Life Over Limb https://lifeoverlimb.bandcamp.com/album/emergent
Lower Automation https://lowerautomation.bandcamp.com/album/strobe-light-shadow-play
Final Dose https://finaldose.bandcamp.com/album/demo
Within the current cracks in capitalism, locally and globally, there are those who still cling to fantasies/dreams of resuscitating dying ( some argue this class never existed to begin with) middle class goals and upper class status which include, confusingly, tactics to get “better” jobs like “quiet quitting.” Historically “qq” grew out of more militant 19th century and onwards tactics industrial workers used collectively ,organized informally in affinity groups or formally in early labor unions, such as work stoppages and working to rule. By following the bosses own rules to the point where it fucks up production and distribution ironically showed how the workers could run things without bosses!
Well, since some of us geezers went to the streets in 2020 with those mostly teens to thirty somethings, we have not only been collectively confronting systemic racism including the role of the police(i.e. historic roots in capturing and returning fugitive slaves and crushing labor movements) as well as other interconnected aspects of capitalism and statism which maintain class society’s social separation. We have also been analyzing our collective experiences and from these how can we go much further to organize ourselves against this existing miserable and absurd (in the worst sense ) organization of life as well as replace it with new healthier, more creative, and accountable relations beyond the limits of capitalist class society?
A comrade who shares some of the same affinities for old punk,post punk, industrial, etc. came up with a theory: “Two Possible ways and One Impossible way to end capitalism
POSSIBLE (imo): A single vast upsurge, that might slow or quicken at different points but which doesn’t fall back to inactivity at any point.
POSSIBLE (imo):A series of somewhat closely spaced upsurges each one of which allows some self-conscious communists and some portion of “apolitical” workers to learn lessons and create organizations.
And thus where the upsurge’s lessons remain usable in the next upsurge.
IMPOSSIBLE (imo):A long process of “slow building” either organization building, the organizing of work place or the placing of communists into institutions, even or especially union leadership.
My reasoning is that everything must happen fast because slow leaves all organizations and activists sitting ducks for repression, because slow requires any activity to integrate with capitalist society in order to survive in it and because the capitalists will act as a whole against the working class and so only the working class acting as a whole (or close to it) can counter that and so only these large scale actions can get “authentic successes” for many workers.
The first method is approximately “communization” while the second method has some resemblance to the rise of the Bolsheviks.” Note: neither of us promote a return to “Marxist-Leninism” and other Tankie state capitalist domination. As mentioned in previous editions there are anti-state Marxist perspectives that overlap with anarchism and the 20th century avant garde Dada and Surrealism hatched( Italian Futurism embraced nationalism and fascism; Russian Futurism had some overlap with anarchism but ultimately fell apart…more in 2023 on both and other 20th century influences on punk and other mergers of culture and politics/anti-politics). We critically draw from these heterodox/unorthodox tools.
Perfection might never be achieved daily by the majority of the planet’s population; perfection is perceived subjectively as a goal or end result that evokes abstract awe often reaffirming religious associations. Therefore, perfection becomes a psychological-ideological weapon used by many neurotic and psychotic people to manipulate and dominate others “imperfection.” Still, it’s better to not aim for more of the same old same old which can be “criminally insane” roles and games mutually used and abused by proles, bosses, and bureaucrats to maintain the “comforts and conveniences” of alienation, poverty, debt, growing health problems, neighborhood homicide, genocide, accelerated climate change, etc.
So we want to make a fast break from capitalism in general since going slow will allow for more proles and others marginalized to be tricked, stopped, imprisoned, and killed by State and corporate(including assistance from paramilitary fascists and other reactionaries with oligarch, police, and military connections)violence. Ok we also need music to motorvate mind and body. We need invigorating dynamic soundtracks to drop our routines! We need to be dynamic and invigorating as we breakaway! We need to keep uniting with fellow proletarianized people both close and temporarily unknown. We need to seize: streets,vacant real estate especially tall office buildings and luxury condos/apartments deliberately kept off the market til the richest suck them up, production, distribution, communications, etc. As I’ve explained before in Screemz , most punk, metal, post punk, noise rock, digital aggro dance subgenres including breakcore, digital hardcore, splittercore, extratone, etc. , harsh noise, power electronics, death industrial, etc. fit into what I call first negation music ( music for rising up and revolting locally and globally).
