Interview With An Iconoclast: Part Two
Question: Are you an activist outside of the blog world? Or are the risks tied to being an activist and working in corporate America too great?
Ed Encho: Now I have actually served in the military and I will tell you that it has nothing on oppression and humiliation and the crushing of the human spirit that even comes close to corporate America. I have been burned very badly by the corporate world in the past and am very wary of it as well as and I hate to use this word respectful of the way that it can destroy lives of those who aren’t lining up at the Kool Aid trough behind whatever bullshit H.R. initiative happens to be the flavor of the week. One thing that I have learned during my time in Corporate America is the utter uselessness of anybody who practices the dark arts of Human Resources, a term that is about as dehumanizing as you could possibly imagine for a corporation’s internal intelligence department.
I totally hate the corporate system in all of it’s life sucking vileness so naturally since I do have a mortgage to pay I feel that it is a great risk to write about anything of substance under my real name other than pseudonyms, it is my guess that you will find a lot of this out there with the other people that you survey. The majority of my screeds even the ones that are not expressly critical of the looter capitalist gulag system contain something that could be used as an example of something that I could be hauled into an office and made to face disciplinary procedures for potentially offending anyone. I certainly don’t share my blog postings with coworkers out of a simple matter of survival, I understand that it is a predatory environment in which in order to survive (other than being a completely broken subservient blob of easily controlled protoplasm) that one has to understand the basic laws of the jungle and number one is to maintain a low profile.
The only sort of activism that would really matter in one of these protected by law monstrosities and the bullshit of being an “artificial person” would be to work to organize the employees into a union and that is never going to happen given the multi million dollar union busting cottage industry in modern anti-labor America. Corporations are very authoritarian institutions where free thinking is forbidden and nonconformity is what gets somebody labeled as “weird” and shunned by fellow employees and management. In most corporations, obedience is pretty much browbeaten into an employee from day one and in the larger ones there are reinforcing systems of propaganda that one is constantly subjected to. Obedience and conformity are not only not accepted but management cultivates networks of snitches and spies to ensure that any unity against the toxic corporate environment can be nipped in the bud immediately and any potential bad seeds can be purged from the organism itself.
Anyway, I have been in the belly of the beast for far too long now and if I chose to do so could write exclusively about the corporate gulag system and never be lacking for material. I have had some thoughts of going into a few different corporations under false pretenses like Barbara Ehrenreich did with her great “Nickle and Dimed” but given my current situation that really couldn’t happen unless I was cut loose in some sort of restructuring plot but if and when that happens I very well may do that and start a blog (or maybe a larger organization) about the general fucking over that workers get these days by these unaccountable behemoths. I suppose that I would be more into actual activism if not for the fear of losing my job and therefore my primary source of income. While the particular corporation that I work for is pretty out front that they don’t seek to influence political views I just can’t possibly think that they would dig some of the things that I have written over the years or be too understanding if my picture happens to appear in the local paper in connection with say anti-globalization protests, especially not when they are offshoring jobs by the thousands to keep their stock price up. For the time being it would probably be in my best interests to keep my activities confined to the blogosphere and to continue to do so under a pseudonym because no matter what the shills for the “ownership society” might say about the general health of the economy I read the foreign news and fully understand the instability of the entire financial system so why push my luck right?
I have in the past tried working with some of the local activist groups but there is such a lack of focus on any particular issue that it’s really to me just a waste of time. Take for example our antiwar group, well they end up getting hijacked to start appearing as counter protestors to offset the haters that some radical local church sends out to harass the crowds at our annual gay pride day parade. Now while I really do not feel that any sort of discrimination should be tolerated and brownshirts bearing false Christian messages of hate and persecution are despicable my point is that the antiwar group showing up at the gay pride parade distracts from what they really need to be doing and that is protesting the illegal wars of aggression. And really, you just have to acknowledge that gay rights isn’t exactly something that is widely accepted by large segments of the population who could otherwise be allies. These phony cultural sideshow issues are meant to divide and I feel that it is idiotic for any serious activist group to get sucked into these sort of things but that is what you find out there in the liberal/progressive community that is so different from the right – organization and cohesiveness.
Now if you want to read something that identifies this to some degree and that is extremely worthwhile I would recommend Scott Ritter’s “Waging Peace: The Art of War for the Antiwar Movement” that has some very good suggestions on what the activist community should really be doing rather than wandering right into the traps that have been set for them. I also would recommend “Rules For Radicals” by Saul Alinsky as well as this wonderful 1972 Playboy interview with Alinsky that I ran across because some of this stuff that he talks about is hilarious and classic, like the great O’Hare Airport “Shit In” which you will have to read the interview to get the gist of it. Saul Alinsky is a great role model for activists and it is a shame that he is not given more credit in regards to our history but that is the point isn’t it? Just do the revisionist thing to erase the contributions of the entire labor and progressive movements that laid it all on the line so that the ignorant sheep milling about their cubicle stockyards can enjoy their 40 hour work weeks. I don’t have the exact date but Amy Goodman just recently aired an interview with the legendary Studs Terkel where he told a story of how he berated two yuppies for their ignorance on those who fought to ensure that they could be smug and not made to work 80-100 hours a week, it was beautiful. I am sure that the transcript is on the Democracy Now website. Americans are so damned ignorant of history, that is the great shame of our times.
