Friday, April 8, 2016

Late Night Thoughts On My Masculinity

I feel emasculated about four times a day. I can't blame the women in my life for this. They aren't telling me how to be a man. It is others.

It is not the daughters of mothers that I know, but others, superseding our mothers and fathers, who decide what a man should act like. It is an act, and we are all in on it.  Except for you, male reader.  We know you're the one exception.  Its okay if you need to leave your body now.  Try some deep breaths and come back if you want. 

We are the act or we wouldn't say "Act like a man." It is so sexy to think of that real man, out there somewhere, with his giant everything and lack of vulnerability! But why I am supposed to idolize him, and then not want to sleep with him? And why I am so ashamed to confess that I am not him? I'm nothing like him.

I'm a vicious little boy who stays alone, prancing in circles and talking to himself. I want to protest that I've never really bought into the whole act of masculinity. But, then, I've played along for so long.

We get handed this act from on high and the whole point is that it will never be me, its always gonna be an act, but I gotta make it real everyday, somehow. The are minimum requirements for proof of masculinity in the state of California. And this act is handed down by the men who actually do dominate us all. They make me act like I chose the way they define me. On the one hand, we all gotta act like this is natural, that we are are tough but little, chubby but a hero, thin but rude, pretty but sexist.

So all day I gotta be showing I'm a man, I'm acting like a man. I am this thing and I'm pretending to be this thing. Don't trip out, though, cause we are already doing it now. 

I do trip out, though. I hate it all, really. I'm beautiful and as graceful as Gene Kelley. I'm a fountain of hot water boiling up through the ocean in a volcanic surge.

I like acting like a man, sometimes. I just don't want to feel forced, or like I'm forcing anyone else. And I want all of us to feel free to be what we are and act out our own roles if we want. And then we can have big picnics in the forest and everybody can be friends.

I hate feeling forced to act like a man.  It takes a toll. There are other things I could be doing.

For example, if I was encouraged to and supported in feeling my kidneys as much as I am supported in and encouraged to feel my penis, I would be healthier, live longer, and have a much easier time of things.

Finally, I wish, somehow, they could just stamp me forever as Not a Real Man, then I'd be free to stop trying and just be this body that I am. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

My Interview with Josh Butler, Executive Director of Housing Long Beach

How long have you lived in Long Beach?

-2 years.  Before moving to Long Beach, I moved around from East LA to El Monte, and Whittier.  I am originally from Norwalk.   

How long have you been involved with HLB?

-Five months.

Who is your role model?

-Lucy Parsons, the anarchist labor organizer. 

What’s one thing you would like to see changed in Long Beach?
-I would like the working class of this city to stop Mayor Garcia's gentrification project. 

How have you grown through your involvement with Housing Long Beach?

-I have seen the wisdom and power of my neighbors to decide issues in our communities without self appointed leaders and authorities calling the shots. 

What skill has been most useful for you to learn?

-Connecting with my neighbors about housing isses. 

What work do you do for HLB?

-Outreach, meetings, and being member of the year!

What has been your favorite memory with HLB?

-The prep meeting for our code enforcement meeting where Jorge and I pretended to be Kurt Keating and Angela Reynolds.  It was fun!
When did your passion for social justice come alive?
-Growing up and seeing my friends and family insulted and disrespected by the ruling class. 

How have you seen your work have an impact on the city of Long Beach?

-Everywhere I go, I see people understanding both that the Mayor and his social class don't care about us and that we, the people, can advocate and organize for ourselves!

Why I Can't Attend the Housing Long Beach Annual Fund Raiser

I can't go and pretend I'm happy with Josh and the Housing Long Beach Board of Directors.  You've ignored the members of Housing Long Beach.  We came to your meeting.  You didn't say hi to us.  You gave us two minutes to speak after we asked, and then kept cutting us off.  You didn't respond to anything we said.  And we weren't talking about anything but the business of Housing Long Beach.  And the business of Housing Long Beach is supposed to be about getting justice for the residents of this city.  We are residents, but you can't even have a conversation with us. 

