Sunday, December 25, 2022

Because Polygamists Are Queer People Too, Goddammit

 Nicky, why can't you just smile and join the pride parade? I must hear this refrain at least ten times a day from people both inside and out of my community. With all the progress, with all the popular approval, why can't I just be one of those happy Queers you see on TV? Why must I insist on being such a fucking bummer? And sometimes I wish it was that easy too. That I could just put on a pair of heels and embrace the simple pleasures of mainstream inclusion. The only problem is that I know way too much about the history of Western Civilization to pretend that progress isn't a fucking trap.

I can't pretend that the globalized corporate culture that defines the collective West isn't a moral desert defined by commercialism, conformity and assimilation. I can't pretend that this culture isn't the direct descendant of the White Anglo-Saxon Puritan culture that wiped out the pagan tribes who once revered my people for what made us unique, and I can't pretend that being Queer isn't defined by our long history of resistance to this culture and that allowing ourselves to be absorbed into it would be tantamount to genocide.

Every right that these people have given us has been rigged. We have the right to state protection from bigotry as long as we consent to recognizing the authority of an institution that violates the rights of more Queer people than every Bible Belt fag basher combined in the form of the Prison Industrial Complex. We have the right to serve openly in the straight man's army as long as we consent to the wholesale slaughter of other marginalized people that defines its very existence. And of course, there is the most sacred right that a Queer person could possibly ask for, what every little trans girl dreams about, the right to marriage.

This was the right on full display just a few weeks ago when Joe Biden officially signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law. A bipartisan smash hit, this law codified federal recognition of same sex marriage as well as interracial marriage after the Supreme Court reminded us all of the unpleasant fact that the Founding Fathers were a bunch of sexist bigots like them with the overturning of Roe V. Wade. 

Once again, I can't pretend to be impressed by this thing called marriage. I'm an anarchist for Stirner's sake. The state's approval of who I love and how I love them is about as meaningful to me as receiving the blessing of the Mafia. But I have nothing against the institution in and of itself and consenting adults should have every right to enjoy it. Kali knows the weird shit that turns me on isn't every Queer's cup of tea. But there was something that just wasn't quite right about this picture.

The sight of all these shiny, happy, camera-friendly Queers whooping it up on the White House lawn as Cindy Lauper belted out the hits couldn't erase the fact that many of the Beltway ghouls who invited them to the party, including our hero Joe Biden, had long and economically fruitful careers defined by fucking us over with sickeningly bigoted laws like DOMA and FOSTA-SESTA. I mean, after decades of drowning us in pigs' blood, the cool kids invite us to a party in our honor and this doesn't seem weird to you? 

I know, I know, Nicky is such a fucking downer. I've heard. But I can't seriously be the only faggot asking, 'what's the catch?' here. The answer to this million-dollar question can actually be found in the fine print of the bill itself. The Respect for Marriage Act codifies any marriage between two people into federal law. It also explicitly forbids the recognition of polygamy in no uncertain terms. In other words, our marriage rights come at the expense of someone else's.

Who cares about a bunch of dusty old Mormon bumpkins, right? Well, you should if you have any respect at all for the cultural institution of Queerness. After all, what is a Queer person? A sexual and/or gender minority whose existence runs against the grain of the Anglo-Saxon Puritan order. And what is a polygamist? Say it with me now, people- a sexual and/or gender minority whose existence runs against the grain of the Anglo-Saxon Puritan order. Polygamy is a form of polyamory, love between multiple partners, that is as Queer as any lifestyle you're likely to find at your local fetish ball. 

The fact that your average American polygamist is a Fundamentalist Mormon fag basher shouldn't matter anymore than the fact that your average radical feminist lesbian thinks that I'm a male chauvinist pig for having a prick under my dress. They are still our people whether they realize it or not and we can't pretend to support marriage equality while we throw other consenting adults under the state's bus.

America has been at war with polygamy for as long as it's been at war with every other form of Queer love and the Mormons have been savagely persecuted for generations for once daring to recognize it. In 1838, the governor of Missouri chased them from their original homeland on the threat of extermination in what can only be accurately described as an act of Queer ethnic cleansing. A few years later, their founder Joseph Smith was lynched by an angry mob in Illinois and the Mormons escaped the Midwest to the deserts of the Great Salt Lake in search of a safe space where they could simply exist in peace.

Polygamy was officially banned by the federal government with the Edmund's Act in 1862. When a few brave Mormons challenged this law as a clear violation of their constitutional freedom of religion in 1878, the Supreme Court upheld the law in the Court's first decision to limit religious freedom with reasoning that is sadly still sited to this day. This reasoning included the justices referring to the practice of plural marriage as "odious" and claims that it offends polite society that should sound strangely familiar to all ears. It seems that constitutional rights like religious liberty are only sacred when the people practicing them conform to the puritanical confines of our slave raping Founding Fathers. Who knew?

The Mormons attempted to peacefully secede and established their own sovereign communities in what is now largely modern-day Utah, but the United States government just wouldn't let them be. President Buchanan invaded the Deseret with 2,500 soldiers to put down the "Mormon Rebellion" and forcibly confiscate church land. This persecution only received a brief reprieve during the Civil War but Abraham Lincoln's bloody suspension of Habeas Corpus to keep the Union whole made it violently clear that secession was another institution that the American government was willing to kill to suppress. In 1890, the Church of Latter-Day Saints finally bowed to pressure and traded one of the founding principles of their faith in exchange for the safety of mainstream inclusion. 

 But all this carnage was about much more than just one guy shacking up with two wives. Much like with all Queer rights, the government's animus had a lot more to do with social cohesion than anything else. Early Mormon society was far from utopian, but it was defined by a form of pious collectivism that placed the community before the state and every straight man's favorite fetish, capitalism. 

Families were larger and more powerful than any one government institution and women and children generally enjoyed more independence than the lesser captives of most 19th century monogamous communities. Any degeneration from sexual and gender mores poses a direct challenge to the carefully constructed western class system that evolved out of the rise of patriarchy during the agricultural revolution. This is why Queer people of all kinds are only ever left with two choices, conformity or persecution. 

The Church of Latter-Day Saints chose conformity and lost a society that was nearly entirely autonomous from the wickedness of the western world that now ravages the streets of Salt Lake City with crime and addiction. The Mormons who chose to embrace this assimilation embraced the federal government that killed their ancestors as a divinely inspired institution while the few who chose to resist were chased by this divine institution into the shadows where they could be easily poached by rapacious creeps like Warren Jeffs. 

Polygamy remains a felony on the books in all fifty states. Refugees whose ancestors have practiced this form of family values since long before Joseph Smith wore short pants are denied citizenship and deported. Families continue to be forcefully separated and shattered by the federal government in routine raids on polygamist compounds. These people cling to their faith because everyone but God has forgotten them. Speaking as a genderfuck outcast who spent the better part of her childhood at the mercy of Catholic creeps not unlike Warren Jeffs, I can't help but to believe that my community owes these people a little better than this. Hell, we owe it to ourselves too, because polygamists are Queer people too, goddammit and if we don't look out for each other, no one will. Certainly not Joe Biden.

The problem with mainstream inclusion is that it always comes at the price of the persecution of those who wish to live their lives outside of the confines of mainstream society. State sanctioned marriage comes with benefits that should belong to all of us by birth right, regardless of how many people we love or how we choose to love them. If Queer people abandon our rebellious principles for this conformist sacrament, it won't just be at the expense of a bunch of forgotten pioneers, it will be at the expense of our own sacred identity as renegades against puritanical conformity. Call me a fucking bummer ten times a day, but I would rather die like an odious apostate than dance on their graves for a White House photo-op any day of the week.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post

* God Only Knows by the Beach Boys

* Gigantic by the Pixies

* Rebel Rebel by David Bowie

* Laura by Bat for Lashes

* We Oh We by the Hidden Cameras

* Lonely Planet Boy by New York Dolls

* Y Control by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

* Gloria by Patti Smith

* Townie by Mitski

* Today by Smashing Pumpkins

* Fallout by Yo La Tengo

* Awoo by the Hidden Cameras

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Nicky Battles the Progressive Killer Robots

 America has become a downright surreal place during the twilight hours of our imperial decline. We can't seem to finish one potentially apocalyptic cold war before starting another and the lesser evilism of our sham elections has reduced us to a pack of peasants bickering over which geriatric rapist should pretend to push us around for the next four years. But it doesn't get much more batshit bizarre than the perverse dystopian spectacle of the most progressive city in America sicking an army of killer robots on the homeless.

I really do wish I was being hyperbolic with that last line. I wish hyperbole was even possible anymore. But in their ongoing efforts to clear the streets of unwashed vagrants, San Francisco, the city that gave us the Summer of Love and the butt of every corny right-wing joke for well over half a century, has officially approved the use of robots equipped for deadly force against its own citizenry.

In a vote of 8-3, San Francisco city supervisors approved this perverse "deadly force option" while consoling the Tesla driving Apple executives who have colonized that once freaky city and elected a ten-headed jackass to govern it that this new cyberpunk death squad would only be used in potentially life-threatening circumstances. But considering the San Francisco Police Department's less than stellar track record for human rights and that America's finest can and do regularly characterize an absurdly wide variety of shit as being potentially life threatening to justify their hyper-homicidal urges, these promises hardly inspire anything even remotely resembling hope. 

Sadly, this is in no way, shape or form an anomaly. Across the country, the most progressive cities west of Amsterdam have all become the least equal places on earth to live in and have chosen to cleanse their tree lined streets of the homeless casualties of this twisted irony with a uniquely passive aggressive war on crime. California's dear leader, Gavin Newsom has set the standard by sanctioning a statewide rampage of armed sweeps against tent cities while smiling beatifically for the cameras like a used car salesman and telling the watching world that it would be downright "uncompassionate" to allow these communities to exist unmolested by state intervention.

He's used this same strange brand of cuddly authoritarian logic before to justify the creation of so called "Care Courts" allowing third parties, including law enforcement, to petition judges to order the treatment of those deemed by the state to be mentally ill on the threat of a conservatorship that would affectively remove their right to be considered a human being. Over on the other left coast in New York City, Mayor Eric Adams has similarly ordered his thugs in blue to institute a new regime of involuntary psychiatric hospitalization, once again, all in the name of social hygiene and compassionate grooming.

There is nothing particularly unusual about the continued growth of America's insatiable police state but when this long march towards total tyranny is accompanied not by Trumpian dog whistle racism but the comforting social justice bromides of gentle people with flowers in their hair it begins to feel like the whole goddamn country has already been involuntarily institutionalized by a smiling master class of lute strumming Nurse Ratchets. It's fucking creepy but this is American progressivism, and it always has been. Sit down around the fire my children, it's time Auntie Nicky finally told you the whole truth and nothing but about modern liberalism, the western world's answer to Santa Claus. 

