Cops, gangs, and anarchism 101

Me, quoting @ohtarzie: 484 mass murder deaths since 1982. Meanwhile over 9000 cop-related deaths in the same period (almost 1 per day). Ban cops.
(Mass Murder: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map?page=2 Cops: http://www.colorlines.com/archives/2007/11/killed_by_the_cops.html)

Dan: I’m not denying there’s corrupt cops or that there are unjustifiable civilian deaths, but to say to ban cops is extreme, I have several family members who are cops, my uncle was shot in the line of duty trying to help someone being held up at knife point, realize there are police officers that exist that try to do good

Me: It’s not that there are corrupt cops, or that there are not good people who are also cops; it’s that the social function of cops is pernicious to the vast majority of the population. A cop can only be a good person to the extent that they are not acting like a cop.

The job of cops is not to help citizens, after all, but to preserve the public order. And the tool of cops that differentiates them from anyone else is a monopoly on violence: what defines a cop is that they are allowed to use lethal force. The discourse of “corrupt cops” and “unlawful police shootings” misses that it is the point of cops to shoot people, and to be immunized from any consequences of doing so; to the extent that cops are prosecuted for shooting people without provocation, they aren’t cops. (Everybody is supposed to have a right to self-defense, after all.)

Look at when the power of cops have been increased. First, public police systems in the US originate as protection against theft after the development of industrialized mass production and interchangeable parts; when everything started to look the same, stealing became much easier to get away with. The police were very specifically a gift to large corporations from the state, a security force paid for by taxpayers that protected corporate earnings.

Since then, cops have been perennially tied to nasty business: anti-communism and the Red Scare. Union busting. The Civil Rights movement. The Drug War. The alter-globalization movement (the Battle in Seattle). The War on Terror. Occupy. Each of these is not about helping ordinary citizens, but in fact about putting ordinary citizens in their place and reaffirming and expanding the power of the state and corporations. The reason cops exist is to shoot the people who threaten the corporate state; all other functions they perform are secondary.

(I won’t even mention the US prison system and the astonishing and abhorrent rate of incarceration and treatment of prisoners, including routine torture that is trivialized in e.g. prison rape jokes…)

Again, look at the statistics: if cops exist to protect us from mass murderers, violent criminals, and the like, the evidence suggests they’re doing a spectacularly terrible job. Maybe there would be 10,000 more shooting deaths if cops didn’t exist, but I find that highly unlikely (especially since there is extensive evidence that police training increases violent responses–cops are spousal abusers at a significantly higher rate than the general population, and a huge number of shooting deaths are carried out by either ex-cops or ex-military, who fulfill a similar function overseas in serving the state and capital at the expense of ordinary people).

We don’t need cops to protect us. Most of the time they make things worse. If you read my feed, I post stories on an almost daily basis of completely unnecessary police shootings, many of them straight-up murders, for which no one is punished. (And if you want to look to why mass shootings happen, the fact that we live in a culture that glorifies and valorizes violence as a problem-solving tool and allows cops to routinely get away with murder would be a good place to start.)

In sum: fuck the police.

Dan: Even if you did get rid of the police force, and violent crime did go down, and I’m not denying that it would, it surely wouldn’t eliminate violent crime entirely, what do you propose then for dealing with the crimes that would occur ( I’m not trying to come off as a police force supporter, I’m genuinely curious)

Me: 1. Note that the 484 statistic is for mass murders (like the one today) rather than violent crime in general. Not sure what the numbers are for violent crime, but I know it’s been on the decline for something like thirty years despite constant calls for increased police militarization (most police shootings are drug-related anyway).

2. If violent crime went down, or regardless of decrease/increase was less without cops than the total of violent crime deaths+cop shooting deaths with cops… then cops are obviously hurting us, right? Cops aren’t a solution to violent crime if MORE PEOPLE DIE with cops than without.

