Archive for December, 2007

See, this is what gets me…

Ran Prieur has written yet another of those posts that get me fired up to go all Outlaw.  I’m copying it here in full for posterity, because posts from his blog “drop off the edge” after about 10 days:

December 1. There’s a lot of buzz about the Homegrown Terrorist Radicalization Whatever Act. According to the script, we’re supposed to respond, “Unthinkable! Outrage! Constitution! Fight through usual channels! Oh no, usual channels not working! American reality different from American ideal! Protest! Ow, stop hitting me!”

If we respond this way, we are going along with the abuse ritual. To an abuser, there is nothing sexier than when the victim expresses shock and outrage and fights back in a way that’s totally ineffective. The next sexiest thing is to grovel in submission, and next after that is total numb defeat. These strategies not only don’t work — they actually feed a demon that inhabits the collective consciousness and many individuals, and they encourage more abuse.

So what can we do about it? As Thaddeus Golas said, “A great deal, if our heads are clear.” The common mistakes of abuse victims and political dissidents correspond exactly to the first four of the five stages of grief. It’s time to stop fucking around and get to the fifth stage.

America has passed from Republic to Empire, and will not go back. We are living in an authoritarian state in rapid decline. The federal government will pass more and more repressive laws, because that is what declining empires do. By all means, we should pay attention to hostile moves by government and business, the same way you would pay attention to rising floodwaters. You don’t get angry at the water. You don’t say “the Constitution forbids water getting this high.” It is not a good idea to march through the water holding signs demanding that it recede. But you might be able to channel the water to where it will do less harm, or pile up sandbags to protect critical areas, or at least evacuate to higher ground.

Moving from metaphor to reality, we can fight big domination systems with little systems that are still democratic. Your vote for president is now worth less than your vote on Reddit, but you could make a huge difference by starting a group to run a candidate for city council, or to connect responsible squatters with vacant houses, or to fix and give away old bikes, or to turn an abandoned parking lot into a garden.

Another thing we have to understand is that the law is a distraction. The highest and lowest classes already know this in their bones: the only thing that matters is what you can get away with. The police will invade your house, kill your dog, and steal your computer if you run a perfectly legal website that scrutinizes the police too closely. But you can flagrantly violate the law by occupying an empty house, raising chickens in your back yard, and providing unlicenced medical care, as long as you maintain good relations with everyone who knows you’re doing it.  (emphasis added)

I know he’s more or less right.  And it just gets me, you know?  Because I have the hugest love and admiration for Ron Paul and what he’s taking on.  Yes, I’ve been supporting him with my plastic FRNs – and I want to see him win.  Just to observe the look on the faces of George Stephanopoulos and Ann Coulter and all those who say “he can never win.”  (How come no one ever makes the so-called expert explain just why he can’t win, when it’s still a month to the first frackin’ primary?)

Dangitall.  I’m stuck in hope.  I love this particular underdog.  I can’t help it.  He’s a dear.  And he’s mostly right.

But my dark side whacks me upside the head with a 2×4 and yells, “So is Ran Prieur right!  Not even a President Paul  can save us now!  You know it – you gotta save your own ass.”

So I guess the best I can do is to support two underdogs with my plastic FRNs – Ron Paul, and myself.  Hedging, I think they call it on Wall Street.

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December 2, 2007 at 4:35 pm 10 comments


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