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
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
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.