Monday, October 24, 2016

stream of consciousness

i dont regret voting nader in 2000.
i regret instead that dems left it
to black representatives to fight
for justice and that
so many bought the lie
that my vote cost dems
the election and
brought every disaster since.
and i regret that nader now drives
a corvair between the parted waters,
a lost prophet moses in a desert,
unsafe at any speed
and with a semi full of
absinthe tailgating him.
no plan for unity after that election,
the gulf between us still as poisonous
as flints water, stirred by betty crocker
doing her best imitation
of something named katrina.

i dont regret voting for obama twice.
it was the right thing to do
if you’re serious about
change. but I do regret eight years with no plan
to push, to fight back for blacklivesbrownlives
and the vet two doors down
who killed himself this summer.

we wanted
sanders and still do
wanted sanders wanting marx
wanting lenin wanting nkrumah
wanting toussaint l'ouverture wanting
marat wanting louise michel
wanting big bill haywood
wanting la pasionara.

saccharine drips
from hillary clintons lips,
the auh20 girls arrow points right
for a reason. the candid camera news
finds trump modeling mussolini’s jodhpurs
and declares troy davis innocent. you knew it
all along but were afraid to speak truth
to powerlessness.

no plan after gore
no plan after obama
no plan after sanders
no plan after clinton
no plan after trump
no plan except facebook
cat videos and lilo pics
and maybe watching the bravest
black youth taking the hit
and you acting wise behind it all,
like you have a line on something.
are you counting on global warming
to make this swamp recede?

on november 9 you will go to work,
read the paper, perhaps mourn
for another person of color
killed in the line of duty
of living. the boss the police the parents the principal
the dean the bank the health insurer the drill sergeant
the bill collector the crazed husband the dealer the new
issue of people the oxycodone the loose muffler the police
the tsa the dems the republicans the greens the libertarians
the new circus come to town the preacher the nra the pba the
dhs the ins the shrink the extra 15 pounds the internet porn the
police the nightmares the ptsd the operation you need the desire to
be someone else somewhere else the police the 911 truthers the hillarys
telling you that you cant dream the police will have their way with you and
life may go on.

its not that the deck is stacked,
its that diamonds were never meant for you
and the deck has no hearts.
clubs and spades have suited us best over the
years, but its the jokers we honor most. tarot may
be the devil’s work, but we’re surely catching hell and
the upside down hanged man has a story to tell you.
listen carefully.

they lie to us.
its their job.
some people make steel.
some people drive trucks.
some people wait tables.
some people tell lies.
some people fall in love with lying,
others in love with liars.
the half-life of their lies
lasts longer than
the nuclear waste
on that reservation,
extends longer than
that pipeline.
it really is that simple.

dont fall for trump telling you to
make america grate again
or some ayn rand fable
or some green jam
or some hillary jive.
atlas shrugged because he didnt
give a damn about you.

i don’t care if you
vote green or vote hillary.
no vote against trump is wasted.
but any bartender
worth her rye
will tell you
its the morning after
that matters.
have a cure for the four year hangover
that will surely come
no matter who wins.
and forget the advice
that tells you to
drink more poison
to feel better.

what will your protest sign say?
what will you tell
the guy at the gas station
with his ar 15?
how will you explain to the cop that,
no, you wont move out of the street,
or to your boss that youre on strike
or that life weighs more than dollars?
what will you tell the tsa man at the airport
as he lines you up, yells at you, has you
remove clothing items and moves you
towards a gate? the grainy 1940s
film, silent loops of acetate, rewind.

can you tell nestle no, we need our water?
can you tell the butcher no, that calf has rights?
can you tell the bureaucrat no, this is our union?
can you beg your heart for one more day
and use it to fight for kidspeacewomenjustice
librarieshousing and that lost old man on the bus?
can you say, no, shes my sister, you cant
take her without taking me? will the wall be
better if its built by union labor?

practice your lines right now, tonight.

youre needed.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Police violence and capitalism

The nationwide movement against police violence and mass incarceration has brought to light the repressive and coercive nature of the criminal justice system in the United States. Attention has been focused on both the egregious disparities in incarceration between the U.S. and other Western industrial states and a plethora of cases of lethal force used by the police against civilians. These are vital issues. But given less attention is the issue of how we have arrived at such violent, coercive and repressive policies of social control in the United States. In this essay I will focus on neoliberalism and its impact on policing as a broader explanation of how we have become what Jock Young called a retributive society.

Read the rest here.

More useful articles on this site: Online University of the Left.