We Shouldn’t Assume Birthright Citizenship is Safe

By Joe Lowndes (October 31, 2018)

I’m unsure whether the question of whether Trump has the Constitutional authority to revoke birthright citizenship is the right one.

Almost all legal scholars from left to right appear to agree that he doesn’t. But it also seems like whistling past the graveyard to say that this is merely a ploy to rally the base for the midterms. The speed and velocity with which proto-fascism has entered mainstream politics, fully commandeering one of the two major parties, should give us pause in thinking that anything is off the table, particularly with regard to immigration. We have repeatedly watched the previously unimaginable become imaginable, and the imaginable become concrete reality.

Trump, through the militarized panic he is creating at the southern border, has already provoked violence and death. He now uses it to elevate Michael Anton’s bad interpretation of the 14th Amendment and make it sound like common sense to his base. In doing so he has likely moved the public discussion of birthright citizenship decisively rightward. Yes, it is about the midterms, but remember Trump as a populist-turned-fascist is a permanent campaigner.

We don’t really know how the Supreme Court would respond to an actual executive order, but we shouldn’t be sanguine about it given that the ground beneath our feet is slipping all the time these days. In any case, there are many ways to strip people of citizenship socially, culturally, and legally in an increasingly authoritarian society. For that reason, the question of birthright citizenship ultimately seems more like a political question – subject to the play of forces – than a safely sequestered Constitutional one. We shouldn’t assume that the institution will protect anyone here. We will have to defeat Trumpism in toto to defeat this latest attack, just like all the others.


Post Modern Anarchist Revolution Coming (Hide the Meta-narratives)

By Joseph Orosco (October 30, 2018)

Ever wonder what the post modern anarchist revolution would look like?

“To have a successful post-modern anarchist revolution, it is necessary to pragmatically demolish, both conceptually and materially, bourgeois-capitalist socio-economic conditions; i.e., capitalist forces of production and capitalist relations of production, in order to install a patchwork plurality of autonomous-collectives, narratives and worker-cooperatives.

Specifically, a successful post-modern anarchist revolution will demolish the concept of private property and the bourgeois-state so as to foster forms of communal organization that maximize equality, autonomy and heterogeneity. To quote Bakunin, the goal is to have a society where all micro-narratives have equal access to resources, in relative equal measure, whereupon no-one is privileged over anyone else and “workers take possession of all [forms of] capital and the tools of production”, whether, these are conceptual tools and/or material tools. No meta-narrative must be allowed to have dominion over the plethora of micro-narratives, sharing the sum of capital, in relative equal measure.”

You can read more here.


What is “racial capitalism”?

By Joseph Orosco (October 29, 2018)

Robin D.G. Kelley explains Cedric Robinson’s groundbreaking concept from Black Marxism:

“Building on the work of another forgotten black radical intellectual, sociologist Oliver Cox, Robinson challenged the Marxist idea that capitalism was a revolutionary negation of feudalism. Instead capitalism emerged within the feudal order and flowered in the cultural soil of a Western civilization already thoroughly infused with racialism. Capitalism and racism, in other words, did not break from the old order but rather evolved from it to produce a modern world system of “racial capitalism” dependent on slavery, violence, imperialism, and genocide. Capitalism was “racial” not because of some conspiracy to divide workers or justify slavery and dispossession, but because racialism had already permeated Western feudal society. The first European proletarians were racial subjects (Irish, Jews, Roma or Gypsies, Slavs, etc.) and they were victims of dispossession (enclosure), colonialism, and slavery within Europe. Indeed, Robinson suggested that racialization within Europe was very much a colonial process involving invasion, settlement, expropriation, and racial hierarchy. Insisting that modern European nationalism was completely bound up with racialist myths, he reminds us that the ideology of Herrenvolk (governance by an ethnic majority) that drove German colonization of central Europe and “Slavic” territories “explained the inevitability and the naturalness of the domination of some Europeans by other Europeans.” To acknowledge this is not to diminish anti-black racism or African slavery, but rather to recognize that capitalism was notthe great modernizer giving birth to the European proletariat as a universal subject, and the “tendency of European civilization through capitalism was thus not to homogenize but to differentiate—to exaggerate regional, subcultural, and dialectical differences into ‘racial’ ones.””

