2017: The Year We Peed A Little
From Dr. Bones: “We kept thinking we were in 1917 Russia, or early 30’s Spain. We were wrong. 2017 showed us we’ve been in Berlin the whole goddamned time.”
Editor’s Note: With the onset of Christmas the entire Gods & Radicals staff braced themselves for what would no doubt be a torrent of drunk phone calls and text messages from Dr. Bones. What we didn’t expect was an article. Dr. Bones, over a series of 60 emails all entitled “Merry Christmas you filthy animals,” submitted the following article in a series of broken sentences and unconnected paragraphs. Some even appeared to be a shopping list for human bones and part of a powerpoint presentation entitled “The Ouija Boards and Guns For Kids Foundation.” One email was simply the letter “z” for six whole paragraphs, as if he’d fallen asleep.
We pressed Dr. Bones repeatedly in the hopes that his disconnected rambling could be formed into a coherent review of 2017. Dr. Bones met every attempt at clarification with youtube videos ranging from 90’s gangster rap to how-to videos on Tai Chi. The emails only stopped when Dr. Bones made clear “he was tapping into the good stuff” and planned on “raising hell until the liquor stores opened at 7am.”
We have been unable to get into contact with him since 6:30am and hope he has passed out. If he hasn’t we implore the people of Florida to lock their doors, arm themselves, and pray to whatever deities they favor because a madman more liquor than human being is roving the streets, armed to the teeth and (according to one email) “putting human feces in the gas tank of anybody with a ‘Blue Lives Matter’ bumpersticker.”
On second thought we wish him the best. We present the following article while acknowledging it has been heavily edited for clarity.
“Throw your soldiers into positions whence there is no escape and they will prefer death to flight.” – WW1 Officer’s Manual
Christmas day, 1837. Nearly 800 soldiers sweating buckets assemble in a hammock, oak trees and palmettos so dense it makes the humidity unbearable. In front of them lies a swamp about half a mile long with razor-sharp saw grass nearly five feet high. Water and mud are nearly 3 feet deep. On the other edge of the swamp, unseen, lay a small band of Seminoles numbering about 400. It is the second Seminole War and the American government is intent on eradicating any evidence that Florida was home to an Afro-indigenous confederation we know today as the Seminoles.
By now the war had completely devastated the peninsula. Free black towns that had existed for close to a century had all been destroyed; pro-white Creeks and vicious Settlers has seized every morsel of food and either killed of shackled any human they could find. Andrew Jackson, a future American president, had described the multiple campaigns as a “savage and negro war,” making it clear from the beginning the war was one totally devoted to racial hatred.
It had been a long time coming. George Washington had written the need for such a slaughter, Thomas Jefferson had obsessed over it. It was believed that as long as Black and Seminole communities existed there would always be a danger of wide-spread slave revolt; Florida was so detrimental to white supremacy it would go so far as to literally shape its political boundaries.
Which brings us to where we left off. The assembled Americans, simultaneously celebrating the belief in “goodwill toward men” and the wide-spread rape of the human soul stood ready to commit acts unimaginable. They outnumbered the Seminoles two-to-one. They regarded their adversaries as savages and not worth the mercy they might extend white-skinned troops. Colonel Zachary Taylor, who was in command, decided that his contemptible enemy should be hit with a direct attack rather than encircled. Victory seemed god-given; over the course of the war they had desecrated sacred burial grounds, forced children to march barefoot to deserted lands out west, and even arrested Seminole leaders when they came to speak peace under a white flag of truce. They regarded the Seminoles as less than human, cunning perhaps but no match for the civilizational brains of the all-powerful white man. No mercy, no treaty; nothing less than genocide and ethnic cleansing would suffice as victory.
Here in 2017 I can’t help but think our enemies thought the same of us.
It is Christmas night and I am drunk at the desk again, splattered vision and an unshakable desire to tell stories combining in a mad dash to meet a Gods & Radicals deadline. Candles doused in nutmeg burn beside me, filling my aura with the sickeningly sweet vibrations of luck. It’s on that candle I’m pinning my hopes of writing anything coherent. Jesus, I think I’ve actually fallen out of this chair a few times. Between pecan whiskey, utility beer, and an unknown quantity of rum I’m having trouble seeing straight but it’s producing a wonderful effect in my mind.
