Wednesday, November 11, 2009


The armed and psychotic ex-ranger who telephones death threats to the former best friend who hooked up with his GF when he was in prison... the abrasive narcissist with pot but no groceries and outstanding pay day loans... the confused high school drop out... the Mexican family man... the laid off Oxycontin withdrawals... the ex-marine trying to find a way beyond the Democrats and the Republicans who writes heavy metal songs about things he hates... the white, vegetarian Naropa University student with money and a sex drive... rock star gossip and the potentially sketchy website the Portuguese netlabel owner is sending me to sign up on... the king soopers where the strippers buy their groceries at 3 am... the DUI and your totaled car the week you are evicted... muckraking impotence... political betrayal... tattoos... concerts... alcohol and you... America.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Here is the story of the snow:

Just before Halloween a large snow storm dumped 3-4 feet on the foothills and about 2 feet in Denver. Many schools were closed and the radio told people not to go to work if they can avoid it. This is the story of going to work in the snow.

The night the snow began to fall, before the temp had dropped and it was still a light rain / drizzle, I went down to the shop and learned how to attach snow plows onto 3/4 ton and 1 ton Chevy trucks. There are maybe 15 or so such trucks at the building services company I work for. Once they were attached we drove all the trucks to the gas station to fill them up in preparation for a long night. Then we went home.

Due to some trucks breaking down, I did not work the first night, because there were not enough trucks for me to drive one. So I had it off and got a lot of sleep in. The snow fell that night, all the next day, all the next night, and much of the day after that.

The next day I came into the shop at midnight. This is what my car that had been parked on the street the whole time looked like when I went to go drive it.

At the shop I got into truck 29 and followed my supervisor to an office park in the Denver Tech Center. I hopped into his truck and got a quick lesson on how to plow snow, check for curbs with a shovel, how to back drag, etc... With that I went to work and plowed the whole lot and then the back lot. Then I plowed it again. And then I plowed it again. Forwards, Backwards, Forwards, Backwards, etc... Used about 3/4 a tank of gas in 9 hours of driving around this one lot.

Here is the truck:

After all that I went to another office park and plowed it.

Our company for snow does three main things. The first is it has plows that plow. The second is that it has big sander trucks that dump a magnesium chloride "ice cutter" onto the pavement which works to melt the snow and keep it from refreezing. The third is that it has shovel teams who clear the snow off walkways and stairs so people can walk into and from the building.

By the time I was about done plowing this next lot I got instructions over the radio to head back to the shop. One of the shovel teams was all out of ice cutter and I was sent to go get some more for them. I dropped my truck off at the shop and picked up another truck which already had 10 100 lb barrels of this stuff sitting in its bed. Then I drove back to the job and dropped it off. Then before the 13.5 hour shift without a break or lunch was completed I helped shovel and throw this ice cutter down for a while. You can distribute the ice cutter by hand by taking the lid off the barrel, picking up a lot of the chemical and putting it onto the lid, and then walk around with the lid like a tray throwing the chemical onto the walkways.

You want to be sure to use work gloves and not your personal nice warm gloves to do this because the ice cutter can bleach your clothes / gloves if it touches them and and can also start to burn them.

Then went home and slept.

The next night I returned to the shop at midnight and picked up a truck. Plowed the first lot I had origionally plowed 3 times for a fourth time and then drove to another lot and plowed half of it while another truck plowed the other half.

After this I had off to go play a show in ft collins, which was a story in itself. Then there was Halloween and I dressed as a skeleton and went dancing.

Last night I was back in to do some snow clean up, with bob cat loaders and the one tons. Where the snow drifts the plows made were very large in certain lots and spilling over far onto the parking spaces the bobcat would scoop them up in big chunks and dump them into the one tons. These trucks have beds that raise up so you can dump their contents, kind of like a dump truck. We'd then drive to a back, not so much used area of the lot, and make these really big piles of snow / ice / slush.

This pile here is about 8 feet high

Here's how such a pile gets made:

The one ton on the left has returned from elsewhere in the lot with a bed full of snow a loader has dumped into it. Here he is backing up into the pile (the bright lights on the left side of that image are his headlights. Once he dumps, a second loader (visible on the right side of the photo) consolidates the load scooping it into a tall mound that takes up less of the parking lot.

News articles about the storm:

Saturday, October 17, 2009


From Offshoring Jobs to Bailing Out Bankers

Originally published here on

I don't give a fuck about "the terrorists". These people are worse than the terrorists. I can understand why someone in the middle east hates America. It has been American bombs falling on their villages for the past EIGHT years. Why shouldn't they hate us, or want to hurt us? It makes perfect sense.

These corporate sons of bitches, however, are much worse. They hurt us, many more of us, than "the terrorists" have. And they live here. Their only loyalty and goal is to make as much money as they can, by destroying our lives. They destroy America, and we're supposed to look up to them as icons of what "The American Dream" can result in. If YOU TOO work hard, get ahead, and study, one day you won't just work in the factory... you will be able to PROFIT by offshoring the factory, thus destroying the lives of your former coworkers.

We Must Overthrow The Dictatorship Of The Capitalists



Bloomberg reports that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s closest aides earned millions of dollars a year working for Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and other Wall Street firms. Bloomberg adds that none of these aides faced Senate confirmation. Yet, they are overseeing the handout of hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer funds to their former employers.

The gifts of billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money provided the banks with an abundance of low cost capital that has boosted the banks’ profits, while the taxpayers who provided the capital are increasingly unemployed and homeless.

JPMorgan Chase announced that it has earned $3.6 billion in the third quarter of this year.

Goldman Sachs has made so much money during this year of economic crisis that enormous bonuses are in the works. The London Evening Standard reports that Goldman Sachs’ “5,500 London staff can look forward to record average payouts of around 500,000 pounds ($800,000) each. Senior executives will get bonuses of several million pounds each with the highest paid as much as 10 million pounds ($16 million).“

In the event the banksters can’t figure out how to enjoy the riches, the Financial Times is offering a new magazine--”How To Spend It.”
New York City’s retailers are praying for some of it, suffering a 15.3 per cent vacancy rate on Fifth Avenue. Statistician John Williams ( reports that retail sales adjusted for inflation have declined to the level of 10 years ago: “Virtually 10 years worth of real retail sales growth has been destroyed in the still unfolding depression.”

Meanwhile, occupants of New York City’s homeless shelters have reached the all time high of 39,000, 16,000 of whom are children.

New York City government is so overwhelmed that it is paying $90 per night per apartment to rent unsold new apartments for the homeless. Desperate, the city government is offering one-way free airline tickets to the homeless if they will leave the city. It is charging rent to shelter residents who have jobs. A single mother earning $800 per month is paying $336 in shelter rent.

Long-term unemployment has become a serious problem across the country, doubling the unemployment rate from the reported 10 per cent to 20 per cent. Now hundreds of thousands more Americans are beginning to run out of extended unemployment benefits. High unemployment has made 2009 a banner year for military recruitment.

A record number of Americans, more than one in nine, are on food stamps. Mortgage delinquencies are rising as home prices fall. According to Jay Brinkmann of the Mortgage Bankers Association, job losses have spread the problem from subprime loans to prime fixed-rate loans. At the Wise, Virginia, fairgrounds, 2,000 people waited in lines for free dental and health care.

While the US speeds plans for the ultimate bunker buster bomb and President Obama prepares to send another 45,000 troops into Afghanistan, 44,789 Americans die every year from lack of medical treatment. National Guardsmen say they would rather face the Taliban than the US economy.

Little wonder. In the midst of the worst unemployment since the Great Depression, US corporations continue to offshore jobs and to replace their remaining US employees with lower paid foreigners on work visas.

The offshoring of jobs, the bailout of rich banksters, and war deficits are destroying the value of the US dollar. Since last spring the US dollar has been rapidly losing value. The currency of the hegemonic superpower has declined 14 per cent against the Botswana pula, 22 per cent against Brazil’s real, and 11 per cent against the Russian ruble. Once the dollar loses its reserve currency status, the US will be unable to pay for its imports or to finance its government budget deficits.

