‘A Luta Continua’: The Struggle Continues

Good Morning, Brazil! And to all of you watching us from afar in this special day. Yes, today (October 28th, 2018) is election day down here… and the front runner is the kind of person that would make you think: “Ah, good thing it’s 2018 and we don’t need to deal with this kind of shit anymore”. Then you realize the shit is here, now, your heart drops to the floor, and you start stressing about your own safety and that of your loved ones.

Here is my prediction…

From Mirna Wabi-Sabi

Tradução Português (BR) aqui.

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The Official John Heartfield Exhibition (5 Finger hat die Hand/5 Fingers Has The Hand) Shared with the permission of the artist’s grandson, we much appreciate the generosity.

“Many, indeed, most political parties, especially in the metropolis, have become open servants of capital, and thus compete, not even pretending to represent the people, but in service to Wealth.

Political parties, in addition to being mechanisms to amass personal wealth, are machines to give people the illusion of democracy.”

(Múmia Abul Jamal)

Good Morning, Brazil! And to all of you watching us from afar in this special day. Yes, today (October 28th, 2018) is election day down here… and the front runner is the kind of person that would make you think: “Ah, good thing it’s 2018 and we don’t need to deal with this kind of shit anymore”. Then you realize the shit is here, now, your heart drops to the floor, and you start stressing about your own safety and that of your loved ones.

People are so stressed that even anarchists are talking about voting and doing the “lesser-evil” thing. But what will voting actually do? I have some scenarios in mind:

-J.B. wins and he actually does all the absurd things he claimed to want to do. This is less likely because, let’s be honest, when does a candidate actually follow through on a promise? Kill poor people, don’t allow an inch of land to indigenous and quilombist peoples, completely neglect public education and affirmative action, condone hate crimes!, militarize whatever necessary, and so on… In this scenario, he would simply be the irrigation of the already existing and thriving crop.

-J.B. wins and he doesn’t do anything (as usual). We just continue to live in a country where we need to hear his voice, and we pity ourselves for having the ability to discern meaning out of those inhuman screeches.

-Haddad wins, J.B. rallies his troops and his repulsive minions to take power by force. Democracy is certifiably over, we can finally stop pretending!

-Haddad wins, nothing changes, and we are left in bliss. The bliss of what could have been not… being; finally free from all of our most apocalyptic predictions. We’ll continue to kill poor people, not grant land to indigenous and quilombist peoples, completely neglect public education and affirmative action, condone hate crimes, militarize whatever necessary, and so on…- but Diet.

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In any case, comes summer and we’ll still know who did what this spring. Families will never be the same, no more guilt driven polite interactions at major holidays. Hopefully. And not too shabby is the memory of when virtually no one on the left shied away from using the word Fascist, shouting together knowing we don’t mean it figuratively.

For any case, I prepare, and wait for the day to pass, for us to stop occupying our minds with the absurd words of a bigot, and to get back to work. The truth is we are pretty much fucked either way, and the ballot is not what’s gonna get us out of it.


Update: The result is out

Brazil elected Jair Messias Bolsonaro as president. Since the “Messias” emerged, we began to see the masks falling.

Now, all the atrocities that have already been taking place, have been legitimized and will become even more visible. Kill the poor, as a solution to the crisis of Capitalism. Kill LGBTQI+ as a solution to the “crisis” of the traditional family. Kill black, kill Indigenous peoples, kill women .. and destroy the minimal achievements of many years of struggle.

We give up certain principles because of fear. Because crumbs are better than nothing. This strengthens the hegemony, while it accumulates and wastes sadistically. Fascism, which had hitherto been veiled, is now uncomfortably exposed. Now we’ll drown on Genocidal Patriotism.

Yesterday, October 28, 2018, shortly after confirmation of the election results, a woman was beaten by a Military Police officer in the state capital that voted least for Bolsonaro; Salvador.

She wore a red t-shirt with Lula’s face on it, and her unconscious face bled. The fear that we, marginalized, already felt on the streets, was only exacerbated.

Being marginal is not a crime, it’s being excluded.