What’s a better solution? Well, that question requires a lot of setting assumptions first, because a world without cops would be vastly different… as I said, cops are first and foremost tools of enforcing state power and the corporate privileges granted by state power. The law, after all, is only the law to the degree that the violence monopolized by cops enforces it; if there’s no violence behind it–the threat of death or imprisonment–it’s not a law, it’s a suggestion. So without cops, there is literally no law in the sense that we think of. (Which also points to why our conception of laws as formal rules set forth by legislature is completely bullshit; the law is what the police and the state’s attorneys and the judges say it is, which is vastly different from what the laws on paper say, as anyone involved with drug prosecutions can tell you.) So without cops, there is no state, just voluntary associations.

Of course, any such thought experiment immediately comes to the question of, without cops or the state, wouldn’t some gang organize themselves and take over?

And the answer is: yes. And they’d call themselves the cops/the state. The cops are the cops because they’re the gang with the biggest guns (or are backed by the gang with the biggest guns, the US military) and the most willing to use them to achieve power. Everything else is dressing.

Dan: Idk about the rest of the country, but I know the murder rate, and just shootings in general are way up in Chicago this year from last year, lots of them gang related, or just innocent people caught in crossfire, the city is quite fucked up, in the short term what would you propose for a situation like ours

Me: Well, to answer that requires looking at why the violence is occurring, on a structural level. Gang violence, for instance: why do gangs exist? Why do people join gangs? Why does gang violence happen? Etc. The answer, almost universally, is artificial scarcity.

Urban centers like Chicago were originally organized around industrial manufacturing. (It’s also worth noting that the population of these urban centers were by and large forcibly relocated by capitalists getting the state to seize land from previously self-sufficient farmers; the early capitalists wrote quite explicitly about this re: e.g. the Enclosure Acts in England and how the poor would never work hard in their factories if they could be lazy and self-sufficient on their own land. Thus, they stole the land via state violence and destroyed the farms. In the US, this was sometimes done in the same way, though it was easier thanks to the bedrock of Puritan morality which held that those who weren’t constantly working were immoral.)

As post-industrialization set in (which is to say, industrialized manufacturing was outsourced overseas to places where it could be done with more human rights violations and therefore cheaper), large urban centers like Chicago no longer had enough jobs compared to their population. These jobs were not replaced because the state and capital doesn’t actually have an interest in providing jobs (or food, shelter, medical care, etc.) to people. Unemployment is good for capital, after all–a high supply of labor lowers the price. (The Federal Reserve explicitly and openly works toward higher unemployment for this reason.) Large portions of the urban population became, in essence, surplus people, whose only value to the corporate state was their pressure on labor costs by being unemployed.

Now, while sustaining a living outside of the jobs economy–that is to say, surviving through growing your own food, making your own stuff, and building cooperative networks with others to make this easier–is more difficult in an urban environment, it’s not impossible, and many urban populations began to work toward this out of necessity. The police, again, were responsible for intervening in this process: via a variety of regulations and sometimes without any justification whatsoever, the police cracked down on such things. (Most famously, J. Edgar Hoover proclaimed the most dangerous thing the Black Panthers ever did was to set up soup kitchens and organize schools outside of the state–creating their own independent society.)

In such conditions, I think it’s easy to see the role of gangs and drugs among the urban poor: the drugs provide a means of getting food and other necessities after jobs and sustainable living were denied to them by the state, while the gangs protect them from state intervention and allow them to fight over the scraps the state leaves to them.

There’s a reason what happens to urban centers is called ghettoization, comparing this process to the Nazis walling off sections of German cities and leaving the Jews inside to slowly die of hunger and in-fighting over the few resources available, as well as German police arbitrarily and not infrequently simply shooting them. This comparison is far more apt than most people want to accept: the police have, in practical terms, done the same thing, deliberately depriving areas of these cities of resources, leaving them to fight over what is allowed in, and routinely intervene to arbitrarily shoot people without justification or consistency. Poor urban families are constantly torn apart by police violence–among urban blacks, for example, the statistics of imprisonment over trivial drug charges are obscene (something like 50% of black men will spend some part of their life in prison).

