Sunday, October 31, 2010



I don't care that much who you vote for, or if you vote. I'm far too at peace with the universe, I think, to really be phased by it. Or even affected by it. I'm far too used to, and comfortable with, poverty, couch surfing, my life savings constantly being erased to keep the car I live in running, small game hunting, winter camping, living with girlfriends, living in a car, etc... I don't really expect any of this to change whoever is elected. Whoever wins, whoever you vote for, whether you vote or not, I am going to still be parking my car on your street and sleeping in it with a lot of layers on and peeing in a pee bottle so as not to attract attention and/or risk an arrest for "indecent exposure" by urinating publically. That is not going to change whoever you do or do not elect.

A Democratic president was elected two years ago, and from 2006-2010 the congress has been controlled by democrats. They've passed some things, I am told, that will make health care better, that will take effect in a few years, and I should vote for them again to keep this future change I have seen nothing of myself in place.

The irony is that, for me, the quality of my own life have actually been better under Republicans. That's right. In 2007-2008 I made over, about, $20,000, most of it from March-August, being head waiter at the third largest restaurant on the East Coast. I saved about $7,000, and had another $2,000 invested in some keyboards I liked. I was able to take a few months off, like, 9 months off, to try living in some different cities, to drive across America 4 times, to learn about the country, visit the deserts and the mountains, and tour in a band that- despite all the sacrifices- some people actually liked.

Of course, all this was based on tips trickling down to me from some of the most corrupt, tax payer subsided, bought off, third world exploiting, parasitically wealthy scrooges human society has yet succeed to begat. Indeed, though, by this very narrow litmus test of personal economic success- damn the consequences- I actually had a better, easier, freer life in the days of George W. Bush!

In 2008- the year of Hope and Change- the economy, well, collapsed and I as you may know was deeply affected by it. In May of 2008, when things still seemed ok, I got a decent paying waiter job within 1 week of moving to a new city where I had decided to start a new life. By September things were slowing down and on September 26th I was laid off. I sold a lot of music gear that fall and winter to keep my rent paid.

I didn't qualify for unemployment. You see, I had been working consistently since 2003, all through college, at different part time jobs. I worked for Tower Video, two coffee shops, hosted and waited tables at restaurants. After college I worked my butt off on 16 hour shifts- some days not sitting down once and barely eating- for a year and a half at a fancy Georgetown restaurant. I decided to save my money by living cheaply so that I could travel and learn more about America. This was the source of my undoing, you see, because unemployment is based on your income for the first four of the last five financial quarters. Because I was traveling while living on savings for most of the first four of the last five financial quarters, the government website calculated that after all those years of paying taxes, they would help me live by paying me $50 a week. Sure. Thanks America. My rent is $535 a month. I submitted the application anyway because even this would help somewhat. I'd still have to sell my possessions to survive, but hopefully I could just sell less of them.

I remember the day Obama was inagurated. I was walking around downtown Denver that day with a tie on and my resumes in my notebook, futilely trying to submit them. That week I had called 58 different restaurants, and spoken to managers to ask if they were hiring. I got one interview but it did not turn into a job. At one point while I was walking back home I ran across my former manager. A super energetic, Republican, ex-marine, he asked how I was doing. I said I was doing fine. What the hell am I supposed to tell you, ex manager? My life sucks and thanks for laying me off but I hope you are well? Hmmm...

In February 2009 I took the LSAT test at Denver University to satisfy the nagging of my family as well as my own intellectual curiosity. The test went longer than I had calculated and by the time I got back to the car in the parking garage I was greeted with a $50 parking ticket. As usually happens, bad luck comes not as single spies but in battalions. I turned on my phone and checked a voicemail that had been left while I was taking the test. It was from the unemployment office. They told me they were deleting my application for unemployment because someone in Georgia- where I hadn't worked since 2003- had already filed an application with my SSN. I spent about 45 minutes filling out that application online and they just told me in a voicemail that they deleted it all.

They gave me a number in Georgia to call and I called it and couldn't figure out how to talk to a human. By this point I was so damn frustrated with it all I decided to just say "screw it". This system is a total mess and even if I was able to navigate it it would barely help at all.

