When I got to Gainesville, I found so much that was new. I thought it was all new. The Postal Service and indie music generally–all new to me. Pavement and Built to Spill. Something was being built up in the system. New to the world. A new phenomenon. Now we have all digested it. Now it’s on car commercials. Maybe it was always on car commercials.
So then there was a time when I was 25 and I became a socialist, and Occupy was breaking forward like a wave that had not reached its full extension, and I thought that America was becoming socialist with me. That was new, and I was surrounded by a new world.
But now I see that socialism, too, is old, and America is old, and America is not turning socialist. Now I see that America is what it looked like before I became a socialist–old, calcium-white, stodgy, stonily scared, homicidally violent. America was Republican before Occupy and it is still Republican.
I am high and dry, as I was before 2011. Where is the wave still breaking? Where are the green shoots? Where is there that which is still new under the sun?
I want to give my life to communism. Not to today’s communists, but to a future communist humanity. Where in the English-speaking world can I go and give all of myself–or at least, what place has need of the largest portion of me? I’m going to ask the reddit communists soon. Who is doing the best work? Where are they building something that is not going to wash away? Where can I be most helpful?
Or maybe right now, in the English-speaking world, it all washes away and just makes the sea a little bit more communist. South Africa? India? The southwestern United States?
While we’re on the subject, Debussey’s “Passepied” sounds like the yet-breaking wave of the world.
I know that there is nothing that doesn’t wash away. I know that one day the earth will fall into the sun. But I want to help make the difference in whether or not a sentient species will leave this planet and prosper throughout the universe. I want to make a difference so that the humans of the future are not afraid like I am afraid. I am afraid in so many ways. I am fearful in ways I don’t even realize.
Nothing is realer than one’s emotions. Not anything. Maybe the will, if that is a real thing. I think maybe that’s just a manifestation of emotions, though. Else what does the will care?
It is not
it is not
it is not
it is not
it is not enough
it is not enough to be free
of the red white and blue
of the drag, of the dragon
Kamau Brathwaite, “Negus”
I deeply enjoy those words. The following words are not exactly related to that poem, but I did write them after looking up these quoted words and reminding myself how they go.
It is not enough to be white and male and American and middle-class-raised and college-educated and erudite and a work-anywhere computer-using freelancer. It is not yet enough because the dragon still has everyone, even me. It is not enough because when will we be free of Babylon?
There is no prize in this world sweeter than the ones this world excludes. There is no prize even close. It all tastes like the poison it is. The only thing that tastes pure or right or real is communism. Nothing else makes as much sense. Nothing else is, as they say, a “complete protein,” ideologically speaking.
Everything else offers, to paraphrase Graeber, who was probably paraphrasing someone else, a tiny false image–oh wait, here it is, I don’t have to paraphrase:
For a long time I was genuinely puzzled as to how so many suburban American teenagers could be entranced, for instance, by Raoul Vaneigem’s The Revolution in Everyday Life—a book, after all, written in Paris almost forty years ago. In the end I decided it must be because Vaneigem’s book was, in its own way, the highest theoretical expression of the feelings of rage, boredom, and revulsion that almost any adolescent at some point feels when confronted with the middle class existence. The sense of a life broken into fragments, with no ultimate meaning or integrity; of a cynical market system selling its victims commodities and spectacles that themselves represent tiny false images of the very sense of totality and pleasure and community the market has in fact destroyed; the tendency to turn every relation into a form of exchange, to sacrifice life for “survival”, pleasure for renunciation, creativity for hollow homogenous units of power or “dead time”—on some level all this clearly still rings true.
David Graeber, Revolutions in Reverse (bold and underline mine)
I want to see myself from outside, gesticulating passionately and not the slightest bit aware of it. I want to find my purest of intentions and honor them.