Or, why the Institute for Policy Studies can eat shit.
I’ve often groused about how the activist millieu in DC is domesticated, low key and dead. Every event inevitably follows this formula: BORING SPEECH followed by THREE WORD CHANT, with ANNOYINGLY SERPENTINE MARCH that passes by OUTSIDE BORING OFFICE BUILDING, OUTSIDE BORING OFFICE BUILDING, OUTSIDE BORING OFFICE BUILDING, OUTSIDE BORING OFFICE BUILDING, winding up OUTSIDE BORING OFFICE BUILDING, with BORING SPEECH, THREE WORD CHANT, THREE WORD CHANT and BORING SPEECH. Sometimes, BORING SPEECH is interspersed with BORING FOLK MUSIC.
It’s almost as if all of these events are planned by the same central committee. We’ve long been frustrated and irritated by the presence of 501c(3) non-profit groups– they latch on to every movement and suck the life out of it. Suddenly, every event –no matter how grass-roots its origins– is handled like a goddamned rock concert, with backstage passes and VERY BUSY STAFFERS who are VERY IMPORTANT AND CANT TALK WITH YOU RIGHT NOW WOULD YOU KINDLY STEP AWAY FROM THE SPEAKERS. You have to butter these little shits up, too, or else they’ll do everything in their power to keep you from taking pictures or interviewing people.
So it comes to pass that every activist event ends up following the same fucking script, with people on the street becoming so accustomed to the routine that they block it all out. The people of DC have acquired ninja-like prowess in dodging and brushing off bright, shiny-faced youth with pamphlets, and shitty, squawking bullhorns just blend into the white noise of the city. I know, you’re getting less than minimum wage to hand out fliers for an hour or two and it looks good on your curriculum vitae when you apply to another 501(c)3, but the people who told you to do this have no connection with the worker you’re slowing down who needs to catch the subway or else she’ll lose her minimum wage job.
This is why no one who lives in DC gives two shits about activism anymore, and why no one bothers to start anything. You’d think DC would be alive with political discourse on every corner, but it’s not. Everything has been domesticated. Tamed. Broken. Every movement, no matter what it is, will inevitably be co-opted by a large, well-funded nonprofit who will then move its own people into leadership positions in the original, grass-roots group. Or– as with the case of Occupy DC, where there is no leadership position– the nonprofits will createleadership positions with their own people already in the position; namely, the Institute for Policy Studies’ involvement with Occupy DC. We were looking up info about tomorrow’s May Day event at Malcolm X park, and saw this press release. That’s odd, Occupy is just supposed to DO THINGS, not have press agents and people who live in very expensive apartments in Alexandria.
“Who ARE these people?” “Hmm… they work for something… Institute for Policy Studies?” “INSTITUTE FOR POLICY STUDIES?! A FUCKING NON-PROF?!” “Yeah, fuck that shit, I’m not wasting my time on that crap.”
What DOES MayDay DC have planned, anyway? A carnival? A family friendly outing of happy, puffy, safe pablum that completely undercuts the serious nature of the entire goddamned 99% message? The right wing and corporatists are waging a very literal waron working people, dissidents and anyone who doesn’t fit into their narrow “God-Money-Empire” worldview, and the best way to demonstrate this is by having nonprofit staffers dress up in CLOWN COSTUMESfor a goddamned PARADE?
The common line of apologist bullshit from non-profits is that without the power of a nonprofit, they wouldn’t be able to pull in notable speakers or professional sound systems– which is probably they’ve had their sights set on Occupy since it first appeared. Think about it– a legitimately grass-roots movement that doesn’t want or need your fucking Genelec monitors that you can’t mix properly, and where speakers like Slavoj Zizek spent their own money to travel to and attend. Hell, DC may actually by a perfect example where right wing media may have had its baseless propaganda finally hit a mark: a rich, well-funded group of flatulent, old “establishment leftists” really have taken over the activist scene in DC.
The major difference between what Institute for Policy Studies does and what Americans for Prosperity does is AFP has the backing of the Koch brothers’ billions, and IPS only has donations from a few well-off people from left-of-center. Either way, both of these abominations are the very definition of astro-turf political movements. Nothing of any journalistic importance will happen at Malcolm X park tomorrow, and I’m certainly not going to risk my brand new camera and lenses to cover a fucking astro-turf event that’s already being photographed by talentless hacks working for a fucking non-profit. Fuck that shit.
