Category Archives: violence

reflections on the occupy movement and what protest means today

It was about a year ago that the Occupy movement spread worldwide. Millions of people participated in the protest against global economic inequality. Their rallying point was that the top 1% is accumulating too much wealth, and primarily through exploitative means. There is vast evidence to support these claims. The world is not a very friendly place, I’m sure you already know. So I agreed with their cause and was interested to see how it would develop. I expected an anti-protester stance by the government and corporate world, but what truly shocked me was how the general public reacted. Ordinary people (not all, there was massive support) began bashing on the movement against corporate greed. Even some of my politically apathetic friends began posting “facebook bumper stickers” against the protesters. When the powers that be had enough and ordered the police in to smash the movement, those same people felt America had won some type of battle. In fact it did, but for who?

The Occupy movement failed to bring about any significant change to the global economic system. People are still being exploited for labor and the presidential debate hardly addresses the growing inequality of the 1%. Yet the movement brought to light a disturbing aspect of our government, that future mass protests will most likely be met by the same repressive actions and possibly be intensified. Furthermore, the violence shows that the government has clearly sided with Wall St. The fact that all this happened while our troops were off dying for “freedom” only adds to the hypocrisy of it all. Any meaningful social action against abusive government/corporate practices will be ignored in the least and will be met with raw violence if necessary. Keep in mind that the Occupy movement was largely a nonviolent movement.

Tiananmen Square Massacre, 1989. Chinese protesters rally against government/corporate corruption. This footage is a haunting reminder of the Police State any government could become. Warning: the following BBC broadcast was recorded live on location and contains graphic images of violence and death.

This is not an isolated incident. And if you care enough to read further into the history of Neoliberalism, you’ll find that the Occupy movement is actually a continuing development from what you just watched. A true democracy must tolerate the most unpopular protests or degrade into totalitarianism. Advocating official government repression silences all people.

The government’s decision to suppress the Occupy movement by police force rather than open debate has lead some people to question adherence to nonviolent tactics. In the face of increasing police aggression, a growing number of people are turning to Black Bloc. It is a protest tactic in which a unified mass all wear black clothing and conceal their identities. They use extreme measures such as graffiti, rioting, and destruction of private property, as forms of direct action against the corporate establishment. Mob mentality is preferred and the group is known to be strong advocates of Anarchism.

Whether Black Bloc is an effective protest tactic or counter intuitive to petitioning the government for authentic change is hotly debated. What remains certain is that methods like Black Bloc are a reaction to government’s reluctance to engage the people’s concerns of corporate abuse, and the outright assaults on peaceful protesters only encourage more people to turn away from pacifism. After the inadequate results of 2011’s massive Occupy movement and the government’s brutal repression tactics, the question of what protest means in the United States remains uncertain. The solutions will not materialize themselves from nothing. These Ideas will be born from rational and intelligent debate that is protected by our right to free speech. But all the free speech in the world means nothing if our minds are empty and lethargic. Read books, ask questions, seek out information, and challenge propaganda. Most importantly, see that there is a problem. Both sides will need to evolve as the growing, unresolved tension foreshadows the violent extremities of the not so distant past.

 

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Your iPhone and 2,000 Rioting Chinese Workers

The footage above is of a riot at the Foxconn facility in Taiyuan, China on September 24th, 2012. It’s been reported to have started at the overcrowded dorm rooms (eight to ten people may share a room). The horrid working conditions have been driving workers to the edge. Several have even jumped to their deaths out of desperation, but instead of improving work conditions, Foxconn decided to go with suicide nets. I’m sure this was the more cost effective route.

This isn’t the “social safety net” most have in mind.

The guards had been bullying the workers continuously. “Bullying” is probably an understatement because it was enough to piss off 2,000 Chinese workers into brawling with these pigs. So who’s the bad guys here? I personally enjoy watching riots and tend to root for the home team. The authority figures tend to come fully equipped with the latest in hippy bashing technology. This automatically gives them the edge, further encouragement would unnecessary and thus somewhat ridiculous. A rioter has think outside the box in order to turn everyday items into potential weapons. I am a fan of ingenuity. Not everyone sees it this way.

