Why Liz Warren should have gone on Fox News

Elizabeth Warren turned down an invitation from Fox News to do a candidate town hall, calling the “news” station out for their blatant hate speech and for “giving a megaphone,” to racists.

While Warren is right that the fake news network is a homing beacon to the vomit inducing white right, she has lost an opprotunity to gain serious political capital by rejecting their invitation.

Now I want to stress this point before I go any further, Warren is not obliged to go on Fox News. To be honest any leftist or anyone who leans left is not obligated to take the baited hook that right wingers like Fox News or Ben Shapiro throw. “Debate me!”

Warren is also one hundred percent right about the station’s explicit racism and implicent enabling of violent white supremacy.

However, Warren has shot herself in the foot once again, like she did when she released that racist DNA test and when she endorsed Hillary Clinton. This would have been Warren’s opprotunity to save face with the white and rural voters who are so quick to reject her for the connections she made in her career to Obama and Hillary Clinton. If she had taken this town hall she could have used it as a platform to go into the heart of the belly of the beast and take down the harmful talking points against her policies, much like how Bernie did.

Bernie went into the belly of the beast, knife in hand, and came out holding the monster’s heart to the sky. When the anchor was bested by his own baiting question about government run healthcare, it was check mate for Bernard Sanders.

Bernie’s town hall gave him a huge degree of political capital. Overnight one of Fox News’ most idiotic talking points was defeated, “Most people don’t want government run health care,” they like to say. Yet with a simple cheering of the crowd and Bernie on the receiving end, the station has now been forced to scramble and rethink its rhetoric.

That is a key to winning in the art of war, keep your enemy confused, and make no mistake, we are in a class war.

This is the chance that Warren has thrown away, the chance to let Fox News own itself, as the kids would say, and come out the other end victorious and validated. By refusing the invitation, she has only played into the fodder that democrats cannot speak to Fox News base, and that fodder will cost her in the long run should she actually win the nomination.

Warren is right, Fox News is the news station for racists. However you do not end racism by running away from it. Racism ends only when it is confronted. The same with all forms of bigotry and prejudice. Bernie confronted the prejudice that Americans fear big government more than they fear big insurance, and he won. That is something the left is finally getting good at again, winning.

Warren can’t win a fight when she runs away from it.

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Lies and Slander, A poem

“The poor deserve it!”

Lies and slander.

“The left hates…”

Lies and slander.

“The police protect and serve.”

Lies and slander.

“Your standard of living will only go up.”

More lies, more slander.

“Love is all you need.”

More lies, more slander.

“This is land of the free.”

The biggest lie, the biggest slander.

Elizabeth Warren’s Mistake In 2016

I acknowledge that in 2016 I came very intensely after Elizabeth Warren. Like many of Bernie’s 2016 supporters I was hurt by her endorsement of Hillary Clinton. I think Warren has since almost made up for the error by coming forward with genuinely radical and necessary policy platforms in her presidential campaign, policies that remind us that she was once a people’s hero in the fight against Wall Street and can be once again.

Her plan to cancel student debt is as pivotal as Bernie’s Medicare for All or prisoner voting rights platforms. Her open challenges to Joe Biden on his ties to the credit card companies is commendable and so is the work she has put into protecting consumers for this entire decade. She deserves credit where credit is due.

With all of that said, I am still a little bitter about what happened in 2016. I realize it is somewhat trivial to complain about what could or should have been, but damn it I am genuinely convicned that if she had not played the 2016 primary as cautiously as she had we would not have a Trump presidency.

Here is what I mean, because Warren waited to endorse whoever won the nomination instead of endorsing Bernie from the beginning of his candidacy she hurt his campaign, a campaign that would have easily defeated Trump in the general election. Yes, I am still a “Bernie would have won,” kind of person and truth be told I probably always will be.

It is understandable why she waited to endorse the definite front runner instead of taking a stand early on. At the time it made sense as the politically cautious move to stand for a united Democratic party against Trump. However that caution came at a price. It hurt Bernie’s ability to develop the klout needed to counter harmful talking points spewed by the Hillary people.

When Warren endorsed Clinton she went from being a darling of the Occupy alumni to another mouth piece for neoliberals, at least in the eyes of Bernie supporters who also supported her. One of the reasons that Bernie, and Warren for that matter, have stayed so popular is that several of us who came out of the Occupy movement remember them as the only public servants to demonstrate admiration and respect for the movement and its sentiments.

So Warren did not only hurt Bernie by endorsing Hillary late in the election, she hurt herself. By endorsing Clinton and by endorsing her as close to the end of the primary as she did, she synonymized her name and platform with the vomit inducing identity politics of Hillary’s campaign. Instead of having her working class values and background tied to Bernie’s pro working class platform, she attached her identity as a woman to Clinton and by doing so she helped enable the “only sexists vote for Bernie” talking point of Hillary supporters, a talking point which erases and hurts all of the non male supporters of Bernie.

