Welcome to the Race War (please enjoy your stay)

July 1, 2015

Here’s a headline I’ve kicked around in my mind for a few days:

White people everywhere declare themselves “not racist” in response to black churches burning

Inspiration for that headline came from the below picture, which I now see circulating on Facebook amongst white people at ever-increasing frequency and popularity in the wake of the Charleston Massacre and string of additional white terrorist arson against black communities:

reads,

reads, “I don’t judge people based on color, race, religion, sexuality, gender, ability or size.
I base it on whether or not they are an asshole.”

I don’t have a problem with the picture, per se.  I have a huge problem with the fact that I see it with ever-increasing frequency among white folks in the wake of white supremacist terrorism against black communities.  I even see groups of white people using the above picture to band together and declare themselves and one-another “not-racist” in a perverse sort of white ego circle jerk.  I give exactly four fucks about this trend:

  • It deflects from the real issue of black safety and liberation and institutionalized / systematic white supremacy, and makes it about the egos and insecurities of white individuals.  Do I need to explain how problematic this is?  I will anyway:  when white people “respond” to events relating to black liberation by defensively declaring themselves “not racist,” it creates a comparison and equality between black lives lost and terrorized on one hand, and hurt white egos on the other.  Such a comparison minimizes and marginalizes and delegitimizes black lives, even implying that white egos matter more than black lives.  This is exactly why “Black Lives Matter!” has risen as a central slogan and even the name of the current liberation movement.  This is a great example of racist micro-aggression, and shows how subtle and entrenched racism is in our society.  It’s similar to how many people compare a broken windows to a lost life and try to make the discussion about the broken window.
  • Individuals use “I’m not racist” as a way to excuse or hide their passivity:  white people claiming they are “not racist” often use such claims to remain on the sidelines, as if this isn’t “their fight.”  Or by virtue of declaring themselves “not racist,” they have no work to do.  How convenient!
  • Just as problematically, the white supremacist status quo uses the above-mentioned passivity and micro-aggressions of white individual defensiveness as a type of implicit apology for or endorsement of the current racist regime.  It’s a type of wink and a nod.
  • Also, you’re racist.  Get over it. I’m racist.  We’re all racist.  In a racist society and culture, everyone is racist by default.  Only when we actively do anti-racist things are we not racist…and even so, only temporarily.  As Jennai Bundock reminds us, “Don’t tell me you are [feminist, anti-racist, BMX biker, runner, poet, anything, really].  I will know based on how you behave.” (paraphrasing)

In other words, you can’t stay neutral on a moving train, folks (thanks, Zinn), and talk is cheap.

When institutionalized, systemic and systematic oppression brutalizes and terrorizes people in your community — perhaps people you know — how do you react or respond?  How will you behave?  Do you, for example, support black armed self-defense or other forms of black agency and empowerment?  Or do you try to police black behavior through the lens of respectability politics?

Well-meaning white people need to get off the sidelines, stop insisting they are “not racist,” realize its not about them personally or their own insecurities, and join in solidarity with the anti-racist resistance and liberation movements.  This can take a literally-infinite number of forms, big and small (help make signs, publicly condemn the race terrorists, talk to friends and family about what’s going on, take some initiative to educate yourself, etc).  To help establish some parameters, here’s what it DOES NOT look like:

  • selfish individualism:  defensively making it all about you, e.g., to claim or prove you’re “not racist”
  • passivity: saying and doing nothing in support of and solidarity with those who put their lives at risk to speak out against ongoing racial inequality and justice or who directly get harmed by it.
  • victim blaming:  wondering silently what the black people “did to provoke” their attackers

The recent rash of anti-black arson in the US are acts of physical aggression — continuations of the Charleston massacre — targeting a minority population who has become increasingly vocal about the inequalities and injustices they still face at the hands of white supremacy.   These are acts of war, perhaps even white supremacists’ efforts to provoke an explicit race war in the US.  Until then, these acts of war constitute a reactionary, race-baiting, white-supremacist backlash against black liberation to overcome centuries of entrenched oppression — a type of scorched-earth white terrorism targeting the hearts and peoples of many black communities.

I stand in solidarity with the people of black liberation movements and against institutional and systematic white supremacy, including its more subtle manifestations as individual defensiveness, passivity or micro-aggressions.

