Democracy or Revolution?

Though I'm not sure if I agree with the general position this blog takes, this particular entry makes some good points about the phrase "democratic revolution", and the idea that revolution and democracy are not compatible.

The way I see it, revolution is basically a discontinuity in democracy (in cases where it occurs in a democratic state). After it may be more democracy, or less, but the revolution itself probably can't be democratic.

I'll probably be called a reformist by some for saying that, or for even linking to this item....

Another great prank from the Yes Men

Those wonderful impersonators of free market leaders, The Yes Men, have performed yet another wonderful action at the Heritage Foundation. They pretended to be a neoliberal thinktank so they could sneak into a Heritage Foundation conference, and actually got applause for nominating Ed Meese for president.

Lots of Bike Fun

I went to "alternative" Critical Mass on Friday. I plan to write something for portland IMC site later, but I want to get some thoughts down here now. It was the first time I even tried to ride a Critical Mass for almost a year, I think. I used to go every month but then after the war started the tremendous police backlash/crackdown just made it not fun anymore. People were just being herded around downtown by the cops every month. Read more>>>

More About Ashcroft

A silly, sexy little video about John Ashcroft. The sound seems out of sync but it's worth watching for the fun of it anyway.


A good friend sent me to this Personality test based on Jung - Myers-Briggs typology. She has taken it before, talked about it a lot before and is really into the whole idea of dividing people into various personality categories.

I always find them lacking, for the same reason I find astrology lacking. They are just too general. People are more complicated than these tests imply, and they vary over time and with situation.
Any survey about myself that consists of only yes/no questions is not going to be something I trust very much. A lot of the questions I really felt up in the air about and pretty much just flipped a mental coin to decide whether to check 'yes' or 'no'.

I won't tell you what it rated me as, but I was pretty suprised. It didn't seem to fit very well. But then I have to admit that when i read the detailed descriptions of the type I was, it sort of made sense. Sort of. However, I can often also say this about my horoscope.

Here's something entertaining: I supposedly am of the same type as Thomas Jefferson, JFK, Hannibal Lecter, Professor Moriarity, Dan Akroyd, and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern. Wow.

I'm 2 of the many eyes

In the process of setting up a collective video editing studio, I looked into software for scheduling shared resources. I finally found a good, open source solution called Online Resource Scheduler.

But, I pretty quickly became stumped in the process of installing the thing, which is in the process of the newest version being in beta. Since I wasn't already in "production" I decided to risk it and try the beta. I was starting to regret that but I snooped around and discovered a clue, yet didn't know why it was happening. So I posted to the forum for the ORS sourceforge project and the main developer went back and forth with me for a bit and had a fix. in less than 24 hours!
Someone else on the forum complimented me for finding the bug in the beta.

For all my years of experience using open source software and exhorting the ideology of it, this is the first time something like that has happened, and it made me feel happy to be contributing, if not in code than in testing. I thought back to Eric Raymond's idea in "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" that open source is better because there are many eyes looking at the code. So, I'm happy to be one of those pairs of eyes today.

Escrache en Portland

Well, the March for Police Accountability went very well. There was no violence on either side, only 1 arrest and one ticket (both for being in the street at the wrong time, basically, which is fucked up, but at least there was no riot as a result of either one). Furthermore, the event turned into what they would call an escrache in Argentina - a loud, very visible demonstration located at the house of a public official who has power over a certain issue. I say this because the final destination of the march turned out to be the Mayor's house, in the yuppie NW neighborhood near 21st avenue. I think that tactic should be put to better and more frequent use in this country. Why protest just for the media and random passerby? Take it straight to where it matters. Best of all, apparently Mayor Katz was actually home, and she called 911 to try to get the people off her sidewalk...

My friend Brian shot
These excellent photos of the event.

Police Accountablity March

Today is a march downtown to protest the regular killing by Portland police of people of color. It was organized by ARISSA, a group led by Craig Rosebraugh that advocates for "a revolutionary movement in the United States of America." Read more>>>

Planning for the RNC

I'm tentatively planning to be in New York for the Republican National Convention, or rather, for the protests of same. However, I've been procrastinating on buying plane tickets, mostly because of money, but also because it still seems far off, and I'm not sure what will happen there or how I can contribute. I mean, obviously I'm going to be shooting video, but I don't know what my plan is, what my angle is, as a videographer - as one of maybe hundreds of independant radical videographers that will be there. What can I do that will be different or unique, rather than just milling around in the crowd and shooting whatever everyone else shoots?

Anyway, hopefully I will get some brainwidth to really consider this and other plans for the RNC. I am encouraged by all these sites I just found out about:

this article from the Guardian.

Lord of the Rings according to Socialism

I am given more food for thought about one of my favorite books of youth with a socialist look at The Lord of the Rings in Socialist Review by science fiction writer (and presumably socialist) China Melville. The review seems to be a couple of years old, since it also talks about the first installment in the Peter Jackson film trilogy (and Melville doesn't even mention that it is a trilogy, referring to the film simply as 'Lord of the Rings'). At any rate there are some interesting facts about Tolkien that are a bit surprising, and critiques of his writing that in some cases are very good points.

Here is a particularly good passage about the escapism of LOTR:

"Tolkien and his admirers (many of them leftists) gave his escapism an emancipatory gloss, claiming that jailers hate escapism. As the great anarchist fantasist Michael Moorcock has pointed out, this is precisely untrue. Jailers love escapism. What they hate is escape."

Ever since the films started coming out I've been telling myself I should read the books again. This is more reason, or maybe reason to NOT. I'm curious to know what my adult self will think of the book, and yet, it's an immense time investment. I read them 5 times before I was 20, but not once since.

And speaking of LOTR, I was directed to (thanx jason) a funny little flash movie about George W. Gollum. It's also a bit old, but still great. I was thinking about printing it to videotape and screening it at one of Portland Indymedia's video showings.

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