Had Warren endorsed Bernie from the get go, the myth of the “Bernie bro” would have been squashed and would have had no foundation to grow. Also, with her endorsement would have come her very extensive and supportive base, but now that base is arguably very much in the establishment camp because of her hesitancy to get involved with the primary until a front runner was decided. Warren is now synonymous with supporting establishment capitalist democrats like Hillary, which is folly because Warren’s policies are arguably much closer to Bernie’s than they ever were to people like Clinton, Harris, Biden, or Booker.

I want to make it clear, I do understand why Warren didn’t endorse Sanders, but I think it was a mistake that inevitably cost Bernie the primary and damaged Warren’s reputation as a challenger of big money capitalism, which in-turn gave us the shitty general election that birthed the Trump presidency.

But what hurt Warren the most is the fact that despite her policy and platform being much more in line with Bernie’s she endorsed someone with completely opposite values to her. Warren has much more incommon policy wise with Bernie than she ever will with the Clintons and Bidens of the world. The fact she did not make that clear in 2016 not only hurt Bernie but it hurt her, because now there are leftists like myself, who do remember her public challenges to Wall Street and her bold demands for consumer protections and market regulations. Now it is hard for me to get excited about her candidacy because I still view the Clinton 2016 endorsement as an act of political cowardice. I used to think it was straight up betrayal, but after getting involved with politics as an activist and as an organizer I’m willing to say I understand why she did what she did in 2016. However let us always remember that understanding an action is not the same as supporting it.

Will Liz Warren make the same mistakes this time? It is very possible that she will. Warren clearly is a politician who acts with caution. I do not fault her for being tactical but I will fault her if that tactic comes with compromising her values. However I can say that if she remains consistent with her demands for canceling student debt and if she does not backtrack support for Medicare for all then I would be genuinely happy with a Sanders/Warren or Warren/Sanders 2020 ticket. However I would be thrilled by the idea even more if she stepped up and admited that not endorsing Bernie in 2016 at the beginning of the primary was a mistake.

All in all, I do want to like Elizabeth Warren, I do miss the days where she and Bernie both were patron saints of the 99%. But until we address what happened in 2016 I will always have misgivings about her. I do not think Warren is bad, at least not as much as I used to, I do think she has to answer for 2016.

Let’s face it, most of the Democratic Nominees for President are TERRIBLE!

This primary is giving me ulcers. I can’t fucking take much more of it. If one more liberal calls Bernie a Russian agent I will become a full on Marxist Leninist and sing the Soviet national anthem on street corners as I hand out poorly Xeroxed propaganda. If one more mediocre no name white guy decides to enter the race I might retch, and retch bile at that!

Sanders and Warren are the only two candidates who I am willing to even tolerate the idea of giving the nomination for the presidency to. Yes, I was very critical of Warren back in 2016 and I still have issues with how she handled the Bernie vs. Hillary situation. I also do not think she can beat Trump, full stop. However I will give her credit where credit is due, her working class background is admirable and her plan to cancel student debt is as worthy of praise as Bernie’s emphasis on Medicare for all. I will also add that Mike Gravel is legit, he is a real one! But as of now he is not what I would call a “strong contender.”

With that said, I despise almost of all the other democratic candidates for the nomination. Each one of them, save for a very select few outside of Warren and Sanders, have shown themselves to be agents of imperialism, agents of patriarchy, agents of gentrification, agents of white supremacy, or just a flat out terrible people.

Here is why every current Democratic party candidate, as of the time this was written, sans Warren and Sanders, is a disgusting human being worth your revile:

Kamala Harris – Kamilla Harris wants you to believe she is one of the most progressive candidates to enter the 2020 race. She also wants you to ignore the fact that she is a liar who is responsible for ruining the lives of countless families. As Attorney General and a District Attorney her prosecution of parents for truancy put countless, mostly black, people in jail. Not only did this break families up and provide more free labor for our vampiric prison industrial complex, but it has yet to be discussed what became of the children who lost their parent’s to the prison system. How many of them were seperated? How many of them were traumtized? How many of them ended up rejecting our entire system after seeing their parents get punished for their own truancy?

It should also be noted that Harris promised to not accept lobbyist or corporate donations, she has since accepted donations from lobbyists in California, New York, and South Carolina, including money from a lobbyist for pipeline firm EQT and Google’s parent company “Alphabet.” There is nothing progressive about taking money from either of these entities. Harris calling herself a progressive is an insult to our intelligence and it should be treated as such.

Kamila Harris is a liar who ruined lives, to hell with her.

Cory Booker – Booker promised to not accept corporate or lobbyist donations as well. However that doesn’t seem to be working out because not only has he accepted lobbyist money, he is the number one recipient of donations from employees of private health insurance firms, pharmacutical companies, and the biggest enemy of the people, Wall Street.

