Some People Who Actually Didn’t Suck In 2019

I love holiday traditions, dearest motherfuckers, and every year since I started this blog several years ago, I’ve welcomed in the new year by compiling a short list of the few people on this goddess forsaken rock who actually managed the small miracle of not sucking, or at least not sucking much, this year. Naturally, it’s usually a pretty weird fucking list because, generally speaking, you have to be pretty fucking weird to earn the respect of a pretty fucking weird ass bitch like me. This year is no exception. It’s a regular rogues gallery of contrarian fire-starters and Molotov chucking iconoclasts like myself. You won’t like all of em. Hell, I don’t even like all of em. But if I’ve done my job right, and you’re not a total fucking asshole, you’ll at least respect them begrudgingly. So here’s a dastardly dozen (give or take) dearest motherfuckers who actually don’t suck. With one telltale finger in the air, I solute them.

Mike Gravel  The only oxygenarian bitch who should have taken the White House by storm, crazy Old Man Gravel, ex-Alaskan Governor, bitter old coot and lifelong evangelist for direct democracy, ran for all but a hot second this year. But what a fucking second! The last true anti-interventionist in my soiled former party, Gravel blitzed the DNC like Don Quixote on Geritol, with a guerrilla campaign that literally consisted of a handful of rag-tag college stoners using their spare pot money to make Mike the libertarian socialist Bernie. And they might just have gotten away with it too if it wasn’t for those meddling adults in the suicidally self-assure Democratic establishment, who used their arcane debate regulations to fuck the old bastard out of a platform. Fuck it. Best laid plans. Thanks for the memories, Mike. We’ll build you a monument after the revolution. And, once again, thanks Geritol.

Joaquin Phoenix  Hollywood has long been a fucking wasteland for anything even mildly resembling the dangers of unfiltered creativity. But every once and a while, someone, somehow sneaks something truly subversive passed the censors and into the theaters, and the normies lose their proverbial shit. There hasn’t been a blockbuster as teemingly incendiary as this year’s Joker since Oliver Stone’s psychedelic opus, Natural Born Killers, and the maniacal performance of Joaquin Phoenix is the number one reason why. Like Woody Harrelson’s Mickey Knox, Joaquin hijacks that silver screen for 2+ hours of riving anarchy as Arthur Fleck aka the Joker.

His emaciated corpse, swollen with the aching pain and unrelenting darkness of a perpetually ignored, mentally disturbed misfit, eking out a meager existence in the crumbling urban oligarchy of Gotham City, Phoenix embodies this very non-fictional class of ugly American, not simply because he is an incredible performer, but because he is one of us. He is one of the broken. Phoenix has wrestled publicly with his demons for decades and has regularly lashed out against our toxic mass media for exploiting the pain of him and his family. Joker was his ultimate revenge. When he put that bullet in Robert De Niro’s yammering skull, he was putting a bullet in every twisted vulture who feasted on his brother’s corpse as it convulsed on the sidewalk in front of the Viper Room. He pulled that trigger for all of us freaks and made the only kind of artistic statement this country seems to occasionally comprehend, a plea for help written in blood. I hope I’m not the only one who’s attention he gripped, but I thank him for the heroic effort either way.

Chelsea Manning  Chelsea makes this list pretty much every fucking year because Chelsea is my hero pretty much every fucking year. Let’s face it, yours truly aside, there just aren’t that many transgender anti-imperialist superheroes to go around and I don’t think we can count on the convoluted cunts at Marvel to fill that void. But we can count on Chelsea. We can count on Chelsea to disclose and expose the criminal behavior of the empire for which it stands. We can count on Chelsea to stand up to the colossal bullies of the police state while looking damn fine doing it. And we can count on Chelsea to go to prison, over and over and over again, forever, because she is one bad ass bitch who doesn’t snitch on her comrades and will never stand down to the state. Chelsea is the anti-Mayor-Pete, a real queer’s queer, and you cissy cunts are gonna need a bigger prison to bury her under if you ever want to shut her up. Start building now while your disintegrating currency can still afford the bricks.