It was about twelve of us who showed up to your Board of Directors Meeting.  We all spoke our minds about being left out and ignored.  We were polite.  Your response was, and has been, to ignore us.  That's a clear message.  I get it.  I'm sure we all get it. 

Josh, not one member of Housing Long Beach has had anything nice to say about you.  Not because of any personal prejudices or any of that.  We only know you through what you've done to our organization.  And you've known for awhile that we don't approve.   

As for the Board of Directors, you're ignoring us too.  That's fine.  You all got your own thing now.  Congratulations.  I'd like to see the budget and where the money's going, but I don't expect that from you since you've failed to respond to every single question that the members have asked.

I can't stop you from taking Housing Long Beach away from the members.  Enjoy.  But I hope you fully understand how odd it would be to attend your fancy dinner where I'm going to be honored as the member of the year.  I was chosen by my friends, the other members of Housing Long Beach.  I don't even know if any of those folks still consider themselves part of Housing Long Beach.  It's Josh's thing now.  Not ours. 

See, my thing is like this:  People all around here are living in unsafe conditions, being intimidated and cheated by landlords, losing their homes for speaking up, and you don't do nothing but put on a dinner to get people to give you more money.  What you gonna use all that money for?  

I'm doing my small part to help people be safe in their homes, to not be threatened by landlords and the sheriffs coming to lock them out.  I can't fix it by myself.  I'm not any more qualified to do this work than my neighbors.  But its my problem, my commuity's problem, and the problem of every other working class person in this city. 

You guys hang out and chill with the big people that run this city.  That's a whole different world than what I'm used to.  My Long Beach is the Long Beach of bus stops, the blue line, liquor stores, donut shops, and people getting their butts to work every day whether or not they got the energy. 

In my part of Long Beach, rent is a huge problem.  It's not getting any cheaper.  Just having any housing is a problem.  We get evicted for no reason.  We can't get code enforcement to do nothing for us.  We get lied to by rental agencies.  We are disrespected, just as the members of Housing Long Beach have been disrespected by you all. 

And, see, there is just you and us here, in this group.  You, the bosses, and us, the workers.  We are the workers of this organization and the intended beneficiaries of all that Housing Long Beach is supposed to be doing.  But you've left us now.  So Housing Long Beach isn't us anymore.  Its just you.  We still got the problems Housing Long Beach is supposed to be addressing, we just don't have a group that's addressing those problems.   The group we had was gutted.      

That's the new Housing Long Beach.  Josh, and the Directors.  The bosses without the workers.  It's weird as hell to me.  I don't get how that works.  But I know that's not for little people like me to understand.  It's above my pay grade and too high up on the chain of command.  That's cool.  I've never aspired to be anything other than what I am. 

So, you know, as a white trash boy from Norwalk, I've never been one to turn down free food.  I'm still down for you to fix me a plate and drop it off later.  Also, if this member of the year award comes with some cash rewards, hook it up with that direct deposit.  But I won't be able to make it tonight.  I'm gonna spend this evening with some people in my part of Long Beach.  Have fun. 

Warm Regards,

Darren Taylor, renter in downtown Long Beach, broke, hungry, ready for some justice. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

5 Rage Against the Machine Quotes From 20 Years Ago That Still Apply

Music is for the sentimental, and we on the left are supposed to be the opposite of conservative.  But we keep the faith that the founding fathers wrote as a lie, that we are all created equal.  We keep the faith of Jesus, who said raise up the last over the first, and the meek above the rich.  The oldest faith I know never grows old because the rulers and masters keep on pushing at us, from European Kings, to Aztec Empires, and Barack Obama employee of the banks.  The old message stays the same: Resist, Rebel, Equality and Justice for All!  Serfs treated like dirt, stuck doing all the work.  Again, it is time to stop, drop, and roll with the revolution.

