Glenn to Lenin: My Transformation

Did you know I used to be a fascist? Well, perhaps not fascist exactly but pretty damn close. Yeah, before I became ‘right with the left’ (notice the religious hyperbole) I believed some crazy shit and spewed even crazier shit. Anyway, not everything is set in stone. No, I changed and know everyone else can change as well assuming the person in question opens their mind and thinks independently. Had I never broken away from the radical right I wouldn’t be who I am today nor would I have abandoned my asinine beliefs, sought out knowledge which was than exotic or evolved into the humanist I am today.

Evolution is a fitting term for no other word in the English language can accurately describe my transformation. Indeed, for ‘once upon a time’ I was a Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh loving American ultra- nationalist. Young and naïve I believed every inch of their nonsense. Eventually, I would even take their ideology further and come to believe that they didn’t go far enough in their quest to protect America from the coming communist threat.

I first started watching Glenn Beck when I was stuck in the quagmire of early adolescence. Perhaps 13 was the age when I first I watched Glenn on CNN. In those early days, when he could still perhaps be called a ‘moderate,’ I watched him at first for two reasons: 1) Because I was bored and thought viewing political stories might make the day slightly more interesting and 2) Because back then he made sense.

I continued watching his show in the coming years and began to view it nearly every day. I hung on what he said and fumed when I heard the travesties he reported on. The more and more he talked the more I was sure that the American nation was going to collapse without a strong radical force taking control and purging it of the conspiratorial left- wing infiltrators.

Illegal immigrants taking jobs from hard working Americans, a government soft on terrorism that refused to invade Iran, a president which lacked the spine necessary to build a border fence, and the constant attacks against the undersupplied military were all major concerns of mine. Also high on the list was the stunning accepting atmosphere that the evil progressives held. Something needed to give. I knew that the ideas put forth from Glenn’s line of thinking would prevail if given the chance.

As I continued watching his program and sunk deeper and deeper into his web of fantasy I gradually developed my own chain of extremist thinking; a variant which radicalized Glenn’s thoughts and brought his vision for America into the reality which would overcome the agenda put forth by the liberals and progressives.

My new train of thought was sociopathic… to put it lightly. Among the vast amounts of ultra-reactionary gems were: A massive militarized border wall needed to be built (10 feet high and lined with watchtowers and armed guards) straight across from one side of the southern and northern border, mandatory citizenry background checks for all employees (Private and public sector), a massively increased military budget (one which would be capable of occupying several more nations if need be) with a massively increased standing army (a million or so just wasn’t large enough for me), a suspension of freedom of the press, speech and assembly until the left-wing menace was wiped out, a massive crackdown (i.e. arrests) of all perceived radical Muslim leaders and prohibition of worship in such mosques, and, if need be, a massive nuclear bombing campaign directed at most if Asia and the Middle East.

Since I had lost faith in the republicans to accomplish such things and didn’t know of the existence of any other political parties, I created my own ideal group (all in my head, of course). This new group would be the catalyst, the vessel in which America was restored to its former glory!  Dubbed ‘The American Imperial Party,’ this new power would cast aside all the Marxist ranting riddled in contemporary American culture and impose strict new laws which would never harm corporations or say to a capitalist that they ‘made too much money.’

While such a creation was merely the brainchild of an angsty teenager it is nonetheless important to note that I earnestly believed such dribble with an ironclad will. I grew upset, angry and confused when those around me couldn’t see the injustices raining down from the courts and government. I was incapable of comprehending why others tolerated such leftist talk when it was all lies. The more I resented those around me the more I succumb to the venom of the extreme right.

The change wouldn’t come for a number of years and when it did it was certainly draped in the power of my own odd desire to understand the world. While during such times I resented the revolutionary left, often conflating it with the run-of-the-mill progressives, I would nonetheless be interested in who they were as people.

I remember the first event that displayed my desire to learn, this was also the first noticeable period of time when I sought out knowledge which was in opposition to my own so it is important to note. I was watching Glenn Beck (surprise, surprise!) and he was ranting on about how an educators march for better benefits was actually a far- left orchestration. To prove this he scrolled a long list of organizations involved in the march. Among the vast amounts of groups were many progressive and left- wing groups. Among the list of groups, however, one stood out among all others: Youth for Socialist Action. It showed only briefly but I was instantly taken aback by them and had the impulse to write down their name. Why I wanted to write this group down among all others I didn’t know; perhaps it had to do with the youth aspect since it only seemed naturally about why young people would accept such a barbaric ideology.

