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Fighting Fire with Fire – Hope Springs from the Ashes of Capitalism—Paul K. Haeder

Listening to the anarchist inside will get you out of almost every predicament

“You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.” ― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed

I'm declaring asymmetrical warfare on stupidity, meanness, prejudice, racism, and against the Medusa of industrial military-big oil-big prison-predatory capital-maniacal media that sits on top of the shoulders of the Republi-crat party of social services slashers, education disintegraters, community cullers. Somehow that daring look at imploding this capitalist capitulation with the enemy through guerrilla warfare is our only choice toward survival.

That asymmetry has to be collectively creative, crystallized and cunning.

That means in concert we all confront power, bureaucrats, evil doers, the self-described vanguard, the elites, the good old boys clubbers, and the like, daily, in all the places we find ourselves in.

We see this sickness of capitalism and unrepresentative democracy play out daily with the most perverted and insane decisions, operating systems and dramas that have both the power of individual homicide and homicide on a massive scale: judges gone amok, Western Capital backed coup d etats, massive life and death struggles of refugees and victims of the elites' lunacy on a global scale.

Think about how warped the One Percent and their Cadre of supporters have become, unleashing what logically would-should-must unleash anarchy against the vanguard – everything from poisoned Detroit water, the flood of dying refugees off the coastlines of Mediterranean countries, or the complete rabbit holing of history through scrubbing, subverting and stifling.

Imagine hundreds of black lives murdered by American cops, imagine the wholesale fleecing of the common man and woman, imagine the total enveloping of our daily waking and sleeping lives through the arbiters of life and death – the financial-insurance-real estate thugs (FIRE), imagine leaders like Obama-Clinton-Bush-Trump firing off lies on a monumental scale, imagine the daily chipping away at health-futures-DNA by the toxic deliverers of pharmaceuticals, foods, additives, pollutants, imagine the massive upside world of the uncreative holding sway over Hollywood and the recording industries, imagine the massive propaganda machines shaping robotic culture, imagine all the vilification of crusaders in countries like Greece or Spain and those in Latin America, or Iran, China, Russia, imagine all of these casualties and yet daily, millions barely slog through the day with nary a thought to any of it.

If there was ever a time to revolt, well, you think now has passed?

I entered into these tough conversations recently at a neighborhood meeting, where person after person started blaming the homeless for the break-ins around the quasi-suburban sprawl that is part of Vancouver, Washington, where I live. All sorts of armchair consumers leveling all sorts of Trump-like bombast and others with that Clinton triple chin shaking against admonitions of super predators, crazed druggies, dangers to society.

Almost all the neighborhood break-ins caused by the homeless, and the homeless blamed on liberal and lenient politicians. These are floundering people, these neighbors, disconnected from democracy, from their own extended families, working at meaningless jobs, lusting after more consumer goods, and sitting atop the Lazy Boy of Really Messed up Media Consumption: name it, CNN, Fox, NPR, ABC, AP, Gannett, and on and on.

Every single day I get the same memo – “What are we going to do with 7.1 billion people on earth, and who gets the brass ring and which ones are just too expensive for our own survival and love of the good life?”

Every single day I get the same memo – “What are we going to do with 7.1 billion people on earth, and who gets the brass ring and which ones are just too expensive for our own survival and love of the good life?” Hands down, the more people I meet with resentment and null concept on why the world is not the people's oyster save for the zero-point-zero-zero-one percent, the more they come up with fascist solutions to problems that have always originated in the rich imploding the classes into constant class warfare.

Americans are seemingly proud of their misinformation networks and their collective amnesia and hubris and all-mighty superstitions and anti-intellectualism. Each day, someone thinks my work with homeless and recovering addicts and former criminals as a waste of time, the great Don Quixote against endless windmills. Time and time again, I get a hundred different theories on how to stop crime, stop drug addiction, stop all that money given away to the poor, uneducated and mentally compromised. I get so many who think homeless and recovery services are not only a waste of time, but part of the problem.

Those theories boil down to some extreme commonalities – lock them up longer, put them on work crews, like those shotgun toting Cool Hand Luke chain gangs . . . lobotomies, chemical castration, neuturing and spaying (their words!), medical testing, organ harvesting . . . .

I've heard the same sort of line of meanness about recalcitrant or truant K12 students and slacker college students – make them work 40 hours a week, stop teaching them unnecessary courses on history, philosophy, ethics, humanities, film-making, and the like, and get on with creating the next workforce so we can retire and have some decently trained handmaidens.

