No SWEAT Pledge

Mike Rowe has a “Sweat pledge” he launched not long ago.  I’m working on a full response to Mike Rowe’s reactionary, anti-working class rhetoric guised as pro-working class rhetoric.  In the meantime, I’m posting the first draft of our No Sweat Pledge.

N E E T

Sighed Effects’

No S.W.E.A.T. Pledge

(Slavery Will Eat Away Temperament)

1.  I believe that it is wrong to look down upon others that may live in another place.  I do not think I am better than others because of their lineage or their nationality.  It is the character of a person that I judge and not their nationality or ancestry.

2.  I believe that all people are entitled to life and liberty.  All humans are entitled human rights and structural inequality is wrong.  We have a duty as a society to provide equal access to opportunities for all individuals.

3.  I believe that having a job in order to live in this society does not define me, or those around me.  The occupation of any individual does not necessarily reflect that person, even if they have a bad job.  Until all persons are guaranteed equal opportunity and access to all positions of employment, I accept that sometimes people have to take jobs they dislike.  I accept that there are jobs that exploit the worker and these are “bad jobs.”  I also accept that, in a capitalist system, all employees are exploited by their employers.

4.  I will do my best to follow my passion.  I will also accept others that follow their passion, as long as their passion does no harm to others.  I recognize that it is a wonderful thing for a person to be able to sustain themselves whilst doing something they enjoy.  I will also not resent others who are able to do this whilst I may not have that opportunity.

5.  I deplore debt but understand that it is often the inevitable result of capitalism.  I will never look down upon those who are indebted in a system that privileges the wealthy.  I accept that debt is often a means to an end.  I also accept that debt is relative.  Even in this society, debt that is lower than income is not a problem.

6.  I believe that everyone has the right to be given basic safety precautions.  Employers that do not provide safety for their employees are directly responsible for any harm that comes to those employees.  Any employer that knowing risks the lives of their employees, or does not adequately protect their workers from harm, has committed a crime against those workers.

7.  I believe the best way to distinguish myself at work is to do the best job possible.  I also accept that a person with a bad job should not care about being distinguished, as this job is just an effective means of survival and does not define them as a person.  If people do not wish to be distinguished in their job, I understand it is because they do not feel valued by their employer.

8.  I believe the most horrible sounds in the world are the cries of the oppressed and the screams of the disenfranchised.  I will always complain for them and with them.  I will never rest until these sounds cease.  If someone complains about the complaints of inequality and oppression, I will politely ask them to silence their complicit approval of suffering.  I also accept that all oppressed people have the right to complain about their oppression.  I will never remain silent, or even give tacit approval, to any form of discrimination.  As long as any other human being is being denied liberty, I am not free.  Their cries are my cries.

9.  I believe that education should be available to everyone and that anyone who seeks it should be able to obtain it.  I believe that education should be free for those whom seek it.  I also believe that an educated population is a better population, but I also think adults should be free to choose their educational path.  I also understand that self-education is not always the best and the accumulation of knowledge through generations is one thing that makes humans quite unique.

10.  Even though I may feel I am uniquely a product of my own choices, I understand that many are subjugated to a lack of choices due to forms of discrimination and/or oppression.  I will never blame someone else for being a victim of discrimination or oppression.  I will also continuously stand up for those whom have had their choices limited.

11.  I understand the world is not fair, but that does not mean we should not strive towards a more noble goal with a more equitable system.  I do not resent the success of others and I do not resent the cries of the oppressed.  I also understand that when those things that are unfair are human constructs, there is no reason not to believe that we cannot alter them to be more equitable.

12.  I believe that all people are created equal.  I also believe that all people make choices when they are able.  Some people choose to work their butt off.  Some choose to sleep in.  I choose to only work hard for a noble cause.  I will never work hard to make someone else profit from my labor.

On my honor, I hereby affirm the above statements are a direct response to a narrow worldview.  I promise to never willingly sweat for a person exploiting me.

Signed____________________________ Dated____________________

A 'real man' doesn't hit a woman

Try as I might, I cannot stop writing.  I find myself engaging in debates on social media as much as I struggle to just discuss It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and jokes about poop.  I cannot avoid vocalizing my opinions on popular topics, typically resulting in arguments that have me questioning my own opinions.  So, here I am again.  I’m just going to keep writing and if only ten of you read it, then that’s fine.  The topic of today is the response the White House gave over the Ray Rice incident.  If anyone is unaware:  Ray Rice is an American football player that was seen on a surveillance video punching his then fiancé and dragging her unconscious body out of an elevator.