Months later I finally had the opportunity to search for the group I had written down. We had just discovered our landlords had a wireless connection (prior to my only access to the world was through the television) so I was able to access the internet via my PlayStation 3. In Google, I typed in the words “Youth for Socialist Action.” I found my group quickly and was immediately repelled and fascinated. The pictures of young socialists testifying why they were against capitalism, the historical quotes from Lenin, Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg, and others, and the links upon progressive links astounded me. I was disgusted by their animation of a cartoon character holding a sign that said “Capitalism sucks” yet at the same time intrigued by the reality facet; that actual young people organized their social lives around such ideas.

In the coming months, I would occasionally pop in on the site. More just to relive the feelings than anything actual but it was a starting point. The next major event would take place sometime later, perhaps as much as a year later when I was about 17. I was posting on a site for queer teenagers when one of the newbies introduced himself as a socialist. My exact words fail me but I and he quickly took to arguing. Eventually, after a pointless back and forth, he linked me to Revleft and said that they would be able to answer my questions/accusations far better than what he was capable of doing.

I could have ignored the site and never bothered to follow the link… I could have deleted the message and went back to the Satanist forum that had piqued my interest recently, but I didn’t. Maybe it was my sense of ‘honor’ but I told myself, “Fine, I will go on there and read some things, do a bit of posting then go back to that unpatriotic asshole and tell him off knowing that I gave his traitor site a chance.” Oh, how things turned out!

My first moments on the site were awkward. Overwhelmed by the sheer amount of members (I had previously only been on very low member forums), topics, and ideology I lost my way quickly and ended up more in the learning forum as my exclusive place of residence. Not even knowing about an introduction forum I gave my intro in the same post I asked questions on. Known back then as Wanderer I asked the typical newcomer queries: What is the difference between socialism and communism, what is socialism, what is [X] tendency and so on. As a ultra-nationalist I defended absurd positions (such as support for the nuclear bombings in the second world war) but never carried on lengthy debates (as I saw my presence there as a strictly learning oriented one) for I was still frustrated by all the leftist concepts that my all mighty Beck never mentioned: the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex (seriously, how many complexes are there?!… I said to myself), planned economies, the intent of Marx and so forth. Oddly enough I was never restricted.

My transformation, however, was not by any means instant. It took months of considerations and learning before I finally decided I was a socialist and it took even longer before I began to defend my positions on other sites. I manually copied down lengthy manifestos and seriously studied leftist topics. I was extremely weary when others used the terms “Imperialist, bourgeois, and proletarian,” and I often felt out of place in such an alien world. However, not all were bad. When I discovered Revleft’s myriad user groups I felt some hope: I saw that leftist had an interest in video games, movies, space exploration, writing, sports- I saw that they were human and not a cult. It was an odd realization for someone who had assumed that every leftist was a hardcore activist that did nothing else but antagonize hard working business men. I felt more secure and at ease.

Revleft served as my learning zone. And difficult learning was for amid all the clashing definitions I routinely had headaches trying to understand how each tendency interacted with on another.  As I learned more I lost sight of my old views. Reading, discovering the leftist perspective to history, and contemplating how the world should be run gradually led to massive change. I had dropped each of my reactionary views and adopted progressive ones. Beliefs which I once held as dogma gradually faded into the background as forgotten lore.

My political transformation signaled a new step when after talking with a comrade I finally decided to join the youth branch of Socialist Action (the aforementioned “Youth for Socialist Action); the oddities of enlisting with the very group which first brought me over to my first legitimate leftist spectacle was not lost on me. Though I do not believe in any superstition it is nonetheless amazing when such events transpire.

Today I am a Pan-Leftist who believes that there is no “right way” to bring about revolution; I am a fierce advocate for the queer struggle, a tireless writer and theorist, a dedicated activist, and a loyal soldier in the fight against capitalism. I triumphed over my time in the far- right, learned the nuances of the left and now am the only thing a decent, well-politicked human can be: A socialist.

Stagnation: Military Spending and Maine Society

Below you will find the transcript of a speech I am to give later this month in the state capital.

– – – – – – – – –

I’m here today on a simple mission: that mission is to tell all of you of the obsolete and deceitful nature of the 1%. You see, the 1% would like us to believe it is in our best interest to spend billions of dollars annually on a defense budget. They would like students to believe that it is in the student’s best interest to maintain funding occupation soldiers’ salaries; they want us to believe that we can ‘suffice’ without quality healthcare, education, civil servants, and decent infrastructure. Yet, most of all, they would like society at large to swallow the ultimate lie: that maintenance of the Imperialist Murder Machine, i.e. The Military Industrial Complex, is needed for our safety.

