“A Special Period in Times of Peace” 




Comrade Norma Olivia Sanchez has jet black hair and is petite. She’s vaguely malnourished for a Cuban, but still attractive and dynamico. Of course. She is and always will be a member of the Committees for Defense of the Revolution. The vigilant internal defense mechanism against Yankee imperialist aggression and unrestrained, insatiable sex tourism. Her mother was a fairly high-ranking person in the Party and told her of the struggles to defend socialism during the cold war years. Told her of the deprivations and economic siege beginning in 1989 when the Soviet Union collapsed and virtually all proto-communist regimes along with it.

The U.S.S.R. was the sun and we were just a proud and tiny island fortress.  When the sun went out, when we lost our greatest, sturdiest ally; we would be in the dark and there were many things in the dark that could ruin us.

There would be no more petrol for the cars and tractors, buses and power plants. There would not be fertilizer for growing food. There would be shortages of absolutely everything on every level of consumption. There would be long lines and no electricity. There would be no fans or air conditioners, there would be zip-zero-nada. And in this proverbial darkness of our times ahead, our enemy which had sought to ruin us from the very day of our independence would move in, emboldened by the so-called end of history.

I have some understanding that were it not for decisions made during the revolution, if not for our Russian friends and of course the own solid base of our people in the historical context; we could be living in an illiterate and deeply unhealthy place; with a brothel and gambling embankment running from Miramar to Varadero. 500 kilometers long where foreigners could just cheaply, scenically fuck our women, drink our rum and smoke our cigars in the sun.

I knew, the minute I was called to the office that we would not surrender, our great leaders, well the two brothers still alive; would not for one human second consider that the fight was lost.

I was there the day they called us all together. The top nine, the big two; the Ministers and the deputies of industry, defense, finance, agriculture, espionage later. We had known it was coming, the fall of our protector and benefactor. In embassy cables and diplomatic whispers; we also knew, it was our job to know that when the big bear fell down, died, and became reborn as god only knows what under American guidance! And its brightest, newest oldest and also highly questionable satellites began dropping from the sky; that nothing, not one thing would stop the aggressors to the north from moving in upon us.

We knew this was the beginning of the end of the revolution as we understood it, but what could we do? We suspected the Syrians and the Libyans would not give in easily to them at all. And we watched one after another as communist regimes collapsed in Eastern Europe and Africa. It was really our estimation, that by the time the dust settled; it would be only us, the Vietnamese, the People’s Republic of China (both which had embraced capitalism in most regards five years ago, Laos, and whatever the backwards hell they were doing in North Korea! We assumed Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Namibia and Angola would remember what we did for them but be in no position to reciprocate. And between 1989 and 1994, it would all come tumbling down. The failed architecture of a dystopian dream.

We sat together at a time when even the leaders were hungry and when anyone looked in a mirror they would not always recognize their own faces, for a look of despair had set in, inside oneself. All that we had willed as a people could be undone in just one year. We were all the same outside, for the siege had not begun yet, it would begin tomorrow and the next day and for the next ten or twenty years. And the Yankee enemy in the North, the pale colder place just a few days out by raft or one hour by plane; it would either soon invade, or try and starve us out. The ten million that had refused to defect. And the accomplishments of the last fifty years could go up in smoke, or simply in a long whimper, as the Dominoes began to fall.

But I understood, it was my training from Moscow to understand and my own Cuban sense of putting it together and taking it apart and refashioning. I knew that there was only one thing that could hold the country together, and so did Fidel and Raul. We needed to buy the time it required us to shore up. I am not sure that we prepared adequately for this day, actually. I’m not really sure we believed this day would come.

They drove us out to a farm. Well of course they didn’t tell us and we didn’t ask. And we were told in a meeting this was going to be a “special period in times of peace”, which was to say all the conditions of a siege and a war were to be upon us and really the only question was how long could we last until the U.S. gets bored, not tired for they have never been in a rush. More until the empire is bored with us, less obsessed with us. Long enough for the opposition to imperialism to recoup.

I remember in the car to the ranch which disguised the room for these situations. I remember wondering if this was the end of our experiment and life as we understood it.

“This comes right from Fidel; you’re all going abroad in a week. Some of you will join embassy staff or medical missions, some as private people with foreign passports. You will be going to allied countries and Western countries, you will be going to make some hasty business.”

Well really the whole speech was so much longer. But this was the short of it. We were not told in any specific terms how long supplies and foreign currency reserves could hold out on the island. We were told in no uncertain terms that things were going to run out, and that our job was to generate hard currency through the operation of a variety of legal and illegal businesses to shore up the essential purchase; food, fuel and probably armaments.

“They’re rioting in Moscow, in Warsaw and in Budapest. It’s all coming down. Even the Chinese are talking about calling it something else.”

I tell you it wasn’t all cigar smoke and mirrors and fake foreign names, Cubans look like everyone and we had trained long ago to act like anyone, and we’d been assimilating for years into the second world and there was a contingency planned for a cut off over time from USSR foreign aid, not overnight.

What brought it all down?” Norma asks.

“This isn’t a polite or immediate question,” she was told. But the answer was several things. First, the West was economically more exploitative and comparatively more ruthless. Second, the Russian Communist Party lost its popular imperative, and third, the endless wars in proxy had sapped its will. But there was something else no one said, which was being said in the West; that Capitalism was simply a better system, no-no no one would say that. But everyone was always hoping blue jeans and popular gringo music would fall off a favela cart or plane hatch back from Miami. And it often did. Luxury carrots for all or for none says the evil murderous and often sloppy C.I.A.! But ours was a hard won thing that had the support of the people and would not be defeated by American imperialism and temptation.

We will do what we have to do to survive this! Too much is historically on the line, if we fall like the others this idea and all our sacrifices and gains will have been for nothing. We would plot and organize, mobilize and do anything we had to do to secure the revolution. We would survive this coming Special Period in Times of Peace. We will break the grim Yankee blockade and ensure the relevancy of Cuban-style Marxist Leninism for ten thousand years to come! And I will wear blue jeans when I have to. Four people with mixed but exotic features enter the room, two men and two women, clad in loose army green tunics.

I would like to introduce the delegation from the Kurdistan Workers Party,” declares my chief, “They are quite expert in smuggling, establishing European business fronts and of course, they are committed revolutionaries motivated by the same historical forces as our own people.”

That was the very moment that the special relationship between the Cubans and Kurds solidified. Skill in smuggling and commerce would be exchanged for medical specialists and engineers that could design impregnable bunkers. Ten years later, Comrade Norma Sachez’s half Argentine daughter Alina Sanchez would become one of the first Cubans to serve in the Medical and Engineering Brigades attached to PKK guerillas in Turkey. Her Kurdish guerrilla name was Lêgerîn Çiya. One of the longest-serving members of the international brigade.