Mirna Wabi-Sabi and Jam Costa


Mirna Wabi-Sabi

44590204_10156834106472372_3689192296684716032_o

is co-editor of Gods&Radicals, and writes about decoloniality, feminism, and anti-capitalism.


Tradução

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“Muitos, na verdade, a maioria dos partidos políticos, especialmente na metrópole, tornaram-se servos abertos do capital e, portanto, competem, nem mesmo fingindo representar o povo, mas a serviço da riqueza.

Os partidos políticos, além de serem mecanismos para acumular riqueza pessoal, são máquinas para dar às pessoas a ilusão da democracia “.

(Múmia Abul Jamal)

Bom dia Brasil! E para todos vocês nos assistindo de longe neste dia especial. Sim, hoje (28 de outubro de 2018) é dia de eleição aqui… e o candidato favorito é o tipo de pessoa que faria você pensar: “Ah, que bom que é 2018 e não precisamos mais lidar com esse tipo de merda”. Aí você percebe que a merda está aqui, agora, seu coração cai no chão, e você começa a se preocupar com a sua própria segurança e a de seus entes queridos.

As pessoas estão tão estressadas que até os anarquistas estão falando sobre votar e fazer a coisa do “menos-mal”. Mas o que a votação realmente fará? Eu tenho alguns cenários em mente:

-O coiso ganha e realmente faz todas as coisas absurdas que ele pretende fazer. Isso é menos provável porque, sejamos honestos, quando um candidato realmente faz o que promete? Matar pessoas pobres, não permitir um centímetro de terra para povos indígenas e quilombolas, negligenciar completamente a educação pública e cotas, defender crimes de ódio, militarizar o que for necessário, e assim por diante… Neste cenário, ele seria simplesmente a irrigação de uma plantação já existente e próspera.

-O coiso vence e não faz nada (como de costume). Nós apenas continuamos a viver em um país onde precisamos ouvir a voz dele, e temos pena de nós mesmos e mesmas por ter a capacidade de discernir o significado desses berros desumanos.

-Haddad vence, o coiso reúne suas tropas e seus asseclas repulsivos para tomar o poder à força. A democracia está comprovadamente acabada, podemos finalmente parar de fingir.

-Haddad vence, nada muda e ficamos felizes. A felicidade do que poderia ter sido… não ser; finalmente livre de todas as nossas previsões apocalípticas. Continuaremos a matar pessoas pobres, não concederemos terras a povos indígenas e quilombolas, negligenciaremos completamente a educação pública e as cotas, não condenaremos crimes de ódio, militarizaremos o que for necessário, e assim por diante…- mas versão Diet.

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“Agora posso comer qualquer coisa!”

De qualquer forma, chega o verão e ainda vamos saber quem fez o que esta primavera. As famílias nunca serão as mesmas, não haverá interações educadas baseadas em culpa nos principais feriados. Espero. E gostosa é a lembrança de quando praticamente ninguém da esquerda se esquivou de usar a palavra Fascista, gritando juntos, sabendo que não a usamos figurativamente.

Para qualquer dos casos, eu me preparo, e estou louca para que esse dia passe, para que paremos de ocupar nossas mentes com as palavras absurdas de um intolerante, e voltemos ao trabalho. A verdade é que estamos basicamente fodidos de qualquer forma, e a maquininha não é o que vai nos protejer disso.


Update: O resultado saiu

Brasil elegeu Jair Messias Bolsonaro como presidente. Desde que o “Messias” emergiu, começamos a ver as mascaras caindo.

Agora, todas as atrocidades que já aconteciam, foram legitimadas e se tornarão ainda mais visíveis. Matar o pobre, como solução para a crise do Capitalismo. Matar LGBTQI+, como solução para a “crise” da familia tradicional. Matar preto, matar Indígena, matar mulheres… e a destruição das mínimas conquistas de muitos anos de luta.

Abrimos mão de princípios por medo. Porque migalhas são melhores do que nada. O que fortalece a hegemonia, enquanto ela acumula e desperdiça sadicamente. O Fascismo que até então era velado, se escancarou. Agora seremos afogados e afogadas nesse Patriotismo Genocida.

