BALLAD #1: /A Revolution Happens Live\

Ballad #1: A Revolution Happens Live

“Cultural Context”:

“A journalist posing as a shot girl who works as an escort and a terrorist posing as a freedom fighter while working an ambulance driver meet face to face in a Tavern for a hard drink.  In the background gypsy music. He wants to make love to her, but she is indifferent leaning toward largely disinterested. In the world around them, black lives do not matter very much at all and Muslims die every day in hunger and fire and airstrikes, ”

All:

Sing one song! Late into the night!  

Amid a revolution, my revolver shines in candlelight

The clock upon the wall, time means now nothing at all,

We are waiting for the moment when we make the system fall!

Silverstova:

Turn back the clock give me my life!

Adonaev:

In some ways, you are like her, you know.

Silverstova:

You say the same blatnoy to every woman!

Adonaev:

             And she’s looking at me now like she’s ready to go!

Silverstova:

Tasting things to come! Put down your guns, put down that knife!

Adonaev:

 In many ways you would like her, you know.

 Silverstova:

 Put up your hands, I am your foe!

Adonaev:

         And she’s looking at me now like she’s ready to blow!

Silverstova:

Turn back the clock give me my life!

        Adonaev:

   You and I didn’t ask to lead a life of constant night.

Silverstova:

All that struggle made us crazy, all that terror all that fight! And he’s looking at me now like he’s ready to go! Your deeds betray you Comrade, this you know. You have things, you have done damage, to the wrong person, to an Oligarchic foe.     

Adonaev:

       We sit down, we sit down!

I once thought I knew this town,

         In different cities. We pieced together

Our interpretation of the future, our impressions of the day.

  There’s a ship there a plane, for my people for my brain,

         Tomorrow night. It’s all going down.

Silverstova:

We are all dying, we all cry! There is nothing left to say!

We are all compromised, in our own immoral way. An altruistic sigh, and we lie. And still we lie, sometimes we lie about the world all day. 

Adonaev:

        We are hunted now! We die and thus we kill, and in vengeance we repay.

Find can, you find,  the clever proverb in a Russian mind, or in low poetic English for sad redeeming things to play, we might, not even,  live to ever truly say.

Silverstova:

HEVAL! YES HEVAL! WITH YOUR BACK AGAINST THE WALL!

Raise your head up!

Brace your spine and raise your glass, now is not time to fall.

Adonaev:

That’s not how the Story Ends, this time!

“You found your son! I saved my wife! we helped our people win the war!”

Silverstova:

That’s not how the Story Ends, this time!

Your friend Anna Campbell isn’t dead this time,
This is much bigger than Rojava, this is far bigger than a rhyme!

We are so-called regular people, we still comprehend the revolutionary side!

Adonaev:

I CONFIDE! I CONFIDE! I GOT TO LIVE WHEN THEY ALL DIED!

I’LL DO MORE, I’LL DO MORE !

Of this long epic thing that sounds like foreign lullabies and gory folklore!

Silverstova:

LULLABIES? she cries, fuck your stupid lullabies, RIFLES WILL DO MORE!

That’s not how the story ends this time!

Tragically as it might be, 

You get to start again. Tell us what you fought for! 

TELL US WHAT WE NEED TO SEE. 

TELL US ABOUT ABOUT KURDISTAN. ABOUT YOUR AGONY!

Adonaev:

No, no, no, this isn’t right, 

I turned my gun on Daniel Newey before the fire fight that night!

Daria’s alone and in fully gilded poverty, 

She’s trapped in Newyorkgrad. What have I done! 

I SQUANDERED MY LAST OPPORTUNITY, to be.

Silverstova:

I TAKE THIS YOU TOOK THAT!

FUCK YOU BLAT! 

ALL AND YOUR AMERICAN DREAM, 

IT MAKES ME SCREAM, IT MAKES ME bleed, it makes you fat!  

It impales you on its sword.

Sebastian is now sealed away for life in a psychiatric ward! 

He should not have picked up that gun! For a fight that can never be won.

Adonaev:

Sad, little Anya’s dead. Blat,

40,000 other friends are also dead, very sad, and Ayar is losing his mind out in Bagh-dad.

Piling and Dan Newey are serving prison terms for life, situations dire,

Afrin fell,

Qandil, Zap and Haftanin are on fire!

    Sad? Who is sad, the impossible is going bad.

Silvetstova:

I’m a caged whore for a guy, old enough to be my dad.

That’s not how the story ends this time!

That’s for sure! I’m a woman, not a shot girl, I’m a journalist goddammit not someone’s fucking whore!

What were these hands all grasping for!?  

Tell it better, give us something, give us hope, give us something to believe in! 

Give us guns, or give us rope.

Don’t let your martyrs’ die for nothing, hold out longer dear defeated Afrin!  

Hold out longer up in the Qandil. Fight, fight on with hype or hope.

Sebastian:

That’s not how the story ends this time!

Sebastian finds his mind in chapter three Long live the Kurdish resistance!

 I wonder what immortality Anya can now really see. 

When the lights go out and the rubbing oil turns her to Cleopatra.

But, this is sad long terrible black soliloquy. Resistance was our mantra.

About the things we did, we all did, to we. It was murder carried out like tantra.

IT WAS LIFE- LIVED FREE!

Silverstova:

That’s not how the story ends this time!

Afrin is defensible! Anya is a happy kid. Alive again. Yazan conquers his disease. Sebastian has the strength of lions, of over forty men! 

THERE’S NO SHAME OR BLAME,

But that’s all in your sad Amerkansky mind game!

But now we begin, 

Everyone lost something and it seems hard to think we could ever really win.

It’s over you all lost, things are still the same. But go ahead and Give them something to believe!

Adonaev:

“Give me back my shattered life!”

I am your sword. I am your knife.

Let my people find a way to win.

Or I’ll bring the terror and strife right to your shore. I’ll make you all pay for your apathetic sin.

And she’s looking at me now like she’s ready to go!

Turn back the clock gives us our lives!

Silverstova:

And he’s looking at me now like he’s ready to go! Turn back the clock- Give us our land!

Adonaev:

And she’s looking at me now like she’s ready to go! Ready to blow.

Turn back the clock give us our lives!

The curtains fall on the first act. The blood thirsty future, it arrives.

All:

Sing one song! Late into the night!  

We’re amid a revolution, revolvers shines in candlelight

The clock upon the wall, time means now nothing at all,

We’re waiting for the moment when we make the system fall!

Dastardly were the deeds of our fathers! Blat!

So arcane and so lacking of moral substance! Blat! 

They contrived, economically survived on the brutality of which ‘the brothers’ were not deprived.

Tell me now, I vow, I wonder how despite the previous misconceptions,

And good intentions.

Attempted abortion, yet were still conceived.

For this crime, we are not reprieved!

A society basing itself on its own new notoriety, 

A society proclaiming a material utopia,

Yet in all essence lacking the cornucopia on which the foreign masses even stay fed.

Still, they might end up dead,

Instead I analyze the growing profits, which line the rich man’s pockets,

And the bunker-busting rockets,

Make us popular indeed.

In what holy book was that decreed?

No more dialectic, if human nature equals greed?

I am climbing higher, but can’t seem to escape the fire,

As the pillars made of ethics start to fall,

If we flinch or give one inch the man will take it all.

For the man’s quite good at taking,

He’s been doing it for many years,

And now he’s gaining power, by playing off our collective fears.

They know what playbacks scare you so they play in a constant loop,

And reporters flock like vultures, just to try and get the scoop.

Everything, a false conception,

As they improvise another great deception,

Be wary of a man who asks for war!

And all these troops departing, 

Any day now we’ll be starting,

Battleships with cannons, a flying fortress off the shore. 

But what of the sprawling crush of urban ghettos, the ghastly prisons, and their many, many lies?

The rich are ever getting richer as the poor meet their demise. 

I’d propose a revolution, but we’re lacking a tried and tested solution

And Red Communism failed many in the past.

While the Anarchists renew a scream for “mutual aid”.

I’m sure we’ll end up starving oh too fast.

And in the bunker,

Where ounce the honky babble junky spread his printed word.

His hair slicked back, hair brown not black, to all those that haven’t heard.

Next to him paces his comrade, a man believed to work alone,

His eyes glaze over, he listens carefully, he doesn’t make his intentions known.

They’ve been up for many hours. 

Fueled on Adderall or coffee and sometimes also booze. 

The tide is turning quickly. 

Quickly, quickly hear the new social gospel, hear the news!

On the radio, the broadcast lingers.

The pala man in the corner licks his wounds and licks his fingers.

And the wax drips from the candles. Also pausing time.

The streets outside a concrete jungle, and the flames of near battle flicker 

Burning through the ashes and ruins of a now flaming urban grime.

While the leaders converse, 

In the language of tactical insurrection.

The bunker rumbles, concrete walls offer only slight protection,

Gunfire can be heard just right outside.

And with the buildings all now burning,

The rebels are quickly learning,

That all too many of their number that day died.

They recall the fortnight prior, 

Before the city caught on fire,

Rebels dreaming of a visionary world, a brighter day.

Clad in uniform around the table, martyr posters on the walls. 

Talking about that hoped-for future, taking risks. 

Come what may.

The lieutenants began reporting, 

On the status of the fight.

One might, despite all previous contraindications,

And resistance depictions knew a losing battle at first sight.

“We’re in need of ammunition, but not in a good position

Treason is quite serious indeed.

The RAT TAT TAT of rifles,

Murder can echo in the night! 

As we watch our wounded city slowly bleed.

The barricades, for now, are holding,

The uprising is unfolding!

Dead and dying are littered in the street.

And don’t be too surprised,

The Revolution’s televised, 

Because CNN wants you glued right to your seat.

All:

Sing one more song! Late into the night!  

We’re amid a revolution, my revolver shines in candlelight

The clock upon the wall, time means now nothing at all,

We’re waiting for the moment when we make this wretched system fall!

The War of Ideas

Pamphlet One: 

Introduction to Ideology, a War of Ideas

Understanding the Theoretical Basis of our Struggle

What Does this Mean to You?

This question is always asked at the beginning of each lesson. 

It is an old Israelite question from the Passover Seder from the rebellious son or daughter. We are beginning a small Academy class. Training together to establish the parameters of answering that very same question. A sort of “proof of relevance” for the time we will take from your life, which cannot ever be returned.

In short, this is a course which will give you a new way to look at the world, your world and my world which is actually dying. You would almost have to be an ostrich with your head in the very sand not to know some of that. Most of the people on earth are very poor and maldeveloped. Most of the resources are well on their way to being exhausted. The actual temperature of the planet is rising as if to kill us through a fever. There are many wars and pandemics and incredible inequality.

However it is not your shame, guilt or even rage we play to right now. It is a desire on the personal level to have a Free Life. Your consciousness and your level of awareness, as well as your level of political indoctrination are really not the subject matter of this training program. This course is geared toward those who were born awake and never went to sleep. But it is your very self-interest cultivated in Capitalist Modernity, the governing ideology of the World System in the 21st century that we do play to. Your sense of responsibility is always to be secondary to your motivation. Your personal willingness to trade hours of your life to listen and learn and ask questions is a bridge of course to action. 

This lesson is devoted to ideology. Technology and philosophy of thought. We ask you to watch, read and participate not because you believe in the collective. Or because of the terror the world to come might bring your progeny. No, because you wish to better your life. Because you seek a way to gain a set of material and social rights, attain a position of greater security that is simply going to be impossible working yourself to death all life long. 

It is just not true that by virtue of hard work you will set yourself and your family free. That is actually the logic of the German Nazis, posted on their work camp gates. Depending on where you live in the year 2020, you are likely to have been born into a vast open air work camp called a country. There are 206 of them, even in the top developed 40 life is hard. The idea of a “Middle Class” is an illusion, as is the idea that one state, or group of states can seal itself off from the others is an illusion. The victory march of Euro-American Capitalism which supposedly began in 1989, was just an enormous illusion. Especially for all non-Europeans. We train you now to examine truth into its innermost parts and pursue a line of questioning      

    We are in the business of developing a united paradigm. For achieving a set of rights, freedoms and equality that have virtually never existed for our kind. A paradigm that will allow humanity a type of collective action we have never unleashed before. A way of organizing ourselves in a way that takes back a human way of living that was denied us. 

If you do not develop for yourself a world view and philosophy rooted in emancipation, justice and collective action then you will be sold an alternative  ideology based on slavery, underdevelopment and death. Or worse, be so numbed, distracted and apathetic that you basically not only don’t care when other people die, you don’t really care what happens to your own life.

What is an Ideology?

An ideology is a body of theory explaining social, historical, economic and political relationships. Based on the writings of varying social theorists, philosophers and economists ideology establishes a paradigm of reality and change (a rationale for how change comes about in the world), advocates systems of governance (structures of rule both local and international), outlines social policy (specific laws that establish societal norms) and codifies relationships between individuals, societies, corporations, and states. An ideology explains, or tries to explain the chaos in the world of the real.

Everyone has some kind of Political Paradigm. Normally established by their parents, early education and religious values, or by the media sources of their state. An ideology is more scientific than a paradigm, more dogmatic than basic learned political values and beliefs. An ideology uses elements of history to establish a narrative. This narrative is then cultivated to introduce new values, new modes of behavior and new ways of understanding reality. By not having an ideology, or paradigm most people become frustrated, and then religious. Which is to say they absolve themselves of this world and imagine justice and peace only in another world, which absolutely no one has come back from to verify.

  Thus all ideology relies on establishing its own “Subjective Version of History”, its own interpretation of largely unknown previous epochs, current events and future possibilities. 

“Those who control the past, control the future: those who control the present, control the past.”Eric Blair (George Orwell), British Political Novelist, 1984. 

What is Our Objective History?

According to theorists such as Foucault, we have absolutely no way to establish any objective history before sometime in the mid 17th century. That is because there are very few competing narratives. Usually history was simply commissioned by the ruler/rulers of the victorious state.

There is very little about history we can ever say is “OBJECTIVE”, non biased. Virtually every single state has a contradictory narrative or set of narratives on historical events. There is both national bias, and historical bias. National bias is the distortion of a war, or event to subscribe importance to a current ruler, ruling parties paradigm. Historical bias is taking poorly documented, poorly understood events and prescribing importance and meaning, although very few accounts remain of such events.

Thus almost all history, even history presented in this training book is a type of propaganda made to alter or reinforce your political paradigm, I.e. your ideology.

An example of National Bias, for example, is when certain historical events are included and others omitted or not disclosed. Such as when a history book in USA talks about the Berlin Airlifts, Cuban Missile Crisis and Russian intervention in Afghanistan, but mostly omits the Cuban Revolution, Cuban/Russian support for Angolan-Namibian Independence and the defeat of South African Apartheid, and fails to mention the United States killed 2 million people in Vietnam. Both Russian and the US have clear Cold War narratives they wish their people to adopt.

Another example would be Egyptian and Israeli history books on the war of 1973. The clearest cases of NATIONAL BIAS are found in high school level history text books of each state.

An example of Historical Bias would be an American text book that ignores that while 450,000 Americans died in WW2 21 million Russians did during the same period. An American student is taught the Allies defeated the Axis, but distorts the burden each group paid in lives.

Another example of historical bias would be the importance of Roman Law and Greek Philosophy to the modern world, but to not teach Confucianism or East Asian Philosophy. The clearest case of historical bias would be whether or not to use any of the Torah/Bible as a reference to actual historical events.

National bias, places loyalty to the nation state, its patriots and leaders at the center of the paradigm and excludes or down plays the importance of other rival states. Historical bias basically fabricates and twists major events in a way that re-imagines their role and importance.

Historical Materialism is a Marxist historical focus on “material conditions” over ideals or spiritual developments. Marx and Engels asserted that a societies mode of production, how it organizes labor and productive forces, the relations of people to production is the single most important factor in determining a societies development.  

Thus the Superstructure of institutions, laws and customs had to built upon an economic base. This superstructure is in fact an ideological expression of how production is organized.

The trajectory so far of human modes of production have included primitive communism (tribal communalism), slave societies, feudalism, mercantilism and capitalism.   

In general all ideologies throughout all time can fit within one or more of these twelve sets of general sub-classifications. Establishing differing elements of their policy poles, advocacy of certain relationships between workers and Modes of Production and their varying systems of governance. It is important to state that not all political scientists are in agreement about what parties where in which classifications, at what times.