Cory Booker, like Harris, wants us to believe he is a progressive, but also like Harris, he is nothing but a fraud. A classic politician who insults the intelligence of the average voter by saying they’ll do something while doing the opposite, as if we won’t notice or as if he just doesn’t care.

Sorry Cory, but the fact you want to legalize weed and that you date Rosario Dawson, a former Sanders supporter, doesn’t win you progressive points.

Amy Klobuchar – This has less to do with policy, of which she seems to have none, and more to do with personality. But in my opinion Klobucher is one of the worst people running for office.

According to former staffers Klobuchar is abusive and even violent at times. She has thrown binders and books at staffers when they have made mistakes and has shown that (forgive my ablist terminology) she is what my father would call a “grand looney.”

Once when a staffer brought her a salad for lunch but forgot the fork, after publicly berating the staffer Kolbuchar then took out her comb and PROCEEDED TO EAT THE SALAD WITH IT! (I was right, I’m about to retch!) She then gave the staffer the comb and demanded that they “wash it off and get it back to her.”

I guess dijon dressing is good for the scalp? *Cringe*Retch*Repeat*

Pete Buttigeig – In my opinion, Buttegieg is the most disingenious person running for the nomination, even more than Harris or Booker. For one he is not intersectional with his analysis at all, he is very much a rainbow capitalist and a white rainbow capitalist at that.

In his recent town hall he equated Bernie supporters with Trump supporters and publicly disagreed with Bernie’s idea that prisoners should vote. By doing so he demonstrated that he does not understand how a disporportionate amount of people in jail are people of color. The laws robbing them of their right to vote is inturn disproportionally silencing people of color, robbing them of basic human rights both in the short and long term.

It might also interest people to know that as a mayor he handed over a popular public park to a private developer, which in turn lead to displacement and increased gentrification in his city. When Bernie was mayor of Burlington he basically told landlords to fuck off and that they “will not displace anyone in my city!” Fuck yeah Bernie!

Also, Pete is “proud” of his service in the military for this country. Anyone who is proud of having gone to Iraq or Afghanistan to kill and perpetuate American empire will get no respect from me. I can only imagine how many middle eastern lives were ruined by him and his troop regiment.

Beto O Rourke – “I will take no pac money,” he says in Facebook ads paid for by his political pacs. Yes, you read that correctly. He has also refused to sign a pledge to turn down fossil fuel industry money, maybe it has to do with the fact that he recieved a donation from Chevron’s top lobbyist before the end of the last fiscal quarter. https://theintercept.com/2019/04/17/democratic-candidates-lobbyist-donations/

Also, Beto and his wife, a billionaire heiress who founds charter schools, have earned themselves a reputation as gentrifiers in the city of El Paso. Gentrifiers are not only despicable capitalists, they are agents of white supremacy. Also, as a former charter school employee I can assure you that charter schools rob youth of equal opprotunities, they divert needed funds from already underfunded public schools, and they hurt teacher unions. Beto, betta go fuck himself. (teehee)

Tulsi Gabbard – Gabbard is an apologist for Syrian dictator Assad and has ties to the Fascist Modhi of India. Next…

Julian Castro – Castro is one person who I am willing to concede is not a “terrible” person, but he is ridiculously disingenuous. Castro criticized Bernie for his remarks about reparations, but failed to actually take a stance of his own on the issue. Like most of the other candidates, Castro seems to believe you can stand for something while standing for nothing.

Oh wait, he supports NAFTA!? Nevermind, he is horrible, he is never to be to trusted.

Kristen Gillibrand – Gillibrand has accepted $1,206,513 in donations from Wall Street in her last election and $80,483 from pharmaceutical company Pfizer. Among her top donors are Bank of America, Blackstone, and Morgan Stanley. No sale, no appeal, no vote from me. Next…

John Delany– “Who?” You might be asking, well all I need to know about him is that he is a moderate democrat who created a lending service called Health Care Financial Partners which profits off of loans made to companies in the healthcare for profit industry. Anyone who makes money off this atrocious healthcare system is scum.

Next victim…

John Hickenlooper – Sexist, period. When asked if he would pick a female running mate (as any male running in this election should) he responded with “Why aren’t women being asked if they will choose a male running mate?”

Take it to the 4chan feed you worthless M.R.A. Then go fuck yourself.

Jay Inslee – Inslee has a solid environmentalist record, no joke and no snarck there, credit where credit is due. Props to you Inslee for putting Earth first.

BUT…. this little line from a Seatle Times article conjecturing about his approaching presidential run seems important…

Inslee was the chief cheerleader of the largest corporate tax break in U.S. history, $8.7 billion to woo Boeing’s 777 plant” – https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/if-jay-inslee-runs-for-president-his-biggest-accomplishment-may-be-his-undoing/ (Danny Westneat)

Damn it Inslee, you were so close to not sucking!!! But you do, so…

Wayne Messam – Again, “Who?” Well according to the all knowing google he is the Mayor of Miramar, Florida. To be honest, unlike the others his record is relatively solid aside from championing for Hillary Clinton in 2016, but beyond that there is little controversy to him.

