When talking politics with your barber: two postmortem reflections of mid-November.

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In the post-election political situation, you talk politics and political economy, the dynamics of globalization and the dejection of its discontents, with friends at bars and burger joints; with your barber at a morning haircut; with your parents over an innocuous cup of coffee. Shit is hitting the fan and people are beginning to realize that it is everywhere, flying into every corner of the room.

Trump is an utter reactionary. [This much is obvious – what does it mean?] What this means is that, while he represents the definite political form of the existing class society, he has managed to engineer – or rather capture, or buy – the political will of an inherently progressive force, the disenfranchised masses of the exploited and oppressed heaving in its Herculean effort to outgrow, to unburden itself of the bondage imposed on it by: neoliberalism, free-trade and globalization, Reaganomics, Clintonomics, Trumpanomics – shit, whatever contrived degenerate form of crony capitalism we can coin new discourses about in its present forms. Trump wants to rewind the manifest reality of globalization, like all of the other reactionaries. This is what is now called, “protectionism.” It stinks. What it is is basically the late neoliberal equivalent of populism in the so-called “first world”, the socioeconomically developed and “progressive” west.

[When I say “reactionary”, I also mean a tendency that verbalizes itself in much more pernicious and violent ways, which all are familiar with: misogyny, racism, xenophobia, etc. That this exists in all its dangers as a part of the reactionary tendency calls us urgently to attention; it is also orthogonal to the point I endeavor briefly here to make. Hence I mean “reactionary” here primarily in the narrower economic sense, and hopefully allow the reader to draw out any further conclusions.]

Justin Trudeau delivered an address – aired on the coattails of Obama’s first public election postmortem – where he detailed [“detailed” may be a strong word – “alluded to”] Canada’s plans following a meeting with a forum of international investors positioned to speculate on Canadian stability through infrastructure spending. Trudeau is advertising Canada as open to the world, rather than closed to it. “Privatize everything” – the natural pairing to deficit spending – co-definitive of Keynesianism and the neoliberal project. Neoliberalism failed, and everywhere in today’s reaction is its death knell. The IMF has declared that neoliberalism was a failure as a set of economic policies. At a summit of G20 leaders, Trudeau was practically laughed off stage for presenting Keynesian economic policies as an alternative to brutal austerity plus Keynesian economic policies: the two go hand-in-hand, the former alone a naive delusion in the global political and economic climate we live. So, Trudeau is nearly as stuck in the past as Trump. In terms of economic and foreign policy and trade relations, Justin is simply rehashing the role of his papa Pierre, while Trump and Theresa May may yet play the parts of Ronald Reagan and Margaret “the Iron Woman” Thatcher. We’ve seen this movie before. It’s not a happy ending.

[So we have a series of arbitrary, spectacular divisions erupting within the forces of reaction, where today’s progressives will likely tend towards the more palatable or clandestine form of reaction of a Trudeau, distancing themselves further from any progressive elements in the support of the disenfranchised masses swept away by populism. This lets the rot of reaction under the existing political system fester.]

The reason that this class is utterly unable to find a solution to today’s crisis is ultimately that that article which most upholds their power – that is, the political and economic principle of private property – is exactly the stricture which prevents the new society from outgrowing the old. All conditions of alienation in the presently existing system are conditions of the growth of the embryo of the new within the old (to recall some tried but true revolutionary imagery).

Power & Politics pundits pipe up over why the federal government should have to court and cajole private investors into investing. The market is wiser than the politik – bookies have been reported as having given better odds on a Trump win than the pollsters. Humanity is hopelessly lost-in-the-woods, an honest to God real fable of the Grimms, in navigating the management of financial markets, because the existing market society attempts to harness indeterminacy as an axiomatic reification [empty abstractions: a self-fulfilling prophecy, a matter taken as given by the economists and thus turned into economic reality]; that is, as an alternative to rational planning, the auto-correcting value of the dollar, which squares up omnisciently against commodity and labour markets alike. Capitalism, the existence of capitalist markets, means not knowing how markets work – not entirely, some degrees of knowing being better than others, which is why finance capital exists and speculation is profitable – while there is so much stuffy talk about its management, the “stuff” only of the propertied and privileged strata of society protected from the smog where outside we are suffocating, crushed, clamoring for the comfort of their abundantly overvalued houses.

