Saturday, June 25, 2016

Anarchy in the EU, Liberty in the UK!

When I first heard that British Prime Minister David Cameron had promised the euroskeptics in his Conservative Party a popular referendum on whether or not the UK should leave the EU, in return for there support in the 2015 elections, I thought there was no fucking way it would ever happen. My skepticism only deepened after the failure of Yes! Scotland. The UK seemed as impervious to true radical change as the US. Last night, speaking as I scribble this last minute post down on a piece of computer paper with Sonic Youth's "Expressway to your skull" blaring through my headphones, the UK proved me and a lot of other leftists to be dead wrong. Unlike many of those other so-called leftists, I couldn't be happier to be so wrong. In spite of my Irish-Catholic Anglophobic tendencies, I'm feeling very proud of those dastardly limey bastards right now. I feel like I should by them a pint.

After months and months of the most brutal fear campaign to be launched on the Brits since the down and dirty days of Tony Blair's Downing Street Memo. After being fed shovel loads of pro-Euro propaganda from every establishment hack from both ends of the aisle. Even after a rushed visit by Sir Barack of Obomba, who came to little Lord Cameron's aid in order to threaten the citizens of America's oldest Allie with economic apartheid if they dared exercise there right to rid themselves of foreign rule. The British people still gathered together on the 23rd of June to deliver a great big middle finger to the tyrants of corporate globalism in Brussels and beyond. Today should be a day of international celebration. Because this is just the fucking beginning. The Brits have shown us all a way out and it didn't even cost them a single drop of blood.

The leaders of the movement to leave the EU, namely the UK Independence Party (UKIP), may have had there own chauvinistic and xenophobic reasons for the Brexit but the majority of the Brits who voted Leave this week weren't thinking about immigrants or Sharia nonsense. They were voting to emancipate themselves from a corrupt cabal of foreign crony capitalists. It was a loud and hearty rejection of Cameron's vaunted "Age of austerity." It was a glorious populist rebellion against the tyranny of "Business as usual" and sadly most of my comrades on the far left chose to sit this one out on the sidelines and miss out on all the anarchic fun.

The only parts of the UK that voted aggressively against the Brexit are, sadly, my own Celtic people in the leftist heartlands of Scotland and Northern Ireland and this breaks my fucking heart. Even Labor's insurgent leader Jeremy Corbyn and those fantastic lions in the Scottish National Party (SNP) spoke out (somewhat begrudgingly) against Leave. This is due to the sad fact that too many of even the finest minds on the far left (Noam Chomsky!?) buy into the bullshit theory that the EU is somehow a stateless socialist alternative to American hegemony. The reality couldn't be farther from this fallacy if it were in outer space.

The stone cold reality is actually quite the opposite. The EU and in fact the very notion of a united federal Europe was designed by CIA globalist masterminds like Allen Dulles and Wild Bill Donovan after World War 2 in order to create a unified European identity that would serve as a socioeconomic glue to hold the imperial NATO army together and ensure that the communist and anarchist partisans who liberated much of the continent from fascism would not be given an opportunity to provide a true socialist alternative to American global capitalism. Billions of US tax dollars were poured into a decades long propaganda campaign via the Marshal Plan to brainwash Europeans into believing that a United Europe was as inevitable as a fart on taco Tuesday.

The result of the EU's "socialist" paradise? A crooked fiefdom of moneyed banksters sucking the continents poorest people dry like vampires. Not to mention an economic appendage for America's NATO Megatron to better rape and pillage with. But still, even after decades of brutal austerity, corruption, ponzi schemes, labor exploitation and regime change, my people back in the old country of Ireland and Scotland are still convinced that an existence under the tutelage of this imperial juggernaut would be kinder then an independent UK. Which only proves how horrifically the Crown has abused these people (send your hate mail to the Queen). But like a battered spouse, they go running from the arms of one monster to another. My only hope is that the earth-shattering cataclysm that is the Brexit will finally shake some sense into my people and the early signs look good.