“The President is the father of two daughters. And like any American, he believes that domestic violence is contemptible and unacceptable in a civilized society,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.

“Hitting a woman is not something a real man does, and that’s true whether or not an act of violence happens in the public eye, or, far too often, behind closed doors,” the White House statement added, saying that stopping domestic violence “is something that’s bigger than football.”

That’s all well and good, but I want to parse the initial statement made by President Obama because I find it especially problematic.

I’m going to point this out here, instead of at the end, because I think it’s important.  I am in no way trying to excuse domestic abuse or violence against women.  Domestic abuse is a serious problem and is intolerable in any civilized society.  Similarly, violence against women is a serious problem that we have in our society.  It is contemptible and intolerable as well.  There is no rational defense for violence against women or domestic abuse/domestic violence/et al.   Continue reading A ‘real man’ doesn’t hit a woman

荒谬

confused-cat-is-confused This is all really just pointless.  Focusing on American socio-political issues and trying to discuss it islike trying to explain physics to a house cat.  No one really cares.  No one even wants to understand. Well, there are a few people, but they already do understand.  Preaching to the choir is pointless.

So, I’m off to discover something meaningful.  Something that will provide fulfillment.  Maybe I’ll collect Hello Kitty merchandise.  Or I’ll dress up like Pikachu and give out free hugs in the park.  Whatever it is… I’m done with all of this nonsense.

And no, I’m not going to vote for your candidate.  I’m not going to sign your petition.  I’m not going to support your protest.  I’m not going to endorse your idea.  Everyone needs to realize that it’s completely and totally pointless.

10624811_776870275690108_8622698554672519844_nMore to the point:  I don’t feel there is any hope for the United States.  Racism is as bad as it ever was…  much of the country looks looks like South African Apartheid.  There’s no point in talking about liberty… most of you don’t take the time to actually read anything about liberty, but just wish to believe it means you can do any fucking thing you want.  There are no real jobs.  There are no decent wages.  Enjoy your nice things that you cannot afford.

Majority of you just want to maintain the status quo and hope things improve.  Here’s the thing:  The world moves forward whether or not you do, so not moving forward is moving backward by default.  Enjoy your slide backwards… I’m going to join the other 95% of the world.

Be on the look out for my kawaii blog.  Or my blog about smart phones.  Or maybe I’ll blog about blogs.

The Liberal Sisyphus

sisyphus-signI’ve been working on about five essays.  I’m still working on them.  It seems whenever I get half done something new pops up that I feel the need to address.  I then figure I should address it while it is fresh and begin to write about it.  Then something new pops up before I am done.  Anyway, I decided to write this piece today because it’s really been in the front of my mind for a while.  The topic today is just the fact that I am not an American “Liberal” or “Progressive.”  I tend to side with the Liberals and Progressives, because they are the best opposition to the Conservatives and fascists.  But there are times where this relationship become tenuous.

I found this essay by George Novack entitled ‘The Rise And Fall Of Progressivism.”  It was written in 1956 and published in 1957.  Novack is an interesting character in American history that we tend to learn very little about in the United States.  And whilst he was a Trotskyist, I still find what he had to say quite relevant.  (I’m not really a Trotskyist, but I will admit to having more shared ideology with a Trotskyist than a Progressive.)  And Novack pretty much identifies a core issue that I have with Progressives and Liberals today in this essay he wrote a half a century ago.

In their heyday the Populist-Progressives constituted the left wing of the capitalist regime. As a loyal opposition, they did not desire to abolish but to moderate the despotism of the plutocracy, to curtail its powers, and reduce the privileges of the magnates of industry and finance. The principal planks in their economic platforms expressed the interests and put forward the demands of various sections of the middle classes from the farmers to the small businessmen.

This is really the heart of the matter for me.  The Progressives are still pro-capitalist.  And I am not a utopian.  I don’t believe we can simply abolish capitalism and then live in a land of rainbows and unicorn farts.  I know that’s not the reality of the world we inhabit.  And I also do understand the process of incremental change.  Even more to the point, Novack continues:

Even at their most radical, the political ideas of Progressivism did not transgress the boundaries of that bourgeois democracy which had been built upon competitive capitalism. The Progressives restricted their proposed reforms within the constitutional framework of the regime which had been laid down by the architects of the Republic following the First American Revolution as defended and amended by the Second American Revolution.