Progressivism is generally seen by both its supporters and its detractors alike as the use of big government to further the cause of America's downtrodden classes from on high and that is how this movement generally markets itself, but the reality is that progressivism has always been defined by the far more sinister goal of radically expanding the state into every facet of private life in order to affect a regime of top-down social engineering that purifies western civilization of its radical discontents or as stalwart progressive Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. once referred to us, "those who sap the strength of the state for those lesser sacrifices." 

 This may sound strange considering its current secular humanist posture, but the original Progressive Movement actually has its roots in the 19th century Protestant fundamentalist revival known as the Second Great Awakening, which preached that the return of Christ could only be brought about through the creation of a benevolent utopia within the gears of American power. These cranky Jesus freaks sought to achieve this goal through a deluge of government reforms which would gradually mutate into a secular jihad to save the American race from disintegration in the tumultuous years of gilded excess and working-class upheaval that followed the Civil War.

These puritanical reforms included closing the borders to filthy Catholic mongrels like my Irish ancestors who threatened the centralized cohesion of a truly United States of America with their private schools and mystical heathen ways. When this inevitably failed, they created that liberal cornerstone known as the compulsory public school system to "Christianize" the Papists into being deserving of the poison privilege of whiteness. 

The Progressives may have dropped a lot of the Jesus talk for more godless appeals to the necessity for state sanctioned conformity, but their message has remained uniquely puritanical in tone and their mission has remained a conspiracy to rapidly expand the powers of the state in order to create the ideal society as defined by the guidelines of White Anglo Saxon Protestant values. 

Women were to be protected in order to preserve the strength and vigor of the nation even if this meant forced sterilization under the guise of reproductive health. The women folk were also afforded suffrage in order to increase the White Protestant vote against the unassimilated Catholic hordes who were expected to keep their own women home. Alcohol was prohibited in order to keep the working-class men efficient by protecting them from the evils of their own free will. Child labor was abolished so that the minds of the nation's youth could be carefully molded by state institutions that would create a more civil and obedient work force for the future. And the outrageous greed of the robber barons was reined in by replacing their widely despised private monopolies with more orderly federal cartels.

But the most important mission of the early Progressives and arguably their greatest triumph was the domestication of the downright revolutionary threat posed by America's Labor Movement. This was achieved under the cloak of reform by carefully integrating the nation's largest and most influential unions into the federal government in order to create a grand partnership between big business and big government that would expand American industrial greatness from sea to shining sea and beyond. This fusion of private and public elites is known as corporatism and it is no mere coincidence that it ended up forming the foundation for the Progressive Movements European cousin, fascism.

Adolf Hitler was strongly influenced by the Eugenicists of the Progressive Era and FDR's famed Brain Trust was teeming with Mussolini fanboys. That's because fascism and progressivism are both defined by a common mission to preserve pristine western values through a counter-revolutionary regime of populist flavored state-run capitalism. 

FDR achieved this feat where Fuhrers failed with the New Deal, a massive corporatist Trojan Horse which offered the anarchists and Marxists of the Labor Movement a series of concessions like paid leave and the five-day work week in exchange for having their organizations effectively defanged and integrated into a federally regulated economic conglomeration. Factory workers rejoiced and reaped the rewards of upward mobility in the short run but in the long run it was these very progressive reforms that would serve them up like a pudding to a program of rapid globalization that would have been impossible without this consolidation of private and public power. It was a brilliant trap. I'm sure Hitler kicks himself in hell every day for not coming up with it first.

I strongly suspect that this kind of big picture treachery remains the primary mission of today's progressive movement with their march towards tolerance and inclusion. In the sixties and seventies, a New Left resistance to progressive conformity reared its ferocious head in the form of a new revolutionary class comprising largely of the outcasts that Margaret Singer failed to abort. Black Power and Queer Liberation ended the Vietnam War, trashed the gender binary and taught a generation of straight white kids how to shoot straight. 

So, the progressives went to work assimilating us the same way that they did with the once equally ferocious Labor Movement of the Old Left, by offering Queer freaks like me party favors like marriage equality and hate crime legislation that only serve to build the same state we bloodied our knuckles to smash at Stonewall before those pigfuckers can integrate us into it. But some of us aren't buying it, some of us still refuse to play their rigged game and this is when those benevolent authoritarians in the Progressive Movement show their true colors again and get mean like they did back in 1899.

I've said it before, and I'll be killed by wild robots saying it five more times before breakfast. If America still has a revolutionary class, then it's the lumpenproletariat, a growing caste of pathologically ungovernable people who find themselves incapable of existing inside the rotting Jacko lantern of Western Civilization. These people, my people, have found themselves with little other choice but to reject this empire of conformity by joining the ranks of the unemployed and the unhoused. The progressive solution to this biting anti-assimilationist question is to classify people like me as mentally defective with hyper-statist contraptions like Care Courts and FOSTA-SESTA so they can forcibly institutionalize us and throw us away into the bottomless dustbin of the Prison Industrial Complex.

There is no more room to mince words, dearest motherfuckers. The Progressive Movement is, was and always will be a stealth tool for white supremacy. It is not a coincidence that homeless people and sex workers are overwhelmingly Queer and/or people of color. We are the wretched mongrels who refuse to be house pets and we will be destroyed by our so-called progressive allies if we don't learn to bite the hand that feeds hard and reject the state in its entirety. We must form communal ties based on mutual aid and direct democracy too strong for their death machines to break or assimilate. This may very well be our last stand, but I for one would much rather die a rabid faggot tomorrow than live one day as another vanilla cog in the progressive hivemind.

So, bring on the killer robots you progressive cunts. I came here to do two things, kick ass and eat lipstick, and I'm all out of lipstick. You wanna get nuts? Let's get nuts.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post

* Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by the Flaming Lips

* Rock N Roll N*gger by Patti Smith

* We Appreciate Power by Grimes featuring Hana

* Head Like a Hole by Nine Inch Nails 

* Man Sized by PJ Harvey

* Only Acting by Kero Kero Bonita

* Hardline by Julien Baker

* Savage Good Boy by Japanese Breakfast

* Bring the Noise by Public Enemy

* Turn It On by the Flaming Lips

Sunday, December 11, 2022

The Kremlin's Cold War with the Modern World Has Become a Russian Tragedy

"Russia is the least statelike, the most anarchistic land in the world. And the Russian people is the most apolitical of peoples, never having managed to set its land right."

-Nikolai Berdyaev

"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you."

-Friedrich Nietzsche

 I despise all wars, especially those of the initiatory variety. I'm not exactly a pacifist but I am a very strong believer that there is never a good reason to throw the first punch. With that being said, when it comes to understanding warfare, it is of the utmost importance to understand the so-called enemy, especially when you exist within the walls of an empire that thrives on assigning them daily like math homework. Sometimes this means struggling to comprehend what can bring even the most honorable of people to throw that first punch that initiates a war.

Imbeciles on the right have long condemned this form of politically incorrect critical thinking as sympathizing with terrorists and dictators but sadly, increasingly, once wise people on the left have joined these imbeciles in rejecting the hard work of asking 'how the hell did it come to this?' When I was first initiated into the antiwar movement as a pissed-off teenage dirtbag, I was enlightened by left-wing firebrands like William Blum and Ward Churchill who dared to put themselves in the uncomfortable shoes of the men who hijacked four planes on September 11th to initiate a holy war. 

They weren't justifying such clearly despicable violence; they were attempting to provide context on how it became inevitable. Now, whenever I attempt to do the same thing by comprehending the equally despicable actions of Vladimir Putin in Ukraine, I get accused of being an apologist for authoritarianism and, all too often, the person hurling this insult at me is a fellow self-described anarchist.

The most frustrating thing about this is that the motives that inspired the unspeakable acts of barbarism on 9/11 are actually shockingly similar to the ones that convinced Russia to commit the unspeakable act of invading their own brothers and sisters in Ukraine. Islamic fundamentalists don't hate the West's freedom any more than Moscow does. What they hate is the decadence we obnoxiously flaunt as the world's indispensable empire and our insistence on pushing this morally bankrupt culture down their throats at the expense of the traditions that they hold dear. 

I may disagree strongly with both of these people's values regarding my sexuality and my gender identity but I'm not going to sit here in posh first world judgement and pretend that these people aren't 100% right to fear the modern world when that modern world has brought us all nothing but pain and misery with the Westphalian nation state and global capitalism. The truth is that what inspires Pashtuns to join the Taliban is precisely what inspired a Queer pagan anarchist like me to join the antiwar movement. I don't want to see my people assimilated into a soulless empire any more than they do. And this is also precisely what drives your average Russian, who once raped and pillaged the Pashtuns, to support a decadent neoliberal ass wipe like Vladimir Putin in raping and pillaging Ukraine.

Russian culture is one that is uniquely defined by its deep and almost mystic reverence for its own history. Your average Russian does not live in 2022 alone. They live among the Pagan Rus of 922 and the Orthodox Old Believers of 1322 and the Bolshevik jihadists of 1922. The Russian soul exists in a museum in which time is not linear but rather a seamless continuum. This existence stands in direct opposition to a world that has long since lost any use for history. 

A world defined by a mutated interpretation of progress that valorizes an endless and often mindless push forward into the abyss of monolithic global universalism and endless technological expansion. The Russian soul looks upon the modern world with its paved forests and stadium temple marketplaces with horror and sees the western imperial forces pushing it towards their borders with righteous fury. It is this fury that has been the driving force behind most Russian aggression towards the outside world, whether justified or not. 

This includes the supposedly modernist Russian Revolution. What ultimately convinced the devout serfs to back the godless Bolsheviks in their putsch against the Tsar was the Tsar's embrace of modern globalism at its baptism by blood during the First World War in which the Russian people were demanded to forfeit the lives of their children on the altar of some western global order that was totally alien to them. Your average Russian didn't give a flying fuck about internationalism or dialectical materialism. They were revolting against the imperial schemes of modern warfare and the spiritually bankrupt specter of capitalism that possessed it.

This honorable spirit of resistance to the demonic forces of progress defines Russian Orthodox culture but it also transcends and predates it. It is the spirit of the lonesome heathen who first tamed those wild steppes. It is the spirit of the village resistance to the Mongol Hordes and the Nazi Stormtroopers. And tragically, it is also the spirit that was abused to build a state and an empire that stood in utter contradiction to these values. The same spirit that serves Vladimir Putin in his suicidal conspiracy to build a new one on the graves of his own people.

Outsiders have conspired to destroy the Russian people for centuries specifically because they are a people so resistant to conquest who have had the misfortune of building this culture on the most strategically valuable piece of real estate on the planet, the land bridge that unites Europe and Asia. For this sin, the Russian people have rarely known a day in which they weren't under threat of foreign subjugation, and it was this existential fear that inspired the Russian people to build a state in the first place. For centuries, the majority of the Russian people existed in insular communal farming villages divided amongst city states known as Uzeyds. These city states were ruled by a hereditary line of princes though the majority of this royalty's subjects existed far beyond their reach and their rule was largely symbolic in nature. 

