The Abyss

I had this flash of inspiration from a post by my comrade Owen Paine, who writes for Stop Me Before I Vote Again, where he quips in his trademark beat poetic fashion:

yes the ever more empty "fatal center"
where all hope plunges down and down toward citizen despair
and corporate joy
If you're like me, you've heard the blabbing heads on TV mention the Democrats "reaching across the aisle" and "moving to the center" so goddamn' many times it makes you want to put your head through a plate-glass window.

If you're also like me, you do a massive facepalm every time the Democrats attempt another ill-advised and entirely lame "reach across the aisle" and end up being screwed, blued and tattooed by the GOP yet again. You'd think by now the Dems would have learned something about how "the Center" is a great bottomless time and energy-sucking maw of Hell, but apparently they have the learning capacity of a housefly -- and if you know anything about houseflies, you know that's damn' near absolute zero.

With that in mind, I present the Democratic Party attempting to "move to the center" and "reach across the aisle" and having what I call a Wile E. Coyote Moment. You know how, in those old cartoons, the coyote is chasing the road runner across the top of a mesa, and the road runner -- traveling at near supersonic speed -- rockets effortlessly over the edge and across the gap to the top of the neighboring mesa while the coyote, recklessly following him, gets about halfway across and suddenly realizes he's way the hell out there in the air all by himself, and right in that moment he thinks to himself "what the fuck am I..." just before he begins that long fall? Well, kind of like that.

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The American Political Spectrum: an Infographic

Anyone out there who's been paying even the slightest bit of attention knows by now that American politics are -- not to be too blunt about it -- really, really fucked up. And, nothing's more fucked up in American politics right now than the way most media hacks and astroturfers define and obsess over "the Center" and whine about "the war on moderates". After the US mid-term elections of 2010, US media pundits spent endless hours discussing how the Democratic Party needed to "move to the Center" -- neglecting to mention, of course, that moving to "the Center" would require them to move to the right. In the wake of the recent elections in Greece and France, the chattering heads on American TV pissed their pants as they desperately asked "will the Center hold?".

 Lost in all of this is the fact that over the past twenty years or so, the "Center" in the US has been moving steadily to the right. President Drone Strike, who's spent his entire term falling all over himself to suck up to right-wing cranks like John Boehner, is persistently labeled a "centrist" by the media. Rightist whackjobs like Sean Hannity label pro-corporate status-quo mouthpieces like CNN and the New York Times "the Leftist media". Bland, toothless institutions like the Democratic Party, MoveOn and the AFL-CIO are tagged as "the Left" by the media and, in the meantime, people and organizations with real, actual Left beliefs and values are... which brings us to the inspiration for this large and extensively-researched infographic.  

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 ...and here's more centrist hilarity from December 2010: "No Labels: Not Left, Not Right, Not Nothing".


Just Married

As I emerged from my REM sleep early last Wednesday morning, the first thing I heard was footage of President Sparkle Pony announcing his "support" for gay marriage on MSNBC's Morning Joe program. Also -- as per usual -- as during the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster two years ago, President Sparkle Pony sat on his ass for weeks before being dragged kicking and screaming into speaking up on the situation. Like his speech on Deepwater Horizon, his day-late-dollar-short announcement on gay marriage was tepid and lukewarm, full of vaporous, non-committal tap dancing -- in other words, classic Obama.

For some otherworldly reason, following President Sparkle Pony's mealy-mouthed announcement, the mainstream media -- along with, of course, vast swaths of Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Trans/Whatever America -- practically crapped its pants with excitement. This was especially great news for the media, who had a ready-made excuse to spend the next week avoiding all discussion of the economy, the war in Afghanistan, the indefinite detention provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act, the health care debacle, and a host of other more important issues. This was also good news in the context of the current Presidential Freak Circus, as it finally gives the Romney and Obama campaigns something to disagree on. So, I'd like to take this opportunity to offer my heartiest congratulations to GLBTW America, for so cleverly diverting the attention of the People, the ruling class and the media away from far more important issues to your goddamn' lame-assed hot-button bullshit culture-war pissfight.

Next week: flag burning!