Read more here.

It’s Hard to Intimidate Righteous People

By Mark Naison (October 27, 2018)

My heart goes out to the families and friends of those killed and wounded in the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, and to everyone who feels a little more vulnerable and a little less secure as a result of this horrendous act. Everyone stoking the flames of hatred bears some responsibility for the political climate that makes actions of this kind more likely. How can people feel safe in an atmosphere filled with so much rage and division? We desperately need healing; what we get instead is provocation. I hope that people will come to their senses and realize that the path we are on is destructive to everyone.

I come from a line of Jewish scholars on one side, and of Jewish warriors and justice fighters on the other. I carry the weight of a tragic history inside me, of people who have seen the worst that humanity has to offer.

And from that I make this proclamation- Nothing you do can make me cower in fear. Nothing you do can stop me from fighting for justice. Nothing you do can prevent me from identifying with all people fighting persecution, intimidation and violence.

Your bombs and bullets and threats have no weight against the moral and spiritual force I carry within me.

I’m not scared of pipe
Or threatening talk
It’s easy to incite
fools and cowards 
It’s hard to intimidate
Righteous people.


Vote–but then Get Organized to Beat American Fascism

By Arun Gupta (October 25, 2018)

Trump is a (white) nationalist.
FOX News is his ministry of propaganda.
Journalists are being murdered.
Transgender people may be eliminated.
13,000 children are in concentration camps.
Bombs are being sent to political opponents.
Brownshirts violently attack people in three cities in a week.
Families fleeing violence and poverty are dubbed terrorists and criminals.

Fascism IS happening here. The debate is over. Go ahead and vote on Nov. 6. It’s important. But voting is not going to stop American fascism from growing and spreading. Neither are the Democrats.

I have always advocated for an inside-outside strategy. Go vote. Then get organized. Get in the streets. With a compelling vision. Patiently build support. Defy authority nonviolently. Take risks. Be willing to make tremendous personal sacrifices.
That is how we stop Trump’s fascism.

If you think it’s bad now. You ain’t seen nothing if Trump is re-elected.

Imagine the worst history has to offer. Now add in the computer revolution, nukes, and climate change. That bad.

Everyone is an organizer. Everyone is an activist. No excuses. No exceptions.

Get active. Get involved. Be creative, loving, and generous. And smash fascism.


The Context to the Honduran Migrant March

By S. Brian Willson (October 23, 2018)

The massive forced flight of people from Honduras is not new; it is the legacy of US intervention in the country.

Since the 2009 US-backed and Hillary-supported coup in Honduras, the post-coup regime has perpetuated a system based on disregard for human rights, impunity, corruption, repression and the influence of organized crime groups in the government and in the economic power elite. Since the coup, we have seen the destruction of public education and health services through privatization. The imposition of mining, hydro-electric mega-projects and the concentration of land in agro-industry has plunged 66 percent of the Honduran population into poverty and extreme poverty. In the last 9 years, we have witnessed how the murder of Berta Cáceres and many other activists, indigenous leaders, lawyers, journalists, LGBTQ community members and students has triggered a humanitarian crisis. This crisis is reflected in the internal displacement and the unprecedented exodus of the Honduran people that has caught the public’s eye during recent days.

The fraudulent November 2017 elections, in which Juan Orlando Hernández – the incumbent president since questionable elections in 2013 – fraudulently refused to leave office despite losing the popular vote, and in violation of the Honduran constitution, sparked a national outrage confronted by an extremely violent government campaign with military and US-trained security forces to suppress the protests against the fraud, resulting in a number of people killed by government forces, more than a thousand arrested.


Superhero Comics Train Kids in Authoritarian Politics

By Teka Lark (October 16, 2018)

Black Panther was created by Stan Lee. He appropriated the Black Power (Lowndes County Freedom Fighting Organization) movement and drenched it in his US capitalist bullshit. Stan Lee’s politics are crap. He is a Democrat, but he is the neoliberal authoritarian brand of progressive, which is right wing anywhere but here.

He also pushes exceptionalism, you are different, but if you are magical, then it is OK.

Not all of us different people have magic.

I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade. You believe or think what ever you want, and representation is important.

Whoever you are, you want your kid to be a superhero? Go for it! You want to build that kind of lack of imagination in your child? Go for it.

