**content warning: songs on this demo contain references to violence, including sexual assault (and attending apologism and gaslighting) and state violence. take care of each other**
1. Forever Starts Tonight
New worlds don’t wait to be born. They come careening out of vortices opened up by our best and worst impulses. Whether we can hear them breathing or not, they are right next to us on this plane out of phase. Ours is the dark and distorted echo or reflection of innumerable ways of being. Held back by the fear, doubt and confusion we defer to, only to see things even worse than stability crashing through the broken overton windows we helped to hold intact. In every needless hesitation, every precipice we stared over and then held back. Still, the memories of the few fleeting fires that finally caught in moments when we surpassed false boundary conditions are alive and ready to strike. Visible and lived, they can, have, do and will. Oh, the things we’ve built in the hells imposed on us. How realities rapidly tilt away and towards us. In every opening, recognize and reckon with the only concrete certainty:
that the scope of human possibility is horizonless.
2. California Über Allies
Said the broken teapot to the police kettle: “We both deploy the bait and switch of defining while enforcing lines within and between abuse, violence, legitimacy.” Study a language of “no one is disposable” to deftly, purposefully maintain the lines that mark disposability. You’re not talking about learning to heal. You’re talking about learning to heel.
Your complete inversion of histories of witch hunts to conceal the rebel bodies sacrificed to moderation. The assertion that “conflict is not abuse” while obscuring all lived conflict from view. Just a litmus test of how much you can stomach.
Those permanently wringing hands explode into applause as relationships of force are quietly reinscribed. “Grey areas” weaponized. Fetishized dichotomies between victimhood and agency. Exculpations for the attending amateur prison guards taking notes. “Me too” reverts to “no, not you!” Cop co-authored subterfuge.
Oh, that the dissonance between that goddamn sneer and those fake furrowed brows would simply turn to a mouth agape in horror when the wrong people “learn from their mistakes” and you find yourself suddenly on the wrong end of your reflexive, deflecting refrain (transformed, even!) that hurt people hurt people.
So what if all the comedy clubs burn down.
I couldn’t disagree with your assertion that if we reached the capacity to overcome these enemies, to round them up, mow them down, or set them out to sea, we wouldn’t have to. Unsatisfied, I’d ask, for the trauma-strained lives, for the flashbacks, for these nightmarish daydreams, what, then, of an innate value in sheer revenge?
A hammer in my hand, a prison guard tied up. Fucking ball-peen in my hand. It’s mouth has been taped shut. Could you imagine this is far from the worst one? One more inevitable conclusion to every concrete ceiling reached by the stacks of petty, calculated indignities. Never went 30 minutes in their jails without the rape jokes or search threats, or managed supervised release without the same during the piss tests. I still remember Galeano lines that used to feel so important:
“They did not succeed in turning us into them.”
Still trying to reconcile divergent visions of abolition with incessant revenge fantasies, so spectacularly violent, the creeping feeling that constant failure is the only thing prefigurative, and the implications and contradictions in thinking through what it would mean and take to win.
“We have been beaten and humiliated … scattered, imprisoned, disarmed and gagged. The fate of European democracy has slipped from our hands.”
-Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, 1848*
We have been beaten and humiliated. Scattered. Imprisoned. Disarmed and gagged. What fate has slipped from our hands? Do you remember the feeling before the momentum behind us faltered, leaving us inert, stunned? I understand that all waves break, but it feels like this tide only recedes. The quaking ground beneath our feet gave way to empty space, felt ourselves running half-pace in place.
The violence done to memory. To dustbin histories.
The centuries it took to atrophy collective imaginative capacities.
I’d like to mean it when I say I’d never let them take you away, but I’ve hesitated one breath too long, held a grip just not quite strong enough to keep their lines at bay. Found bread crumbs still in place among 10,000 grains of sand. The rocks that (may have) left our hands soared so high and fast but couldn’t bring her back.
I’d like to mean it when I say I’ll be there with you. But the balls we dropped just before our chance to shoot pile up until the memories of the monstrous weights we could not escape, of failure and regret, are the only ones left.
Spread thin. Just glance in the rear view mirror to catch a final glimpse of the warning signs as they disappear. A nocebo effect from the lowest common fears we held. From registers, sinks, cells… “The best of us are stuck in the webs of work, alcohol, madness and confusion.”** Settle for what I’ve become, and just drink enough to give up.
And then! She tears out the wash, across the gauntlet set. Cop car in flames reveals a new city in silhouette. Swarm across the plains to respond with life to death. Kite lines burn fuses through states, statutes and statues. Guard towers burn.
The shadow cast over the effusive love here by monuments to power begins to disappear as they’re overturned. Guard towers burn.
*Not to be taken as an endorsement of democracy (or Europe, for that matter!). For a critical anarchist take on democracy, see crimethinc.com/democracy.
**Line taken from the farewell statement from Tides of Flame, an anarchist print publication in Seattle which shut down in 2012. tidesofflame.wordpress.com.