New York political poetess Vi Ransel published some of the best work to appear on our primordial journal Shared Sacrifice. Vi graciously sent us these two poems to premiere the Arts & Culture site (although her rigorous verse would be right at home in Politics & Policy).
It’s two degrees.
People are burning
to death in Detroit
and eating dirt
Britain’s Enclosure Acts
drove people from lands
they’d worked for centuries by right
and into the “great dim sheds”
of the Industrial Revolution
owned by the propertied privileged who,
with iron and callous contempt, ruled
those with neither property nor privilege,
who had no right to food,
or health or shelter,
since life itself
not to starve. No right
not to die of a disease
easily treatable. No right
not to burn or freeze
to death. No right
Now there is no escape
from the rapacious eagle.
Even sovereign nations
face its tearing talons,
razor beak slashing at
anyone who dares to resist:
Liberal left, no less
privileged than the right,
travels personal Avenues of More,
bourgeoisie blinders on,
shielding tender sensitivities
from the fact that the path
they travel kills
with an indifference
no less callous
“Philosophy should always know that indifference is a militant thing. It batters down the walls of cities and murders the women and children amid the flames and the purloined altar vessels. When it goes away it leaves smoking ruins, where lie citizens bayonetted through the throat. It is not a children’s pastime like mere highway robbery.” – Stephen Crane
THE KILLING FLOOR
Like free-range “beef” and “poultry”
we plead for a more gentle slaughter,
that we might arrive more comfortably unaware,
into the cattle chute of capitalism’s abattoir.
When we raged against “The Establishment”
they said that there wasn’t any.
There’s no such thing as “The System” or “The Man”
said the beneficiaries of structural inequality.
The Leviathan lies in waiting
with all its bribes and soothing lies.
And anyone with a hope of uncloaking it,
most often signs away his life.
JFK signed Executive order one, one, one, one, zero
in order to usurp the money power
of its debt-slavery-dominance status quo
and thus condemned himself to die in Dallas.
Doctor Martin Luther King successfully exposed
the inevitable outcomes of capitalism: war and poverty,
and was rewarded for this truth with a bullet through the throat
as he stood speaking on a Memphis motel balcony.
John Lennon was so charismatic to the young
in his insistence that we give peace a chance
and imagine a world with no religion or property
that he was murdered on his own front door steps.
Kennedy’s true intent was defanged
with the relegation of his memory to Camelot’s mists.
King’s revolutionary epiphany was neutered
by limiting his memory to civil rights activist.
Lennon’s legacy was simply left to be imagined
as a fan’s tragic murder of a rock ‘n’ roll star,
but the killings at Kent and Jackson State,
Chicago’s gassings and beatings of students,
were, indeed, the “invisible” Establishment’s finest hour,
bringing the fact into undeniable focus
that the same thing can happen to any one of us, too.
And it was burned into the nation’s collective memory
that this would be the result of dissent’s pursuit.
And “they” soon put the invisible iron fist back
into the velvet glove of perception management
and relied on public diplomacy and advertising
for control as well as keeping us ignorant.
They pulled back on allowing the people to witness
unsettling examples of imperial brutality.
No more flag-draped coffins of cannon fodder or war
live and in living color, on prime time TV.
Our protesting would henceforth be confined to zones
behind barbed wire to ensure that our speech would be “free”
while the Invisible Empire began to up their kill rate
using credit to cull our numbers financially
because The Establishment had no use for 2/3 of us
and the Middle Class had gotten way too large.
So they cut off our allowance by massive outsourcing,
taking back benefits and de-unionizing jobs
while ratcheting up Americans’ cost of living
to get us to use our homes as ATMs.
The Ownership Society was a ploy to redistribute
most of our hard-earned money to the top and to them.
The financial genocide is finally coming to a boil,
and it’s no less deadly for being slower-acting.
It’s advantage is that it doesn’t startle and stampede
the Empire’s 300 million fatted cattle.
Docility in the kill chute is an asset.
Democracy’s got an untidy tendency to dissent.
And like the slowly lethal, silent killer tobacco,
it took thirty years for it to build to this effect.
The Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush legacy continues
to transfer the people’s money to the Rich
through massive tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation,
but the Establishment may find that payback is a bitch.
The engineered ignorance, obedience and “patriotism”
that binds the cash cows so very tightly to their masters
is unraveling as the victims catch the scent of their own blood,
giving this cattle drive a potential for disaster.
As the invisible hand that wears the velvet glove
exposes itself as an iron fist wielding butcher’s knives,
the cattle will be forced from their consumer lethargy
to stampede in a revolution to save their lives.
“The more we do to you, the less you seem to believe we are doing it.” – Dr. Josef Mengele
“The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich lest we get it.” – Edward Dowling
“There is no subjugation so perfect as that which keeps the illusion of freedom, for in that way one captures volition itself.” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau
“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, pull back the curtains, and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.” – Frank Zappa
“Find out just what people will quietly submit to and you have found the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them; and these will continue until they are opposed by either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” – Frederick Douglass
“Freedom is not won by passive acceptance of suffering. Freedom is won by a struggle against suffering.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Fight the power.” – Public Enemy
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.” – John F. Kennedy