Life Over Limb are a warrior dynamic duo from the Whadjuk Noongar tribe still angry over their land ransacked through British colonialism as Australia grew over them like poison ivy. While there are plenty of bands ,mostly reactionary unfortunately, in the war metal subgenre (simultaneously black metal and death metal but often less technical and more barbaric except for those who add say cybergrind or industrial metal influences) few of them actually are waging cultural warfare dealing with capitalism’s reactionary and parasitic land grabs amongst indigenous people globally. Life Over Limb on Emergent aren’t aching for genocide for “racial cleansing.” They also aren’t for destroying much of the planet and humanity for satanic fascist partying/domination til their variation on Christian fundamentalist rapture takes them. Life Over Limb want to empower their tribe and accomplices to fight back locally and ultimately globally. They are carrying on indigenous grindcore and crust like the remarkable still fighting Resistant Culture https://www.last.fm/music/Resistant+Culture/+wiki
Unsafe at any speed, Life Over Limb drags their supporters and their enemies through a gauntlet of generous brutality with the former feeling no pain and wanting more and the later dismissing them for being “inferior injuns” playing “false metal.” The pared down pleasing punishment of one guitar and a drum set has improved delivery of lyrics a little to a lot without too many meathook cooks in the sonic kitchen making a more unfocused and/or blase bloody racket even Motel Hell would reject! More grindcore, power violence, black metal, etc. bands are also following, carefully, dyadic dynamics and deviant dissonance more as well within the past few or several years.
I enjoy all 8 tracks for their impassioned vocals that don’t go low enough to become a parody of the Cookie Monster and the dynamic, frenzied, and combative instrumental interplay between AJT on drums and JAW on vox and guitar that shows more articulation than most chaotic war metal and bile, blood, and cum cocktails chugged in a cesspool party ala goregrind music. Give Michael Christopher a hand for his outstanding octopus tentacles controlling recording, mixing, and mastering!
Let’s hope Life Over Limb can make it to the Midwest as well as other areas in our country tased TV! I bet they are even better live like most worthwhile bands. I recommend Emergent for all those who want a cocktail of death grind, hardcore, crust, war metal, etc. with history lessons attached to ultimately unmake official history and to create new relations for a new world without ye olde world of capitalism and statism catching up to us!
Lower Automation hail from Chicago but on Strobe Light Shadow Play sound like they are doing particle accelerator experiments in a hypercube or maybe more precisely(?) they play under over sideways down in a dodekeract 12 dimensional hypercube while trying to be the first Chicago band to play in a 100 dimensional Googol-cube (as long as Ticketmaster is not involved).
Now I know math was my worst subject in elementary into high school. I was forced to go to summer school for four or so years to learn…how boring and alienating compulsory capitalist education is in the summer as well as the rest of the year. Math became more interesting after college when I delved into chaos theory and other theories of complexity. Math in music further united visceral passion and compassion with the merger of sophisticated yet acidic subversion. Math rock and its more aggressive subgenre sister mathcore definitely are getting it up for science friction with roots in Captain Beefheart, Raymond Scott https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Scott , MX-80 Sound, King Crimson, Devo, early XTC, The Minutemen, Nomeansno, etc. Math rock/mathcore/math punk /math metal and noise rock are also paths to reclaim mind and body from bourgeois cultural/social/economic/sexual/political hum drum complacency and total apathy until actual collective self organized global revolt expands the festivities beyond our minority tendencies in culture/politics/neighborhoods/ etc.
Lower Automation has TIGHT musical /intellectual spasms connected to elders including The Locust, Drive Thru Jehu, subgenres screamo /emo violence/chaotic hardcore/sasscore/ etc. https://rateyourmusic.com/genre/sasscore/ but still sounds fresh for 2022. Tracks such as “Information Entrepreneurs and Their Lipsyncing Choirs,” title track “Strobe Light Shadow Play,” and “Acolytic” continue the fight against capitalist alienation the late 70s bands from the Sex Pistols to Alternative TV to X-Ray Spex to Crass and beyond took up. Yet Lower Automation matches the still growing complexity of current situations with angular yet rocking, ranting, raving, and mostly brief sharp shocks a plenty! When are the statues of local bands like Lower Automation going to replace Columbus , Balbo, the police tribute to State violence during the Haymarket Affair, etc. ?!! We need them here and now even if it might be wilder to travel into higher dimensions to see how, among other provocations, sasscore and glitch dance music open vortices to the equivalent of local cable tv programming. The anti-matter Chic-A-Go-Go? I bet Lower Automation will win over the entities there as well!
