"What are you doing sitting on your ass. Your very future is threatened and all you want to do is party and bullshit." I have scolded myself with such thoughts during this political season. "The most important election in a generation" is testing our "resolve." If you are over 25 it begs you to prove that you are truly an adult. In a serious time, adults respond with full attention, long deliberation and decisive action. Right?
There is no doubt that this is as serious a time. You no the litany: jails in place of schools; unjust wars are waged for profit; poverty - who did not go anywhere- is back in our faces after being ecplipesd by the irrational exuberance of the 90's; the civil liberties gods - that demanded the tribute of the lives and limbs of a generation- are again hungry. Money is being taken right out of worker's pockets in the form of tax cuts by a coterie of corporate sponsored politicians who rather lace school lunches with benzine and prozac than give up their box seats at the Texas Ranger's game; gay people are being witch hunted; women are being put back in their place; aids is now sponsered by Phizer et al; section 8 is gone today; social security gone tomorrow; fundamentalists of all stripes have hijacked religious discourse for power, profit, and self-delusion proclaiming that all this violence is being perpetrated at the behest of God who-if you ask your average American evangelical- looks like Ronald Reagan.
So maybe partying isn't so bad after all. Relative to the cynical objectives of the starch-collared marauders who we call our governors, the aims of the partygoer are noble: joy, shared experience, and novelty. With a mixture of music and camaraderie, parties dilute pretension and fear - the rocket fuel for war and terror. The party challenges the very notion of self-hood by submitting its participants to communal forces of dance and laughter. Security is not a contrivance of the party, but a direct effect of the communion. Party preservation-the urge to sustain the vibe-replaces self-preservation.
Parties are among our most subversive political tools. A party requires the presence of many who share a peaceful, even joyful, consciousness. As an act of peace, parties are the means and the end, the sign and signified, the thing and its expression. A party is proof positive of the very human possibilities that conservatives must deny in order to maintain their twisted Darwinian ideologies of winner take all. Partygoers eschew schedules in exchange for spontaneity. They forego individual accolades in exchange for group identity. But, if its a good party, they retain their ability to opt out whenever they feel compelled. It is this sense of chosen-ness, of the un-prescribed desire to participate that makes a great party.
Ironically, partys are perhaps the greatest obstacle to the viability of progressive politics in the United States. The dominance of party politics in America makes corporate patronage a requirement for political leadership. The needs of corporations are therefore disproportionately figured into the decisions of American political leaders. I think it is time for the word party to be used more liberally in relation to politics. The word, party, used to mean a social gathering could come to challenge the established use of the word party in the political sense. A political party would therefore be spontaneous and organic. Unlike a political machine, this sort of party must be fundamentally rooted in the needs and desires of its constituents. Let the parties begin. Let there be new parties every week to absorb our changing alliances. Let joy be our chosen form of protest.
check out this party we're thrownin'
// posted by brandon at 04:05 PM
Are you against the War: The War on poor people, brown
people, women, gay people, love, dignity, and decency?
Direct action against the war this weekend: check out
// posted by brandon at 10:44 AM
"Its either rape or its not rape." Those were the words of the defense lawyer for Marcus Dixon, a Georgia teenager who was recently released from jail after serving one year of a ten year mandatory sentence for 'aggravated child molestation." In Dixon's initial trial in, then 18 years old, he defended himself against rape charges from a 15 year old white girl with whom he claimed to have had consensual sex. A ten year sentence for teenage sex is obviously Draconian. But, the tone of Dixon's lawyer is problematic. Only the two teenagers know what really occured between them. Certainly, a young man can harm a young women in a sexual encounter in a variety of ways that fall short of the definition of rape. The lawyers insistence that sex is either consensual or not, is proped up on a faulty world view in which ethics is always a matter of choosing the right side of a two-sided issues.
The two-sided world view concieves of a world of right and wrong. In the case of Iraq war, the two-sided world view motivated President Bush to declare that "You are either for us or against us." The two-sided world creates an ethical trap in which the ends justify almost any means because, "well, hell, we're right."
Most of the infantrymen in the armed services come from relatively low-income backgrounds. According to a friend of mine, a tour of duty in Iraq earns about 4,000 per month that is obviously not necessarily spent on out-of-poket expenses. If the soldier has left a job to go fight, they are entitiled to 6 months of paid leave. If that soldier's job earned them $2000 per month, then a one year tour in Iraq would net them $60,000 (please correct me if these numbers are not correct). The result is a great big incentive for people to go fight in a war that they may not believe in. But then, that person cannot claim that anyone made them go to war. You are either a volunteer, or you are not. Its that simple, right?
Nothing is ever that simple. Few decisions are ever made based on a single distinction. Often even mundane decisions encompass an endless string of causation: feelings, desires, fears, and hopes based on past experiences.
// posted by brandon at 09:16 PM