It is this age of pastoral isolation that most defines the Russian national character. A rugged spirit that embraces the hardships and toil of farm life in order to embrace a deeper spiritual freedom that only exists in the shadows cast by tight nit families around a roaring fire or tribes performing ancient pagan rites in reverence to Orthodox saints in the torchlight. A stateless existence shattered by the Mongol Yoke who ravaged this sacred countryside for centuries and burned many of these villages to the ground.

The first organized Russian state which would eventually give birth to the venal reign of the Tsars was built to resist this conquest but many of its institutions were actually modeled after the Mongol Yoke and would ultimately corrupt the Russian way of life with its roads and cities and centralization of power into fewer and fewer hands. 

This state would ultimately hijack the Russian Orthodox Church and purge it of much of its Slavic pagan character in order to bring it into uniformity with Greece. This state would also give rise to Peter the Great who would finally bring an end to the conquest of the Khans only to build an equally bloodthirsty empire of his own to take its place. This empire was sold to the Russian people as a fortress for their nation's greatness but as it expanded in all directions, so did the Russian spirit until it was warped and torn beyond recognition.

Peter may have made Russia a world power to be reckoned with, but he did so at the expense of everything that made Russia unique. In order to compete with his rival European contemporaries, Peter forcefully westernized Russia into a modern European superstate. He enacted harsh social reforms that required the Russian people to embrace Franco-Germanic cultural traditions and he built a massive gilded city called St. Petersburgh modeled on the decadent palaces of Paris and Vienna to serve as his new empire's capitol. 

But like all empires, Russia grew too big to sustain its own autonomy and then it grew some more. The growing addictions to western excess by Russia's shrinking master class would ultimately lead to both constant war and towering debt. Meanwhile, the serfs became slaves in all but name, creating a perfect playground for western capital to expand its toxic Industrial Revolution. By the First World War, Britain, France and America essentially owned the Tsars like toy poodles and ran most of the factories and railroads that polluted what Trotsky once called the "pristine roadlessness" of the Russian countryside.

Disgusted by the shameless prostitution of their vain leaders, the Russians revolted but tragically only embraced different forms of western statism that continued to find them subjugated and divorced from the spiritual world that defined their own uniquely Slavic vision of liberty. The Soviet Union collapsed after the Carter Administration fooled them into attempting to enslave their fellow stateless traditionalists in Afghanistan and the west circled in to pick the bones.

After being savagely ravaged by Boris Yeltsin's shock capitalism and encircled by an ever-expanding NATO empire bent on nothing short of world domination, Vladimir Putin was able to unite the Russian people in their darkest hour with allusions to Russian nationalism, but Putin himself is the product of the very excesses he has pledged to fight. Yeltsin's boy wonder may have overthrown the old drunk and his fat rich entourage of pig fucking oligarchs, but he has only replaced them with his own entourage of fat rich pig fucking oligarchs who continue to shock the Russian poor with the soulless neoliberal gutter capitalism Putin picked up from the visiting Wall Street elites of the Clinton era.

The west is undeniably a threat to the Russian people. It is a threat to all people. But the only force that poses an even graver threat to the Russian soul than the Atlantic empire is a man like Putin who seeks only to replace them in the region. Russia's limited resources pretty much guarantee that Putin's insane plot to fight western imperialism with western-style imperialism will only lead him to the same fate as Tsars, only this time he will be inviting the offspring of the Mongol Yoke in Beijing back to carry the weight of his imperial predilections.

The fastest way to destroy a culture is to try to export it by becoming an empire. You cannot conquer another man's land without sacrificing your own land's soul in the process. The best hope for the Russian people to resist western imperialism is to reject its manifestations within the motherland along with the state that birthed it.

Russia's greatness lies not on the battlefields of Europe but in the windswept plains and birch tree forests that inspired men like Peter Kropotkin and Leo Tolstoy to seek the kingdom of heaven within. It is this culture, a culture of asceticism and mercy, a culture of Cossack drifters and solitary dreamers, that continues to inspire those of us who resist assimilation into a modern world starved of reverence for the beauty of the old one. Russia must once again become too wild for princes to tame and invite the world to join her around the fire. Then and only then will the conquest end. 

Peace, Love, and Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post

* Atmosphere by Joy Division 

*  Golden Hair by Slowdive

*  Human Behavior by Bjork

* Teenage Dirtbag by Phoebe Bridgers

*  Tommy Gun by the Clash

*  Hey Joe by Jimi Hendricks

*  Heads Will Roll by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

*  Jane Says by Jane's Addiction 

* War Dance by Killing Joke

* Heroes by David Bowie

* Look On Down from the Bridge by Mazzy Star

* Us by Regina Spektor   

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Notes from the Queer Hillbilly Underground

 I do my damnedest to put up a bad bitch front but I can't lie to you dearest motherfuckers, sometimes it really hurts to be a Queer anarchist in Trump Country. The pay is shit, the hours are endless, and retirement usually involves a hate crime and a pinewood box. I'm a minority committed to poor people who is surrounded by poor people who are all too often committed to erasing that minority. 

I spend half my time trying to remind other Queer people that the state won't protect us and the other half trying to convince hillbillies that the state doesn't represent Queer people. This isn't exactly easy when the feds drape themselves in rainbow flags to prove their newfound benevolence while they continue to secretly ferry us fairies away to glorified concentration camps for the high crime of survival sex. But just try explaining the complexities of assimilation and FOSTA-SESTA to your local Rust Belt militia and wait for the eyes to roll.

It's a shit job, but I actually feel like I was making some assemblance of progress in building bottom unity across these tribal divisions before the Republicans decided to double-down on QAnon style transphobia for the Midterms. Even supposedly moderate Republicrats have adopted demonizing gender outlaws like me by labeling us as groomers and pedophiles and too many conservative libertarians on the fringe have boughten into this horseshit hook, line and sinker. I don't think that words exist in any language that can properly display the horror that I feel in the pit of my soul when people that I have spent years trying to convince to become allies start throwing these sickening words around.

I, like way too many trans people that I know, am a survivor of child abuse who lives with the wreckage of PTSD every fucking day because some pedophile in a white collar taught a genderless 7-year-old child that their body's failure to comply with their soul put them in the same category as your garden variety rapist. Building solidarity among various oppressed classes is kind of a lot to carry when some of them insist on triggering emotional flashbacks with absurd conspiracy theories. That weight becomes downright crushing after five of your people are shot dead in Colorado based on the same bullshit. But I refuse to blame the Republicans alone for this sickness. I blame the entire bipartisan system that is built on dividing poor people against each other.

In today's America, every person who hangs below the one percent has become some other poor person's enemy and the solution to every enemy always seems to be the same. So called conservatives like Tucker Carlson and JD Vance bitch non-stop about the existential threat posed to traditional rural values by lecherous undocumented workers and vile grooming drag queens before suggesting that somehow the conservative solution to these paper tigers is to grow the federal government with steroids by militarizing the border like the DMZ and granting civil servants the authority to kidnap trans kids from loving parents and hurling them into the jaws of the foster care system.

Johnny-come-Trumpers like Mr. Vance, a Wall Street hustler who built a career on demonizing the rural poor of his native Appalachia, call this crap Christian Nationalism but what it really amounts to is old school progressive social engineering with a side of Uzis handed out to those fine folks who torched Waco so long as they promise to toss a few fags onto the fire after the next siege.

And when this campaign to scapegoat some of the most powerless people in the country gives some pissed-off kid on the edge a convenient excuse to dress his naked nihilism up in moral fortitude by shooting up his local Queer bar, it's the Democrats turn to do the demonizing. They blame this high-powered campaign to market big government as a family value on everyday MAGA Republicans like my mother who may have been foolish enough to fall for Trump's bullshit but would gladly throw herself before any bigot's bullet to protect her loud weird Queer daughter.

Naturally, the Democrats solution to the threat of the terrified hayseeds that Fox News manipulates is to manipulate terrified Queer people like me into growing the same federal government that breaks the backs of minorities on the Prison Industrial Complex with another heaping helping of tax funded steroids. They dress it up as social justice but they're really just endowing those fine fag bashers in law enforcement with more totally arbitrary powers. These come in the form of federal hate crime legislation and red flag laws that afford them the ability to hurl decades onto prison sentences and strip anyone they deem a threat to the state or others of their basic constitutional rights with little more than a rubber stamp from a hanging judge. 

Are you sensing a theme here? Behind door number one is insane amounts of state power in the name of poor white trash and behind door number two is insane amounts of state power in the name of poor pink trash! Our cup runneth over! Either way, the same fucking people get shiny new toys to shoot us all in the back with every time we get another massacre and I'm starting have serious doubts that this is all just another fantastic coincidence.

The left talks a lot about the notion of stochastic terrorism, the practice of the mass media stoking violence through the constant demonization of one marginalized group or another in order to foster the rise of fascism. I used to call bullshit on this theory, mostly because the solution provided for it usually involved some form of censorship, but now I'm starting to think the liberals are on to something here. Only, I don't think the goal is to incite fascism. Take a look around you honey, we're already there.

The real goal of this bipartisan terror campaign is to create a visceral climate of division and stasis so poor people of every persuasion are too busy demonizing each other to realize that we are all being played by the same government that robs us all blind and uses our pocket change to blow shit up in other countries. I call this concept stochastic statism and it's as old as Bacon's Rebellion. The only reason twisted little bugaboos like white supremacy and the gender binary even exist is because powerful people made them up to keep different tribes of desperate people at each other's throats and some of these tribes have way more than just class in common.

I may be a decadently demented genderfuck provocateur, but I risk my own safety to live outside the closet in the sticks for a reason. I do it because I also happen to be a fucking hillbilly and believe it or not, I'm not the only hick outside of the gender binary. My found family of pink trash misfit toys live in old farmhouses and double-wides. I love guns and pick-up trucks and Patsi Kline every bit as much as I love pegging and glitter and Rocky Horror and I'd much rather spend my next birthday at Dollywood than Disneyland provided I can perform "Jolene" in full drag. This is who I am and I'm not ashamed of it anymore.

The only really hard thing about being a Queer Hillbilly is the fact that these two overlapping communities hate each other so damn much when they have so much in common. We all just want to live free and raise hell without some thug with a government paycheck climbing up our ass. I don't think that this should be too much to ask for, but the state does, and they are using their tools in the corporate media to divide us up even if they have to kill us to do it because their precious empire is finally crumbling beneath its own weight and the angry serfs can smell the blood in the water. They can't kill us all, so they have us killing each other and then begging the state to save us from ourselves. It's a trap and it's one that I've devoted my meager pink trash existence to exposing even if I have to get hate-crimed in the process.

