Sunday, September 19, 2004


A: Whether our masters quarrel with each other or agree together, our bondage is equally ruinous. The governor has centurions to execute his will; the procurator, slaves; and both of them add insults to violence. Nothing is any longer safe from their greed and lust. In war it is at least a braver man who takes the spoil; as things stand with us, it is most cowards and shirkers that seize our homes, kidnap our children, and conscript our men.

The karaoke President, interrupting his three week viewing immersion into the complete Girls Gone Wild video series, decided to sound presidential. With the help of aides, staff, and Bartlett's Quotations, he lip-synched his way from Madison Square Garden to Madison, Ohio almost getting it right, and almost is close enough for government work. Linking himself, as a compassionate, courageous leader in war times, to a war, World War 2, President, Bush told his audience, "The only thing we have to fear is ourselves. " The audience cheered. The world cringed. Everybody had gotten the malappropriated message.

Continuing on, Bush connected his understanding of politics to that of a another war President, the civil war President, and said "You can't fool all of the people all of the time, but you can fool enough of them, and disenfranchise enough of those you don't fool, every four years to get five votes from the Supreme Court and call that a mandate." And the ex-party of Lincoln howled its approval, recognizing, embracing , and parading its shape-shift, its transformation into the party of 10, 20, 30 million John Wilkes Boothes.

And then he said, giving credit and no bid contracts where credit is due, praising his very own Botha; pointing to his favorite kleptocrat; directing the spotlight to a man who was Lay, Gramm, Black, Goebbels, and Savimbi all in one: "The buck stops over there, at my man Dick's account in the Caymans."

Somewhere, the candidate of the Democrats, lip-synching to the lip syncher, said something and only something, that might have sounded like "Me Too!," but only if anybody had been listening.

And there you had it: the real difference between the two, the sitting and the would be. There you had it, the real difference between all those who had ever sat, save the one who confronted the slaveholders' rebellion, those who would sit.

The real difference between the Republicans and the Democrats? Just this-- whenever the bourgeois order is entering a recession, the bourgeoisie elect a Republican; whenever the bourgeois order is exiting a recession, or trying to exit a recession, then a Democrat is elected.

Not really political parties, the Democrats and Republicans, are auction houses. The recognition and execution of capital's class interest is not determined by or in the electoral process. The electoral process itself is anti-thetical to the social confrontation of that class's interest.

A real political party begins by defining its class needs in oppositon to those of the current rulers. Real political struggle begins when that opposition recognizes in its own need an overthrow and replacement of the current rulers organization of property, of production.

The prospects for a real political party and struggle are not with the Greens, nor with Naders. Despite the horrible name, the prospects begin with the Million Worker March in Washington, DC.

B. This journey has only served to confirm this belief, that the division of America into unstable and illusory nations is a complete fiction. We are one single mestizo race with remarkable ethnographical similarities, from Mexico down to the Magellan Straits.
--Ernesto Guevara de la Serna

The nation emerges from empire ascendant or in decline, whether industrial capitalist or feudal-mercantile, as the result of a social revoluton interrupted; of a social republic thwarted; of social property defeated. This was the case 200 years ago in France where the nation is secured first with the defeat of the Commune and then necessarily by the defeat of the left-Jacobins; 130 years ago in the US where "national," bourgeois, unity is forged first in the defeat of radical Reconstruction and then reinforced in the simultaneous triumph of Jim Crow at home and the defeats of the Philippine and Cuban social revolutions away; 80 years ago when the Soviet Union purchases its national existence with the defeat of revolutions in Europe and Asia; 30 years ago where the social, class, content of the battles against Portugal's empire is lost in the proclamations of a nation of Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau.

Today? Today, there's Argentina, and Brazil who have authenticated their national self-determination" by deploying troops to support the US invasion and occupation of Haiti.

And tomorrow? Tomorrow there's Venezuela, where the bourgeoisie of the advanced countries see in a "national struggle," perhaps their last chance to derail the social revolution of the workers, the landless, of the poor against private property.

National self-determination is nothing but an impulse to a unified market that capitalism unleashes but is unable to fulfill. The existing barriers, pre-existing, archaic relations of land and labor, represent an obstacle to the reproduction of capital-- but those exact same relations are the private property of capital. Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. National self-determination is the last refuge of private property.

C. Feet don't fail me now.
--George Clinton "One Nation Under a Groove"

S. Artesian
September 19 2004

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Monday, September 06, 2004

Over, Under, Sideways, Down

At its core, capital is formed ( informed, deformed, reformed), and finally torn apart, by the conflict between the means of production organized as private property, and the force of labor organized socially, as a class. In its very need to reproduce this separation, capital cycles itself through expansion and contraction, accumulation and destruction, profit and loss.

When the bourgeoisie construct their ruling ideas, their ideology, it is at a moment when that class of laborers is still incomplete, diffuse; when people obscures class, ruling and laboring; when property represents the possibility of, and limits to, justice and wealth; when fear and greed masquerade as freedom. But when the bourgeoisie consolidate that power, this distortion becomes denial, the compulsory disavowal of the reality of the separation, the reality of class.

Denial always requires substitution. In place of the real separation between social labor and private property, capital creates the distinction between private and public, a distinction that is first and foremost, a marketing vehicle, where the purchase of private "freedom" only exists in the underwriting of social repression. If in the accumulation of capital, there is no more clear manifestation of overproduction than scarcity, and the fear of scarcity, then in the preservation of private property there is more clear manifestation of "free markets" than the no-bid contract; no more clear demonstration of democracy than electoral intimidation; no greater truth than lies, and no greater peace than war without end, AMEN.

All dressed up in red, white, and blue every two, four, six years, is the naked need of the class representing the naked needs of the economy of destruction. The electoral process is initiated, engaged, endured, tolerated as one more manifestation, outlet, for overproduction; as another exercise in the elimination of competitors; another junk-bond financed takeover. The vision of capital is global all right, and that vision is Afghanistan.

The modern electoral process is in fact the product of class struggle delayed; class struggle deferred; class conflict denied. The political party of the workers is not built or strengthened by its slate of candidates in election years, but in how it maintains itself outside that process and against that designated time, just precisely as the political party of the bourgeoisie builds and maintains itself, in reality, outside that process, against that time.

So voting, campaigning Green or Nader or Workers World is worse than useless. It is stupid. What happens outside those campaigns, outside those conventions, outside those candidates is where struggle begins.

What was called the New Left, but what was really the offspring of the civil rights struggles and the black liberation movements, had it almost right. What mattered wasn't the vote, but the struggle; what mattered about the struggle was the organization; what mattered about the organization was direct confrontation with the ruling forces.

S. Artesian

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