  1. Tribalism & Primitive Hunter Gatherer Organizations
  2. Religious Theocracy vs. Secular Rule
  3. Hereditary Monarchies & Aristocracies
  4. Military Dictatorships & Juntas
  5. The Left vs. The Right
  6. The Liberals vs. The Conservatives
  7. The Radicals vs. The Reformists
  8. The Revolutionary vs. The Reactionary
  9. Capitalist vs. Socialist/Communist/Anarchist
  10. The Social Democrats vs. The Democratic Socialists
  11. Authoritarian vs. Populist
  12. State Capitalism, Neo-Liberalism and Other Styles of Modern Oligarchy
  13. Democratic Confederalism

TRIBALISM

Before recorded history, which is to say Egyptian hieroglyphs, Babylonian Cuneiform, Mayan ruins and much later Dead Sea Scrolls we can deduce from cave paintings and the characteristics of remote tribes not in contact with modernity; that the earliest human organization before the creation of nation states, mass agriculture and nationalism was varying forms of hunter gathering, nomadic tribes. It is not useful to create a golden age around this period, or discount it as barbaric because until the “creation of Gods and Kings”, this was the dominant mode of human organization for over 10,000 years.

The tribe, a wandering ethnic unit, persisted in some form until the widespread enslavement of the Africans in 1500-1800. However, as a dominant form of organization it was replaced after the Neolithic Age by the beginning of the State system. Large, unified agricultural polities ruled by a priestly class that would wholly transform every aspect of human life. 

It is actually impossible to know how society was organized in the Pre-agricultural hunter gathering societies that existed before 7000 BCE in the Neolithic Age and before. We have reason to suspect that social units were much smaller in scale, much less gender dominated by men, animist/ polytheistic and reasonably directly democratic in some regards. There were likely far less specialized economic roles, far looser conceptions of private property and limited to no agricultural cultivation. 

During this period there were no known hierarchical class structures or capital accumulation. No rigid conceptions of Private Property.

The RELIGIOUS VS. The SECULAR PARADIGMS

For almost all of recorded history political leaders claimed that a God-head, divine force or forces gave them the ability or mandate to rule. It was not until the 16th century did any secular parties begin to emerge and not until 1776 in the USA, 1789 in France and 1812 in Latin America did any secular parties take full power. Today only two countries Shi’a Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia are fully functional Islamic Theocracies. Israel also maintains some very specific religious laws in its territory.

Beginning in the fertile crescent, the area of modern Iraq and Iran (Babylon) in the year 7000 BCE a large-scale process began of agriculture, private property accumulation, trade and the construction of Ziggurats. 

A Ziggurat was a massive temple where at the very top levels supposedly dwell the ancient Gods. On the level below it is an administrative center for high priests. On the level below that was a vast market, a depot for surplus and a production center for skilled workers. 

This was the beginning of both capital accumulation, rigid social classes and the centralized state.

Thus we are able to deduce in fairly objective historical analysis that from the year 7000 BCE to 1700, around 8,700 years the dominant polity was a theocracy, a hereditary monarch, a divine monarchy or some kind of monarchy supported by priests of an aristocracy. 

Secular rule, with very few outliers, has only been a reality in the past 300 years. Experiments with Retrograde Socialism, mostly huge bloody failures, are only 100 years old beginning in 1917.     

The fundamental difference between a Religious and Secular Party is where they derive their theory of change and governance. A religious Party believes they represent a divine mandate to impose religious laws on a nation. A Secular Party bases its legitimacy for governance on a specific ideology, rule of law and a constitution.

Historic examples of Religious Governance include the Ziggurats of Babylon, the Egyptian Pharaohs, Chinese Dynastic Rule, Hindu Kingdoms in India and virtually all of the Medieval European Monarchies.

Modern examples of religious parties are Torah Judaism/Shas in Israel, Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Ayatollah/I.R.G.C. Regime in Iran.

HEREDITARY MONARCHY, CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY & 

THE ARISTOCRACY

An Aristocracy is an established hierarchy of land holding wealth and nobility arranged by title around a King, supported by a priesthood or Clergy.

Until the British Magna Carta, there were no limits or checks to a Kings Power. Until the American Revolution there had been no political formations divested of such authority. Until the French and Russian Revolutions; there had been no precedent to remove, place on trial and subsequently execute a King. 

The Hereditary Monarchy is a biological line of succession normally along the male line for autocratic regimes, generally though not exclusively deriving their mandate from a deity, or religions cult. 

The Constructional Monarchy developed in England now common to all surviving Monarchies in Europe, checks the power of the Monarchy with a constitutional supported Parliament, largely relegating the Monarchic to ceremonial roles., 

Most monarchies are supported by, or are regulated by a lesser nobility or aristocratic class. A stratification of title and power by rank. In most instances these two elements of society are breeding grounds for intrigue against the monarchy. Historically it is rare that a Monarch is ever deposed in favor of aristocratic rule, proto-Oligarchy, kleptocracy and aristocracy usually disguise themselves behind a figure head.  

Hereditary Monarchy is where a King passes power to a prince, typically their first surviving male heir. In the numerous instances where pretenders to the thrown, illegitimate children, assassination, or failure to produce a male heir interrupted the Monarchy, new nobility were often put in place or less direct ascension occurred. 

It is usually the case that a priestly class supports a theological claim for a divine blessing on the Monarchy. The Monarchy thus uses its centralized power to enrich the priestly class and aristocracy. Typically nothing short of foreign invasion and prolonged occupation can dislodge a Monarchy. 

The most frequent challenge in the past 200 years has been through Military Coup (African and Arab States) or Popular Revolutions (France, Russia, Iran).

The development results of Monarchy and Aristocracy is generally to establish some form of Feudalism as a mode of production where large segments of the population are bound to the land as Serfs or Peasants. Typically miserable, powerless and illiterate, these serfs or peasants have no rights and no freedom of movement. 

MILITARY DICTATORSHIPS & JUNTAS

It is not unheard of for a Warlord or General to assume some what consensual power and take on the formation of a hereditary monarchy. Such as varying Romans rulers, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and far later Napoleon.

However in recent decades all that is typically required is for the military to stage a coup. In this case an officer will set themselves up as a dictator/president or will rule the country through a council of officers; a Junta.

Such arrangements are very rarely ever going to produce well functioning governments. They were brute force usurpers and have no legitimatizing mandate besides the threat of force. They are generally inundated with high levels of cronyism, lack of vision and rigid chain of command found in the military that generated them. There is virtually no examples of a Junta/ Military Dictator producing useful, helpful or transparent governance.

 That then said the largest contiguous human empire was that formed by Mongol Warlords; around a quarter of the worlds surface area. But what is taken by force is relinquished by force such is the nature of violence.

THE LEFT AND THE RIGHT

Left Wing and Right Wing are highly SUBJECTIVE TERMS, differentiated state by state. Left and Right mostly divide along liberal/ conservative lines in their relationships to social policy, the economy, defense, markets and private property.

The tend to differentiate a politician or parties policy stance, particularly in regards to private property, taxation, social spending, trade, foreign policy and immigration. 

Liberal Ideology generally speaking advocates using a larger portion of the tax base to fund public social programs such as schools, hospitals, public housing and welfare programs. Liberal ideology tends to be more inclusive of minority groups, women and homosexuals. It is always pro-capitalist, but generally more responsive to public policies that support social justice and environmental protection.  

Modern examples of Liberal Parties are The Democratic Party (in U.S.A.) or the Labor Party in Great Britain.

Conservative Ideology generally wishes to spend public money from the tax base largely in defense and commercial infrastructure. It is generally majoritarian, male chauvinist, family centered and hesitant to spend money on public services. It supports privatization (the providing of government services by private industry), policing and national security, is always pro-Capitalist, and generally protective of large corporations, banks and high net worth individuals in society.  

Modern examples of Conservative Parties are: The Republican Party (in USA) 

In general Liberals want slightly larger government/ government spending with a rhetoric of social justice, inclusion, greater equality and a belief that good government can uplift the poor.

In general Conservatives want smaller government/ less taxation with a rhetoric of tradition, religion, family values and protections of private property and corporate welfare with a belief that national security and privatization will uplift all citizens who work hard.

Both Liberals and Conservatives have a left wing/right wing to their parties. In varying ways both liberals and conservatives are free market oriented, equally willing to engage in interstate warfare and are typically drawn from the upper classes of their societies.

The REFORMIST vs. The RADICAL PARADIGMS

What we are talking about here is the speed of an advocated social change. Radicals demanding rapid, unprecedented policy shifts, Reformers more gradual policy shifts. Radicals seek a swift break from tradition and Reformers a cautious progression. Most importantly Radicals do not require the policy shift to occur inside the established frame work of governance and Reformists do. 

Radicals tend to always be more willing to resort to violence, or allow violence as a result of a policy.

The fundamental difference between a Reformist Party and a Radical Party is whether they plan to engage in the electoral process, run their candidates and then try to be elected OR do they plan to overthrow the government. A reformist party usually believes that their program is achievable through the electorate through established political channels. A radical party typically does not and seeks to use violence/force/protests/terrorism to impose its program on a country without any mandate from an established system. That established system may have little to no popular mandate to begin with.  

Examples of Modern Reformist Parties are the Democratic Socialists of America and Social Democrats of Europe, examples of modern radical parties are the Kurdistan Workers Party and the Socialist Equality Party.

The REVOLUTIONARY vs. The REACTIONARY PARADIGMS

The difference between Revolutionary vs. Reactionary radical parties and their ideologies take the difference between Reformist and Radical even further. A Radical Party can be classified as “Revolutionary” by its means; I.e. Political violence and its ends; I.e. “Radical Social Policy ” once in power. Which is to say policy shifts in economic, social and environmental spheres that make rapid departures from the policies of the defeated factions.

Revolutionaries can be RIGHT or LEFT, can be secular or religious. Their designation can mean a break with past systems of governance, or a break with a line of policy. However, revolutionist thinking, revolutionary consciousness must depart from the established, normative traditions of the national unit and embark on a wholly new political direction. A reactionary and their parties are backwards thinking, traditionalist conquests of power.   

A“Reactionary Radical” or their parties are a) right wing radical/revolutionaries or b) advocating regressive fascist social polices. Fascists and Religious Fundamentalists for instance such as the Nazi Party, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the Klu Klux Klan. Such parties seek chauvinist, statist and nationalist futures. They are ethno/religious centrists. They look back towards a “Golden Age”, an imagined time before some fall from Eden. They are generally hateful to minorities if not out right genocidal. They seek to impose their views on all others. 

Extreme reactionary theory is best called “Fascism”  and is best understood by the Nazi Party of Germany (1933-1945). The “National Socialists”, imposed a radical roll back of all civil political rights, carried out genocide against minority populations (Jews, Gypsy, Homosexuals, Slavs) and planned to depopulate large segments of Russian and Ukraine for “living space” for Aryans. Their brutal and murderous rule resulted in the Second World War.  

Fascism existed also in Italy, Japan and Spain but with variations on the Nazi paradigm to racially purify the earth. The Japanese carried out mass rape and pillage as part of their “East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere”, the Spanish maintained their “neutral” fascism into the 1980’s. 

Fascism can be Oligarchic or can be any ideology that backslides, or justifies a rapid consolidation of power. It typically devolves into some form of one man rule, is authoritarian in nature and has no regard for any rights of the citizen. It is regularly interested in foreign imperialism and ethno-centrist in its implementation.

Here linguistics plays a role. The idea of a “Revolution” is a rapid turning, connoting a rapid progress, a rapid shift in political direction. Of course many revolutions are subverted, collapse in chaos or civil war and or take on reactionary characteristics once they seize and consolidate power. Almost all of the 20th Century Revolutions associated with Third World Liberation and Socialism/Communism took on Retrograde Characteristics, movement away from progress toward toward militaristic, fascist one party rule. Since absolutely no nation that embarked on a so-called “Socialist Revolution” under the leadership of a Vanguard “Communist Party” met well established Marxist criteria; I.e. advanced industrialization and a developed bourgeoisie; all of these revolutions, without a single exception; were Revolutionary in intent, but Reactionary in their regression. Thus we refer to them as Retrograde Socialist projects.

Some which literally cost hundreds of millions of human lives; Stalinist Russia and the Great Leap Forward-Great Famine-Cultural Revolution in China. Some which devolved into such reactionary violence their democidal result bore no relationship to the ideals their founders set out to establish. Most obviously in Khmer Rouge Cambodia and the Juche Theories of North Korea.   

CAPITALISTS vs. SOCIALISTS, COMMUNISTS & ANARCHISTS

Capitalism is the dominant economic order in the world today. The post-Cold War Pax-American 1989 to 2003 established firmly a mono-polar world with Euro-American firms setting the terms for the World System. But the Pax-Americana was never accepted by either the People’ Republic of China or the Russian Federation. It was proclaimed unilaterally by America and its N.A.T.O. allies.

Although the defeat of the U.S.S.R. and the 1986 embrace of Chinese State Capitalism was held up as a proof of Communist inefficiency/ totalitarianism and ultimate defeat; over 1/3 of the human race had lived under some form of Retrograde Socialist country, and Marx remains the discourse of critique. It remains the theory of change most relevant to secular opposition to Capitalism. The only nations with a Communist Party ruling them are China, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam. Only Cuba and Laos still attempt to enforce any normative socialist policy. 

Capitalist Modernity is an economic order which has dominated the world system since the 1500s, but has acquired a universal dominance since 1991 through the ideology of Neo-Liberalism and Globalization and the defeat of the U.S.S.R. and retrograde Communist satalites in 1989.

The narrative of Globalization is that technology + capital + entrepreneurial spirit will make the world safer, freer and more safe.  

Capitalism involves investors, capital and financial firms (Corporations), utilizing wealth to control government policy to create even greater transnational wealth. Mega-Corporations control massive portfolios of labor, industry and natural resource extraction and relentlessly exploit both the global work force and endanger the planet itself. The entire Capitalist system revolves around large banking institutions, the Internets ability to constantly solicit consumer engagement, technologies ability to sustain the market logistics and extractive industries; notably natural gas, coal and oil which power the entire system.

This “World System” is dominated by large firms in “Core Countries” who can use their aggregated wealth to control a political order favorable to their economic interests. 

The current World System as developed as a concept map by Sociologist Emmanuel Wallerstien has been a shifting block of relationship zones dominated from a Global Core. In this period called Capitalist Modernity an economic and hegemonic shift is taking place between the E.U.-U.S.A. and the P.R.C.

Beginning with social theorists Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels in the 1850’s, articulated in the barely readable tomes of Das Capital and the Communist Manifesto, revolutionaries began to adopt varying tendencies/ or streams of left wing ideology as the primary adversarial critique of Capitalism.

In general Marx believed that society has and will progress, evolving over time from feudalism, to capitalism, to advanced capitalism, to socialism, to communism and finally to a classless, stateless society called Anarchism.

“We do not have any historical record of such a society existing, but varying theorists and historians suggest something like Anarchism existed in the Neolithic Age and in Pre-Colonial Africa.”

Varying parties and groups attempted to implement so-called “Retrograde Communist” regimes between 1917 and 1991; none from societies that had archived the requisite levels of development. Most of these regimes emerged in post-colonial societies they over threw, or feudal, or peasant societies/ under foreign occupation or amid war they came to power during.

The Cold War, or ‘Third World War” was a series of massive proxy wars fought between U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. between 1945 to 1991 which resulted in Communist defeat in virtually all countries besides China, Vietnam, Cuba, Laos and North Korea. 

Only Cuba and Laos maintain anything similar to a primitive Retrograde Communist system, Vietnam and China are one party State-Capitalist states run by so-called “Communist Parties”, though no modern Communist Party is very interested in Socialist Policy.     

There are many Tendencies within both Socialism and Communism, as well as many actors and factions laying claim to “Real Socialism”/ “Pure Communism”; the largest ideological divides have to do with divergences amid Lenin/Stalin/Trotsky; advocating or denouncing Socialism in one State; I.e. the U.S.S.R. v. internationalism. Divergence between Stalin/Mao and Russia/China on role and importance of serfs/peasants means to rapid-industrialization. Most Parties today trace an ideological linkage to Marx-Lenin-Stalin, or Marx-Lenin-Trotsky. Or Marx-Lenin-Mao.

Some follow divergent theorists from Yugoslavia, Albanian, Cuba or Tanzania where different modals were tried, or follow intellectual theorists unsullied by the legacy of Retrograde Socialist experiments.  

In short Socialism, as per Karl Marx is the stage one the way to Communism. A series of pro-working class policies that dismantle capitalist exploitation and control, replacing it with a more just and equal society. Communism, as per Marx will eventually evolve into a “Stateless/ Classless society” called Anarchism. So they are a continuum. Under Socialism there is still a state and a party to establish the policies of the transformation. The transfer of consolidated unequal wealth to communal wealth. Under Communism a more rigorous shift has occurred to a more “communal existence”, largely explained as the end of social classes and under the final stage there is no longer a need for a state.   

