And time slid by: notes on the revolution

:- So now we’re at the bottom of this wild and grueling year.

I’m threshing the days, as we all do in this week between consumer frenzy and a new year. We try to reset, gather our Selves, not just our thoughts or plans. Adam and I have finally stopped being in the Emergency, or asleep, long enough to sort and share the wedding photos. (Took a minute, we know.) A chasm has opened in one of my cherished friendships, and that dark place has proved a cavern full of many darknesses. It is my turn to go deep again, get a guide, budget for some therapy.

:- It’s always a surprise, how one gets here. In my case, time danced and hopped while I read and read–philosophy threaded with feminist theory, lots of post-Marxist social theory, myth, poetry by the shelf, an informal Master’s in Eastern Studies, the Heart and Diamond Sutras–and I was not ready.

We’re never ready.

  • for the hurt we cause
  • for the risk that stays just another step ahead
  • for the shame or fear between us and that risk
  • for the expanded self in the far chamber of the cavern

We are never ready for the Emergency. And the Emergency will never give up or fuck off. So, let’s plan long days of time together, meals, room for quiet understanding, days with room for joy and no pressure to perform it.


Never Made Sense / No Sense to Make

Neoliberalism has, by many accounts, come home to shit on the eggs. We’ve lived with it for decades now, and “things getting better” only deepens the fecund pile as the years drivel on. You are out of your job, future, house, sense-of-self because of it.

The fitzy little idea that countries can be run like corporations and presidents or prime ministers should act like — or better, by replaced by — CEOs is a central tenet of neoliberalism. Somehow, if we run government like business, all our woes will be kissed well.

I am not the only writer to point out that this, this is some buzzard shit. Here’s why, in an eggshell.

Corporations don’t participate in history.
Governments are only history.

What I mean by this is: corporations don’t deal much with the consequences of their actions for their employees, or the people who live around them, or the people their frequent malfeasance destroys. They might be forced to rectify a bad act by a lawsuit, but that happens almost never. They exist to profit. They pursue efficiency, and that’s why the replace US workers with cheaper foreign ones or (more often and even better) robots which don’t eat, sleep, get sick or old, or have children to worry about. Robots are efficient, and they make oodles of the profits.

Governments, of the sort we imagine we have in the US, are humongous non-profit organizations, primarily concerned with people and their well-being and the consequences of many actions, and are therefore wholly embedded in history. Governments don’t profit. Everything about governing from its supply to its demand is inefficient and cannot become efficient in the way the corporations imagine they are.

CEOs would make, and may make for real if we commit the self-immolation presented to us by a Trump presidency, horrible and destructive presidents because the whole set of assumptions, goals, and processes of corporations are just about the opposite of those of governments. Their philosophies don’t jibe.

Don’t get me wrong. Corporations to things that affect history, but they are not in the history business — they are not nations, or peoples, or even decently loyal clubs. They are profit making machines that make profit out of the planet’s resources and many of the years of many human lives. They are not concerned with anything like well-being, literacy rates, national health and contentment levels, cultural literacies, life-spans, or even defense (not even defense corporations are particularly interested in OUR defence).

We live in the fragile and uncertain consequences of 40 years of neoliberalism. A tiny group of friends and acquaintances own nearly everything (and most of us with it), and a few of us are still eking by on the skills the current economy hungers for, and the vast rest of us are tired and hungry and totally fucked.

History demands a stronger nation of us.
History will not reward a more businessy nation.


#nevertrump  #neoliberalism  #fakeeconomy  #americandream  #thegreatturning  #peaceeconomy #governmentisnotbusiness  #cantcheathistory  #goodluckwiththat



On the Abolition of Political Parties

Organizations of scale: multinationals, trading houses, banks, political parties, maybe bigness itself is the problem?

Simone Weil, On the Abolition of Political Parties, trans. Simon Leys, with essays by Czesław Miłosz (“The Importance of Simone Weil”) and Simon Leys (“In the Light of Simone Weil: Miłosz and the Friendship of Camus”) (New York: New York Review of Books, 2013), 71 pp.

— from Common Knowledge, 21.3 (Fall 2015), 516-17.

“Political parties are a marvelous mechanism, which, on the national scale, ensures that not a single mind can attend to the effort of perceiving, in public affairs, what is good, what is just, what is true. As a result—barring a very small number of fortuitous coincidences—nothing is decided, nothing is executed, except measures that run contrary to the public interest, to justice and to truth.”