As news of the Brexit reached the masses, calls for a second referendum on Scottish independence have been made by the SNP and even the long castrated and taciturn Sinn Fein of Northern Ireland is calling for serious discussion on a similar referendum to FINALLY unify Ireland (and the Grinch's heart grew three sizes that day!) Perhaps even better, that defeated stooge Cameron has announced he will be stepping down from his dismally failed role as Prime Minister and leader of the Tories, leading some folks in Labor to whisper about the possibility of bumping up the 2020 general elections. Giving the NATO-skeptic if not totally euroskeptic Head of Labor, Jeremy Corbyn a serious shot at redeeming himself as the first true leader of the newly independent UK. Corbyn may have chickened out on Leave but I have a hard time believing that this longtime Euro-critic will go out his way to put the shackles back on.

Just like UKIP's Leave campaign, these actions by the SNP, Sinn Fein and Corbyn may not be done with the wisest of intentions but, like the Brexit, there result could be nothing short of miraculous. And the revolution doesn't stop at the shores of the British Isles. The Brexit sets a powerful precedent for countries like Spain, France, Italy and Holland with similar levels of Euro-discontent. Not to mention independence movements from Basque to Venice. 2016 could go down in history as the most revolutionary year in European history since at least May '68 if not 1799.

Of coarse this doesn't mean a clean, easy victory for the powers of good over evil. The EU is a multi-billion dollar menace that won't be dismantled without a long, bloody fight. The economic backlash against the UK has only just begun and it has already plunged the value of the British Pound to a thirty year low. Things will likely get far worse before they get better. The global corporate aristocracy is going to do everything they can to ensure an independent Britain will fail. There may even be backroom schemes in the works to sabotage the Brexit, which will likely take years to go into effect, before it can even begin.

But true revolutionary change is hard. If doing the right thing was easy then the world wouldn't be so fucked up. People of all nationalities and political stripes who truly value liberty need to come together now behind the Brits and show our unflinching solidarity with there declaration of independence. The Brexit is victory for us all. Stand strong limey bastards. This Marxist mick solutes you.

Peace, Love and Anarchy- CH

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Summer Reading for Freaks and Radicals

Well dearest motherfuckers, it's finally summer and if your an amateur literati such as myself, that means one thing more than most. Long, warm afternoons designed by god (or whoever) for the express purpose of getting lost between the pages of a good book. It also means that every magazine, blog and website has some milquetoast, Ivy League, butt-monkey trying to sell you on a list of the latest mainstream, Oprah approved boregasms that I like to call the tyranny of the summer reading list. What's a bookish weirdo to do? Throw up your hands and settle for dreck? Not anymore! Never fear, freaks and radicals, this weirdo's got a blog and a summer reading list full of all the blasphemy, anarchy,sex, bloodshed and intrigue a fellow weirdo could ask for. Now, some of this shit is pretty esoteric and some of it's just plain fucked up, so don't expect to find much of it at your local Barnes and Noble, I'm permanently banned from mine! (Is he kidding?!) But if your craving something truly sinister, and I always am, you'll find a way to get your hands on these paperback gems. Hell, I did and I'm a goddamn agoraphobic basket-case. So without further ado, I give you, most dearest of motherfuckers, my own personal summer reading list. Read at your own discretion but except no substitutions.

*  Killing Hope and Rogue State by William Blum
If your looking to rip the fucking scab off the ghastly wound that is the American Empire, you can do no better than the great William Blum. As folklore would have it, young Bill spent one year working as a pencil pusher for the US State Department in the late sixties and found himself so repulsed by what he saw behind the Wizard's curtain at Oz that he quit in disgust and devoted the next 40+ years of his life to exposing American foreign policy for the repulsive, man-eating, nation smashing beast that it really is. Killing Hope and Rogue State are his masterpieces. In the latter he gives us a quick but thorough guided tour through the precise reasons why the United States is the most feared and hated nation on the planet. In his magnum-opus, Killing Hope, Blum goes into painstaking detail cataloging America's foreign misdeeds from country to country, coup to coup, war to war, in chronological order. Not everyone's cup of tea but it's the kind of shit a malcontent, history dork such as myself can get lost in for hours.

*  American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
One of the most grossly underrated and misinterpreted novels in modern American History. It had radical feminists up in arms over what they perceived to be it's sexist depiction of a handsome, young serial killer slaughtering prostitutes and party girls. They couldn't be farther from the truth. In reality, Bret Easton Ellis' experimental, Reagan era horror story is one of the most savagely brilliant and darkly hilarious satires ever written on the sociopathic hollowness and savage chauvinism of American capitalism. It's also one of the most grotesque works of transgressive fiction since the Marquis De Sade, so read at your own risk.

*  Amok Fifth Dispatch
An absolute must have for any self-respecting, sub-altern bibliophile. Amok was basically like the internet before the internet, only weirder and better. The fifth and final dispatch is a massive catalog of paragraph long reviews of over a thousand of the worlds strangest pieces of underground literature broken up into sections on everything from anarchism, UFO's and perverted manga to Wilhelm Reich, neo-Nazi comics and the JFK assassination. It's beyond bizarre. It's information run amok and it fucking rules.

* The Untold History of the United States by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick
The best American history book is still probably Howard Zinn's indispensable Peoples History of the United States but Oliver Stones' Untold History is definitely the most entertaining. A downright cinematic tour-de-force through the last century of American intrigue, both at home and abroad. Stone doesn't pull any punches but he doesn't pull any of his trademark conspiranioa either. No doubt, disappointing his devoted gaggle of haters, just looking for another chance to take a swipe at old Ollie for using there own propaganda techniques against them and there precious status quo. Stone just sticks to the facts and leaves you to connect the dots if your daring enough to do so.

* Lords of Chaos by Micheal Moynihan
If you thought gangsta rap was violent, just wait until you get a load of the Norwegian Black Metal Scene. Biggie and Tupac ain't got shit one these lily-white devil worshipers. Murder, suicide, cannibalism, church arson, grave desecration, prison breaks, neo-Nazi terrorists, Jungian psychology? Lycanthropy! Nordic heathenry! Just when you think the shit can't get any crazier, it does. And it all started with just a handful of teenage metal-heads trading Celtic Frost tapes in an Oslo basement. A lot of people shit on this book because of it's authors alleged quasi-Fascist/occultist tendencies but I say, who better to lead a guided tour through the Satanic underground then a fellow basement dweller and all his eccentricities aside, Moynihan is a damn fine journalist and Lords of Chaos is the wildest rock book ever written.

* Introducing Marx by Rius and Introducing Marxism by Rupert Woodfin and Oscar Zarate
If you know me, you know I'm one anarchist who loves him some Marx. But even I have to admit, however brilliant the K-man might be, his books can be a bit of a bore. Blasphemy, I know, but it's true. Which makes converting non-believers a bit of a challenge. The best place to start is with these two pocket size graphic novels by the fine folks at Introducing Books, who specialize in what's basically college starter coarse's in comic form. I use to devour them when I was still a shut-in but the two on Marx are probably my favorites. There a great overview of all things Marx. His life, his work, his philosophy, his influence and why he still matters as much today as he did in the 19th century. All in all, fast paced and brilliantly illustrated infotainment.

* House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
By far, the strangest novel I've ever read which, naturally, makes it my favorite. It's probably not scientifically possible to sum it up in a single paragraph, so I won't even try. I'll just say it's a twisted horror story within an even more twisted horror story involving mental illness, a possibly haunted house, a decaying marriage, an endless hallway with a life of it's own and a documentary. All of which may or may not actually exist. It's a demented house of mirrors with multiple narratives that leaves you feeling upside down and inside out. Sounds like fun, right?....    ....pussies.

* The Serial Killer Files by Harold Schecter
Love serial killers? Me too! (Is he kidding?) Know one knows em better than Harold Schecter, who's Serial Killer Files serve as the most comprehensive study of murder and those fascinating psychopaths who commit it. It's basically the anti-Killing Hope. An encyclopedia of human destruction not sanctioned by the state.

* Preacher: Volumes 1-9 by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon
When I heard that my favorite comic, the greatest comic, was going to be made into an AMC Original Series by Frat Pack schlock-miesters Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, best known for there infantile "Bro" comedies like Superbad, my heart fucking sank. I thought, here we go again, another shitty comic adaptation that all the Deutsche bags of the world can cream themselves over. I couldn't have been more wrong and I couldn't be happier to be so wrong. Based on the first few episodes, it looks like those damn stoners might actually pull it off and make a halfway descent TV show. But nothing can ever beat the original. The epic tale of a drunken, apostate, Texas priest, granted the power of the word of god to command people to do anything from tell the truth to go fuck themselves (literally), only to be hunted down by an all powerful secret religious society, with his ass kicking, gun nut, feminist, bombshell girlfriend and his hard partying Irish vampire bestie at his side. Along the way they encounter everything from inbred desert cannibals to an indestructible god-slaying cowboy called the Saint of Killers. It's a long, bloody, surreal, hilarious, profane and romantic saga and it's the best way to waste your summer indoors without the use of high-powered recreational pharmaceuticals.

* Strange Liberators: Militarism, Mayhem and the Pursuit of Profit by Gregory Elich
Radical investigative journalist Gregory Elich goes into downright gratuitous detail, playing devils advocate, defending some of America's favorite boogeymen, from Yugoslavia to Zimbabwe to Iraq to North Korea and he does a damn fine job doing it. Uncovering narratives that not only fly in the face of the "official" stories but make mince meat of them. Picking them apart, piece by piece. Forget everything you thought you knew about world politricks. If you can actually get your hands on this long out of print antiwar classic it will make you question everything and it will make you all the better for it.

* Dirty Blonde: The Diaries of Courtney Love
Not so much an autobiography as a scrapbook of letters, pictures, prison records, poems, psych evaluations and lyrics that create a complex self portrait of one of the most brilliant, incendiary and misunderstood feminist auteurs of the last several decades. Hate her all you want but this walking study in demonology will not, can not and should not go ignored.

* Kill Your Boyfriend by Grant Morrison and Philip Bond
Grant Morrison's batshit bonkers, gonzo one-shot graphic novel about a bored London schoolgirl who falls in love with a cheeky psychopath, kills her boyfriend (naturally) and joins an avante-garde terrorist collective hellbent on bringing down an iconic tower with a single hand grenade in the coastal English tourist trap of Blackpool. It's a zany, deliciously Nineties, psychedelic teenage riot from the maestro of comic book surrealism that set the stage for later cinematic cult classics (and personal favorites) like Natural Born Killers and the Doom Generation.

* Our Band Could Be Your Life by Michael Azerrad
An oral history of the American 80's underground punk scene that formed the glue that connects the Ramones and Nirvana. Each chapter tells the story of a different band on the periphery and there journey through the still embryonic loose knit network of dive bars, basement parties and mosh pits that would eventually grow from the punk rock underground into the Alternative Revolution of the early Nineties. Includes chapters on Black Flag, Minor Threat, Sonic Youth, Husker Du, Big Black, the Replacements, Mission of Burma, the Minutemen, Fugazi, Mudhoney, Beat Happening and my personal favorite chapter on America's strangest band, the Butthole Surfers. A must read for any self-respecting Punk Rock fan.