“Anarchism”, which is according to Marx the very last stage and most advanced stage has rarely ever been successively implemented as social policy except very briefly during the Spanish Civil War in Catalonia and Russian Civil War in Ukraine. Anarchist militias are usually defeated by Communist or right wing forces rather quickly and have never held any territory long enough to attempt to govern it. Anarchism has several tendencies, I.e. ideological variants. In Anarcho-Syndicalism; the labor federations will declare a general strike and replace capitalism with confederations of labor. In Anarchic-Primitivism; a Luddite, anti-technology sentiment awaits an inevitable collapse of the world system an reversion to primitive chaos. General Anarchist antipathy to parties, hierarchy and authority structures place them quickly at violent odds with almost all other factions. They are usually annihilated by other Left groups or remain marginal in general. 

The major Theorists of Anarchism are Pierre Proudhon, Mikhail BakuninPeter Kropotkin, and Emma Goldman. Major Anarchist military mobilizations with territorial self-administration occurred in Spain during the 19030’ Civil War and the Ukraine during the Russian Civil War in the 1920’s. Both were defeated in under 3 years. In the Modern North-West Anarchists for the most part are a counter culture not even closely linked to struggles of the Working Class. The ANTIFA Movement is largely composed of such cultural anarchists.

The Anarchist theorist most responsible for developing modern civic applications of Anarchist theory was Murray Bookchin, who devised Social Ecology, Municipal Confederalism; and through his correspondence with Abdullah Ocalan; in essence caused the massive ideological redirection of the Kurdistan Workers Party away from Communism toward Anarchism; a result called “Democratic Confederalism”.   

The SOCIAL DEMOCRATS vs. The DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISTS

From 1991 to 2001 there was a Western economist theoretical attempt to declare an “End to History”. It was crude and boorish argument that Capitalism was triumphant and no external threat to the order existed or could exist. Francis Fujiyama was the cheerleader of such Polemics.

This was not reality, only the glee of victory which was put out across Europe and America before 19 Islamic radicals carried out the 9.11 Terror Operation in September of 2001 and the American military Juggernaut was subsequently bled indefinitely in Iraq and Afghanistan in Multi-decade wars of attrition. 

During this time, what was left of the left had to present an acceptable discourse for Socialism. A narration de-linked from Russia and China, a less threatening, less radical form of Marx presented in two flavors that had always existed alongside revolutionist leftism; Social Democrats and Democratic Socialism. 

In Europe there has been extensive social welfare policies enacted such as single payer heath care, subsidized education, guaranteed income and environmental regulation. A social democratic ideology seeks to use a reformist method to pursue some socialist policies in certain sectors. Such as single payer universal health care, state subsidized education and guaranteeing incomes. 

In essence a Social Democrat seeks to raise taxes off a Capitalist economy to fund social programs for the citizen similar to those of an ideal Socialist country, without driving out capital or capitalists. 

A “Democratic Socialist”, more explicitly Socialist in their ideology seeks to use a reformist method, elections, to to pursue actual elected socialism. Such as Salvatore Allende in Chile or Mosadegh in Iran.

The major difference in that a Social Democrat doesn’t see the need to abolish most if not all forms of Capitalism while that is at least the stated goal of Democratic Socialist, none has advanced into power so far or survived long enough to show that is a viable method.

If Europe had to pay for their own defense they would not be able to afford such programs either. Such is the only useful thing President Donald Trump has ever brought to public attention.

AUTHORITARIAN v. POPULIST PARADIGMS

A Populist Party simply says what it must say, and sometimes does what it must do to remain loved by the people it champions. Populists do not have to have any highly dogmatic ideology at all, only knowing and expressing what their constituency wants to hear or see. A Populist Party is in tune to the feelings of the masses, but also can cleverly manipulate the masses by speaking to their needs while at the same time carrying out a purely ideological line.

A Populist rules by pandering to the expressed needs of the masses.

An Authoritarian Party governs with little or no regard for popular will and feedback. It governs with near total disregard for popular will and presumes to lead from a position of power that the public can neither critique or understand. It has no need to consult the public or allow the public to participate in governance. All Retrograde Socialist/Communist regimes and Fascist Regimes are Authoritarian. Most are also Totalitarian, where no feed back or critique is even legal. In fact it would be considered a grounds for detention or summary execution.

Most ideological paradigms slip into Authoritarian rule quickly during war time no matter what their proclaimed ideology may actually be.

Authoritarian rule simply means a wide gradient of systems where the public are not consulted on governance. This could be a one party state system like China, also called State Capitalist, or multiparty parliamentarian systems where really only one party is in power, such as Russian Federation. A monarchy, theocracy, military junta, or basic dictatorship can all be “Authoritarian”.

This ideology is beyond the Capitalist/Socialist, left/right paradigm. It simply means that there is little to no consultation with the population in ruling them.

A Populist Ideology, often confused with or called “Democracy” means that there are multiple parties, regular elections, checks and balances to power, typically a robust civil society and activist judiciary. In general populism is an ideology which panders to “giving the people what they want” while Popular ideologies have varying levels of participatory government, relatively free media and courts which citizens can achieve justice.

Most of the world’s so-called Democracies are based on the British Parliamentary System or the American Congressional system. Most have two major parties, one liberal and one conservative.

Most have branches of government which are typically an executive or presidency, a congress or parliament with two chambers and a court system. Most have term limits and regulations framed by Constitutional Law

STATE CAPITALISM, NEOLIBERALISM 

and OTHER STYLES OF MODERN OLIGARCHY

An Oligarchy is any arrangement of power, where the elites of given state divide an control the mechanisms and levers of power. It’s superstructure may take different forms, but Oligarchy is different from Fascism, it is less obvious who the power brokers are. They disguise the centers of power. They maintain power for powers sake, nor for a grand ideological project.

The most powerful nation states in the world today are the United States of America, the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China. All European powers are tied to American Hegemony and beholden to her for their defense.

The U.S.A. and its European North Atlantic Treaty Organization vassal states, including South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, New Zealand and Australia are all forms of “Neoliberal Democracy”. Because of campaign finance rules and lobbying all of these Euro-American states are still forms of Corporate Oligarchy.

The single party Technocratic Oligarchy, a Communist Party in the People’s Republic of China has been State Capitalist since 1986. People connected to the original Communists who over threw the government in 1949 have enriched themselves in the new nation. There for the Red Princelings are a type of Oligarchy too, a fairy hereditary revolutionary aristocracy profiting off access to levers of one party power.  

The Russian Federation is an Explicit Oligarchy formed from a merger of inner party, intelligence, military, police and mafia interests. After the fall of the U.S.S.R. in 1991 varying power brokers took control of formerly state assets. Vladimir Putin and United Russia Party successfully reined these varying interests in.

“Oligarchy” simply means rule by an elite group. All three of the world’s great powers are Oligarchies of some form. In the United States these are derived from Corporate power, in China from connection to the people who staged the revolution in 1949 and in Russia powerful criminals who seized assets when the state privatized in 1991. 

Imagined History

IMAGINED HISTORY INTO THREE SPECIFIC AGES

PAMPHLET SERIES (x) 

THE MYTHOLOGICAL AGE

A Pamphlet speculating on a time before recorded history based on animism, paganism, superstition and without States.

Neolithic Age (10,000 to 1,900 Before Common Era)

The Neolithic Age 10,000-1900 BCE)

Sumer (4500-1900) BCE

Ur (3800 BCE)

Akkadian Empire (2334-2154 BCE)

Babylon (1770-320 BCE)

The Code of Hammurabi (1754 BCE)

Zarathustra

Bronze Age (2,500 BCE

Avram (Abraham)

Moshe Rabbenu (Moses) 1391-1271 BCE 

The Exodus from Egypt 1280 BCE

The Conquest of Canaan

The Hebrew Theocracy

Destruction of the First Temple

PAMPHLET SERIES (36): 

THE RELIGIOUS AGE

A Pamphlet Series on the domination of religious law and belief as a means of social control.

Early Slave Revolts & Major Social Upheavals

Darius I (550-486 BCE)

Siddhartha Gotama (Buddha) (500-400 BCE)

Greek Democracy, Oligarchy, Timocracy

Athens (508-322 BCE)

Greco-Persian Wars (499-449 BCE)

Socrates (470-399 BCE)

The Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE)

Sparta

Plato

Aristotle

Alexander the Great

The Mede Confederation Against Assyrian Empire

The Maccabean Uprising Against Assyrian Empire 167-160 BCE

The Rise and Fall of Rome

Rome  

The Servile Wars 

(135-132 BCE) 

(104-100 BCE) 

(73-71 BCE) † Against Rome

Yeshua ben Yosef (Jesus Christ) “Year Zero”

Yeshua ben Yosef’s Uprising † Against Rome (30-33CE)

The Israelite-Roman Wars 

– The Great Revolt (60-66)

– The Kitos Wars (112-115)

– The Bar Kokhba Revolt(135-137) † Against Rome

The Coming of Islam

Mohammed (570-632)

The Islamic Uprising (609)

The Partisans of Ali ( xxx) † Against Abbasid Caliphate

The Zanj Rebellion )(869-883)  † Against Abbasid Caliphate

The Islamic Expansion (890-1064)

Dark Ages, Feudal servitude, barbarism, Black Death, and endless warfare

The Norman Invasion (1066)

The Crusades (1095–1291)

The Great Peasant Uprising in England (1210)

The Magna Carta (1215)

The Mongol Expansion (1206-1368)

The Black Death † (1346-1353) 

The Reconquest of Iberia (711-1492) 

The Inquisition

The Conquest of the New World † (1492-1880)

Forced labour, brutality, disease transmission, and slave trade

First Voyage 1492

Second Voyage 1493

Third Voyage 1498

Fourth Voyage 1502

Martin Luther (1483-1546)

95-Theses 1517 

The Reformation in Revolt (1517-1648)

The 100 Years War

The Treaty of Westphalia (1648)

The Queen Nanny Rebellion in Jamaica (1686-1755) Against Britain

PAMPHLET Thirty Seven (x): THE AGE OF SCIENCE AND REASON

The Epoch of Enlightenment Revolution

The American Revolution (1775-1776)  Against Britain

The French Revolution (1789-1805)  Against French Monarchy, Austria, Prussia, Russia, Belgium, Poland, Spain, Italy and England.

Danton, Robespierre, Marat 

Jacobins and Cordeliers

The Napoleonic Wars (1805-1815)

War of 1812 (U.S.A vs. England)

The Haitian Revolution (1791-1804)  Against France, Britain and Spain

The Haitian Civil War

The Bolivarian Revolutionary Wars (1807-1825) Against Spain

The Mexican Independence War (1810-1821) Against Spain

The German Coast Slave Uprising (1811) Against USA

John Brown’s Revolt †

Nat Turner’s Revolt †

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad

The 1st Mexican War with France (1838-1839)

The 2nd Mexican War with France (1861-1867)

The American Civil War (1860-1865)

The Cuban Independence Wars Against Spain

(1868-1978) 

(1879-1880)

(1895-1898) 

The Fall of Paraguay

The Berlin Conference (1884) 

The High Crimes and Atrocities in Leopold’s Congo

The Zionist World Congress (1897) Against Ottoman Empire

The Boxer Rebellion in China (1899-1901)Against all Western States

The Mexican Revolution (1910-1920)

The Irish Revolution (1916) Against Britain

The Irish Civil War

PAMPHLET (x): The Era of Retrograde Socialism

The Epoch of Socialist Revolution

The Industrial Workers of the World (1904-1916)†  Opposing American Capitalism

WW1

The Russian Revolution (1917-1920)  Against the Russian Czar

The Russian Civil War

The Spanish Civil War (1930-1936) †  Republic/ Left Against Fascists 

WW2 (Allies v. Axis)

Mahatma Gandhi and Indian Independence (1948) Against Britain

The Israeli Independence War/ Palestinian Naqba (1948) Against Britain

WW3 (Cold War)

The Chinese Revolution (1950) Against Nationalists

The Chinese Great Leap Forward †

The Chinese Cultural Revolution †

The War and Partition in Korea

The Great Democide  in Indonesia (1955) †  

The Cuban Revolution (1960) Against Batista Oligarchy

The Cuban Missile Crisis

Cuban Internationalism

The Vietnamese Revolutionary War (1950-1975) Against France & USA

The Sandinista Movement in Nicaragua Against Nationalist Oligarchy

The Khmer Rouge and the Democide in Cambodia

The Red Brigades, Black Liberation Army, Weather Underground and other marginal Western Terrorist Groups

Democratic Socialism and  the Assassination of Salvatore Allende in Chile

The FARC and ELN in Colombia

The Kurdistan Workers Party (P.K.K.) (1984-1999) Against Turkey

The Zapatista Movement in Mexico (1992) Against Mexican Oligarchy

The Collapse of the U.S.S.R. †

The Collapse of Yugoslavia (1991-2001)

The Pax-Americana and the “End of History”

Russian intervention in Moldova, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

The Occupy Uprising (2011) Against USA Corporate Oligarchy

The Ukrainian Uprising/Civil War Against Pro-Russian Oligarchy

The Revolution in Rojava (2004-2012) Against ISIS, Assad Regime and Turkey

PAMPHLET (x): The Epoch of Third World Revolt

Third World Liberation & Revolt

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

The Palestine Liberation Organization

The Mau-Mau Rebellion in Kenya (1952-1960) Against Britain

The Algerian Revolution (1954) Against France

Nasser and The Coup in Egypt (?)

The United Arab Republic (?)

Revolution in Tanzanian Self-Reliance (1961-1985)

Revolution in Zimbabwe

Marcus Garvey & The United Negro Improvement Association † Against USA

Martin Luther King & The Southern Christian Leadership Conference Against USA

The Black Panther Party (1968-1974)† Against USA

The Angolan Revolution and Proxy War (1950-1994) Against Portugal & USA Proxies

The Bangladesh Liberation War/ Genocide (1971) Against Pakistan †

The Ethiopian Revolution and War with Somalia 

Nelson Mandela

The African National Congress in South Africa Against Pro-Apartheid Oligarchy

The Real/ Provisional/ Irish Republican Army in Northern Ireland Against the UK

The Lavalas Revolt in Haiti (1986) Against Duvalier Oligarchy

The Rwandan Genocide (1994)

The African World War (1996-Present)

PAMPHLET (x): The Epoch of Political Islam

The Islamic Revival & Revolt

Wahabbi-Salfist Uprising 

The Muslim Brotherhood Against Non-Muslim regimes

Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X & The Nation of Islam † Against USA

The ISI

Dr. Khan and Muslim Bomb

The Iranian Revolution & Shia Revival (1979) Against Shah, USA and Iraq

Hezbollah & the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (1984) Against Israel & Maronites

Hamas in Palestine (1987) Against Israel

Afghan Mujahideen Against USSR

The First Intifada (1987-1993) Against Israel

The Taliban

Al Qaeda/ The Base (1998-2001) Against Non-Muslims

9.11 Terror Operation (2001)

U.S./ NATO Invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq

The Chechen Wars (1994-2004) Against Russia

The Second Intifada (2000-2005) Against Israel

The Arab Spring Revolt (2010) Against Arab Nationalist Oligarchies

The Syrian Revolution/ Civil War Against Assad Regime

The Creation of ISIS

The Rise and Fall of the Islamic State in the Levant and Syria

Black Lives Matter Movement

The Trump Presidency (2016-2020)

On False Necessity

“We can establish universally an education that recognizes in every child a tongue-tied prophet, and in the school the voice of the future, and that equips the mind to think beyond and against the established context of thought and of life as well as to move within it. We can develop a democratic politics that renders the structure of society open in fact to challenge and reconstruction, weakening the dependence of change on crisis and the power of the dead over the living. We can make the radical democratization of access to the resources and opportunities of production the touchstone of the institutional reorganization of the market economy, and prevent the market from remaining fastened to a single version of itself. We can create policies and arrangements favorable to the gradual supersession of economically dependent wage work as the predominant form of free labor, in favor of the combination of cooperation and self-employment. We can so arrange the relation between workers and machines that machines are used to save our time for the activities that we have not yet learned how to repeat and consequently to express in formulas. We can reshape the world political and economic order so that it ceases to make the global public goods of political security and economic openness depend upon submission to an enforced convergence to institutions and practices hostile to the experiments required to move, by many different paths, in such a direction”

Roberto Mangabeira Unger is a Brazilian philosopher and politician. He has developed his views and positions across many fields including legal theory, philosophy and religion, social and political theory, progressive alternatives, and economics.