Radical redistribution is the best we can aim for: free education for all and a guaranteed universal basic income. Otherwise we can continue to stalk political talk like reapers smoking cigarettes to mock death on the bosses’ time.

[The seizure of political and economic power notwithstanding.]

Leonard Cohen is dead and I pray for another poet. I pray, being an atheist, and mourn that poetry is nothing.

My Canada would soar into tomorrow like it tears through the sorrow of a dead poet. It would find poetry in the now and not neglect the reality that we live where the kingdom of death and nihilism encompasses all around.

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When inglorious ghosts vote south of the border: storm winds blowing into sunny Canada

Tuesday the 8th – evening.

Roll a nice tight joint and pour out a glass of not-too-inexpensive Canadian rye whiskey, and do whatever it is you to do curl up into a big ball of “I-don’t-give-a-fuck-about-reality-anymore”. Hold onto your cats or your children and mourn the end of western democracy and fine delicate liberal sensibilities. The Canadian dollar is currently trading (on the Asian markets) at $1.35 US [edit: this appears to have stabilized now, more or less, despite the relative instability of global markets]. Pot may be the only sector of the United States economy still standing by the end of the week, with California and Massachusetts and a handful of other states voting pro-legalization in open-ballot initiatives, and mostly the entire population clamoring for an herbal reedy for the psychotic break their hallowed snake skin republic is currently collectively experiencing. (As it turns out only about 20% of Americans now live in green-free zones, but mass migration is never outside of the question where such crises are concerned).

My shares in this green capitalist venture on the TSX should fare relatively well, at least against the shaking and convulsing global market economy.

This unnaturally hot November evening in Victoria I reigned in what may be the beginning of the end of the long 20th-century with the members of an NDP student club based at a local university, their festivities infiltrated by clandestine pockets of unconscious Maoists, conscious Trotskyists, even a bona fide “black magic” psychoanalyst in the school of Wilhelm Reich (and Peter Carroll, renowned chaos sorcerer of the underground). Already by the time of my arrival at around 7pm early results were pouring in that Trump was leading in Ohio and New Hampshire, that Michigan and Florida were dead heats, that “if Trump has an actual path to the presidency, this is what it looks like” (in the words of one gilded CBC political pundit).

The sentiment in the room resembled that of a so-called “celebration of life” ceremony for that one uncle that nobody really cared for, all the anticipation pointing towards what the old dead bastard might have left behind in his will, having always been a part of the family but never one for open displays of affection or concrete details on his plans. What will President Trump give us? Besides flagrant misogyny, racism and xenophobia, bitterly reactionary nationalism, etc. – all of the rhetorical trappings of the forces of reaction and the “what’s-old-is-new-again” ‘Alt-Right’ populism. Will he tear up NAFTA and TPP and muster up all of the exeunt forces of production drawn out of the American industrial heartland – old boys Oklahoma and North Dakota – under the economic relations of capitalist globalization? It’s doubtful. Almost certainly open hostilities between moderate Republicans and the presumptive presidential elect (providing he doesn’t get assassinated between now and his inauguration) will cool off as the party becomes confident of its sweeping majority, its place atop the twin-heads of political power in the United States, in the White House and Congress, sealed. Trump will dump his enraged white Christian working class supporters faster than Paul Ryan can whisper the names of the Koch brothers into his ears. A political split doesn’t seem likely – only an aggravation of the existing split that made this whole chaos incarnate end-of-days dog and pony show a veritable possibility to begin with: the split between a disenfranchised and disillusioned mass political agency, and an all-powerful elite class in whose feeble hands political and economic power has been concentrating for decades, if not the whole godforsaken long 20th-C.

The count continues to roll in and around the time that that overgrown Oompa Loompa with the dead dog wig posts a nigh 40-point lead on “crooked” Hillary – prior to California’s first poll station readouts – the mood turns from one of uncertainty and slight perturbance to deep disturbance and catastrophism. Some student lefties leave to procure a greater supply of hard liquor for the party, while one who I’m told is an officer of the club can be heard singing to herself, “We’re all gonna die! We’re all gonna die…” [In the few days following the election, I came to gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of these kinds of reactions.] Overall [the night] was a party atmosphere in steep decline, the event of a party that got confused somewhere along the line and took itself in the Dionysian sense, coping with a buzzkill of existential proportions and making a drinking game out of the spectacular reality-TV version of the farce of neoliberalism in its death knell while schizophrenically losing itself in among the game’s tragic cast of actors. So all the boozehounding really was cathartic. For all the doom, gloom and delirium of the millennial student left, you’d think we could get a little credit, instead of slack-jawed talk from political commentators in the US blaming Trumpamania 2016 on the unpredictable millennial vote. Has anybody at USA Today or The Daily Beast stopped to ask what puts millennials in such desperate and despicable conditions that they’d be inclined to vote for such a cantankerous lout? [Exit polls show 52% of millennials that voted actually voted for Hillary – but the 2016 election had the lowest young voter turnout rate of any election since 1972, when Nixon was re-elected.]

