Russell Brand has been under attack over his recent article lately “Russell Brand on revolution: “We no longer have the luxury of tradition” But before we change the world, we need to change the way we think.”. The left took to him like vultures tearing up every opportunity we had to exploit this occasion and get real radical ideas discussed on a much larger stage. We can discuss the misogyny of his actions in this and in the past, but we also need to seize this moment to stand up for what was said.
Sadly if you are butt hurt he pissed on voting then you might not be as left or liberal as you would like to think, so maybe you should start questioning why it is you support this oppressive system.
For those of you who are still listening and talking you should understand that our system of electing rulers has failed us. It is time to call for revolution. I am not looking to reform our system this will only clean up the ruling class just enough for it to be slightly tolerable for a little while longer. We need to bring down the system.
I choose to highlight two paragraphs.
Total revolution of consciousness and our entire social, political and economic system is what interests me, but that’s not on the ballot. Is utopian revolution possible? The freethinking social architect Buckminster Fuller said humanity now faces a choice: oblivion or utopia. We’re inertly ambling towards oblivion, is utopia really an option? – Russell Brand
I am not sold on utopian revolution in the reality of a revolutions outcome, but that is the goal. Isn’t that the goal of every revolution? We can say that the outcome of revolution can far exceed the current system of the ruling class which is founded on and supported by murder and exploitation.
Along with the absolute, all-encompassing total corruption of our political agencies by big business, this apathy is the biggest obstacle to change. We can’t alter the former without removing the latter. Can this be achieved? Obviously this is a rhetorical question and without wanting to spunk the surprise ending the answer is yes. – Russell Brand
Not only can it be achieved but it must. It can and one day will be done. The question is always will you wait for it or will it happen when things are worse? I fear that too many are complacent and true change will be later when it seems too late.
What is an answer or a goal? I cannot speak for Russell, but myself, I look to the vision of the anarchists who have lived and are living now offering alternatives. Not to be redundant, but the two biggest actions I feel are needed right now are education and organization.
The vote is a passive complacency. Direct action is the active participation in change. So, no a vote is not what will bring any answers but only through direct action will we change the world.
The clear and concise truth and message both behind what I am writing and what I get from Russell’s article is this: The system and our rulers will not bring us any answers. We must rise up and create the tomorrow we want.
The message is resistance and revolution.
I hear workers complaining about their situation. I attempt to agitate “Doesn’t that make you mad?” but if you cross that line to “Isn’t it time we do something about your situation?” it is too much for most.
I just want to have a slightly nicer financial situation and I’ll be okay with the system. Our representatives will make the rules and changes. Change will never happen. I’ll chase the capitalist carrot a little longer.
The United States is distracted, complacent, fat and happy. I am doubtful sentiments in the U.S. will change until we face a more tragic future that awaits us.
If you have your eyes on the end result it might help, but the sad reality is that with the decline of unions and the sick hierarchical structure of many the reality is that organization of the people is at a low. Where we have seen people taking power through organization in history it did not happen overnight.
I’ll be honest. My end goal is revolution of the people and the abolition of the state and capitalism. Let’s be clear here. If you unionize the state and capitalism will still be here tomorrow. The system will still be up against us, a monolithic impasse which seems overwhelming.
Organizing which is being done to raise minimum wage is facing far too much cultural opposition. Fear of the two dollar cheeseburger grips the nation. The system is not even being challenged. God forbid we challenge what is. Why should we? The U.S. is still living off of the labor and resources of workers and exploited people around the world. The parasitic nature of the U.S. and the element of privilege of the capitalist nation is fragile. When you start to talk about changing the system you threaten power and wealth. We don’t look at the multimillion dollar raises the CEO’s get as a threat, only the raise of the workers. Of course we don’t because empowering the workers is a threat to power and hierarchy. So the powers that be only perceive the threat of the empowered worker as they accept their supremacy without question. In turn many workers hear this dialogue and do not question it. They find themselves defending their masters and perpetuating their rhetoric.
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We are starting a working group to publish a pocket copy of Kropotkin’s “Conquest of Bread” that can be distributed freely around town and at political rallies and events. This is a mutual aid project. The idea is intended to model the Gideons who pass out bibles all over the world and the tea party who was passing out pocket constitutions at their events. The publication will also likely have an essay by Emma Goldman and an introduction to anarchism. It is intended to appeal to and reach those who are not actively seeking anarchism or looking to find the writings on their own. This is an effort to educate the masses and the more contributions we receive the more we can reach.
We are just now forming a working group to tackle this project. The group will be working mostly on promoting the fund raiser to make this happen. They will also have say in the final publication as well. If this effort is successful we may look at following it up with other publications of anarchist literature for distribution.
We are currently urgently looking for support in creating a video to promote the effort. If you have the equipment and skills to help us produce a short minute and a half to two minute video describing the project please contact us if you are willing to volunteer your time in making this a reality.
We are also seeking:
- Contributors to help promote the project online and push for donations.
- Help with layout of the book and editing.
- Help with graphic design.
- And more… Just tell us where you can help.
- VIDEO SUPPORT!!!! Click here to contact us
All contributors will be thanked in the the final publication unless they choose to be omitted from the list.
We have contacted printers and are in the process of compiling and laying out the book.
The publication WILL NOT be for sale after the publication. The project is going to be an effort to print and publish as many copies to hand out and the copies will be distributed to those who have contributed so they can do just that.
If you are willing to contribute to getting this off the ground please contact us here.
If this endeavor is successful we will look at distributing other works in the same manner.
Originally posted on The Starving Artists Guild site.
Jean-Michel Basquiat was a figure who seems to overshadow his own art. An artists success is largely determined by who they know or who knows them. Basquiat was able to ride his wave of popularity and social success into a booming career. Some art critics question if he added anything truly new to the history of art. His contribution to art history is one that leads to the future of art and artists. Like Keith Haring Basquiat gained popularity for graffiti. Basquiat gained fame and recognition for graffiti before he ever painted on canvas. His painting on canvas was a result from his popularity for graffiti.
Street art is not permanent. Artists often consider the life of their work. Painters will seek materials and techniques that will stand the test of time. Tagging is temporary. It is said to be a popularity game. The idea is said tot be that your name is seen and you are known. The rise of street art and artists from this scene really boomed in the 90′s and early 21st century. Two artists who gained popularity or really the ones who accomplished this first were Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. You can see their importance in that they were early pioneers in the modern relevant medium.
Who is SAMO? Witty quotes began to show up on walls signed SAMO. They soon gained popularity in the thriving art community of New York in the late 70′s and early 80′s. Basquiat was one person who was behind the SAMO tag. The SAMO (pronounced Same-Oh) tag started more as an inside joke “Same Old Shit’. SAMO was not only Basquiat, but he seems to be the one who is most remembered from this. Al Diaz was there from the start the other SAMO. Really SAMO was a rise of an image, not an image on a canvas but an image of SAMO the image of Basquiat in culture.
We can now tie in the idea of street art as fleeting and the image of the artist. Street art is elusive. So the desire from the art world is to own a piece of this elusive art. Basquiat was given the opportunity to put his brush to canvas after his rise to popularity in the art community. Art critics are seeking a hot story, a career to latch on to. Art buyers are investing, trying to buy what they are going to resell at a higher price. The beauty of art is that an artists art will always be scarce. You may be able to create endless prints of Rembrandt but the amount of original Rembrandt paintings will always be limited and scarce. The real money is not in being the artist but in being the one who buys and sells the art. Street art is even more scarce and fleeting.
The art culture of the late 70′s and early 80′s of New York was a unique period of art history. Gone were the days of importing communist art like Diego Rivera here was the world where youth, corporate advertising, young ambition and creativity all met at the alter of fame and glamor. Punk Rock happened. Hip hop was rising. The revolutionary thoughts of the 60′s were remembered but liberalism was now hip and devoured by capitalism. Gay culture was emerging from the closet the ball scene was coming to light and where we were finding liberation culturally it was being consumed by the global market. Exploitation of artists and creatives was embraced by those who made the real money off of it and the artists who were sucking on the tit of the capitalist cow. You can see positives and negatives in this world.
Andy Warhol is a symbol of this decade. Although most of his career occurred in the decades leading up to the 80′s he lived to see this final decade where his art was not as cutting edge. He lived to see his career embodied in the culture around. It is not a shock that so much of the 80′s were so defined by the vibrant colors. Is it any wonder that the clean crisp image of pop art that so invasively intruded on the decade would bring about the rough impromptu of street art? Any other decade would have shunned this. There is far too much to love and despise about the art world of the time.
Basquiat was a product like any other. Madonna, Deborah Harry and Keith Harring emerging from this world were all products as artists who emerged from this time. In Basquiat’s last encounter with Al Diaz, he gave him a painting To SAMO From Samo it said. Al Diaz turned around and sold it. The friendship was more than this painting, yet it was a strong symbol of this painting. It was one Al Diaz regretfully turned around and sold. The money present at the time seemed to engulf any meaning behind the art. This truly human connection of love and admiration from one friend to another was still something to be bought and sold. Don’t shame Diaz for this, his reasons are almost irrelevant. He was one artist in a sea of capitalism. What he did was almost nothing compared to what the art world does every day. If the words “To SAMO From SAMO” were written on any of his other paintings it may be overlooked, almost meaningless in comparison. It was the desire of the buyer to own that piece of their shared life their history and the meaning behind their relationship that made this piece one to remember. This makes the sale of this one piece of art important arguably more so than any other sale of a Basquiat. It shows the readiness to consume and own the lives of others. Anything is fair game in capitalism. Anything can be exploited in capitalism.
