Gun-porn kitsch or talisman of the “final revolution?”
“A new American revolution is long overdue. This revolution has been brewing in the hearts and minds of the people for many years, but this Independence Day, it shall take a new form as the American Revolutionary Army will march on each state capital to demand that the governors of these 50 states immediately initiate the process of an orderly dissolution of the federal government through secession and reclamation of federally held property. Should one whole year from this July 4th pass while the crimes of this government are allowed to continue, we may have passed the point at which non-violent revolution becomes impossible.
“The time to sit idly by has passed. To remain neutral is to be complicit, just doing your job is not an excuse, and the line in the sand has been drawn between the people, and the criminals in Washington, D.C. While some timid souls will say that it is too early, that we can solve this problem through democratic means provided by government, that current levels of taxation are reasonable for the services provided, and that the crimes of this government are merely a tolerable nuisance, it may already be too late.
“While there is risk in drastic action, the greater danger lies in allowing this government to continue unchallenged. So if you are content with the status quo, stay home, get fat, watch the fireworks from a safe distance, and allow this Independence Day to pass like any other. But if you see as we see, and feel as we feel, we will see you on the front lines of freedom on July 4th, 2013 for this, The Final American Revolution.”
Signed, Adam Kokesh, May 23, 2013 from a cage in the Philadelphia federal prison.
In the summer and fall of 2011, I watched with excitement as the Occupy movement spread from Wall Street to Main Streets across the nation and, surprisingly, then the world. It was thrilling to watch a movement to change the way everything is done not only launch and spread but so quickly get deep into the consciousness of people all over the globe. Even the most powerful news media, though claiming at first to be uncomprehending of its aims, were taking its ideas about the politics of inequality and the corrupting influence of money seriously. It felt like a world-historical revolution was being born right in front of our eyes.
Then came the winter of 2012 and Occupy, most of its camps having been forcibly removed from their reclaimed public spaces, seemed to lose its momentum and its influence. Media still talk about the 99% and the tyranny of debt and pay closer attention to the misdeeds of the bankers, but by and large, Occupy fell out of the public eye. When it resurfaced briefly after Sandy, the media mostly ignored the powerful message it was sending that where the austerity-obsessed governments were failing, people power was succeeding. Occupy Sandy was made to look like a group of civic do-gooders. Occupy’s radical Strike Debt program to buy defaulted medical debts and forgive them and its ongoing battles against residential foreclosures were all but completely ignored.
It’s easy to forget that just because the revolution is not being televised, there might still be a revolution going on. Continue reading
Pussy Riot, the Russian feminist collective and punk rock band, three of whose members (Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevic) were recently sentenced to two years in prison for “hooliganism,” have just released an answer to that sentence in the form of a blood-racing and rather catchy rocker of an anthem . Don DeLuca, music critic of the Philadelphia Inquirer, posted an informative little piece about the group and the song.
These women are serious punks!
This video interview with David Graeber of Occupy Wall Street by Italian activist, comedian and blogger Beppe Grillo covers a range of subjects this blog has also covered, focusing on debt, political power and direct democracy. The questions appear in written Italian, but most should be fairly clear to anyone with high school-level familiarity with the romance languages, and those that aren’t Graeber answers very straightforwardly and clearly. (One thing he discusses that I’m not familiar with is the Italian 5 Star movement, of which Grillo is a leader.)
Graeber’s view of the American system is essentially captured by the quote which is the title of this post. I think it’s an accurate view. What do you think? I also greatly appreciate his proposed antidote to the poison in the US system, which is for the people to act as though they are free and have power. That is what Occupy Wall Street is all about.
I’m reading a book that is so good, so well-written, so relevant to the zeitgeist, that I can confidently recommend it to anyone who reads, though I’m just a bit more than halfway through it myself: Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber.
Before I tell you why you should go now and buy, borrow or reserve this book and get reading, I’ll call your attention to an interview Graeber gave the British magazine The White Room which gives an interesting peek into his background and main political ideas. Graeber, a well-respected anthropologist, is becoming better known as one of the influencing thinkers behind #occupyWallStreet. A couple of sentences from the introduction of the White Room interview beautifully make a point about OWS that I less successfully try to make when people criticize its “fuzziness” and lack of demands:
…Graeber has put the spotlight on the anarchist principles of the Occupy movement, explaining that the lack of concrete demands is part of a pre-figurative politics. The protestors act as though they are ‘already living in a free society’, and thus refuse to accept the legitimacy of existing political institutions and legal order – both of which, he says, are immediately recognised in the placing of demands. Continue reading
Here’s an interesting nugget in a comment, addressed to me, from the post on John W. Smart’s blog that I was discussing yesterday:
…Hillary lost because of documented, widespread caucus fraud, bribing of superdelegates, and the theft of her delegates on national TV (which I and many others watched live). She won the primaries, but they pulled him an inch over the finish line through the cheating. So our disgruntlement is about far more than Hillary. For many (most?) of us, the democrats were “the good guys”. What you obamabots did was to awaken us from our stupor, you allowed us to see how corrupt the obamacrat party really is. So for many of us our whole political philosophies have changed. We no longer trust the dems more than we trust the republicans, and we know now that there are a HELL of a lot of stupid and mob-like people out there who don’t have a CLUE what real democracy means. To them, it’s win at any cost. So your obot tactics burned a LOT of bridges. It may have been just one more day of cheating for you guys, but it was a life changing tsunami for everyone else. Many have changed to independent, some are still registered as Democrat but no longer consider themselves as such. So any numbers you think you have – you DON’T.