Homage to Rojava, Prologue


The temperature went over 114 degrees today in Erbil City Streets. On the roof a brutalist slab housing tower on the 1000 Meter Ring Road to the southeast of Hewler; I take a little break.  To watch the last lights of the sun dip below the low range to the West of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited city. The whole roof is lit up in white lights. I continue the broadcast. Any day now I’ll be going over the border into what’s left of Syria. Into Rojava. Into a Revolution inside a grisly Civil war whose outcome is very much still up in the air.
“When you open your paper, turn on your TV, or boot up your smartphone and attempt to understand what is happening; you are already tuned into people paid well to validate a view you already had!”
One such view is that there is a war going on between Islam and the mainly Christian Eastern & Western Bloc that affects China too. Both Russia and the United States have been poorly managing Wahhabi-Salafist terror in their countries since long before the Cold War supposedly ended in 1991. The United States by funding it and Russia by committing war crimes against whoever deploys it against them or their interests. China has been battling Islamic separatists that wish to section off 1/5 of its country to the Northwest in Xinjiang province. Perhaps what you tune into tells you it’s all some massive clash of civilizations. This ridiculous idea was popularized by Samuel Huntington in 1992. Other writers and pundits declare the events all part of a long-running proxy war extending past when Francis Fukuyama ended history after the Cold War. If you’re deeply religious, and much of the human race is, you might periodically wonder if this is the end of times. As humans have wondered many, many times before. Neither the media nor the thought leaders nor your religious intuitions are paid by telling the truth. They are paid because you like how they interpret horrifying, unpredictable events for you. You subscribe to their interpretations because they assist you in rationalizing, wholly irrational human behavior, predatory government malfeasance, and social policies that enable a virtually endless war. 
From your house of worship or via your TV screen you might try to rationalize what’s happening here in the killing fields of the Middle East through the prism of your respective prophet’s scriptures or favorite pundit’s words. The news is a nasty circular addiction. A part of religion is a repetitive act of denial. You almost have to always deny that vast portions of the rest of your species are even loved or protected by God. This allows a dynamic whereby you systematically begin to not care as much about whole blocks of other humans, based on something you must have faith is real, but cannot be proved by science or reason. So in many regards, any group of religious practitioners that equate Godly protection to a set of scriptures is always probably re-written and re-translated by a fallible man. It is implicit to accept the belief that your hands are washed off much of humanity’s manifest suffering. But the wretched of the earth are statistically Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, and Hindu in relatively equal proportions. But let’s look at the flood of violence from this phase of this longest war today. Let’s try and be dispassionate, objective, and rational without losing our solidarity or our souls.   
I could only assure you on the political science and international development level it is wholly rational what is happening in the world today. Outside of wars for diminishing resources, prophetic revelations, and clashing civilizations. It is the product of high-level planning and an absence of low-level care. We might extend that to the human tragedy generally and the Middle East Highly specifically.   
The steak is just as tender in New York, London, Geneva, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Beijing, Shanghai, St. Petersburg, and Moscow! 
The politicians in these places and those who manage them live in similar style of homes. People who own energy companies, big financial firms, manage banks, own the arms, or information tech companies; their mansions and yachts have similar styles and elite luxury amenities. The suits that their businessmen wear are of similar styles and fine materials. The sports cars their kids drive are all around the same speeds, and costs since luxury items are all price fixed. The women for sale in all three power blocks have the same price tags and services for sale. 
Thank G-d the “Cold War” is supposedly over because, for a cold war, a kind of hot series of medium-scale wars, civil wars, and highly bloody armed events occurred in almost every single country on earth between 1945 and 1991. Although most respective national histories are total propaganda by omission, it has been agreed in the West that Communism was soundly disproven and defeated and of course, the West allegedly ended history and “won.” But the Pax American of 1989 to 2001 was short-lived.
We are supposedly all very democratic in the West. We have Republican or Parliamentary governments with generally only two major opposing parties and free-market economies. The Russians supposedly are that thing called Democracy as well. After all the looting that happened in the gangland 90s under the Shock Doctrines. Nigeria will tell you it’s a democracy and so will a lot of other people. It’s hard to find a Kurdish political party without the word Democracy in it. The absolute most war town, brutal, depraved place on earth is called the Democratic Republic of Congo. 
In reality, we all have highly Managed-Democracies. Scripted even. They are managed differently in Russia than in the West. Also generally with two parties of angry, loud ambitious lawyers, technocrats and oligarchs trying their hands at populism. In European social democracies, after looting the entire earth, they raised taxes and funded social services. Well certainly in Russia with only one relevant Party Yedinaya Rossiya (United Russia), democracy is slightly easier to implement. In Russia, the Communist Party is still the second-biggest party. Anyone effectively opposing United Russia or even writing about in a negative way is promptly killed. Its corruption is referred to as the “party of crooks and thieves.” But most Russians agree that Vladimir Putin has restored security and dignity to Russia. So America is a back and forth two-party state and Russia is a multiple-party, one-party state. Designer consumer goods are readily available in both places. Russians as the losers of the Cold War are demographically poorer than Americans, but Russians have higher rates of university graduation and literacy. Both have pretty enormous domestic reserves of fossil fuels. This is why their ferocious Middle Eastern proxy war can’t be just about oil at all.
China has a strong one-party state, and it is run by the Communist Party. Its impressive economic growth since embracing State Capitalism in 1986 has propelled it to be a clear contender to the Western Hegemony. China is disinterested in both military interventions and experiments in the Middle East. All three powers have increasing energy needs which America and Russia can meet within their borders and China cannot, who therefore has elected to colonize every country in Africa. However, energy resources; oil and natural gas are the engines of both war and development.
America in 2017 has willing proxies in Egypt, Jordan, and Israel. Its base for all Central Command, Military operations is in Qatar. The U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, as some may recall. It mostly withdrew in 2011 but returned to contain ISIS in 2014. Saudi Arabia and all the Gulf States are Western oil clients, but all of them have intrinsic ties to the propagation of radical Islam.
Russia has a long-term client relationship with Syria and its only Mediterranean naval base there. Along with Crimea which it annexed in 2014 on the black sea, this is one of only two warm-water ports. The key Russian regional ally is Iran. Iran as a result of the American invasion of Iraq controls everything in Iraq that is not Iraqi Kurdistan, the Sunni Triangle and the remains of the ISIS-held areas (Ar Raqqah, Anbar, Al-Hawijja, Deir-Ez-Zor). Most people here call them Daesh, the pejorative using the acronym.
For over 2/3rds of the human race, the very events critical to their respective, overlapping, and at times contradictory faiths took place in Egypt, the Levant, and Mesopotamia. For followers of Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Baha’i, and numerous sub-sects of each this is where their very prophets were all born, raised, and communicated with the source. From the very moment, according to their own religious texts, that the Israelites arrived out of Egypt there has never, except for several long authoritarian periods of Islamic Caliphate rule, been one even year of continuous peace. The Crusades were a several hundred-year series of barbaric attempts to establish a genocidal, white supremacist Roman Catholic foothold in an area only slightly larger than modern Israel. When not seeking to expand Islam into ¼ of the earth or repulsing Christian incursions; the Abbasids, the Umayyads, and the Ottomans were fighting constant wars with Mongol hordes, each other, or the long-running Sunni v. Shi’a wars.     