I am excited to say that Cincinnati’s Infoshop has opened. Soapbox books held it’s grand opening event on Saturday may 4th. Soapbox books is a project of the Village Green Foundation which is located in the cooperative space shared by the Village Green and the MoBo Bicycle coop.
I would encourage all to help Soapbox build it’s library by donating books. Please send books to:
SoapBox Books & Zines
1415 Knowlton St.
Cincinnati, OH 45223
Or you can contact me directly and I can help get stuff there. I know some of our readers may have access to some great books that could really help us out.
I attended the opening day. It started with workshops. The first was led by Redbird prison abolition of Columbus Ohio. They discussed the need for prison abolition, the projects they are involved with and how we can help with the effort. There was a deal of discussion about starting prison abolition efforts in the Cincinnati area. I will update on this as it is organized. The next workshop was a tour of the Village Green of the community gardens and we got a history of The Village Green Foundation. This was followed by a tour of the MoBo Bicycle cooperative who aims to help people become self sufficient in their transportation using bikes and teaching others about bikes while forming a community around bicycling. After the workshops we gathered in the book store for a potluck dinner provided by the Cincinnati branch of Foods Not Bombs.
The food was followed by music and entertainment in the back of the infoshop. After this the group led it’s way to a dance party at another location that was organized as a fund raiser.
Overall the day was a wonderful success. There was a real good sense of community. There was a great deal of excitement in the air over the opening and a rather good turnout. People were coming all throughout the day. A group from the Sporeprint infoshop in Columbus Ohio drove down for the event to show support for the effort. I met a lot of great people with similar convictions seeking to further the same causes we have championed here at Gonzo Times for years now.
I will be posting as new events are scheduled and as new efforts are being formed there at Soapbox Books. I hope that those of you out of the area will support the Infoshop in any way you can if that is financial or donating books that is a great help. Or even keep an eye on Soapbox and plan a roadtrip to Cincinnati to join us as new events are posted.
In the last post I made I discussed the unwillingness of the left to go far enough to make real change. In this post I am discussing the failure of anarchists to educate and organize. Before we are even ready to make the bold moves that the left are opposing we must have organization. The IWW is one of the most organized organizations that exists which we can look to. Two essential key ingredients are necessary before any revolution can occur. These are organization and education.
Political parties will continue to out preform anarchist and red organizations if they continue to be organized so loosely and inefficiently. Many in our ranks hate the Church but, to look at what churches accomplish all the time and how they are able to organize such thriving communities. They are able to provide capital to function. They have processes for decision making and they have methods of outreach to the communities. It seems that all the institutions that most anarchists abhor and preach against seem to have what anarchists are lacking.
The Role Of Communication In Organization
One failure I have repeatedly seen within the current left movements such as the Occupy in an attempt to organize is communication. Often when groups gather they face many challenges in communication. Communication is essential to organization. One of the first things the organizing collective must look to is how to communicate with each other inside of the organization first and then outside of the organization in outreach second.
I have brought up Non Violent Communication (NVC) in the past in specific articles. One great step we should take in organizing anything is look for serious training in NVC. Before we can make any steps to really organizing in an efficient manner we must be able to communicate in an efficient manner. NVC provides us with the tools to listen to what is being said and translate this to the needs that are not being met. It enables us to frame what we are saying in a manner that can break down some of the hostility and begin to communicate without the breakdowns and conflicts creating the divides they are currently creating.
The Failure Of Outreach
The failure of outreach in the effort of reaching outside of our elite groups often falls on a failure to listen to people outside of our milieu. What this amounts to often are a lot of small splintered groups of anarchists who often fail to be diverse. Many people groups are often alienated or under represented in these groups.
I wonder if making organizations that look to things like churches for inspiration on how to reach others and organize might help the anarchist movement. Finding a place to hold weekly meetings for discussion and education over time may build a larger community. If we do this with some sort of weekly outreach to promote your weekly gathering could further build the community. Growth will not be over night. Don’t be afraid to ask for donations or pledges for the organization. We do live in a capitalist society so giving your group some capital is simply giving your group some power in a capitalist society because capital is power in a capitalist society.
The Hindrance Of Elitism
The working class is not on board and often feels alienated by self declared anarchists.
You have to read the right books, have the right ideas and fit in with specifics often within groups. Other outside ideas can be met with hostility. Everything from the way people dress to even music can take part in some of these issues. The movements and groups can at time be more social clubs than actual revolutionary organizations. We often fail to reach across lines of race, gender or age. We often claim to be reaching for an egalitarian society but this is not often reflected.
I hate sports, always have, but most of the working class are passionate about sports. Something as simple as forming sports teams and putting aside my personal bias to form a sports team to integrate into the local community would make for a wonderful step towards reaching the working class and the people we claim to be in solidarity with. Try an anarchist softball team joining the local league. You can have fun with it. Try communicating and listening to others you meet in something like this.
Elements of patriarchal attitudes and race division often creep up unnoticed. Lorenzo Komboa Ervin has directly addressed racism within the radical left movements:
https://www.wepay.com/stores/829693/item/the-progressive-plantation-660773“>He says the entire white Left harbors the worst kinds of internal racism and colonialism itself, and cannot provide leadership or even an example of a true revolutionary movement.
It may be the time we anarchists started to open up to others and let them teach us a while. We have extreme prejudices in the left. The attitudes towards the right and many people in many institutions we oppose is a hindrance. Yes we oppose certain things many stand for, but this is all the more reason we must be more strategic in approaching people. I am most guilty in being brash and offensive towards the right in most of my writings. Gonzo Times built itself on what I once referred to as ‘speaking blasphemy against the Holy State.’ And although I may have been speaking truth, I played a part in creating a wider divide between the working class and the anarchists.
Anarchists are the experts. Anarchists often play the expert on race and gender issues. We can play the expert on most issues that rise up and our ears are often closed to others. I am guilty of playing the expert. I have been writing on anarchism telling others how it is what to believe through my writing for years. While we should still be educating, we should be able to open our ears more and speak a little less. The ability to hear what we disagree with and focus on what unites us will bring us much further.
Fear Of Stalin
In the back of many anarchists minds we have the fear of Stalin. This is the looking back at the anarchists of social and political movements of the past. In Spain we remember aligning with other groups of the left. This lead often to the eventual betrayal and murder of anarchists by powers that rose. In Spain this was largely Stalin who provided aid in the form of troops only to use this to go after Anarchists they claimed to be fighting with. Yes, we must remember that many have historically betrayed anarchists for a power grab and yes this can be expected in the future. But, right now most other groups are as marginalized as the anarchists. And by not forgetting we are able to prepare and I do not see this as being a true threat until we have gained much more ground. There is time to address this problem.
¡No pasarán! (Not pass) Was the battle cry of the revolution. They stood alone against the fascists with no support from any capitalist nations. The Republic was formed of the people. Small trade unions had banned together and taken control of the cities and towns. ¡No pasarán! The militias were committed to defending the lines and keeping the fascists out of the freed territories.
We are not close to having a revolution in the United States. If there were a battle cry today it would be “More Submission!” The Occupy movement had potential. There was a rising, small in comparison to the population as a whole, but much could have come from this, and still may. The problem is that it is all too willing to submit. Nobody really wants to take land and throw the ruling regime out of a given territory, and if some do they are far outnumbered by those who are all too willing to submit to the authority of the state.
Spain got where it got by spreading the ideas of liberation through education. The seeds of revolution were in the hearts of the working class. The U.S. Looks a lot more like Aldus Huxley’s Brave New World. Most people still seem to be preoccupied with meaningless distractions. The very same ruling class has gained dominant power over what is aired on television and radio. This leads to the reality that we are being educated, governed and entertained all by essentially the same interests. It is not some conspiracy, it is simply a reality of the power of capital. Capital is access to the masses through entertainment. Capital fuels political campaigns. Politics impact education and entertainment and news media all are beholden to the same capital. What fuels the decisions that are made in the state is capital, what fuels the entertainment and news is also capital and they are coming from the same select few capitalists who hold power world wide. They own the food, water and basic resources we need to survive. They own the means of production. Small business owners in this are often mostly there to serve the capitalist as well. Most small businesses install, cook or resell products from these capitalists.
In order to really begin to impact change and create a revolution we must begin to rise up against this power. First this occurs through education. We must be able to show the average citizen the reality of our situation. They must begin to challenge the powers that be instead of serving the ruling powers loyally.
The second step is to take control. Until the people claim the land and regions for themselves and throw out the ruling powers we will only see more of this game of watered down politics being played. To petition the ruling class and their servant the state will only lead to them allowing just enough to appease the people temporally while taking more power and wealth for themselves. You see the capitalist believes himself to be the source of liberty. The state is simply the enforcing arm of the capitalist.
The anarchists who did attempt to claim property were labeled criminals and vandals even by their so-called comrades within the occupy. There is no revolution within compassionate capitalism which seems to be the push of many who claim to be on the left. Some seem insistent on creating an ideal American Dream with the help of the politicians. Until the banks and workplaces are stormed by the people we will continue to serve the rulers who own them. The powers that be are large. The largest empire that has ever existed on the face of this earth is the United States. One group of students camping in front of a bank or at a park with a few signs will lead to little. This is why the first step, education and outreach is vital.