Offshoring has made Americans heavily dependent on imports, and the dollar’s loss of purchasing power will further erode American incomes. As the Federal Reserve is forced to monetize Treasury debt issues, domestic inflation will break out. Except for the banksters and the offshoring CEOs, there is no source of consumer demand to drive the US economy.

The political system is unresponsive to the American people. It is monopolized by a few powerful interest groups that control campaign contributions. Interest groups have exercised their power to monopolize the economy for the benefit of themselves, the American people be damned.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Rather Brief History of Industrial Music

*************** If you are a slow or distracted reader it is will be more efficient if you just read this instead. Then come back here and skip down to the chapter on the "Parodic Phase" of Industrial. You'll get the gist *************

"To escape the horror, bury yourself in it."

In the mid to late 1970s a new musical movement, known as punk, emerged in the United States and England, quickly spreading to other countries. The history of Punk itself can, and has, filled volumes, and my purpose is not to recount or critique it here. For our purposes, Punk is significant for ONE reason: It blew the lid off established musical forms and opened the door for a resurgence of innovation.

The number of genres and sub genres that look to punk as musical forefathers is vast. Post-Punk, Hard Rock, Goth, Death Rock, Industrial, EBM, Indie Rock, Emo, Grunge, Metal, Future Pop, Power Noise, etc... all owe a greater or lesser debt to the accomplishments of a rather small number of people banging their fists against the mainstream for a couple of years in the 1970s.

The purpose of this document is not to explain all of them, or even to explain the rise and fall of different bands, labels, individuals, and scenes within Industrial Music in depth. For that I will refer you to the rather good Wikipedia article on this topic. Here I am only providing a rough outline to convey the basics of what different phases the genre has passed through, from its origins, to its current parodic death throws.

This transformation can be appreciated by focusing on five distinct periods of development.

I) The First Wave of Industrial Music
II) Electronica + Sampling & The Golden Age of Industrial
III) Evolution + The Aggro-EBM of the late 1990s
IV) The Wilderness
V) Parodic Phase

I The First Wave of Industrial Music

Industrial has traditionally be characterized as a percussion- intensive genre. This is generally true, however it has been as much focused on simple audio experimentation as it has been with the aesthetic of people banging on things. Take Throbbing Gristle- one of the first "industrial" bands. Using effected guitar and bass, primitive synthesizers, tape loops, and random additional instruments, they created very strange sound-collages that did not generally fit into the traditional "song" structure. If Richard Wright of Pink Floyd was one of the first to use synthesizers as an integral part of pop music in the 1970s, Throbbing Gristle, and their peers in this time (Bands such as Cabaret Voltaire, SPK, Monte Cazazza, Einstürzende Neubauten) were still trying to use- anything and everything - to push and break the limits of what we consider "music".

How about replacing an electric guitar with a Jack Hammer? How about using bits of pipe, scrap metal, and oil drums, instead of traditional drum sets? What better way to reflect (or encourage?) the decay of late industrial society than by appropriating the actual material, and organic sounds, of this society? Punk had thrown open the doors for intelligent people to think about fashion, music and art in different ways... but for all its rage and fury punk has also remained one of the most musically conservative of all genres, hardly ever deviated from the traditional "rock" instrument line up. Industrial people were too creative and adventurous to limit themselves to this.

In the early days, synthesizers were A LOT more expensive than they are today. As a result, few people could afford them. There were no computers and Midi Controllers to set up in one's bed room and "mess around" on. Furthermore, Digital Samplers were not readily available until the early 80's and even by then they were in short supply, very expensive, and had very limited memory and sampling rates. If, instead of a traditional "snare" drum, you wanted the sound of metal on concrete, or metal on metal, you had to actually get those real objects and carry them to a show and bang on them then. As a result, live performances of "industrial" bands in the 70s and 80s were generally more interesting than those of "industrial" bands today.

For an example, see the following early Neubauten clip:

Chaotic noises, the clanging of metal, "industrial" clothing, situations, etc... and some tortured screams to boot. The elements are here in place.

Meanwhile in England a very similar group, Test Department, also could not afford synthesizers. As a result they were able to create, in a far more structured and upbeat way, some of the greatest performances in the history of this genre. The following three videos, for Total State Machine, Compulsion, and Gdnask, will leave you with a good idea of what "Industrial Music" was able to accomplish in its early days.

At this point the basic political / worldview that has been shared by most industrial acts since the beginning should be clearly evident. The world is an unjust furnace of heavy breaking things where people toil and die and are kept in check by a system of official repression as well as ideological confusion. Banging on scrap metal "for arts sake" is always fun... but ideology and political confrontation, whether it was in Test Dept's support of the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa, or Skinny Puppy's animal rights focus and antiwar messaging, Leatherstrip's anti racist and anti religious album Underneath the Laughter, or Laibach's entire existence... a polemical, political agenda has usually been present.

Laibach, the Slovenian group founded in 1980, began in a very similar situation as Test Department, although on the other side of the "Iron Curtain". Living in "Communist" Yugoslavia, a likely method of rebellion would have been something as predictably degenerate and Western as punk. But these four were a lot more subtle in their rebellion. Instead of frontally attacking the edifice of Stalinist dictatorship, they emulated it even more thoroughly than their own Titoist rulers. Officially, Yugoslav society rested on an assumption of shared ownership, sacrifice, and cooperative living. In reality, social class did exist, and it was upheld with force. Laibach seized on the darkest, most extreme totalitarian impulse and developed it in their music, which was a lot harder for the authorities to understand (let alone repress, when outwardly the band was proclaiming their reverence for the state... even while their own exuberance betrays its brutality and shortcomings).

Here is the music video for one of their best songs, off the Opus Dei record. This song, Geburt Einer Nation, is a cover of One Vision by Queen.

The stunning visuals are no isolated coincidence. In 1983 Laibach helped to found Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK), an artists' collective with architectural, graphic design, videography, and musical departments, that assumed the identity and structure of a universal, planned "state", far out doing the official totalitarian one in the thoroughness and order of its vision.

Not surprisingly, Laibach's first releases in the west were met with skepticism, with many confused observers writing them off as some kind of Fascist or Communist hobgoblin. For more on the interesting early days of this project (up to the early 90s), see this wonderful 6 part documentary.

II Electronica + Sampling & The Golden Age of Industrial

If synth-laden "New Wave" secured a dominant position in the pop of the 1980s, the growing accessibility of keyboards and sampling technology brought with it an evil twin who would lurk the shadows throughout the decade. Skinny Puppy, Front 242, Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Numb, The Legendary Pink Dots, KMFDM, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, Die Warzau, X Marks the Pedwalk, Leaether Strip, Front Line Assembly... to name a few. Several of these acts originated in Canada, and as this "second wave" of industrial grew into a more coherent scene, the memberships of many different acts would overlap, spinning off a series of guest appearances, side projects, and "supergroups" like Pigface and Revolting Cocks who've left their legacy in countless youtube videos, fanatically collected and traded bootlegs, rare vinyls, and general nostalgia.

Listening to any of these bands you'll quickly notice the important of synthesizers. In addition, the use of samplers meant that, rather than dragging an entire construction site on stage a la Neubauten, one could simply take a tape recorder to the construction site, and later re-create "industrial" soundscapes in the studio. Bands needed less (though still a few) members, but fewer people could sonically accomplish quite a great deal more, running synthesized and recorded ambiance, "found sounds", and yes, even disturbing vocal clippets from films, radio, or television, through a series of filters and multi effects.

This video from "Worlock", is probably Skinny Puppy's best known song. It was banned when released to due to inability to get clearance from so many film studios for lifting clips from horror films. Bootlegs used to be sold back and forth over ebay by fans. Now youtube finally brings it to everyone:

A good way to characterize skinny puppy's sound is "Wet". Erie strings, bloody samples, reverb, delays, etc... are literally dripping off and over a steady beat, as they set out to portray a frightening world as seen from the standpoint of, well... a mistreated dog. This style was developed within Puppy and a series of spin offs and side projects (aDuck, Hilt, Doubting Thomas, the Tear Garden, CyberAktif, oHgr, and Download, to name several).