There is nothing that can be written academically or rhetorically, presented on any medium to give the West or the East a new conscience. It is now a simple matter of public record that the developed world has accepted that the only obligations it has to the maldeveloped world is periodic mitigation. Famines, wars, floods, and disease epidemics are to be poorly managed by direct aid. Multilateral efforts through the United Nations are to be the extent of collaboration. NGOs will proliferate as donor trends determine. Regular military intervention will remove or shore up state systems intrinsically hostile to any of the three centers of global power; named Washington, Moscow and Beijing.
The World Wars and Cold Wars brought humanity closer than it ever has come to total self-destruction. But, there was nothing particularly stable about the Pax-American from 1991 to 2001. The Russian and Chinese embrace of free-market capitalism has not altered in the slightest way how they maneuver as states toward their citizens and world. Albeit with fewer disasters, periods of social engineering. There is nothing particularly comforting about the Chinese hegemony when it fully arrives. 
Consistent for nearly 100 years has been the Middle Eastern theater of a war that changes locations, ideologies, factions, and names. But, is all in fact a singular ongoing war. 
If we accept the validity of real politics being intrinsically hostile and equity in the international order; if we excuse every type of growing human rights violation as explained in the national interest; the center cannot hold. The earth has only so much capacity for economic pillage. The weapons of war are exponentially more destructive. The exodus toward the West is overwhelming. We cannot prove broad conspiracy nor do we have to. We cannot confirm or deny that something in human nature is self-interested, violent, and cruel. But, we can truly verify a coherent, consistent willingness for wealthy nations to prey on the developing ones and keep them deliberately dependent and maldeveloped.  
The Middle East has been in flames since 1919 and it is irresponsible to pretend that it has something to do with civilization, religion, or cultural clashes. It fundamentally has to do with two forces pushing from the East and the West toward an energy resource. But that is in itself simplistic since both the United States and Russia have some of the largest proven reserves under their own territory. A Middle Eastern market for the weapons needed for constant warfare is a vital aspect. Both the Western and Eastern Blocs are seeking to control the oil in the ground and sell the dozens of Middle Eastern players’ advanced and simple tools for defense but mostly more killing. The various holy sites for the numerous religious believers convolute the basic thesis but are the third pillar of the equation. Were there no oil, there would be no willingness to arm so many opposing players. Observe Somalia where Muslims are in a desert and absolutely no Western powers really care until high-profile piracy occurs. 
Were there no arms racing there could only be very small wars. Without political actors in Moscow as well as Washington, London and Berlin there couldn’t be such a cauldron of bloodshed. There have been countless stated rationales for intervention, proxy arming, and invasion. It is nearly impossible to convince the democracies they ever did anything to escalate this. The war with the Islamic State has become a focal point, almost an obsession for everyone, but it is the latest manifestation of a long-running problem. 
Before there was ever such a thing as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria; the usual pundits and politicians screamed Cold War. Then East and West heavily armed everyone. Israel then tripled its landmass, Syria became the Russian proxy, and Egypt changed opportunistically sides. Next, they screamed about the containment of the Iranian Revolution rather than the West-armed Saddam Hussain. A gruesome eight-year war later Iraq genocided the Kurds. During this period to give the USSR their own Vietnam, the Saudis, Pakistanis, and Americans created Al-Qaeda and turned then Communist Afghanistan into the ungovernable Islamist warzone it is today. Then Saddam annexed Kuwait, and the West invaded. Several atrocities against Shi’a and Kurds later he remained in power. The pundits screamed loudest after September 11th, 2001 and the Global War on Terror began. Russian atrocities in Chechnya in the 1990s where one in seven Chechens was killed were replied to with the 2002 Beslan and 2004 Ord Nost Hostage crises. Hundreds of innocent Russian hostages died in both events. An estimated 240,000 people had died in Chechnya in two wars that leveled the separatist state. Most regimes including Israel saw waves of protest in 2011 over domestic grievances and inequality during the Arab Spring. Virtually all regimes besides Tunisia quelled the uprisings. Civil War broke out in Libya and Syria. By 2014 Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and Syria were all in total unrest, ashes, and anarchy. The corrupt military dictatorship of Egypt had been overthrown, then restored with U.S. intervention. Saudi Arabia and Iran were fighting proxy wars all over the region. 
Turkey has clearly logistically enabled the creation of a Sunni-oriented, Wahhabi Salafist ultra-fundamentalist Jihadist entity which took the world by complete surprise. Saudi Arabia has long provided it with a hateful Sunni version of Islam. Qatari actors gave their sophisticated propaganda and branding. Pakistani intelligence coordinated it as they had in Yemen and Afghanistan.
Then Islamic State took dozens of Syrian and Iraqi cities including Mosul, which had come dangerously close to taking Baghdad, before being turned back by Iranian coordinated militias and Kurdish Democratic Confederalists. The Peshmerga and the Iraqi military had fled in varying ways exposing civilians to atrocity.  But allegedly quite a lot of these Sunni tribespeople liked living under the Islamic State’s non-state governance. It validated their identity, it gave them something big and powerful to believe in. But, now they are near the brink of annihilation. It is actually not important to indict who thought up the Islamic State, and who planned it. Some say the Gulf States, some say Iran, Israel, and the West. The evidence though is clear that Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar all fueled its development and Pakistan has the only intelligence service capable of working out the variables. It is pretty fucking childlike to believe it was created by Islamists and Ba’athist officers in U.S. custody.
It can be difficult to figure out what’s happening out here in the Middle East. It can become an abstraction of alien cultures, conflicts, and ethnic configurations that are easily blurred to an uncaring or untrained eye. It is hard to get your head around how the alleged cradle of human civilization became such an everlasting intractable bloodbath. Perhaps it is only the responsibility of the Western audience to know what is happening because the collateral of the carnage is spilling over into their European and American cities. No one will perhaps admit that, but yes. And it is also important to render the Middle East more human because the weapons distributed here are from the West or Russia. The oil being pumped is being bought and sold by Western or Russian firms.  Most people living in the West don’t actually know what Kurdistan is, but that doesn’t say so much as most people in the West don’t know where a lot of things are. I would go so far as to say the majority don’t care. 
Most probably won’t admit that they didn’t know that the Kurdish ethnic group existed until 2014. It was not until various pundits made it clear “the Kurds” were actively fighting the Islamic State did anyone ever hear about things like the Peshmerga, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), or about Kurds in general. The perversity and violence of ISIS kept it in the headlines for the past three years and the Kurdish issue has increasingly been at the forefront of understating geopolitics in the region. Particularly because Iraqi Kurdistan, administered by the Kurdish Regional Government as an autonomous area since 2003 is set to hold its next referendum vote for independence on September 27th, 2017. And it is sitting on top of the fifth-largest proven crude oil reserve on earth. No one should totally wash their hands of what happens in the Middle East because its conflicts are fought with Western and Russian weapons, paid for by American and Russian tax dollars. The companies pumping out the oil are largely Western or Russian-based firms. 
There are in fact a lot of players, but all of them fall into four big tents; Western Allies led by the United States Military and Coalition forces. Russian Allies most prominently Syria and Iran. Gulf Sunni Client States claim they are Western Allies but can be linked to the Islamic State through one or two acts of deductive reasoning. And the 40 million Kurds spread across Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. The Kurds, who are the world’s largest stateless people are seeking some viable means to safeguard their long-abused community and of course, get rich off the oil under their Iraqi territory.
