being specific about manufacturing’s decline in the US

While it’s true that there are still millions of factory workers in the US, there has been a dramatic decline in manufacturing jobs as a percentage of the total workforce. And not only have the large majority of these jobs been shipped to sweatshops overseas, but as you pointed out, those manufacturing jobs that remain in the US today aren’t the same as 30 years ago: the pay is lower, the hours are longer, the benefits have been cut, and the unions have been busted.

… but I don’t know that I’d call this a collapse either. They have actually increased the scale of manufacturing, and have simply relocated it to other parts of the world with cheaper or free labor. The capitalists are now making more money and consuming more resources than they ever have before. So while one can say that U.S. manufacturing has declined/collapsed, I don’t think it’s true at this point that capitalist manufacturing has declined/collapsed (although it inevitably will in the near future as a result of depleted resources and popular resistance).


even today, the Left speaks of the [Franklin Delano] Roosevelt administration as some sort of “social state”, when his administration actually engineered a 40% cut in their wages in the first days of his administration. Startlingly, most Marxists even to this day do not realize Roosevelt did this — nor do they know how he did it. Nor do they seem to realize Roosevelt forced unions under the control of the fascist state on pretext of protecting the right to unionize. Finally, you can count on one hand the number of Marxist writers who know Roosevelt actively fought any attempt to reduce hours of labor in the middle of worst depression in the 20th century.
[daaaaaaaaaaaaaamn jeeeeeeeeeeeeeehuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu]


How cops crush dissent

Phil A. Neel’s recent piece on ULTRA, “New Ghettos Burning”, excellently laid out the geographical and historical context for the popular uprising that Ferguson, Missouri has seen over the last two weeks. Neel draws on this context to propose some reasons for the unique (in recent US history) persistence of popular demonstrations against the police. However, the success of last night’s sudden change in tactics by state forces has prompted me to make a few comments in conversation with the piece. In order to examine this, I’ve reproduced much of the second half of his piece—which primarily offers reasons for Ferguson’s apparent success compared to other events—below.

Police killings have sparked outrage and limited riots in many cities in the US in recent memory. But none of these events have been able to take on this same character, and none have been this difficult to suppress. An urban counterpart to events in Ferguson was the 2013 Flatbush riots in New York. These riots, similarly sparked by a police murder, were crushed much faster than the riots in Ferguson, despite the fact that they seem to have attracted larger protests and garnered greater immediate and active support from the surrounding neighborhood. So what accounts for the difference? Why did Flatbush not create the type of national atmosphere that Ferguson has?

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The problem with rights is that once they are given they can be rescinded. We can reorganize life. Other modes of being are really possible. The rights discourse of modernity fails when put to the test every-time, especially for black peoples. Appeals to rights can only be a compromise on the way to something better. The inventions of modernity don’t need renovation, they need wholesale remaking. Imagine a different world, and make it happen. This one we in now happen that way too.
[Rinaldo Walcott]


I don’t think riots “gain nothing”, I think it’s that varioius political tendencies are looking for certain things to emerge (like a party) and when it’s not there, they stop looking. It’s important to do concrete investigation into the post-riot conditions and see how different alliances may have formed (or been broken), how people’s thinking about politics have been changed, etc., to see what basis there is for further work.

To be clear, I was just using “the party” as an example of how left forces set a criteria for success and if it isn’t met, they declare it a failure. It could be anything: workers councils, a continually growing movement, legislation, you name it, the process is the same.

[on revolutionaries and riots]

It is simple enough to begin a discussion of insurrectional strategy with the notion of the attack. Yet many confuse this process with merely smashing a random bank and writing a communique telling the cops to fuck off. Of course, I’m not interested in condemning such a practice, I’m merely more interested in examining the ways in which various notions and methods of attack are positioned in relation to our memory and all of the emotions that have built up over time due to all of the gender violence we’ve endured. While it’s easy enough to mock candlelight vigils or the Trans Day of Remembrance, these moments function to create a continuity and rhythm of memory in relation to trans violence that many radical approaches to gender fail to do. When we hear the name Deoni Jones today and see pictures of groups huddled by candlelight, we cannot help but think of Dee Dee Pearson, Shelley Hilliard, Lashai Mclean, Sandy Woulard, Chanel Larkin, Duanna Johnson, Gwen Araujo, and Marsha P. Johnson. We cannot help but have our minds fill with the history of those murdered at the hands of a society that must maintain the gendered order at all costs. It’s so easy to get lost in the pain that comes along with this, to look over your shoulder as you walk home every night in hopes that the noise you’ve heard isn’t someone ready to pounce on you. You might soon forget, and then be reminded next month when it happens again to another trans woman in another city or perhaps your hometown.

This is the rhythm of our memory and our collective fear and misery, which repeats with every murder, vigil, and Trans Day of Remembrance. An insurrectional practice which attacks the foundations of gender must also utilize the rhythms of memory and emotion, but toward the end of breaking the ideology of victimization and passivity that the former practices maintain. Insurrectional comrades elsewhere in the world write: “Power has implemented on its behalf a machine of forgetting, each time more perfect and macabre, in order to maintain actual conditions in its favor. Amnesia only generates an acceptance of imposed reality while observing past struggles or comrades like photographs, severing every connection with reality, achieved by showing how unfeasible every intent to disobey the masters is.” This has manifested in attacks in solidarity with insurrectional comrades who have fallen or who are facing repression. These attacks are an attempt to tap into the visceral stores of hatred for this world and for its attacks upon those who share the desire to see an end to it, connecting the rhythms of collective memory, a desire for vengeance, and the terrain of struggle upon which they are situated.

[! danger !]


Ferguson is a majority Black, segregated community, run almost entirely by white people. Almost all of its political representatives, and all but 3 of it’s 53 person police force, are white. Such areas populated by the disenfranchised are growing throughout the US, as the white and associated enfranchised classes move back to the cities and to ex-urbs or new racially cleansed suburbs, leaving geographically isolated and service poor suburbs to people of color, especially African Americans. The result has been, as is on display in Ferguson, an easy to lock-down community full of people the mainstream has forgotten–policed by an authority trained from birth to distrust and marginalize Black people with the full backing of the Federal government.
[white rule, white rules]