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Hey bud. I haven't read your whole thread here just the first post but I found this while looking you up to send you a PM. I'm back in NH and also without a gaming group at the moment and down to hang out some time.
Woot! Going to be pretty busy through the end of the week, but, yeah, get in touch!
Pillbug Toenibbler wrote:
Some info I found in a commie article about DAPL:
"But there’s another factor involved: bourgeois party politics. ETP/Sunoco chief Kelcy Warren, Continental CEO Harold Hamm and the rest of the pipeliners are staunch Republicans, while the owner of the BNSF railway which monopolizes oil transport by rail from North Dakota is Obama backer Warren Buffett, the Democratic Party’s favorite capitalist.
"Buffett is a liberal, known for his calls to 'tax the rich,' and his famous remark that 'There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.' Oil 'independents' like ETP’s Warren and Hamm are small fry, worth perhaps $7 billion and $14 billion respectively; Buffett is the big time, with a net worth of $73.7 billion, according to Forbes. He also is a leading 'philanthrocapitalist' and has invested in wind farms and solar energy. His son and designated successor Howard Buffett (who also sits on the board of Coca-Cola) received the 2011 World Ecology Award for launching the Global Water Initiative. Even more specifically, Warren Buffet gave over $6 million in 2013 to the Tides Foundation of San Francisco, of which $1.3 million was funneled to two environmental groups (Honor the Earth and the Indigenous Environmental Network) which have been active opposing pipeline construction. Meanwhile, the Buffetts bought the BNSF railroad in 2006, just as the Bakken boom was taking off, and since then have been making money hand over fist moving oil by rail from North Dakota."
Pipelines, Oil Trains and Capitalism (which was part 3 of their 4-part series on DAPL, Cops, Feds, Pipeline Companies – Get Out of Indian Lands!
As I recall, the same press reported Buffet funds 350.org on the one hand, and then buys up shares of divested fossil fuels with his train acquisition hand.
Must be nice.
I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
No, I didn't even finish it. Democracy Now! did a piece on the same article the day after or so.
How do I live with it? Idk, I got interested in leftism as a teenager reading about the guerrilla wars in Central America in the '80s with guys named stuff like "Blowtorch Bob" D'Aubuisson, incidents like the murder/rape of nuns, etc. I guess I'm inured to it.
But, you're right, it sure is gross.
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Hey all, this may be old news and old hat to some or all of you, but just yesterday I discovered Indivisible: A Practical Guide to Resisting the Trump Agenda.
I saw someone on the Solidarity Lowell page say they were going to register the organization on that site, but I notice it isn't there yet.
In other news, the lawyer who was demanding that we incorporate quit the group yesterday? The day before? He kept saying that we would have to kick him out to get him to shut up but I had a suspicion that all we had to do was not do what he said and he'd go away. And he did.
Had a fun stand-out today, recruited Young Black High School Student Contact and then had a good time at the People's Potluck. About 50 peeps, not including the children, a lot of the old CAJE folk, puttin' the band back together, etc., etc. and a surprise visit from a Trump-supporting City Councillor.
Here's the face she made when Ex-Comrade Who Was Published in Jacobin started talking about the Black Panther Party while she was looking over a pamphlet that called for the abolition of capitalism.
I really need to find some website that does day-to-day "this day in history" for the Bolshevik Revolution. Mr. Comrade mentioned that he saw something like that over on RT, but I haven't looked quite yet.
In the "Still Hate the Democrats" corner we've got
while in the We've Got a Bigger Problem Now corner,
REX TILLERSON COULD BE AMERICA’S MOST DANGEROUS SECRETARY OF STATE BY ANTONIA JUHASZ--The former Exxon Mobil CEO spent his entire adult life working for a company that has left a trail of carnage—from human rights abuses to the destruction of the environment—in its ruthless pursuit of oil.
Forgot to mention one of the highlights of the YSS mtg:
It was held in a used bookstore/cafe and I picked up copies of Moorcock's The Warlord of the Air, The Time Dweller, Masters of the Pit; or, Barbarians of Mars and all four of The Cornelius Chronicles all in one volume for a buck apiece.
