An Open Letter to the “Anarchists” Who Voted for Obama

In a future revolutionary period, the most subtle and most dangerous defenders of capitalism will not be the people shouting pro-capitalist and pro-statist slogans, but those who have understood the possible point of a total rupture. Far from eulogizing TV commercials and social submission, they will propose to change life… but, to that end, call for building a true democratic power first. If they succeed in dominating the situation, the creation of this new political form will use up people’s energy, fritter away radical aspirations and, with the means becoming the end, will once again turn revolution into an ideology. Against them, and of course against overtly capitalist reaction, the proletarians’ only path to success will be the multiplication of concrete communist initiatives, which will naturally often be denounced as anti-democratic or even as.. “fascist”. The struggle to establish places and moments for deliberation and decision, making possible the autonomy of the movement, will prove inseparable from practical measures aimed at changing life.
-Gilles Dauvé: When Insurrections Die (Part 2)

Beloved and respected friends and comrades,

I’ve been putting this off for a little while, because it pertains to those who I “know” only digitally, and those of you whom I know and care for, which is little different than my normal motives for procrastinating. I’m also having difficulty coming to any kind of conclusive conclusion. Sometimes I feel like that straight-edge teen I used to be. The one who had to ignore my friend’s personal habits, if I wanted the friends I had. I’ve since exchanged abstinence for abstention, but the moral highlands get lonely. We all have moments, every day, when our words and actions are not explicitly anarchist ones. That’s no real contradiction. Theory’s theory,  and reality is reality. I lack the formal education to decide at what point (or which actions) we rack up enough ‘un-anarchist’ points to get the discount on gas or free coffee or purged from the Movement.

The recent US national election saw many of you anarchists (outside of the title, I’ll refrain from using quotation marks or “self-described” out of respect) publicly endorse and proudly vote for Barack Obama. I was unaware of the existence of modern anarchists in the US in August of 1999, but when I look back, I can find no evidence of any radical fanfare when Franklin Raines became CEO of Fannie Mae.

Looking back, It seems that anarchist involvement in US political conventions seems to be a baby-boomer contribution. I’m unaware of any anarchist actions at the political party conventions before 1968. Other than the tactical lack of Republican mobs in the street, we seem to harbor a soft spot for the Democrats. Maybe later we can figure that one out and we can also discuss why we even protest the political conventions?

This election, many people who identify as anarchists, saw no contradiction in voting. Some of you weren’t even the “hold your nose and vote” types. Some anarchists seem  proud of themselves, their country, and their candidate, for the moment, but that’s a moment too long. The reasons you gave us were pretty much the same reasons that people who vote democratic tend to give, plus some debatable notions that democratic administrations allow room for social movements to flourish (like they’re mountain lions) and murky stuff about solidarity. Which you may remember is the flipside of my past endorsements of “the worse of two evils”, because “an increase in open repression, privation, and alienation would push our beloved homogeneous masses to open mutiny” and that “republican policies can hasten the end of US empire quicker than the democrats can”. But I was less than half-serious and never actually went through with it. I didn’t have much internet access before the election, so I was unaware of this backslide into electoral superstition.

The  memory escapes me, but I am unaware of democrats nurturing radical social movements, I remember many armed right wing, “partiot”  groups, who are in favor of Jesus, if they don’t consider themselves Jesus. This time around, they can protect us from the UN and the Federal Reserve and al Qaeda in Idaho.  Dubya just didn’t deploy the black helicopters like Clinton did. Conspiracy kingpin, Alex Jones, should be able to afford an island soon. This is good news for the State security apparatus, because the similarities in views, structure, goals, and appearance between the FBI and the theocratic militias is much easier than these years of tormenting Muslims.

Anarchist voters also had to be pretty certain that Obama would govern from the center-right, in the manner expected of a modern US president, because if he was the “marxist” that right-wing radio still maintain he his, the repression against anarchists would likely be swift and brutal, if the 20th century is any indicator. The 21st century hasn’t proven to be much better.

Some of us knew that the campus radicals were easy prey for the democrats. The rise in anarchist votes in the last two elections seems to be reflective of the recent increase in youth turnout, overall, but many comrades who should have known better, “signed their social contract” last week. It’s not hard to see where material conditions become more of a concern as the acceptable age for youthful rebellion in the US is left behind. Add a few kids to that mix, and anything that has an outside chance to make material conditions even slightly less miserable must seem like a real good idea. Besides, who doesn’t crave some legitimacy every now and again and the pressure exerted by the people around you can be great? I also have the luxury of not being canvassed all day by co-workers.

