My Examiner columns came in like a lion in 2009 and have become a sleepy lamb. My radicalism, however, continues to radicalize by worsening events around me and the lies which dare explain those events. But the column - began with the Examiner over a year ago to discuss Long Beach, CA., issues, has lately flowed barely to a trickle.
My obsession - may I speak candidly? Yes, obsession. My obsession has been the same decline that may disturb my brethren in the Tea Party Movement. But it is an angst also shared by my brethren in the Democratic Party, which is barely televised, who were themselves hoodwinked into voting for the Goldman-Sachs character to continue the third term of George W. Bush, albeit in softer hues. It is shared by so-called Progressives, who were merely apologists for Obama but more or less share my aims in a just, democratic society. It is certainly the angst that lights the ires of my anarchist (-feminist, -communist, -syndicalist, -primitivist), Trotskyist, Marxist (Maoist, Leninist, Fidelista) comrades, who are not televised at all.
Our current government is old-school imperial politics brought brutally home: the only way the System will protect a former war criminal, like Bush II is to install a new criminal in his place, and this is Mr. Obama, Lover of Drones who do not Love Little Babies or Their Loving Mothers.
The coals so stoked, we in the opposition find ourselves with diametrically opposed solutions.
Predictably, like the Intolerant Puritans of history some of them call for a "return" to God, meaning a Christian, Homo-hating, public-services ending God.
Jesus has no analogue to these Bible-thumping religious revisionists and their vicious attack on the poor, civil liberties, women, lgbtq's, but Jesus is no more than a mascot to them.
Others of us stubbornly refuse to drink the Kool-Aid and refuse to give Obama a long "give-him-time" leash when we would never have stomached doing so for Bush II. We continue to believe a radical leftist shift must take place, and it will not be provided by Goldman-Sachs, the military industry, or private health-care corporations.
I shudder when I think of them over there watching our drones drop into their neighborhoods, being assaulted in my name, and how they must see me and us, having the luxury to ponder these ideas in safety, suffering only from writer's block, while I can still feed myself.
I shudder at my complicity and the bull's eye that places on me.
My articles with the Examiner never seemed to reach any more readers than my pamphlet, My Socialism, did when it was first published six years ago. I not only missed a growing number of readers but also more to my dilemma the catalyst that comes from a communal give and take, honing and perfecting one's radical agenda, and building some kind of momentum.
I was sending out my warrior cries into a proverbial Black Hole.
And so, in wanting to remain relevant agent of social change, my mind had to look elsewhere. The Examiner column suffers. But my soul continues to witness!
With a nod to Derrick Jensen, whose "Endgame [Vol 1]" I'm reading right now, I'd like to share a few premises that under gird where I am going while I am not writing an Examiner column.
1. The United States is not a democracy.
2. For the last two generations at least, the United States' main product has been War and the stuff and collateral damage of war - that is, weaponry on the one hand and killing on the other.
3. Our public schools have always been apprentice factories, first, to keep the young out of the shrinking, industrial labor market, second, to "graduate" them as servile workers to the system [see premise #2] - these servile workers can just as easily be graduate students and professors as they can blue-collar workers.
4. Our masters care as much for the health of the modern wage-slaving family as we did their African chattel slave forbears.
This war machine is not only in obvious places, like the drones Obama drops and murders civilians in a search for untried "terrorists," but also less obvious places like the private contractor industry and the security industry we see on the borders and at US airports, where our taxes go to pay for huge staffs of officers and agents, and cities upon cities of managers who literally rose from no where and do nothing, not to forget the massive dollars put into shoddy, expensive equipment.
And that is the point - not that anyone should really be doing anything or the machines perform at the caliber of their worth: No. The point of this mechanism is to keep the defense industry - war - thoroughly funded.
Whether Reagan's Star Wars would work or not is irrelevant, the point is to divert domestic resources to Lockheed Martin, McDonnell Douglas, Boeing, Northrup, Raytheon, General Dynamics, etc.
If there is any Welfare Queen pulling up in a limo to collect her checks, it is our defense industry.
And sacrificed in this devilish deal are our public schools, our community hospitals, universal, single-payer health care, infrastructure, mass transit to keep cars off the streets and lessen the depletion of finite fossil fuels and the pollution of our air and water.
By the way, while I am rambling: a word about "terrorists". The other day a favored presidential candidate in Brasil who used to be a Marxist resistance fighter reminded me of the West's history with so-called terrorists: Cheddi and Janet Jagan in Guyana, run out of office in the 50's by the British Queen for being Marxists only to return. Ghandi vilified then feted. Nelson Mandela, whose ANC party was forbidden to set foot on US soil because Reagan and Thatcher had declared them all terrorists while they supported apartheid South Africa. Yasser Arafat of the PLO.
Of course every African freedom fighter against colonialism was a terrorist until the West found it could fight no more and had to sit down with them as diplomats.
