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2 years, 3 months ago
  • Thanks ysd, I appreciate that. And I don’t want anyone to get the impression that I’m performing some kind of drive-by assault on anyone. I know we’re all feeling pain, uncertainty, fear and disillusionment.

    If I had to make these points every time and every day I’d simply have no time for getting my own work done. Furthermore, I’m trying to do more in my immediate environment as opposed to commenting online. I tend to get drawn in, especially where there are so many thoughtful and sincere citizens. But there’s a heck of a lot of work to do, and I’ve found that the more projects I take on in physical space the less depressed and hopeless I feel. Probably just an illusion of control. But I think I finally get the saying, “idleness is the devil’s workshop,” and blogging, for me at least, can be a form of idleness. So that mostly means working on building stronger relations with my immediate neighbors, learning and becoming more “sustainable” (which is also deeply rewarding and enjoyable), preparing our kids for the Apocalypse (no, not yet) and generally buckling down. I don’t know what a healthy balance looks like between participating online and living offline, between planning for the worst and living in the now, between education and action. They’re all valuable and have there place, and as I mentioned earlier, I do appreciate much of what FDL provides. All the best.

  • Towner commented on the blog post Debate Odds and Ends

    2012-10-18 00:18:40View | Delete


  • “And now I’ll challenge the whole Occupy thing…Why not have demands now? Why not evolve? Why not demand THINGS WE NEED?…

    So HELLO OCCUPY! I got news for you. You need to evolve. Or die off like you have been.

    In case you haven’t noticed,a lot of us are all Moving On and Ignoring You and Your Shitty Brand.”

    Wow Kelley, that’s some indictment. So the reason we’re all fucked is because Occupy hasn’t evolved? You know, this is the indictment you should be making against most of the entire “progressive blogosphere.” Why not make those ultimatums to the Democratic party?

    What happened to all that “crashing the gate” and “inside/outside” strategizing? Kelly, what’s Your Shitty Brand?

    Look, I’ve seen you around here a long time and believe you to be deeply engaged and committed. But you show how much you fundamentally misunderstand or totally ignore the older and ongoing failure of the online progressive left.

    How might our electoral politics be different today if liberals and progressives actually supported real (d)emocratic candidates? How might an inside/outside strategy look with real progressive support of the Green Party (as an example) TOGETHER with the inclusion and support of Occupy and other grassroots movements?

    Look, Kevin is doing phenomenal work here and I’m so grateful for his column. And perhaps he and others are all we can expect now; educating progressives and hopefully peeling folk away from the two-party hologram. But I happen to believe we’re totally fucked because Kevin’s work is in the small minority! What kind of hope is there when so many progressives and liberals, who know the score, keep playing the game? Maybe FDL is where the cool kids are cause we can smirk about the “great orange Satan’s” co-optation and Occupy’s “failures.”

    I’m reminded of a twitter conversation I was having with Ian Welsh about the growing fascist violence in Greece, where fascist party members together with supporters in the police force beat anti-fascist protesters without incident. We’re not at all far from such a scenario here. Ian’s reply, “American left will die and watch their children’s future destroyed b4 lifting a finger while a 16 year old girl is beaten.” I agree.

    Despite the material support FDL provides for OWS (very commendable) this place was also hotbed of anti-anarchism with countless forums about rooting out “the cancer of occupy” in Chris Hedges formulation. Most libs didn’t get it then and still don’t now.

    I still visit FDL daily to read DD and Kevin and to catch Faster’s roundups. But I rarely comment anymore; my head can’t take much more slamming against the desk!

    Kelly, I really hope you reconsider your positions. It’s so disheartening to me that they seem to represent the majority mainstream left. You’re obviously active, engaged and intelligent.

  • Towner commented on the blog post The Roundup for October 11, 2012

    2012-10-12 05:39:30View | Delete

    Seconded! I don’t take the time to comment too often but I always tune-in for Fatster’s “Roundups.”

    Btw, Slinkachu’s work is absolutely sublime, thanks for posting it; a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down!

  • Towner commented on the diary post You Can’t “Grow the Movement” by Dissing the Kids: On Chris Hedges and Occupy by UndisciplinedPhD.

    2012-04-13 22:48:29View | Delete


    Thanks for your considered post, great to see it front paged.

    Perhaps you’ve encountered Peter Wirzbicki’s post, “Historicizing “Violence”: Thoughts on the Hedges/Graeber Debate”?

    Check out the comments as Graeber joins the thread. Very insightful.

  • Towner commented on the diary post Occupy Supply provides comfort at Occupy Austin by KrisAinTX.

    2011-12-01 02:55:07View | Delete

    Thanks KrisAinTX.

    I had seen some of the reporting in the DT. And I also remember seeing something from the UT American Studies blog, though their interest, if politically sympathetic, was research.

    All the best,

  • Towner commented on the diary post Occupy Supply provides comfort at Occupy Austin by KrisAinTX.

    2011-11-28 21:44:47View | Delete

    KrisAinTx, Thanks for all this. I had a few questions for you, perhaps you’ve addressed them elsewhere. 1. Have occupations begun up Congress at the State Capitol? 2. Are there any significant actions taking place on and with UT or the other universities? What about any of the local high schools? Surely tuition and debt [...]

  • Towner commented on the blog post Late Night FDL: Black Friday’s Instigators

    2011-11-28 21:14:48View | Delete

    I agree, there is plenty of blame to go around, including us, progressives and liberals. Not all that long ago stores were closed on Sundays, even grocery stores! In America at least, our restricted retail schedules were based on Christian principals and challenged and overturned in the language of liberalism, for neoliberal purposes to be sure.

    I agree, complaining and mocking others is counterproductive, unless it’s the corporations and banksters driving this madness. Thanksgiving must be a four day civic/industrial holiday. The entire country should shut down (by law!) for four days. And I bet there’s a large majority of Americans who agree with me, Christian, socialist, conservative, progressive or just the sane and compassionate. In my thinking, such a political agenda is actually low hanging fruit. Just imagine four days of relative peace and quite in the ever frantic hustle and bustle USA. We desperately need it, or collective mental health requires it.

  • Towner commented on the blog post Late Night FDL: Black Friday’s Instigators

    2011-11-28 20:57:48View | Delete

    Well not only that. Anyone remember blue laws?

  • Towner commented on the blog post Occupy Gives Hope to Struggling Americans This Thanksgiving

    2011-11-25 04:09:45View | Delete

    Kevin, Once again well done and thank you for your coverage and insights, which get sharper and more pointed with each blog post.

    This just in via my Twitter feed:

    Capitalism can sell you everything… except empathy. Walmart shopper pepper-sprays 10 ppl in a #blackfriday altercation:

    Then check out this image at the Bag depicting the elevation of consumption over citizenship.

    My initial thoughts are of course disgust. But I like to believe that compassion and human community are winning out this year, despite how hard the media sales consumption to those “millions more Americans near or in danger of going into poverty because they could lose their job, their home to bank foreclosure, or contract a disease or illness that leads to a medical bill they will be unable to pay.”

    The corporate monster has no shame but we are winning!
    Happy holidays, Towner

  • Towner commented on the blog post The Tryptophan of Liberty

    2011-11-24 06:53:02View | Delete

    Thanks Ruth. Pumpkins are hard to get in Scandinavia this time of year, about 2-3 weeks late, though I could have planned better. But a friend from NJ got a hold of a descent bird and I’m making pecan pie (with our walnut harvest) and stewed white beans with a ham hock. Then Sunday is 1st Advent when we light the 1st candle in the advent wreath, a Scandinavian tradition. I think all our children figure Thanksgiving is just one of the oh-so-many Christmas festivities here.

  • Towner commented on the blog post The Tryptophan of Liberty

    2011-11-24 04:44:33View | Delete

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    Seems odd to point out the Tank with the RNC (we should rightfully be alarmed!) and associate it with the current Occupy crackdowns given most have been conducted under Democratic mayors with either active participation or implicit consent of a Democratic Federal administration. And then, don’t be surprised to find similar police state hardware at the DNC at the Time Warner Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, home of Bank of America! And lest we forget our recent history, the 2008 DNC convention in Denver was a virtual police state lock down.

    Anyhow, I’m outside the US this year, won’t get to celebrate T-day until Saturday with some other expats. Wishing you all good health and happiness during these troubled times.