I’m not going to answer this person on Smart’s blog as I know my presence there this morning would be counterproductive to the purposes of dialog. He or she said some other things that are unhelpfully provocative boilerplate from the primary wars of 2008, and as everything that could possibly be said in those wars has already been said a thousand times over, there’s really nothing more anyone can add to it that isn’t also boilerplate or counterproductive to reasonable discussion. I’m really, really not interested in the “Who’s better/more progressive/more electable/ more presidential: Hillary or Barack?” debate. From my perspective, this is irrelevant to present realities, no matter how endlessly fascinating the question may be for some. It honestly never was a useful discussion for any leftist, ever, even while it was was relevant.
But it is eye-opening to experience the violence of feeling ready to erupt among the Clinton refugees and, I tip my hat to them, sincerely: it does make me realize that I, like probably every former Obama supporter, no matter how hot or cold they were for their choice, had blinders on during those primaries. Continue reading
I posted earlier about The New Republic’s “skepticism” toward #occupyWallStreet. There’s another fascinating display of liberal OWS bashing going on here. I was drawn to it, while perusing the OWS posts on WordPress a couple of days ago, by its provocative title:
“Failure.” “FAILURE.” [Shouting CAPS in the original.] In it, the author, John W. Smart (if that’s his real name), gloats about the impending doom of #OccupyLA’s encampment at City Hall (which I watched part of last night on ustream) before snarkily giving it his thumbs down:
Many Occupiers are busy congratulating themselves for their “accomplishment” – another perfect demonstration of pathetic public education system they emerged from. Everybody gets a sticker for showing up. Everyone’s ‘self worth’ is feted with a bull horn and a cookie. The concept of real accomplishment is utterly foreign, in fact, it is dangerous. The true “others” in this nether world are those who get things done. They must be fought.
In terms of ‘getting things done’ Occupy is an abject failure. 3 months in and not a single major bank as been shut down…or is even in fear of failure. No enabler in Congress is remotely concerned about his/her job. The middle class, who took it up the south side and continues to with the bailouts, is completely disinterested, if not disgusted. The sympathetic press – such as it is – has moved on, alighting only for the occasional graphic clip of pepper spraying or baton beating. What Occupy wanted at the outset (still a muddled question) has not come to pass, nor is any tangible action moving in that direction.
Still what one might call a success – if one is generous – did occur. There is a slightly greater consciousness of how rigged our system is. This is not nothing, though to my thinking it’s close. The population understood the system was rigged before Occupy showed up. Occupy did show us that some people are willing to do some thing about the appalling racket we call an economy. I give the protesters credit for this. Unless the encampments were merely a prelude and Occupy morphs into a vital, muscular movement – and quickly – I must call it like I see it: Occupy is a failure.
Let’s first note that Occupy as a viable force is two months old. I think it’s premature to expect any movement to outright “succeed,” however one defines success, but it’s certainly premature, not to say churlish, to conclude that something that is barely aborning is a failure. It’s this injustice in the remark that provoked me to plunge in with a comment in defense of OWS. Continue reading
Here’s a fascinating and encouraging development from yesterday’s second-month celebration of the occupation of Zuccotti Park, something to indicate that the movement is far from being a flash in the pan and far from being defanged. A group of students and other protesters have taken over a space at 90 Fifth Avenue in preparation for creating a free “people’s university.” It may also provide an alternative space for at least some of #OWS’s displaced denizens during the winter months, provided the city and the owners of the building (which happens to be one of the nation’s largest banks, according to the protesters) don’t try to Bloomberg/Brookfield them out.
A Statement From the 90 5th Avenue Occupation follows the jump: Continue reading
From the blog of #OccupyWallStreet’s People’s Library:
UPDATE: State of Seized Library.
The movement will no doubt survive, even if its flagship camp is forced to move elsewhere. But its flagship library is not as easily replaced. More than any other aspect of Bloomberg/Kelly’s Monday night raid on Zuccotti Park, the thoughtless destruction of the People’s Library symbolizes the soullessness of the authorities threatened by our wonderfully rebellious American Fall.
May the embers of this shameful moment be kept alive in our hearts and minds to kindle an even more wonderful American Spring.
Don Emmert/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
The Standells – Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White