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The son of a bitch promised he wasn’t gonna go. That’s what goes through my grief wrenched mind tonight, as I learn that Justin Raimondo, easily the greatest writer of the Paleoconservative Movement and total unapologetic son of a bitch to the bitter end, has passed after a white knuckle brawl with lung cancer, at 67. He can’t be dead. Their has to be a catch. He was so certain that he could kick that bastard disease back to hell where it belonged that he made you believe it too. Justin Raimondo, America’s own Yukio Mishima, an abominable twin-fisted fag who punched mountains just for the exercise between cigarettes is dead? No. No fucking way. Not possible.
To those of you who don’t know Justin and his work, I have no words to give you. There is simply no way to possibly describe to the uninitiated how massive he was to the Antiwar Movement. But I grew up, a pissed off anti-imperialist queer in my own right, enthralled by the Old Testament grade power of his sublime diction. It made little difference that he was a Buchananite isolationist and that I was a lefty-Yippie-anarcho-punk. He was radical. His enemies were my enemies, Kristol, Horowitz, Hitchens, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and he cut them down mercilessly like a shogun vigilante who’s katana thirsted only for the blood of chickenhawks. I had never seen somebody so antiwar be so cruel and it was fucking beautiful. He was brilliant, cunning, merciless, and he was on our side. Those neocon pussies didn’t stand a chance. He was our secret weapon, an action movie style wringer for the Peace Movement and he and Eric Garris’ AntiWar.com remains the finest viable resource in any die-hard peacenik’s arsenal.
This isn’t to say that the old bastard couldn’t piss me off. He could make my blood boil like bacon grease, especially when he became a seemingly unshakable defender of our current foul Caesar and refused to admit that the revolution had gone sour after the Donald began racking up war crimes like the politician Justin assured us he wasn’t. I raged over this hypocrisy, not because I hated Justin but because I loved him so goddamn much that I couldn’t bare to see some slick corporate welfare queen make a fool of my sensei, simply because he wanted so badly to believe that this orange bulldozer could pave the way for the antiwar revolution that we both ached for.
But it’s important, for me as much as anybody else if not more so, to remember that Justin came from the Murray Rothbard school of anti-imperialism. With every position he took, right or wrong, he put peace first, no matter how much it hurt, whether this meant endorsing Che or the SDS or Nader or Trump. Justin could care less about Trump the candidate. What he saw was an opportunity for Trump the movement. He saw barns full of Southern Baptist crackers chanting America First and he saw an opportunity to push anti-imperialism into the mainstream zeitgeist. I still, quite violently, disagree with this M.O.. Frankly it smacks of the kind of ends-justify-the-means style tyranny that turned me off of Leninism. But, much like Lenin, Justin was a complicated beast who sometimes let his bleeding heart drown out his enormous brains. And even for this mortal sin, I can’t help but to love the old bastard a friend of mine once aptly described as the gay Sicilian Archie Bunker.
Never the less, Justin never stopped fighting like bloody fucking hell for all the right reasons. He vehemently apposed all war, every war this twisted wretch of a country ever invested blood and treasure into. He made no exceptions. Justin took Washington to task for crimes no one else even bothered to cover. No one did finer coverage of the NED sponsored Color Wars which would form the bedrock of the current Second Cold War. No one spoke more eloquently about the collective hunger of the Korean people for reunification which has only recently blossomed into once unthinkable peace talks between those divided nations. His mind was a veritable encyclopedia of world history. A weapon of mass destruction that even the feds failed to contain during their Bush-era witch hunt against antiwar.com. The powerful feared Justin and rightly so. He saw their demise coming back when Trump was still groping teenagers at their fundraisers. Justin had a vision for imperial blowback that was 80/20. He could see certain disaster from miles away. Except for his own.
Justin’s furious fighting spirit extended to his own personal health. When faced with a death sentence after smoking half the tobacco in Virginia, he looked the reaper deep in the socket and snarled bring it on like a Spaghetti Western cowboy. Like peace, Justin fought for his life to win, even when the odds were insurmountable. He was one of the greatest writers of his generation, a head on my Mount Rushmore right between Hunter Thompson and Gore Vidal, and he helped light a fire in me when I had all but given up on the art itself. My own personal Renaissance from an agoraphobic has-been/never-was to a literary fire-starter began on the message boards beneath his columns on antiwar.com. After flaking out of college with a nervous meltdown, I was ready to give up my lifelong dreams of becoming the genderfuck Raul Duke. Justin proved to me that you didn’t need a newspaper to burn down the Pentagon. All you needed was the grit to look power deep in the socket and snarl bring it on.
The son of a bitch promised he wouldn’t go. And if this lefty-Yippie-anarcho-punk has anything to say about it, that promise will be kept. Justin’s war is my war, and that war doesn’t stop until every American war does. Someday, on the grave of this crumbling empire you will find “Justin was here!” scrawled in my lipstick and that’s another promise I aim to keep.
As the good Doctor Gonzo would say, there he goes. One of God’s own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die. Godspeed Justin Raimondo, you brilliant son of a bitch. We’ll keep the fire burning for you until it catches on.