Why do we choose to live isolated lives?

This is not how most humans, for most of our existence on this planet lived. This is a capitalist disease! And nowhere has it advanced to the deadly level that we see in the USA.

I’m in a desperate situation. Not sure I will be in a place I will want to choose to remain alive in another 3 weeks.

Tryin to think beyond my personal problems here–why is this happening? Asking this, so it’s about more than me.

Goin through this–desperate to find a place to live, a place where I don’t have to give up what keeps me alive–making art–makes me think, if I had money, I’d buy a big house, low rent or free for a communal core, with extra rooms and lottsa soffa space, so people coming to actions from out of town, or comrades passing through, or people in need of emergency shelter would have a place.

We need those kinda communal shelters. Something I’ve had on my mind for more than more than 50 years. In 1970 we bought a big fixer upper in Powelton, group of us–with one person putting up most of the initial money. Should be places like that all over the city. It is STUPID and WASTEFUL and socially destructive, the way we live in isolated units now. It takes learning new habits, new values, but makes so much more sense.

More than 50 years later, I’m haunted by some needless deaths in an apt house I was living in–old people without family alone in their flats. Most deadly for older people as they lose their health. A person alone in an apt, without family or friends, is in a place as unhealthy for mental health as solitary confinement. We put people–with disabilities, the very elderly–in Capitalist Solitary!

It’s so unnecessary! We don’t have to choose to live like this! We can change how we arrange our common lives–this is something in our power. We don’t have to wait for the revolution! We can BE that part of the revolution!

This is a concern of lifetime for me… a ‘concern’ the way older Quakers used the word. Does anyone care or think about this? How we could actually DO something to change how we live together–with profound consequences that would echo through the whole economic political social universe!

How many hundred thousand houses in Philly? If 5% of them went communal, most, if not all, of our les sans toit, would no longer be living on the street. And for those in need of more intense medical and psychological care, that same kind of housing, with people with training and skills needed to deal with those problems, would be able to take even THEM in. This is like, Street Medic Ethos–raised to the level most street medics actually would aspire to.

We need to think seriously about organizing on THIS level–on how we live–on learning to live together, caring for one another, in the world we want to make happen.

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#897 Assata 2 in the series

Some variation in wording. I’ve gone with what I’ve heard on the street–Assata Shakur’s words come alive in the throats of comrades, rather than searching for the “authentic” dead letter original.
#897 Assat 2

Reading Motion of Light on Water

cracked-concrete-degraded-weeds-growing-cracks-89662114
Just finished Samuel R. Delaney’s The Motion of Light on Water: Sex and Science Fiction. Writing in the East Village, 1957-1965.

Will take me a long time to find words… I can’t remember a book that touched me, took hold of me like  this… wrenched me, wrung me out.

I was born in 1941, Delaney in ’42. I was a child and came of age in the Midwest: Chicago, Kansas City, summers in east central Michigan. Delaney, in NYC. So very different–but so much of the external social climate of a childhood in post war America, the 40’s and 50’s–so much, the same. What we shared, was the bloody sword that slices the body from desire–that creates what he called “the split subject”…

” … the space between the two columns (one resplendent and lucid with writings of legitimacy the other dark and hollow with the voices of the illegitimate)–that constitutes the subject, it is only after the Romantic inflation of the private into the subjective that such a split can even be located.”

Like Delaney, I was looking to art and writing to negotiate the chasm, but shaking off the dressing of ‘legitimacy’ was so much harder, took so much longer–the weight of the Midwest was suffocating, and sex was at the center of it, the poisoning of desire that makes the body itself an empty vessel, spiritually empty, trying to belong to something utterly alien to me, and failing and failing and failing…an impoverishment of that spirit–which is the life of the body.

It can’t be a coincidence, that I returned to making art after 40 years, at the same time that I was able to embrace sexual desires that had been latent, but buried …. for at least  that long. It’s no good being coy! Name them. You have to name them, Delaney says. If fucking is good — so is sucking cocks! Or wherever else you body wants to take you!

Forty years — that should have been a wilderness — not a desert, but a rain forest paved over. Like weeds in the cracks of concrete, something kept pushing through, pushing out into the light. Forty years…
… so many lost lives, so much damage, so many scars.

——
As I clicked to post this…  it came to me, that I have a whole  series of paintings and drawings of broken concrete… how the psyche seeks to find bodily expression. You do these things, and don’t know why.

 

EndPars-Occupy City Hall

ICE down 1 Remains of medical station after cop raid at ICE, 8th and Cherry.

the 2011 Occupy camps were an open mass movement, a premature revolutionary experiment that wasn’t able to deal with how unprepared so many were who came into the camps. They had collapsed and outlived their service weeks before they were taken down by cops. But failures are how we learn.
When I first heard that there was going to be an attempt to ‘occupy’ the ICE facility, I was skeptical. Heraclitus had a pretty good rule of thumb for radical action: can’t step into the same river twice “Don’t Try to Repeat the Same Thing”

But from the beginning, it was clear that what’s become the end Pars occupy city hall camp (a single action in a larger coalition) learned some valuable lessons, whether from 2011 or from wiser young heads) — It only superficially resembles the 2011 Occupies. Contributing to this, is the deep, organizing that preceded it–diverse groups many that had been working independently, but were prepared for cooperative, intersectional action when the right occasion appeared.

Micro-organizing is the essential prerequisite for the success of any mass movement. Never despair because you are few! You are NOT FEW!

Forget corporate cooperative Trade Unions!

Re, recent Supremes decision.
We maybe need to think of different ways of configuring unions. The ruling was pretty specific in addressing existing trade union laws. But the existing legal protections also constrict how and what unions can be. We got these laws with bloody wars–and the definitions of what those laws protected, and what unions were, with them.
This is a new era… time to forget the laws and unions as we’ve let them be defined, and begin the fight all over, for a new and way more inclusive kind of union. Trade unions are archaic. There no reason to mourn their demise. We can do better!

#823

11″ x 11″ Acrylic, Ink. Brush and pen.
A tribute to graffiti artists–whose art is mated to destroying the value of property. The capitalist, Gallriest-Gatekeepers, and their non-profit mural arts sidekicks, try to defang them, prettify them, sell them to investors, but they slip out the door of the Great Western Art Narrative, to appear again on walls above the street–nameless as ninja warriors.
Paint this over fascist Rizzo’s face on 9th Street!
#823
View more work at SaatchieArt, and on my web portfolio here ART BY WILLARD For photos on this blog, click MY ART on the right panel and scroll down.

On Depression, Revolution, Anarchy

#762 Work in Progress.JPG

It’s difficult for a person to hear themselves when they’re depressed. That’s why listening is more effective than any advice you might give, and why telling them you love them, or how much they are valued–only makes things worse.

In being heard, in being listened too, it becomes possible to hear one’s own voice–to hear, as others hear, the deprecating voices… and recognize what they are saying as distortions of the truth. It’s how we find our own way back.

The deprecating voices are external images of self that we have assimilated. No external voice will lead us out of their traps, because it’s our susceptibility to them that caught us in those webs, and to find freedom again to breath on our own, resistance has to rise from the depths of our own being. No one can do it for us, and no one else can show us how.

Keep that in mind when you offer reassurance, and are refused. The refusal is not a symptom of the malady.
Listen! Listen with such depth of attention that the person you would help, hears in their refusal, their own assertion of a will-to-health, and the means to restoration of their freedom

I think there is an analogy here to what we have to do to free ourselves from oppressive social forces.

No one ‘out there’ can save us. No Moses can come to lead us out of Pharos’s Egypt. There are no ready-made maps or instruction books or revolutionary plans. The first step, always–the beginning we need to return to, endlessly–by turning to one another, in such intensity, with such attention, such listening, that we will hear, and summon together, the creative power that has always been there: the power to create a new world–a world worthy of the struggle it will take to build it.

 

Gustav Landauer: Art and Revolution

“In our times, an artist is defined as someone who has a vision: someone with visions and rhythms that form a separate inner world: someone who can manifest this world on the outside; someone who can create a new, an exemplary, their own world through imagination and creative force; someone whose ideas leave their inner being like Pallas Athena left Jupiter’s head; someone who then, like an Italian trader of plaster figures, packs the result in a basket and hawks it in the “the other world,” ordinary reality, where they sell the figures of their dreams and sacred desires to the goblins and caricatures of their artistic mind, all the while advertising, calculating, haggling, arguing, cheating. This is the contemporary artist’s mixture of detachment and participation.
But mine is another: I want to use reality to create; I want art to be the process of imaginative and communal social transformation, rather than the expression of individual yearning.”

Gustav Landauer, REVOLUTION and Other Writings: A Political Reader. Edited and translated by Gabriel Kuhn. PM Press.

I changed the masculine, personal pronouns.

I was probably 22 or 23 when I read the essay on Landauer, in Martin Buber’s Paths in Utopia; it would be hard to imagine how any, indirect meeting with any thinker, could have a more powerful, influence, than the ideas in that essay had for me—over the course of whole life. Three years later, I was living in a commune—where expenses were covered, each according our means. Though it would be 45 years before, my involvement with Occupy Philly, led to the next experiment in communal living, I never gave up my search for a means to realize my ideas on communal living, and this time—I’m sure there was something of Landaur’s ideas of art and revolution, what freed me, to return to what I had been doing when I read that essay: making art.
I only last week bought a copy of this book, and in reading it, began to discover how much—from such minimal acquaintance–the seeds Landauer had planted, have meant to me over the years. The perplexity I feel, and have expressed in posts on this blog and elsewhere, on how survive as an artist in this capitalist wilderness–and as a revolutionary–without losing one’s freedom to create, or submitting to slavery of the market–I didn’t learn from Landauer, but, as in the above quote, I find, this too, I share with him—if from another side, as an artist.

Revolution is an act of imagination

Revolution is action.

Revolution takes place in the present. Now, and now, and now, or never. There can be no waiting

for the “right conditions.”
Revolution is an ever present necessity.

Revolution is every act of the imagination, made real in every present moment.

Solidarity, Love, Imagination, RESISTANCE!

What is to be done?

Genocide and capitalism are inseparable, and inevitable.
If you pose a serious challenge to the order of the capitalist state–you will be marked for extermination.
 
I suspect that any STATE, any order dependent on coercion and violence, will degenerate into authoritarian, elitist rule. For a capitalist state–that will take the form of fascism.
As capitalism founds itself on a claim to representing an order of Nature, it follows–as sure as natural law–that all opposition will be declared, whether by eugenics, or other theoretical justification for the extreme inequality created by capitalism, as pathological–necessitating the extermination of those carrying the disease.
 
Genocide and capitalism are inseparable, and inevitable.
If you pose a serious challenge to the order of the capitalist state–you will be marked for extermination.
 
In a pseudo-democracy, it will come about it stages… but it will come about.
Understand, that if you are serious about challenging the capitalist state–they want you dead. And will find the means to satisfy their desire. There is nothing you can do to change that.
The question, as always… what is to be done?