A bit of a counter point maybe found in the rise of "EBM", or "Electronic Body Music". Using drum machines, at times live drummers, and fast, arpeggiated bass lines and synth leads, this term was first coined by Front 242. While similar in a lot of ways to "wetter", more experimental bands like Numb or Puppy, EBM has generally been "tighter", faster, and more specifically made for the dance floor.

This is really a terribly over-played song... but as pretty much all of 242's official videos are pretty cheezy & 80s, this one is at least a bit more interesting than many.

If you're wondering why the guys in that film look like they are fighter pilots or something, well, that is part of the martial EBM aesthetic. It's ironic that many "industrial" nights now a days alternate playing bands like this, and playing "80s" music that bands like this were in their own time rebelling against. If Duran Duran and Tears for Fears were writing pop songs to dance and have fun with, 242 and Front Line Assembly were interested in a more "martial" approach that engaged with all the frankness (and influences) of a war correspondent what exactly was happening in the world. Naturally many of their songs happened to be about war, and were rather a bit dark with post - apocalyptic themes predominating. Alternately, synthpop was always more concerned with trying to hide from reality- preferably in the comfortable arms of a lover.

As another example, here we have the hit "Plasticity" by FLA:

Within EBM, not all the focus was as dark. A few "Funk-Industrial" bands, like Nitzer Ebb and Die Warzau, developed out broader musical influences in the late 80s:

EX: Strike to the Body by Die Warzau:

In a similar vein, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult took satanism, drugs, sex, and a drum machine, and turned it all into a rather upbeat dance act:

III Evolution + The Aggro-EBM of the late 1990s

In the 1990s many different things happened to Industrial- some good and some bad- but all were transformative, and it would be impossible to understand the genre today without a look at these processes as they unfolded over the decade.

Of course, a few bands from the early days broke up or took long breaks (though a surprising number continued), and a few drug related deaths did occur (leading most notably to the demise of Skinny Puppy in 1995). Of the bands that remained, a lot began to change their sound, perhaps bowing to commercial pressure by breaking into more commercially acceptable genres, or perhaps simply because it is unrealistic to expect an artist to make the same album every time. Sometimes this worked for the better and sometimes for the worse.

However, commercialization and the watering down of experimental origins certainly did take place.

For example, many fans of "metal" music today know about and love Ministry, which ever since The Land of Rape and Honey album has pretty much relegated electronics to the far sidelines... for all intents and purposes Ministry has been a metal act since then. Prior to this occurrence, here is a song off the EBM/ industrial album Twitch (1986):

Here's "New World Order" of the later Psalm 69 (1991) album.

You'll notice there's a few faint repetitive sampled sounds that add to the rhythm. But by this point, electronics are pretty much gone, and guitars have taken over.

For an oft-note-and-denounced of example of commercialization, see "Down In It", by Nine Inch Nails, which lifts the rhythm and guitar part from "Dig It" by Skinny Puppy. While Puppy's track was generally dark, distorted, and far less accessible to the masses, the NIN track is far more polished. If Marilyn Manson cashed in on the latent commercial potential of Goth, NIN more than any other band can be said to have done so for industrial.

* * *

On the plus side, a new generation of musicians who grew up listening to Puppy, FLA, and the Wax Trax! record label were now making their own music, and a lot of it in the mid-late 90s seemed promising. Changes took place both in aesthetics as well as technology. Synthesizers continued to fall in price and by the mid to late 90s a lot of production could be done in the home. Where as before, alienated young creative types wishing to make a dramatic impact literally picked up scraps of the industrial world around them, a new generation had grown up in a very different world, most notably with computers.

It is the opinion of this writer that- while this did result in the creation of a lot of good electronic music across the decade- these technological advances worked ultimately to the determent of Industrial music. The scrap metal pounding lived on as a sample laid over a snare on a drum track to give it a bit of an edge. But live shows began to suffer greatly. Gone were dramatic line ups of several people all banging on things to give a show its live energy. More and more "bands" consisted of two people- one of them singing, and the other playing a keyboard over backing tracks (including drums) pre-recorded onto a DAT tape- or more recently- an ipod or a laptop. Even if they are dressed up to be scary, the clothes and camo netting has about a 99.8% failure rate to make up for the amount of energy lost by

1) Having no drummer to bang on stuff

2) Having "musicians" stand in one place throughout the entire show

3) The audience's inability to determine whether or not the "performers" are actually playing anything live at all, just standing there doing nothing, faking it, or what.

* * *

Subject matter shifted a bit as well. Part of this was driven by the natural inclination of any scene to innovate, but it is important to understand the material changes taking place in the societies where this music was being written. The neo-liberal, "post industrial", world of computers and subsequent alienation brought with it a different set of themes that what had predominated earlier. Laibach was formed in mirror opposition to a state which after 1991 no longer existed. The threat of world war between the super powers that was the principle inspiration for 50 years of apocalyptic fiction was for a time rescinded, and above all the "industrial" jobs had since the 70's been increasingly exported from the developed world.

Dirt, sweat, repression, steel toes, and cold hard machinery were increasingly disconnected from the every day experiences of western citizens in the days of Clintonoid complacency. The alienation of computer life, with the corresponding fantasies of cyberpunk, serial killers, and cybernetics combined to update "clunky" 80s apocalypticism with a colder, more efficient dystopian vision. The 1980s gave us The Terminator. By 1999 we had The Matrix.

Electronica became an ever more dominant form within the scene and by the late 1990s it had pretty much pushed the old "banging on scrap metal" aesthetic out completely. The long term negative impact that this trend would have upon the quality of live shows was not immediately appreciated. An identity crisis was brewing, but for a time a period of uncertainty and potential predominated.

Among the most promising and interesting bands of this period I will mention Velvet Acid Christ, Haujobb, Wumpscut, Funker Vogt, Das Ich, and Brain Leisure. For audio examples:

Malfunction by VAC:

Defect by Brain Leisure:

The aforementioned Wumpscut and Das Ich were part of the "Neue Deutsche Todeskunst" (New German Death Art) movement in the early 90s, where much of the darkest "goth-industrial" music of the decade originated.

Soylent Green by Wumpscut:

Jericho by Das Ich:

These groups all showed a lot of potential. Unfortunately, much of it would be drowned out and sidelined by the rise of new challenges in the 2000s.

IV The Wilderness

As a counter cultural movement, Industrial Music's trajectory became ever narrower the more it grew and began to institutionalize itself. As with all movements, the growth of this scene to a broadness sufficient to justify structural organization would ultimately encourage conservatism and stifle experimentation. Independently minded creative people, interacting with an ascending scene and with each other, can push themselves to all sorts of fascinating results. When industrial grew and became club centered, participants were pressured to abandon "doing one's own thing" with regards to fashion or life style. Patrons expected DJs to furnish danceable hits and DJs expected to get paid and be invited back the next week. This naturally elevated certain forms and discouraged others.

Along with clubs, commercialization led to the marketing of a certain image, and the centrality of dance clubs reinforced its importance. Pretty soon young people looking for something to rebel to were getting sold a way to dress and a music to listen to that they themselves had contributed to very little. The same thing of course happened to the Hardcore Punk scene. Any 15 year old wanting to fit in with it today has no choice but to wear exactly the same thing that people thirty years ago were wearing (many of whom are today quite dead).

* * *

In the 2000's two things happened which I believe have firmly entrenched "Industrial" within the final, parodic phase of its own death agony.

1) Future Pop took over

VNV nation is a band that released a kind of interesting war inspired electronic album called Advance and Follow in 1995. It then became a synth pop band with super repetitive synth parts and super repetitive drum patterns, and a bald fat singer who sings prettily about how much he is in love with you. This crap is totally lame and at least one song from them has been played every night at 90% of "goth-industrial" clubs in the United States for the past nine years.

