POEM: secret handshake (for Owen)

secret handshake
for Owen

“buy me a milk tea”
you say
after we speak
the same words
at the same time
it’s our shorthand
a shared acknowledgement
that we know one another
like no one else knows us
we even have
a secret handshake:
it ends with index fingers
pointed as if to say
“I choose you from
all the others”
at night we dip our gyoza
into the sauce you made
lift the steaming rice
from the bowls into
our mouths
kiss with the taste
of soy sauce
on our tongues
& thank the stars
or the gods
or just dumb luck
that this is the life
we’re living

/ / /

Jason Crane
5 February 2017
State College PA

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A conversation about anarchism

A conversation between activists about the basic concepts of anarchism. From the 23 January 2017 edition of The Morning Mixtape on 98.7 The FREQ.

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Violence

Your iPhone exists because people work in degraded conditions to make it. Same for all the clothes I’m wearing. Same for a lot of the food I eat. I have gas for the car I drive because of violence perpetrated by armies and rulers (including those of my own country) to secure the necessary oil, no matter where it’s found or under whose land. The cheap products we’re all able to buy in the big box stores that litter our landscape are the result of dangerous working conditions and poor pay and lack of health care and long hours that directly harm workers and their families. Generally speaking, most of us choose to ignore most of this violence, despite our direct or indirect involvement in it and the ease with which it is possible to discover the facts. Moreover, the idea that violence is never the correct path belies a history filled with instances when it was the only sane path. It’s true that smarter decisions in history might have prevented the rise of Hitler or the rise of nations or whatever, but once World War II was happening and the Holocaust was being perpetrated, there was no moral choice but to use force to stop those crimes from happening. Similarly, would we suggest to a domestic abuse victim that she not, if the opportunity presents itself, use force to save herself or her children from an abuser? Of course not. The idea that everyone can be engaged with is, in my recent experience, primarily put forth by people upon whom violence is not visited. The same people who are, like me, complicit in the system I outlined at the beginning. We need to be more careful about our language, and about an uninformed commitment to “nonviolence” at the cost of liberation. Finally, as I mentioned over the weekend, “nonviolence,” in the way MLK or Gandhi used it, generally meant provoking an overwhelming show of violence by the other side in the hope that the sickened populace would force the state to act. To call this the absence of violence is dangerous. There is a real world out there, and we can’t change it without first being honest about what’s happening.

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Civil Discourse, or, “Why, Jimmy Dore, Why?”

jimmyI’m a big fan of the comedian Jimmy Dore. I first learned about him from The Young Turks, a progressive internet news show. I like Jimmy’s take-no-prisoners honesty, and his unwillingness to overlook crimes committed by Democrats just because they’re Democrats.

I’m also a big fan of The Jimmy Dore Show, his podcast of news and comedy. There aren’t many podcasts that make me laugh out loud, but Jimmy’s regularly does. And it does more than that, too. Jimmy’s interviews are insightful and pointed, such as the interview on the most recent episode (Jan. 6, 2017) with reporter Glenn Greenwald.

For me, among the highlights of every episode are the phone calls. A very talented impressionist leaves voicemails or does live conversations as Mitt Romney, Barack Obama and many others. On the Jan. 6 episode, one of the calls was “Harrison Ford,” talking about Carrie Fisher. You can listen to the call for yourself at the top of this post. Please note that the audio is the property of The Jimmy Dore Show. I’m posting it here because I don’t want you to have to take my word for the content.

I was really surprised by the call. I thought it was tone deaf and misogynist and made light of mental illness, all things I find very uncharacteristic of Jimmy’s show. I think when public people make missteps, we can and should speak up. So I tweeted at Jimmy:

I got this in reply:

This is condescending and much more representative of what I’d expect from a less progressive person than Jimmy. I said as much:

And Jimmy replied again:

I sent one last comment:

Is this a big deal? No. It’s just disappointing. Jimmy’s not a hero of mine, but I respect his work both as a comedian and as a truth-teller. I expected better. But I guess this is where our culture is at these days.

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The Morning Mixtape: Direct Action

This morning on my show I talked about the importance of direct action, and gave both local and national examples. We don’t need to wait for anyone to save us. We can do it ourselves.

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The Morning Mixtape: Who Cares About The Homeless?

The new coat that doubles as a sleeping bag is all the rage on social media. Behind it lies the truth that we could feed and house everyone if we wanted to. We just don’t want to.

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