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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Well how do you do Private William McBride?

Do you mind if I sit here down by your graveside?

I know this is Veteran's--not Memorial--Day in the US, but it marks the Armistice ending the horrible war that began 100 years ago.  And I can't think of veterans without thinking of the waste that is all war.

This song also reminds me of a particular anti-recruitment action from a few years, or a few lifetimes, ago.  No more lost generations...


November 11, 2014 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Sunday, November 02, 2014

Maximum Overload

Loomis writes about the Wobblies in 1909:

Conditions in northeastern Washington were as bad as the rest of the nation. This was farming and logging country and both industries relied on itinerant labor. Working and living conditions were terrible and pay was poor. What really made workers angry was the employment agency scam. Companies and farmers would contract out with employment agencies, forcing workers to use them for a job. Workers paid for this service. If a job wasn’t there when they arrived, no money back! Return to Spokane and try again. Same if the job just lasted a couple of days. This was rank exploitation of the poor.

These conditions made Spokane an early IWW organizing hotspot. By mid 1909, the city and surrounding region had up to 1500 dues-paying members and a nice headquarters. It expanded its presence through street speaking. This is the literal meaning of “get on your soapbox” in action here. In angry speeches denouncing the exploitation workers faced, Wobbly speakers attempted to convince the workers passing through Spokane from job to job to fight back. As 1909 went on, the Spokane police began cracking down against this. In March, the city council passed an ordinance banning public speaking to all “revolutionists.”
As arrests grew, the IWW moved toward a larger action. When local Wobbly leader Jim Thompson was arrested for speaking without a permit on October 25, the IWW demanded his release and threatened to send speakers from around the country to city and flood the jails. Spokane called the IWW on its bluff and the IWW began its first major free speech fight on November 2. Spokane police began arresting everyone who tried to speak. Soon 400 people were in jail, overwhelming the prison system. As the members cycled out of jail, often after a 30-day sentence, they got themselves rearrested.

Overloading of systems is a nice little tactic, used in a variety of contexts including the Salt Satyagraha.  Yet Loomis also notes the failure to follow up on IWW victory, illustrating my usual point that you can't just employ one method without others in a larger strategic arc.


November 2, 2014 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Bellum Americana

Ah yes, American Exceptionalism seizes the moral high ground:

Keith Ablow, a doctor and Fox News analyst, thinks that the United States should aggressively export its system of government to every single country on earth. What could go wrong?

In a comically unhinged column posted to Fox News' website on Tuesday, Ablow calls for an "American jihad" in which the U.S. would aggressively move to America-ify the entire world, which totally makes sense because "the Constitution is a sacred document that better defines and preserves the liberty and autonomy of human beings than the charter of any other nation on earth."

How would this ambitious plan work? Well, Ablow explains, "we would tie American aid to incremental changes not just in the attitudes, but in the fundamental structures, of countries. These changes would move those countries, slowly but inexorably, toward reflecting our Constitution in their own charters." The plan would also involve doubling the budget for the CIA and Special Forces, presumably to counter any foolhardy resistance to American domination. There's more, but you get the idea.

It's like the Marshall Plan with just a touch of Mein Kampf and total cray...


October 29, 2014 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Katy Perry's Ex-Husband Is Willing To Die Unconditionally

TBogg's basset hounds are better activists:

[I]f you want to start a revolution — and good luck with that if you think it will be grow from podcasting your complaints about how unfair the world is  — you need to start somewhere, and that is at the local level and then upward.  Conservatives knew that when they started packing school boards years ago, developing candidates who blossomed at right about the same time that the Tea Party suddenly appeared. They’ve worked themselves through the state legislatures and one need only take a look at some of the GOP candidates who might be elected on a national level in a few weeks to see how government can be made to work for you or against you or, as is current case: not at all.

So if you’re waiting for a political messiah to rise up and save the world, take a number and go wait with the End Timers over there on the bench.

And if you think that Russell Brand is that messiah, then you’ve got an even longer wait. He’s just Tiger Beat Che Guevara living in a digital world.

Indeed, that's been central to my point for quite some time.  But nobody listens to me because I wasn't married to the chick with fireworks bursting from her boobs, so I'm just going to sit over here and wait for somebody to start the revolution...


October 22, 2014 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

This Is Why I'm Already And Always Against The Next War


The U.S.-led air war in Syria has gotten off to a rocky start, with even the Syrian rebel groups closest to the United States turning against it, U.S. ally Turkey refusing to contribute and the plight of a beleaguered Kurdish town exposing the limitations of the strategy.

U.S. officials caution that the strikes are just the beginning of a broader strategy that could take years to carry out. But the anger that the attacks have stirred risks undermining the effort, analysts and rebels say.