EX: Beloved, from the album "Futureperfect"

The album "Futureperfect" coined the term, "Future Pop", which can be used to describe this kind of stuff. Other synthpop bands, such as Apoptgyma Berzerk, Beborn Beton, Diary of Dreams, Blutengel, etc... have a similar sound and feel. They are not industrial at all... yet they have taken over a lot of Industrial's market share.

2) Terror EBM

The sardonic twin of Future Pop is "Terror EBM". It has a very similar musical form of repetitive synth parts, and repetitive drums, and a singer. However it is slightly "harder", and the songs attempt to be a bit "scary". Suicide Commando's 1999 "Mindstrip" album is a good example of this sub genre's emergence.

However, so many bands imitated this sound, with white face make up and fake blood to boot, that they very quickly killed any interesting potential in it at all. A good example of the depths to which it has sunk sense then is CombiChrist, probably the quintessential generically "hard" and "scary" band with super repetitive songs and beaten to death fake blood, white make up, and "goth chick" / club sex(ist) glamor. For example:

What the hell kind of message is that? Basically... "here is something that's easy to dance to. Look weird and go fuck some goth chick". This kind of objectifying sex-centered ego stroking belongs at a hooters' wet t shirt contest, not an "industrial" club.

A third new emergence, similar to Terror EBM, is to be found amid the "Noise" and "Powernoise" sub genres. Characterized by loud distorted drums, static, and little else, this promised to offer industrial a third, more interesting alternative in the early 2000s. However what actually occurred was that several thousand musicians across the world were all creating very similar albums, and with few exceptions many such "band"'s performances just consisted of one person sitting behind a laptop.

A lot of effort (at the computer) was put into creating an "intense" song. Very little social effort was put into recruiting bandmates to make live performances worth watching.

One good examples of a power noise bands operating today that actually points on a decent show with live drummers is Alter Der Ruine.

This brings us relatively up to date. Music at established dance clubs (For ex: The Church and The Shelter [milk bar] and Disintegration [Benders] in Denver) spend 90% of their time playing Future Pop, some generic Terror EBM, or just some random crappy mixture of the two. To see what I mean... here are two of the worst songs ever written by a band so terrible I will not even mention their name:

These two songs tend to get heavy rotation at most "industrial" nights in the United States.

People there tend to dress almost elusively in clothes that are not suitable for wandering around in any actually industrial place.

Occasionally an old school track is played, but for the most part DJs like to stick to predictable hits.

Around the margins and off the radar there are a few artists creating interesting music, and there are more than a few zines with passionate, unpaid staff writers spending a lot of time trying to get the word out about them. But it is always an uphill battle to shift anything as stuck in its ways as the beast with whom we are now dealing.

V Parodic Phase

The above picture is what "cyber goth" people look like. This is how many people are dressed today when you go to an "industrial" club. You will notice

1) Shoes are completely unsuitable for protecting one's feet from fuel spills, equipment falls, the shin of an enemy you must kick, etc... and will not help you to run away efficiently from security guards / police / Christians / cyborgs.

2) Hair would be a safety hazard in any "industrial" environment, past, present, or future. So how does wearing safety goggles make sense here?

3) Woman looks a bit sexually objectified

4) Woman would appear a mystically deep, intelligent spirit-guide at Burning Man.

How would you sarcastically mock a club full of people who look like that? Perhaps by dressing as they do but even more ridiculously outlandish so as to draw attention to the absurdity of what they are doing? Well, that isn't really possible... and even if you tried, they'd think you were just trying to be a slightly hipper version of themselves.

When you can no longer mock a scene by sarcastically over inflating its own pretensions, the scene has entered its Parodic phase. Any attempt to "seriously" continue along its own trajectory is indistinguishable from what an attempt to satirize it would be.

Does this mean Industrial is dead?


Exhibit A

( Courtesy )

Exhibit B

Those were two clips from bands that are truly embracing the current period. By this I mean their members are thinking people, and they realize this established scene has become pretentious and terrible, and they have broken free from the expected cyber-goth-future-pop-terror-ebm hell. Instead they are consciously subverting these conventions. Baditude does this by coming up with a unique, steroid and weight lifting pro-wrestling approach to EBM. And the second clip, from Alter Der Ruine, escapes the "dark", "scary", "futuristic", "sexy", etc... pretensions by bringing through this video industrial / EBM back to its roots: a few people sitting around who want to have a little fun and dance. The simplicity of the video, decent lighting, apartment setting, and "funny" facial expressions / editing make this way more, well... human and entertaining than the "are you hot enough to fuck me" vibe one gets from watching the earlier CombiChrist video.

It is likely that as more and more "industrial" people with brains catch onto the fact that their scene is completely ridiculous, they will feel the urge to mock it, and we can look forward to the emergence of more parodic industrial bands.

* * *

Epilogue: What's a rivet head to do?

If I knew the answer to this question I would be too busy off doing whatever it is famous and rich people do instead of writing long articles about the shortcomings of the scene I am a part of.

But here are a few options

1) Try and write the next terrible club hit. Sound as much like CombiChrist as possible. Take yourself seriously and hope people don't notice how ridiculous you are. Make lots of money and have sex with many cyber goth girls. Then kill yourself out of guilt.

2) Write good "old school" / "real" industrial music. Take the effort to put on a real decent show with real drummers and parts being played live and if you must have a singer make sure he isn't ego centric or pretensions. Make real art and bring it to people. Then, starve. Make sure you keep starving and don't do anything rash like applying to Law School which might hinder your ability to starve for the amusement of others.

3) Start a Parodic-Industrial band. Find a unique niche, or invent one like Baditude did. Fuck with people. See if they notice. Maybe they will act differently. Try not to think of Don Quixote comparisons too much. If you develop decent social support networks it might stave off overwhelming despair upon the realization of what your life has become long enough for you to actually get some exposure.

4) Do something new and different that I haven't thought of. Maybe just play guitar a lot and sing. Go find a different genre to hound, or start a new scene. Remember- the best "industrial" musicians were constantly changing and updating their sound, not content to be bound by anyone else's expectations! Controlled Bleeding, anyone?

For Further Reading:

The following is a list of writing / editorials / music on (/against) the state of industrial that I endorse... because I like the ideas, or because I have written them myself.

Bryan Erickson interview with Baditude

Wounds of the Earth Webzine

Misanthropy vs Activism in Industrial Music

Guide to Saving Industrial: Chapter 1

Review of Unter Null + C/A/T

Should I Hate the DJs or the Club People?

Dj Aesthetic

Buried Electric Records

How to go to a Goth Club

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Communiqué from an Absent Future

The following document is "critical theory and content from the nascent ucsc occupation movement". It's origional location online is here. You can even download it as a PDF booklet here.

My thoughts.... some of the language here is a little heady and uber theoretical / ideological. But that's probably to be expected if someone from a university is writing it. Those people are trained to write in certain ways... Maybe the title is kinda pretentious(?). And reform / revolution questions get a bit muddled. I think it's great these people have occupied their university, but what will they be doing in a month or a sesmester of 5 years? One of the most important lessons I have learned about politics over the past decade is that NOTHING political proceeds in a linear direction. There are tremendous ups and downs. You're very inspired one day and then very demoralized the next. People come out of the wood work and march with you and take on roles at a certain time... a few weeks later they've disappeared. The hardest and most important part is to be able to find a way to consistently relate to and push forward a political environment that is constantly changing.

That being said, there is a lot in here that is good and needs to be read. A lot of it reminds me of my own criticisms of the state of higher education. This document however is the product of the current recession, and I wholeheartedly endorse the bulk of what it is trying to say, which is, in short, that college has become a farce. You get a degree that there are no jobs for. Getting a degree can even be a liability, because you're suddenly in debt and have less work experiance that people who were working full time out of high school. This document is an attempt to break from that mold, reject the neoliberal model, and embark upon a course to transform the existing order of decay into one that actually values human life.

As a college graduate who was unemployed a lot of last year, and currently makes $11.50 an hour working outside at night when it is 20 degrees, a lot of this hits home hard.