RATM is still talking to us. As a teenager, I got their second album and used to just stare at the reading list.  I was white, part Latino on my mother's side and raised by a step mother who fled Vietnam around the time I was born.  We were poor.  My dad listened to Rush Limbaugh and other reactionaries on the radio.  I knew socialists were bad, communists were evil.  But I couldn't help but stare and stare at the CD insert.  It made me see things.  Images of people, just common people, marching in huge numbers.  Uncountable masses of people, black, brown, whatever.  Just strong because they were people.  Nothing special, no genius claims to fame.  God I wanted to throw away everything I knew just to be taken up by those crowds of imaginary masses.  I sensed them almost like a dream I knew myself to be part of.
The Reading List From Evil Empire RATM's second Album

I was in High School, and I had no place or voice or people to reflect what I heard from their music, and no other point to reflect what I felt boiling in my bloodstream.  The rage, the anger of the people, of the oppressed.

You can study history and read WEB Dubois, Marx, Che, the Panthers, Joe Hill, and its the same damn thing today. 

So here it goes:

1."Some of those that work forces are the same who burn crosses." -Killing In The Name OfNews stories about black boys getting killed, and everyone starts talking about racism likes it an old debate that just resurfaced.  Like its not just the same damn thing that people have been fighting since the first slave ship set shore on the land my forefathers stole.  So then thirty years after the sixties and people getting tore up and killed for saying black people have any kind of right to equal treatment, it turns out the Klan and the cops are still down for each other down south.  These are the Florida law enforcement officers who are also in the KKK.

2. "They rally round the family with a pocket full of shells."  - Bulls On Parade

Protect marriage!  Like straight people aren't the biggest threat to their own marriages.  Protect the children from liberal propaganda!  And the war machine is bombing babies internationally.  Cops shooting kids, the GOP shutting down schools for poor people, and the Corporations buying off the state to feed us poison.  And the ones making it all possible say they want to save our families.  Like safe housing, affordable living, and fair wages aren't what families need.  Now we got Hillary acting like the nice mother, paid off by banks, Ted Cruz like the new Mccarthy, crusading for Christian families against perverts and leftists, and Rand Paul, like Goldwater, realizing that right wing middle class kids wanna get high and screw around too, but aren't about to take up the causes of blacks, browns, or women

3. "You justify those who died by wearing the badge, they're the chosen whites."  - Killing In The Name Of

Young blacks killed.  Iraqis, Yemenis, Afghans, Somalians, and Mexicans killed.  Little kids killed all the damn time.  That's all it is.  The way you make it into something else is by glorifying white people with guns, uniforms, badges, and decades of mythological movies showing their virtue.  They pump us full of white supremacist propaganda so we see anything but the simple murder of children happening all the time and justified by our rulers.  So go ahead and tell me all the new shit I need to learn to explain how this happens, even though its the same old shit and we know the reason why.

4. "They don't gotta burn the books they just remove 'em, while arms warehouses fill as quick as the cells."

-Bulls On Parade

The billionaires and their banks screwed over everyone under Bush II's reign, and they're taking it out on public education, funding has been cut and cut for poor people schools.  The rich are still cool and getting good education. You got money for tutors, you're cool.  And for public schools in poor communities, they just take that money away and spend it on some rich people shit.  They disempower people of color, women, LGBTQ, and the poor.  Taking out leftists from textbooks, white washing the slave masters who founded the country, and making sure Chicanos in Arizona can't read about their history.  You take out the empowerment of education, and you automatically got more soldiers and more prisoners.

If your mommy and daddy are poor and marginalized, how you gonna know what the high class kids learn as babies?  How you gonna get the hook ups that they got?  Money out the schools, and into prisons and military recruitment.

5.  "Now the city of angels does the ethnic cleanse"  -People Of The Sun.

