Mad Marxian Methodology

blog by Occupy Los Angeles' very own marxist madman

I do not want tolerance. MLK did not fight for tolerance. We are fighting for something for more fundamental, more radical, more to the root. We are fighting for the recognition of the universal essentiality that is the common heritage of all humans. Fuck tolerance. Demand acceptance and solidarity. Don’t you wish the German Communists had been a little less passive in the face of the brownshirts in the Weimar Republic? Too bad they listened when Moscow told them to hold off.

—Stephen Laux

May our only occupation be not having a job May the only cocktails that we make be molotov May that day be now, and for as many days after that as we know how
May our only occupation be not having a job
May the only cocktails that we make be molotov
May that day be now, and for as many days after that as we know how

I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence…I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honor than that she should, in a cowardly manner, become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonor.

—Mohandas Gandhi

Year of the storm (The Pirate Bay)

wallstreetphotos:

“2012 is the year of the storm.

The Pirate Bay will reach an age of 9 years. Experiencing raids, espionage and death threats, we’re still here. We’ve been through hell and back and it has made us tougher than ever.

The people running the site has changed during the years. No sane human being would put up with this kind of pressure for 8 years in a row. An insane hobby that takes time from our families, our work (sorry boss) and our studies.

What binds us all together is a strong belief that what we do is good. That it is something we one day can tell our grandchildren about with pride. People from all over the world confirm this. We read testimonials from people in Syria longing for freedom, thanking us for what we provide. We receive more than 100 visits daily from North Korea and we sure know that they need it. If there’s something that will bring peace to this world it is the understanding and appreciation of your fellow man. What better way to do that than with this vast library of culture?

With this said, we hear news from our old admins that they have received a verdict in Sweden. Our 3 friends and blood brothers have been sentenced to prison. This might sound worse than it is. Since no one of them no longer lives in Sweden, they won’t go to jail. They are as free today as they were yesterday.

But what enrages us to our inner core is that the system, the empire, the governments, are still allowed to try to boss you and us around with one law crazier than the other. Do you think they will stop with SOPA/ACTA/PIPA? They will not. Because you won’t stop sharing those files. Because we will not stay down. Because no one can turn back time. Together, we are the iron that hardens with each strike.

In this year of the storm, the winners will build windmills and the losers will raise shelters. So flex your muscles, fellow pirates, and give power to us all! Build more sites! More nets! More protocols! Scream louder than ever and take it to the next level!”

THEY LIVE and #Occupy in L.A.

chocolate-american:

Released in 1988, John Carpenter’s THEY LIVE finds honest, hard-working Americans – personified in this case by the muscle-bound mullet that is ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper – on skid row, under the thumb of a kleptocracy of aliens masquerading as decent, clean-living human beings in cahoots with a power elite of Reagan-era Republicans doing much the same thing.

Los Angeles offers the perfect backdrop to THEY LIVE. Wall Street might be America’s financial capital, but LA is its epicentre of conspicuous consumption, the natural point of origin for the TV signal being used by these intergalactic free-enterprisers to addle and exploit the collective human consciousness.

 

In Carpenter’s eyes we are not resigned to our fate, simply blinded to it. In the world of THEY LIVE, as in this one, it is he who controls the medium who controls the message.

*
“A people cannot have the consciousness of being self-governed unless they attend themselves to the things over against their own doors.”

So reads the inscription over the main entrance of LA’s City Hall. Completed in 1928, in 2001 it underwent a seismic retrofit enabling it to remain functional in the case of a magnitude 8.2 earthquake. Between its broad foundations and dizzying spire it stakes its ownership of this corner of downtown LA, and of the city as a whole, casting the cluster of tents at the base of the building’s north side into an indifferent shadow.

I’m approaching from the north having ridden the bus down to Union Station , covering the last few blocks on foot. People on the buses here look dead tired, even in the middle of the day. Those who aren’t sleeping deeply are drowning in the shallows of Transit TV, spellbound by the staccato splurge of cheaply commercials and syndicated televisual excrescence.

It’s during a short promo for something called ‘The Jace Hall Show’, adorned as it is with garish graphics instructing me to find, follow and fan Jace Hall, at all fucking costs, in all four million corners of the (fuck me I’m tired of saying it) social web, that I finally understand: TV isn’t going to be conquered by YouTube. It’s just going to become it.