GRAF me to my current drummer in my 25 year old, more or less, band The Strange Attractor ( before multiple other variations on strange attractors popped up) and we would love to play at a dynamic dyadic duo outdoors festival line up of punk/metal/noise two headed mutants for kids of all ages!!!
GRAF are situated in the Netherlands and use Chinese symbols to add both aesthetic flavor and to acknowledge a Chinese woman on lethal weapon drumming and a white Dutch dude pulverizing on bass and vocals. What we end up with is a crushing couple blitzing through hardcore and powerviolence yet they add some 60s surf music from The Chantays “Pipeline,” flanging, and vocal echo among other effects. This recording reminds me of both house and apartment building demolition as much as a killer live set. An eerie chaotic keyboard and movie soundtrack number “Rest In Vrede/Fear” ends the 14 short explosions of wreck and roll!
Even though this was released in August last year, it still is worth hearing and if still possible worth getting a cassette from them to play on whatever sound system you choose. GRAF will charge you up in the morning or evening or in between! We will need cassettes and anything from early humongous Boom Boxes to trucks or vans with stereo tape decks to blast in workplaces, to drown out religious zealots/reactionary politicians/ authorities/ conspiracy theorists/ etc. and perhaps sonically demolishing statues, buildings, robots used for police and military purposes, etc. If you need a dose of wreck /rok therapy, this GRAF cassette/ Bandcamp post will get you surfing on top of a furious pit! Onwards to the endless summer (another way of envisioning ludic, lucid, total revolution) from Holland to Hanoi to Hegwisch to Hollywood to Highland Park to Hawaii and on and on!!!
Homeskin operates as one of two Texan avant black metal/genre bending or fluid projects ,the other project is Gonemage , ; Homeskin opens up a portal into psychological terror and/or an emotional roller coaster ride. Gonemage surveys dreams while Homeskin survives waking drama. Life’s Wishes To Tears is one of the more unique releases filed under black metal which is saying a lot since it can appeal to those (gasp!) normally not into BM especially its more experimental fringes.
I am not sure there is a coherent story or stories happening on Life’s Wishes To Tears? It feels like some log of daily problems maybe both physical as well as psychological which is usually the case. Instead of psychedelic music, we absorb sickedelic music with dueling dynamics as the vocals sound like talking in tongues with subconscious and unconscious echos turning into other conversations as well. “Peel My Flesh Again” and “Feign” give you a heaping of the multiple reactions and conversations while musical textures subtle yet dark ready to coil into serpents or electric eels are slithering and wrapping around our protagonist.
“Dripping Chalice” sounds more gothic with subtler lonely vocals amid the howling echo avalanche. “Dim Pavement Under Water” continues the melodic yet chaotic struggle between maybe Id and Ego but can also be interpreted as between past tragedy and current attempts to reorganize themselves ?
The title track incorporates either actual sitar or an electric guitar with an effects box emulating a sitar. Perhaps the sitar is only an illusion I dug up ? If I experienced this live, myself and others would probably be swirling, not thrashing, in a circle for awhile. However, the head cat switches the aggro on again yet, it is not as jagged, barbaric, and filthy like war metal or gooey yet crushing like sludgecore. This reminds me of Great America Amusement Park and the ride where the floor drops out but your body clings to the rim of the walls or big hoop. You’ll definitely need to experience this on bigger louder more dynamic speakers!