  I plan to be very repetitive with names and places that matter. 
Or places that have more than one name so the reader can try and learn them. There are a lot of overlapping players, a lot of acronyms, national interests, international interests, and underlying religious and ethnic antagonisms that go back thousands of years. There is a very long history of desert prophecy. This is certainly the land of Zoroaster, Abraham, Bab & Bahaullah (Iran); Moses (Egypt), Jesus (Israel/Palestine), and Muhammed (Saudi Arabia). Well documented and repetitive ethnic killing is the reality of life here for over 4,000 years punctuated by foreign occupations, colonies, and Islamic empires. Devastating foreign invasions on behalf of Mongolia and Europe altered the entire composition of the region; culturally, politically, and genetically. There is deep-rooted tribalism which has to be understood as a means of both loyalty and social organization. There are monarchies created by Europeans to crown their favored Bedouins as oil clients. There was the re-birth of the Jewish State for the third time in three thousand years. There was the re-birth of the revolutionary Shi’a State in Iran which carries a similar sense of Messianic optimism and zealous indoctrination to preserve for Shi’a what the Jewish one does for Jews. There is absolutely a more recent history since 1947 of several large and also small wars and protracted atrocities. Such as those experienced by the Palestinians at the hands of almost everyone in the region. You could rightfully say with a straight face that since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1919; there has been a constant war playing out inside every single country in the region. 
The Western Media’s linguistic and cultural detachment from these antagonistic protagonists borders on being crude Orientalism. An anti-Islamism mixed with a thirst for covering and sensationalizing bloodshed. The fact that suicide bombs are regularly going off in Western cities has made everything more immediate, more visceral. But it is undeniable now that some of the biggest beneficiaries of being Western petro-colony clients (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman) can be linked to funding and supporting Wahhabi Salafist doctrines when not being caught outright funding the Islamic State. Frankly, the enduring miserable heat doesn’t help anything. While obsessing, that is the word I would use; obsessing about the regions 5 million Jews and 7 million Palestinians of Greater Israel, West Bank and Gaza take up a lot of printed word on the subject. The enduring issue, the issue that everyone needs to become more fluent in, is the question of Kurdistan. 
Beyond the wars, the ceaseless violence and the conservative, most intolerant, male-dominated nature of Middle Eastern society in general; and Arab, Kurdish and Persian society in particular. All anthropological and political variants are made worse by what I would call claustrophobia. A feeling of being trapped in small spaces disguised as holy lands with nowhere to really go. Or fear of impending genocide, which affects all the players out here, and there are many. As I did not write this article for academics, let me paint with broad brushstrokes a paragraph on demographics. 
There are 35-40 million Kurds mostly spread across Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. They are mostly Sunni Muslims., There are two primary types of Muslims; Sunni and Shi’a which differ in a range of practices and beliefs, but are mostly divided over who was the rightful successor of the Prophet Muhamad. The Shi’a declare it was Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law Ali and have been historically persecuted by the Sunni caliphates and rulers. Sunni Islam, which is the majority sectarian faction of global Islam (say 70-90%) Shi’ism is the smaller (say 10-20%) faction of the Ummah or Global Muslim community which is about 1/3 of the human race. 
Kurds are also the world’s largest stateless people. Linguistically, culturally, spiritually, and often militarily Kurds are a great deal like Persians.  
  The nation of Iran has been a Revolutionary Shiite Islamic State since 1979, and is about 65% Persian, or say 50% of its 80 million people. There are also 9-10 million Kurds living there. While they are certainly not free from Iranian Sharia law; they are generally better treated than everywhere else in their historic lands of settlement. In Iraq, a genocide called Anfal happened in 1988 which brutally killed 180,000 Kurds. In Turkey Kurds and Turks have been in an open civil war since 1984. In Syria, Arabization campaigns and forced resettlement made them third-class citizens. Iran had an anti-Western, anti-Shah revolution in 1979. The United States promptly armed U.S. client Saddam Hussain to the teeth. Then sold guns secretly to Iran in the Iran-Contra Affair. While North Korea, Libya, and Israel all sold arms and also secretly advised the Iranians. An 8-year war occurred in the style of World War I with trenches and poison gas where over a million people were killed. In the last days of the war, Saddam Hussain ordered Al-Anfal or the systematic killing of 180,000 Kurdish Iraqis.
The nation that used to be Iraq was ruled by Saddam Hussain and the Ba’ath Party until 2003 when the US successfully “liberated” the nation. Only the Kurds would call it liberation as both the Shi’a and Sunni Iraqi Arabs both for the most part hate the United States. The Ba’ath party which was nominally Arab-Socialism but really a one-man dictatorship is also found in Syria. It is the political party of President Bashar al-Assad, who is an Alawite, but we will come back to that. It is certainly neither irrational nor poorly documented that historically everyone out here has at one point tried to annihilate each other. As most of the groups out here have at one point or are actively today trying to obliterate each other. None of this is helped by the obvious fact that the biggest Western powers & Russia cannot and will not allow control of natural resources under Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States to go unspoken for. Or be nationalized. Or be made inaccessible by virtually endless conflict.
Hewler, which again is Erbil in Kurdish, is a city of 2-3 million, the world’s oldest continuously inhabited city. It has a tall mound fortification in the very center. The Citadel which has been the fortress defending Erbil, Hewler s all Kurds call it, for nearly 5,000 years. Like Moscow, Hewler is a series of ring roads; the 30 meters, the 60 meters, the 100 meters, and the 120 meters which are punctuated nearly every other block by a 5 Star Hotel. In 2011-2014 a building boom erupted and everyone was making money. 
By the time I arrived in Iraq, or Kurdistan (as it is called by most of the Kurds living in this KRG zone); ISIS was fully driven back into Iraq proper by Peshmerga forces. Mosul was completely besieged by the Iraqi Military with nightly airstrikes hitting the positions in the Old City and Medical City.
The city of Hewler was once dubbed “the next Dubai”, but that’s a very dubious claim. For one thing, Hewler or Erbil isn’t any fun. For another, however you define that word fun, Erbil is not either pretty or architecturally impressive. That is because it is estimated that the region of northern Iraq; called the Kurdish Regional Government, has had autonomous status since 2003 and is home to 5 million Kurds and various minorities such as Turkmen (former Turkish administrative class of the Ottoman empire), Assyrian Christians (Syriacs & Chaldeans), Yazidis (recently genocided by ISIS), whatever is left of Iraq’s Baha’i community and a growing community of Western ex-pats. The KRG sits on top of what might the fifth-largest proven oil reserve.
But, in 2014 ISIS got about half an hour west of Erbil and was stopped by Coalition airstrikes in Makhmar. Everyone panicked and had begun evacuating their families hours before. ISIS had taken Mosul, then a city of over 2 million, and Iraq’s second-biggest with under 400 fighters. ISIS had invaded Sinjar (Shengal), the historic home of the Yazidis, murdered over 5,000 men; carried an unknown number of women into sexual slavery, and trapped most of the remaining Yazidis up in the mountains. The Peshmerga, the military forces of KRG’s two main parties; KDP (Democratic Party of Kurdistan which controls Erbil) and PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan which controls Sulymanyia, which is also called Slemani) had basically retreated from both Sinjar and their positions in Makhmar and were incapable of repulsing the 2014 ISIS offensive. What is now a matter of historical records; the US air force hammered ISIS positions in Makhmar and stopped the advance there and the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) proxies; YPG Militia (People’s Protection Units) and the PKK armed wing People’s Defense Forces invaded Sinjar, cracked open a corridor for safety and by all accounts saved the majority of the remaining trapped civilians there.