Documents like this being created are a sign of political health and intellectual foment. We need more of them.



Like the society to which it has played the faithful servant, the university is bankrupt. This bankruptcy is not only financial. It is the index of a more fundamental insolvency, one both political and economic, which has been a long time in the making. No one knows what the university is for anymore. We feel this intuitively. Gone is the old project of creating a cultured and educated citizenry; gone, too, the special advantage the degree-holder once held on the job market. These are now fantasies, spectral residues that cling to the poorly maintained halls.

Incongruous architecture, the ghosts of vanished ideals, the vista of a dead future: these are the remains of the university. Among these remains, most of us are little more than a collection of querulous habits and duties. We go through the motions of our tests and assignments with a kind of thoughtless and immutable obedience propped up by subvocalized resentments. Nothing is interesting, nothing can make itself felt. The world-historical with its pageant of catastrophe is no more real than the windows in which it appears.

For those whose adolescence was poisoned by the nationalist hysteria following September 11th, public speech is nothing but a series of lies and public space a place where things might explode (though they never do). Afflicted by the vague desire for something to happen—without ever imagining we could make it happen ourselves—we were rescued by the bland homogeneity of the internet, finding refuge among friends we never see, whose entire existence is a series of exclamations and silly pictures, whose only discourse is the gossip of commodities. Safety, then, and comfort have been our watchwords. We slide through the flesh world without being touched or moved. We shepherd our emptiness from place to place.

But we can be grateful for our destitution: demystification is now a condition, not a project. University life finally appears as just what it has always been: a machine for producing compliant producers and consumers. Even leisure is a form of job training. The idiot crew of the frat houses drink themselves into a stupor with all the dedication of lawyers working late at the office. Kids who smoked weed and cut class in high-school now pop Adderall and get to work. We power the diploma factory on the treadmills in the gym. We run tirelessly in elliptical circles.

It makes little sense, then, to think of the university as an ivory tower in Arcadia, as either idyllic or idle. “Work hard, play hard” has been the over-eager motto of a generation in training for…what?—drawing hearts in cappuccino foam or plugging names and numbers into databases. The gleaming techno-future of American capitalism was long ago packed up and sold to China for a few more years of borrowed junk. A university diploma is now worth no more than a share in General Motors.

We work and we borrow in order to work and to borrow. And the jobs we work toward are the jobs we already have. Close to three quarters of students work while in school, many full-time; for most, the level of employment we obtain while students is the same that awaits after graduation. Meanwhile, what we acquire isn’t education; it’s debt. We work to make money we have already spent, and our future labor has already been sold on the worst market around. Average student loan debt rose 20 percent in the first five years of the twenty-first century—80-100 percent for students of color. Student loan volume—a figure inversely proportional to state funding for education—rose by nearly 800 percent from 1977 to 2003. What our borrowed tuition buys is the privilege of making monthly payments for the rest of our lives. What we learn is the choreography of credit: you can’t walk to class without being offered another piece of plastic charging 20 percent interest. Yesterday’s finance majors buy their summer homes with the bleak futures of today’s humanities majors.

This is the prospect for which we have been preparing since grade-school. Those of us who came here to have our privilege notarized surrendered our youth to a barrage of tutors, a battery of psychological tests, obligatory public service ops—the cynical compilation of half-truths toward a well-rounded application profile. No wonder we set about destroying ourselves the second we escape the cattle prod of parental admonition. On the other hand, those of us who came here to transcend the economic and social disadvantages of our families know that for every one of us who “makes it,” ten more take our place—that the logic here is zero-sum. And anyway, socioeconomic status remains the best predictor of student achievement. Those of us the demographics call “immigrants,” “minorities,” and “people of color” have been told to believe in the aristocracy of merit. But we know we are hated not despite our achievements, but precisely because of them. And we know that the circuits through which we might free ourselves from the violence of our origins only reproduce the misery of the past in the present for others, elsewhere.

If the university teaches us primarily how to be in debt, how to waste our labor power, how to fall prey to petty anxieties, it thereby teaches us how to be consumers. Education is a commodity like everything else that we want without caring for. It is a thing, and it makes its purchasers into things. One’s future position in the system, one’s relation to others, is purchased first with money and then with the demonstration of obedience. First we pay, then we “work hard.” And there is the split: one is both the commander and the commanded, consumer and consumed. It is the system itself which one obeys, the cold buildings that enforce subservience. Those who teach are treated with all the respect of an automated messaging system. Only the logic of customer satisfaction obtains here: was the course easy? Was the teacher hot? Could any stupid asshole get an A? What’s the point of acquiring knowledge when it can be called up with a few keystokes? Who needs memory when we have the internet? A training in thought? You can’t be serious. A moral preparation? There are anti-depressants for that.

Meanwhile the graduate students, supposedly the most politically enlightened among us, are also the most obedient. The “vocation” for which they labor is nothing other than a fantasy of falling off the grid, or out of the labor market. Every grad student is a would be Robinson Crusoe, dreaming of an island economy subtracted from the exigencies of the market. But this fantasy is itself sustained through an unremitting submission to the market. There is no longer the least felt contradiction in teaching a totalizing critique of capitalism by day and polishing one’s job talk by night. That our pleasure is our labor only makes our symptoms more manageable. Aesthetics and politics collapse courtesy of the substitution of ideology for history: booze and beaux arts and another seminar on the question of being, the steady blur of typeface, each pixel paid for by somebody somewhere, some not-me, not-here, where all that appears is good and all goods appear attainable by credit.

Graduate school is simply the faded remnant of a feudal system adapted to the logic of capitalism—from the commanding heights of the star professors to the serried ranks of teaching assistants and adjuncts paid mostly in bad faith. A kind of monasticism predominates here, with all the Gothic rituals of a Benedictine abbey, and all the strange theological claims for the nobility of this work, its essential altruism. The underlings are only too happy to play apprentice to the masters, unable to do the math indicating that nine-tenths of us will teach 4 courses every semester to pad the paychecks of the one-tenth who sustain the fiction that we can all be the one. Of course I will be the star, I will get the tenure-track job in a large city and move into a newly gentrified neighborhood.

We end up interpreting Marx’s 11th thesis on Feuerbach: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.” At best, we learn the phoenix-like skill of coming to the very limits of critique and perishing there, only to begin again at the seemingly ineradicable root. We admire the first part of this performance: it lights our way. But we want the tools to break through that point of suicidal thought, its hinge in practice.

The same people who practice “critique” are also the most susceptible to cynicism. But if cynicism is simply the inverted form of enthusiasm, then beneath every frustrated leftist academic is a latent radical. The shoulder shrug, the dulled face, the squirm of embarrassment when discussing the fact that the US murdered a million Iraqis between 2003 and 2006, that every last dime squeezed from America’s poorest citizens is fed to the banking industry, that the seas will rise, billions will die and there’s nothing we can do about it—this discomfited posture comes from feeling oneself pulled between the is and the ought of current left thought. One feels that there is no alternative, and yet, on the other hand, that another world is possible.

We will not be so petulant. The synthesis of these positions is right in front of us: another world is not possible; it is necessary. The ought and the is are one. The collapse of the global economy is here and now.


The university has no history of its own; its history is the history of capital. Its essential function is the reproduction of the relationship between capital and labor. Though not a proper corporation that can be bought and sold, that pays revenue to its investors, the public university nonetheless carries out this function as efficiently as possible by approximating ever more closely the corporate form of its bedfellows. What we are witnessing now is the endgame of this process, whereby the façade of the educational institution gives way altogether to corporate streamlining.

Even in the golden age of capitalism that followed after World War II and lasted until the late 1960s, the liberal university was already subordinated to capital. At the apex of public funding for higher education, in the 1950s, the university was already being redesigned to produce technocrats with the skill-sets necessary to defeat “communism” and sustain US hegemony. Its role during the Cold War was to legitimate liberal democracy and to reproduce an imaginary society of free and equal citizens—precisely because no one was free and no one was equal.

