Monday, October 6, 2014

Travel Plans and Resistance at the End of Empire, Thing of Beauty #078-101


I've been trying to get a grip on our travel plans for the Christmas holidays in order to lock in decent air fares. This process has been troublesome because Velvet can't seem to find the note he thinks he made regarding the final project in one of his classes.  And then there is the issue of traveling around the holidays in the first place because the airlines jack up the prices. The good news is that Southwest has been known to shake loose of the cheap(er) seats once the actual date is in sight and the flight isn't packed.  So I'm making these arrangements with the hope that I can switch it up at the last minute and get a refund.

I am aware that we are lucky to be traveling at all given that some people don't even have water - either through drought, like in California, or privatization for profit, like in Detroit.  I'm also aware that Pinko could get a job and fuck up the plans.  However, since we've finally got a clear picture of the kind of job Pinko needs, I'm not so worried about that.  If I'm in charge of manifesting a job for Pinko, then it's going to be a job that matches my own work schedule.

It would be nice if activist stuff brought in some cash, but nobody gets paid for going to demonstrations unless they're working for the Tea Party, the cops or some other agent provocateur. This week, the action is at the World Business Forum on Wednesday.  Apparently CEOs from major corporations around the world are all heading to a pep rally at Radio City Music Hall.  Yesterday, Pinko went to a planning meeting where they made this banner.  He painted the red, naturally.


He also went to the monthly Wobbly meeting out in Long Island City.  Of all the organizations he's been investigating since he got here last fall, it seems like he feels most comfortable with the Wobs, or the Industrial Workers of the World.  It's a Rank and File union that focuses on organizing the work place.  There's a lot of overlap in the work done by the Wobs, the RCP and the WWP.  I haven't met any of the Wobs, except at an anarchist book fair back in the fall and I really can't remember anything since I was more interested in Pinko back then than anything we might run across in our travels.

Between the WWP (Workers World Party) and the RCP (Revolutionary Communist Party), I prefer the WWP.  In the first place, all the guys at WWP events, or the events sponsored by organizations who share the offices down at the Solidarity Center on W. 24th Street, are much cuter than the guys I've seen handing out flyers for Revolution Books, which is the place where the RCP does their thing here in New York.  Pinko says there are some good, solid folks involved in the RCP, and maybe there are.  I just haven't met them.

The issue I have with the RCP is that no matter what anyone has to say about them - about how sensible and organized and dedicated and knowledgable or any of that stuff - the whole thing seems to come down to the Cult of Bob, or Bob Avakian, the chairman of the party.


Pinko went down to Revolution Books not long after we ran into some of Bob's supporters outside the New School when we went to hear Arundati Roy.  Since Pinko has been much more involved in lefty politics than I have on account of his show, he was already aware of the RCP and Bob Avakian.  I think that some of Bob's followers had called in to talk about Bob, or they showed up in the chat room talking about Bob, or something like that.  I don't know the particulars, but I do know that among Avakian's faithful, there is a lot of outreach and follow-up.  Rumor has it that they keep notes on everyone who comes into the book store, which would be kind of creepy except pretty much every organization that wants your money keeps records on once and future donors.  Universities and politicians spring immediately to mind.

When Pinko went to the book store back in the spring, he was interested in finding out for himself if the RCP is legit or if it's the Cult of Bob.  He was there for over an hour talking to a pleasant volunteer, a retired fellow who seemed to be a kindred spirit.  Pinko was flattered that the fellow asked if he was a professor somewhere since he knew so much about labor history, communist revolutions, anarchist stuff, Noam Chomsky and stuff like that.  I was suspicious, personally, especially since some lawyer with a struggling lefty non-profit had asked him the same thing at a May Day rally, but she was straight up about looking for volunteers.  It sounded to me like the guys at the book store were looking for new recruits.

In any case, Pinko bought Bob's book, BAsics, and proceeded to see what Bob had to say.  Although, in Pinko's view, everything Bob said in that book sounded accurate and reasonable, albeit a recycling of the same shit everybody else says about communist stuff when they're concerned about being accurate and reasonable.  Nevertheless, he was bothered by the way the text was numbered as if it were a bible, with chapter and verse.  As he's gone to more events at the book store, Pinko asked folks what they thought about marking up the text like that and has been told the whole thing is one of Bob's little jokes.  One night we were talking about the book, and I had to tell Pinko that I felt like the whole thing was fishy because it would have been very easy to write the word, "Basics," without capitalizing the BA in order to emphasize and highlight his own damn initials.


Bob Avakian himself is scheduled to appear with Cornel West at a big event at Riverside Church in November.  Pinko is helping the RCP promote the event by handing out leaflets and post cards. 

Some people think that Bob will fail to appear because he and his followers seem to encourage the idea that he's at risk of assasination, like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcom X.  At the last minute, they expect an excuse.  Others are making a big deal since Bob hasn't made a public appearance in years and years, although he was interviewed by Cornel West in 2012 (listen at TCPN).  So I suppose if he'll show up for anyone, he'll show up for Cornel West in a building where Martin Luther King safely preached a sermon back in 1967.

I don't know what to think, but I like Cornel West and have been known to catch up to him to say, "hello," any time I see him in the neighborhood.  He teaches across the street from my work, so I run into him every now and then. I'm happy to spend an afternoon in November with Pinko while he continues sorting through impressions trying to figure out what's up with the RCP.  I'm not hanging out at the book store, however.  Notably, I am happy to help paint posters for folks to carry around the World Business Forum on Wednesday with cheerful lefty comrades at the Solidarity Center.

I'm not going to the march because we have a staff meeting here at school that afternoon.  Until one of us hits Lotto, somebody's got to go to work.

I remain very proud of Pinko and our relationship really does get better every day. I'm remarkably content, except for when I get a case of the Day Before Pay Day Blues. Compared to Hippies' Despair, The Day Before Pay Day Blues is a piece of cake.  I always get over those blues on Pay Day.  Hippies' Despair is harder to shake off, although Pinko does provide an antidote.

The way he gets excited when people are talking about educating, aggitating and organizing always lifts my spirits.  I still think the world is going to hell in a handbasket here at the end of empire, but until that day comes, we should all be resisting any way we can with all our might. That Pinko and I can do it together is an official Thing of Beauty (#078-101, Explore Beauty from realia).

Blessed Be.

2 comments:

Jennifer said...

It sure is a beautiful thing. Really happy for you, I wouldn't want more for you than to be contented in your life of resistance. That's just fab.

no_slappz said...

If it weren't for capitalism, there'd be no airlines to transport people anywhere. It should be painfully obvious that nothing of any quality comes from communist countries. And no, when it comes to its economy, China is not a communist country.

Meanwhile, nothing stops anyone from living out in the middle of nowhere, off the grid and completely independent of all the intrusions -- the goods and services -- thrust at us by capitalism. However, few choose this option.

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