Category: Ideas


Very recently, the student newspaper at Rutgers New Brunswick, The Daily Targum, published this editorial about the recent tuition freeze that was won by the students, who had the audacity and gall to aim their complaints directly at Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa.

http://www.dailytargum.com/article/2015/11/us-students-too-complacent-with

I largely agree with this article and offer my explanation as to why such things do not occur in America as well.

From what I can tell, the problem for student activists here in America is a lack of diverse messaging, as hinted at in the article. We seem to accept activism of only one kind from our prospective recruits: either radical/grassroots, or reformist/legislative, but not both. We can’t seem to strike a balance between these two approaches. State- or nationwide legislation-oriented groups butt heads with campus-specific radical groups, to the ultimate detriment, discrediting, and disintegration of both.

We don’t inform people, as this article does, that those who sign petitions are just as important as those who stop traffic with sit-ins, but we also don’t try to convince them that more is needed than a signature. We take no long-term strategy to unite both privileged students and underprivileged students around the issue of tuition gouging—though they definitely are both needed; we can’t expect people working three jobs in addition to going to school full-time to spend their one hour of free time per day tabling, though of course anyone who wants to should do so, or demand that people with no documents expose themselves to arrest—nor do we tie the immediate self-interests of students to the cause of fighting tuition-gouging.

Instead, we try to tie it to collective interests, to selflessness and “injustice,” but the pseudo-libertarian “personal-responsibility”-mongering trolls speak louder than us with their harsh, racist/sexist/homophobic invective to silence the masses and convince them to remain passively and individualistically selfish, and that protest of any kind is a waste of time, and that they should continue to watch out for themselves, even though fighting to freeze tuition WOULD be watching out for themselves and others.

We make no effort to first form a large-scale cohesive radical/reformist student movement that sustains itself after we graduate, based first on “little victories” like longer library hours and leading up to escalation tactics that could serve to challenge the university power structure itself. We instead (as I hinted at earlier) rely on short-term or medium-term successes that are often purely legislative in nature, that require only a vote or a signature from a student to win (and no other student involvement), and that often don’t win or win completely, and any benefits that are won aren’t seen or recognized for months or years, and the credit for winning them goes to the wonderful Democratic politicians who “fight” for us, when in reality we fight for them to do their job, and these same politicians would scarcely do 1/10 for us what we do for them, or bestow us with 1/10 the faith we place in them, in part because “the students” have proven incapable of remaining coherent, self-sustaining, and organized for longer than one generation of students at a time.

This is a critical explanation of why things like what happened in South Africa don’t happen here. There is not enough unity over who the allies are, who the adversaries are, what is needed to win, and what the true obstacles are. This is just my opinion. I love the student movement and believe in its inherent power, and will continue to fight for it, and fight against neoliberal austerity and privatization, against the social stratification, against war, and against the lies and condescending misinformation of our detractors.

Advertisements

I work at a gym and recently a young man came in wearing this t-shirt:

nike unfair shirt

 

Thinking that perhaps I had encountered another member of the anti-sweatshop labor community (though being also confused by the shirt), I asked him, “Hey brother, what’s the deal with that shirt?” He said, “What do you mean?” I took a deep breath and thought to myself, “Mark, it’s your first week working here. Do you really want to bust out labor politics to a customer at your workplace?” So what I said was, “I thought it may have something to do with Nike using sweatshop labor.” I guess my answer to myself was “sure.”

He said, “Um, well as far as I know, it’s like some people are so good at their sport that they have an unfair advantage, that’s what it’s talking about.” I said, “oh, that’s very interesting, I can see that being a good marketing angle.” A little restraint never killed anyone. “Fantastic,” I continued. “My name’s Mark, by the way.” “Kevin,” he replied. “Good to meet you, Kevin. You have a great workout, aight?”

He nodded and scurried off, his brow furrowed but a little smile on his face, as if to say, “as long as I can walk away right now, we’re all good here.”

It seemed odd to have the word “unfair” written on a shirt made by a company so increasingly reputed to abuse its workers. So I did a little research. One of the first and only hits on Google to come up when I searched for “nike unfair shirt” was a tweet by Playfair2012, evidently a UK-based workers’ rights group concerned with the London Games, that read,

#Nike “UNFAIR” branded t-shirts tell the truth about how garment workers are treated. It’s time for Nike to play fair.

It featured the same photo I have provided above. The weirdest thing about it is that it serves as an ad for Nike almost as much as a criticism; was PlayFair actually saying Nike’s intention with the shirt was to acknowledge “the truth”? Probably not, of course. But the rhetoric of the tweet suggests the following: that Nike knows it behaves unfairly towards it workers, and now it’s time for them to act on that awareness.

Rather than the unfairness of its work conditions, what is Nike trying to imply by its use of “Unfair”? As Kevin mentioned above, the idea is that some people are better at things—in this case, sports—than others. Nike wants its potential customers to ask themselves this question: “*Are* some people better than others? Or is it just that they *believe* they are better? Is betterness determined by believing in yourself?” The answer, being yes, then is intended to lead that person to the “how” of the equation. “So *how* do I believe in myself more?”

It’s a good question: how *do* we demonstrate belief in ourselves? By being confident! By showing everyone else that we don’t care what they think of us, by working hard and “faking it til we make it,” and then once we have it, flaunting it.

And what demonstrates confidence? “The apparel doth make the man”! Of course, the jump that Nike wants you to make is that owning a Nike shirt might in some way symbolize your belief in yourself. And then, BECAUSE I believe in myself—of which ownership of this shirt is an expression—I can BECOME one of the “better” people who make life/sports unfair for everyone else! Soon, the word “unfair” will refer to how wearing Nike clothing—and the insane uptick in personal confidence and initiative it creates—gives the wearer an Unfair Advantage in the same way that being bigger, stronger, faster, or leaner can give you an advantage in sports (even though strength is cultivated over years of work and a shirt is purchased in a single afternoon).

Naturally, none of the thought processes I describe above are meant to taken literally as cognizant thoughts. For most of us, purchasing comes down to two things:

A) Does it function the way I want it to?

B) Do I like it (in terms of style/appearance)?

As for A), Nike is a well-known brand of fitness apparel with a huge list of professional sports endorsees and one of the most recognized logos in history. Obviously, the functionality of their products is a given based on their reputation; otherwise, they would not be so successful. Right? (I am, of course, speaking in the reasonable voice of the average thinker). And B)? Well, Nike simply wants you to think, “Yes, I like it,” and to buy the shirt. But what is it you like? What is the “style” they are selling you? The style is the idea that, by getting you to admit that life is unfair, and that unfairness is the result of not believing in yourself, Nike is nice enough as a company to provide you with the means of demonstrating belief in yourself  to such an extent that you have an unfair advantage, and now you yourself must be labeled “Unfair.”