What happens if there is violence – real, physical violence of the confrontational and oppressive sort – as a result of this hair-brained Houdini great escape from the shackles of democratic liberalism, or liberal democracy? It seems almost inevitable. Violence against women, race riots, semi-autonomous pogroms patrolling poor black or Latino neighbourhoods and mosques like polling stations, emboldened neo-fascist Second Amendment kooks, spooks and Klansmen. Of course it seemed inevitable either way, with those same kooks and Klansmen and President Plastic Surgery Cheesy Puff’s inflammatory anti-democratic pre-election gab, maintaining he’d accept the result of America’s vote “only if he wins,” and practically instructing self-armed militiamen and reactionary goons to suppress all dissenting political agencies – mainly women, Latinos, blacks (though the latter, so far, to less of an extent than most pollsters predicted, with early voting numbers in decline compared with Obama’s 2008 run at the White House). We know by now that such reactionary elements wouldn’t exist without the gutting of the American working class in the 80s and the 90s, that globalization has its winners and losers and the losers are always below the class of financiers, earning their bread through work, and not speculation. The great parched belly-up turtle of a dry American Midwest, sapped of industrial productivity, before briefly wetted by the paranoiac imperialist oil ventures of the late 70s, 90s and early 2000s especially, but finally exacerbated and brought to the brink by the 2008 financial crisis. The violence of the expansion of American empire now exists inside of US borders, staring itself in the face is the project of global capitalist expansion, as if into a Fun House mirror, all bent out of shape and distorted. The contradictions of production contain their own wacky logic. “The wall” is a paranoiac political demand, lashing out from some deeply-seated discomfort and anxiety wreaked in America’s own baseball and apple-pie unconsciousness.

At a dinner party earlier this week a retired engineer friend told that bookies were giving solid odds on a Trump victory – better odds than the pollsters were showing. Of course the bookies speculate against speculation, trying to eke a profit off of profit. So goes the logic of American neoliberalism today, speculating for and against speculation itself. Had I not been working-poor myself and a student and somewhat cowardly with my money I might have placed a bet. We all feel like we’re “living on the edge” of something at the present juncture: the edge of history, perhaps. Michael Moore said Donald Trump could be the “last president” of the United States of America, but it was decidedly a hyperbolic comment and, at any rate (forgiving the ad hominem attack), Michael Moore is a hack.

All of these forces exist in ugly old America, trembling before God, convulsing and prostrate, the “Land of the Free”. Unbridled hatred for women and racial minorities bubbling over – there is still open hostility to women entering the workforce and existing as equal partners in civil society and the world in America; over 600 unarmed black men have been shot this year, and millions of black men from poverty-stricken upbringings work in incarceration in private for-profit prisons in conditions of modern day slave-labour, many serving time for petty possession charges. Good that we’ll all be riding the green wave for some much needed mellowing of counterproductive and racist drug policies, if nothing else. Income inequality is growing rather than shrinking. Average household buying power steadily increased after the postwar period through the early 70s – with similar trends in Canada – but today are lower than they were 40 years ago. Most rural white Trumpeters come from communities that are almost entirely reliant on single factories for their viability and economic stability, making the Clinton era of free trade and the reality of rampant factory closures a living nightmare. Hillary Clinton’s most telling rebuttal to that hardiest of Trumpisms in this year’s presidential debates was, “We’re great because we’re good.” Hillary meant the message in a moral sense, but it can’t help but seem to put her at one (or more) steps removed from the stark realities of the status quo in America. Pollsters and financiers alike speculate on just the kind of status quo Hillary would have provided – so today they are in an only partially predictable panic.

