27 July 2018

"Next Time" Is Now!

In 1980, they told us, ‘Yeah, we know about Carter, but we have to keep Reagan out of the White House.  Maybe next time we can have real change’.

In 1984, they told us, ‘Yeah, we know about Mondale, but we have to get Reagan out of the White House.  Maybe next time we can have real change’.

In 1988, they told us, ‘Yeah, we know about Dukakis, but we have to keep Bush out of the White House.  Maybe next time we can have real change’.

In 1992, they told us, “Yeah, we know about Clinton, but we have to get Bush out of the White House.  Maybe next time we can have real change’.

1n 1996, they told us, ‘Yeah, we still know about Clinton, but we have to keep Dole out of the White House.  Maybe next time we can have real change’.

In 2000, they told us, ‘Yeah, we know about Gore, but we have to keep Bush out of the White House.  Maybe next time we can have real change’.

In 2004, they told us, ‘Yeah, we know about Kerry, but we have to get Bush out of the White House.  Maybe next time we can have real change’.

In 2008, they told us, ‘Yeah, we know about Obama, but we have to keep McCain and Palin out of the White House.  Maybe next time we can have real change’.

In 2012, they told us, ‘Yeah, we still know about Obama, but we have to keep Romney and his healthcare plan out of the White House.  Maybe next time we can have real change’.

In 2016, they told us, ‘Yeah, we know about Clinton, but we have to keep Trump out of the White House.  Maybe next time we can have real change’.

In 2020, it's time we told the Democratic Party Establishment (DPE), ‘Fuck you and the sickly pale centrist, neoliberal, dog-whistle racist-white supremacist horse you rode in on.

The foregoing was adapted from part of a piece I did for a podcast of Left Ungagged (https://leftungagged.org/) during the USA's 2016 election campaign.

The delusion of the Democratic Party as a progressive vehicle through which the Left could influence American politics originated through the early Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and other New Left entities, primarily from the ranks of the white middle class.

After rejecting Clinton and the Democratic Party enthralled to him and his fellow neo-Dixiecrats of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) over their over the mewling centrism, neoliberalism, and dog-whistle racism, I looked at the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), but couldn't stomach it's then Michael Harrington-inspired slavish compliance with whatever direction the Dems took.  So I joined the Communist Party USA (CPUSA), but found it too as slavishly obedient to the Democratic Party I was trying to leave.  Thankfully, both those entities have changed direction and rather than follow the DP are actively seeking to change it.

Our day will come, inshallah.  Keep the faith.  May the Aught be with you.

* * * * *

A New Party of a New Type


Russiagate is a ghost story for liberals


21 July 2018

Bisexuals: Time for Us to Step Up

I think it’s way past time for bisexuals to step up for the queer community.  Yes, it may take a moment to warp our heads around the fact that we are as queer as gays, lesbians, trans persons, and all other non-cisgender, nonstraight people.  As I remarked at a meeting a few months ago of a working group attached to Chattanooga Queer Community Forum, in the LGBTQ community I’m about as under the radar as you can get; white, outwardly middle-class, and gynephiliac bisexual.

Besides helping to bring to the surface a world in which we can actually be and to support our fellow queer folk, it will be good for the well being of we ourselves and those like us.  One of the local persons memorialized on the day of our vigil for the victims of The Pulse massacre was a very out gay man named Lester Childress.  Lester was also known as Della Reeves, a drag queen performing regularly at a club here known as The Toolbox, though he was not trans, just a performer.  One night after a sexual encounter with a much younger man with whom he had encounters before, Lester was stabbed 28 times and slashed 70-80 times further.

Keith Jackson, his murderer, was engaged to be married and said he had told Lester he wasn’t gay, even though he clearly had sexual relations of some type with him more than once.  And the truth is that he probably wasn’t, but because of the straight-gay dichotomy with which even more enlightened quarters limit their views of human sexuality, bisexuality isn’t dismissed, rather it’s not even considered. 

