January 29, 2013
Aaron dead. World wanderers, we have lost a wise elder. Hackers for right, we are one down. Parents all, we have lost a child. Let us weep.
[Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of WWW, upon hearing of Aaron's passing...]
Internet activist Aaron Swartz, hounded to his grave by Obama’s DoJ…
Yes, by all means, let us mourn our loss—that’s correct, OUR loss, since Swartz’ activism was directed at the enemy of the Community, both in the immediate and global senses. And, let us not forget—EVER, EVER—Aaron, both his name and what he took on his slim shoulders, the injustice and the inequity of it all, in a world driven mad by Late (finance) Capital, its acquisition and its ‘worship’. To perpetuate his memory, ideals, etc.—this is OUR responsibility.
And, as we grieve (“to grieve well is to live well,” goes the old saw), let us remember that we also have another responsibility: to work at ensuring that we do not have yet other wakes to attend, to mourn, to grieve, of other beautiful, young idealists using the Internet to deliver the vast majority of humanity from the will of Power brokers and rentiers who almost demonically, it would seem, drive us on (all of us, including themselves) towards an abyss…to wit:
AMY GOODMAN: Last week, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange mentioned Jeremy Hammond in a rare address from the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he has sought asylum.
“JULIAN ASSANGE: I have been sustained by your solidarity, and I’m grateful for the efforts of people all around the world supporting the work of WikiLeaks, supporting freedom of speech, freedom of the press—essential elements in any democracy. While my freedom is limited, at least I am still able to communicate this Christmas, unlike the 232 journalists who are in jail tonight; unlike Gottfrid Svartholm in Sweden tonight; unlike Jeremy Hammond in New York tonight; unlike Nabeel Rajab in Bahrain tonight; and unlike Bradley Manning, who turned 25 this week, a young man who has maintained his dignity after spending more than 10 percent of his life in jail without trial, some of that time in a cage naked and without his glasses; and unlike so many others whose plights are linked to my own. I salute these brave men and women.”
Hammond has his own ‘Ortiz’ to face: her name is Loretta Preska. Here is CCR’s Michael Ratner:
MICHAEL RATNER: And so, they really—I mean, they want to make—right now, the government is going to—trying to make an example out of all three of these people. I mean, look what they’ve done. They’ve got Jeremy Hammond, no bail, in a federal detention facility.
AMY GOODMAN: In Metropolitan Detention Center.
MICHAEL RATNER: In Metropolitan Detention Center.
AMY GOODMAN: Which is?
MICHAEL RATNER: Which is in Manhattan at Foley Square. You’ve got Bradley Manning finally moved to Leavenworth, where his conditions are better than they were at Quantico, for sure, but in prison. And you’ve got Julian Assange—
AMY GOODMAN: Your client.
MICHAEL RATNER: —living in an embassy. So what the government is trying to do is destroy the idea that the government’s secrets and its corruption and its crimes ought to be known, and get at the whistleblowers and the publishers who are doing it. And so, we’re seeing that across the board. These three, really, are the three that they’re obviously focused on putting away for as long as they can” [Democracy, Now!, 12/27/12].
However we define it, whatever form it takes, let us re-dedicate ourselves to the same cause which informed the work Aaron took on—resisting the evil which informs our—America-as-Empire—almost 237-year-old narrative.
January 19, 2013
“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
Warren Buffett, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway
The Great Taboo broken here is that of Empire, which would that mention of the phrase ‘working class’ be suppressed.
And why might that be so, i.e., why might it be the case that the State/corporate/MSM regime studiously avoids acknowledging the essential, malign effect of capital?
Mainly because it would risk alerting the slumbering giant—i.e., the overriding majority of the rank and file—that such a thing as ‘class’ even exists! That is to say, one of the ways that consent is manufactured to control those who have been marginalized by predatory capitalism—marginalized as a function of its top-down, exploitative hierarchy—is by perpetrating the ruse that we have 1) a democracy, where 2) “all men are created equal.”
That feint by those courting and wielding Power has great utility in that the working class is placated and tranquilized—i.e., drugged!—and thereby kept off balance as would-be activists. The psy-op process works something like this: “Even though I am a plumber’s assistant [or store clerk, or office worker, etc.], I am just as good as anybody else in this country and—by extension—in the world, since we Americans are exceptional!”
It is an utterly cynical tactic used by those preservers of the status quo, playing upon the worst features of a humanity beaten down by elitist interests—i.e., it belies the actual antagonist (that identity purposely obscured) and, as victims are predisposed to become victimizers, it ultimately sets one worker against another, both globally and at home, as the true source of his immiseration is elided.
That is, (and, secondly), by broaching the term, its counterpoint–i.e., the investor class—is inevitably brought to the fore. This is problematic because now an antagonistic dyad—i.e., pairing off—has been determined and, therefore, also serves to alert the rank and file that there does, in fact, exist another collective of which 1) he is most certainly not a member, and 2) he is, in fact, shunned, feared, kept at a safe distance, etc.—literally, via housing/education/health care strata, and metaphorically, via elitist entitlements believed owed only to those comprising the rentier/property owning opulent minority.
January 17, 2013
It remains a sobering truth that ‘victim’ will never translate into ‘innocent’, no longer ‘responsible’ (not in the sense of ‘blameworthy’, but, rather, in the sense of being…fully ‘engaged’ with one’s social milieu) no longer involved, etc. We never become ‘free’ of being ‘responsible’. We never cease being full participants, agents and actors in the unfolding of our environment—both in the immediate and global meanings. In a word: we are obligated.