Ilhan Omar  Nobody saw her coming. The Democrats welcomed the opportunity for a photo-op with the first veiled Muslim congresswoman. How could they resist. But they weren’t prepared for this tiny black hurricane from Minnesota to be anything more than a stock character in their neoliberal multi-culti sitcom. They fucked up big. Not since the improbable reign of Ron Paul has Washington seen a more consistent opponent of the military industrial complex. And we have never seen a more virulent and brazenly unapologetic anti-Zionist. Both parties have hilariously lost their fucking minds trying to demonize and contain her. Both parties have failed, miserably. And smug cynics like myself have kicked up our Doc Martin’s to enjoy the show. Her absolutely brutal public shaming of Elliot Abrams for his disgusting career of butchering babies between the raindrops might just be the hottest performance of sadomasochism ever recorded. It certainly made the top of my spank-bank. Don’t let the hijab fool you. Ilhan Omar is Uncle Sam’s dominatrix and the only safety word is peace. Peace!! PEACE!!! Let’s just hope her uncharacteristically stupid vote on the Patriot Act isn’t a sign of mercy.

Lana Del Rey  “Do you love me or do you not? You said one thing and now you’re saying the other.” I have always found it painfully ironic that Lana Del Rey, the queen of summertime sadness, is the only artist on the radio that doesn’t make me want to paint the walls with my fucking brains. Go figure, right. You can take the goth girl out of the closet, dot dot dot. But this year, Lana really outdid herself. The scrumptiously titled Norman Fucking Rockwell! isn’t just, by far, the greatest album of the year, it’s the greatest album in at least a generation. A haunting, timeless monument to existential heartbreak and listless nostalgia that defines these strange times we exist in, in ways that the finest works of singer-songwriters like Bob Dylan and Lou Reed did for their eras. Lush epics like “Venice Bitch” and the aforementioned “Love Is A Butterfly” make Lana’s place as the voice of a very lost generation a forgone conclusion, and the fact that she achieved this monolithic artistic feat while remaining a formidable presence in a typically saccharine mainstream zeitgeist is nothing short of a miracle. Lana Del Rey is basically Morrissey with a vagina, which pretty much makes her god.

Muqtada al-Sadr & Raid Jahid Fahmi  Good guys are hard to come by in the Middle East. It’s a land of martyrs, lesser evils and best case scenarios, and that’s on a good day. It should come as little surprise, especially to a jaded anarchist like me, that in no public arena is this ugly reality more real than the sewers of politics. Which is what makes the Sairoon Alliance so goddamn refreshing. The unorthodox coalition of Shia firebrand Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sadrists and Raid Fahmi’s now near Jurassic Iraqi Communist Party first made waves last year when they took Baghdad’s parliament by storm, winning a thin but pivotal majority of 54 seats, on the promise to stick it to outside political influence from both Washington and Tehran alike. But these populist usurpers didn’t truly come into their own until this years uprising against Iraq’s American sponsored institutional corruption. While the military shot kids in the streets, Muqtada took to the airwaves and social media to call for the resignation of the entire goddamn government, while Fahmi’s ethnically and chronologically diverse Communists took to the streets, playing a leading roll in the riots. The last time we saw an alliance of Islamists and Leftists like this, the Shah ended up crashing on Jimmy Carter’s couch. The Mullahs better check themselves. It’s coming back around again.

Joshua Frank  Editors are a decidedly cunty clique. The good Dr. Hunter Thompson knew this intimately well, which is why he gave that grabby yuppie sell-out, Jann Wenner, mescaline fueled hell every chance he got. I haven’t fared much better myself. I’ve got a real nasty rep for flipping the fuck out on my editors and Josh at CounterPunch is no exception. The difference is the motherfucker was actually big enough to forgive my flippant bitchiness and gave me a platform for my own brand of genderfuck gonzo weirdness anyway on my favorite website. We still butt heads here and there, I have too many spooky fascist friends and Josh seems to have a soft spot for those drama queens in Antifa, but he doesn’t appear to suffer from that dickish God complex that most editors can’t seem to shake. That alone earns him a place on this list. Thanks Josh. You better fucking publish this one!