More Solidarity Lowell nonsense online, followed by an ill-attended and dull meeting of the Jill Stein peeps discussing whether or not to form a NH Green Party branch and then online fighting with Ex-Comrade Who Was Published in Jacobin about whether anti-Trump rallies are pointless exercises in chasing after liberals, motivated, from what I can tell, by Ex-Comrade's not being a very good organizer and not having done the actual work necessary to build the Manchester anti-Trump rally that we gave him after he split.
Depressing, depressing, depressing.
But then, yesterday, a fun rally at the State House against Right-to-Work*, where I got a free t-shirt, and then, even better, went out to the monthly "Young Seacoast Socialists" meeting; mostly young queer women who are radical liberals** but, importantly, WANT to be socialists. They seemed to like all of our ideas, said they would come to the Lowell anti-Trump rally (even though Manchester is much closer) and, most ironically, I thought, asked us (straight white cis guys) to give a presentation at the next meeting, on Valentine's Day, about women's and gay liberation. Even better better, Young Black High School Student Contact, who has now attended one of our branch meetings, a Solidarity Lowell meeting and a Young Seacoast Socialists meeting told us she thought our meeting was the most interesting thus far. Huzzah! Nice shot in the arm and/or cleansing of the palate after dealing with those red-baiting liberal f$$#s.
Now, some reading to catch up on:
**At one point, they proposed a letter-writing campaign to NH politicians about various issues; Young Black High School Student Contact, who is very shy and soft-spoken, piped up and said: "I was an intern for (NH Senator) Jeanne Shaheen last summer, and all I did was answer letters pretending to be her. They never even see our letters."
[Uncomfortable silence falls over meeting]
And while I'm telling anecdotes about Young Black High School Student Contact, she was an hour late to our last branch meeting because she wanted a copy of Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth, couldn't find one in her backwater library system, so drove down to Boston to buy it and then got lost on the way back! She was extremely apologetic, but I was thrilled. Driving an hour just to buy a book about colonial revolution? I love this kid!
Spanish comrade (as in, from Spain) was posting from his trip to Mexico about the gas riots and it reminded me of
Part of her dreams of open borders for energy, I'd guess, but Hillary's so last year.
Since Christmas/peak has ended, have jumped into building for the Inauguration Day protests. In Lowell, an ad hoc group calling itself Solidarity Lowell has sprung up. We got them to sponsor the Inaugural protest (along with getting endorsements from the adjunct faculty union [UAW, I forget what number] and UNITE-HERE Local 26). Solidarity Lowell is kind of like CAJE, except older, whiter and much more annoyingly liberal. We already have a pair of nemeses, this tech worker woman who keeps spouting the most disgusting anti-working class Hillarybot nonsense (worst part is that when she isn't complaining about Massachusetts tax money going to help out poor people in Alabama or Mississippi, or, "wouldn't it be great if we could get Elizabeth Warren to wear one of our pussyhats?!?" she keeps dropping references to her gaming group) and her lawyer buddy.
Yesterday, for example, she and the lawyer showed up at our "Planning the Rally" subcommittee meeting in order to, not, as you might think, help plan the rally, but to draw attention to how "If we incorporate as a 501c3" (or whatever) (which, btw, we never voted to do, but the liberals keep pursuing it) "we will have to be non-partisan and not attached to political parties...like yours." After endangering the rally, there was a general membership meeting where, I am pleased to say, the crowd revolted when they discovered that 1) we would have to be nonpartisan ("We're an anti-Trump group, how are we gonna be non-partisan?!?") and 2) the lawyer setting up the fiscal sponsorship was gonna pocket 10% of any donations raised to cover administrative costs.
On top of which, they had no idea about how to run a democratic meeting and the crowd had to revolt, again, in order to get them to do things, like, you know, take a speaker's list, stop talking over speakers from the floor ("Excuse me, could you please stop interrupting? You've already had five chances to speak, could you at least let me finish?"), etc., etc. F&!+ing liberal Democrat hacks...