In my own case, though I had known in my head that I was bisexual, it wasn’t until my freshman year at uni that I had intense physical sexual reactions to other males, and I underwent a lot of emotional trauma over that.  And I already KNEW I was bisexual.  But because of that limited dichotomy, rather than interpreting those reactions as an expression of my already recognized bisexuality, psychologically speaking, I interpeted them as a sign of gayness.  That didn’t bother me because I thought there was anything wrong with being gay, but if I was then I couldn’t go out with girls anymore.  I nearly killed myself over that too.

If bisexuality were more out of the closet, more understood, if human sexuality were understood to be the spectrum it is rather than so limited to those two options, Keith may have been able to accept his true nature and might not have murdered Lester.  And I might not have come so uncomfortably close to eating a 12 gauge 00 breakfast when I was 18.

Dashane Stokes once said, “Amazing how eye and skin color come in many shades yet many think sexuality is just gay or straight.”  A-fucking-men to that.  So say we all.  Or at least we should.

On Jails Profiting from Prisoners

One of my favorite quotes of a socialist is from the opening of Eugene Debs’ statement to the court upon his conviction for sedition over an anti-war speech he made in Canton, Ohio.  “While there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.” 

The penal system in America is capitalism in the nude.  The dystopian nightmares in which for-profit corporations control every facet of a human individual’s existence, in which a person can be lobotomized, literally or figuratively, for not producing enough profit, are not dystopia in America, they are a fact of life for millions in the largest per capita prison system in the world.

For instance, at the Hamilton County Jail here in Chattanooga, the population within the 800-person facility is routinely 150 persons over capacity.  Inmates sleep in showers and several to a cell.  Within the past year, the jail cancelled in-person visits in favor of expensive video chats, paid for either by the visitor or the inmate’s “commissary”. 

The “commissary” is an account from which an inmate pays for “luxuries” such as soap, shampoo, sanitary napkins, toothpaste, safety razors, shaving cream, etc.  Outsiders can contribute to a prisoner’s commissary fund, but be warned that the jail takes a cut of every donation no matter the source.  And the “luxury” items purchased with an inmate’s commissary are always sold at an exhorbitant profit. 

Keep in mind that this is jail, for charged prisoners either awaiting trial and unable to pay excessive bail or prisoners convicted of misdemeanors and serving sentence.

Hamilton County hosts another penal facility, Silverdale Correctional, now a multi-security prison that holds both local and state prisoners.  Formerly the county’s penal farm, it became the flagship of the private industry in 1984 when Corrections Corporation of America, now CoreCivic, assumed management.

This situation is not unusual in the United States.  Commissaries have always been part of penal life, but not to the degree that began with the launch of prisons-for-profit.  The main purpose of the system now is to coerce populations in prisons, the longer-term penal facilities, to work for pennies to make profits for either the corporations running them or for outside corporations for profit, much like the old convict lease system which enslaved so many in Tennessee and all across the country.

I’d known much of this, of course, before the meeting last week of the group of which I am a part that is trying launch a community bail fund.  But one of the new members that week gave us an insider’s view in a way which focused all of it into a very fine point.  In the post-meeting debrief, I could only remark that, “I’m pissed off.  Really pissed off”.

* * * * *

E. V. Debs

Statement to the Court

Upon Being Convicted of Violating the Sedition Act

September 18, 1918

Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.
I listened to all that was said in this court in support and justification of this prosecution, but my mind remains unchanged. I look upon the Espionage Law as a despotic enactment in flagrant conflict with democratic principles and with the spirit of free institutions…
Your Honor, I have stated in this court that I am opposed to the social system in which we live; that I believe in a fundamental change—but if possible by peaceable and orderly means…
Standing here this morning, I recall my boyhood. At fourteen I went to work in a railroad shop; at sixteen I was firing a freight engine on a railroad. I remember all the hardships and privations of that earlier day, and from that time until now my heart has been with the working class. I could have been in Congress long ago. I have preferred to go to prison…
I am thinking this morning of the men in the mills and the factories; of the men in the mines and on the railroads. I am thinking of the women who for a paltry wage are compelled to work out their barren lives; of the little children who in this system are robbed of their childhood and in their tender years are seized in the remorseless grasp of Mammon and forced into the industrial dungeons, there to feed the monster machines while they themselves are being starved and stunted, body and soul. I see them dwarfed and diseased and their little lives broken and blasted because in this high noon of Christian civilization money is still so much more important than the flesh and blood of childhood. In very truth gold is god today and rules with pitiless sway in the affairs of men.
In this country—the most favored beneath the bending skies—we have vast areas of the richest and most fertile soil, material resources in inexhaustible abundance, the most marvelous productive machinery on earth, and millions of eager workers ready to apply their labor to that machinery to produce in abundance for every man, woman, and child—and if there are still vast numbers of our people who are the victims of poverty and whose lives are an unceasing struggle all the way from youth to old age, until at last death comes to their rescue and lulls these hapless victims to dreamless sleep, it is not the fault of the Almighty: it cannot be charged to nature, but it is due entirely to the outgrown social system in which we live that ought to be abolished not only in the interest of the toiling masses but in the higher interest of all humanity…
I believe, Your Honor, in common with all Socialists, that this nation ought to own and control its own industries. I believe, as all Socialists do, that all things that are jointly needed and used ought to be jointly owned—that industry, the basis of our social life, instead of being the private property of a few and operated for their enrichment, ought to be the common property of all, democratically administered in the interest of all…
I am opposing a social order in which it is possible for one man who does absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars, while millions of men and women who work all the days of their lives secure barely enough for a wretched existence.
This order of things cannot always endure. I have registered my protest against it. I recognize the feebleness of my effort, but, fortunately, I am not alone. There are multiplied thousands of others who, like myself, have come to realize that before we may truly enjoy the blessings of civilized life, we must reorganize society upon a mutual and cooperative basis; and to this end we have organized a great economic and political movement that spreads over the face of all the earth.
There are today upwards of sixty millions of Socialists, loyal, devoted adherents to this cause, regardless of nationality, race, creed, color, or sex. They are all making common cause. They are spreading with tireless energy the propaganda of the new social order. They are waiting, watching, and working hopefully through all the hours of the day and the night. They are still in a minority. But they have learned how to be patient and to bide their time. The feel—they know, indeed—that the time is coming, in spite of all opposition, all persecution, when this emancipating gospel will spread among all the peoples, and when this minority will become the triumphant majority and, sweeping into power, inaugurate the greates social and economic change in history.
In that day we shall have the universal commonwealth—the harmonious cooperation of every nation with every other nation on earth…
Your Honor, I ask no mercy and I plead for no immunity. I realize that finally the right must prevail. I never so clearly comprehended as now the great struggle between the powers of greed and exploitation on the one hand and upon the other the rising hosts of industrial freedom and social justice.
I can see the dawn of the better day for humanity. The people are awakening. In due time they will and must come to their own.
When the mariner, sailing over tropic seas, looks for relief from his weary watch, he turns his eyes toward the southern cross, burning luridly above the tempest-vexed ocean. As the midnight approaches, the southern cross begins to bend, the whirling worlds change their places, and with starry finger-points the Almighty marks the passage of time upon the dial of the universe, and though no bell may beat the glad tidings, the lookout knows that the midnight is passing and that relief and rest are close at hand. Let the people everywhere take heart of hope, for the cross is bending, the midnight is passing, and joy cometh with the morning.


10 July 2018

Battlestar Galactica: A Timeline

ATTENTION: If you have not seen the two broadcast TV series at least once, STOP reading now; there are spoilers.

ALERT: If you have seen this before, please note changes.  After watching some of the deleted scenes, I have decided they should be included here because most of them are helpful to understanding certain points, and some are just interesting, like the incident where Bill Adama and Saul Tigh meet.  For the most part, they are grouped together in sections and I have placed each group after the last episode in the set.  Also, I have "boxed" Dynamite Entertainment's comic series Battlestar Galactia #0-12.

This is a timeline of broadcast, digital, DVD, and graphic media (comics) of the scifi TV show Battlestar Galactica produced by Ronald D. Moore, abbreviated BSG: TRS (for The Reimagined Series, vs. The Original Series) or BSG: RDM (for Ronald D. Moore).  It is also known as New Battlestar Galactica, versus Classic Battlestar Galactica, especially in comics and novels.  The Original Series premiered in 1978 running through 1979, then came back for a year in 1980.

The pilot miniseries for BSG: TRS came out in December 2013 and was followed by the core series in autumn 2004, which finished in spring 2009.  The webiseries and the TV and DVD movies came out during that run. 

The prequel Caprica premiered in the fall of 2009 and ran through the spring of 2010, and even though Moore was not directly involved himself, it followed the same TRS/RDM continuity. 

The various series of BSG: TRS-related comics, published by Digital Entertainment, began appearing in 2006 and continued through 2009.  The last of these was Battlestar Galactica: The Final Five, the official backstory of the Final Five Cylons.  In 2014, the company published a miniseries on the backstory for Number Six of the Significant Eight Cylons.  Then Dynamite Comics took over and published Battlestar Galactica: Twilight Command in 2019.

Entries below in standard font are video, while those in italics are graphic.

The Story of the Thirteenth Tribe

Note: The role of Samuel Anders in issue #3, which takes place on Earth, conflicts significantly with the version of events told in the TV series.

Battlestar Galactica: The Final Five #1-3 (Apr-Jun 2009)

Caprica (broadcast TV: Jan-Mar 2010; Oct 2010-Jan 2011)

Ronald D. Moore has no direct involvment with this series; however, nearly all of the show’s producion crew were veterans of BSG:TRS.  In addition, at least two of the actors in RDM productions of BSG crossed over to Caprica: Carmen Moore, who played Fidelia Faezekas, earlier played Nina Leothe on Blood and Chrome and a priestess on New Caprica (uncredited) in the webseries The Resistance; and Lucianna Caro, who played Kat on BSG:TRS also played Priyah Magnus in Caprica.

Season 1

CAP s01e01e02 Pilot (first released on DVD, Apr 2009)
            Deleted Scenes s01e01e02
CAP s01e03 Rebirth
CAP s01e04 Reins of a Waterfall
            Deleted Scenes 1 (s01e03e04)
CAP s01e05 Gravedancing
CAP s01e06 There Is Another Sky
CAP s01e07 Know Thy Enemy
            Deleted Scenes 2 (s01e05-e07)
CAP s01e08 The Imperfections of Memory
CAP s01e09 Ghost in the Machine
CAP s01e10 End of Line
            Deleted Scenes 3 (s01e08-e10)
CAP s01e11 Unvanquished
            Deleted Scenes s01e11
CAP s01e12 Retribution
            Deleted Scenes s01e12
CAP s01e13 Things We Lock Away
            Deleted Scenes s01e13
CAP s01e14 False Labor
CAP s01e15 Blowback
            Deleted Scenes s01e15
CAP s01e16 The Dirteaters
CAP s01e17 The Heavens Will Rise
CAP s01e18 Here Be Dragons
            Deleted Scenes s01e18
CAP s01e19 Apotheosis

Season 2

This season was, of course, never broadcast or even filmed, but the epilogue “The Shape of Things to Come” inserted at the end of “Apotheosis” provided a brief synopsis of what could have been.  In an April 2011 interview, however, showrunner Kevin Murphy laid out some details of an outline of the series had there been an actual Season 2.  Like the epilogue, the season would have taken place five years after the end of Season 1.

By the beginning of Season 2, Zoe-A (avatar Zoe Graystone) has a cybernetic body, becoming the first post-Thirteenth Tribe skinjob in addition to being the first Cylon in the Twelve Colonies.  In flashbacks, it would be revealed that she encountered Galen Tyrol fishing in a pond in one of the V-worlds, and that after she explained who she was and the problems her parents were having with providing her a body, he gave her a fishing lure, which turned out to be the piece of code they were missing.