In a 2001 article for CorpWatch, Alicia Rebensdorf describes how companies like Nike and others attempt, with some success, to repurpose the rhetoric of social justice movements aimed at them, to redirect the attention of the consumer away from the claims of a marginal and mercurial anti-corporate minority and towards the entrenched corporate authority figure. As FairPlay2012 above seems to suggest, companies such as Nike can win back their consumers’ credibility by appearing to “own” their shortcomings.

But the real purpose, bigger than asserting “ownership” over claims of foul play (and in part, conceding their validity), is valuable enough to justify any hypothetical cost. Such companies hope to undermine and co-opt the entire idea of social justice, to tie it to the oh-so-marketable state of “coolness,” and to then market themselves as “coolness you can buy,” which engenders buying the product and actively *consuming* it, and deriving a positive feeling and effect from doing so. The idea that it is somehow cooler to eschew the corporate exploiters, to *deprive* yourself of material pleasures, and to say and do negative things about corporations and society, are suddenly cast in a light of ridicule.

In the case of “Unfair,” not only is it “coolness you can buy,” but ability, talent, and hard work, to make yourself “unfair” to play against. The irony is that America possesses so much financial power throughout the world in part because of the neoimperialistic practices—such as worker exploitation—that Nike uses to keep costs down. In having corporations who do business like Nike, America *does*, in fact, make it unfair for much of the rest of the world, who, through poor work conditions and bad pay, are denied the freedom to ever believe in themselves. If they did, it would only be a matter of time before these workers forcibly removed the elite members of their often impoverished societies from power, who allow them, time and time again, to be exploited for the benefit of the richest country on earth, only to be told that “life is unfair, get used to it.”

Although he didn't actually say this. But it's interesting that we would falsely attribute something so defensive of the status quo to the richest man on earth.

Although he didn’t actually say this. But it’s interesting that we would falsely attribute something so defensive of the status quo to the richest man on earth.

Since the way one lives is defined in large part by one’s governmental system, it follows that the presence of government is in every expression of how one lives. What one can do or is not allowed to do is demonstrated in actions such as walking in public, sleeping soundly at night, ordering something online, going to a restaurant, and giving money to charity. The more one defines one’s way of living by means that conform to the prevalent governmental system, the greater is the government aware of how a person lives. Freedoms under a certain form of government, therefore, serve the purpose of shaping the lifestyles of those who live under that government, and the purpose of those lifestyles is to inform the government which freedoms those who live under it choose to utilize.

The freedoms, and the corresponding expression to which they are put to use, allow the government to know how people are living, and it is the choices of government that inform those lifestyles: whether they are introduced or discontinued, narrowed or expanded. So the more freedoms we are allowed, the fewer forms of authentic revolt (i.e. freedom against authority) exist. Or rather, the way that freedoms are allowed is to limit and calculate the power of the individual or group to self-determine, outside of accepted norms of freedom.

Put yet another way, when freedom is “allowed,” it is inauthenticated.

For example, we are allowed the freedoms to marry, to work, and to be secure from harm. However, if we choose to exercise our freedom to marry outside of government’s definition of marriage, to set our own terms for our work, or to secure ourselves from harm by way of self-defense measures, certain elements of these “unconventional” lifestyle choices inform the government that we are attempting to self-determine the ways in which these freedoms are manifested. By extension, a lack of unconventionality (a subjective term, of course) in our choices informs the government that we accept the definitions of freedom that have been presented to us.

In effect, this acceptance constitutes acceptance of the entire governmental system. By contrast, those who take issue with marriage laws, labor laws, and gun laws are often at variance with one or another fundamental way that that entire government functions, whether they are aware of it or not. In a democracy, they are against the attitudes of those political demographics that contradict their beliefs. Those who make no distinction between bourgeois and proletarian democracy conceptualize democracy’s main failing as that element of it that allows for a plurality of voices. Those who DO make that distinction will blame their grievance on the failings of whatever group controls the democracy: bourgeoisie or proletariat.

In a totalitarian state as opposed to a democratic one, such unconventional folks as described above are against the individuals who shape public policy; therefore they resent the concept of a government based on a tiny group that controls the freedoms of an entire population. Apt propaganda models necessary for the maintenance of that totalitarian state may succeed in redirecting that individual’s resentment toward herself and at her desire for change, sometimes manifested in the promotion of victim-blaming that characterizes highly hierarchical societies, along with a “that’s just the way it is” and a “strength is acceptance” mentality. That is part of this subject, but worthy of entirely separate discussion.

In a hybrid of democratic and totalitarian, unconventional folks are against both the majority and individuals “at the top.” They are in one way or another against the demographics who accept the state as it is, who assent to it, and who continue to democratically return it to power. And, they are against the small group of individuals who control the government, from within and/or from without.

The demographics who assent to it, however, are always of greater number and constitute “the majority,” otherwise, the system of government as it is or the contentious tenets of it would come to an end. Assent and acceptance manifests itself in every prevailing function of that society: cost and price, culture, work schedules, tax rates, legal systems, social services, labor laws, regulations, education systems, public transportation systems, prison systems, defense spending, all forms of legislation, et cetera. That is to say, if a bus runs late, a prison is overfilled, or a war is being fought abroad, it is because the majority of the population has consented to it or allowed it to reach its current state of function or malfunction. And the voluntary use of any function of that society–as part of one’s lifestyle–represents tacit endorsement of that function.

This applies to elements of society at every level of functionality. Societal elements functioning at a high level, such as America’s system of obtaining lines of credit, its friendliness to business big and small, and its preponderance of low-cost luxury goods, possess an equal level of public consent as those societal elements that function at a low level, such as its “broken” healthcare system, debt-ridden public education system, and police-instigated violence. Efforts to legally reform these elements are welcomed as exercises in democracy; however, attempting to correct these issues in unconventional ways–for example, practicing lay medicine, self-educating or providing education for free, or forming a people’s police force “to police the police”–are widely seen as invalid means of correcting the problem. In fact, they are often viewed as self-serving and counterproductive by those who hold the actions of politicians, not the actions of the people (beyond voting), as the deciding force in the formation of society itself.

The freedoms, then, are aimed at those segments of society that fully accept the governmental system. Altering, expanding, or self-determining freedom (including but not limited to a criminal sense) constitutes rejection of the system. That is the purpose of these freedoms and their use: to demonstrate to what extent each individual consents to her governmental system, and to what extent she disagrees with it, based on her use of them and on which freedoms she uses without compromising either the letter or spirit of their legality.