The line of thinking that supports the “the only reason that oppressive, orwellian legislation is passed is because of terrorist acts” is a nice cop out. It’s easy to take the administration-friendly line of painting the government as a reluctant oppressor, that it doesn’t REALLY want to spy on its people or treat them as unruly cattle, but plans like the Levin Amendment to the NDAA, the amendment that allows the US military to indefinately detain United States citizens without any access to legal services wasn’t a knee-jerk reaction to some imminent threat, it was cooly composed and inserted into the NDAA AFTER Osama Bin Laden was killed. But the argument never takes the opposite track in mainstream political discourse. We always see the erosion of our civil rights, our liberties and our freedoms as the unfortunate result of some grave, dire threat, that somehow taking away the ability to use a megaphone at a political rally will save thousands of lives, or whatever ridiculous example you want to give. We– the news media, the public and our elected officials– never frame the debate in the opposite manner, that the ridiculous, horrible act comes after it is made illegal, and this as a result and reaction to its banning. Everything in society is framed like this: “there was no choice but to invade Iraq because there were terrorists there” is retroactively justified because some ignorant people who rarely pay any attention to the news perk up whenever they hear “terrorist attack in Iraq.” They cannot make the connection that the reason for the existance of that terrorist is a direct result of the invasion of Iraq– for whatever reason, they believe that Iraq has always been populated exclusively with terrorists. Similarly, they do not understand why– after so much high-level diplomacy– certain countries still hate all westerners with a passion. They cannot understand that protestors who are being gassed with tear-gas canisters stamped “made in the USA” is a far more potent diplomatic gesture than all of the five-star luncheons or glad-handing photo-ops ever conducted.
If there’s one major flaw in direct action, it is that it is far too optimistic in its goals of “waking people up to the truth.” People have been conditioned to believe that the government is a generally benign behemoth that has no real desire to oppress, and that “oppression is something for other countries.” People have been trained to accept the model of causality that posits the government as ONLY acting harshly and oppressively as a tactical reaction against something harmful, never vice versa. You know the chicken and the egg metaphor– in this reality, The CHICKEN CAME FIRST. Only commie hippie scum think the egg came first, and even if the egg came first, the chicken was ABSOLUTELY JUSTIFIED in what it did!
The method by which western capitalist society operates is by the upper, rich classes profiting off the labor, intelligence and strengths of the lower classes. They do this by forcing divisive social wedges that, while serious, distract from the greater, economic motivator. Whether these wedges are race-based, religion-based or even the fabricated concept that there is a “middle” “lower” or “upper middle” “lower middle” “upper lower” or “middle lower” class distinction is immaterial. The rich classes become annoyed when an attack is made on these wedges, but they ultimately forgive these attacks based on the reasoning that another wedge can be created, and old wedges can be used to reopen old wounds. When the attack proceeds past the wedge issue and is directed at the rich upper classes is when the rich upper classes become scared. It is when this point is reached that the agitator or movement is killed.
And today’s lesson is: Jason Thompkins of Harvest Rain is a hitler fetishist. No, really. You know, an actual “esoteric hitlerist“. There’s no weaseling out of this like people like to do with Death in June or Boyd Rice–he’s not utilizing fascist imagery in a completely unoriginal attempt to shock his audience, he honestly belives that adolph hitler is/was the tenth and final avatar of Vishnu, come to earth to end our current age of the Kali Yuga. Furthermore, that link I posted is him bragging about how he’s hand-translating The Golden Ribbon: Esoteric Hitlerism, which was written by another hitler fetishist, Miguel Serrano.
This makes me feel bad that I spent a grand total of 10 dollars picking up two of Harvest Rain’s releases out of the used CD store. I really don’t want this nazi trash in my house, so watch this space as I post the results of their complete and total ontological destruction.
I will remove their artifacts from the physical world, and, in so doing, stab at their heart in the spiritual world. No pasaran! The date and time has been set: January 23, 2:39 AM EST, when the new moon reaches its time of maximum darkness.
