Sunday, April 28, 2024

Embracing the Possibilities of a Second Golden Age of Piracy

"Anyone who can read history with both hemispheres of the brain knows that a world comes to an end every instant--the waves of time leave washed up behind themselves only dry memories of a closed & petrified past."

-Hakim Bey

"What others see as chaos, a pirate sees as the perfect storm for growth and transformation."

-Edward Teach aka Blackbeard

In case you haven't noticed, things have been getting pretty lively on the high seas lately and all available indications seem to point to them getting much livelier long before slack tide sets in. After months of Houthi rebel attacks on international shipping linked to Israel and its western backers in the Red Sea, Iran has decided to get in on the action to avenge their comrades killed by an IDF airstrike on their Damascus consulate.  

While the headlines may focus on Iran's largely symbolic drone swarm into the bug zapper of the Iron Dome, the Islamic Republic kicked off this theatrical display of vengeance by launching a daylight raid on a Portuguese-flagged container vessel called the MSC Aries 50 miles off the coast of the UAE near the Strait of Hormuz. The ship, owned by Zionist billionaire and former Israeli Air Force intelligence officer, Eyal Ofer, was boarded by commandos of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp in a well-choreographed and conveniently filmed raid that involved the heavily armed men repelling on the deck from an idling chopper. 

A visually stunning spectacle of propaganda of the deed uncannily similar to the Houthi rebel assault on the Galaxy Leader in November which also began in an MI-17 and ended with the nautical toy of another Israeli oligarch named Abraham Ungur being absconded to Hodeida where it has been turned into a sort of revolutionary chic tourist attraction. 

The western intelligentsia will point to these similarities and announce them to be proof that those dastardly Houthi rebels are little more than IRGC agents doing the bidding of the Mullahs. I would actually argue the opposite. It is a well-known if poorly reported fact that in spite of the largely rhetorical support from the Ayatollah, the Houthi rebels have a long and illustrious history of going rogue and disobeying what little advice they receive from Tehran. This included calls to stand down on overthrowing a government in Sanaa that Iran was still attempting to make inroads with.

The Houthis launched their daring maritime spree on Israeli linked vessels during a time in which the rest of the leadership of the Muslim world seemed content to just sit on their hands as the Zionist State carried out the most brazen genocide of the twenty-first century. The result of the Houthi's degeneracy wasn't just a blow to international trade, it was boosting an internationally unrecognized militia to a place of ideological leadership on the world stage, and when Iran found itself in desperate need of a propaganda win of their own, they took a page from their alleged proxies' playbook by launching a largely bloodless drone barrage kicked off by an act of melodramatic modern-day piracy.

The Mullahs aren't the only swashbucklers getting in on the action either. After nearly a decade off from their last tare, the pirates of Somalia have been using the distraction of international naval forces up north to get back into the game, seizing at least two cargo ships and a dozen commercial fishing vessels in the last few months. In other words, the chaos is spreading like oil on water and the corporate overlords back home in Babylon are besides themselves. The very fabric of globalism seems to be under siege and every Navy on earth appears to be at the mercy of what essentially amounts to a bunch of toothless peasants with old fishing boats and nothing left to lose. 

I would be a liar if I didn't confess that I get off on this kind of karma. I mean, the specter of the Jolly Roger is literally mocking the glorious "rules-based order" of the Yankee maritime death machine as ancient history repeats itself. But could the world really be on the cusp of another Golden Age of Piracy? Perhaps, but perhaps we should consult the tea leaves of history before getting too carried away with ourselves.

The era frequently referred to by historians as the Golden Age of Piracy occurred between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries when stateless bands of outlaws challenged the monopoly on force maintained by the Westphalian Nation State on the high seas. While most of these pirates were far more motivated by profit than the ideologues of the Axis of Resistance, the factors contributing to this era of lawlessness should ring strikingly familiar to anyone paying attention to current events.

The original Golden Age of Piracy was largely the product of the first signs of European imperial decline brought on by their own colonial overreach in the New World. Scores of seasoned sailors and privateers were left skilled but unemployed in the wake of the War of Spanish Secession. Meanwhile, the sheer quantity of plundered goods being shipped to-and-fro the colonies was becoming downright ungovernable as the colonies themselves devolved into corrupt rogue states in their own right and Europe's navies were stretched paper thin attempting to contain it all.