Unger’s social theory is premised on the idea of classical social theory that society is an artifact and can be created and recreated. Whereas previous thinkers such as Hegel or Marx backslid at some point and held onto the notion that there was a necessary institutional or historical social development, Unger, in the words of one critic, seeks to “take the idea to the hilt and produce a theory of emancipation that will escape the limitations of liberal and Marxist theories.” That limitation is the search for an ideal structure of society that can be foreseen and centrally planned; whereas the emancipation leads to societies with greater institutional flexibility and variation.

For Unger, society emerges not through compromise or the winnowing down of best options, but rather through conflict and struggle for control of political and material resources. The victors of this struggle come to set the terms of social interaction and transaction, which is then institutionalized through law. This emergent order Unger calls formative context. Under a particular formative context, routines are established and people come to believe and act as if their social words were coherent wholes that are perfectly intelligible and defensible. They come to see the existing arrangements as necessary. Unger calls this false necessity. In reality, these arrangements are arbitrary and hold together rather tenuously, which leaves them open to resistance and change. This opposition Unger calls negative capability.

This leads Unger to the conclusion that change happens piecemeal through struggle and vision, rather than suddenly in revolutionary upheaval with the replacement of one set of institutional arrangements with another. Unger theorizes that cumulative change can alter formative contexts, and he goes on to propose a number of such changes as institutional alternatives to be implemented, which he calls Empowered democracy.

Empowered democracy is Unger’s vision of a more open and more plastic set of social institutions through which individuals and groups can interact, propose change, and effectively empower themselves to transform social, economic, and political structures. Unger’s strategy in its realization is to combine freedom of commerce and governance at the local level with the ability of political parties at the central government level to promote radical social experiments that would bring about decisive change in social and political institutions.

In practice, the theory would involve radical developments in politics at the center, as well as social innovation in localities. At the center, by bestowing wide ranging revising powers to those in office, it would give political parties the ability to try out concrete yet profound solutions and proposals. It would turn partisan conflicts over control and uses of governmental power into an opportunity to question and revise the basic arrangements of social life through a rapid resolution of political impasse. In local communities, empowered democracy would make capital and technology available through rotating capital funds, which would encourage entrepreneurship and innovation. Citizens’ rights include individual entitlements to economic and civic security, conditional and temporary group claims to portions of social capital, and destabilization rights, which would empower individuals or groups to disrupt organizations and practices marred by routines of subjugation that normal politics have failed to disrupt.

Unger’s ideas developed in a context where young intellectuals and radicals attempted to reconcile the conventional theories of society and law being taught in university classrooms with the reality of social protest and revolution of the 1960s and 70s. Disillusioned with Marxism, they turned to thinkers like Levi-Strauss, Gramsci, Habermas, and Foucault in attempt to situate understandings of law and society as a benign science of technocratic policy within a broader system of beliefs that legitimized the prevailing social order. Unlike Habermas, however, who formulates procedures for attaining rational consensus, Unger locates resolution in institutions and their arrangements that remain perpetually open to revision and reconstruction. And, unlike Foucault, who also emphasizes the constructed character of social life, Unger takes this as an opportunity to reimagine institutions and social conditions that will unleash human creativity and enable liberation.

False necessity, or anti-necessitarian social theory, is a contemporary social theory that argues for the plasticity of social organizations and their potential to be shaped in new ways. The theory rejects the assumption that laws of change govern the history of human societies and limit human freedom. It is a critique of “necessitarian” thought in conventional social theories (like liberalism or Marxism) which hold that parts of the social order are necessary or the result of the natural flow of history. The theory rejects the idea that human societies must be organized in a certain way (for example, liberal democracy) and that human activity will adhere to certain forms (for example if people were only motivated by rational self-interest).

False necessity uses structural analysis to understand socio-political arrangements, but discards the tendency to assemble indivisible categories and to create law-like explanations. It aims to liberate human activity from necessary arrangements and limitations, and to open up a world without constraints where the possible becomes actual.

The theory of false necessity develops the idea that the organization of society is made and can be remade—we can rebel against the worlds we have built; we can interrupt our rebellions and establish ourselves in any of those worlds. By emphasizing the disembodiment of institutional and social structures, the theory provides a basis to explain ourselves and our world without using necessitarian thought or predetermined institutional arrangements.

At the extreme, the theory of false necessity criticizes and thus unifies strands of the radical tradition. It frees leftist and liberal ideals from institutional fetishism, and emancipates modernist ideals from structural fetishism. The theory further detaches the radical commitment from utopian claims and provides a theoretical basis for transformative action. That transformative action, Unger believes, does not have to be a complete overhaul or total revolution, but rather is “a piecemeal but cumulative change in the organization of society”. The key to the project, in the words of one critic, “is to complete the rebellion against the naturalistic fallacy (that is, the confusion of accident with essence and contingency with necessity) and to effect an irrevocable emancipation from false necessity”.

The problem of false necessity arises due to the failure of transformative practice to realize its stated aim. This can take form in three different scenarios:

  1. the ideals fought for (democracy, decentralization, technical coordination, etc.) result in the development of rigid institutions
  2. an oligarchy effect in which groups and rulers clash at the summit of power and drum up popular support
  3. the survival effect in which there is a fear of disturbance of contemporary arrangements.

Unger points to mass politics as a means to counter oligarchy and group identity. However, if these forms are only disturbed and not destroyed, democracy is limited and becomes a quarrel about forms of power and seizing advantage. Likewise, enlarged economic rationality provides another source of emancipation by shifting economic and social relations in the ability to constantly innovate and renew.

The radical project

The theory of false necessity develops the idea that the organization of society is made and can be remade—we can rebel against the worlds we have built; we can interrupt our rebellions and establish ourselves in any of those worlds. By emphasizing the disembodiment of institutional and social structures, the theory provides a basis to explain ourselves and our world without using necessitarian thought or predetermined institutional arrangements.

Fundamental Principles of False Necessitarian Theory:

  1. All superstructure, i.e. culture, religion, politics, economic modes are human created “artifacts”. 
  2. All existing human practical and visionary conflict which is then frozen or contained incorrectly informs us that only a liberal, conservative or socialist program exists.
  3. There is no “closed list of structures and systems”, there has never been one homogenous pure system.
  4. An “illusion of indivisibility” which states one whole system has to be fully replaced as a whole, has been historically disproven.
  5. There are no proven “historical rules” for transition between systems, but it has been bloody and disastrous when this occurs.
  6. Radical projects can be visionary and piecemeal without being “reformist or trivial”. System hybrids can and should exist.
  7. Humanization via “compensatory redistrabation via tax and transfer” is the liberal project, the Socialist project is to revise and humanize the disasters of Socialism as it existed in the 20th and 21st century. The Conservative project is to preserve the current order.
  8. This leaves no role for “programmatic imagination”. All solutions are thus derided as “utopian, or trivial.”
  9. A Radical Project for “Empowered Democracy” would seek legislative capture to initiate piecemeal radical projects thus proving them without major loss of life or state expense.
  10.  The most dangerous of the conservative impulses are facism, a total freeze or theocracy, a religiously imposed order.

Company or Rescuers (6)

6

On 11 January Emma Solomon also called Maya Sorieya, whispered now by many to be ‘the mother of Messiahs’ arrives in the Capital of Haiti. 

She is athletic in build. Olive tan skin, her brown hair is still flowing and while she appears exotic. She travels in on a Spanish passport still having much noble data within the space between her ears that must be passed quietly to underground on this island before most of them are wiped out by devils in the next 72 hours.

Port-Au-Prince is unlike any other place on earth. The singular thing one absorbs right after the electric energy of entering such a densely packed city of over three million souls, is that this city never sleeps. That is because virtually no one is traditionally employed. That is because rarely have so many people been aggregated into simultaneous poverty and total personal freedom.

Ms. Maya carries with her a black baby in a swaddling cloth and a hard copy of the New Social Gospel

The Haitian customs agent turns around to face her and lord; is she so beautiful! With long flowing brown hair and a smile to disarm any man. He catches the baby on her chest like a second later, but that smile catches him off guard for a full minute, because he just doesn’t really look at that in a woman as prominently as before. And with that smile, that little baby her beauty and her tan white skin he doesn’t bother to search anything at customs, waves her along. 

She is a little taller than her curly blonde, spunky travel companion Miss Phoebe Rusche the courier and looks like a warrior. Phoebe is a lover and admirer of Haiti and a talented but wholly unknown writer. She has been offered a job as a masseuse at the hotel Olofsen and plans to stay there for some time writing her latest unpublished book. Ms. Maya has hired the young Phoebe to bring her into Haiti and make an introduction for her at the legendary Hotel Olofsen to a certain Mr. Morse, an Ougan. A master of the ancient spiritual traditions that in Haiti became Voudou. A gifted RaRa jazz musician. A man attacked on all sides these days by the Neo-Maccoutist underworld, bound by unseen threads, lifted by unseen hands. Yet, bound until the world to come and possibly some time after to this white gingerbread hotel on the hills above the city that truly never sleeps.

Ms. Phoebe recounts her impressions:

I flew from Chicago to Miami. Then Miami to Port-au-Prince. At O’Hare Airport I sat next to a couple with a baby boy. The father held his hands and sang while he danced obligingly, a clumsy baby cha-cha, fat round limbs tottering cutely to the beat. The mother eyed me. 

“Are you a missionary?” she asked. 

“No.” 

“You work for an ONG?” 

“No.” 

“Writing a book about voodoo?” 

“No.” She seemed perplexed, what else was there for Blan to do? I saw them again in the Miami terminal, the father holding his son tight.         

                On the plane I sat next to a priest. He wore a cassock and thin wire-rimmed glasses. His face was very kind. He asked me if I liked to sing and I said yes and he wrote down the name and address of his church. Port-au-Prince wheeled below us. It was cloudy, the harbor colored slate. I saw hills carved out of the earth itself, shanties like some metastasizing growth, some blight. 

“No trees,” the priest apologized. He eyed me. I tried to keep my expression neutral. “People say bad things about us. You will decide for yourself.”

              “Good luck,” he said as we stepped onto the tarmac. “I think you will like Haiti. Contact me if you need anything. Come sing in my choir!”

There were only two baggage claim carousels at Toussaint L’Ouverture International Airport. I stepped up to the dolly-rental window and attempted to speak in Creole. “‘Luggage’ tanpri?” The woman behind me in line laughed. She was very pretty with curly braids and laugh lines by her eyes and a denim skirt and stylish red leather boots.

                “I’m sorry,” I said.

                “No, it’s wonderful that you are even trying at all,” she said, and introduced herself as Chantelle from Evanston. A Chicago suburb not far from where I live. She was visiting her parents. She and her brother helped me lift my bags off the carousel onto my cart.

                Two bored looking policemen pretended to rifle through our things before hurrying us along. Outside it was humid, the air pregnant, electric. The leaves of the trees were fat and waxy. The sky was yellow. “It looks like it’s about to rain,” said Chantelle.

                Hustlers descended upon us like locusts, offering to help us with our bags, but Chantelle ushered me past them. “No, no, no, no, no, no, no,” she said. The men’s mouths opened and closed like fish. Their eyes were desperate. I felt like I was underwater.

                The man sent from the Hotel Olofsen to pick me up introduced himself as Monsieur  Marco. He wore a polo shirt and khaki pants.

                “Call me if you need anything,” said Chantelle from Evanston as Marco loaded my bags into the trunk. A man in a dirty Adidas t-shirt came up to our van and put his hand over his stomach, then touched his fingers to his mouth.

                “Mwen grangou,” he said, then seeing my incomprehension, “Blan. Give me money.”

                Marco waved him away, shaking his head in disgust. Emma seems to be unacknowledged and left to herself as we move through the city.

                We drove toward the Olofsen, through streets narrow and winding and hillier than San Francisco. We drove past the Champs de Mars and the National Palace. We drove past restaurants and hair salons and walls with shards of broken glass glinting on top. We drove, narrowly missing small children and intrepid goats, and I marveled at this other world I’d entered.

                That was the first time I saw Port-au-Prince. That was also the last time I saw Port-au-Prince. I wonder if the priest’s church is still there. I wonder if Chantelle and her brother are alive. I wonder if the baby boy died. If so, I hope his father didn’t have to survive.

My companion Emma Solomon, the tres belle, claims to be “a journalist”, but she doesn’t ask that many questions. 

She paid me very well to bring her here from Chicago and into places still unknown, but seems more confident walking around in Haiti than I ever could be in my own skin here or in the states. And then the next morning, the ground opened up and swallowed the nation.

Company of Rescuers (5)

5

Paramedic Victor Cange is weathering an ugly pink beanie. It’s really one of the ugliest hats anyone has ever seen. If it were day time a supervisor would have told him to take it off. He is working Transport Unit 808 out of the Transcare base in Canarsie, Brooklyn. He is fairly slim and wears thick black spectacles. It’s Christmas and he shouldn’t be here, but his seventh day adventist church teaches that Jesus wasn’t really even born on the 25th, not even really born in December. His partner is the tall, serious Jamaican named EMT Mickhi DBrisk. Michkhi is smoking a Newport out the Ambulance window, watching the snow, and thinking about his son Jayden. Specifically about all the expenses the city generates that the job doesn’t ever seem to cover.

“I just need to get out of Transcare,” Victor mutters to Mickhi.

“This shit ain’t ever worth no $10.25 an hour,” Mickhi responds, “We can make more at Starbucks.”

“When is yer Medic upgrade class finishing?” 

“It’s complicated.” That’s Michkhi’s way of saying he doesn’t wanna go into it. He’s in the LaGuardia Associates program for paramedic, it’s stressful, just like everyone says.

Suddenly Michkhi becomes talkative.

“Son, no one has ever heard of my job classification. I am technically not an “ambulance driver” because I do not generally ever drive, being that I have no license to do so, and I am not a “medic” because that would imply I was a Paramedic in our EMS vernacular; and my qualification certainly prolongs life, but does little to diagnose and virtually nothing to treat. You can become State certified to do my job by sitting through a three month class and being over the age of 18. I believe people as young as 16 perform our skill set on Volunteer Ambulances and as young as 14 in developing countries. It’s about eight basic life support skills you need to perform for a medical and traumatic emergency and sixty some odd sets of signs and symptoms it would be good to memorize, but a frighteningly small percentage of my graduating EMS class could recite off less than six months out of the program.”

“What’s yer plot point brother? Didn’t you read the memo, no one’s ever gonna say thank you except God, definitely not the patients, ” Victor Cange says.

“I can’t remember the last time that happened. I was one of ten brothers in my class of 65 at LaGuardia Community College which is viewed as one of the best EMS training centers in NYC. They made this game out a whole lot different than it turned out to be.” 

“Well if you’re white in EMS: you’re crazy, a fuck up, or tryin’ to be a fireman for the FDNY. Then again, if you’re any other ethnicity in EMS you gotta be just a little crazy, a fuck up, or attempting to become a nurse. Because when it comes down to it: we are the hip hop of the Healthcare Industry. We make money by moving lives, not saving lives bro. Ain’t savin’ nobody on the long enough; not even yo self.”

Victor Continues:

“We can’t make you better like a doctor can, we don’t have to slightly pretend to care like a nurse does; we can’t stabilize in a pre-hospital setting via our own training like a PA can; we are EMS; people shoot at us because we look like police in the din of narrow housing project lighting; we might not know what you have but we can keep you alive for at least seven more minutes; and unless you’re missing your head, you’re not legally dead until we get you to a hospital.”

“Ain’t that the truth,” says EMT Mickhi DBrisk. 

On the wall of the Transcare Men’s room at the Brooklyn Base in Canarsie on 800 Bank Street: ‘We scare ‘cause we Care’ is scrawled in sharpie in the men’s room’s second stall. 

“I work for the Wal-Mart of the ambulance corps I’m fond of saying. At $10.25 an hour I have a worse healthcare package and wage than a Starbucks employee. And I don’t get any stock options after six months. We are the city’s, and soon to be country’s largest ambulance provider. I was hired exactly two months ago; most employees quit or transfer after six months when they go to 911; and be nervous about the ones that don’t. Transcare is an enormous business like virtually everything else about Healthcare in America. I spent less than a day of the five day training being reassessed for skill retention; the remaining time went into how to prevent myself (and the company) from being sued, how to tastefully obtain patient insurance information, and how to properly fill out the Patient Care Forms so that that we can legal bind the patient incase their insurance won’t cover the cost of their trip.”

“This shit is business more than its medical profession,” notes Mickhi.

  “Like most Americans, you and I are terribly misinformed when it comes to the dark underbelly of how the Healthcare system functions in this country. It may be illegal for us not to transport a person who can’t or won’t sign, but this company will terminate technicians that transport those that can’t sign “too often”. 