So you want to know how to fix this? Again, it’s cops and the state who created this problem, and the solution is to get rid of them. If these people were allowed to take care of themselves–as is happening in parts of Detroit, a city that has been in many places just abandoned by the state entirely–you will see a rebirth, as people extract themselves from the utter failure of corporate capitalism (which again required massive state intervention in the first place to get people into the factories that powered it) and learn to live sustainably again, with local gardens and local manufacturing (which has always been, absent state violence, more efficient than centralized factories, and is even moreso today with the development of 3D printing). When people are allowed the material abundance that we have the easy ability to produce, most people will have no interest in fighting.

The thing you have to realize is: people can take care of themselves. The people who say they know better than you, and threaten you with violence if you don’t do what they say? Those are the people who bring evil into the world–because that act of arrogance and violence is the first and only evil act. If you want to know why something bad is happening, ask yourself who is using violence to take charge, and you will have your answer.

(APPARENTLY I AM WRITING A TEXTBOOK ON ANARCHISM 101 TODAY)

[A friend and domestic abuse survivor says that cops protected her from her abuser, that we need structure and rules, and asks if I think rape and murder would disappear in a world without cops]

Me: [],

I understand your position and I of course would not try to speak to your experiences. I definitely understand that there are instances when the police are beneficial, even save lives.

There are two things I would say with regard to your comments. The first is that I’m not suggesting we simply abolish the police; I don’t believe that’s possible on a practical level and, as I mentioned above, even if we did magically make them go away, there would simply be another group that set themselves up in that position. The only situation in which the police don’t exist is a situation in which it is not possible for a group to set themselves up in a position of domination via violence. I’ve written before about empowering everyone with the ability to wield equal violence (and having to take responsibility for that power), the idea being to create a world where what happened to you isn’t possible in the first place. But until we get to that point, we do often face the choice of trusting one group wielding violent power to protect us from other groups wielding violent power, and I would never suggest that someone making that choice in the face of real, ongoing violence is doing something wrong. (For example, there were frequent arguments in the original Occupy camps about bringing in the police after sexual assaults occurred–I don’t think anyone has a right to question the survivors’ decisions to involve the police in those matters.) Rather, I simply want people to recognize the choice they are making–as I mentioned above, studies have demonstrated that domestic abuse is significantly more common among cops than the general population; allying yourself with a violent, dominating force may be necessary, but it’s not something we should be happy about; you should never have had to do it in the first place, and I want to get to a world where you don’t.

(As to your example of your break down in freezing weather: the cop’s behavior in that case doesn’t seem to have anything to do with him being a cop. A state official without the ability to shoot people or even just a passerby could do just the same, no? As I said above: I don’t think there can’t be cops who are good people, but that a cop is only a good person to the extent they’re not acting like a cop. In that situation, they weren’t.)

As to your question about rape, murder, and sexual exploitation: no, I don’t think they would go away. I’m not suggesting that a world without the state would be a utopia, merely that we would experience less violence than the massive, systemic, structural violence of the world as it is today. I’m not against rules and structure; I’m merely against rules and structures that are enforced by violence. But your question is apt: anarchism as a political and economic organization solves material scarcity, which is the driving cause of probably the vast majority of violence in human society; but it does not directly address the other major cause of violence, sexual pressures and patriarchy. Again, I do think the empowerment necessary to prevent domination via material scarcity and violence will also prevent a lot of sexual violence, but there won’t be abundance in the same way that will make the tension go away for most people, and it’s an issue that would require vigilance and cultural education.

I want to stress, though, that until the point where we can defend ourselves, I don’t think it’s wise or even possible to try to get rid of cops.

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Networks vs privacy

“The poverty of nations: Wal-Mart efficiency and the destitution of America” http://c4ss.org/content/14925

There’s something really important going on with data mining and the organization described here… to be certain, data mining is a bubble, the problems they’re trying to solve don’t actually have a (centralized/algorithmic/technocratic) solution, and obviously the success of corporate capitalism is first and foremost a product of state violence. But the reality is also that while data mining’s value is overstated for what it purports to achieve (the technocratic God, the final algorithm that solves humanity’s problems by progressive managerialism) it is very effective at augmenting the ability to wield violence. Data mining is very good at identifying structural weaknesses (systempunkts) which can be exploited to achieve disproportionate damage to the underlying system.

Currently, this information is largely in the hands of the corporate state–security organizations like the NCTC (which, beyond acting as the depository for all data mining done by local, state, and national US governments, also runs the disposition matrix AKA the Kill List 2.0–for a relatively small organization, that’s a meaningful combination) and monolithic, largely unknown corporations who sell the information to the highest bidder.

There are some who wish to push back against data mining; to try to erase the information and stop the collection. This is, for better or worse, a futile effort; a networked society means the proliferation of information. Data was scarce before because there was not much information to be had; networks were small and loosely tied. Where a person goes is irrelevant when a person can’t move beyond their home town without significant effort; the same goes for what we buy and so on (remember that before 1900 the vast majority of the world population was engaged in subsistence agriculture). Despite crypto-activists’ desires, any interaction with society will produce identifying information; privacy is only possible to the degree to which you do not interact with society. (As I have said before: freedom is the absence of network ties.) We cannot put the genie of data mining back in the bottle; the technology is only ever going to get smarter. So long as networked society exists, data mining will exist.

What we must work toward, then, as I have said before, is not the reduction of power but the proliferation of it. We must break open the channels of data to everyone; if the private is no longer meaningful, then we must make everything public–starting with the corporate state that hides its actions so obsessively.

We’re moving toward a vastly different world. Don’t look to privacy and freedom; those are gone, so long as the networked world lasts. In their place, look to agency, and power, for everyone.

(In the discussion of corporate capitalism and data mining, we should also note how Wal-Mart’s goals here are precisely that of state socialism–determining how much needs to be produced, where, and when, via a massively centralized bureaucracy. The idea that capitalism and state socialism are opposed poles of politics is one of the most important delusions to skewer: they are both brands of technocratic authoritarianism, as were absolute monarchism and religious fundamentalism before; they differ in sophistication and particulars, but the goal–decontextualization of all human beings into manageable numbers–and the ultimate means–violence, phrased as a necessity for our own good–are the same.)

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A need to be assimilated into higher orders of structure and meaning

http://lhote.blogspot.com/2012/12/bad-faith-and-zerodark-thirty.html

It’s not that I think liberals support torture. No, I think liberals want to be forced to support torture. What liberals want is ultimately to do what conservative hawks want to do, but only after experts and leaders assure them that they have no choice. They want extreme events to make the choice for them. That’s why every discussion of torture always descends into some absurd hypothetical where you know that there’s a ticking time bomb and you know that a terrorist in your custody has info and you know that you can get that info and stop that bomb if you torture him. They devise these incredibly complex scenarios because they need them to take away their personal choice. That’s why writers like Spencer Ackerman exist, to present the proper level of squeamishness and showy moral grappling– to say that these scenes ‘can make a viewer ashamed to be American, in the context of a movie whose ending scene makes viewers very, very proud to be American’– before the torture happens anyway. The key is to go through the moral indigestion but to eventually get to the all-American pride. There’s a whole cottage industry, like that, for fretting liberals who want to get to the tough guy routine in the end.

DING DING DING

Liberals want to believe that violence is necessary–they want to believe in a world where gosh, we’d love to be idealists who don’t hurt anyone, but that’s just not the way it works and we’re forced to do these horrific things (but they’re kind of cool in a way, amirite?)–because it absolves them of responsibility (and identity). Liberals want to be a tool, a servant of a higher purpose of the State that has knowledge and purposes beyond their comprehension (SOUND FAMILIAR) but in reality they’re just thugs in denial. They got off on violence, and on the feeling that they have no choice. Fuck them.

