Monthly Archives: June 2014

Nobody Politics


You may learn in time that “activism” and militancy is the highest stage of alienation.

Do you really think it matters whether you “oppose” imperialism or not. Your yelling and “loud” opposition is utterly ineffectual and impotent.

She’s a bit too “enthusiastic“. I think she’s slightly over-estimating her self-importance and that of those she associates with.

What is a troll? Accused of anonymity and distasteful disagreement, a troll is a nobody. Nobodies inhabit the earth in billions, just numbers on a census, silenced from debate and discourse. A troll is a nobody who goes against what good nobodies are supposed to be doing: acquiescing, marching behind somebodies, those unique souls imbued with a sense of authority by the powers that be. This class of somebodies include tenured professors, experts, pundits, image-conscious journalists, celebrities and politicians.

I laughed when Professor Rechtenwald left the above paternalist comments on my recent essay on the urgent necessity of anti-imperialism. I currently pay for a shared studio with vermin on a street where people are murdered, I make $15 an hour as a temp in New York; no one has to tell me I’m alienated. I do not disagree that militancy and activism are results of alienation. Word on the street is that this is how revolutionaries live: cut off from all sorts of things, certainly from the teat of NYU positions. But his comments got me thinking about unimportant nobodies versus very important somebodies, and I’d like to make some comments about nobody politics.

As much as anyone wants to beat up on Stalin and Mao for “cults of personality”, we have a strange blind spot towards our utterly bizarre celebrity culture.

Celebrity is a gorgeous date for neoliberalism. The cult of the individual manifests itself as worshiping the individual traits of those we have never met or spoken with. We need to see cellulite, we need to read interviews, we need to breathlessly pour over family photos of intimate gatherings on their timelines. This cult of celebrity is encouraged by and exists for the purposes of capitalism. Celebrities mean celebrity endorsements, of course, but they also foster a sense of individual worship. The difference between Stalin and an American celebrity is that Stalin was seen as the embodiment of the Soviet Union and its values, while we love our celebrity because of her individual qualities, namely her saucy attitude, sizzling hot fashion sense, and her performances for us – be they on stage or on Instagram. Stalin never posed for centerfolds, he never gave out fashion tips or spoke about his family and personal relationships at length. He was a portrait, a ghost of an actual individual, an iconic face that meant nothing to most of us on an individual scale.

For sure, our present ruler in the United States indulges in this celebrity, playing to memes or appearing on ironic hipster webisodes. But mainly, we eat up our information from the New York Times op-ed pages. We are told how to think about things by columnists that indoctrinate us with capitalism’s smokescreens and lies, revealing just as much about themselves in the process. These are important people. This pundit class that gets asked to speak and sign autographs are very important people. Their opinions are considered authoritative and valid. They must be smarter, more hardworking than all of us. They must have access to different, better information. After all, they are there for a reason, no?

Much of the authority bestowed on us by capitalism correlates to our socio-economic status and relationship to the means of production. Law makers, politicians, professors, millionaires – by and large these actors come from a certain class, and are generally white and male. What then, of the other voices we see represented  – who are they meant to appeal to? Like the indigene begging for NATO intervention, feminists incessantly speaking about sex work, the person of color arguing that we are in a post-racial society: celebrity pundits must also appeal to power.

I wrote on this about a year back. I wrote about American radicalism and the sacrifices that had to be offered to count yourself among the likes of Assata Shakur, Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, John Brown, Bill Haywood, and others. I wrote that the person embraced and encouraged along by the imperialist machine would be suspect, because being an actual radical can be fatal. There are dead workers buried all over this country from crushed strikes that are testimony, among others in unmarked graves. But now there are radicals who promote Pussy Riot, who cheer on the bombing of Libya, who hustle hard for imperialism, who endorse products. Radicals who make lots of money on the stock market and buy brownstones (oh, maybe they give some of their money away, but probably not to the Naxalites). These people also happen to be Somebodies. They are pulled in towards the heart of Empire and so are rewarded not just with wealth and power, but also a platform to speak from. This is somebody politics.