Although Murphy did not say so, it is highly likely that the other Avenging Angel, Tamara Adama, would likewise have received a skinjob body for reasons that will be clear below.  The reason no one from the BSG:TRS era knows about skinjobs before the Fall of the Twelve Colonies despite the presence of skinjob Zoe-A (and, presumbably, Tamara-A) was that her/their existence remains a tightly guarded secret that is never made public, known only to the Graystones and Jordan Duram and themselves.

The Global Defense Department agent Jordan Duram, who was Amanda Graystone’s handler as a confidential informant, survives his attempted assassination.  Leaving the GDD, he becomes the head of a group called the Caprica Legionnaires, dedicated to crushing the Cylons before they become a threat to their human masters.  Learning of Zoe-A’s nature, Duram keeps her secret on the condition she join his unit.

Lacy Rand heads the Monad Church with Odin Sinclair as her deputy, and uses the U-87 model Cylons loyal to her to keep the peace on Gemenon.

Clarice Willow is a wanted terrorist, a Cylon rights activist, and head of a church for Cylons in V-world where they can go when they are powered down.

Lacy and Clarice become allies of convenience.

Mother, the former head of the Monad Church, wants back in power.  Daniel Graystone, worried about the threat on Gemenon from Lacy and Clarise, reluctantly sides with her.  This causes friction with Zoe-A, who still considers Lacy her best friend.

With all of this going on, it is easy to see how the First Cylon War broke out within a few years.

Joseph Adama carries on an affair with Fidelia Fazekas, head of the Ha’la’tha.

It was discussed, but not yet decided, that Zoe-A would become the archetype for Number Six and that Tamara-A would become the archetype for Number Eight, in the same way that Ellen Tigh’s father, John Cavil, served as the archetype for Number One.  Clearly, this can only mean their personalities rather than their physical appearance.  With Tamara-A as the archetype or template for Number Eight, that would explain CMDR, later ADM, Adama’s strong affinity for Sharon Valerie as both Boomer and Athena.  In addition, Daniel, the lost Number Seven, may have been based on or at least named for Daniel Graystone; Ronald D. Moore mentioned in an interview that there was a connection between this Daniel and the series Caprica.

(First) Cylon War

Battlestar Galactica: Cylon War #1-3 (Jan-Mar 2009)

Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome #1-10 (webseries, Nov-Dec 2012)
            Deleted Scenes Blood and Chrome

Battlestar Galactica: Origins #5 (Adama #1, May 2008)

Battlestar Galactica: Cylon War #4; Apr 2009

Battlestar Galactica: Razor Flashbacks #1-7 (webseries, 5 Oct-16 Nov 2007)


Battlestar Galactica: Origins #6 (Adama #2, May 2008)

Battlestar Galactica: The Final Five #4 (Jul 2009)

Battlestar Galactica: Origins #7 (Adama #3, Jul 2008)

Battlestar Galactica: Zarek #1-2 (Dec 2006)

Battlestar Galactica: Origins #9-11 (Starbuck & Helo #1-3, Sep-Oct 2008)

Battlestar Galactica: Zarek #3 (Mar 2007)

Battlestar Galactica: Season Zero #0-12 (May 2006-Jun 2007)

Battlestar Galactica: Six #1-5 (Apr-May 2014)

Battlestar Galactica: Origins #1-4 (Baltar #1-4, Jan-Mar 2008)

Battlestar Galactica: Origins #8 (Adama #4, Jul 2008)

Fall of the Twelve Colonies (Second Cylon War)

Battlestar Galactica: Pegasus (one-shot, Nov 2007)

Battlestar Galactica: The Miniseries (broadcast TV, 8-9 Dec 2003)
            Deleted Scenes Miniseries

Battlestar Galactica: Zarek #4 (Apr 2007)

Battlestar Galactica: Ghosts #1-4 (Oct 2008-Jan 2009)

Battlestar Galactica: The Reimagined Series (broadcast TV, Oct 2004-Mar 2009)

Season 1 (18 October 2004-24 Jan 2005)

BSG: TRS s01e01 33
BSG: TRS s01e02 Water
BSG: TRS s01e03 Bastille Day
BSG: TRS s01e04 Act of Contrition
BSG: TRS s01e05 You Can’t Go Home Again
            Deleted Scenes s01e01-e05
BSG: TRS s01e06 Litmus
BSG: TRS s01e07 Six Degrees of Separation
BSG: TRS s01e08 Flesh and Bone
BSG: TRS s01e09 Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down
BSG: TRS s01e10 The Hand of God
            Deleted Scenes s01e06-e10
BSG: TRS s01e11 Colonial Day
BSG: TRS s01e12e13 Kobol’s Last Gleaming
            Deleted Scenes s01e11-e13

Season 2 (15 Jul-23 Sep 2005; 6 Jan-10 Mar 2006)

Note: The comic series Battlestar Galactica #0-12 takes place between “Home” and “Final Cut”, but since it diverges so widely from the Season 2 timeline, the overall continuity of BSG:TRS, and the Caprica showrunners’ plans to have Number Eight based on Tamara Adama, I’ve boxed it, so to speak.  Especially since it also conflicts with some of the reveals in Seasons 3 and 4.  But it is a good read nonetheless.

BSG: TRS s02e01 Scattered
BSG: TRS s02e02 Valley of Darkness
BSG: TRS s02e03 Fragged
BSG: TRS s02e04 Resistance
BSG: TRS s02e05 The Farm
            Deleted Scenes s02e01-e05
BSG: TRS s02e06e07 Home
BSG: TRS s02e08 Final Cut
BSG: TRS s02e09 Flight of the Phoenix
            Deleted Scenes s02e06-e09
BSG: TRS s02e10 Pegasus
BSG: TRS s02e11e12 Resurrection Ship
BSG: TRS s02e13 Epiphanies
            Deleted Scenes s02e11-e13
BSG: TRS s02e14 Black Market
BSG: TRS s02e15 Scar
BSG: TRS s02e16 Sacrifice
BSG: TRS s02e17 The Captain’s Hand
            Deleted Scenes s02e14-e17

Battlestar Galactica: Razor (broadcast TV, 24 November 2007)
            Deleted Scenes Razor

BSG: TRS s02e18 Downloaded
BSG: TRS s02e19e20 Lay Down Your Burdens
            Deleted Scenes s02e18-e20

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT: The Plan is a retelling of the events in Seasons 1 and 2 up to the airlocking of the two Numbers Ones on Galactica from a Cylon point-of-view.  If you have not already watched the series all the way through at least once, DO NOT watch The Plan until the end of the series as there are elements that will seriously spoil surprises in the last two seasons.

Battlestar Galactica: The Plan (DVD, 27 October 2009)
            Deleted Scenes The Plan

Season 3 (6 Oct 2006-25 Mar 2007)

We know from Season 4’s “No Exit” (Episode 15) and from Battlestar Galactic: The Final Five #4 that Number One was patterned after Ellen Tigh’s father on Earth, John Cavil (who was originally from Kobol), so when Cavil fraks Ellen on New Caprica, he’s not only frakking one of his mothers but his daughter.  Although in the latter case, he may not have been aware, and since she had not yet resurrected and thereby recovered her lost memories, neither did she.

Battlestar Galactica: The Resistance #1-10 (webseries, 5 Sep-5 Oct 2006)

Battlestar Galactica: Twilight Command #1-5 (Feb-Jun 2019)

BSG: TRS s03e01 Occupation
BSG: TRS s03e02 Precipice
BSG: TRS s03e03e04 Exodus
BSG: TRS s03e05 Collaborators
            Deleted Scenes s03e01-e05
BSG: TRS s03e06 Torn
BSG: TRS s03e07 A Measure of Salvation
BSG: TRS s03e08 Hero
            Deleted Scenes 03e06-e08
BSG: TRS s03e09 Unfinished Business
BSG: TRS s03e10 The Passage
BSG: TRS s03e11 The Eye of Jupiter
BSG: TRS s03e12 Rapture
            Deleted Scenes s03e10-e12
BSG: TRS s03e13 Taking a Break from All Your Worries
BSG: TRS s03e14 The Woman King
BSG: TRS s03e15 A Day in the Life
BSG: TRS s03e16 Dirty Hands
BSG: TRS s03e17 Maelstrom
            Deleted Scenes s03e13-e17
BSG: TRS s03e18 The Son Also Rises
BSG: TRS s03e19e20 Crossroads
            Deleted Scenes s03e18-e20

Season 4 (4 Apr-13 Jun 2008; 16 Jan-20 Mar 2009)

Note: Even though The Face of the Enemy was published on the web between “Revelations” and “Sometimes a Great Notion”, the action takes place in between the latter and “A Disquiet Follows My Soul”.

BSG: TRS s04e01 He That Believeth in Me
BSG: TRS s04e02 Six of One
BSG: TRS s04e03 The Ties That Bind
BSG: TRS s04e04 Escape Velocity
BSG: TRS s04e05 The Road Less Travelled
            Deleted Scenes 04e01-e05
BSG: TRS s04e06 Faith
BSG: TRS s04e07 Guess What’s Coming to Dinner?
BSG: TRS s04e08 Sine Qua Non
BSG: TRS s04e09 The Hub
BSG: TRS s04e10 Revelations
            Deleted Scenes s04e06-e10
BSG: TRS s04e11 Sometimes a Great Notion

Battlestar Galactica: The Face of the Enemy #1-10 (webseries, 12 Dec 2008-12 Jan 2009)

BSG: TRS s04e12 A Disquiet Follows My Soul
BSG: TRS s04e13 The Oath
BSG: TRS s04e14 Blood on the Scales
            Deleted Scenes s04e11-e14
BSG: TRS s04e15 No Exit
BSG: TRS s04e16 Deadlock
BSG: TRS s04317 Someone to Watch Over Me
            Deleted Scenes s04e15-e17
BSG: TRS s04e18 Islanded in a Stream of Stars
BSG: TRS s04e19-e21 Daybreak
            Deleted Scenes s04e19-e21

03 July 2018

Scottish Independence, Marxism, the Middle Class, and the Rapture

There is no reason, and the truth is plain to see.

Early one morning
In the middle of the night
Two dead boys came out to fight
A deaf  policeman heard the noise
And came out to shoot the two dead boys
If you don’t believe my story is true
Ask the blind man; he saw it too

Here’s another nursery rhyme now being taught in America’s pre-schools, kindergartens, and elementary schools: 

Lockdown, lockdown, lock the door
Shut the lights off, say no more
Go behind the desk and hide
Wait until it’s safe inside
Lockdown, lockdown, it’s all done
Now it’s time to have some fun

How would you like to have had to learn that one at those ages?  How safe and secure and open to learning would that have made you feel?

In an interview by Suzi Weissman for Jacobin Radio of David Graeber about his most recent book, Bullshit Jobs, Graeber critiqued what I have always seen as one of the major shortcomings of Marx and Marxism.  That failing is Marx’s restriction of the definition of what constitutes the proletariat to industrial workers and the corresponding definition of what constitutes “work” to physical production of goods.  That definition has sent many a Marxist theoretician into very ludicrous convolutions of logic.  Not only that, but it has served to divide the actual proletariat against itself and lent rhetorical support to capitalism by that very definition.  It also, as Graeber pointed out, contributes to anti-feminism and toxic masculinity.

As I and others have pointed out, the term “proletariat” derives from the name for the Roman lowest class, the proletarii, which owned little or no property, at least not any kind of surplus property.  In Marxist terms, personal property only but no private property, which would in fact in the last two centuries take in most of the so-called middle class.  So, from now on can we just accept that the term proletariat takes in all those people, instead of doing the neoliberal capitalists’ work for them?

The whole idea of “middle-class” is a fiction meant to convince the upper working class house slaves that their  interests lie with the masters rather than with their fellow slaves toiling in the fields, a pretence to which all too many of them cling, like the ungrateful servant.

I’d like to remind everyone that, with the notable exception of its patriarch, the members of the Manson Family, especially the women, came from this fictional middle class.

Keeping in mind my more pragmatic definition of the word proletariat, let me paraphrase one of my favorite passages from Martin Luther King’s writings.

The proletariat’s great stumbling block in its stride toward freedom is not the Americans for Prosperity or the American Legislative Exchange Council, but the so-called middle class, which is more devoted to order than to justice; which prefers the absence of tension to the presence of justice; which constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; which paternalistically believes it can set the timetable for other’s freedom; which constantly advises the proletariat to wait for a “more convenient season”.  To which I add, “and in doing so ensures its own destruction”.

I finally figured out the meaning of the Parable of the Talents in the Gospel of Matthew.  A rich man going away gives three servants different amounts of talents—talent being a measure of currency in the first century—the first five, the second three, and the third just one.  The first two invest and profit, the third hides his portion in order not to lose it.  For this, the third has the one talent taken from his and he is cast out.

This parable is certainly not a defence of capitalism, which would not exist for another millennium or fifteen hundred years, depending on whether you date capitalism from the development of the finance system still used by the world’s banks during the Crusades or the sale of the first stocks at the dawn of the so-called Age of Exploration.  The two servants who sell and make a profit in this story are just stick figures. 

The focus of the parable is on the last servant, the one who fears his master will be angry if he loses his portion and therefore buries it.  The story is not about profit.  The story is about the consequences of not acting in defense of our fellow humans in hopes of maintaining that which we have been given rather earned and do not necessarily deserve.  Like the so-called middle class, also known as the house slaves of capitalism or the upper working class, all too often does with respect to the proletariat.

Remember Noami Shulman’s words from Novermber 2016:  “Nice people make the best Nazis.  My mother spent her childhood in Nazi Germany surrounded by nice people who refused to make waves; who looked the other way and focused on happier things than ‘politics’ when things got ugly.  They were lovely, kind people who turned their heads as their neighbors were dragged away.”  Don’t forget to step up, to resist; the life you save may be your own.

Thoughts of suicide can inspire creative solutions, but if the danger to oneself from oneself is a very real threat and not just a mere bluff.  One’s will to survive must be stronger than both one’s desire to live and one’s fear of death.  A hunger strike, for instance, is not about surrender but about resistance.  In some cases, not committing suicide out of a fear of death is as much of a cop out as committing suicide out of a fear of life. 

To an insecure person, asking what another needs or wants rather than telling them what they should do, and forcing them to do it heedless of whether it is the correct path, is a sign of weakness, and by following this line of thought, they turn themselves into a monster preying upon a victim.

If the eschatological fantasies of Christian evangelicals were true and the Rapture which they for which they hope so they can go to heaven without the transition of death out of their fear and lack of faith, not accepting that they have to die in order to live, that nirvana is samsara, and that damnation comes before salvation, I’d have to say, Sorry, Jesus, my friend, but if you take all of these, there will be no one to suffer with those left behind, and besides, I’d rather laugh with the righteous sinners than sing with the sanctimonious saints.  I want to care like a demon and fight like the devil. 

Jesus, looking at me, winked with a smile, and told me that removing all of these smug, self-righteous, priggish little shits who cling in vain to their surety and their wealth for security as both weapon and shield against the Other from the backs of those upon whom they look down was succour for the suffering of their victims.  Fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke, he said behind his red mask as he took them away to the sanctuary of a solitary confinement where they will be just as safe from all that they fear and loathe as were the guests in Prince Prospero’s abbey.  If they miss the punchline, he concluded, fuck them all.

Suddenly, Jesus stopped and turned back, saying, And Another Thing...since Make America Gay Again and #LuciferSaved trended on Twitter the same day, 15 June, henceforth world without end let that day be observed as Save Lucifer Day.  Or maybe I should say Save Me, or rather Save Us, Day, since he and I, Lucifer and Jesus, are the same person, melded together in an alloy like white gold, except that in an alloy two separate metals unite to become one while he and I have never been anything but.

I am a Terran, a citizen of Earth.  The whole world is my home, and all its people my brothers, sisters, and cousins, regardless of organic or synthetic origin.  Like our distant cousins on other planets across space and throughout time, we are all children of the universe.  On Earth, there is but one race, the human race.  So say we all.