* .45 Dangerous Minds by Steven Blush and George Petros
Before the internet and yes, dearest motherfuckers, there was a before the internet, freaks and radicals had to turn to the news stands for there intellectual fix which usually meant a crap-high of boring, airbrushed, jingoistic banality that gives propaganda a bad name. That is until the rise of the zines. After places like Kinko's made it possible for anyone with a few bucks and some angry words to Xerox and staple together there own glossy diatribes, the American underground was rocked by a wave of taboo smashing, homemade organs known as zines, in which freaks and radicals finally had a say. The best of these became full fledged periodicals in there own right with names like Maximum Rock&Roll, Re/Search, Answer Me!, Roller Derby, Anything that Moves and Murder Can Be Fun. More often than not, they were crude, crass, tasteless, profane and even downright pornographic. They were also fucking brilliant and the very best among them, in my not-so-humble opinion was a fearless little New York magazine called Seconds, run by two post-punk rejects named Steven Blush and George Petros with one simple mission in mind, give the most brutally honest, mercilessly rude and unabashedly prying interviews (aka interrogations) with the most dangerously unpredictable people they could get a hold of. The results where some of the strangest moments in journalism history and 45 of there finest interviews are collected in .45 Dangerous minds: Charles Manson, Allen Ginsberg, Henry Rollins, David Bowie, Marilyn Manson, Richard Remirez, GG Allin, Anton Levey and many, many more. Needless to say without iconoclastic rags like Seconds, without insane books like .45 Dangerous Minds and without brilliantly dangerous minds like Blush and Petros,  there would be no Comrade Hermit or Exile In Happy Valley. On my best day I am but a parasite clinging to the bellies of those brilliant savage beasts. Read, learn and pay it forward. Start your own Seconds, your own Exile, online today and be heard by other fantastic freaks like you and me. In the words of Jello Biafra- "Don't hate the media. Become the media." I say why not do both. Let the war begin at home with a pile of good books and a laptop.

Knowledge is power and we've got it. Happy reading, dearest motherfuckers.

Peace, Love and Anarchy- CH

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

In Search of Solutions After Orlando

I had every intention of writing a summer reading list this week. Something simple and fun. Then Orlando happened. Nearly fifty people dead and over fifty injured. I'm sure I don't have to tell you, the news is inescapable. A lot of turbulent emotions have been ripping  through me over this latest national tragedy. I have only just begun to feel safe identifying myself as an openly queer individual, only to see scores of beautiful people, who I'll never have the good fortune to know, in my newfound community, senselessly slaughtered in cold blood. I honestly don't know how to react to this. All I know is that I can't stay silent.

Especially when the people making the loudest noises over the mass media have there heads so firmly planted up there own pinch little assholes. And of coarse, there all fucking breeders. Who else always knows best? Even before anyone knows anything at all. It must be nice to know everything. Maybe that kind of blase self-confidence only comes with the good fortune of being born with all the right parts in all the right places, fitting so easily into all the right people. Anyway, I feel some obligation to rise above my own complex emotions and clear up some of the bullshit. It's a smelly, thankless job but somebody has to do it, so it might as well be my iconoclastic and recently decloseted gender fluid ass.

There's a reason bullshit usually reigns supreme in the aftermath of massacres like the one in Orlando. The Western World doesn't suffer these kinds of tragedies as often as the rest of the planet. The uncomfortable truth is that this country is often on the other side of the trigger. It's the nature of living behind the gilded fences of a global empire. That doesn't make these horrific events anymore exceptable than any of our own massacres. In fact the illusion of invulnerability created by this nations unchecked power on the global stage can make these events all the more traumatic. It's only natural for people living beneath an imperial bubble to overreact on the relatively rare occasions when that bubble is breached, even from within. But being reactionary has never solved anything. It's in trying times like these that we need to struggle to keep our heads straight and think logically. There are know simple solutions to a mess like this. So lets dispel with some of the politico-media-spheres favorite bullshit quick fixes right off the fucking bat.

#1. Labels are pointless- Terms like Terrorism and Hate Crime are nothing more than pointless labels for the same damn thing. Mass murder is mass murder. Killing a club full of innocent people isn't made any more or less tragic by giving it a fancy and often politicized title. All violent crimes are hate crimes and all terrorists are killers. There no different then any other garden variety psychopath. I don't give two fucks if your Osama Bin Laden, Richard Speck, Eric Rudolf, Ted Bundy or Omar Mateen, your all the same flavor of shit in my book and you don't fucking impress me with your cowardice.

