as crispy press rolls on, i have republished - in much better form - the middle-readers/ya/peoplelikeyou book spyder's rebellion, or how to overthrow a middle school (also kindle). it was originally roughed out and kindled in like 2007-8. i started this time around with a document in my hard drive on which my teen daughter emma had labored, on dialogue and characterization particularly.
Spyder (Sarah Paulette Eider) is a 14-year-old anarchist and writing prodigy who more or less overthrows her Pennsylvania middle school, in concert with a wild group of non-conformists and interesting non-non-conformists. One of the few books to take teenagers seriously as political activists and intellectuals, this novel traces the characters' awakening to the problems of the world around them - from animal cruelty to ridiculous authoritarianism. It rollicks through their disagreements, as well as budding romances, party weekends, strange preferences in music, problem parents: in short all the accoutrements of modern adolescence.
If you were thinking of overthrowing a public school (peacefully, more or less), you could get some tips, for the story is based on real events in the lives of the authors. Crispy overthrew Alice Deal Junior High School in 1972.
"Like 'Hunger Games' without the hunger or the games; like 'The Fault in our Stars' with plenty of faults but zero stars." --Bogul S. Purvy
here's a vid i made first time.
one thing i've found out: you're never too old to get expelled from school.
roughly, anyway, it's true that the first global terrorists were anarchists. i think that's when the word was introduced widely, though you may find earlier examples, coming off the french revolution 'terror' etc. but i also want to say that many let's say anti-statists, were pacifists, or reached opposition to the political state through their opposition to war, violence, imprisonment, slavery. i'd mention lucretia mott, william lloyd garrison, and leo tolstoy.
as i've often written, in the late 19th c communist anarchism and marxist communism (or 'authoritarian socialism' as anarchists called it), were squared off pretty equally in the labor/radical intelligentsia movements. many factors led to the ascension of the marxist tendency over the first couple of decades of the twentieth century. but primarily these.
first, 'propaganda by the deed': that string of assassinations and bombings was unbelievably useless and counter-productive. i don't know why they thought that was good publicity; i guess isis sort of shows that you might get popular curiosity a bit or something out of that. it wasn't going to help overthrow anything, and it turned all sorts of people against anarchism and led to almost-universal vilification and repression. it was a terrible moral and practical mistake. kropotkin was the best theorist anarchism produced; sad that he went in this direction. but so did emma goldman and alexander berkman, e.g.
second, the first few decades of the 20th century were perhaps the period of the most ferocious rise of the nation state, which had monopolized the whole world and armed up unbelievably. it was an important moment in the merger of state and economy, as well. anti-statism, beautifully confirmed by the wars and genocides, also became a mere pipe dream.
the revolution in russia finally channeled the whole world left into various intensities of the marxist model. also its progress showed all the horrors inherent in that model, but people didn't seem to care, and bourgeois intellectuals the world over enthused about the liquidation of the bourgeoisie.
in short, we anarchists fucked up, and the world fucked us up. on another occasion i'll try to say why i still want to be an anarchist.
total pacifism and resulting anarchism from william lloyd garrison:
We cannot acknowledge allegiance to any human government; neither can we oppose any such government by a resort to physical force. We recognize but one King and Lawgiver, one Judge and Ruler of mankind. We are bound by the laws of a kingdom which is not of this world, the subjects of which are forbidden to fight; which has no state lines, no national partitions, no geographical boundaries; in which there is no distinction of rank, or division of caste, or inequality of sex; and which is destined to break in pieces and consume all other kingdoms.
i'll just remark again that no matter who drew the conclusion (tolstoy, for example) or who did not, anti-statism follows obviously from pacifism, because the political state rests on force.
garrison was a big hero of my step-father, richard abell, who was a beloved teacher at sidwell friends in dc and walt whitman in montgomery county, md. of granite new hampshire stock, like nathaniel rogers, he was a quaker on and off, a conscientious objector in world war 2, and a draft counselor during vietnam. during his co service, he contracted polio and used a wheelchair after that. also, like garrison, he was a free speech fundamentalist: a lifetime supporter of the aclu, among other causes.