The Anarchists and Reds of the early 20th century did not sit around stuck in the futility of asking how they could obey the rulers while trying to make a point. They cried for revolution. The catch is that if a small splintered group does attempt any truly radical revolutionary action they are so miniscule and without any support that it only amounts to the masses seeing them as criminals, for that is what the state declares them to be. This is with good reason. The real acts of revolution are criminal acts because the state declares what a crime is and anything that can threaten the existing rule will be declared criminal.
The powers that be are not fools. They know if the burden on the people is too great they will rise. The United States is really good at giving just enough ease to keep people from revolution. We are distracted just enough to make it easy to not look at the options of real change. We are bought into the narrative of the capitalist and the idea of meritocracy which perpetuates their rule.
Sadly this means that before we have revolution things will have to get much worse. AND! Things are going to get much worse. History shows us this. As the state continues to wage endless wars it takes a toll on the people which it milks for power and wealth. Economics attempt to provide band aids as the people are submissive to being robbed. We are following a destructive leader down a path of poverty and destruction for most and wealth and power for a few. The need for revolution will arise. The task is to prepare the working class and the people to take power for themselves and reject the state and capitalists.
Please help us share and promote this on facebook, twitter, social media or just e-mailing it to people you know may be able to donate.
SoapBox Books is a new infoshop opening in Cincinnati, Ohio. They are looking for donations to help get started.
If you are unable to get to Cincinnati, Ohio you can mail donations to:
Saturday, May 4th they will be hosting a launch party starting at 3:00 pm with workshops led by RedBird Prison Abolition.
You can follow Soapbox books on facebook here.
For more about the May 4th opening you can see the event posted on facebook as well here. I hope to see you all there and I encourage you to help support SoapBox Books with your donations if you are unable to make it to Cincinnati on May 4th.
As posted on their site:
Books lying around you don’t read? Posters gathering dust? Have three different editions of Capital but still trying to finish the first one?
Luckily for you, SoapBox Books & Zines has set up a special donation hour this Thursday, May 2nd, from 6-7 pm. You can bring all your donations -books, zines, magazines, posters, buttons, stickers, rugs, lamps, coffee makers, anything!- that you want to get rid of that somebody else could definitely use.
Additionally, folks who want to help out this weekend with our launch day or learn about other volunteering opportunities are welcome too!
We are now accepting donations for:
- Books, zines, maps, posters, magazines, etc
- Coffee tables
- Printer paper
- Cash donations acceptable too
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- The SoapBox team
Steven Kurlander posted a piece on the Huffington Post that attempts to call anarchists terrorists. To begin with Kurlander shows a lack of knowledge of the anarchist movements or any anarchist history. He makes sweeping comparisons to people such as ‘Timothy McVeigh’ who have absolutely no connection to anarchism but somehow he is attempting to frame the bombings he was responsible as ‘anarchism’.
Back in the early 20th century, “terrorists” were referred to as “anarchists” (basically the same thing) and carried out what would be termed these days as “acts of war.”
-Steven Kurlander: A Lesson of the Boston Bombings: Stop Classifying Criminal Anarchist Violence as Acts of War
Kurlander’s most bold statement was “terrorists were referred to as anarchists (Basically the same thing).” Here Kurlander makes one quick accusation based on absolutely nothing besides his prejudice. Anarchists are self proclaimed as anarchists. In response to this those who oppose the political philosophies of anarchism have at times used anarchist as a negative much in the same way an angry republican screams ‘damn liberal’ or Joe McCarthy screamed ‘evil communist.’ He continues this by speaking of two people Leon Czolgosz and Luigi Galleani. As an anarchist who associates with many other anarchists I can truly say that I have yet to speak with anarchists who defend the actions of Czolgosz or Galleani. So, if we are to define every person of a political alignment by the actions of a select few minorities we should look at Kurlander’s political alignment. Kurlander campaigned for McCain / Pailin who actively promoted warfare and bombing of people. In fact their political party is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. In this sort of logic he was using it would really make sense that Republicans and terrorists are basically the same thing. They sure have far more acts of terror on their hands. Kurlander is able to point to specific individuals who held anarchist beliefs or in the case of Czolgosz attended an anarchist rally. He is able to point to specific individuals who committed these acts because they are an extreme minority amongst anarchists. I however can not begin to list the countless bombs and shooting inflicted by the party Kurlander supports because they are so common. As a whole anarchists tend to reject this type of violence and opposition to these kinds of horrors are why many align themselves as anarchists. The statement really only amounts to nothing more than a typical example of Orwellian doublespeak. And might I add that Orwell stood beside the anarchists and reds of Spain against the fascists.
The reality is that some anarchists have committed acts of violence. At the same time many communists, capitalists, republicans and democrats have committed countless acts of violence. Anarchists in general tend to oppose these acts of violence. The anarchists of the early 20th century opposed WWI and the acts of violence there and in turn faced excessive violence from the U.S. government. We have stood beside opposition to every war that has been waged and in solidarity with peace movements throughout the world. Myself as an anarchist I have been involved with peaceworks, Iraq Veterans against the War, Vets for Peace and countless other groups and efforts to promote the cause of peace and oppose violence on many levels. I have stood on the side of peace against citizens who perpetuate violence against citizens, against governments against citizens and every other form of violence. As an anarchist i have stood against bombing, shooting, violence against women, violence in media and accepted violence in society and the list goes on.
Kurlander goes on to state that ‘The Tsarnaev brothers were nothing more than immigrant anarchists…’. This statement is not based in anything but the misuse of the term anarchism based on Kurlander’s own prejudices against anarchists. There has been no actual evidence that the Tsarnaev brothers were even anarchists. This is coming from Kkurlander’s attempt to define anarchism as violence and then in turn using it to describe the Tsarnaev brothers as anarchists. Anarchism literally means no rulers. Anarchism is a diverse set of beliefs that oppose hierarchy and rulers of all sorts. This would include the use of bombs and violent acts against others. This shows a use of power to kill or harm others and stands in stark contrast to the philosophies of anarchism.
Steven Kurlander owes anarchists everywhere an apology. I hope the response by anarchists to his article will prompt Kurlander to at least research the history of anarchist thought and see that his own lack of knowledge fuels the accusations in this article.
Recently the internet has been a buzz with an interview with Peter Brabeck-Letmathe the CEO of Nestlee in which he says that water should be privatized not a human right. This video is the perfect example of what anarchists have been warning people about for centuries. At least since Proudhon.
The discussion of human rights is not the discussion we need to be having. It is one that frames the discussion within a paradigm that favors the ruling class. It is easy to discredit and argue against rights. They are an abstract concept that often rely on a certain authority to declare. The basis for human rights can be many and varied they are relative. The basis of this conversation should be kept within the realm of a discussion of the liberation of all from capitalism. Without challenging the concept of private property we are essentially accepting the capitalist system and simply begging for our table scrap rights from our rulers.
The plea for human rights comes from the oppression of peoples by capitalism, property and hierarchy. It is a plea for a few essentials people need to survive. The issue should be a push to abolish capitalism as opposed to submitting to capitalist rule and beg for a few ‘human rights’ under their authority.
Peter Brabeck-Letmathe is the shining example of a capitalist. There are some who would claim to be capitalists by philosophy who are not in reality capitalists. A capitalist owns the means of production. Peter Brabeck-Letmathe frames his power as humanitarianism. He claims that the jobs he supplies are a humanitarian effort. The reality is that through his legal right of property he only serves as the ultimate parasite to the workers and the people. His sole purpose is to claim right or authority over resources and the product of the workers labor.
Privatization of Water
People are outraged over Peter Brabeck-Letmathe calling the view of water being a human right an extremist position. The fact is that he is right. The reality is that we have privatized water. Basic resources are owned either by the capitalists or in few cases still controlled by the state. The idea of water being anything but privatized is extremist because it is the opposite of the reality we currently live under. Many in the U.S. or other wealthy nations feel little of the impact of this. But there are those who are suffering a great deal under this capitalist generated scarcity.
Every natural resource even air will one day be owned and controlled by the capitalist if we continue on the path we are on. This is precisely what Proudhon addressed when he stated ‘Property Is Theft’. Proudhon saw water and air as being in unlimited supply, which we know now is not the reality. Under this assumption he mostly focused on property as in land. Now that the ability to harness and control air and water is here we see the same claim being made on these resources as we once saw with only land as property. The claim to property has been made. The ground water beneath you has been sucked dry by the capitalist and sold off for profit. I guess a home owners claim to property was a little less valid or maybe didn’t go that deep.
The fact is that the water that is consumed here in the U.S. is owned by a capitalist. There is either a monopoly on your tap water or it is distributed by a select few as bottled water. The resource is not public, has not been for quite a while. All of this is tightly controlled and managed with the power of the state by mostly a select few private companies. They are literally taking the ground water beneath you, claiming it as their property and selling it back to you.
So, yes the idea of water as a human right is extremist. It defies the reality of what is and has been. It is one that challenges capitalism absolutely, and without challenging capitalism absolutely it will remain the property of the capitalist.
This is a post from libcom.org. I thought these were wonderful resources so I am reposting it here.
Libcom.org’s reading guide on anarcho-syndicalism, a tradition of anarchist-inspired workers’ unions.
- Anarcho-syndicalism – an introduction – Short, accessible introduction written by the libcom.org group.
- Anarcho-syndicalism in the 20th Century – Vadim Damier – The best one-stop overview of anarcho-syndicalism currently available in English, covering the well-known and not-so-well-known organisations and ideas from the anarcho-syndicalist tradition.
- Fighting for ourselves: anarcho-syndicalism and the class struggle – Solidarity Federation – Short book outlining the history, theory and practice of anarcho-syndicalism in relation to the mainstream workers’ movement and other radical traditions, and setting out their own approach.
- Anarcho-syndicalism: theory and practice – Rudolf Rocker – Classic anarcho-syndicalist text, strong on the early history and ideas of anarcho-syndicalism up until the Spanish revolution of 1936.
- A history of anarcho-syndicalism – SelfEd – A 24-unit self-education course on the history of anarcho-syndicalism and the workers’ movement, produced by the Solidarity Federation.
- IWA – International Workers Association, international confederation of anarcho-syndicalist trade unions, founded in 1922.
- CNT – Confederación Nacional del Trabajo, Spanish anarcho-syndicalist union founded in 1910, which took part in the 1936 Spanish civil war and revolution.
- FORA – Federación Obrera Regional Argentina, Argentinian anarcho-syndicalist union founded in 1901 which played a leading role in the working class movement at the beginning of the 20th century.
- Friends of Durruti – Anarchist group founded during the civil war opposing the CNT’s participation in the Republican government.
- Mujeres Libres – Anarcho-syndicalist women’s organisation active within the Spanish CNT before and during the Spanish revolution.
- Emile Pouget – French anarchist and influential early advocate of syndicalism who was vice-secretary of the Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT) from 1901-1908.
- Rudolf Rocker – Prominent German anarcho-syndicalist who organised extensively amongst the Jewish community in the East End of London.
- Gregori Maximov – Russian anarcho-syndicalist and participant in the 1917 Russian revolution who wrote extensively both on anarchist involvement in the events as well as the Bolshevik counter-revolution.
- Buenaventura Durruti – Legendary anarcho-syndicalist rail worker, CNT member and military leader, killed during the Spanish civil war.
- Albert Meltzer – British anarcho-syndicalist who fiercely opposed individualist strains within anarchism and founded Black Flag magazine.
- Overview: the International Workers Association – Edited version of the article originally put together for the organisation’s page on Wikipedia and includes some content not available on that site.
- Revolutionary syndicalist internationalism, 1913-1923: the origins of the International Working Men’s Association – Wayne Thorpe – A highly detailed 1979 PhD thesis about the origins of the anarcho-syndicalist international, the International Workers Association.
- What is the CNT? – English translation of ¿Qué es la CNT?, introduction to the Spanish anarcho-syndicalist union the CNT-AIT.
- Free women of Spain – Martha Ackelsberg’s book on the Mujeres Libres [Free Women], a group of anarcho-syndicalist women in the Spanish revolution.
- Durruti in the Spanish revolution – Abel Paz – Highly recommended book that is as much a social history as biography of the anarchist bank-robber turned-revolutionary unionist.
- Revolutionary unionism in Latin America – the FORA in Argentina – Excellent pamphlet outlining the origins and development of the Argentinian working class movement, focussing in particular on the anarcho-syndicalist FORA (Federación Obrera Regional Argentina).
- Syndicalism and anarcho-syndicalism in Germany – Helge Döhring – Introduction to the development of German syndicalism from its beginnings in 1890 until the early 1960s.
- Anarcho-syndicalism in Peru, 1905-1930 – Steven Hirsch – Article about the Peruvian anarcho-syndicalist movement with details of its influential involvement in numerous strikes, its far-reaching network of cultural associations and its influences from other syndicalist movements in the region.
- Anarchosyndicalism in inter-war France: The vision of Pierre Besnard – Wayne Thorpe – Detailed look at the thought of anarcho-syndicalist Pierre Besnard (1886–1947), placing it in the context of inter-war French syndicalism.
- Syndicalists in the Russian Revolution – Gregori Maximov – Account of the effects Russian Revolution on the Russian syndicalists and anarchists, and vice-versa, by a leading Russian anarcho-syndicalist of the time.
- The union makes us strong? – Anarchist Federation – A three-part critical analysis of the theory and practice of syndicalism published in the Anarchist Federation’s Organise! magazine.
- Spain 1936, the end of anarchist syndicalism? – Subversion – Criticism of anarcho-syndicalism during the Spanish Civil War.
- Spanish Civil War and Revolution photo gallery, 1936-39. Photo gallery of anarchists and other workers who attempted a social revolution after the military uprising of the right-wing General Francisco Franco in July 1936.
- Living utopia (documentary). A unique feature-length documentary (90 minutes; Spanish with English subtitles) which chronicles the origins and evolution of the Spanish anarchist movement and its important role during the Spanish revolution (1936-1939).
I have been asked a number of times the last few days about my stance or for a statement on the recent school shooting. I often try to remain silent in these issues, but, well if you read my stuff you know I never stay quiet.
When I was younger my grandparents bought a farm. My father was and is a gun enthusiast, a member of the NRA and a supporter of ’2nd amendment rights’. A tradition was born in our family where all the men would go down the field and into a little area back into the woods to shoot guns at every family gathering. The men would gather to show off guns and shoot at cans or targets. I was never fond of loud booming noises, I never knew a lot about guns nor paid much mind to them. My knowledge came from learning about the weapons I was shooting. As the years went on I would go on to shoot countless weapons, mostly my M16 A2 service rifle and the M249 S.A.W. in the U.S.M.C. as well as many other tools of murder. Over the years I had received first hand education on how to handle and use many weapons with little interest in them.
Over the years I saw violence and death first hand. Over many occasions I saw both the actions as they occurred and the aftermath and the bodies of the victims. My first realization of the reality of the death and destruction of the military was at a grenade range. We go back behind a walled off area to throw grenades over a concrete wall and be rushed off back to sit in the bleachers and wait. We were boots, all green straight out of boot camp, Parris Island. I had thrown my grenade and begun to walk out and back to the bleachers with the other Marines being quite used to the sound of the grenades I was not expecting to be startled by one, but was. It was closer, louder. I shook as I heard it. It sounded as if it went off directly behind me. People were screaming and running. I could feel adrenaline rushing through my body.
I remember little from coming out of the range and reaching my seat on the bleachers, but I do remember the Corpsman standing there outside of the range crying. Here was the guy who was responsible for our medical and physical safety in tears. I remember clearly the quietness and fear sitting on the bleachers with the other Marines as the helicopter came down right above us, feeling the wind on my face. I remember looking around seeing the other Marines crying. It all became very real that moment.
A PFC was being brought out on a stretcher. I remember thinking his legs looked like twizlers. I remember the way the just wiggled around red and bloody. I remember his boots, legs and trousers all seeming to merge in a bloody mess. I remember the Sgt face down as they rolled him out, face down with his BDU’s cut off his body and little specks all up and down his back side, little red specks where the shrapnel entered his body. The PFC had thrown the grenade at the wall as opposed to over the wall. It landed behind with them. I think this is one of my clearest memories of such violence because I was in the field and was not able to drink myself silly to cope. I would drink a lot when I left there. Each act of violence after that was often d rounded out with whiskey, and most of the others were not accidental like this one. And this one still stands so clear in my mind. The whiskey helped me deal with it back then.
I could write a book on the guns, mangled bodies and violence I was part of or witness to. I don’t want to go down that route. What I do want to talk about is how this impacted my ethics in the long run. Violence became the crux of what led me to becoming an anarchist. The use of violence to structure society must be abolished. It is the future of the evolution of our species.
The current headlines are filled with news of another school shooting and it became political of course, as expected. The right has responded in fear defending guns and weapons. They want to arm the world. Send every grade schooler to school packing heat so that they can blow away the bad guys. Really the gun debate is not the debate or discussion that is needed to solve the problem. Like all other times it is a band aid or a surface issue.
The Real Issue Is Violence
Fear leads to violence. The cycle of violence is being perpetuated by fear. The state itself exists because of fear. Fear of the other and our desire to have institutionalized violence leads to our mass militarism and police state. Fear of poverty, fear of our neighbors, fear of someones uncut lawn. Violence is the underlying answer which our state is built upon. It is the pivotal hinge for which the state and capitalism hangs upon.
Countless centuries men have asserted their status and place in society through violence. Some have been labeled heroes and others villains in their use of violence. The same action of causing harm and taking lives is labeled good or evil based on the outcome and how they impact us. When children in Afghanistan are murdered by our military we praise and reward them. When it is our children in the U.S. Being murdered we call the perpetrator a terrorist. Both perpetrators have the same addiction to violence.
Our society has an addiction to violence. Our media is saturated by images of masculine men shooting up people. It is often police or heroic acts of glorified violence depicted. We praise those. We look at villainous acts of violence by ‘gangsters’ and depict them as cool or manly. We are groomed by our media to praise violence, it is glorified and our children are being raised to want to participate in this violence and be seen as manly or tough because they are violent or some force you do not want to ‘mess with’.
There is no Good and Evil
Good and evil are labels we place on an action that are dependent on the outcome and how they impact us. It is a judgment not a reason for an action. People do not kill because they are ‘evil’ but people are labeled evil because of the outcome of the killing. As stated earlier the same act of murder is both heroic and villainous depending upon the impact it has on us. My Spouse often says “there is no good or evil only varying degrees of consciousness.” As people evolve to a higher functioning level of intellect and consciousness in the area of violence it is rejected. Evolution of society to a higher level of functioning eliminates violence. Many of my comrades have been frustrated in the past with my absolute rejection of the use of violence. There is always a better and more effective option to violence. Until we really start to challenge violence absolutely we will stay exactly where we are.
The closest thing I can see as an exception to opposition to violence is not even an exception. It is the fact that I will not condemn the use of violence by the violently oppressed to overthrow their oppressor. This is not to say that there was not a better solution, it is to say that I will not condemn them.
Until Violence is Confronted
Until we begin to confront violence we will not have an answer to school shootings. The state is like the parent who beats their children each night and tells the child not to use violence on others. How will this child know anything but violence if they have only been taught violence? As people evolve in consciousness we will continue to participate in this archaic practice. What we need to be doing is confronting the idea of the use of violence absolutely. We must raise a society that looks at the violence with shock and horror.
I am not a pro-gun type. I abhor weapons of all sorts. In reality we must not just look at guns and bombs critically but violence itself. Our desire for violence gives birth to swords, guns, atomic bombs and countless devices of murder, torture and destruction. The desire to slaughter, maim and destroy other sentient life is the problem. Even more so than the tools we have fashioned to so this task, for it is this desire that gives birth to our tools of death.
We may have a desire to use these tools of death for a specific person, target or reason, but as long as they exist others will desire to use them for another. As long as our society embraces violence we will not be able to move past this. We ask why specific children are murdered in a specific school while overlooking the fact that it is happening daily all over the world and we do not think twice about this. We accept that violence.
When I am asked what my stance is on this school shooting I have to point to the real and true problem we are facing. It is violence. Yes, a mental illness is to blame. But it is a mental illness our society as a whole suffers from. Most will reject violence and in return they will say ‘but’ and then give the exception to the rule where they believe it is called for. With so many ‘good’ people who hate violence having their justifications of violence in the case they see it as acceptable we find that violence is indeed not opposed but very much accepted. It is important to make the distinction here of my exception. It is not a time violence is justified, but simply a moment I will not condemn those who have chosen to use violence.
I do not accept violence as protection or defense for the vast amount of violence that occurs is done out of a sense of defense or protection. There is always a better solution. This does not say that I am specifically claiming to be a pacifist. For pacifism is often seen as passivity and I do not condone passivity either. I believe passivity is a grave evil. It is to say that protection do need to happen only they must evolve beyond the archaic use of violence. We must stop dumping our resources into more weapons, violence and the archaic way of structuring society and begin focusing those resources on alternatives to violence to begin to advance beyond violence.
My life has been in chaos. My recent move from Kansas City Missouri to Cincinnati Ohio took a lot of time and effort. As I pulled into the new neighborhood I was moving to without ever seeing it I was a bit shocked. I would say it was a mild form of culture shock. I went from a high migrant urban area to a much more suburban white area nestled behind clusters of malls and walmarts. In the ghetto we didn’t have walmarts and malls near by. We had tiny little shops ran mostly by migrants and locals. Here everything seems to be a major national chain.
I thought I was going to get less radical as I pulled into this little prefabricated neighborhood. It seems the opposite happened. I thought I would get online and write about my experience with going to a walmart the first night we got on the road, but as time passed and I experienced more of this environment I found myself getting enraged and frustrated with much more.
I had my first experience with an Ikea. This really sent me over the edge. I had bought furniture in northeast Kansas City in the past and the experience was quite different. The furniture stores were often in older buildings. The furniture you would buy would be right out there. Often it was old furniture someone had fixed up and put out. Lots of second hand stuff. A few places sold new furniture in these old buildings also. But they were reasonable buildings, the kind that had been in the city over a hundred years or so. I had never seen anything like the nightmare that I saw which was Ikea.
I was sent to the store to buy a couch that was $150 bucks. I was kind of shocked that a new couch would cost so little. Maybe we shouldn’t be buying couches for $150 bucks brand new. Maybe that is part of the problem. A couch made in china by slave labor. We in the U.S. like to think that we are somehow above and past slavery, yet we still depend and rely on it each time we buy cheap crap at Walmart or Ikea. The slavery is out of sight and out of mind so it’s okay. As long as it’s not happening here in our borders, we can import it from other countries. Perhaps we should expect to pay a worker more for the product of their labor. None the less, I live in a capitalist society and I am attempting to try and have a similar standard of life as my fellow prols.
I was lost. Ikea was an overwhelmingly massive clutter of cheap made in china crap. Everyone seemed to be distracted by all the consumer goods laid out. I just wanted to get the couch I was sent for and was getting more frustrated by the moment. I couldn’t walk in and just get it. The store was laid out like a maze. The idea behind it’s design was that you would walk through a seemingly endless winding path which was intended to take you by every cheap consumer good they had laid out and ready to be purchased. You can’t just walk in ask for the couch and get out. Everyone seemed to be overjoyed with the chance to browse and buy as much as they could. It didn’t go over well with me. I wasn’t expecting this unending winding path of cheap crap. I just kept trying to find my way out to this ‘warehouse’ where the worker told me the couch would be. I didn’t realize I had to walk through this whole place to get there.
I started to panic. I was walking and walking and trying to get out. I took turn after turn following the signs seeming to only go deeper into this dungeon of consumerism. I started to panic. I was getting quite a bit claustrophobic. I didn’t know how I got so deep into this place beside the massive box of toilet brushes for a buck. I was frantically searching for a way out. I was feeling like a caveman who just stepped into the twenty first century. I know a few of the things I was thinking in my panic came out my mouth. “My God! How do you get out?” “This is massive” “I’m lost”. I have been known to get lost in all these modern stores as massive as they are, and Ikea may be the most massive one I have ever seen. It was almost a parody of everything I found repulsive about the Walmart I visited earlier in the week.
I eventually made my way to the warehouse with the couch at the very end and came to realize that I was buying a couch in a box. Christ almighty. Here I had moved into the what was left of the Levvittown era prefabricated houses. Everyone was striving to live in these little balsa wood boxes, speed around in their little metal boxes, work in their little boxed cubicles to keep up with their boxes and buy furniture in boxes. Here I was standing in the middle of the culture that fears communism and anarchism and has become comfortable with increasingly lower wages and increasingly cheaper crap all prepackaged, boxed and shipped in from china. Here I was standing on the grave of every craftsman and worker that ever lived. Here I was staring at all the good little underpaid happy workers all in their little matching uniforms just waiting for their shift to end so they could go back to their little box with the stuff they want to wrap up in boxes and put under a tree they set up in their levvittown track housing box. Christ, I was in hell. Humanity is dead capitalism is worshiped and served and this is our culture.
The worker works to consume the product of the capitalist. The worker finds no joy in their work, because the work in itself is joyless. The workers passion for the work is gone for the product of their labor is Warren Buffets. And to think, I’ve heard some mindless conservatives accusing him of being some kind of liberal. I think that is funny. As a kid my parents described communism as being a world where all the workers had to wear the same thing and take orders from some ruler and all individuality was crushed. I was seeing my parents fear of communism right here in front of my eyes, the society I was living in and it was capitalism. Someone lied.
Every time I walk into these places overflowing with cheap crap I think of Kropotkin addressing expropriation in Conquest of Bread where he says “The landlord owes his riches to the poverty of the peasants, and the wealth of the capitalist comes from the same source.” Here I see so many struggling with so much money going into these massive capitalist corporations and all those laboring are paid the lowest wage possible as the Capitalist who rules the corporation is raking in unheard of amounts of money. Here I see the workers laboring for the wealth of the capitalist. Here I see that with this much wealth and production that we just might be able to reach a post scarcity society, we just have to stop letting the capitalist rob the workers.
The workers are in an interesting predicament. The capitalist must sell them the products to continue to consume their wealth. The capitalist must have them produce to continue to sell them the product of their labor. The capitalist must force their wage down to continue to amass wealth, but if the capitalist forces the wage down too much the workers will not be able to continue to consume the very products they produced in the first place. Wealth is the production of the worker.
And we slave away at meaningless joyless jobs. We slave away distracted by our little boxed lives. We sit in our little boxed houses on our boxed couches staring into the glowing box remaining distracted of the real situation we are in. We are sold more distraction. We work to afford to be distracted from the reality of our situation, place and reality of life under capitalism.
Originally posted at Le Rouge et Le Noir
If you are like me then you are always needing more art materials, and art materials can get steep. If you just walk into the art store to buy what you need without planning it you can easily go broke. It takes some strategy. Here are a few tips that I try to do when I need art materials.
1. Buy Ahead
It is wise to buy supplies before hand. If you wait until you need the supplies you will most likely have to purchase at full price for convenience. When looking at the other suggestions remember that you will be buying for the future or what you will be needing down the road. Plan ahead and save.
2. Subscribe to mailing lists
Most art supply stores and hobby stores offer a mailing list you can join. Go ahead and subscribe to every mailing list and email list. These places are constantly offering incentives to get you in the door. They will often e-mail out coupons for 30% – 40% off the list price of materials. If you are buying ahead of time you can use these incentives to your benefit.
Some stores offer cards or memberships that are worth looking into. Creative Coldsnow offers a customer card that gives you $10 off for every $100 spent. If you are buying art supplies regularly you that $10 off can add up quick. If you catch the sales and an incentive like this at the same time you will really be saving.
3. Buy Online
Buying online can save if you go to the right places. A lot of people are selling the same materials online as they do in the stores at similar prices, sometimes higher or lower. With shipping it might not save you a dime. What you need to do is look at places like craigslist and ebay. It is easy to find full priced items on ebay, but if you watch regularly you will find lots of items at great discounts. I have bought what would cost near $600 to buy in a store for as low as $50 on ebay. The key is to watch and look for the deals. Watching regularly will help to find them as well as looking at auctions that end in the middle of the week, they tend to get less attention and go for less than auctions ending in a weekend. Some items are also good to buy slightly damaged or used. Only you can make that call for your needs.
4. Make Your Art Supplies
Canvas is one thing that is easy to start doing yourself and practical to save money. If you buy larger canvases a lot you know they can get pricy. It is good to be shopping for affordable canvas to stretch yourself. Some artists even use bed sheets instead they can be picked up at a local thrift store for cheap. I will watch local fabric stores for sales. I picked up about 4 yards of canvas at a fabric store recently at 50% off the normal price. Higher quality canvases are not easy to find this way you will drop a pretty penny, but if you are stretching your own canvas and building frames you will save a great deal either way compared to buying them prefabricated. I only stretch larger canvases because it is cheap and affordable to buy smaller canvases in packs and the savings in building them yourself is not worth the effort to me.
Paint is another supply that is easy to make. Oil paint specifically is easy to make. You will need a muller, glass, linseed oil, a pallet knife and pigment. You can purchase pigments many places online. They tend to go for less than the oil paint does. Oil paint is simple. Pigment mixed with a few drops of linseed oil and ground in with a Muller. It is easier to get a high quality paint this way for cheaper. Many student grades and some larger brands have filler and other pigments in them. Good pure pigmented paints are expensive. Doing it yourself can be a wonderful option to invest in.
Another thing that I can suggest making yourself is easels. There are some DIY videos out there and it’s not really difficult if you know what you are doing. It only costs a bit of lumber and hardware as opposed to the hundreds they often charge for them. I have not done this yet, but have plans to build a few next year.
5. Other Artists
I have a lot of art materials that I have never used. I have have given away materials or sold them for really cheap, as well as bought some from others. It’s a good idea to talk to other artists and put it out there. You can pick up stuff from people that they may not use as much for their medium and possibly help another artist out at the same time.
Perhaps pulling resources can help artists too. See what you can share and work together with. Or look at what you have started to do. Are you stretching canvas? Perhaps your fellow artist is making paint. The two of you can chip in on the raw materials and make exchanges on materials you have both made.
There is a Chip-In to get him up and running please help spread this around and donate what you can.
Fundamentalist conservatives tend to complain about the liberals not being tolerant. The tendency is to assume that standing against bigotry is promoting the idea of ‘tolerance’. I would like to say that tolerance is not something I promote, embrace or condone. Tolerance would imply that one is putting up with something that they see negatively. So you can tolerate LGBT people or someone of a different race or culture and still be a complete bigot, racist or xenophobe. Tolerance is not something to strive for. Abolishing bigotry, racism, classism and confronting these very specific prejudices is something to strive for. The goal isn’t to get the bigot to tolerate those they hate. The goal is to abolish the bigotry.
The bigots love to claim that they are not tolerated. They love to make some kind of argument that there is hypocrisy in those that oppose bigotry because they are not tolerant of bigotry. No, I am not tolerant of bigotry. I am not tolerant of racism. There is a lot I am not tolerant of. This liberal opposes tolerance. I oppose both tolerance of these oppressive views and behaviors as well as the idea that those who hold them should simply be tolerant of others. If the bigot has to tolerate those of other people groups they are still bigots, they are simply showing tolerance for those they disdain. Abolish bigotry don’t tell bigots to tolerate others, tell bigots to stop being bigots.
The tolerance line is a tired old joke that the uneducated isolated bigot clings to. It is a myth they perpetuate to play a word game they feel somehow defends their bigotry.
So, tolerance? NO. Abolish oppressive views and bigotry. Abolish racism. Abolish heterosexism. Abolish sexism. Don’t tolerate others who are different, abolish the bigoted beliefs people hold. Do not tolerate bigotry. So, yes those who claim the liberals are not tolerant of whatever asinine B.S. They are preaching or behaviors they are doing are right. And most of the time we should not be tolerating any of their B.S. We should be intolerant of oppression, hetrosexism, sexism, racism and much more.
Everywhere Johnny went he saw the consumer culture of Christmas. Little trees, lights, bows, toys and more electronic gadgets than he could conceive. None of it seemed to have any point. All he could see was the mindless masses striving to collect more junk. He resolved to lock himself in his house over the next few days and wait out the holiday. It was Christmas eve, he was alone and making every effort to keep it that way. No work for the next few days and plenty to read as well as plenty of painting to do. Johnny always dreamed of being able to quit his day job and just live off of his art, but never seemed to be able to make enough to accomplish this. He plugged along with his writing and art when he got the chance and a few days off work seemed like the perfect time to do this. Christmas landed on a Friday that gave him Thursday off for Christmas eve, Friday off and then Saturday and Sunday to focus on getting stuff done.
He sat at his easel with an empty pallet for hours. All he seemed to do was get a few horrible sketches on the canvas. The plethora of ideas he had during the workweek as he plugged away mindlessly seemed to escape him. He started to get frustrated. As noon approached he figured that a little lunch was all he needed and he would be back at it. His masterpiece was going to come. He was convinced that what he would paint would be a masterpiece if only he could spit it out on canvas. All he managed to do was dread the coming work week. He just couldn’t manage to accept the moment and use it as he intended. Johnny seemed to be spending more time chain smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee on his front porch than sitting at the easel.
He wondered to the kitchen and threw together a quick sandwich, ate it and was back to the canvas. By dinner time he was famished and still had only put a dab of burnt umber on the pallet failing to put any on the almost white canvas. All he felt was frustration at the time he had wasted staring at his blank canvas. He managed to jot a few ideas on paper but it all looked like crap. Nothing was coming together. He was hungry but convinced he would put something to the canvas so he dipped the brush into the paint and started trying to sculpt an image on the surface of the white canvas. The more he pushed color into it and the more he moved the paint across the surface the more frustrated he became. It was beginning to look a bit like a comical daemon, which was not his intent. He realized that he had smoked almost two packs of cigarettes on his front porch. The coffee was stale and burnt.
Frustrated, Johnny went to the kitchen and rummaged through his fridge trying to find something to eat. He threw away a molded container of leftover spaghetti. Johnny ended up frying up some old fish he found in the kitchen and leaving the greasy mess on the stove before spending the rest of the night with a fresh pot of coffee and many more cigarettes. By the time midnight approached he was wired. Too much coffee and he was antsy to go out, but it was midnight, Christmas Eve and knew everyone was at home with family sleeping nicely ready to wake up and rip open packages of crap made in china.
Then, a sound came from the chimney. Like a scratch. Soot fell into the fireplace as he saw a pair of black boots appear, and out came Santa. Johnny just started to laugh. This is absurd he thought. It’s midnight and Santa Just came down my Chimney. Santa turned to look at Johnny as he leaned against the bare undecorated mantle.
“Are you here to give me presents?” He asked Santa.
“Ha Ho” Santa belted. “You Johnny, have you been naughty or nice?”
“Well, I haven’t been particularly nice but I’m not really doing anything naughty really that I know of.” Johnny said as he heard more scratching from the chimney and saw even more soot coming down. “Is that an elf or an reindeer or something?” The smell of sulfur spilled into the room.
“No Johnny, that’s my friend Krampus.” Santa said as a hoof appeared in the fireplace. Slowly a claw reached down as the demon pulled his horned goat head through the opening and emerged. A large horned hoofed hairy demon now stood before him right beside Santa in Johnny’s living room. “Krampus likes to take the naughty little girls and boys and put them in a bag and hit them with a stick.”
Johnny thought for a moment and responded, “I don’t know what is more absurd, your presence or the fact that I am just standing here responding to it as if it is an everyday occurrence. Do you want some cookies or hot cocoa?”
“I’d love some cocoa , but krampus only eats meat and drinks blood.” Santa said.
“Well I can accommodate you with cocoa, but I don’t know if I have much meat or blood to offer.”
Krampus smiled as he grumbled in a low voice “Oh, you have plenty of meat and blood.”
This made Johnny uncomfortable. “I will just go start that cocoa.”
“Thank you Johnny” Said Santa.
“So, I imagine you guys are on a tight schedule being Christmas Eve and all.” he called back from the Kitchen.
“No, we have plenty of time.” Santa responded.
“What about all the presents and children and the beatings Krampus has to give and all that?”
“Well, I don’t do many presents for children really these days. The parents are out spending their money on cheap trash made in China, so nobody really misses me these days.” Santa called back.
“What about all of the stuffing children into bags and beating them and all that Krampus?” He called back trying to keep up the conversation and somewhat hoping to get a feeling for what Krampus had in store for him.
“Oh, you know, there are enough parents beating their kids, cops beating young men and employers draining the life out of them. I really don’t feel that I am needed now days.” returned the daemon.
“That sounds terribly depressing. How do you feel about that?” asked Johnny.
“Oh, wonderful. I am just glad your culture has turned into one that is consuming each other. Which brings us to the problem of you Johnny.”