Today's pirates may differ somewhat in motivation and tactics but all the other ingredients for another era of lawlessness on the high seas are present and accounted for. Both the Houthis and the Iranians are veterans of America's failed War on Terror, becoming experts in asymmetrical warfare battling Wahhabi jihadists that our nation created just to destroy. Meanwhile, neoliberal globalism has turned every ocean on the planet into a thousand lane highway too jam packed with ill-gotten booty to ever be sustainably policed, and the imperial powerhouse of America's Atlantic cartel is rapidly losing control of increasingly reckless colonies like Israel while our bloated naval forces are busy trying to sabotage Asia's assent to economic dominance with so-called freedom of navigation drills in the South China Sea.

Yes indeed, the pieces for a historical repeat are all there and so are the motivations. Big picture wise, the actions of the Mullahs, the Houthis, and the Somalians can all be seen as a sort of revolt against the machinery of state capitalism motivated by a totally valid thirst for revenge. Today's global economy has absolutely nothing to do with free trade. It is a corrupt and totalitarian system operated from the top down by a conspiracy of multinational conglomerates and nuclear armed navies who have all but invited piracy by conducting their own crime spree on the high seas defined by acts of mass violence and brazen thievery.

Iran and Yemen are both the victims of brutal blockades just like the one being conducted against the Gaza Strip as we speak. These sadistic terrorist campaigns have subjected impoverished populations to gruesome acts of savagery just for attempting to access their own waters for trade and subsistence fishing. Between 2015 and 2022, the Houthi controlled nation of Yemen was bombarded by a genocidal onslaught at the hands of America's proxies in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Over 377,000 people were slaughtered and more than half of them died from starvation and disease as a result of a blockade made possible by America's rules-based order. 

Somalia has similarly been decimated both economically and ecologically by the Western Mafia's fixed trade practices which have aloud massive corporate naval behemoths to deplete their fisheries with industrial trawlers and render the remains toxic by treating the Indian Ocean like a giant toilet for their industrial waste. Under these circumstances, it's hard not to see modern piracy as an act of self-defense by a largely unaffiliated coalition of people under siege by a pirate empire in decline and, thank Kali, their tactics appear to be working.

The Houthi campaign off of their embattled coastline has effectively rerouted international trade, forcing no fewer than twelve international shipping conglomerates to suspend transit in the Red Sea entirely and delaying shipping times by up to nine days while raising costs by 15%. This has affectively implemented a tax on the global oligarchy for aiding and abetting the slaughter of over 30,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and America's attempts to bomb the Houthis into submission over it have been an abject failure. 

In case you haven't noticed, I happen to be something of an unapologetic collapsitarian anarchist. This basically means that my entire worldview is defined by searching for revolutionary opportunity in inevitable crisis and I can't help but to get a little bit giddy at the opportunities that a Second Golden Age of Piracy could bring with it. This may all start with rogue states taking potshots at empire but if that empire continues to collapse beneath the barrage of a billion potshots the oceans will be left wide open to a diverse ecosystem of stateless actors of every stripe capable of affecting truly free trade in the only place it has ever existed: the black market. 

Amidst the last Golden Era of Piracy and its latter-day cousin off the Barbary Coast, thriving autonomous communities of proto anarchists emerged in which all genders were equal, most consensual transgressions were forgiven, and merchants were governed only by codes upheld by their suppliers in nautical syndicalist democracies.

Nobody would ever confuse Edward Teach with Mikhail Bakunin any more than you would the Ayatollah with Hakim Bey, but the chaos that men and women like Blackbeard ushered in turned the open seas into a breeding ground for revolutionary opportunities. With Uncle Sam now walking the plank, I see no reason not to hope for a sequel.

Peace, Love, & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post

* All Born Screaming by St. Vincent

* Firestarter by the Prodigy

* I'm Shipping Up to Boston by Dropkick Murphys

* Justine Go Genesis by Sleigh Bells

* Stand & Deliver by Adam & the Ants

* Time Bomb by Rancid

* Breathe by the Prodigy

* The Beautiful Ones by Suede

* Yesterdays Heroes by the 4-Skins

* Big Time Nothing by St. Vincent

Sunday, April 21, 2024

The Last Thing Haiti Needs is Your Liberal Guilt

"We are free today because we are the stronger; we will be slaves again when the government becomes the stronger."

-Toussaint Louverture

"The rich are only defeated when running for their lives."