Those with limited access to freedoms, therefore, are immediately assumed to be less consenting to the governmental system because they use fewer of its freedoms. In truth, some element of “against society-ness” is intrinsic to a person’s ability to take advantage of the benefits of that society. Put in plain English, if a person cannot enjoy the freedoms of a society, that person is against it, either consciously or unconsciously. And the society is against that person. To use a controversial example, a transgender woman of color who lacks the social resources and personal security seemingly reserved for a cisgender white male will necessarily be against those aspects of the society (laws, prejudices, cultural artifacts, et cetera) that create the conditions in which she is deprived of those resources and security.

To draw on our totalitarian example above, it falls on the shoulders of the government to create the ideological conditions by which she blames herself rather than her governmental system. By this means, it can maintain both her inability to access freedom (because it is never demanded) and her status as an aberration or “other” within “mainstream” society.

In countries with absent, inefficient, or in-transition governments, the way people live is determined by the prevalent conflicts of the time. Inaccessibility to public services informs the individual’s “decision” to tighten her financial belt, while street violence in the midst of armed conflict informs her “decision” to keep her children home from school. In this way, it is the form of government (a government of austerity, or a lack of government entirely) that defines (read: controls) her lifestyle choices.

Armed conflict is the conflict between two groups or forces of the populace, whether advocating for the liberation of one segment of society or death to another (Left-wing or Right-wing). Both sides believe “their way” (which is really the way of the leaders and firstly of the ideology itself) is better and more just, or will lead to more power, influence, and personal security, or a confluence of these two motivating factors.

To get back to our original idea: to notice what’s not there is to feel aware of the presence of government in a purchase, an object, a decision, a piece of culture, an outlook, an alliance, a prejudice, or a hope/despair–in a freedom–and though that presence can’t be proven or seen to be an objective force, to know that it wouldn’t have been made or exist without the influence and contrivances of government, and that the government knows about it because if couldn’t know about it, it would not allow it.

As a hermeneutic device, this noticing provides us with the ability to identify by counterexample those aspects of our ideas, possessions, and behaviors that are self-manifested and that challenge the intended definitions of freedom, constituting a self-manifested freedom, existing outside the view of the government, until the noun reaches that point when no governmental presence can be noticed by looking at it or experiencing it. And then we will know we have a true freedom transcending all possible rules of allowance by any governmental system or any aspiring one. We must be ready to defend it immediately from the government and its civilian agents, whatever its form or forum, for it is at this point that the communication runs in the opposite direction, and in the direction it must run: instead of the government dictating to us the ways in which we can live our lives to the end, WE will be dictating to THEM the manner in which their rule will come to an end. The only type of freedom that can destroy both the totalitarian oligarchy and the chokehold of manufactured majoritarian consent and create the world we want—where the purpose of government is to protect our ability to self-manifest our freedoms and concomitant lifestyles—is that which is not an allowance on the part of the government, but a demand on the part of the people for freedoms that are their own ends, not means by which to control us, unnoticed.

WE NEED A ROCK BAND UNION!!!
a pamphlet by Mark Ludas

For too long, rock bands have relied on outdated, pop-culture ideas of fame to direct their efforts towards “success.” Gone are the Jimi Hendrixes, the Robert Plants, the Beatles, the Lovin’ Spoonfuls. Here are the Maroon 5s, the Coldplays, the Paramours, and the Evanescences, taken up by massive billionaire record companies, forced into creative and financial corners by A&R departments, and squeezed for every last cent of their worth before being either tossed aside or relegated to Top 40 radio mediocrity, their rock as dead as the dream itself.

Gone are venues like the Fillmores or Whiskey-a-Go-Gos or CBGBs of the past, scouring the East and West alike for new rock talent, booking them incredible shows and even residencies, and providing financial compensation worthy of groundbreaking new music. Now, we have venues scattered about like spiders in a massive web, extorting money from artists in a heinous scam called Pay-to-play (PTP), where young bands place their scarce dollars into the hands of the venue-owners for one meager show and are expected to sell tickets to that show despite the contradiction of being young and without an established public to purchase the overpriced tickets to see an underdeveloped band at an unknown venue, often in MiddleofNowheresville, USA.

It is not wrong for a band to want to play a show. It is wrong for venues to expect the bands to pay for it. A venue constitutes the means of production: the capital (real estate) required for the public performance of music. Venues, like any other real estate, have multiple means of producing income: admission fees, food and beverage sales, alcohol sales, equity. Not without effort, the cost of real estate generally increases.
A band has very few resources or sources of income. A band expends its labor-power to play the show, loading vans with heavy black boxes, setting up, playing the music of their hearts, breaking down, and leaving. But there is unpaid labor still when they are required to promote the show themselves. And what are they promoting? Their band? Their music? Their talent? No. To the venue-owner, they are only promoting the venue.

This has the counterproductive effect (for the artist) of alienating the potential audience from seeing the band play. Pay-to-Play tickets are often overpriced: 10 dollars or more, to see, as I said, an underdeveloped band (established bands rarely do PTP) at an un-notable venue (large venues rarely use it either). And those who do pay will rarely pay more than once. A band that plays 2 or more shows per month will rarely receive more than one unique ticket-buyer per show after the first, because that’s too many shows and too much money to shell out, even for moral support.

Let’s say for one show, the band puts up 200 dollars in exchange for thirty tickets. The band gets paid after selling 10 tickets. In order to BREAK EVEN, the band needs to sell twenty tickets. Any money they make after that is “profit” for the band (and sometimes, the band is only entitled to a percentage of this amount). So, in order to “make” ANY MONEY AT ALL, the band is forced to “promote themselves,” usually amounting to asking friends and familymembers to buy tickets to the show. Because the price is not worth the product, this alienates these audience-members from the idea of seeing the band play for their music, and compels them to do it largely as a favor, or in the case of parents, for moral support.

They go to the show, but none of the money they spend goes to the band. It all goes to the venue, as does any food or drink money spent there. So, all promotion for this type of show is, in fact, promotion for the venue above and beyond any exposure it gets the band. Since the shows are Pay-to-Play, and most of the other bands are in the same boat, and well-established bands don’t need Pay-to-Play venues to get gigs, the value of this exposure is dubious, since the band is mainly being “exposed” to other young bands and alienated and uninterested audience-members who AREN’T there for the music but rather as a favor to someone.