The relevance of these remarks of Weil’s, published in 1942, to contemporary political mischief is galvanizing. Her arguments are worthy of everyone’s serious consideration, in particular her philosophical account of those characteristics of a political party that lead to its becoming totalitarian—to the inevitable reversal, that is, from its being a means to its becoming an end. Since “a good tree can never bear bad fruit, nor a rotten tree beautiful fruits” is for her a trustworthy biblical text, she focuses on whether political parties contain enough good to compensate for their evils. The only legitimate reason to conserve anything is, Common Knowledge Published by Duke University Press Little Reviews 517 for Weil, its goodness. Given that her criteria for goodness are truth, justice, and public interest, she concludes that the “institution of political parties appears to be an almost unmixed evil” and that its abolition “would prove almost wholly beneficial.” Today, the quantity of “bad fruit” produced by our political parties makes one yearn for ways to nourish a “good tree.” One propitious means of preparing the ground could be to cultivate a wide readership for this essay by Simone Weil, together with the related pieces by Czesław Miłosz and Simon Leys that accompany it in this succinct volume.

— E. Jane Doering is a professor and the executive coordinator of the Teachers as Scholars Program in the College of Arts and Letters, University of Notre Dame. She is the co-editor of The Christian Platonism of Simone Weil (University of Notre Dame Press, 2004).

doi 10.1215/0961754X-3131207


Media and Christians Pitch Similar Fits

Well, at least this week you
two seem to have agreed on your tone.


Reporters are writing some rather unflattering stories about being refused access to a protest at Mizzou. Organized by Jonathan Butler and #ConcernedStudents1950, the hunger strike was not meant to be a spectacle in the usual way.

The media have a long history of representing hunger strikes and political fasts as slightly nutty and exploiting the fasters to make a movement look, well, unserious.

Zoe Nicholson was one of the feminists who fasted in the rotunda of Illinois State Capitol for 45 days in a effort make legislators there understand the seriousness of their vote on the Equal Rights Amendment. Her account, The Hungry Heart: A Woman’s Fast for Justice, tells the story. The legislators spent those grueling 45 days waiting them out, and then voted no on women’s equality, effectively derailing these efforts until the present day. No ERA for us.

The media then were skeptical at best and condescending at worst concerning the women’s commitment, methods, and real goals. Thanks, guys.

Read an excerpt here.

Thing about a fast is, you don’t know how long you will have to go without food in order to (if you even) accomplish your goal. The preparation of will and spirit, and body, for this endurance test is deep and difficult and serious as hell. People do not undertake a hunger strike lightly or in the name of evanescent causes. Death is a real possibility, form starvation, or infection because going without food does a real number on your immune system.

Which, is why these students probably didn’t want reporters nosing around in their fasting camp. It’s cold and flu season, people. Plus, you just don’t need you concentration and solidarity disrupted when you’re trying to do such an incredibly hard and often misunderstood thing.

The various newspapers who’ve run disgruntled stories about being refused access, or removed from the fasting camp are ridiculous. You do not automatically get access to citizens, even citizens performing a public act like this. No one is obliged to talk to you. Acting like we are so obliged is simply childish.

Coffee Cups

So. Hi.Christ in Christmas

All this fluffy outrage is the dissonance of faithlessness. Align your hearts, and all the dross and costume of your Lord’s day will fall away in oblivion and leave only warm and active harmony of your compassion for these who are least among you.

Christian faith, in the practice of those have faith, is a demanding and world changing ministry of love.

Starbies isn’t being Christmasy enough for the #waronchristmas folks. I am agiggle. #BoycotStarbucks

And here’s why. The last thing you should want, in the name of you Lord, is to be seduced and suckered (what you call represented) by corporate brand management and advertizing. You should, I’m pretty sure, want Mammon to leave you the hell alone, thank you very much.

Meme on Adoption

But, no. Every year you want more civic space, more economic space, more legal space, more DOMINION — which, is not your place. It’s really no one’s place but your Lord’s, or the business of Mammon’s empires, anyway. Not a thing Jesus was super fond of, himself.

I’m not a Christian, but I take your faith seriously. Please, I hope you will too. The Yule Solstice is a time of deep introspection, of sustaining my friends and community against the dark and cold forces of winter –figuratively of dispossession and oppression. Let’s look to each other, yeah?, to each other for shelter and sustenance.


DC Youth Slam Team: Shakazuun!

Young Poets Confront Racism, Homophobia, and Teen Pregnancy on D.C. Slam Team

Read the article. Believe in the young people.


WAMU Community Minute: Jonathan Tucker

Community Minute: Using poetry for social change

Listen Here (click).

Founded in 2008, Split This Rock is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., providing programs focused on the intersection of poetry and social change for writers of all ages. Split This Rock hosts free poetry workshops for teens every Tuesday in downtown D.C.

In addition, Split This Rock provides free writing workshops for all ages in collaboration with The Beltway Poetry Slam on the first and third Wednesday of each month. The organization also sponsors open mic nights and readings at various locations throughout the District, as well as the Louder than a Bomb Poetry Slam Festival each year. Split This Rock also sponsors The DC Youth Poetry Slam Team, a year-long program for middle and high school students in the D.C. metropolitan area.