-C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins

 Dilapidated tent cities packed like plastic tarpaulin sardine cans with starving women and children... Cracked streets strewn with the broken bodies of their husbands and fathers... Azure blue Carribean skies carved up like bad meat with the billowing black plumes of a thousand tire fires... Paradise held hostage by a level of existential desperation rarely seen even in the most impoverished corners of the Western Hemisphere... 

American television sets have been periodically scarred by images like these for years. Images from Haiti, the Blackest place west of Africa. These images are usually delivered in the form of a commercial for some megachurch charity or a bleeding-heart cable news story on a slow day for the latest tabloid election circus. Either way, these images are almost always punctuated by the age-old question of 'when do we...' or the age-old suggestion of 'we need to do...' something. And lately, that 'something' has become desperate enough to mandate multiple exclamation points.

The shit has been hitting the fan in Haiti for centuries, but over the last several months that fan has become a buzz saw and the proverbial shit has become a tidal wave. Heavily armed gangs of Adidas clad youths have launched total war on what passes for a state in this tropical island nation, and they appear to be winning. 

80% of the capitol of Port-au-Prince is currently under the control of a massive and organized coalition of the nation's most notorious street criminals. With countless dead and 362,000 displaced, these third world gangbangers have surrounded the National Palace, encircled both of the capitol's major airports, looted the hospitals, and added thousands more to their ranks by emptying multiple prisons in daring daylight raids.

The nation's standing prime minister, an unelected worm named Ariel Henry, has resigned in exile, and naturally Haiti's patriarchal big brothers in "the West" are just brimming with suggestions on how to save the day and those suggestions are increasingly taking the shape of downright shrill demands for good old fashioned colonial law and order.

For years now Haiti has been the flaming plaything of a United Nations coalition of meddling rape-states known as the "Core Group," a sort of dickish Super Friends, dominated by the United States and further made up of France, Canada, Spain, and Germany along with the EU and the OAS. The latest solution of this mincing cartel of meddling white liberals? Well, more military intervention of course! But this time is different. 

This time those pale genius' have decided to quell the rage of the Black man with their own mercenary army of Black men, a paramilitary force of 1,000 Kenyan military police officers trained by the United States Military and well versed in the art of committing human rights abuses against their own people with a stipend of $300 million in American tax dollars. Once the Core Group has invaded Haiti with this token Black death squad, the plan is to establish a glorified junta known as the Transitional Presidential Council with 9 unelected officials hand plucked from Haiti's despised government and business elites along with one Catholic priest to please the pedophile sector.

If this all sounds despicably familiar, then you have been a bad American and done your homework only to realize that this is pretty much what elitist colonial twats have been committing against these people for centuries. Haiti has been near the top of every white supremacist shitlist since 1804 when Toussaint Louverture led a successful slave revolt and attempted to build a radical Black democracy on the graveyard of Christopher Colombus' opening massacre. For their part, the chattel democracy of the United States of America responded to Haitian independence with decades of crippling blockades and diplomatic isolation, but the worst was yet to come with the advent of Gunboat Diplomacy.

US Marines were deployed to Haiti in 1915 to suppress another popular insurgency and spent the next 19 years of this occupation building the Haitian National Army in their image. This fine institution would go on to become the twisted backbone of a grizzly fascist dictatorship known as the Duvalier Dynasty. For nearly thirty years, between 1957 and 1986, Haiti was a hostage of Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier and his son, Jeane-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, who terrorized Louverture's dream with a nightmare gestapo force of American trained psychopaths known as the Tonton Macoute. 

Mutilated bodies were hung from the trees with anyone foolish enough to take them down added to the macabre installation. Mothers were paraded through the streets carrying the severed heads of their own sons. Tens of thousands of men, women, children, infants, anyone, hacked to bits by machetes. All with hefty financial support from that shining beacon on the hill who was never shy about lending the gruesome Duvaliers a few more good men in uniform to quell another popular uprising by a proud and pissed-off people who never learned how to stay down.

But the pissed-off masses finally prevailed anyway with a popular uprising that toppled Baby Doc in 1986. Among the most popular leaders of this movement was a former Catholic Priest named Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who preached a pretty tepid genre of social democracy based on the left-wing Christian school of Liberation Theology. Naturally, Reagan hated the holy man and ordered the CIA to fund rival candidates in every election he ran in. When this campaign of electoral sabotage finally failed, and Aristide was elected president in 1991, the US simply went old school and overthrew him in a fascist coup before spending the next 3 years funding the junta that replaced him in a blatant violation of international sanctions.

