anarchism, art, Europe, poetry, Rights, Spain, We The People, Writing

The Land Is Yours

Workers,  artists, the land is yours

Fascists have no claim on it

Farmers, mothers, the land is yours

Stalinists have no stake in it

 

The land feeds you, it shelters you

Capitalists will pillage it

The land conceived you, it birthed you

Priests will diseffect you from it

 

Swains, partisans, the land is yours

Fatalists have no love for it

Songstresses, bards, the land is yours

Puritans will sanitize it

 

The land inspires you, delights you

The abject will denigrate it

The land endows you, renews you

The callous will despoil it

 

The land is yours

Will you fight for it?

 

 

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#terrorism, Civil rights, Democracy, essay, Europe, Uncategorized

as to Robespierre…

the following is an edited & expanded version of a response I gave to a friend during a very enlightening & intelligent discussion of the historical & ethical “meaning” of the French Revolution

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as to Robespierre, I agree with you on him being a complex individual, but I don’t think he was a contradiction so much as someone who falsely believed human beings could control the development of history through compromise & constant action. He was too much theory without the introspection & introspection needed to put it into achievable action.

as to him behaving like a king or a god…. He never had as much power personally as the King did or even some of his ministers. He had to work with a powerful Comittee Of Public Safety & had to carefully juggle the needs/demands of the burgeoning proletariat & the newly empowered bourgeoises. Most of the actions that he took that contradicted his own moral & ethical beliefs he took because the People wanted them done, or at least the representatives of the People claimed it was what the people wanted or what the Republic needed.

I think his actions need to be put in context: France had just emerged, violently, from a nearly millinuim long tyrannical/feudal regime that effectively enslaved, maimed, starved & abritrarily imprisoned & killed millions over its existence. The Republic, whiche Robespierre & his compatriots, & many (but by no means all of course) of the people truly believed in, was born into immediate danger from the monarchies surrounding it & hoping to reenslave the people. Robespierre did some truly stupid & awful things, but he also set the example for a system that could aspire to rule in the name of the People instead of a the whim of one man’s, and his favorites, desires.

It of course did not work out the way it was intended, but that of course ascribes to the actors of the time a hindsight that no one possesses. Robespierre, in the end, went from being a theorhetician to a political actor, trying to preserve his ethics along the way. In doing so I think he found it was better to sacrifice his ethics for what he saw as the good of the people, & the survival of the Republican experiment.

Robespierre though, I believe sincerly, he was doing what was in the best interest of the public good & the good of the Republican system. Furthermore, he believed the Republicans system was essential to preserving the public good, to preserving any hope for a society not founded upon the divine right of kings or of the needs & rights of human beings be subordinated to the financial & social concerns of a miniscule, undeserving elite. We too often look at history as though it is a map leading us down a road to the inevitability of the present day. This is myopia common to Liberal, Conservative & Marxist historians, a failing we radical thinkers & actors should not shy away from admitting. It is one of the failings of Robespierre himself, a failure of imaginationm, of understand how there is not always one correct path. One thing Robespierre never lacked, however, was courage. One who was afraid to put his very life & morals on the line would never have written

It is time to designate clearly the purposes of the revolution and the point which we wish to attain: It is time we should examine ourselves the obstacles which yet are between us and our wishes, and the means most proper to realize them: A consideration simple and important which appears not yet to have been contemplated. Indeed, how could a base and corrupt government have dared to view themselves in the mirror of political rectitude? A king, a proud senate, a Caesar, a Cromwell; of these the first care was to cover their dark designs under the cloak of religion, to covenant with every vice, caress every party, destroy men of probity, oppress and deceive the people in order to attain the end of their perfidious ambition. If we had not had a task of the first magnitude to accomplish; if all our concern had been to raise a party or create a new aristocracy, we might have believed, as certain writers more ignorant than wicked asserted, that the plan of the French revolution was to be found written in the works of Tacitus and of Machiavel; we might have sought the duties of the representatives of the people in the history of Augustus, of Tiberius, or of Vespasian, or even in that of certain French legislators; for tyrants are substantially alike and only differ by trifling shades of perfidy and cruelty.

Is this the sentiment of a tyrant? Was Robespierre, he who desired no office or title more grand than Commitee Member & Citizen, he who died with little more than a meager pension & a pensioners flat to his name, was he this man out to “oppress and deceive the people in order to attain the end of [his] perfidious ambition”? I think not & I see no evidence in the historical record or in this man’s life or writings to justify condemning him to that political Tartarus inhabited by the likes of Stalin, the Borgia, Hitler, Ivan Grosny & so many more like them.