Ontem, dia 28 de Outubro de 2018, logo após a confirmação dos resultados eleitorais, uma mulher foi agredida por um PM na capital do estado que menos votou pro Bolsonaro; Salvador.

Ela usava uma camisa vermelha com o rosto do Lula, e seu rosto inconsciente sangrou. O medo que nós marginalizados e marginalizadas já sentíamos nas ruas, só foi exacerbado.

Ser marginal não é crime, é ser excluido e excluída.

Mirna Wabi-Sabi e Jam Costa


Mirna Wabi-Sabi

44590204_10156834106472372_3689192296684716032_o

é editora de Gods and Radicals, escreve sobre decolonialidade, feminismo, e anti-capitalismo.

Insurrection as Resurrection

“It’s too late to put flowers in gun barrels”

From Jonathan Ray

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First, they came for the elections, but we grew up hearing that “voting doesn’t matter.” A slow boil of district manipulation and a thinning pool of viable candidates bore that out, but turnout was dismal, and symbols are important. Every election since the turn of the century has revealed more systemic corruption. We have lost a little more hope and a little more will to command our “leaders” with our voices with each lap around the ballot box. Long gone are the days when we could trust the word spoken from a podium. We had a glimpse of another way, but he showed up with a mysterious bruise and got quiet pretty fast after that.

The cabals, cartels, and corporations that put most candidates on the stage are not interested in our will. This time we would have been screwed either way, but with this administration has dissolved the facade of eligibility. Now the idea is out there that any asshole can hold an office, and it seems that any useful bastard will. A certain pall fell over the world on Election Night. It felt like a tectonic shift, or something happening in an invisible dimension. It was as if some significant changing of the guard had taken place at a level that even silenced Congress. Half the nation reeled with disgust and anxiety and the other shot off fireworks and felt empowered to out themselves as demons. Everybody got duped. Some got evil.

Next, they yanked the reigns of the media. The big networks danced to the tune of their sponsors and partner agencies. The internet gave us grassroots reporting, but the corporate bullhorn blasted from all sides the idea that dissent and conversation about corruption are “fake news” now. The division is everywhere because it is the priority and the agenda. Now is the moment where we are just about ready to tear down the last shreds of the veil, thus the efforts to keep us apart and at each other’s throats are mounting. The TV, radio, and print that used to deliver at least a degree of truth sold out to shareholders years ago. This legacy media (for with alt-this and post-that on every corner there is no actual main stream anymore) are purging the web of independent voices along with the snake oil, psychological operations, and doom dealers. Hijacking online conversations is a growth industry, employing perhaps thousands of human trolls and perhaps millions of tireless “bots” to control the narrative.

Weaving spiders are busy indeed. The alphabet agencies, be they spies or corporate mouthpieces or Google itself, tell us who to trust and who to scoff at, and we let them. We haven’t had to do real research since these little portals arrived in our pockets. Taking blue pills was easier than looking for ourselves. After generations of learning to look to Big Daddy for answers, it was child’s play to pull the wool over our eyes. Then the tools of research became the means of censorship. The big bang of available data that happened when the Internet went live is slowing down, and attempts are being made to reverse its flow so that it can be contained and controlled for good. Leaks continue. We can hope that stubborn defenders of truth will continue to burn holes in the dragnet and allow the flow of uncollared information.

Then Congress rolled back progressive laws but told us that only hurt “snowflakes.” We figured hate crimes and transphobia and racism were overblown. We didn’t think the Klan was even really a thing. It seemed like a joke or anachronism. How wrong we were, and how lucky we were to have such delusions as others watched their backs for lifetimes. Local governments are busy shadowboxing with political theater for the benefit of their base. Politicians treat bathroom laws and other rollbacks of LGBTQ rights as a priority to impress the evangelical voters. Nevermind what those same creeps get up to in bathrooms and hotels off the clock.

