anarchism, poetry, Revolution, Sonnet, Spain, Uncategorized, We The People, Writing

The Onyx and Litarge

We can not jeopardize our only charge

We resolve to fly the peasants banner

Damned for our belief and strident manner

We partisans prevail beyond the marge

 

The land inspires the onyx and litarge

Which will forever be the People’s streamer

Aragon shall be its own redeemer

With fate as its commitment to discharge

 

We warriors whose hearts beat in harmony

Unfurl the flag and watch the colors soar

Caballeros of truth and anarchy

Avenge the lamentations of the poor

Strive onward contra fascist tyranny

And banish their deceit forevermore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Film

Quality Town

factory

The following is from the first scene of a screenplay treatment I have been working on, on and off, for the past few months. It is still very much in the early stages but I thought I should put some of it out there to see what sort of response I get. I’d love as much constructive feedback as possible Thank you, and enjoy!

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[The screen is black. A quote from Marx appears on the screen in white lettering: The worker becomes all the poorer the more wealth he produces, the more his production increases in power and size. The worker becomes an ever cheaper commodity the more commodities he creates. The devaluation of the world of men is in direct proportion to the increasing value of the world of things. The words “the world of things” linger on the screen a few moments before the screen goes black again. There is complete and unnerving silence after the quote disappears. Suddenly the sun rises. The orb takes up almost the entire horizon but the light is diluted and dulled by the smog and pollution in the air. As soon as the sun appears Vivaldi’s Winter begins to play. We suddenly look down at the world below from what seems to be the sun’s point of view. We see the light spreading out into a great darkness that reveals itself to be an enormous field of factories one after the other, each more messy and ugly and decrepit then the last. The camera pans over them as they continue to appear and take up the entire frame. There are thousands of them, millions even. There is not one speck of green for miles and miles. The camera finally comes to a stop above a not particularly interesting clump of factories. The camera slowly closes is on one of the buildings getting in closer and closer every passing moment. The ceiling of the factory disappears as though we are seeing through it and within we see masses of machinery and filthy looking people working. We are now looking down a long stretch of conveyor belt as though we were sitting upon it ourselves. Thousands of hands reach onto the belt and grab small little pieces of miscellania as they travel down. Each does his particular task and places the object back on the belt. These little widgets travel down the path into a vast vat filled with clones of themselves. We see a woman come up and grab one at random. Her name is Violetta. She inspects it under a magnifying glass of some sort and then tosses it back into the vat. Her face is sad and covered in oil and dust. She is beautiful but not in a conventional way, her eyes are large and bright green and her black hair hair is covered up underneath a headscarf. She is perhaps hispanic or middle eastern. She turns and walks towards a room on the far side of the factory floor. She leans against the heavy door and it opens slowly. Inside we see a man seated on a basic bunk whittling away a piece of wood with a penknife. His name is Hans. The woman enters and walks up to the bed. She takes a seat next to the man. He is older and thin and has grey hair. He looks almost skeletal. She grabs ahold of his hand]

 

Violetta: A month ago today I was jumped and assaulted by Gregor Mendev and Cecil Tonks over from Factory #676. I was afraid to tell you until now. I thought you would be angry at me for some reason. I really don’t know why I thought that…you are not the sort of man to buy into that victim blaming bullshit, you never have been. God…Hans, I don’t know what to do. I see them every time I go on my afternoon shift. They just…leer at men, and laugh to each other like I am some sort of joke. It hurts, it burns like acid in my chest, Hans. I can’t deal with it anymore.

 

[Hans stops whittling immediately and places his arm around the woman She leans her head against his shoulder and we see a trail of tears running through the filth on her face]

Hans: Violetta, why in the world would I ever be mad at you for something like that? I am so sorry…so so sorry. No one should have to deal with that, ever. It is terrible…and then they have the gall to look at you? And laugh? No…no…no more.

He does not say another word before getting up from the bed. His knees crack and pop and he grimaces a bit as he walks towards the door. He opens it and heads out onto the factory floor. He walks by the lines of people working and they salute him with slights nods of their heads. He walks across the room towards a tunnel that leads to the neighboring factory. He is silent. He comes to another large door, this one guarded by a large and mean looking fellow brandishing a large pipe. The large man nods at Hans and lets him pass through the door onto another factory floor. Hans walks along the lines of men and women working near yet more machinery, this time a large amount of presses and cutting machines. He walks along for a bit until he reaches a station with two men standing side by side cutting bits of metal into even smaller bits of metal. He walks up behind them and pauses. He taps the shoulder of the man nearest him, Gregor]

 

Hans: Are you Gregor Mendev and Cicil Tonks?