The Terror, that great, much maligined and mythologized means that has not yet reached  a satisfactory end, was not a paranoid purge, or genocidal rage or even a spasm of revenge against a particular class. No, it was a fever in the body politik, the stupid, desperate, sublime, but most of all sincere striving of a people trying to understand  & build an entirely new  system. The Terror was no less than a cannibalistic attempt to purge itself of its own self-loathing & self doubt, the neurosis of people who had only ever known slavery & degredation. From this struggle was born the idea of The People as a dynamic, worthy force of history & nature. Nationalism, industrial militarism, and a new form of fascism were the deformed sibilings of this great moment of self-realization, but we must, as with anything else, take the good with the bad.

There is no dialectic without dialogue between our worst & best impulses as human animals. Today, we forgive violence that frees the slave, frees “markets”, and frees “hearts and minds”; why then can’t we seem to forgive the violence that midwifed our modern world, our contemporary praxis? It is with shame that one looks back on the violent, messy origins of oneself, ones’ being. It is no different for we post-modern People, we who live in the age which copes with the dirty secret of our own conception by mythologizing it, shrouding it in fantasy and telling ourselves, “that was then, that was they; now is better, we are who we need to be…” The lie of progress, the myth of outcome, excelsior, ever better, ever brighter…all the while more and more violence & terror is needed every year just to preserve the self-concious chaos we call the Modern World; more bloodshed & brutality than a hundred Terrors. I go back to the words of Robespierre, that man call, without irony, incorruptable

From all this let us deduce a great truth: the characteristic of popular government is confidence in the people and severity towards itself.

The whole development of our theory would end here if you had only to pilot the vessel of the Republic through calm waters; but the tempest roars, and the revolution imposes on you another task.

This great purity of the French revolution’s basis, the very sublimity of its objective, is precisely what causes both our strength and our weakness. Our strength, because it gives to us truth’s ascendancy over imposture, and the rights of the public interest over private interests; our weakness, because it rallies all vicious men against us, all those who in their hearts contemplated despoiling the people and all those who intend to let it be despoiled with impunity

[…]

If the spring of popular government in time of peace is virtue, the springs of popular government in revolution are at once virtue and terror: virtue, without which terror is fatal; terror, without which virtue is powerless. Terror is nothing other than justice, prompt, severe, inflexible; it is therefore an emanation of virtue; it is not so much a special principle as it is a consequence of the general principle of democracy applied to our country’s most urgent needs

Is this not the ethos, the creed, the moral gospel of the Modern age? The pivot upon which the contemporary world turns? Why do we continue to deny our birth, our origin, our founding creed? Is it not because we can no longer stomach the face we see reflected back at us by history’s mirror?

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economy, Europe

Some Thoughts On The Greek Crisis

150105_Open_Europe_Blog_Greece

This Greek economic crisis is so big, so complex, and so important that I am working on a much longer and more thorough post to explore my feelings about it…That being said I have a few things to say about it all. First though, watch this video

https://www.facebook.com/ezraklein/videos/10153482082448410/

It is the best explanation I have yet found about what the Greek/Euro crisis is all about and what is at stake and I suggest that everyone with any interest in economics, European politics, and social justice watch it and absorb its message.

Back to my points…I am not Greek and I do not pretend to know what it is like to live in a society whose economy is under siege by austerity politics and economics, but I do know that neoliberal policies are not in the best interest of working people and their families. Germany controls the Eurozone with an iron fist, and it essentially dictates policy on a macro level. The Referendum called for by the ruling Leftist Syriza party has just finished and the votes are being counted. At the moment, the NO campaign (i.e. NO to the Eurozone Austerity conditions on debt repayment) is winning and this may lead to a return to the Drachma and a Greek exit from the Eurozone itself. This would be an enormous blow to practical neoliberal economic policies and could signal the beginning of the end of the grand European Union experiment in economic and political Federalism. While I work on a longer response to this crisis I will leave you with some thoughts I posted on twitter regarding the situation. Take them for what they are, realizing that I have strong Anarchist leanings

Only alternative for Greece, any nation, is to continue to be beholding to bankers & bureaucrats who cater to them i.e. perpetual austerity

A reverse “shock doctrine”: withdraw from the global “free market” & dare Eurozone, the IMF, the World Bank & the corporations to stop them

seize all assets & property of all international corporations within the nation, nationalize the banks, & then start from there

Members of parties & their voters could refuse to participate in the election, seize the parliament, proclaim a people’s committee

Greek economic question being posed as “No To Euro = Anti-Business anarchy” & “Yes to Euro” opposite. how about no to everything & revolution?

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