I think that many of the anarchists who are concerned with building a mass movement of some sort, may have been more susceptible to voting. It’s likely some anti-authoritarians wanted to be on the winning team for a change, because there was that kind of group energy and momentum swirling around the Obama campaign, if you were willing to ignore the structure and aims. The business unions may have made voters out of some the anarchists who are there to radicalize the union. Which is telling, as far as the notion of changing the system from within is concerned, as if that one needed another debunking.

We tend to run with a pretty iconoclastic bunch, so it’s easy to forget, but hard to discount the effect that endorsements by some of the leading lights of mainstream anti-authoritarian academia must had. Bill Ayers probably gave Obama some radical credibility. Or was it radical chic? The republicans simply couldn’t grasp the political reality that people like Ayers are big-money liberal fund-raising props, like their wounded troops and police widows. Liberals love proxy violence and armed-struggle; so long as it is from another time or place, as sure as conservatives love US military and police violence. Zapatistas and Sandinistas and aging bombers are venerated money magnets, but break a window at a present day demo or hit a nazi with a stick and their American Exceptionalism is triggered. They’re incensed.

Like christmas, it’s not easy to avoid being sucked into the campaign reality grid, considering the resources expended on sucking us in. Avoiding Obama’s gravitational pull wasn’t easy, either. I guess even I’d seem pretty attractive if I spent $650 million of someone elses money to do so. I love politics as a spectator sport, though and this cycle was particularly entertaining, but I still don’t have a favorite team. Having lived through seven presidents, it wasn’t hard to figure out that the pendulum would favor a democrat this time around. McCain’s dementia-influenced health care plan which I sill can’t comprehend, was a far cry from the Wall Street sanctioned Obama proposal. When the reality that capitalism is just a game we all agree to play wounded the markets, there was no way Obama could lose. It was almost shocking to be reminded that the democrats were ever skilled at the game of elections.

US elections have also proven to be of extra dubious legitimacy lately, and electronic touchscreens have done little to make the results seem more valid. The participation of people I care about does nothing validate that process for me either. The fraud, intimidation, disenfranchisement, and other irregularities make the powerball seem like a better idea.

Does anyone really believe that the aircraft carrier of State can make a quick 180 degree turn, no matter how cool the captain seems? That’s why there are so many bizarre laws still left on the books, it’s not easy to put these things back into the box, Pandora. The State ensures its existence by passing laws, not repealing them. The issues that separate the US parties are meant to stay unresolved, or all they have to differ on is semantics and the parties would go out of business. Abortion & firearms seem to be the defining ones, and both are here to stay. The need to be armed and voluntary eugenics will never go out of style, as long as this system exists. The firearms manufacturers love democratic presidents, who become amazing gun salesmen through hysteria generated by lobbyists and pundits. Dubya was quite the Planned Parenthood fundraiser. Issues that unite the parties include; staying in Iraq, also known as supporting the troops, and as much surveillance as is technologically and near-economically feasible, which is pretty much just not mentioned by politicians or the media, at all. Obama, as you may recall is a-ok with domestic suveillance, and the “War on Terror®” is the replacement for the cold war. I don’t know which of the “changes” you “believed in” but they apparently weren’t in white house staffers, since 37 of the 41 appointed so far were ex-Clinton lackies. Can we look forward to more “workfare”, humanitarian airstrikes, and extra cops, fresh back from Iraq? Elected democrats are often called upon to prove how ‘tough’ they are on certain issues, typically these are mostly things like “Crime”, “Communism/Terrorism,most-isms”, “Drugs” and ocassionally “Poverty” or “Illiteracy”. The last two aren’t as much a priority, because they seldom involve explosions.

I can’t pretend to begin to have anything even resembling a clue, as far as how many of us the US consider themselves to be anarchists. I’d prefer to be wrong, but it can’t be too many. There’s probably a bigger Fiero owners club. In fact, I doubt that if every anti-authoritarian moved to a sparsely populated US state; all of us put together would not be enough to change the outcome of a US election. The math is what makes any argument for voting moot. I thought we knew our votes didn’t count? Had former 1960’s bomber John McCain won the election would that have jogged your collective memories? Would so many have admitted to voting? The folks who took a sabbatical from practicing anarchist theory and voted were not even a factor. Had you all remained proper abstentionists, like a big chunk of the population who don’t consider themselves anarchists, I wouldn’t be wasting a week on this one post.