#2. Islam is not the enemy- Omar Mateen is not an Islamic killer. He's just a killer who happens to call himself a Muslim. Whether it's revenge for American foreign policy or just another self-loathing closet case killing himself by killing his own kind, this crime had nothing to do with religion and it had nothing to do with immigration. Omar was the American born son of two quirky but moderate Afghan refugee's. His relationship to radical jihadism was minimal and totally inconsistent. He had variously claimed affiliation with ISIS, Hezbollah and Al-Nusrah, groups that are all currently at war with each other. The idea of banning all Muslim immigration into this country is not only unconstitutional and immoral, it's totally ineffective. Why would ISIS or anyone else for that matter waste there trained fighters by sending them away from the battlefield, overseas, when they already have there pick of the litter of mentally disturbed assholes within our borders, just a mouse click away. Scapegoating an entire population of mostly peaceful people plays directly into groups like ISIS' hands. They want Muslims to be isolated, vilified and humiliated by secular governments. It makes for easy marks in there holy war scheme. Don't take the bait.

#3. Guns are not the problem- I know this is probably dangerous for a hardcore leftist to say out loud but the only way to stop a gay-basher with a gun is a small army of fierce queens with high-powered pieces that match there outfits. How many people would that homophobic cunt been able to kill if there was more than just one armed, off-duty cop on the scene? We'll probably never know but I'm willing to bet it would have been far less then 49. Too many people on the left seem to suffer under the delusion that stripping law abiding citizens of there Second Amendment rights will stop loose cannons like Mateen from arming themselves illegally. This is just plain bullshit. Just ask Anders Breivik, the Norwegian mass murderer who managed to slaughter 77 people in a country with fewer guns than Candyland. I'm not saying this country couldn't use a few new regulations but assault weapons bans, like all forms of prohibition, simply don't work, they only create black markets where regulation is impossible.

#4. The FBI fucked up- I find nothing more repulsive than the endless procession of current and ex-feds getting air time to demand that we the people hurl more of our tax dollars into there already bulging coffers so they can burn it haunting mosques, trolling antiwar chat-rooms and entrapping harmless mental-midgets in there pointless sting operations, all while known extremists like Mateen continue to fall through the cracks of our massive police state. This bastard had been on there radar for years. YEARS! And wear was Florida's finest feds on the night that Pulse got sacked. Well they were arresting a mentally ill homeless man in Miami who fell victim to there latest bait-and-switch build-a-terrorist trap, of coarse. And these assholes wan't more fucking money. FUCK THAT! And fuck the FBI. Get your fucking shit together and do your fucking job. Then will talk.

#5. War is not the Answer- Even if it does turn out that Mateen had some kind of legitimate terror connection, no amount of drone strikes will bring the beautiful people he killed back to us. It will only serve to sully there names with blood and give ISIS or whoever a new crop of traumatized survivors of American terrorism to turn into human weapons. Violence only begets more violence. Terror only begets more terror. Like I said earlier it doesn't matter if your strangling a dormitory full of nursing students, shooting up a dance club of unarmed party-goers or shooting a Hellfire Missile at a wedding party full of the same, it is all murder and it is all inexcusable. People have a right to defend themselves, yes. It is there god given, constitutional right to do so. But maybe, just maybe, they wouldn't have to if this country didn't insist on pissing on every hornet's nest from Aleppo to Kandahar.

This country desperately needs to stop being brainlessly reactive to every tragedy we suffer and start being proactive by putting an end to our own violent behavior abroad that makes the horror of tragedies like the one in Orlando so much more likely. Until we learn this lesson, the bodies will only continue to pile up in both hemispheres. I for one mourn them all and I refuse to sit by and stay silent until ALL the killing stops.

Until then, take care of each other, Beautiful people. If we don't, no one will. And if your religious, say a prayer for the dead and say a prayer for peace. We all deserve it.