Or, if you’re a nazi piece of shit, I’ll sell you each of these at $100 USD each. I promise to donate that money to your local ARA so they can kick your face in.
January 27, 2012 | Categories: Art, politics, shamanism | Tags: american third position, anarchism, anarchy, anti-authoritarian, anti-fascism, anti-semitism, antifa, fascist, leftists, missive, Music, national socialist, nazi, shamanism, spiritual antifascism, spirituality | Leave a comment
The mythology that Gandhi practiced “pacifism” is part of a larger mythology fed by the state to discourage political activism. Gandhi practiced asymmetry- his tactics were effective because they were diametrically opposed to the previous one hundred years of bombings, assassinations and violence. If the situation were flipped, with the previous one hundred years of resistance to the British composed entirely of non-violent, pacifistic actions and Gandhi appeared with a methodology of bombings, assassinations and violence, that too would have been effective in removing British colonial rule from India. How this would have played in the broader scope of international affairs at that point in history is probably best left to Speculative Fiction writers, but I could venture that Japanese interest in India would have been increased significantly.
The concept of “pacifism” is now used as a cudgel to bludgeon any talk of any political activism deemed “militant” even if said activism is no more militant than occupying an abandoned bank. To be clear, Gandhi’s pacifism worked because the “militancy” it displaced was actually militant– to compare squatting, picket lines, port blockades or marches to bombings, organized assault units and a network of assassins is ridiculous state propaganda.
NPR will give wall-to-wall coverage of nearly every single Koch-funded teabagger rally, from a bunch of racist old coots in the middle of nowhere to multi-million dollar spectacles on the National Mall, but they not only specifically *ignore* a legitimately grass-roots protest put on by angry, politically motivated youth who are protesting relatively complex economic policies— they BRAG ABOUT IT TOO.
I wager that at some point in the day, an NPR host or two will air a piece whining and complaining about “voter apathy” or “lack of political motivation” among young Americans. Look, these people aren’t getting beaten, maced and arrested for fucking Justin Bieber tickets, they’re making the *very clear statement* that Wall Street controls far too much of the political process in the United States government. Gosh, I wonder if THAT has anything to do with “voter apathy.”
Everyone on the ground in NYC protesting knows this stuff like the back of their hand, and they’ll happily tell any reporter all about it— but NPR thinks that a bunch of mouth-breathing idiots who can’t verbalize their angst over the fact that a black man is president has far more “message clarity” than anybody on Occupy Wall Street.
The irony of the whole matter is that the average teabagger has a deep, searing, burning hatred for NPR. The simple fact that NPR exists *at all* —least of all in part due to government contributions— sends the typical teabagger into an apoplectic rage, but NPR still panders to people who would never be caught dead listening to NPR in the first place.
I know what will happen— NPR will air an apologetic, 30 minute long piece about these protests and it will be played once on a Sunday at 3AM PST, so the least amount of people will listen. Then they’ll whine again about the extreme duress they’ve been put under to air this *awful piece* and never say anything about it again. Fuck that.
The problem with conspiracy theories is that they are an outgrowth of paranoia and religious thinking. Do these have any place in an activist movement? No! Of course not— especially if this movement sources itself from ostensibly secular and skeptical roots. Conspiracy theories exist as a way for entrenched power structures to perpetuate themselves by attempting to convince easily frustrated people that there is a simple answer for every question. Yes, it’s a lot easier to digest the theory that “the Jews did 911” rather than take the time to meticulously unravel the complex, onion-like structure of 30 years of central Asian geopolitics, the opium trade and Reagan/Thatcher era fanatical anticommunism. The ease by which a conspiracy theory can be consumed does not lend any support for its validity, regardless of however many appeals to the size of the audience the purveyor of the theory makes.
The irony of conspiracy theories is that even though they do not stand up to even cursory examination or skepticism, these easy challenges provoke a fevered response from their supporters. If, for example, one attempts to point out that not all bankers are Jews, the person doing this will be immediately labelled one of a number of flowery, absurd insults— “Zionist stooge for the banksters” comes to mind— and any hope for rational discourse is lost. This is a pattern echoed in religious thought wherein people who attempt to point out that the earth could not be only six thousand years old are labelled “satanic.”