Makes me think of times prior, yesteryears and former days, sunsets passed into oblivion and memories not wholly mine. Where have we been? Where are we going? We look to narratives to provide some sense of the world, a careening path of created meaning forming the highway on which we ride.
So, what is the story of 2017? If a small child or perhaps an elf from another dimension asked what would I say? Let’s open the mind to the world of symbols and see what lurks in the liver…
2017 was the year America finally came into itself and stopped pretending it was anything less than a barbarian kingdom hell-bent on blood and power. All the camouflage has finally been dropped; so little do we give a shit the old and dependable cumrags we usually clean up with, “truth” or “freedom” or whatever else happens to be playing in movie theaters, have all gone out the window. There is nothing left but pride in unspeakable slaughters we’ve hailed as great victories. “Make America Great Again,” that was the cry, a raging dog-whistle to every two-bit lowlife with nothing but a rag on a pole to love that former glories would be returned. Eagerly the masses heard the gospel of “Law and Order”: Whites would run things again, blacks would know their place, women would quietly accept the esteemed status of fetus factories and dishwashing machines. All of this topped by the sparkling jewel of a foreign policy so imperialist that it is said The Queen of England has actually grown jealous.
The American people stood up and cheered on a hateful racist who bragged about assaulting women and praised China’s response to Tienanmen square. What’s so insane about the whole goddamned thing is Trump was hand-selected as an opponent by the Democrats.
One for the history books: a self-assured candidate so sure she was going to win she picked the most apeshit opponent to compete against, confident that nobody would ever vote in a walking 4chan meme as president.
2017 was a funeral in a way. There is a sense, everywhere, that something has been broken. The jokes stopped being funny about mid January. It was then the smug laughs died away. We all found out this man was serious in ways we’re still comprehending.
It’s hard to imagine but there was a time the piss started dribbling around our legs. While the liberals desperately hold on to the belief that Trump will be impeached and everything will go back to “normal” the majority of the country knows there is no going back.
This is not a country two steps away from becoming Finland. This is not a country that has high-minded ideals or somehow has a special destiny making it immune to the ever-present allure that world power yields.
We kept thinking we were in 1917 Russia, or early 30’s Spain.
We were wrong. 2017 showed us we’ve been in Berlin the whole goddamned time.
The field has changed. Most people know we aren’t playing pretend anymore. It isn’t a revolution coming. Nor a resistance. It’s a civil war.
The United States cannot de-escalate, nor do any of the parties involved even want to. 2017 is the tip of the iceberg. The trenches are being dug, and while the bullets have momentarily stopped flying you can bet everyone is reloading.
Or maybe it’s slow motion, a simmering conflict continually fought in back alleys and street corners and the occasional mass shooting.
2017 came and made everything real. People woke up. Future generations will struggle to understand the inane verbal sparring matches that passed as revolutionary action prior to this year. When Trump arrived we knew we needed to protect ourselves. In Charlottesville it all came to a head.
But first more about that battle. Let me just pour myself a drink here…
You see what the Americans didn’t know is that the Seminoles had planned on a certain level of dickish confidence. They had cut down the sawgrass in certain areas to make for easier shots, even notched trees to serve as posts for their rifles. Above the Americans were Seminole scouts, silently watching every move. They allowed the first batch of Americans to march directly into the swamp, 132 militia men from the horseshit state of Missouri.
The fascists in our time committed a great tactical error: they overestimated their appeal. After riots at Berkeley and street fights here and there they thought they could effectively take on a town. They assumed Leftists were all talk, unworthy dregs needing coddling and quick to be exterminated. How wrong they were.
“That town has been under siege for months and no one gets it,” said one eyewitness to me in an email. “The entire summer was defined by groups of Nazis intimidating locals and stalking anyone who opposed them. It’s close enough to their bases (and they have enough support in the area) that they were able to have a presence whenever they wanted. The local gov didn’t do shit, the cops didn’t do shit, so it was up to people from there and nearby towns to be on call constantly to show up for emergencies. We knew roughly how big A12 would be by early July (so did the fucking pigs). A12 itself was several hours of straight up streetfighting, the video from the park is only part of it.
