Writers Block, A Poem

No ideas, but all the motivation.

All the reasons to do it yet no reason at all.

Like a marathon, hitting a wall.

Just spit it out,

Put it on the page! Put it on the Page!

Forget if it makes sense, forget the grammar and spell checks.

Fuck making sense.

Just put it on the page,

Gibberish or garbage is better than nothing.

Just put something on the page.

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Reading A Book Alone In The Redwood Forrest, a poem

Reading a book alone in the Redwood Forrest

On the observational scale,

I do sit here in the redwoods in lotus pose,

with a copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

on a stack of logs next to me.

What is the catch?

Is that but the paranoid disillusionment

of the redneck hippies near by

just now learning that they aren’t the real rebels?

They are not heroes,

They can only dream of being such.

The true meaning of center,

of the power of human capability,

If only imagined,

that is all we are,

Then that is the best

and the worst

of our imaginations.

Electoralism and Reformism Are Not The Same Thing

Because one participates in organizing for electoral politics does not mean one has put all their faith in reform.

Some treat electoralism as a form of base building, and given the current political landscape it is the kind of base building that can reach the most people in the fastest way.

However, just because one is supporting a candidate or ballot measure does not mean they have put all their hopes in changing the system that way.

Reformists believe in changing the system from the inside.  Electoralists understand however understand that change is unlikely to happen from the outside without massive public pressure that is also rank and file.   Electoralists understand that elections can be used to base build and can chip away at the power of capital in one is both victorious and consistent after that victory. For example, a reactionary anti woman republican will have a much harder time gutting abortion rights or taking away welfare if he has to worry about losing his seat to a socialist, and when he loses his seat they must live with the reality that a socialist is now in office making policy decisions.

Of course, one cannot depend on that socialist in office alone to make all the right decisions, not without a huge base constantly putting pressure on them to do the right thing.

If that elected socialist demonstrates good practice they will push for policies that direct power away from capital and expand social services. The odds of them going full Lenin and leading us to a revolution are microscopically slim, but their base can now be called on to show up for strike solidarity and anti racist protests. They can be called on to pressure and bird-dog other elected officials to act on climate change.

This is not what reformists believe.  Pure reformists believe that we can count on elected officials to do their jobs once elected.  There is no room for an interest in base building for a revolution if one is counting on reform alone to liberate the working class.  Reformists only care about the bottom line, but electoralists know that they can use the base they have built from the campaign they have organized to build a genuine alternative to the capitalist system.

To reject electoralism because of a false equivalency to reformism hurts us more than it will help.

Plus, more elections should be what ever socialists push for. We need more elections, more mass participation, more things should be put to a public vote. The more we are voting the more we are in control of our communities. This is the goal of socialism and communism, democratic control over what affects our daily lives, that is going to mean lots of voting in lots of elections.

Another world is possible, but we need to get our practice in now. Until we have a mass movement behind us, we have no other choice than to build our base any way we can.

What Place Do The Artists Have in Revolution? A Poem

What Place Do The Artists Have in Revolution?

PRODUCE!

Must produce content!

For fame,

For a following,

Quite literally and painfully so,

thanks to the stench of both words.

To produce is to manufacture,

To manufacture is to produce.

The workers are the ones who produce,

So the artists,

the writers,

the creators,

we are the workers to.

We are a part of that thing called revolution,

And we must forgive Marx for forgetting us.

Artists!

Artists of the world, unite!

We have nothing to lose but our chains,

We have everything to gain

when we gain the freedom to create!

Undemocratic, A Word Not To Be Taken Lightly

As an active DSA member I hear this word all the time, almost as much as I hear the words “organizing” and “socialism.”  I think active leftists in all organizations can relate to this, but I think the attack of something being “undemocratic” is overused.

Now I am not suggesting in any way we not call out undemocratic behavior, what I am saying is we need to acknowledge that being called “undemocratic” is the heaviest attack you can lay against someone in an organization that is supposed to be democratic.  That is not something to take lightly.

Behavior that is genuinely undemocratic is something that an elected official does not have the authority to do or is an action that goes out of its way to side step democratic procedures.  That does not stop people from throwing the term around when a comrade does something that they simply do not agree with.

Most of the time what is called ‘undemocratic behavior’ is actually just people disagreeing with how something was done, or it is people letting personal differences effect their outlook on what is good for their organization. If we attack every single thing or person we disagree with as ‘undemocratic’ then the word will lose all meaning.  It will be a boy who called wolf situation, the moment we actually have to face the consequences of someone doing something undemocratic we will be ill prepared to handle it.

An action is only undemocratic if it goes out of its way to defy democratic principles, unless it is intentionally sidestepping the consent or consensus of the voting body, the odds are it was not “undemocratic.”

I am not saying hold your tongue when you see genuinely undemocratic behavior, all I am asking is that people remember that in organizations that pride themselves on democracy, it is not a term to be taken lightly.

Courage Is The Sweetest Lullaby, a poem

Courage Is The Sweetest Lullaby

Fear not your lions,

And constrain yourself

upon the unsightly sounds

of this date of sorrow.

Do but construct,

And constrain,

For the winter’s winds are but lost

by the summer sun.

The nymphs of the seasons

do hold their treasons so,

Be not the character of

perpetual woe.

Rains do pitch upon this sight,

Wish yourself well,

Wish yourself sweet goodnight.

Liberal Identity Politics Are Dehumanizing

Recently I saw an article in the Los Angeles Times that actually used the following phrase, “The coveted black women vote.”

Candidates like Kamala Harris or Liz Warren perpetuate toxic ID politics

Before I begin my tangent let me start by saying I am hesitant to even use the term “identity politics.” I feel that the term is used more often than not to silence the voices of women or people of color in leftist spaces when confronting the reality of what it means to be anti racist becomes uncomfortable. That said, I think that there is a staunch difference between liberal identity politics and leftist identity politics.

Leftists acknowledge intersectionality and use it to improve their analysis so that they may recruit and engage with more people in a more diverse way. Liberals use identity politics to tokenize, to excuse their own complacency in white supremacy, and most shallowly to get votes.

This is why I get infuriated when we talk about “the women vote” or “the black vote,” as if anyone who is not a white straight male in our society is of some bizarre kind of hive mind.

Pundits dehumanize LGBTQA+ people when they assume Buttigieg has their votes locked down simply because he is gay.

I hope everyone realizes that is what pundits and politicians are saying when they sayings like “the coveted black women vote.”

They are saying that oppressed groups of voters, such as black people, women, black women are nothing more than who they vote for president and what is worse is the dehumanizing idea that they will all vote for the same person for the same reasons.

When it comes down to discussing the “woman vote” or the “black vote” in the eyes of liberal and conservative pundits you are no longer a collection of individuals, each with your own stories and culture and background and reasoning. No, to them you are simply a part of a demographic, a thing to be used as fodder for politicians and talking heads alike.

They are fucking insulting you and reducing you to an infantile point. We should not stand for this.