Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.
When I have one of those bullshit jobs, I perform as if born to the work – that is, if anyone’s watching. But a job position is a character one puts on at the beginning of the day and takes off at the end. And the worse the job, the shoddier the disguise, and the quicker it rips, loses buttons, disintegrates, until I am indecently revealed as an imposter.
I don’t respond well to commands. I would emphatically not be a good soldier. I wish everyone else in the world could say the same. Aspiring to be a good soldier is not admirable. It might be necessary at any given point in history to be a soldier, and of course one ought to do the best one can within any circumstance one finds oneself enmeshed. But that’s entirely different. The value of being a good soldier, for the sake of soldiering itself, obedience itself, and hierarchy-honoring bushido or esprit de corps themselves, is nil.
Nil! Nil I say. Nada. Naught. Nuttin’.
Nevertheless, I soldier on as a soldier in the Socialist Leisure Party, a party that esteems soldiering even lower than I do, despite myself being the party’s leader. I am a worse leader even than I am a soldier.
Even worse, I’m not a revolutionary. I’m on the fence. That’s right, I said it, I’m on the fence and proud! I might join the revolution if it appeals to me. Right now most of the revolutionaries I’m encountering do not impress me as people able to prevent their revolution from being hijacked by those with destructive designs, and by destructive, I mean destructive of life on the planet. Some might see my position as just an excuse not to take up the difficult struggle against the structure that exploits most people around the world. Maybe so.
But right now it’s a strategy to avoid following pointless commands and being coerced into doing BS jobs. It’s a nice fence I sit on. I like the view. It’s not the luxury fence the name of my party might lead folks to expect, but that is an aspiration for the future.
In the future all luxury will be public. Palaces and museums, currently private libraries, the castle Jimmy Page lives in, all privatized hot springs, Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s Basquiat, the whole of Vatican City, all lands currently controlled by any religious body, Samuel Alito’s baby skull collection, and anything Elon Musk has will be ours, plus his head and genitals to be paraded through the public square on a Brazilian barbecue sword and sacrificially burned. If your revolution has different goals, then of course I’m not going to jump off the fence to be part of it no questions asked. Let’s hear at least an elevator pitch of some of the goals.
And don’t say, “Worker control of the means of production.” There’s more to life than work and production. There fucking better be. It’s a fine first principle. But whither from there? What about non-productive wealth in every from?
No one needs their own palace to conduct affairs of state and allocating such property to oneself is counterrevolutionary and selfish. I don’t expect every leader to be a selfless, altruistic ascetic, especially when capitalists still hold the majority of the means of destruction. But revolutionary leadership, if one arrogates to wield it, must exhibit some meaningful difference from that which it replaces. It must arrogantly exemplify to capitalism visceral, visible aspects capitalism is incapable of either denying or displaying. It must visibly spit into capitalism’s face what capitalism cannot inhabit in even a superficial way because it threatens their discourse of power. Without such public humility on the part of those who would govern, the people can never truly consent to be governed. Without their consent, all power from above is colored by coercion, disobedience punishable by starvation, or exposure, or imprisonment.
More substantively, if your politics does not ultimately center fighting the ongoing climate, pollution, and extinction disaster, and the criminalization and exploitation of, the cruelty toward, and the stripping of dignity from poor people around the world, I’m going to assume that its ultimate motivations are selfish.
Complaining about how many government regulatory obstacles there are to your making money by Air BnBing part of your property does not promise a positive political position.
Complaining about what “mental midgets” your students are, and how liberal-dominated public education has failed them – without seemingly having ever taught a population you don’t see as examples of such stunted minds – demonstrates more about your ego, intolerance, and lack of ability to connect with others in a caring way than it does about the real abilities or potentials of those you perceive as beneath you. Or maybe you’re just addicted to complaining. Believe me, I get that.
Likewise, enabling hawks of privatization to commandeer the prevailing discourse, whether through inaction or by weak or conciliatory action, is ultimately selfish. Also likewise, refusing to support popular movements of the poor to alleviate their own poverty. Arguing for and giving material support to the poor are steps toward revolution, and refugees are by definition poor, and the selectively over-policed are by definition poor, and the concerns of the poor are by definition revolutionary.
You may believe one single highly motivated superman or junta of supermen can always do better without input from the rabble. But the more you chip away at the commons and take power and wealth away from the people who will inevitably have to live with the consequences of the superman’s actions, the farther you take humanity from a decent society.
Of course, I come at these concerns as an artist. And a pervert. And an art lover. And a pervert lover. I am not going to relinquish these concerns and loves, and I don’t see them as selfish or counterrevolutionary. I see them as integral to the project, as integral as Emma Goldman believed dancing was.
I am the dancing bug. Look upon my glittering carapace, ye mighty, and despair.
Or, y’know, kill me when the time comes. If you’re really in a position to imminently transform the current world into one with an egalitarian economy and a responsible relationship with the environment, and I’m an obstacle to that, please kill me.
Incidentally, Please Kill Me is the title of a famous book about the LA Punk scene. This entire tirade, then, is a callback to last week’s complaints about Exene Cervenka and other musical celebrities’ betrayals of the people’s interests. Exene Cervenka’s name makes me wonder why she didn’t start her own band and call it Cerv-Ex.
What a missed opportunity. Unlike me, there are a lot of perverts out there who think it’s fine to miss opportunities to make positive change. So, all I ask is, if you decide I must be disposed of to make way for the new world, please kill them first.
But remember, if any of my Jeremiad has struck you as harsh: we are even now completing our yearly passage through the season of the Dead. During this season, some of us wear costumes, some of us to honor the dead, some of us to mock the living or the quasi-living. Costumes, of course, are superfluous, because our very incarnations are costumes. Our identities ourselves are costumes. This is where egalitarianism begins and ends. And I don’t care who thinks it’s liberal touchy-feely foolishness, each of us deserves a participation trophy in the costume party contest of existence.
You, too, are already a winner!
This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!