The “conspiratorial mindset” thrives on martyrdom and oppression. When persons who are spouting racist conspiracy theories inside activist groups are subsequently removed from these groups, they will run howling and screaming to their theorist comrades about the “harsh injustices and fascist oppression meted out by a decidedly non-revolutionary sock-puppet group which is probably entirely composed of agents from a variety of government intelligence agencies.” The purpose of this action is, of course, to provoke said activist group to stop “censoring” these demonstrably false activities and allow another venue of message delivery— after all, the conspiracist will claim, the “lamestream media” actively works to suppress the activities of these “activists for truth” and what ostensibly anti-authoritarian activist group wants to be tarred with any accusation of hypocrisy?
All of these claims operate around false suppositions. Yes, there is little mention of every half-baked conspiracy theory in mainstream media, just like there is no serious consideration of anything that challenges the dominant social, political and economic order— but this does not mean that the two are linked, nor does it mean that there is some sort of wide-ranging governmental policy to stifle talk about “Reptilian shape-shifters from the Pleidean cluster.” Mainstream media does not discuss alternative political, social or economic processes because doing this invites debate and uneasiness— where it is easier to sell products to a calm, assured audience than an agitated one. The role that conspiracy theorists play in the grand scheme of things is that they fill a niche market in the capitalist system— namely, the market of people who prefer to be easily agitated or frightened and will buy product. Because of this, the conspiracy theory community has created its own media ecology, with an endless array of talk show hosts and websites delivering 24/7 live content to a voracious audience. Conspiracy theorists not only have plenty of bandwidth to push their ideals, they demand that all venues be open to them.
The irony of being labelled a “fascist” by someone who is removed from a group for attempting to push racist conspiracy theories is that the person doing the labelling has probably never read the Encyclopedia Britannica definition of Fascism— written by Benito Mussolini. The common talking point among most conspiracy theorists today is a general advocacy against an intrusive, big-brother style authoritarian government. This is strangely pursued by supporting politicians like Ron Paul who openly advocate for a halt to governmental oversight of businesses and corporations under the guise of “liberty” and “freedom.” This pairs nicely with Mussolini’s definition of fascism being the merger of corporate and state power. The conspiracy theorist then refers to themselves as an “anti corporatist” which only furthers their absurdist image.
The presence of conspiracy theorists wouldn’t be a problem if not for their desire to find possibly receptive audience members to whom the conspiracy theorist lifestyle can be sold— and for the subsequent practice of hijacking movements and changing their goals and purpose to suit their own ends. Put plainly, the conspiracy theorist moves to activist groups because they believe some form of affinity exists between two groups of supposed “anti-corporatists.” In reality, their presence is a product of an unconscious realization that they have exhausted all of their possible social networking potential within the insular conspiracy theorist scene. In other, slightly more rare cases, their presence is due to an effort by a sect of conspiracy theorists to piggy-back on the successes and momentum of the group they are “targeting.”*
The primary danger that conspiracy theorists pose to activist groups is a dereliction of message and reduction in effectiveness. This can manifest itself in many different ways, from an anti-war group turning into an explicitly anti-Semitic group, to an anarchist media collective turning into another mirror of Alex Jones’ propaganda, to an anti-globalization group being turned into a money farm by a new-age cult scam. What must be done is to perform the admittedly unpleasant task of distancing one’s group from elements which will hurt the overall message. It is possible to weather any storm of criticism from the conspiracy theorists as their complaints against the group will last until they have found a new home. It is not “fascist” to not want to be associated with elements that hold no logical sense or purpose for their existence within your group.
*My use of the word “targeting” in this case should not imply that all sects of conspiracy theorists that engage in this behavior do so consciously or with a clear and direct motive or directive from any form of leadership or heirarchy within said sect, although notable examples of intentional hijacking by conspiracy sects/cults has occurred.
