Historical Materialism and the Difference Between a Mobilization and a Strike

January 2, 2017

If a boss did it, he is guilty. If a worker did it, she was framed. This is the correct way to see the relationship between capital and labor as it is manifested on the job.

I was pleased and honored to be asked by Worker’s Power admns to write a few thoughts about the upcomng SEIU “general strike” one day action planned to protest the election of Donald John Trump as US president. I have been on strike four or five times, once I was locked out for 27 months at Bridgestone Firestone.  So, forgive me in advance to be so bold as to take on the role of teacher here; I don’t want to imply that I have all the answers, but these discussions need to be raised by somebody, and well, it might as well be me!

I am going to refer to four theorists in passing here, only as sort of touchstones, not to elevate theorists above the real power of the working class,  but to add flesh to the bare bones I’ll be constructing here. These theorists are Adam Kotsko, professor of religion at Shimer College in Chicago,Adolh Reed Jr., also an academic and long time African American activist, Fedy Perlman, anarchist theorist who got in trouble for letting his students grade themselves and was active in the anti war movement,and finally Jodi Dean, political science professor at Hobart College in New York.

I wll be giving a class if you will on hstorical materialism in the process of explaining why a one day action is not a “strike”. Go easy on me, I am not one who is comfortable being an “instructor”; it seems so pompous to me, but I must share what I’ve learned and let the chips fall where they may.

I wrote a cover article in the Des Moines Iowa magazine Cityview, titled “Firefight: Diary of a Firestone Striker”. I began with a killer, if I do say so myself, depiction of a meeting we had, ten months into the strike wich was held at a high school gym. I really know how to set a scene and build tension in a narrative; I am a naturally good writer but have not had alot of training, so stellar prose can suddenly turn janky if I don’t have a good editor- this piece will have one, I’m sure! Anyway, the scene was, the company had sent half of us letters stating we were being permanently replaced, whereupon , predictably,  we began to turn on each other, like a scene from Lord of the Flies.

The president of the local was a narrow minded, conservative bastard, but he never erred on the side of capitulation to the hated Company, I’ll say that for him. He tried to keep the crowd together, but there was a vibe of anger that some had crossed the picket line to sign a paper saying they’d return to work “unconditionally”. He explaned that some had been duped by the company and were sorry for having done it, but then something incredibly dramatic happened: A guy stood up and said “My family has suffered as much as anyone else’s, and I say that anbody who signed that list is just like those who went to Canada to avoid Viet Nam, they are traitors!”. Then a guy stood up and said “I went to Viet Nam and I signed that list. Those of us who got that letter are done, but the rest of us have got a lot to lose”. A key thing to note is this guy was a leader of the pipefitters and mechanical trades, one thing you learn is that the higher skilled workers will be he first to surrender- which flies in the face of the old trope that with enough education and skill you can go out and pull yourself up by your bootstraps and easly get another job. That is a lie. Another thing you learn from a strike that you wouldn’t learn from a one day  action.

Well the next thing that happened was, about six big guys stomped that guys ass right there, and he was only saved by another big guy who dragged him out the side door. That senior pipeftter led all his men across the picket line the next day.

Where am I gong with all this? well, a strike is something that, if it goes on very long, will turn violent, which is bad because it usually means the strike is lost along with public opinion. A one day “mobilization” is not a strike, a strike is where you actually come up against the rulng class and you have high personal stakes in the fight. A strike has the kernel of socialist revolution,whether the strikers are conscious of it right away or not. A one day so called “general strike” against Donald John Trump is easy, you don’t stand to lose your car, home or marriage over it, it is an example of failng to call things by their right names.

In the vernacular of historical materialism, Donald John Trump is what is called a “Bonapartist”, a reference to Napolean’s feckless nephew who was elected in France on a platform of authoritarianism- he claimed to be a strongman who would get things done by ignoring  civil niceties and solving all the social problems for you, even if his tactics were crude and brutal, he would “do the neccessary” in the name of the forgotten little man and make France great again like it was under old uncle Napolean. Donald John Trump is a Bonapartist. I call him by his full Christian name so as not to allow him to ingratiate himself with the workers by using the folksy “The Donald”, or simply Trump, as if he was a good old buddy of the workers- think of “Jimmy”Carter, “Dubya” Bush, they try to obfuscate the fact that they are representatives of the enemy class. I don’t play that, because I see things through the lens of historical materialism- which for me at least is a “way of seeing”- Jodi Dean talks about the “Commnist horizon”,the real material baseline that never lets us down.  Actually existing commnism ended in 1989, but the fear that workers might take power still terrifies the ruling class, they still invoke the slur of “communists” in their propaganda,as if Barak Hussein Obama was a communist, etc. There is power in the word, and Jodi Dean wants to name it and claim it, take back the banner of “from each according to their ability to each according to their need” from the Stalinist past and weild our power in a dictatorship of the proletariat- although I’m not painting her position fairly; she thinks the “dictatorship of the proleariat ” and other Marxist terms are outmoded and suggests building a party with the slogan “sovereignty of the people”.