 

Gregor: He’s Cecil, I’m Gregor. Who’s asking?

 

Hans: A friend of Violetta. She sends her regards.

 

[The music starts up again as Hans jumps forward and plunges his penknife into the side of Gregor’s neck. Blood shoots out like water from a punctured hose and he falls to his knees gasping like a fish out of water. Before Cicil can even react Hans is upon him and forcing his face into the cutting machine. He fights back but is not able to overcome the older man. Hans uses his free hand to push a large red button. A blade slices right through the neck of Cecil and severs his head. He grabs the head by its longish hair and turns to walk past the now prone Gregor. As he walks by he steps on the penknife will lodged in the man’s throat. He stomps down and the man is dead. He walks away as though nothing has transpired. The entire work floor stops for a moment as he walks by them head in hand. He comes back to the door to the tunnel and talks through. The large man with the pipe stares at him with his mouth agape. He walks back onto the floor of his own factory. The scene on the floor is the same as the last factory. He walks to the door leading to his dorm. He goes inside and finds Violetta in the same place he left her. Her hand is over her mouth when she sees Hans covered in blood and holding the head. He drops the head at her feet and falls to his knees in front of her. She jumps from the bed and runs to him, throwing her arms around his neck and kissing his face ferociously. She is soon covered in blood as well. She pushes him to the floor and tears open her shirt. The begin to make love right there on the floor. As they go at it a filthy dog comes by and sniffs the head before grabbing it in his teeth. He growls and then runs away with the head. He exits the factory and runs into the street where he is surprised by two men walking towards the factory. The dog yelps and drops the head at their feet. The two men look at each other and back down at the head. The taller of the two shrugs. His name is Jose and the other man is called David]

 

David: What a nice place this is.

 

Jose: Yeah, Quality Town tends to be a little rough around the edges. Let’s go in and find the factory foreman.

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Uncategorized

Dukkha/Weightier Than Mount Tai

Mount_tai_rock_inscriptions

dukkha!

aye aye

there is a thorne

in my foot

it bleeds

and I have to pluck it out

and it bleeds more

but

slowly

it clots

 

Sun Yat Sen

and then the Generalissimo

these are the leaders we get before

the Red Emperor

a bourgeois nationalist revolutionary

and a beer hall putsch wannabe

20 years of bland protestant incompetence

and then

the programed life

of leaps

and

revolutions

 

a beggar

was throwing coins into the brush

the Buddha came over and retrieved the coins and

brought them back to the beggar

and the beggar wept and thanked him for his generosity

and then he returned to throwing coins into the brush

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short fiction

Sana’a

sanaa

The backstreets of Sana’a are not places for happy fairy-tales, or reckless dreams of escape and boundless possibility. 1001 nights spent here would be something of a hell if it was spent in the gutter or the trash heaps; where the children play with old bullet casings and wear dirty linen on their heads to protect them from the sun. Such deprivation, such the albescence of the sand blasted walls soiled by a filthy rain tainted and corrupted by the offal and the rot of a large metropolis in the heyday of its splendid decay. Sons and daughters tend to fathers who have melted in the fetid pavement. Their heroin spitting syringes unholy minarets calling the disappointed and pathetic to a worship that will never end. Squalor is a language. It speaks in the gesture of a mother feeding her child tainted milk, in a dog fighting a fox for a old burger wrapper. It has its literature. Written in graffiti and in obscenities shouted at the foreign missionaries. “Fuck your USA” they scream, but they are actually saying “fuck”, just a simple endless “fuck” to everyone and everything. Not least of all themselves.

They are lizards, forked tongued limping serpents the endless poor. They are filthy, tragic and destroyed, wrecked and listless. They are wretched and cruel and stupid and ugly. But they are so very beautiful in comparison to everyone else. The shit wallowing pigs, pigs, I do mean pigs who walk the streets stepping over the corpses they never see, stepping on into a Armani clad future of decadence and well hidden misogyny. The women of the towers, and the apartments and the condos lay down and take it, their husbands never looking at anything but their asses while on another day soon they will be looking lovingly into the eyes of their Russian mistresses. Bear me a son whore, or at least get fat, quiet and learn to cook better.