This sometimes gets tricky.  It gets more and more difficult to “other” the perpetrators when we focus on the subtle transgressions that form the fabric or foundation of the status quo.  The perpetrators of passivity or micro-aggression start to look an awful lot like friends, family, even ourselves.  Believe it or not, this is a good thing.  It’s not that we remove focus from the terrorists of racism — we remain focused on them, and start dismantling the cultural and social basis of their social support system.  It starts with us, but does not end there, as we learn to turn white fragility into courageous imperfection:

If white people want to belong to the beloved community, if we want to be part of the tide that is turning thanks to people of color-led movements like #BlackLivesMatter, then we have to show up as bold and genuine and imperfect…Dismantling centuries of dehumanizing institutions and practices — both in the world and within ourselves — can’t be a simple process. The good news is that transforming your fragility into courageous imperfection is the beginning of a lot more joy. It’s the beginning of a lot more connection. It’s the beginning of the end of racism.

The rest of the above-linked article is well-worth the read.


062815 every season

June 29, 2015

062815

i long to see other humans in this
supposed-community scrambling
to pluck the sour-sweet sun-ripe plums
from the tree before they fall…
not for any reason of greed
but from a place of appreciation
and humility
for these gifts given unto us
so freely every season.

such a scene might indicate to me
an uncivil act of treason:
how we know (and love) ourselves
how we know (and love) one another, and
how we know (and love) the land
and from this knowledge and love
for the trinity of need
we might build abiding community
and break allegiance to the system.


All I Feel Right Now Is Shame: The High Cost of Marriage “Equality”

June 28, 2015

ozob:

“Most major legal victories touted as “historic advances” by LGBT leaders and their largely assimilationist non-profits so far this century have come at the expense of the literal and figurative disenfrancisement and dispossesion of others…”

“When the LGBT leaders at the White House refused to stand up for Jennicet Gutierrez and join her call to end immigration detention, they made visible the institutional racism at the center of the same-sex marriage campaign in particular, and mainstream LGBT politics, organizations, and pride events in general. “

Do they boo her because they are strategically afraid that if they don’t, the system will revoke the recent marriage privilege they received? Or do they boo her because of internalized racism or classism?

Yes.

By joining the system in actively shaming and further marginalizing Jennicet Gutierrez, these so-called “social justice leaders” have demonstrated their allegiance to oppression, and the system demonstrates exactly how effectively it “robs Peter to pay Paul.” Divide and conquer.

We must completely abandon, transform or destroy systems of oppression rather than work to include a few more people in the pyramid scheme.

Originally posted on ALTCINEMA:

Two days ago, an undocumented Latina transwoman risked her own personal well-being to disrupt a self-congratulatory love fest between so-called LGBT leaders and Barack Obama, an event celebrating the “success” of the inclusion of some lesbian and gays into the fold of US citizenship. Jennicet Gutierrez interrupted Obama’s press conference, calling attention to the abuses of the US immigration detention system, including the disproportionate harms experienced by LGBTQ people caught up in the system. This was the response of Obama and the LGBT leaders in the room:

Obama scolds Gutierrez, saying “shame on you,” and calls security to escort her from the room. The mostly white LGBT leadership in the crowd outright boo and hiss at her, and cheer Obama’s dismissal of Gutierrez and her concerns, chanting over and over: “Obama! Obama! Obama!”

Today, those same LGBT “leaders” are celebrating yet another favorable same-sex marriage decision from the US Supreme…

View original 980 more words


The Feral Weeds of Civilization

June 27, 2015

http://www.feraljesus.com/calvin-and-hobbes/

There is no longer anything wild and free over the next hill. All you will find are filthy cities, factories, outlet malls, military bases, judicial centers. Remove your gaze from this monstrosity, and look toward the earth. Observe and learn from the flowering weed that cracks the pavement, so full of power, hopeful energy, creating beauty amid the desolation. Aren’t you a sweet, free spirit, a flowering weed that breaks through the asphalt, a serendipitous encounter who makes life bearable? Keep breaking out of the darkness of civilization. Thrust, reach up, display your beauty and freedom in ecstasy. Expand and expire for all to see, until you are crushed.

I feel my heart breaking and aching and resisting as I pull back from so much in life and take the time and space to heal and rebuild.  Painful.  Necessary.  And, after ten years intensively exploring anarcha-feminist lifeways within the confines of a consummate patriarchy, inevitable.  Each day I feel pieces of me fall away as i peel back the broken layers and rest what remains of my naked, raw self on a more solid foundation.  I look forward to our intersecting fates, my fellow feral weeds, as we continue to question and break from our pathological allegiance to an addictive society and its magnificent bribes.