[richard and my son samuel abell sartwell, rolling around the farm in rappahannock county, va on the 'richmobile'. a handicapped-accessible organic vegetable farm. my mom still lives there.]
he took me to a few quaker meetings. silence is hard when you're 14 and known informally as 'the mouth.' well, 50 minutes of silence is still hard for me as an adult. i've had some influxes of spirit, though, in such circumstances. one thing that's helping in my time of trial is the beautiful quaker document a testament of devotion, by thomas r. kelly.
my next self-publishing project will be an anthology of american anti-authoritarian writings from the 17th through the 19th century. a number of fundamental texts here are far-too-little known and not widely enough available. many of them are quite unimaginably defiant. here is the toc, still subject to alteration:
Trial and Interrogation of Anne Hutchinson (1637)
Roger Williams, "A Plea for Religious Liberty" (1644)
John Woolman, "A Plea for the Poor, or a Word of Remembrance and Caution to the Rich" (1764)
Anti-Federalist Papers (1787)
Samuel Bryan, Centinel 1
Robert Yates, Brutus 3
Robert Yates, Brutus 6
James Madison, "The Virginia Resolutions" (1798)
Letter to Governor Harrison (1810)
Speech to the Osages (1812)
John Taylor of Caroline, "Authority" (1814)
David Walker, "Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World" (Preamble and Article 1, 1830)
Sarah Grimke, Letters on the Equality of the Sexes (selections, 1838)
William Lloyd Garrison, "Declaration of Sentiments Adopted by the Peace Convention" (1838)
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Nathaniel Peabody Rogers
"Reply to a Correspondent" (1846)
Josiah Warren, Equitable Commerce (1846)
Henry David Thoreau
"Civil Disobedience" (1849)
"Life Without Principle (1863)
Lucretia Mott, "The Laws in Relation to Women" (1853)
Frederick Douglass, "The Claims of the Negro Ethnologically Considered" (1854)
Angela Heywood, "Human Sex Power - Fleshed Realism"
as i've often said, i think that american transcendentalism is ineptly named; i'd prefer an antonym, actually, such as 'immanentalism.' now i think the canon needs expanding, and i think the narrative according to which transcendentalism was superseded by pragmatism is simplistic.
so, if i were assembling a set of transcendentalist essays, i might start with rogers. i would certainly include essays by voltairine de cleyre, perhaps 'the dominant idea' and 'crime and punishment.' and i might fetch up with zora neale hurston: i am straight up asserting that zora is an american transcendentalist in the thoreau mould. a volume focusing exclusively on her essays is long overdue.
in the hands of lit and phil profs, the transcendentalists have sunk into quaint american fossils, groovy proto-hippie nature children, with an embarrassing political individualism that no one can believe anymore, or that must be attenuated or vitiated under interpretation. but a good part of the whole thrust is political from the outset in rogers, emerson, thoreau: a radical anti-authoritarianism. and they have a beautiful individualism that is also not at all about economic self-seeking, but derives from protestant notions like the quaker inner light of god in each person. also, this individualism is a radical egalitarianism, as you see in rogers, in voltairine, in hurston. and it is an individualism that connects with the natural world in much the way many had previously connected to god, and then seeks to place us each as an individuals - not as races, not genders, not parties, not classes, not general wills - into the same shared world.
19th-century whiteness studies, from 'rhose island meeting':
rhode island was proposing a new constitution with a color qualification for voting.
To make it go down with the people, the pitiful creatures inserted a color qualification. They must put in white - the color of the gulls you see winging their uncouth flight up and down the harbor - to shut out three or four hundred colored people, who otherwise might, - when they get money enough, go to the free and equal polls, to choose their masters. The patron of the new Constitution had assumed the name of the "Free Suffrage party."