And stop acting confused when boys are violent, even the “good” people in the US are violent. Dress your kid up like any violent superhero that you want, because sometimes you have to kill people, because they are bad. Who is bad? The people who the winners say are bad. Winners never lie. Native Americans sold their land and Africans, hey! we volunteered to come here.

I don’t like superhero comics. I don’t like “this is the bad guy and this is the good guy” comics. I don’t like games where someone MUST lose. I don’t like binaries, this Black and White nonsense. I don’t like it.

We want an anti bullying playground, but the US has a bullying culture. Where someone has to be on the bottom, because if someone else isn’t hurt or sad then how do we know we are winning, right?

The US also has a not so shockingly lack of vision.

This is not about everyone getting a participation trophy, this is about what kind of culture are we fostering, and from where I am sitting we are fostering a rather cruel and petty US and we are training out kids to admire tiny petty authoritarian dictators.

So what do I think about kids dressing up as Black Panther: is it appropriation? do you have to be a certain race? The answer to that is that you are asking the wrong question.


The Era of Unbridled Cynicism: #Himtoo Movement Backlash

By Ana Castillo (October 15, 2018)

When catastrophic natural disasters devastate towns and islands & the president doesn’t bother to make an appearance with sincere condolences, instead chooses to attend campaign fund raisers and nationalist rallies, continues to mock minorities, the disabled and disenfranchised, routinely lies, dismisses abused women, and ignores the suffering of children, who practices nepotism, racism, misogyny, protects the wealthy and praises despots: and we tolerate it? We are a lost nation.

In this era, anyone who rises without any intention of acting upon (besides complaints on social media/forwarding fake chains and links, etc.) you must surely check your cynicism gauge. You may be lost, too.

ana castilo

“I Hope You Get Out”: Low Key Police Abolition

By James Rotten (October 12, 2018)

I met S. at the Alamo Drafthouse to have lunch and see Monsters & Men, which centers around a murder by cop. When it ended, she left and I stayed to pay our bill. There was just one other person in the theater, sitting next to me, with one empty seat between us.

I’ve been trying to get better at low-key agitating in my daily life, so I asked him what he thought of the film. We started to get into it, then he said, “It’s complicated for me because I’m a law enforcement officer.” “Holy shit, you gotta be kidding me.” I considered making a swift exit, but figured it could get interesting and it did.

He said he was a Nevada Highway Patrol cop, just visiting Denver. He works four ten-hour shifts and often travels on his three-day weekends. He was Puerto Rican, about 30, ex-military intelligence.

He was very candid about his experience as a cop. He claimed to be one of the good ones, of course: “Most guys look for an excuse to get violent, but I’ve never had to in my three years.”

The blue wall of silence was addressed in the film and he said it was very real. “You can’t say nothing, they’ll Serpico your ass,” referring to the cop who exposed police corruption and was threatened and harassed by his fellow cops. “They might kill you. But I’m not afraid to die. I ain’t got a family or nothin.” Was he saying he was gonna flip? Sure seemed like it, but he remained vague.

He expressed fear of his fellow cops. “I’ve got no problem with criminals, I come from a family of criminals. If anything ever happens to me, it’ll be from another law enforcement officer.”

He said Nevada is almost majority-Latino and admitted to his own prejudice against Latinos. “I feel like they’re all Sureños” (Mexican gangsters). “But if half the state is Latino, a tiny percentage are in a gang.” “Naw, you’re right. They (cop bosses) just push that narrative so hard. They teach us that we can be ambushed at any moment. I know it’s not true, but they try to tell us that it happens all the time.”

I told him I was an activist and a socialist, that I had been assaulted by cops multiple times, framed once, and that I fucking hated cops. He didn’t flinch—he nodded his head in fact, like “I get it.” I told him about how cops killed a comrade of mine, as well as my friend’s cousin, and how I’ve become friends with several other people who have lost loved ones to cops. He apologized.

I know it’s a fool’s errand to try to convince cops of anything and I have no hope that anything will come of this, but dude really did seem to be teetering on the edge. I asked him if he was trying to get out. He said he’s thought about trying to become a lawyer, but it’s hard to leave a career path and a job that pays well already. He also applied to Las Vegas PD, which he says pays the best in the country compared to the low cost of living there. “My rent is $300 a month! That’s why I can travel.” Apparently he lied on his application, claiming he read fewer books each year than he actually does.