While Life Wishes To Tears has zip and oomph, the overall experience feels like more daily conflict the rest of the planet takes on both personal and social. Some people such as Dr. Wolfgang Huber with his views developed from assisting mental patients in institutions and study of the critical Marxist period of Wilhelm Reich and others ,perhaps including Frankfort School critical theorist Herbert Marcuse, would suggest that we should use our sickness/suffering as weapons against capitalism in the then almost trendy urban guerrilla style of the late 60s and 70s. Huber’s SPK (Socialist Patient Clinic in English) became caught up in the confused and reactionary aspects of state capitalist vanguard parties such as the Red Army Faction. A bunch of patients accidentally blew themselves up while trying to collaborate with the RAF in targeting a government building. Needless to say, it’s more important to “blow up” miserable alienating social relations than the self sacrifice to prove “militancy” and other sheepish ideology that just strengthens spectators to keep watching for what comes next. People who keep waiting for more mass media,or social media, revelations will remain spectators of their lives.
Anyway, I don’t know what this cat behind Homeskin and Gonemage has to say about these projects yet? It does speak to the need to consider health in post capitalist terms and of health being a main reason to revolt with neither Tankie vanguard parties nor populist parties and far right forces leading us. Homeskin is one of those provocative unorthodox creative projects that catalyzes some vital and necessary conversations not limited to headbanger and extreme culture stereotypes. Four out of five doctors agree ( especially those from Gallifrey ).
Final Dose ? I want a truck load of this straight ahead UK BM HC fusion with that sonic kick to the head which positively motorvates critical thoughts and corrosive humor combined with anti-hero physical agility! All of that energy exchange minus common mindlessness! You know that level of stupidity which sets you up for bigots, bosses, bureaucrats, toady turds ready to do dirty work for the highest bidder with no trouble fucking over friend or foe, and other bastards and blighters!
World Prisoner would work as a 7″ vinyl single or a 10″ EP with an extra song or a digital or electro remix with wacky hijinx now and then . Alas, only a one two punch with “Void Inside” a synth addled instro which might turn off some who only want more variations on “World Prisoner.” I wonder if they are the missing link between the Anti-Nowhere League and blackened hardcore ? I’m hoping they can surprise us with a full length that is focused on brutalizing and twisting us now and then. The Guida of anti-fascist BM ? Anyway you assess them, they should continue. I listened to previous recordings on their Bandcamp page. They would win over most people within minutes of their set with those songs plus the recent “World Prisoner.”
So do the right thing and take the Final Dose of good clean fun!
Thotcrime carries the torch of 90s sasscore along with the refurbished laptop of cyber grind ,and maybe the ghost of Nintendocore, minus any misogynist, homophobic, and transphobic elements of gore and porngrind that revved down the digital highway from Toxicanna and other dislocations of Illing Noise and beyond. I have only heard On Your Computer their first release but two years later it sounds like D1G1T4L _DR1FT is simply their masterpiece so far.
The contributions of Aki Mc Cullough, Diana Gruber, Carson Pace, and Katie Davies allow for more diversity flavoring the songs as well as for a more egalitarian effort overall as opposed to K. Salmon calling all the shots. Whether they go all out manic on tracks such as “4V3R4G3_TU35D4Y.exe,” “You’re Like A Black Hole, The Way You Expect My Life To Revolve Around You,”and”Critical Codependence” or more subtle such as on “trust://fall,” the flow of D1G1T4L _DR1FT is consistently dynamic, memorable, and invigorating.
I would recommend D1G1T4L _DR1FT to LGBTQ… teenagers and in general to those older and younger who feel unwelcome because in this class society the general population is conditioned to cling onto their character armor(i.e. Wilhelm Reich’s experience with people’s psychological miserable self defenses to help navigate miserable conditions which reminded him of layers of armor). We are all conditioned at childhood and continuously throughout our adult lives via bosses, bureaucrats, military brass, cops, domestic abuse, etc. We can improve individually here and there for at least a little bit but character is a social phenomenon therefore it can only be removed collectively. Again, our collective health remains a big reason for why revolution needs to occur and spread locally and globally. Thanks for Thotcrime for bringing out contradictions and resistance regarding capitalism and the State in your songs.