Finally in February I started working for a restaurant on East Colfax that illegally stole 20% of our tips every day. This was illegal according to the Colorado Division of Labor. When I called the Division of Labor and spoke to someone there they said they could send the employer a letter if I liked asking them to please refrain from stealing our tips. This would, of course, just make the employer fire me. They said I could hire a lawyer and they recommended no one. I looked a few up. Most employment related law firms just represented employers, not employees. The one lawyer I did talk to said he'd charge me $250 an hour and keep half of whatever I win, with postage and photocopying fees taken out of my half. I told him to forget it. A few weeks later, after I had started to guide river trips for tips only as a first year guide, me and half the staff quit in protest over the greed and intolerable micro-management of the restaurant owner.

After that I started driving dump trucks, street sweepers, skid loaders, and using pressure washers for $11.50 an hour. That was pretty cool I guess. I could work all week and at the end of the week when bills were paid I was still broke. I worked harder and faster than anyone else and after 6 months, after I already told them I was quitting to move to a better job in Utah, I got a whole dollar raise. It was kinda validating, but um... not exactly the kind of life I want to have forever.

It has been two years of the Democrats... maybe the emergency stimulus bill helped some people. Maybe things would be worse if it didn't get passed. I don't know. If anything I was only affected by it indirectly. But I'm not convinced that Republicans, if John McCain had won, wouldn't have done some identical kind of bill. All throughout the fall of 2008 they were bailing out different big companies faster than I could learn who these companies were and why they deserved money.

They say some parts of the health care reform bill will kick in later and I should be patient. Well, for starters, have you ever tried telling your bill collector to be patient, and that you'll pay they back in a few years once Congress gets around to implementing health care cost reductions?

I got sick last summer in the desert and went and got a prescription at a hospital and they sent me a bill for $285. This summer when I got sick and went to the hospital for a prescription I got a bill for $483 and another bill for $69. One moral of this story is that if you get sick and need to go to a hospital, go to Allen Memorial Hosptial in Moab, not St Mary's hospital in Grand Junction. Another moral of this story is that, after all is said and done in Washington, if something bad happens to you, you are still on your own. Because by the way, I actually HAVE health insurance, and I still get these bills. My car insurance also doesn't cover blowouts, flats, or tow trucks to pull the car out of the hole. On my own for that one, too.

They talk in Washington about "big government" and how it is bad because it makes us lazy cause we should all be hard working independent people. A lot of the people who talk this talk are from states (like Arizona, or California) whose populations wouldn't exist if Big Government money to the tune of billions of dollars didn't come along and build damns and irrigation projects to support human life and agriculture. Official hypocrisy aside, let's consider the pathetic reality of most hardworking, "independent" people today- independently skinning squirrels, independently eating rice and beans, independently moving back in with Mom and Dad, and independently shivering when they can't afford to turn the heat on. I've been able to avoid directly applying for government assistance for two years of hard ups and downs and I tell you all this independence is about to kill me.

So let's say social safety nets are pretty good things, and we should protect them against right wing assaults. Fine. But they can't be relied on, and politicians who say they are for them can't be relied to make sure they reach the people who could use them. There are millions of people like me who fall between the cracks, get lost in the web of paperwork, or who hurt enough to be able to use some help but for one bureaucratic reason or another are some how not qualified to officially recieve it.

Whoever is elected whatever they are talking about with words and paper and typed sentences and television clips- when things go wrong and you are hurt or your car gets screwed up- you are going to have to fix it yourself. If the rent needs to get paid you are going to have to sell you stuff and pay it, and when you are tired of that, or of working all week just to be broke at the end of the week when the bills are paid- so you decide to live in your car or your tent or at a hostel on a work exchange to save money- you are still going to have to pay to fix that car yourself when it decides to break and no one- Democrat or Republican- is going to be there to hold your hand.

Whispers of change. Yes. Hopes and whispers, closeted whispers, not unlike several thousand soldiers in our military, hushed, repressed, silent, prayers of hope, for marginal, trickling, potential change in years to come...

Let's stop talking about hope and fear and dreams. Let's start talking about reality.