Their freedom showed itself in making a man's hue the test of his rights. They felt free to enslave a man if he was not white as a diaper. One or two of their demagogues came into the meeting. One was a Dr. Brown, a steam doctor, whose political morality seemed about as high as that of a railroad engine with a Jim Crow car to it; or a church with a "nigger pew." The Doctor gave us an exposè of his white ethics. It seemed he wanted to get suffrage for the white folks, in order, by and by to extend it to the black. [But getting the vote] would not have any tendency to help the colored people out. It would prove a worthless boon in their hands. The white folks would not acknowledge them as equals if they were nominally voters. They never would consent to their being candidates for any thing. They would treat them as "niggers" still.
i'm telling you this is a discovery: someone's going to have to convince me that a more important straight-to-e book has been published.
A great and almost unknown American writer from New Hampshire, Nathaniel Peabody Rogers (1794-1846) was the most radical American political voice of the antebellum period. He is also an undiscovered American Transcendentalist, at his best comparable to Emerson and Thoreau. Both men acknowledged Rogers' influence on them, and Thoreau published one of his first essays - collected here - on Rogers' work, recognizing his excellence as both a political and a nature writer. Anti-slavery drove all his thought, and as an abolitionist writer, only Frederick Douglass and Wendell Phillips are his rivals. Rogers was an anarchist, a pacifist, a feminist, an environmentalist, a religious heretic, an individualist, an anti-capitalist and an advocate of animal rights.
His writings are collected here for the first time since 1849, along with Thoreau's essay "Herald of Freedom" and other materials about Rogers and American radicalism of the early 19th century.
nathaniel rogers was an amazing radical and an amazing writer, and if you want to see someone in 1840 who speaks up for animal rights, against capital punishment, against slavery, against the state, for environmentalism as that came much later to be understood, for indian rights, and so on, and did so with extreme clarity, creativity and vigor, you've got to check this out. he was a decade emerson's senior, and he is a fundamental american transcendentalist.
my case should unite anarchists and tea partiers. they always should have been united. so perhaps, left anarchists, you think the advocacy of gun rights in country music is disgusting. well, over and over, the gun is wielded in country music and elsewhere in rural rightwingy culture, as a symbol of resistance to state power. maybe you favor black brigades rolling with rocks and molotov cocktail, but the damn impulse is the same, and even the motivation: the way people are being dominated and impoverished. so get over your little demographic fealty and reach across.
right now, i'm teaching both the analects of confucius and the republic of plato, as i often do. i think it's worth saying that both of these texts, and the 'golden ages' of human thought in which they emerged, were characterized by extremely fragmented prolitical situations, situations of wars and struggles between small states in close proximity and quick transition. without having done any very elaborate research to try to back this up, i'm going to say it's my impression that periods like that are characterized by creativity and innovation, whereas periods of well-consolidated large nations or empires have the opposite effect. another case: renaissance italy. really, even to try to understand the political landscape of 15th and 16th century on the italian peninsula is crazy. well you get machiavelli and humanism, michelangelo and leonardo and raphael, etc etc.
the roman period in philosophy is often undervalued for its interest and even its originality, but there is no denying that in many ways they were basically ramifying greek ideas and arts. or once china consolidated into an empire, there was far less creative thought, etc. in some ways the reasons are obvious; i do think that both the greeks and the chinese of the spring and autumn and warring states periods had to grapple with different social/political/aesthetic arrangements in close proximity. and if you don't, i don't think you start asking questions like, what is the best political system? also these big nations think they should be running the arts and philosophies, and characteristically take direct measures to establish an official ideology and crush outliers.
so, i'd say, if you want to make, profess, think, create, etc, you should pursue decentralization of political power everywhere all the time. or try this: the state is a force inimical to human thought and art. the more thorough state power, the less thinking and creating takes place. i say i could show that historically. that would be an argument for anarchism, y'all. and if you are casually contemplating a worldstate as our inevitable future, just let it occur to you that that's sort of the end of philosophy and art.