YEEEEEESSSSSS (as Ralph from Trigger Cut would say)!!! Eater of Sheep stands out from other Extratone and Splittercore artists https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speedcore Few would work with a “Proterorobotic” Eon theme with shades of melodies filtering digital warp speed damage that also builds up new possibilities of living not merely surviving thus upholding both Hegel’s absolute negativity ( the first negation of existing conditions and the second negation that creates new healthier more conscious relationships in return locally and globally amongst ourselves) I brought up in the last edition of Screemz and Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin ( at times friendly and in bitter rivalry with Karl Marx )stating “the destructive urge is also a creative urge.” To sum it up: while Eater of Sheep might have composed these tracks as a science fiction scenario of robots as the inheritors of the Earth and creating new non human robotic and digital life, I also can imagine this as a soundtrack promoting global anti-capitalist, anti-statist revolution by us humans simultaneously going through both stages of fighting for taking back the means of production, distribution, communication, transportation, healthcare, housing, etc. while crushing State violence/oligarchs and their private armies or mixes of military/police/militia forces, armed religious zealots, and other militant bigots. In the process, we are creating new relations among people and interacting with the biosphere in generally healthier and more conscious ways.
So you better crank this mother up especially if you have monster speakers and let the music guide body and mind! We neither don’t need to absolutely reject high tech nor do we need to absolutely reject pre and non industrial aspects of interacting better with life on this planet. If you need to exercise more, Eater of Sheep will certainly help you better than all the ideological girdles and straight jacket bazookas fired from paralyzed pragmatic palookas puking on play power!
Epic Soundtracks (Part One)
Masonna and Prurient https://prurient.bandcamp.com/album/annihilationism
Vision of Darkness Vol. II https://unexplainedsoundsgroup.bandcamp.com/album/vision-of-darkness-vol-ii
I was going to review Japanese noise veteran of the psychic wars Masonna’s side project 5 CD box set but access to it is limited. However, I recently found out about a new release titled Annihilationism on Hospital Productions run by another notable NYC noisemonger Prurient. What do you get when you let two multi-faceted mutants play tinitus tinged tennis which increases in intensity and ingenuity? Another catharsis session that can invigorate or even its opposite of inducing relaxation. Electronic noise music after all shares similarities with fire 🔥 works displays and other group rituals. Under capitalism noise as experimental music is considered a specialized commodity; after capitalism, we can experiment with such current “deviant subculture” to see how it can improve aspects of community. The political economy of noise now that can help negate political economy later simultaneously stimulating/ improving social interactions via creativity that historically touched on such conviviality before the capitalist art world market absorbed much of its power. How to be avant garde by living in the present and more consciously creative with problems and solutions?
Ultimately, the volley back and forth from Masonna and Prurient nets you as the winner! High pitched screaming is Masonna’s strength along with certain frequencies while Prurient of course has a lower register and a NYC attitude mixed in somewhere between Travis Bickle and Louie De Palma with a pinch of Anthony Bourdain probably? Anyway, they both bring their strengths to the sessions and at least a fragment of the world is better off for it. If you crave power electronics noise for the holidays, then by all means get down with Annihilationism!
The current civil unrest, protests, and strikes in Iran which were generated by but not limited to the death in “moral police” custody of Masha Amini for not “properly” wearing her hijab on September 16th ,2022 all involve a current generation of young girls and women fighting back against the fundamentalists rule of Iran and other cultural deviation from ancient misogyny combined with theocratic capitalism set up after the revolution against the US government’s backing of the Shah succeeded in removing him during 1979. It did not succeed in removing capitalism.
It is forgotten mostly outside of Iran that the Iranian leftists, mostly state capitalist Marxist-Leninists, had control of the direction for a moment. Workers were the majority of opposition the Iranian ruling class and their security forces faced. One big reason they lost their advantage was the problem of not being able to deal with religion and religious zealots which supported Ayatollah Khomeini. He came in from exile in France after cassettes of his speeches circulated in Iran secretly.
What the Iranian leftists needed to try was what former pro Situationist supporter, radical publisher, and English translator of the mostly French 1957 to 1971 or 1972 SItuationist International Anthology accomplished. A still useful standout critique Knabb published on religion, The Realization and Suppression of Religion http://library.nothingness.org/articles/SI/en/display/85 , on how religion needed to be subverted further to become something people who choose religion end up doing as some kind of practice outside of ideological dogma such as meditation and yoga exercises rather than a conduit for more reactionary behavior and beliefs . A community that develops praxis with self collective activity against capitalism and statism aiming for more accountable, egalitarian, and liberatory practice and understanding.
In the years between the beginning of the Islamic fundamentalists reactionary governance and now, there were also creative spaces which among other things defied the regime and ultimately capitalism as well. Fortunately, Unexplained Sounds Group has covered, but not exhausted, the Persian experimental music scene since 2017 with Vision of Darkness.
In a way, such experimental music compilations not only promote local yet not removed far from daily dominant culture scenes, they also give tastes of asymmetrical critical resistance to both the Islamic fundamentalists and reaction from Western capitalist spectacles. Neither the misogyny of the regime nor the “wisdom” of Ye!
Vision of Darkness Vol.II is crammed with untamed creativity. Three standouts include: Nyctalllz – “The Curse Of The White Demon, ” Babak Sepanta – “Ruin Is The Beginning “, and Saturn Cube – “War Cry.” Musically, you’ll encounter genres or subgenres including electro-acoustic experimentation, music concrete, dark ambient, and other sounds and visions to blaspheme the no fundamentalists.
Hopefully, there will be ways to further use creative critical music as part of the resistance to the reaction of such current miseries in the Middle East from Iran to Israel to Afghanistan and beyond. Whether the Middle East catalyzes the global potlatch first or not, more than likely it will need to start in the US or this country follows one or more “fallen domino”early on to take it further, we at least have creative people in Persia exchanging and opening doors to other spaces healthier for heart and mind.
Dance Stance (Part One)
The Semiconscious System https://idlestatesrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/the-semiconscious-system-va
Instead of another review of recordings, why don’t you play these guaranteed instant party yet sophisticated boom boom or bam bam or blip blip or…recent recordings starting with the marvelous engaging electronic tonic of hard EBM with grittier industrial dance sprinkled in from The Semiconscious System compilation on Idle States Recording, of course the Dialectic which is not only the Hegelian critical methodology we use here on everything but a sweet synthesis in between Kosmische Musik / House/Techno/Dub/ Jazz Funk Fusion/Space Rock, and a wild Portuguese late 60s post apocalyptic concept album by rocking Los Malinches yet dancable ; ‘Planeta Náhualt’ is precisely that, a mix of different styles and very different sounds, but with the strength of the songs, all the pieces fit together in a brilliant set. The album is the perfect union between psychedelia and pop. If you dig Os Mutantes and other tropicalia and 60s garage, they’ll dig you!
Happy New Year! Happy Holodecks! More Screemz in three or so months. More additions to sound and visions. More radical critique and praxis. More! More!More!
Hot Rails To Hello: Railroad Workers Rank and File, The Underclass, and the need for Runaway Trains to a New World
Most know by now the railroad workers’ strike was stopped by President Biden, other Democrats including 2/3rds of The Squad, and Republicans. No need to be shocked as politicians will always put the economy ahead of equality, accountability, and liberty. The whole spectrum of capitalist politics, from social democracy to fascism, will always maintain compulsory social relationships mediated by money/wages/debt/commodities/etc.
Many against the railroad strike and even some who support the workers remain clueless about what railroad working conditions are actually like. One of these workers on Reddit gives examples: “To be so wet that you might as well just take off your rain jacket because you’re already soaked through to the bone. To be so cold that your 5 layers of carhartts don’t stop the chilling wind from going right through you. To sleep in a hotel room bed more than your own, or to be in a cut somewhere at 3am while your family celebrates Thanksgiving or Christmas without you. You railroaders know what it’s like too, and the best we can do is a raise that barely keeps up with inflation, when the entire country counts on us. That’s the best we can do?”
Another worker replied: “They don’t realize that taking days off because you’re sick, EVEN WITH A DOCTORS NOTE will still be enough to get you investigated, and in some cases fired.” “A guy I work with got FMLA to take care of a family member and used a total of 16 days. Next quarter they suspended him for 16 days without pay in retaliation. And that’s just one story…there are thousands like that in this industry.”
The misery of their jobs and their lives outside of them is common everywhere. This everyday alienation reproduces all the different ways of submitting to capitalism. Convenience or death, the satirical play on Patrick Henry’s “give me liberty or give me death,” also merges as convenient death. A killing joke indeed! Those who die on the job can always be replaced by other desperate workers who can be further manipulated according to skills, attitude, shift, culture, etc. This manipulation is used by the bosses and union bureaucrats as well as rank and file members.