The main beneficiary of the strikes so far appears to be President Bashar al-Assad, whose forces have taken advantage of the shift in the military balance to step up attacks against the moderate rebels designated by President Obama as partners of the United States in the war against extremists.

Truly a shock that campaigns piss off a lot of people, including the folks we're ostensibly trying to help, whilst not achieving our goals.  But when you've got the most awesome, expensive collection of hammers in the entire world...


October 11, 2014 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Back In My Day

Hippie chicks at the Climate March are way more subtle than back in my day.


September 21, 2014 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Justice Tagging

In BTV this evening.


August 23, 2014 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Anthony on some of those outside agitators:

A rule of thumb about these kinds of groups that come in and try to hijack high profile local protests is that any of them that advocate or encourage violence are not in it for the benefit of the people who live there.  Those people will leave, the people who live there will be the ones who have to live with the aftermath of their exciting and titillating violence.  This is especially true when there is some intellectual program thought up in some other place, like San Francisco or by a bunch of white intellectuals who never have to live with the results of the violence they call for, when that violence has to stop, as it always does, the Revolution it was supposed to incite delayed for future opportunities. 

Especially stupid are the anarchists who would have all civil authority end, leaving communities to be governed by those who always rise up whenever the police leave, gangsters and gangsters who war with each other as they terrorize, rob and exploit the people who have no choice but to live there.  And I will repeat that, we know what would happen under anarchism because it happens in any section of a city or country where there is a vacuum of civil authority and police presence, the gangs take over.   The problem in Ferguson was that the police were a white occupation army in a black community, the answer to that is to have an effective police force which is part of the community.

Media types rely too much on the 'outside agitators' trope, but that's not to say there aren't opportunistic groups and individuals who are like revolutionary moths to the flame of unrest.  It's a pretty clear line the difference between supporting people in their struggle for justice and making it all about you and your precious agenda.


August 23, 2014 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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Friday, August 22, 2014

What Kind Of Country Are We?


The body they left in the street. For four hours. Ferguson, Missouri was a place where they left a body in the street. For four hours. And the rage rose, and the backlash built, and the cameras arrived, and so did the cops, and the thing became something beyond what it was in the first place. And, in a very real way, in the streets of Ferguson, the body was still in the street. What kind of place leaves the body of a boy in the street? What kind of country does that?

But Michael Brown and the protesters are the problem.


August 22, 2014 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Not Bowing Before The Altar Of Retaliation

RMJ notes that somebody finally does the right thing:

So this morning the hero of Ferguson is Capt. Ronald Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol, because he didn't take to the streets in a an MRAP or deploy another SWAT team or send everyone out heavily armored and armed in riot gear that made them look like Darth Vader wannabes.

He walked in a protest march in his shirt-sleeves.

If the militarized response of the Ferguson and St. Louis County police was the Dick Cheney response to the situation in Ferguson, this is the Martin Luther King, Jr., response.  This is the response of compassion and humanity, not power and authority...

And if we learn a lesson from it, maybe that lesson is that Dick Cheney's response is not the one size that fits all; and some of the simplest lessons of Dr. King, of compassion over power, humanity over demonization, are still valuable.

Hopefully somebody--everybody--actually studies the lesson...


August 15, 2014 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Speaking Of Massacres

There may be something instructive found in Boston and Kent.  Or maybe not.


August 14, 2014 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Occupy Stonewall

Read the whole thing, but these two grafs New Yorker piece boil down the issues of a successful movement:

Stonewall was the product of a handful of brilliant community organizers applying basic principles of social organizing. Without them, Stonewall would have been nothing more than one of several gay-bar pushbacks in the late sixties, or another one of the non-gay street demonstrations that characterized New York in that tumultuous time. It was the dedicated strategizing of the men and women of the nascent gay movement that turned something unremarkable into the Bastille. Their achievement is a field guide to how to make a social movement, and also offers insight into why Occupy is failing.
[S]o the myth of Stonewall began. Strategic, discrete, well-planned, original (in its time), the Stonewall march is the pure manifestation of how social movements succeed. It was the birthday party for Stonewall, not the birth the year before, that gave rise to the triumphant gay revolution.

Spot on.

I love rallies and marches, and a little decentralized, anarchic energy is good, too.  We need more than that.

Organization wins, in all campaigns, movements and revolutions.  Not guaranteed victory, but disorganization pretty much equals guaranteed failure, in large part because there's no follow-up to any successes achieved despite the lack of organization.