alright, here's an easy way to understand the basic relation of government assistance/dependence and power. my line is usually that a government that feeds you tells you what and whether to eat, and that is not theoretical; what can and cannot be bought with foodstamps is a constant political/dietary football. and, a government that gives you a place to live tells you how to live: reaches right into your living room and snatches the cigarette from your lips. you're straight at their mercy; they are making your decisions for you now. they want your every gesture.
i think the main motivation for statism - the basic reason we human beings have been state-ridden and state-addled for some centuries now, eventuating in hundreds of millions of deaths - is sexual. the state might be based on a social/sexual contract, but that in turn is really based on a rape fantasy. some people want to tell other people what to do, say, believe, and how to die; most people just want someone to tell them what to do; they associate that with orgasm. the history of the state is the history of bottoms chasing tops. one pretends either way to have goals, or be aiming at human welfare and happiness, but really it's an intrinsic lust to be subordinated, concealed under thousands of layers of jive-ass yipyap and absurd iconography, amounting in all to total self-delusion about our motivations. i wouldn't go around hoping for much future for a species like that, or spend much time pre-mourning its passing.
the other (connected) impulse that leads to the state and other derangements is the crushing burden of loneliness. we yearn to merge and so we invent and subsequently enforce collective identities. we are social creatures, as many have remarked, usually leaving out the proper modifier 'desperately.' for the masochist, this is a longing to disappear; for a sadist it's a longing to subsume everyone to the self. we want to be food-processed into a human soup; we think that will cure us or something. so you first 'detect' the allegedly pre-existing identity (like being an englishman or a savage or a proletarian, etc), creating it by other-extrusion; then coerce people into simulating it. i have a feeling that hasn't cured us after all.
here's an encyclopedia-type article on 19th century american anarchism, intended eventually for a 'companion to anarchist philosophy.' i'm proud of this, which i think is a pretty definitive account, reflecting decades of engagement with the topic. there are people i love inordinately in here, like william lloyd garrison, lucretia mott, josiah warren, thoreau/emerson, voltairine de cleyre, emma goldman. one thing i will say: until you get to the very end, with people like goldman and berkman, the left-right spectrum makes no sense of these positions at all.
d. watkins (also known as dwight) had a rough go of it on cnn just now. he was arguing with one of thousands of police spokesmen drenching the airwaves. now, one thing he did with that spokesman was say something like "of course you'd defend members of your gang'. the first time i heard this move was after rodney king in '92; i had a student from south central la, and he said - i gather making a commonplace observation in his world - that there were three major gangs in los angeles: the crips, bloods, and the lapd. he characterized the lapd as the most violent and irrational of the three.
now, if you are an anarchist (which i admit will discredit you in some circles, particularly in morbidly authoritarian or capitulation culture, e.g. the political right and the political left), this is just flatly, literally true. i personally define anarchism as the position that government has no moral legitimacy, no moral justification to exist. (i take myself literally to have proven that. no one cares, but they have no argument, no plausible reasons to give, on the other side. the point is just to capitulate, not to give reasons or whatever.) now, if that's the case, armed groups roving your neighborhood, whether they have badges or not, are all of a piece, or can only be assessed morally, first, in that they are strutting around town with weapons, which may be a bit of a problem in itself. but they can be assessed in part by their actual effects: if the crips are more violent, or more arbitrary, or more racist, etc., then they are worse than the police, and vice versa. but they are doing exactly the same thing.