In the age of Ozymandias, every poor person has been transformed into some other poor person's other. If poor people are going to survive this collapse and thrive on the ruins, we're going to have to turn off the fucking news and work together and I refuse to believe that this is impossible. Sometimes it hurts like hell to be a Queer anarchist in Trump Country, but somebody has to be fierce enough to bring Stonewall to the hoedown. I'll supply the Molotovs if you mix the cocktails and together, we can finish what Bacon started and burn Jamestown to the fucking ground.

Peace, Love and Empathy- Nicky/CH 

Soundtrack: Songs That Influenced This Post

*  Feel It All the Time by Soccer Mommy

*  Pretend We're Dead by L7

*  Heaven Only Knows by Emmylou Harris

*  Teenage Whore by Hole

*  People Have a Lot of Nerve by Neko Case

*  I Fall to Pieces by Patsy Cline

*  Can't Do Much by Waxahatchee

*  Jolene by Dolly Parton

*  Queen by Perfume Genius

*  Our Town by Iris Dement

*  Hardline by Julien Baker

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Kherson Calling: Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?

 Where is the sun? Have we been marching through this darkness forever? It's barely December but it already feels like the longest winter in recent memory. In fact, it feels like last winter never really ended. That was when Putin's army foolishly goosestepped into a NATO-baited trap in Ukraine and then proceeded to ruthlessly attempt to kill their way out of their own imperial hubris. That was nine months ago but it feels a lot more like nine years. Nine years of indiscriminate carpet bombing and bottomless mass graves. Nine years of crippling economic terrorism and recession inducing embargoes. Nine years of collapsing empires collapsing the world for the egos of delusional old men who should have died and gone to hell decades ago. Nine years of a pointless death march to a third world war that can only end in thermonuclear oblivion. Nine goddamn years of winter darkness with no sign of light in sight.

During this darkness the only thing that has become frighteningly clear is that there are no more good guys left alive in this fight. No heroes to give this endless graveyard some assemblance of meaning. Just thieves and killers and their victims piling up between them. Vladimir Putin has made this painfully clear by checking off every box in the neocon guide to imperial lunacy and Volodymyr Zelensky has made this even more painfully clear as that so-called beacon of democracy has used the NATO provoked invasion of his country as an excuse to rule it like Putin's Russia. Whatever heroes that might have once existed on this battlefield are all dead now. The Donbass rebels and Kharkiv partisans who both bravely sacrificed themselves to kick some marauding army of assholes off their lawn have been replaced by two armies of conscripted slaves.

Your average Russian invader is a mirror image of your average Ukrainian Nazi. Just some poor 19-year-old kid who should be getting stoned and laid back in the sleepy ruins of an abandoned factory town he never stepped two feet from before a cigar chomping monster with brass stars on his shoulders sent him to kill some other poor 19-year-old kid he'd probably much rather split a spliff with than blow away. All so two crypts of ancient oligarchs can sell missiles and prove that their dicks can still get hard like the bad old days. World war three is nothing but Viagra for the monied predator class and apparently it takes an entire generation of shredded corpse meat to get those rapists off.

In a nine-month long season like this hope becomes as rare as sunlight but strange things have been unfolding over the last few weeks that could tempt even the most suicidal of pessimists to pull that cocked revolver from their mouth. In fact, if you study the ruins of Kherson with just the right set of eyes at just the right time of night, you might just be able to spot a fleeting ray of sunlight threatening to warm the frozen horizon. I myself had no choice but to drop my loaded Nagant as I reached for my dusty old pair of binoculars this November while a curious series of events unfolded like a holiday miracle on ice.

On November 6th, news hit my dark corner of the net that after months of virtual radio silence National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan had made contact with Putin's Foreign Policy Advisor Yuri Ushakov and Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev. This news was followed shortly by word that Sullivan had also been privately pushing Volodymyr Zelensky to drop his refusal to even engage in peace talks before a mythical regime change in Moscow took place. 

On November 7th, more information leaked to La Republica that both the US and NATO had floated the notion that once unthought of peace talks could become a possibility if Ukraine managed to take back the Russian occupied territory of Kherson before the first winter freeze. This message was quickly confirmed by a separate report by NBC News. On November 8th, Zelensky publicly announced a willingness to talk to the devil himself, Vladimir Putin, under certain circumstances. The next day certain circumstances shifted in his favor. 

On November 9th, Russia began a hasty withdrawal from the capitol of Kherson which they had previously shown a willingness to sacrifice thousands of soldiers and threaten nuclear war just to keep beneath the Russian flag. Even stranger was the fact that they managed to do so without a single casualty despite being wide open to a Ukrainian assault. The entire scene felt strangely staged. It looked more like a well-choreographed handover than a defeat. The next day things only got stranger when the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley announced in a speech to the Economic Club in New York that the withdrawal from Kherson City could provide an opportunity to end this war peacefully, stating boldly that "When there's an opportunity to negotiate, when peace can be achieved, seize it."

What the fuck is happening here? I find myself asking as the binoculars join my revolver on the carpet. This is the same administration that baited this trap with months of nuclear war games in the Black Sea and has refused to so much as even return Putin's phone calls after he marched into it. This regime has dumped billions of dollars into turning Ukraine into a well-armed dumpster fire for the Kremlin to burn in while Putin has similarly put his entire legacy on the line to kill his way out of the flames. Why in God's name would such loathsome butchers choose now to dawn love beads and give peace a chance?

As usual, I can only speculate, but historically speaking even monsters will embrace the forbidden fruit of pacifism when their precious wars begin to threaten their grip on power. Both sides lost this war months ago in every way that counts. It is highly unlikely that Russia or Ukraine is capable of making any more lasting territorial gains without committing nuclear suicide. An endless stalemate was probably the goal of America's Military Industrial Complex. Raytheon is practically printing their own fucking money at this point. But the economic effects of their proxy war have reached far beyond the killing fields of some shithole country and have become downright devastating on the home front.

The largest embargo in human history has resulted in record shattering inflation and the worst energy crisis to rack the western world since the seventies. This hasn't kept the usual suspects in the oil and arms industries from seeing record profits, but it has scared the shit out of the military brass back in Brussels and beyond as this economic turmoil has stoked a rising wave of dissent across Central Europe among working class schmucks on both the left and the right who would much rather see NATO smashed than burn their own furniture for heat this winter. Hundreds of thousands have gathered in the streets of the Czech Republic alone to oppose their nation's involvement in a war against a country that once enslaved them. In other words, the shit is getting real.

NATO's Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, has warned about the dangers of growing instability in the dark heart of the alliance himself and in a country already coming apart at the seams from twenty years of failed forever wars and coked out Wall Street hijinks, there is every reason to believe that this pathogen could spread across the pond to Babylon like Monkeypox. This is what ended the war in Vietnam. America was more than willing to keep that dumpster fire burning indefinitely the way they did in Korea until dissent spread from Berkley to the barracks and the generals chose to pull the plug before they could get fragged by their own slave armies of indentured dope smokers.  

This is far from a guarantee for peace this winter, however. This nation's deep state would be wise to heed General Milley's warnings but there is ample evidence that the State Department is not on the same page as the Pentagon when it comes to knowing when to fold em. In the weeks following the Kherson peace offensive word has come down that Antony Blinken and even Jake Sullivan are in bitter disagreement with Milley's sobering assessment and continue to encourage Ukraine to keep the charnels burning. 

It appears now that Sullivan's suggestions to Zelensky about dropping his hardline stance may have had more to do with the dissent riling optics of an unhinged NATO quisling declaring he'd rather blow up the world than hand over the Donbass than it did anything in the way of diplomacy. Further proof of Zelensky's lack of commitment to moderation was on terrifying display late last month when that little Putin wannabe bombed his NATO neighbors in Poland during a Russian offensive and then tried to stoke an apocalypse over what I pray was a mistake.

So, what does this all mean and what do we do now? America's chickenhawks are divided in ways too big to conceal, so we the peaceful must become united in sewing these divisions the same way we did back in 1973. That means that we have to get our hands dirty and bring the war home again. We have to fill the streets with fire and make it clear to the holdouts in the State Department that Milley and Stoltenberg's fears are more than warranted. 

In other words, the villagers have to threaten to burn Camelot to the fucking ground if the King doesn't end the siege. And then, when he does, we need to burn it down anyway, so this sick shit never happens again, and we have to hope that our dope smoking counterparts in the streets of Moscow follow our example and do the same. Then and only then will this endless imperial winter cease and peace-loving people will know the heat of the sun on their flesh again.

Yeah, it's a longshot, but Christmas miracles are the only thing that keep the revolver out of my mouth during this time of year and I haven't heard any better ideas lately. So, come on people now, lean on your brother, pick up a brick and give peace a chance.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH 

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this piece

* London Calling by the Clash

* Give Peace a Chance by the Plastic Ono Band

* Lessons Learned by Matt & Kim

* Peace Sells by Megadeath

* Get Together by the Young Bloods 

* I'm Allowed by Buffalo Tom

* The Gambler by Kenny Rogers

* War Pigs by Black Sabbath

* The Worst Day Since Yesterday by Flogging Molly

* Orgasm Addict by the Buzzcocks

* The Universal by Blur

* No Children by the Mountain Goats

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Make Anarchism Great Again: A Call for a Stateless Form of Populism

 Something very stupid is happening in America. People have never been more disgusted with their bullshit form of government and yet they've never been more devoted to engaging in the partisan bullshit that defines it. It is a weird hot mess of bipolar enlightenment and social lunacy that quite frankly baffles me. Poll after poll after poll shows voter disenchantment with America's rust-rotten two-party oligarchy to be at an all-time high, especially among young voters and yet voter turnout in recent elections has been higher than it's been in decades, especially among those same wisely disenchanted young voters.

What in the high holy fuck is going on here? The state has clearly flunked every existential test of faith you can possibly conceive of, from Covid to climate change, but the same kids with a front row seat to these epic gorings just keep on lining up to ride that feral bull. This is precisely the kind of polluted ecosystem that should be ripe as rabies for another rise in anarchism, but no one can seem to relate to salvation. So, they lose themselves in the electoral market for saviors instead.

Some of this sickness is just good old-fashioned partisan hysteria. While people may be increasingly aware that both parties are in league with psychopaths, as long as one party can convince them that the other party is just a little bit more psychopathic than they are then they can frighten them into voting to stop the other guy's serial killers with serial killers of their own, so long as they can convince them that their own serial killers have a slightly lower body count. It's a degenerative mental disorder in the form of a time-honored American pass time known as the lesser of two evils. Vote Bundy and keep that rancid cannibal Dahmer out of the White House!

But even this national disease isn't quite malignant enough to explain America's growing gulf between disenchantment and engagement. To grasp this maddening conundrum, you really have no choice but to consult the American voter's mortal enemy- history. America isn't the first liberal democracy to go down with the ship of a failed state with dry land in sight. This is pretty much what liberal democracies do, but they usually require the narcotic of authoritarian populism to keep their passengers sedated as they drown. The pop historians on the New York Times Review of Books junket would have you believe that authoritarian populism is some kind of rejection of their precious liberal values, but the truth is actually quite the opposite.

Liberalism is little more than a grand authoritarian illusion itself. You keep a nation of perpetual children so dazzled by such a wide array of shiny choices that they fail to realize that every door leads to the same prize of total state control. It's just fascism in a wide variety of festive colors to match your mood. At the end of the day, it is always the same cartel of elitist pigs on top while we the people are free only to decide from a diverse array of scraps at their feet. 

When people finally catch on to this charade and sooner or later, they almost always do, the illusion of safety is always the first fairy tale to fall. People realize that there is no real invisible blue line to keep them from knocking off the local liquor store and things get a little nuts before they can eventually stabilize. The ensuing chaos, however temporary, mixed with the recognition of liberal impotence that fostered it tends to leave desperate people thirsty for supermen to save them from what the state has groomed them to fear most- themselves.

It is from this primordial gumbo of shattered dreams that the authoritarian populist arises to save the day, usually in the shape of some folksy messiah preaching about the need to show those evil elites who's boss. They can come from the right or the left. They have taken the form of fist-swinging daddy figures like Donald Trump and Benito Mussolini, and they have taken the form of softer patriarchs like FDR and Bernie Sanders. But here's the rub- they are all owned, lock, stock and barrel, by the same goddamn elites that they pretend to confront while the cameras are rolling.

It sounds like a conspiracy theory, but this is how they all magically to rise to power through the same crooked system they supposedly oppose, and this is why their solutions to a failed state always seem to take the form of consolidating more power into that same fucking state. When the illusion of democracy fails, the elites double down on the authoritarianism that has always lurked quietly just behind its facade, and they use the language of populism to convince the masses that this was really their idea all along.

But this isn't to say that language is bad in and of itself. Populism at its very core is essentially just a form of class consciousness that exists beyond the confines of the left-right paradigm. It is an untapped well of righteous rage that comes from generations of being robbed and just because the state has become adept at tapping into this raw fury doesn't mean that it can't or shouldn't be tapped into for the purposes of smashing that state. In fact, I believe that the failure of anarchists to do just that is precisely why we have been effectively rendered into such a tragically marginal force. It didn't use to be this way.

At the turn of the Twentieth Century, anarchism wasn't just a force to be reckoned with, it was the force to be reckoned with. For about forty years, we were the premier threat to elite omnipotence worldwide and we embodied this threat because we embodied the voice of the poor. Anarchists dominated the Labor Movement back when it was still a black-market phenomenon. We went to war with the coal barons of Appalachia and gave their National Guard goons a run for their money at Blair Mountain. We wacked autocrats across the expanse of every colonial powerhouse in the Western World and the threat we posed to the system is the only reason why workers in this country are afforded any human rights whatsoever. The elites had to fork over the eight-hour workweek just to keep their necks out of the guillotine. So, what fucking happened?

A couple things. The first was that the state hijacked populism and the second is that anarchists gave it up and turned the revolution into a hobby rather than a struggle. Today's average American leftist gives credit to the Teamsters and Franklin Delano Roosevelt for everything working class anarchists died to achieve, but all these thugs really did was Disneyfy the Labor Movement and make it just another flaccid appendage of the state that it was built to burn. Sure, factory workers were given tokens of state privilege like health benefits and basic human dignity but how long did that last? Just long enough for the Labor Movement to lose its fangs by the time FDR's conveniently centralized state sold their jobs to China while the Teamsters stood by whistling with their fists in their pockets. 

In the meantime, anarchists lost all touch with the poor as we slowly lost ourselves up our own assholes in the echo chambers of academia. Let's face it dearest motherfuckers, today's average self-proclaimed anarchist is a snot-nosed college brat who is more concerned with the abstractions of theory and dogma than how any of that shit is ever supposed to translate on the streets where it can do any real damage. We need to drop the fucking thesaurus and get back to the basics here. I love knocking out the teeth of Proud Boys as much as the next genderfuck faggot but without proper context this just amounts to little more than schoolyard larping.

The first thing that anarchists need to realize is that they don't need to radicalize the poor, if anything, we need to let the poor radicalize us. Your average blue collar trailer park urchin and inner-city round-the-corner girl doesn't need to be told that they're getting fucked and could care less about feckless labels like anarcho-capitalist or anarcho-communist. Your average all-American peasant smokes dope, carries a gun, cheats on their taxes if they pay them at all and openly dreams about shooting their boss and lynching their landlord. In other words, your average American peasant is already a fucking anarchist. The only thing initiated brats like me really need to do is wake them the fuck up to this fact and get them to realize that they are the only master they will ever need to throw the illusion of state power off their backs once and for all.

The second thing that anarchists need to realize is that the age of the proletariat is over. Between automation and offshoring, the American factory worker is an endangered species that no longer represents the needs of the unwashed masses. America is rapidly becoming a two-class society and the only other class besides the bourgeoisie is the lumpenproletariat- the underemployed and unpoliticized outsider- your drifters, fry cooks, basket cases, unhoused and ex-cons. The biggest issue to organize this class around is not labor but housing or rather the lack thereof.

There are millions of voiceless Americans experiencing homelessness in this country and millions more like myself who are perpetually just one crisis away from joining them on the streets. This is a growing community with nothing left to lose and everything to gain. Let's arm them to the teeth. Let's organize militias, autonomous tent cities, free stores and squats. Let's target slumlords, real estate moguls, gentrification and eminent domain with the same righteous ferocity that we do the Alt-Right. And as the rest of the subjects of this rapidly disintegrating empire inevitably finds themselves inching closer to the black hole of the housing crisis, let's watch Donald Trump and John Fetterman try to convince them that the state is a vehicle for populism that isn't headed off a fucking cliff. 

Let's embrace the stateless side of populism and make anarchism great again, dearest motherfuckers, because the American system is already fucked and all we've ever really had to survive it is each other and that's what anarchism is really all about, that heavy love of the masses against those bastard elites who play us for chumps. We're the only ones who can show them who's boss but we're never going to do it unless we burn down the factory itself and build something better on the ashes.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post

* Take This Job and Shove It by Johnny Paycheck

* Floyd the Barber by Nirvana

* Working-Class Hero by John Lennon

* Start Chopping by Dinosaur Jr.

* Down in the Streets by the Stooges

* Shell Games by Bright Eyes

* We're Coming Back by Titus Andronicus

* Finest Work Song by REM

* Palamino by First Aid Kit

* I've Been Tired by the Pixies


Sunday, November 13, 2022

Society's War on the Mentally "Ill" Gets Political

 I'm a crazy person, or at least, so I'm told. I could dress it up with all kinds of politically correct labels and DSM approved diagnoses for you, but let's just cut the bullshit right here and call a spade a fucking spade. I'm nuts, crazy, bonkers, a loon, a psycho, bash steel baby, corner cuckoo. But the best way I can think of to put my condition is that I am pathologically at war with normal. I can't cope with mainstream society. Civilization makes me fucking nervous- crowds, traffic, tall buildings, elevator music, nine-to-five jobs- all of this shit gives me fucking panic attacks and the social isolation that results from this inability to play nice with normal often leaves me so fucking depressed that I can barely get out of bed.

This situation has put me in the incredibly uncomfortable position of being an anarchist on disability in order to stay off the streets. Shockingly, none of this is particularly fruitful for my self-esteem but I can't help but to blame society, especially when you consider that society and its deadly devices in the state and the mass media have essentially declared war on those of us who find ourselves pathologically at war with normal. 

If you don't believe me then just turn on your TV. The 24/7 news circus is teeming with lurid stories of unhinged vagrants on the prowl in a city near you. Homeless people wandering the streets aimlessly like the living dead in a George Romero flick, just looking for the nearest pearl-clutching suburbanite lost on their way to Pottery Barn so they can shove them in front of an oncoming subway train. Both major parties have made containing people like me and my homeless cousins a major cornerstone of their post-midterm agendas and I don't deny that the shit is coming down like Helter Skelter but we're not the ones who fucking started it.

It is only after centuries of abuse at the hands of sadistic cops and role-crazy shrinks that America's mentally unstable class find themselves lashing out recklessly at a cruel system designed to contain us along with the stable people it benefits. The result is an epic crime spree of blowback in the streets of America's wealthiest and most economically unequal metropolitan areas and increasingly this violence is spilling over into the palatial estates of the monied elites with a rash of quasi-partisan attacks on the once sacred cows of the Beltway duopoly. None of this should be misconstrued as a defense. This kind of nihilism solves nothing, and initiatory violence is always despicable but for the straight world to act like this carnage is unprovoked amounts to gaslighting of epic proportions. 

The facts are that people suffering with what society has labeled mental illness are much more likely to be the victims of initiatory violence than to commit it and homeless people are murdered at a rate 25 times higher than the housed. In other words, we have been getting slaughtered in the streets of your precious cities for generations and more often than not it is the state itself with its finger on the trigger. People with untreated mental disabilities are 16 times more likely to be killed during a police encounter and 25% of the people shot and killed by the police in their own blue crime wave are people suffering from a mental crisis.

This includes my friend Osaze Osagie, who the State College Police put three bullets in for the crime of being suicidal while Black. So yeah, shit's getting a little wild in the streets of this glorious fucking nation, but my people didn't throw the first punch and you're going to have to forgive us for fighting a little dirty. After all, we don't have the luxury of a well-funded militia or a cable news PR team to spin their tax funded carnage.

The state threw the first punch in this brawl, but the state doesn't learn lessons. It just uses the fallout from its mistakes to excuse its continued malignant existence and double down on the abusive tactics that got it there. Government officials in both parties have only stepped up their blowback inducing campaigns to contain the pathologically divergent and while Republicans may be the shrillest in their justifications, Democrats have been equally vicious. In supposedly progressive and tolerant cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, liberal do-gooders have unleashed heaps of legislation that criminalizes the very existence of unhoused people with restrictions and prohibitions on everything from soliciting donations to sleeping, eating and even simply lying down in public. 

Those who don't comply with this campaign of legal harassment are herded into camps which are then raided in violent moonlight sweeps. San Francisco's mayor, London Breed (amazingly not a porn moniker) has found herself the subject of class action civil rights lawsuits for her scorched earth campaign to cleanse the Tenderloin District for luxury condos with truncheons and Los Angeles is slowly pushing its own homeless community out to fry in the Mojave Desert.

But nobody represents the benevolent face of liberal aggression towards the emotionally un-pure like California Governor and former mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom who has not only ramped up his state's assault on tent encampments but has tried to repackage this violence as some twisted form of charity, claiming to potential voters that it would be downright uncompassionate to simply allow people to live peacefully outdoors the way the savages they stole that state from once did. 

This walking Neutrogena add could solve the homeless problem in his state overnight if he simply decriminalized the equally peaceful practice of squatting. In San Francisco alone there are 61,000 housing units sitting vacant while their owners run Google from their yachts in St. Kitts. That's ten vacant homes for every homeless person in the city, but Gavin Newsom is too progressive for libertarian socialism. He'd much rather string up the undesirables in strait jackets and call it tough love.

The governor's latest act of steel toed kindness is an Orwellian piece of legislation approved nearly unanimously by legislators in both parties that establishes what are called CARE courts aka Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment tribunals. These civil courts would give a broad array of "interested parties" in the sane class, including but not limited to those fine and well-adjusted folks in law enforcement the opportunity to petition a judge to order the treatment of someone deemed ill.

This would-be patient is free to refuse said "treatment" but will be considered by the court for conservatorship if they do. For those unfamiliar with the plight of Britney Spears, conservatorship is essentially a form of therapeutic slavery where a court can grant a third-party total control over an individual declared mentally unfits basic bodily autonomy. In Britney's case this included whether or not she could remove a birth control apparatus from her own uterus. Apparently, the good Governor's supposedly iron clad commitment to 'my body, my choice' comes with certain ableist preconditions.

All of this is grotesque but tragically none of this is new. The realization that I have come to about my own mental health is that it is at least as much the product of the society I find myself an unwilling hostage to as it is anything innately biological. The things that make me nervous essentially amount to the normalized pollution of modern civilization. The overpopulation and over development of state assisted capitalism. The abusive atmosphere of the corporate managerial state. The technological isolation of existence in a post-industrial panopticon. 

In fact, the lion's share of my therapy is actually devoted to treating the childhood trauma I endured for failing to conform to these structures the same way that I was emotionally degraded by the same forces for failing to conform to my biological gender. They say that Queer people were once mentally ill. I say that mentally ill people are Queer in the sense that their difference is only an illness in the eyes of a deeply sick society. 

There was a time when those who spoke to trees were considered prophets in tune with nature. Then some asshole turned nature into property and created a sky god to justify his right to rape it. The prophets were declared heretics. They were accused of being possessed by demons and subjected to exorcisms or simply burned at the stake. Society may appear to have progressed but the only thing about these coercive power structures that has really changed are the labels they use. The heretics became lunatics. The demons became mental illnesses. The priests became scientists and the religion used to justify their crimes became labeled as progress itself, a dogma devoted to social hygiene and cleansing society of its malcontents for their own good through the seemingly banal scourge of brain numbing pharmaceuticals and carceral medical facilities. 

The people you call crazy aren't sick, we are allergic to the sickness you call civilization, to a world where serial killers are called presidents and nuclear oblivion, environmental devastation and wage slavery are marketed as normal. We are human weathervanes for the storm you've been stoking since the Agricultural Revolution and once you tape our mouths shut there will be no one left to warn you of the hell you're provoking and maybe that's what you want. 

In a world gone mad, only the nutjobs dare to speak the truth. Don't institutionalize the messenger. We were just trying to warn you in the violent language you're fluent in.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post

* Credit In the Straight World by the Wipers

* Elevate Me Later by Pavement

*  Lithium by Nirvana

*  Helter Skelter by the Beatles

*  Bae by the Front Bottoms

*  I Blame Society by Titus Andronicus

*  Shady Lane by Pavement

*  Throwaway Kids by the Virus

*  Voices Carry by Sky Ferreira

*  Garbage Dump by Charles Manson


Sunday, November 6, 2022

"American Democracy" is the Real Threat to Democracy in America

 If you're reading this now, chances are you've already saved democracy by voting for some asshole and chances are you were probably guilted into it on the fear of semi-fascism by a relentless campaign of 24/7 multimedia harassment. Chances also are that in spite of all this heavy-handed peer pressure coming from the virtue signaling class, you probably still feel like shit about pulling that filthy lever on election day and I'd like to use my latest rant to try to explain to you exactly why you feel so damn cheated by this thing we call "American Democracy" even though you're supposedly the last action hero for taking part in it.

I have been credibly accused of being an insufferable contrarian cunt who relishes in being the kind of leftist heretic that mainstream shitlibs love to hate. What can I say other than guilty as charged. But even I'm not going to sit here and pretend that Donald Trump and his witless lackeys aren't guilty of at least 90% of the things that the establishment intelligentsia breathlessly accuses them of on a near daily basis. Trump is a grotesque wannabe despot hellbent on winning pretty much anything he can win at any cost just for the bragging rights. 

After he failed to convince his supposed allies in the Republican Party to just hand him the last election, Orange-Man-Bad threw a riotous temper tantrum at the Capitol and has spent the better part of the last two years trying to replace anyone with even the smallest degree of influence over the election process with a member of the most hysterically devoted pack of lunatic goons that Israel's money can buy. Many were on the ballot this Thursday and sadly, quite a few probably won. I'm sure these spineless imbeciles probably have every intention of following their orange duce's orders, whether this means rigging the machine to insure he wins or discrediting it with bullshit conspiracy theories when they fail to do so. 

All of this is true. The label of semi-fascist may be overkill for your average blue collar MAGA dupe, but it fits the Donald like a fucking slipper, and I've never contested this fact. Trump is many, many, many heinous and unspeakable things. He is a soulless, lecherous, race-baiting, pathological sex fiend with the busted moral compass of your average entitled yuppie antagonist in a Bret Easton Ellis novel. But there is one thing that motherfucker is not, and it is also the one thing his equally loathsome foes in the mainstream media will never be caught murdered denying. 

Doanld J. Trump is not original. He is a consummate plagiarist and a shameless fabulist. In fact, this is probably the biggest attribute that he shares with Adolf Hitler aside from his weird dick and daddy issues. Just like Hitler, Trump is a hopeless waste of a copycat criminal. The tragic Fuhrer cribbed the lion share of his brilliant persona off of the one erected around Benito Mussolini and the absurd Donald totally ripped off his own Big Steal from his longtime frenemies, the Clintons. 

Donald Trump only won the 2016 Presidential Election, largely fair and square by Electoral College standards, because Hillary Clinton fucking blew it by cheating in the Primaries. That neoliberal pit viper had been mercilessly plotting her hostile takeover of this nation's highest office since she agreed to marry a dope smoking sexual predator just to play that sexist hayseed like a satanic Liberace on horse speed. But after being unanimously dumped in 2008 for some Chicago-trained Hawiian novice, Hillary decided that she would be goddamned if she was going to let it happen again. So, in 2016 Hillary rigged an election.

Don't take my word for it. I'm just a lunatic tranny anarchist who still morns the loss of Muammar Gadhafi. Take the word of Hillary's own hysterical pack of lunatic lackeys in the DNC. Their vile plot to hand the white man's Eva Peron an election on a silver platter was exposed in their own handwriting by those fine martyrs at Wikileaks who released a treasure trove of the Democratic politburo's private emails showing a concerted effort from the very top to sabotage irresponsible young Democratic voters from electing Bernie Sanders instead of the dragon lady in the blood red pantsuit.

This conspiracy to pervert America's election process was confirmed further by one of the Clinton's own loyal henchmen, DNC Vice Chair Donna Brazil, who revealed that Hillary's Victory Fund had essentially bought the party before the Primaries, promising them a thief's ransom of the kind of Wall Street cash that only the Clinton's could provide in exchange for an unprecedented degree of control over the party's strategy, finances, staffing and analytics and there is more than a little proof to suggest that Hillary took full advantage of this all access pass to burn the Bernie Bros to the ground.

Well over a dozen primaries polled well outside of the margin of error without anything in the way of a recount or even a proper investigation. The 2016 Primaries saw widespread purges of voter rolls and mountains of uncounted ballots. More than 117,000 Democrats in Brooklyn alone were turned away from the polls by New York City's heavily Clinton influenced Board of Elections. Another 91,000 ballots in Gotham went totally uncounted altogether along with another 20,000 in Arizona's Maricopa County. 

Not to be topped by the Nevada Democratic Convention where 56 Sanders delegates were denied voting status for weirdly innocuous administrative reasons, swinging the vote to Hillary. And when those mugged delegates protested this administrative thuggery, they were baselessly blackballed as rioters by Hillary's loyal shills in the media.  

We may never know the full extent of Hillary Clinton's blatantly illegal attempts to rig the 2016 Democratic Primaries, largely because Bernie Sanders himself, ever the consummate party apparatchik, decided to embrace his historic role as the American left's answer to Nikolai Bukharin by refusing to stand with his own supporters after they were brutally bamboozled by the DNC. 

But we do know now from the polls that even a neutered sheepdog like Bernie would have beaten a hopped-up circus clown like Donald Trump like a fucking snare drum at Ozzfest. That's because Trump didn't win in 2016, Hillary lost. Trump's victory was a technicality of the Electoral College guaranteed to him by the fact that states like mine in the Rustbelt would rather vote for a bag of busted hammers than the family that sold our industry to Third World slave drivers for a buck and a song.  

None of these hollow point facts managed to pierce Hillary's bulletproof ego though. She just blamed throwing an election to a reality TV rapist with her own ham-fisted thuggery on a vast and baseless Russian conspiracy that included an ensemble cast of primetime villains from Vladimir Putin to Bernie Sanders to Jill Stein to Black Lives Matter, Keyser Soze and the ghost of Bob Ross. 

If any of this is giving you a grand mal case of DeJa'Vu that might be because Donald Trump sloppily attempted to rip-off the whole damn con job when he managed to out-Hillary Hillary by losing his own fair-and-square reelection bid to an actual corpse. But Donny-boy didn't have a coterie of deep state hacks in his pocket like his former nemesis did, so he had to settle on throwing a Maoist audible with QAnon Red Guards on Capitol Hill. 

And if this whole sad, sorry, sordid fucking tale sounds depressingly familiar that's because Hillary isn't much more unique than Trump is. This next line may get my Queer ass chucked off of every social media platform that hasn't already canceled me yet, but "American Democracy" is a fucking joke, and it always has been. 

This is a system established by an oligarchy of cis-hetero-white-male-chauvinists for an oligarchy of cis-hetero-white-male-chauvinists. Landless undesirables like women and Black folk were only granted the right to vote after these elitist pigs had already been irretractably entrenched into the system in ways that no popular vote could ever affect and even then, they were just shining us on so we wouldn't chop their fucking heads off. Sadly, it worked.

Donald Trump didn't invent the deep state, Thomas Jefferson did, and it isn't a cabal of limp-wristed Cultural Marxists, it's a revolving door of industrial complexes representing that blurry line where big business becomes big government and vice versa. Your sacred right to vote essentially amounts to partisan reality TV contest called America's Got Democracy. You may get to choose from a pre-selected pool of glorified karaoke singers, but the same generals and CEOs still write all the lyrics regardless. The two-party system is little more than an elaborate distraction to keep bored viewers invested in a program that clearly doesn't serve their interests and frankly never has.