There is not time for such niceties in the streets. A man who has a woman is a lord and a slave. He must feed himself and his family… but that is all he must do. Beat her, fuck her, hate her, love her. Women are added every day to the refuse. Discarded like a coffee lid. But at least they had the freedom to die of dysentery. There are no women in the middle east. Just… bodies waiting to be used. Oh how we weep for them… collecting out tears to show the world we care. What a perfume… what a decoration. The tears of a liberal. At least they cry. The conservatives and the capitalists laugh and pull out to ejaculate on the ample ass of their harlot. It was the white-man’s burden now it is everyman’s burden. Your burden. But not yours. You have no stake in this tournament. Take your chips and go home to your book of choice.

Sana’a does not exist. Neither does New York or Cairo. Only Ur exists. The first city is the only city. Everywhere we are Babylonians. We have just learned to write, but he have nothing to say. No stories to tell. Gilgamesh is a communist. He is against the market spirit. Better we cast our eyes to the Ziggaruts that seem to be extensions of the sky. Beer and wine and fountains of vodka and oil mixing into a brew of almost orgasmic profligacy. Poured onto the silicone balloons that pass for breasts in New Valhalla; all expenses paid, all checks cashed. Pygmy assassins wander the streets and pick at the eyes of the wasted and the obscene. Every optic nerve severed is another notch on their unbuckled belts, privates and privations exposed to the whispering mob who seem to float on the rain drenched sidewalks; the only thing that smells good in the city is wet pavement.

We hurt our children. We hurt them so deeply. We want them to hurt and to scream and to cry and rend their hair with their little bony fingers until they can no longer breathe for the tears. We are all warmongers when it comes to the future of our own spawn. They must not be weak. They must be strong or they will not survive on the mean streets of Sana’a/Ur. We must teach them Zionism, and Jainism, and Buddhism, and Fundamentalism, and Veganism, and every other things to can stick an I and an S and an M at the end of.  Butcherism, Golfism, Joblessism, whatever you can think of. Speak to the sky about your obsession and become a prophet. Create a religion. Do you have a brother in law you hate? Create a schism by declaring him your successor, or by ignoring the wishes of your children. Deny yourself. Impale a Buddha’s head. Open a little shop of horrors… or a bakery. Do something to be noticed. You will be noticed for awhile. Above all make sure your children DO something.

There is no room in the world for our fears. We must banish them into our minds; the only place where there is unlimited space. Lose them in that jungle of synapses and nerves. Cut loose into dreamscapes and intoxicating illusion. Fear the soldiers marching through your nebula, your realm, your foreground. Cast your sadness to the wind and it will blow away into so much sand. Sand enough to fill the desert again after the storm. Enough of reality. It is so hard to let go of fantasy.  It is so seductive to remember things that never happened or will never happen. Such carelessly emotive our lord less inequities. Force your impossibilities onto the whole of your community. Create a force to be contained. Whisper to the earth a way we can be free from freedom. The once was an Imam who said “Sana’a must be seen”. That is impossible because because there is no Sana’a. There is only a dirty little boy playing with his rain sodden toes in a dead end alley.

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poetry

No Value in Pride

34-chickens-william-erwin

It was by harried crow and call

I was compelled to wake

I ambled towards the chicken stall

Down by the muddy lake

The chickens had come down with pox

I fell down on the straw

My stomach weighted down with rocks

Dying birds cough and caw

I have no money for the cure

No savings set aside

No stocks or bonds set to mature

There’s no value in pride

These birds my life in feathered form

My livelihood is ill

My hands go numb, palms wet and warm

I’ve lost my hope and will

I stack a pile of slats and thatch

Unlock all the cages

Poultry scatter, I strike a match

Burn my wealth and wages

The roost comes down around my head

My life consigned to flame

I lay me down and I am dead

I’ve just myself to blame

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Activism, Capitalism, economy, essay, Socialism

A Short Marxist Discourse on Land and Property Rent

John_Constable_-_The_Hay-Wain_-_WGA5191

            The system of tenant renter based housing has been at the center of socialist and housing rights movements throughout the world. The exploitative practice of collecting rent from a group of renters living on property owned and operated by a largely unaccountable landlord (the term itself a left over from the pre-capitalist feudal economies) has long been a plague upon the working classes. The structure of a rental property agreement is largely a pyramid scheme that can be manipulated and shaped to fit the needs of the landlord and his interest in making a profit off of the workers and families who rent his property. This of course is not all the fault of the landlord; the system of regressive and restrictive property taxation and the dearth of government participation in creating affordable safe housing. Though referring in particular to arable land rents, Marx  in his essay Rent of Land makes a general point about the landlord/renter system that is equally valid when applied to modern day rental housing: “the rent of land [or the property thereon] is established as the result of the struggle between tenant and landlord” (The emphasis is Marx’s). Marx goes on to quote Adam Smith:

               “The rent of land, therefore, considered as the price paid for the use of the land, is naturally a monopoly price. It is not at all proportioned to what the landlord may have laid out upon the improvement of the land, or to what he can afford to take; but to what the farmer can afford to give.”  

