What a distinctly horrendous week that was. And little sign of letting up. If anything, it only looks like things will get worse. But let’s start at the beginning and with, what I suppose, might be called “the good.” At least, the half-way decent and cheering.
I picked up my suit from the tailor and am extremely happy with it. The man does good work. I also bought a new pair of binoculars — my first in over a decade, maybe longer. I’m also happy with these. The magnification is impressive – they’re 10×42- and I’ll be using these to bird, view helicopters and watch the various police take-downs visible from my balcony. Not only are they built so that I can leave my glasses on, they even allow a smartphone to be affixed to their scope so that I can take pictures with the benefit of magnification. But, since it’s pretty hard to take a picture of a bird (they move a lot more than what you’d think) and the contrivance takes some time to set up and a fair amount of skill to employ, I’m not sure how much use that attachment will be.
Aside from that, in the realm of the professional, I’ve been offered a promotion at work. But, I’ve been down this road before. There seems to be a pretty wide gulf between what gets promised and what gets delivered. So I’m keeping my expectations low. Well, low is understating it. I have no expectations. We’ll see. *shrugs*
My academic pursuits are continuing to progress. I’ve started on a philosophy course. I generally think that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all but there’s always been a bit of an unsettling gap between what I think and what I do so —
Jesus Fucking Christ! I feel like I’m back in high-school. I can clearly remember why I took all those drugs. The dated absurdity of the course material (the textbook is from 1983), the personality of the professor –that ingratiating combination of patronizing and wrong–, the patriarchal ideas presented without any context other than the ALL-CAPPED authority of the person relaying them and what I can only describe as a troubling Islamaphobic undercurrent to some of the assignments and an orientalist orientation to others, is, well, fucking exhausting. I was warned that there’d be teachers like this. Quite another thing to have one. But, in spite of that, so far, my marks in this class are fine. I just need to clench my jaw and get through this shit, while opposing the worst of it at every opportunity. Suffice to say, I will, to the best of my ability, be avoiding this man’s classes in the future. There’s only so much that one can hear about the fucking human goddamn potential movement in 2018. Like Jesus. Really?
Of course, while I was picking up suits and binoculars, complaining about this class while trying to get through it, something much worse was going on. That is, the United States of America took another serious step toward realizing its fascism. It started locking up children in cages, doping them with “vitamins”, debating the meaning of the word “cage”, doubling back and presenting the idea of locking up families together as a compromise. The whole disgusting spectacle took place with the speed one could expect. It hit fast, it hit hard and it’s winding up to hit again.
It’s becoming increasing difficult to attempt to maintain any sort of normalcy. Heading to work, going about my day, seems utterly immoral. Merely functioning fills me with leaden guilt. The normal functioning of this society needs to be disrupted and held hostage until it gets somewhere near having an ethical grounding. As it stands, I don’t know how anyone, myself included, is doing anything normal at all.
And I’m so sick of analysis and explanation. At this point, it’s the worse sort of wankery. There are 5,000 dead Puerto Ricans and kinder-jails. The verdict is in. This shit is fascist. Posts aren’t politics and we require politics. We have no need of more thought. Of goddamn memes. We need sufficient demands backed up with action. Not just that families be reunited in prisons. That is as insufficient as it is insulting. ICE must be abolished. Anyone involved in the giving or following of these criminal orders has to face charges. They need prison time. I don’t care if your job was just driving the fucking bus. If you’re driving the bus for ICE, you should be charged. Following orders is not an excuse. We went to some work to establish that in the 1940s. And we need to break up the aspects of our society where these fascist tendencies are latent but strong potentialities. The infrastructure of surveillance, the carding of people getting on buses or trains, for instance, the endless demands to present proof of citizenship, the monopolized corporate interests that concentrate power and even the physical structure of the box stores that can be so easily converted into concentration camps. All of that shit needs to go. We need a fundamental fucking reorganization here. It has to be harder to do establish racist autocracy than it currently is. It’s just too fucking easy.
The way to make these demands and achieve them is through a general strike. But, so far, the only people I see calling for such an action have been anarchists. This needs to be a mainstream demand. It needs the backing of the unions. Yet, these motherfuckers seem asleep at the switch. My union has recommended no course of action that might actually disrupt this perverse status quo. All they’ve done is raise dues. They seem content to wait for these assaults to circle back upon them, by which point it will be too late for them to actually do anything. They won’t even be able to protect themselves. And that they’ve allowed corporations and CEOs to assume some sort of moral high-ground in their defense of free-market principles and the avoidance of a trade war – that we’re looking to fucking republicans to come to the rescue? Don’t even get me started on that shit . . .
I support unions and I support mine but I’m not utopian about them. Unions are imperfect and frustrating vehicles for social change. But they’re still one of the best and only political vehicles that we have. Yet, given their overwhelming silence and lack of action, we must seriously consider that the union movement in America might be as almost hopelessly compromised as every other institution. They seem to be acting more of custodians of normacly and the interests of management than they are the interests of the workers they ostensibly represent. The moment children were in cages, everyone in this country should have been straight off the fucking job. Probably even before that. Because, let’s be honest, we fucking knew where Trump was going with this shit and it was there. We still know where he’s going and it’s going to be worse. But humans often hope for a satisfactory resolution into a pleasing and explanatory totality. It’s a hope that assholes (and novelists) often prey upon. But, in reality, that often never cones. And today, having seen everything that Trump has done, it’s impossible and irresponsible to hold out any more hope for this to happily resolve itself. None of this will ever make sense. No part of it will ever be good. Not unless we take action. We need a general strike. Strikes are the political power of the working class and this power is substantial. It’s unbelievable to see it frittered away through disuse while things get worse. To see it only ever employed in reaction. It’s unbelievable that my union lacks reputable stewards or any clear avenue to changing that. The shit is dead on the ground and the union seems content to leave it that way. They’ve vacated politics. It’s a horrendous betrayal.
But what can I say? What can I do? It’s impossible to point a finger without pointing it at myself. In a way, I’m worse. Because I know. I know where words like “infest” lead. I know what policies like these come to. I know. Yet, here I am, trying to get through my day, doing my job, getting my schoolwork done and acting as a willing custodian for my slice of the illusion under The Hallucination Regime. I suspect that, like a lot of people, I’m willing to stand up but not alone. Willing to fight but not be a martyr. People like me, who have almost no ability to organize our fellow humans, need our organizations to organize us. We need to be told where to stand and at what time. We speak but words are not enough. We donate but donations are not enough. We need to fight. To win, we require institutional support. The enemy demands that of us. Losing is not an option.
And standing still? It’s just become emotionally unsupportable.
While we wait, the best we can do is witness, donate and refuse to collaborate with fascists. At least, that’s what I tell myself. It doesn’t make me feel any better. So, God knows what I’ll get up in the coming weeks. Nothing dramatic. Don’t look for me in the news, I won’t be there. But something. Something must be done. Something more than this. This is not enough. I’m running out of fucks. I can’t go on. I must go on.