Carrying on a little way down Main St I see the south side of City Hall, and the #OccupyLA encampment proper. On my way in I get chatting to a guy called Luke. He’s recently lost his job, his apartment, he’s basically here looking for a place to stay. He’s friendly, well-spoken, we talk a little about Occupy and what we both think it stands for, but it seems like Luke has more pressing concerns. I leave him meandering off between tightly-packed tents, in search of enough open ground to make a new home.

Is Luke a ‘protester’? Not in the Middle English (and, I suspect, Middle American) sense of the term. He doesn’t have a placard. He isn’t lining up to join ineffectual millions marching for one day only, he isn’t settling down with firearms and french fancies for a tea party. He’s just looking for somewhere he can be around people, feel part of something larger than his singularly troubled self, sleep a little sounder for the knowledge.

Spotting one of the circles signifying a meeting work-group, I wander over. The consensus process used at Occupations is deliberately open and inclusive, anyone can wander up, listen in, ask a question. At the same time, I make a point to volunteer who I am and what I’m doing there. The paranoia’s palpable these days, the Occupiers aware that plants and provocateurs are among them, becoming ever more entrenched in the logistics and liturgy of their struggle to survive.

Whatever neurosis they’re feeling can’t be being helped by the pungent smell of weed filling the air. Seems like it’s everywhere in LA these days, not just the boardwalk of Venice Beach and the backstreets downtown, but clouding street corners all along the route of the 704 running between the two, a rich aroma on Rodeo Drive, a purple haze on Sunset Boulevard. The signs are everywhere, lurid cannabis leaves drawn in green neon, brightening windows of the clinics where it’s sold.

That’s another of the skewed stereotypes the Occupiers have to put up with: they aren’t just jobless (ergo lazy) and homeless (ergo destitute) they’re also potheads (ergo crazy) and stoners (ergo dangerous). For my part, I’ve drunk a lot of booze and I’ve smoked a lot of weed and I know what I’d rather have my revolution powered by. If the smell of sensimilla hangs heavy in the air at #OccupyLA, the smell of sense hangs heavier.

I end up in the Media tent, being shown twenty-minutes of footage they shot on Veterans’ Day, showing a bunch of cops herding some vets from Somewhere-They’re-Not-Allowed-To-Be to somewhere they are. It’s not the incendiary contretemps I’m expecting, it’s actually kind of depressing. The droning recalcitrance of the protesters, the drone-like bewilderment of the police, each quietly hoping to provoke a reaction, each outwardly keeping the peace.

As I’m watching I’m joined by Tere (pronounced Terry), a blogger and comedienne heavily involved in the pro-cannabis movement. We get talking, and she tells me about the catalyst for her conversion into activist and Occupier: the experience of staring down the barrel of an automatic weapon, after being caught up in a federal raid on a doctor she was visiting.

(As she’s telling me this I think back to my experience of the Hackney riots and scribble down the words ‘consciousness scales’ in my notepad. I’m thinking about tipping points and radicalisation. I’m thinking that it doesn’t take much, just an accident of circumstance, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or maybe just the opposite. And that it can happen to anyone.)

Tere explains that the key issue with cannabis is federal government interference in state rights, acting on behalf of powerful lobby groups nervous about potential commercial applications of cannabis undermining existing interests in the food, drink, tobacco, clothing and energy industries.

They’re right to be nervous. In California they have conditions second only to Afghanistan in terms of suitability for large-scale cannabis cultivation. Whatever obstacles the Obama administration throws in their way, somebody here was paying attention when John Lennon prescribed a solution to Britain’s economic woes back in 1969: “We had an answer to Britain’s problem. It was to legalize pot and let homosexuals marry and Britain would be the richest nation on earth. It’s as simple as that.”

*

Tere and I finish our conversation realising what little hope we have that the markets can put aside decades of institutionalised self-interest and work together. We don’t think they’re capable of working together. We don’t think they know what it means. They seem less evolved to me these days, our leaders. They seem, in the words of one of their kind, ‘behind the curve’.

Which is where the people of #OccupyLA strike the most positive contrast. That’s right, these ’spoiled brats’, this ‘pond scum’, ‘these louts, thieves, and rapists’, they’re the ones taking the initiative, in the face of gratuitous intimidation by fear-mongers on the far-right. They’re thinking ahead. They’re working together, in their own minds at least, for all our sakes.