What is left out of the calculations of this structural state of affairs, what escapes its algorithms is precisely this untold story, this conjured up narrative, what we might call a haunting “specter of Marx” (to borrow unapologetically from Derrida). It turns out Trump’s camp was more or less right about the “Silent Majority” theory. Whether it was pollsters overlooking crucial points in the formation of their questions, or decent ordinary folk ashamed to admit to anonymous mid-afternoon surveyors (and perhaps, to admit to themselves) their latent sympathies for whatever bat-out-of-hell flashback fever dream Trump gives the appearance of offering, it doesn’t matter much. Inglorious ghosts vote south of the border; in their rage they’ll haunt both the conjurer and his house, the hallowed halls of the world’s oldest democracy.

I had brought a bag of leftover Halloween candies to the NDP event which was mostly devoured except for the pixie sticks, which no sensible person enjoys. Vices for each to drown in, in their own way. Snacking on Caramilks and Sour Patch Kids and various other good tidings of capitalist modernity, we debate its downfall amid the fall of the American Empire. “Debate” – I wish I could use so strong a word. We shoot shit, shout and commiserate, making some progress where we fumble through theory. Maybe millions are doing the same at this very moment.

The violence, the forces of reaction that have now thrust themselves out into the open, weren’t inexistent before. They were all still there, silent, timid or unaccounted for, like pocket lint or old change or a dead rat in the toe of your boot. Part of the conditions of possibility leading up to the Trump crisis appear in a generations long vacuum in political unity and leadership on the left, lending itself to oligopoly and centralization among deeply entrenched political powers towards the center-right. Now the contemporary “progressive” Liberal left has no idea what it stands for or against, alternating between progressive empty talk and actual austerity, while disenfranchised masses – ghosts – are left without political representation. It wouldn’t be much of a mystery to discover high numbers of former Bernie Sanders supporters who voted for Donald Trump – the DNC made a vain and gross miscalculation in sabotaging his campaign, so some leaked emails are saying. The levels of discontent with the political system in America today are astounding. A Trump presidency, at least, has the silver lining of stirring up from quietude all these reactionary elements, foisting them out into the open as a clear target for the left to seize upon. In the case of actual fascism, as with history’s Hitlers and Mussolinis, the phenomenon does not stop with good-hearted Liberals crying out impassioned anti-fascismo. It stops with organizing against and attacking the fascists.

But let us keep our hands and our feet firmly planted inside of the vehicle at all times and not put the time too far “out of joint,” as Hamlet says, drawing conclusions from beyond our own history. I do not think that Trump is a fascist per se, even if the comparisons are inviting.

Curiously, in the short term, Trump could have the effect of pulling Justin Trudeau’s Liberals to the left on free-trade deals, which could bring them further into line with their election promises than with their preferred governing style. Will Justin’s “Sunny Ways” essence-of-selfie-stick fuzzy aura of hugs and hope hold off any latent anti-establishment sentiment or anti-globalizationist reaction in the Great White North? How will the Prime Minister of Canada take part in negotiations regarding the USA’s role, along with Canadian and other NATO military allies’, in monitoring the borders of Eastern Europe to protect against potential Russian threats from KGB Vlad? And will our economy boom or bust from the swell of American immigrants – perhaps we should call them refugees, fleeing a political crisis zone (here I kid; however, the Citizenship and Immigration Services section of the Government of Canada website did crash today, possibly because workers responsible for maintaining this key piece of infrastructure are refusing to work due to nonpayment from the spectacularly failing PHOENIX payroll system that’s hanging over half of Ottawa like a big red wet pocketbook. Possibly, but not likely.)

We can laugh and drink and enjoy the rising value of BC bud and housing prices and raise a glad to our southern neighbours in commiseration and confusion, some of us, with an air of smug superiority. The hangover will only be the realization that we are not immune, that this is the real world and it is hideous and cruel.

But, provided they don’t continue to delude themselves – and with a nod to the accelerationists – this study in history, and its attendant clarification of political aims could serve as a lightning rod for the disillusioned and directionless progressives. Likely only in the event of a storm on domestic soil. Thunder and lightning clouds a-brewin’ for good-old-fashioned prairie socialism! The kind of organization the Canadian left has been lacking for decades.

Maybe not – but Canadians do love talking about the weather. Storm winds are blowing down south of the border and they do look bound for a northerly push. It’s time the stormwatchers don their galoshes and prepare to organize our way out of the coming of the new political reality.