Johnny who was walking out with a fresh microwaved cup of cocoa kind of stopped a bit scared. “So this isn’t just a friendly social call?”
Santa smiled. “Now Johnny, how often does Santa and Krampus just drop in on someone?”
“Well, I kind of assumed you went to a lot of houses on Christmas Eve or something.”
“No, we don’t really, not these days. The world has little use of us. I make my living through licensing. I get good royalty checks each year for the use of my name and likeness.” Said Santa. “They sell me. Those that can afford a Santa get it, those that can’t are working away in their assembly lines making me rich and making Christmas for the good little girls and boys. I see them more as my elves for the new millennium.”
“So, who exactly are the good little boys and girls?”
“The ones whose parents can afford for them to be good little boys and girls. A good little boy spends plenty on toys, clothes, sugary foods and whatever is being advertised on saturday morning cartoons. You Johnny, chose not to buy a single thing this year though didn’t you?” Said Santa.
Johnny thought a moment. “Yeah, I didn’t do the whole Christmas thing this year. I was going to paint, but it hasn’t been turning out so well.”
Krampus licked his lips and responded “Well that’s good. At least you aren’t making use of your time. You are also not giving back to the owners of the means of production who have provided you with this wonderful opportunity to buy, but it shouldn’t be too much of a problem because we have millions that do.”
“So you’re not going to put me in a bag and beat me with a stick?” Johnny asked Krampus.
“Oh, I never said that.” Krampus said with a smile.
“My Cocoa?” Santa said nodding to the cup of hot microwaved cocoa that Johnny was still holding. The whole conversation had concerned him so much that he completely forgot to give santa his hot cocoa.
“Oh yeah, here.” He said as he handed Santa the Cocoa.
“Good boy.” Santa responded.
“Why do you have to beat people?” Johnny asked Krampus.
“Well someone has to beat you now don’t they?”
“Because someone has to do the beating, you know, to keep power over you, keep you in your place, keep people in line.”
“But why does someone have to do that?”
Krampus responded. “Well if someone didn’t you all might not submit to our little arrangement we have going on. It keeps some on top and those on top like being there. Just ask Santa, how are those royalty checks working out for you?”
“Ho, ho, ho…” Santa responded jubilantly.
“So, I have to eat it so that you can stay rich?” Johnny asked Santa.
“Pretty much, but don’t think you are special, everyone has their place mine is just a little more at the top than yours.”
“Oh” Johnny said softly as he looked to the ground. “I think this pretty much shatters my perception of you.” He paused for a moment.
Krampus interrupted, “So Johnny, about your meat and blood.”
“I don’t get it.” Johnny replied. “I thought you put people in a bad and beat them with a stick, not eat their meat and bones.”
“Oh, I do put people in a bag and beat them with a stick. It tenderizes the meat.” Said Krampus as he licked his lips.
“You’re going to consume me?”
“Yes, we are here to consume you.”
“But won’t that kill me?”
“Oh, nobody gets out alive Johnny.”
“Just can I have a little time to paint? Like maybe come back Sunday night when the weekend is over so I can paint before I go. I want to finish that masterpiece.” begged Johnny.
“But we don’t have time to give you the time you want Johnny, it’s not about you. We are consuming and you are going to be consumed. It’s not about what you want or need or dream of. It’s not about the beautiful happy wonderful thing you perceived us to be it’s about our hunger and consumption. Besides Johnny, what have you done so far? You wasted time smoking on the porch. You won’t paint. You will blow a few fags on the porch, drink another pot of coffee and just be consumed on Monday morning after you’ve done nothing all this time.” Krampus explained as he pulled out a large burlap sack from the chimney.
In the current 2012 election the republicans are reciting the words of President Obama in an attempt to frame him negatively as some socialist. Fox news and the pro-capitalist types are really having fun with this one. The problem is that it shows that both sides have absolutely no idea of what is going on, what the real problems are and what the real solutions are.
The problem is the theft of the product of the workers labor by the capitalist.
The problem is not that the capitalist ‘made enough money’. The problem is that the state exists as the backbone of the capitalist to claim the labor of the worker as their own profit. The problem is that wealth is redistributed to the ruling classes from the working class. The amount of money the capitalist hordes is not the problem that needs to be brought up. The problem we need to bring up is the reality that the state defends the ability of the capitalist class to continue to continue to monopolize the means of production.
Means of production refers to physical, non-human inputs used in production—the factories, machines, and tools used to produce wealth - wikipedia
The United States is good at taxing the working class to use a portion to direct towards a minimalist security net. This security net exists to ward off revolution. The security net was more properly referred to as a ‘pressure relief valve’ by Panclasta. It insures that a few needs reach a few of the exploited working classes to fend off poverty that would lead directly to the overthrow of the capitalist system.
The wealth monopolized by the state and the capitalist is the privilege of property. It is the right of investment which leads to the claim of property and dominion over the workers labor. Equality can not exist under the dominion of the state and capitalism. If the state falls capitalism can only exist by privatizing the functions of the state, essentially creating a new state. Taking the flag off the police and soldiers and replacing it with a company logo. To abolish the state completely and the functions of the state is a death sentence for capitalism.
The capitalist is specifically the one who has dominion over the worker and the means of production. The capitalist has the right of increase, or the legal claim to the production of the worker and the wealth generated by the workers labor. In turn the product of the worker belongs first to the capitalist then to the state which both claim the right to the wealth of the worker who builds society. After the wealth is claimed the capitalist throws a few table scraps down to maintain dominion and the state throws a few little scraps down to maintain some stability of this system of theft.
The statement “at some point you’ve made enough money” is a slap in the workers face. It is blind to the reality of capitalism as the problem and embraces the system that keeps the worker poor. But this statement was not isolated, what President Obama said before it is even more disturbing. He states ‘We are not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned.” The flaw in this statement is the assumption that the capitalist’s success was fairly earned. The inequality brought by the monopolization of the means of production itself is an unjust advantage built upon generations of exploitation and privilege limited to the ruling class. It takes money to make money in this system. Simply because investment is the crux to the claim to dominion over the worker. Those who have to invest for the most part are those who have maintained this edge over the worker, the ruling class. Fair is: Without cheating or trying to achieve unjust advantage. The capitalist system is an unfair advantage maintained by the gun of the state and the dominion of the capitalist. President Obama is simply trying to maintain the capitalist system.
In the first part of the 20th century any woman who would have an affair with a Nazi and dress like a man would instantly cause waves and be looked down upon by high society. Born in the later part of the 1800′s in a poor house raised in an orphanage and singing in a cabaret, Coco Chanel rose from these proletarian beginnings to revolutionize fashion for the very bourgeois society she was once rejected from. Chanel stood strong against accepted society and made changes in society that last to this day.
Coco Chanel is known today as a name of high couture fashion and is associated with the capitalism and the bourgeois. If you know anything about fashion or culture you most likely know the name Chanel. Coco Chanel was more to the world than just a name brand, but a woman artist whose craft changed the world and lent to the liberation of women.
Chanel was born in the late 1800′s in a world where woman’s fashion was made to appeal to men. Men were the dominant designers of woman’s clothes. Chanel showed up dressed like a man breaking the restrictions of culture and fashion. Chanels’ boutique in Paris began to sell clothing for women that were less restrictive and less binding than conventional fashion. She began to introduce comfortable material such as Jersey to women fashion which was unheard of at the time and many saw as completely unacceptable.
Chanel pushed up against the fashion of women being bound up to be presentable by a man’s standard and moved towards a woman’s fashion striving for comfort and function. Chanel first introduced Jersey to fashion as the working woman’s uniform. Little black jersey dresses were introduced, the LBD (little black dress). Chanel was a woman designing clothes that were practical and comfortable for other women. This may not sound that amazing in the 21st century to many, but at the beginning of the 20th century this was unheard of.
Not only was there the love affair with a Nazi officer but now there are claims that Chanel was a Nazi spy. Is this true? It is possible. Is this a reaction out of fear to a strong woman who pushed up against patriarchy? This is also possible.
It would be easy to point to Chanel’s outspoken voice of woman’s liberation and paint her only as a feminist and one who fought for woman’s liberation through her art and craft. It would be just as easy to point to her associations during WWII and paint her as a Nazi sympathizer and demonize her. In the same regard we could take Chanel and point to either the capitalist enterprise that was born of her name, or even the poverty stricken orphan who rose to greatness. The most accurate way to take all of these aspects of Chanel would be to say she was a complete person with great achievements as well as foibles and flaws.
One of many points made by Proudhon in his defense against property was that nature can not be property. Proudhon argued one could not have dominion over air or the water and that the air and water were an unlimited supply but the land was limited in supply. This he claimed made the claim to land as property even less possible. If the resource is more scarce he seemed to believe the conclusion should be that one has less of a right to claim it as property. To deprive one of air is an assault on a person and will lead do death. The same is true of many necessary natural resources.
How can the supplies of Nature, the wealth created by Providence, become private property? and who replies by so gross an equivocation that we scarcely know which the author lacks, sense or honesty. What, I ask, has the fixed and solid nature of the earth to do with the right of appropriation? I can understand that a thing limited and stationary, like the land, offers greater chances for appropriation than the water or the sunshine; that it is easier to exercise the right of domain over the soil than over the atmosphere: but we are not dealing with the difficulty of the thing, and Say confounds the right with the possibility. We do not ask why the earth has been appropriated to a greater extent than the sea and the air; we want to know by what right man has appropriated wealth which he did not create, and which Nature gave to him gratuitously.
This line of thought on land and resources is worth revisiting in the 21st century even more so now for many reasons. Air and water can no longer be seen as having an unlimited supply. Even in his time they were not in unlimited supply, he was simply in a place where he could take them for granted. Water is property. Water is currently a resource that is controlled in the U.S. by regional monopolies. Access to water, a natural resource can be prohibited to some by these monopolies.
Land, air and water are under threat by climate change. What new elements does this add to the ideas presented by Proudhon? With increased scarcity it makes property even more of a threat.
As people enter into space exploration we see an environment where oxygen is in extreme scarcity.Don’t pay your water bill here on earth in the 21st century you get your water turned off. What then does the person living on Mars in the 22nd century do if they can not pay their oxygen bill? What is the difference between cutting off the oxygen and outright suffocating a person? If one appropriates Oxygen what then gives them the right to deprive others of this vital resource? Then again why does appropriation of water give one the right to deprive others of water under our current monopolies? The ruling class will maintain the stance that all human necessities can be appropriated for the purpose of profit by depriving those who need such resources if they do not submit the product of their labor to those who hold dominion over said resources. This could be the state or the capitalist.
At the heart of capitalism is the justification of the use of violence to maintain dominion over appropriated resources. Let the battle cry of the 21st century be ‘Property Is Theft!”
Every year for the last few years I have come to the readers for support on keeping the site online. Our supporters and readers are some of our most valued contributors. It is that time again where we will be asking for your support here on Gonzo Times. We receive no advertisement revenue so it is important for us to keep here online to get support from our readers. I want to thank you all for the previous years support and encourage you all to keep it up.
We are fund raising right now for a few things. First off you may have noticed that we are going in new directions with our content. Revolution is invading every aspect of your life from food to art and pop culture. Instead of staying in a dialogue between political theories we are branching out to touch other relevant subjects and for this we are planning a site wide redesign.
What will your money go to?
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Alphonse Mucha started the art nouveau movement. Art began to take a turn to counter the industrial revolution much like the workers movement of the time in the late 1800′s and early 1900′s. Mucha’s style was popularized with a poster of the French actress Sarah Bernhardt. When art nouveau arived it was initially known as Mucha Style. The style embraced organic lines inspired by nature. At the same time the old Victorian style had become mass produced and cheap. The industrial revolution created a whole new monstrosity of low quality art and furniture. Art nouveau, Art Deco and most specifically the Arts and Crafts movement were revolutions against the cheap Victorian style which was dominated by mass production. High artistry and high quality of workers craftsmanship would come to dominate these styles in contrast to mass production.
At the turn of the century and on into the 20′s and 30′s we saw the workers movement. There was a revolution of the workers brewing against the wealthy capitalist the owner of industry. At the same time not only were the philosophies of the working people rising to liberation from their cheapened status in society, but so was the art and architecture. The working class ethic was strong through both the art world and the common people. Which made Mucha more relevant with the rise or industry. Mucha believed that art should be for all. His art crossed the lines of design and fine art. He was creating works for products from posters to packaging. So now the working class could hold a piece of beauty when they purchased a product or when they were going to see Sarah Bernhardt at the Theater.
Art would mirror the working class movements in ethics, a workers pride in their work. Art would mirror the working class movements in the ability to bring art to the common working class.
His revolutionary status in art and design influences us to this day. Artists and designers are abundant and the line between art and design is often blurred. I spent my life as an artist. Over the last decade I was able to eat and pay the bills because of my ability to use this art in design for commercial purposes. Now here lies the irony. From the working class ethic that stood against mass production of products and the industrialization of society we see that this was hijacked by the capitalist and used to further promote capitalism in our society. Art as revolution against the system has become art to support the system. As long as capitalism exists art will be forced into submission to capitalism.
After his experience eating in The Four Seasons restaurant Rothko breached contract, returned the advance and kept the paintings. This was the world Rothko saw with such disdain. This is the world that worships mindlessly the legacy of the socialist Mark Rothko. Like most other artists Rothko found himself in a place that in order to continue to paint he must paint for the ruling class.
On February 25th of 1970 artist Mark Rothko took his life by cutting his arms with a razor the very same day nine of his paintings arrived at London’s Tate Gallery. He was found in his kitchen covered in blood. Mark Rothko took some barbiturates and opened a vein in his arm. Today Rothko lives on in his work, owned by the bourgeoisie. The rich and powerful can afford to buy one of his paintings. His painting Orange, Red, Yellow sold for $86,882,500 on May 8, 2012. This striving to own a part of this man may be one of the biggest slaps in the face he could receive. Mark Rothko was not silent about his feeling for the Bourgeoisie. As well as being a painter he was also a member of the IWW. In 1958 Rothko began a commission for the Seagram’s building and the luxury restaurant The Four Seasons. He set out with the goal of painting “something that will ruin the appetite of every son-of-a-bitch who ever eats in that room. If the restaurant would refuse to put up my murals, that would be the ultimate compliment. But they won’t. People can stand anything these days.”
Rothko was a Russian Jewish Immigrant like many anarchists of the early 20th Century. He spoke of growing up an anarchist and how he saw Emma Goldman giving her speeches as a boy.
Later in life with the death of the Russian Revolution, the destruction of the Spanish Revolution by Communists and Fascists, and the rise of the Nazis Rothko became disillusioned as to whether there was any hope for social change. But he claimed “I am still an anarchist”! – from libcom.org
Born in 1903, Rothko dropped out of Yale after two years to spend the next twenty as an obscure artist in new york. It was not until abstract expressionism began to boom in the 50′s that Rothko began to be appreciated and accepted as ‘an American Master’ in his field. Although Rothko rejected abstraction and color field painters he became possibly one of the most the most know color field painters and abstract artists. Rothko became unique in his ability to use color to invoke emotion in the viewer.
I strongly suggest checking out Simon Schama’s Power of Art episode featuring Mark Rothko:
Gonzo Times is attempting to go in new directions. We are really looking to break from just having the type of political philosophy we are known for and get some other types of content here on the site. I have tried to keep Gonzo Times decentralized and we are going to really try to keep that up. In our moving forward we have contributors working on getting new types of content for the site and we are still looking for new contributors.
It is my intent to have Gonzo Times contributors self organize to make this site happen. We have always somewhat done this. But in going forward I am attempting to have the self organization be less of a thing where individuals just post as they wish like we currently function to a site where we are self organizing and cooperating to push out new content on a regular schedule.
To me this is a test in self management and self organization. We will become either a failure of the commons we so often hear about or we can be a success proving that the commons can create something wonderful.
If you are interested in joining us and taking ownership of the site as your please feel free to contact us here.
I hope that we will be able to organize teams to tackle specific scheduled weekly columns. Without a head editor these teams will hopefully be able to work together to accomplish the goal. If you feel you are up to the task of working with others, organizing and writing we would love to accept you as a part of Gonzo Times. It is my belief that we can create a model of worker organization and learn a lot about organizing in a decentralized manner this way.
What kind of content are we looking for?
Really Gonzo Times wants to break free from just political content and create an online zine that might appeal to more than just anarchists and communists. We hope to get new topics and new columns going here. The content and types of content will not be determined by myself, but by the contributors. We are looking for the content you feel that you might want to read or write about. So, if you have ideas for content, please contact us. Gonzo Times can be every bit your website as mine or any other contributors if you wish.
I look forward to hearing from you. And I hope will enjoy the content our contributors will be putting out. And to all those who have contributed over the last 5 years I thank every one of you. Those with us still and those who are no longer with us.
Capitalism uses investment as a the crux of the claim of property or ownership of a collective. Collectives are a reality. The company you work for is a collective. To be liberated we must end the claim of property over the productive association of the workers. Workers must stand up and claim the product of their labor which is stolen by the capitalist.
Those who oppose this often respond by pointing to the investment made to claim dominion over the workers. This assumes we are still functioning in a system of capitalism where the investment is made by an individual and this gives them dominion over the worker. The worker submits to the dominion of the capitalist out of necessity because of scarcity that capitalism creates. Surplus is simply what the capitalist calls the stolen product of the workers labor. This is the right of increase Proudhon spoke of.
By eliminating the right of increase workers owning the means of association organized and distributed necessities and products through a federation instead of through a market monetary system we find that resources can be obtained through the federation of freely associated workers. Federations of mutually beneficial exchanges and access to services will be able to provide to enable the worker to begin a new venture in production or service.
Through the federation the people will have direct power over their economies and needs. Without a diversity of federations we shall have tyranny of democracy. Free association of a diversity of federations is a necessity.
Those who oppose this and claim investment as the crux of ownership of property ignore the reality that it takes privilege of wealth to produce. It maintains the current rule and maintains a class divide. To produce you must already have a claim to the ownership of the means of production, in a capitalist society this is money or wealth. Wealth is found through dominion over the labor of others. Wealth had been maintained by the exploitation of workers, slaves, genders, races and other class divides. This claim to property is enforced through the state or in some cases wage labor and privatized versions of the state. This power is maintained by ones claim to resources and the power this gives them over others. To have access to basic necessities one must submit to the proprietor to have access to the resources the proprietor claims dominion over.
Investment by a proprietor as a basis for production must be abolished. Resources must be liberated from the capitalist rulers and delivered to the people so that we can be liberated.