The prospect of so-called “profit” as mentioned above is also false. The band is spending time, effort, and money just going about the task of selling the tickets and promoting (ostensibly) their show. This is actually a further expenditure of uncompensated labor-power on the part of the band. Were this a “conventional” show where the venue has a Promoter working for them who promotes the show, and the artist received either a guarantee or a percentage of the door, the time and effort the band put forth promoting the venue in a PTP scenario could be put towards rehearsing music, getting other shows, making and selling merchandise, networking, or a host of other activities that actually increase their value as a band and are themselves not net expenditures.
Further, few bands actually sell all of their tickets. Hence, the ability to earn back the band’s investment, plus any overhead costs (travel, gear repair, guitar strings and drumsticks, et cetera) is dependent on their ability to sell merchandise. This merchandise is, itself, a further expense, and often requires the assistance of an unpaid “merch girl” (I am not making this term up) who sits at gigs and sells CDs, t-shirts, pins, and other items to genuinely enthusiastic music fans, most of whom are young and unmoneyed. The band’s ability to recoup its financial losses are dubious at best; the uncompensated expenses in time and labor-power cannot be recouped.

Touring while playing such gigs is a guaranteed loss-creator, because the value of the exposure at PTP gigs is so severely limited. There is an aggregate value to the band playing the shows in that its performances grow tighter, but this could be accomplished in extended rehearsals, without paying for high travel expenses and enriching greedy venue-owners in West Bumble-F, USA.
There is another version of PTP that I call Modified PTP, wherein the band puts up no money but is still required to sell tickets and promote the show. Usually, in order to make that so-called “profit,” a higher percentage of tickets must be sold. Therefore, a greater expenditure of unpaid labor-power is required on the part of the band to make any money. Even worse, bands on a night’s bill are often paid according to which band brings in the most audience members, i.e. which bands have done the most promoting of their own show. Rather than alienating potential audience members and creating antagonism between them and the bands as PTP does, Modified PTP pits the band against other bands, when in fact NO band–including the kinda famous one–gets paid the value or anything near the value of the work it is doing because its labor-power must be expended on promotion. Remember that reimbursement is not guaranteed; only ticket sales past a certain amount will create income.

The only bright side of Modified PTP is that notable or famous bands are more likely to play them, hence the possibility of gaining valuable “exposure” goes up. Admittedly, with enough of these gigs, a band can attain adequate exposure to bring in a good amount of people. That band will never headline a show, though, because only famous bands are guaranteed to always bring in enough audience members to reimburse the venue for its expenses. In so doing, they monopolize the amount of money that bands can possibly get paid. Also, as long as bands are willing to accept the terms of PTP, Modified or otherwise, it will always be around.
Truly successful bands don’t really play these kind of gigs; they play venues with guarantees and door percentages. Such venues have promoters who are well paid to create audience inflow. The bands have roadies or techs to do the heavy lifting and setting up, publicists to handle publicity, and booking agents to do the actual booking. All of these services cost money, but the artists aren’t paying for it. Rather, their financial backers cover these costs as an investment, whether they be record companies or talent representatives. Such bands don’t have time to waste on shows that might not produce a high profit margin because these investors expect returns on their investment.

Apologists for the music performance industry as it currently is apply the same concept of “return on an investment” to small club owners. “They have expenses too,” say these apologists, “and if they paid bands fairly, they’d go out of business.” (I will come back to this claim in a moment.) Since club owners invested in music venues and the associated costs, music must create returns on that investment. But, rather than paying for promotion, publicity, heavy-lifting, or booking, the cost they choose to absorb are the costs of owning the means of production, i.e. rent, payroll, property tax, alcohol license, et cetera.
However, these services–promotion, lifting, et cetera–are still required in some form in order for music to take place. Upon whom does it fall to perform them without direct compensation? The artists. Rather than pay artists anything resembling fair compensation for their music alone–which is presumably the commodity the club-owners intended to exploit to earn their returns when they invested in music venues in the first place–they now no longer pay for music, but become alienated to the product the artist produces and see the artist only as a source for as much guaranteed income as possible when traditional means of paying for rent or property tax no longer cut it.

This long-term exploitation limits music’s viability as a livelihood, and with it the artists’ ability to make music for an extended period of time. Club-owners resort to relying on young, unknown acts–who just want a show and don’t know any better–to make their monthly nut, no matter how many pitifully small crowds the bands play to, or how many bands break up after struggling to subsist, considering themselves a failure in the face of a corrupt system because they didn’t “want it bad enough.”

Moreover, it is considered a convention of the times that young bands and musicians must “eat dirt” like this in order to “make their bones,” to “learn the ways of the road,” because that’s “just the way it is” and “the way it’s done.” “Why should you get paid lots of money when you’re untried, un-practiced, un-proven?” apologists say. Like an unpaid internship in an office, or a Production Assistant on a non-union film set, artists are expected to just make music “for the love of it” without any expectation of fair compensation except in the realm of cover band or session musicians. Then, when the idea of fair compensation becomes so far off and outlandish, they give up their dreams of musical stardom and go about “making something of ourselves.” But since when does “for the love of it” mean for free? It would be great if we could all make music and art “for the love of it” indefinitely, but unfortunately, we have material needs, bills, expenses, and the social stigma of unemployment to worry about, just like anyone else. Is life simply a series of compromises, where one trades one’s values for someone else’s in deference to the need to make money, only to become alienated enough from one’s “art” that he or she becomes like the club-owners who created this exploitation in the first place?

A more concrete question: What is the answer? For rock bands, the answer is simple:

UNIONIZE!

What do I mean by “unionize”? I mean we should form a labor union for rock bands. Theoretically, a labor union is an organization dedicated to creating a balance of power between the more-numerous workers and the less-numerous but vastly more financially resourceful employers, or owners of the means of production. This balance is created through the union’s ability to demand certain rights, benefits, and compensations based on their superior numbers and the fact that they possess the skills and knowledge necessary to make business possible.

When your workplace is unionized, it means that the employers must negotiate with the union to create “union contracts,” meaning contracts that apply to ALL employees in that workplace, not just one employee or another, as is usually the case.
Unions also provide a forum for workers to air their grievances regarding the employers and provide resources to best handle the grievances. For instance, if a worker feels he or she has been discriminated against at the workplace, the union can provide the worker with direct guidance regarding his or her rights and legal recourse.

Lastly, unions provide benefits and member services such as healthcare, immigration assistance, pensions, and legal representation. They provide these benefits by collecting dues payments, much of which are also used to maintain organizational infrastructure. The collection of dues also pays into a “strike fund” or “rainy day fund,” to be used in the event of a strike so that workers can continue getting paid while striking, or to handle legal costs in the event of litigation against the union or its members by employers, the government, or other destructive forces. The guiding virtue, and strength, of any union is “The Common Good.” Increased pay and better working conditions more than outweigh the cost of membership in any successful union.