Meanwhile, real issues like infrastructure, education, safety and economic security are passed to the next official to deal with, if at all. The hollow men in expensive suits wrap themselves in the flag, drop crocodile tears paired with cherry-picked Bible fragments, and utterly ignore all requests to join the rest of the world in the 21st century. As long as they keep getting paid for their votes and avoid each other’s deep-dirt blackmail schemes, the circus goes on as it always has, and we get fed to the lions when we demand bread.

Then they began to shut the gates. In a brief but ominous symbol, the Statue of Liberty was unlit for a time. Only a few noticed enough to ask why, but it had a dark resonance. Fear had trumped love, and our nation of immigrants started turning people away as if that would affect a trend toward homegrown, often white terrorism. After decades of war, thousands have nowhere to go, and years of conditioning have made us associate the wrong countries with terrorism and job stealing. Our “job creators” are the ones moving all the work offshore to their tax havens and secret banks. Our “protectors” are the ones starting fires all over the world.

However we may live as individuals, America knows in our gut that we have become everything we once opposed. But no one can handle that, and many can’t even recognize it, so the masquerade goes on. A war on terror never ends, it just ramps up and creates an endless cycle of blood for money. See also the wars on drugs, crime, poverty, and so on. Like cancer, there’s more money in research and feel-good branding than a cure. The institutions of these troubled times work to entrench and preserve themselves rather than solving the problems that were their reason for existing.

Meanwhile, the growing police state has started stopping people on planes and stranding them in airports. They started making lists of “bad” nationalities. Men in brown with dogs and guns are at the borders asking for papers. We know where that leads. The mask is slipping, and the face is all too familiar. How long now? Do we need to endure this again? What lesson have we ignored that demands a retread of humanity’s most famous dark night of the soul?

The military is becoming the corporate police, leaving endless streams of well-meaning youth to return home as shattered shells of themselves with no structure of psyche repair in place. The beat cop is a dying breed. City police are militarizing and in some districts are goaded into procedural racism, thrill-kills and property theft which they can practice with impunity and even reward. Private mercenaries are being hired to destroy dissent to environmental and social abuse. Every peaceful protest attracts provocateurs in anarchist drag who come to break windows for the camera and frame organizations that seek reclamation of peace and justice for the people. “See, these people are out of control!”

Then the tear gas and rubber bullets can fly. Soon the privatized prisons will be full of stoners, activists, and people of color, as was the intention in ’68. First we had “Free Speech Zones,” then they started criminalizing protests, but we assumed the stories we heard about these movements were true tales of violent mob rule. We figured we had nothing to shout about until we did. So now what?

It’s too late to put flowers in gun barrels, but there is another way to invert our predicament. Turn inward and to each other now. These are the times we expected. Cross the artificial divides and build bridges where you may. Resist the death grip of the old institutions as we quietly make them irrelevant. Authority was never the friend of the people, and the pretense is finally falling away. The Germans lost the war, but plenty of Nazis got new jobs and learned to take new shapes. They won, in their way, and you can see it in the way things have gone with the Allies. History repeats and mutates.

Here we all are, and it is up to us to awaken and stop the historical cycles of abuse. This time of fear porn and hate bait is the moment for vigilance and courage, self-empowerment and cooperative subversion. The human race is on the table, about to have its organs harvested. The anesthesia needle floats just above the skin. We have excused our complacency for too long. We kept our noses in the arsenic lace of the virtual world when our duty was always to direct experience and action. Now is the time to RISE: resist, inquire, subvert, and engage. I leave it to you to choose your path.


Jonathan Ray

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Jonathan Ray is a writer, father, mystic, and musician working out of Tucson, Arizona. Driven to uncover, understand, and heal, he thinks of himself as a “conspiracy therapist.” Exploring the connections between the visible and the invisible and helping others to rediscover and empower the parts of themselves which have numb in our collective switch to survival mode is his life’s calling and the theme of his works.

Jonathan’s writing and music can be seen at apocalypsefatigue.org, named for the stage between the revelations of the world’s woes and the inspiration to embody solutions through action.