  • Towner commented on the blog post An Internet Meme: Lt. Pike’s Rampage Continues Unabated

    2011-11-22 11:08:11View | Delete


    I find this entire “internet meme” fascinating, and the way that not only different people are remixing cultural icons but also re-deploying them like you do here. Michael Shaw at BNN has some interesting remarks about these “culturally sacred” images noting,

    “Different images are surely saying particular things, but what they are all saying, at the meta-level, is: after witnessing such a profound betrayal of trust perpetrated by the State, as mentor and guardian, on the kids in their trust, we have further lost innocence and the lens we were using up until last week to view our culture through suddenly isn’t so clear anymore.”

    And that’s precisely how I read some of the more off beat remixes, like the Star Wars scene above. But most of the images, whether historical photographs, civic art or popular culture seem to tie together our collective memories of social justice struggles much like what you’ve presented here. This is also what democracy looks like!

  • Towner commented on the blog post The Occupy Movement Bewilders Those in Media & Power

    2011-11-22 01:04:15View | Delete

    Furthermore, it’s an inherently submissive and weak strategy, at least in the way it was articulated because the idea rests on the hope that the media will suddenly play nice. At best, it’s a defensive game, an attempt to take a story away. Perhaps the stunt might make some small impact. But I doubt it. So long as you are playing on the corporate media’s playing field you will lose. They will always report what they want how they want: “If they can afford suits then certainly they can afford to go out and get a job!” “Why would they spend money on publicity stunts which could otherwise used to help feed the poor?” On and on.

    Political theater definitely has its place. I especially liked the corporate zombie costumes early on. So perhaps there could be a time and place for deploying such a tactic. But it should never be reactionary to the corporate media.

  • Towner commented on the blog post The Occupy Movement Bewilders Those in Media & Power

    2011-11-22 00:39:10View | Delete!

  • Towner commented on the blog post Support for Occupy Wall Street Unchanged Since Late Month

    2011-11-22 00:32:39View | Delete


    What is with all this insistence that we need solid majorities anyways? Solid majority action through democratic electoral process is a fantastic idea but totally unattainable at this juncture. Power is not wielded democratically in this country, just ask the 1%. I thought that was one of the central messages of OWS? The second important fallacy being discussed in this thread is the idea that OWS just needs “better messaging.” The message is crystal clear to everyone not benefiting in some way from the current system, or fearful of their tenuous position within it.

    1/4 of the population is real power! And as suggested above, we don’t really need better polling, we know that a large majority of Americans actually do support and desire a more equitable and democratic distribution of political and economic resources. OWS isn’t everything nor should it be. To hell with the corporate media and trying to win a messaging battle on their turf. Organize your family, your neighborhood, your workplace and build bridges across other communities in need. As I’ve been told numerous times, this is a global movement but the real progress will be achieved locally.

    Elections won’t matter much. Neither will a better message. The technocrats will only legislate for the 99% when they are forced.

  • Towner commented on the diary post The Occupy Sites The National Media Won’t Tell You About by Phoenix Woman.

    2011-11-18 08:43:33View | Delete

    kspopulist, Thanks for taking the time with such a thoughtful response. “So this post isn’t just about feeling good while it does do that. It’s also about communicating values.” I can appreciate that, particularly as someone who grew up in a relatively small community. And I also appreciate your points about contact and communication outside [...]

  • Towner commented on the diary post The Occupy Sites The National Media Won’t Tell You About by Phoenix Woman.

    2011-11-18 04:49:55View | Delete

    I’m not sure I understand. At first you “were led to believe” there was a “national response” but it was carried out by locals? But now you think its actually just violence being coordinated in a few places by our national security state.” Now you’re hopeful that the local police “are not necessarily enemies of [...]

  • Towner commented on the diary post The Occupy Sites The National Media Won’t Tell You About by Phoenix Woman.

    2011-11-18 04:30:31View | Delete

    Yes, that’s precisely it. The relative “peaceful coexistence” Phoenix Woman thinks exists is an illusion. If Occupy Detroit, or Occupy anywhere, were in any way threatening to the the political order then that “peace” would turn to state violence immediately. Peaceful coexistence between cops and citizens in Detroit? Maybe in the wealthy suburbs. As I [...]

  • Towner commented on the diary post The Occupy Sites The National Media Won’t Tell You About by Phoenix Woman.

    2011-11-17 21:49:27View | Delete

    “Let’s list the other Occupy locales that get along well with the local officialdom.” For what purpose exactly?! This reads like a hollow and useless exercise in feel-goodism after many days of coordinated heavy and sustained state violence across the country and you ask your readers to talk about the (relatively) inconsequential places “that get [...]

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