Escape Artist

I want to feel as free from my body

as porn stars feel when they fuck:

a performance automatic,

defensive detachment;

solipsism,

a survival tactic.

God sticking the invisible hand

down the pants

of the reproductive machines,

streaming commodity bodies and sex

sells fetish and fantasy:

the body,

a propaganda regime

for Freud’s psychoanalytic fever dreams.

I’m a narcissist,

drowning in my body

to remind myself I exist.

I’m an echo,

shouting after my body

when it won’t let me go.

Go blank in the eyes transcendent,

forcing sounds of satisfaction,

faking, presencing, substanceless,

repeat, repeat reactions;

a desiring-machine’s satisfaction,

staring blankly into the eyes of Being.

An escape artist so inconsequential –

all her audience,

a practice mirror,

like young dancers

partnered with all of their faults.

Body unfamiliar,

the Romantics had the answers

’till the art in nature died.

‘Till this body was so inscribed:

the mass grave of signifiers

with no transcendental signified.

Truth bona fide,

I am infinity inside –

the violence of metaphysics

met with the absent ‘I’;

an escape artist so inconsequential

he’s at his front door again,

forgot his keys,

again…

The category of the subject,

‘I’ am a body have a body

‘I’, tattooed, screwed up,

a smoker in slow motion suicide:

Death, the impossible possibility of,

‘I’, the homeless dwelling,

somebody silhouetted outside by the porchlight, ‘I’.

Such lovely shutters and large windows

and, oh – they repainted the front door.

Want to feel as free from my body

as the lucky who get shot in wars.

Tomb of the unknown soldier,

the most selfless bag of bones.

Anybody’s body

buying back the burial home.

Here’s to us when we’re alone,

the life and the death,

the dance,

the absence,

the nothing that’s left.

Here’s to eyes that never age

and hands that know how to touch.

Dead labour goes to the highest bidder,

his organs were harvested but he’s no quitter.

Body already expropriated private property,

death the only ‘I’ myself that belongs to me.

Philosophy causes cancer:

I spread the more I fall apart;

truth kills, so love’s the answer.

Want to feel as free from my body as Eucharist,

the animal cannibal ‘I’,

cannibalized,

a feast for the eyes of the narcissist,

‘I’.

Homo homini lupus, raw meat for the dogs,

an escape artist like Abraham’s only son

consumed for sons of gods.

Re-

A quick poem, from the author’s journal.

Repressing representations

repressed representatives

revolutionaries reprogramming

reprogrammed resistances

revolts resistors

resisting reductions

reproductive relations

related reproductions

refused regurgitated reborn.

Representing resentment

reappearing reactions

repetition repetition repetition

really really real.

Redescribing recreation

republic reassembled

redistributed

resignations resolved

resembling resolutions

repeating republic

republic

reimagined revelation

revelry revealed

reimagining remotely

related real realizations

reunifications

relatives reunions

reuniting recognitions

recognizing remains.

Real remains

remaining reimagined.

Real remains

relating relata

representing reproductive

repressing representations

repressed representatives

repossessing reprocessing

revolutionary recitation

reactionary regurgitation

reason revealing reality

receding relatively real

reterritorialization

resistance redefined

reproductive republic

republicking reproducers.

Real reaction

refute reason

repudiate representatives

representation reviled

relived recurrently

recurrent repetitions,

endlessly,

she said.

Gate C37 (Awake)

Lines composed while not sleeping during a layover at YVR. From the author’s journal…

GATE C37 (AWAKE)

awake but not alive.

fluorescent lights aglow

escalators go

faster as I approach;

as fast as regular speed.

fast enough to sweep away my feet.

sleepy me,

my sandbag eyes

cut curtains where saints go to die;

awake but not alive

in an empty airport, free

as you like,

a land between

all of the deaths

I have not yet,

and ‘I’.

in endless transit,

laying over,

from runway noise

to the hills at Dover;

awake but not alive

they take off for the lands of the dead,

while I twist,

while I turn,

and torture my neck

trying to rest my head.

restless as a restless grave,

a body without a soul to save.

after hours,

still

in motion,

half lonely ghost,

half hemlock potion;

half alive,

fully awake.

pray the ocean my soul to take.

pray death deny the man

a wake.