In the 1800's whites came west to lynch Mexicans and take their land, now its just a matter of tackling the problem of gangs and hip new places to spend your money.  Los Feliz, Boyle Heights, Silver Lake, Echo Park.  Taking out Chicano Studies in Arizona, taking out Chicanos in Echo Park

And now I'm way past high school, and way past getting active in the movement, but I need that fuel everyday, Bambu, Brother Ali, Dead Prez, The Coup, Killer Mike, RATM, Rebel Diaz, and, of course, Morrissey!

Thank you for your music comrades, and may the generations past hear you and say "No shit!"

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Memorial for Othello and Desdemona

As If It Didn’t Have to Be That Way.

        Brother, get real.  Love was never spoken of behind your back.  Everything else was spoken of, but love was only when you were together, two backs, beasts in love, what we all ache for and ache and never speak of.  
Brother, get real.  You talk like them, but don’t call it love.  With you its gotta be something else.
        Brother, you fought their wars and prayed their prayers but in their minds where you felt love, they saw a big swarthy, sabred beast looming over their swords, out thrusting them in their own wedding beds.  
       Brother, you were a moor, and more Christian than them is still a moor.  But you bought it, you tried to wipe it off, wash it off with their Jesus showers.  Borther, didn’t you feel like a clown, like a punk, like a sucker for playing their game?
       You ain’t white.  “The fountain from which my current runs or else dries up: to be discarded thence!”  

       You’re current flows dark, even light dark is still more dark than any Christian.  Moors dont love, they rut.  
       Brother, it was those crackers that did it to you, it was your own cracker aspirations that did it to you, and all she wanted was you.  All she wanted was you brother.  All you wanted was love.  Those crackers played you out, brother, and you did it to yourself, killed what they couldn’t have, what she wanted from you, what she gave to you, what you couldn’t trust.  
      Sister, he can’t hear you.  Sister, you can’t hear him anymore.  Sister, you know how they are.  
      If it wasn’t him, it would have been someone else.  They prize their swords and hold you there to prize them as well.  

    Sister, you asked I “How am I false?”  
    Sister, it wasn’t you.  How are you false but in the words of others?  How are you false when all you say is yes!  When you’re wedding bed waits, and you are there showing him Yes!  
    Sister, love doesn’t happen between ewes and goats.  Sister, your father sees you as a lamb.  And how can a lamb want love when love comes with the sword, when your father loves only through his sword?  
    Sister, there isn’t no love unless you got some way to stand up for it.  And even your own voice was helpless.  
    Sister, they always say you’re asking for it.  Somehow, you know they’re going to get what they want.  And sister they just won’t hear Yes! when you say Yes!  They won’t hear No! when you say No!

     You loved a man sister, thats where you got doomed.  “I heard you singing “Let nobody blame him/his scorn I do approve.”
   That was some bullshit sister.  You had no choice.  You had no choice of standing by your self, so you stood by your man.  You stood by your murderer.  You stood by and all you had was your voice and all he had was his hands and all you had together was love.  And they set out to kill your love as soon as they saw it threatened their soft and inadequate swords.  
    Sister, if only that love had been left between you.  Sister, I’m sorry for you.  
    Brother, in the next life go for love first, Sister, claw your way out of that wedding bed and find your love, for yourself, stand by that love, and never submit.  
    Brothers and sisters, love is dead when we silence with our hands, when we choke off the flow between us. 

Poem: Wear Something Silk For Quitting Time

Wear Something Silk For Quitting Time

It was my job in the environmental lab
to pinch rubber tops of glass droppers
and squeeze out drops of of aitch see ell,
and aitch three bee oh three,
into glass bottoms. But they never let me use any of it.

Good god, I still want acid drops for the fabric of society
to eat polygon holes out of that bleached table cloth,
So managers like us can’t point or yank at it for support,
can’t mark it up with explanatory graphs,
and can’t keep us looking at each other
through constitutional veils.