But if this ideological function of the public university was at least well-funded after the Second World War, that situation changed irreversibly in the 1960s, and no amount of social-democratic heel-clicking will bring back the dead world of the post-war boom. Between 1965 and 1980 profit rates began to fall, first in the US, then in the rest of the industrializing world. Capitalism, it turned out, could not sustain the good life it made possible. For capital, abundance appears as overproduction, freedom from work as unemployment. Beginning in the 1970s, capitalism entered into a terminal downturn in which permanent work was casualized and working-class wages stagnated, while those at the top were temporarily rewarded for their obscure financial necromancy, which has itself proved unsustainable.

For public education, the long downturn meant the decline of tax revenues due to both declining rates of economic growth and the prioritization of tax-breaks for beleaguered corporations. The raiding of the public purse struck California and the rest of the nation in the 1970s. It has continued to strike with each downward declension of the business cycle. Though it is not directly beholden to the market, the university and its corollaries are subject to the same cost-cutting logic as other industries: declining tax revenues have made inevitable the casualization of work. Retiring professors make way not for tenure-track jobs but for precariously employed teaching assistants, adjuncts, and lecturers who do the same work for much less pay. Tuition increases compensate for cuts while the jobs students pay to be trained for evaporate.

In the midst of the current crisis, which will be long and protracted, many on the left want to return to the golden age of public education. They naïvely imagine that the crisis of the present is an opportunity to demand the return of the past. But social programs that depended upon high profit rates and vigorous economic growth are gone. We cannot be tempted to make futile grabs at the irretrievable while ignoring the obvious fact that there can be no autonomous “public university” in a capitalist society. The university is subject to the real crisis of capitalism, and capital does not require liberal education programs. The function of the university has always been to reproduce the working class by training future workers according to the changing needs of capital. The crisis of the university today is the crisis of the reproduction of the working class, the crisis of a period in which capital no longer needs us as workers. We cannot free the university from the exigencies of the market by calling for the return of the public education system. We live out the terminus of the very market logic upon which that system was founded. The only autonomy we can hope to attain exists beyond capitalism.

What this means for our struggle is that we can’t go backward. The old student struggles are the relics of a vanished world. In the 1960s, as the post-war boom was just beginning to unravel, radicals within the confines of the university understood that another world was possible. Fed up with technocratic management, wanting to break the chains of a conformist society, and rejecting alienated work as unnecessary in an age of abundance, students tried to align themselves with radical sections of the working class. But their mode of radicalization, too tenuously connected to the economic logic of capitalism, prevented that alignment from taking hold. Because their resistance to the Vietnam war focalized critique upon capitalism as a colonial war-machine, but insufficiently upon its exploitation of domestic labor, students were easily split off from a working class facing different problems. In the twilight era of the post-war boom, the university was not subsumed by capital to the degree that it is now, and students were not as intensively proletarianized by debt and a devastated labor market.

That is why our struggle is fundamentally different. The poverty of student life has become terminal: there is no promised exit. If the economic crisis of the 1970s emerged to break the back of the political crisis of the 1960s, the fact that today the economic crisis precedes the coming political uprising means we may finally supersede the cooptation and neutralization of those past struggles. There will be no return to normal.


We seek to push the university struggle to its limits.
Though we denounce the privatization of the university and its authoritarian system of governance, we do not seek structural reforms. We demand not a free university but a free society. A free university in the midst of a capitalist society is like a reading room in a prison; it serves only as a distraction from the misery of daily life. Instead we seek to channel the anger of the dispossessed students and workers into a declaration of war.

We must begin by preventing the university from functioning. We must interrupt the normal flow of bodies and things and bring work and class to a halt. We will blockade, occupy, and take what’s ours. Rather than viewing such disruptions as obstacles to dialogue and mutual understanding, we see them as what we have to say, as how we are to be understood. This is the only meaningful position to take when crises lay bare the opposing interests at the foundation of society. Calls for unity are fundamentally empty. There is no common ground between those who uphold the status quo and those who seek to destroy it.
The university struggle is one among many, one sector where a new cycle of refusal and insurrection has begun – in workplaces, neighborhoods, and slums. All of our futures are linked, and so our movement will have to join with these others, breeching the walls of the university compounds and spilling into the streets. In recent weeks Bay Area public school teachers, BART employees, and unemployed have threatened demonstrations and strikes. Each of these movements responds to a different facet of capitalism’s reinvigorated attack on the working class in a moment of crisis. Viewed separately, each appears small, near-sighted, without hope of success. Taken together, however, they suggest the possibility of widespread refusal and resistance. Our task is to make plain the common conditions that, like a hidden water table, feed each struggle.
We have seen this kind of upsurge in the recent past, a rebellion that starts in the classrooms and radiates outward to encompass the whole of society. Just two years ago the anti-CPE movement in France, combating a new law that enabled employers to fire young workers without cause, brought huge numbers into the streets. High school and university students, teachers, parents, rank and file union members, and unemployed youth from the banlieues found themselves together on the same side of the barricades. (This solidarity was often fragile, however. The riots of immigrant youth in the suburbs and university students in the city centers never merged, and at times tensions flared between the two groups.) French students saw through the illusion of the university as a place of refuge and enlightenment and acknowledged that they were merely being trained to work. They took to the streets as workers, protesting their precarious futures. Their position tore down the partitions between the schools and the workplaces and immediately elicited the support of many wage workers and unemployed people in a mass gesture of proletarian refusal.

As the movement developed it manifested a growing tension between revolution and reform. Its form was more radical than its content. While the rhetoric of the student leaders focused merely on a return to the status quo, the actions of the youth – the riots, the cars overturned and set on fire, the blockades of roads and railways, and the waves of occupations that shut down high schools and universities – announced the extent of the new generation’s disillusionment and rage. Despite all of this, however, the movement quickly disintegrated when the CPE law was eventually dropped. While the most radical segment of the movement sought to expand the rebellion into a general revolt against capitalism, they could not secure significant support and the demonstrations, occupations, and blockades dwindled and soon died. Ultimately the movement was unable to transcend the limitations of reformism.

The Greek uprising of December 2008 broke through many of these limitations and marked the beginning of a new cycle of class struggle. Initiated by students in response to the murder of an Athens youth by police, the uprising consisted of weeks of rioting, looting, and occupations of universities, union offices, and television stations. Entire financial and shopping districts burned, and what the movement lacked in numbers it made up in its geographical breadth, spreading from city to city to encompass the whole of Greece. As in France it was an uprising of youth, for whom the economic crisis represented a total negation of the future. Students, precarious workers, and immigrants were the protagonists, and they were able to achieve a level of unity that far surpassed the fragile solidarities of the anti-CPE movement.

Just as significantly, they made almost no demands. While of course some demonstrators sought to reform the police system or to critique specific government policies, in general they asked for nothing at all from the government, the university, the workplaces, or the police. Not because they considered this a better strategy, but because they wanted nothing that any of these institutions could offer. Here content aligned with form; whereas the optimistic slogans that appeared everywhere in French demonstrations jarred with the images of burning cars and broken glass, in Greece the rioting was the obvious means to begin to enact the destruction of an entire political and economic system.

Ultimately the dynamics that created the uprising also established its limit. It was made possible by the existence of a sizeable radical infrastructure in urban areas, in particular the Exarchia neighborhood in Athens. The squats, bars, cafes, and social centers, frequented by students and immigrant youth, created the milieu out of which the uprising emerged. However, this milieu was alien to most middle-aged wage workers, who did not see the struggle as their own. Though many expressed solidarity with the rioting youth, they perceived it as a movement of entrants – that is, of that portion of the proletariat that sought entrance to the labor market but was not formally employed in full-time jobs. The uprising, strong in the schools and the immigrant suburbs, did not spread to the workplaces.