but, rule of law! don't get me started, peon. tell me the crips don't have a list of rules, a code, and punish you for violations. but...the social contract! heavens this is the most ridiculous and the most actually discredited argument in the history of human thought. just start with hume's "of the original contract". but it does not matter, it really does not matter to anyone, whether it's a completely ridiculous argument. but what about the collective? it's not just the individual. well, the collective on this account broke freddie gray's neck. either that was someone in particular, or it was all of us together. was that you? because that's what you just asserted. you should be punished for it, or all of us together should be, i guess. start beating yourself and anyone you see on the street. that's all of us together, putting baltimore under military occupation. it's the protesters, confronting themselves with automatic weapons and armor. correct, little b? these are really sad and stupid arguments, a leering semblance of rationality. but any reason is a good enough reason to submit.
i do want to point out that human beings have also been known to resist, though. they are doing that now.
if you are not an anarchist, your are in favor of this: thousands of police killings done with impunity. killing with impunity is the very essence of state power, or a good definition of 'government'. say you cannot picture human life as possible without police. well, what you are thinking is that human life is impossible without arming some people heavily against others and authorizing them to commit what would be crimes for others or, looking at it another way, giving some people rights that others do not enjoy, including the right to control those others' bodies or damage them: that is what a policeman is. you think it's the rule of law but by your own account it is the rule of crime: these people can kidnap you and hold you for cash, for example, or tase you, or just beat the shit out of you or kill you. if you think that a total asymmetry of power like that is necessary, then just accept all its inevitable results. one thing you should absolutely expect, one thing you are practically endorsing: this asymmetry will mirror all the others: if you are a statist, you practically endorse beating those on the bottom of whatever hierarchies there are: economic, racial, etc. also, power of the sort you are enthusing about or regarding as a baseline necessity of human life is, given what human beings are, always abused. and also, given what human beings are, it is resented, and will be violently resented. admit it: this is what you want. so stop whining about it or hop off this state jive.
I seem to have found my niche over at Veterans Today. I appear to be the columnist in charge of pissing off the proto-Soviets and the Neo-Nazis both, along with being a general irritant to the conspiracy fringe. When one commentator goes off saying how dare I compare Netanyahu's campaign to Dr Goebbels, Goebbels was a fine, honorable model for ethical propaganda, and another starts in on the joys of life under Putin, you realize that life can have meaning. Now, the third character in my piece, the soon to be congressman from Illinois with the atrocious bookkeeping and Downton Abbey style or his supporters haven't weighed in yet. Maybe I can hit the trifecta.
Short Long Story: Re-election of Bibi is one of the worst things that could have happened to Israel, the Palestinians and the Middle East. The right wing, flawless red heifer types in the US are going to be delirious at the approaching Armageddon. Putin is a micromanaging creep because he's a creep and the only things that work in Russia are things he micromanages. He ten day retreat to the Trappist Monastery outside Ekaterinaberg got people panic-stricken because they are subject to panic of not just change but anything that looks like change. And, if Shock had gone for 20th Century Feed Store as a decor as opposed to Downton Abbey's Red Room, the other criminal behavior would probably not have surfaced until he was in the Republican leadership.
i've taken to skipping states of the union - which i know is not unusual overall, but which might be an unusual for a news junkie. it's the pageantry of state that annoys me: the state is everyone's little religion - just chock full of superstitious mumbo-jumbo and immune to rationality - and i am an atheist. but say you think the non-stop assertion of conservatives that the msm is leftist is ridiculous. how about nytimes headlines this morning: 'obama defiantly pushes his agenda', 'a bold call to action'. in the washpost: 'obama offers a helping hand to families', 'the remarkable confidence of barack obama', 'obama barrels into final act of presidency unbowed', etc. these are not opinion pieces, but news and analysis.
