FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

This Moment’s Bill of Rights

Freedom from prison, which is the idea (and the practice) that some can murder a little and be put away, while others can murder a lot and be praised and given leadership roles.

Freedom from leadership, especially from democracy and its twin, oligarchy, the belief that power should lie at a distance from the self.

Freedom from universal health care, which begins with bending the often stiff knee to the right of polluters to give us cancer, the right of a priestly class to horde diagnostic technologies, and the right of corporations to kill us at a rate we all pretend not to notice, after we have offered our severed breasts and balls on the high ziggurat of their contempt.

Freedom from electricity, especially electric blankets and chairs, and from contempt for sunlight. Praise for the solace of night-time darkness and the staccato glory of stars.

Freedom from universal suffrage. The name alone should tell us something.

Freedom from the notion that if something needs doing, we should get someone else to do it. Freedom from ventriloquism.

Freedom from standing armies. Standing armies, not politicians, should take a seat. Take a load off.

Freedom from protection.

Freedom from subsidized child care, which asserts the right of corporations to remove us from our babies.

Freedom from free universal education. Praise for the ability to see what’s not free about children in a box. Free universal hooky, big trees, canoes.

Freedom from literacy, and from every form of false consciousness. Praise for honest stories, and for cultures where books are available for the quiet hours after a day of direct experience.

Freedom from Western guilt, with its phony solicitousness for people who are “developing,” like they’re getting tits or something. Which they probably are, with all these hormones in the water.

Solidarity with practical people who think utopia and poetry are impractical: their beliefs are themselves so utopian and embellished and wrought as to be a form of poetry.

Solidarity with slow people, especially the slow, strong thinkers who took the time to read and understand that last sentence, when their culture advised them to spend the time reading another article about Obama.

Freedom from travel. Praise for here.

Freedom from gifts, and from all such forms of bondage and largesse. Freedom from rectangular forms of money. Praise for inconvenient, time-consuming forms of exchange. Praise for the word ‘lugubrious’, because it does what it says.

Freedom from human rights, which is the belief that some people should be punished and some shouldn’t, some forms of torture shouldn’t be called torture, some species don’t suffer even though they thrash. Freedom from the triumphalist belief in the superiority of sentience.

Freedom from hard labor and from that greater suffering, the desire for hard labor.

Freedom from ’tention and from the attention economy. Praise for widespread unemployment outside the field of vegetables and related fields.

Freedom from cushions and luxury. Joy in cold winter days and warm nights, or in full hard summer sweats and cold swims, the rough frottage of knock-about days. Calluses for the skin but not the heart.

Praise for a quick death and a long, fecund composting.

Praise for the creator of sunlight. Thanksgiving for the summoning of my spirit from the humus of now.

DAVID Ker THOMSON was in the company of poets at the Bard College Language and Thinking summer program.  He can be reached at: Dave.thomson@utoronto.ca

 

 

 

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
January 24, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
A Letter From Iowa
Jim Kavanagh
Aftermath: The Iran War After the Soleimani Assassination
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Camp by the Lake
Chuck Churchill
The Long History of Elite Rule: What Will It Take To End It?
Robert Hunziker
A Climate Time Bomb With Trump’s Name Inscribed
Andrew Levine
Trump: The King
Jess Franklin
Globalizing the War on Indigenous People: Bolsonaro and Modi
James Graham
From Paris, With Tear Gas…
Rob Urie
Why the Primaries Matter
Dan Bacher
Will the Extinction of Delta Smelt Be Governor Gavin Newsom’s Environmental Legacy?
Ramzy Baroud
In the Name of “Israel’s Security”: Retreating US Gives Israel Billions More in Military Funding
Vijay Prashad
What the Right Wing in Latin America Means by Democracy Is Violence
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Biden’s Shameful Foreign Policy Record Extends Well Beyond Iraq
Louis Proyect
Isabel dos Santos and Africa’s Lumpen-Bourgeoisie
Nick Pemberton
AK-46: The Case Against Amy Klobuchar
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Promtheus’ Fire: Climate Change in the Time of Willful Ignorance
Linn Washington Jr.
Waiting for Justice in New Jersey
Ralph Nader
Pelosi’s Choice: Enough for Trump’s Impeachment but not going All Out for Removal
Mike Garrity – Jason Christensen
Don’t Kill 72 Grizzly Bears So Cattle Can Graze on Public Lands
Joseph Natoli
Who’s Speaking?
Kavaljit Singh
The US-China Trade Deal is Mostly Symbolic
Cesar Chelala
The Coronavirus Serious Public Health Threat in China
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Must Remain Vigilant and on Guard Against US Hybrid Warfare
Robert Fantina
Impeachment as a Distraction
Courtney Bourgoin
What We Lose When We Lose Wildlife
Mark Ashwill
Why Constructive Criticism of the US is Not Anti-American
Daniel Warner
Charlie Chaplin and Truly Modern Times
Manuel Perez-Rocha
How NAFTA 2.0 Boosts Fossil Fuel Polluters, Particularly in Mexico
Dean Baker
What Minimum Wage Would Be If It Kept Pace With Productivity
Mel Gurtov
India’s Failed Democracy
Thomas Knapp
US v. Sineneng-Smith: Does Immigration Law Trump Free Speech?
Winslow Myers
Turning Point: The new documentary “Coup 53”
Jeff Mackler
U.S. vs. Iran: Which Side are You On?
Sam Pizzigati
Braggadocio in the White House, Carcinogens in Our Neighborhoods
Christopher Brauchli
The Company Trump Keeps
Julian Vigo
Why Student Debt is a Human Rights Issue
Ramzy Baroud
These Chains Will Be Broken
Chris Wright
A Modest Proposal for Socialist Revolution
Thomas Barker
The Slow Death of European Social Democracy: How Corbynism Bucked the Trend
Nicky Reid
It’s Time to Bring the War Home Again
Michelle Valadez
Amy Klobuchar isn’t Green
David Swanson
CNN Poll: Sanders Is The Most Electable
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Our Dire Need for “Creative Extremists”—MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”
Jill Richardson
‘Little Women’ and the American Attitude Toward Poverty
David Yearsley
Watching Star Wars in Berlin
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail