Robin Morgan Is A Feminist Oppressor: Just Ask Her, Yourself!

So, I just saw something rather troubling on the internet that prompted me to serve up a rant for y’all if you care to hear me out on this.  The image that bothered me enough to immediately start stringing these thoughts together was a meme featuring a quote from activist/author Robin Morgan of the Feminist Majority Foundation and the American Women’s Movement, among other similarly-minded collectivist groups.

I’ll warn you in advance about its occasional profanity and subject matter.  I realize that this may very well offend some people, but I just needed to say it, and in just such a way.  First, though, here’s the image that sent me flying into such a tizzy, so you have an idea of the context:

robin morgan

Anyway, here goes!

First of all, I just have to say that this lady is as pathologically fucked-up as the anti-masturbation crusader John Harvey Kellogg.  For those who may not know, Dr. Kellogg was the guy who invented corn flakes in order to create a food so impossibly bland that it had the power to prevent sexual arousal.  This unfortunate psycho spent his entire adult life working to shame both himself and others for feeling sexual urges, and doing anything he could to curb such instincts.  Anyway, this was just a personal observation that I felt the need to make about Morgan’s glaringly obvious internal cognitive dissonance.  That’s not really the point of the statement I’m trying to make here, though.  There’s more.

So, I’m all for inter-cultural prosperity and freedom from oppression in all its forms (not to mention, gender equality on the basis of individual merit), but come on now. Shaming yourself for being who you are sounds pretty fucking oppressive to me, in and of itself. What kind of outlook is that for anyone to have, let alone an “activist” and ideological talking head like Robin Morgan?  From my perspective, Morgan’s outlook is hardly any different from girls who dress and act a certain way (or even starve themselves) in order to cater to male objectification, perpetually telling themselves that they are inadequate or downright worthless, altogether.

Maybe Robin Morgan should consider joining the military or finding a way to get herself into prison if she’s having personal troubles stemming from not feeling “oppressed enough.” There are plenty of state employees working for the U.S. government who would be more than happy to help her feel more oppressed.

Or better yet, why doesn’t she go live somewhere that is oppressed to the max–like Iraq or Afghanistan, for example. It sounds like maybe the level of oppression being brought to the people of those countries (courtesy of the weapons and armies of “priveleged” “white people”) might be good for her conscience–especially since she’s taken it upon herself to share in their personal responsibility for having blood on their hands.  At least if she did any of these things I’ve suggested, she’d sound less like such a bourgeois, intellectually-charlatan hyprocrite.

If you’re looking for oppression, Robin, the world is your oyster: believe me! Carpe diem, girlfriend! Just pick your personal favorite flavor of it and follow your dreams wherever they may take you!

However, if the truth of the matter is that you don’t actually want that kind of oppression for yourself or anyone else, then perhaps a good first step to take would be to stop propagating self-shaming and inverse class-ism, especially if in practice you’re not actually willing to sacrifice those “privileges” you say you hate! Talk about inconsistency. Man, oh man.

Anyway, long story short, the underlying message of this rant is really just, “love thyself, and cause harm to none.”

And if you can’t do that, then at least don’t encourage similarly unhealthy thought patterns in others–especially so hypocritically.  YOU as an individual are not responsible for the atrocities of any collective group (whether racial, cultural, economic, or otherwise) that anyone else might claim that you belong to.  Unless YOU personally choose to willingly participate in the crimes of any such collective and deliberately commit acts of oppression against others, you are an agent of world peace like the rest of us.

In reality, there is no “we” doing any oppressing; there is no collective responsibility or guilt.  Either you’re an oppressor, or you’re not, and that’s your choice to make based on your own moral code.  Stop encouraging people to hate themselves and share in your irrational sense of personal guilt over the actions of others.  It’s not healthy for you or anyone else, and at the end of the day, it’s just another form of oppression.  Actually, self-loathing and internalized shame might just be the most crippling of all of its forms.

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Video-cast with Derrick J Freeman!

It’s been a whirlwind of productive activity for me lately! Between Sick Sad World, starting my new job now that I was finally granted an ID by the state, and the Community Supported Kitchen I help organize every week (not to mention, my social life, which seems to be thriving despite all of these obligations), there really hasn’t been any time in my schedule left over for anything else.

However, after finding out at the last minute that Derrick J and I were in fact not going to be guest-hosting The Angel Clark Show earlier tonight (as we had expected), we took advantage of some of the extra time we were afforded and recorded a brief video podcast about some of today’s news stories.

Topics include the death of Fred Phelps, two incidents of inmate death by neglect while they were serving time in jail, and a recent study put out by the White House claiming that Americans spend roughly $100 billion on illicit drugs annually.  Check it out, if you’d like–hope you enjoy it!

Also, Episode 5 of Sick Sad World, a sister project of Stateless Statements and Peace News Now, is now available ***here*** if you have any interest in that.  Some new blog pieces of mine (of a more humorous nature) are posted on Sick Sad World’s website, as well.

“Papers, Please! Papers, Please!”

IDphoto

So, after 23 years of life and a two-month-long struggle trying to get it, I have finally been issued my first-ever state ID card.

For me, this is a huge deal–I’ve always resisted the institution of a state-issued identification system for a variety of reasons, generally privacy-related. The idea of a scannable government barcode used to track you and your purchases, as well as to aid police in running background checks by creating a centralized pool of identities and the criminal records associated with them, has always turned me off. I’ve never understood how having one’s “papers” could be such a necessity in the “land of the free;” all I can hear when the need to check them arises is, “Papers, please. Papers, please. Vere are your papers??” like the Nazis used to do.

Because I believe that all individuals are sovereign inhabitants of planet earth, and that country borders are just imaginary lines created by the state and enforced with violence, I feel as though mandatory state identification cards are contrary to both natural law and the overall freedom of mankind.  It ought to be up to individuals themselves, and those with whom they directly interact, to determine how one’s identity ought to be proven.  Even in the total absence of government, there would certainly still be a market for identification and background information services.  The demand for them might perhaps be even greater in the absence of a state, actually.  The ability to verify one’s own identity, as well as others’, can be quite crucial in many scenarios.  It’s only when the state holds a centralized monopoly over such identification practices that I take issue with them.

nationalism

Somehow, I’ve managed to avoid getting an ID for this long.  When it came to employment, I would always just find jobs that didn’t require one, or where I knew people who could let not having an ID slide.  Renting my various living spaces throughout the years followed a similar model.  When it came to having fun, I’ve always managed to get into various bars and events using the countless connections I’ve had to make.   In order to enjoy my life without giving in to the will of the system, I had to make and keep strong personal connections; my very livelihood depended on it.  Unfortunately, I still have had to miss out on a lot of good times and opportunities as a consequence of not having the required identification.  It has always just been an unfortunate price I was willing to pay in order to remain outside of “the system”–that is, until quite recently.

The only reason I even decided to cave in and get one in the first place after all this time without it is because I have been out of work for the past several months, and both of the positions I was finally offered after extensive job hunting required a photo ID before I could even start working.  I haven’t been able to pay rent, and have been literally penniless for the last month or so, during which time I tried to get my documentation together for the state.  Thankfully, my parents had my original birth certificate, but my Social Security card was lost.  It was pretty clear that step one was to work on getting a new one.

The first time I went to the Social Security office, located in center city, Philadelphia, I waited for two and a half hours in a room full of all kinds of people (and their screaming kids) from all walks of Philadelphia life while the security guards patrolled us all, yelling at anyone who dared to use their cellphone.  After my number was finally called (yes, you really are just a number there), they denied me from being issued a new Social Security card because my date of birth was absent from my medical insurance card.  They told me I had to come back with additional papers.  Of the list of acceptable documents, the only option that I had left was my high school transcripts.  I’ve never had a bank account (you can’t get one without a photo ID card), and I no longer have health insurance; it’s been years since I’ve even been to see a doctor, let alone a Primary Care Practitioner.  My only remaining chance was to go back to my “alma mater” and retrieve whatever records they had of me.  Also, there was no one available to answer my questions about their requirements when I tried to call–it states clearly on their website that there are no live operators for the Social Security phone line.  Moreover, the telephone numbers of their individual office locations are unlisted–you get what you get when there’s a monopoly over any service, whether you like it or not.  There’s no competition.

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I was hardly shocked to discover that the school (a public school, if that even bears mentioning) had lost my medical records.  The woman  behind the desk told me that they must have had them at one point or another, otherwise I would never have even been able to attend in the first place.  Basically, all I got out of my interaction with the school was a resounding, “Oops!”  My transcript was all they could offer me, and the photos of me that were included with it were so blurry from the cheap Xerox printer ink and ancient scanner they had used to enter them into their database.  When I took this to the DMV (along with my birth certificate, former medical insurance card, old W2 forms, and official jury duty notifications), they told me it wasn’t enough.  I still needed a Social Security card.

And so I went back to the Social Security office, this time trying a slightly different approach with the attendant who saw me.  I simply handed her all of my documentation, saying confidently, “Here’s my birth certificate, insurance card, and high school transcripts with photos, just like you asked.”  Thankfully, she overlooked the fact that the insurance card lacked my birth date, and after waiting about a week and a half, I received my new card in the mail.

Finally, with all of my paperwork in order, I went back to the DMV again, only to be told that I lacked an acceptable proof of residency because none of the documents I’d provided had been issued within the previous 90 days.  90 days.  That’s all they give you in New Jersey.  I went into hysterics, and the man behind the counter told me that my stepfather and I would have to issue a statement that I lived with him at the address I was claiming and have it notarized.  I asked him and the woman next to him if they ever felt like the gestapo, demanding peoples’ papers and processing them into a system that is oppressive, corrupt, and invasive of privacy.  All he said in response was, “Nein,” and then threatened to have me escorted out by police if I didn’t calm myself down.  We were already leaving anyway to go have that letter notarized, though.

papersplease

Once all that had been settled, and the DMV had finally approved me as qualifying for an ID, they moved me to another booth to have my photograph taken.  To my dismay, they wouldn’t let me use my old mugshot from my 2011 arrest as my photo on the ID as I had requested.  The guy at the desk even said to me flat out that, “It’s basically a mugshot we’re taking of you, anyway.” I asked him if he was seriously listening to the words coming out of his mouth; he ignored the question.  I managed to sneak a bit of a scowl into the photo, at least–I do not look happy about any of this.

I also tried to use, “All Rights Reserved,” as my signature, but after a big debate about it between myself and the supervisor, they still wouldn’t let me. So instead, I sneaked an anarchy symbol in with it.

It’s still amazing to me that I can get into bars now, though, or on airplanes (or trains, for that matter: most transit methods demand identification nowadays).  As dehumanizing and against my will as the whole process has been, it’s interesting that there is a certain element of liberation that comes with having an ID when one lives within the confines of such an un-free society. But anyway, I’m ready to finally join the world of adults, with all of its legally granted privileges. It’s just a shame that without a little piece of plastic with our name and picture on it that assigns us all our government barcodes, we are denied such endeavors. But anyway, here’s to the future! I’m just glad this ridiculous, soul-crushing, and old-world-ish mess of bureaucracy is over with, finally, and I can resume my status as a productive member of society and begin to support myself once again.

And get into bars, obviously.  Did I mention that already?

Murdered On Tape by Police: Luis Rodriguez

Sorry for the hiatus, everyone.  It was partially due to a move to a different state, needing to deal with some tremendous personal upheavals, and starting work on a new YouTube show with long-time friend, outstanding activist, and media talent Derrick J. Freeman.  You can click on his name for a link to his website Peace News Now, or click here for the link to our new show and YouTube channel: Sick Sad World.  “Bringing you the best of the worst news.”  Below is our newest episode; it is our fourth so far.

Since working on Sick Sad World, I must say that I have become inundated with some rather dismal show material, especially from people sending me suggestions for stories to cover each week.  The case that I’m about to illuminate was featured in this week’s episode, which we’ve titled “Horror In the Streets,” and with good reason–this story alone is enough to warrant such a sensational title.  My intention for this post is to draw some attention to the video that is about to follow.

In all of my years of sifting through news, especially concerning police brutality, I have never seen a video as chilling and truly telling of the horrors of the American police state.  Believe me when I tell you that I read a lot of news, and have perhaps become a bit jaded by all of it over the years.  For a video to stand out to me the way that this one does is unusual, to say the least.  Its footage is a remarkable example of why videography is so important for police accountability in the 21st century.

The clip depicts the final moments of Luis Rodriguez, as well as the subsequent realization by his wife that her unarmed husband has been murdered by police before her very eyes.  During the entirety of this brutal and horrific series of events, the police repeatedly attempt to investigate and charge her with a crime.  After she had been involved in a minor domestic dispute with her daughter while inside of a movie theater, the police were called to investigate, and when Luis allegedly became uncooperative, the situation rapidly escalated to shocking proportions.

Words can’t describe how I feel about this story and this video, but I feel as though it speaks for itself.  Please, watch with caution, if you can: this is pretty “real.”  If you can’t bring yourself to see it for yourself, please at least share this post with the world, or any other information about this tragic story that you can.  This video could be a real game-changer if it gets enough exposure.

It’s time the world sees the truth about the badged ruling class that violently roams the streets of American cities everywhere.  It’s time for people to speak up against the monopoly on violence that is the very institution of government itself.  It’s time to speak up against the legions of armed gang members who use their “authority” status to violently enforce state policies, commit crimes, and then cover them up.  It’s time for a shift towards freedom and, above all else, peace.

***Here is a link that will provide you with additional information about this unfortunate story.***