The good news is that we workers can take power and break all the rules and run things in our own interest just like Trump did. Bonarpartism is the mirror image of what workers rule might look like, only instead of cuttiing through the red tape to make life miserable for workers like Trump does, we could take power and force him and his class to heel.

Adam Kotsko on the blog An Fur Sich recently wrote a short think piece on the idea that the Democrats need to “fight like the Republicans”, and how in order to do that, it would take a revolutionary party that would forcefully repress the GOP, and the Democats are not that kind of party. He slammed his point home with a hstorical materialst idea: when two rights are in conflict, force decides. That means, if I say I deserve a good job a home and health care, and you say that imposes on your right to lord your private property over me and your right to exploit me, force will decide. How much political, collective power can we amass to counter our class enemies, and how much force can they amass? these are issues of historical materialism.

Since the halcyon days of the victories of the civil rights movements and the Viet Nam victory over imperalism (by the way, you notice I never say “we” when referring to “our” country- the bosses and landlords want us to think “we” are all n this together- another historical materialist take), the Left has slid into a mode of operation that focuses on representation rather than actual labor militancy- btw the “mobilization” is a good thing, it is the false “representation” of it as a strike that is problematic. Adolph Reed J. is great for explaining how it is that the unions cannot teach workers working class economics- I’ll call it “historical materialism”- because if they did the workers would begin to question capitalism, and that would endanger the union beauracracy’s uneasy place of privilege as mediators of the day to day struggles- and they also fear the union could be crushed if it came to scorched earth combat. And so workers only hear the boss’s idea of what economics is, through the radio and internet propaganda systems. No wonder they voted for you  know who.

I recall trying to get a modest loan from the Firestone credit union- which was named after the union! The “Local 310 Credit union”, and was turned down due to bad credit, by a kid who asked me how long I’d worked tere- I said six years. He told me he only had three months onthe job. Later, when  on strike I saw the parking lot filling up with repossessed striker’s cars, and it came clear to me hat the credit union wouldnt exist without the workers, and now when we are fighting for our livelihoods, the bank showed no mercy. You begin to see how capitalist exploitation is reified. Fredy Perlman wrote an essay “The Reproduction of Everyday Life”,  where he explains how capitalist social relations reproduce themselves, reify themselves, each day as we go to work.To reify something means to take something from the abstract and bring it to the concrete; capitalism is reified anew each day that we accept these relationships as unchanging and sacred. We must fight the notion that the bosses create wealth, no, labor power and nature create wealth, and the capitalsts parasite off our labor. Marx once said ” a bird s more free than a man, as it as to build its nest but one time, whereas (under capitalism) a man can build ten houses and still not have one of his own”.

The workers I know who voted for Trump (and yes I am angry with them for abettng racism knowingly!) did so mainly in response to their feelings of precarity, uncertainty- it was actually poignant to me the way they hoped against hope that trump would “bring back coal” and give them a measure of security. Never mind that he seems to be an insane liar, he painted  a picture of himself as a savior of the “forgotten man”, but as Adolph Reed scoffs, precarity was and is the default state of workers already-always. He claims the notion of the “precariat” as a new thing is ludicrous. He says, in effect, we should call things by their right names and not make up fancy new words to obfuscate and depoliticize, to regress into “representation” as substitute for real,bare knuckled struggle. Remember, even if you do nothing, the struggle will come to you anyway. The rightists understand the stakes- and we need historical materialism to help us see through the fog and resist capitalism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Oreo Gang

October 25, 2016

 

 

 

They called us “the Oreo gang”, three white guys, four Black guys, working on the Kansas City track maintenance gang in the summer of 1980. Friday was truck wash day, where we’d knock off early and visit the local package liquor store. One of us would go in and get a six pack of Olde English 800, and put a six pack of pop on top. The pop went to the front section of the truck, where sat Albert and Kelly, two old Black trackmen, and our foreman Scott who was sort of a hippie. The back section got the beer, and soon a joint would be lit and we would cruise the streets of downtown Kansas City drinking beer and getting stoned after a hot day of putting in ties by hand and driving spikes “windmill” style, if you know what I mean, and hoping for some “sugar digging””, the term for soft soil instead of the craggy big rocks they called “pink lady”.