Onward.


An intimate elbow brush with epidemic pathology

June 18, 2015

Wednesday night.  We planned to head over to the fairgrounds to pick some ripe bing cherries from volunteer trees.  We heard a man shouting outside.  I went out to get mail and investigate.  Middle-aged white dude cussing out two teenagers at the top of his lungs, and shouting at one to get in the truck.    Cussing and shouting escalated and continued.  I walked toward the truck.  He saw me, pulled back and into parkign lot across way and stopped for a minute.  Truck windows rolled up, still heard him shouting and cussing.  I started walking toward them again. Driving aggressively, he pulled out of parking lot and started heading south by my house again.  I shouted at him as he passed something like, “Please show show people more respect!” The best I could muster.

He slammed on breaks, squeaked tires at intersection.  Burned some serious rubber backing up to me.  I readied myself for confrontation and thought briefly about my safety, the safety of the woman and girl in the car with him. “Does he have a gun?”

What happened next sent surreal chills down my spine:  He immediately calmed down and rationally explained away his behavior to me, like someone flipped a switch on the back of his neck.  Then after telling me everything he thought i needed to know about the situation, he said, without a hint of irony, that it’s really “none of my business.”

“Yeah, well, when I hear you out in the street yelling at the top of your lungs and cussing at people you supposedly love from inside my house, you make it my business.”

He launched again into all the rationalizations. He “didn’t know where his daughter was,” and “was concerned for her safety” and “found her with a boy he’d never met.”  Ok, those sound like reasonable things to be upset about as a parent, and decent excuses for a man to exhibit angry, controlling behavior. Any port in a storm, and the long, slow burn of persistent patriarchy provides one hell of a 20,000 year old storm for us to weather.

“I’m allowed to get angry and fly off the handle.”

“And there’ll be consequences when you do that.  Is that really how you want to show your love?  Is that what you want the people around you to think love is?”

“You know what, fine.  Call the cops on me.  I don’t care.”

“I’m not concerned about you being angry.  I’m concerned about the reasons why.  I’m concerned that if you treat the people you say you love this way in pubilc, how do you behave in private?” (yes i know that many abusers present with perfect angelic behavior in public).

“Then call the cops on me,” he said again, and drove off.

Neighbors (one of whom is a mandatory reporter) heard him shouting, and came out to see the confrontation.  And, unknown to him, they fulfilled his request without ever hearing it.  “Yeah, that’s not love he was expressing,” they said, “when you can hear it pretty clearly from inside over an AC unit running on full blast.”  They called cops, who tracked him down (apparently lives on a street a few blocks south of me).  I have no idea what happened from there.

I went back inside and cried out my own anger and frustration and tried to calm my own fight or flight response. I wanted desparately to sleep that night. I hoped and begged my body, mind and spirit to cooperate.

And for some reason, I was reminded of my next door neighbor, who, shortly after I moved into my house several years ago, asked me to cut down “my” tree so he could get better television reception. A casual request for the destruction an entire biome — thousands of lives — for the sake of the quality of his chosen method of consumer entertainment…Do we need to talk through the insanely corrupt entitlement and value systems embodied in such requests?

I think of how I know it’s spring, not because plants leaf out again and flowers bloom, but because I pass rows of zombies mindlessly spraying poisons on land they believe they “own” in droning acts of biotic cleansing to purge the landscape of edible and medicinal plants they call “weeds” (again, without a hint of irony) as they scramble to maintain the stunted monocotic symbol of socioeconomic desperation they call “lawns.”

I think of the people who I see walk within feet of destroyers openly preying on the destroyed, only to ignore and pray it away like an errant thought.

I think of how 99% of the perpetrators of public violence seem to be men, and, how most of those men have reputations or history of giving (and sometimes receiving) abuse in their private life. I think of how often men stalk women and white people profile black people.

The term kyriarchy comes to mind. Civilization requires slavery of any and every kind. It requires domestic slavery and wage slavery and chattel slavery.

