Posts tagged “anti-capitalism

DC Has No May Day

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.

Politics.

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.

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Pounding Keys Yet Again

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!


Sad Truisms For Life In The West

– Your thoughts are your own, unless they are of interest to marketing firms.

– You may believe whatever you want to believe, as long as those deviant thoughts reside solely in your mind. You are free to believe anything, even things that are divergent from the white, christian, capitalist male power structure– but do not act upon them. “Acting upon them” is defined as anything requiring more effort than is required to close the browser window in which said deviant philosophies reside. Penalties may range from light ridicule to several years incarceration.

– You have the right to petition the government for redress of grievances, unless these grievances are with any federal law-enforcement agency. In order to save taxpayer money, your grievance will be summarily dismissed in order to dispense with the tedious process of making federal agents appear in court, considering that no judge will ever rule against any federal law enforcement agency or its employees. If in fact your grievance does not involve a federal law enforcement agency, you have the right to have your grievance heard and subsequently dismissed after a long and costly pre-trial process.

-You have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If you have a badge, you have the right to other people’s lives, liberties and actual happiness.


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.


NPR to Occupy Wall Street: FUCK YOU.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/ombudsman/2011/09/26/140815394/newsworthy-determining-the-importance-of-protests-on-wall-street

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.


May Day Post

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:

http://www.coalcampusa.com/

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.

From coalcampusa

Kaymoor Coke Ovens

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.


On Borders

Human migration occurs for a variety of reasons. Humans move from one area to another to escape war, to escape famine, to pursue prosperity or to farm better land. Since the desire to provide a better life for one’s family is a powerful motivator, humans move to new areas to do exactly that– under the auspices and promise of better wages and better working conditions. This happens nearly every two years in DC, with people following their elected officials to and from the lucrative money mines of US politics.

When the desire for a better life is so great, when the conditions one lives in are so bad, and when the promise of prosperity is so attractive, humans will expend all of their possible effort to obtain that better life. This is a product of desperation, and desperation makes people vulnerable to exploitation.

Companies in the US see in illegal immigration a ready source of cheap labor that does not need any IRS forms, worker’s rights, safety requirements, health insurance, background checks or any of the other errata needed by “legal” workers. Hence, favorable conditions for exploitation. Capitalist apologists for companies who hire illegal immigrants frequently hold up unions as the main reason for why illegal immigrants are hired– their argument centers around profit loss due to the payment of union dues. Hence, companies hire workers who are intimidated into never organizing out of fear of deportation. The apologist’s solution to illegal immigration is to eliminate all unions, so companies will not have to search elsewhere to find cheaper labor. This presupposes that the only reason for illegal immigration is the rebellion of companies against government regulation– it’s ripped from the pages of Atlas Shrugged and it’s just as invalid.

Desperate people are willing to be exploited to get a chance to better their life, and capitalists are all too willing to do the exploiting.


“Anarcho-Capitalism” is not anarchism.

I have noticed a growing number of individuals who, for whatever reason, think that espousing stateless “free market” capitalism while professing “liberal” social views is the same thing as “anarchism.” It’s not. Anarchism– even though it does comprise a great many points of view– is not and will not be in anyway compatible with any form of capitalism, no matter what guise capitalism hides under. Agorism, lassiesz faire capitalism, anarcho-capitalism and market anarchism are all variants of the same load of neo-libertarian thought that seeks lesser regulations for corporations under the guise of “freedom and liberty.” As such, they are diametrically opposed to every tenet of Anarchism, being that Anarchism is directly opposed to capitalism in all of its forms.

This trend is the product of the bush years, when people with good intentions –but lacking experience with critical thinking– poured into the anti-war movement. Motivated primarily by an emotional reaction to the prospect of an illegal war of aggression, the common theme was that if a pundit or philosophy was nominally anti-bush and/or anti-war, they were an ally in the fight. In a general sense, this is true– many hands make light work, after all. Unfortunately, lots of these groups were anti-war and anti-bush for reasons other than a moral opposition to war. These groups now enjoy a membership base that fervently clings to them out of either the desire to keep the righteous feeling of the early 2000’s going– or are the product of a poor investigative spirit. Hence, libertarian-type groups have seen a surge in membership motivated not by the desire to see unregulated capitalism, but by the desire for drug legalization and greater gun rights. These members dutifully reproduce libertarian talking points out of the mistaken belief that looser restrictions on corporations produces greater freedom for the common citizen.

This amounts to little more than another variant of third position/third way thought. Stateless capitalism thus has much in common with other farcical groups like the “national anarchists” who have no problem in melding two wildly-disparate thoughts under one shambolic monstrosity that exists in a perpetual state of suffering under the hypocritical weight of its very existence. Indeed, as “national anarchists” wish to see no state to govern their racial hatred, neither do the “anarchist capitalists” wish to see any state curtail the world-consuming greed of the corporations they serve.

The anarcho-capitalist couches their rhetoric in the mistaken belief that simply being “anti-state” is all that should qualify a mode of thought as Anarchist. This completely glosses over the fact that in hyper-evolved capitalism–such as we see in the world now– the corporation exists as a de-facto state. In the utopian scheme of the anarcho-capitalist, were society to start again from a blank slate, they argue that the “market anarchist” system would prevent corporations and monopolies from forming. This ignores two key elements:

-Corporations and monopolies are able to form under a restricted marketplace; given an unrestricted marketplace, their growth would be exponential in size and rate.

-Society isn’t starting from scratch! Corporations and monopolies exist NOW, and are drooling over the concept of more freedom for them to control all aspects of the lives of their consumers.

Corporate freedom isn’t freedom— it’s trading the superficially accountable public tyranny of the state for the wholly unaccountable private tyranny of the corporation. All companies have by-laws and regulations that, when infringed, result in punishment or termination; people who engage in “anti-company” activity can be blacklisted from finding employment, companies have “courts” and persons who enforce their laws, and they have all other trappings of The State: anthems, flags, uniforms and restrictions on speech and actions while on company time. Whether this new crop of pseudo-libertarian capitalists realizes this aspect of the rhetoric they’re parroting is unclear,but reprinting talking points from advocates for stateless capitalism does not make one an “anarchist.”