A Symposium Joke

What began as ill-conceived philosophical humour, ended in manic poetics and some metaphysics of change.  From the author’s journal…

Plato, Marx, Hegel, and Aristotle walk into a bar. Somebody has an idea (after a few drinks)…

Plato sees the beauty of the idea, beyond the illusion, and gives himself over to becoming it, to absolving himself in it, to crafting his being after it, to safe-guarding it (ΑΓΕΩΜΕΤΡΗΤΟΣ ΜΗΔΕΙΣ ΕΙΣΙΤΩ: let no one ignorant of geometry enter here) at the gates of this barfly academy. If only the Platonists are privy to this eternally graceful “idea”, Dionysus bid them drink themselves under the table by it, baffled and bewildered by the shapes thrown by shadows upon the underside of which still holds our drinks, of innumerable forms of geometry and state-craft and mathematics and virtuous personhood for non-barbarous Athenian males.

Aristotle arrived at his idea, after tapped out and dried ran the rambling reverent Platonic diatribe, but then only after being deeply entranced in study of peanuts in a bowl and the form of his glass. Nature imitates craft! – from the tree in the nut to the bottle in the glass. Here is the first true becoming, for with Plato we are always only Being or illusion. Clearly also inebriated, Aristotle was all the while peering through the bottom of his empty glass as a periscope. “Natural laws” etched as the initials of the lenscrafter onto nature, seen through the stamp on his bottle: Bronze Statue Genuine Draft.

Hegel saw in each contender an argument no sooner than the (praise be!) everflowing river of booze run dry would run out of steam, bidding each drink ideas from the well into which flows history, into their own sublimation.

Marx, all drunk on Hegel’s spirits, dragged a one out of the river to take a look at the time. Heraclitus’ “Happy Hour” never ends! – Hegel will continue to shower his most pleasing in drink ‘till the hour they toast to the “end of history,” and sink.

Who drinks to death on Hegel’s dime, and drowns – feeling divine?

Who leaves with Marx, to discuss the art of making it out alive?

THE RIDDLE, PT. II

Plato built his republic under the table, at the side off which first spilled Hegel his wine; co-conspiring with shadow architects, the forms on cave walls did he find.

The Republic against time would stand like a fortress,
bulwarked against the sands of Ozymandias.

Time went by, Hegel’s wine went dry. Nothing gave testament of eternity so truly as the myriad irreducible grains in their beauty; where once under where now glows Heraclitus’ constellation flowed (sweet nectar for Platonists!) a river called “Information.”

History never ends for the slaves. The Republic was never built to house them. We have always enemies at the gate, where our watchmen’s scopes did not see, when outward push we the boundary of empire.

Less filthy things have died, rotted from the inside from too swiftly cementing their outer walls, when that drives them first out in search of Lebensraum, drives them explode and flow outward their bile. No walls, no eternity. With such contempt for the slaves, this so-called “Philosopher King” fallen off his stool in Hegelian hangover calls the reality of their immediate suffering an illusion.

Contemplating in sobering silence, as nature contemplates her sunrises, Aristotle at peace in Gaia’s scope nearly abandons hope. Illusions and invisible hands only ever augment the forces of the stronger. Economists fall under the spells of their false prophets. Marx mid-morning by the hair of the dog polishes off another glass bottle and thrusts it into the hands of Aristotle. Young Aristotle sees, it hath been made by slaves! The Gods must be crazy! Yet he raises it to his eye all the same, spelling metaphysics with das Capital ‘M’.

Taking up arms for a cause,
denying the eternity clause.

If ideology is a weapon, let us all at least behave like craftsmen and women, rather than as raving drunks!

June somethingth.

The following is an excerpt from the author’s journal.  One section has been removed.

June somethingth

    (camping weekend).

Sometimes all it takes to make a man sentimental is seeing a well beat-up half empty packet of dirty matches sitting on the ground waiting for him.

Maybe it’s the distinct branding of his in-town tobacconist on the outer package; the moisture on the striking strip that makes it hell to get a clean light without breaking a head; the fact that he has only now relocated his pipe after lifetimes searching in the woods and everything on his path towards breathing it in glows at him like hot Cavendish embers, and the fact that these meekly firesticks have helped feed me (and free me). Forever caught ablaze in Promethean camp stupor, with Dionysus’ own dreams rafting us up and down the still glassy lake in consumer-grade funtime inflatables, and cheap canoes…

Maybe it’s just for the man who needs his pipe to finish his sentences. Cigarettes aren’t built for long-burning thoughts.