Once again, it made little difference to the election whether anarchists participated or not, so I guess it shouldn’t matter to me?  I don’t know why I feel a little betrayed, though. Maybe it’s just knowledge of the loss of a shared affinity? After the passage of a little time, I have to question the election as a great historical event. Whites in the US have accepted Tiger Woods as the greatest at an activity that brown-skinned people have traditionally had sense enough to avoid, like skydiving. For 35 years I’ve listened to the blue-collar bigots in my family and neighborhood profess their admiration for Muhammad Ali, a physically dangerous black man with legitimately radical views, who practiced Islam.  As long as our celebreties are attractive enough, race can be easily overlooked.

I guess I didn’t campaign too vigorously against this election, out of guilt, which I imagine is what led you to endorse, campaign, and vote for Obama, and why you are still proud of your vote.

Parts of this will be addressed later, but something had to be said.

Love,

yinsurgent

Rascists Heart Ron Paul

You’re probably familiar with Ron Paul’s glassy-eyed campus stoners and tin-foil helmet conspiracy nuts who make up his core support. Apparently his message also speaks to the meth-cooks, child rapists, and kiddie porn ehthusiasts who like to play dress up funny cub scout uniforms, with cancer patient hairdos. They showed up in full force (which for them is a half-dozen) to show their support for their “Great White Hope” in Philadelphia last week. They seem to be pretty proud of themselves for it too.

Here are some screen shots that were posted on DC indymedia which show the financial and moral support that Ron Paul is receiving from the Daisy David Dukes and stormfront boneheads of the world:

just_a_little_stormfront.png

just_a_little_david_duke.png

An Open Letter to the “Astroturf” Drink Tax Foes-Retracted

Due to a hasty skimming of a Pittsburgh Tribune Review article, the YT had carelessly and incorrectly associated FACT, with the DC lobbying firm, the American Beverage Institute. They are apparently waging separate campaigns against the proposed drink tax. Despite the fact that the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association, the primary source of FACT’s funding(as in single largest contributor), is affiliated with ABI, that does not constitute a direct link.

Dear Friends Against Counterproductive Taxation (FACT),

As a former restaurant employee, who has done eleven years hard time, primarily in mom-and-pop or local chain establishments (including some who are involved with FACT), I’m well aware of the difficult nature of that industry. You may also be aware that it is financially much more difficult for eateries that don’t have the State’s consent to sell alcohol, with its hefty mark-up. I’m not sure how the County’s other purveyors of alcohol are faring, but it’s absurd for any of the men who make up FACT’s board of directors to cry indigent or that their particular alcohol centered businesses will be drastically affected by the proposed 10% levy.

Do you worry about corporate chains running you out of business? Personally, if I were you, I’d be more worried about them than any drink tax or even the costs of fair treatment of the people whose labor you profit from. Do you think that being installed as an astroturf (a fake grassroots organization, created by lobbyists and PR firms that is meant to appear local and spontaneous) group for lobbyist Rick Berman, whose American Beverage Institute is the brains and bankroll behind your FACT group and the stopdrinktax.com website, could have some undesirable long-term consequences? Do you think Mr. Berman is more concerned with his Allegheny County pawns, who put the petty in petit bourgeois or his other clients, which include:

American Restaurant Group, Anheuser-Busch, Arby’s, Brinker International, Burger King, Carson Restaurants Worldwide, Chili’s, Chi-Chi’s, Cracker Barrel, El Torito, Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association, Hard Rock Café, Hooters of America, Inc., Houston’s Restaurants, International House of Pancakes, Jack-in-the-Box, KKR Enterprises, Luby’s, Marie Callender Pie Shops, Marriott Corp., Metromedia Restaurant Group, Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, Panda Management Company, Perkins Family Restaurants, Rare Hospitality International, Red Lobster, Shoney’s, Sizzler, Steak & Ale, TGI Friday’s, Uno, Vicorp Restaurants, Wendy’s and more than I cared to copy and paste, but none of those omitted were local brewpubs. Seems like Stockholm syndrome or just little suicidal to me.

Granted you must be thrilled with some of Mr. Berman’s other work with front groups such as the Employment Policies Institute, which does all it can to keep the minimum wage as low as possible, the anti-worker Center for Union Facts, but not for you, for his big clients. Berman and Co. have even set up a group called Activist Cash, which seeks to discredit any organized opposition to their clients interests by painting them as recipients of dirty money or most ironically as front groups, like FACT and all the other Berman constructs.
The Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAT) obviously doesn’t spend it’s money wisely, as the first priority of any bureaucracy is to ensure it’s own continued existence; the agency’s stated function is secondary. Contrary to what the media would have you believe, wages and benefits are not the problem, silly underwater tunnels that lead to casinos and management bonuses are the problem. Unlike yourself, I truly believe that bus drivers, as well as all working people, including those who make you fat, deserve a decent material standard of living.

Given the vast sums of public money that is spent locally to militarize law enforcement and on handouts to corporate parasites, I agree that the poured-drink tax wouldn’t have been my first choice, but at the end of the day, I’m more concerned with public transit than your profits. Nothing personal. You shouldn’t be shocked that I’m concerned with the interests of my social class, the same as you are concerned with yours. Life’s tough, just like you tell your employees if they need a weekend off.

However, your affluence comes with a high social cost and I’m not referring to the obvious things like drunk driving and heart disease and agribusiness. There are enough paid expert witnesses and politicians and activist-types to deal with that. I’m talking about the compensation and general treatment of the people who work themselves to death, so you don’t have to. Most of you only pay your waitstaff $2.83 an hour, because you can legally get away with it, and few if any of you offer any type of benefits to non-management. I’m talking about health insurance, not a 20% discount while they are at work. I wonder how many of your employees are forced to apply for medical assistance and how many of them fall through the cracks because “they earn too much”? Your exploitation of working people creates a burden on what passes for a “social safety net” in the US.

Your establishments are unsafe for the people who work there, physically and mentally. You pit workers against one another as another means of control, beyond your cameras and ID numbers and magnetic cards. Your schedules are erratic and subject to change at moment’s notice, and posted at the last possible moment, sometimes a day or two after it is already in effect. The hours are bad and it is hard to have much of a life when a shift typically starts in the afternoon and ends late at night. People who work in food service often carry on their social life while on the job which can lead to a hostile environment with all the near incestuous mating, dating and breaking up. Sexual harassment is so prevalent it often goes unnoticed, as there is nothing to contrast it with.

You also have a drinking and substance abuse problem. Not you personally, well, not all of you anyway. The industry, especially the trendy establishments, seem to favor a certain kind of lecherous, pretentious, Trustafarian, with a fondness for Peruvian marching powder, as the ideal candidate for management. You’ll turn a blind eye to all the open consumption of alcohol and other less socially acceptable inebriates, because you know if they sobered up, they’d never come back for more abuse from you and your customers. The police and courts are more than happy to deal with uninsured people who are having a substance abuse problem, by locking them up, since your industry’s aversion to employee benefits turns their medical issue into a moral/legal one. At least it’s one industry that has never really taken up the disturbing practice of urine testing.

I’m aware that you feel there is already too much State interference in your privileged existence as a business owner, but remember, like the lobbyists you are in bed with, the State is no more concerned about your continued financial well being as you are about a worker’s, and would love to replace all of your establishments with corporate chains. When that day comes, remember, you had a hand in your own undoing.

Sincerely,

Arson Daily

PS-Apparently alot of people aren’t fooled by this, since their online petition only had 4510 “signatures” as of 10:15 am 11/16/07

Recommended Reading:

Abolish Restaurants from prole.info

Protected: “…Some Pigs Are More Equal than Others”

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When FEMA Questions Your Competence…

I still can’t decide what’s worse; a surveillance vehicle to protect us from the encroaching Saracen hordes or using it to tailgate at a Toby Keith concert. Fortunately I try to avoid setting up these kinds of moral hierarchies.

The City received the bureaucratic equivalent of parenting advice from Britney Spears or dog training tips from Mike Vick,
in the form of FEMA, pretending that it will cut off Fatherland Homeland Security funding.
If Pittsburgh ends up out of the loop that allows military contractors to collect payola from municipal governments, we may as well all just memorize the Shahadah.

Liberal Media Alert: Those pinkos at the New York Times stated that Luke and the Missus used the Yukon, revising the ugly reality of his “tailgating with the boys”. They corrected some other minor factual errors, in the article, but those nattering nabobs of negativism, let it seem as if Our First Couple were spending a quiet evening together, instead of the regionally embarrassing truth.

When the “Angry Inch” Takes a Mile

I don’t hate your SUV, I just don’t understand your obsession with these big plastic boxes. I understand why Crusaders, farmers, park rangers, professional flea marketeers, and even soccer moms need such a vehicle. The “U” is for utility, and it’s not hard to wrap your brain around that. It’s the “S” that loses me. What “sport” are you using that thing for? Not that I don’t doubt that the IOC would make gas burning or freestyle parallel parking into Olympic events. Personally, I’d rather see them used for polo or buzkashi.