But let’s talk about nobody politics. On the other end of the spectrum, we have those who are hungry, those who are poor and frustrated. These are nobodies. These are the alienated. They are the ones who die under NATO bombs. They are the ones vaccinated without giving informed consent, their signatures forged. These are the youth, the people of color, the poor. They are nobodies. Their voices are seen as insignificant.  Their opposition to imperialism and capitalism is, as Professor Rechtenwald tells me, meaningless, utterly ineffectual and impotent. The militant activists are alienated, not important.  Nobody politics are for nobodies. Somebody politics are for somebodies. So, if you’re a nobody, why not try shilling somebody politics for a change? It may even result in a respite from the alienation, may help one bootstrap their way into a book deal or high-paying job.

Or not. As the numbers tell us, opportunity for youth, people of color, and other oppressed communities is nonexistent compared to the exciting lives of our favorite celebrities. They jet around the world on company money, endorse products for easy cash, and spend an awful lot of time reinforcing to us how empire is blameless and there’s really no other way that things could be. You get the freelance journalists hustling for a staff position. You get the academics hustling for a book deal. You get a lot of hustle from lawmakers, artists – in fact let’s just call then “somebodies” – for just straight-up payoffs and bribes.

Meanwhile, the nobodies hustle for rent, debt, and hospital bills. In fact, the more of a nobody they are, the more they owe, the more they “hustle”. The nobodies hate capitalism. The nobodies hate imperialism. The nobodies hate racism, the nobodies hate sexism. The nobodies hate poverty. They hate hustling. Nobodies want free housing, education, healthcare, food and guaranteed employment. They hide their faces or don’t speak up because they know what they want goes against what those in power want for them. If they are too loud with their discontent, there is a crackdown, minute pressure points in society the people in power can press, releasing spurts of misogyny, racism, xenophobia, and mass incarceration. The somebodies know how to shut nobodies like me up – that’s how they stay in power.

So I laughed when Professor Rechtenwald tried to do me a favor and remind me how unimportant I am. Yes, professor: I have bed bugs, rats, a low-paying temp job, tens of thousands in debt, and unstable access to healthcare. Everything in my life serves to remind me of my unimportance, my alienation. I get it. I’m a nobody. And I live on a street in a neighborhood full of nobodies. A city and country, a world full of nobodies. I write under a pseudonym and I hide my face, among other reasons, because there really is nothing so special about me. I’m not important. Not much unique. I’m just one of many gunning for your class, gender, sexual, and racial privilege with my politics, which I have decided to speak up about. I’m not a celebrity, not quirky and sexy and talented and nodding along with empire, I’m a nobody. Now, move along. We’re talking nobody politics with other nobodies.

Let’s talk discipline


Our world is in crisis and we have no idea how to confront it. We are groping in the dark, often alone in our concern. The radical groups that gather to organize are small, timid, and fleeting. Noncommittal. Meanwhile, the terror grows. Massive NATO wargames in the Baltic. Fascists on the march in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, South and Central America. Here, even, in the United States; widespread anti-immigration and chauvinist sentiment, millions of economic refugees coupled with worsening conditions for all of us: decaying infrastructure, a welfare state hacked to pieces, the evaporation of jobs that pay a living wage. And the rich get richer, of course, but what else? The left, the actual last vestiges of the left worldwide, is being wiped out. Red activists thrown from windows or chased underground, into hiding. Assassinations in Greece, the dismantling of the PFLP in Palestine, a possible final assault against the Naxalites in India, raids of activists houses, arrests, disappearances. Mass incarceration in the imperial core. Extralegal prisons and kill lists. Weaponized, remote controlled airplanes, deployed in dozens of countries. Massive foundations run by billionaires such as Bill Gates wreck the people of the global south, destroying infrastructure and forcibly sterilizing and killing women and girls as test subjects and foreign markets for poison. The KKK is arming itself. These things are happening; the situation isn’t comparable to any other we have faced.  Chemical weapons, poisoned food and water, a planet that is crumbling around us. There is also the surveillance state, ever-present in our homes, our pockets: all of our data, photos, communications, purchases, deepest secrets, now all cataloged and ready to be used against us. And the protest movements in the West seem more determined to overthrow foreign governments targeted by US-NATO than to overthrow capitalism.