David Barboza and Keith Bradsher of The New York Times offered their probable explanation for the explosive anger turned riot.

“Disputes involving large groups of migrant workers are common in China. In some cases, workers protest after believing that they have been promised a certain pay package and traveled a long distance to claim it, only to find on arrival that the details are different from what they expected. In other cases, workers from different provinces with different cultural traditions coming together in a single factory have clashed over social issues or perceived slights.”

I think they could be onto something. Workers heard of good pay being offered for assembling world-famous Apple products, only to get there and find:

-Excessive overtime without proper compensation

-The occasional 24 hour work shift

-Overcrowded living conditions

-Poisonous chemicals

-Factory explosions

-Asshole security guards

-Suicidal depression

Expect the unexpected.

As for their second reason, “workers from different provinces with different cultural traditions coming together in a single factory have clashed over social issues or perceived slights.” This explains everything! Why didn’t anyone inform Foxconn that Chinese people are racist against Chinese people? I can just hear the hate slogans: “We keep taking all our jobs!” Man, I’d be pissed, too. As persuasive an argument that David Barboza and Keith Bradsher make, I can’t accept this for one simple fact. How could they hit anyone if they all look alike? Fuck around, and you might end up kicking your own ass! No, this just doesn’t add up. David Barboza and Keith Bradsher are not journalists. They write anti-worker bullshit to reassure rich cocksuckers that they won’t burn in hell with the rest of the slave masters. Let’s hear it instead from somebody who actually works there.

This worker says she makes less than a dollar an hour. That means for the price of hiring one Mexican illegally, you could get a whole fleet of Chinese workers. They probably wouldn’t bring their own gardening tools, but at least they wouldn’t be blasting mariachi music, right? Give and take, my friend, give and take. Honestly though, less than a dollar an hour? Even hobos begging for change make more than that and on a slow day. So who’s calling the shots? Let’s meet the piece of subhuman shit himself. Introducing Terry Gou, Chairman of Hong Hai Precision (mother company of Foxconn). According to Forbes, he rings up for a net worth of $6.3 billion dollars.

“I give these many shits about my people.”

Apple has always modeled its corporate culture on having a somewhat hippy attitude. This most likely comes from founder, Steve Jobs, who is known to have dabbled with LSD and even encouraged others to fry balls in order to find groovy ways around creative obstacles. He is remembered for being a man of boundless ideas–that is, until he’s faced with the problem of human rights abuses in Apple assembly lines. It’s sort of weird seeing him go from guru to yabbering douche bag in under five seconds.

Straight from the horse’s mouth. The company knows what’s going on in the China factories. So what did Steve Jobs say in response to the suicide inducing work conditions? In so many words, he nicely said, “Fuck them. I’m rich, bitch.” At least that was my interpretation. Steve Jobs died a greedy $36.1 billion asshole. Anyone who can’t see that must be high on acid.

“Now get back to work or kill yourself.”

“Yes sir!” (Fatal explosion at Foxconn)

So what’s the point of all this? No, I’m not going to start advocating throwing away our iShit. I have all my music on iTunes, why the hell would I do that? Instead, I want you to remember the slogan, “Made in USA.” You have to remember it because it’s quickly becoming a relic of the past.

Never Forget

Virtually all Apple products are manufactured overseas by millions of workers like the ones at Foxconn then sold in the US at record breaking figures. What would those millions of jobs mean to Americans in hard times like now? When Apple was asked why it doesn’t manufacture in America, they gave a whole slew of how Chinese companies have out performed American craftsmanship and are more cost effective. On some level this is true, but it’s only possible by breaking the law. We have rights and regulations that protect us from things like “24-hour work shifts” and “less than a dollar an hour wage.” The solution has been to lobby (bribe) government officials in order to “relax” restrictions and create tax incentives for sending manufacturing jobs to other countries that tolerate labor abuse. America loses jobs, workers in other countries are exploited, you put the iShit on your credit card at marked-up interest rates, and the Board of Directors get their chubby little Christmas bonuses.