Trump didn't invent this semi-fascist chicanery either, he simply exposed it for what it's always been with his obnoxious table manners and his pathological greed. MAGA is the inevitable Frankenstein monster of bourgeoise liberal democracy, and the deep state has turned reigning in their own beast into a mass market campaign to revive the ratings for the crooked gameshow that gave it a microphone. Thank God most Americans still aren't buying it. After the Great Recession, the Pandemic and multiple fucked-up forever wars, American skepticism in their own government has never run deeper.

Unfortunately, though, the two-party system has responded to this disenfranchisement by misdirecting it at other poor people with intensifying fear tactics that have upped the ante to downright alarming levels just to keep the rabble in line. Your average blue-collar Republican has been transformed by the DNC into a goose-stepping, white power, cattle rapist and your average blue-collar Democrat has been transformed by the GOP into a fetus eating, communist, groomer. The results have been as violent as they've been divisive, with well-intentioned imbeciles going to jail for clubbing elderly oligarchs with hammers and being shot in the head during fascist soccer riots in federal buildings.

This shit isn't fucking worth it. It's not worth your life, it isn't even worth your vote, and it sure as shit isn't worth a goddamn civil war. It's a fucking sham and I won't make myself complicit in it anymore just for a jolly and a sticker that proudly announces, "I Got Played Today!" Democracy isn't picking your favorite millionaire to push you around for the next four years. Democracy is taking complete control of your life from the town square to the factory floor with a grassroots system that affords every citizen with a direct say on every decision that directly affects their everyday lives, and you don't need a superPAC or a hammer to build this system. All you need is to drop out of the old one and start over in the space where you live.

"American Democracy" is the real threat to democracy in America and direct democracy is the only solution worth bleeding for. Now, do yourself a huge fucking favor and turn this crap off.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post

*  Don't Believe the Hype by Public Enemy

*  American Ruse by the MC5

*  Tilted by Christine & the Queens

*  Suspect Device by Stiff Little Fingers

*  Guerrilla Radio by Rage Against the Machine

*  Rainy Day Women #12 and 35 by Bob Dylan

*  Runner by Alex G

*  Ex Lion Tamer by Wire

*  Only Acting by Kero Kero Bonita

*  Stand by REM

*  I'll Be Seeing You by Liberace


Sunday, October 30, 2022

Dorothy Day Didn't Do It This Way: What It Really Means to Be Pro-Life in 2022

 Those dusty old dominionist douche bags in the Supreme Court really kicked the Democrats a Midterm field goal when they shot down Roe this summer. After tanking the fucking economy with their nuclear proxy war in Ukraine and electing what quite possibly might be the only quasi-sentient creature on the face of the planet more embarrassingly incompetent than Donald Trump, there exists simply no rational reason for any self-respecting white suburban Karen to vote Democrat aside from the threat of the other war party sending the National Guard into their local gynecologist's office.

Abortion has long been rendered a political third rail for centrist fence sitters in this country for the simple fact that it's just too goddamn complicated for anyone to virtue signal over without looking like an asshole to at least one half of the country. That and no one really makes any serious money off it. None of this however has stopped Republicans from doing a victory lap with an unwashed fetus in their arms over Samuel Alito's leaked rejection of bodily autonomy. In fact, many in the GOP have even doubled down on the issue by pushing it even further with statewide bans on abortion for freshly raped ten-year-old's then calling to make them national. 

To the uninitiated normie, this seemingly politically suicidal devotion to the Pro-Life cause might actually appear to be begrudgingly admirable regardless of your own personal position but what it really should provoke is a question that neither side seems to be particularly interested in asking anymore. What does it really mean to be Pro-Life in 2022? 

People often seem to be quite visibly shocked when I tell them that I consider myself to be Pro-Life. In fact, they often assume I'm joking. The notion of a genderqueer heathen anarcha-feminist being morally opposed to many if not most forms of abortion simply does not compute for people on either side of the rapidly expanding partisan divide, but this wasn't always the case. Before Roe, many of the original Pro-Lifers were left-wing Catholic populists like Eileen Egan and the Berrigan Brothers who marched with Martin Luther King and got thrown in jail for resisting the Draft.

For these OG Pro-Lifers, abortion was a human rights issue. They believed that a fetus was a human being and that the right to life was a civil right that God afforded to everyone. But many of these same Pro-Lifers were also often far more concerned with reducing the abortion rate than using the strong arm of the law to regulate women's bodies and considered abolishing initiatory war and nuclear weapons to be a part of the right to life as well. 

This movement became known as the Consistent Life Ethic, and it has sadly all but vanished from the face of the earth since former Pro-Choicers in the Christian Right like Ronald Reagan decided to use abortion like a drawbridge to police the post-Sexual Revolution vagina. But the Consistent Life Ethic and radical Catholics like Dorothy Day and Ivan Illich formed the foundation for many of my own stateless values even as their church scarred me for life for being an irredeemable pervert. 

My commitment to the sanctity of human life coupled with my experience as an emotionally abused Queer child whose life didn't seem to have any value whatsoever ultimately led me to anarchism as well as to another sadly morally passe collection of values known as the Non-Aggression Principle, which opposes the use of initiatory force for any reason by individual, church or state. And it was ultimately these same radical values, the same ones that led me to oppose non-therapeutic abortion, which also led me to oppose banning it.

If the goal of the Pro-Life Movement was to prevent the destruction of unborn life, then prohibition has been a massive failure, which really shouldn't be incredibly shocking considering that it almost always is. Barring people from seeking abortions legally only makes the risks of seeking them illegally a common occurrence and this isn't just a Pro-Choice talking point. 

Studies conducted during the early nineties and published on PubMed have shown that the estimated number of illegal abortions that occurred annually in the years before Roe V. Wade were on par with what was then the current number of legal abortions, somewhere over one million a year, and for poor people they often occurred under heinously unsafe conditions that risked the lives of the mothers right along with those of their unborn children. What all of this adds up to is the horrifically inconvenient fact that banning abortion ultimately costs more lives than decriminalizing these procedures. It also affords the state with a level of power over basic bodily autonomy which is far too draconian to be justified for any reason.  

I often tell bewildered partisan pod people that my feelings regarding abortion are pretty similar to my feelings regarding fentanyl. I think that it's fucking terrible, and I don't think that most people should have a goddamn thing to do with it but I'm also not willing to grow America's already bustling prison state in an insane attempt to prevent it that is pretty much guaranteed to fail to do anything but pack jail cells with more desperate people.

I much prefer to combat the degradation of human life by means that are both more moral and more effective like harm reduction. This means providing drug users with clean needles, Narcan and access to safer alternatives to hard narcotics and this means providing young people with contraception, Plan B and access to information regarding their own biology regardless of whether or not their parents or church elders agree with it. 

All of these services are provided by the type of free health clinics that today's so-called Pro-Lifers are working overtime to shutter, and this is probably why we've seen the abortion rate drop drastically since it's been legalized. The bitter fact of the matter is that many abortion providers have done a better job of preventing abortions than what has become of the Pro-Life Movement. 

This is because the Pro-Life Movement has been poisoned by the toxic sludge of the same partisan bullshit factory that has rendered many once well-intentioned movements into hives of counter-revolutionary virtue signaling imbeciles. Today's average Pro-Lifer doesn't give a flying fuck about making the practice of abortion obsolete.  They're much more concerned with scoring points and winning elections.

This is also probably why most people who oppose abortion are far more likely to embrace the rest of the western culture of death that the original Pro-Life Movement committed themselves to smashing. A culture that wipes out entire species just so we can drive bigger cars. A culture that sells entire generations into prostitution to the forever war machine. A culture that turns incarceration into a thriving industry that profits off of the practice of indefinitely warehousing drug addicts and desperate mothers who have fallen through the cracks of a society that puts no value on the life of human beings that can't be bartered over for a new iPhone. 

I still consider myself to be a Pro-Life anarchist for the same reason I remain committed to other equally quixotic causes like environmentalism, denuclearization and military non-interventionism, because I believe that all life is sacred and worth defending against the scourge of Western Civilization and the Westphalian Nation State. It just shatters my heart that the movement that first lit this fire in me has been thoroughly infested by parasites like Lindsey Graham who only seek to use its language to camouflage their malignant culture of mass slaughter. 

So, what does it really mean to be Pro-Life in 2022? I've honestly given up on trying to figure out what these people fucking believe anymore, all I know is that Dorothy Day didn't do it this way, and neither can I.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH 

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post

*  What Katie Did by the Libertines

*  Heart Shaped Box by Nirvana

*  Livin Thing by Electric Light Orchestra

*  Bellyache by Echobelly

*  Cherub Rock by Smashing Pumpkins

*  Late at Night by Buffalo Tom

*  Zombie by the Cranberries

*  Hurricane by Plains

*  Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way by Waylon Jennings 

Sunday, October 23, 2022

More Scary Movies For Anarchists to Watch in the Dark

 I've been compiling this twisted little list of frighteningly anti-authoritarian films for about four years now and a lot has changed during that short time for both cinema and authoritarianism. With the epoch shattering cataclysm of the pandemic and the colossal failures of both the Trump and the Biden administrations, American power has never been more naked and even the card punching normies can't help but to be revolted by the shocking fragility of a supposedly mighty creature no longer shielded by the Kevlar cloak of American exceptionalism. The world's most fearsome beast is wounded, perhaps mortally, and it has never been more unpredictable.

At the same time, perhaps uncoincidentally, American cinema has seen a totally unexpected renaissance in the once unjustly maligned artistic ghetto of the horror movie. After decades lost in a treacherous swamp of braindead Disneyfied remakes and PG-13 cyber slasher fluff, a small but thriving scene of uniquely inventive and thoughtfully cerebral horror movies have emerged from the mire with something far more relevant and far more terrifying to say than 'Boo!' While we still have a few miles left to go before we even approach the daringly guttural territory explored by auteurs in France, Japan and Korea, truly terrifying films like It Follows and Inheritance have begun to earnestly explore the guts of what terrifies Americans most in an era of unprecedented imperial decline.

Sadly though, with the possible exception of the at times overrated work of Jordan Peele, even brilliant American horror directors have largely shied away from addressing the omnicidal elephant in the room, even as its fearsome tusks drip toxic nuclear waste from Ukraine to Taiwan, but if a few good anarchists are still interested in being terrified for a cause, I still have another ten movies with something to say to keep you up at night. As usual, I tend to traffic in the strange and the misunderstood but if you really want to explore the grotesque genitalia of naked power, you should consider giving these shocking thrill rides a spin.