We may, however, revise how we will respond as adult agents—this remains a highly viable, even consoling, option. But claiming a non-identity, non-participant, ‘neutral’ status—i.e., withdrawing—is never a choice we may adopt. In that sense we may never lay claim to a ‘this-has-nothing-to-do-with-me’ worldview because of a grievance, wound, etc., and believe we may no longer respond.
Our informed response—from each and every one of us—is a precept of life itself, and, we are charged with its issue. It is our mandate, and it is not altered or obviated via victimhood…
Sartre: l’homme est condamné à être libre.
We are involved, we are not existential ‘neuters’…
We will choose, and we will respond…
We remain obligated, and far from being an oppressive fact of the human condition, that we are enjoined to respond morally attests to our capacity for same…
America as ‘horror’ film made real…
…or: Hell is less a place we transit to than a ‘process’ we cultivate—radically and absolutely…
the final processing…
In considering the narrative of Empire from its inception and, continuing, reading the Fallujah account, please consider: what would your reaction have been if it came to light that one of our military agents—e.g., a Marine—had, nearing the culmination of battle, knelt down before the corpse of his recent victim, the abdomen torn open (the effect of ordnance) and lapped, with appreciation (and even zeal) at the still warm—but specifically—sanguineous flesh? With what emotional and intellectual metric would you have responded? Extreme dismay? Mild discomfort? Something between those two poles—e.g., apathy? As far as we know this has not occurred—or, it has not surfaced yet…
so, let us help one another, because, in Hell, there is no helping one another…
Hell, as reasoned, ought not to be viewed as a ‘place’ we embark towards, i.e., with a limen we approach and transit through. And this, in contradistinction to the literary construct of the portal notice in the Inferno, i.e., “Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate” (“abandon all hope ye who enter here…”).
Far from existing solely as a literary—or, even fantastic—notion readily dismissed (as being merely an example of cultural artifice, imagining, etc.), the contention here is that Hell is, rather, the all-too-real—and condign—effect of our freely-willed acts and behaviour, i.e., what we as sentient, interdependent beings have chosen and actualized. And this, being all the more serious as our most elemental natures are at variance with a state of interminable alienation from the Other, as is also the case with behaviour deemed self-destructive.
the opposite of helping (i.e., love, or caritas) is not hatred, but indifference…
We cultivate an ethic of indifference towards the Other—and even ourselves—and, as this willed behavior is essentially foreign to our natures as interdependent social beings, we undergo, almost imperceptibly, a…devolving—a changing at the most elemental level.
To continue: if the willed code of behaviour is sustained it would seem to follow that at some point the effect is final, and irrevocable.
being a refutation of same via the Bakhtinian concept of the Carnivalesque…
A current vogue in OWS ‘scholarship’ has it that it the arc of the OWS cause is sorely needing a specific litany of core demands, i.e., or it risks deconstruction. The agent of such observations is, typically, a well-intentioned Liberal observer—not participant—who is seemingly intent upon conflating Left activism as all of a piece. All too often such observer/adviser figures employ an activist benchmark akin to late sixties/early seventies’ “special interest” politicking, e.g., as seen in opposition to war, Black liberation, Feminism, Green activism, etc.
What is ignored in the academic assessment of the current regime—i.e., the era of Late finance capital—is the utterly diffuse havoc being played upon all cadres, all organizational fronts, etc., via the class war waged by rentiers, the Fortune 500 CEOs, the banks, etc., against a mutually dissociated collective, i.e., the working class. Further, this oppressive state of financial massacre has as its concomitant effect a dispiriting malaise of anomie, helplessness, depression, etc., all serving to keep any would-be activism by those being preyed upon in abeyance, with actors fragmented, and uninvolved. And this, a reality in Empire for time out of memory.
The unique nature of the current manifestation of investor-class hegemony, however, is seen in the highly accelerated and aggressive nature of the opponents of We, the People. That is, the financial gain for the 1% is so impossibly high that a seduction exists to destroy the 99%, which seduction running rampant and sustained by the state as well as the corporate-owned media.
That is, there exists an abiding moral social pathology which is sustained by denial, distraction (e.g., “entertainment”, consumerism, etc.), etc., in tandem to a prevalent suffering: suffering at the individual, familial and community levels—all occurring simultaneously!
[An open letter to Academics and arm-chair (onanistic) activism, riding a wave with…talk]
There are several dynamics in play here, which need not be conflated as one needful Left agenda.
As Chomsky notes, there is an abiding mutual dissociation present among the working class which inertia hinders, at the most essential level, even the possibility of a nascent Left activism. That is, OWS has inspirited a massive segment of the population to—voila!—get out of the house and become involved!
This fact needs to be valorized as the incipient moment of what may potentially be a coalescing of many seemingly disparate causes: anti-war, universal health care, EFCA and card check, doubling of the minimum wage, worker control of the means of production, etc.
To aver that OWS is remiss, i.e., “they really need to be doing more,” is to overlook the dynamics of Left activism. For example, to argue that “The absence of demands isn’t a strength,” is yet more effluent (institutionalized logorrhea) from anxious careerists who have been found out—i.e., who haven’t been at the barricades. To compensate for this egregious moral lack they cover their—’smell’ via learned disquisition…