Philly’s Permitted “Occupation”

Posted in Marty on October 12, 2011 by martyandstacy

Like many people around the country, I was excited to hear about the Occupy Wall Street movement shutting down the main artery of corporate exploitation in the world. I was even more excited when I heard that we were going to have an occupation of Philly! I was excited because it was an opportunity to unite with multitudes of people who agree that it is necessary to challenge corporate and state power. I understood there were serious critiques of the original event, but, after all, we local folks can handle shit in our own city, right?

At least, that’s what I thought.

Birth of an Occupation

Over the course of the past week, I’ve seen the beautiful (if confusing and disorganized) growth of Occupy Philadelphia. Over 1000 people attended the initial meeting to plan the time and location of the occupation. Thousands have streamed in and created a living community. Complete with 2 medical tents, food and snack tents which have successfully fed everyone in need, and various working groups to tackle every aspect of communal life.

City Hall’s main square is an art mecca with a vibrant tent city propped up under the trees of the square complete with street names, artists everywhere producing signs of all varieties, and a burgeoning shantytown of pallet-based homes.

I have attended, contributed, and participated in as much of the broad mass organizing as possible to ensure its success. I wanted this to work and I wanted to do the work necessary to make that happen.

Despite my protests, as well as the protests of nearly all of the native Philadelphians participating in the leadership, the gentrifying suburbanites have established control via police backing.

Subversion of an Occupation

With their own security apparatus working as plainclothes police officers, their own unchecked and private liason with the police (which was temporarily suspended due to mass outcry), their strategic cooperation with police on every level, and their open statement that the police and the city are “our friends” leads one to wonder if this is not just a Democratic Party rally to enable the Mayor’s next term!

Let me be clear about how this started, so that other occupations might avoid this mistake. It all began with the debate for a permit. The “Facilitators” began small in their agenda. They used every General Assembly to argue in favor of getting a permit from the city, using scare tactics like “the Tea Party plans to counter us” to gain sympathy. The majority repeatedly opposed a permit, and this majority shrank when those who felt alienated enough by the repetitive insistence to get a permit just stopped participating and voting in the GA.

Seeking permission is state submission – and we should be even more wary that the city encouraged the acquisition of a permit! Charles Ramsey, the police commissioner, is not your typical commissioner. He’s from D.C. and has routinely abused human and civil rights when he felt necessary. But he is prudent: as long as its non-violent, he’s all about a peaceful demonstration.

Mayor Nutter and his baby boy, Charles Ramsey, just want your love and friendship.

D.C., y’all. He’s USED TO THIS! The mayor’s office and the PPD have effectively  said, “here you go, kids, have fun with the plaza! Have fun with the homeless! You’ll get bored and go home eventually.”

We can read between the lines. We’re not children, though I cannot say the same for the Facilitators. We have the political and personal maturity to see that when the cops escort our rallies, they prove they are not part of “the 99%” when their hand shifts towards their gun belt.

The 99% and Us

All Philly people wanted was a movement that would take control of Center City and create resistance in the bloodflow of the heart of corporate and government activity in our city. We wanted something similar to the Wall Street occupiers disrupting the flow of all traffic.

Instead, all we’ve got is a giant hang out spot for bored white kids who were too afraid to come help the homeless until they got a thousand people to back them up. That fear is palpable and, even more so, these Liberals are scared by their own shadow! They know the very event they have started is not under their control and, under the false pretense of democracy, they have attempted to hijack it and form a central power organ to avoid dealing with the people’s feelings.

Events have taken a decisive turn in favor of collaboration with the police and the institution of the Facilitators’ own brand of Liberal despotism to defend their intimate connection with the police force. Its time to take action.

Occupy the Occupy

In the interests of liberty and justice – the stated goals of this protest – we must occupy the occupy.

We must resist the Facilitators by forwarding a message that opposes state power and especially the police.

We must be careful not to disrupt the Liberals’ only redeemable work, which is the feeding of the homeless.

We must defend the structures built by our comrades in the pallet shacks.

These are sustainable structures that help people, yet the city has called them ugly and demanded they be torn down. Like the mouthpieces for the state that they are, the Facilitators made the same demand. We refused. Eventually, the city will come with bulldozers. Will the 99% be united then? Or will 99% of these Liberals turn their backs and flee like the cowards they are?

The people of Philadelphia will soon find the answer to that question.

Stay tuned to Marty and Stacy for the overall Philadelphia picture as social change unfolds from every direction!

Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Posted in Marty on September 30, 2011 by martyandstacy

Happiness in life is about what happens in life.

The pinnacle of happiness is not measured in quantity, but quality.

The true height of liberty is realized not in what one cannot do, but one can do.