Speaking on the subject of claustrophobia. There are an estimated 35-40 million Kurds; 14.3-20 million in southeast Turkey, 8.2-12 million in Iran, 5.6-8.5 million in the Kurdistan autonomous region in northern Iraq, and 2-3.6 million in Northern Syria (Rojava). Armenia, Azerbaijan & Georgia all have populations that total under 50,000. 2 million Kurds live in the diaspora; particularly concentrated in Germany, France, Sweden, and the Netherlands. As well as in the Russian Federation, Belgium, United Kingdom, Kazakhstan, Switzerland, Denmark, Jordan, Austria, Greece, USA, Kyrgyzstan, Canada, Finland and Australia (highest to lowest concentrations). As you can see from the spreads of these numbers; no one actually knows how many Kurds there are. Politically speaking these numbers are very problematic, since Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran in their own various ways and strategies would all prefer the Kurds not to even exist. 
That then said the Mossad thinks there are 30-40 million.
As stated in 1988, towards the end brutal eight year of the Iraq-Iran War, in Chumchumal Iraq, the Baath Party under Saddam Hussein began a genocide against the Iraqi Kurds. 180,000 Iraqi Kurds were loaded onto trucks, placed in concentration camps, driven to the south of the country, ordered to dig a ditch then shot and buried. Poison gas was used in the city of Halabja. Tens of thousands of villages around Chumchumal were emptied. The majority of the Kurdish population in that region fled to Iran. Only the US invasion of 1991 slowed the genocide. The invasion in 2003 basically allowed the PUK and KDP to seize northern Iraq and make it autonomous. In 2014 the KRG was fiscally cut off from Baghdad and began selling oil directly to Turkish, Russian, American and Israeli companies.
There are only Iraqi flags in Erbil inside the various 5 Star Hotels and most government buildings. But the red, white, green emblazoned with a yellow multi pronged star is virtually everywhere else.
The Kurds have an often repeated saying, “Our only friend in the mountains,” which related their historic persecution at the hands of an unending series of foreign occupiers’ particularly but limited to Arabs and Turks. Whenever invaded, without fail in thousands of recorded engagements Kurds fall back to the mountains which make up the majority of their imagined, and historic territory; and promptly begin guerrilla wars.  
In Turkey, the Turkish government has long banned Kurdish language and culture for years. It has been described as “highly effective cultural genocide” For decades the Kurds were assimilated, repressed and told they were “Mountain Turks”. In 1914 the Ottoman Empire conscripted the Kurds to help carry out the Armenian genocide. Because of official apology, long running dialogues for reconciliation and a common enemy; Turkey, Armenia is one of the biggest supporters of the PKK’s (Kurdish Workers Party) war against the Turkish state. In 1984 the PKK began it’s insurgency against the Turkish state. More than 50,000 Turkish citizens, mostly of Kurdish descent, were killed in this still running war. In 1999 PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan was arrested, tortured and placed in solitary confinement in an island prison near Istanbul. Reading the works of Murray Bookchin; Ocalan renounced Marxist-Leninism in favor of his own non-state, pro-democratic, gender co-equal, ecologist vision called “Democratic Confederalism” which is now the official PKK ideology. After several failed rounds of ceasefire and peace talks, after the arrest of all Kurdish parliamentarians after the 2017 Coup in Turkey and after repeated bombardment of PKK positions in Iraq, Turkey and Syria as well as great complacency if not active support of the Turkish state to allow ISIS fighters to come and go over its territory; the PKK has been physically pushed back to mountain bunkers in the Qandil Mountains of Northern Iraq and positions in Sinjar, but enjoys enduring popular support amongst Turkish and Syrian Kurds. Its political parties repeatedly are elected to Turkish Parliament, subsequently banned and their leaders jailed. 
In 2004 the PKK Syrian affiliate PYD (Democratic Union Party) began rapidly organizing a militia and administrative structures which later protected, then effectively occupied Kurdish areas in Syria during the atrocities of the Syrian Civil War (which has led to the deaths of over 550,000 people largely civilians and displaced over 13 million internally or into neighboring countries in vast miserable series of camps.  
In 2014 the PYD (Democratic Union Party) and its militia force the YPG/YPJ (YPG is People’s Protection Units [male] and YPJ is Women’s Protection Units [female]; now numbering around 45,000 light infantry fighters) defeated ISIS in the Siege of Kobani with Peshmerga, PKK, and coalition air support. In the past three years the PYD, through its civil society organ the Tev Dem (Movement for Democratic Society); is for the most part governing a 4 million person non-recognized parallel state; three cantons in Northern Syria called the Democratic Federation of Rojava- Northern Syria. 
Afrin Canton (to the West of Rojava, but still landlocked) is isolated by a Turkish supported incursion toward Aleppo, Syria. Kobani the central canton is connected by land to Jazira Canton which borders the Kurdish Regional Governorate (KRG). Because the KDP (Democratic Party of Kurdistan), majority KRG party based in Hewler/Erbil is incredibly dependent on Turkey for exporting oil and development assistance, actually most of the 5 Star Hotels, apartment towers, and consumer goods in Iraqi Kurdistan are a product of that economic relationship; Rojava is quarantined on all sides. The only people getting in are well resources journalists, NGO workers and people getting smuggled mostly over the Iraq-Syria border through a combination of bribes or Kurdish family loyalties.
The Turkish border to the north is completely sealed. The Free Syrian Army/ Turkish forces occupy a land strip from the Turkish border to the city of al-Bab, which cuts Rojava’s Afrin canton from the Kobani & Jazira Cantons. Jazira borders Iraqi Kurdistan, and the Sinjar Mountains are partly under YPG/PKK/PYD control and partly under Peshmerga/KDP control.  All flights to Qamishli go through Damascus. Most of the Syrian territory south of Raqqa is in the hands of ISIS or the Nusra Front (another Al-Qaeda rebrand). The Assad government and its military control of the Qamishli airport make it possible to have supplies airlifted in and about 20 registered NGOs, can go over the Syrian/Iraqi border. 
The YPG/YPJ making up the majority of the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) has pushed ISIS back to Raqqa (which is now completely surrounded by Syrian Democratic Forces). The YPG/YPJ has been politically dressed up as the SDF incorporating varying smaller militia forces from ethnic minorities and various rebranded Syrian Free Army groups. This pluralism for US Government and military intelligence foreign donors has occurred because of three reasons: 
1) Virtually every Western nation has declared the PKK a terrorist group, so overtly supporting the PYD militia YPG/YPJ is outrageous and offensive to Turkey, a critical regional ally. Who spends way more time bombing the Kurds in PKK and YPG rather than do anything constructive to oppose ISIS. So SDF is a thinly veiled way for the United States to say it isn’t directly funding a group it called a terrorist group to fight another terrorist group, but that is exactly what is happening. Turkey has bombed Iraq and invaded Syria by proxy forces cutting off the Western most Rojava canton Afrin from its two eastern cantons Kobani & Jazira.
 2) The YPG/YPJ is along with the Iran controlled Iraqi Shiite PMU (Popular Mobilization Forces, also called Al-Hassid Al-Sha’abi the only credible ground forces in consistently rolling back ISIS. Without the PMU, ISIS might have taken Baghdad in 2014. Without YPG, Rojava would have been overrun. The PMU is regularly accused of atrocities and is controlled via Shi’a clerics loyal to Iran. The YPG/YPJ should be viewed as a military asset of the PKK militarily expedient to the U.S. led Coalition “Enduring Resolve” Operational needs.
3) When ISIS is defeated, the PMU will be used against Peshmerga in Kirkuk. Turkey, the Baathist Military and NUSRA front will be attacking Rojava in different configurations. SDF is an effort on the PYD part to make the militia forces more multiethnic, and thus remain eligible for American war money. 
Mosul fell to the Iraqi military around July 9th, 2017 after nine months of fierce urban warfare. Raqqa is expected to fall by the end of the summer. I.S.I.S. Redoubts in Tel Afar, Iraq (a historic Turkman city) were predicted to fall by September, but mysteriously the city was found to be empty after just eight days of fighting by the end of August. Hawijja, Iraq historically a Kurdish city long emptied and Arabized by the genocide is widely believed to be one of the most pro-Wahhabi Salafist centers as far as the population’s sympathies. Its population supported Al Qaeda, currently supports ISIS and regularly launches terror attacks in neighboring Kirkuk. There is a desolate barren zone in the Anbar province (outside Kurdish zone) which also needs to be pacified.
All of this leads analysts to conclude I.S.I.S. will be militarily defeated in all major remaining Iraqi and Syrian cities by January 2019. Importantly Raqqa, it’s only remaining official headquarters, could be over by November. The mop up operations in and around Deir Ez-Zor will pale in comparison to the possibility of war between the Peshmerga against the Hashid al Shabi and Iraqi Army in Kirkuk. 