When you gonna let the clothes out of the wardrobe?
Tumnus isn’t hopping to fetch them
to the other side and give them reign over kingdoms
of cgi crowds lifting up the same repeated arm
and smiling like horny slaves up at moth worried uniforms.

Let’s put the guns down and feel the weight of hammers
and make rock dust out of chiseled mannequins,
American Idols, textile facades,  
and infrastructures of finance that enclose us
in dimensions we wear but can't point to.

From everywhere, around the world, we’ll go dancing.
Dressing down cops and bosses, twirling in bell dresses, 
dressing up as each other, and wearing out the unity of
fabric sewn together, by un-thanked fingers padded
with worked to death skin, and sold to be worn by veiled bodies
that sell data entry, words for students, the grip of a broom
and the embroidery of geniuses like us.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Occupy LA Demands a Stop to Mortgage Foreclosures; Police Arrest Six

[translated from Spanish by Darren Taylor, printed in  La Opinion, by Jorge Morales Almada /]

They were few, but loud. Loud enough to close down several streets and attract police intervention. They were so well organized that their demands were heard from Los Angeles to Germany. The protest, which took place yesterday, was carried out by members of Occupy LA, in opposition to mortgage foreclosures.

The activists, some who were part of an Occupy LA offshoot, Occupy Fights Foreclosures (OFF) , gathered before noon in front of the German consulate in Los Angeles.

The target of their protest was Deutsche Bank, a German bank which ordered the eviction of an East Los Angeles family who has been living in their home for 14 years.

As Carlos Marroquín, member of Occupy LA stated, this financial institution has not respected the terms of a loan modification they made with the Lucero family, and now they want to to throw them out on the street.
“We are calling attention to the practices of Deutsche Bank which act against US families and the Lucero family in particular, who received an eviction order one month ago”, said Marroquín in front of the consulate, which was guarded by LAPD officers.

A month ago, when they received notice of foreclosure, the Lucero family requested support from Occupy LA to prevent the eviction, and subsequently members of this social movement set up a barricaded encampment which they named Fort Lucero, and awaited the arrival of the sheriffs.

“We are protecting this property because we know that this bank has committed various irregularities”, said Marroquín. “We want to bring this to the attention of the German government, so they know that they do to us what they don’t do in their own country.”

In 1998, Mrs. Lucero acquired a duplex home at 4750 Hammel strreet, in East Los Angeles, a predominantly lower middle-class Latino neighborhood.

Due to the economic recession, in 2008, she began struggling with the monthly payments of $2,320 dollars and requested a loan modification, which, according to Mrs. Lucero, was granted.

However, explained Mrs. Lucero, the bank did not accept payments for several months, and on September 27 they evicted her children who were living in the front area of the duplex and also informed her that she was in foreclosure.

“I don’t want to keep this house for free, I want them to accept my payments”, said Mrs. Lucero in front of the offices of Deutsche Bank in Century City, where protesters moved to proceed with an act of civil disobedience.

A dozen protesters sat in the intersection of the Avenue of the Stars to stop traffic. The police, who were waiting for the protesters, ordered them to move back, but were ignored. Minutes later, they laid down in an intersection of Constellation street, provoking anger from those driving past in luxurious Mercedes Benz.

Employees of Deutsche Bank came out to confront the demonstrators and demanded that the police arrest them.

Efraín Cerda, laying down on the asphalt and ready to be arrested commented: “We want the banks to stop taking homes from the people, and these people (pointing at the bank employees) to wake up and realize the injustices we are fighting against.”

La Opinión contacted Deutsche Bank’s central offices in New York, but at the time of this edition were unable to obtain a comment from the company.

After about two hours of protest, a team of LAPD riot police arrested six of the protesters and retook control of the streets.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

NON-FICTION: How We Feel About Each Other, Stop Tripping Dude!