Kelly was considered something of an Uncle Tom (“the union don’t sign yo’ paychecks!”) and was teased mercilessly by the younger Blacks- “Drive, Kelly you turtle headed mother fucker!” (ok his head did look somewhat like a turtle’s), as our truck bounced along, tools rattling, smoke wafting from all doors.

I remember how lucky I felt when I went down to see my VA man (“Went down to see my VA man, he said “son don’tcha understand?” by Bruce Springsteen really happened to me) and was hired for a seasonal job with the railroad. Despite what some may believe, the early Reagan years were marked by recession and a farm crisis that rocked the Midwest.

When winter came I got back on at the steel mill where I had accumulated only four months seniority, and worked long enough for my insurance to cover my youngest of three boys’ birth; the Army had covered the other two. Then the mill closed and I went back to the railroad gang- but at the close of summer, they closed the Kansas City yard. I called the union, they said I could work in Iowa so I jumped in the car and drove to farm crisis country. I went to college on the GI bill every winter and searched mightily for a permanent job (a visit back to the VA man resulted in not exactly “son don’tcha understand?” but a variant: “You gotta show me something, all you have is fooling around on the railroad”, as if his work, at a big desk in a tall building, was real work and my digging and spiking and sweating was “fooling around”).

When I got to Iowa in 1982, there were many houses for sale. In the winter months I went to a community college .  I went to get free cheese from the county office and was told “why don’t you go back where you came from? We have our own unemployed people here!”. She still gave me the cheese, but it wasn’t a warm welcome.

I hated Sundays the most; that was the day you could count on that no job would be found. I became an expert in how the Iowa Job Service worked, and my veteran status put me in the front of the line, but there were still no opportunities. By 1984 the track work had dried up, and I taught myself basic electricity and got hired as a Signal Apprentice, but had been out of work for eight months. They shut off our heat. I had to go to Chicago to work. I left my family huddled around space heaters, carrying a pack of food stamps and a new Diner’s Club credit card I’d sent off for in desperation. In Chicago I learned that Diner’s Club cards were like meant for high rollers, and I couldn’t even pronounce “pate'” at the first restaurant I came to. It began snowing, and I had to climb under the little Chevette and bang on the starter with a tire iron to get the starter bendix to spring loose and start the car. It was a time for prayer let me tell you– one time I stole a tire and wheel from a gas station and I had the feeling that if I had the balls to steal it, it would fit but I would have to answer to God! It fit.

During that eight months I was off work, I wrote some poems and got third place in Iowa State’s annual poetry contest.One of the three I submitted was about living on food stamps, from a child’s point of view, and trying to understand the role of the police- mind you this was six or eight years before I became politicized. Neal Bowers was my teacher, a well known poet who deals with the South and the Civil Rights era, and he said he’s seen alot of student copies of this or that poet, but never William Blake’s “The Chimney Sweep”. I learned later this was a compliment whether he meant it so or not- (note, writers or musicians, if somebody name checks your work even in the negative, it’s a compliment), but the poem was written in a muddled, almost pornographic doggerel (which sums up  my poetic voice btw) that he felt would’ve

worked better in plain English. I said “No, this poem is a rant, this poem is angry, it is and must be a desecration of language”.

Ofiser Frendly

Ofiser Frendly wares blak shiny shoes

and a big shiny baj on his unform thats blue

He says if sum one trys to give you drugs just say no

if you see sumthin suspishus just call and let him no.

Me and Bernie tryd to tuch his gun

but he sed no it mite go off and hurt sum one.

The teecher thankd him for cummin to speak

and sed the PTAd lik to have him nex week.

Daddy lost his job at the meet paking plant

and sed he was tird of bine gas with the chanj bak from food stamps.