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Power and ignorance

Things I have been thinking about lately:

The relationship between power and stupidity. If power is a function of the ability to wield violence, then power is necessarily stupid, because our ability to communicate with someone has an inverse relationship with the imbalance of violent power between us (i.e., we have a very difficult time having an honest conversation with those who are threatening our lives or whose lives we threaten–though if we are both threatening each other, things tend to actually work out; Robert Anton Wilson called this notion the “SNAFU Principle”).

In essence, the ability to wield violence acts as an additional term to any kind of negotiation. Thus: “I’ll do A for you if you do B for me” becomes “I’ll do A for you *and I won’t hurt you* if you do B for me”. Following simple math and a very basic understanding of human behavior, we can surmise that, all other things being equal, A is generally less in the latter situation than in the former; yet the wielder of violence is not actually doing anything more, not going to any more effort than in the former case: the ability to wield violence acts as effort without actually requiring the exercise of effort (or rather, acts as more effort than it requires to exercise).

The important things to note about this are that 1. this factor is introduced by the ability to wield violence, not by an explicit threat; though explicit threats may increase this factor, the factor still exists even when a threat has not been made. You are more likely to consider the words of a 300-lb. wrestler than of a 120-lb. programmer (though if you happen to have a gun on you, this difference will be less meaningful).

and 2. the ability to wield violence extends beyond direct physical harm into the ability to cause discomfort of any kind. The most notable case of this is in employment: due to the near-necessity of a job to survival in the US, and the scarcity of jobs compared to applicants, employers have an extremely significant ability to cause hardship on their employees by firing them, a threat that is generally not matched by any concomitant ability for an employee to cause hardship to an employer.

This is Marx’s “surplus value”, extracted by capital from workers: the ability to wield violence against them causes workers to necessarily give more than they would in an open exchange. The same individual will necessarily, systematically do less work in a management position than in a position lower in the hierarchy because the ability to fire those workers acts as additional effort without the actual exercise of such.

(Of course, we should recognize that the employer’s ability to wield indirect violence is not actually indirect, merely displaced: the reason we need a job to survive, and that jobs are scarce, is precisely and directly because of state violence which prevents anyone from succeeding otherwise, which attacks those who begin to succeed and spread any means of personal survival and plenty not based on selling your body and mind for 40 hours a week.)

We can also see this imbalance at work in privilege. Privilege is, in many ways, the wielding of violence with the terms of negotiation for the other (unempowered) parties being to conform to the empowered parties’ perspective of the world. What I mean is, for example, men generally have a greater ability to wield violence than women, and in the equation of “A+violence = B” A is usually “nothing” and B is usually “when I’m around, act like how I think you are and treat me how I think I am, and then, since those things aren’t actually true and the world would break down if they were true, do all the things that need done to keep the world going but don’t fit my ideas when I’m not around”. Women end up going to vastly more effort than men, forced to go to extra effort when men are around by maintaining a delusional facade of gender essentialist bullshit and then forced to go to extra effort when men aren’t around to get all the stuff done they need to get done that don’t conform to men’s ideas in that shorter amount of time.

This also, of course, works the same way between whites and POC, those of heteronormative (straight monogamous nuclear etc) sexualities and those outside of those bounds, and, again, employees and employers (hence employers generally having completely delusional ideas about how the business runs and e.g. their secretaries and everyone else keeping things running in spite of these delusions), to name a few examples–really, any imbalance of violent power.

What’s also interesting about this conception, especially when we see it as privilege, is that, almost universally, one of the unspoken terms required by the wielder of violence is that the wielding of violence not be acknowledged. Employees cannot act as if their employer is constantly threatening them with destitution; women cannot act as if men are constantly threatening them with rape (or other physical violence, or destitution, or…) Power demands its own erasure (which is more extra effort on the part of the less powerful).