Question: How do you see yourself fitting into the PB movement/netroots? What role do you play?
Ed Encho: What I really would like to start to do would be to work at trying to not only write more pieces that have crossover appeal but to actively work to the best of my ability to bridge the gap between progressives/liberals and libertarians, independents and principled conservatives who are all getting screwed by the same system but have yet to realize that we are really all on the same side. In the beginning of my internet experience I really went after Bush and the Republicans tooth, fang and nail which was justified considering the damage that they were doing to this country with their flag wrapped, cross carrying brand of fascism. Now that is ok but sooner or later you really limit yourself to preaching to the choir and not really changing any minds or bringing in new people to a larger movement. Now with the betrayal of the Democrats after November 2006 I have been bringing a good deal of heat down on them that don’t seem to be quite so funny to some of the people who used to love attacking the right but now there is quite obviously a double standard. Actually I think that anybody who is doing this now and there a lot of people out there who really understand the true foulness of the entire system is much more honest than those who still cling to the traditional paradigm which really exists only to divide us all along lines other than class which is the true issue here especially now that the damage to the mythical American Dream is being realized due to massive exportation of jobs, an economy based only on debt, soulless consumerism and the need to have all of those things on television that never quite fill the emptiness in the souls of consumers (god I hate that word it is so fucking inhuman) whose money is needed to be sucked out to ensure that the system has grist for the mill.
I do want to add that television is in my opinion the worst possible thing for the American mind as well as the best possible tool for the system in that it creates passivity, false sense of reality, the sort of insecurity and lack of self esteem that is essential for the consumer society and the application of control. I am not going to go into this here because I am telling you, some of the research that I have seen into television and mind control (aka advertising) just blows me away, the effects on the mind by the electronic crackpipe right down to the proper flicker patterns that would make a viewer more susceptible to persuasion is analyzed by some very brilliant people who make a hell of lot of money and it is very frightening. Maybe I’ll try to get involved in spreading awareness on that at some point but there really are so many aspects of this society that really need to be exposed for what they are.
I think that as far as PB activism goes the best thing for me to do is to try to teach and create awareness that is able to reach a much wider audience than just progressives. I do see a sort of an unwillingness in a lot of places to take a look at any aspect of say the libertarian point of view because to many of the politically correct liberals and progressives anything short of acceptance of certain ideas at least to the point where a common ground can be found is treated as heresy and elicits very nasty responses. For example I wrote some favorable things about Ron Paul while I personally disagree with much of what he stands for and the intensity of the responses in the form of pure vitriol was pretty amazing, and this was from people who pride themselves on being open minded and like to brag about it. I now realize that whether someone identifies themselves as a liberal or a die hard conservative there are certain areas that are just treated as though those who have a particular belief as the earthly personification of Satan.
Now I haven’t always been like this but have gradually evolved to the point where I just don’t unequivocally hate anymore but that is because I read and listen to views from both the traditional left, right and center, of course I eliminate the obvious party shills like the Rush Limbaugh’s and Randi Rhodes’s of the world along with others like them because they are just like cheerleaders for their team and everyone else can go fuck themselves as far as they are concerned. I make it a habit to read many magazines in addition to the mainstream propaganda rags like Newsweek and Time that are really only parroting and spinning the talking points of the establishment. I also read on a regular bais Harpers, Mother Jones, The Nation, Pat Buchanan’s The American Conservative among others and even on occasion The New American which is the official magazine of the fucking John Birch Society for Christ’s sake so you can’t possibly tell me that I am not open to a diverse range of ideas. That being said I do have to say one thing for the JBS in that they have pretty much been much more outspoken and defensive over the erosion of our civil liberties and the lousy trade pacts that have beggared this country than the Democrats have over the course of the last few years. I read all of this and I listen to probably 6-8 hours a day of talk radio including lectures from the far left to the far right and to clue everybody in on a little secret there is a hell of a lot of truth out there on the fringes for both sides because it is where those who dare to call it like it is are marginalized. I just take all of this stuff and kind of synthesize it and then mix it into whatever I happen to feel like writing about which really varies from day to day and is wholly based on how I happen to feel at the time.