So when I start to speak about conspiracy here, about propaganda, psyops and intelligence, I hope you will cut me some slack. We have to admit that there is a ruling class, that its purpose on this planet is to accumulate more capital at the expense of the workers. As we have seen, they will do anything to ensure this. They will rape, murder, plunder, lie, cheat, steal, whatever. We should be able to agree on this before proceeding.

To connect the worsening situation abroad to the one at home is risky business, because it is something that has strong potential to heighten political consciousness and rally the people. The United States is not going to willingly let go of its power worldwide. Fascism is capitalism in crisis. When we can no longer be controlled by our more basic needs and desires, fascism comes along to make every space hostile towards organizing against the capitalist state. It can contain popular resistance on a very micro-level. Walking outside and seeing that everyone already has you in their sights will check your behavior. So too will thinking somewhere in the back of your head that your communications are being monitored or at least stored somewhere, if not by the government, then by Google or your bank.

So maybe this is part of the reason why nobody shows up to meetings, or if to meetings, then not to street action. After all, despite this growing sense of urgency and fear in our stomachs, the media assure us that all is relatively well. Even the leaks about our surveillance program are meted out in bite-sized chunks, celebrated with much fanfare, rolled out with showman style. We go home and scratch our heads as nothing happens – what did all of those fireworks really mean? Like “Big Brother is Watching You” signs, we are being told quite frankly that our communications are monitored. What is missing from the leaks is our new COINTELPRO. But we know the cops are busy. We know mercenaries are all the rage nowadays, and corporate spies as well, so why even just constrain ourselves to the CIA and FBI? When there is a crackdown, we should be ready. And we should be aware that a crackdown is coming. It doesn’t matter how ineffectual or small the Left might be, we will see a crackdown anyway – that’s how this works.

So why are we giggling when there is a panel at Left Forum called “Zizek must be destroyed“? The facts are clear. Molly Klein invites us to consider the possibility that the Left is being targeted for infiltration and destruction. Is that so much to ask? I heard someone walk out of the panel huffing, “Well, I know Zizek is a racist, but that’s just crazy.” Are you kidding me? If Zizek is a racist, if he supports ethnic cleansing, if he sides 100% of the time with an imperialist agenda, if he spends much of his efforts presenting a grotesque caricature of a “Marxist” and misattributing Goebbels quotes to actual revolutionary Marxists, shouldn’t we be concerned? Apparently, a time of dark reaction such as this is the wrong time to consider the possibility.

Likewise, if a woman who has taken money from some of the more powerful foreign-policy shapers on the stage today – Al Jazeera, Open Society, Freedom House, New America Foundation – suddenly decides, 24 hours after the first decent anti-imperialist article has run in Jacobin magazine, to slander all the masthead and yes, even the “Left” itself, with allegations of supporting rape, shouldn’t we pause and think on that? Considering our circumstances, shouldn’t we at least consider the possibility? When national security advisors and contractors start to chime in, isn’t that weird? Molly Crabapple, a cheerleader for NATO intervention on many fronts, also participates in this labeling of the Left as rapist and misogynist (if not just jealous of her success). Of course, this is a woman who receives all-expenses paid trips to Guantanamo Bay and forgets to mention the murder and torture coverups covered in Harper’s, and whose partner and room mate (Fred Harper, pictured) is quite literally an Army propagandist. Taking these sorts of people into our conversations on good faith is the same as allowing an oil-industry showman to enter the debate on climate change – they have a vested interest in obscuring the truth, which they do. They are not revolutionaries. Their place here is too comfortable, too dependent on the status quo. We must not forget that the ruling class does not value honest debate – there are millions of dead bodies that can testify to this – and they will only enter into it when they see a tactical advantage.

I have a hefty bag full of complaints about the Jacobin “Brand” and its DSA style publication, its political posturing and its entrepreneurial propaganda, it’s misogynist mishaps and its unreliable grasp of history, but even I cannot help but notice it’s sometimes the best we’ve got in terms of widespread organization and messaging. And so, if someone comes punching left, I’ll take the opportunity to throw myself behind a party I don’t feel so hot about, because I realize the fash are coming. We have to hold the line until we get our act together.