Liberation of the self reaches no higher point than the discovery of a single source of satisfaction for the happiness of the self. To ignore it is a bad investment of other energy, to fight it is to lose what unlimited benefits it offers you.

This is a message not just for abstractions like collective society or the technology produced by industrial civilization, but for the rational mind – and most important of all for a revolutionary: LOVE.

It is with this short treatise on my outlining of my vision of liberty and happiness that I formally abdicate any claim to the fact that I am a Communist. I am not a Communist because I am greater than a Communist. I am  also greater than an Anarchist. I am also greater than a Libertarian. No ideological cluster defines me because I am not trapped in any framework of thought other than what I have come to call “reason.”

I have taken lessons from all and I have concluded that there is a unifying principle from which a singularity emerges. That singularity is the liberation of the human being from all oppression – and the unleashing of the self to make that liberation possible.

I am All and I am One. I am me – and there is nothing greater to be than a self that has been realized.

I am an individual. Even as I recognize the indelible constitution of myself as an assemblage of experience and past conditions, I am not bound to them if I do not allow myself to be.

I am the master of my own destiny – and so are you, if you choose to be.

The Importance of “Freedom of Speech”

Posted in Stacy on September 28, 2011 by martyandstacy

Whether or not you care for the Constitution, outlining “freedom of speech” as the first amendment may also symbolize that it is the most important “right” you have (whether or not you believe in rights is another thing).

Putting the technical babble aside, what I am trying to say is that being free to speak your mind is an important thing.  Engaging in open forums of discussion not only aides you in getting your opinion out, but also helps you learn from other’s responses.

This is why I will never censor anyone, whether they be racists, homophobic, statists, etc.  I used to be 2/3 of that list when I was ignorant and had so much to learn.  But I attended events and meetings where I would disagree, but soon I would learn from those who were well educated on the subjects matters in which they spoke and everything just made sense.  If I would have been kicked out or censored, I probably would have left these events and stayed the same.

This topic is, of course, extremely important when bringing together people of libertarian and communist backgrounds.  Many of my libertarian “comrades” (hehe), typically those on the libertarian left, are extremely open and willing to except having conversations and working with anarcho-communists/socialists/whateverists.  On the other hand, more minarchist libertarians will shun pretty much any kind of anarchist, which can be a bit discouraging and even hypocritical for such staunch believers of the beloved Constitution and freedom of speech.  Libertarians and anarchists alike will disagree with almost all kinds of violence dictatorships or governments, so communication with a statist communist may be pretty distant as far as beliefs go, but it is still beneficial to listen and learn from each other.

Many worry about association when it comes to communicating with those of different beliefs.  “Will I be seen with X?  What will people think of me?”  This is important to consider — if you’re in an organization with a public image or if you’re a leading figure of a movement especially.  Sure, you can ignore the fact that people with different beliefs exist or you can state in your mission or bio that you have the ideology of open forums as being a means of change.  I consider the latter “one upping.”

Best of luck “keeping it open!”  :)

Orestes Brownson, “Emancipate the Proletaries,” from “The Laboring Classes”

Posted in Stacy on September 26, 2011 by martyandstacy

This is one of my favorite readings — it also makes me feel like a philosopher hipster because not many people have heard of Orestes Brownson and if they are familiar, they may have been taught that he was pro-slavery, which is not necessarily the case.  It was a response to Thomas Carlyle’s work Chartism, but it also discusses wage labor v. slavery, working for one’s self as an escape, gender, capitalism, poverty, and other rather interesting topics.  Enjoy!

No one can observe the signs of the times with much care, without perceiving that a crisis as to the relation of wealth and labor is approaching. It is useless to shut our eyes to the fact, and like the ostrich fancy ourselves secure because we have so concealed our heads that we see not the danger. We or our children will have to meet this crisis. The old war between the King and the Barons is well nigh ended, and so is that between the Barons and the Merchants and Manufacturers, — landed capital and commercial capital. The business man has become the peer of my Lord. And now commences the new struggle between the operative and his employer, between wealth and labor. Every day does this struggle extend further and wax stronger and fiercer; what or when the end will be God only knows.

Continue reading

Dehumanizing Capitalism

Posted in Stacy on September 22, 2011 by martyandstacy

Yesterday I had a little bit of a “moment” in the Dunkin Donuts.  Bare with me, you’re going to think I’m crazy.  So, I had a coupon for a $.99 latte.  Life was good — so I ripped it off my coupon pile on my fridge and the coupon tore a little bit.  I didn’t think anything of it.