Mickhi tosses his mostly finished boag out into the falling snow. Mickhi is an activist with Adon’s club; on paper at least it’s “Chief-of-Operations’ ‘. Cange talks like an activist, but he isn’t one. Like most of EMS, he likes to explain, likes to complain, but it won’t lead to activism. Mickhi gets that, Sevastra and Adon don’t. Everybody in this job is the walking dead. Broken people that then many saw too much over time.

Victor pauses then resumes his critical stress debriefing, “During patient assessment a transport EMT obtains vitals; while the other ensures the airway, adequate breathing, and circulation. We gather a past medical history, a list of medications, any known allergies, and pick up any paperwork from relatives of the hospital or nursing home that might give us more clues to the patient’s current condition. At some point, generally when they’re loaded onto the ambulance, we ask them to sign a form that most EMT’s describe as a patient confidentiality statement, but it is actually a billing release. It is drilled into us in our retrain days 2 through 5 that we must always obtain a signature. That’s because it costs several hundred dollars for an ambulance ride. People wrongly think that calling 911 is a quick free way to see a doctor. That isn’t a very realistic conception at all.”

“Nope, FDNY shakes um for about 500 too,” says Mickhi.    

“My work for Transcare brings me into the projects, townhouses, homes, and apartments of New Yorkers in all five boroughs. We also bring patients to places like Connecticut, Long Island, and Upstate New York. I always have a different partner because I work irregular shifts generally overnights and weekends. Most shifts will mandate you to work over 12 hours. One makes plans with a cushion when working; you’ll always be late if you have plans after work.”

Mickhi has heard all this before, said a hundred different ways. The paper articulates a lot of these basic points, putting in writing what most already know via word of mouth. 

Says Victor Cange, “My partners fall into two categories of which I am in the second. The first have been here more than six months and have made a profession in EMS transport; that is to say non-911 pick-ups of the morbidly obese, chronically ill, or psychiatrically unstable. They like the job because by the third year it comes close to Starbucks pay and is particularly accommodating to larceny and laziness collectively. Going to 911 would mean working harder, going to another Private company or FDNY might mean working harder and being more tightly scrutinized.” 

Only about one/fifth of Transcare employees in EMS (they also operate a fleet of non-EMS Access-a-Ride Paratransit buses) are in this category. 

Everyone else is out of here in six months, Mickhi and Victor included. 

The remaining group is generally right out of school and looking to quickly accumulate experience before they either go 911 and transfer to a better private, or a hospital or get accepted into the FDNY Academy for EMS. 

“A small subgroup of the second category is just logging the 200 hours they need to go Paramedic. The real difference in partners is those that want to do this career or those that see it as a complicated hustle getting paid to do precious little. It should reassure you slightly to know that most of the people who will be doing this on a 911 level care enough to keep their skills sharp if not care enough to care.”

“I care enough to care,” admits Mickhi DBrisk, “One day when Ayden asks what an e.m.t. is, I’m not going to recount even a single story about my work. There’s something really, really trite and cliché about an EMT or Paramedic rattling off some crazy war story. The only thing more pathetic I feel is when an alcoholic or drug addict does it. You should take it for granted that we see things that are crazy every single shift we work. It’s a big city full of people that are sick and dying.” 

“I find that most of my partners from your second category have a micro/macro view of our work. On the larger macro level we are a vital link in the emergency response chain able to get the sick and wounded to a hospital that in NYC is never more than seven minutes away,” Victor responds.

“Our job at its most basic is to quickly bring the dead and dying to somewhere they can be kept alive,” says Mickhi. 

“On the one on one micro-level we are the people bringing out the sick and dying when they are scared and with the people they love. More than any other link in the Healthcare chain we deal with people at their most vulnerable and it falls on us to earn their trust with our compassion. I keep songs on my cell phone in sixty different languages; people’s faces light up when I play them as we drive to the hospital,” explains Victor.

“One of my partners keeps several copies of the Malcolm X Autobiography for when we transport wounded prisoners to psychiatric wards and infirmaries. Another keeps teddy bears in his jump bag,” laughs Mickhi.

“A lot of people are a little out of it when we move them. Some beg for Jesus to take them or tell terrible stories of tragic lives. A lot of people want to die because this life has been so hard on them. I try to make them feel special, or at least respected. Sometimes I’ll get people over a hundred years old and I’ll try and get them to tell me a story about their life. Sometimes I’ll transport a desperate middle-aged soul still quite totally confused about the purpose of their life.”

“It’s sort of easier to give someone a toy or a book and competently engage in a transport than to have that sort of universal empathy that lets you communicate your sympathy in a way that’s genuine; if it’s forced it is counterproductive and you should stick to the competency and giving of gifts,” says Mickhi.

  “You can’t just nod your head and whisper sweet nothings of compassion; you have to empathize via a real experience to be related back. You have to honestly care, not transCare,” states Victor.

“People are either very scared or very intent upon dying. I’ve seen a person survive a nine-story drop because they were hyped up on PCP and believed in a thing called love,” war stories Michkhi.

  “I’ve seen a partner restore stable vitals to someone with a “Do-Not-Resuscitate-Order” with a bag valve mask and the blasting of gospel music,” war stories Victor. 

“I’ve seen people slip twenty to a bunch of kids when their single mother went to the ER so they could get something to eat,” war stories Michkhi right back.

  “We are absolutely not paid enough to care. We can only engage in this line of work on a long enough time line because of the human good we are able to do. Death and suffering would surely take its toll on our mental health if we did not find outlets to make our works worth more than a skill set,” explains Victor, “that’s why I’m gonna become a doctor one day. 

“I’ll tell you straight up; I would never have gone into East New York if it hadn’t been for this job. I wouldn’t be learning Spanish, I wouldn’t have such a large collection of foreign music; I wouldn’t know my city nearly as well as I’m about to in the next few years. This job is good because it is compatible with my sleeping habits, values, and allows me to flex my empathy,” says Mickhi, lighting another Newport. Victor cringes. 

“You will learn to believe in a thing called love when you a carry a nameless 87 y/o woman in your arms who has no legs, has an external bladder you must also carry called a Foley Catheter that has made her sheets stink of urine; and although quite blind she “sees the light in you” and wants you to pray with her even when you ain’t been to church in a hot minute,” says Victor. Victor went to Church yesterday. He’s rubbing it in with Mickhi as he sometimes does.

Victor continues: “I always feel like I’m bearing witness to the end of the world each Friday I go out. The clamor of the ER, the speeding around on lights and sirens, the murmurs of your dead and dying, and the precious little we’re good for except maintaining your vitals and proving to you we care. Or perhaps each shift we must prove it over and over again to ourselves; because it isn’t the paycheck and benefits that keep us out in that bus; it’s a love we can’t explain for people who we are not obligated to love or empathize for; but have to if we want to keep up this work.”

“There are a lot of sick people in this city; some made sick by circumstance, some by trauma, and many by ignorance about personal health. We will treat them all irrespective of class, race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation,” says Mickhi almost paraphrasing the Banshee Operating guide he helped write. 

“But I’m only busting out the pillow if you’re old, or if you’re Haitian,” jokes Victor.

The night is brick as hell. Christmas dinner for Mickhi was a Bodega sandwich and a pack of Newport regulars from Obama Fried Chicken bodega on Rockaway Parkway. He fills the tiny confines of the compartment with carbon monoxide.

“I don’t play games and I don’t take prisoners; I got buck wild debt, I got child support to pay and big dreams,” says Dbrisk. 

“Amen.”

“Just nine more hours of this bullshit to go, then we get up off the plantation.”

“Hey brother, amen,” says Victor Cange.

Company of Rescuers (4)

4

We’re in the garage below Woodhull Hospital. A city block sized iron and concrete monstrosity that erupts out of the ground on the border between Bushwick and Bedford Stuyvesant. They had designed it originally as a prison. But today it is a city hospital of ill repute. It’s the 21st of December, the KDT says. I punch in our numbers. I type ‘GOD’ in as the third rider. It’s a superstitious thing. It’s old school. The rookies don’t have a god anymore.

My name is Scott Sevastra. I’m 33, that’s allegedly when Jesus did his best work, so they say in the newer parts of the bible. I’m salt and peppered. I’m slightly overweight with silver freckled hair and spectacles. I wear spectacles, not glasses. That’s different. Adon and I both work out of Station 35, Woodhull Hospital on something called vacation relief, which means we hardly ever work the same unit, with the same person twice. Vacation Relief is a fancy way of saying ‘people not showing up to work relief’. If Adon has a friend on the job, that buddy would be me. I used to be a firefighter in Schenectady. He never lets me live that down.

   Adon and I work out of the Woodhull Hospital’s garbage hangers where 35 is based, the so-called ‘Belly of the Beast’. That would make sense maybe if north meant down, and the belly was called Bed Stuy, and the lower intestines and organs were Crown Heights, Brownsville, East New York, Canarsie, Flat Bush, East Flatbush; and the nefarious beast was black people. Who do seem to call the ambulances more than anyone else.

The whole Woodhull complex looks like the death star, all cast iron exterior, towers and flood lights. It looks like a place to die. One would suppose the worst of the beast is called Bedford Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Crown Heights, Flatbush and East New York and we do about 7 jobs in 8 hours. Those BLS units assigned to these neighborhoods. The South Bronx is really busy too, but not Central Brooklyn Busy.

Bedstuy is still a real strong arm shit hole. No matter what color you are. Gentrification can try and fail to change that Bed Stuy “do or die” into Bedstuy full of fucking long ahired hipsters, but the locals still like to pistol whip kids and take their iphone. It’s a bunch of dirty row houses that get no light and the people get no opportunity to do more than collect government money and get into shoot outs over stupid beef, meaningless turf wars over red and blue flags, and of course universal staring problems.

To some this work is like a calling. We were all drawn here for different reasons, some were quite noble, and some were not. Tammany Hall is fifty years dead but being an Irish grandson of a firefighter still opens a few doors. They call it ‘legacy’. It goes in a file, then without being officially recognized other than a checkbox will wind a new EMT in Station 43 Coney Island then over to the Rock in a year to “promote” to fire suppression. There are a myriad of systemic problems around here. But you have to have a fairly analytical mind to see their connectivity.

After the towers fell a wave of civil service activism-romanticism swept the nation and the FDNY were once again working class rock stars. A brief era of patriotism took hold and the ranks of the emergency services were stocked with young men and women who might have gone white collar except for the collective ejaculation of national trauma. The FDNY, the greatest full time-part time job secret the Irish and Italians ever kept were quickly recouping man power and by 2003 the waiting list for the Fire Suppression open competitive exam was nearly 25,000 deep. EMS was the expeditious way to cut that line if you weren’t legacy, hadn’t passed high school, and may or may not have been in the top of your physical class. 

In 1996 Giuliani merged various emergency services to cut the costs of their respective civilian bureaucracies. FDNY was 99% white, catholic and male while EMS was heavily integrated. FDNY with a force of nearly 12,000 fire fighters couldn’t justify keeping that many trucks in the field. EMS was already doing nearly a million calls a year with a force of under 3,000. The merger was toxic to everyone involved and it took another decade for the firemen to even look us in the eyes when we arrived on scene.

I wasn’t here for most of that. I was a paramedic and a volunteer firefighter in the city of Schenectady upstate. I earned a degree in Fire Science and was promoted to Paramedic via my volunteer company. Everywhere but NYC becoming an EMT or a Paramedic is a promotion. In the city of many lights you “promote” into fire fighting. I became an EMT because my uncle was a Paramedic and my Mom was a nurse. I grew up in the glow of emergency lighting. I was built for all this mentally. In the words of technician Adon; “I possess the constitution to take this as far as it needs to go.”

There is absolutely no money in all this freakish ambuland. That’s everyone trying to get out. Right now, both in our second year here; Sebastian and I are making around $16 an hour.  We probably lose AT LEAST 8 brothers and sisters a month to just about any other thing hiring. Attrition continues to thin the ranks. Studies report a disproportionately high rate of divorce, alcoholism, and suicide in EMS comparatively to Fire or Law Enforcement. We are asked and often mandated to work 12 to 16 hours a day in adverse conditions, in some of the most depressed regions of the country with outdated low-bid equipment, little public support, and virtually no encouragement from the city we serve. Morale is so low that the national statistics report that the average span of an EMS career is a little under four years. The department asks us for 25. Run the numbers and that’s why we’re always at 60%, that’s why you can find as much overtime as you can swallow.

Out of the 8 that leave each month, 5 quit, normally within their second year. 2; their number came up on a civil service test; normally PD, Sanit, Correction or Suppression. The last one sustained a line of duty injury; real or concocted to get them off the streets on LODI for a few months to collect AFLAC benefits. We lose members far faster than they can recruit. There is a virtually endless pool of EMTs to draw from, but most worth their salt go work for a Voluntary Hospital and can triple the wage we make. Others just know that the department will bleed you dry chasing a pension and a dream. They have recruiting posters in city shelters if that says anything.

The critical systemic problem is twofold. First because of low pay, hard hours and appallingly low morale we lose our toughest and bravest to the firefighter promotion at a rate of a few hundred every three years. We lose our brighter and more ambitious members to the private sector and the field of nursing. This leaves us with a broken mish mash of skells, burn outs, a few zealots and a high rate of obesity in the ranks. The other side of this is the lowered expectations to close the staffing gaps.  That means on a segment 1-3 priority call you might get a truck load of CFR and long board trained fireman or a waddling glob of minority goo with a gold chain and an untucked shirt.     

“This job is a calling, you either believe that or you’re on your way out,” I say to Sebastian Adon. But Sebastian is staring off again into the night. He’s chasing ghosts from the past again.

“You can’t have an unrequited love affair with a whole people! Not for a whole damn country,” I tell him.

He doesn’t hear me, he’s not the old him. Not the charismatic rebel who started the Banshee Association. In November of 2009, Adon, myself and eight other EMTs started a quasi-clandestine group, a new otriad called the Banshee Association, an EMS fraternal organization grounded in Human rights. We’d put out three issues of our newspaper citywide and made quite a name for ourselves as a ‘Jew-Commy conspiracy to ruin EMS for white people’. The Brothers and the Latinos, who make up way over 3/5 of the force of 14,500 seem to support it though.  There’s really only one newspaper for true blue EMS sedition, and that paper is “the Banshee ”. 

Our editorials rant along the lines of:

“They say there’s no rest for the wicked, but I haven’t done anything that truly bad in quite some years. These streets will run you ragged. Bleed you dry if you’re inclined to let the reaper take you.

But on a long enough time line everyone is going to die. Oh, Technician Adon sings the blues! Our mission, in so far as our misnamed, disheveled, browbeaten lot; can call the nature of our trade a profession with a mission; is that when you die you may do so in warm bed, surrounded by Jewish doctors, West Indian nurses, attentive and curious, cute, young internists, and of course your family, all around you pouring out that thing called love before your long kiss goodnight. It has been said that on a long enough timeline our kind will lose all ability to feel. That one of our number might stand above a mass of splashed and splattered organs, avulsed intestines scattered across a black tarmac in the glow of streets cast upon our troop; to then light a cigarette, make a stupid fucking joke; and then take a camera phone picture of your son’s dismembered corpse. There are rules against such conduct, but not one in our number would turn away. If your son’s body lay splayed across the freeway, before that thing called god one at least or more would say a silent prayer, reach down their blue gloved hands and wrap a hospital sheet shroud over the body, close his eyes. And perhaps the one of us with the camera phone might say something crude or racist, normally to a cop doing crowd containment, to show our compatriots he or she felt nothing. But when your son or daughter fell, ingloriously in a bloody heap it was us who carried their bodies off that street, it was us who had gang rushed, blaring in that dead of night racing brave to save them. And we’d do anything in our means to bring them back to you for just one moment more.

I don’t want you to try and call us heroes. We just want you to know that we have given everything to our trade, every drop of our sweat, every ounce of our blood drained; to our or third or second marriages, to our child support bills, to our black lungs and swollen livers, before we find pension we’ve poured out upon these streets our humanity for you in the 25 years of servitude to our city of many, many lights. 

We don’t want a Daily News two page Spread on the four through six; and I don’t think you’d buy a calendar of me topless in my PPE out-city, ‘heat resistant’ post-911 fireman pants to raise money for our fallen soldiers. Well maybe of you would. We don’t need their medal ceremonies, their cheap metal bars to pin about our blue collared breasts. I just want you to know we exist, and that we’re coming as fast as we can, and that we’ve sacrificed ourselves completely, become a changed people trying to help, and remember; you called us.”