Bill Clinton, ever the bleeding heart, sent in the Marines to reinstate Aristide, but only after the battered reformer sold out and agreed to hand his nation over to the IMF. American and Canadian troops spent most of the rest of the nineties occupying Haiti until things seemed to be running our way again. But when Aristide won another presidential election in 2004 with the promise of reigning in the sweatshops of Walt Disney and raising the minimum wage, the US used gangs largely comprised of Tonton Macoute veterans to destabilize Port-au-Prince before kidnapping the uppity president and literally putting the motherfucker on a plain back to Africa.

UN troops were sent in this time to calm the island down, but they ultimately proved to be little more than a different flavor of pig, with a 13-year occupation pock marked by routine acts of sexual savagery and a cholera outbreak that killed nearly 10,000 Haitians. When a devastating earthquake added another quarter million bodies to that mass grave, the US decided to send in more troops of their own and rig more elections, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton intervening to get a millionaire thug named Michel Martelly elected in 2011 and Barack Obama helping his replacement, Jovenel Moise, to take the Palace in 2016 with a meager 21% voter turnout. The latter quisling's strong-arm tactics would ultimately inspire the beginnings of the current crisis in 2018. 

In 2021, Moise was assassinated in a bewilderingly unsolved assault that involved 28 foreign mercenaries organized in Florida and that just so happened to occur the day after Moise appointed one Ariel Henry prime minister. Henry was then summarily promoted to dictator by the fabulous Core Group, but when this failed to pacify the unrest, Henry was sent to Kenya to sign off on the military police force organized to protect him from his own people only to find himself blocked from returning to his smoldering country and absconded to Puerto Rico where the Secret Service essentially brow beat him into signing over his empire of dirt to another western approved junta.

So, the question stands, what do we, the bleeding hearts of the liberal west, do to save poor Haiti from its seemingly perpetual plight? My only response as a post-left revisionist historian is, haven't you people done enough? Take a fucking hint and just fuck off already. 

Believe it or not, Haiti's best hope may actually come in the form of those terrible gangs the news loves to leer at. While Haiti's gangs have traditionally served as henchmen for the nation's elites, there are signs that these impoverished gladiators are growing tired of their role in this tragedy. They have organized a massive coalition between rival factions, liberated gulags with Radio Shack drones, and announced their intention to resist any foreign occupying force that steps foot on their island.

God help me but this kind of sounds like a modern-day slave revolt to me. So, maybe we should just sit this one out and focus on losing one of our other stupid fucking wars instead. Just a dangerous thought from an uppity white bitch. But either way, the last thing Haiti needs is your liberal guilt.

Peace, Love, & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: songs that influenced this post

* Holiday In Cambodia by Dead Kennedys

* Colors by Ice-T

* I Against I by Bad Brains

* Wild Wild Life by Talking Heads

* Drain You by Nirvana

* Hurt by Nine Inch Nails

* Waiting Room by Fugazi

* N.W.O by Ministry

* We Care a Lot by Faith No More

* Buffalo Soldier by Bob Marley & the Wailers


Sunday, April 14, 2024

The Forgotten Legacy of John Sinclair and the White Panther Party

"The revolution has always been in the hands of the very young. The young always inherit the revolution. You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution."

-Huey P. Newton

"Failure is a bruise, not a tattoo."

-John Sinclair

 It seems like I'm always the last person to hear the bad news these days however, in my defense, I'm usually fucking drowning in it. We all are I suppose, what with the trials and tribulations of living in the Kali Yuga. But living with PTSD tends to make it all feel aggressively personal. Every bomb that drops on Gaza seems to awaken another monster in my Lovecraftian closet of repressed childhood memories, but somewhere amidst this maelstrom of misery, between the flashbacks and the war crimes, John Sinclair died and even my battered inner child feels the need to pay her respects.

For those of you who don't know that name, that is likely because John Sinclair was the kind of motherfucker who led the kind of life that your history books would rather you forget. John, who died from heart failure this April at 82, was a leading figure in America's other revolution, the one that saw a thriving underground ecosystem of Black Panthers, Street Transvestites, and Students for a Democratic Society taking on the man in the streets of Babylon over the savage injustices of white supremacy and the Vietnam War.