Historically, as much as there were strengths within the proletarianized (those dispossessed from direct access to the means of survival and/or the means of production), the rise of specialized manual labor and factories in the 19th century industrial economy also increased their bigotry and unhealthy working conditions. Black workers, in the lead up to the Civil War and during and after Reconstruction, were routinely seen by white workers and their organizations as an abject threat to class solidarity. Idleness and latent criminality were the tropes mobilized to exclude Black proletarians from the workers’ movement. During the first half of the 20th century, as the American Federation of Labor (AFL) defeated the Knights of Labor as the representative of the American ‘working class,’ later absorbing the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) to become the AFL-CIO, white animosity and anti-Black violence (‘race riots’) were routine features in the constitution of the labor movement. The only grassroots American union fighting for racial unity alongside women and immigrants was the Industrial Workers of the World who started in 1905. It still exists in the U.S., Canada, and western Europe.
As the 20th century continued, racism, sexism, ableism, nativism, and heteronormativity were mixed with hyper individualism rooted in mass psychological techniques that the US, Russian, and German regimes applied (i.e. the New Deal, Stalinist Russia, and Hitler’s Third Reich). The mix of New Deal policies and the Age of Affluence after WWII contributed to white flight to the new suburbs. Blacks and others not white faced more discrimination and division within and outside segregated urban neighborhoods. After the Vietnam War, the flood of heroin and other hard drugs into Black, Brown, and Yellow prole neighborhoods, the end of the post war economic boom, etc. intensified the hyper individualism. Gangs that attempted racial class solidarity against white supremacy and capitalism (like the Black Panther’s Rainbow Coalition with Young Lords and The Young Patriots Organization) later turned against each other over turf and the drug trade.
The result was the decoupling of capitalist production from proletarian reproduction: the shedding of labor from organized and highly capitalized manufacturing sectors, the expansion of employment in ‘services’ and non-manufacturing, increased racialized and gendered fragmentation and exploitation of labor, and the growth of ‘redundant’ populations led to the greater criminalization of proletarian life. Resistance to capitalism means resistance to binary codes like “good workers” and “ghetto motherfuckers.” The bosses and bureaucrats of the world fight for profits and social separation; the proletarianized fight for life. This attempt to distinguish labor from the ‘criminal’ elements of the proletariat reveals the gap between the growing surplus population and the unionizing workforce as a racialized exclusion zone–the construction of a ‘virtuous’ labor movement is only possible by banishing the ‘black underclass.’
During 2020, the diverse creative street tactics used by many younger people during protests over Black and Brown police murders reflected the diversity in their physical composition. They see through older toadies for politicians in their hoods. Older class traitors tried to drive us out of a caravan stop. Some comrades and I wanted to join a group of young people by an Englewood community center but these toadies for a Black Democrat demanded we left. It was later discovered that a young woman who lived in Englewood called them out on Twitter. The building they were guarding hadn’t been used in two years! Some community commitment! The politician was using his stooges to shift public perception. Politicians are reverse illusionists trying to win over audiences by pulling the wool over their own eyes.
The railroad workers and underclass share more in common than they might admit. They are caught up within capitalist crises. They work at and/or hang around supply chains. The bosses and bureaucrats try to divide and conquer them. Prisoners, some of which were employed, end up doing forced labor below minimum wage ; the prison labor includes phone marketing and making furniture. Workers across industries and skill levels find ways to fight back against boredom and alienation on the job( including long breaks, stealing, leaving early, sabotage, etc.) ; looters globally and historically have redistributed the wealth we created as a class with our labor among other proles. Connections to riots with looting can be made with Northwest American indigenous potlatch ceremonies. The gift is returned from its power over us as a commodity back to just something we create, destroy, and/or alter minus market mysticism; both “good workers” and “bad people” are shaken out of survival routines for the revival of living (the proletarianized can resume the fight for ourselves and the planet ultimately abolishing our proletarian conditions for classless/stateless/creative/healthier/accountable relations ).
We need to organize in our schools and communities, our work and creative spaces, and amongst our co workers, friends, and loved ones starting now so that our networking becomes contagious. We need to boost our immunity from the bigoted binary bugs which suck the critical energy out of praxis.