He broke ten windows in our howse

I dont know why

but he lookd lik he was about to cry.

I aksd him to be nic and play by the ruls

after all thats what Oficer Frendly sed wen he cam to my skul.

Daddy sur was acting funny that day

he fild the car up with gas and drov away didnt pay.

Ofiser Frendly cam noking at our door

and he wasnt kwit the sam as he was befor

He took Daddy away to jale

Mommy had to call Grandma for munny for bale.

Daddy sined a paper sane hed bin iresponsble in the past

and for too yeers he wouldnt rite any more bad checks or steel any

more gas.

The skul cownsler started takin to me

she said you can trust me Iv got a mastirs decree.

She sed peenut butter and chips wernt too nutrishus

and aksd if Mommy and Daddy were on drugs and I sed no

I’d call Ofiser Frendly if I saw anythin suspishus.

 

Here is another poem I wrote about the railroad, part of the three I got the prize for:

 

What Old Men Do When They Tell Their Wives They’re Going to Walk the Dog

Old men come down to the depot just to see what’s still there,

the switch lock, the train orders, the dispatcher’s chair.

Yellowed papers hang from clipboards of a grander time, when

the Rock Island Rocket ruled the main line.

She breezed through town at a hundred miles an hour,

with a hearty “Highball!” from the man in the tower.

Picks and shovels once held by artisans of track

now stand covered with cobwebs in the gandy dancer’s shack.

All that remains is a weathered shell, broken shed

and dreams of legends in an old man’s head.

And that is my railroad story, just a footnote or prequel to the strike wave of 1994 when Caterpillar and Firestone and Staley strikes rolled across the Midwest. It was as if it had all happened to some other person, and indeed it did, because change only comes with class struggle. How did I learn this?

After a bout with a bleeding kidney, which I dared not claim as work related for fear of being a “marked man”, I had been off work for nearly three months waiting to get an angiogram  that would clear me for work. Just before the phone got disconnected I was called for interviews at both Amtrak and Firestone. Since the Amtrak job was in Chicago and my wife didn’t want to move, I went and got the job at Firestone. After only two weeks, we went on a two week strike that resulted in my gaining the same amount of pay I’d been making at the railroad, and I didn’t have to move!

Seven years flew by, I was divorced and on strike again, this time for what was to be 27 long months. About 3 months in, a Socialist Worker’s Party member came to our picket line. He offered to buy me coffee at Village Inn, so we went there and began talking about the strike. “Why don’t the other unions come and help us stage a big rally and chase out the scabs?”, I asked, as he seemed to carry an air of expertise on these matters. “I mean, our union president should get on the phone and call the other union presidents, and…”, then he gently interrupted, “you uh, might find this hard to believe, but they really don’t care that much”. “what do you mean, they’re always talking about solidarity…”. “Yes, true, but those guys are not going to give up their cushy jobs for you. Those guys spend more time hanging around the bosses than they do guys like you. They have an office, the bosses have offices, they talk to each other, relate to each other. They are just figureheads” “W-w-hy can’t they just pick up the phone and call the other unions?”, I stammered. “Who’s he gonna call?” he replied. “He’s just a figurehead, you are the union. Besides, union contracts come due at different times, it’s not like we could all walk out at the same time”.  “Why that’s terrible! Somebody’s gotta do something about this!” That’s when he looked at me as if down the barrel of a gun and said, “there’s only one person who can do anything about this and that is YOU”.

We talked some more, and I didn’t ask him to elaborate, there was no need. I knew what he meant although it would take years to fully digest, or rather incorporate the full meaning and truth of that one sentence. Not only did he mean me personally, he meant me as the rank and file, as part of a mass of conscious workers, fighting for freedom from  class domination.

What Old Men Do When They Tell Their Wives They’re Going o Walk the Dog

August 14, 2016

What Old Men Do When They Tell Their Wives They’re Going to Walk the Dog

 

Old men come down to the depot just to see what’s still there,

 

the switch lock, the train orders, the dispatcher’s chair.

Yellowed papers hang from clipboards of a grander time,

when the Rock Island Rocket ruled the main line.

She breezed through town at a hundred miles an hour,

with a hearty “Highball!” from the man in the tower.

Picks and shovels once held by artisans of track

now stand covered with cobwebs in the gandy dancer’s shack.

All that remains is a weathered shell, broken shed

and dreams of legends in an old man’s head.