I, increasingly, see these diverse pathologies of civilization, the alienation, the abject psychopathy, narcissism, entitlement, chronic fear, as varied symptoms of the same underlying problem.  It’s not so far fetched. Consider, for instance, that three people can have celiac disease diagnostically manifesting with a non-overlapping display of a range of hundreds of various symptoms in each person.  They can eat similar diets and live simlar lives, even have similar genetics.  Yet, one will exhibit no clear or overt symptoms, or maybe occasional stiff joints and headaches.  One will exhibit primarily gastro-intestinal symptoms.  The other will feel primarily neurological symptoms of anxiety, depression and brain fog.  Some unlucky, extra-sensitive few may suffer through all these symptoms and more. The condition underneath remains the same: a destroyed gut interacting with a socially and physically and chemically toxic environment.

In the same way, civilization throws these pathologies at us like a game of whack-a-mole, and our symptoms vary massively.  In refusing to play that game, we call into question the foundations of our existence and our motivations in life.  It requires going deeper and looking, first and foremost, at our own pathologies and addictions to the processes and substances threatening to make zombies of us all, even as we continue our agonizing participation. Waking up is painful.  I meet few people who seem willing to give it up their slumber, who wish truly for the embodied spiritual ecstasy of liberation (I have caught only fleeting glimpses of it myself), who have no desire to bring any of the pathologies with them on they paths they walk with increasing mindfulness into a life worth living.  But we exist.  And we become more numerous and more bold, more desparate and courageous with each new day we learn to tell the difference between life and psychopathy.

The liberal cancer syllogism would have us believe that humans are destroying the planet:  humans are to the earth as cancer is to the body.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The earth will survive long after civilized humans demonstrate once and for all our final incapacity to participate in and support life and love.   The war against civilization is purely a war against the spiritual devastation of humanity.  We are no grand saviors of the planet, because cancer is to the body as civilization is to humanity.  In a few thousand years — a blink in the eye of human’s existence — it has infiltrated and spread to epidemic proportions, supplanting nearly everything we know about life, replacing experience and feeling with pale parodies meant to contain and divide and distract us and keep us mired in crisis.

Leaving civilization does not mean flipping a switch.  It does not mean moving out into the woods (or else we might just bring it with us like a smokestack of trouble strapped to our backs).  It means depopulating the planet of humans and technology.  Depopulation means fighting patriarchy and supporting the empowerment of women and queers and other minorities in society. It means purging ourselves — inside and out — of the opulent minority ruling class.  It means supporting biomass as it asserts and protects itself against the expansive technomassive onslaught.  It means, increasingly, ignoring and outright-defying the institutions and laws and corporate mandates of empire and colonizing states.   It means disrupting the imperial flow of resources and other IV drips that slow civilization’s demise nad prolong its destructiveness.  It means purging the earth of the giant factories that dredge and scrape and squeeze and siphon the life from the land. It means prioritizing things like food, family, love, clean water and breathable air above money and social prestige.

It means an absolute refusal to martyr ourselves on the altar of pathology.  It means eating nourishing rather than poisonous foods, whatever that means for each person.  It means refusing to set our lives aside to come save civilization when it whimpers and calls out to us like a hurt child, and then spits in our face and stabs us in the stomach as we stoop in compassion to help.

It means any of these things, and all these things, and more.  For how pervasive civilization has become inside and outside of us, it remains extremely fragile to disruption.  When only a few dare to shed their internalized colonization, first and foremost, it will create an economic, physical disruption of oppression that civilization will fail to contain and suppress.  The only question in my mind is how bad we zombies will allow things to get before we wake up and fight for our right to live and die.

And I think about the purslane and wild lettuce and pineapple weed and sow thistle growing up through cracks in the middle of the intersection, how they resist and persist, day after day, year after year…the two-plus ton crush of metal beasts. The desertifying bake of the blacktop and urban heat islands…to create more life, more biomass, to displace, if only for a few months (or longer, barring civil intervention) the technomass that overruns and consumes and replaces earth’s life support systems as the immediate foundation of human existence.

The next day, we picked a half gallon of low-hanging bing cherries from feral trees. I thanked the trees, knowing that the timing isn’t always this perfect, and apologized for the small amount of damage I did. I wondered how long these trees will survive the endless hunger for energy when the urban fossil subsidies stop.