October 13, 2011 | Categories: Mr. Snippy, politics | Tags: anarchism, anarchy, anti-authoritarian, anti-fascism, anti-semitism, antifa, conspiracy theories, cult, cults, fascist, leftists, missive, politics, rant | Leave a comment
As this piece was first published in 1996, I’m most definately not the first to repost this. Heck, I’m probably not the first to include such a disclaimer as to my taking the easy way out and not furnishing you with a proper post. I could have gone two ways– as before, by sheepishly admitting my unoriginality; or by issuing a terse belch of a comment that would be interpreted as nothing more of me being proud of being unoriginal. So much goes unsaid now, with this prevalent attitude of “everything’s been said and done before, so why expound on it,” but I don’t care. Here, instead of daring you to discover whether I have any thoughts at all, I’m making it easier for you to crack into my thought mechanics and find out what makes me tick. I won’t say anything silly or terse like “Read this it’s good” or “this is awesome!” but I state with no ounce of triviality or condescension: this piece resonates so profoundly for me that I consider it an integral part of my personality. No other piece of work has influenced me so in my first, cautious footsteps into the “world of computers” or, indeed, my growth as a person.
We truly are in a new phase in societal evolution, where the flow of information and thought is beginning to change this planet for the better. Of course, this is threatening the old power structures that have ruled for so long– would these corrupt, dogmatic systems exist at all if everyone knew of their corruption? What if everyone found out about every last dirty lie States and corporations have been telling for centuries? If we found that our problems are the same as people across the world? If we realized that the arbitrary division of peoples was just that, and we could live and love with people half a world away? I will protect this beautiful new world we’re making– because it’s truly free.
The Hacker Manifesto
Another one got caught today, it’s all over the papers. “Teenager Arrested in Computer Crime Scandal”, “Hacker Arrested after Bank Tampering”…
Damn kids. They’re all alike.
But did you, in your three-piece psychology and 1950’s technobrain, ever take a look behind the eyes of the hacker? Did you ever wonder what made him tick, what forces shaped him, what may have molded him?
I am a hacker, enter my world…
Mine is a world that begins with school… I’m smarter than most of the other kids, this crap they teach us bores me…
Damn underachiever. They’re all alike.
I’m in junior high or high school. I’ve listened to teachers explain for the fifteenth time how to reduce a fraction. I understand it. “No, Ms. Smith, I didn’t show my work. I did it in my head…”
Damn kid. Probably copied it. They’re all alike.
I made a discovery today. I found a computer. Wait a second, this is cool. It does what I want it to. If it makes a mistake, it’s because I screwed it up. Not because it doesn’t like me… Or feels threatened by me.. Or thinks I’m a smart ass.. Or doesn’t like teaching and shouldn’t be here…
Damn kid. All he does is play games. They’re all alike.
And then it happened… a door opened to a world… rushing through the phone line like heroin through an addict’s veins, an electronic pulse is sent out, a refuge from the day-to-day incompetencies is sought… a board is found. “This is it… this is where I belong…” I know everyone here… even if I’ve never met them, never talked to them, may never hear from them again… I know you all…
Damn kid. Tying up the phone line again. They’re all alike…
You bet your ass we’re all alike… we’ve been spoon-fed baby food at school when we hungered for steak… the bits of meat that you did let slip through were pre-chewed and tasteless. We’ve been dominated by sadists, or ignored by the apathetic. The few that had something to teach found us willing pupils, but those few are like drops of water in the desert.
This is our world now… the world of the electron and the switch, the beauty of the baud. We make use of a service already existing without paying for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn’t run by profiteering gluttons, and you call us criminals. We explore… and you call us criminals. We seek after knowledge… and you call us criminals. We exist without skin color, without nationality, without religious bias… and you call us criminals. You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us and try to make us believe it’s for our own good, yet we’re the criminals.
Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for.
I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You may stop this individual, but you can’t stop us all… after all, we’re all alike.
No, don’t ask me what I’ve done; I wouldn’t tell you anyway. I’m not into anything for notoriety, “criminal intent” or monetary gain, I’m just cursed with curiosity.
“Jesus christ, these are the types of people who tear up with patriotic pride at Marine Corps commercials,” I thought, scanning the speakers list. After years of covering leftist and rightist rallies, we had come to realize that the right wingers always started at the exact time they claimed to do so– “six am at the lincoln memorial? SURE!” Stiff, military precision and an unflinching obedience to schedules was something the right wing has down pat– they own this concept. Leftists, however, have a far more flexible attitude towards event planning. This is a very welcome attitude for folks who actually want to attend political events as there’s no pressure to bust your ass to get there. It’s completely lost on me why exactly anyone would want to stand around in the thick soup of a Washington DC summer to be lectured at, but this falls under the same reasoning why any reasonable person would sit on a hard, wooden pew in a cold church every week. That’s the joke, you see– people who attend political rallies are engaging the same mental processes as those who attend church. It doesn’t really matter if you profess to be an atheist or a devout christian, everyone has an insatiable desire to be uncomfortable and listen to fire-and-brimstone being preached by some asshole behind a podium.