The very shadow of eugenics and genocide and structural violence creeps up daily in this society and others greased by the sputtering engines of capitalism.

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Yet, again, asymmetry. Shadows blurred with light. I know it is sometimes one day at a time for addicts and one addict at a time to shape the world. My hard work is denigrated by the powers that be, the titans of torturous finance, all the gatekeepers and the everyday ignoramuses willing to throw billions away on mad generals' death toys and billions more on the undeserving, i.e. economists, the inside job kings, those under-and-never taxed billionaires whose externalities billed to us is the very definition of of being a captain of consumer industry.

Little victories are big on an individual scale – get this: He's 62, former Hells Angel, now limping the streets of Portland, with his service dog, a 10-pound albino-looking mix between Chihuahua and Dachshund. His idea of life is work, boilermaker for thirty years, and now, wanting 20 hours work a week just to feel like a man, in his recovery from meth and heroin use-abuse, and toothless, because he lost his state insurance paid for dentures two years ago, and in this loving society of the Phil Knight (Nike), you only have one chance at dentures, and the next time it's on you.

I am getting him those choppers, so he can speak clearly, maybe get a job talking on a phone with his companion dog on his lap.

Part of my job in life – teacher-journalist-writer-environmentalist-poet – is to get all of us thinking outside the box, and inside a new stream of consciousness. I got my client in on attending a fundraiser for a local non-profit that works on getting down and out people housing and low interest/low impact loans to get them on their feet.

Three-piece Celtic band, fancy food, wine and beer, and Portland's hobnobbing set. Here he is, now all cleaned up, a suit we got him at Goodwill, shaved around his beard, hair in a ponytail, and he sits, with a big plate of food. People look around at us, wonder who this fellow is accompanied by me, someone most people mistake as being some erudite professor type.

A few stopped by and patted the dog and talked to my client. My client was in heaven, eating the sirloin tips with his efficient gums.

Then the roundtable discussion to kick off the money ask – three story tellers – Shalonda Menefee, Alisha Moreland-Capuia, Antoinette Edwards. These African American women talked about how in their lives someone came forward and gave them a chance, and that changed their lives. All of them are community organizers and movers and shakers – artists, on equity committees, on Portland and County oversight boards, a medical doctor and advocates of children.

We're talking about inspirational and very articulate talkers, of the type tied to the community of sisters. Yet my client, on the surface some old washed up Hells Angel, well, he was there, applauding, laughing and getting a few tears welling up in his eyes listening to these women's struggles and triumphs.

Something about change and giving people that chance to change. Mothers and daughters and sisters and leaders.

It's as if almost every struggling/in recovery/just out of homelessness into job readiness person needs chances like this, on a large scale: living and experiencing things outside their own narrative frames, outside those boxes and kicking through steel ceilings all of which have kept back the necessary changes to propel them out of a history of abuse and decades of dropping out of society.

Children of alcoholics-addicts-mentally ill parents. Children of a world always bursting with exploitation, prostitution, forced drug use, uneven role models. They come to me as adults, broke but repairing, with incredible life stories, life struggles, life perseverances and deeds done to overcome the vicious cycle of repeat and repeat the wrong things in life.

Asymmetrical work, and shedding the light on opportunities and just experiencing so many things outside the box that it seems right, only natural.

These Ranting Rush Limbaughs and Super-Predator Clintons and the sickness of Hollywood directors and writers, millions of them proclaiming who is the flawed, who is incorrigible, which people are likely to recommit, and which ones hit the recidivism trait hands down . . . .

I like those envelopes ripped open from side to side, and those boats rocked and cages rattled, all those coloring tasks drawn excitedly outside the heavy black lines. I like this world of possibilities where the gifted are the givers, the healers, the ones picking up the pieces and helping patch up lives and communities back to health.

The dignity is in the struggle, the fight, the never backing down. Those shadows move like giants, and we chase them into vast oceans, yet, the light we can give to the world is right there, in the center of the brain, in the center of our chests. Pride is a gift, free once we unwrapped it from a tightly bound core of pain and past lives. The beginning is daily, fighting the xenophobia, lies and penetrating unhistory of the kings.

paul haeder

“Anarchism is democracy taken seriously.” – Edward Abbey

Paul K. Haeder