There's always something to unpack =  to really deal with SOME stuff would be too too too much, too divisive, too depressing = how much lighter we always feel when we finally unwind :) = the weight that has been suppressing us.  :)  = when we realize that its not that we are flawed  :) = it's not hopeless = we just have problems with pinning down our problems = we confuse that with not having a plan = not knowing what to do.  

But we keep at it.  

Whats up with reform?
Thinking of why I feel reform is such a flat, frustratingly unambitious word...

Its because investing your time in "the system" is not any kind of investment out from your own pocket and into someone else's, its the identity, the self, that you keep believing in, thinking that's all you got, and there's nothing to be done about certain things (mostly certain powerful one-percent type things), that you know personally, or in theory.

And when those theories don't match up with what we experience, the reformist answer is to see this as an aberration of identity, just bad laws, bad politicians, bad corporations, etc.  Fixed abstractions, not concrete people we know, can understand, can talk to.  Politicians are actual people, and/or ideas we do in our head.  Laws are concrete social relations, i.e, people, insofar as they exist only in our minds, and our minds exist only in our relationships (organic and inorganic).

Insofar as they are expressions of what we want to happen with each other, and what we don't want to happen with each other, law=people.  Changing the laws, changing the people, it's all, and only, a matter of changing concrete social relations.  It's all, and only, actual relationships experienced by people, and theorized over incessantly.  It's  people dude.  :)

Reformism is a type of alienated individualism.  Its like, I can have this identity of myself as alienated through virtue, and, thus, doomed by my will for positive change.  I portray myself, to myself, as the person outside of the community, national or local, who is figuring out how to get people to do something.  Convincing, swaying, persuading.  It always comes down to who's deciding what our goals are, and how successful we are at creating cooperation.

It's always going to be right now, right now, and still, even right now...
Experience is where we are.  We don't theorize to figure it out, we theorize to describe what we feel, what we do as our brains.  It's the only reality we can confirm.  It is what you see now, and it is economics, history, law, philosophy, and it is a hanging potted plant, seen if I look to my right, through a black net screen, and window, that slightly blur the sunlight, gleaming on a single extension, a green, soft-spiked dinosaur tale.

All of this is stuff we feel in our bodies, in our infinite interrelations and interactions.  We feel it as bodies and perceive it in our head.  Our blood is moving and sometimes we feel it, our brain is moving and part of that moving is knowing and feeling.  That's what we are.  There are no memories to keep.  There's no storage for ideas, there's only some site of constant repetition of neuronal circuits, which, whatever abstractions of "willpower" we have, is us, is what we do.  We don't retrieve memories, we connect neurons to neurons.  That 'we' is what our neurons do too.  We don't store up ideas, we separate our actions, some called memories, some called honesty.    We don't unlock our unconsciousness, or suppress memories, we connect and disconnect our consciousness, our brain cells.

We feel and do Voices, Scenes, Imagination, Writing, Composing, Confessing, Charming-as part of our brain."Suppressing memories" is a form of neuronal separation.  Racism is a form of neuronal separation.  Sexism is too.  As a masculine person, I have to place my own analysis, theories, over my actual experience of women.  To make sure I know what's really up with them, I have to access what I know about their category.  If that category is not based on the continued interaction I have with actual people, I don't know who anybody really is, cuz I gotta test everyone to see how their behavior is Masculine or Feminine.  (My bros, we gotta get buff!).  

The method of "memory suppression", for example, that I used as a child, was to think of something I wanted to forget, and then preventing it from connecting to memories, and from staying in contact with my direct consciousness.  Like if I thought of some memory where I felt abandoned, rejected, or abused by someone, I would keep thinking it and then wait for it to connect with other thoughts, feelings, voices, etc, and then retrieve whatever I could from my memory, to focus on that instead, until I couldn't remember the first thing I was thinking of.  In order to deny what we are seeing when we see people, we need to focus on categories, and start seeing feminine people, black people, instead of those people as they present themselves, reveal themselves, share themselves.  And those are all these things that comprise another abstraction we treat as an external reality, a building, thing, or place, that thing we imagine as "society."