This erasure often functions to the degree that those with power have erased the knowledge from themselves–the efforts of the less powerful to affect the pretense of equality has succeeded to such a degree that, for example, many men genuinely believe they are on equal footing with women, or, perhaps even worse, that inequalities between men and women are “structural” and leftovers of an earlier period of enforced sexism that will fade with time since women no longer face direct threats of violence on a daily basis and we don’t need to do anything about it. (Guess what guys? Most women still face direct, actual violence on a near-daily basis! It’s vile, and our refusal to see that and indict ourselves is why rape culture is a thing!) (C.f. also “post-racial”)

…This is kind of a disorganized mess and not really going anywhere so I’ll just stop here for now.

(Something something how the somewhat success of fighting against sexism/racism/homophobia/etc and ambivalence toward explicit power/domination has turned victimhood into a badge of honor and the privileged not only demanding the erasure of their power but for the unprivileged to to threat the privileged as victims and martyrs who are required to do the things they do for the good of the unprivileged… something something fictional contexts in which a bigger bully exists to justify bullying, e.g. the military is justified in everything it does because aliens or crazy terrorist masterminds or whatever.)

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How many dead children will it take?

Silber: http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-bloody-black-comedy-of-state.html

Your regular reminder that Obama openly operates a murder program whose guiding principles proudly and routinely necessitate the deaths of innocent human beings.

The question I always wonder, for each of O’s supporters individually, is: is there a line that he can cross that would be too much? Is there a point where you would say, regardless of how “impractical” or “unserious” it may be, regardless of how hard it may be to oppose or how hard opposition may make your life, you would feel compelled to act against this, to stand up and say NO! or at the very least refuse even the most conditional support? Is there a point at which his actions would demarcate him as so vile and evil that you could no longer bear even the least association with him, regardless of the consequences?

And if there is a point where that would be true, what is it? How many dead children will it take?

(Since Clinton got well past 500,000 with hardly anyone blinking an eye, I imagine it’s a lot, but I am genuinely–and perhaps morbidly–curious.)

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Hope and change in 1865

I keep hearing people talk about Lincoln as a film that “reaffirms our faith in democracy” or some such. Did I watch a completely different film from everyone else? Is not the main emphasis of Lincoln completely on the absolute failure of “democracy” (as the film sees it) to address the evil of slavery? I mean, I guess maybe it comes from Lincoln’s comment that regardless of whether what he did and does is blatantly unconstitutional, the people reelected him, so *clearly* the people are okay with him doing whatever… which, um. Yeah. Obvious commentary on that is obvious.

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How do we stop this?

W…T…F… http://www.buzzfeed.com/mattbuchanan/how-to-wage-war-on-the-internet IDF live tweets Gaza assault. World of today.

They’re also uploading images to an official flickr..

This is so fucked up. They are live tweeting murder.

But of course it’s not really new; the principles are the same as always, just applied to the new technology. States have always celebrated their murders. We forget (because of how guilty it makes our forebears) that the Nazis, in the first modern media-saturated state, wanted everyone to know what they were doing, publicized and glorified their genocide. It was not a dirty secret; it was an achievement to be proud of.

The best way for governments to get away with something is to tell everyone they are doing it, and act proud of it. I have no doubt that they are, too, or that they are seeking justification for what insecurities they have. But the stifling effect on dissent is real and notable. If the government acts shameful about it, we are allowed, perhaps, to question it. But when it’s on the front page of the New York Times and the Washington Post (as Obama’s Murder Program has been)? It’s a triumph.

It’s human sacrifice. Blood for the blood god.

fucking christ. how can we stop this? what can we do? we cannot stand for this shit. we absolutely fucking cannot. (but of course, the us government will even allow israel to shoot american citizens who get in the way of the zionists’ genocide. they have before, under obama–during the last attack, which followed the last election, too.)

this is what it comes down to: what can we do? these people will not negotiate with anyone that cannot threaten them (“Communication is only possible between equals”), and we have nothing with which to threaten them. they need us for nothing, we need them for almost everything, and they are ready and willing to murder us if we get in their way. what can we do?

one of occupy’s greatest strengths was its refusal to make demands, refusal to engage in politics, for precisely this reason, that was so often misunderstood and misinterpreted (often willfully). because there can be no negotiation, even if we wanted to. there can only be begging. we exist at their whim, and occupy sought to change that (and was thus destroyed mercilessly).

until that changes–and that will be a technological change, not a social one–there is little we can do other than scurry about in the shadows, trying to avoid attracting attention, helping each other where we can, building networks of resistance.

what else can we do? if anyone has any genuine suggestions, i’d like to hear them.

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The need to believe

Gods. The frenzied displays of authoritarianism, everywhere, coming out of the woodwork… worship and jubilation toward one of the most actively despicable human beings on the planet. People laugh at Republican supporters for breaking down like it’s the end of the world–and you are exactly right to laugh at them, because it’s not the end of the world, because nothing has changed, and nothing would have changed the other way. The nauseating, plainly absurd notion that this election was “the most important ever” or would “change the course of history” (or that it was even a close race)…

The political class needs to believe in its narrative of a fair competition and a momentous victory. The political class needs to believe in its heroes and villains, its morality plays and epic arcs, because otherwise they would have to face what they are: hollow men (and women! woo!) drowning in blood, whose only means of feeling is through the pain of others.

But for the rest of us… we believe because otherwise we would have to face that we are powerless before the machines of state & capital, that things do not get better in one day or with one election. We are not allies and participants in a battle between the forces of darkness and those of light. Like every war, those on the ground are just poor, sad, and miserable, forced to fight and die for the pleasure of the powerful, whose aims are petty, small, and vicious.

The only hope I have for this election is that as these next years go by more people will become willing to acknowledge the farce of elections, the utter hollowness and hypocrisy of the Democratic Party and electoral politics in general, that at least some of the very real anger, and sadness, and joy, and power of the people directed at this election will stop being diverted and instead become a real force for change. That people will stop putting hope in someone else to save them and start working to make things better for themselves, and each other, together.

If we believed in ourselves as much as we believe in these false idols… imagine the world we’d make.

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Dust Bowl Dance

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNLCKuz4EVs

I’m not really a music person, and Mumford and Sons all kind of sounds the same after a while, but this song never stops being awesome:

You are my accuser, now look in my face!
Your oppression reeks of your greed and disgrace.
So one man has and another has not–
How can you love what it is you have got
When you took it all from the weak hands of the poor?
Liars and thieves! You don’t know what is in store!
There will come a time I will look in your eye.
You will pray to the God that you’ve always denied,
But I’ll go back and I’ll get my gun.
I’ll say, you haven’t met me, I am the only son!

Seriously, the vitriol with which they scream those lines. It’s wonderful.

Even moreso: the rest of the song makes it pretty clear the guy getting the gun pointed at him (and presumably murdered) is a banker who foreclosed on the property of the gun wielder.

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Genocide

Greenwald on Iran sanctions: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/07/iran-santions-suffering

Let’s remember: it was widely reported that Clinton-era sanctions against Iraq killed over 500,000 children–merely the worst statistic of a decade or horrific suffering bounded by the two Iraq wars. A UN official who resigned in protest said the sanctions met the international standards for genocide. Madeleine Albright, Clinton’s Secretary of State, when asked about the reported figure of half a million children dead because of her, did not deny the figure but instead declared confidently that “the price is worth it”.

Meanwhile, of course, the sanctions actually strengthened Saddam, because he and his supporters hoarded what was left for themselves and left everyone else–including the popular resistance–to literally starve.

Now we’re doing the same thing to Iran, in a campaign openly and proudly designed by our leaders to literally starve the Iranian people… which will, again, only empower Iran’s leaders and suppress its dissidents whom the American government claims to support.

Can anyone really deny that the actions of the American government in the Middle East–not just the military but the State Department just as much–are genocidal?

I know I get angry about so, so much here, but.. what other response is there? To ignore mass murder on the scale of millions? How can we accept this? How can we shrug our shoulders an go on each day knowing that the people who supposedly represent us and claim to be acting in our interest are carrying out these actions?

Often we speak of liberation and of freedom. Perhaps instead we should speak of *responsibility*, of *reparations*. There is so much blood on all of our hands.

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