position around which famous national conservatives have begun to coalesce.

The endgame was always the creation-by-destruction of permanent police zones.

Done in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya (and if the war gods' blessing holds, Syria and Iran) with a combination of bombs, bribes, wetwork and the blockades called sanctions.


Done at home with the great theft known as austerity.

But don't worry.

Soon enough, they'll grow comfortable with the idea of bombs-for-domestic-security. Whole neighborhoods, predominantly black and hispanic, are already under blockade. The local cops and the national police routinely run special ops style wetwork missions in poor neighborhoods. Our political machine is a bribery cartel.

So, why not reaper bombs in defense of the homeland, against its internal enemies?

The sky death robots are currently deployed against the invasion of the Golden Mexican Horde.

It won't take much - maybe just a single catalyzing event - to bring the victory all the way home...

Oct 20, 2011


If you kill him*, they** will come.

* - Saddam, Bin Ladin, Qaddafi, Al Awlaki, Al Zarqawi, Al Masri, and for coming attractions, see Nasrallah, al Assad and Ahmadinejad

** - extraction, asset management, defense, security, finance and investment companies

Oct 19, 2011

Decrepitude, Breakdowns, Landslides

Reading Monsieur, this song came immediately to un-mind:

...and from the tendrils of sound tickled out from those notes, to these:

Oct 18, 2011

War Pig Not

Qualifiers: I don't care who is President. I don't trust anyone who actually wants the job. The earnestness in this video reaches beyond melodrama, and grasps at florid and purple pathos. It's a campaign ad, so, you know...

When it comes to war and the projection of power, Ron Paul is the only fucking candidate who has even half a clue.

Don't vote for him. Don't vote at all. Voting is stupid. Voting puts the stamp of your life on the power of those who want to use your life up. Get all up in a tizzy about Ron Paul's goldbugging, his abortion opinions and his standard Republican lip service to capital. He's still better on this subject than Elizabeth Middle Class and her "progressive fighter" drumbeat for Iranwar.

Oct 17, 2011

a title would only conceal the intent

Late in the night, or just as I'm awakening, I think nonsense words.

The thinking of words is already foreign to me. I don't do it very often. Perhaps it was the drugs. Might have been the beatings about my head and face. But, I cannot remember ever thinking many words in my head.

My wife and I spoke of it once, and we ended that conversation frustrated, and further from comprehensibility than before. I have to think about thinking words. I have to plan them. I don't hear my voice in my head, and I have extraordinary difficulty picturing images. I can draw, but I cannot picture. When people suggest* that I "visualize" I find myself at a loss. I can conceptualize, which is something akin to imagining a series of interlocking x-y-z axis graphs, with a-vocal meanings, syntactically and contextually dependent, running between chart points and charts, where the connections can become words once I age my hands or voice in the process of giving structure to them. But I do not have much native skill with translating these graphical interrelations into actual graphics, or sounds, in my head. My wife and I happened to be discussing this just yesterday. It is still foreign to her that I am empty-headed and capable of quick argument and planning. I still think it must be nightmarish and burdensome to travel through one's day with nothing but one's own voice rattling around up in there, fucking up the world with its monotonous and relentless commentary. I quite like the lack of noticeable translation software doing its business of meaning-making, between the reports filed by the parts of me which are senses and the parts of me which are reflection, collation and recollection of sensory input.

(Writing is especially difficult to explain, since I have a full map of what I mean, but almost no directly remembered word arrangements, before I put pen to page or digits to keyboard.)

So the nonsense words are odd. Perhaps troubling, as in a puzzle, but without the emotional coloring of trepidation and worry. Yet. Odd, because I can hear myself hearing them, in my own voice. I'm not subvocalizing them, I don't think. I've spent several days now quietly sitting, especially when I feel the creep of sleep, keeping my voice box under attention. These nonsense words still seem to form, on occasion, right on the edge of the slip between conscious awareness and the self-containment of sleep.

It happened again, today.

I had to elevate my legs, earlier this afternoon, and after an hour of tedious television, and the inability to get past a sentence in the book I'm re-reading, I started to drift off.

It was at this moment, on the cusp of sleep, that I heard myself think what I now remember as trappinec dogannly. (traa pinn eck daw gann lee).

I couldn't tell you what it means. It's nonsense. I don't think it has meaning. It has the feeling of a dream wisp, a babble of sounds that the mind ought to be trying to force into symbols and value shapes, but which end it does not accomplish, perhaps from failure or lack of care.

I believe I should worry about this, given the other shit happening to my body and nerves, but I don't. I'm resigned to it, and that's also a new thing. I expected, I think, a fear response and was surprised not to have experienced one.

I keep searching myself for the usual signs of fear. Also, for the fascination and obsession which tend to accompany a new plight.

Nothing. This is just me now, I guess.

I couldn't even adequately explain to you why I'm about to hit the "publish post" button and vomit this wholly uninteresting swill onto the screen. It's intriguing to me, I guess. And perhaps I'm about to toy with the madness I've long expected, which claimed my grandmother for almost twenty years, and which may have owned a great aunt. Or maybe it's part of the same seeming** degeneration which has claimed the right side of my mouth, the two right most toes on my right foot, a portion of my left foot, and the inside of my left pinky finger and sometimes for hours at a time, the index finger and thumb of my left hand as well as the right side of my face and every now and again my left eye, eyelid, eyebrow and cheek.

Madness could liberate. Or I could suffer it deeply. Maybe it will skip me. Or maybe I'm finally just starting to really die.

Not the short, quick death of my now distant youth, where I was certain I wanted to die right up until I actually did perish - and can I tell you, that many sleeping pills will parch not only your mouth, but your anus.


I pissed myself. I saw nothing, no loved ones, no bright lights. I needed water. My mouth would not moisten. I signed myself into rehab, but I didn't want to improve anything. I wanted to get in touch with Krishna, Shiva, Jesus, Buddha, Allah, the spirit of the raven - anything, because that fucking darkness was long and wide and deep and it didn't know my name. I didn't want to hunger and thirst anymore. I wanted to drink and gorge and wallow in revelation, faith, spirit and that most evil of fictions, capitalized Love.

I did acid and angel dust, magic caps and mescalin instead. Detox is a good place to discover all the drugs you have not done yet.

I  played with my brain, trying to find God and gods and godhood in chemicals and then when I stopped pretending that I was consolable, that I could actually live with any sort of salvation and redemption, I gave myself to a cynical excess. Followed by a minimalist skepticism.