June 29, 2014 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

History Rhymes With Iraq

[T]he people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders [to go to war]. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

 - Predictable Hermann Goering quotation


The war cost $2T (as predicted by people more credible than Wolfowitz) and a few lives here and there, so this is shocking:

According to a new CBS News/New York Times poll released Monday, 75 percent of Americans saying the war in Iraq was not worth it is up 8 percentage points from 2011, and up nearly one-third (30 percent) since August 2003. Republicans, Democrats and independents all agree — by large majorities — that the war which began in March 2003 was not worth any of the human or financial costs.

Half of Americans (50 percent) in the June 20-22 poll of more than 1,000 adults don’t think the U.S. has a responsibility to do something about the current ISIS-based violence in the Middle Eastern nation, including only 42 percent of Republicans who say the U.S. has any current responsibility for action.

About 80 percent of both Democrats and independents say the U.S. war in Iraq was not worth the costs.

Nice that the American people are skeptical about this thing some of us fought against so hard.  Maybe next time they won't be so easily brought to the bidding of their leaders.  Perhaps now we can denounce the architects of this disaster as warmongers who lack patriotism and exposed us to danger...


PS--Reminded me of a decade-old post on our shiny new quagmire.

Contribute to the Eleventh Blegiversary *

June 24, 2014 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Struggling For Any Justice Somewhere Is Struggling For Justice Everywhere

I have long advocated for fighting against bad stuff, though there's no requirement for loincloth and goats' milk.  So I wholly endorse what Loomis says here about activist snobbery.

I admonish people to get engaged.  Don't have to do what I do, or for the reasons I do it, just fucking do something.  Even frisbee revolutions have value.


Contribute to the Eleventh Blegiversary *

June 14, 2014 in Conscience, Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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Nuke Iraq From Orbit, It's The Only Way To Be Sure

Or we can let the hawks weave their magic again.


Contribute to the Eleventh Blegiversary *

June 14, 2014 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Saturday, June 07, 2014

The Start Of Gandhi's Life Of Crime

That half-naked fakir's first act of civil disobedience took place on this date in 1893:

A first class seat was booked for me. It was usual there to pay five shillings extra, if one needed a bedding. Abdulla Sheth insisted that I should book one bedding but, out of obstinacy and pride and with a view to saving five shillings, I declined. Abdulla Sheth warned me. 'Look, now,' said he, 'this is a different country from India. Thank God, we have enough and to spare. Please do not stint yourself in anything that you may need.'

I thanked him and asked him not to be anxious. The train reached Maritzburg, the capital of Natal, at about 9 p.m. Beddings used to be provided at this station. A railway servant came and asked me if I wanted one. 'No,' said I, 'I have one with me.' He went away. But a passenger came next, and looked me up and down. He saw that I was a 'coloured' man. This disturbed him. Out he went and came in again with one or two officials. They all kept quiet, when another official came to me and said, 'Come along, you must go to the van compartment.'

'But I have a first class ticket,' said I.

'That doesn't matter,' rejoined the other. 'I tell you, you must go to the van compartment.'

'I tell you, I was permitted to travel in this compartment at Durban, and I insist on going on in it.'

'No, you won't,' said the official. 'You must leave this compartment, or else I shall have to call a police constable to push you out.'

'Yes, you may. I refuse to get out voluntarily.'

The constable came. He took me by the hand and pushed me out. My luggage was also taken out. I refused to go to the other compartment and the train steamed away. I went and sat in the waiting room, keeping my hand-bag with me, and leaving the other luggage where it was. The railway authorities had taken charge of it.

And that's where Attenborough began his story...


June 7, 2014 in Conscience, Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, June 05, 2014

Speaking Of Throwbacks

It was 25 years ago.

Tanks, tanks, tanks...


June 5, 2014 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Monday, May 19, 2014

What Went Wrong With Operation American Spring


I have a lot of respect for Col Riley, I believe he is a great patriot, but there were errors in the organization of the event. Early on I wrote to a number of people and stated that it is not a good idea to just pull a date out of a hat.It will be much better to find a date and time when a lot of people travel to DC anyways, such as tax day, 4th of July, memorial day, veterans day or an event when a team from a conservative state, such TX travels to DC and a lot of conservative fans travel with it. Nobody would listen to this comment.

Also, too, try to pick a day that won't be rainy.  And provide snacks.  BUT NO FRISBEES!


May 19, 2014 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Monday, May 05, 2014

We Must Try To Radicalize The American People

Once more with feelingKent State didn't shut down protest.  It did scare folks, but it wasn't The Movement: it was the very people we were resisting who had a vested interest in the status quo.  When did The Movement fade away?  After they'd essentially won.


May 5, 2014 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Sunday, April 06, 2014

With This, I Am Shaking The Foundations Of The British Empire

We will continue to provoke...

Just following up from last month.


April 6, 2014 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack