Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Stand and Fight

 “Think of this as an endless war,” Rick Berman told a roomful of gas and oil executives a few months before yesterday’s scorched-earth elections. “You can either win ugly or lose pretty.”

We suspect the Sons of A.L.E.C.[i] say such things to each other when they don’t think anyone’s listening, but we shouldn’t be surprised when a bit of the green zombie fluid that passes for blood in these creatures oozes through for us to gawk at. Snake oil is as American as P.T. Barnum and J.P. Morgan. In fact it's a hybrid of the two and has been around since at least as long as those rich, dead, white guys walked the Earth. 

Rick Berman, a Big Oil lobbyist, made the above comments while giving a pep talk about the infinite, patronizing wisdom of Big Oil’s handful of billionaires using dark money to throw elections. Oddly, his message was also meant to comfort the consciences of some of these extremely rich energy elites, some of whom apparently were feeling a bit queezy about participating in such a massively cynical and destructive con scheme as buying politicians for the sake of denying Global Warming. Some of these guys have kids, after all. To these executives whose souls haven’t yet been ossified in some tar pit, Berman’s message was: Not to worry!! Now that the Supreme Court has been firmly deep-pocketed by your boss, the Beast, you executives can relax. You, like the courtiers of King Louis the 16th, no longer need any stinking public opinions. Winning, as in plutocracy, is the only game in town now. Ask any rich football player. With enough money, you can beat your wife and beat the rap. Ask Louis the 16th. It’s just business.

Obviously their hubris will kill them, and we should all hope for their speedy and painful end. But if we don’t stand up to the gangrenous challenge tossed our way in the form of yesterday’s stolen elections and fight, it’ll kill us, too. We shouldn’t be surprised.

The only reason we know about Berman’s pep talk to these captains of Big Oil’s Scum Fleet is because one of those captains allowed his guilt to get the better of him and he leaked the contents of Berman’s message to the “liberal” press (full transcript) who dutifully buried it. Heard of Rick Berman? Probably not. Case closed, but the scum still leaves a sheen on the water that no one, not even the professional deniers, try to deny anymore.

If any American to the left of Attila had any doubts before yesterday’s elections that our country is being held hostage by filthy-rich sociopaths and downright psychopathic corpo-terrorists enabled by their bigoted, idiotic teabag “electorate”, these “election” results should disabuse them of their fantasies.

We have no democracy left in our elections. They have been sold to the highest bidder. Until we can effectively kill the flesh-eating zombie the corporate Supreme Court unleashed upon us—the Supreme Court that opines that zombie drool (and money) is speech—this will not only remain the case, but we will rot in our body politic until we match the foul appearance of its murderer.

This does not mean we are without democracy. It means that, notwithstanding notable and heartening exceptions, by and large Democracy does not reside in elections anymore. It lies in direct action. For the next couple of years, putting your bodies on the line for the sake of what you believe in and for what you hope your children will believe in is your vote.

Direct action does not mean violence. It does not mean the gunnut-style threat of violence. It means nonviolent civil disobedience. Placing your bodies, en masse, in front of the coal trains, the fracking rigs, the limosines carrying the zombie fodder to their next corporate feel-good power point seminar. It means placing yourself in the position of surviving Hurricane Katrina--that perfect metaphor of what these corpo-terrorists would like to do to all of us if given half the chance--and asking yourself “where can I be most useful?” It means saving lives. It means being creative. It means being brave, being very brave.

Direct action does not mean not voting. If boycotting elections to prove a point were going to work it surely would have by now. God knows we’ve given that approach plenty of chances. Progressive politics are our collective statement that we believe in Democracy and in civil society and that, as soon as we purge their filthy money out of our elections, we will have both. Until that happens, don’t look at rigged elections as the path to power. Look at them as statements. They know that we’re still out here and onto them, they know we're the majority and they fear us. Why else do they have zombie pep rallies with the likes of high-paid shills like Berman if they didn’t? Why else would one of those corporate elites have leaked his speech? They won't admit it but their actions, as always, belie their hearts, such as hearts are in their kind. 

Look at it this way. Capitalism, as these rich wingos define it, is dead. It's continued destructive existence can therefore only mean that the creatures who still adhere to it are flesh-eating zombies. That this is extremely problematic only clinches my point, because it's a fact that there’s nothing more fun than putting fear in the heart of a flesh-eating zombie.  Ask any Hollywood movie mogul. Zombies are, at best, conflicted beings and they wriggle so satisfyingly when they're distressed. Remember: we are the majority. They know that and are confused. They're wriggling. It's a fact. I rest my case.

There are those in America who don’t give a second’s worth of consideration as to whether snake oil is actually good for you or not. They gulp it right down because that’s what they’ve always done and because that’s what their momma and their daddy have always done and if it’s good enough for them and…etc. They are the minority. On the other hand, if you are the kind of American who has been around since long before the robber barons and their public relations scumbags tried to sell you the lie that you are not the majority, the kind of American who actually does place high value on freedom and democracy and who will stand and fight for those values, you should first of all be angry at this, another stolen election. You should be very angry. And then you should get ready to vote with your body, your direct action. Now is the time if there ever was one. There are plenty of opportunities. Look for them. Be creative. 

We haven't lost. Stand and fight.


  1. well, i for one needed to hear this Stand & Fight. Thanks for putting some oomph back!

  2. To help make democracy work,
    stands as a doable ethic.

    Your blog about "Brandy" and making democracy work,
    stands as a durable model.

    I am so reminded when George Ochenski
    says again and again it's OK to be indifferent to R and D duopoly.

    Time after time, no Letter to Editor,
    challenging readers to respect what democracy we have!

    To take community action and make democracy work!

    This is oner of the few blogs worthy of trust!

  3. Thanks, Bob. George has always been a role model of mine. I was amazed when he was picked up by Lee Enterprises, Previous to that, I always picked up the old Independent for two main reasons: Tom Tomorrow and George Ochenski. Don't know what the inside story on why he left the Indy or why Sherry Devlin picked him up, but I saw it as a good thing at the time, and still do. I figure there's still plenty of hope if we stand our ground. It's OUR ground, for chrissakes!

  4. Thanks to you, too. Danielia. The snakes are hibernating now in the Far North, but I think we can safely infer that they are reasonably content with their lot. Heck, a good long rest sounds good to me, too!

  5. Hello Bill, great to see you are still writing.

    The thing about using direct action to build a mass social movement is there needs to be some unity when it comes to vision and demands. In other words, as the Occupy movement showed, it is not enough to be against some amorphous, perceived "injustice'. You have to have an idea of new institutional and social arrangements as well.

    Too often the vision of "Progressives" like Ochenski is a nostalgic dream of reviving the "middle class" through some new New Deal. But of course a hyper-consumptive middle class projected globally would be the end of all eco-systems. And it pre-supposes an upper and lower class. And those golden, post-war boom years of strong labor/strong growth were a historical anomaly. And everything about capitalism has changed in revolutionary fashion while the Left remains stuck in the old social-democratic dreams.

    So that when you state "capitalism is dead" it is unclear whether you too are nostalgic for a liberal democratic capitalism that never was. Perhaps Adam Smith or Ricardo would not recognize late capitalism (Newton would hardly recognize today's physics!) but it's ideological essence remains the same, Market rule behind a democratic veil. Naomi Klein lays it out pretty well in her latest.

    Anyway, we have started a chapter of Rising Tide in Missoula, confronting capitalism as well as carbon, and using the language of climate justice. See ya,

    Dave Jones

    1. Hi Dave, you're right, as always. I was being unclear in order to find humor in the situation. I'm not claiming I went deep enough with this little piece. Just wanting to keep the pot stirred. No, I don't think capitalism and democracy can live on the same planet and I also think democracy is an organic tenet that all life on this planet adheres to, whether they buck it, like we humans do, or not.
      Big huge subject, I think, that needs, as you pointed out, a lot more working on. As for George, he may or may not be as radical as we are, but he's a good writer and gets his stuff out there. That takes the kind of tenacity that I envy.