Anyway, rally is looking good. Thus far we've got union speakers, a folksinger, a priest and a drag queen, so looking good.
Tonight was invited by some of the Jill Stein folks to their NH Progressive something or other to help "dilute the liberals" (not my words), tomorrow take a trip up to Concord to rally against NH's proposed "right to work" legislation, some other flyering shiznit and then, this weekend, our third anti-Trump visibility followed by something put together by the remnants of CAJE and some other BLM-esque group that popped up called "The People's Potluck."
And finally, another Cornel West piece:
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
...[A]nd moved on to Geoffrey Barraclough's An Introduction to Contemporary History written in 1965 so you know it's up to date.
I'm actually finding this quite good.
Last chapter on the transition from 19th-century style "liberal democracy" (where only, like, a quarter of the people can vote) to mass democracies and the rise of political parties (factoid that I didn't know: Britishiznoid women didn't get the right to vote until 1928, which isn't surprising, BUT, universal male Britishiznoid suffrage wasn't achieved until 1918; sorry to pick on the Brits, just thought that was fascinating) was interesting.
Current chapter about the revolt against European colonialism promises to be even better.
Most thought-provoking bit, for me anyway, was in the chapter on loss of European precedence in world affairs to, on the one hand, the United States and, on the other, Russia: Barraclough makes the point, in the middle of the nineteen-sixties, that Russia and the United States were at loggerheads over Asia from the moment they both embarked on the global stage (despite earlier American backing to Russia to piss off the Brits and keep Chinese markets open). He goes on to say that, yeah, sure, there's ideological differences between the US and the SU, but mostly, it's about exploitation of and influence in Asia. I, of course, don't agree on the downplaying of the "ideological differences" but it's interesting to note, in the current climate, that the US and Russia have been rivals for a long time, pre-communism, communism and post-communism.
Anyway, much better read than I expected.
It may be too early to say, but I am guessing that, for the second year in a row, Comrade Longears has gifted me with the best Happy Birthday Facebook greetings:
Elric re-entered the tavern, supported by Count Smiorgan Baldhead. He was deathly pale, and his shivers were visible despite the heavy fur cloak he had on
Hee hee! Thanks, Comrade!
"Some critics on social media have made it clear they don't want the government involved at all in the filtering of information. The government, of course, vows it only seeks to 'proactively advance fact-based narratives that support U.S. allies and interests.'"
Oh, well, that should be fine.
Facebook friend of a Facebook friend gets in trouble for mocking racists' objection to an interracial couple in a State Farm ad.
(Although, it was the experiences of the Paris Commune that led Marx to come to the conclusion that the working class must smash the bourgeois state and replace it with a workers state; as opposed to his previous view that they could just lay claim to it and use it for their own ends.)
Let's see, ones I can help with...
Zizek is a Slovenian philosopher who is a Celebrity Leftist for making pop culture jokes in the middle of lengthy lectures about Hegel and saying outrageous things that get the rest of the left mad, like, refugees must adopt European cultural norms before they should be let in or that a Trump presidency would be better for the left than a Clintonian one. He was featured in a movie that I enjoyed called Pervert's Guide to Ideology that was directed by Ralph Fiennes' sister or something and featured long scenes from They Live.
John Updike taught courses at Roxbury Community College when I lived in Boston. He's kind of the poster boy for snobby middle-class college-educated writers who get published in The New Yorker. I dropped out of college the second time rather than read his Run, Rabbit, Run. He also wrote The Witches of Eastwick which was made into a movie with Susan Sarandon and Jack Nicholson and...Cher, I think?
(Steven Patrick) Morrissey was the singer/songwriter of arch '80s Brit gloom pop band, The Smiths, who a younger Doodlebug Anklebiter thought were the bestest group in the world for a sizable amount of my twenties. He's a pretty large cult figure among effeminate men. Most recognizable tune, I guess, would be "How Soon Is Now?"
Banksy is a guerrilla graffiti artist whose works are anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist.
Withnail and I is an early '80s Britishiznoid flick with Richard E. Grant and someone else as unemployed snarky actors who retreat to the countryside for the length of the film. Saw it once, don't really remember it too well.