It’s necessary to buy time and space while harrying the enemy: US-NATO imperialism, capitalism and its disciplining of resistance. I wish people would stop seeing this as a battle of egos and leadership positions – leader of what, really? – and instead come at this like we need communism yesterday. We need an end to imperialism now. We need this system yanked from the walls and we need the people of this world, this planet itself, to survive until we can get our acts together. So we shouldn’t take part in these games, and we shouldn’t be seduced into thinking we can all get tenured positions and six figure book deals. The folks with the tenured positions and six figure book deals have them for a reason, and it sure ain’t because they have a strong line on anti-imperialism.

Assess our global and local situation with a rational mind, as if you’re looking back, reading up on it in a history book. Divorce yourself from the equation. If someone suggests something that sounds conspiratorial, don’t laugh. Listen and learn. Even the craziest person speaks some degree of truth. Realize that the enemy’s technological capabilities are almost beyond imagination. Remember that our government is a pay-to-play system. Recognize that the planet and its lower 85% are stewing in pain and misery. Just because the television and internet say that our situation is mostly a bed of roses doesn’t mean it actually is. That’s propaganda. To get on stage and speak the truth would not get you killed necessarily, but it will get you laughed off, shut down and shunned.

Someone claims they think their calls are being monitored, they take their battery out of their phone when they talk to you. This will earn you oh really? smiles. To suggest that Zizek is a part of a greater imperial project and attack against the Left will earn you laughter and nasty drooling from old rich men. To suggest that a sudden, vicious attack against Jacobin magazine (after they published their first solid anti-imperialist article might I add! Good show.) that possibly more than a million viewers read is possibly a coordinated operation is going to make people embarrassed to be seen with you. But hey, considering the fact that Leftist youth are being kidnapped, assassinated, murdered, physically and mentally intimidated worldwide right now, while pretty much ALL other youth is further immiserated, unable to focus on much more but a livelihood, maybe it’s actually not so much of a stretch to think there may be those with less than helpful agendas among us? And to consider that the FBI regularly entraps vulnerable or mentally ill Muslims, targets antiwar and peace activists, prosecutes disaffected youth more stringently than rightwing terrorists, makes it clear an organized crackdown does not need to be legitimated by an organized threat.

And yes, as a young red, you actually have a great deal of responsibility and opportunity to fix this situation. But first and most importantly, properly situation yourself within history and your current environmental conditions. This includes taking full stock of what’s around you, what could be happening. We should operate fearlessly as much as we can while realizing that yes, we will be subject to pressures for doing so. What is most important, though, is to have each other’s backs. We have disagreements about all sorts of things, but when the fash is bearing down on us, I’m going to put off my sectarian arguments  until we’re in the clear. When I see them punching left, I will punch right. When they punch down, I will punch up. It’s the least I can do to hold the line under such conditions.


In Praise of Conspiracy Theory:
Dissent Commodities:
Zizek Delenda Est:
Take Your Drip and Stick It!
Unity of the Working Class against Fascism:




somatophobia IV: consumer-oriented ideology

Does everyone feel so replaceable?

Screen shot 2014-06-07 at 10.41.22 AM

First introduced in 2010 after nearly a decade of development, the Roxxxy line now includes RoxxxyGold, RoxxxySilver, and RoxxxyPillow, as well as Rocky. Only RoxxxyGold comes equipped with a ‘personality,’ although RoxxxySilver will talk during sex. RoxxxyPillow, the least expensive model, is only the torso, head, and three ‘inputs’ – vagina, anus, and mouth. Unlike the other models, which are full-sized, RoxxxyPillow can be tucked away discreetly when not in use.

from Leah Reich

Screen shot 2014-06-07 at 11.23.07 AM

Forty bucks and a car with a front seat can get you sucked off. But you want someone … nice. Pretty. “Classy.” Innocent enough. You’re a tech guy. You want a Stanford girl.

The good news: Cute, bored, slightly-short-on-cash Stanford girls are a dime a dozen. Plus $200 to $300 up front. But it’s not an easy thing, the blowjob. Here’s a step-by-step guide.

from Melissa Gira Grant