An enterprising young jazz poet and political provocateur, John Sinclair emerged from his native Michigan's underground art scene in the late sixties with an itching desire to join the people of the global third world in smashing the white pig state that he and his pale stoner friends in the jazz scene had grown to despise. Like a lot of other misfits from that era, John was through with being bullied just for being freaky and found impoverished guerrilla agitators of color like Huey Newton, Malcolm X, and Ho Chi Minh to be a hell of a lot more inspiring than anything the honky dinosaurs of the Old Left could conjure.

John was a part of the Detroit Artist's Workshop, which ran a network of communal houses along with a print shop and a performance space, but after years of police raids and drug busts, John decided it was time to up the ante. The breaking point came with the Detroit Riots that led to 43 deaths and nearly burned the Motor City to the ground in 1967. The Workshop proudly displayed a banner declaring "Burn Baby Burn" outside one of their communes and stood virtually alone amongst the white counterculture in declaring the riots to be a justified act of popular resistance against a racist police state.

Upon hearing an interview with Huey Newton in which the head of the Black Panthers suggested that the best thing white kids could do for the revolution was start a White Panther Party in solidarity with the third world, John did just that. Along with his wife Leni and a hippie half-breed named Pun Plamondon, John Sinclair formed the first White Panther Party in the charred ruins of Detroit with a rallying cry calling on the disaffected white youth of America to join the revolution in the name of rock n roll, dope, and fucking in the streets.

Many Black rebels were not amused, but John's rag-tag army of heavily armed long hairs and burn outs proved themselves to be worthy comrades by organizing the white counterculture in support of third world struggle by redistributing bulk foods and Black Panther newsletters to impoverished communities across Detroit and the Bay Area. The White Panthers also raised the noise to downright frightening levels with their pioneering proto-punk band, the MC5, who John Sinclair managed and used like a fifty-megawatt bullhorn to promote the revolution far and wide.  

Naturally, all this agitation against the amoral majority came at a price. John and his White Panthers may have joined their comrades in arms in Fred Hampton's Rainbow Coalition, but they also joined them on J. Edgar Hoover's Cointelpro shitlist. In 1969, Sinclair himself was entrapped by an undercover officer into providing him with a king's ransom of exactly two joints and was sentenced to a decade in prison for his charity. This is when John Sinclair officially became an underground celebrity. After Abbie Hoffman was booed offstage at Woodstock for attempting to bring attention to this injustice, John Lennon and Yoko Ono got involved by organizing their own rally in John Sinclair's defense, bringing everyone from Bobby Seale to Stevie Wonder together at Ann Arbor's Cristler Arena in 1971.

The John Sinclair Freedom Rally drew a sold-out crowd of 15,000 within two hours and John Sinclair's case was overturned within days. But even miracles come at a price. The feds sicked their dogs on John and Yoko and nearly had the couple of bougie dabblers deported for their good deed. As for the freshly vindicated Sinclair, he had already been charged within months of his initial arrest along with his fellow White Panthers, Pun Plamondon and John Forrest on trumped up charges of conspiring to bomb a CIA office. These charges were also dropped after the government admitted to illegally wiretapping the Panthers and John even won a landmark Supreme Court case vindicating the constitutional right to privacy, but all the court cases took their toll, and the Michigan chapters of the White Panther Party closed its doors in 1973.

So, why then should you give a fuck about a bunch of musty old hippies with guns? For the same reason that I do, because the Second American Revolution is unfinished history. Everything that forgotten outlaws like John Sinclair fought for back in 1968 is more valid now than ever before. The war machine continues to rampage across the globe, performing My Lai Massacres by proxy from Bakhmut to Khan Younis, white supremacy remains a thriving multibillion dollar enterprise with the prison industrial complex devouring Black and brown bodies like a Ku Klux Cthulhu with bipartisan support, and it is the youth, the young people of Babylon, who continue to feel the pain of the third world even from a place of relative privilege.

I did. I spent my childhood as a middle-class prisoner of a Catholic school that violated my body and taught me that my gender identity rendered me wicked enough to deserve this trauma. And when I was lonely and hopeless, I would escape the horrors of my existence by pouring over the moldy old magazines in my mother's basement vintage clothing store. This is where I discovered wild creatures like John Sinclair, the MC5, and the White Panther Party, and what they taught me was that I wasn't alone, that my youthful rebellion wasn't just valid, it was valuable because it served as a link to other oppressed people across the globe.