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Editorial: I Won’t Play

In January, I stood behind some 30 or so people full of hopes, dreams, fantasies, and faith. I was waiting to buy a pack of cigarettes; they, on the other hand, were buying lottery tickets. One of the largest prizes the United States had ever seen was on offer, 1.6 billion dollars. For a few dollars, each of the people in front of me would receive a piece of paper with numbers proving they’d participated.

A few days later, a public ritual would divine a set of numbers, and if those numbers matched what was printed on the tickets, the bearer of that receipt would win and become unfathomably wealthy.

As I watched the slow procession of the devoted waiting their turn at the register, it was hard not to think about other public rituals I’d witnessed. Add some incense and black clothing, and the counter could easily be a communion rail, the white slips of paper the sacred host conveying a chance at divine blessing. It also felt a bit like election day, each lottery participant registering their preference and performing a civic duty, compelled by their fear of poverty and their hopes for a better world.

It was difficult to ignore the emotions of those around me, their hearts swelling with possibility. No more worries. No more trudging to work each morning after waking the kids for school, coming home tired to make dinner and scrape some moment of their own out of the evening before the cycle began again. Their kids could go to college. They could move somewhere better, help their mother get that surgery she needed, put their grandfather in a better hospice.  Life might finally change. Freedom from fear and struggle. Travel, luxury, a good life.

No spiritually-minded person can miss the metaphysical aspects of a lottery. Each person certainly had their heart and mind full of intention, millions of people holding images of what-might-be as they handed over their last $5 in exchange for symbols and ciphers on slips of paper. Though each had probably heard the odds (292 million, or a little less than the population of the United States, to 1), each nonetheless held a faith that they might be unique, be chosen, and receive the power to manifest their will.

Watching them, feeling the pressure of their process, I found myself thinking of my own hopes, what I might do with that much money. The commercial slogan of many state lotteries resounded in my head, echoed verbally by the people in front of me:

“You can’t win if you don’t play”

Wasn’t I being foolish to spend money on cigarettes instead of a chance to change my life? Wasn’t my abstention from the collective fantasy an empty protest and a self-defeating prophesy? I wouldn’t win one and a half billion dollars, because I wouldn’t buy a ticket. I couldn’t, because I wouldn’t play.

When it was finally my turn at the counter, I bought my pack of cigarettes, rode my bike back to my sister’s place, and chain-smoked by a fire pit the rest of the night, contemplating my stubborn refusal to participate in a rigged system.

It’s election season in the United States, a period which began a full year-and-a-half ago, one that will start again two-and-a-half years from now. Millions of people will be casting their ballots on paper or automated machines, registering their hopes and fears and awaiting the pronouncements of the civic oracles.

I don’t vote in national elections. I’m one of those people, the stubborn cynics who refuse to participate no matter the stakes. I’m told the stakes for this election are higher than they’ve ever been, not 1.6 billion dollars, but the fate of America, of women and minorities, of peace and prosperity. My own fate as a queer leftist, the fate of my Black lover (who likewise doesn’t vote), the fates of all my women and trans friends. Healthcare, foreign war, domestic security, and global warming all hang in the balance.

But all I can do is shake my head and shrug.

I wasn’t always so cynical about American elections.  In 2000, I gave a lot of my time to the campaign of Ralph Nader, helping to disrupt a rally by Al Gore with a group of other queers. Al Gore opposed equal rights for gays, opposed marriage equality, and was greenwashing capitalism. Despite the fact that the other major party’s candidate scared me dreadfully, I decided I was too young to be ruled by fear and coerced into voting against my conscience.

Four years later, I participated in the caucuses and attended rallies for Howard Dean, whose campaign was suddenly obliterated by the strangest logic I’d ever heard. “Kerry is Electable,” went the party-line at the caucus, uttered by the well-dressed upper-class whites who looked at the rest of us as unruly, unrealistic dreamers.  Embittered at the Democratic Party machine, I voted for Róger Calero, the Socialist Worker’s Party candidate–technically ineligible because he’s Nicaraguan.