The crowd that was hit by the car was returning from a nearby housing project. The residents, who are primarily black and brown, had just run a group of Nazis off who tried to attack their community. We got word and rushed a big group down there to back them up. By the time we got there the Nazis had run and there were kids masked up with hunting bows standing watch along the fence. I can’t describe the high we were running on at that point. It was this moment of absolute pure love and adrenaline, that is why he ran that car into that crowd. Because they had been humiliated in a dozen fights around the area including by black and brown teenagers. “
Politics had gotten physical. Two sides had met in battle and blood had been spilled. People died. Bones were crushed. This is the psychic anchor for the entire year.
That kind of shock can be a lot to deal with, but I can’t say the radicals of our time and place haven’t risen to the challenge. I see it in the eyes. In the darkness there. The same pain that you watch in a soldier’s fight for her living comrades as she leaves another’s body behind. When I see Maoists discuss rifle rounds with Anarchists I know something has changed. 2016 was a year where we wrote about the difficulties of simply engaging one another. Today Americans are posting on Insurrection News, the same site the most hard-core of European insurrectionists use to report bomb attacks.
We are officially light years ahead of where we were last year. Plenty more to be done but… fuck. We should be proud of that. You should, you reading this. To every one of you beautiful motherfuckers that were out in the streets or doing some avenue of direct action, to you the future belongs.
Make no mistake: 2017 was THE vital year for American radicalism. Not only have we survived but we’ve come out smarter. In one fell swoop we understood that maybe the country wasn’t quite as liberal as we’d all been led to believe. Maybe we weren’t just a few sound arguments from converting the entire world to our particular pet project. For some that knowledge inspired even greater attempts to band-aid everything. Fearful of the teeth and fur growing on the body politic they believed if they just covered up the moon, maybe hid it from our view, we’d stop becoming werewolves.
But most of us are walking into 2018 wide awake and getting ready. We are not filled with fear and ignorance like we were this time last year. We have seen the enemy, understood exactly what future they have in store for us. The cops execute people on camera and the courts deport families that have been here for years. We know what the score is.
And so did the Seminoles. Before they fired one can only imagine what they knew. That behind them lay friends and family that would suffer fates worse than death if they couldn’t hold their courage. They were pushed to the edge and fought like they were out for blood.
Because they had no choice. That’s what war is, death or victory. Somebody is going to win and somebody has got to lose. The Americans had to be broken at the Battle of Lake Okeechobee or the Seminoles would be driven to the sea and exterminated.
The first volley took the Americans by surprise. The volunteers broke, and their commander, Colonel Richard Gentry, fatally wounded, was unable to rally them. Surprised, Taylor ordered his infantry to charge again. After all, all they’d known so far was success. The fighting in the saw grass was deadliest for five companies of the Sixth Infantry; every officer but one, and most of their non-commissioned were killed or wounded. When that part of the regiment retired a short distance to re-form found only four men of these companies unharmed. The Seminoles retreated to the safety of the swamp to continue their guerrilla war.
26 U.S. soldiers, including the majority of Taylor’s officers and NCOs, were killed, with 112 wounded, against only 11 Seminoles killed and 14 wounded. Recall that this in an era where one bullet-wound could cause a person’s arm to be amputated and the full violence of the battle can be felt. The invasion southward, for the moment, was stopped.
That is 2017 for us.
2017 was the year we learned how to fight, where enough resistance was generated to stop the fascist advance. 2018 can be the year where the Left claims ground and doesn’t cede it. 2018 can be the year where our lives are defined by “absolute pure love and adrenaline.” 2018 can be the year we stop reacting and start making some raids of our own.
The clock ticks forward and the enemy is within scouting distance. Time to pick our battleground and start notching trees.
See you in the new year.
Dr. Bones is a Hoodoo-slingin’ Florida native and Egoist-Communist spitting pure vitriol and sorcerous wisdom at a world gone mad. He lives with his loving wife, a herd of cats, and a house full of spirits.
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