He talked about getting hassled by cops and TSA for being Latino. He talked about the racist shit constantly spouted by his fellow officers. This led into me talking about the difference and interaction between individual racism among cops and the racist, structural role of police in society. I went deep for a minute, giving an overview of the Marxist view of police as enforcers of class rule. He nodded knowingly about cops’ origins as slave-catchers and strike-breakers.

I told him he was fooling himself if he thought he was a “good cop”. “Good cops provide political cover for bad cops. And lie or look the other way for them.” “You’re not going to make a bit of difference. You should quit.” And dude was taking it all in, it was a trip!

He mentioned getting shunned for his positive views of bodycams, which I awarded zero points for—“yeah, but they’re pointed at us, not y’all. And you can turn them off whenever you want, delete the footage, mute them, bury them in court.” He said he was one of the few men cops that was pro-women cops because they are better at deescalating.

We left the theater after sitting there for maybe half an hour. As we parted ways, he shook my hand, which I was uncomfortable with tbh. I told him, “I hope you get out.” Fuck every cop!

We Need to See, Not Look Past, People’s Sexual Orientations

By S. (October 11, 2018)



So this is a thing that pisses me off. If you care about me, you should care about my sexual orientation. My sexual orientation defines so many aspects of my life and it limits me in many ways. Not caring about my orientation means not caring about the ways I am different from our heterosexual norms, or the ways in which I am hurt by the heterosexual norms. THIS IS WHY COMING OUT IS SUCH A BFD! I am literally sharing something very important, potentially very scary, and very fundamental about who I am. Yes, yes you should care.

And you should keep in mind my sexual orientation in our daily interactions. You can’t simply translate assumptions about dating from straight world to gay world. The variables and challenges LGBTQIA peeps face are very different from those of the straight world. Gay men in particular are facing an epidemic of loneliness and such notions of not seeing sexual orientation disregard that epidemic. Of course, in our recent history we faced a much worse, more deadly epidemic, that has not fully disappeared, but seems to have been largely erased from discussion.

Part of the issue is that when we don’t take sexual orientation into account we default to heterosexuality. For example, we are all trained not to assume children’s sexual orientations. However this translates into assuming all children are straight until proven otherwise. This implies that there’s something so distasteful as to be unspeakable about the possibility that a little boy might be gay. (I can’t speak to other sexual orientations and I’m treading on thin ice in generalizing my experience). As a gay child, my queerness was something tiptoed around, something to be corrected, something to be beaten out of me, and something to be ashamed of. This was a source of considerable trauma for me and for many gay men (see The Velvet Rage).

An example of ignoring sexual orientation can be seen in Voltron, of all places. In an interview with one of the producers, they discuss their decision to make one of the mains gay. The producer said that they didn’t put the characters’ orientations in the show’s bible (each serial TV show has a showbible that contains all of the important info about each character) because they didn’t want to focus on orientations. Yet, there’s a straight male character who has a crush on a female character. That’s a sexual orientation, folks. Boy meets girl is such a norm that we don’t realize it is as much a proclamation of sexual orientation as coming out.

You all should be woke enough by now to understand why “I don’t see race” is terrible. When we don’t see race, we are defaulting to a white norm. I hope you all can understand why “I don’t care about your orientation” is just as bad.

See people’s orientations. Respect that their orientation is part of what makes them who they are. Listen and connect. Don’t ignore and hide!

Eco-Catastrophe Threatens Authoritarian Politics in the Long Run

By Joe Lowndes (October 10, 2018)

The Trump administration went from denying climate change to predicting a 7 degree fahrenheit increase over the next century. People have pointed this out as a contradiction, but there is good reason for them to now endorse this second position. It makes much more sense for the proto-fascism of this regime.

Accepting eco-catastrophe as a fait accompli allows them to ratchet up their cherished extraction industries and roll back environmental regulations in the short run, and prepare for the brutalities of authoritarian rule in the long run.

Imagine the kinds of violence, repression and control that can be justified by increased food and water scarcity, the abandonment of coastal and desert cities, mass cross-border migrations, growing internal refugee populations, and a collapsing economy.