However something to be careful about is that he does own his own construction company. I live in a city where our city council and former mayor’s close ties to contractors have resulted in gentrification and atrocious development deals.

Out of all the no name candidates though, he is honestly the least problematic, which also kind of makes him the most boring candidate. Hell Messam, give us a sexist comment, a shitty investment, something to love/hate you for!!!

Seth Moultan – On the surface this guy is kind of awesome, he opposed relecting Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the house and he won his spot in the House by ousting an incumbent corporate democrat. He supports weed legalization, and he openly compares Donald Trump to Adolph Hitler. He has even called Nancy Pelosi out for her reluctance to impeach Trump. Moultan even identifies as a progressive and as a former Marine opposed returning troops to Iraq in 2014. However the level of pride Moultan has put into his own military record, 4 tours of duty in Iraq, is reason to give pause.

Tim Ryan – Now we are back to people who are genuinely terrible. Ryan had to be convinced to support abortion, calling it a “personal choice.” For thousands of women abortion is not merely a personal choice it is a medical neccesity. Anyone who is uncomfortable talking about abortion in a positive way in my opinion lacks basic understanding of medicine and biology. Also any man who has misgivings about abortion needs to shut the fuck up. Until human males carry the litter our only stance on abortion should be that it is legal, safe, but above all ACCESSIBLE!

I find it also disingenuious that he calls himself a pro union and pro labor candidate who thinks its good optics to say “You’re not going to get me to hate someone for being rich, I want to be rich.”

Excuse me while I vomit with annoyance and rage, again!

Eric Salwell – a former prosecutor, meaning he is an agent of the prison industrial complex, who is making a name for himself by going on to cable news networks and spewing Russiagate nonsense. Pardon me Eric, but I will literally die if I don’t get Medicare, so will millions of us. WE DO NOT CARE ABOUT RUSSIA! GIVE US HEALTH CARE AND ACCEPT THAT YOU LOST 2016 BECAUSE OF THE DNC’s SHITTY CANDIDATE.

Andrew Yang -Most people who support UBI only do so as an excuse to end all other welfare services. As a person who has survived only because of Medi-CAL let me just say, fuck that. Also do a little research into the “Yang Gang” and you might see why his base isn’t exactly something to be desired…

Moving on…

Joe Biden – Joe Biden is probably the worst person out of the entire list. Not just as a candidate but as a human being.

We already know that Biden doesn’t respect women’s personal space, add onto that his out of touch agism towards millennials, his horrible record on race, his moronic stances on marijuana (you can thank Biden for holding Obama back from legalization by the way) and the two little words his supporters hate to be reminded of, Anita Hill.

Put it all together and you have what can only be described as the most atrocious pile of unappealing since Walter Mondale. Mark my words, if Biden runs and gets the nomination he will be a Walter Mondale situation all over again for the democrats.

And lastly,

Marianne Williamson – I’ll be honest with you folks, I got nothing on her. Her activism is solid, she supports Warren and Sander’s stances, and she was an advocate for victims of the AIDS crisis when it was at its worst. Other than the fact she is a self help author and her obsession with the metaphysical, there really isn’t anything juicy to dig up on her.

Let’s be honest though, she doesn’t have a snowballs chance in hell.

Well here we are, after 20+ google searches here you have a conclusive list of how the other democratic nominees are either horrible people, or just flat out unelectable. I consider what I have done to be a public service.

Now can all of these candidates and there supporters just fuck off and give us the Sanders/Warren ticket we need! Why do so many no name hacks with no bold policy stances think they are the ones who can beat Trump!? WHY IS IT SO HARD FOR PEOPLE TO JUST READ THE FUCKING ROOM!? WE WANT BERNIE! END OF DISCUSSION!!!

What I Mean When I Say “Bernie isn’t perfect”

We have all heard it. Every Bernie supporter has said it at some point. Whether it be about his vote for FOFSTA or his near sighted comments about the border, every Berner has had to say these words at least once. “Bernie isn’t perfect.”

However something needs to be made clear, I am not giving Bernie a free pass on his shortcomings when I say that. Some of my fellow Bernie supporters are but that is a folly in my opinion. When I say “Bernie isn’t perfect” I am not saying we should ignore where Bernie needs improvement.

What I am saying is that his shortcomings are where we as a base need to build our own popular power. We can count on Bernie for certain material gains, but we can not count on him to solve all of our problems. It is not he who will change everything, it is us, the sullied and ignored masses. Bernie’s short comings are where we must organize the most, where we can strike where the iron is hottest.