The reality is that the war in Iraq is not ended. I was at the Waffle House in Atlanta, a week ago, when a fellow who is not politically radical or an activist gave the best summation of this war that I have heard in years. He said, "Apparently the war in Iraq is over, but for some reason my buddy is deploying there next month." Yes, they are still torturing people in their dungeons. Saddams' dungeons. Our dungeons. Abu Graib, check points, raids, jails, detaining folks without trail and without lawyers... Yes, the government we support there is completely corrupt, and yes, the country will fall apart without our guns. The only reason the "terrorists" there are killing our troops less is because we've been able to buy them off, for a while...

Afghanistan is a similar picture but with a much higher casualty rate, and a much lower level of government "functionality", insofar as that word could actually be used to describe the Iraqi government. The people we support there have careers equally characterized by opportunism and corruption though misogyny and the drug trade generally figures more prominently in their day to day operations. With billions in fake development funds being siphoned into fake "non-profits" and white western experts being paid more per hour than an Afghan makes in a month to study people and recommend things and start projects that never get finished... yes... the word is quagmire... disillusion, bibery, extortion, murder, suicide, prostitution, rape... these are other words... just language, for you and me, just analysis... but LIFE for a few million people we'll never meet and, deep down, the bombs we drop really don't care about. After a trillion dollars and a decade's worth of concerted efforts of the world's most "developed", "civilized", and "democratic" nations; Islamic Fundamentalists in Afghanistan have MORE power and MORE influence than they ever have.

More Troops!

Perhaps foreign affairs really do occupy too much of our attention. Indeed, our economies are collapsing, and Republicans scream for "Deficit Reduction" in spite of the trillions these wars have consumed... they are significant... but on a geologic time scale... even on the human time scale, they are insignificant, mere blips, minor tremors, aftershocks, footnotes on the path of a way of life completely unsustainable and structurally incapable of maintaining itself three, four, five, even, SIX generations from now?

The water is over allocated. Public transit cannot function efficiently in a sprawling, suburban environment, even IF the will did exist to try it out. Agriculture is pumping the aquifers dry and field flooding, crop rotation, and yes, even drip irrigation (though it does so a lot slower) are turning fields to salt. The food we eat is not even food. The foods we subsidize and celebrate cause obesity and tooth decay, diabetes and heart attacks. Cardiac wards are the largest part of many hospitals- even though cardiac problems are among the easiest to prevent. To keep the aisles full, the illusion of choice, and Freedom, alive, the animals we eat live knee deep in their own feces and are kept, for now, alive through a diet of high powered antibiotics, e-coli on their meat killed (mostly) in chlorine-ammonia baths before being dyed back with food coloring to meat-color. Swine flu was a tremendous wake up call, that, predictably, went ignored.

The challenge of our generation to develop a sustainable energy policy remains, of course, unanswered. Obama was for "alternatives", we voted for him as a vote against the "Drill Baby, Drill!" crowd, remember? Well, not quite. You see I was so busy appreciating the irony of Obama opening up hundreds of miles of coastline to deep sea drilling exactly one month before a deep sea oil rig blew up and half killed an ocean that I couldn't quite remember what forgotten insinuations of solar-wind "alternatives" I was supposed to have been thinking about two years ago when it was time to vote for CHANGE!

Natural Gas as "transition" fuel? Hmmm... Um. Natural gas is a fossil fuel that pollutes the atmosphere and contributes to climate change. The wells we drill to tap its reservoirs are made possible by injection thousands of gallons of toxic, secret, chemicals into and below the water table. The "transition" is about as meaningful as a junkie trading crack for heroin.

Heady issues, big picture issues, development issues, intellectual issues... future issues...

Maybe, there are closer issues? Like... the fact that we continue to imprison more people than any other country and we spend tens of thousands of dollars keeping them fed and housed in prisons more closely reminescent of some chapter from Dante's inferno than anything even remotely "rehabilitating?" How about front loading the system with schools, for EVERYONE, that don't suck? Woah, what the hell kind of crazy idea is that?

