The Communist Manifesto

“A spectre is haunting Europe — the specter of communism.”

-Karl Marx & Fredrick Engels, opening line of the Communist Manifesto

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Specter

—noun

  1. A visible incorporeal spirit, especially one of a terrifying nature; ghost; phantom; apparition.
  2. Some object or source of terror or dread: the specter of disease or famine.

 

A ghost
In other words, not real, not physical, made up
To some the ghost is hope
To others it is everything they fear
Much like communism

As the old saying goes, “Hope in one hand, shit in the other, tell me which weighs more.” Same goes with the spectre of communism. Marx and Engles hopes in one hand, what became of Communism in the other…

“Proletarier aller Länder, vereinigt euch!” Indeed, wouldn’t that be nice… 

What is Theotry?

Theotry is the combination of theory and poetry. It is where I take quotes from my favorite theorists and then write poetry based on those quotes. I was once told that theory is like an arrow that a theorist has shot out; from there someone else picks up that arrow and shoots it off in another direction. I hope to do the same with this project as I want to take these theories into a multiplicity of directions. I consider myself a political theorist, I also consider myself a poet, this is my attempt to combine two things I love.

While poetry is often political, political theory is rarely poetic (Audre Lorde, Deleuze and Guattarri, Gloria Anzaldua, Tiqqun, and the Invisible Committee, excluded. I know there are many more who are poetic but those are the  one's that  come to mind at the moment).  For me, poetry and political theory are two of the most important parts of my life. Poetry saved me from the darkness I faced after coming home from war, political theory helped me to understand that darkness.

Some of the folks I use quotes from are not traditionally called political theorists, however they have had an impact on my way of thinking about politics and about war. The poems do not necessarily represent the theory or the theorist, though sometimes they do. The quotes I use for inspiration range from their literary work to things they have said. Sometimes the poem describes my relationship to the quote, as many of these quotes can be just as personal as the poem. And many of the quotes relate to war, as that is my theoretical focus and is tied to my background as a war veteran and a peace activist, turned academic.

Does this water down arguments? Perhaps. Does it spark new forms of thought? Hopefully. So in the end, I hope these poems inspire you to engage more deeply with these political theorists; I hope it inspires you to write more poetry, and; I hope you find the links between theory and the everyday! This is my testimony, this is my praxis. Marcuse says, “Art doesn’t change the world, but it may change the consciousness of those who can change it,” and that is what I hope to do, work to shift our class consciousness.

"The revolution in poetic form testifies, in other words, to political and cultural changes whose historical manifestation, and its revolutionary aspect, is now noticed accidentally--accidentally breaks into awareness--through and accident of verse. The poetic revolution is thus both a replica and a sequence, an effect of, the French Revolution. What free verse by accident picks up on, therefore, is not merely former poetry which it now modifies, but the formerly unseen, ill-understood relationship which the accident reveals between culture and language, between poetry and politics." (from Shoshana Felman and Dori Laub's book Testimony: Crisis of witnissing in literature, psychoanalysis, and history. P. 20)

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Guy DeBord

“To reflect upon history is also, inextricably, to reflect upon power. Greece was that moment when power and chances in power were first debated and undersoon. This occurred under a democracy of society’s masters, a system diametrically opposed to that of the despotic State, where power settled accounts only with itself, in the impenetrable obscurity of its densest point, by means of palace revolutions whose outcome, whether success or failure, invariably place the event itself beyond discussion. The shared power of Greek communities inhered solely, however, in the expending of a social life whose production remained the separate and static domain of the slave class. The only people who lived were those who did not work.”

               -Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle. Pg 98

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My how history, how power, repeats itself, repeats, itself, repeat, repeat, re…

Plato and Jefferson sitting around waxing philosophy, Sophocles and Washington walk into a bar. All go home to their slaves. Freedom of the cave was democracy’s greatest lie.

White guys obsessing that Greeks had White slaves… calling taxation slavery… getting a refund at the end of the year… not knowing what real work was… what real slavery entailed.

Enlightenment…
     En light en men t
             In light of men?
                   In spite of women

Over and over again, the story is the same, follow me, listen to me, freedom, choice, democracy,
democra-me, demos me, me, ME, LISTEN TO ME… WHITE MAN SUPRE(ME)…

The lies of power

Plato

"We'll beg Homer and the other poets not to be harsh if we strike out these and all similar things. It's not that they are not poetic and sweet for the many to hear, but the more poetic they are, the less should they be heard by boys and men who must be free and accustomed to fearing slavery more than death." (Book III of Plato's Republic)

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"Glaucon, did you see Plato & Socrates review of the new Aristophanes movie, The Clouds?"

"Why no I didn’t, what did they have to say?"

"While Plato initially liked it, Socrates called it fake news and gave it a thumbs down, Plato followed suit and also gave it a thumbs down."

"Sheesh, that Socrates is so negative, I don’t get how he can be a movie critic but simultaneously hate all movies"

"I know right? And that Plato, he tries and tries, but always eventually gives in to Socrates."

"Well my dear Adeimantus, no need to fear, Alcibiades will round them all up and put them to death, Plato, Socrates, Aristophanes, Sophocles, all of them. He said he is going to make Greece great again!"

"Who needs art and poetry when we have a strong leader like Alcibiades, so strong, so smart… Not afraid to say what he thinks!"

"That's why I like him"

"Me too" 

The Process of Falling

Falling

Falling in love

Falling together

Falling leaves, leaves of Fall

Falling out of love

Falling to pieces

Falling to death

Falling

 

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There is something romantic about Fall

Death so near, death all around us

The want and need to hold on to those so close to us

So we cling to it as tight as possible 

The recognition of the finite

Knowing the pain and suffering of winter is coming

Spring is birth, renewal, beginnings

Summer is fun, exploration, adventure

Fall though, fall is the golden years, enjoyment, and appreciation

Knowing that Winter, death, reflection and regret will soon be upon us

So hold the fall, and love it for all it is

Cadences

Oh mama mama can't you see
What the Army's done for me

They made me, not me
They changed me
You can't see me
You don't know me
There is no me, only we

What kind of soldiers are there?
The quick and the dead
What are you? The quick!
What are they? The dead!

The cadence stays the same
As they drill death into your head
Death of the enemy
Death of your friend
Death of your mother
Death of your lover
Death of your self
But in the end the only real death is your innocence 

Left right left right left right kill
Left right left you know I will

Trained to kill
Kill a father
Kill a sister
Kill a haji
Kill anyone that gets in your way
But bit by bit, soldier by soldier, we keep killing ourselves as well
And for what or for who

How does the green grass grow
Blood blood blood drill sergeant

Who's blood
Our blood
The poor's blood
A farmers blood
Innocent blood
But not the blood of the rich
Nor the blood of a politician

C130 Rollin down the strip
Recon scouts on a one way trip

They said fight for your country
Fight for the flag
Fight for your brothers
Fight for patriotism
They don't care what you fight for
Just that you do
And they'll use your death so others can fight too

If I die in a combat zone
Box me up and ship me home
Pin my medals upon my chest
Tell my mama I did my best

Or maybe tell her the truth
That I died for a bullshit war
That I died so some asshole could get rich
That I died in vein
That I died when I enlisted
That I died before I went to war
And I'll never come back, even if I live

 

The Bullet and the Gun

The bullet and the gun, copper and steel, the squeeze of the trigger, the rush of adrenaline.
We're taught the bullet and the gun is an extension of us, reach out and touch someone they say.
In Iraq, the bullet and the gun was a way of life, here it most surely means my death.
Over there the bullet and the gun plays politics with innocent lives, while at home the innocence lost is realized.
In war it is a shame when the bullet and the gun go unused, in peace it is a tragedy when it is.
The bullet and the gun, once so easy to use, now seems like an only option.
I once felt safe with the bullet and the gun, now their coldness dangerously caress my lips.
I thought the bullet and the gun was to protect them, but now I think it is to end to the misery I have caused them.
22 brothers and sisters find refuge in the bullet and the gun everyday, I fight everyday to not be one of them.
And yet the bullet and the gun calls like a siren in the night, tempting to be used while screaming "why" to the flashing of red and blue lights.
The bullet and th...