Best of all, this GOP freshman congressman teed it up for her. Could Rick Berg be reading from the Party Programme?
This is an Infiltration.
OK, I can't quite make that work, but some 99 Percenter has to be able to repurpose Common's "1999" for an #OWS anthem. Talib Kweli's on the intro, and he's #OWS all the way, so maybe he can.
In the meantime, though, this does the job serviceably:
Via Eli Lake, who can appreciate good music that cuts against his politics.
I learned something about myself from reading the comments to my latest piece about the FBI's ongoing struggle with Islamophobia:
No, Spencer Ackerman is not a Dhimmi; he is a mawlah. He has apparently -- as the late Usama bin Laden put it -- "chosen the strong horse." Calling Ackerman a dhimmi suggests that he would be satisfied with second class citizenship. That is a mistake.
Ackerman's patent affinity with Islamists and the Ikhwan party line, coupled with his blatant efforts to undermine U.S. national security, demonstrate that he is much more than a dhimmi. Instead, his position is more similar to those historical Balkan magistrates who sought to please their new masters during the Ottoman conquest, and voluntarily abandoned Christianity in favor of Islam to amass influence and consolidate power. Many unfortunate Jews made similar decisions under the oppressive yoke of Islam to improve their lot in the Middle East, Asia and Northern Africa.
Of course, those who we now call "Bosnians" waited until the Ottomans were actually on the brink of victory before making their alliances; Ackerman may have articulated the shahada a little prematurely.
At least he has it correct that I would refuse to accept second-class citizenship.
And to think I was getting used to my new alias, Dhimmi Hendrix. I'll keep that, but you can also call me Mawlahnnie Mayne.
True fact: when Ben Miller drunkenly pitches you a pumpkin, you can wield Longclaw to cleave it in two. I have a video of this that I will post once Amanda Mattos gives it to me.
Jon motherfucking Snow, the greatest of all my Halloween costumes. Photo by Stacy Cline.
Now, a policy note I feel compelled to append. Longclaw isn't a samurai sword or anything. But it's 50 inches long and hefty. I split an airborne pumpkin in half with ease. The point is that my new sword can hurt someone.
All I needed to purchase it was a credit card. No background check, no nothing. I take a more sanguine view of personal arms control than many of my fellow liberals do. But it fells like something should have made sure I wasn't a psycho before I got delivery of my new sword.
The Adam Serwer era of Mother Jones begins with Adam's monster expose of Walid Phares, the former apparatchik of a bloodstained Lebanese Christian militia who now co-chairs Mitt Romney's Mideast advisory group. The piece has too many holy-shit quotes to excerpt at length, so you should just read the whole thing, but this is one of my favorites:
Despite the bloody fighting among Christians, the lesson that many Lebanese Christian exiles took from the war was that Islam was to blame for the destruction that ensued. "There is a problem with Islam…If you want to follow the Koran by the book you have to be like [Osama] bin Laden," says one former Lebanese Forces militiaman. "It is a reality. And Walid Phares knows this reality. He's lived here."
Now: Romney is running a culture war masquerading as a foreign policy. So a reduction of the challenge of terrorism to a religiously-determined Clash With The Muslim would certainly fit into that approach. But like Omar with Proposition Joe, this kind of thing can come back on you.
Romney, after all, is a Mormon. He must know what it's like to be part of a religious group that's looked upon with contempt and doctrinal derision, experienced unfair attacks in the popular culture and subject to blithe armchair theology in the media. Mormons aren't the subject of the kind of two-minutes-hate that Muslims are. But when you start stoking the flames of these kinds of prejudices -- and that, at his core, is what Walid Phares is about -- you don't know where the fire can spread.
Behold the power of the Internet. TSA sexually harasses Jill Filipovic. Filipovic exposes TSA on Twitter. Journalists write about Filipovic's harassment. One day later, TSA -- as Kashmir Hill reports -- disciplines the offender.
Will it lead to a reduction in future offenses? Hopefully, but too soon to tell. What we do know is that we have collectively lowered both the threshold of tolerance for TSA abuses and the barriers for expressing the reset threshold. All it took was Filipovic's unwillingness to take it. Heroism has a place in everyday life.
Amanda Marcotte remembers the power of Thurston Moore in the age of Clarence Thomas' apparent victory.
I mainly, at that point in time, liked reading books and listening to CDs, and it was the latter that pulled a brick out of my mental wall on this issue. Sonic Youth had a song on their 1992 record Dirty titled "Youth Against Fascism", and it had the lyric "I believe Anita Hill/Judge will rot in hell" on it. It almost feels like an understatement to say that this lyric blew my mind. A man standing up for a woman---a woman he didn't know, especially---in a dispute between a man and a woman over sexualized mistreatment? I had never experienced that before, and probably thought of it as simply impossible. Most women treated other women who spoke up about this stuff like pariahs, so the idea of a man calling bullshit, and being so angry about it, was just unbelievable to me. It felt so incredibly subversive. I didn't want to be caught listening to that lyric. It seemed dirty to suggest that there was any alternative to simply enduring sexual harassment in silence.
Imagine a place where young boys learned that calling bullshit on men harassing women, and to support the women who did the same, was their obligation as men. Not in a mansplainy or patriarchal way, but as a way to police -- and fulfill -- their own masculinity and humanity. I learned that from punk rock.
I will never stick up for punk rock or hardcore as a place where women are free from harassment -- or where it's easy to be a nonstraight nonwhite nonmale person. No collection of teenagers and 20somethings is like that, particularly not one based around shared obsessions. But pivoting off Amanda's post, it is important that that is a value punk rock sets for itself, where you will be put on the defensive if you disagree and challenged if you do not live up to the standard.
Above my desk I keep a photograph that my wife bought for me of ABC No Rio. ABC No Rio is a punk club and (former?) squat on Rivington Street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan where every Saturday afternoon a motley assortment of bands perform. I think of it as the punk rock version of the Boys & Girls Club, because that was the role it played for me as a teenager. It socialized me and shaped my values. If you wanted to be part of the committee that booked bands, planned events and made decisions about the direction of the venue, then all you had to do was show up, commit to clean the place up, and submit your suggestion for consensus. That was DIY, an ethic that became a religion and taught teenagers about individual and collective responsibility.
Most importantly: it was supposed to be a place where you would be made to feel unwelcome if you groped someone in the pit; if you made a homophobic or racist remark; or if you engaged in otherwise destructive behavior.
This is what solidarity looks like:
That's Ahmed Maher. He's the co-founder of the April 6 Youth, one of the driving forces behind the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. I had lunch with him this afternoon, and he told me something I didn't expect to hear: he's been communicating with Occupy Wall Street over Facebook, supports them 100 percent, and offers them advice based on the Egyptian experience.
Then I followed him to McPherson Square, one of the two sites of the local Occupy movement.
It was surreal. #OWS often cites Tahrir Square as its inspiration. For Maher -- in town on a quick jaunt through the U.S. sponsored by American University -- to back #OWS is a testament to how powerful #OWS's message is becoming. The surreality was summed up by how many times he pulled out his phone to snap pictures of Occupy DC, and how many times Occupy DCers got snaps of Maher.
So, conservative critics of #OWS: You backed Tahrir Square to the hilt. Now one of Tahrir's key leaders is backing #OWS. Might this change your perspective on what is increasingly a global movement against economic marginalization?
Photo by me. Anyone can use it.
It seems safe to say that we've moved into a cultural/political space where liberals have jettisoned their early discomfort with Occupy Wall Street and now back the movement unreservedly. Sam Graham-Felsen's first person piece on overcoming OWS skepticism is a good example. Liberals have a weird and transactional relationship with leftists: we condescend to them, we fear they jeopardize the liberal project, we reject their agenda, and yet we occasionally use one another. I no longer know where Occupy Wall Street is on the liberal/leftist spectrum: I suspect, like Sam wrote, it wouldn't exist without the leftists but is now a movement of liberals and less-political folk who express their anxieties over economic dislocation.
Even so, sometimes it takes people rather familiar with leftism to most accurately capture OWS. My old friend Colin Asher, writing in the Progressive, is a good example. You should read his whole piece, but I want to call attention to two excerpts. First Colin talks with a P.R. firm's chief, who's hanging around Zuccotti Park:
Does he think the group's lack of cohesion is a problem?
“It's charming, in it's own way,” he says.
“As a PR person, one thing I'd say is they need better messaging. “They're not bumper-sticker-ready yet.”
I can't argue with that. But for reasons I can't articulate, it seems to be completely beside the point.
I think this is totally right. Not having a coherent message can be a strength. It doesn't alienate anyone. That's why "We Are The 99 Percent" is so powerful a declaratory statement. And anyone paying attention to OWS or attending one of the rallies worldwide intuitively understands its actual, substantive message: we are anxious about economic dislocation, and we demand an end to it. There may or may not be a good way to programmatize that angst and craft an agenda to end it, but that's not usually the job of demonstations.
Ah, but Colin, a rigorous thinker and reporter, wouldn't raise an issue like that and fail to problematize it:
Zuccotti Park has become a panopticon. When any voice rises above a conversational level, microphones circle and descend like buzzards, flashes snap, and cell phones are raised and set to record. Reporters, academics, and writers shoulder through the crowd in search of “gets.” We approach each other, spot notebooks half-opened and held low to avoid attention, and withdraw. Interviewing has never felt quite so useless.
Fractional groups of Trotskyists, Maoists and Socialists have been nibbling at the edges of the Park since the occupation began, but now they are here en mass. A nervous, bearded man with unsteady hands reads from a hand-written note, explaining his reasons for coming to Zuccotti. I arrive as he is saying, “I just wanted you to know I'm here to stand for something.”
And this is where someone's familiarity with various protest movements shines through. I don't know what it's like to have a demonstration hijacked. Colin can teach people like me a few things. One of my 20-something cousins, who has a similar background and is no liberal, made this the heart of his critique of OWS: no one speaks for it, so it's setting itself up for hijacking, and risks styming its own growth.
I suppose it depends on how long OWS and its offshoots can physically stay in Zuccotti Parks around the country (and the world). If the movement disperses without evolving into a second phase, then its momentum probably will be squandered. I don't know the answer, but I know enough not to dismiss my friends with experience in these sorts of endeavors.