Even if the schools WERE better... even if mom didn't work two or three jobs to keep the family alive and dad wasn't dead or divorced or in jail... there's really no point to funding education where an economy doesn't exist that values an education. When job growth is in the part time, short term, low wage, no-benefit service sector... city "growth" is dominated by big box retailers and small towns revert to the benevolent feudalism of Wal Mart; their historic downtowns left to wither and die for the sake of fast food, gas stations and retailers popping up along the interstate... really, what is the point of even offering a decent education? They're only going to be that much more pissed off at you when they're tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars MORE in debt AND they realize their degrees are worthless.

End the wars. Abolish the military. Turn the bases and camps into colleges and get every teenager and 20-something a bachelor's degree by 2015. Do nothing to change wage structures and income inequalities. You'll have a revolution.

Supreme court justices... filibusters overrides... votes... balance...

It doesn't matter. You say it does matter. And you are right. But it doesn't matter. Don't vote for the Democrats, the Republicans will win. Vote for the Democrats, elect them, allow them to discredit themselves by betraying they're electorate, remain at home, stay indoors, donothingtocounteracttherabidfulminationsoftheright. Watch Rebublicans win. Continue to pay for your own damn tow truck and your own damn emergency room bills.

I don't really care, who you vote for, or if you vote. Will some things change in an election year? Maybe. Will you notice? Probably not...

I'm not concerned about me. I can poach a deer and I can live in a car and I can sell the remaining music gear I still own. I'll get by, one way or another, for another 6 months until- thanks to god- the sun will shine and the ice will melt and I will leave your world of bickering, cities, food stamps, and parking meters to return to Utah, guiding, open air and the hostel and the bunkhouse. Whatever it takes, I'll pull myself through it, and so will you, and whoever wins the elections, government bandaids over the worst social problems will continue to improve, or devolve, at the slowest, marginal pace...

It's not about who you vote for. It's not about what sign is on your lawn. It's not about the sticker you get to wear.

It's about what you do the other 364.25 days of the year.

You'll live, somehow, and die, much the same way whoever is in power. It's not about you, or your one cause, or your marginal, self-limiting and all encompassing atomized identity. Leaving politics to politicians is a recipe for disaster. Leaving politics to politicians that are bought and sold by corporations whose loyalty is to profit-driven shareholders and NOT the environment, You, Majority Rule, or anyone living in the Middle East, is a recipe for collective suicide.

If you think voting Democrat or Republican is going to make this a more equitable, environmentally sustainable, just, fair, or economically responsible country... well... I don't think you even Exist!

Because, deep down, it's really just the fear, isn't it? And the repetition, and the ingrained, predictive habits. You never really had a choice, or freedom. Your vote was assumed, taken for granted, calculated, and gerry mandered away years before this election, or next election. Millions of dollars were spent in campaigns to sway "undecided" voters so clueless, uninformed, manipulable, selfish, and child-like they did not have the sense or principle to have already decided a party attachment to loathe and choke beneath by the time they were 18. It's this least informed, least intelligent, unpredictable segment of the population that really determines which way elections go.

This doesn't mean that it doesn't matter if you are smart, compassionate, well read, historically-informed, and up to date on current events. Of course that matters. But if you are going to limit your political intervention on this planet to the two dozen or so election years you're hoping to be lucky enough to live through, well, then I think we are all just fucking doomed.

The politicians are tools. All of them. They will lie to you. And they will fail. If they do not fail, it is because they are helping, somehow, rich corporations to make more money. That is the only thing you can really count on.

If we want to really have this planet be a nice place to live in, we need to get out of this shell. We need to tear down this paradigm of the prison-oligarchy we live in. We need to organize a protest. We need to form a new party. We need to go door to door. We need to cold call strangers. We need to devote hours of our lives to attending meetings, and making sure other people will actually come to them. We need to learn how to listen patiently to people we disagree with and try to figure out how to best articulate the things we believe in. We need courage and we need grassroots organizations and we need to fail. And we need our organizations to fall apart. And then we need to learn from that and build better organizations. And if we are not willing to do that, to take democracy seriously, and be active participants in deciding what kind of political options we are going to have as a society in an age of unsustainability, limited, dwindling resources, energy crises and decline...

Just go. Back. To. Your. Cave.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Restoring Sanity or Restoring Spectatorship?

