Monday, January 30, 2012

Thanks For Burning The Flag, Dipshit.

Just a quick post on how absolutely fucking retarded this Occupy Oakland guy is. Here is a big reason why the Left never goes anywhere in the U.S.A. The New Left, founded in the 1960s by rich white college kids who decided they were more oppressed than the proletariat, has never been serious about revolutionary change. Quite the opposite, these little punks are far more interested in playing at revolution. To them being a radical is a game and the last thing they want is to have an actual revolution where they might have to do some real work or really put their ass on the line.
You can be goddamn sure that the yellow capitalist press in this country is going to run this image 24/7 over the next few days. This is the image that will go up on the television screen every time the story is about the #Occupy Movement.
The idiots in this image are clearly not thinking about the big picture. Hell, I really doubt that they give a shit about the big picture. Far from this act making some kind of statement all I see is a bunch of spoiled snot nosed shits playing a prank. And that's pretty much how every other working class person in America feels about it. Do the people of the Occupy Movement really expect us to follow clowns like this into revolution? Seriously?
The majority of #Occupy needs to denounce this act of vandalism. I don't give a damn if you think this is a 1st Amendment issue, despise the flag as a symbol of imperialism, or whatever. To the majority of American workers, burning our flag is the same as spitting in their face.
The elites of America have television, newspapers, radio, and all the other forms of media at their command. All we have is our good name. Like it or not, we are engaged in a propaganda war.
Guess who's winning?
Update: There was also a flag burnt by an Occupy Charlotte protestor. The Occupy Movement is committing political suicide before our very eyes.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Union alternatives

Outside of dedicated leftist groups like this one, every single person without exception that I talk to who is not in a union, and some of the people who are, say that unions are not needed anymore, that it's an idea whose time has come and gone, that there's this problem or that problem with unions, and the ones who have been in unions typically have no end of examples they can use to support this. When you point out that the Owners are worse, that they've taken more, ripped off more, and so on, it falls on deaf ears because the programming and indoctrination is simply that strong. I know someone who stays as a nurse at a hospital she hates with management she hates chiefly because the other nearby hospital network has unionized nurses. I know others who've worked in grocery and retail unions and has nothing good to say about them.

If you want unions to be accepted, you need one that will be a shining example, one that will get people to sign on to the idea of unions, one that isn't afraid to snub the political bosses and not be a pawn, one that treats its workers fairly, where anybody has a voice, and one that isn't afraid to fire shitty workers. Without that, give the fuck up now because it's never going to get any traction.

I think we'd get a lot further by encouraging more ownership of companies by the workers therein, like cooperatives, where it's more of a syndicate. Then you don't need a union to protect the workers from the owners because they are the owners of the company, and the workers are not chattel slaves. There are numerous examples of modern functioning cooperative companies, we need to be publicizing these and doing everything we can to support them and participate in them.

For companies too large for cooperative ownership to work (at which point I personally tend to think a company has gotten too large period), we need to fight for higher wages for workers and a cap on executive salaries. I think fighting for higher taxes is a red herring because the wealthy will always find ways out of paying higher taxes on their bracket, and if you pay the working class more, then they move up in brackets and they also spend more (so that's sales taxes as well), save more, and pay off more debts. Additionally, it's hard to argue for higher taxes for the wealthy simply because they use their media outlets to paint it as higher taxes for everyone; compare that to arguing for higher pay for the workers. Bring down the income disparity by bringing the bottom up.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The New Man, Capitalist Version

"Orthodoxy is unconsciousness." George Orwell, 1984

One of the great jokes of the Cold War was the way the Stalinist state  of the Soviet Union portrayed its people versus the reality of their appearance. The Soviet citizen, particularly in the immediate aftermath of the October revolution, was portrayed as a proletarian superman, with bulging muscles clenching his work tools ( easily exchanged for a bayoneted rifle or submachinegun on a Red Army poster) and his chiseled chin jutting with confidence in the direction of the future. Oftentimes he was accompanied by his female helpmate, beautiful but chaste ( wearing the inevitable babushka), and wielding agricultural implements.
The reality was somewhat different. Civil Wars brought famine and the average Soviet citizen in the 1920s was malnourished and painfully thin. Even in the Great Patriotic War against Hitler's legions the Red Army rifleman was still usually shorter and lighter than his Western counterparts. The broad chested, seven foot tall warrior of the victory monuments simply did not exist. During the Cold War the combination of bureaucratic ineptitude, gross military spending, and the lasting damage of the war against fascism produced quite a different Soviet citizen than conceived in the propaganda of the Politburo. The Soviet citizen, after years of hardship and unkept promises, developed into a shrewd businessman who traded on the black market, a cynic who doubted the Party line, and a fatalist whose black humor was usually directed at those who claimed to be serving him.
Throw in rampant alcoholism and this guy was pretty fucking far from the square- jawed working class hero ready to exceed his quota of washers or catch a reactionary bullet in defense of the revolution.
The New Man was one of the cherished myths of  early 20th century socialist eggheads. These cranks envisioned a new version of humanity, one that would rise above petty emotional ties to possessions and family to serve the collective good, to sacrifice anything for progress, and to stride boldly into a future bright with Utopian promise ( this is the image that George Orwell mocked so effectively in his novels Animal Farm and 1984 ).
But before you supporters of capitalism pat yourselves on your backs, I can inform you that the elites you worship have made their version of the New Man. Only they were quite a bit more clever than their commie counterparts.
The capitalist ideal of the New Man is all together more intoxicating to the average asshole in the street because it is it is so easy to obtain. Think of how the common man is portrayed in the media, particularly television. Our working class hero looks like us. He is likely to be overweight, lacking in intellectual curiosity, and obsessed with the trivial ( sports, junk food, pornography, etc. ). In fact he is effectively an adolescent, his mind forever frozen in the 8th grade by a consumer culture fixated  with youth. The only significant break with reality is that this slob is usually married to an incredibly hot wife, but therein lies the genius of this marketing campaign- you can be a fat shiftless moron and still  shack up with an awesome babe.
For the Soviet elite, the purpose of their propaganda was to give their people something to aspire to, to spur them on to greater action. The capitalists who run the United States have a completely different agenda on their minds. The last thing they want is to have working people actively engaged in politics or working for a new future. Our ruling class is quite happy with the way things are now. Their goal is to create a complacent and apathetic class of consumers. The vast majority of the citizens of the U.S.A. do not participate politically in their supposed democracy, not even to get up off their big asses to vote for who will become the most powerful person in the world every four years. This could be excusable if this was the same type of cynicism displayed by the Soviet citizens of the last century but cynicism it is not. It is sheer laziness brought on by years of polluting the airwaves with mindless crap designed to appeal to the basest instincts a human being possesses. Unconscious and disengaged, The New Man of the American Century is not so much a conquering hero as a grazing cow.

Rotting Empire: Failure of Mass Parties

The Electoral College Motto: "No Good Can Come of This"

When I was involved with the American arm of the CWI, every other newspaper article that was published would end with some variation of "... and this is why we need to build a mass party in the interests of the working class."

It was the kind of thing people made jokes about, sounding like a goddamn broken record every issue. It was also the sort of thing that caused me endless writerly exasperation. I'm sure it eventually bored the few readers who were not already members.

But hey, on its own, a "mass party" sounds well and good, right? After all, as the activist group (rightly) points out: Wall Street has two parties of its own - Democrats and Republicans. Two variations of the same general practices. A center-right party and a conservative party. They keep America good and profitable. It sure would be nice if there was a great big party for working folks to defend their own interests, wouldn't it? Fight fire with fire?

No. Wrong.



People who don't use those words aren't necessarily your allies, either. But folks who use this kind of terminology tend, in my experience, to either be psychopathic schemers or the boot-licking lackeys for psychopathic schemers. They will also, at some point, refer to you as "unwashed."

"The masses." If people referred to me by my density, I wouldn't wash, either.

Let's face it: when you join a "mass party," ie, a party made up of lots of people united for a common interest, you're compromising your individual positions for a party platform. That has its uses, sure. Legalizing gay marriage. Legalizing hemp. Banning the death penalty. We live in a pretty big country and pretty big decisions "have" to get made.

But your voice gets drowned out. There's lots of people shrieking for the ears of just a few representatives. Having a new political party doesn't change that. And it's always the political people shrieking the loudest, the ones who think they know best for everybody else.

We don't need another party that whitewashes personal and regional differences.

Also big parties are targets for big interests. The Democrats are constantly co-opted by business, and they're constantly co-opting social movements in turn. Big institutions, whether it be corrupt labor bureaucracies or planet-poisoning industries or corrupt financial powerhouses, use big political parties to cover their asses. That's how the Republican party can house both working-class conservatives ("I don't want my money going to anyone else!") and rich conservatives ("I don't want my money going to anyone else!").

We can't get what we want out of national parties. We can't build a "mass party" that we won't eventually lose to other "mass" institutions. Look at the Labour Party in Britain!

It'd be much wiser to form smaller parties that we can hold on a short leash. Keep em accountable. Keep em close to the people they represent. It'd do us far more good in the long run to start paying more attention to our local political scene, instead of fixating on a cabal of a few hundred limp-dicked old fossils in Washington whose geriatric minds we will never change.

Political parties love their Dicks (this one is Cheney).

Mass parties emerged from mass communications: the telegraph, the radio, telephones and television. Look at where our technology is heading, what it's doing to our lives and our society, and ask yourself what it will and could do to the political parties of the future. And to you socialist activists, nostalgic for the myths of the mighty Bolsheviks, you need to get yourselves in shape. This is far, far away from the Russia of the first World War. This ... is reality. And the old models cannot engage it.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

It's the time of year where The Man pauses to pay tribute to its favorite appropriated revolutionary, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Junior. So it's a good for us to remember that he wasn't just an outspoken black man who stood up for civil rights, but a perpetrator of "direct action" and, in the eyes of the oppressive institutions of his time, a criminal.

It was criminal in the 1960s to defy racial segregation. It was criminal to have marches, boycotts, sit-ins, and strikes. Standing alongside the everyday men and women involved in the struggle for equality, MLK was repeatedly arrested - according to the King Center, 30 times.

Sort of flies in the face of what we think of as "criminal," doesn't it?

Like many great thinkers, some of his best words were written from prison. Good lord, that letter finds a whole new realm of relevance with the rise of Occupy Wall Street!

Don't let the LCD flag-waving media turn King into another talking head with a sound-bite dream. 150 years after slavery, racism is still alive and well in America; OWS has taught white and privileged Americans the truths of police brutality which the black community has known for decades. And not everyone the State would like to paint a criminal is in fact our enemy - some are trying to help us face the brutal force we accept all too easily.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Urban Homestead

It was my fiancee's birthday recently, and as a gift to the home she bought The Urban Homestead. 65 pages deep, it's a wonderful book so far.

And sure, you can find reviews of it anywhere - and also tons of news about the legal debate over the book's title and the term "urban homesteading" (is there anything dumber than arguing over who "owns" words? guh). I'm not going to contribute to the wealth (clutter?) of that criticism. But I do want to use it to launch more refined points about politics, economics, and the failure of mass institutionality. By which I mean the slow collapse of mass culture and mass politics via their decomposing institutions.

I'm looking forward to that. Meanwhile, I suggest getting ahold of this book!