were we to survive the state for awhile, which seems unlikely, this period will be remembered as the dark ages: dominated utterly by an institutionalized irrational indefensible ideology seemingly accepted by everyone. everyone shares the same quasi-sane assumptions, which articulate our forms of universal oppression. i doubt we'll ever emerge, but so did all those poor secret atheists in 1120, so you never know. but, like us looking back on the medievals, future historians - if any - will find it hard to believe people actually believed this sort of stuff; they'll have difficulty reconstructing it as a possible human belief system, or penetrating its clotted or contentless rhetoric and the arbitrary or bizarre conclusions that people of this period used it to reach. they will know, as we know about the year 1120, that everyone just wanted a hierarchy of the most extreme variety, and would believe anything - anything - that would keep it in place. some wanted to subordinate others, some wanted to be subordinated by others - but nobody even sort of wanted people to be free or to think.
that everyone thought that some form of the semi-comprehensible theology just had to be right and that there were no decent or rational possibilities outside it does not mean that the stuff was sensible, or that any given person at any given moment couldn't have realized that and hopped off, at least in their heads. that everyone thought, or said, that it was self-evident that they should subordinate their bodies and minds to the catholic church did not make it self-evident. to what i think of as the right sort of person, those things just made it obvious, all day every day in your face, that the crap made no sense at all.
like medieval peasants, we're supposed to be bewildered by the costumes, the insignia, the architecture, the dead language, into thinking that these people are better and smarter than us, and that everyone should do what they say. (in this case, it should be obvious to the most superficial reflection that the people who attend the state of the union are no better and no smarter than the average peasant or felon. have you watched these people work? really, it was the same with the medieval papacy: corrupt, venal, in it for the sex and booze. but, like north korean generals, they had huge funky hats. i propose that we can assess the intelligence of these people by noting that on each side they just say all the same sentences over and over. they haven't had an idea in a half century. their intelligence, such as it is, is mechanical and their only ethic is manipulation.) in that stuff - the frippery, we might say - lurks the state's only actual legitmacy. it's what they have in place of any sort of moral justification for the sheer coercion on which their power in fact rests.
francis bacon: "if men went all mad after the same fashion, they might agree with one another well enough."
For Crispin and Co....Merry Baby Jesus Birthday and stuff....
Speaking of which, here is the offical Crusader AXE position on CIA torture and such abominations. While I think it's a pretty good piece as these things go, as often happens with VetsToday, the comments are the best part. When a column gets that response, I feel like Sheldon Cooper, doomed to spend my life teaching evolution to fundamentalists in east Texas. On the other hand, they're pretty funny, if you don't mind feeling amazed at the stupidity of a hunk of the American population. Here's a personal favorite --
Since the massive Rhine meadows slaughter of 1.8 million Germans after WWII by your Rat Bastard leader Eisenhower torture has been a part of the US military efforts ever since! You rat bastard Yanks are far worse than the NAZIS ever were they were using these techniques for maybe ten to twelve years You Yankee Rat Bastards have been at it for 200 plus years and you Rat Bastards are proud of it! How long will you Rat Bastards remain in the sewers and latrine pits of humanity?
i think that abuse is inherent in a situation of police power, and that you're not going to get away with thinking the problem is 'a few bad apples' while of course the vast majority of police officers are doing a bang-up job, as it were. i actually don't think 're-training' and so on is going to address the basic issue at all.
so you are arming one part of the population against the rest, or authorizing some to use violence and coercion that, for the others, would be criminal. the first thing to ask is what sort of person, overall, is likely to want to perform this role, and why. i am sure there are various motivations. one is surely an attraction not to the law or to the public but to the power, which is of the most concrete variety: real control of real specific people. and then you should contemplate the effect of routinely having this sort of power over a decade or whatever it may be. a certain air of arbitrary superiority is likely to develop, due to the real superiority.
the legal status of a police officer can be accurately reprersented as a series of legal impunities, as being authorized to do what would be crimes for others: binding or kidnapping people, for example, strutting around with guns and clubs on their hips, and so on. and it relies also on an informal exemption that is much more wide-ranging than that, as seen in the cases before us. these things are not addressable, i think, within the basic conceptuality that presupposes that such power is necessary and legitimate.
