Monday, October 23, 2006

Freedom Earned By Activists, Not Soldiers

Most of the wars fought by the U.S. have had nothing to do with freeing the U.S. population from government oppression - in fact many of them have been for just the opposite reasons. Whenever the country's citizens were getting too uppity, the government would find another war - any war - to keep us in check with patriotic slogans and the like.

The main point of this post is that activists against the U.S. government and its various terror organizations are the people most responsible for maintaining and in some cases expanding the rights we have today. The women's rights movement, the civil rights movement, the workers rights movement, and many others.

You should know about the workers rights movement and the battle for the eight-hour work day. It was extremely violent and brutal, and occurred over decades. Men, women, and children - often U.S. citizens - were starved and beaten by the U.S. government and the large corporations that worked with the government to keep down the working class. The seminal event in the push for the either-hour work day was the Haymarket Riot, May 4, 1886.

The government manufactured a case against eight of the better-known anarchists in the crowd and sentenced seven of them to death. On November 10, the day before they were to be executed by hanging, one of them killed himself in his cell. Four others were hanged the next day. Three were eventually pardoned after serving about seven years in prison.

This is the power of mass popular movements. According to this page, some striking workers were able to gain some concessions immediately:

On 1st May, 1886 a strike was began throughout the United States in support a eight-hour day. Over the next few days over 340,000 men and women withdrew their labor. Over a quarter of these strikers were from Chicago and the employers were so shocked by this show of unity that 45,000 workers in the city were immediately granted a shorter workday.

All governments will continue to be the enemies of their own citizens.

The next time you get to go home from work after eight hours on the job - think about these activists who were killed, and the hundreds of thousands of activists brutalized and murdered before them who died so we could enjoy a slightly more civilized existence.

@see: anarchism

...updated with more explicit numbers instead of 'several'.

Lenny Bruce

There are so many people we just never hear about because the grade schools in America are set up to prevent us from learning anything useful. People who are monumental to culture and activist movements will just not be covered at all. People like Lenny Bruce.

I don't know anything about him yet, really, except that he was a comedian, he pushed the limits of free speech, the government hated him, the political police of the U.S. government - the FBI - tracked and terrorized him, and that means he was probably doing something very important and very right.

Looks like there are a lot of books out there - a lot of material about Bruce - but here is one that seems to be pretty good. And a quote about the book:

Lenny Bruce opened the doors for all the guys like me; he prefigured the free-speech movement and helped push the culture forward into the light of open and honest expression. I thought I knew his story pretty well, but I learned a great deal from this book. It is a major contribution toward understanding the threat perceived by the “powers” from simple artistic honesty.

—George Carlin

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Russian Futurists - 2 Dots on a Map

Using Songbird today I stumbled upon a couple of great songs at fluxblog. The song I want to briefly expand on is '2 Dots on a Map' by the Russian Futurists. The second song is a Russian Futurists Remix of a Cadence Weapon song called 'Sharks (The Russian Futurists Remix)'.

But '2 Dots on a Map' kind of blew me away. First, it jumps out at you like you already knew it. But then it does some funky indy rock stuff that just sounds cool as all get out, and the lyrics end up crushing you - especially if you've ever felt the feeling expressed in the song. The lyrics are here:

I'm burning and crashing, I've lost all my passion with age
I'm learning real fast that you can't leave the past on a page
But we're two dots on a map and it seems that without fail
Those inches in between us are really miles when drawn to scale
(We used to laugh, we used to cry)

I'm crashing and burning, my stomach has turned to knots
I'm asking and yearning for you to connect those dots
Because we're wasting our lives and the space between us sings
And if we knew we were dying is this how we'd leave things?
(We used to laugh, we used to cry)

And then you find out the Russian Futurists come out of Toronto, and you're like, 'of course'.

Plenty of good stuff to say about Cadence Weapon, too, but not tonight. :)

...check out the CokeMachineGlow review of the Russian Futurists album. I always find out about this stuff a year and a half late.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Google Programmer Is Blind

Well, sometimes you just like a little inspiration-slash-guilt trip to get up off your ass. Here's one.