A friend passed along this article that he wrote about the Upcoming "Rally to Restore Sanity" that John Stewart is promoting:

My comments:

When I was a kid I remember Charles Barkley had done something that dissapointed a lot of people, and when he was critized for his short comings, he said, "I'm not a role model." Immediately after that, someone told him, "You're a role model whether you like it or not."

Whether we like it or not, Stewart and Colbert are able to provide the most widely disseminated informed critiques of politicians, media pundits, wars, power disparities, injustice, hypocrisy, etc.. of any intelligent / liberal / progressive force anywhere in our country. Yes, it's messed up the fake news is the real news, that you have to be a comedian or celebrity to hold a microphone and have anyone listen to you when you tell the truth about how wrong things are. It's HIGHLY messed up that all of us are looking for political leadership to PROFESSIONAL ACTORS, rather than community activists, progressive journalists, and/or the leaders of a real progresive party...

The media in this country is a big, upside down, lying mess. It has utterly failed the people to keep them informed and capable of making intelligent decisions in an era of recession, terrorism, war, and runaway corporate power. Similarly, liberals and progressives are a mess. Despite our great numbers, we've failed to organize our power in any meaningful way. We remain, for the most part, slaves to corporate militarists in the Democratic Party who have consistantly betrayed every liberal promise ever made in an election year.

That being said, the country is in a crisis, and it is politically unstable. We know what the "solutions" of the right are: immigrant bashing, race baiting, war, and more attacks on the poor to pay for the rich's bailouts. In this situation, whether they deserve it or not, Stewart and Colbert have the chance to promote a real alternative.

It's irresponsible how they pretend to be "above it all". Real lives are at stake. Without a progressive alternative the future of democracy in the US looks very dark . Fence sitting is unhelpful.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Israeli settlers building 544 new homes

KARMEI TZUR, West Bank – Israeli settlers have begun building new homes at an extraordinary pace since the government lifted its moratorium on West Bank housing starts — almost 550 in three weeks, more than four times faster than the last two years.

And many homes are going up in areas that under practically any peace scenario would become part of a Palestinian state, a trend that could doom U.S.-brokered peace talks.

My favorite part of the article:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has played down the new construction, saying it "has no real effect on the map of a possible (peace) agreement."

Which is really quite true. Zionism is a colonialist ideology. Just because the holocaust happened to you does not make it ok to move somewhere else and kick other people out of their homes. That action is what Israel is based on. To full fill the vision of Jewish Fundamentalism - every bit as dangerous as Islamic or Christian Fundamentalism- the Arab hoards need to be pushed out completely of every bit of the holy land. What Netanyahu is saying is really surprisingly honest. The Israeli state never will, and never has, accepted the idea of a serious, permanent "peace" with its neighbors that does not include for itself all of "historic" Israel.

The Arabs will move out, be chased out, be killed off, and held at bay with nuclear weapons. This is the only "peace" these people will ever be satisfied with.

Wrongful Conviction Database

Share with death penalty proponents.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Musicians, Fans, Downloading, and The Revolution

This topic greatly affects my own life and thinking as well... I'm couch surfing now and had some free time and hadn't written anything in a while so here's some thoughts...

In a Society More Harmoniously Structured:

Music production and recording technology becomes more widespread and affordable. More people are able to write and record music, distribute it, and play shows in their communities. There is an influx of poorly produced, mediocre music. But from this there is also an influx of well produced, great music. Eventually scenes develop and people branch out and play shows elsewhere. If other people like their music they go to their shows and give them money and buy their merch. Said other people also order their CDs or T shirts or really neat box sets or LP vinyls or just donate them money and download Mp3s.

What Actually Happened:

The economy entered a recession. Myspace became popular for musicians to spread the word about themselves but then it suddenly was abandoned by almost every user because the owners of Myspace got greedy and put too many obnoxious ads all over it. The interface was also unable to compete with the more efficient social network of Facebook. At the same time people found themselves with less and less money to spend on music, the same people started getting computers and learning about Napster, Limewire, Kazaa, and finally, torrents of entire albums. Writing music became less profitable for everyone except the most well known musicians whose popularity was either established in the age before downloading, or it was promoted so heavily through the entrenched media apparatus that it was still able to be profitable.