So to sum it up I see myself in the future acting more as a bit of a critic of the system itself as well as the wars, the worsening financial situation and the true atrocities in how this society very cleverly uses the American brand name to dupe people into doing things that are against their own self interests and result in a lot of death, sorrow and human misery both here in The Homeland (there is that word again) and abroad in the lands that we spread our murderous form of disaster capitalism and plundering.
Question: You stated “I have in the past tried working with some of the local activist groups but there is such a lack of focus on any particular issue that it’s really to me just a waste of time. Take for example our antiwar group, well they end up getting hijacked to start appearing as counter protestors to offset the haters that some radical local church sends out to harass the crowds at our annual gay pride day parade. Now while I really do not feel that any sort of discrimination should be tolerated and brownshirts bearing false Christian messages of hate and persecution are despicable my point is that the antiwar group showing up at the gay pride parade distracts from what they really need to be doing and that is protesting the illegal wars of aggression. And really, you just have to acknowledge that gay rights isn’t exactly something that is widely accepted by large segments of the population who could otherwise be allies. These phony cultural sideshow issues are meant to divide and I feel that it is idiotic for any serious activist group to get sucked into these sort of things but that is what you find out there in the liberal/progressive community that is so different from the right – organization and cohesiveness.”
Do you feel that the PB has this focus? Or is it just broad enough that it can spread itself out to many of these issues?
Ed Encho: It is big and can address many issues simultaneously but it is not to this point yet organized enough to hone in on the one or two major issues of great importance, dare I say existential importance with a laser like precision and bring enough heat on a consistent basis to push for change. The thing with liberals and progressives is that by nature they are really more open and free thinking so of course they largely all have their own issues which while important are really meaningless unless the creeping fascism can be stopped. If we are unable to restore the civil liberties that have been stolen away from us during the Bush years then nothing else really matters. The organization and focus of the right (at least in areas not in the blogosphere) is what is going to be needed to undo the damage that has already been done let alone stop the slide into the abyss.
Right now you can legally be disappeared and held in a secret prison indefinitely without anybody even knowing what happened to you, you have no right of habeas corpus, you can be tortured and then you can be labeled as a ‘terrorist’ under some vague definition that is deliberately that way in order for a wide net to be cast for dissidents and critics of the state. Now you also have this incredibly anti-American piece of legislation that was initiated by Rep. Jane Harman who is somebody who has shall I say questionable priorities and associations called H.R. 1955: Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 passed overwhelmingly last year which really makes every one who dissents potential terrorists subject to those wonderful things that were legitimized at Gitmo. The Senate version (S.1955) is in front of none other than Joe Lieberman’s committee so what do you think is going to happen there? This legislation also sets up a committee to determine what sort of literature would be considered to be ‘terrorist propaganda’. This is very scary stuff and it really proves that the entire phony war on terror is total bullshit, it is a war against the American people. At the same time you have Michael Chertoff out there saying that regular household chemicals can be used by potential ‘terrorists’ to produce IED’s.
What do you have under your sink? What is in your bookcase?
So what I am trying to get at is that there are far bigger fish to fry than electoral politics, divisive social issues and the myriad of minutiae that passes for discourse. We are in very serious trouble right now because this entire infrastructure for a police state is being slowly erected right in front of use bit by bit, it’s like the saying that “if you throw a frog in a pot of boiling water the frog will immediately jump out but if you put that same frog in a pot of warm water and very incrementally increase the temperature the frog will sit there until it cooks to death” that frog is us. The damage to this country undertaken by this rogue administration, it’s neocon policy makers and the with the totally feckless acquiescence of the Democratic party is nothing short of stunning. Every day you will see more and more police brutality over minor infractions, it’s like the role model for law enforcement is Jack Bauer. You also have this huge paramilitary force of mercenaries for hire called Blackwater that is unaccountable to anybody and has already been used on our domestic streets in New Orleans. You also have the recent tweaks to Continuity of Government consolidating all power in the executive office in the event that a declaration of martial law becomes necessary, the legalization of spying, the essential voiding of the Posse Comitatus (that prohibits the use of the military against civilians that has been in effect since right after the Civil War) in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act, the construction of detention facilities by Halliburton subsidiary KBR for undefined “special programs” and any other number of very serious steps to construct a fascist system of control. Naomi Wolf wrote a good piece on this Fascist America In 10 Easy Steps that I would recommend.
So no, I don’t feel that the PB has much focus on things that are imperative for our very survival as a free society and I am not even getting into the wars and the economy in my response to this question. The only way that this all can be stopped if it can be or at least slowed down is to draw in libertarians, paleocons and other concerned Americans into a unified movement. All of the rest of it just isn’t going to matter unless the police state infrastructure can be dismantled (at best) or brought under some very tough laws that once again restore our Constitutional protections.
To Be Continued…