i do not think it is particularly plausible that constituting this sort of power is likely to reduce violence in the society as a whole. or, i wonder what evidence could actually be produced that it does? this is always asserted at the outset; it is 'common sense'. but the idea of arming one group against the others and immunizing them from the law does not, let's say, obviously entail a reduction in violence or crime however construed. and notice that in various complex ways this police power will of course mirror the power hierarchies of the society: racial, for example, and then it reinforces or reproduces or enforces those hierarchies. if you really thought about the role of policing in racial oppression through our whole history, you'd see that it is central: a necessary condition of the whole horrendously violent history, and ever more so in a situation in which mass incarceration replaced jim crow as a mode of segregation.
goldman argues that the government and the drug cartels have merged, fully, and are dumping children's corpses into rivers. it is funny watching statists suddenly completely bewildered by the howling contradictions, infinite regresses, and so on that have always obviously been inherent at the essence of their position. oh my god! says hayes, if the government is the drug cartels, what can be done? there must be a force sufficient to hold the government to account, says hayes, as he looks completely flummoxed: the only thing this smart person can envisage is creating a new, more powerful state to control the old corrupt state. so then when all those segments in turn merge, you will be facing an even more impossible-to-constrain force. and then who will constrain it? you really do need god. after that, you're gonna need mega-god. this may well be the origin of monotheism, which never helped anything.
the usually extremely thoughtful goldman, too, is completely at a loss as to what even conceptually could possibly be done: someone, something, must impose the rule of law! he asserts, in answer to the question of what practically might improve the situation: he seems literally to be invoking athena, or deciding to believe in some force or other by a sheer kierkegaardian leap of faith. something, someone, somewhere help me. this, intellectually and practically, is where your own commitments led you: you have advocated the force that creates this monstrous oppression; suddenly you realize you can't even face the rudimentary entailments of your position: you started on this road by constituting a power capable of controlling the powers that existed already. that was the most general solution, and yet it entails an infinite repress.
the conceptual and the practical problem, remakably, are exactly the same in this case. you wouldn't think someone could miss both simultaneously, but there it is.
the merging of a government and a drug cartel is a pretty typical scenario, and is just one version of squishy totalitarianism. you are not going to keep economic and political power apart, you dorks! it's quite as though the us government were not distinguishable from the oil companies, or j.p. morgan/chase, or blackwater. fortunatley, those aren't vicious or violent, unlike a drug cartel. they'd never kill you to preserve their territory or market share, or just because, would they?
seriously, a state-leftist solution - the only one envisionable in that structure of thought - would be to nationalize the drug cartels or make them public utilities: just straight-up to endorse the merger you find intolerable and are trying to solve. it is already a socialist system on the ground: that is, a merger of state and economy. that is supposed to be an egalitarian formula.
meanwhile matt bai is everywhere with his book about 'when american politics went tabloid': the gary hart sex scandal during the 1988 presidential campaign. so one thing's obvious in the radio interviews etc: hart is bai's hero and he thinks that's where everything went terribly wrong. i can see the argument that who one may be fucking is not really the most relevant piece of info with regard to political leaders. but what i like about this era of examining leaders' private lives is that it continually punctures the mystique in which power enshrouds itself. it shows people wearing suits or uniforms who emerged from yale law school to run our nation are at least as gross and stupid as anyone else. it reveals over and over and over why people want power and what they do with it when they get it. when you get to the point where there just is no mystique, no possible cult, of state power, when all glamour has been scrubbed clean, then everyone is a de facto anarchist,.
the secret service fence-jumper scandal is the only thing they want to talk about on cnn and msnbc. war in the middle east has dwindled to irrelevance. amazingly, this is in a situation in which nothing really bad actually happened. whatever. chill and re-think your security.