Bauhaus was an architecture movement in, I think, Weimar Germany. The band were one of the progenitors of the goth movement most famous for their Halloween perennial, "Bela Lugosi's Dead."
Jack Kerouac was an author from Lowell, Massachusetts who was famous for taking large amounts of speed and writing self-indulgent novels over the course of a weekend, the most famous being On the Road. A generation after Steinbeck, a couple after London, his famous buddies were Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and Neal Cassidy who were collectively known as "the Beats" from which comes the term "beatnik."
William Gibson is popularly credited with inventing cyberpunk and, later, steampunk, but you may end up in knife fights with well-read nerds if you say so. Neuromancer was his first, and most famous, one.
Joy Division, another cult Britishiznoid gloom band, this one from, indeed, the late seventies. Their most famous (and posthumous) tune was "Love Will Tear Us Apart: the singer killed himself, the rest of the band discovered the drug ecstasy and became New Order who had a string of smash hits, the most famous being "Blue Monday".
I though "Crossfit" was an exercise regimen, but I could be wrong.
More Marxian Film Criticism
Facebook's got this feature where it allows users to bump (they call it "sharing a memory" I believe) their posts from years gone by. Anyway, I just read one by the head of the Lowell Queer Labor Mafia. It regards a movie I had never heard of, New In Town, and reads thusly:
TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY AND ALSO A SIX-YEAR OLD SPOILER ALERT: I just had my life transformed by a major studio rom-com from the year 2009, and now I need you to please help me make it into a labor movement cult classic. Did anyone see the movie "New in Town" when it came out? It has a 29% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, probably because it is mostly exactly the same as every other truly heinous & misogynistic romantic comedy of the past twenty years. Renee Zellweger plays a personality-free single lady climbing the corporate ladder and looking for love in all of the wrong places and then she meets a man. Compulsory heterosexuality, blah blah blah. EXCEPT THIS TIME... the site of her romantic transformation is a small town in Minnesota where she gets sent by her company to lay off hundreds of workers at the local food-processing factory. It looks like it's gonna be another victory for the accumulation of capital at the expense of the unionized industrial working class ... when IN WALKS HARRY CONNICK JR. AS THE HANDSOME UNION REP. He also happens to be a sensitive single dad who wins with classic lines like "Robber barons built this country, and they did it from the blood of working folks. If you steal somebody's car, you get thrown in jail. If you steal life savings, you get to be a CEO." [THESE ARE THE REAL LINES FROM A MAJOR STUDIO ROMANTIC COMEDY FROM 2009. I DID NOT MAKE THESE UP.] Renee Zellwegger is all like "I'm into free market competition" and also like "I'm an elitist, godless, childless city slicker who looks down on all you rural proles and also I'm here to destroy your jobs and your lives" and the locals are all like "Gosh, Renee, chill out, please, we are just trying to be friendly and feed you tapioca pudding as our upper Midwestern customs dictate." It is basically the same movie as Sweet Home Alabama, except that this time the local residents say "you betcha" instead of "y'all" and they also happen to be HARD-WORKING MINNESOTAN UNION MEMBERS. Renee & Harry "fall" in "love" according to the script that has been dictated to all us by heteropatriarchy from the first minute of our existence, her cold capitalist heart melted by the power of small-town Midwestern charm, blah blah blah... and then they decide to TEAM UP TO SAVE THE PLANT. You know the part in every abominable rom-com when the guy goes to the girl and says words and then they kiss and the movie is over? In this movie, those words from Harry Connick Jr. are, and I quote: "Are you prepared to deal with the union on this?" And she says yes and then they make out ON THE FACTORY FLOOR SURROUNDED BY THRONGS OF APPLAUDING UNION MEMBERS IN WORK UNIFORM. Harry Connick Jr. seems like a pretty terrible union rep who does lots of negotiating with management by himself over the telephone and he also, you know, literally sleeps with the boss. That's fine, I've decided, because everything is fine now, because it turns out that all of the internal contradictions of property and gender relations under late capitalism were resolved six years ago in the form of an unsuccessful romantic comedy that nobody even noticed. This movie is an essential step in the process of historical development that will lead to our glorious lesbian socialist future. #PleaseHelpComeUpWithAGoodHashtagToMakeThisMovieFamous
To which she has appended as part of her "memory":
This remains the best thing I have ever written on Facebook. I know that today, our glorious lesbian socialist future seems further off than ever before. In a year when the contradictions between Renee Zellweger's "feminist" neoliberalism and Harry Connick Jr.'s sexist populism have been magnified to new extremes, I only hope that this movie can offer the revolutionary synthesis that the labor movement needs to help guide us all home.