            This goes to the inherent corruption in the rental system; there is no accountability or reckoning when it comes to how rental rates are established or how the income made therefrom is used to improve the properties or reduce rental rates. There is indeed an incentive built in to the arraignment that rewards the landlord for maintaining substandard conditions and a high or even punitive rent. The drive towards profitability, the capitalistic ethos that underpins the belligerent relationship between renter and landlord, and the bias in favor of the landlord and landowner inherent in most forms of local and state governments, makes certain that renters are always, or at least nearly always, the loser in the equation.

            It is a fact that much in the way of making a rental property habitable is taken up by the renter himself. In my personal experience as a renter, I have found that the landlord often will not take the initiative in improving the property or repairing appliances or utilities. Indeed, some landlords structure the rental agreement so as to put as much responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of the property and appliances/utilities into the hands of the renter, without a commensurate reduction in rent. There is therefore no incentive for the landlord to repair property, as he controls the rate of rent totally, and a punitive mandate for the renter to maintain the property at a potential loss to his personal income. This situation is alluded to by Marx, once more quoting Smith:

“…Improvements, besides, are not always made by the stock of the landlord, but sometimes by that of the tenant. When the lease comes to be renewed, however, the landlord commonly demands the same augmentation of rent as if they had been all made by his own.” (From Rent of Land)

            In fact, the agricultural renter/tenant has the potential advantage of deriving some sustenance or income form the property rented. The housing renter simply does not have that option. What, then, is the renter/tenant to do to bring equity and justice to the situation? The answer is nothing, nothing, at least, within the confines of the current capitalist land renting/taxation/purchasing system. There must be a radical departure from the current way renters are treated and indeed how they rent. We cannot expect such change to come from above, indeed capitalist control over the governmental apparatus and political system precludes this. So the change must come from us, the renters and the workers. Since we do not have a viable democratic socialist system and structure with which to work in we must make do with the system we have, and to come at it from a revolutionary and counter-capitalist perspective.

            The cultural disdain extant today against the renting of property, usually purely for housing purposes in this day and age, is in America largely a result of the bias against the working classes and the poor in general. The renting of property is an implicit acknowledgement of defeat in the pursuit of the American dream of owning property and transcending the bounds of welfare state which as implemented is as much use for the humiliation as for the benefit of the working classes. This is of course a somewhat hilarious prejudice given the pitiful and criminal system of mortgage and finance available to the middle class. As the recent housing market collapse has shown us, renting is not the financially unsounds option claimed by so many gurus of personal economics. The renting system merely puts the renter in a more dramatic and visceral situation vis a vis the exploitative market forces at play; the landlord can find resource in archaic and punitive renters laws and has direct control over the circumstances and obligations that must be maintained in order to secure housing. The home owner, or rather mortgage owner given the realities of the system put in place for the purchase and financing of housing, has a few levels of corporate and banking bureaucracy between him and the visage of his exploiter, but he does exist to exploit him nonetheless.

            The state of affairs is of course violently opposed to the interests of the proletariat because there is no recourse available to the renter against the whims of the landlord. The landlord holds the deed and directly pays the taxes on the property, and as the renter has no legal right to negotiate a more equitable arrangement (nor is there even an expectation of such parity between the two parties) there can be no law but whim and personal greed. This is a remnant of a feudal system that never hid its intent to exploit and constrain the proletariat. Marx said

               “It is absurd to conclude, as Smith does, that since the landlord exploits [through the collection of rent] every benefit which comes to society, the interest of the landlord is always identical with that of society.” [Rent of Land]

            This of course begs the question, how can land be seen as property? Upon what basis does one man transfer ownership of fixed area of earth to another? And why should the basic human need of shelter be subject to the whims of those seeking to derive profit? These are question I do not presently have an answer for but it should be the pursuit of a contemporary socialism to puzzle it out and elucidate a theory upon whose foundation a new system can be created.

 

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