Our task in the current struggle will be to make clear the contradiction between form and content and to create the conditions for the transcendence of reformist demands and the implementation of a truly communist content. As the unions and student and faculty groups push their various “issues,” we must increase the tension until it is clear that we want something else entirely. We must constantly expose the incoherence of demands for democratization and transparency. What good is it to have the right to see how intolerable things are, or to elect those who will screw us over? We must leave behind the culture of student activism, with its moralistic mantras of non-violence and its fixation on single-issue causes. The only success with which we can be content is the abolition of the capitalist mode of production and the certain immiseration and death which it promises for the 21st century. All of our actions must push us towards communization; that is, the reorganization of society according to a logic of free giving and receiving, and the immediate abolition of the wage, the value-form, compulsory labor, and exchange.
Occupation will be a critical tactic in our struggle, but we must resist the tendency to use it in a reformist way. The different strategic uses of occupation became clear this past January when students occupied a building at the New School in New York. A group of friends, mostly graduate students, decided to take over the Student Center and claim it as a liberated space for students and the public. Soon others joined in, but many of them preferred to use the action as leverage to win reforms, in particular to oust the school’s president. These differences came to a head as the occupation unfolded. While the student reformers were focused on leaving the building with a tangible concession from the administration, others shunned demands entirely. They saw the point of occupation as the creation of a momentary opening in capitalist time and space, a rearrangement that sketched the contours of a new society. We side with this anti-reformist position. While we know these free zones will be partial and transitory, the tensions they expose between the real and the possible can push the struggle in a more radical direction.
We intend to employ this tactic until it becomes generalized. In 2001 the first Argentine piqueteros suggested the form the people’s struggle there should take: road blockades which brought to a halt the circulation of goods from place to place. Within months this tactic spread across the country without any formal coordination between groups. In the same way repetition can establish occupation as an instinctive and immediate method of revolt taken up both inside and outside the university. We have seen a new wave of takeovers in the U.S. over the last year, both at universities and workplaces: New School and NYU, as well as the workers at Republic Windows Factory in Chicago, who fought the closure of their factory by taking it over. Now it is our turn.
To accomplish our goals we cannot rely on those groups which position themselves as our representatives. We are willing to work with unions and student associations when we find it useful, but we do not recognize their authority. We must act on our own behalf directly, without mediation. We must break with any groups that seek to limit the struggle by telling us to go back to work or class, to negotiate, to reconcile. This was also the case in France. The original calls for protest were made by the national high school and university student associations and by some of the trade unions. Eventually, as the representative groups urged calm, others forged ahead. And in Greece the unions revealed their counter-revolutionary character by cancelling strikes and calling for restraint.

As an alternative to being herded by representatives, we call on students and workers to organize themselves across trade lines. We urge undergraduates, teaching assistants, lecturers, faculty, service workers, and staff to begin meeting together to discuss their situation. The more we begin talking to one another and finding our common interests, the more difficult it becomes for the administration to pit us against each other in a hopeless competition for dwindling resources. The recent struggles at NYU and the New School suffered from the absence of these deep bonds, and if there is a lesson to be learned from them it is that we must build dense networks of solidarity based upon the recognition of a shared enemy. These networks not only make us resistant to recuperation and neutralization, but also allow us to establish new kinds of collective bonds. These bonds are the real basis of our struggle.

We’ll see you at the barricades.

Research and Destroy


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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Let Congress Go Without Insurance

From the New York Times:

Let Congress Go Without Insurance

Let me offer a modest proposal: If Congress fails to pass
comprehensive health reform this year, its members should surrender
health insurance in proportion with the American population that is

Nicholas D. Kristof

It may be that the lulling effect of having very fine health insurance
leaves members of Congress insensitive to the dysfunction of our
existing insurance system. So what better way to attune our leaders to
the needs of their constituents than to put them in the same position?

About 15 percent of Americans have no health insurance, according to
the Census Bureau. Another 8 percent are underinsured, according to
the Commonwealth Fund, a health policy research group. So I propose
that if health reform fails this year, 15 percent of members of
Congress, along with their families, randomly lose all health
insurance and another 8 percent receive inadequate coverage.

Congressional critics of President Obama’s efforts to achieve health
reform worry that universal coverage will be expensive, while their
priority is to curb social spending. So here’s their chance to save
government dollars in keeping with their own priorities.

Those same critics sometimes argue that universal coverage needn’t be
a top priority because anybody can get coverage at the emergency room.
Let them try that with their kids.

Some members also worry that a public option (an effective way to
bring competition to the insurance market) would compete unfairly with
private companies and amount to a step toward socialism. If they
object so passionately to “socialized health,” why don’t they block
their 911 service to socialized police and fire services, disconnect
themselves from socialized sewers and avoid socialized interstate

I wouldn’t wish the trauma of losing health insurance on anyone, but
our politicians’ failure to assure health care for all citizens is
such a longstanding and grievous breach of their responsibility that
they deserve it. In January 1917, Progressive Magazine wrote: “At
present the United States has the unenviable distinction of being the
only great industrial nation without universal health insurance." More
than 90 years later, we still have that distinction.

Theodore Roosevelt campaigned for national health insurance in 1912.
Richard Nixon tried for universal coverage in 1974. Yet, even now,
nearly half of Congress is vigorously opposed to such a plan.

Health care has often been debated as a technical or economic issue.
That has been a mistake, I believe. At root, universal health care is
not an economic or technical question but a moral one.

We accept that life is unfair, that some people will live in cramped
apartments and others in sprawling mansions. But our existing
insurance system is not simply inequitable but also lethal: a very
recent, peer-reviewed article in the American Journal of Public Health
finds that nearly 45,000 uninsured people die annually as a
consequence of not having insurance. That’s one needless death every
12 minutes.

When nearly 3,000 people were killed on 9/11, we began wars and were
willing to devote more than $1 trillion in additional expenses. Yet
about the same number of Americans die from our failed insurance
system every three weeks.

The obstacle isn’t so much money as priorities. America made it a
priority to provide tax breaks, largely to the wealthy, in the Bush
years, at a 10-year cost including interest of $2.4 trillion.
Allocating less than half that much to assure equal access to health
care isn’t deemed an equal priority.

The plan emerging in the Senate is no panacea. America needs to
promote exercise and discourage sugary drinks to hold down the rise in
obesity, diabetes and medical bills. We need more competition among
insurance companies. And conservatives are right to call for tort
reform to reduce the costs of malpractice insurance and defensive

But those steps are not a substitute for guaranteed health coverage
for all Americans. And if health reform fails this year, then hopes
for universal coverage will recede again. There was a lag of 19 years
after the Nixon plan before another serious try, and a 16-year lag
after the Clinton effort of 1993. Another 16-year delay would be
accompanied by more than 700,000 unnecessary deaths. That’s more
Americans than died in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and
Iraq combined.

The collapse of health reform would be a political and policy failure,
but it would also be a profound moral failure. Periodically, there are
political questions that are fundamentally moral, including slavery in
the 19th century and civil rights battles in the 1950s and ’60s. In
the same way, allowing tens of thousands of Americans to die each year
because they are uninsured is not simply unwise and unfortunate. It is
also wrong — a moral blot on a great nation.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Plan

Ok, so I have a plan. I think it will work. Because I know there there is goddamn NOTHING as bad as being unemployed and not having a plan and just staring at the TV or internet to read the depressing trivialities of celebrity gossipy while the bills accumulate, hang over your head, and you put everything off until tomorrow, and you are afraid to answer the door.

There are no jobs in Denver. No one is hiring. I applied to be an industrial window cleaner today and had a referral from someone who worked there and I'm waitlisted for 2 weeks and it sounds dubious. At the lodo restaurant I applied to there were 10 of us waiting there by the time they told us to go home because the manager couldn't interview so many people that day. So I'm going to the ski towns to try and scrounge work around the hotels. I think that will work. And if it doesn't, I'll try another city. There are some nice things about Denver and the front range but I'm not dating anyone, there are no jobs, the music scene is large but shallow and doesn't pay, and the state of political activism is about as lively as my bank account.