Shadows

August 14, 2016

dont take a flasher at Low Moor

wait for something better

let the hill slow you down,

let gravity do the work

feather your independent

make a nice easy joint.

center your reverser

be ready to move quickly in either direction

long gone  engineers left me

these little truths.

I think of them still,

each time I do my tasks

their bodies live again

through my hands on the brake

and throttle

Most importantly, when your vision is blocked

by the cars you are pushing, look

down at the shadows they cast on the ground-

the shadows will tell you how close you are

to making your connection

http://www.workersstruggle.org/firestone/

July 29, 2016

http://www.workersstruggle.org/vietnam-syndrome/

July 29, 2016

Spelling World Backwards

July 15, 2016

He picked up a large rock and threatened the Jimmy John’s pizza delivery man with it, then jumped in the guy’s  car and drove off. He is back in jail.

 

 

Speeding across the plains, existential  electronic

traffic sign reads “You could die in the blink of an eye”. “13 traffic deaths this year’

A church sign reads “55 million babies killed since 1975. God forgive us!”

“it’s only turned up to 100 percent”

motherfucker that is as loud as it goes!

“no  it’s not! I’m just jammin’ there’s nobody around here

just ghosts….I’m bothering ghosts? Come and jam with me…”

“Motherfucker turn off everything and wait for me! The landlord called three times,

says the neighbors are complaining about the loud music”

“that was just this punk kid, I saw him at the picnic, he’s from that age that doesn’t like rap, they like

that anime  shit, He’s a fucking retard,  he just wanted me to blow him cuz he’s gay and I said no and now he’s snitching me off to the landlord? what the fuck? and you’re on his side?

Motherfucker if you don’t turn that shit down {I hear Project Pat bumping in the trailer)

they’re gonna call the cops on you! Do you want the cops  to beat the shit out of you? The landlord’s gonna kick you out of that trailer, you’ve only been there one day!

“they’re not gonna call the cops, besides if they come I guess I’ll just go with them. I don’t see why you’re taking their side, if they’re gonna kick me out, you might as well come over and we’ll turn this shit all the way up and jam like a motherfucker! That’s all the more reason!

Shut Up! I’m doin’ the thinkin’ here! Now I’ve been talking to your caseworkers and the landlord,

as your father I’m telling you to unplug everything and wait ’til I get there, I’ll be there in three and a half hours, I don’t want to drive two hours and find out you’re at the police station! Either that or walk down to your old place (they’re tearing down the trailer court, first it was February, then it was “spring”, now it’s “April”), I know it’s cold but you either gotta be quiet or get the fuck out of there!

I let him sleep for several hours after I got there, even went to the casino to kill time time

I’m thinking of all the things I’m going to lecture him about, how the caseworker vouched for him to the nice old landlord who was going to give him a break even though he’d been in prison, and how he just blew his chance at a nice clean place to live and screwed over everybody that cared about him– maybe it was the kid that the landlord sent to tell him to turn down the music? He’d seen him before at “the picnic”, mentally ill “clients” get treated to a picnic once a year, and Russ saw him as a peer, a fellow “retard” who had no business telling him what to do. I recalled the landlord, “I sent my maintenance guy over and Russ told him to “Eff off!”.

Finally, head full of coffee and nicotine vape, I wake him up, 35 dollars poorer. We go down to the “new” trailer at around four twenty in the morning, I open the door and get a whiff of weed, my eyes fall upon what could only be described as a white trash sonic arsenal. Mind you there is little else in this trailer. I knew he had all this stuff but here it was in a pile,  Two acoustic guitars and a customized electric with a body shaped like a whale. A small electric amp hooked to a filthy Yamaha keyboard, a professional grade microphone in case one wants to do some rapping, a good sized equalizer with lots of settings, two old Bose speakers, a subwoofer, and many little home theater type speakers yet to be hooked up. Wires everywhere.

He had also hung up his artwork, surrealist stuff, pretty good, his latest are a couple of nudes– women in frontal, frog like poses, by this I mean arms and legs sticking out and bent like a frog laying on its back, one with black hair and one with orange hair, with pronounced “bushes” of pubic hair matching the hair on their heads.

For the first time I smiled- he was only celebrating in his new home, with the only things he had,  in the only way he knew how, piles of cigarette butts everywhere, empty beer cans, and this mountain of sonic armament. Oh yes this was a scene of a crime. A crime against .. landlordism, or something.

