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Wake up LA: they’ve lied to us about ourselves. The masses, bees, butterflies, etc, have not yet had their say, and it’s been the case for some time now. The word “strike” emerged in 1768 during the London Strikes of 1768, a few years before the American Revolution, when this country was a colony; American history of working class struggle predates the independence. This means that the “founders,” representatives of early American “democracy”, chose to push aside much of labor struggle in their philosophically sound experiment and not found a people’s republic, as according to the masses. Tyranny of the majority was what was debated, instead.

Los Angeles Campfire Storytime

The root of our crisis as inhabitants of a city that is a global leader in the production of pornography, prisoners, meth, as much as it does buillshit populism, and white supremacy, is a repugnant bourgeoisie, and reactionary identitarianism.

The root of our crisis as inhabitants of a city that is a global leader in the production of pornography, prisoners, meth, as much as it does buillshit populism, and white supremacy, is a repugnant bourgeoisie, and reactionary identitarianism. It’s a city that one should not romanticize: the LAPD kills, the houseless hurt, immigrant families hide, and the jails are full and being built. In theory, organizing is LA’s solution. Organizing is the tool that can translate mass dissent into social change and a city of organizers is truly a rebel city, to paraphrase the Marxist intellectual David Harvey. As a city, we need to find that rebellious spirit again, of organizing as a primary political tool. Instead, we turn to business enterprise and an economy centered on business enterprise as our focal point for the city that we want.

American cities have never really served their populations as they claim to. On Friday May 18th, after a meeting at the Southern California library with its director Yusef, he offered that I keep anything I want from the library’s rack of magazines. After some browsing, I found an issue of the New Left Review that I really liked with a very interesting article on the French city Marseille, “The Sinking of Marseille”. One paragraph about Marseille’s history as once upon a time a quasi-independent city Marselha founded by Greek colonists in 600 B.C. before it was integrated into France got me thinking a lot about American cities, never as autonomous as many of the European cities, the only other “west”, and especially about Los Angeles, a town host to oil drilling and a major drought turned into the land of neoliberal development. Something jumped out at me: We in the US have modeled urban citizenship from European cities, without ever having had the autonomy of European cities, such as Venice, which were there own nations.

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In LA, our polity, or political community, is the product of a fiction: we’re Europe in the new world it says, full of immigrants like Marseille was, are “Angelinos” in a Western sense, living in the shadows of a glorious flawed Western civilization that needs to adjust itself. Bullshit. American cities, like those of the Americas, were created with a center in mind, that center being the English court before the American revolution, despite talk of small government and localism by folks like Thomas Jefferson who expanded and taxed, federalism produced a new center, a national anglo-bourgeoisie, soon a national aristocracy (idle wealthy) as in the novels of Edith Wharton and others, convened to wine and dine on the Potomac with every new election. At their heart, every city was run to be like the other: anti-immigrant, beaux arts architecture, bla bla bla.

There has never been a culture of either autonomy or compassion: this city doesn’t care about “its” issues, it cares mostly about “the issues”. In order to produce a new political community, one not rooted in fiction, civic culture is needed.

Local democracy, that of butterflies, bees, birds, roots, has yet to be born. The sort of democracy that would produce a city by the people, that serves the people, is one where the person is not data but really real, with an opinion, and respected. Instead we police the human in LA as it has always been the case: shut up and work non-wealthy, non-white, person, and I might just smile at you and tell you about the great time that I had in Malibu.

Adolf Alzuphar

Adolf Alzuphar