06 July, 2016

Notes from Outland

To steal from a brother or sister is evil. To not steal from the institutions that are the pillars of the Pig Empire is equally immoral.  -- Abbie Hoffman  

The wave of evil washes all our institutions alike. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Liberating education consists in acts of cognition, not transferrals of information. -- Paulo Freire 

from: Contemporary Art on Human Bodies by Yung Cheng Lin
 I have long suspected that the purpose of such a long political season is to ensure that the American Public is just so tired of hearing about it, talking about, and thinking about it, that to vote seems pointless. All the lines are drawn. Everyone has decided who they're going to bet their children's future on. It's not quite time for the betting window to close; but at this point, only the lines are filled with the neophyte gamblers who are still trying to decide whether they want to box their trifecta or not.

In the middle of this political year -- in which my own opinion was formed even before I saw the thoroughbred parade -- I'm marking a sort of anniversary. This time last year, I was battling what I saw an as unfair termination from JCTCS. I knew then it was politically motivated. I know it now. At the time, though, I saw a way through it, a way to some kind of victory. There was still momentum from The Louisville Teach-In. We created a connection, a community, something that might turn into a movement. We got the word out. People were starting to listen.

And then -- it disappeared. KCTCS began weeding out the most vocal activists (I was not the only one)
and those who remained kept their heads down out of fear of similar reprisals. The institutional power play worked.

And even with the recent shake-up, in which KCTCS fired more than 100 people in reaction to our tin pot fascist governor's budget cuts, a few of those who remained silent, who would not stand up for themselves or for their peers, still have jobs.

I suppose that counts as some sort of victory. Only time will judge that.

But even though I'm on the outs with the institution of higher yearning, I find it difficult to let go. Anyone who knows me well knows I can nurse one hell of grudge. I can grow iguanas into full dragons with bellies full of an unending fire. I'm actually pretty good at compartmentalizing the negative feelings, the anger, because I am trying not to feed all my hungry demons. The truth is, though, that some demons grow best when they are shut up in the dark and ignored, locked up in my subconscious. This morning during my workout, my thoughts turned towards people who I thought were friends and comrades, and people who were not but whose betrayal was so profound that I still have violent revenge fantasies about them.*

I am trying not to feed those demons, but it's more difficult than you might think. I know all the canned memes about how grudges are just weight you can drop if you want; but the truth is, my grudges drive me, too.

Yahoos, from Gulliver's Travels. Or, Hillarites.
It's hard to let go. But I'm trying. I can't help but feel like I was deserted by what adjunct movement there was in Kentucky, and that what labor movement there is here is too busy trying to find a Democrat to believe in to actually change anything. The Bernie or Busters are holding onto the illusion that their candidate is actually the start of a revolution that none of them really wants.** The Hillarites are celebrating because Ol' Buddy Bill scared the FBI and DOJ away. The Trumpians are complaining about the corrupt politics, co-opting the language of the Bernie or Busters in an attempt to attracted pissed off "progressives" who would rather vote for a fascist than another career political criminal.

Brobingnagians. Or, Trumpians.
While everyone is crying for or against Hillary,

The dark powers are amassing power -- and we, the American People, are more focused on the whether the cherry on our shit sundae is maraschino or bright red sour.
Sanders is capitulating and Trump is marching forward like he already bought the White House. Meanwhile, the Koch Brothers are shaping public policy and increasing their cultural footprint simply by spending money on advertising, on influencing our infected institutions of higher education, and by pushing political candidates who will make their policy interests more of a priority than those of the constituents they were theoretically elected to represent.

In closing, I'll offer some track advice: if the horse you're thinking of voting for is carried around by yahoos, think twice. The handicap will hurt us all.
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* #respondent53 has a playdough face. 
** Elections are not, by definition, revolutions. Democratic elections are meant to AVOID revolutions. If Sanders supporters really wanted a revolution, they wouldn't mess with the elections process. Neither would Trump supporters. Or Hillary supporters. Or Greens. Or Socialists. They would take to the streets.


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