(memory).

Sitting with [removed] on a small half-sinking dock, getting our feet wet. Feeling the water and the wind in the trees; breathing in tiny yellow dust like particles of sunshine smoke.

Tripping on astral spirits: molecular unwinding within the walls of my brainbox. I collapse onto my back, splashing slightly, steadily breathing.

All is sun, warm and glowing. I can feel it radiating in my skin, attacking me. Behind my eyelids, through them, all I see is fire. The pure Promethean glow. The magnificence that melted Icarus’ wings.

I am peeled open. All that I feel is my breathing, which sits at the very back of my throat as if anchoring my rhythmic soul into some central nerve. Descartes claimed the pineal gland, but pneuma sinks us lower, closer to the fire. The curious and chaotic flame manifests into patterns, all manic and incomprehensible, yet somehow recognizable.

I am, perhaps, simply endeavouring to recognize them.

This panoply of patterns, scales, schemas and sets, chords and categories, began to assemble itself before me into higher orders of complexity. A raving mad homunculus carving out the expressions of his symphony from within the walls of his emotional memory, built up for psychonaut touristic selves bent on primitive caves for their wall paintings.

Hermeneutic psych-archaeology: my cave paintings depicted women and children, women and children, women and children, endlessly. The cave was a forest all along; perhaps I am confused by my whelming sensation of depth. A woman, turning away endlessly in warm reassurance to tend to the child, half hidden behind her. Or perhaps created in her turning…

I feel emblazoned, golden archon emboldened. I feel secure. I am moving deeper, venturing further, swept beyond my impetus, onward.

Shattered again into the myriad modular molecular shards. Exhaled like cosmic dust over the kingdom of Heaven, rediscovered by Ovid and Museaeus in the Eleusinian temples at altars to Demeter. There was a frenzied rhythm.

Implosive crystalline static ocular junk food, everything lashing out like an animal, angry or scared. Bonds mostly refused to hold in this erratically rippling soup – those that did had the appearance of an unforgiven soul suffering an acute psychotic break, trying manically to tear itself apart.

This was a jungle storm, a living-breathing jazz fusion orchestra, beating on my breath, whipping me up into a whirlwind – and we danced! – like wildfire.

Everything I was, moving like the echo of a drum, raving madly through the trees like a heartbeat. Everything moved like music, symphonic and sanguine, bleeding audioblood and breathing high-octance forest fuel.

I taste my tongue – wet. I smack my lips, slowly opening my eyes. Blue sky, blue lake. A forest breathing across it. Forever longing the golden sun. [Removed] is smiling at me. I lift my hand and feel my face, all but groaning in what I can only call ecstasy.

Breathing in deeply, I sit up. I sit up, I scoot forward, and drop my legs into the water.

Freedom Isn’t Free



May 25th, early afternoon.

Here is an idea.

“Freedom isn’t free.”. It reminds of us the song from that post-9/11 great American satire by Matt Stone and Trey Parker, Team America: World Police.  “It costs folks like you and me.”

What defines the democratic institutions of Western Liberalism – at least in their idealized forms – is just freedom itself.

I am sitting in the backyard, with construction noise blaring out behind me.  Inside and on the TV, some Conservative politician has been raving about his ‘Common Sense’ approach to gun control laws for the last twenty minutes or so.

We are a generation which asks, “freedom for whom?”  We see the people in and around our society who are free – we see the actual ideals of freedom embodied by our institutions.  Freedom is mostly economical, its ideal very bourgeois.  The eternal question that we ask ourselves, ringing out from our younger years when its expectations were washed out of us: “what would I do, if money didn’t matter?”

Society profits off of the dream of this elusive freedom in every way that’s imaginable, and of course these profits are unequally distributed among an elite minority. A most transparent wealth of examples comes from the pool of any province, state or sovereign’s lottery corporations.

“Freedom isn’t free.”

Go figure – the ideal of Western Liberalism is and always was based on slavery. Take a look at ancient Athenian democracy, and Aristotle and Plato (taken at their word) become apologists. Now we’re all globalized, emigrated and intermingled, so it’s harder than ever to discriminate purely on a racial basis who becomes the enslaved. But that has never mattered as much as we are told it has. We easily forget that, in each original state in America which countenanced slavery in the history of its ‘founding,’ free black men owned slaves. Freedom, again, is just freedom to participate in a special economic institution – that of slavery.