So read the preamble ramble, the editorial of the Banshee Newspaper, issue 3, the only rank and file controlled EMT-Paramedic Newspaper. A paper cofounded by me, Scott Sevastra and Adon in November the year prior. Along with the Communist Chris Jacobs and the Jamaican gangster Michkai Dbrisk. The paper made the Department mangement fucking crazy.  But, since the Israelis worked him up in Lod Prison. Since his girl Maria left him and he can’t get over his friend’s death. Since he may in fact be “bipolar”, well Adon isn’t talking so tough anymore. Our other Banshee Association leader Mickhi DBrisk, an EMT over at Transcare called me.

“He ain’t got no woman. He ain’t got no homeland. He despises his job and slinging these papers ain’t gonna save him from himself. You better watch his ass,” DBrisk had told Scott Sevastra, “just the slightest thing could set him down an eager road to self-destruction.”

It was Nearly New Year of 2010. We were all a little worried about Technician Adon. The Department has him on a black list for slated termination and so does the State of Israel maybe. He has a bad habit of making new friends in all the wrong places.

Company of Rescuers (3)

3

It’s the 20th of December in the year we understand to be 2009 on the Gregorian. Jeremy Mccgaffey has been dead for about one year. Most of the mourning aloud was long over. But his ghost remains. Those that kill themselves traumatize the living. But all the late nights driving the ambulance around Brooklyn until my soul leaks, I see him again. Looking at me in the mirror, stone faced, he almost whispers something prophetic from the world to come. 

Those fucking pagans from Gerritsen Beach tried to kill me and Maria, Nick and also Angelica on the damn Q train. This hate crime was defeated with fists and knives and the press machine. The FDNY EMS hired him immediately, he cut a whole long civil service list somehow. Then came FDNY in the Bronx at night, then losing his Maria slowly for almost two years. Then recently Maria left him. About two months ago. After a little episode on Block Island that scared her too bad. Vodka, a dive into the stormy sea he followed Jeremey’s ghost way out into the Atlnatic and left her alone in the night on a beach.   

It hasn’t been a very good year. Sebastian’s a Jew at heart. At heart, he starts counting the year from September.  A real shit year all things considered, it isn’t rounding out to be the decade he’d hoped for either. He’d believed in so many things once. Had so much sense of possibility for life. The hope, the feeling of possible change, the want for greater justice. For an imagined freedom fighting life via a “militant nonviolence”. Making bombs that didn’t kill. Things he learned in the Middle East applied to America. Now, it seemed maybe he’d just pass the firefighter promotional exam. Maybe become an FDNY Lt and lead a noble but simple working class life. He’s gone and joined the FDNY boxing team. Maria left him over the many ghosts of his dead friend and comrade Jeremy. Who blew his brains out a year ago or so.

Sebastian Adon has been technically working for the F.D.N.Y. Bureau of EMS since January of 2008. But, just a month into the Academy his best friend, his comrade and old partner Jeremy took a pistol to his foolish head. He got off two rounds. Now that was some zealous work. Two shots to the head and from this world departed the best partner Sebastian ever had. Jeremy and Sebastian used to organize people back in college. They tried to make a little change in the community. They’d together built a revolutionary club of several hundred in nine chapters dedicated to human rights and “real change”. They were a good team. But now Jeremy was dead and Sebastian didn’t believe human beings were all that good anymore after about two years in the South Bronx and Bedford Stuyvesant. And the other places where the sidewalk ended and the schools were too crowded and the American dream was a nightmare. All right alongside such incredible wealth.

Before the F.D.N.Y., Adon used to work on a Tran-scare Transport Unit. About a month after Jeremy died on January 31st of 2008 Adon worked his very last Transcare shift with a Haitian Paramedic named Victor Emile Cange. After dropping out of the FDNY Academy he picked up overtime where he could get it waiting for the next Academy class..  

He’ll retell it to you in a flashback:

“It’s late at night, in the old city, sometime around 4 in the morning, no calls, the transport bus was seated somewhere deep in Canarsie, waiting for orders on the Nextel for work. As Transcare tended to assign per Diem employees random partners, Cange and Adon were total strangers, met that night.  It was a Sunday, Victor Cange tried to never work on Saturday ‘cause it was the Lord’s Day. He was a practicing Adventist now and had recently been educated how the Lord’s Day was actually Saturday, not Sunday. Sebastian always tried to work on Sunday because everyone else had been fooled into thinking it was the lord’s day, and that drove the call volume down.”

“Why’d you go and become an EMT anyways?” Victor Cange asks him with a faux Southern twang that he turns on and off.

“To do the Lord’s work,” Sebastian claims.

“Brother Amen!”

The conversation then turned to God and the Jews, and it was a conversation that had gotten old to Sebastian, as he’d had by now with what seemed like every other black person he’d ever rode with, a talk about God, late at night, on an ambulance, a talk about Jews. Blacks were obsessed with Jews it seemed to Sebastian, couldn’t decide just how anti-Semitic they were as a people, the answer was that blacks were pretty anti-Semitic as a people. Victor wasn’t though. They talk for a while, their palaver leaves an impression on Victor, but to Sebastian it’s the same old song he’s been singing to blacks for years. But he likes them as much as he likes the Soviets, which is to say more than anyone else via projedice.

“The lord’s work is often done by an unwittingly righteous person I’ll have you know,” Sebastian interjects.

“Amen to that. God has a plan, and man is filled with all sorts of arrogance that he can generate one, better to let the lord work through you.”

Black people are just fuckin’ loaded with their stammering opinionated biblical insight, thinks Sebastian. But Sebastian’s lungs are black and his heart too, so some of that knowledge he can relate too. But, Sebastian doesn’t believe in God any more, and has no use for her. 

It has seemed increasingly that he is to walk his life Alone. In the past year, tragedy in the form of questionable suicide struck. Everything had gotten a little surreal since then. He’d retreated into his work, bringing out the sick and dying. By the time he met Victor Cange, there wasn’t too much going on for him, days he slept, nights he worked, and on free days he was drunk, bad, bad-evil drunk.

“Jesus has a plan for you brother!” Victor Cange had told him more than a couple times.

He doubted it. He deeply missed his dead friend Jeremy. He often wondered what kind of guy lets his best friend off himself without seeing it coming. He’d seen him a week before he did it at Woodhull hospital psychiatric. He wonders what kind of piece of shit he is when that’s the best friend he respectively takes on. He wonders if he’ll ever get the true nerve to kill himself.

Sometimes Sebastian sits on the ledge of the Brooklyn Bridge, all horror show and wonders if he has the nerve to jump. He imagines his body hitting the cold blue black brine and moving on to the sweet hereafter. He doesn’t mind the very late night ambulance work. Seeing all these sick and dying people. He’s already dead himself. His body just has to catch up with his mostly long lost mind. 

COMPANY of RESCUERS (2)

PART ONE

1

On the 10th of December in the year 2009 the snow dropped openly and the sky fell out and then we suddenly had a 7 foot ice coat. To keep warm I invited pugnacious and highly sassy Yelizaveta Kotlyarova to join me at the Wall Street Baths, called Spa 88 in the cavern tombs below the District Financial. The date is the 10th of December in 2009 of the Common Era. The snow still falls heavy on the Isle of Man. 

Below ground, in the underground you can hear the rumble of the trains through the walls; three flights down below street level; is the wood ceilinged restaurant of a Russian Bathhouse Spa 88. It stinks of sweat and also vaguely of after-hours fornication, buried below the streets of the Financial District a long conversation is coming to a close. An emergency medical technician named Sebastian Adon is finishing up a supposedly good yarn to a slightly younger Russian-Ukrainian-Jewish medical student named Yelizaveta Alexandrenova Kotlyarova who has recently become his platonic confidant. 

The aim of such storytelling is that she might let him pour cold water upon her when she gets too hot, let him gaze at her nearly naked body, captivate him with her bright eyes and take in all his ambulance war stories. Of which he has plenty. He’s been writing to her for months. She has full and wavy real blond hair and she smiles with such mischievous knowing that her beauty and bright smile stays with him long after she is gone. But, it’s not romantic, never has been, she simply likes to hear him tell his various yarns. Thus so far he has made no motion to even try to kiss her. They are of course platonic friends. This has been a great success for the last four hours. Everything is fully dilated. They know each from a student group many years ago, when all in this country talked more openly about equality. Sebastian Adon is an avid fan of former and post Soviets. She is the loveliest Ivory he has ever known. Ivory is the clever rendition of the ethnic group Hebrew which is “EE-vree” when said by Israelis, and Yeli and he debate sometimes at length about the linguistic origins of the less flattering word “Jew:.

They remind him of something that is tough and also fearless; loyal to a red line and of course exceedingly beautiful and open minded in the bedroom to just about anything, he inherited his father Avraam’s gift for, curse for? Erotic undertones to everything. Adon has been writing Yelizaveta letters for over two years. He’s not sure why. Attention? It isn’t simply to sleep with her, well of course it is because he’s a man. Although as a man of course he would not turn that prospect down for she is surely very beautiful. He’s a man always highly in need of a confidant, for he’s nearly always in some form of emergency mode. 

It has been a rocky road of activism, repeated arrest, trial and tribulation since he first came back from the State of Israel nearly ten years ago in 2001 shortly after the 9-11 martyr operation. He should have stayed, how he’s Babylonian, and locked in at FDNY. To her, he’s a fiery train wreck of comedy and tragic idealism. She observed him younger early in his student movement days, then briefly at Hunter University, once at yoga and on the Book Face for some time intermittently making snarky chatter. He cannot possibly be cut of normal Amerikanski cloth, he’s weird. He is a curiosity to which she can devote sporadic time. A minor deviation from her studies at Stony Brook.They are now on a winter break and she needs a distraction from her bickering parents. Her Jewish father, a former Soviet dentist, now descending into light madness and her Ukrainian mother; a maid at the Benjamin hotel. A cattle driver toward her being a doctor.

The story this time has been about his moral descent post deportation from the State of Israel, which just occurred a couple weeks before. He had recently attempted to return there to visit a long lost associate by the name of Maya Solomon. 

He was immediately arrested at the airport. 

His two days in Lod Prison were recounted and about Israelis not taking kindly to him working on a Palestinian ambulance for a week; four years prior was much of today’s yarn. The Israelis kind of hold a “whose suicide are you on” type grudge. About them beating him, waterboarding him emotionally, hitting him with strange lights, moral electricity and kicking him repeatedly in the groin bellowing in Russian.

Sebastian Adon ethnically speaking is one quarter Irish; one quarter Russian; one quarter German; and some part Polish Jew; therefore he makes a good little Brooklyn mutt. Or perhaps at best an exceedingly good liberal New Yorker. He drives ambulances for FDNY going on two years in the South Bronx; he sometimes drinks too much liquor and brutalizes a girlfriend sexually; but nothing rapey or ultra-violent. Cuffs, anal, threesomes with whores, foursomes with couples, loads on tits and faces. Family oriented fun like that. The product of a generation raised on porn. He’s got loose and transient morals that he justifies with his ambiguous vocation. He likes the idea of human rights, but isn’t sure if humans know they have any, or sometimes if they deserve them. He likes the idea of communism, but isn’t clear why the communist revolutions were mostly violent autocracies. He has basic values that are in essence good, Yelizaveta agrees, though she is vaguely appalled to hear him speak of his sexacapades’ and depravities, they cheapen him profoundly in her eyes. 

She heard that Maria, his longest running ex left him because he got drunk and swam into the Atlantic last September after a fight. The Russian rumor mill was faster than Book Face. Sebastian has led a small revolutionist club since his return from Israel in 2001 that has caused him considerable trouble; but alas capitalism still rules in the USA, despite his and others best efforts to defeat it. 

“There’s a half black president promising to end the wars, forgive student debt and provide universal free healthcare,” Yelizaveta says, “we weren’t all totally defeated.”

She had at one time organized a chapter of the movement at her all girl school Chapin, but that was in almost another life. 

“Why are you still just an ambulance man again?” she asks him”  

He replies to her:

“An ambulance is a vehicle for transporting sick or injured people, to, from or between places of treatment for an illness or injury, or to heaven or hell. The term ambulance is used to describe a vehicle used to bring medical care to patients outside of the hospital or to transport the patient to hospital for follow-up care and further testing, or bring their souls to other vessels should they be fit enough to live again. The word is most commonly associated with the land-based, emergency motor vehicles that administer emergency care to those with acute illnesses or injuries, hereafter known as emergency ambulances, but in numerous developing and socialist nations community health workers have performed this work on foot and commandeered vehicles when needed. These are usually fitted with flashing warning lights and sirens to facilitate their movement through traffic. It is these emergency ambulances that are most likely to display the Star of Life, which represents the six stages of pre-hospital medical care. Other vehicles used as ambulances include trucks, vans, station wagons, buseshelicoptersfixed-wing aircraftboats, and even hospital ships.”

“So says my Wikipedia,” smirks Emergency Medical Technician Sebastian Adon reading off his half smartphone, a little black android.

“Why do you have to quote your little Wikipedia, like every six conversations”, mutters Yelizaveta Kotlyarova, perhaps the object of his desire, a perky, tough as nails golden blue eyed, blond haired, shut up he thinks, making words rhyme doesn’t make you any kind of poet.

While completing a degree in Political Science at City University Sebastian took a job as an Emergency Medical Technician and this seems to have tempered some of his previous radical fervor, but not by much. 

“I like helping my people,” comes his scripted response.

“Your people?” she replies.

“Everybody or anybody who needs some help.”

Sebastian is just under six feet tall. After they get dressed and meet in the banya lobby where she tries to pay and makes sure not to let her. He’s wearing a blue FDNY job shirt he’s gotten personally emblazoned with the Israeli flag, an irony under the circumstances of recent events. The Irish had been putting on such patches for years, however the window for other ethnicities was about to be cut short once the West Indians began wearing their flags into battle so to speak. He has bags under his eyes because he works life’s night shift. He wants her in every way a man can desire a woman but has never told her thus so far in the two years he’s known her. After Maria left he intensified the courtship. That is largely because he at first was fooled into loving another, lesser woman, second because he’s a coward when it comes to his actual emotions and did little to pursue the more likely reaction to his affections; which was surely bewilderment and rejection. So he just kept the letters about big ideas, not passions.

“I like collectively written documents. And you’re just being a snob because your Oberlin teachers always tell you never to use it. It’s a fucking great definition of an ambulance if you ask me.”

Yeli likes things with scientific references. She likes looking up anything that seems suspect, which when it comes to Adon, is a lot.

“I like some of your collectively written documents. But you go on and on sometimes and need to get to the point,” she says.

“Sometimes your art is overdone, overdrawn, you make the boobs big and gross and subtract from your bold uniqueness, in my opinion,” she smiles.

Yelizaveta likes things with references. But she is fully an artist at her core, in her heart and soul. She likes looking up almost anything that seems suspect, which when it comes to Adon, is a lot. She knows he keeps things from her to preserve a somewhat sanctimonious appearance of some kind of bohemian revolutionary ambulance hero.

Just fifteen minutes before they’d both been lying near naked in a Russian Banya called Spa 88. He was putting the story on her about something crazy that had just gone down on what was supposed to be his first vacation in three years. After some other story about a threesome with Maria, his ex. Which didn’t ever really happen, it was just something that turned him on to say in front of her. In reality, he had gotten into a fight with her in September on Block Island and followed Jeremy McCaffey’s ghost out to sea for several hours. The local police found him several hours later walking naked down the road with and carrying an enormous rock.

He has a very subjective reality compared to the rest of us, she thinks.She knows he keeps things from her to preserve a sanctimonious appearance of a bohemian revolutionary ambulance hero.

 “I think you need to go back to school and get more real medical training,” she says, “you’re a glorified cab driver with an oxygen tank. You’re not living up to your expectations of yourself.”

“I’ll forgive your lack of appreciation. We’re god’s avenging angels with sirens I’ll have you know.” When Adon feels cornered he typically drops into even more grandiose rhetoric. 

“Sebastian. You are a terrific story teller, but let’s not forget where we stand in life’s chain of command shall we. I am a student and you are a truck driver with a stethoscope, if we wish to be more than that there is such a long road ahead. ”

He wishes she was less coy; less belittling of his profession and what was left of his idealism. He guesses it isn’t truly love, not when sentiments of rough degrading sex run across the conscience. But if it was simply her in the back of an ambulance type love, she’d have seen right through it, likely been appalled. He believes in impossible, supposedly un-doable things. Kids himself into thinking he’s the man for the job. But she’s not impressed by all or any of that. 

Sebastian Adon, is of course in the twilight of his young adult life. He has been driving an ambulance for three years thinking someone would call him a hero at some point, hoping, believing that there was gonna be a chance to save some lives.

“I’ve saved eight lives,” he informs her as he sometimes has before. It’s a justification for why he hasn’t quit the job yet.

“Well don’t let anybody take that from you,” she retorts.