Forbes Magazine reports 39% drop in American manufacturing jobs since 1979.

Great time to be a CEO. Where can I apply?

It’s these same people telling us, “Hey, nothing personal, just business.” They claim fixing the economy isn’t their problem, as if the sky high unemployment rates had nothing to do with the millions of jobs strategically shipped overseas. Yet, they wish for Americans to continue purchasing their products, for police officers to arrest the thieves who would rip off their merchandise, seek copyright protection and tax breaks under US laws, and the security of the United States’ armed forces.

This should offend you.

These abusive economic practices hide behind deceptive terms such as “Free Trade.” It’s a global scam that amasses wealth in the hands of few at the expense of workers everywhere. Neoliberalism, as it is called, is transcending beyond Republican and Democrat party lines. Our government as a whole has been getting on the “profit over people” track. You have rights and interests as a worker. Those rights are being stripped away through a big business agenda who wish to have Foxconn conditions here at home.

The first thing you can do is simply be aware. Don’t rely exclusively on television to inform you. There are plenty of writers you can check out. I’d recommend Noam Chomsky as a great starting point. I hope you’ve enjoyed my introduction to Neoliberalism and Globalization. Now get back to your iLife.

Feel free to comment and question anything on this post. I’m always happy to recommend additional writers, books, and documentaries.

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Blubber Island Survival Guide #2

Please follow these directions.

If you’re reading this, you have successfully not died. Congratulations. The first segment of the “Blubber Island Survival Guide” focused on the key aspects of the Blubber Island universe. Today we’re taking a more sociological approach. Blubber Island is a highly complex, inter-dimensional environment, so it’s really easy for things to get mixed up and turn a little screwy. Don’t panic. We here at the Blubber Island Survival Institute have the best and brightest minds working around the clock to bring you the most cutting-edge information in anti-deceasing technology.

Death has to get through him first.

The number one thing to remember: Blubber Island is bubbling with Chaos. Randomness is at every turn. There is no sense of direction nor rock to stand on. The degree of shear senseless is enough to drive the average person bat-shit crazy. When you’re not getting chased by zombies with exploding heads, you’ll be dealing with an assortment of colorful characters. Let’s take a look!

“Can I fluff your pillow?”

The first kind of people you’ll run into are weirdos. At first glance, they seem like normal people–and then they speak. Unless you want to find out what a handkerchief dipped in chloroform smells like, avoid these dudes like the Plague. Blubber Island is basically a weirdo-hive. There’s no such thing as “normal” people. These are the “normal” people.

“Aliens!”

Next up are crazy bums and hobos. These characters claim to have god-like insight into everything going on. The strange part is that sometimes they’re right on the money. Other times, they’re just your run-of-the-mill crazy-ass bums. Whether you choose to take their advice is like spinning the Wheel of Chance. Statistics have shown a 100-to-1 odds of “crazy bum talk” versus “info that will save your life”. Think of these guys as walking casinos of knowledge.

“I’m gonna kick your ass and get away with it.”

Cops and any other type of security figures. These guys thrive on two things: beating the living daylights out of you, and, well… that’s it really. Hocked up on testosterone and countless hours of MMA Youtube clips, they’re ready to break your ribs before you get a chance to break the law. You’d have better luck trying to talk a rabid grizzly bear into riding a unicycle than convincing these guys you have rights. PCP will come in handy.

“Is that a free cookie?”

Next on the list are Greñudos, Latin for “stoner punks”. Highly intoxicated, free of all care, and totally lost, these will be your allies. Constantly keeping their ears to the street (mostly due to binge drinking), they are an abundant source of information. Unfortunately, their insatiable appetite for marijuana will cause them to forget most of it. Seeking out these lumbering pot heads seems counterintuitive, yet believe us, they will not let you down (sort of).

“Hold on a second, I need to murder you.”

Next up are homicidal Neo-Nazi with heroin withdrawals. If we need to explain why you should stay away from this guy, kill yourself now.

“No, you can’t hug us.”

