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National Day of Anger - #MillionsMarchNYC
Despite the biting wind chill on December 13, some 40-50,000 strong turned out to voice their protest in NYC for the National Day of Anger. Protests continued through the night in Brooklyn, Harlem and mid-town Manhattan snarling traffic and keeping the police busy.
As for the police, I've never seen so many smiling, polite and helpful police as those at this afternoon's march, clearly under 'smiling orders' from on high.
I am a product of our times, and the spirit of our times is expressed in my work. Any resemblance to persons, movements or other acts of revolution, enlightenment or brilliance in the real world is, as they say, unintended. That my work reflects many of the questions, contradictions & crises the leaders of Occupy Wall Street are facing today is not to be dismissed as 'mere coincidence' however, not at all. It speaks tomes about the 'kulture' and times we share.
It is worth re-mentioning that both books one and two in the Nine Inch Bride series were written long before Occupy Wall Street was a gleam in anyone's eye. Drafts were completed early in 2011, editing was ongoing throughout that year, and book one was published in the fall of 2012 under the earlier title. Book two was completed at the same time as book one, as they were originally intended to be one much larger work but later separated.
It is further worth mentioning that the story is narrated by a Wall Street analyst dealing with a stock market crash and, inter alia, his personal ruin. The 'epiphany' is his. [read more...]
[You have to love Russell Brand. See the embedded video at the end of this post in which he waxes eloquent on the subject of electoral politics. It has since gone viral, and deservedly so.
He sounds a lot like Sahar on the subject, with an important exception. Here's a snippet from Chapter 6, book one:]
“Our domestic condition is a misery of financial neurosis for most Americans. Our chief global export is financial gangsterism, rapacious extraction, and military empire, along with the lie of affluence for the hard working, the lie of power of the people, and the lie of freedom of persuasion,” she said with blistering intent. “These are mere jingo markersfor the expansion mandate of corporate wealth. We liberate the rich where we conquer, to deepen their entrenchment and power.”
She paused, and I could see she was making an effort to simmer down. “These, you see, are words from my own anger and revulsion,” she added quietly.
She returned to the candle for a moment, as if for sustenance, then turned to face me again. The light was behind her now, her form a silhouette, the flame behind her head made her hair seem ablaze. She appeared supernatural for a moment, the impression lingering around her voice.
“We shall never know our talent in a world of need. That’s big bad Karl in ten words.” [read more...]
[Re: "Oil Giants Could Feel Major Pain If World Gets Serious About Reducing Global Temperatures" http://business.financialpost.com/2013/06/21/oil-climate-change-producers/ (The title of this article and its POV are laughable.)]
There is no question that "a carbon bubble is in the works." It's intrinsic to growth and 'recovery.' Science tells us the carbon apocalypse is well underway and the status quo shows us there is no will, no motivation, whether fear or hope, that the carbon economy and culture is capable of generating to stop itself.
There is no "putting its money where its mouth is" short of reversing population growth, economic growth, productivism itself, and the carbon-derived consumption addiction--putting the genie of industrialization back in the bottle. Hardly a prescription for greater 'freedom.'
The economic culture which produced our plight, capitalism and its productivist derivatives, including industrial socialism, cannot be expected to find such a will, if indeed it even has the capacity to perceive and fully admit the extreme of the problem for which it is responsible. [read more...]
Jeffrey Sachs Calls Out Wall Street Criminality and Pathological Greed
"I regard the moral environment [on Wall St.] as pathological. I’m talking about the human interactions that I have." ~Jeffrey Sachs [View video...]
Video together with transcript is available at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/04/jeffrey-sachs-calls-out-wall-street-criminality-and-pathological-greed.html
[Originally posted on Google+]
Today the marathon bombing in Boston brought back scarred memories of 9/11 that are painful for me still. It is no accident Ken confronts the Freedom Tower and 9/11 Memorial in the opening scene of the novel. In a way, these are symbolic characters drawing and repelling him again and again.
"We are none of us innocent." Sa says to Ken atop Freedom Tower in a chilling later scene.
But as a New Yorker who witnessed the first air strike through the apartment window, and the second from the building's roof through the lens of a camera, 9/11 is always there waiting to come vividly alive again in memory, with its long lingering aftermath of smoke and smell and terrible awe that cannot be erased.
I have to believe that attack was not knowingly exploited by our government. To believe otherwise, would not every sane and just person have to recognize they are in a state of war with their own government? At whatever stage of activism one stood, short of war--the blood sacrifice, all for cause, could it ever be enough if our elected government were abusing power to game our very lives for partisan advantage?
