Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One week to go

Only a week left til election day 2008. I'm afraid to be too optimistic. Could it be that the worst of our national nightmare is almost over? The viper's nest of reaction stirred up by McCain/Palin is frightening. The fact that Obama could be considered "socialist" is a sad sad statement of American political consciousness. Which makes me despair of any real chance of actual socialism. Anyway, it's down to the wire.

Barack Obama for president!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hello Giant Egos, Bye-Bye Democracy


So NYC's allegedly-independent-former-Republican billionaire mayor and Democratic, openly lesbian city council president Christine Quinn have made a devil's bargain to go around the law and give themselves extra terms in office.

I think term limits are a terrible idea. But New Yorkers have defeated attempts to roll back these misguided laws, and both these politicians are on record previously opposing attempts to get around the voter's wishes. Tinpot dictator Rudy Ghouliani made a feeble attempt to extend his mayoralty for a third term in the aftermath of 9/11, and he was soundly and rightfully trounced for the suggestion.

Now a mayor who I didn't actually hate--until now--and a political careerist hack--who I have never heard anything good about--have decided that they are the annointed ones who can override democracy and lead the city out of its current economic crisis, which, oh yes, both have presided over. They will get the City Council to temporarily override term limits and allow them to run again.

Enough. The minute a politician says he or she is above the rules and indispensable is a minute beyond the time anyone should put up with them. It's time for Bloomberg and Quinn to go. This completely self-serving undemocratic attempt by them to railroad themselves into longer terms is blatantly and transparently corrupt. Buh-bye. Get out of town, dictators to be. Not only do you not deserve to run again in the next elections (next year!) but I think maybe you should just resign now for this disgusting attempted coup.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Welcome back to Amerikkka


Hopefully, Obama wins, despite the current wave of rage energizing the racist republican core. But when he's president, it's gonna be rough going. This is a billboard in Missouri. Thanks to Pam's Houseblend for the info and art.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

You Don't Need A Weatherman...


The right-wing Republican propaganda machine has begun its full tilt lurch toward painting Barack Obama, through his association with liberal college professor and former member of the Weather Underground William Ayers, as at worst a terrorist or at least a dangerous radical. All decent people need to be concerned at this attempt to tar a relatively centrist politician with such a dangerously loaded brush. In whipping up the right-wing hordes of bigotry and intolerance, it's possible that the McCain campaign knows not what it does. It's also possible, given the unseen hand behind the nomination of Sarah Palin as the vice presidential candidate, that they know exactly what they're doing.

The US war of aggression against Vietnam was rightfully a polarizing conflict inside American society. In thirty years of neo-conservatism, Reaganism and revanchist revisionism, "new Democrats," Bush doctrines, and right-wing media celebrities it's sometimes hard to reach back across those years to remember how awful that war was; how cruelly it took life from millions of Vietnamese and thousands of young American draftees; how it consumed us for years changing our culture and our politics. How we breathed relief at its end, even as for us, here at home, its end was a slow sputter quite unlike the experience of the tanks of liberation crashing definitively through the gates of embassies and presidential palaces in Saigon back in 1975.

The civil rights movement was a stunning victory wrought by the power of millions. Even though its success was stained with the martyrdom of its leaders and the wasteful self-destruction of the urban riots and the unbreachable brick walls of class and corruption, it gave hope to the anti-war movement. Yet the anti-war movement was unable to stop the war. While its pressure must certainly have been felt by Nixon and the powers that be, it wasn't the movement that ended the war. Rather the war's obvious unwinnability and the promissory fig of better relations with the awakening giant of China (and potential allegiance with China against the Soviet Union) that really caused Nixon's henchmen to meet in Geneva with the Vietnamese and agree to phased American withdrawal.

It was in that frustrating inability of the movement to either actually end the war or effectively draw it to its logical revolutionary conclusions and radicalize the nation that the Weatherman movement was born. The Weathermen, later the Weather Underground, despaired of mass action, of the power of people uniting together, in favor of symbolically throwing a few bombs at a few buildings. They may have been righteously motivated, but their decision to abandon mass struggle in favor of what turned out to be a short-lived and disastrous military effort was not a wise one. They argued that "Fascist Amerikkka" was about to unleash mass repression on a massive scale and that open organizing had to be abandoned for the shadowy path of guerrilla warfare. Needless to say, the group that William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, now his wife, abandoned the Students for a Democratic Society to form, was never much of a threat to anyone, nor conversely, much of an inspiration.