And not much has changed since then.

The university has become a site of direct economic and indirect ideological oppression of young people. To the credit of the histories of our academic institutions, the universities have mostly also continued to be sites which foster the critical minds of young social progressives who choose to become their students.

Now universities have been moving for quite some time towards a privatized funding model, and even department headings are reshuffled and prioritized directly by virtue of their productive capacities. Traditional continental universities do not distinguish between the natural and the human ‘sciences,’ for example; this is why the French and some German traditions in philosophy have made more efforts to impress their relatively more highly esteemed colleagues in history, sociology, and anthropology, compared to the cold logicism of their ‘pure’ Western analytic counterparts, all in awe of science and its industrious technology. A new young bourgeois has grown within the walls of the technocratic elements espoused by Western Liberalism throughout the history of its romance with industry, and now Silicon Valley is worth more than Wall Street (a capitalist topology.) And this is increasingly where university funding is coming from.

The pains of cuts to our universities are unevenly distributed. Students in the humanities – in philosophy, history, sociology, anthropology, women’s studies, critical theory, etc. – are seeing their departments put on the chopping block, while engineers and computer scientists remain untouched and aloof, often even oblivious to the realities that stand at the periphery of their perceptions: in a word, an elite.

This uneven distribution naturally expresses itself in the form of a political division. While I dare not speak univocally, I have witnessed firsthand these divisions in Quebec, in student association assemblies and solidarity meetings, an opposition and antagonism expressed through absence in the anti-austerity movement’s student layers, there in those streets where we find most often students from the ‘humanities.’ I would expect that the experiences of many others will attest to this.

No doubt the teachings of these departments are more often directed at a lived experience of critical thinking, which also explains why the greater numbers of students of the left in these departments. But students in the ‘hard’ sciences and engineering are seldom socio-politically daft. Moreover, one need not look far in any given discipline to find the values of the ruling class, expressed either implicitly or explicitly.

We see that our departments are less valued. Privatization and funding cuts crush the critical culture, exercising economic pressure through massively climbing student debt and an inability to find jobs in our disciplines, or anywhere that pays close to a living wage. The young are increasingly the wage-slaves, and those that try to better understand, in order to improve society itself are doubly punished with the burden of debt and the threat of under-labouring alienation. Student loan horror-stories stand their tellers like heads on pikes foreboding the entry of many others for whom the prospect of such a debt is a more literal death sentence.

Our Western neo-Liberalism still punishes poverty as if it is a social sin. Our democratic institutions are designed to give freedom to the slave-owners, as ever have they been.

We are kept even from being culturally significant – critically underrepresented in bourgeois media, taking recourse thereby to social media – just as barbarians in the old Athenian polis.

Here is an etymology game: ‘barbarism,’ from the Greek barbarismos, meaning roughly “to speak like a foreigner.” Bar bar bar bar… phonetically signifies meaningless jibberish. Nothing is more barbarous, in this purest sense, than the oppressed voice of the radical left to the ears of the bourgeoisie, young or old. Barbarians then and now, we are simply paid little mind, as one quickly tunes out of the sounds of a foreign language, when one is not quite eager to understand.

Nietzsche’s hammer doesn’t belong in our hands anymore. It belongs at the front steps of all of our democratic institutions. They are ageing and decrepit, so they shouldn’t be tough to topple. Freedom is very free, but it too is enslaved, corrupted at its excess by a minority of the obscenely wealthy.

The anarchists are utopians intoxicated on the escapist ideology of the absolutely ‘free’ – we may be drunk on an idea, but perhaps not quite so much. We need some institutions, but they call for us to rebuild them.

The abolition of old institutions must smash at the foundations of economism. Abolish the Senate, a historical faithful to the British House of Lords. Nationalize the banks. And crucially, end the privatization of university funding. As outsourced research labs for corporations, universities are rapidly becoming sites for scientific discovery at the major expense of human (self-)discovery, technological rather than social progress.

And all of this is preliminary to the question of the kinds of results that lie within the network of possibilities for such sciences, directions of research programs and their implicit sociocultural biases. But, we must never absent ourselves from rooting out such oppressive ideologies at their material source…