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Guest Columnist: DC Has No May Day

At the moment, I'm in the middle of a rather involved piece -- an infographic -- that's going to take a while to draw and lay out, so here's a really excellent article by my friend, comrade, and fellow Town Hell Posse member, "the Cubster", originally posted on his Tumblr site. Sorry about the cursing, and... actually, on second thought, no -- I'm not sorry about the cursing. If you can't handle it, tough. --mf

DC has no May Day
Or, why the Institute for Policy Studies can eat shit.


It’s almost as if all of these events are planned by the same central committee. We’ve long been frustrated and irritated by the presence of 501c(3) non-profit groups— they latch on to every movement and suck the life out of it. Suddenly, every event —no matter how grass-roots its origins— is handled like a goddamned rock concert, with backstage passes and VERY BUSY STAFFERS who are VERY IMPORTANT AND CANT TALK WITH YOU RIGHT NOW WOULD YOU KINDLY STEP AWAY FROM THE SPEAKERS. You have to butter these little shits up, too, or else they’ll do everything in their power to keep you from taking pictures or interviewing people.


So it comes to pass that every activist event ends up following the same fucking script, with people on the street becoming so accustomed to the routine that they block it all out. The people of DC have acquired ninja-like prowess in dodging and brushing off bright, shiny-faced youth with pamphlets, and shitty, squawking bullhorns just blend into the white noise of the city. I know, you’re getting less than minimum wage to hand out fliers for an hour or two and it looks good on your curriculum vitae when you apply to another 501(c)3, but the people who told you to do this have no connection with the worker you’re slowing down who needs to catch the subway or else she’ll lose her minimum wage job.

This is why no one who lives in DC gives two shits about activism anymore, and why no one bothers to start anything. You’d think DC would be alive with political discourse on every corner, but it’s not. Everything has been domesticated. Tamed. Broken. Every movement, no matter what it is, will inevitably be co-opted by a large, well-funded nonprofit who will then move its own people into leadership positions in the original, grass-roots group. Or— as with the case of Occupy DC, where there is no leadership position— the nonprofits will create leadership positions with their own people already in the position; namely, the Institute for Policy Studies’ involvement with Occupy DC. We were looking up info about tomorrow’s May Day event at Malcolm X park, and saw this press release. That’s odd, Occupy is just supposed to DO THINGS, not have press agents and people who live in very expensive apartments in Alexandria.

“Who ARE these people?” “Hmm… they work for something… Institute for Policy Studies?” “INSTITUTE FOR POLICY STUDIES?! A FUCKING NON-PROF?!” “Yeah, fuck that shit, I’m not wasting my time on that crap.”

What DOES MayDay DC have planned, anyway? A carnival? A family friendly outing of happy, puffy, safe pablum that completely undercuts the serious nature of the entire goddamned 99% message? The right wing and corporatists are waging a very literal waron working people, dissidents and anyone who doesn’t fit into their narrow “God-Money-Empire” worldview, and the best way to demonstrate this is by having nonprofit staffers dress up in CLOWN COSTUMES for a goddamned PARADE?

The common line of apologist bullshit from non-profits is that without the power of a nonprofit, they wouldn’t be able to pull in notable speakers or professional sound systems— which is probably they’ve had their sights set on Occupy since it first appeared. Think about it— a legitimately grass-roots movement that doesn’t want or need your fucking Genelec monitors that you can’t mix properly, and where speakers like Slavoj Zizek spent their own money to travel to and attend. Hell, DC may actually by a perfect example where right wing media may have had its baseless propaganda finally hit a mark: a rich, well-funded group of flatulent, old “establishment leftists” really have taken over the activist scene in DC.

The major difference between what Institute for Policy Studies does and what Americans for Prosperity does is AFP has the backing of the Koch brothers’ billions, and IPS only has donations from a few well-off people from left-of-center. Either way, both of these abominations are the very definition of astro-turf political movements. Nothing of any journalistic importance will happen at Malcolm X park tomorrow, and I’m certainly not going to risk my brand new camera and lenses to cover a fucking astro-turf event that’s already being photographed by talentless hacks working for a fucking non-profit. Fuck that shit.