“I want to reiterate that the reason we civil servants feel so entitled is that the rest of you are unwilling to work the conditions we are and face the raw unadulterated bullshit the people of this city are quite willing to put us through. We guard you while you sleep and you pay us like pizza men. I think this job has taken more from us than we were able to give to our city. And when the city is gone I assure you it is because we have abandoned hope in it.”

“You’re so preachy and poetic, I kinda hate, sort of love it,” she utters as she rubs her fingers together, “That, Tovarish is the world’s very smallest violin playing just for you.”

Adon is the kind of man who at this very juncture can still be motivated by even the world’s smallest violin. At least to him life then has a theme song.  

COMPANY of RESCUERS (1)

Prelude

I ask you now friend, in whose reality do you live? We all dedicate our actions to the future. But, what is it that we claim to do with our little lives as that future narrows? Have we all lost our faith in outer generations or a glorious world to come? Of course, all lives are both great and also quite little, but it was a matter of sure and soulful pretension; crossed of course a bit with the “sollidaritous” desire to teach a nation of certain newly freed slaves to fish. Allegorically speaking. The fishing and the slaves. More to the sharp of the point, we were training quietly amidst the dust and rubble of the fourth detachment of a growing underground medical battalion, to aid a coming “Great Revolt”. A guerrilla army of young rescue workers and student teachers preparing to accomplish the basic yet audacious task of combating meaningless death and diseases of poverty pandemic on the island of Hispaniola.

The effects of 210 plus years of chattel servitude, rancorous massacre, ceaseless uprisings and put-drownings; varying quarantines, Blan occupations, re-occupations by proxy and an induced poverty inflicted upon these people, mostly from the outside.  In short, we are the latest reinforcements penetrating a long besieged slave revolt. These long abused stalwarts, there are believed to be eight million poor unfortunate souls on the Haitian side of the line, but the number is truly anyone’s guess; no realistic census has been taken since the last coup against President Aristede in 2004. Which was ten years ago. The date now is presently 4 June, 2014. Thus 210 years and six months since the declared success of the initial bloody rising.

I will tell you now where power comes from. It comes from any grouping of people that can devise a just means to secure one’s Maslow hierarchy of needs and elevate then a given population toward their droits de moun, human rights. The power is not in any violence or coercion and fear but in the bravery of provisioning hope. Ah, yes indomitable hope! Hope for the “rights of man” are an issue of freedom. Freedom is well and good but what is freedom inside of total misery and deprivation. What say I on due process when I must mix dirt with my flour to watch my family starve at a decreased pace! Or, watch my fallow fields yield nothing as my children die not long after birth. Or, when my parents perish in a brown and vivacious filth of their own vomit shit and piss from contaminated water. What are our rights when we cannot read and we cannot flee and we cannot work and there are no schools and we die by the age of mid fifty. 

Thankless, faceless and fully unknown negs. Masses huddling amid the hottest of hot heat, and ash and dust. Statistics the UN tallies on we slaves. Power comes from control of the means of development! To those who run the schools, the clinics or the farms the means to secure basic things so that hope is alive again and then once fed clothed houses secure I can wonder about my so-called “rights”.

The trouble with the utilization of stranger volunteers in any operation of stress and seriousness is tri-part for vast complication. Since there is no material compensation it is hard to prevent adventurism and privateering. Since they are all mostly strangers it is hard to enforce the chain of command flat as it may be. And since they are often multidisciplinary; a linguist, a paramedic, a marine, a fire commissioner, a spook and an inner city transport e.m.t. they are all mostly unfamiliar with the dynamic of free association based two tiered consensus utilized by the People’s Army. The third part of the problem beyond privateering and command control is loyalty. Sebastian and Adelina are lovers, but the love is mostly gone. They have been living together for the last nine months in the exile of Massachusetts so despite it, or her total lack of interest not one shit given not a shit of a shit on the subject of politics or dialectics, she does truly love him and he loves  her as well and therefore she controls him. Abstaining from the politics of the coming operation she can dispassionately suggest the common sense approach.  

This approach is hardly common here if you wonder about the chicken and the egg you are working with often with a sea of self-proclaimed experts that expertise on shells or eggs or how they crack. Or chickens and how to raise them. Or which comes first. But all the local Haitians on the street are not concerned with theories like this. They are concerned with survival for themselves and their families. Once everyone has survived peaceably for some time then maybe there would be time for speaking of the perfect egg, the just economy or the chicken the functional state. If that’s what chickens and eggs are really about. And all these experts, these NGO technocrats speaking English or Portuguese,  Spanish or French they don’t trust governments and see nothing in the economy to so easily carry them off. For there is nothing; they devise ways to raise chickens from broken eggs from sick diseased chickens. Then they blame the Haitians in languages they don’t speak. But they are still just fighting to survive. 

The Quarantine, as we call it, is 210 years old. It began the day the revolution was declared victorious with the separation of the tricolor into the red and blue bi-color ripped by JJ Dessalines. The revolution which had begun by the Jacobins in France whose ideas spread to the blood soaked paradise of St. Domingue purged the entire island of foreign rulers, resulted in a loss of life of an estimated 500, 400 inhabitants and 60,000 soldiers from France, Spain and Greater Britain. It began in 1791 and culminated in the only victorious slave uprising in 1804. Shortly after the quarantine and civil war between blacks and mulattos began; JJ Dessalines signed a purge order of all whites of the island which remained. And by 1805 there were less than 300 alive in greater Hispaniola, mostly female, Polish or medically trained. White physicians and Polish conscripts had also fought for newly freed Haiti. The quarantine was not about race or racial antagonism. Whites Negs and Mulats fought on both sides of the great revolt. The issue for Napoleon and other leaders of European powers was that of newly freed slaves. With weapons and armies, cannons and turf proclaiming rights of man that had been defeated in the cradle of the uprising, France. The issue was still that in the Americas in Europe, Africa, Asia and most of humanity remained a type of slave and this revolt might spread rapidly. 

To the other islands of the Wild West Indies; to all of Latin America; to the USA and reverberating out back to Europe and the serfs of Russia and China. In fact the defeat of the Haitian revolution was one of the greatest foreign policy objectives shared by nearly every power. And since the armies of Spain, France and England had not been able to re-impose the hated regime of chattel servitude the new policy was containment. 

They had by 1802 captured, tortured and killed the only man Toussaint L’Ouverture who had the moral authority and military genius to secure a multiracial Hispaniola as a rebel base. He was the father of the revolution. The great powers stirred racial tensions inside and locked Haiti off from the world. And by 1806 JJ Dessalines had been assassinated and rebel Generals Petion a Mulatto in the south was at war with Christophe in the north and these exhausted former slaves were freed to a country mostly burned to the ground in 13 years of violence. Most of the people functionally illiterate content to retreat to tiny plots allotted to them and world their own land staying away from the intrigues and civil conflict between Cap Haitian and Emperor Christophe and President Alexander Petion in Port-au-Prince. And the outside world whispered sedition and tightened the quarantine. The revolt which could not be suppressed had to be buried. Economically this was a success. Haiti no longer had her sugar infrastructure or the means to export anything. So Alexander Petion in a historic meeting with Simon de Bolivar in Jamel, the southern port city, agreed to export the revolution. In exchange for Haitian guns and fighters Bolivar agreed to liberate Latin America and free all the slaves there. By 1820 both colonialism and slavery in Latin America were finished. But newly freed slaves and revolutions do not always quickly make chickens eggs or democrats and by the time Bolivar was dead there were new oligarchies laying claim to all of the newly freed turf. By 1822 Haiti was unified under Haitian President Boyer who, surrounded by French war ships, signed the indemnity. These freed slaves would pay back France. 21 billion USD between then and 1947. To end the quarantine the economic blockade Haiti would impoverish herself further. And there would be coups. 22 coups until 1915 when the US occupied Haiti with troops until 1934. Imposing a new slavery. Building roads and new plantation infrastructure. And an army which a man named Francois Duvalier would use to come to total power in 1957. And he and his son Jean Claude would rule until 1986 with vile secret police, the Maccoutes supported by US money and of course the CIA support for the killing of communists. And a revolt from the peasants and church brought to power a priest. The liberation theologian Aristede. Toppled in 1991 after serving 9 months. And then more bloodshed and coup and more us occupation. And then came a quake which killed 300,000 perhaps. Or 220,000 or 100,000; no one actually knows. As rounded numbers suggest. But, it leveled the capital and the technocrats descended and missionaries. And now four years since the quake a pop singer and Duvalierist is president. A UN occupation is in its tenth year and there are still over 10,800 small, medium and international ONG talking about chickens and eggs and such. The quarantine never really ended. And now 98 percent of the trees are gone. Life expectancy is 56. Half the population cannot read. And a cholera epidemic introduced by the UN troops has killed 9,000 and crippled over 600,000. And yet still people speak of building back better with the Sai Ah Industrial park mega sweat shop or the tourist build up in Ile-a-Vache or new plans to link Haiti into the globalized economy, via a mighty chain of sweatshops.

But the typical Haitian wonders about the power which goes on for two hours a day for the world cup. Or the water supply. Or how to afford two meals a day. It is not so much that one must believe in this narrative but one must listen for a narrative. Or the quarantine succeeds. It succeeds by painting these newly freed slaves as savage primates unable to have a country. Haiti instead of being a triumph of will for human rights and freedom is used then as a cautionary tale. For the long suffering Haitian people do not always get their news, except by radio. And since most cannot read French there are only irregular reports in Haitian Creole about the success or failure of this revolt they began. That it spread to Russia, China, and Cuba and then to Algeria, Congo, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Iran and dozens of others plantations. For those with the ability to read history and current events it seems to be spreading like fire into the Middle East.

This revolt is an apolitical desire to enjoy the human rights codified by the UN in 1945. It isn’t about government or economic organization. After the abolitionist battles and legal end of slavery there are still 37 million slaves worldwide. The great powers and their oligarchies propagated race hatred and then utilized the quarantine of the Soviet Union as blackest proof this socialist modal was unsound. But there remain bastions. And again it is not about politics or the economy but about justice. About not spending a half-life fighting only to survive like an animal. 

       We have broken the physical quarantine with ease because our passports are blue and we have 15 USD and a base of operations in this dusty old fort. But perhaps we will have to spend the rest of our lives breaking the secondary quarantine. The false consciousness. The separation of fakeness and real imposed by the oligarchy telling us who is white and who is black. Man and woman. Haitian and foreigner. Capitalist and communist. It is a matter of knowing that all of these divisions are lies. Separating us from our human rights. Rights such as healthcare, education, food, water, living wages, unions, the right to speak or write our opinion without being put in a bag by masked men. Raped. Cut into pieces. And dumped by the roadside at night. 

Sebastian and Adelina, joined shortly after by the Marine Peter Saint Reed newly re-trained as an EMT, but of course always a marine. And Barbara Jean Louis Danton a Haitian American Paramedic and Eric Addman a firefighter-paramedic from the Seattle area. And the aging but always smiling, clandestine character Mr. Smith. Or the Dr. Nina Yoh. None shared a simple identity or united world view. If such labels were too imposed about nationality all were card carrying Americans. And it was this exploitation of privilege that we hoped to use to win. The oligarchy of any country relies on division. And therefore our greatest strength is not our nationality or privilege but that we are forcing an opening. Haitian leadership in Haiti. A simple objective; teach more forty Haitians to save lives. But we have a narrative though not agreed to by all of this ad hoc unit; it forms the underpinning. If there is to be change here and abroad we must control our own means to human development. As a means to human rights. 

Covered in dust and baked by heat and surrounded by endless miles of corrugated shanty dwellings and walled compounds no will pay much attention to us. The revolution began by murdering the oppressor. For 21.0 plus years that fight has been fought to a stalemate. And the resulting rights have been transient and largely un-won.

So we are switching the tactic in accordance with orders from rebel leadership here and abroad. We are internationalists. We are willing to travel country to country to go where needed to the most remote jungle or mountain. The oppression is real. The violence is real. The slavery is still real. Our oppressor will still stick a gun in our face and drag us away in a sac and torture us over rights. The way we win is to make our oppressors irrelevant. For they wish to read us some Machiavelli or Hobbes and tell us as we are but violent little monkeys. That without them we’d eat each other. I will say that when men and women can fish; can educate, heal and keep roads open and trash free then we will not need them. We will not pay them taxes. We will not let them use our money or hard earned money to buy guns and kill people just like us over their ideas on chickens and eggs.

        We are not alone on this island with this idea. My place in the chain of command is that of a staff sergeant. The day we got here we were but five more reinforcements. We have broken the first level of the quarantine by penetrating the siege. And now with but a few devices carried in supported by the local arm of the resistance we train forty more souls how to prolong a life. The insurgency began with weapons and ideas. I will not survive this war to see Zion. But that is not my role. Nor Adelina or Pete Reed or Eric Admen or Jean Louis or Barabera Danton. You give a slave a gun and say freedom and you will wash the blood of an entire generation onto the sea and streets. You give a slave training to heal and save and the blow to the oppressors on the mountain is fully sustained. We are but an army of newly freed slaves who have chosen to build the world we wish to see, rather than again set on fire a world already burning.

    Within the confines of a dusty but patriotic fort barely held together by cinder blocks rebar pillions and chipped paint; partially overrun by cats a small internationalist unit composed of but five volunteers who will garrison the outpost beginning 3 June, Gregorian Year 2014. Behind a mammoth red iron door is the concrete skeleton of a school called “Ecole Shalom des Frères”, which means a ‘school of the brothers of peace’ being intermittently erected, year by year and brick by brick. And in the adjacent courtyard is a two story maze of chalk board dimly lit classrooms, a small mess hall and some ten second floor rooms worth bunks to accommodate the inbound reinforcements.

There is a water tower that supplies clean chlorinated water to the locals at 5 goudes a liter. There is a parade ground field covered now completely in debris an impassible dumping ground occupying half the forts enclosure. There is a field kitchen and a wrangle of mangy creatures that when bled or squeezed make what passes as food. Or, eggs. There is a small partially compensated staff of locals. There are two former restaveks, one 12 and one 22. They accomplish various tasks of carpentry banditry plumbing an electric work. Three female cooks live in town. One is old women is young and the third of medium age. There is a transporter named Colbert; a former tap tap driver on staff along with several other useful quasi useful or only vaguely advantageous adjunct personnel with vague if not wholly nepotistic function. And the ground commander gong on his business card as a “country director” is one Mr. Avinadav DeBuitléirs educated at the University of Stony Brook in Long Island. He affiliates himself with the diaspora aspirations of various movements in Brooklyn. But, he directs little outside the walls of this miserable fort; and even here he often prefers delegation.

Avinadav was directly supported by a Petit Blan named Laura Levi. But since she was on some business in Ethiopia she had been replaced by a temperamental wench, a Quebecois from Montreal named ‘miss lady Catherine’. Her last name was completely unpronounceable except by the haughtiest of Francophone so we said Lady or ‘Madam Catherine’, or ‘Catherine Q’ because there was universal contempt for her amongst the volunteers. She has too well assimilated into the habit of barking orders at the Brown people. And that is, as we say “what it was”.  

On 3rd June two members of our unit crossed the rocky road called a National Highway from Santo Domingo to the City of Port-Au-Prince on the Capital Cruiser armored bus service which showed the movie Fast and the Furious part 5, at least five times. At first, it was quite loud but by the third run it was silent as no one on the bus spoke anything besides Spanish, French or Haitian Creole, and the initial plot points of the rock and Vin Diesel the most famous of Mulat action heroes had been grasped. And now it was all tits jiggling and exploding cars. And the road fell apart right after the Jimani checkpoint crossing. They served us a ham sandwich and a bottle of cold water. Sebastian Adon could see the color slowly leave Adelina Blazhennaya’s pretty and petite face as the border was crossed. He could see and via the omnibus rattling feel the road become not road. The structures of the countryside become not structures. The lush foliage becomes ugly barrens. And as the color of his partner’s face fades Sebastian also wonders how she will react to what is to come. Jostling jolts hit the bus and traffic slows to a trickle pace as the driver forms a one lane convoy behind mack trucks built in East Asia to shuttle merchanting goods from Dominican Republic into Haiti. Sneakers and such. Also cocaine or even people sealed a large valise. 

In the mind of Sebastian Adon whose hair was brown and heart was neg. He imagines this infiltration as a patriotic duty for there was some Haitian blood in him for once we took an oath. The trappings of normal human development crumble each kilometer the bus rumbles into Haiti and the endless dust. A cloud of whirling particulates swallowing the charmless and desolate environs. At the border, there was nothing to buy except Pringles. In addition, soda of every kind. The customs agent asked Adon in Creole what his business in Haiti was; “tourism”.

Adelina Blazhennaya and Sebastian both crossed the border in black boots and blue uniform pants and black shirts and therefore the customs agent knew that tourism wasn’t really what they were doing in Haiti. But, no one cared. The Brazilians, Chileans, Argentinians, and a poperee of other lesser nations were running the functions of the disbanded military. The Americans were subsidizing the state. The Cubans were running the hospitals and several thousand ONGs perhaps as many as 10,800 were the only economy besides transshipment, allegedly of bulk packaged cocaine. No real cares are given in a meaningful way. Much less an under compensated customs agent. They both had blue American passports. Crisp and newly issued. Who cared what their intention was if they had such blue passports and fifteen USD a piece. The two enormous satchel valise roller bags went completely unexamined. As did their two green voodoo tactical rucksacks. Who ever cared?

The omnibus continued two hours west down the national highway. There was corrugated tin shack after shack. Contrasting anything to D.R. is an exercise in futility. One can simply see that this is the same island and anthropologically speaking that is where it ends. Without a lengthy discourse on history colonialism and superficialities of cultural antagonism well honestly it’s night and day except they both like cock fighting. Three months ago the president of the Dominican Republic signed an executive order denationalizing over 200,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent. 

They have the tenor of slightly overfed happy slaves, notes Blazhennaya. Not the Haitians. Neither happy nor well fed. At each juncture she slowed down as she grew more pale seeing the descent into some land before time some utter desolation. Naked children drooling covered in flies. Tents and shanties. Everywhere unfinished construction sites and partially erected edifices. And the cloud of dust hovered over the endless misery.

      When they finally reached Port-Au-Prince it was just before tusk and Avinadav DeBuitléir accompanied by Marco Balan the light skinned apparatchik and Colbert the driver loaded them in and shuttled them both away to Croix des Bouquets down the unlit impasses to 808 Rue Double Barrel They were given a choice of three rooms all very dusty and Spartan. Settled a little before midnight. Adelina Blazhennaya sat on their twin bed in a room with no window coverings, just a window space with sheet nailed to cover it. And then she cried heavily but silently voer what a hell she has followed her partner into. Not at the overwhelming poverty; the blight scorched earth of the quarantine. Not for fallen friends and those surely to fall. The quiet tears of Adelina Blazhennaya were for herself. To protect the man she loves and is so devoted she will lose everything and everyone she has ever known. This was a dying place. A ruined pocked and parched Island at or near the bottom of the mountain. Horror has exhausted tears, thinks she. She cries because what hope do they have for humanity in general to win. Their enemies are hunting them. She is so far from Chelyabinsk Tank City. She cries and Sebastian holds her. Darkness seeps in. They take their place in the trenches joining the reality, the tragic ranks of newly freed slaves. 

It was one thing to follow a man into hell, it was another thing altogether to fight your way from that hell to the heights of Mt. Olympus if not higher! No part of the stated American dream included any of this.

But before there ever was a “Haitian Emergency Group”. Before there was a resistance pushing back the enemy. Before, a fighting movement was winning on the ground in Haiti, in what was left of Syria and also in the streets of the United American States. There was a mighty quake which took the lives of somewhere between 100,000 to 316,000 men, women and children, which struck the country of Haiti on the morning of 12 January, 2010.

Round large disparate numbers which revealed a great unknowing and uncaring. For when the oligarchy cannot crush, kill or discredit a thing. They quarantine it.

It was a spirit of solidarity that brought us out from Brooklyn to stand beside our Haitian brothers and sisters in their darkest hour. It was the Haitian defiance of empires and the world system itself that made us stay in Hispaniola and continue the battle for freedom beside them. 

ANFOM 10

The plane was leaking fuel, so everyone was waylaid in a Howard Johnson Hotel in Miami until the repairs can be made. They had to ground the plane on the evening of the 15th in Miami because the fuel was leaking, or they had over fueled, there were a few excuses, anyway, something was wrong with the plane. They missed their landing slot and the Scientists put everyone up in a roadhouse near the airport. It only fueled anxiety and the unrelenting anticipation.

Not knowing still what he was getting into, he’d taken some napkins from the airplane and written about his fears and excitement, jotted um down in quick bursts and mailed the napkins off to Yeli so she might root for him through the upcoming travails, or perhaps mourn him if he fell in what was looking like a shit show of unknown proportions they were about to fly into.

Sebastian also did what was in his nature, he went and ordered some Stoli from the hotel lobby bar. Doing also what was in his nature he ordered a drink for the slender, raven haired Israeli alone at the midnight watering hole.

She was slender but stacked, clearly Israeli.

“Toba,” she introduces herself.

“Sebastian.”

“So you’re an EMT?” she says looking at his polo shirt which states that.

“Yeah, and you’re a Scientist right?”

“Scientologist.”

“You know I don’t really believe half the stuff the media says about you guys. I think not paying taxes is an important step on the road to freedom.”

“Sebastian, I think you’re the kind of guy who says anything to get laid.”

“That is a mostly accurate picture of me Ms. Toba.”

“Why are you going to Haiti Sebastian?” she asks.

“To meet young women who like medical attention.”

“I’m quite healthy for now it appears.”

“Well you say that now.”

“It’s a very special island were going to. I hope you and the other volunteers appreciate the whole of what you’re embarking on.”

“I just know they killed all the white people in 1804.”

“Does that make you nervous?”

“I’m Hebrew, not white. I just hide in their skin,” he winks.

“What do you do back in New York, for the Scientists I mean?”

“Scientologists. I work in communications.”

“I had you pegged for their tractor beam operator.”

“Does it help you to laugh at the great unknown so you can feel less scared for your potential shortcomings?”

“I like to laugh at almost everything.”

“Wanna see a cool trick,” she was getting close to him.

“I always wanna see a cool trick.”  he replies.

“Do you like getting your dick sucked,” he hopes she asks him, but really-really she says, “Do you like getting your soul sucked.” And then he sees a strange blue light.

Drink me and grow enormous!

Sebastian Adon wakes up in cold sweat in a stranger’s bed at the Howard Johnson. He’s not awake but he sees some things that he’s never seen before. Or maybe just sees them in a new way? Like a taste of things to come. Like seeing his own corpse get up and walk across the hotel out into the future.

The Scientologist had hypnotized him perhaps. Or poisoned him and soon he was dreaming, or maybe also having a vision. What had she done? Certainly not sucked his cock off. Men will engage in very detailed wet dreams to avoid more frightening realities. She knocked him out with something. A fourth dimensional lift assist. Or the power of a suggestion.  Mother fucking Israelite spies. What the hell were they doing in Haiti?

“Everybody wants to be there when the world ends,” Toba whispers to him, “everyone wants to have a share in the world to come.”

ANFOM 9

Mickhi Dbrisk was not allowed on that plane he had found. He had no passport to board. Like many of the mostly black members of the Bed Stuy Volunteer Ambulance Corporation, he seemed annoyed and surprised that he even needed such papers in such a time of great calamity. Yet, even the devastation of the great earthquake did not waive the requirement to have a passport for international travel. Thus, though his ultimate role in the world to come was substantial, through lack of papers he wrote himself out of the history of the response. Art least the first wave of it.

But Sebastian and 103 other Haitian, West Indian and African American medical volunteers organized by the BSVAC and AMHE managed to get on that Vision International plane paid for by the Church of Scientology, on the morning of January 15th 2010. It all happened so fast. As if guided by the spirits? Well perhaps an alliance of aliens and spirits.  Adon was in a near sea of heroic strangers with a green rucksack and a dark blue uniform. He had literally taken an FDNY lieutenants Exam in the morning and thrown his needed things into a green rucksack go bag and then taken a cab right to JFK.

They were all mostly strangers moved by a duty to act, or my patriotism to the cause of Haiti. Humanitarians and medical internationalists; the first wave of rescuers in. The 104 have boarded the airship.

“What do you know about Haiti,” Sebastian leans over the seat to ask the only other half-Jew on the plane, EMT Alex Furlini. Furlini is a little fellow. With a brown beard and eager eyes. Sebastian is slender and is wearing a brown skally cap beret.

“Not very much,” the young bearded architect, part time EMT responds.

“Have you ever done something like this before,” Sebastian asks.

“No, never, I guess I was moved by what I saw on the TV.”

“You know. I’m told I have a good head on my shoulders. An imagination of some repute, but for the life of me I can’t imagine what we’re actually flying into.”

“Well I know it’s gonna be bad. Real bad,” chimes in a Haitian Firefighter Paramedic from Atlanta named Dany Bélair.

“Yeah, but how bad!? I can’t picture it at all,” Adon says.

“Then better that you don’t,” Bélair replies.

“So you’re an EMT with the fire department?” Alex asks them.

“Yeah, Bedford Stuyvesant and the notorious Woodhull hospital 35.”

“I live down the street from there,” Alex says.

“I’m in the Fire Department in Atlanta,” Dany says, “I was just visiting my parents in New York.”

“What do you do in New York, Mr. Furlini,” Sebastian realizes he doesn’t know the guy’s first name.  

“Alex Furlini. I’m an architect actually.” 

“Well there’s gonna be work for you for years my brother because there aren’t any buildings standing in that capital,” quibs Dany Menard sitting next to them, “my people just can’t ever win.”

“They say joking is the healthiest way to deal with tragedy. You are?” inquires Sebastian.

“Fire Fighter Danny Bélair,” the brother responds.

“So what do you think we’re flying into Fire Fighter Dany?” asks Sebastian.

“Well hell I’d imagine. I’d imagine the worst thing you’d ever seen or suffered and multiply that by ten thousand.”

The worst things Sebastian had ever seen were a double lynching in a Bedstuy school yard. The utter crushing and disembowelment of a crack head he knew struck on the Cross Bronx expressway. As well as a picture of his best friend Jeremy who’d taken a handgun to his own foolish head. That’s the worst he could remember seeing in this objective reality, the land of reach out and touch me. In his mind was a darker place in which he’d seen quite a bit far worse.

Furlini had gotten his EMT certificate during a period of uncertain depression taking a leap of faith EMS might cure him of his nervous twitch, his vague desire for heroism. In fact, he’d never been behind the wheel of an ambulance in his life. He’d only read about dead and dying things as well as sickness.

“No, I don’t think any of us will have seen anything quite like this,” mutters Sebastian to Alex and Bélair. Most of the cabin is passed out.

“Exciting right,” grins Bélair the joker. A third generation Haitian fire fighter, a half Jewish architect and part Hebrew mutt EMT share a grim moment.

“Well you know what they say about good intentions,” says Sebastian.

“Oh, they’ll always kill you,” glibs Bélair.

Sebastian couldn’t but dart off the faintest recognition that he’d seen Alex Furlini before.

The airlift was organized in wildfire mode via the two truck, ‘minority run’ Bedstuy Volunteer Ambulance Corps. They were just about the only thing left behind from the fabled Black Panthers, well besides a substantial prisoner population and some folklore posters and memorabilia. About four hours after the first quake hit they went on the local telescreen network and declared they were going to Haiti on a rescue and relief mission. Donations poured in, volunteers lined up, and they partnered with Haitian Physicians Association to ensure a steady wave of doctors, nurses and a few loose millionaires.

“Did you know Haiti has more millionaires than any other West Indian island,” says Paramedic Victor Cange to EMT Dominich Asbun.

Dominich is composing the opening chapter of his journal account of the happenings to follow. He’s tall, dark and handsome with a goatee. 

“I didn’t know that. Did you know there are more Palestinian doctors than any other group of Arabs in the Middle East?”

Neither of these ethnic factoids are verifiable, they sort of served as proud rumors one might make national small talk over.

“My sister was working at the U.N. when the quake hit. She was outside getting coffee when the building killed all her co-workers,” explains Victor Cange.

“Lucky.”

“Maybe, but the living have to bury the dead.”

Victor Cange and Dominich both work for the Transcare Corporation along with several others on flight 749 Vision Air chartered by the Church of Scientology to fly 104 medical volunteers to Haiti on the 15th of January, 2010.

“What are we gonna see down there you think?” asks Dominich.

“The end of the world,” says Sultan, another Transcare Medic from Guyana. 

So, after Bedstuy Volunteer Ambulance Corps partnered with Haitian Physicians Abroad they realized that FEMA and UN were not admitting civilians into the country. The 82nd Airborne had landed and there was no functional airport, no functional port to off load aid. They built a supply garrison and had to repave-re-erect Toussaint L’Ouverture international airport. That was when an elderly and calculated man named Patrick O’Connor showed up at the office depot on Green and Malcolm X Blvd promising back end logistics and a plane with a landing docket. He was a representative of the Church of Scientology’s volunteer ministry.    

“So what the hell’s up with all these Scientologists?” asks medical student, EMT certified Jim Miranda to his buddy Kevin Wessel, two of four volunteer fire fighters from Long Island.

“Who the hell cares, they’re getting us there,” responds a half asleep Kevin, always an Irish optimist.

“Don’t they believe in aliens?” mutters Jim.

“Tell me something Miranda, if the Klu Klux Klan itself was gonna pay for and secure the clearance for this relief mission wouldn’t we still be here?”

Kevin had heard Sebastian make that glib in the JFK terminal line to Victor Cange in the same context. Kevin wasn’t sure what they’d find down there either, but he was sleeping the nervousness off.

   “No, I think I’d be just about as nervous. I mean ask yourself about motivation buddy.”

“No I don’t have to. It’s a large-scale disaster MCI rescue mission, it’s just gonna be 10,000 times worse than anything we’ve ever seen before.”

Jim has black hair, a grey GO NAVY shirt from his past service. Kevin has brown curly hair and is wearing a black Bedstuy Volunteers t-shirt and blue BDUs. Both are firefighters with the East Norwich Fire Rescue Volunteers, both carry stethoscopes around their necks and jack knives on their belts, they wonder what they’ve gotten into so rashly. So like everyone else they cling to a talisman. 

There are a lot of Haitian nurses and doctors on the plane. The EMS contingent is however rather diverse. What people saw on the TV screen they could not ignore. If there was a way to go they were going, that’s simply how bad it all looked. 

“We’re the ones driving toward the burning building. In this case, it’s a burning country,” said firefighter- paramedic Dany Bélair. If that was even the right allegory at all.

EMT Dominich Asbun writes in his journal, as it is calming to do so.

“Apart from the hella time I’ve had psyching myself up for this – the news images, the stories, imagining rotting bodies and dying babies and limbs and the violence wrought that I might witness, and my own emotional state and turning the tap back off as tight as I can – one of the funny things that comes up is the feeling of importance, of mission. I guess this is what someone going off to war with the cheers of his country feels like: something you’ve trained for, and the rules of society bent towards your purpose. The world is watching with its mouth open while you pack your bags, and they’re asking you everything and thanking you, and suddenly some part of you takes in the hype and expects everyone to care as much. Riding my bike on the sidewalk towards Bed-Stuy Volunteer Ambulance Corps (BSVAC), I see cops, and yeah I get off my bike (it’s the law), but for a second, I consider riding by. When they’d stop me, I’d say, It’s OK, Officer, I’m an EMT; I’m going to Haiti today to provide medical relief. “That’s cute,” said Mercedes, and, “That’s so noble,” said Ashton, and “That’s amazing,” said Pascale. I guess I care more who it’s from than what they said –  I don’t know what I’d say myself. But, anyway, this thing ain’t mine and I want to keep foremost the idea that the people in Haiti need it, that importance and compliments or not  – compliments or not, I have absolutely no idea what some pain is like and what I can do is put myself somewhere to help. They’re singing ‘Lean On Me’ on the bus to the plane, ha, while the plane gets fuel problems fixed. I’m not saying I don’t do this for the adventure, though. Isn’t everything we do, in the end, in some way for ourselves? Not everything – it’ll be in the details, the actual actions that I do for people, not in the general ‘Going to Haiti’. 

The fucking plane leaks fuel. Then, it doesn’t leak! It was over fueled, and delayed, and we lost our time slot in Haiti for landing as assigned by the Marines. 

‘Going to Miami. Bienvenido a Miami’. Hurry, wait, Hurry, wait, Hurry…Flying is a magic,” sings in hand scrawled words formed by Dominich Asbun, future doctor.

Recalls Toba Hadaad:

It’s vital that you don’t spend all your emergency funds on the landing slot bribes alone. You need to rent a second and third plane. Don’t worry about the return planes, they can get back on evacuation flights the military will run.  And hope you end up with one that doesn’t leak jet fuel and explode in a ball trying to cross around Cuban airspace. Or that the so-called religious group your government funds, one of two as means to move people around the planet in a hyper clandestine fashion; you hope that front group religion with their yellow shirts and odd touching rituals doesn’t rub the locals the wrong way.