Eventually, the hallucinations faded to silence, and quiet, and I learned to make do. To work. To crawl up and out. To give my word and keep it.*** And then, because contending with assholes will make you one, I began a long course in hatred. And contempt.

I was my own subject, is what I'm trying to say. That's the mercenary life. And the mercantile one. To cultivate a contempt for your own self and turn it to profit. To have, but not to enjoy.

All and all, a wasted life, but eminently worth living. I've really done my life. I've had three terrible, great loves. I'm lucky enough to still have that third and best of them, to have it by not ever possessing her. She is grace, without consolation. She is love, without redemption. She is.

I've made awful, crazy and unreasonable choices. I have been faithless and too loyal. I have refused to be what I was expected to be. But I've also murdered the man the me-boy once thought he could become. That fucker had to die, but I'm not sure this one ever really deserved to live.

So now maybe this is the real thing: the full dying death.

I don't know if I'm ready.

I also don't know if I even want the choice.

* - when I suggest that someone "picture" or "imagine," I have to do so with the awareness that I'm using those words within a poesis of sorts whereas the person with whom I'm speaking or communicating can probably just conjure up an image...

** - neurologically inconclusive; the MRIs and CATs and neuro-ophthalmology have shown nothing, except more payments to be made on the installment plan...I have migraines, visual artifacts, vertigo and intermittent dizziness and there is blood collecting in my legs, especially around my ankles, calves and heels, suggesting a circulatory problem about which my physician, two dermatologists, a neurologist and two separate eye doctors have consulted and shared information, but for which I have no other corroborating symptoms, and no diagnosis.

*** - fools give their word, idiots break it.

Oct 14, 2011

War Pig(s)

"Two days ago President Obama authorized the deployment to Uganda of approximately 100 combat-equipped U.S. forces to help regional forces 'remove from the battlefield' – meaning capture or kill – Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony and senior leaders of the LRA.

The forces will deploy beginning with a small group and grow over the next  month to 100. They will ultimately go to Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with the permission of those countries.

The president made this announcement in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Friday afternoon, saying that 'deploying these U.S. Armed Forces furthers U.S. national security interests and foreign policy and will be a significant contribution toward counter-LRA efforts in central Africa.'

He said that 'although the U.S. forces are combat-equipped, they will only be providing information, advice, and assistance to partner nation forces, and they will not themselves engage LRA forces unless necessary for self-defense'...”

ABC News

Not that I'd wager money I don't have, but it would be nice to have some spare change for an over/under bet on how long it takes our good liberal pundits to mount a Responsibility to Protect defense of the latest move from our Nobel Laureate War President.

I'm going with six hours.

As for their conservative brethren, I figure it'll take them at least eight hours to figure out how to criticize the Preznit for his application of the Clinton-Bush-Obama Doctrine while still singing paeans to the Noble Troops and their struggle to improve the lives of all the women they themselves are currently not occupying and raping...


That fucking shit is depressing. I'm not a pacifist, by any stretch, but the brazenness of the Laureate's dedication to the expansion of permanent war leaves me wondering if those of us bound by the homeland's borders have any capacity to stop this shit anymore. I mean, I wouldn't exactly applaud the shooting of Senators and other imperial functionaries, but I don't think I could bring myself to condemn it, either.

In lieu of getting myself watch-listed for advocating domestic terrorism, here's some Azam Ali to sing us through to a better tomorrow, even if it's only imaginary:

(Lasse Pour Quoi)

(Ben Pode Santa Maria)

Fifty three multiplied by zero equals zero...

When I suggested, mostly to myself, that the self-styled "53%" might be worth some attention, it was neither to promote their claim to be the authentic America, nor to disparage their perceptions of actual suffering. Since then, others have broached the subject, more or less in keeping with ticks and temperament.

It is this assumption of authenticity - and it is not confined only to bootstrap believers - which I personally find most interesting, predicated as it upon a cultural hegemony and a political superstructure which exists precisely for the so-called 53%.

Typing very broadly, they rightly perceive the end of their order, because demographics are in fact a kind of political fate.

Ruling factions need governed populations. They need people who serve as extraction points, who are roughly equivalent to raw materials in an unprocessed state. Historically, the form varies: slaves, the corvee, peasants, proletarians, the permanently indebted; their chief function is the production of labor. In our own age, that is labor sold, and excess labor consumed, or distracted. The factions of the ruling class contend with each other for control of these laboring populations, seeking them out wherever conditions provide for the cheapest purchase and the most flexible interface. The factions compete for control of divisions in memory: cultural, tribal, religious, ethnic and national boundaries which are drawn and redrawn in order to lay claim to labor. These laboring populations have a relationship to the states which claim possession of them, one which takes shape according to the needs of state and the strengths of competitors: they are bound by a rough and one-way rule of custom, tradition, religion, crude history and the threat of force - whatever it takes to produce a minimum fealty to those who own and rule.

The ruling class, and its factions, need to possess them. Which means, management.

States have an interest in producing client populations who buffer and manage the pool of labor and its extraction of resources. Who absorb discontent. Who are vested in their own separation from it. States encourage their existence with investment in the infrastructure and institutions which produce them, and to which these technicians and professionals will later on profess considerable devotion.

These technicians don't only serve as the ruling class support staff. They are equally its clients. They are the protected.

The point of running a protection racket is to have someone to protect. And to have enemies against which they must be protected.  The ruling class needs clients who also double as consumers of excess, as buffers against disorder and decay, and as absorbers of discontent. Most actual and historical states preserve this client population more or less with predictability. The state and its ruling factions don't need the buffer, exactly, but it makes the business of being wealthy and powerful a whole lot easier. It is from this client pool that the ruling class and its various factions draw their technicians, their management, their support staff, their caregivers, professionals, systems operators - and their officers. Client populations derive some benefit from the relationship. They are not merely human resources. And these client groups vest themselves in response. They buy in. They belong. They are not possessed. They serve, and this requires a less immediate, less visceral and less visible set of bindings: a tradition and mythos of self-reliance, self-creation and voluntary existence. This might explain the long-standing project to develop, shield and promote the nuclear family. Nuclear families are protected by the state. This kind of family produces isolates and managerial personalities; and they are governed by an urge to succeed, to merit, to deserve, to keep faith with the expectations of those who rule. It demands the repeatable formation of a specific self, a narrow and truncated type conceived and formed to treat with itself first as an independent ego ensconced in purpose and convinced of its own self-causation, and secondly as a truth unto itself.It is a type which places a high value on faith and loyalty: in marriage, in law, in custom, in deed, in debt. Its gods are debt-managers. Its heroes pay their dues, pay off the loan, pay the ultimate sacrifice. Its villains are oathbreakers, layabouts, cheaters, scoundrels, vagrants and the corrupt.