Or does “sport” refer to the officially sanctioned outlet for homoeroticism, where there is nothing “abnormal” about spending hours watching and adulating sweaty musclebound millionaires grapple for cash and prizes? I guess we’ll never know.

Something else we may never know, is whether these big plastic boxes are a way for males who are insecure about the dimensions of their generative organs to be able to look at themselves in the rear-view mirror. Sure, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but the SUV as strap-on which uses seatbelts, is an easy explanation for fanaticism which surrounds these vehicles. Some guys seem ready to kill or die for their canary yellow “Hummer”. Others will jeopardize their public reputations and careers for these five-figure vibrators.

Two such obsessives are Pittsburgh Mayor, Luke Ravenstahl, and Miami Police Chief, John Timoney both who have recently come under scrutiny for their irrational behaviors about playing with trucks.

Ravenstahl, used a vehicle that was bought with Homeland Security funds, to tailgate with friends, at what appears to be a mandatory field trip for City employees. I don’t know if Lukey actually lives at his North Side address, but since he grew up in the suburbs(unless Reserve Twp. is in the City), his Toby Keith fandom is a little more plausible. A City cop was almost disciplined for blowing the whistle on him. It’s serious when the spectre of police accountability is raised. Local religious judge Mullah Marybeth Buchanan has even promised to put her best agents on the case. Luke’s even invoking GW-style executive privilege in the name of “Homeland Security” (fatherland was already taken) on this one. Is this a variant of the RV from Stripes?

Size (and likely age) seem to matter to repression celebrity, police chief, and father of bumbling drug addicts and dealers, John Timoney, whose latest victims are in Miami. Timoney accepted the use of a free Lexus SUV with dealer tags, for more than a year, before buying it for $54,000. Maybe it’s just healthy hatred for the boss, but even his own officers held a symbolic (but aren’t they all?) vote of no confidence in T-$, as they apparently refer to him in Miami.

I don’t know why these two are willing to jeopardize their reputations and careers to play trucks. Only their wives and mistresses know for sure

Confront Nickel & Dime War Profiteers in Your Neighborhood

Sometimes it’s hard to find a place to rent. There are any number of reason used by landlords and property managers to exclude you from shelter. They don’t need a reason.

Perhaps another worthwhile strategy that could be explored by counter-recruiters is to make the recruiters themselves homeless? Maybe the pickets and other activities could be directed at the individuals and corporate persons who are willing to rent to child predators? Landlords are quick to declare an individual a “bad tenant” and if terrorist recruiters who prey on children aren’t bad enough, I don’t know who is.

We have some tools at our disposal in Allegheny County, where Pittsburgh is located. The obvious one is the Property Tax Assessment search page. Check to see if your community has one. Here, you can type in the address of a property and find out who owns it.

For this example, we will be using the Marine Corps Officer Programs Recruitment Station, located at 5837 Ellsworth Avenue. This was the site of the unprovoked attack against a POG picket by Pittsburgh Police Sgt. William Vollberg.

The property tax assessment lists the owner as one “Shadyside Plaza Associates” and that their tax bill is mailed to 241 Spahr Street, which is owned by Richard Brourman and Maria Barnette.

The local paper reveals that Mr. Brourman and his mother, Bernice were scamming people left and right, through bad home improvement schemes. When you enter Mr. Brourman’s name into a search engine the first search result is for “Mortgage Fraud News” which describes the settlement that the Brourman crime family and some other flim-flammers arrived at with the state attorney general.

Bernice and her baby, Richard, were ripping people off under the name Iron City Builders, which has received the “corporate death penalty”, prohibiting them from doing business, which did little more than to force them to commit their crimes under a new name. It’s no surprise that they’d be involved in other despicable activities such as renting to military recruiters.

Had Mama and Baby Brourman not been able to settle out of court for a six-figure sum, it would be a criminal offense, and recorded on PA’s online docket sheets , which allow you to view criminal complaints from the Commonwealth, but that’s not a concern for rich folks.

Perhaps Mr. Brourman’s other tenants should find out who they are renting from?

The Forbes Avenue recruiting station, that will be the site of POG’s next publicly announced action is owned by Oakland Real Estate located at 216 Oakland Avenue, right around the corner from the station. Might not be a bad place for a picket?


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