In the old Mexican neighborhood, nobody cared about the loud music, they had some of their own,

What kind of asshole owns a trailer court anyway, with a mentally ill  “maintenance man”?  I began to see Russ’s logic.

The caseworkers often have a “gee whiz” type attitude when you ask them for advice or some sort of insight but this guy was different. I wanted to have Russ hospitalized, get him under control with different meds, but “I suppose they only take the worst ones now”. the guy on duty says “Good luck, there’s a waiting list– even if you are raving and suicidal. Such a great system we have huh?”

I got Russ safely back into his old about-to-be-torn-down-but-don’t-know-when, trailer and fed him a Hardee’s Monster biscuit, his favorite

  

 

Gary

 It seems to me, and his older brother Matt agrees, there seems to be some overkill in keeping him chained up and in solitary confinement. Usually he calls us, or tries to, incessantly until we, or I finally acquiesce to the high phone call cost. Now he doesnt try; either he is severely restricted or his mind has been altered (even more) by the weeks of solitary confinement.
Time in the “shoe”, SHU 103, “special housing unit”, ADSEG (administrative segregation), aka “The Pink Room”
6/22 called all the lawyers  Monday
6/14 stayed in read book Tuesday
6/15 showered    suffered   Wednesday
6/16 stayed in saw Dr. Competent Thursday
6/17 stayed in new charges in old court Friday
6/18 went in yard got shot from pretty lady Saturday
6/19 stayed in relaxed
6/20 called lawyer
6/21 stayed in
6/22 stayed in postponed
6/23 showered
6/24 showered
6/25 stayed in
6/26 stayed in
6/27 stayed in
6/28 went in yard showered suffered prayed
6/29 stayed in Hearing suffered prayed
6/30 stayed in
7/1 vvvvvvvv fire hearing waste of time!
7/2 stayed in slept
7/3 stayed in
7/4 stayed in
7/5 stayed in
7/6 stayed in watch dude get hauled off to padded cell
7/7 out of pink clothes into orange jumpsuit
7/8 requested to go out talked to Dad
7/9 stayed in rested
7/10 showered
7/11 read book
7/12 stayed in
7/13 stayed in
7/14 showered visit saw Dad
7/15 moved to BR IANO didn’t get commissary
7/16 showered ate 2 breakfast 2 lunch
7/17 moved to mod
7/18 Hearing?
Him: Did not want to let me talk to family on phone so I wrote “lawyer”,
“stayed in” means refused to go out one hour a day for shower etc, so they didn’t get to put me in chains
Me: Damn, yer just like Bobby Sands!
Went to Medical, found out one of my group home workers went to be a cop.
  his brother thinks no matter what we try we are doomed to fail because of his intransigence/obstinance, but my idea is we may in fact fail, but there must be some thing we can do to make him more comfortable in the short run, something better than solitary confinement- even if he “prefers” to be alone, this is ridiculous- I don’t think I’m being unreasonable in thinking that negligence/cruelty has occurred,  or doubting that in the end he is responsible for his own behavior, etc. Is there anything that can be done to slow this process, this railroading job? I mean think how it looks to a layperson, when your son’s attorney ‘s office is at the jail but you are turned away by a cop who doubles as receptionist behind bulletproof glass, who daftly proclaims, “”She doesn’t have to call you back”.

I’ll follow this up with a call, after the holiday weekend-

(prison fight :  “You wanna ugly me up?”)

 

again thanks for your time,

Theyre tearing down my trailerpark while I’m in it. I will never forget.

 

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“That trailer was his world”

perfect piece of toast by Russell Peters

once i caught the scent of the perfect piece of toast

Jesus must have had Mary Magdalene pop it down

into the brave little toaster

i threw the brave little toaster away
he was jettisoned like S.P.O.C.K
to be re-engineered into a soundwave

 1/ so since he is now at this moment receiving proper meds and in a “safe” room under watch, it doesnt rise to level of abuse, ignoring all

I get a dream where I’m like a regular person
And I talk and act right and do normal things like travel to Egypt
And then I wake up and my thoughts are all jumbley and I can’t talk right and I’m just a piece of human filth

parents of severely mentally ill worry about this all the time too

  1. 3/ petty crimes he committed while off his meds for weeks- started a fire,tried to assault a cop & a judge- insane, yes. Unreasonable? hmm…