I thought it was Dune that was a ripoff of Islam, and Star Wars was a ripoff of old samurai movies?
Yeah, well, one of the rebel battles had a real "we're ambushing a convoy in Baghdad" feel while, later, during the suicide attack on the planet with all the plans I could hear a newsreader in my head intoning "thirteen police officers were killed in Kabul today..."
Mr. Comrade thought it was more like Syria and repeatedly referred to the rebels as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham. I must confess to saying at one point when a black rebel leader was speaking "Look, they have a delegate from al-Shabaab!"
Me and Mr. Comrade went and saw Rogue One last night and we agreed that it made a very convincing jihadi recruiting video.
I was moved to shout "Allahu akbar!" every time they said anything about the Force. I was a little worried about how the family behind us would take it, but their child kept kicking my seat, so I stopped caring.
Democracy Now! has been doing their profiles of peeps up for clemency bids (Leonard Peltier, Chelsea Manning) and I must admit that I didn't know much (anything) about Oscar López Rivera nor the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional Puertorriqueña (FALN).
Interesting non-communism article:
Over the years, hundreds of people online have shared memories of a cheesy Nineties movie called “Shazaam”. There is no evidence that such a film was ever made. What does this tell us about the quirks of collective memory?
Includes theories of alternate dimensions.
Not too much. Biggest jump in organizing since Occupy and I'm stuck loading boxes into trucks. But not for much longer!
After that, I've got a vacation week sometime in January in which I expect to visit La Principessa, grade quizzes, watch Season Three of Game of Thrones and do it all week, not necessarily in that order.
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
In other news, I've often read that the American "Pledge of Allegiance" was written by a "socialist" but I can't imagine that he was one that would excite my interest, so I never looked him up.
"Where all classes of society merge insensibly into one another every alien immigrant of inferior race may bring corruption to the stock. There are races more or less akin to our own whom we may admit freely and get nothing but advantage by the infusion of their wholesome blood. But there are other races, which we cannot assimilate without lowering our racial standard, which we should be as sacred to us as the sanctity of our homes."
Francis Bellamy, Christian socialist, author of the "Pledge of Allegiance." I don't always enjoy being right.
Article by a friend of a friend in Jacobin:
Also, Mr. Comrade tells me that a Russian ambassador got assassinated in Turkey?!?
Haven't checked the news in a few days. Thank god peak's almost over.
I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Can't say I'm unsympathetic. I've had technocratic leanings for a good long time.
You may be interested in the ideas of Henri de Saint-Simon, whom I posted about (linked his wikipedia page) above. He may have, don't quote me here, invented technocracy and, although not exactly a socialist, was a big influence on Marx. Later, after he died, one of his followers convinced another one of his followers that the latter was Jesus reborn, or something, and that once he found the perfect woman to be his wife, then they would take over the world. The latter tried it out for about a dozen years and then when the Perfect Woman never showed up, he gave it up. Along the way, he led a cult of thousands, got thrown in jail and, apparently, came up with the idea for the Suez Canal.
Anyway, there's enough Marxists in the world, could use a few more Saint-Simonians.
In other news, I've often read that the American "Pledge of Allegiance" was written by a "socialist" but I can't imagine that he was one that would excite my interest, so I never looked him up.
Finally, Mr. Comrade found an Oscar Wilde aphorism that I had, inexplicably, never heard before:
"The trouble with socialism is that it takes too many evenings."