Pro-choice women, don't get knocked up or raped.  Young Black Men, don't dress yourself into an early grave.  And then there's normal people, who impregnate, rape, and kill.There is no blackness out there to throw Trayvon Martin into.  He is just a dead human, not a symbol, but an actual instance of what people do, and the violence that people do to the young.

What we do with a case like this, is to try and not to be unjust, even if we get caught up in the signs of oppression, like making the murdered person into  the aggressor, giving him half the blame.   All that's left, for those of us still alive, is how we perceive Trayvon Martin, and what we will do or not do, say or not say, to stop this shit.

There is no blackness, no evil that can be thrown over anybody to deny that they are people.  But people encourage people to try and throw that blanket of race on themselves, and on others, just as one is also, trying not to to do that.  Abusers, and bullies cover themselves with abstractions that are not to be concretized, and they want you to cover the bruises and the suffering, and the horror, with the abstractions they give you.  Anything to avoid the suffering their actions cause.

Zimmerman placed his own abstractions onto this kid, wanted him to conform to the role of suspect, potential thug, image from a ghetto movie.  Because, getting down to the level of concrete experience, (all experience is experience, ideas are experience), means facing the fact that you're afraid of seventeen your old kids, because you haven't grown up enough to feel safe around Kids.  That hurts to realize, and it hurts to think of how horrible it is to be that way.

How would you feel if you ever got to the point where you even came close to killing a seventeen year old walking down your block?

It wasn't race that killed Trayvon, and it wasn't race that made Zimmerman kill, it was the practice of Racism.  The practice of separating experience from action, of covering experience with ideas, until you forget the experience you have with other people.  The practice of Racism is the practice of focusing on abstractions, playing out scenes when they are not around.  Not trusting when they try to act all innocent, cuz we know their category, we know what they really are.  But then, that's why we need some good news.

But Zimmerman, like all of us, was trying to get safe, and trying to get free.  He did that by making some people into abstract categories, with abstract enemies, and abstract victims.  What resulted from his focus on those abstractions was concrete violence, and concrete law enforcement who wouldn't or who were stopped from arresting this guy and charging him with murder.

This led to more concrete humans stepping on concrete, in the millions to put a stop to the specific individuals who construct their concrete identities as rulers, and get us to go along with them taking billions from other people, and bombing, killing, killing, killing.  And sustaining the system of good/bad, war/peace, top/bottom, through every trick they can come up with (aka Reverse Racism aka campaign strategies, Everybody 2012!).  

This is the matter of our identities: we are constantly shaping, remaking and exchanging with each other.  We are constantly altering our bodies, including every neuron in our brain.  Even when we are alone in our rooms, typing on facebook, sick, stressing over missing class, we are still maintaining our identities, feeling the constant motion of our neurons (as thought, voices, relief, release, skin on skin) and making little interventions to choose to close off a thought, deny a feeling.

We manipulate our thoughts, but we lose contact to often with how our thoughts feel, we treat them as objects moving through space, than the feel of whichever areas in our brain are moving when we think.  We constantly decide our actions according to many systems of symbolic value, values that we imagine to be in line or out of line with our identities, or personalities, or selves  All the symbols we use to interpret each other are not who we are, but who we create.

but THE GOOD NEWS is We can begin to feel this process of real time social construction of identity.  Social identity=social reality=psychology=biology=how are you feeling right now?  What we learn from our different histories allows us to get to a point where we can start to unpack all the baggage of meaning, implication, law, sin, property, and the rest of our bullshit.

Unpacking the mess inside of us is something we've always been trying to do.  We have all these ideas to explain things, and the last thing we're willing to admit, is that it's all about safety.  We can get safe.  Every time we've failed, it hasn't been freedom and community that failed, those are just abstractions.  We've done things that had results we didn't like, so next time we act accordingly.  We are aware of the need to unpack all the ideas we have about ourselves, and to unpack all the feelings we use to construct our identities.