I do not think Bernie is a saint, he has made several comments over the years that can only be responded to with a Captain Picard face palm meme. Nor do I think he is the patron saint of socialism, Bernie is definitely more of a social democrat than a democratic socialist. However I do think that his candidacy increases the odds we can answer some of the most immediate material needs of the modern day working class, the biggest being our need for healthcare. I think it can be said without much debate that Bernie has been solid on the medicare for all part of his platform as well as an increase in social services, meaning a Bernie presidency can be a catalyst for ending privatization. Yet there are several other issues such as his reinforcement of an imperialist dialogue and his lackluster stance on sex work.

Bernie’s comments on Venezuela and open borders are disappointing to say the least and his votes in favor of Sosta and Fofsta were genuinely damaging to the lives of sex workers. However, as Bernie himself states, this momentum that is becoming a genuinely left movement in the country is about us, not just him. Where Bernie falls short is where we, the socialists and the organizers, must step up.

Bernie’s stance on social services is solid, but his stance on sex work is vapid, it is therefore the duty of the left to assist the organization of sex works. I am not suggesting we step into their lives with a savior complex, no, we must build an environment where sex workers can organize themselves. It is the duty of leftists and labor organizers to foster self determination and democracy, and that can be achieved through genuine bottom up organization that we know will be forsaken by Bernie, not because of a lack of concern but because of alack of attention on his part. I do not think Bernie hates sex workers but I do think that he is focusing his energy where he knows he is most capable. The fact is no matter how much Bernie can help us make gains he cannot fix everything, no single person is able to do everything, period. While Bernie focuses on one avenue of material gains, so shall we focus our efforts wherever he falls short or wherever we cannot count on electoralism to give us a material win. It is there we will build communities and help others to build theirs. This is the ultimate truth of the inside/outside strategy. We must put equal energy to both the in and the out.

Another example of where we can build a genuine base is through international solidarity. I do not think we can count on an inherently imperialist office, I.E. the U.S. presidency, to be an agent of ending imperialism.

I do think that having a president like Bernie can increase the odds that our over blown military budgets will stop, but will he bring justice to the Indigenous? Will he account for our contributions to colonization? And how will he approach Venezuela, DPRK, or Cuba as president?

I have no doubt that Bernie will continue to disappoint with his international stance but I do think 1. His presidency would reduce the odds we will carry out constant, devastating interventionism and 2. His presidency would allow us to redirect the excessive funds received by the military into the social programs he wants to enact. Yet when it comes to solidarity, true solidarity with the working class in nations such as Syria, Palestine, or Venezuela, it is our duty to elevate the voices of those organizing for liberation.

Cliche though it is, I do agree with the sentiment that where there is crisis there is also opportunity. There are harsh realities to deal with when taking about Bernie’s candidacy. I acknowledge that FOFSTA and SESTA are not just policy talking points, we are talking about peoples lives. The same goes for the effects of American interventionism, this is not just a policy talking point, lives have been destroyed in Iraq, Libya, Palestine, Venezuela, and too many other nations to list.

We can depend on Bernie for increasing our odds of serious material gains, especially when it comes to healthcare, but we must still and always depend on ourselves to be the true agents of community and organization. Those efforts of community and organization must be directed where Bernie or public servants like Bernie fall short.

This is our duty no matter who is running or who is president. Where there are needs to be met, leftists must be there to foster community and organization and work to elevate the voices in the midst of the hardest part of that work. Sex work and internationalism are simply two places where we as leftists have a duty to work, as we have a duty to get medicare for all and college for all. When I say Bernie is not perfect, I am not saying we must forgive him or ignore those imperfections, I am saying that these shortcomings are arenas for genuine base building. When I say Bernie is not perfect, what I am really saying is, “We must never stop organizing.”

Cruel Reality, a poem for our times

Cruel Reality

A classic song screams out through my radio,

“We won’t get fooled again!”

Unless we don’t pay attention in history class,

Or worse, when we don’t bother to ask any questions.

Yet soft,

Do not let your words enable “deconstruction.”

Fight on weirdos, fight on freaks,

Fight on.

Stanza 2, the part where the poet keeps rambling,

Not this time.

My poems are no longer mine,

No longer for me,

No longer needing to be justified or validated.

Poetry itself is justified.

Does the president get it?

Of course not,

Evil is as evil does.

Evil has no humanity,

Do not appeal to where there is no court.

Why do so many legitimize evil

by doing nothing?

Denial, easy to do

when ICE or the B.I.A isn’t kidnapping your child

and beating up your grandmother.

Brainless professional bootlicks

and we give them badges and parades.

If they failed at high school football

why trust them with the law?

Cruel reality, not everyone is on your side.

Cruel reality, our lenses can be skewed

and skew our view.

Cruel reality, people are not always what they seem.

I could go on for days about this world’s cruel reality.

And I will.

I need to.