The more you work around Washington politics, the more you’re drawn into that horribly insular world of the Beltway. We have our own terminology for the geography around us– everything inside the Beltway is “the inner kingdom” while everything outside of it is bumfuck nowhere. This characterization may sound crude, but it’s rare for denizens of locales inside the beltway to travel too far outside of the steel and concrete embrace of I-495– mistresses, big box stores, booze, cigarettes, the need to escape the chemical circadian rhythm of adderall and ambien and not throw yourself off the 14th street bridge– all of these are minutes away. They didn’t satisfy us. Outside of the need to fling oneself into the gears of history and the curiosity of seeing what sort of lunatic supports an having an officious, robotic appendage of the State demand proof that you’re allowed to exist, what was the purpose of this trip? Couldn’t we simply rely on other people’s reportage of this event, use their photos and repost their article? Everyone does this now, regardless of poisitioning on the political spectrum– reportbacks and posts get recycled, reposted, repurposed and then forgotten. Sometimes if you’re lucky, something you report gets attention from the straight press. Fishing. No, instead of being part of the internet’s echo chamber, we were going to go out and GET that damned story. But what WAS the story? Were we expecting Greece? Or Bangkok? The bare bones of the story weren’t terribly sexy– “Anti-immigrant group attended by some; former congressmen, current candidates and other political figures were present.” No, the story wasn’t the rally; if we wanted to cover a rally of crazed racists, we’d just have to wait a week before yet another egotistic nationalist group would appear with ten people for a “march on washington” or a “march to reclaim the constitution” or some other flowery, ironically quasi-maoist example of what they intended to be a name to represent an event that would be revered among their kin for ages, but inevitably winds up being a sad example of delusional thinking. Ok, I thought, you keep trying to raise an armed force of thousands who’ll force the government to reverse 1930’s supreme court decisions about tarriffs on interstate grain traffic, and I’ll act interested.
The rally wasn’t the story, the story was around the rally. What would possess normal, freedom-loving Americans to implement a law that not only doesn’t affect the people it’s advertised to affect, but it hurts the people it’s supposed to indemnify? That was our plan, anyway– but people who let their emotions rule them– such as the emotion of living in mortal fear of people with skintones darker than freshly bleached linens– seldom allow your plans to go unscathed.
I had been looking forward to this trip as soon as the possibility reared its head. I had only left the eastern time zone of North America once, for a trip in my youth to Alaska– and every time I had made any plans to jump in my car and chase the sun down to its western horizon, fate intervened and crushed my plans. It was with a fair amount of discomfort that I learned that one of the major sponsors of this event had pulled out. Americans for Legal Immigration Reform– a group that declared conservative senator Lindsey Graham to be a closeted homosexual because of his support for immigrant rights– had dropped its sponsorship of the June 5th rally and declared that the rally was rescheduled for the twelfth, which effectively excised my participation in this trip like a rectal polyp. Goodby, western adventure.