And, instead of worrying about reform or revolution, giving up or going on, becoming down or selling out, etc., we can begin to step out of our roles and construct our own communities where we don't have to keep seeing every man as separated by masculinity, every women as all kinds of separated, mysterious, contradictory, refusing, or compliant.

We can see people as how we experience them and separate that from the ongoing thoughts and feelings which are our reactions to each other.  We can construct each other's experiences by basing our construction of identity on our experience of each other, our experience of everything, not just our experience of fear based rules and willful passivity.

In practicing direct democracy, we begin to see our comrades and classmates, and co-workers, as the people they are, not always having to test them against the totalitarian abstractions of gender, class, race, and every other reason for dehumanizing each other.  And that brings it's own sense of security, trust, and the feeling of safety.  We empower each other to struggle, teach each other how to handle situations, how to listen, how to do things on our own, without legitimacy given from our symbolic betters.

If I can see anybody like I can see anybody else, than I don't have to hold on to abstractions about who my brothers in this struggle are, who my sisters in this struggle, what the right beliefs are, or who my friends are.  We can start getting to know each other past all these labels.  And be alone when we need to be alone, process when we need to process.

We are getting past all that baggage of history, that constant criticism, constant focus on abstractions, constant analysis rather than letting up, taking the brakes off, and breaking down the walls that close us in and keep us apart.  May Day 2012!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

3 AA/ AC Members Talking About the Meeting, in a TV Show.

AA, Capitalism, and struggle:  transcribed from the show Flash Forward, where every single human on earth blacks out, and has visions of the same future.  Few days later, a guy at AA whos had a vision of himself going back to the bottle, interrupts a guy in group. Familiar anyone?

Imagine this in Hoover 205, Tuesdays at 430.

Struggling person 1:  "I've been struggling ever since I had the visions.  They say we're supposed to live our lives one day at a time.  But how'm I supposed to do that with the future breathing down my neck?  Every day just brings us closer to what I saw, and it seems like I can't avoid it.  And there you are just staring at me!  Do you have any answers? No, you dont!  Because this programs a joke!"

Struggling person 2: "I got an answer for you:  I'm'a take a walk, cool down a little.  And spare us the rest of your pent up anger."

Now, imagine they are walking from Hoover to the Spot:

Struggling person 3:   "Look I hated seeing that as much as you, but you never interrupt another persons share."

Struggling person 2: "I'm sorry, but loaded and sharing.  That guy was pushing my buttons.  I've been going through a lot of stuff you know?"

Struggling person 3: "So is he.  I know you're worried about Olivia.  You're worried you're gonna fall off the wagon in the future.  He's [SP 3] gone and done it now.  What's the difference?  You're both struggling?  Look at all these people.  Everyone of them is dealing with the same thing we are.  The future.  The only difference is: Most of them don't have a support group to help them cope with what they saw."


What else are we planning for if not the future?  What else do we have to worry about if not the future?  We need support to cope, and we need organization to sustain the trust that allows us to sit with other people and say what you feel, even when we are afraid, and listen to other people, even when you feel its so wrong, or that they need your advice.

The idea of trying this with students, with other activists- It scares me.  I'm afraid of the pain that can come out.... But more, I'm just afraid of feeling that vulnerability that comes with collective trust.

It's not a theory that we believe in, its an experience that we need, and that we are all already hurting from not having.  Part of recovery is knowing that when I say I don't want to get angry, I gotta know that theres a feeling there, there is experience.  And thats what I am: ideas and thoughts are of the past, experience is here, and the future is what we need to work on.

I think we have a good chance at creating collective trust in a group, and we can always remind ourselves: We're learning.  We're equal.  We can forgive, and we can be angry, and we can get to the point: what are we after, and what are we doing to achieve it?  Do we have people who have been in AA, or other groups on campus who could help out?