  2. 2/ that went on b4, yet not allowed visitors tho I did so as recently as last week,& he also competent now to stand trial for petty crimes

  3. 1/ so since he is now at this moment receiving proper meds and in a “safe” room under watch, it doesnt rise to level of abuse, ignoring all

 

  1. because working class ppl who have lived the business side, the inside, of a jail cell see things differently than someone who’s “seen” it

  2. made “pink room” sound so benign, I know it was to comfort me but I had to blurt,”i know you’ve seen it, but have u ever been a prisoner?”

apparently my mentally ill son is in solitary and can’t have visitors but he is sane enough to stand trial, since “the bar is really low”

tfw u go to the advocacy lawyers on behalf of your son they tell you solitary not so bad the “pink room” has “a window & some padding”

Sometimes telling your story, to as many workers as possible, is the only revolutionary thing left you can do

  1. Still in solitary, been weeks, but now has the requisite psyche drugs so he can be “competent for trial”, 2b herded into prison

Him: “I thought you gave up on me”. Me: “Nah, that’d never happen”.

  1. de-unionized,working for non profit monopoly corp for shit wages,small mental health outreach team fights tidal wave of rightist bureaucracy

  2. The PACT Team are the real heroes of the fight for mental health care on the streets of Des Moines

prisoners as criminals.

All prisoners are political prisoners.

  • he was lucid, seemingly, but btw sentences the eyes closed; a crazy grin, trillions of tiny linked ironies flashing by just behind the lids

  • Brave he seemed,on vid screen in chains,”a high risk inmate” w/ bright purple jumpsuit,they’re giving him right meds now tho still isolated

  • Polk County Jail surely the class conflict-iest place in Iowa,All hi tech like an updated Dept of Motor Vehicles,but w/ undercurrent of rage

I started the fire to send smoke signals to my brother.

I beat the hell outta that cop, he wanted to sell me for 3000 dollars, or 3000 something.

They brutalized me in court, I yelled at the judge “This is MY courtroom, not yours!” and three big cops who were stacked and ripped took me down and one put his knee in my back and crammed his thumb in my ear and crammed my face into the carpet. I should sue them for police brutality. They brutalized me for beating the hell out of that cop.

 I did “ultimate Tai Bo” on that cop”, (does  rotating fist “punching bag” motion)

Have you ever seen him before?

“Yeah, I married him”.

You married him?

“No, no, I mean I conducted the ceremony for him an his wife, not that I ‘married him'”.

Where did you do this?

“In my mind”.

Well if you married him in your mind that means it didn’t really happen.

“It happened dad, quit trying to tell me it didn’t happen.”

 

Guy Debord: Beyond the Society of the Spectacle

July 22, 2015

Southern Nights

guy-debord-society-spectacl

The spectacle is capital accumulated to the point that it becomes images.

– Guy Debord,  Society of the Spectacle

Yet, let us add that the accumulated capital is that of the Subject who has become a total image, immersed in a world of information where reality is nothing but a copy of copies. One of the first texts to begin a critique of representationalism, of the production of reality out of images: a world where Plato’s Cave becomes our only reality, but one that is itself inverted, one in which the shadows on the wall vanish into the wall and we follow them into the darkness. This is the Society of the Spectacle. Sitting here at my desktop peering into the screen of my computer, or momentarily lifting my iPhone and peering at the face of my young daughter as she talks to me from a city hundreds of miles…

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watcher

June 11, 2015

what would it be
for me
to be
really me?
i cant say cuz i never will be

first thing id do is kill my watcher
throw his bones down in devil’s holler
under weeping willows amongst the cattails
in the moonlight grinning like a dog with two tails

cant spend my life jacking off in jail

I made it to Webelo,
I was a Cub Scout.
I had a niece who was older,
tried to get me to work through
my little merit badge projects
by half-assing everything.
She was prescient,
last I saw her
she was working at Jack in the Box
and pregnant I believe,
it was after all the Summer of Love

snake eyes

June 8, 2015

rolling snake eyes

you gamble

bet the max

frowning as you left the casino

slots played

hail crackling on the sidewalks

green skies, lightning

and the car started bucking

check engine light

and you had a hot chick riding shotgun

barely made it home in the rain

then fucking in the hot tub

a bad reputation

is better than none