Ballad # 3: 

“An Escapade Across the Fall”

Involving a Russian Woman and Several Hand Grenades

Cultural Context: 

{In the Newyorkgrad fall times of the Gregorian year 2011 two mildly dangerous people, dangerous in their own ways; became for a time, star-crossed lovers that were briefly aligned (allowed?) to kiss and make up. In the cultural context of one, his card had trouble clearing expectations. Yet, in but in four dates, he could know that marriage was possible.}

While others were sleeping, I dream with you awake.

We walk.

These cobblestone-streets, below big dead glass towers, in late night-predawn, imbibe, intake!

What goes in the noose or the nose? You choose.

Past the hungry day dens of the money changers and their many harlots.

Near the Golgotha of the Jew-Crusader alliance.

Down near Vesey Street. Near old Zuccotti? Where but days before the barricades fell amid a mild defiance.

  This sprawling neon jungle blots out the sun.

It blots out the stars. G-ds, moons and hope. Have your fun on the run.

The show of you! The unseen scars. 

Nothing good ever shines through.

All the way we go again from Brighton to the Districts.

“That bright?”

The color of money is still always the color of woo.

I can pretend to walk tall too. 

In your tight yellow garish dress. Your fake smile, you play crazy all night. You do!

I was scally cap clad. A free for all. I was winding. I was bulletproof.

Your crazy big blue eyes opened fire on call, 

I’ll always remember what you did on that roof.

Your darting hungry look is aloof.

Cut the line. Steal the lightning. Like a dagger when you needed a sudden surgery.

A reminder I was a new attraction, a libelous lap lap leading to perjury.

But we are still alive. 

With a high level of possible use.

We went about the city in waking life- what we do at night reminds us of past times.

We are temporarily blinded by the flood lights of crazy, “Cut all the bullshit.”

All arrhythmic, ectopic the self serving rhymes.”

Blinded, you captured, captivated-compelled us to deeds that might make past operations seem like parlor tricks.

Past creations were to be scribbles. The world was created in lines of tar and feather and slave marriage on broom sticks.

To upcoming tomes, you’ll never bother to read.

Old brush strokes!

Gunshots now! From the hip to move my hips to your hips to your lips.

Now the shots are with the precision of Cupid coated round.

An Israeli sniper lost now found.

I am for you! Hear and I am aware! You are a quite quickly moving target astound.  

I want you to know a lot about me.

When others ask did you kiss me, did you hold me, you can say “I own him”.

Say, “He breathes in this city just for me.”

“He writes books for free.”

“He moves his limbs up mountains, for we!”

“He takes over trains, he battles monsters, he tempts the very wrath of the Jew G-d and the spirits to be with me, one more night after night hand to hand.