Lastly are entities from another dimension. These ones are hard to find. However, if you do run into one, it means something big is about to happen. They’re not going to transverse through the space-time fabric to ask if you’re on Twitter. There is virtually zero information known about these strange travelers. All we can say is that some wish to help you along and others want to stick your head on a pole. It’s sort of a toss up, so you’ll have to play it by ear.

Not today, buddy.

Once again you have helped yourself keep that pesky Grim Reaper off your shoulder. We’re positive you’ll meet all kinds of people not listed here, but we’re closing up shop. The key is to keep a sharp eye and a groovy mind. Remember this blog when running into these characters, and you’ll be A-OK. Actual results may vary.  See you next time, and remember our motto: “No Dying Allowed!”

Photo Credits in order of appearance

1.  http://www.heyhotshot.com/blog/2010/06/10/dont-die-limited-edition-book-prints-by-justin-james-reed/

2. http://directgeek.com/

3. http://fashionnetworkseattle.com/fashion-blog/good-bad-ugly/good-bad-ugly-celebrity-mug-shots/

4. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevindyer/5719860925/

5. http://prof77.wordpress.com/2010/12/30/police-steroid-drug-abuse/

6. Random stoner

7. http://www.brobible.com/life/slideshow/face-tattoo-mug-shots-of-2011

8.http://themovieprojector.blogspot.jp/2011/09/cmba-guilty-pleasures-movie-blogathon.html

9. http://www.odditycentral.com/pics/4-places-where-dying-is-not-allowed.html

Blubber Island Survival Guide

Several of my friends and other brave souls have recently stepped ashore Blubber Island. They have entered a dangerous world in which nobody can guarantee their safety. As the author of this work, I feel somewhat responsible for the countless people (this includes you) who will end up deranged, scarfing down handfuls of their own “caca” [Latin for feces]. This realization troubled me greatly. “But Ismael,” you ask, “why don’t you just pull Blubber Island off shelves and ask everyone to stop reading it?”

Perish the thought, I say.

In order to tip the scales in favor of “not eating caca,” I decided to write an official “Blubber Island Survival Guide.” Blubber Island is a vast universe encompassing countless dimensions and worlds. It would be impossible and impractical to try and cram everything in one shot, thus I will instead focus on key elements. Follow these guidelines and you might make it out alive.

This is perfectly natural. (winsomeaunt.blogspot.com)

Exploding Heads are a natural phenomenon on Blubber Island. The postman could be handing you a letter from your friend in Monkeys Eyebrow, KY, and then you’ll make some offhand remark like, “Hey, my neighbor is sort of an asshole. You think I could fart into one of his letters?” The guy gives you a funny look and BAM! The mailman’s head blow up like pumpkin stuffed with cherry bombs. Whatever you do, do not stop and try to figure out why it happened. Just accept it and move on. There have been reports of chain reaction head explosions. Why risk it?

Think of an exploding head as a traffic light turning green. Head blows up, you move forward. Simple.

I’m sorry family, I wanna live! (all-funny.info)

Blubber Island is inhabited by flesh eating zombies. Exercise all traditional zombie survival tactics such as; keeping a sharp ear, running away instead of fighting, and abandoning infected/slower traveling companions (see Image of father above). Occasionally, zombies will seem to appear without warning. Be on guard for zombies bursting out of the ground or falling out of the blue sky. Much like exploding heads, don’t think run. The following film clip is for educational purposes.

Now wasn’t that easy? He made it and so can you.

They’re not doing any good just lying around. (tucsoncitizen.com)

Another natural phenomenon is the abundant presence of guns. On Blubber Island, they seem to pop up in the strangest places. But you can’t just reach into a bush and pull out AK-47. The rules of karma are that you must put some degree of effort into it. Think outside the box and look for secret compartments. If those zombies chase you into a kitchen, it wouldn’t hurt to check the refrigerator (if you get my drift). All guns come equipped with two things: unlimited ammo and unlimited bad guys. Learn to shoot while running at a full sprint, and I recommend learning from the pros.

They definitely read this blog.

This is a good crash course in dealing with the chaotic Blubber Island universe. I will continue updating the survival guide. Hope to see you next time. Keep your finger on the trigger and always aim for the head.

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