I arrive at the DD that I go to religiously every morning.  I order, which is a painstakingly long process because the teller does not understand English.  She is from India, herself or her family opening a franchise here in America because the market conditions and this opportunity present some kind of possible profit.  Sad, but true, because while market conditions may be better here and give more opportunity than India, it is easy to over look the flaws when you’re desperate for any type of business and profit opportunity.  This leads to consent when foreign business owners come to America to take advantage of an “opportunity.”  I think there is a less of a chance that a foreign business owner would fight the state than a native business owner because of this, which may be a problem, because many franchise owners are foreign.  And franchises are usually part of corporations and are, hence, corporatist (or capitalist if you use that word to mean the same thing).  It is great that foreign people also start their own businesses and restaurants, but they also may be more of a victim of consent over natives — but I’m generalizing, so back to the story.

I order the latte and I present the coupon.
“I cannot except this.”
“Why?”
“It is ripped which mean we used it before.”
“But I just accidentally ripped it.  I swear.”
“No, sorry.”
“I didn’t dig in your trash can out back for a ripped coupon.  I have the rest of the flier.”
“No, sorry.”

My hands were in fists.  I was extremely angry.  I wanted to fall to my knees as a fellow human being and shout, “Do you not trust me?  Why do you call me a liar?  I come here every day and pay full price consistently, and you can’t give me a break?  I’ve been looking forward to using this coupon for months!  It is a small latte.  Please, please, please have mercy!”

I could blame capitalism for this, which I’m doing, where profits outweigh human emotion and empathy to others.  I could not understand this robotic woman — if I was in her shoes, I would accept the coupon because I would come to pragmatically thought out conclusions that this young woman in front of me was not trying to scam me or my business.  I felt as if this was a “I am just following orders” situation, which really makes me even more mad and confused.

I could be blowing this all out of proportion because I just think too much — or maybe I’m, as usually, generally right.  If I didn’t notice this as a trend, I wouldn’t have pointed it out.

 

Anarcho-Communism vs. Anarchism without Adjectives

Posted in Stacy on September 21, 2011 by martyandstacy

I am going to be very firm on this subject, because I am 99.99% sure that I am “right” on this matter.  Yes, “right,” objective, all that.

Basically, I do not understand why anarcho-communists do not just refer to themselves as anarchists — with no adjectives needed.  Why?  Because if you are an anarchist, you are anti-state, you believe in not having one.  So, even as a communist, you cannot use force against others to “make them” into communists.  You can maybe try to influence them, but no use of violence or force, such as the state uses to make us all, well, statists.

I wouldn’t have to write this and I wouldn’t have a problem with anarcho-communists if they understood that they can’t force everyone to be communists.  In a stateless society, they could form a commune or perhaps be the majority in a city or village and enforce a voluntary communist community, but otherwise, they can’t force non-communists to act as they do.

Why do I think anarcho-communists don’t understand that they can’t be statists under that label?  Because I see many of them worshiping people like Michael Moore or Che Guevara.  I see them taking a hostile stance against anarcho-pacifists/capitalists/syndicalists/etc.  And I see them taking sides and sympathies with democratic socialists who support more government than politicians in office!  Yes, I’m being general, not every anarcho-communist does these things, but from those that I have interacted with and from events that I have seen hosted at anarchist bookstores, I believe I am correct in noting these things as more common than not trends.

How can this problem be solved?  I think adjective labels are important, although I don’t like them, which is why I simply refer to myself as an anarchist.  I think self proclaimed anarcho-communists need to educate themselves on what their stance means and either follow it as closely as possible or change their label to just “communist.”  If an anarcho-communist then understands the principles of anarchy, they can use the term to describe themselves or simply label themselves as an anarchist.  If you support a voluntary Stalinist society, go for it, but if you want to enforce it with a state, get out anarchism, buddy!

Resources:
Wikipedia Anarchism Definition
The Center for a Stateless Society (market anarchism, but great articles on general anarchist principles)
Marx and Anarchism (tons of readings on just about every major anarchist author here)
The Conscience of an Anarchist (buy this book!  you’ll learn the basic principles and beyond!)

Update:

A thank you to James who in the comments has pointed out that anarcho-capitalists also have the same problems as anarcho-communists.  I would agree completely, although most of the “anarchists without adjectives” that I know who are the leaders of this term seem to be very open to other types of anarchists.  However, some anarcho-capitalists hold people such as Ron Paul as dear as an anarcho-communist might to Mao Zedong — in that respect, I would say reassess your values and if you want to have a government in your life, get out of anarchy!

Farrakhan vs. the Fed

Posted in Marty on September 17, 2011 by martyandstacy

One side reaches out to another!

Listening to this speech and taking it for what it is, how do Libertarians (and others!) feel about Minister Farrakhan’s statements about the Federal Reserve?