As I leave #OccupyLA the General Assembly’s getting underway. Someone mentions the name of J. Edgar Hoover. I’m already thinking about another Hoover, Herbert, the former President who gave his name to ‘Hoovervilles‘, the shanty towns that sprung up all over America during the Great Depression into which he led the country.

The more Occupations I visit, the more I’m starting to think of them as pre-emptive shanty towns, set up by people who aren’t waiting for the powers that be to foreclose on their future. By creating their own process, their own infrastructure, their own model for consensus-based community, they’re showing us all ways we can hope to stay civilised in a world of diminishing returns. We only call it ‘protest’ because they’re doing it in places they simply cannot be ignored.

And there they remain. Waiting for their ranks to swell, as joblessness grows, as the markets consume themselves, as consciousness scales. They’re digging in for the long haul, matching energy with inertia, making this ramshackle home for themselves on the right side of history. They’re going nowhere, and still staying ahead of the curve.

If only it wasn’t curving downwards.

*

* * *

Rollovers stolen from Christian Annyas.

You can watch the whole of THEY LIVE on YouTube.

[UPDATE 16/11/11 07:20 ] This is also worth a look, from John Carpenter himself (via Fraser):

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Protesters in Gaza Throw Shoes and Sticks at U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

tayman:

A convoy carrying Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations was pelted with shoes and sticks by Palestinian protesters when it entered the Gaza Strip from Israel on Thursday, witnesses said.

About 100 men and women who said their family members were being held in Israeli prisons had arrived in buses near a checkpoint in Gaza, a few hundred yards from the Erez crossing, blocking traffic and complaining that Mr. Ban, on his third visit to Gaza, had no plans to meet with them.

Haha this is hilarious. The United Nations is an ineffectual organization and tool of the Western powers. Only the General Assembly is moved by the rest of the world and as we all know General Assembly resolutions are non-binding and unimportant. The entire organization is a laughing stock of what could have been a great thing.

(Source: ininterestingtimes)

thedragonandtheprince:

Crazy lady marries a building (true story from Seattle)

And they ban gay marriage but not this? What has the world come to… -_-“

I understand (well not really) the one guy who married his DS (technically, Nene from Love Plus) because he fell in love with the girl in the game, but a building? Bitch, A BUILDING?! Can that building tell you you’re pretty, have sex with you, provide the bills, and etc.?! She could have just bought the building if she’s looking for a way to rep the occupy protest and  have a base for her fellow protesters to set up in. But to marry a building? Surely, this bitch jests.

This is why most people don’t take the Occupy protests seriously and see it as a waste of time and a fuel for meaningless riots. BECAUSE. IT’S. TRUE. You waste of space. You give a bad name to the REAL occupy protesters who actually do good like lobbying and not just occupying living off whatever open space there is and litter drugs and syringes (protesters who camped at SCCC, I’m looking at you).

EDIT: oh, looks like the building was supposed to be demolished to be built into a housing complex. And the protesters decided to just use the building as a base for their meaningless purpose… Smh, way to ruin a project that would have been able to house your people into real houses.

You succeed at missing the point of the action. The marriage of the building was primarily to showcase the fact that you cannot marry a same-sex individual and the absurdity of allowing this. In debate we call this the reductio ad absurdium argument by reducing something (in this case marriage) to absurdity to show the logical fallacy in the opposing point of view.

As for the fact that this was going to be turned into a housing complex, so what? Are any of the poor going to be in that housing complex? No. Why? Because it would have had high rent as part of the process of gentrification to push the poor ever further away even at the cost of the property running under-rented. This is a normal process of building construction found all across America.

And how are lobbyists Occupiers? How are the lobbyists who are at the behest of the corporate interests ever helpful? Do you think that any of the lobbyists are for the average person? The Green lobbyists are not out to save the environment, they are out for subsidies and advertising so that the ones who own those corporations can profit off of the public thinking they are helping to save the planet. Are the PETA lobbyists out for animal rights or money? Are the Green Peace lobbyists there because the world matters to them? What about thte Susan G. Komer Foundation’s lobbyists, do you think with their 80% on the dollar going to “administrative costs” that the breast cancer or women’s health they are suppose to be caring for and lobbying about are at all important to them?Lobbyists are not Occupiers. Lobbyists are tools of corporations. Lobbyists will never help you.