Rather than myspace making your local band famous, it was bought out by Rupert Murdock, turned into a tool of the industry to promote signed, controllable acts. Meanwhile all your "friends" started abandoning the site where they followed your updates... though they still torrent your albums.

Increasingly, musicians are feeling the economic pinch and are able to devote less of their personal time-money to producing something fewer and fewer people will or can compensate them for. Rather than the "forward march" of technology having a leveling, democratizing effect upon the music world, it's potential has been held back by the crises and inequalities of capitalism. Thousands of would be artists are ruined, and abandon their work; while Pop stars continue to dance and sing and shake their booties, surrounded, often enough, by dollar signs, dollar bills, fast cars, sexy women, and other symbols of unattainable luxury.

The Struggle Continues

Labels and Artists struggle to keep themselves afloat, financially, through various "niche", mixed-media marketing. It is often ineffective. Fans, now able to download entire discographies without leaving their desks- or paying a dime- have mentally de-valued the process of music composition, production, and distribution. They expect artists- using tools newly available to them- to deliver more and more- while being compensated less and less.

The musician- fan relationship has changed from a symbiotic one of mutual support to an antagonistic, even parasitic one.

These problems affect all genres. Though the industrial-goth-electro genre may be suffering more these days as so much of that scene's output for the past decade has sucked horribly.

Options Available for Musicians

1) Continue to foot the bill on composition, production, and touring-

Touring takes on more significance as fans long for a closer connection to the music that they are now- thanks to the internet- so alienated from. Not only is buying music alienating, LIFE is alienating. Each individual experiences the crisis in their own, private, desperate hell. Friends and family are avoided- not turned to. Social networks disintegrate as people go out less. Live shows, far more than sex-alcohol-drug oriented dance clubs, offer, for what can be a quite reasonable fee, an actual sense of community, being part of something, and contributing to something good happening. That is a sense far too rare today in most people's lives.

Good live shows might actually sell merch and CDs, however, the ratio of

[Immediate Concert Merch + Music Sales] to [Post-Concert Antendee Music Purchases]

will of course, thanks to the internet, continue to decline. Another downside to this scenario is due, not to simple technological progress, but to contemporary economic decline. While live shows are becoming more important, artists and labels are less and less able to shoulder the costs of providing them, while fans, despite their desire to attend, are less and less able to afford to.

2) Support and Pass legislation that bans and aggressively prosecutes Peer to Peer file sharing websites, hosts, and program writers-

Either these networks will exist and musicians will continue to loose billions of dollars, or musicians and labels and national and international governments will be able to fight back against them, chasing more fans to legitimate mp3 purchases such as itunes,, etc... Of course this will mean the criminalization of sharing music, with a few front page horror stories of 14 year olds' houses being raided by cops, their computers confiscated, their parents heavily fined, etc... Unfortunately for musicians, music pirates comprise a great majority of the world's population, and they may, through whatever small democratic mechanisms still exist, be able to prevent this from happening. And even if it did, piracy, and servers in countries with weak governments, would probably still allow music sharing to exist anyway, albeit on a somewhat reduced scale.

3) Avoid Digital Sales-

Promote only "niche" vinyl releases, box sets, cassette tapes, etc that capitalize on the novelty of allowing a fan to participate in a non-digital musical transaction.

Unfortunately this will probably not work as it would require fans to spend more money that less and less of them have. It might be even less effective on younger listeners (most of the people who buy music) who didn't grow up with vinyl, cassettes, or CDs, and who live without a second thought to mass downloading.

4) Heavily Promote Digital Sales-

Unfortunately this probably will not work as the people most computer savvy enough to be comfortable buying from itunes, amazon, or your label's website are also the ones savvy enough to know how to torrent.

5) Organize All Musicians-

To go on strike, refusing to play shows or write new albums, until fans start buying music again.

Unfortunately this probably will not work, as fans will continue to torrent music during the strike, and enough ambitious new musicians will doubtless step in to fill the void.