ALIPAC was keeping mum about the motivations behind their cancellation, but we knew the score. A few days earlier, an article had been posted that laid bare the nature of the man who was in charge of organizing the entire June 5th event– who he was, what company he kept, who he had as friends on facebook and his racist past. ALIPAC read this, of course– and followed up by doublechecking all of this information with their own, which resulted in ALIPAC attempting to steal the thunder from their original organizer. This thorn in the side of ALIPAC, this mote in the eye of the anti-immigration movement was a man named Daniel Smeriglio. A more stereotypical example of racist Jersey trash you’d be hard pressed to find– Smeriglio was every bit the common perception of a bigoted Italian– loud, fat and entirely clueless to the fact that he and his family were the product of immigration. Would this be one hundred years ago, Smeriglio and his compatriots would be fighting the opposite side of this fight, trying to combat the negative stereotype of the looming specter of illegal *italian* immigration. This rally was his brainchild, and he had amassed a hefty tome of endorsements and speakers– the crown jewel of which was ALIPAC, the one group outside F.A.I.R. that had enough national clout to provide his foolish crusade with enough legitimacy to eke a mention in the straight press. Of course, this is all relative; ALIPAC had recently been under tough financial straits and recent pronouncements about the link between Lindsey Graham’s sexuality and his support for immigration reform had garnered nothing more than snickers from some media outlets. What’s that, you said? ALIPAC became uncomfortable with its participation in an event because it made them look bad? Whatever was in that article was serious enough that the loose-with-the facts ALIPAC found cause to not only drop Smeriglio like a sack of boiling urine, but stage another rally a week later with the intent of damaging Smeriglio’s attendance.
Smeriglio’s creaking, rusting political machine began to spin up. For all of their hackneyed teabagger tropes and hand-wringing about being “frustrated with politics as usual,” Smeriglio’s crowd naturally slotted into the duties of a well-organized spin machine. A statement from their keynote speaker, press releases to any outlet that would listen and a torrent of mean and nasty things about the horrible, awful forces of evil and opposition that would stop at nothing to crush whatever masturbatory fantasy they were furiously jacking off to. This is typical of all political campaigns, and Smeriglio handled this as if he were running for office, not planning a pisser of a rally in the middle of the fucking desert. The dance steps go like this: unfriendly news about you or your campaign reaches the public, you play dumb and claim not to know whoever it was you were accused of associating with; still photographs and video of you doing whatever it was you were accused of doing with whoever it was– in public no less, you claim that you can’t keep track of random people who are at your own events, regardless if the videos show said people operating bullhorns with your organization’s name plastered on the side in big, legible letters; you issue acrid press releases about the vile terrorism you are receiving at the hands of the dirty, unwashed mob that’s come for your virtuous and virgin anus; more information surfaces, namely said unseemly people brag about being officially endorsed by your group; your more legitimate friends issue statements praising your moral fortitude and condemning the inquisition-level torture being visited upon you by said evil forces, et cetera ad nauseum. This process goes on until the media– which never really cared about pissants like you to begin with– mercifully pulls the fucking plug on the abomination you life has become. At this point, it’s time for you to bitch about being suppressed by the conspiracy-controlled Media, and you fade into obscurity.
Smeriglio, of course, took this exact track and his speakers began to feel the burn– with the apparent withdrawal of the only politician on his roster that wasn’t a comfortable incumbent or a washed-up has been, McCain challenger JD Hayworth. Hayworth had backed out of the rally and we felt pretty smug– only to learn that what had really happened was Smeriglio had pushed his rally back one hour, from three to six, while Hayworth was to hold a fundraiser and barbecue from seven to nine– at the exact same location on the exact same day as Smeriglio’s rally. Smeriglio’s rally was nothing that Hayworth wanted to be associated with, but he still wanted to leech money and scab votes from that crowd– thus proving the Subgenius truism, “they may be Pink, but their money is Green.” We got a laugh out of that one. We laughed even harder when we discovered that a sympathetic politics columnist started on the track of claiming McCain was responsible for the nazi rumors around Smeriglio’s rally. McCain?! We worked for McCain now? Where’s our fucking money?!
Their machine churned on, collecting two more speakers– a straw-haired beast with a face like someone perpetually smelling boiled cauliflower named Rosemary Jenks from NumbersUSA and a fat wreck of a state congressman from Pennsylvania– Daryl Metcalfe. Metcalfe is a badly drawn caricature of a movie-style evil politician, voting against the state’s attempt to have October declared “Domestic Violence Awareness Month” because the bill “had language in it that brought men into the situation” which Metcalfe saw as evidence of a homosexual conspiracy. Furthering his reputation as a grumpy coot, Metcalfe also bravely stood as a vanguard against the rising tide of islamofascism by courageously opposing the automatic and routine process of Pennsylvania recognizing the sixtieth anniversary of the establishment of a Muslim organization in Harrisburg because Muslims “do not recognize Jesus Christ as God.” Metcalfe also railed against veterans who supported a clean energy public affairs campaign, calling anyone who signed on to “Operation FREE” as “lending their name to promote the leftist propaganda of global warming and climate change” and “traitor[s] to the oath he or she took to defend the Constitution.” It is no surprise that Metcalfe introduced toxic legislation similar to Arizona’s SB1070 to Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives. So, he’s a cranky, xenophobic politician– big whoop, they’re a dime-a-dozen.