The Progressives sincerely believed—and still do—that the capitalist republic of the United States is the highest and final form of political organization. They could not conceive that progressive mankind might desire or create any other or better kind of government. As a gauge of their provincial backwardness in this respect, when Robert La Follette went to the Soviet Union in 1922, he invited the Soviet leaders to come and repay his visit in the State of Wisconsin where, he assured them, they could see “a really progressive state!”

This all still pretty much holds true today, almost a century later.  And while I do agree that it might be most prudent to push for small changes, I don’t think that should be the ultimate goal.  Just as I don’t think abolishing capitalism will just create the emergence of some utopian, Marxist paradise, I also don’t think that giving the working class unions and the poor a few scraps of bread is the best we can do.

My whole point of all of this pedantry and rhetorical exercise is to explain that the Progressives don’t really want to change the actual system.  They aren’t really radicals.  They aren’t revolutionary.  They do not support the Marxist dialectic.  In fact, they dismiss it.  And there’s a few manifestations of this I just find problematic and unavoidable in ideology.

There’s the lack of challenging the system itself.  A few times people have asked me about the participation in company boycotts because of various reasons.  The most recent was when I told a colleague that I don’t support boycotting Walgreens or Burger King for moving their corporate headquarters to another country to create a tax shelter.  For the Progressive, this is the equivalent of saying that you want to eat babies and put poor people in work camps.  But I elaborated this farther.

Walgreens announced not long ago they were planning to move their corporate headquarters to Switzerland from Deerfield, Illinois to avoid paying millions in taxes.  The move was to be what is called a “corporate inversion.”  They were acquiring a Swiss company, Alliance Boots.  A corporate inversion is when a company acquires another company and relocates headquarters to the country where the tax rate is lower.  There was quite a bit public outrage to this announcement.  Ultimately, Walgreens announced they wouldn’t go through with the corporate inversion.  That day their stocks plummeted more than 14.3%.

sisyphusBurger King recently announced they may move their corporate headquarters to Canada to decrease taxation.  There has been a lot of social media discussion and outrage about this.  The problem I have with the Progressives on this topic is that I don’t see what the point is about trying to stop them from doing this.  What exactly will change if Burger King doesn’t move to avoid paying taxation?  Do we spend all of our time boycotting and protesting company to company each time every company tries to avoid paying full taxation rates?  It’s a never ending and exhausting process that seems fruitless.  It’s the Myth of Sisyphus.  It’s not a solution just an endless cycle of deferment.

This is the heart of the problem I have with the Progressives.  They don’t seek any real change.  They just want to keep pushing the rock up the hill, until it falls back to the bottom and start all over again.  They seek no structural changes.  There is no desire to actually change anything.

When we saw the turmoil in Ferguson, Missouri, we saw the Progressive Liberal response:  Peaceful protests demanding the police officer get a trial and lip service to Black people in America.  No actual attempt to change anything.  They defended the petite bourgeois business owners of Ferguson.  They defended the system itself.  They only challenge the outcome.   Continue reading The Liberal Sisyphus

Ferguson, Missouri

I’m working on a few things.  The incidents in Ferguson, Missouri seem to have dominated all of the public discourse.  It’s a pretty serious evolution of events that have transpired.  What I have noticed the most is that the difference between a lot of the Liberals and Progressive that make up the bulk of the “American Left” and my person ideology have a stark contrast in this instance.  This isn’t the only time this has happened recently, but it is one of the most pronounced.

1407876204002-Brown-gallery-3In a brief summary of events:  On August 9, 2014, a police officer shot and killed an 18-year old, unarmed, Black male at 12:01 pm.  The next night, August 10, a candlelight vigil for Michael Brown turns “violent.”  The vigil turned into what the media have labelled “looting and vandalism.”  Some have gone as far as to call them “riots.”  On August 11, hundreds of people gathered outside of the Ferguson Police Department demanding “justice” in this incidence.  Throughout the day there were protests and demonstrations and that evening the police used tear gas to disperse the protestors.  From that point, things basically kept escalating.  The police took on a complete paramilitary appearance.  Members of the press were arrested over the process.  The media reported the “looting continues.”  The governor of Missouri issued a “state of emergency.”  There have been more incidents and more will happen since this has been written.

Several issues have come up when discussing these instances and I cannot help but realize that I am not a Liberal in this instance.  One problem I have is the discussion of “Black on Black crime” – or any Black on Black anything – in relation to this violence.  The second problem I have is with making this a personal instance of “Justice for Michael Brown.”  Finally, I have a problem with those claiming that the “looters” and “vandalism” have to stop… including “peaceful protestors protecting businesses.”   Continue reading A Few Thoughts On Ferguson, Missouri