Now, the history of unions in America is extremely long and complicated, with brilliant flashing high points of massive worker power, and miserable humiliating low points of corruption and scandal. But the fact remains that all worker benefits–the eight-hour workday and forty-hour workweek, weekends (yes, weekends!), paid maternity leave, child labor laws, stock options, 401(k)s, fire safety codes, and innumerable others–are the legacy of organized labor in America.

No concession was ever won from an employer without a fight from the workers. Why? Because the intrinsically contradictory nature of capitalism pits the worker against the employer. Workers sell their labor-power to the employer, who buys the labor-power in the form of wages. The employer requires profits to remain in business, and wages are the first and largest depleter of those profits. Therefore, it is always in the immediate financial interest of the employer to keep workers’ wages and benefits as low as possible.

How does all this relate to rock music? Rock bands are being exploited for their labor-power right now! Not only are our wages–or payment for playing shows–being cut, but we are actually PAYING TO PLAY SHOWS! We don’t own capital! We don’t own real estate! We don’t own liquor licenses! We’re lucky enough to be able to afford instruments and the gas in our cars that get us to the gig at all! And WE’RE the ones paying to make music! That’s as backward as a rearview mirror.

A strong union, made up of hundreds of rock artists across New Jersey and beyond, all working to demand good pay for good work and an end to exploitation, could force the exploitative venue-owners to pay us for the labor we sell them, without which rock music would be impossible. If we were to demand the end of Pay-to-Play, vowing that no more rock shows would happen until this demand was met, WE COULD DO IT! Then, we would have a precedent, a demonstration of worker power, that makes our stance clear:

YOU WILL NOT HAVE MUSIC AT THE COST OF OUR LIVELIHOODS!
YOU WILL NOT HAVE MUSIC AT THE COST OF OUR DIGNITY!
YOU WILL NOT HAVE MUSIC AT THE COST OF OUR MUSICAL FUTURES!
YOU WILL NOT!

Some may argue that a unionized rock band workforce, demanding good pay for good work, would put some venues out of business. My answer to that is this: GOOD! Those venues whose monthly nut is dependent on exploitation should never have been in business in the first place. The moment those venue-owners decided to gouge rock musicians instead of cutting corners elsewhere was the moment they became the enemies of rock music.

And you may say, “Well, that’s easy for you to say, you live in the tri-state area where there are plenty of venues everywhere. What about the guy or gal who lives in a one-venue town, who just wants to play a show? Should he or she just not play shows then?”

My first answer to that is this: if that venue wants shows, and they have a monopoly on music in that area, then it will ultimately be profitable to pay musicians fairly because more musicians will want to play there. More people will come to shows FOR THE MUSIC, and not as a favor. Music culture will flourish, and demand will increase.

My second answer: DIY! Do It Yourself! The workers can create their own venues that pay good union wages to bands. Backyards, basements, living rooms, VFWs, public spaces, church basements….the rock bands don’t need the venue-owners for music to happen; just the opposite! Rock lives on whether the exploiters live or die!

Eventually, pro-union venues will arise, whose goal and purpose is to provide a place where exploitation-free rock music always has a home. The network of pro-union artists, venues, and audience-members will provide an alternate marketplace for goods and services, such as instruments and gear, repair, CD manufacture, and recording services. Famous artists will come out in favor of the union, and concerts that are entirely union-run will become commonplace. The massive media and entertainment companies that currently control these resources will be given a run for their money.

If the union became large and strong enough, it could change the entire music industry, allowing musicians of all stripes–everything from pop rock to avant-garde progressive metal–to thrive and produce music on a grand scale, undermining the exploitative, illusion-dependent music industry we have now, where dreams are pedaled to the impressionable, and the prospect of self-caused failure looms at every step, when in fact the system is designed to repress innovation and guts while encouraging conformity and alienation and the ultimate commodification of art that pits band against band.

So what is to be done now? First and foremost, the ideas contained in this pamphlet must be disseminated and talked about far and wide to create support for a rock band union and to identify an active core of union organizers who are willing to put the necessary time and energy into building its strength. Their first priority would be creating an infrastructure to allow rock bands to communicate with each other. A vast online network of bands must share resources and contribute to a common database of venues that pay, venues that pay well, and venues that exploit. The owners of the venues must be researched and that information must be disseminated on the internet. So-called “promoters” must also be databased, and assessed as to which ones actually PROMOTE music, and which ones just take the band’s PTP money, extracting a cut for themselves before handing the rest over the venue-owner, like true “middle-management.”
This information would need to be protected with technical means, because when the union gets any power, the venue-owners and their allies will do whatever they can to disrupt and corrupt it, including misinformation. This is an absolute fact. We must not short-sell ourselves and assume our organization might never be powerful enough to be worth their bother, therefore such security measures aren’t yet necessary. Just the opposite: our organization won’t be fully in power UNTIL our information and resources are secure and UNTIL our message is clear and completely under our control.

After there is a database in the works and communications are functioning full-power, actual membership must be determined. Who is a true member, and who is merely a supporter?

Membership means a level of dedication to certain principles, not willy-nilly “whatever” attitudes that change in a heartbeat based on one’s current needs. Dedication requires a sound understanding of the relevant principles, yes, but also on one’s willingness to ACT on these principles. Hence, a willingness to act in the interests of the COMMON GOOD, not the individual good, is a prerequisite to being considered a union member.
The process of decisionmaking highlights the importance of ascertaining true membership. Members must make decisions about how to proceed democratically, whether to begin having in-person meetings and how to structure and coordinate them, or to stage a protest outside of a non-union venue. A union is always based on worker democracy. Every decision is democratic and every position can be argued for or against without the threat of reprisal of any kind. Sexism, racism, homophobia…these have no place in a union. The purpose of the union is to unite us against the common adversary–the exploiters–not into factions against each other. That is the ultimate goal that must be kept well in mind, and that’s why the COMMON GOOD must be the governing principle for all true members.

This means, then, that if a venue decides to go around the union and hire non-union workers–a practice commonly called “scabbing”–it is our job, not to harass or intimidate these non-union workers, but to educate them about the benefits and prospects of being a member and welcome them into the union. They must be taught to understand the value of long-term goals over short-term immediate gratification: that with full union power and backing, an entire generation of rock musicians, including themselves, could be paid to make music for as long as they choose to make it, rather than a few focus-group-led billionaire record companies funneling all of the money in music to a tiny group of bands and keeping down the innovation that rock music so sorely needs to prevent becoming totally “dead,” if it isn’t already.