2008 brought a fresh slate, and what felt like a breath of fresh air. Eight years of George W. Bush were over, and there was a Black candidate running for office! Everyone was so excited, as was I. I’d never gotten to vote for a Black presidential candidate before!

No way was I going to miss such a historic opportunity, so I voted for Cynthia McKinney.

Obama won instead. Black, but male. Still, lots of amazing promises, like shutting down Guantanamo Bay and getting US soldiers out of the Middle East. At last check, Guantanamo Bay still exists (but has solar power now!), and, well, you probably know how the Middle East is going.

I didn’t vote in 2012, and I won’t in 2016, either. I won’t be voting for either of the two major party candidates, nor for any of the 29 other candidates running for president.

I won’t be voting at all.

Lots of people have lots of arguments why such a position is wrong. Some suggest it’s a sign of my ‘privilege’ to abstain. Some have told me it’s anti-feminist not to vote for the Democratic candidate, or that immigrants will destroy America if I don’t vote for the Republican candidate, or if I vote for no-one I’m ‘wasting my vote,’ or that by not voting I’m giving tacit consent to evil.

And, like every four years, the tired argument is pulled out that if ‘you don’t vote, you can’t complain.’ It’s not much different from the lottery argument: If you don’t play, you can’t win. Just like the lottery, though, what isn’t said is that even if you do play, you and millions of other people will lose anyway.

Nation-States are mythic constructs which hold the power of life and death over the people they rule. Born at the same time as capitalism and private-property, rising from the ashes of the theocratic power of the Church, the Nation holds the same sway over our souls and bodies as did once Priest and King. Liberal Democracy puts a fascinating facade over the Nation’s power. Rather than unelected Monarchs we have elected Presidents, rather than a community of believers we have a faceless mass of fellow citizens who, like us, supposedly give our consent to be ruled.

I never consented.

I signed no documents, made no verbal agreements, and never once stated I’d like a rich person to make decisions which determine where I can go in the world, how I subsist, whom I love, and how I and others might die. Undoubtedly, none of the recently murdered Blacks gave their consent to be sacrificed on the altars of American Capitalism, none of the indigenous people whose ancestral lands are destroyed for pipelines said ‘yes, please’ to the government who approved their displacement.

Likewise, the land under us never asked to be raped to make way for highways and landfills, there’s no record of rivers and lakes agreeing to be poisoned for the greater good, to sate the extractive lust of the United States and all it claims to represent.

To demand my vote is to demand my consent for the horror that America does in my name, be that the imprisonment of millions for property and drug crimes here or the obliteration of children to get at the oil they’re living atop in the Middle East. Insisting I must ‘play’ in order to ‘win’ is a sick joke at best when the jackpot is only the hope of less slaughter of others and a little less poverty for myself. At worse, it’s the language of the abuser and the rapist. If you don’t say no, it means yes–yet even if you do say no, it still means yes because they have power.

The mass ritual of voting for who will be the new face of the Leviathan sucks everyone into a vortex of celebrity-worship, displacing radical political actions onto candidates resembling our hopes and dreams. Meanwhile, some get richer, drowning in revenue from campaign advertisements, just as State coffers swell with sales from lottery tickets. That the same massive media corporations who shape our perception of the world and the urgency of our vote make the most money from the election frenzy is hardly accidental.

At the end of August, the two major presidential candidates raised over $708 million dollars. By November, this figure may approach $1 billion, not quite as much as the lottery in January but certainly enough to convince millions of people to line up in a massive public ritual.

In the end, the juggernaut of America lurches on, fed by blood of dark-skinned people and black coal and oil. No vote to end the American nightmare will ever be on the ballot, no tick-box asking me if I’d like to end capitalism will ever be available to check.

At the end of this upcoming election night, as the Diviners pronounce to the world who ‘won,’ I’ll be sitting in front of that fire pit again, thinking about the lottery, about the myth of the Nation, and wondering if we’ll ever realize that the world we want isn’t something we can ever vote for.


Rhyd Wildermuth

Rhyd WildermuthRhyd is the co-founder and Managing Editor of Gods&Radicals.


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