The recurring theme of corruption crosses political, moral and religious divisions - for the technicians and professionals. It animates their righteousness. It is perhaps the defining characteristic of this type - a deep rooted, material, mnemonic fascination with and recoiling from corruption. It is their awe; it is what they desire and shun, in identical alternating moments. Their politics and their morality reflect this fact. Corruption is, for them, the antithesis of the good faith to which they been bred. It is sickness, a contagion. It is failure. It is, in short, the failure to deserve.

It is no surprise that they see in the Other a source of corruption. For liberals, for the good fight progressives, that corruption wears the face of wanton power. It is power which negates the liberal noblesse oblige. Raw power. Power which does not improve. The Other is a man on a mythical horse who should have known better, a potential knight, but one who corrupted himself instead in the base pleasures of brigandage and rapine. For conservatives, that Other bears the sins of Eve, and the traditional mark of Cain - she is an outcast before she is ever born. The Other's depravity is its natural condition. God, nature, fate, history, breding, evolution* are vehicles for the confirmation of this depravity. The poor are moral failures. Suffering is self-created, it is a falling away from the hegemony of the norm, a norm which peers out from under its limitations and withdraws back inward if it does not see itself looking back in upon it.

This is the historical moment in which we find ourselves: that norm no longer functions. The built in limitations, the constraints, the self-disciplining customs are all less useful. The faces have changed. Lifestyles have taken hold of a media saturated culture, and permissible conduct has expanded in response. The ruling class has adapted to demographic fate. It has co-opted some of its former excluded identities. It has become, in a word, tolerant - to the degree that these tolerances preserve its power, and aid in the contest between its factions.

For liberals, this is no real problem. Their Other is the other half of the managerial sub-class. They are in conflict at their own level. It is a horizontal dispute. It is a political fight, between class equals. They are fighting corruption in their own ranks.

For conservatives and nativists, this ruling class tolerance is far more troublesome. It is a corruption from above and below. Their relation to new lifestyles, populations and pressures is reaction. They imagine themselves as conservators; against corruption, they see themselves as both the protectors of order and as clients of its protection, struggling with an Other that not only threatens to end the cultural hegemony to which they belong, but which is in a devil's compact with corrupt leaders who are shockingly willing to reward laziness, sloth, racial inadequacy, sexual deviancy, gender disloyalty, role and rule breaking, and a host of other sins, all in trade for unjust and unearned power.

It is a threat to their authenticity, to their rightful, faithful, loyal claim to the nation and its culture. But it does not bring them, as a rule, to a breaking point, to severance. They retreat backwards. They take refuge in their myths. They double down on loyalty to the very people who not only rule them but who will gladly slot them down into poverty for a cheaper client and a campaign ad with brown faces in it.

I kid you not. This is no jest:

"...I totally DON'T hate wealthy Americans. No wealthy American stood up and embarrassed me at an event I thought was supposed to be fun for all. No wealthy American insulted my then toddler daughter and refused to give me any strategies to try with her instead. No wealthy American imposed language barriers on me except when they had such unconstructive criticism. Even those I would think would identify with the wealthy, like unionized public sector employees, and those with science educations who could easily qualify for any number of technical jobs, hate them. One has a two income one grown child household and has the most hateful things to say about them.I don't get it. Some of the nicest people I've met have been wealthy medical, dental, legal professionals. The medical director at our lab in another state was the most down to earth person who treated everyone the same, entry level, admint, technical, white, black, Indian whatever.These people donate as a rule much more to private charity than the less wealthy. They tend to have jobs to give people in need.I babysat for wealthy divorced parents in my college years. These folks had older kids and typically just needed someone to give their kids rides home, either see 'em safely in the front door, or even sit with 'em for a few hours in one instance until dad got home. A girlfriend, having a student only visa and thinking she'd be waiting until retirement for her Green Card, noted "These people aren't looking for a green card. They're looking for someone with patience to sit with their six and three year old for 3 hours in the afternoon." She...and this is someone from a well to do family, but she wanted money of her own...had a part time babysitting job from these supposedly evil people.Why the hatred of the wealthy? Do some really want to see charitable contributions to private charity dry up, or employment opportunities go down further in the event of increased personal or corporate taxes? I simply don't understand this mindset." 

You know the reason....Some people have a lot, some don't.The idiot left sees this imbalance as 'unfair' and therefore must re-distribute some of that wealth to those poor unfortunate souls who aren't 'winners of life's lottery.'" 

"because the politicians know that the people they appeal to cannot work out that without the so called rich none of them would be employed if they are, none of them would get entitlements if that is how they live with no rich to tax to acquire the moneys to fund those entitlements, nor would they have any modern luxury or convenience because it is the rich that produce them. without the rich these people would be eating grass to survive just like the north koreans. but the political hacks that play this class warfare thing is safe because enough of the masses are not only ignorant of these facts but are incapable of comprehending it even if given a picture book laying these facts out in simple form. it is amplified intentionally by politicians who view it as their ticket to perpetual office and power. they have not the ethics to ever correct the ignorant nor resolve not to take advantage of it.however this is a dangerous game as many other regimes have learned to their sorrow. when the revolution does inevitably come it is always beyond the control of the political class that fomented it and it always executes them in the end."

"Wealthy people get in the way of total government control of the people. It will be a truly classless society with no one having more than the least ambitious among us. That's what the liberals are telling me and what I hear here and from those practicing their religion down in Wall Street parks."

"The wealthy, many of whom have built their riches through hard work and blood and sweat of their brow show that it can be done. They are jealous and also angry that someone lights up their drab lives of non-achievement and shows how their lack of effort is the only thing keeping them from achieving the same thing. They are afraid to take a chance and risk other than the weekly $250 purchase of lottery tickets to get rich."

 "Animosity and Jealousy. I'm not rich, far from it. But I don't dislike the rich, in fact, I respect them, and use them as examples of where I want to be. Instead of sitting around all day feeling sorry for myself and wishing I could get lucky, I went after what I wanted. I did the things it takes to have a comfortable life. Could I have been rich? I doubt it, not really that smart and I have a bit of an attitude problem, especially with dumb asses. But I'm smart enough to know that I need to be responsible for myself and my family, and not rely on someone else, because every time I did I got screwed. Even simple things like relying on someone to pick you up if your car is broke down. Forget it. Easier to just rent a car or walk."