meanwhile, morning joe among others is bemoaning the fact that one 'pillar' after another - all the institutions that the american people apparently trusted - the secret service, the nsa, the irs, congress, etc - has lost all credibility. thank god we still trust the military, seemed to be the consensus. so why would trusting the government be a desirable state, and when were the american people ever doltish or submissive enough to trust the irs or congress? i don't even think that is is physically, morally, or intellectually possible.
i hope they are being sarcastic about the military. trust the military? have you lost your fucking mind or been asleep for the last half century? also, what the hell, the military is precisely what gave us american hero omar gonzalez.
people who trust those who seize and hold power over them, or trust the institutions in which they are embedded, by which they are surveilled etc, are likely to be raped and executed, and, honestly, it's fundamentally their own doing: evidently what they want and deserve. right now people are just visibly yearning to submit, and are so upset and alienated that watching the news makes that harder. but a situation in which it is glaringly obvious that only a masochistic cretin would trust the authorities is better than a situation wherein everyone or indeed anyone trusts the authorities. that can only be based on secrecy and lies, because the fucking authorities are no better than you or me, to put it mildly.
sorry for no blogging. life just a touch overfull of late. but i am back, beeches. this series in the washpost is well worth reading: policing as a racket. (also, the layout/presentation of the series is interesting as an example of the way news might look in the future.) it really has reached the point where i just do not understand how any even vaguely rational person could defend the legitimacy of the political state, or how anyone could think of it as a realistic solution to anything. why don't we just grab a bunch of people - at random, or because they are people who like that sort of thing - and hand them a bunch of clubs and guns and decorate them with devices symbolizing their superiority and impunity when they take our stuff or shoot our ass. that will make things better. it's quite like believing in leprechauns, only less harmless and less empirical: a suicide cult, maybe, but not a decent or coherent position, and i say that that could not be more obvious.
one account of what's going on with isis puts the blame on 'stateless' or 'ungoverned' areas (another traditional formulation is 'failed state'). that's where the danger is suposed to lie, where terror blooms. but, first, surely the problems of syria and iraq are basically fomented by oppressive/corrupt governements. and second, is provides a pretty good model of how states arise (obviously, it calls itself a state) a more realistic version than the just-so stories of a hobbes or locke. people don't band together for mutual protection; they band together for rapine and sack (or religious fanaticism, or both). then as they roll in, you face a choice: die/lose evertything, or declare your loyalty to the sackers. pretty easy choice. your loyalty will expressed as tribute/protectio/taxes. then you are under the gang's protection, and they will start to consolidate a base by providing social services as well as physical protection from themselves and others. that's how the crips behaved in la, e.g., or hamas in gaza, and i speculate that it is the origin of the political state.
I have a new piece up on the Defeatists. It will surface eventually over at Veterans Today but this one doesn't have the musical pieces just linked but embedded. As well as John Oliver's piece last night on our version of the great leap forward, the Nuclear Program. Did you know our Nobel Peace Prize Laureate has been in charge while we decommissioned fewer nuclear missiles than were done under Bush? Either one? Amazing.
I'm fairly irate over a lot of things involving the various wars we're not fighting but are definitely invested in. What the hell? The one way to guarantee Sunni-Shiite peace is through blowing up Christian and Shiite shrines...this is obviously a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Saudis funded al Queida (just never stopped sending the checks they sent the Muhajadeen, I suppose) and are probably funding the current loonies. Malaki is the classic American puppet who really turns into a bad boy as soon as he can. Unfortunately, the bad guys were perfectly ready to smash his ass; so, blood bath.
And so it goes. Gaza is horrifying; both Jon Stewart and John Oliver have laid out how insane that mess is becoming. When you can arrange to give the moral high ground away for generations to a bunch of missile firing terrorists, you've done something pretty amazing. Ukarine is dumbfounding. We're cowering behind our fence wondering what to do about 50000 children fleeing terror, hatred, violence, oppression and slavery, and we're questioning whether or not they deserve asylum? They deserve fucking medals; give them 40 acres and a mule, and Mom and kids will make that desert bloom...