You can tell them whatever you want, or our nothing. When they clear the coffin from the sand.

It’s just an affair after all I suppose.

You can tell yourself what I’m cut from will not be seen for one thousand years. Once you decide, the file will burn or the case will close.

“In the fall, in the fall with your ass up or back against the wall!”

Out by Steeplechase pier by the Eiffel Tower of Brooklyn, Night after Night.

When the sun rose. We were found again alive.

Full of the fight!

We died in the bar mid-sip.

We died on the coffin train!

We died in the cholera ship!

We died in the free fall of the airplane.

But since you tasted my blood, you bit my finger hard that first night; wax on your back.

Dripped on your shoulders and lower back, dripped on my lion ring, dripped on our hands clasped together. 

Your chest, your hips, your rack!

Your hand pressed in wax to my own. If we really died it could be with such a smile now.

How many flights?

Forty fucking days and forty fucking nights.

If they take me again in a raid. 

It will cheat us both. 

Of the magic in this, 

The sheer darkness in this escapade. 

And the old hope I know you still feel. 

The old lives, they make me want it too bad.

If I die tonight or in the morning, for the real

What will be with a very small smile?

This is real, shit. Pure. 

This is Russia’s white gold shit.

But don’t cheat me out of an hour a day or a year, or some life of it.

I want a good life, but one also with fake blond crazy blue you.

A loveless life is not any life. Poems do not raise children, it’s true. 

Ambulances move faster than Bentleys relatively speaking.

Less fashion for force, a bed for the fuck is still a bed for the creaking.

He can give you credit!

I can show you a freedom, which came out too cheap.

Not freedom to move and buy. 

Freedom from service, a freedom you keep. 

Servicing loveless nights and boring nights and weird strange awful nights.

Nights where they choke her.

“I want better credit and also possibly later some freedom”, was the last thing she said. Love and or a patron. A pawn or a power broker.

Freedom with eyes wide open to the sky.

Whine mine turn green and yours go silver, don’t ask me why.

And I can show you a life where you will never be afraid again, afraid of a boring lack luster loveless ride.

I confide.

“I may ask you to burn a bridge soon. That you’ve built over 5 years, with one goal.

I will provide all the passion and the petrol.”

And if there were things you thought you needed on the other side; 

I know how to replace them with better things.

Nights are long and days are wide.

I can cook and I can clean and raise children. 

I can save lives, 

You have seen me move a mob with words.

I shoot straight when I have to, I own many sharp knives.

I do have the strength of forty men.

And I know how to actually love then love again!

To thrill you with my words 

And back them with actions, like I did with the Kurds.

My sometimes stiff kisses, my hundred thousand years without, nights of white satin and solid gold dice, old-world lover loves. I cry out!

“When you kissed me you killed me and you saved me.”

It was only fair.

You’d just a week before nearly killed us over one single cigarette.

Because you’re fearless like me? Or just reckless I dare.

If you were my partner we could take on any army with switchblades.

Back to back, hand to hand.

Or help move a nation to rise, or two.

Fight the future from the place that we stand. 

“I don’t need you tonight.” She said.

I replied, “When?”

“To do anything. Just watch my back from dagger men.”

“The dead will bury the dead.”

Whisper, “Good luck Droog!”

“Come back to me alive every day and I will climb up higher with you when we’re wed!”

I will cross sentry canyons under no moonlight.

I will elude the follow-follow men.

I will uncut the spies. 

I have a minion, I know my ten.

I will break enemy lines under the dark cover and even outsmart the loupe Garrou in you.

I will make it through the forest pine.

I will always, life by life gets back to you.

And you will in this manifest of energy want for nothing. 

A backbone flute can’t be played unless you know the way of my spine.

“And our children will be the children of heroes!

I am an American!

I think in color. Not simply in ones and zeros.

But this is not an American film.

You are pure Russian, but kitchens are where I cook. 

Not make self-murder like my man Mayakovsky

Your man is temporarily, a lucky man.

He had five whole years to lie beside you.

“You think you can get him off me?”

“Pull the pinout and toss it,” she said, gravity will guide you.

He did your nails, your clothes, your school, and your credit score.

I had under forty days to taste your lips, and I might start a bad war.

Notice the full extent of mesmerization.

How now, how, when? When are we talking?

“Were you not such a poet. Not such a good lay, one might accuse you of stalking.”

Your eyes, fuck me again, your eyes again.

They made love to me before my body could react.

When you first looked at me in the dance hall.

Nothing after was intact.

I for the first time, knew sweet surrender.

The taste of wanting to wait.

And as we lay in the forest,

Below the double barrels of the blue moon,

I knew that if you escaped with me I could love you for the rest of my life.

And dissembling, and more lives to come, full total swoon.

I remembered that we’d done this before.

More in the rest of my lives, we reunited our fires, we are very old souls.

What’s it all good for?

We can be old souls forever if it pleases you.

This kind of transgression is far worse than a sin.

“What the fuck are you on?” She asks with a grin.

But in the real world, in the world of woman and man.

It is really just a new kind of Russian novel. 

The grenades were laid,

It was only a pretty good plan.

Killing men comes with the job.

“So if I will love you for free, you will never love me, you will not leave your man. And I will die with a barrel to the gob.”

“You need it?”

I will have to open my own black heart and let you try and read it.

Then this Majik will be defensible with reason before it implodes as you claim it will.

Love intangible. Black cards have no limits, a fuck is a fuck and kill is a kill.

It has to be based on fact.


Remember the roof?

Give me no longer than November, I will plan our escape!

I am a man of my word. I can counterattack, I can parlay and react.

All a man has. 

“All a man really knows from a cave is how to kill, eat, or to rape!”

Or, he is the things that he does and the vouch people heard.

In the end promises all will be unkempt, fuck what you heard.

“Dare what you dare.”

In the end, this will all end quite badly.

In the end, it’s just deeds and your word.

An endless escapade is coming.

One I’d like to share.

“Poor bastard fellow. Sad that you love me so much as such love is predicated on care.”


BALLAD # 2: 

“The Life of Constant Night”

Cultural Context:

Later while partly naked the terrorist notices that the Buxom escort, posing as a high-class courtesan, has no tattoos, which in his culture means that they can both be buried in the same cemetery. Yet, she makes small talk about wanting a tattoo of a dragonfly. And he wonders if that’s her brand presented by those who might own her. Or is she just a Russian hippy. And it comes up that dragonflies eat their males after copulating.  But I’m a Jew, not an insect he says.

She eats her mate!

She bellows,

Welcome Danger! 

She makes us all strange bedfellows.

“There are no atheists in fox holes near the front”, so they say.

But I was one. 

“I need no G-d to die happy today.”

Or to love! Or, do with my hands- what most attempt with only vain words. 

Or paper figures in a mounted gyrating flesh circus.