Cruel reality, an idea is an idea in of itself.

It’s all inane, but it’s all very interesting to.

Both?

Yes, and neither.

Confused yet?

Good. That’s step one.

The next is controlling

channelling

the inevitable frustrations.

Your microwave will kill you

faster than a diseased box

and the cops are bloodthirsty.

Long live reality T.V.

Max Headroom was no metaphor,

Tangent words begin again

reps and senators

Hot sex live 24/7

And the millionaires whine more about it than we do.

That’s nice but please sir,

Please master,

May I have some more?

No, well, can I have my life back?

No?

Can I at least live?

No.

Why are the puppies begging eyes

only effective when they are blue,

not brown?

Enjoy cable?

iPhones? Wifi?

And all the other masturbation aides?

Well, congrats jerks,

While you were hate tweeting about whatever it is,

Tyrone got shot,

Maria was deported,

And Mohamed is stuck in LAX.

Good luck replacing all three.

Flags make good cum catchers,

And even our soldiers are tired of being props,

Sick of being human flag poles.

Don’t use the used to justify you.

Facts to suit theories not theories to suit facts.

Have I limited myself?

Is grammar so important?

What do order and style

have anything to do with truth?

When did “MAGA” become “Zig HEIL!”?

It always was.

A big, round planet

that no empire could ever keep covered.

Caligula had to come sometime

but a horse in the senate would be fitting

since it is already full of jackasses.

Thank you good night!

You’ve been a great crowd!

Don’t forget to harass the waitress on your way out.

Cruel reality,

Integrity can fall short,

And supremacy hinders the so called “supreme.”

Cruel reality,

Proustian memories triggered not by a cookie, but a beer,

A familiar scene, my local pub and brew.

A dad trying,

A bored teen,

A hungry young sister,

Convinced she “isn’t hungry daddy!”

It is her standing rock, she will not be moved.

A sweet scene, tainted by the world it exists in.

Cruel reality,

Not everyone on the same side

is actually on the same side.

Cruel reality,

One man can destroy democracy.

One can always interfere,

But one can never stand in the way of truth.

Cruel reality for them,

The truth is always there,

And will always haunt them.

Cruel reality,

We can never be free from the haunt of memory.

Nation captive to nation,

The profit in pain.

Cruel reality,

Kids don’t care about the carbon-dated world

of colas and silver screen stars.

Should they?

A question for the philosophers, not the poets.

Cruel reality for the enemy,

Is that the game is a state of mind.

But the game ain’t saying nothing.

Today the masses say it,

Cruel reality for the enemy,

The eye of integrity,

Karma and big brother

Are on them like never before.

Cruel reality for the enemy, but we all got game.

Cruel reality, what is happening here

Is perfectly clear

And it always has been.

Cruel reality,

Racism is not just for the racists,

But even the “good” people.

Cruel reality for me,

Though frustration is real

The tedium of this world,

The pain and suffering

Is more real than ever today.

Cruel reality, that isn’t too cruel when you think about it,

But the time, the chance, to step back,

And give others a space, a time, a home.

Cruel reality, pretty blond pornstars

Have gone political,

And trust me when I say

It isn’t pretty.

Cruel reality.

Cruel reality.

Cruel reality.

Won’t someone pass me a pill

Since joints are a sin?

Pass me a pill so that I may sink

So that I can forget

So that I can ignore these days,

This era,

So that I can ignore

our cruel reality.

What Is Art’s Place In The Revolution? An Essay

I was in the midst of writing a new essay for this blog titled “What is Socialist Art?” which is going to be a review and response to Leon Trotsky’s Literature and Revolution. The book offers an incredible degree of insight into what the effects of class revolution can be on poetry, literature, and art. As I was beginning to write my essay another question arose, and the more I tried working on my original question the more this other question gnawed at the back of my mind. This question needs to be answered before I can properly answer my first one. The question “What is socialist art?” cannot be answered until we solve another riddle, “What is art’s place in the revolution?”

Since April is National Poetry Month and I think this is the perfect time to address this topic. I have written multiple poems about art and revolution and in conjunction with National Poetry Month they will be published here in the coming weeks. This article is my humble attempt to answer the question “What is art’s place in the revolution?” with the same socialist lens that Trotsky applied to poetry and painting in Literature and Revolution, my poems shall be the praxis form of my theory. It should also be noted that the terms Marxist, socialist, leftist, and communist are used interchangeably in this piece of dialectic, but enough jargon for one paragraph!

Art clearly does have a place in the revolution because revolution is nothing more than the overhaul of society, not the abolition of society itself but the abolition of the society as we have come to know it. Art, as most Marxists would interpret it, is a key historical reference used in our analyses to help us define the class relations of the society where that art was produced. Art is always a product of it’s time and place and therefore inevitably has a place in times of upheaval and revolt. Art has a place both in the overhaul of society and use as a reference when discussing or reflecting on that society or the progress towards that society.