This was the truly brilliant thing about the White Panther Party. They made no attempt to co-opt the struggles of the third world, they simply pointed out the fact that young people were oppressed by the same power system and thus had every right to turn on their teachers and parents. Freaky people like John Sinclair militarized youth culture itself against the state and goddammit, we need this now more than ever. There is a reason that adolescents inherently identify with the 'other', from the ghetto to Gaza, and it has nothing to do with immaturity. Every single person under 18 is a second-class citizen in this country. American children are afforded all the rights and privileges of livestock, and this is why they are abused across the board at a far higher rate than any other demographic.

This has to stop, and John Sinclair gave us a glimpse into a world in which white children were empowered to stop it by embracing their otherness and throwing their lot in with other oppressed people across the globe who in turn taught them how to defend themselves against the adult establishment of the first world by any means necessary.

This is why I feel compelled to take a moment between the flashbacks and the war crimes to honor John Sinclair. He gave my battered inner child a loaded gun. Consider this rant a twenty-one-round solute from a fellow traveler. 

Peace, Love, & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post

* John Sinclair by John Lennon

* Kick Out the Jams by the MC5

* Volunteers by Jefferson Airplane

* Youth Against Fascism by Sonic Youth

* Living for the City by Stevie Wonder

* $20 by boygenius

* Get Together by the Youngbloods

* Coyote, My Little Brother by Mitski

* 1969 by the Stooges

* Rock N Roll Nigger by Patti Smith

Sunday, April 7, 2024

My Holy War with the Catholic Church

 “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.”

-Mikhail Bakunin

It begins with an unstoppable flood of unbearable images. A child stripped naked beaten in a preschool bathroom. A visiting priest with a sinful smile. Two nude men in a rectory bedroom. An unrecognizable reflection in that same bathroom mirror... Quickly, this nightmarish montage forms a narrative like a terrible bedtime story you've heard a thousand times before for the first time. A story about a little girl trapped inside a scary body whose dysphoria was exploited by sexual predators at a Catholic school so they could have a good time with someone, some thing, too frightened to ever tell. 

This narrative was too much for that little girl to bear, so she blacked it out, she blacked out everything she saw in that mirror, including her gender identity, for decades. Until years of nightmares became an unstoppable flood of unbearable images, and those images formed a narrative of repressed memories that now feed an insatiable thirst for revenge.

This has become my life over the last several months. This waking nightmare has become the new normal. The trauma surrounds me, like living in an active warzone. Everything triggers flashbacks and the flashbacks have become so menacingly jarring that they have begun to trigger seizures. I feel like Linda Blair in The Exorcist, vomiting up secrets and bodily fluids that belong to men sent to save my soul. My life has become a horror movie that no one can bear to watch. 

I have been abandoned by all but my most devoted friends. I have formed multiple personalities that represent the children that the Catholic Church conspired to destroy. One of them is also a five-year-old girl who was passed around by priests until she became physically ill. I spend my nights consoling that child while she screams. Some nights she consoles me. My own therapist now refuses to see me, telling me over the phone like some cheap fling that I require a level of care that she cannot provide.

This has become my life and the only thing that has kept me from taking it is war. That word pounds in my head like a drumbeat. War. War. Over and over again. War. War. War. The moment that I stop shaking and sobbing. War. War. War. That five-year-old girl and her fourteen-year-old protector join the chant like a chorus. War. War. War. This is what keeps me going, the fact that there are still children coming and going from the churches and schools that those vile men combed like a brothel, the fact that those buildings are still standing after thirty years of them tearing me down and burning the pieces.

I want to kill. I want to shoot, stab, hack, and bludgeon. But that isn't enough. Any one act of violence, no matter how justified, would be little more than a senseless indulgence considering the depth of the conspiracy that inspires my rage. Burn one church and there are still thousands more standing. Kill one priest and there are still millions left walking, groping, hunting, lying, escaping.

Revenge is not enough because I am not alone. I am one of legions of broken children who have been mercilessly degraded and discarded by the Catholic Church. The only thing more horrifying than stories like mine are how many of them there are. In the United States alone, more than 11,000 complaints of abuse have been lodged against more than 6,000 Catholic clergy members by the children who survived their sexual degradation. Diocese across the country have paid out hundreds of millions of dollars in out of court settlements just to keep them silent and my home state of Pennsylvania has hosted some of the vilest transgressions of this colossal conspiracy. 