I promise you, as history is my witness, if the West can find a way to increase its quarterly profits by making a deal with Osama bin Laden, you will see him given a honorary knighthood by the same British Queen who gave one to Robert Mugabe, and a Congressional Medal from the US, and in the wake of Nobel Laureate Obama lowering that bar, he/she will probably get a Peace Prize to ice the cake.
Principally the collective we do not fight these domestic crimes against the people because of what we've been taught.
Education is a big part of this. Despite the phenomenon of the last generation to make "reforms" to education this is misleading. Remember, first, this reform was started by that right wing radical, Ronald Reagan, who should not be regarded in any case as an individual at all but rather a conglomeration of the ideology of the industrial feudal system, no better than a GE spokesman dutifully reading their script, citing their numbers, signing their bills. Recall he aimed to shut down the US Dept of Education.
Pedagogists call our system the Factory System. Most of us don't know what that means, but we have only to look at our own public school experience: how the desks were lined up in rows with the all-masterful teacher at the head, the bells signaling when to come and go, when to eat, when not to eat, no chewing gum, how we were ordered about even on our "free" time between classes, recesses, and lunch breaks.
This was raw preparation for us to punch in, shut up, submit to drug testing and background checks, and perform like trained dogs for our managers ... or suffer the punishment.
Most of our current arrangements are coerced, and they have been coerced for so long and made to seem normal by our servile parents and teachers that we don't see it. We don't even recognize that we have been moved into strategic hamlets - a classic war aim to control populations - by urbanization. Now, almost all of our needs must be bought or rented through state or state-sanctioned, private mechanisms. Our shelter, our food, our water: everything is bought.
Critical-thinking skills (CTS), lauded by right wing education reformists, is an anathema to the preservation of this system, which requires unquestioned conformity. CTS is not any more wanted of our school kids than it is in our work force or in the public square.
What the system wants - has always wanted - is obedience, not democratic control.
What the establishment has argued for as CTS is actually its polar opposite, a response to the perceived threat of late-1960's/1970's radicalism. They don't want us to examine the system at all.
This radicalism came from the communities, the schools who ceased to swallow the Official Myths of the US moral mission and began to see the bloody, anti-human policies of Western governments and the corporations which run them.
To right wing reformists, this radical critique is showing a lack of CTS.
This radicalism was marginalized as "unrealistic," but it was really deemed a threat, and it had to be doused. Hence the war on schools in particular, public services in general.
As servile cogs, we know daily our managers are a real threat to us, are derelict at worst, incompetent at best. We know we can run our workplaces much better, with much better ideas. But we do nothing to further this because of our training, usually enforced by our own parents/guardians who told us to "Obey our teachers".
The state is, as has been said for some time, a power center. Ours happens to be in power for a mercantile system that was perfectly fine buying and selling humans as slaves, starving millions to boost profit margins, throwing whole populations off the lands of their ancestors, or looting the pockets of the poor to enrich corporations that will go around the world for a cheaper slave to oppress.
In fact, the state still condones slavery for the benefit of its profiteers, and liberals continue to rationalize migrant, undocumented, non-unionized farm workers as necessary for US food production, a fact which should be quite disturbing and as revealing as our thirst for cheap, designer clothing from south Asian sweatshops.
How many slaves do you yourself own?
To preserve this system the state must make unthinkable [enter austerity measures], if not criminal [widening prison population], if not blasphemous [enter God], the need of public services, workers' rights, and the necessity to abolish poverty and accumulated wealth.
Our own interests must be made the enemy, our masters' interests our salvation. No wonder we are depressed.
In education the aim cannot yet be the total abolition of schools. But to free students from the instruction of [progressive] teachers the state intervenes by, first, mandating standards [like, teach the US Constitution], second, dictating curriculum [No Child Left Behind], and, lately, under the Drone Dropper himself: his "Race to the Top", mandate funding modalities, union busting, and teacher firings.
This is to produce compliant, ready-to-work industrial slaves who will work, shut up, or be locked up.
But we have always resisted this, and I had hoped my Examiner column would contribute to this resistance, open some minds, stir some hearts. I am a fellow traveller of socialism and anarchism, because they are rational arrangements.
Our current arrangement is not rational. Can a family run itself on capitalist principles, starving a child or two to increase "disposable income"? Then why would a community? Is locking down the border with more federal agents more valuable than a teacher or doctor? Then why do we tolerate this?
Herds of animals are rendered extinct as they fall prey to this war since they cannot fight back (but Nature does). Families and communities struggle more and more to survive a similar extinction, and often do not succeed.
You can see signs of this insurgent urge to resist throughout human history. The tension between our freedom to care for ourselves and each other and the master's goal to have us farm or weld or dig for the lowest fee, not care when our brothers and sisters are starved out of their lives, and convince us this arrangement is natural.
We've always known in our hearts it is not natural, and there are ample examples in human history that show this. As the rebels of the 17th century English republic demanded, they wanted neither Parliament, King, or Military to rule over them (so the ruling classes response was to bring back the monarchy as the one institution inaccessible to the people).
Ultimately, my Examiner column aside, we must lose faith in this system of Parliaments, kings, and militaries if we ever want a truly just society.