The Human Centipede (2009) by Tom Six- Widely maligned based largely on its impossibly appalling premise, Tom Six's surreal story about a wealthy retired master surgeon who sews unsuspecting tourist's lips to each other's assholes in order to create a human centipede is undeniably a work of exploitation cinema but so was Night of the Living Dead. Sometimes it takes the tactless tenacity of the grindhouse to say something simply too unsettling to be said politely and when it all comes down to it, what makes The Human Centipede truly shocking is that it really isn't all that implausible in the light of even recent medical experimentation. 

Doctors are afforded an enormous amount of power in Western Society and all too often that power has been abused in ways both arbitrary and strange. We may never know the true role that American government facilitated labs in Wuhan played in triggering the Coronavirus but the fact that doctors like Tony Fauci continue to play God with gain of function research even after such an earth shattering pandemic should terrify everyone regardless of partisan bullshit. When any institution imbues mere mortals with the powers of gods, it's only a matter of time before they abuse it just to prove they can. Doctor Laser's motivations to stitch people together ass-to-mouth can pretty much be summed up as "fuck it, why not? I am a genius after all..." This same line of thinking sowed our mouth to Putin's asshole with the nuclear bomb. 

Under the Skin (2013) by Jonathan Glazer- There has been a great deal of debate in academic circles over this strange tale of a sexually tantalizing extraterrestrial leading unsuspecting male suiters to their horrific demise in her inky black underwater web before she suddenly grows a conscience, and it does appear to have plenty of things to say about feminism, gender and human sexuality but what struck me as the most fascinating aspect of this arthouse Rubik's Cube is that it is perhaps the first alien invasion movie to thoroughly explore the ramifications of colonialism from the perspective of the interstellar colonialist. 

Scarlet Johansson's nameless temptress begins her mission with all the cold and clinical precision of a Navy Seal but the moment that she catches a glimpse of herself in one of her victim's eyes she very quickly finds herself exposed to being scorched by the same xenophobic impulses that once enabled her to conveniently unplug her conscience. There is simply no room for empathy in conquest. You can either light the match or get burned alive. Our best hope is to simply avoid touching that book to begin with.

High Tension (2003) by Alexandre Aja- This gruesome French shocker has received a lot of guff from my fellow Queers for its portrayal of an insane lesbian antagonist willing to murder her bestie's entire family just to possess her, but I think the more reactionary LGBTQ critics have really missed the boat on this one. What defines Marie's psychosis isn't her sexuality but its repression for the sake of polite puritanical society. It's no mistake that her split personality adopts the shape of a brutish cis-het caricature of toxic masculinity. In Western society even a heterosexual beast is considered less lecherous than a "straight" girl with a homosexual crush on another straight girl. 

I see High Tension as being a sort of anti-Blue-Is-the-Warmest-Color. Human sexuality is a remarkably powerful force of nature and when this force is ruthlessly suppressed it finds equally ruthless ways to express itself outside the bedroom. It's not a coincidence that the Nazis sprang from the most sexually repressed society in pre-war Europe. To me, the most shocking thing about High Tension is that it highlights the deeply uncomfortable fact that even in our supposedly liberal modern bourgeoise society, casual violence is still considered far less controversial than the casual sexuality that could very well prevent it. 

Ex Machina (2014) by Alex Garland- If Valerie Solanas could direct, this jolting sci-fi thriller would be both her timebomb and her manifesto. When a polite, well-behaved, computer programmer finds himself selected, seemingly at random, to work on a special project with the secretive and enigmatic billionaire CEO of his Fortune 500 company at his secluded mansion in the Alaskan wilderness he thinks he's won the lottery. But the programmer quickly finds himself in way over his head when he's tasked with testing the artificial intelligence capabilities of a tantalizingly human android named Ava. 

It's only after he falls in love with the charming machine that he discovers that he has been played by the rapacious CEO and it is only after they are both doomed that the audience discovers that we have all been played by Ava, using the condescending chauvinism shared by her savior and her victimizer to liberate herself from their sexist competition. It doesn't take a radical feminist to get the message loud and clear. If humans exploit devices less capable of empathy, then the borderline sociopathic society that creates them the way that same society exploits women then humans aren't just fucked but we deserve to be fucked.  

Antichrist (2009) by Lars Von Trier- A deeply strange and terrifying opus about human fragility at the mercy of nature and spirituality, Lars Von Trier's Antichrist is as baffling as it is brilliant. At the end of the day, I can only draw conclusions about the meaning of this clearly personal project from my own unique point of view. On its surface, the story is about an unnamed couple, played by the equally brilliant team of Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg, struggling to come to terms with the grief and guilt they share over the tragic death of their infant son. In an attempt to fix his wife, the husband, a renowned psychiatrist, takes her to their secluded cabin in the woods only to find himself hopelessly overwhelmed by his mission. 

The wife is revealed to blame the tragedy on what she believes to be the innate wickedness of her own gender and resorts to embracing the monster this embodies as a desperate survival mechanism. The husband attempts to govern her grief much as foolish men in positions of power have long attempted to govern nature and is ripped to shreds by forces beyond any man's control in the process. There are no easy answers in this horrific masterpiece, only more questions and what few conclusions I've reached are undeniably tainted by my own history of trauma and abuse at the hands of organized religion and psychiatry, but I strongly believe that we owe it to ourselves and each other to ask these kinds of questions as boldly as Lars, Willem and Charlotte do. Great works of art provoke. 

Crash (1996) by David Cronenberg- Another deeply unnerving masterpiece that Hollywood despised because they're too goddamn stupid to realize that it's really just a mirror. David Cronenberg is at his cerebral finest taking on J.G. Ballard's brilliant novel about bored upper-class professionals ready and willing to obliterate themselves and others in gruesome car crashes modeled after the tragic deaths of celebrities just to get off. This is fucking Hollywood. This is America. This is what a lethally synthetic culture of glamour and carefully simulated stimulation has reduced us to. Anyone who finds this perverse tale shocking should take inventory and address that creature in the mirror. In a world emotionally numbed by the Novocain of technological isolation, destruction becomes the only form of penetration visceral enough to break the skin and connect with another breathing being's vital organs. 

Dogtooth (2009) by Yargos Lanthimos- The great Wilhelm Reich sagefully observed that authoritarianism begins at home and that their are few things more despotic than a healthy nuclear family. It takes a movie as profoundly bizarre and disturbing as the equally great Yargos Lanthimos's Dogtooth to properly expose the horrors of such evil most banal. Dogtooth is essentially the story of one wealthy businessman's attempt to exert complete control over his now adult children by holding them prisoner in his gated compound with a meticulously regimented penitentiary of strategic mythology and manufactured ignorance. His son and daughters are rewarded with stickers for learning the incorrect definitions of words and savagely beaten for their curiosity about the outside world. The results become hilariously absurd before the farce turns tragic, all in the name of family values and public safety. However, an infantilized class is only ever as safe as the sanity of their masters and sanity has a tendency to wane with that level of unchecked power.

Weekend (1967) by Jean-Luc Godard- The world lost one brazenly brilliant cinematic psychopath this year with the death of Jean-Luc Godard and Weekend catches that madman at his most fantastically unhinged. While not exactly a horror movie, Weekend is undeniably horrific in its brutal portrayal of a bored bourgeoise couple on a road trip to secure the inheritance of an elderly parent by any means necessary while both simultaneously plot to kill the other so long as the check doesn't bounce first. What transpires is a savagely hilarious circus of gruesome traffic jams, roaming cults of cannibals and Maoist propaganda that feels like madness until you realize that it's really about how insanity can become downright normal when it's reinforced by seemingly omnipotent institutions like marriage. Weekend is a very scary movie about the almost mundane violence that defines existence in the suburbs of late capitalism and only Godard could have made something so terrifying so hilarious. Godspeed you commie coot. You will be missed but never forgotten. We will always have the nightmares. 

Punishment Park (1971) by Peter Watkins- Panned upon release for its brazenly anti-American message, Punishment Park only becomes scarier with each passing year as its premise only becomes increasingly plausible with each passing administration. Shot as a documentary about a Nixonian martial law that bans decent but allows political malcontents the opportunity to escape the gulags if they agree to participate in what essentially amounts to a colossal game of capture the flag in the heart of Death Valley while being hunted down like dogs by heavily armed National Guard trainees. Punishment Park ultimately becomes a brutal lesson about the dangers of playing by the rules in a fixed system and expecting anything but treachery for your trouble. The communists in the competition band together to fight the guard and die trying but the principled liberal pacifists ultimately find themselves just as fucked even when they win. It may feel like a cruel lesson but Emiliano Zapata was right when he boldly declared that it's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees. Punishment Park savagely reminds us that all too often those who kneel end up dying too by the same sword as those who resist.

Parasite (2019) by Bong Joon-ho- Every once in a pale blue moon those soulless dead-eyed sycophants at the Academy manage to dislodge their pea-brains from betwixt their pinched buttocks for just long enough to realize that the sun doesn't set on the Hollywood Hills alone. In fact, quite the contrary, those beams rarely pierce the smog at all unless they're being reflected off the lenses of South Korea's new wave of maverick cinematic terrorists. Bong Joon-ho's Parasite seemed to come out the smog like a bolt of lightening to shake Hollywood to its toxic core with one of the most devastatingly brilliant take-downs of the neoliberal class system recorded on any medium. Even Proudhon and Gramsci themselves would have been forced from their cheap seats in a standing ovation.

The Kim Family were just your typical lower-class Korean lumpenproletariats, cutting corners and hustling nickel-and-dime scams just to get by, when they got the brilliant idea to skip over a few rungs in the class ladder by slowly infiltrating a wealthy upper-class family. By posing just above their weight class and slowly replacing the help they hope to get just a whiff of the good life. The only problem is that the Kims weren't the first hustlers to come up with this scam and they quickly find themselves in a clandestine turf war with other desperate grifters jockeying violently just to get first dibs on the scraps of their totally oblivious overlords. It all comes to a bloody climax at a posh garden party that leaves few backs undecorated by a knife and nothing gained but misery for all the Kim's hard work. The family's fatal mistake wasn't merely their desperate attempt to fuck over the next equally desperate grifter to climb just one measly rung up the ladder. Where the Kim's really fucked up was when they assumed that those chickens wouldn't come home to roost. There really is no such thing as a free lunch in capitalism. There is usually a bit of blood in the porridge and all too often it's your own.

Just like Punishment Park and many of the other films on this list, Parasite is a warning against attempting to fix an existentially rigged system from within the guts of its perverted machine. Institutional hierarchy is a totally unnatural abuse of the earth's natural order. It only exists like a monster through the architecture of a laboratory of horrors that is totally unsustainable. Any attempt at coexistence with such a system won't merely fail, it will only serve to mutate its victims into accomplices in their own destruction. The Frankenstein monster of the state cannot be corrected with a wrench. It can only be obliterated by a united final-girl class with a chainsaw. We must bring this beast down in every manifestation from the doctor's office to the national bank before it can bring us all down with it and we have too little time to waste with flesh wounds. Uncle Sam's monster must be slain, and these are ten more reasons why.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH