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Y'know, I really am jealous of the Greeks – not because of the shape their economy's in, nor because of their government's servility to capital, nor because of the state-imposed "austerity" programs they struggle against. I'm jealous of the Greeks because they haven't forgotten how to fight in the streets. Meanwhile, in the USA, "progressives" are "fighting" the imminent loss of hard-won social safety nets by waving signs, having teach-ins, and voting Democratic. C'mon, America – off your ass and into the streets. It's time to get your Greek on!

16 May 2011



Comments

Yeah, an American jealous of Europeans, believe it or not. Ain't that some shit?

I've been lucky enough to see a good chunk of Europe, and had a great time, every time. Spent a week in Barcelona, one of the coolest cities I've ever been in. Loved the Picasso Museum; imagine my delight when I discovered that Picasso illustrated his era's equivalent of radical "zines" in his youth.

And, don't get me started about Paris, or France in general. The architecture is better, the art is better, the food is better, and the women are hotter. Being in Paris was like being on a date with the hottest chick in the whole school -- you didn't care if you didn't get to fuck her, or kiss her, or even touch her; it was enough just for your friends to see you out on a date with her. Visiting the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay was like being at a party with every famous person I ever wanted to meet, including my own personal hero, Daumier, imprisoned for doing nasty cartoons about King Louis-Phillipe.

My wife and I have had Rome on our list for awhile, but travel to Europe from the US is a bit expensive, even though we aren't exactly hurting for cash. My own personal mission's been to personally view all the art I saw on slides in Art History class back in college.

I've been trying to talk my wife into a trip to England, but she's not having it. She once was sent to London on a work-related trip, and says that it was "boring". A shame, really, as there are so many historic places in England I've wanted to see -- Stonehenge, Trafalgar Square, the old Shakespearan threatre in Stratford, the crosswalk the Beatles walked across for the "Abbey Road" cover.

The big thing, though, is that they aren't nearly as afraid of street action as US activists. European protests don't seem to stigmatize fighting the police as much as they do here. Hell, you guys even have a fully-functioning Left over there -- unlike the US Left, which is a shadow of a shadow of itself, a Left so lame that the Lefts in other countries laugh at it behind its back.

Things that quickly fill the streets with hell-raising -- and rightly so -- in Europe barely raise a peep of protest over here. The Liberals and "progressives" in the USA seem perfectly content with the USA murdering and torturing overseas, and oppressing and robbing its own citizens at home, as long as it's a Democratic Party government doing the bombing and murdering and torturing and stealing and oppressing. I could see this in the way the US peace movement turned out to be almost entirely phony, nothing but a mass of partisan Liberal Democrats who weren't so upset over imperialism and warmongering as much as that it was a Conservative GOP government doing it; as soon as the Democratic Party took over the Presidency in '08, pretty much the entire US peace "movement" folded up its signs and banners and went home, and those of us who really cared about ending war, imperialism and torture -- no matter which party was doing it -- were left hanging out to dry.

So, yeah, I really am jealous of the Europeans, because they have no problem with fighting in the steets for what's right. We've turned into a nation of doormats over here.

17 May 2011

You won't hear that very often - an American jealous of Europeans :) My vote.

17 May 2011

Yeah... I have a special jealousy reserved for the Brits, for turning out in such force despite struggling under a degree of authoritarianism even worse than the USA.

The sad thing is that if you look at the history of the USA over the past century -- the labor struggles of the 1930s, and the antiwar and Black Liberation movements of the 1960s -- you can see that we really were good at fighting in the streets, but since the 1970s, several generations of activists buying into the dogma of "nonviolence" and "working within the system" have pretty much bred the fight out of us. The anarchists had it going on during the Seattle/WTO Rebellion and "A16", but the US anarchist scene seems to have devolved into a circuit of endless consulta, conferences and vegan potluck dinners.

My wife, who's about ten years older than I, helped organize student strikes against the Vietnam War at her university; her favorite joke is that she took a double major in Political Science and Agitation. In May of 1970, shortly after the shooting of four students at Kent State University by the Ohio National Guard, Washington DC (my hometown) was spontaneously flooded with thousands and thousands of students and citizens engaging in all manner of protest, disruption and a little good old-fashioned rioting, making the city ungovernable for several days. My wife -- who is, these days, your standard-issue Old Liberal -- deplored what happened here then because there was, in her words, "no organization". I told her that I believed that what happened then needed to happen, and that it was the best possible kind of action -- the kind where people understand their duty, and simply show up on their own to do what needed to be done, without any kind of central authority or "organization". I told her that real revolution is often something organic, chaotic, and messy, and that the Peoples' struggles weren't going to be won by a bunch of rich white Liberal college students with a parade permit and a "telephone tree". Needless to say, she was none to pleased with this opinion.

I think the struggle against the looming "austerity" in the US needs to be fought the way it's being fought in places like England, France, Spain, and Greece -- with general strikes, massive disruption and disobedience, and -- dare I say -- a touch of corporate property destruction and some rioting here and there (I've heard it said that rioting is "a class act"), anything and everything that helps to disrupt business as usual, and impede the work of the State. Instead, US "progressive" activist action -- the recent flare-ups in Wisconsin notwithstanding -- has primarily consisted of sign-waving rallies, petitions, Facebook pages and expressions of support for the Democratic Party and Liberal politicians in next year's "elections".

17 May 2011

Thanks for the support, Mike. While it's true that an active amount of Greeks frequent the streets, it's also true that the majority amount seems to suffer from a toxic mix of guilt and depression, shying from actually putting in the streets the numbers needed to actually made the difference. Meanwhile, we ourselves are jealous of the occasional Londoners who might not be every week in the streets, but when they do they number a cool half million protesters just for breakfast!

17 May 2011

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