It may be all bombers are madmen. Does that mean we do not examine what has made them so brutally mad? Is this how we let them win? We blithely dismiss a flaky ex-CIA whistle-blower and our own eyes for that matter, watching controlled demolition. Do the most successful liars know their lies are too big to ever be successfully exposed?
The sensible cast the glare elsewhere, on the gore, the grieving, the grim fact of terror, on any consensus but our part in the hate visited upon us, or the way we would have to understand our culture, the warrior we would surely have to become within it, if we believed our lives were gamed in murderous theater.
[Originally posted on Google+]
(Updated March 30, 2017)
I read with dismay about some hecklers at a rally calling Michael Moore out as a hypocrite as he passed, and general hostility toward celebrity entertainment figures as 1%-ers espousing 'socialism' from great mansions and unimaginable wealth. I think these hecklers are overlooking the nature of capitalism, which knows no moderation. Success in capitalist media necessarily involves 'stardom,' whether deserved or not, and obscene profits, because that is the return such venture capitalization requires. Being a capitalist structure, those at the top are rewarded irrationally and redundantly, like Michael Moore.
In the case of MM the radical documentary filmmaker, unlike those in commercial media, 'We the People' made him a 'star,' not some Hollywood studio, and it is a paradox of living in capitalist culture, not hypocrisy, to be catapulted to wealth and stardom even when your message is contrary to both. In his recent dotage he has crawled into bed with, of all things, the Democratic Party—but that is another story...
In the case of movie stars made by Hollywood, they cannot claim a particularly noble origin for their celebrity, but when they get there, some few have the wisdom and conscience to know their wealth is an absurd condition of capitalist culture and make use of their position and their money to advance the progressive agenda—to their great credit.
As MM is fond of saying, "I can walk and chew gum at the same time." That is not hypocrisy. It is wisdom and balance in the conflict of culture within culture. We all do it, consciously or not. None of us in this culture are 'innocent.'
But the individual celebrity has far more tenuous a bond to perform as desired politically and no real obligation to do so compared to political 'celebrities' of an institutional nature. And yet, whether for-profit business institutions with a progressive intent, or every other institution of the non-profit kind, the bourgeois form is the form the progressive institution takes, whether liked or not. And some do like it, apparently very much.
To learn the particulars of Chris Hedges, et al. v. NDAA, there is no better source than the panel discussion led by the plaintiffs and lawyers in the #stopNDAA action themselves: Challenging NDAA Indefinite Detention, First Panel.
Part 2 continues with the broader political context: Challenging NDAA Indefinite Detention, Second Panel. Both discussions are rich in detail on the NDAA dispute at hand and eloquent in the wider political and cultural dimensions of the lawsuit-as-campaign, and as a tactic in search of a larger strategy.
The widely supported lawsuit was launched by plaintiff-activists whose investigative journalism, political books and other consciousness raising activities are directly threatened by the vague provisions of the NDAA seeking to further encroach on liberties of speech and association for all Americans, while casting a definitive chill on dissenting journalism and the future of civil liberty itself. The panel discussion occasioned an ardent outburst from Chris Hedges and penetrating rhetoric from each and every speaker.
There were no small players on the Culture Project stage, and more, it had by the end of the second panel become a 'working meeting,' grappling passionately with unanswered questions about the future of the lawsuit as campaign in the repertoire of activism, the convergence of conservative and libertarian views with the plaintiffs' own in the Stop NDAA action, and the exploration of other possibilities for mounting a broader, more fundamental challenge to the law by law degradation of civil liberties in American corporate poltical culture. [read more...]
This evening I attended a memorial service for Aaron Swartz. http://www.rememberaaronsw.com/.
This young man had a truly beautiful mind and the heart of renegade Prometheus, too rare a combination in the history of man to lose...to a justice system proved criminal in his case. I am reminded of the Soviet Union under Stalin, were the most gifted among the opposition were singled out for persecution and driven to suicide, facing a Siberian labor camp, if not killed outright. Absurd laws and vicious, politically motivated prosecution of one of America's finest talents, the equal of any, gave rise to anger among the tears in the great hall.
He was a wordsmith too, among a 'shameful wealth of talents.' Given his questioning nature and imaginative bent, I could see him evolving into a powerful and popular writer by the time he reached old age. Anger-tears and anger.
I think of all the self-serving, ego-centric, narcissistic counterparts to someone like Aaron, indulging their fantasies of wealth, superiority, and privilege, the shrugging Atlas bourgewannabe's making their way in business, technology and the arts, the blunt instrument of ego at once the means and the end of their life work. Intelligence without wisdom, looking down its nose. Schweinerei.
The bell for Aaron Swartz tolls for the heart and soul of me.
[Originally posted on Google+]