The entire Keystone State was turned into a veritable harem. For decades, over 300 predator priests were given free reign over nearly every diocese in the state while the Church leadership compiled detailed records of their crimes and moved these monsters around like game pieces on a map of hell. Cases were reported to bishops and bishops reported them to the Vatican, but the only actions taken by Rome were in defense of the accused and the silence that kept them active. And Pennsylvania is far from the only hunting ground either.

216,000 children in France between 1950 and 2020. 3,677 minors in Germany between 1946 and 2014. Nearly 15,000 underage victims in Ireland between 1970 and 1990. And this doesn't even include the generations of children subjected to the horrors and humiliations of institutionalized corporal punishment, or the emotional abuse of homophobia and transphobia, or the slut shaming of children for even having a sexuality outside of a holy man's fist... or the Magdelene Laundries, or the mother and baby homes, or the dungeon-like orphanages and the illegal adoptions... The Catholic Church is not a religious organization, it is an international misery industrial complex that runs on shattered childhoods, and the responsibility for this monstrosity runs straight to the top of the Vatican. 

At least three consecutive popes have been complicit. In 2001, Pope John Paul II, a man now considered a saint by the Catholic Church, issued a global papal rescript compelling all of the Church's bishops to forward cases of abuse to Rome so that the Vatican could decide the appropriate course of action rather than the public. That same year, a high-ranking Vatican prefect who would go on to become Pope Bennedict in 2005 issued a document mandating that all cases of clerical sex abuse be reported directly to his office where they were to be kept under lock and key. Those files soon numbered in the thousands and were further secured under the Vatican's Crimen Sollicitationis, which required total silence from victims, perpetrators, and witnesses alike under the threat of excommunication.

Pope Francis was supposed to be different, swept into power in 2013 after Bennedict made the unprecedented decision to resign under a cloud of scandals going back to his days as the Archbishop of Munich in the 1980s, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was carefully marketed to the fleeing faithful as a caring reformer. He has reformed nothing. While touring the globe making heartfelt apologies to the victims of his church, the man they now call Francis has also carefully avoided making any formal admission of responsibility on the part of the Vatican so as to avoid ever having to pay a dime in reparations. 

Francis can also be judged by the company he keeps. The man he appointed as his anti-corruption czar and continues to praise in death, Cardinal George Pell, was a convicted pedophile only released from prison because Australia's High Court chose not to believe his victims on acquittal.

Pope Francis is not a reformer; he is a cleaner sent by an evil institution to mop up the scene of the crime and reign in a dwindling flock who is fleeing the church in droves. Pope Francis is proof that what the Vatican requires is not reform but revolution. This is a recognized nation state responsible for centuries of grisly crimes against humanity. An ancient imperial relic that has conspired with dictators, Nazis, mafioso, and death squads, and continues to horde billions of dollars in its bank, including gold picked from the teeth of the gassed Jews at Auschwitz. This monstrosity must be razed to the ground and fed to the woodchippers. But even this fate is not enough.

The only way to possibly call any revolution an act of justice is if this jihad ensures that the crimes that inspired it will never happen again. This is bigger than any one church. This is about a society that grooms its children to be prey by denying them any rights as individuals. There will always be adults that rape children as long as institutions of power afford them that right and childhood itself as we understand it has become one of those institutions. 

We must liberate our children by empowering them with the same rights we afford adults and teach them that their bodies belong to them and no one else, not the state, not the church, not even their parents. We must emancipate childhood and raise proud individuals instead of silent dutiful citizens.

If this is impossible then I will die fighting endlessly for the impossible. I will fight forever because it is the only thing that keeps me from destroying myself beneath the weight of the horror that has become my existence. I must become Che Guevara because it is the only fate keeping me from becoming Charles Whitman. I will not die a statistic. I will rage furiously unto my dying breath until the whole world can hear that five-year-old girl scream. Maybe then she can sleep and so can I.

Peace, Love, & Empathy- Nicky/CH, Max, & Agnes

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post

* My War by Black Flag

* Me and a Gun by Tori Amos

* Cop Car by Mitski

* Jesu Dod by Burzum

* Retard Girl by Hole

* Kerosene by Big Black

* Oblivion by Grimes

* Transylvanian Hunger by Darkthrone

* Comeback Kid by Sleigh Bells

* Something I Can Never Have by Nine Inch Nails

This post is devoted in loving memory to John Sinclair, a tireless revolutionary who put his life and freedom on the line so young people could have a voice loud enough to tell their parents "Fuck you!" with their fists held high.