I lost once in the long bottle,

What a priest usually achieves in a prayer; full throttle. Never saw, only heard.

The Good God headed the boldness of my word.

Almighty Vodka is my Greek Deity! 

Always more inviting than the priests anyway.

Safer also to have children around. To work and play!

I believe I was a child around you. 

Once or twice in a long past, long gone day. 

It was short-lived. Adulthood was swiftly found.

To have met you in Penza. Before you lost something in transit. The first time around.

Years ago! I might have made your journey more, hospitable ok?

Based on what the latest lies. 

That you say, it all sounds unpleasant.

“Would haves” are everyone’s favorites. Regrettable?

Everyone is alive with regret in this shit of a City today.

There is no could have!

Only the will to do! Imagining the before times. 

Your lies and your truths both eviscerate me! 

I lack words and thus form rhymes.

They vivisect my disjoint.

The only thing I know how do well in a kitchen,

Is cook well and then fuck you at knifepoint.

Albeit, simply. My love for you is made twofold.

You are voluptuous. Striking be near, ever hard, ever bold.

A bit stunning, your total fear of darkness,

You’re hot and then you’re quite cold.

For my love, or my own belly I can do much, 

I liked your arms around my neck, 

I liked your grab of meat inside my jeans, 

I need your clutch. 

Your fun. Your fold. You and I, it seem to have lived a life of night!

We’ve slept out in the exposure cold, fallen asleep on outbound trains, 

The story you painted! 

It was told as it was used to get me bought and then sold. Am I right?

I’ve slept where I was offered, you’ve slept once there here and too,

I’ve stolen bread, you’ve stolen bread.

We both know very well the Manhattan finer things, well at last you do.

I’ve lied to protect myself. 

You lie supine and lateral and rewind, you fine dine and call sign. 

“You text in novels, she says, you can woo too?

“I’ll steal bread. I’ll steal the moon.  The universe for you!” 

If I had such reach with my plain speech,

If I can afford one, this is America! I should probably own two!

To feed the very stars with words of action and of promise and also of rope.

“Man I own less than four feet of your noose, but you are hanging on a mere thread, dying from your hope.”

The things I’ve done in past lives are made plain by 6 am in Brighton.

We hold hands sometimes, we stumble, we bottle tip, we bottle lighten. 

We all fall down!

When I was the man with Grey Mask, I used to kill for you! I’ve killed over a thousand men!

White, black, red, yellow and brown!

“The things you say!”

We are twenty minutes from the coming of the new day, the rabbit hole residing; 

You cling to me like glue, but you mold me like clay.

I lie, I wish to always lie, as if begotten battle cry, we try, to get old and never die with you.

“One day man, one day.

My past lives melt, like midnight wax. Like Mason words, like the blue moon too.

I lose myself, I give myself, I bind my fate, and it’s true Jew.

The blue moon above us drowns out the sobs of my very old soul.

You lie, and I cry, and the circle sounds. Ringtones, bells and things made un-whole.

Sobs, of the stroll, good price for another dead soul,

The Russian Gobnick ghetto thug roll! The body count is getting higher as you see into my goal.

We lie on the beach, and midnight star wax drips from me, pleasure bleeds to you.

Not two fucks of clue. About the things we just might do.

I drip on her, she likes it. 

“The pain! The basic happy feel of pain.” 

The sealing of desire,

What they did to us respectively? Ya Tibya Leblue.

Between my legs, I grab your mane.

“What’s it all for?”

I’ll drip wax on the back, You’ll pour.

“But if it’s true I am a married woman, a desired girlfriend and have other fourteen lovers; then use me; “Make me for one night more, your tragic story whore“.

“You almost killed us over nothing”, I say.

“You almost kissed me over nothing,” she replies. It’s not yet but almost day.

A dove goes by, it decorates the Brooklyn sky.

There are blacks and blues eviscerated, there is no middle way. I cry.

Well we killed us! But don’t make that dirty moment linger. It was the wine, it was the mood, it was the; Je ne sais!

“Don’t get French with me my dear!”

“Dragon flies are temporary creatures, they mate, they kill, and they do not ever stay.

Temperamental predator at best, what is it that you really hide. Where blind side your sword, your blade your knife;

“I bore my neck to monsters, and those monsters took my life.

They surely know to prey on glorious pests,

Fastest insect in the world they say; but they eat each other. They are deadly. They are blessed.

Whereas I’d like to think you only eat your enemies, the knife point fucking, the dripping wax the rest of it, the salsa dancing; this isn’t Russia, we are west of it.

“I’m a dirty minded man, but I respect you and I love you as if I were your non-blood brother.”

“Sounds incestuous for monsters to be dating.”

“We’re blood ritual mating, we’re cold war postulating, we’re exodus deliberating, it’s dawn. We did this to each other.

“I have never feared death. For I’m mostly dead already.”

Try and fuck me til I break!”

“Dead men don’t use Black Amex cards,” she says, “dead men don’t buy sushi, lamb or steak! You’re not what I signed up for, you’re not like Americans at all. You’re crazy, you’re a big mistake to take.”


“Don’t mock a man who thinks himself bewitched with love!”

Love is vast! In itself a pure annoyance mixed with the universe, a called solution. A backhand is still a backhand even with a white glove.

“He is steely in his constitution.”

“I’m also half-mad. It’s possibly true.”

Do not confine his gestures to his fire or his eyes as they shine a wild night made new,

Make me prove it! My work. To identify the mountain. And then I will seek to move it.”

That is the objective anyway, enamored me.

For if I for one-second falter, push me off the very ledge, let death come freely!”

What kind of name is Wal-ter? You pushed us over the ledge last week, in plain speak.

I am triumphant, let me have you! Let me have it all.

Potentially I fear, you might die for me this year,

Blackhearts defying logic, your fist to the brick of a wall. 

That night! Remember that night was the edge.

Kiss me hard, don’t look away from this now,

“You’ve pushed us dragon flying off the ledge.

Written in September 2011 in Newyorkgrad

Written as “The DragonFly Poem #2”

Performed in a Private show

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, ”


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!


Turn back the clock give me my life!


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


You say the same blatnoy to every woman!


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


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


 In many ways you would like her, you know.


 Put up your hands, I am your foe!


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


Turn back the clock give me my life!


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


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.     


       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.


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. 


        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.



Raise your head up!

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


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

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


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!




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


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! 




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! 






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.


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.


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.


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.



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! 


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!


“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!


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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.



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. 


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.


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.


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 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.   


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”.   


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.


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



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




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)


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



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)




Alexander the Great

The Mede Confederation Against Assyrian Empire

The Maccabean Uprising Against Assyrian Empire 167-160 BCE

The Rise and Fall of 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


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




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


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


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)


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. 


“You work for an ONG?” 


“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)


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. 


“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)


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)


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.