Their literature was rousing in a sort of bell jar way. Their rainbow and thunderbolt logo was inspiring. But their gestures were ultimately empty. The wave of general fascist repression didn't come (though of course a generation of African-American revolutionaries did meet a determined and mostly successful government effort to militarily wipe them out). More importantly, by going underground, these would-be revolutionaries isolated themselves from "the people," who simply failed to take much of an interest in the latest communique. It ended badly for the Weather Underground: some of them accidentally blew themselves up. Others ended up in a gunfight with Brinks guards years later in a robbery gone sour. Some are in jail. Some still on the run. Some came gradually back to the light like Ayers and Dohrn.

The rest of the left didn't really fair better. A legion of revolutionary sectlets spawned by the anti-war movement flourished through the seventies and mostly dissipated in the dark days of the Reagan counterrevolution. Those that have hung on through the present day offer mostly wildly confused messages to the few people who pay attention, leaving the American people completely disarmed in the face of today's dire challenges.

It's obvious why Bill Ayers traded in his underground revolutionary life for academia and social reform. It must be said that he has obviously benefited from a certain privilege of class to end up where he's ended.

Was the Weather Underground a terrorist organization? Meh. Perhaps aspirationally, in the sense that all fighters for liberation are called terrorists by their enemies, or that bombing buildings (never intentionally people) isn't exactly a charming social interaction. But in the face of the massive American war machine (and its volunteer officers like John McCain) bombing terror into the hearts of Vietnamese (or destroying civilian power plants and civilian power-plant workers like the same John McCain) I have a hard time making that accusation. In the face of police terror waged against groups like the Black Panthers; or in the face of the US government funding Cuban exiles to hijack planes or overthrow Central American governments I have trouble judging the Weathermen too harshly for what amounted mostly to a misguided youthful arrogance.

Which way is the wind blowing now? We don't need the Weathermen to tell us that. But we do need solutions; solutions only partially and imperfectly offered by the election of America's first black president. While I fervently hope and pray that Obama is indeed the victor in a month, I'm completely frightened by what lies beyond that threshhold. If only the Weathermen and the rest of the movement of the sixties had not so squandered their energy. If only Americans had not so completely bought the big lie that was Reagan's legacy.

I look forward to a dawning new day. But we have to survive midnight first.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

That One for President!


Wow...that was fast! A new slogan courtesy of doddering old fool Sen. John McCain at tonight's presidential debate. Thanks to JMG for pointing this out! We'll be getting off your lawn soon, old geezer, and you can have a nice rest.

Gobama!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Here's a pretty song



With a crappy, albeit gay-positive, video. No subtext here, just that I've been looking for this Jennifer Holliday song -- Fools Fall In Love -- since I heard her sing it on Ally McBeal years back. Can't seem to find it on CD or download. At least here it is on Youtube.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Jump You Fuckers


I grabbed this graphic from Lenin's Tomb, a UK socialist blog that is excellent reading. I'm uncomfortable with this so-called bailout. George Bush yells "fire!" and suddenly it's the Democrats who come to his rescue? Something is fishy. I'm glad that Obama is openly saying that trickle-down economics is crap; that former President Clinton says that this is the culmination of a road to ruin laid down by Reagan. But will patching a failing system do anything at all? The stock market is swinging in wild multi-hundred point swings up and down. This can't be good.

The next president will basically be inheriting a shitpile. If you ask me that's as the republicans intend it, to guarantee them a return four years later. On the other hand, I need my job and my ira.

Man, 49, Attacked by Rat in Subway, Lives


So I was waiting this morning for the subway listening to my ipod. It was a relatively crowded platform; I had a cup of iced coffee resting on a step in front of me (I was below a staircase) and was munching on a Chinese croissant. I felt something on my foot, and thought perhaps I had dropped my bag. I looked down. Nothing.

I looked up. Several people were looking in my direction and shaking their heads. I paused. Was my fly open? Was I accidentally singing out loud?

Then I recalled the weekend. My boyfriend had remarked that there were a lot of rats in the subway station. The R line. Brooklyn. He even pointed out one cute little rat pointing its nose out from a gnawed-out hole in a doorway as we waited to catch a train to the city for brunch.

Then I realized what had happened. I went up to one of the people shaking their heads and asked. Yes,

A
GIANT
RAT
HAD
JUST
RUN
ACROSS
MY
FOOT

while I was waiting for the subway. Thank God I didn't see it. Oh my fucking God.