i know that Babylon is not a scientific concept. i haven’t had a thought or need for the idea in a long time, but i saw Babylon again tonight. the petty bourgeoisie in a dance hall, in a buffet of beautiful, starving people, trapped between very hard walls of ideology and steadied by soft addiction, in a poisonous space, lighter than air, a place where the same catchy songs play every night, year after year.
the high weeping note that pervades Elliott Smith’s “Angeles,” skyscrapers in the distance wrapped in filthy-bright, washed-out light.
* * *
i know it’s easy for communists to hate the middle class, and i find myself as readily despising them as my comrades do, but how can i not also always know with some part of me that they are human beings too, suffering under the weight of their own egos, egos they don’t even really own anymore? these are my people–this is my family–broken by their addictions, destroyed by their love, mosquitoes grown full of blood, bodies fifty, one hundred times too heavy to lift.
* * *
if you want to know what radicalized me, i wish that i could say the biggest factor was my compassion, but i am not that good. the biggest factor was that i grew up breathing poison, poison on the TV and the radio, poison in school, poison in the books i’d try to escape into, poison in the people i’d meet, the scars of poison covering my family, poison in every piece of art i looked at, poison in every form of relief i sought, poison in my own marrow, poison deep down in my own soul, soaked in over the decades.
the only thing that ever gave me unadulterated life was what i inherited from people who resisted, from the people who held their breath and fought back. those were the only people i ever saw who had kicked substantial amounts of poison out of their own souls, people like Assata Shakur and Malcolm X. the only thing on earth that gives me real life is resistance and revolution, is people preparing to kill this system that is not only killing us all but, really, not even letting us live.
* * *
i don’t give one twentieth of a fuck what a skeptic thinks, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China is the high point in human history. learning about that period of time gives me all the life i need. i promise you, if you are sick of this poison, come and struggle with me, come and study Mao with me, come and let’s serve the people, come and let’s break through the clouds and make some sunlight.