Tulsi Gabbard  In a seemingly endless year of knee-jerk hyper-partisan “Resistance”, a contrarian bitch like Tulsi was as sexy to my soar eyes as a church arsonist. Just watching the Democrats shit themselves trying to figure out what the fuck to do with her made an otherwise dismal election season livable. Her Apache knife job on that police-state pride-poseur, Kamala Harris, was something savagely beautiful to behold. If you put the television on mute and listened very carefully, you could hear a cell-block of my T-girls back in Pelican Bay cheering like savages at the Thunderdome as Tulsi twisted the knife. The warden spent the last lonesome days of her doomed campaign bleeding out while her hopeless admirers in the MSM worked overtime to slide the bitch a shiv. It was a fools errand, and one that was delightful to watch. Buttigieg is next. Pay close attention to the Granite State. Tulsi’s blade remains thirsty. Live free or die swinging, shorty. More than one cell-block has your back.

Troy Southgate–  As a lifelong leftist and a longtime left-anarchist, I’ve heard all the dreadful horror stories about Troy Southgate and his National Anarchist Movement, and I believed most of them. That Troy is a racist, a fascist, a devious infiltrator out to infect the anarchist movement with the various venereal diseases indigenous to the Alt-Right. According to the Goofy Gillis chapter of the movement, NAM falls somewhere between ISIS and NAMBLA on the scale of unspeakable ideological heresy. But after actually getting to know Troy and his odd movement through my work at Attack the System, I can honestly tell you that I was, and much of the left still is, completely full of shit. Troy has gone miles out of his way to support my work, not because he agrees with it, quite the contrary, because he, like any true anarchist, respects a broad diversity of opinion. He’s gone to bat for me on more than a few occasions, often taking on the better half of his own base to defend my incendiary rants calling for everything from Queer Nationalism to open borders to the end of the very concept of whiteness as we  know it. Troy exemplifies the meaning of the word solidarity. You can say whatever you want about the bastard. He certainly has a colorful rap-sheet. But you best not say it where I can hear it, unless you want this leftist tranny to cut you a dozen new assholes with my balisong. But, shit, I’ve heard of kinkier fantasies, so be my guest and make my day.

Abdul-Malik al-Houthi–  For an anti-imperialist war nerd like me, the feel good story of the year has been the under-expected triumph of the Houthi rebels, lead by one Abdul-Malik al-Houthi. After half a decade of blitzkrieg blanket bombing, forced starvation, mercenary death squads, cholera outbreaks and hundreds of thousands slaughtered in what can only be described as an American-backed Saudi genocide, Abdul-Malik’s Houthi rebels have managed to turn the tables on two of the most powerful fighting forces on the planet, armed with little more than fury, heart, tenacity, homemade drones and WW1 era rifles. At this time last year, the entire Zaydi tribe of Shia Muslims looked to be on the brink of extinction. Now they’re calling the fucking shots, with the Wahhabi shieks cowering to the peace table they once spat on, when they’re not too busy cutting each other’s throats, and the Trump Administration bashfully walking back their attempts to have these anti-colonialist freedom fighters declared terrorists.

The war is far from over, but the Houthis have already won. The haggard mountain renegades are the Vietcong of the Arab Peninsula, and 2019 is their 1968, the tipping point where a gush of their enemies blood has drawn a crimson line in the sand. The Saudis and their handlers must now decide whether or not to cross the River Tet. If they do, they can effectively double the bodybags coming home to Riyadh and kiss their position as a regional powerhouse goodbye. In a world of thieves groveling in the darkness of their own design, the man who stands the tallest is a holy man with a gun and a mission to slay the giants who prey upon the weak. Every revolutionary from Hiroshima to Happy Valley can learn something from Abdul-Malik al-Houthi’s example. The impossible is very possible when we refuse to except anything less.

Fight on, dearest motherfuckers. Let 2020 be all of our 1968’s. Let a new era of revolutionary consciousness begin and let it begin with you. For if you too refuse to suck, you too can win like a Houthi, battered but unbowed.

Nicky Reid is an agoraphobic anarcho-genderqueer gonzo blogger from Central Pennsylvania and assistant editor for Attack the System. You can find her online at Exile in Happy Valley.