"just look at Greece. Young people throwing a hissy fit because they might have to wait to 55 to retire (on the g'mint dole) instead of 50. Really? Sadly it reminds me of the OWS people. You know what is sad and encouraging at the same time? We have a country that for the past 200+ years encouraged FREEDOM with RESPONSIBILITY. We've had people from all around the world literally DIE to get here. These folks, whether from Ireland, Asia, South America, Central America, Poland, etc etc, came here to be free.....to either be 'safe' or have a chance at becoming 'rich'...........Many of these same people are shouting from the rooftops as to where we are heading. They escaped tyranny and now find themselves in a similar position.....but we don't hear from them (at least on the MSM).......I cautiously await legal immigrants (especially the hispanics) to wake up to the the fallacy of what the D party is selling. Just like I'm cautiously awaiting the blacks to wake up to the same fallacy. From my personal experience, blacks and hispanics have roots in Christianity.....yet their 'party of choice' has made a pointed effort to kill their religion, all the while sucking them into thinking only the federal g'mint can take care of them...............if/when they wake up, we will see a true revival of this country.Rights aren't granted by government.........we are born with them...... (until the fed g'mint grew and infested the schools, we all knew that). Sadly, the progressives have mal-educated people from all over the world that their 'rights' come from a big-bloated-government"

"I am puzzled by this sudden phenomenon that makes it fashionable to hate rich people. I thought in America everyone aspired to be rich. I think if given the choice of who to hate, it is much easier to hate poor people. They are society's losers, and I was always taught that America loves a winner and hates losers. My take on the Wall Street occupiers is that they are mostly either college drop outs or college graduates with degrees in meaningless subjects that have given them no job skills. For example, International Relations. Now there is a real know nothing subject. "

"greed is wanting what you have not labored for... the desire to take that which one has NOT EARNED.. greed can also be the desire to not give from what you labored for..... it is not the governments job to determine what the level is or what i must be forced to give.."

"Pure, unadultered envy "

That, strangers and friends, is the 53%. That's the Tea Party, right there. Them's the fiscal and social conservatives. The values voters. The glibertarians.

Sure, they aren't merit liberals and institutionalists who will bomb Yemenis into dust in the name of a forward progress and the responsibility to protect.

They'll bomb them in the name of Jesus and his Parable of the Holy Job Creator, instead.

(quotations compressed by Google, damn it)

* - the mechanism has become irrelevant; the message is its medium...

Oct 13, 2011


Don't trust the "authentic." They complain with the voices of a bloated and drowned existence. They are swollen corpses, re-animated with resentment.

If a man would have you believe "authenticity," he's asking you to place your faith in a circle of acceptable conduct, with him at its center. He will hate you for leaving it. He already hates you, which is why he wants you in it. It is his vanity, circumscribing a life he no longer has the stomach to live. He is already complicit. He has complied, surrendered. And it's not enough to do it alone. He wants you drowning in simplicity with him. He wants you to be himself.

It is a mean, petty, beggared existence, this adherence to a demand for "authenticity." It's one thing to be honest, to speak words which match memory and experience. It's quite another to assume that you can know how to best live for everyone. And to rage at others when they choose not to drown, or even just wallow, at the shallow edge of a muddy puddle To fury at them when they fail to choose to conform to a simplicity which is as artificial as a Versailles ball room. If you aren't constrained by the limits of an undead shuffling towards a real-dead grave, the "authentic" will crave your embarrassment. It's the closest they can get to believing you too are a corpse. That you are one of them.

Given a thousand thousand opportunities to conform, and even in the face of terrible and real oppression, at the boot heel of manacled slavery, at the juncture of starvation and compliance, people still diversify. For all that we share an organic baseline, we lead dissimilar lives. Within a single household, under the same parental gaze, with the same standards and rules, two children will become different. And one is not more "authentic" than the other.

Hatred for this diversity, for the panoply of possible humanities - and it is hatred, whether its speaks fancy words, cloaks itself in revolutionary rhetoric, or grumbles from the seat of a rich man's bicycle, stopped sideways on a trail through stolen Indian land - is an emotional shorthand for a life conceded. In its least refined form, it translates a desire for simplification into a hunger to consume the lives of others; it confuses sincerity with a chimaera "authenticity." It is a personal defeat ballooning, swelling out in a blast radius of wounded pride and a failure to die at the right time. It is death, with a human face.


There is no correct way to be human. Right and wrong have nothing to do with how to live - and this covers all human conduct. All of it.* Those who want boys "to be boys," who need women "unadorned," who rage inside at the moving image of children who play but have never learned to pray, who need feats of strength to test their masculinity lest anyone question it, who would have their own meager mental entrails become the standard and the norm: these are the tyrants, big and small.

It may mask itself as rebellion, this demiurge towards "authenticity," but it hears a single voice, an endless self-confirmation: "I am right. I am right. I am right." It is the old god-voice in the head, and from that pulpit issues the same old demands: Be like me. Be like me. Be like me. Because the "me" doesn't know how to be other.

It is the remnant of desire - of need thwarted in the decay of a shambling corpse of a life. Perhaps, even, it as an authentic one; a body servant to a life which has already perished, ridden by a brain that doesn't know it yet.

Anyway you want it - and you have the freedom and liberty to want everything - the "authentic" cannot be trusted. They would kill you too, and have you share in their pallid reflection, a companion corpse staring into a cracked and greasy mirror.

* - which does not justify the rapist or the murderer; feelings of right and wrong don't alter the fact of the act itself. They are epiphenomena. There is an argument for stopping the rapist. Or even killing him. But, right and wrong don't speak to the desire not to be raped. Or murdered. Or punched in the face. Those needs are good, of themselves. They don't have to wear the heavy drapes of morality.

Oct 9, 2011

Good Capitalism

See the poor people everywhere? See the hunger, despair, war? See the self-violation which proceeds from mandatory markets? See the loss of horizon?  Smell the poisoned air? Hear the mother's heart break as she travels from her first job to her second? Taste the sewage processed into foodstuffs?

That's "good capitalism."

There is no "bad capitalism."

Capitalism is death, arranged in working shifts, arrived at with a weary sigh and a savaged memory, felt in every moment, overriding the will to enjoy, broken down into consumable bites, inevitable as plague which follows the transformation of bodies into carrion and lives into fetish. It is the reward of kitsch, in exchange for a calibrated dying.

It is the body, broken to a transcontinental rack.

The mind rendered mindless.

The reproduction of life as the gateway to grave.

Oct 7, 2011

The 53%

Movements and counter-movements, created within days and weeks of each other. Mediated, and manipulable.

Who controls the medium? Not the 99%. Not the newly named 53%.

The 1%.