Rock band “scabs” will pose an interesting problem, because unlike scabs in conventional workplaces, rock band scabs will not be allowing themselves to be exploited in exchange for money. Also, unlike conventional scabs, non-union rock musicians aren’t taking advantage of the workplace benefits won by unions past (at least not yet. Maybe once the rock band union has won some victories, that will change, and true “scabbing” will take place.)

All these non-union bands want is to play shows, in theory. Their decision not to associate with the union is most likely due to ignorance, not opportunism. They might not know about or understand the rock band union or its goals, or they might have anti-union sentiments, for whatever reason. The single question that they must be asked is, “would you rather pay for a show, or be paid for a show?” “Paid, I guess,” they will say. “That’s all we are trying to accomplish,” is the beginning of their greater understanding, and impending pro-union stance, if not membership.
Then what? The directions the union could take are numerous, and to be decided by its members: whether to legally register with the government as a union, whether to demand union contracts from venue-owners, whether to collect dues in one form or another, and so on.

Probably the first decision to be made, though, is the least important: the name of the union. Having admitted to its lack of importance, I have a suggestion. The first incarnation of the union could be called AURA: Association of United Rock Artists. In New Jersey, it would be called AURA-NJ. And someday, perhaps there will be one AURA local in every state, or every county, or every town where rock music still gasps, screams, and struggles to be heard, and to move people.

Mark Ludas has a B.A. in English from Montclair State University. He has been playing drums for 22 years and has been in various rock bands for 15 of them.

Watched some Bjork, Radiohead, Blur, Garbage, and some other goodies. They reminded me how life back then, for me, was so much simpler. I wasn’t thinking about Syria or Ukraine or South Sudan. Back then, thinking about Beck and how cool he was was enough. And I realized, watching it on a regular basis definitely fed into my later desires to be famous and cool too, whether with my various rock bands, or as a fiction author. I feel that I divested myself somewhat of those misguided motivations, that would have (had they succeeded) propelled me to a pillar-like position of support for a system I now know to be corrupt and wrong. If I had never studied ideology or feminism or anti-imperialism at Montclair State, or become disenchanted with the self-absorbed, honorless world of the publishing industry, I might still be grasping for some semblance of fame-as-itself, some outward recognition and validation, whether the labors for which I received that fame meant anything to me or not.

I continue down the hard path of wanting to do something that means something to me, that is important to me, fulfilling to me, that I “love,” and watching these old videos of old times, old dreams, obsolete and broken, when I drank the spoon-fed syrup of the outwardly disaffected but inwardly hopeful adolescent music fan, came swimming back towards me in a sad way. All I really want now is to do my job, not in the “do your job, earn your living, and the American Dream will come to you” kind of way, but I just want to do something well and help people by doing it. I have not done so in a long time, too long. I just want to be a good personal trainer, not to be a famous author or perform rock shows in bandshells in Denmark or at the Olympics. Or at least, I don’t have to do those things now.

The early 20s seem to be for having great, insane, self-forming times. The mid 20s seem to be for trying to recreate those early good times, and in some ways succeeding, in others failing. The late 20s and early 30s? It appears their purpose is to realize that the old times are gone. How does one react? By giving up and hanging the warmer moments of your life on well-placed pangs of nostalgia? “Make new memories,” say my instincts. How does one most often make new memories at age 31? Marriage, children, and then it’s over. But that’s not me. I don’t want to create another human being to contribute to the current meaning of my own life, nor do I feel it a great gift to create the conditions for reproducing these eventual doubts and fears in yet another maladjusted twit (myself being the first, of course). Bjork and Beck were raised by devil-may-care life-loving artists in the 60s and 70s, when things were “happening.” My children would be raised out of desperation in a time when everything sucks.

A downer attitude, I know, but it is mine to overcome. What kind of a world is it in which we bring people into existence BECAUSE that world is dark and sad? A world tailor-made for failure.

This is a short position paper I wrote for my Pursuits of English class at Montclair State University. It critiques Roland Barthes’ extreme fixation on the audience in his classic essay, “Death of the Author.” I hope it is clear enough.

Barthes: Enabling Market Architecture

Roland Barthes’ anti-author stance enables a view of the reader as the ultimate arbiter of  the use-value of any text. While perhaps successfully attempting to counter capitalism’s emphasis on the author and the commodification (i.e. private ownership) of ideas, Barthes’ monomaniacal focus on the demand (as in supply and demand) of the reader creates a mirror image of the original capitalism problem. Instead of the author-as-individual articulating the needs of society through artistic critique–in order that those needs be addressed through discourse–the owners of the means of production (media magnates who control scores of publishing houses, film production companies, television stations, et cetera) are empowered to entice “society” to articulate the “needs” of the “author-as-machine,” in order for that author to not starve to death, impoverished. Of course, the author’s starvation is the last concern of the magnate, for it is the fulfillment of society’s demand–and the customer is always right–that maintains a steady stream of capital.

“The customer is always right,” is exactly the attitude that Barthes espouses in passages such as, “a text’s unity lies not in its origin but in its destination. Yet this destination cannot any longer be personal: the reader is without history, biography, psychology; he is simply that someone who holds together in a single field all the traces by which the written text is constituted.” The “reader” has no specific identity; the “reader” is both anyone and no one. It falls to the im-”personal” imperatives of the marketer, then, to determine who the readers are and what they want. And what they are determined to want decides not only the task of the author but the tenability of the author’s employment as an author.

The “unity” of a text, a quality which I take as synonymous with and inclusive of “cogency,” “relatability,” “coherence,” and ultimately, “value,” is dependent on the tastes of the reader, and without these qualifiers–all of which are dependent on cultural conventions–the text lacks “unity,” and therefore lacks “value” from either an artistic or capitalist standpoint.

This is the basis of consumerism: a culture of broad-based marketing to as many people as possible, starting with financially privileged white males, ages 18-39, but ultimately fulfilling the cultural expectations of whatever strata of society have proven themselves commercially exploitable. For example, by reflecting the conventionalized expectations of African-American audiences, Black Entertainment Television (BET) maintains a steady market for products aimed at African-American audiences. Such marketing to a specific segment of society only becomes a viable and worthwhile investment when members of that segment prove themselves a financially capable target market (often made so with myriad predatory banking practices, among other exploitation, prior to any demonstrable entrance into the middle classes).