First, I don't have enough change left after digging through my seats to pay gas to get anywhere. And I can't pay the $25 parking ticket that will soon double if I don't pay it or the bills. So I am selling the Waldorf Microwave 1. I love this synth. Wavetable scanning with analog filters. Makes me hot. But analog filters don't pay the bills. There's an add for it on the Denver Craigslist. On the very remote chance that any of you are interested just make me an offer.

Then I will fill the car with warm clothes and the camping & outdoor kitchen & survival stuff, nice work clothes, resumes, and food. And find something. Housing arrangements will work out however they will. I'm not too concerned with that. It may be arduous to spend a winter in the Colorado mountains. But I know that no environment is worse than the prison of an unemployed individual's apartment. Intimately. I know. So I will at least have beautiful sunsets, sunrises, and scenery.

For free time I will engage in outdoor activities, and the rest of the time I will hang out in coffee shops drinking good coffee and reading and writing my stories of the Colorado Trail and Hard Living in the West, as well as political propaganda. I will consistently submit my written work to various outlets in an attempt to become a more established writer person. That's the most realistic option I can think of. I think it will work. And if it doesn't there are at least 4 other states out here I'd be interested in living and working in.

The dustbowl refugee had a coal car and a hobo jungle. I have a Subaru and a nice 4 season tent from REI. My path will be arduous at times. But I can't stay here. And the revolution is taking too long. So I have to do something.

The struggle continues.

Friday, September 25, 2009

They Hate Our Freedoms

Police being... generally dickish... messing with students and clearing them out of the city, so as the rich and powerful and discuss their failed economy without the distracting nuisances of, well... the voices and the signs of the assembled pleebs.

“Americans are asking, 'Why do they hate us?' They hate what we see right here in this chamber: a democratically-elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms – our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.”

-President George W. Bush, during an address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American people, United States Capitol, Washington, DC, September 20, 2001

The Frat Boy Foreign Legion

Article: Animal House in Afghanistan


Letsee... dumb people doing dumb stuff that's covered up by dumb corporate managers and dumb politicians in a dumb war that our dumb president is escalating while the dumb electorate sits on its ass reading facebook. Yeah... Makes perfect sense to me. There was never anything honorable about fighting for imperialism. This just shows you how bad things have decayed... the frat boy foreign legion... that's who they can find to do this crap.

We are a nation of god damn chloroformed, sterilized sheep to be putting up with this.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I am not spending another winter

Looking at want ads, doing gigs type jobs here and there that pay slightly but leave me unstable and nervous, not leaving the apartment cause it costs money to step outside, and going to a depressing dark club once a week to drink cheap terrible beer. I'm also not working for another Denver employer like the past FOUR Denver employers I've had who all lied to me about money and hours... where they hadn't outright stolen my tips.

Today I applied at the one restaurant that posted an ad for servers on craigslist. There was a dozen of us there, sitting at the bar, not even being offered a glass of water by the ice-queen bartendress, and 10 of us left not even speaking to the manager because he did not have time to interview so many people. I'm giving Denver like another week, max, for jobs. After that, there's nothing really tying me here. I'm selling the waldorf, loading up the car, and heading to the ski towns in search of work. If that doesn't work, it will be another state. Probably New Mexico, Arizona, Utah or Nevada. But if I'm going to be broke I'm going to be broke somewhere with a better view than there is available outside of this apartment.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New Album - Ghosts - Online, + Entire BE Back Catalog

It has been one month short of a year when the last of my tracks was completed... then one postponement and hang up after another... finally... after 17 months...

Mastered and all with some nice contributions (tracks 1,9, & 12) by Dan from Worms of the Earth, you can listen for yourselves + free DL:

Like a lot of people from the South I caught that bug where you get obsessed with the history and keep reading about it and visiting it... naturally I was drawn to the darker / political aspects... which is pretty much all of it. I filled up an entire folder of notes and had written 25 pages without a thesis by the time I realized that every question I had already had a book written about it by someone else that pretty much told me what it was I was trying to figure out. So rather than refighting some old beaten to death literary question of the past, I made a musical tribute to that... region.

The basis was a lot of samples / field recs I did in the old mines and rail yards and natural settings of the mountainous areas... some friends also helped me do more recs in an industrial park in Atlanta and in New Orleans. Then there was guitar and moog... with filler sounds here and there.

A lot of the poems I wrote in the past year dealt in a similar vein... I posted some around here you may have seen.

Also, I just got done re-designing the Buried Electric site at That's the monkier I came up with in 2003 for self releases. Now we're on release 008, with 009 just hung up for mastering. So the whole catalog is pretty well organized there now which it hadn't been in the past. 003 is PRETTY ROUGH production wise (has some B sides though)... but that was probably inevitable. Everything else I'm pretty darn proud of though.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A City That Prides Itself on Forgetting its Past.... Revists one

How could something like this happen in Martin Luther King's home town?

The following occurred about a mile away from my home in Atlanta, Georgia at 11:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 10, 2009.

Mark Danack was watching the football game at his favorite bar, The Eagle, when he heard somebody yell, "HIT THE GROUND!" He thought a fight had broken out. The lights switched on and up to 30 cops were yelling, screaming and ordering everyone to the ground. The police had raided the bar.

For what?

"Shut the f**k up!" a cop yelled at one of the bar patrons who asked why they were being forced to lay face down on the grubby floors.

An acquaintance saw the police shove an 80 year-old man to the ground because he was moving too slowly.


"No questions! Do what you're told or we'll arrest you!" The officers threatened jail time to anybody asking why they were being held against their will.

The search and seizures began. Everything in everyone's pockets was taken away.


"None of your G-D business! Get back on the floor and shut the hell up!" Driver's licenses were taken and put through a laptop screening.

What are you looking for?

"I said SHUT THE F**K UP!" Three paddy wagons were waiting outside.

Nick Koperski was enraged. He knew he had done nothing wrong. Yet there he was, lying on the floor, face down, his pockets emptied. He had it better than some of the others, like Du-wan Ray, one of the bar's managers. Ray was handcuffed on the back deck.

Why are you doing this?

"I hate queers," a cop said. Other officers -- some plain-clothed, some uniformed -- walked around the bar demanding to know who was in the military, threatening to report them to their commanding officers.

"This is a lot more fun than raiding niggers with crack!" Du-Wayne Ray heard one white officer say this to another; other cops were high-fiving each other.

For almost two hours, Mark Danack, Nick Koperski, and sixty other gay men were forced to lay face down on the bar's filthy floors. The drivers license screening revealed nothing.

Sixty two men and the cops didn't find a suspended license, a criminal prior, nothing. Not even a parking ticket.

The search and seizure uncovered nothing. No drugs. Not even a joint.

Finally, the men were ordered to leave but without their cell phones, wallets and other personal belongings.

Not a single man was arrested.

Or given an apology.

Or given a reason for why they were held against their will.

Or how they could get their personal possessions back.
Welcome to Amerika.
Facts and quotes were sourced from my acquaintances who were victimized by the police as well as the city's gay paper, Southern Voice, its mainstream paper, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, its unofficial gay portal, Project Q Atlanta, its progressive paper, Atlanta Progressive News, its alternative paper, Creative Loafing, its PBS station, WABE-fm as well as the four local TV stations: ABC-affiliate WSB News, CBS Affiliate, WGNX News, NBC affiliate WXIA News and FOX affiliate WAGA News. The photo above used for illustration purposes only.
ANALYSIS: Anatomy of a Southern Sex Panic.

Eight staff members were arrested and put in jail without bond. The charge: Dancing in their underwear without a permit. If it were not for the intervention of two Atlanta City Council candidates who contacted a judge who then set bail, the men would have spent the weekend in jail.
The lawyer retained to defend the bar made this public statement:

"The situation is such that they [police] were coming in for the least serious ordinance violation of all time -- dancing around in their underwear.

Usually such violations will lead to simple citations to employees of an establishment. But the fact police searched all the customers is a direct violation of constitutional rights.

They had no right to search them, look in their pockets for drugs or detain them. At this stage it seems to me what occurred was a serious constitutional violation to everyone in the place."

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