(Although I can't find it said the same way twice on the internet; perhaps apocryphal?)
Chapter wasn't even that good. Lots of Boston yuppies and the cult of innovation, one or two pages about industrial decline in Fall River.
Anyway, two articles:
Which caught my eye because me and Mr. Comrade usually refer to the city of Lowell as the Weimar Republic of Lowell in honor of Mr. Comrade's unconventional, free-swinging sex life in said city. Article isn't about sex at all, alas; rather it's about how anti-Hitler liberals ended up Cold War technocrats who thought the "people" were too dumb to know what was good for them.
By a hippie-dippie woman who was part of the larger Lowellian activist scene; now that I know what she writes about, maybe I should pay her more attention, hmmm.
Speaking of Lowellian activism, Anarcho-Syndicalist Hipster and Train-Blocking Environmentalist Semi-Celebrity are having their "welcome back from Standing Rock" party, but, alas, I'll be at work.
I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
I'm a bit puzzled - where's the "Synergistic Weirdiosity" in that? Yes, it explains how the Clintons are embodiments of a kind of "synergistic weirdiosity," but you make it sound like something is going on now that's a remarkable coincidence to be happening along with your reading that.
The previous book I was reading/posting about was To the Finland Station.
It happened to the post-ideological Jimmy Carter in his bid for reelection, it happened to the budget-balancing Walter Mondale; it happened to the technocratic centrist Michael Dukakis--each one of them magically transformed on the day of their defeat into an instructional film on why Democrats needed to embrace post-ideological, budget-balancing, technocratic centrism.
--Thomas Frank, Listen, Liberal; Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?
Just finished the second chapter, "How Capitalism Got Its Groove Back" in Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? by Thomas Frank which ends with the following paragraph in a section entitled "Enter the Bubba":
The exact point where these trajectories intersected was occupied by one Bill Clinton, governor of Arkansas, a Rhodes Scholar, and a McGovern campaign worker who had grown up to become the chairman of the DLC (Democratic Leadership Council). He led the idealistic Sixties generation and he warred with the teachers' union; he smoked dope and he never got high; he savored Fleetwood Mac and he got tough with welfare mothers. Here was the one-man synthesis of the grubby dialectic I have been describing, and he arrived in Washington to fulfill the sordid destiny of his class like Lenin arriving at the Finland station.
Not too much communism to report on as of late, alas, although I was able to sit in on a contact session yesterday morning before work.
Young black woman, high school student that I met at the anti-Trump rally in Concord a while back. It was the same rally where Young Gay Autistic Comrade was trying to light up small little stars-and-stripes flags that he had written "F@ Trump" on, but it was a windy night and he ended up accidentally setting ablaze his Anti-Fascist Action banner. I think he's given up on flag-burning. Anyway, later in the rally, I was standing next to him when aforementioned young black woman asked about his remaining red banner. "Are you a communist?" she asked. He gave some very strange, rambling response, and I interjected and said, "yes, he's a communist. Here's a flyer."
And a couple weeks later she called and had read The Communist Manifesto and wanted to become a red. Huzzah! That's the way it's supposed to work!
In the nostalgia department, kid that CAJE used to stand out in the street for sues police and The Lowell Sun re-runs quotes from Anarcho-Syndicalist Hipster who, last I heard, was out at Standing Rock.
Went to the library and picked up and started Thomas Frank's Listen, Liberal!; Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People which looks like it will be right up my alley.
Me and Mr. Comrade were at the Barnes and Noble the other day and he bought the recent reissue of The Final Programme and enjoying it immensely. I have never read it and am jealous.
My ankle was sore, so I only did one shift today. Mr. Comrade texted to say he's at some meeting to demand that UML become a "sanctuary school" and he's planning not one, but TWO inauguration day protests (one in Manchester, one in Lowell). He sure is ambitious.
Anyway, more Cornel West.
And while I'm at it,
and a profile of the org in former far-leftist turned far-rightist David Horowitz's website
and finally, another Jacobin article, although I think I missed Fred's b-day