This step in capitalism is the only point at which a racial minority or other marginalized group is recognized in the Hegelian sense as a true segment of Human Society. The mentality is, “Yay, I’m a genuine human being now because I’m being marketed to and can make a bunch of white rich people richer.” Yet such demand is only maintained by meeting the conventionalized expectations of the assumed readers of that segment, or put differently, by identifying a stereotype that favors the existing power structures–racial, gender, sexual orientation, religious, and above all, consumerist, upon which the power of the owners of the means of production is based–refining and rearticulating the characteristics of that stereotype over time, and succeeding in marketing it to the newly recognized, financially viable target market.

In other words, overemphasis on the reader reduces human freedom to the right to be on a focus group, reduces ideas to commodities owned and manipulated by corporations, and reduces the artist herself to another monopolized component of the means of production (artist-as-machine).

Guilt

It’s impossible that a man with guilt can live up to his full potential. His life consists of so many aches, such persistent doubt, that each glimmer of his true purpose in life is undermined. He identifies himself with his guilt, diminishing the influence of his positive qualities over the direction of his thoughts. Every chance to judge himself as inadequate, untrustworthy, ill-equipped, is another chance for him to prove to himself that he is as bad as he knows he is.
Guilt darkens his decisions with the shadow of doubt; it confines his confidences to a Kantian lockbox, wherein the truth of the matter is sealed and beyond the scope of the knowable. He feels the only thing his concepts penetrate is himself, and that assessment is always the same: I know that I am bad. With that precept firmly implanted, he suspends all others and rejects creative evolution. What is there, he says, to know about me that I don’t know already?
Thus, guilt is a tyranny, crippling his sense of self-worth, of ability, for doing is not simply acting, engaging, or performing. To do is to invite occasions for more guilt, more condemnation and more disappointment from himself and others. And since he knows his kind is what’s wrong with the world, he can’t help but find within himself an ethical impulse to hinder his own movements, his own progress, for the sake of all mankind.
So, what man with guilt could truly fulfill his full potential? Any guilt at all, to any degree, hinders him to that degree. To the degree that he is hindered, society succeeds at advertising its myriad comforts—food, religion, family, alcohol, television, pharmaceuticals—to the same degree, for society knows that man’s own sense of inadequacy and inequity is the reason he needs anything.
Hence, guilt is necessary for society. Guilt—knowledge of failure—creates limits for success. A man is only limited by the degree to which he knows himself a failure, and to which he believes he could have a positive effect on the world. To him, life is a wafer made out of the unknown, whose eating combined with the mechanisms of his unfettered body guarantees the creation of something positive. The truly guiltless man eats hundreds of wafers a day.
Raw guilt is a spiritual famine. A starving spirit never reaches heaven, not even in death, for its tethered body is a weight, trudging on robotic legs through life only to collect dust, seeing its earthly tenure as a freak occurrence in the light of an otherwise perfect and benevolent Nature. His life consists of one prolonged failure and the neverending quest of self-escape.
Everything he does is based on the premise that he can’t succeed at anything because something bad in his past has predetermined his net effect on the world. With such implications come a dedication to the distinct categories of right and wrong, and an assumption of authority on them. On his own authority, he damns himself and condemns himself to a dissonant, detached existence that carries on like a prison sentence about which he can say nothing, and so he carries on in silence.
His dependence on his guilt for any semblance of certainty in his life is manifested most bluntly in the destruction of compassion. He takes to his comforts—food, religion, family, et cetera—and imbues into them all of the love he would have had for himself if he wasn’t completely self-hating, only to then destroy any solidarity between himself and the rest of the starving world. And all because he knows what’s right, and what’s wrong; he can’t let go of that knowledge. Because his life is series of nightmares, he sleeps well only after killing something else.
Meanwhile, the guiltless man sees himself as having been borne of his own will, and every action thusly thereafter.
The truly guiltless man moves across the earth like a bullet; he explodes, launches forward, and continues until he is met with a body whose mass exceeds his own. Nothing else can stop him. He ignores the power of societal strictures, moral and ethical implications; they have no bearing on his concept of success. Others of his kind are his peers but they are also nothing; friendship or enmity with them depend on whether they contribute to his zeal, detract from it, or have no effect.
People who have no effect are meaningless to him; he doesn’t even waste time with contempt. People who contribute to his zeal are potential friends but possible future adversaries, so he chooses wisely if at all. He remains most keenly aware of those people who detract from it, for they are the most important. If they also live without guilt, they live without scruples. The will to fulfill one’s full potential—the ultimate potential—must be unbound by any static moral code. Understanding that “the only constant is change,” is first prerequisite to true life without guilt (since guilt suggests a static moral principle). Hence, those who meet that prerequisite are the most, the only, danger to a guiltless man.
But in general he ignores all of them. His goals are self-defined and self-dependent; they have nothing to do with anyone else. He knows what he needs almost intuitively, or he obtains it through the necessary education. He uses connections, acquaintances, old friends, professors, and without guilt, his exploitation knows no bounds. The divestment of compassion is apparent in his case too, but it is, or it seems to be, borne of a lusty spirit, not an embitterment.
But is this man without guilt? Is he truly guiltless? Perhaps he swallowed the wafer, but only once. For the truly guiltless man ignores societal strictures; profit is not his measure of success, of fulfilled potential. Money is just another comfort, advertised to soothe the pain of guilt. What is the measure? Self-determination. The man himself knows, no one else.
Can a man live without guilt? Would an undisciplined child grow up to do great things? Perhaps, but he or she would possess an adversity, for guilt is also the spine of learning. Momentary, perhaps, but that guilt is not a spark; it is a scratch on the soul of a child. It keeps a boy from injuring another, or a girl from talking behind someone’s back. Guilt, then, is a taught (and taut) awareness of societal values.
Every lesson learned about what not to do is, in fact, a preserved and stored guilt. Like salted meat for the winter, salted guilt feeds one’s life in lieu of the other kind of food. The wafer feeds with purest life, life in the ideal, tasteless and hence encompassing all taste, sizelessly encompassing all appetites, an object of such pure self-awareness that the subject’s existence and essence precede neither one nor the other, but ARE one, for to exist without guilt is to self-define the essence indefinitely, not desultorily.
This presupposes that one desires such a level of self-determination. Fresh life may prove too rich. So the strips of guilt, sliced from the beast of Necessary Evil, salted, and hung to dry in the attic, suffice to feed the hungry soul that opts for directive over decision. One bite, and in any situation…suddenly, what to do becomes clear. What did mama tell you not to do? The opposite of that is the answer, recollected because you recollect the guilt you felt when she yelled at you, “No!”
Were it not for these necessary guilts, containing the gristle of social fiber, the souls who can’t stomach the wafer would starve, neither doing nor reacting, leading nor following. Perhaps it’s necessary, then, that we possess the guilt, for if all men lived up to their fullest potential, aside from an economic capacity—if all men had no fear, no pre-concern for societal norms and dictates—all men would be equal, or at least on equal footing, and in equality, how would we know who the winners are? How would we prevent anarchy and injury to innocent people? What would become of innocence in a world without guilt?
The answer? If we’re equal, you don’t have to worry.