Art in the time that Trotsky wrote Literature and Revolution was significantly more conservative than today. Literature and Revolution was written in the early 1920’s when “the arts” were understood to be theater, poetry and novels, painting and sculpture, and architecture. Film was just coming into it’s own as an artistic medium and the radio broadcasts which later evolved into television were just starting. Literature and Revolution was written almost a century ago, and within that century the number of mediums of art have exploded in addition to film and broadcast mediums. In addition to what we might call the “traditional arts” we now have graphic design, 3D printed sculpture, street art and graffiti, and an endless list of music genres or painting styles. This is a self evident aspect of art, for while it is a reflection of its time and place art itself evolves and grows on its own terms. The laws of art are different from other natural laws because of the difficulty, if not impossibility, of categorizing them completely. Art is its own entity and the explosive growth of artistic mediums in the last century reflects that.

So the question “What is art’s place in the revolution?” requires us to answer not just for a handful of artistic mediums, but an entire dimension in of itself. While we can study art through the Marxist theoretical lens, we can only understand it through the lens of art itself because art exists within it’s own natural laws. So within the context of looking at art through a socialist revolutionary lens and acknowledging that because art is so autonomous this list can in no way be totally conclusive, it can be argued that art has at least three places in the revolution. They are agitation, the fostering of democratic participation, and subversion.

Agitation

The whole point of agitation is to foster debate so that revolutionaries may educate the classes they seek to organize and inturn motivate into action. Art has always shown it has the power to foster debate and motivate people into action, for better or worse. There are several examples in history that record people getting into fist fights, even rioting in the streets, as a reaction to artistic endeavors.

Consider the composer Igor Stravinsky and the stories surrounding the debut of his ballet the “Rite of Spring.” While the accounts of the event vary in their details about the severity and violence that broke out, the overarching detail of all accounts is that there was a violent reaction to the performance by the audience. The ballet caused fights to break out when it premiered in Paris because of the divided audience reaction. You either loved or hated the performance and would fight to defend your view, there was no middle ground for the Parisian’s who attended the legendary performance.

By modern standards a fight over a ballet performance seems trivial and unlikely, but what the mythos of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring demonstrates is that art can foster massive reactions by the public, even to the point of violence. It also demonstrates the power that art has to foster debate and how far that debate will go.

One must also talk about the world’s most influential medium of art to come out of the century since Trotsky wrote Literature and Revolution , film. There are too many controversies surrounding film to list. There is the christian conservative reaction to Martin Scorcese’s The Passion of The Christ. There was ongoing debate in the christian community about how to properly follow and celebrate Jesus when The Passion of the Christ came out. There is the debate about casting diversity and exclusion of trans actors or non white actors for trans and poc roles. There is the ever growing list of actors, directors, and producers who have permanently fallen from grace in the public’s eye as the Me Too movement unfolds. The industry behind the medium of film is so forward facing that it inevitably fosters, and at times even guides, our public dialect. This was true when the Birth of a Nation was released and it is true today.

Allen Ginsberg’s obscenity trial for his public readings of his magnum opus “Howl” is another example of the incendiary nature of the arts. A poem going into vivid detail about drug addicts, poor black neighborhoods, and sexual perversion was shocking for all of America in the 1950s. After years of being ignored the arts gave the dark side of America a spotlight and the conservative capitalist establishment reacted to the poem with censorship and one of the world’s most historic indecency trials. Whether the message of the artistic piece is positive or negative does not effect the incendiary nature of art either way. People heard Ginsberg’s poem and reacted either with amazement or disgust, a sense of disgust which drove many in power to support a very vocal public trial. The trial and the debate about decency in art that came of it is yet another example of how art can and is utilized for agitation. If the capitalist class is so offended by your work that they arrest you for it, you have done something right.

While all of these examples differ in their messages and their politics, the reaction to these pieces are all the same. We see both excitement and anger from the audiences. We see people take action and we see people react to the actions thereof. We see people who are either shocked out of complacency and relieved because of it or they are shocked out of complacency and reactionary. This is the ultimate purpose of agitation. To shock people out of complacency and foster a space for debate, which in-turn fosters democratic participation.

To Foster democratic participation

From agitation we move on to the topic of democratic forums, an essential part of revolutionary organizing. Art allows platforms for people who might otherwise be oppressed or marginalized or flat out ignored by our inherent tendencies to erase certain people. What does this mean in the simplest of terms?

Well to put it plainly, some people might speak up for themselves more through poetry or painting than in democratic forums or dialectical conversations. Consider the popularity of poetry slams and open mic nights. There is also the ancient cultural arts we see being practiced by Indigenous communities, as well as African, Latin, and Asian ones, which are attempts to reclaim what had otherwise been a lost or colonized way of life. The reclamation of culture is a revolutionary act, and some would prefer to focus on reclaiming lost culture than sit through meetings to debate and vote on organizational matters.