061515 waiting underneath

June 15, 2015

061515

i feel the future vibrating
with the sound of thousands of lives
no longer lost or alone
when our feet pound streets
and break concrete in solidarity
to let the sunlight shine through
to let the seeds take root
in the soil waiting underneath
to grow the uprising.

i feel the futuring vibrating at last
with the present sound of the downfall
of the destroyers of our past.

only a small fraction of the civilized elite
has — or will ever have — access to resources
capable of partially mitigating and outsourcing
some of the damages
civilization does to everyone
degenerative disease, destroyed hip
gets hope from titanium clip surgery
metal comes from ecosystemic devastation
we trade free of context and conscience:
life support systems, unraveling
in exchange for body parts
we call this inequality “privilege”
and so the civil grow and spread their misery


060915 digital adversity

June 10, 2015

060915

my recovery means
a life leading me back to the infirmary
because the firmness of spirit in me has faded
from years of abuse, internal and external
i exist as a past participle of the life i once led
a collection of stories i now recite in my head
the same way that alcoholics choose between
the loose faith and bumpy road of recovery
winding serpentine and anything but easy
or the familiar certainty lying between
deceptively transparent walls containing liquid hate
(where a bottle of booze looks more like a lens
to distort, frame and perpetuate our focus
on the distilled Trojan Strawman dwelling therein)
another distraction to obfuscate the larger social truth:
that addiction is every day more
the social affliction of a profoundly sick society
(comprising heavily of well-adjusted individual
insanity, rampant dishonesty and other civil impropriety)
than it is a physiological excuse
to avoid accountability for whatever we choose
when something outside us worms its toxic way within
(for the sake of discussion, let’s call it “oppression”)
and incites us to pick and choose and press
the button clearly labeled “self-destruct”
over and over and over again.

sometimes its hard to read the thoughts i think
in the things i write in a blink to say,
“we’re fucked,” and i hope with intense inflection
that these words depict an inaccurate reflection —
an errant worldview too intent on the inherent negativity
of entropic introspection — radical activist collective
supposedly, lacking in praxis? to keep some perspective
meet the princess and the pea, normalizing himself
in the form of a conservative subculture complete
with social roles, costumes and alienating conformity
others’ clothing and ink say nothing of substance to me
but i read plenty regarding group structure and hierarchy
broadcast identities, merely unproven labels
smoke and mirrors where monsters primp and preen
while behavior to back the claims
evidence outstanding remains conspicuously unseen

my recovery means life leading me beyond
what i currently know to be true
by blurring the lines of industry inside of me
demarcating and limiting with digital adversity
the analog universe of divine poetry
spitting its verse of infinite diversity
right through me…when i choose to listen
to the subtleties of difference within
evolutionary creation embodying the creator
who spares no expense with every fiber of her being
to give us every opportunity to sense the intent behind
the meaning inside the scene she wants us to see
like how the civilogical narcissistic narrowness of,
“i eat what i grow” and “i grow what i know,”
simplifies itself through time with help from a new(ly re)found
innate curiosity and openness of mind into
“i seek to know and eat what grows”
somewhere in between the sharing of such simplicity
outside the civilogical confines of ethnocentricity
i discover new (to me) depths of complexity
fundamental and unfolding
inalienable and perplexing

in this case, every bottle of booze we abuse
finds itself entangled in a context of greater proof:
someone just wants to feel calm and OK
or at least, to become numb and aloof of her
pain, to overcome and not succumb to her
chronic anxiety, aka “that voice inside of me”
insisting quietly — sometimes screaming —
“something feels wrong”
prying my eyes wide open while dreaming
to show me the machinery of co-dependency
from the limits of my cage, she asks
“are you leaving?”

my recovery means shedding tears:
physically wasted on pasty white sun-basted
faces inhabiting strange places
these phrases read with an asynchronicity in colonial spaces
strangers in a strange land not for any lack of color
on the back of our hands but for the lack of mela(to)nin
in our thoughts that keep us subservient to The Man, Burning:
world turning, stomach churning, heart yearning, body learning
automatic somatic lessons from subtle confessions
the more i listen, the less i make
ethical concessions in exchange for good impressions
the less i need a therapeutic profession with the ever-present
“time’s up for today, please see the secretary to schedule your next session”
because this form of vulnerability has its own
built-in protections against
the patriarch plutarch oligarch spitting crude dark
into the atmosphere and my body, with my breath
let these cancerous words you hear
create the spark
ignite the fear and live to make your mark
free and clear of civil sociopathy, it took me
31 years to see all she really wants of me, i now summarize:
liberated empathy, from what i can surmise.


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