And while the various media of nearly instant communication - and reaction - can be used to criticize and challenge those who own the media of exchange, they're also as likely to be used in defense of them.

Loyalties take shape. And then, they stick. In place. In the craw.

They get in the way - these mediated identities and loyalties. They are - obstructions.

The man who joined the Marines at 20, the college drop out business owner, the orphan who lost her mother and her security - they are the white majority; they are still under threat. On the edge. They feel the decline in their own fortunes perhaps as acutely as those who've taken to the streets in opposition to the 1%. But, their radicalization takes a different form, follows an alternate course.

They've come to defend. The blame falls downward, which for them is where it belongs. The shiftless, the Others, the lazy  - they bear social and physical markers of their shame and fallibility: they were never the elect.

These are the small holders, these 53%, who have begun to shape a political identity around their payment of taxes into - and therefore assumed ownership of - the means of control. They are, as we discussed below, invested. Mandatory history has taught them a few noble truths: they are the nation, they are the elect. History looks back at them with their own faces. The whipping lash of the wage constraint, the choke collar of food scarcity, the alienation of racial and sexual othering hasn't struck them yet, or within the limits of their political conscience. But they feel the distance between themselves, this growing sense of wrongness and displacement, and those who rule; where we see classes, they see the cultivated divisions: traditions under threat, a God dethroned, a dollar in freefall and their cultural security fraying at the edges of a hegemony once believed everlasting. They mistake a lease for a deed and title, and that makes them as useful as the good liberals who would very much like to leave the project of power to proper and civilizing institutions.

These are the faces of reaction.

They can be fought. They can distract us, which serves the purposes of those who actually own damned near everything.

But wouldn't it be better to hear them? To listen, for as long as it is possible?

One day we may not have these fora.

And that day will follow immediately upon the realization, among those who rule, that the old wounds and divisions must serve their greater purpose again.

Until then, we would do worse than to be attentive.


Israel occupies Palestine. The Israeli state and army are occupiers. Israel is managing an occupation. It is an occupation, as in a career, to maintain that domination. The US occupies parts of Iraq, Afghanistan and every nation in which a US base has been constructed and used. The US military is used to enforce occupations. States occupy their territory, seizing and distributing the commons for the benefit of their ruling class. The ruling class occupies this captive commons and economy, first with violence, later with custom, law, entertainment and education. We have less of a class war, and more of a class occupation.

The folks in New York and their sister city movements are, in contrast, Occupants. They are attempting to re-inhabit a commons. They occupy space, to reclaim it. To re-create it. They are the first truly visible manifestation, in the last decade, of a resistance to the ruling class occupation of the lives and livelihoods of North America's inhabitants. This resistance will likely be co-opted. And that's okay. Those who have inhabited real space will remember. They have been altered.

That change will occupy their memories, and the ways in which they develop new means of resistance. It's a new program, and it will spread.

The second wave will emerge from that dispersion. And it will have the heritage of those memories, and the associated immunities.

It will occupy attention.

Oct 6, 2011

Tear and Frembling

FDL's Kevin Gosztola on Ed Schulz and institutional liberals' attempts to hijack the Occupy movement: 

"...The utter-contempt that existed toward this bottom-up movement has now been swept under the rug. The Occupy Wall Street movement has energy and momentum, which is exactly what President Barack Obama needs to get re-elected. It has people and media attention, which is why the organizers behind the 'Take Back the American Dream' conference made a calculation to adjust messaging and include talk about Occupy Wall Street. They did this because the conference was to be about producing a movement that could counter the Tea Party and now, as Van Jones explained to attendees, a movement that could be a counter-balance to the Tea Party had sprouted. They acted as if the people in the streets were for their vision and agenda and talked about how those people showed it was time to build a 'Rebuild the American Dream' movement to rival the Tea Party from the left. They even went to the steps of Capitol Hill for a two hour rally to 'send a message' to Congress.

Now, leaders who are working on the Obama 2012 re-election campaign or progressive groups that will be canvassing door-to-door to convince people to not abandon Obama are looking to tap in to Occupy Wall Street’s energy. The country is about to see, as Salon’s Joan Walsh suggests, what happens when a movement without leaders meets leaders without a movement. The segment MSNBC host Ed Schultz did on October 5 indicates liberals, whom the Democratic Party counts on to deliver votes, will be working to contain this movement and make it seem these are really frustrated Obama supporters.

"...Schultz opened the segment saying, 'The Occupy Wall Street movement is about to reach critical mass and the Republicans can’t do anything to stop it,' an immediate sign that Schultz is focused on how the movement can help Democrats. 'There is no doubt that the Republican Party is afraid of the 99 percent message and now they are attacking it,'  he added.

After framing Occupy Wall Street as a group of the left that is against the right, even though the organizers’ message is clearly about those at the bottom against those at the top, he continued, 'This is the official start of the 2012 campaign. If this movement is heard by some candidate, this just may be the movement that starts a major change in this country.'  You mean if someone like Barack Obama comes along and wants a second chance to show that he isn’t bought off by corporate and special interests, especially big banks on Wall Street? Because, while there is a growing primary challenger movement against Obama, there is a scant amount of support for that among progressives. And, if he is talking about congressional candidates, they face the same system Obama has been unwilling to challenge and no matter how good they are will be managed by the White House so they cannot get in the way of business as usual.

(italics mine)

Rush Limbaugh*, addressing his millions of dittoheads:

“There’s no doubt in my mind that the White House is behind this. Obama is setting up riots. He is fanning the flames.”

"The anarchists and union thugs who are rallying against corporate greed are Obama’s constituents."

“Occupy Wall Street is his base. Those are his foot soldiers.”


Dennis Kucinich wants you to associate his mug with OWS. Juan Cole wants you to associate OWS with Steve Jobs and Americanist techno-aesthetics. Ed Schulz wants you to imagine OWS leading to the election of an unspecified candidate, who will of course lead a national movement to do vague major change. Michael Moore wants you to remember that Michael Moore showed up in NYC to do some hang time with the hippies. He doesn't want you to remember that he was early and often a supporter of the Bombmaster of Sarajevo, one General Wesley Clark. Rush Limbaugh wants you to be convinced that the OWS people are the vanguard of a riot army. He probably also wants you to remember that he predicted that Obama would use NBP shock troopers to round up white people and steal the keys to the heart of Muddle America. Van Jones wants you to think that he's not a stalking horse for the Obama Administration, and Sean Hannity wants you to believe with absolute certainty that he is one.

So, what do we have here?

We have famous and powerful people trying to de-anonymize and take possession of a self-organized, decentralized, anti-political, celebrity-free and uniquely clever set of affiliated groups whose main tactic - and it's a shiny one - is to re-create a social commons as a means of producing new means.

Why is that?

A little fear and trembling, maybe?

Heh. Makes me happy.

Also reminds me that the populares never stopped being aristocrats. They didn't really favor the people of Rome. Especially not the proletarians and the capite censi. They just used them up, sent them to the latifundia and the mines, or shipped them off to war.

So, mebbe it's time to quote some Shatner**, in lieu of the more traditional Bakunin or Marx:

"...Sing along with the common people
Sing along and it might just get you through
Laugh along with the common people
Laugh along even though they're laughing at you
And the stupid things that you do
Because you think that poor is cool

Like a dog lying in a corner
They will bite you and never warn you
Look out
They'll tear your insides out

`cos everybody hates a tourist
Especially one who thinks it's all such a laugh
Yeah and the chip stain and grease will come out in the bath

You will never understand
How it feels to live your life
With no meaning or control
And with nowhere left to go
You are amazed that they exist
And they burn so bright whilst you can only wonder why..."

* - transcript will be linked when it's made available

** - "Common People", Has Been, Shatner


(via Peta Pixels via Men Ups! via Echidne)

Glomming On

Shorter Wee Denny: Like, wicked awesome, dudes! Those young people are doing neato stuff. That's why I'm going to submit legislation which will accomplish nothing, but will let me re-brand myself as a hero of the left. My name has been associated with taking rides in Air Force One and folding up like Houdini after a gut punch, for far too long now.

Shorter Juan de Cia: My man Steve Jobs is just so American. He could have been a dangerous radical, because of Muslimy blood and Araby parents. But, America made him good. And a Buddhist! And a wizard with digits! He's the adopted son of the American dream. Steve Jobs got trippy and iPhones are like LSD, because they blow your mind man. So, neener neener neener Rick Perry.

Shorter insane conservatives: Those fucking hippies in New York are shiftless bums. They're protesting because they're too lazy to be real manly men. They are the vanguard of Obama's jobless revolution. They're waiting for their moment to damage property and kill good Christians. Look - Sean Hannity told me so! The Tea Party was not astro-turfed. The Tea Party is Real America! (I know, because I'm angry about scary people who have vaginas, or brown skin, or who cannot afford to ride bicycles along old Indian trails and be super pissed about soft womanish men. No, no - I'm not obsessed with homosexuals...I swear it. Just because I paint everyone who disagrees with me as soft, girly, sexually compromised by penetration or hungry for cock it doesn't mean I have these things on my mind night and day. You shut up, you dirty pussy intellectual...)*

* - I kid you not: More insane conservatarians. The Tea Party, a wholly owned subsidiary of the GOP, is "authentic" and reflects real America (they're on to something there, by the way), but the folks at Zuccotti Park are parallels of both the Bolsheviks and the perpetrators of Nein Eleven. There is perhaps no greater comedy than conservatives with their hands on history books...

Oct 4, 2011

Barack Obama: Build Up This Wall

Barack Obama doesn't speak for the worker.

He doesn't speak for labor, for the woman who is right now scarfing down meat and corn by-toxins entombed in preservatives which were just minutes ago wrapped in a film of processed fossilized krill; while she maps out how best to coordinate dinner for her kids sometime between her day job and her after-hours employment, Barack Obama has just finished a meal prepared for him by domestic house servants who are also at the same time employees of the largest military directorate in the history of the human race.

Barack Obama doesn't speak for workers. He is not a spokesperson of labor, despite TeaParty™ claims to the contrary. He also doesn't speak his words for labor. Workers are not his audience. They aren't his demographic.

When Barack Obama speaks, he has a target market.

They call themselves progressives; sometimes they'll let you call them liberals, but not around soldiers, or the boss, or the angry white dude who thinks women are out to get him because no women will be caught dead fucking him.

That is, they are conservatives, ones who can live next door to a married homosexual couple as long as the gay pair knows how to tend a lawn; rumor has it that they will even accept a well-spoken black person at the next parent-teacher function, provided she doesn't bob her head up and down like those urban people do.

And as conservatives, they are vested people. We could call them compromised, or bought and paid for, if we wanted. Conservative, liberal, vested. It's all the same thing.

Vested people own a stake in the project of growth and extraction. That's their claim on the time and energy of the ruling class. It's why our politics is geared towards keeping them in. Ownership is more than a membership in the club. It's an active border war. Investment in a merit certificate, a company position, a political party, a progressive church - these are acts of definition. Those who belong are as marked by whom they exclude as they are by their inclusion. And they do exclude; conduct which requires a strong defense. An inside defines its outside, and comes to depend upon the struggle to keep what's out from getting in. Sometimes that means a little extra tolerance, or concessions to an image of reform. Sometimes it means hunting down wetbacks and hajjis.

It can never end. A moment without the struggle to succeed, to excel, to obtain what others cannot have is a moment the inside becomes indistinguishable from what it's not, and what it is without.

So what are vested people really good at, if we understand them as persons engaged in an enterprise of exclusion which cannot end?

They're skilled in the arts of belonging - attempts at obtaining a deathlessness, one which has none of the charm of a reach exceeding its grasp, and all of the bitter anguish and self-satisfied vainglory of a tombstone carved in a script without translation. They want a special security. It's called success. And it keeps the wrong people out. Because the wrong people have already lost their contest with frailty, imperfection and mortality.

Liberals, being conservatives, being vested and invested people, are wall builders and wall keepers.

And Barack Obama really does speak for them:

"President Barack Obama said he considers himself the underdog in the 2012 presidential election. And he has no problem with that.

In a Monday interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Obama said he is 'absolutely' the underdog in his upcoming race, due in large part to the dismal economy playing out on his watch. His comment came in response to Stephanopoulos indicating that a new ABC poll coming out later Monday found that 55 percent of Americans think Obama will be a one-term president."

Note how Barack fucking Pendragon Obama has used his tête-à-tête with that toothy macaque, Stephanopolous. He's positioned himself as Man with his back up against a wall. A wall he promises to defend, a wall the very existence of which serves to preserve the world in which vested people live. He's proud and happy to be there. It might even be his mission. Because there are dangerous people on the other side of this wall, and they want to tear it down.*

Barack needs his liberals. Really, he does. Admittedly, he's the most powerful politician in the world. And sure, he can issue kill orders, send sky death robots to deliver parents to their children's funerals, get for paid for the task, and get away with it. Yes, he assisted in the largest act of naked theft in American history. But, really - he's a guy up against the wall. A wounded pet. A man under threat. Shall we say it (because, well, Harris-Perry already has)? He's in danger of an electoral lynching. He's the underdog, this chief executive of an empire spanning the surface of the earth, with three hundred million immediate subjects, and a billion more under arms:

" 'I don't mind,' Obama said of the poll's results. 'I'm used to being an underdog.'

Ultimately, however, he predicted that voters will pick their next president based on who presents a vision for the future that can help ordinary families recapture the American Dream. And that, he said, is something he knows just how to do."

That's the Barack fucking Obama liberals (who are conservatives) know and love. He's their man, and maybe even their man-friday. And he knows it. He knows not just what to do, but what and how to say it. He's lying, but to liberals he's a man armed with the truth:

" 'When I ran in 2008, the basic idea was that ordinary folks who are working hard, doing everything right, just weren't getting ahead,' Obama said, citing people's frustrations with the rising costs of health care and college education. 'The whole approach of everything I've tried to do over the last three years is to say, 'What are those big changes that we have to make so that our kids are getting the best education? [So that] we've got the best infrastructure in the world? [So that] we've got the tools that allow us to succeed again?'"

Education. Success. Infrastructure. The man is talking institutions; social structures defined by their walls, by who they serve, and by whom they exclude. The "best education" cannot be "best" if it's available to everyone. Success delimits. A merit baby with the best education might succeed, but his elevation is inseparable from the failure, disqualification and proscription of the losers. His "ordinary folks' is a limited entry demographic. It's for vested people. 

And while the rest of us wrestle with the petty struggles of hoi polloi, the feeding of self and children, keeping the heat on and a roof over our heads, not dying of preventable tooth infections, the boredom and dullness of a persistent alienation, the endless resistance to the monetization of our lives and love - the vested people are securing their camp and the walls which keep us out.

Barack Obama speaks for them.

He speaks to them.

And they are listening.

* - who, for nine hours of the day, are letting themselves be re-affirmed in the conviction that the voice on the radio is broadcast to them from an equally vital defense of the same wall, one which, should it collapse, will result in a red tide of socialists, immigrants and disorder. Here's our long distance image: Barack Obama and Rachel Maddow, hands against the wall, encouraging good liberals to come to their aid. Pressed against its other face, and in earshot, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity stand with caricature chins a'lifted, exhorting their troops to lean harder into the fight. Sitting atop the wall, the lords of wall street, Detroit, the oil cartels and the defense industry sip their champagne, or decades old single malt.

Oct 3, 2011

Serendipity, Or retracing a path in order to leave it...

In light of the decentralized process used by the OWS people, and in anticipation of visiting the folks organizing for the cloned* undertakings in Concord, NH and Boston, MA, I decided to re-read a small book published during and after the French troubles of several years ago, one quoted here in months and years past. From that small book, a passage seemed to reach other from the page and grab me by the eyeballs:

"From Secretaries of State to the backrooms of alternative cafes, concerns are always expressed in the same words, the same as they've always been. We have to get mobilized. This time it's not to rebuild the country like in the post-war era, not for the Ethiopians like in the '80s, not for employment like in the '90s. No, this time it's for the environment. It thanks you for your participation... Voluntary austerity write large on their banner, the work benevolently to get us ready for the 'coming ecological state of emergency.' The globular sticky mass of their guilt lands on our tired shoulders, pressuring us to cultivate our garden, sort out our trash, and eco-compost the leftovers of this macabre feast.

Managing the phasing out of nuclear power, excess CO2 in the atmosphere, melting glaciers, hurricanes, epidemics, global overpopulation, erosion of the soil, mass extinction of living species...this will be our burden. We have to consume a little less to be able to keep consuming. We have to produce organically to keep consuming. We have to control ourselves to go on controlling. This is the logic of a world straining to maintain itself while giving itself an air of historical rupture. This is how they would like to convince us to participate in the great industrial challenges of this century. And in our bewilderment we're ready to leap into the arms of the very same ones who presided over the devastation, in the hope that they will get us out of it.

Ecology isn't simply the logic of a total economy; it's the new morality of capital. The system's internal state of crisis and the rigorous screening that's underway demand a new criterion in the name of which this selection and screening will be carried out. From one era to the next, the idea of virtue has never been anything but an invention of vice. Without ecology, how could we justify the existence of two different diets, one 'healthy and organic' for the rich and their children, and the other notoriously toxic for the plebes, whose offspring are damned to obesity. The planetary hyper-bourgeoisie wouldn't be able to make its normal lifestyle seem respectable if its latest whims weren't so scrupulously 'respectful of the environment.' Without ecology, nothing would have enough authority to gag every objection to the exorbitant progress of control. 

Tracking, transparency, certification, eco-taxes, environmental excellence, and the policing of water, all give us an idea of the coming state of ecological emergency. Everything is permitted to a power structure that bases its authority in Nature, in health and in well-being."

The Coming Insurrection, The Invisible Committee, semiotext(e), 2009

It is Emergency which defines our coming age. It is to Emergency - and the preface to our age of Emergency was written in the extended verse of the "War on Terror" - that every justification for continued maintenance of the forms of power will refer. It is Emergency which mobilizes the masses. It is in the name of a succession of Emergencies that the ruling class and its states will attempt to strangle the arising and invigorated struggles against them.

So it means something, I think, that the folks involved in the OWS experiment have begun by rejecting the acculturated norm of Emergency and its consequent hierarchies, urgency, command orientation and urge to assign marching orders and battle order.

I know for Trots and Leninists like Richard Seymour, and the various dialectically constrained parties of Europe and sheltered academia, the OWS reclaimers and the inherent argument of their method (which echoes the quote above) are at best problematic, because it recommends abandoning the hierarchical and partisan organizational mode which dominated resistance to capital, imperial nationalism and colonial powers over the last one hundred fifty years. It further anticipates a fight which exceeds the limits of the party structure, and its intellectualist vanguard, who are obedient to norms which are no longer really prevalent. Those engaged with today's conditions are proving forward enough to identify the functional unity of state and corporation, as well as recognizing that the apparatuses used to obtain, process, share and utilize information, security and the capture of privatized knowledge are nested within each others' overlapping spheres of influence and authority.

The self-organized are not fighting old battles against dead enemies. Unlike the official socialist, social democratic, liberal and sectarian factions which seek to channel and corral dissatisfaction with living conditions into a capture of state offices and meliorative state policy, the latest wave of rebels - from Tunisia to Egypt to England, France and now the US - have begun from a starting premise, perhaps unvoiced, which recognizes the material conditions of our common now.

We live in a political and economic environment which strains at the edge of a closed system that has failed to expand fast enough to contain its discontents. It was once properly understood as an expanding closed system, but it has probably already passed its terminal point, and begun a period of both contraction and reaction. The second law of thermodynamics will not yield or compensate for the feedback loops the system produces within its own overlaid areas of control.

It is a system governed by men who have no choice to but recolonize their own homelands, to treat their captive populations as both markets and surplus stomachs and desires. But these feedback loops of discontent, the repricing of labor's value, the rise of debt and household overhead, the disruption of climate norms, the cascading failures of the food distribution system which follows and the accumulation of governing costs** that outpace the benefits given to those who rule: these have their own set of consequences, the most immediate of which is fracturing of the ruling class consensus of the last seventy years. It was once possible to satisfy the cultivated public demand for security and prosperity while retaining the control of the economy which allows for a ruling class, through a disciplining of workers and managers which bound them to a national project which purported to involve them in the pursuit of the chimera of economic growth. That this national project was largely defined by who it excluded did not matter much over the major period of its application, because it invested the type simultaneously most dangerous and most necessary to the system in the preservation of it; namely the aspiring middle class white male and his familial group.

It was the trade and union laborer which threatened the ruling class through the period encompassing the last decade of the nineteenth century and first three of the twentieth. And that worker was almost universally of European descent, and male.

Certainly, women and minorities played significant parts in the early labor struggles, as evidenced in Lawrence, New York, St. Louis and the Pacific Northwest - but they had no effective voice in how labor approached its struggle with capital. Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Red Emma Goldman, Mother Jones and Voltairine de Cleyre might be famous, not the least of which for their notoriety - but they were the exceptions which proved the rule; formidable women who rose to prominence precisely in contrast to the white male norm, gaining influence and lasting import by their ability to break with it.

The New Deal, coupled with the so-called shared prosperity of the boom years of post-war America and successful anti-Communist propaganda (paid for by tax receipts and Chamber of Commerce ad buys) solidified the disciplining of labor by subsuming it within the national project. It vested the white male who controlled and comprised the bulk of organized labor in the creation and maintenance of the expanding closed system of American military power and economic might. He became its primary defender, and the preservative agent most resistant to revolution, and its paler cousin, reform.

Perhaps for this reason, those excluded from the dominion of prosperity - women, minorities, migrant workers and cast-offs from the Christianized nationalism into which labor had allowed itself to be co-opted - sought new ways of reaching the social escape velocity which would allow them to flee the gravity sink of the American culture and power; a culture which obligated them to do obeisance to the various hierarchies dominated by white men, this including labor, in order to share from the leavings and scraps of the expanding system's growth.

It is also worth noting that every time an economically viable group of them managed that escape, it became the priority of labor's official organs, as well as its allegedly representative national party (the Democrats, after 1964) to recapture them and mobilize their efforts, organizations and modes of existence back towards the controlled markets, household norms, political offices and especially the doctrine of growth and personal success which maintained the ruling class system as both distracting spectacle and iron gloved hand of control. It might be useful to see official labor and the Democratic Party as an early social version of the Star Wars program, organized to perform a defense more against internal discontent than any supposed outside threat.

Of course, some who broke away - the early lesbian separatists, the Black Panthers, the Weathermen (despite, or perhaps because of their flaws), Marxist and black feminists, the AIM and their like - could not be re-absorbed precisely because they rejected the chief signifiers of labor's compromise with capital: whiteness, male power and hierarchical control. These were handled in the usual fashion - criminalization, ostracism and slander. They were Othered, often violently, because the community in force was already defining them as those who marked the limit of that community by their exclusion from it; their exclusion reinforced the inside-ness of the white and male dominated norm. They were attempting necessary escapes, but those attempts themselves reinforced power by providing it with a domestic enemy:  as spectacles, as the internal outsiders who could not be trusted to sit beneath the table of growth and accept their allotted place and pittance. Theirs was a series of prison breaks. But, in attempting them, they reinforced the hand which held them and others to the disciplined norm. A double bind, and a terrible fate: to assert one's necessary freedom and to know that it strengthened the hold of the oppressor not only over those who were othered, but also over the disciplined white worker whose appropriated labor was the primary engine of ruling class power.

The normative laborer of the twentieth century was a creature of mobilization. He was disciplined to it. He was Taylorized in school. He was encultured to it at the kitchen table, the Boy Scout camp and at the altar. He was mobilized to war, in Europe, across the Pacific, and later in Korea and Vietnam. He was mobilized to beat the Japanese factory. And the German engineer. To save Africa. To stop the dominoes falling. To stop stagflation. He was mobilized to fight communism, to acquire debt, to own a share of the so-called American dream, to have the best math scores, to test higher than the Koreans, or the Finns. He was mobilized to do sport, and to watch it. He is even now mobilized to own a car and drive it everywhere. He is mobilized to save the economy, the nation and the American brand. He is a herded beast. One who was raised and indoctrinated to see himself, nonetheless, as entirely autonomous.

And he is dangerous when threatened, because he doesn't really know any other way to live. He is the least adaptive creature on the whole of a continent, because that continent was organized for his needs and his small satisfactions, so long as he traded the lion's share of his labor for his place at the table, and accepted the rule and the ranks of those who mobilized him.

It's with this in mind, through this lens, that perhaps we ought to understand the explicit refusal of the folks at OWS to mobilize themselves, to establish a hierarchy and a platform which replicates the forms of ruling class power and its sanctioned organs of captured labor. One which, also not incidentally, breaks with the top-heavy and institutionalized European model as well. It is not insignificant that in Greece, Italy, France and England, it's the self-organized and un-mobilized who have given rebirth to an active and militant Left, and who continue to survive not only the various States' increasingly brazen attempts to contain them, but the official and sanctioned "leftist" parties' efforts to capture and corral their efforts towards the capture of electoral offices.

Perhaps, abandoning the structures designed to capture and discipline, the new rebels - in Tahrir and Tunisia, in London, Paris, New York, Athens and all over the world -  have done so from a burgeoning awareness of the "rigorous screening" and the surveillance state which emerged from it. The decentralization of their social space, as well as their embrace of anonymity seems to suggest that this is so. Even in their eventual failures and setbacks (see, Tunisia and Tahrir; Greece), it is possible that they do and will continue to remain cognizant of the advantages and freedoms won through a refusal to be mobilized and disciplined into manageable and compromised bits and fragments of human terrain.

And if that's the case, even an aging Cynic has cause for a little hope...

* - rhizomatic?

** - which include entertainment and spectacle