Some people might just be more introverted and not confident in their abilities to speak up, often times a person will have an opinion on a topic but does not feel ready or comfortable sharing it in that setting. Where some people might not speak up at a meeting, for whatever reason, they might be likely to express themselves through the reviving of their culture or through a poem shared with other like minded poets.

You might be more likely to hear someone’s point of view at a poetry slam than at your committee meeting. You might see more of the Indigenous perspective in a Navajo sand painting than in a conversation about the Indigenous. You might learn more about the experience of being a person of color or an immigrant in a piece of street art than in a debate on a resolution.

These mediums of art and the perspectives they offer do not have to be stand alone, nor be separate from democratic action. These pieces of art and expressions of culture can foster further conversation. The conversation and perspective generated by people’s reactions to them can in-turn be channeled into our democratic organizations. Art’s place in the revolution includes the reclaiming of colonized cultures and creating avenues of self expression that cannot be achieved in procedural matters alone, socialists and the left need to make sure there is a place for this in our organizing. Art and expression of culture fosters thought, thought fosters conversation and debate, that debate needs to be apart of our overall democratic procedure to insure the widest participation possible.

In other words, art is good for democracy, period.

Subversion

In the realm of political subversion and art, no medium has been used more in the last 30 years than street art. Street art is a prime example of how subversive art can be a tool for revolutionary organizing.

It is impossible to visit an area that is both predominately poor and non white and not see a galleries worth of street art on at least one building. One sees murals to black leaders such as Malcom X, Angela Davis, Harriett Tubman, Cesar Chavez, Zapata, and Dr. King throughout the neighborhoods of Compton and East Los Angeles. We must also not forget the popularity of street artists such as Plastic Jesus, Blackhat, and the legendary Banksy all of whom to some degree or another are political and subversive. While these are contemporary street artists we must remember that graffiti is nothing new to political expressionism. Since the 1970s and 80s, artists such as Keith Herring and Basquiat were forcing the streets of New York to face tragic political realities with their messages about black lives or the AIDS epidemic. All of these are artists who either reject the bourgeoise galleries or who have been rejected by them still create and they create their art to be seen by the masses for the sake of educating people about the reality of oppression or expressing the pain that the artist has either witnessed or experienced due to that oppression.

Yet subversion in the arts is not exclusive to our modern mediums, it is nothing new to art. There is a rich history of subversion in the traditional arts as well. Consider Voltaire, he was ever the subversive with his tale Candide essentially serving as a farce about the standards and practices of the bourgeoisie of his time. If Voltaire had just come out and said “Fuck you, you greedy entitled mother fuckers!” he would have been killed. Instead he crafted a novel where a man wanders the Earth and finds cities that treat gold like we would a piece of scrap paper.

Another example of the power of subversion is the popularity of Boots Riley’s “Sorry to Bother YOu.” Riley does not simply come out and say, “Organize your workplace! Overthrow the capitalists!’ (save for his twitter account of course). What he did was create a film that is the equivalent of Get Out meets an Adult Swim show and the result is a pro union call to action not seen in film since Norma Rae. All of these examples are important things to consider as the capitalist establishment works to censor us and whip up another red scare.

The truth is that the more the left succeeds the harder our opposition will come down on us. Be aware my fellow comrades, a wave of sabotage and censorship is already coming our way. We are already seeing the ground work for a new red scare in the current administrations obsession with Venezuela, and on a personal note I have lost count of how many Trumpers have called me a “filthy communist.” The terrors of censorship are already beginning, let us not forget that TeleSur has already been deleted from Facebook multiple times without reason. Sex-workers have been deplatformed to the point where they are facing more violence than ever before. The Washington Post, the paper owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos, are releasing record breaking amounts of negative op-eds about Bernie Sanders much like they did in 2016. Make no mistake, the groundwork for the new censorship of the left and our base has already been laid out before us and it will only continue to grow until the capitalist class is defeated.

The more we succeed the more they will make moves against us. We will need to be creative about how we communicate our message of organization and revolution to the public. Arts, of all mediums and dimensions, from film to street art, allow us our avenues for subversion where we might otherwise be censored, ignored, or deleted.

Conclusion.

So, what is arts place in the revolution? Aside from elevating the voices of the colonized and the most oppressed classes by giving them avenues to reclaim culture, it can be a tool we use to agitate the public and shock them out of the complacency that capitalism brings. Art can foster democratic discussions that might otherwise be lost in the ether of ingrained social constructs or practices. Art gives us avenues to combat censorship and oppression, and more importantly allows us a forward facing avenue for presenting our message to the world. While we cannot make a conclusive list because of the never ending growth of artistic mediums what we can say is that art has a definite place in the revolution.

Perhaps now my original question, “What is socialist art?” will be a little easier to answer.