Rosemary Jenks, however, represents something different. You see, Jenks was there as an official representative of NumbersUSA, which exists to stem all immigration, legal or otherwise. NumbersUSA is part of an umbrella organization that contains FAIR, IRLI and Social Contract press, all of which are nominally helmed by John Tanton. John Tanton draws most of his support from a bizarre funding source: the Colcom foundation. So what, right? Who cares about a wonky policy group getting money from a foundation? Shit like this happens all the time.
Glenn Beck has given investigative reporting a bad name– any idiot with a blackboard can draw connections between meaningless points and make it look like evidence of a massive conspiracy– at the expense of people who really do connect salient points to demonstrate a chain of command or funding stream. So, I understand that you might discard this as more ridiculous pablum, but you’d be wrong; I’ve got the papers to prove it. Colcom is a foundation set up by the late Cordelia Scaife May, a relative of noted cretin Richard Mellon-Scaife– he of the “communist cunt” remark. Colcom, which refers to itself as a “conservation organization” was started after Cordelia reportedly read the works of Margaret Sanger and became convinced that the key threat to the environment was overpopulation. Ok, fair enough– overpopulation really IS an environmental issue, and if Colcom was dedicated to stemming our runaway birthrate by donating to family planning organizations, there wouldn’t be a story. Instead– operating under the delusion that only brown people are capable of littering– Colcom has decided that overpopulation is actually entirely caused by immigration, and it is to anti-immigration causes that Colcom donates nearly half of its yearly activity. Consequently, from 2006 thru 2008, Colcom donated the princely sum of zero dollars to family planning organizations and 29.8 million to anti-immigrant campaigns; most of that went directly to John Tanton and NumbersUSA. Rosemary Jenks is not just another rich, priveleged white woman annoyed that her landscapers might be treated like humans, but she represents large, moneyed interests at play. Perhaps the only aspect of this rally that is somewhat suprising is the smaller role that these Tanton-helmed groups are playing, considering the Tanton-backed Immigration Reform Law Insitute is responsible for drafting SB1070-esque legislation all across the country with help from the Daryl Metcalfes of the world. After all of that, the best NumbersUSA did was sponsor the rally and provide a lower-level agent to speak; they didn’t even provide Roy Beck, their biggest mouthpeice. Oh yes, this trip was happening, I was happening, life was happening. Viva la Vida!
Today being May Second and I having committed the cardinal leftist sin of not making an obligatory, generic May Day post, I submit the following link:
While not dripping with the same sort of revolutionary detritus that other leftist sites have, this is arguably a much more important asset to advancing labor rights and the history of the struggle of organized labor in the United States than any generic, Tennysonian blather from Crimethinc.
A fascinating and engaging examination of the remnants of the coal industry in the eastern US. So, what’s so special about a bunch of abandoned buildings and rock piles? Well, lots– when you consider during the 1920s, this entire region was in the grip of the Coal Wars. What’s most evident about these photos is the incredibly disparity between the workers and the management: the workers’ homes that still survive are little more than hastily built shacks clustered together, while the management’s homes are comparatively palatial estates that were built sturdy enough to withstand the years. What drives all of this home is the fact that when the miners objected to being used like animals and tried to unionize, the bosses fired, threatened, beat, shot and bombed (Yes, from airplanes) the workers rather than pay them a few extra cents. In the end, the coal seams dried up, the work ended and the people moved out; time has had a hard time erasing the scars from the land. This is the land of Matewan, of the Baldwin-Felts “detective agency”, of the IWW and the UMWA. Actual revolutions, revolutionaries and people pushed so far beyond the breaking point by the grinding machinery of capitalism that they pushed back— and all without the aid of graphic designers.
The next time some asshole tries to lie to you about how unions are universally bad, look at these photos and think of the thousands of people the rich shot and killed for wanting to be treated like human beings.