White privilege is the result of the dictatorship of mankind’s irrational fears and prejudices upon society, instead of the ideals of law. How often has mankind used his abilities for purely good, selfless acts? Very seldom. As the arbiters of cultural norms, the same class of people who would’ve owned slaves in the 1800s currently decides the nature of our society’s moral identity. Members of the arbiter-class possessing the greatest level of advantage influence common policy in order to maximize and prolong that advantage, and every substratum of that class shares in the advantages of being associated with the arbiter-class.

Systemic change must come from the solidarity between the socially criminalized (in this case, the non-white) and the white witnesses to the injustice of this so-called advantage. They are witnesses to it by way of being able to share in it and often doing so: sharing in a completely arbitrary benefit to the historicistically verifiable dominance of white over non-white. Thus, any member of the witness-class that would form solidarity with the socially criminalized class does so upon realization of the injustice inherent in sharing in a benefit that is not earned, but conferred as a historicistic fact by those who wish to maintain race-based inequality for their own gain.

Whether we are willing to weaken hidden systems of advantage depends on the existence and provision of a replacement advantage. Complicity in the arrangement of a moral and physical dictatorship resulting in years of oppression will compel some people to use their own power to, in effect, weaken themselves through voting, reforms, and the usual conventional means of social change.

There will, however, be a large contingent of group-minded persons who cannot disassociate themselves from the arbiter-class to which they have perpetually aspired. The division of race, much like the division of labor, sex, religion, and political discipline, is another means by which the arbiter-classes exploit the differences between the witness-classes and the socially criminalized groups in order to demonstrate moral and social superiority and in so doing encourage the conformist witness-classes to associate themselves with the prevailing arbiter-class and dissassociate themselves from the social criminals. As witnesses in their own trial, such conformists would defer to the judgment of the arbiter because he is in power and has always been in power. Such a conformist is unwilling to challenge his beliefs. To do so would be to admit a lifelong misperception: that power-possession is directly related to dividing people by race, sex, religion, et cetera, and that to do so makes one powerful. The dictates and priorities of his lifetime and even his upbringing won’t survive this singular assault on his idea of correctness, and nor would his conscience at having not just accepted the advantages of whiteness, but at having worked to advance them.

Moreover, possessing the monetary resources to choose the class with which to associate confers a sense of ownership on that choice; if one is rich, one’s choice–to exploit racial differences, political differences, et cetera, for greater personal gain and more influence–is worth more. If one is poor, one has no choice, for the poor are another socially criminalized group, to be influenced and never to influence. All while regrettably admiring those who can afford to buy into the arbiter-upheld white advantages and aspire to greater and greater heights of white opportunity, which is one manner in which poor people and the witness-class might find some similarity.

Therefore, to reiterate, there must be some replacement advantage since the monetary- and status-related advantages carry so many interrelated incentives. The only incentive for the secession of power is power or its equivalent, hence the nature of that replacement advantage must be power or its equivalent. Since Whitey will be, by definition, ceding power by way of his own power, to paraphrase the author, he may wish to use his power to create a completely New Society with new dynamics and resources. Whitey’s motivations must therefore be based on achieving equality in that Society, not, in any way, on recreating or relabeling the old society in order to maintain his race-based advantages (such recreations and relabelings are often referred to “reforms”). The assumption that the flawed power mechanisms of the old society are incapable of accommodating racial equality cannot be questioned or revised.

If such a New Society were created, the replacement advantage would be the power to take part in Humanity’s Collective Destiny as witnesses of his own future, while money and gender and race and religion all fall behind, mere remnants of a time when a person’s differences helped him more than his similarities. The trick is getting Whitey to admit the error of nearly his entire existence, and to see empowerment in that admission.

Activist: a person who works to change the nature of society through exposing hypocrisies and inconsistencies in its parts and drawing public attention to them in an effort to correct them in solidarity with those whom they disadvantage.

Presentist: a person who shows up as an activist but who has no deep devotion to the cause, i.e. who isn’t there for the cause, who is there just to be present.

Possible Ethic: Presentists must be allowed into the movement, but not directly acknowledged. They must turn into activists through listening and by their own decision to stop “being for being’s sake” and start “being for becoming”.

Revisionist: an presentist who seeks to customize the message of the movement to the status quo and in doing so obtain acceptance by society. It is a sublimation of a deep desire to be accepted. It can be done passively, by seeking compromise (revision) of the movement’s values, or assertively, by founding a breakaway group.

Possible ethic: Revisionists must be warned that catering to the adversary (dialectical decay) is not an option, that altering the message and that continually trying to do so will result in ostracism. Since revisionists tend to require acceptance, this should seldom be necessary.

Reactionary: a presentist who demonstrates an inability to act according to the tenets of the movement; who relies on internal (emotional) obligations rather than external obligations.

possible ethic: Reactionaries rule by impulse. Someone hits them, they fire back. Therefore they are dangerous to any peaceful movement that seeks legitimate progress.

Counterrevolutionary: a presentist who demonstrates revisionist and reactionary qualities but who also seeks to undermine the legitimacy of the movement in two ways: 1) to the society that it means to change, and 2) to itself by violating laws of transparency and inciting conspiracy. The purpose of these acts is to actually damage and fracture the movement while serving the purpose of enriching the counterrevolutionary himself, whether with money, power, or fame.


Militant resistance arises when police and governmental repression will it to arise. The illegitimacy of the state becomes apparent commensurate to the heightening of the police state. As it becomes unfeasibly widespread, prevalent, and destructive to the people, the spirit of the people’s struggle rises unto the hearts of the general populace. Thus, assaults to the protestors are equivalent to assaults on the people at large. When the incumbent administrations fail to address these assaults and thusly become complicit in them, militant resistance becomes inevitable and advisable, being the only manner of defending the people against the perpetual insult of an obviously evil, corrupt, and useless government. These conditions are not assumed by the people, but proven by the government and its police forces themselves. In this way, the government-perpetrated violence creates the violence with which it is met when it has proven its own oppressive illegitimacy.

The people will not be crushed, they will not be silenced, they will not be frightened indefinitely. Once you prove yourself an enemy of the people, the first of the people to fight you will inspire ten more who will each inspire ten more. The outcome will be your ultimate destruction that you have created and the rise of the People.