6) Implement Step One in a Revolutionary Manner-

Follow the example of Underground, "revolutionary" Hip-Hop in Russia. Confront the economic realities head on with music that restores the lost Artist-Fan connection by forming a music that aligns the artists' own personal struggle, under capitalism, with that of the fan. As the fan continues to loose, under capitalism, their jobs, foreclosed houses, life savings, personal effects, health care coverage, etc... so does the musician continue to loose his own economic stability the fan was once able to provide. Reaching fans (people) directly through tours, inexpensive low run DIY CD and merch releases, microlabels that actually make free downloads as well as paid downloads available. Hurting, and sacrificing, and barely scraping by- yes... by scraping by none-the-less, as an artist, as we all are.

Optimistically, revolutionary music and revolutionary movement will regain a dialectical relationship- the music inspiring the movement- the movement inspiring the musicians. Struggle will begin to catch up to the level of dissatisfied consciousness. Rather than the people paying for the recovery of profits for wall street, rather than watching our homes get foreclosed while a billion a day is spent on unwinnable, immoral, war, we re-build the economy, and re-structure our future, in a sustainable way more concerned with the living standards of ALL OF US than with the profits of the few.

Optimistically, such a movement might be capable of returning us to A Society More Harmoniously Structured.

Pessimistically- such an approach might work for a while, until the wave breaks and the movement fades, and capitalism triumphant is eventually able to re-establish itself as a hegemonic, "legitimate" system. Of course it might do so through fascism, military spending, death camps for minorities, bombing competing nations into oblivion, etc... but it might still do it. In such a case the artist, if he is able to survive whatever repression the state may or may not require to suppress the movement, would become something like John Lennon in the eighties. Still alive, yes, a fading memory of a bypassed, exhausted, defeated revolution that once was.

Certainly though, is that really so bad of a thing to be? Surely, it's gotta beat just going broke, selling all your gear, no longer making the art you loved, and hating all your fans.

* * *

Addendum... Economic Context

It is Not. Just. The. Internet... but it is the internet in the context of the economy.

If things were going well and people had money, sure, they'll buy your record on itunes or click on your donate button. But things are not going well. People are getting squeezed. They've been getting squeezed, and median income in this country has been dropping, ever since the late 1970s, when, to compete better with Japan, Europe, and now China, American companies have been slashing wages, downsizing, outsourcing, destroying unions, etc...

Instead of buying things they need or would like with money they got from their jobs, more people buy things they need or want with credit cards, eventually enslaving themselves to debt peonage.

Instead of getting paid enough to go to college, you join the Army, go to Afghanistan, and come back with a traumatic brain injury.... OR you start life fresh out of undergrad with several thousand, tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.

So people cut here and there to continue being able to live. Money that could have gone to a musician went to groceries and rent and... downloading torrents replaced having to give the musician money.

It's the same trade offs you see everywhere. Like, it sure sucked the factory closed down, or relocated from the Midwest to the South East where it can pay workers less (no unions)... but at least there's Walmart selling us food and oil changes a little bit cheaper to help us live on our fast food wages and unemployment checks.

Work harder to save and pay for your own shoestring tour out of pocket.

Just like when they fire the bussers at the restaurant and now the waiters do their jobs too- just work harder to be able to make the same kind of money and tread water for a while.

Musicians who used to make money, or who wanted to make money, are just another laid off UAW 55 year old watching his pension disappear. They're the deported illegal immigrant of entertainment. Thank you for your work, now go away and quit assuming you ought to be able to get health care or a nice place to live permanently.

These trends to squeeze living standards will continue as much as they can everywhere. Until... we either get smart and fight back and make living a little more balanced and sane.

But... they're betting you won't be smart enough to do that. You'll just get more and more frustrated and pissed off and jealous and bigoted until you embrace the fascism, join the storm troopers, kill off the minorities, and bomb competitive nations back into the pre-industrial era... so that once again The Companies can make super profits AND you can have a nice suburban house, a car you can afford to maintain, and enough salary to send your kids to college where they're actually be jobs for them afterwords.

The cycle will repeat, ad nauseum, until all the resources are consumed. By then we'll probably devolve into some kind of mad max nightmare feudalism for a while until every scrap of technological progress is finally lost or stolen or traded for bullets. Maybe then we'll be able to re-live the hunter-gatherer "utopia" for a while until the sun blows up and engulfs our planet OR the dinosaurs evolve back around and eat us up... infant mortality rate and tooth decay notwithstanding.