Monday, September 4, 2017

Labor Day

Labor Day’s a sop
tossed out by the bosses
like a dry husk
Joe Hill didn’t die for Labor Day
Joe Hill just died

When Joe Hill rises again
we'll see who takes his place
in the cold ground

                             -- Wm. Zink

Monday, August 28, 2017

Look Out Your Window

  Watch what's going on. The cries for UNITY! are peaking, the vilification of VIOLENCE! as the ultimate evil is surfing along just behind. The new marching chant: CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG? But, I have to ask: under what flag shall we march?

  Who is making this appeal to unity? Is the (overwhelmingly white) mainstream of the country going to be comfortable holding hands with 45 on this? Are they comfortable with the fact that his cries for unity include the torch bearers who marched Friday night in Charlottesville? Are they comfortable with the fact that this amounts to the erasure of white supremacist evil? Are we really going to ask our oppressed comrades to unite with those who would oppress them? Again I ask: under what flag shall we march?

  I'm totally fine with the old "love the sinner, hate the sin" bible shtick, but it is not clear to me at all that that is what is going down . . . looks much more to me like "love the sinner, tolerate the sin" all for the sake of UNITY . . . because when UNITY becomes the primary force in all our efforts, then TOLERANCE raises its fair weather head to erase anything that may stray outside the lines, to build the tent big enough to include any ideology, no matter how repugnant.

  Again, I would remind you, infinite tolerance is an impossibility. At this point surely someone on your social media feed who orbits in the galaxy of militants (or even some progressives!) has hipped you to Popper's "Paradox of Tolerance"*. This Unity the masses are calling for comes at a price, and the price is too high. We can not tolerate the bullshit of these racist, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, elitist-worshiping assholes and still have a country that honors justice. As they say: NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE.

  "So fine, no unity without justice, blah blah blah. But you're all as bad as they are, reducing everything to violence. That is the reaction they want. Just ignore them, don't dignify them with a response." Yeah, how's that been working for you? Again, I'm not going to call anyone out for non-violent resistance, as long as it really is resistance, and not just avoiding the problem. The thing is that, without active resistance (AND NOT JUST IGNORING IT!) the problem will not go away. So, if you are going to follow the pack and denounce violence, you fucking well better have another solution . . . because, I tell you what, militant resistance is having an effect: the white supremacist assholes are cancelling rallies left and right. For that, you can thank your local antifascists.

  Until the oppression which defines our country is vanquished, free speech is a luxury. Until everyone is treated equally, unity is a dream. It is time to cure the disease, not treat the symptoms.
*   "Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant." -- Karl Popper, The Open Society and its Enemies

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Get On the Bus

  Don't misunderstand: I love every last one of you crazy leftists. I love the arguments. They always sound like that scene from Life of Bryan to me:

  You must know your destination before you start your journey, right? Well . . . sorta.

  All the arguments are really important. They are vital. They are the crucible of revolutionary theory. When we all get on the bus, we are sitting on the East Coast, and we know we wanna head west to California, maybe Arizona. But exactly where? That is, of course, the question. Some say Sonoma, some say Frisco, some say LA. There's a San Diego guy, and a small anti-social cadre in the back who say California is a mistake, and that we only should go as far as Tucson. The arguments are furious, passionate, recriminations fly. So the bus driver just sits there, waits 'til we figure it all out, right?

  Wrong. You get on the bus, and you drive west. Work it out on the way. And if anybody calls you a gradualist, tell 'em to fuck off and get on the bus.

  But as far as those pantsuit clowns who only want to go as far as DC or Harrisburg, they get on and stay on until well after the continental divide, or they can just stay off the damn bus.

Monday, August 14, 2017


RIP Heather Heyer
Remember what she was willing to fight for, remember what she died for.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Tolerance v. Tolerance

If you tell me that you reject violence because it is not constructive, I will, up to a point, listen to you. You better be ready to provide context, though, because tolerance as a basic principle is meaningless.

One cannot be infinitely and unilaterally tolerant. A given situation requires action, and even inaction is a choice. Along the same line, tolerating the intolerance of others does not add to the general level of tolerance in the culture.

Everybody has their deal. Everybody has things they can and can't do, everyone has their limit. But, if you are willing to characterize your limit as something beyond limit, you need to come correct. Principles need to be operable & defensible. I will listen to you if you tell me you are a pacifist. Passive resistance is, after all, still resistance. All I'm saying is that if you call yourself a pacifist, you better be ready to lay down in front of the tanks . . . or, admit your pacifism is a limit, not a principle.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

But the exercise of labor power, labor, is the worker’s own life activity, the manifestation of his own life. And this life-activity he sells to another person in order to secure the necessary means of subsistence. Thus his life-activity is for him only a means to enable him to exist. He works in order to live. He does not reckon labor as part of his life, it is rather a sacrifice of his life.  -- Karl Marx "Wage, Labor, and Capital"