Such words are blasphemous to the truth. We, the 99%, need a military in the same way that hell needs more fire. No, we do not need to spend any amount, let along such obscene proportions, on war. Here in the Great State of Maine, the taxpayers are gouged of 1.3 billion dollars annually. This drain is directed towards the military defense budget. A budget which is so over bloated that our nation’s budget alone dwarfs that of the rest of the world’s-combined![1]

That total amounts to almost $800,000,000! However, this tally doesn’t include the amount of money spent financing expansionist wars, “donations” to armed factions sympathetic to U.S interests, and the salaries of “fighting men.” Instead, this marks only the expenditures for the Navy, Air Force, Marine and Army branches; the strain of them purchasing fighter jets, tanks, battleships and submarines, small arms, protective gear, and other vital domination equipment. When one adds together this “hidden” waste the sum sky rockets; total war in Iraq, and Afghanistan, covert operations in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, as well as the continued defense of client states Israel, South Korea, Ethiopia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, the true total, while breathtaking,  is nothing less than four trillion dollars.

Hear that? That was trillion with a “t.” For the same amount over 530, 000 children could receive low- income healthcare, 15.2 million elementary school teachers, 17.4 million firefighters, over 939 million households could receive renewable wind-power electricity, and over 131 million college students, could all receive funding for an entire year!

According to a recent CNN article[2] the average salary for an active U.S army solider is steadily rising. Once upon a time the salary for a solider in Afghanistan was a “scant” $600,000. Now, however, the cost has risen to a whopping $1.4 million! The reason for the increase? Nothing less than a reallocation of personnel to other potential hot zones; less soldiers in the Middle East means the base cost for those troops can be allocated to new fiscal areas. Think of this as a geo-political take on ‘hide-and-seek.’ You hide the costs, and then seek them out.

The ‘Powers that be’ needs the young to believe that without an armed force breathing down their necks at all times society as we know it will collapse. Masterful propaganda has made our modern world one of such sharp distortions that even breaking away and glimpsing the truth is a daring feat. Knowledge, like facts and data, is as hard to find as a caringly affordable doctor.

Seeking out valuable data is something the average American and Mainer needs to be proficient at for otherwise nearly no one would have access to healthcare. As Many as 1 in 5 Mainers[3] live in rural areas, and are unable to even locate a healthcare provider; let alone pay the exuberant post-procedure costs. With Maine Care being slashed left and right, it is becoming increasingly impossible to afford vital healthcare. When 12 year old Deamonte Driver of Maryland died of an absessed tooth many were shocked. How could someone so young die of an easily curable condition? Well, as shocking as it might seem, the reason was because Deamonte’s family was hard pressed to find a dental provider which took Medicare. By the time they did locate on such professional it was already too late; irreversible rot had already sealed his fate.[4]

Such tragedies are commonplace occurrences under our capitalist regime. Where the bourgeoisie demand horrific sums of resources to be dedicated to the systematic murder of Arabs and Muslims, here at home those same indolent amounts could be instead spent on-gasp- the people! Just how many people?  If you are to refer to Children receiving low in-come healthcare, than one could provide over 584,000 children with the necessary healthcare for over an entire year!

Yet, under our current system such people are disregarded as lazy, underachievers because of their socio-economic class. A designation labeled onto them despite rigorous efforts at improving their lot through education. This task would be easier if working class and young people were actually able to access higher education.

With the average tuition for a single year of higher education costing on average over $30,000 few people can justify such expenses without all-inclusive help from charitable entities or scholarships. Taking this cost further, when compared against the annual amount spent on war material, we could give scholarships to over 135,000 college students; scholarships which would ensure them for a whole year of higher education.

To me personally it seems the wealthy origlichly is interested in keeping a stranglehold on their powerbase; to allow in those filthy commoners would be a grievous affront to everything that is decent. With more people than ever expressing an interest in returning to school in order to circumvent the great recession, more and more are finding the costs just too high. This societal contradiction reminds me of a quote by Howard Zinn: “Education has always inspired fear among those who want to keep the existing distributions of power and wealth as they are.” A very true statement when the conservative elite try their damndest to bar low-income families from the quality education they deserve.

This is what the 1% fears: well informed citizens realizing that the current order is rigged to favor the rich. And it most certainly does the rich for if it didn’t than perhaps our cities infrastructure wouldn’t resemble the nations which we are currently bombing back to the Stone Age.  In 2008 the Maine section of the American Society of Civil Engineers released their report card on Maine’s infrastructure. The results? Not good, in fact, the report stated that Maine had barely received a C-, a grade which is only slightly above “Poor.” In the report’s own words the infrastructure’s condition was “mediocre.” [5]

Ah, mediocre, a fitting word to attribute to an administration which views legalizing prostitution[6] as a more pressing concern that providing for its citizens. In here we return to the penultimate cancer, the most devious lie that the ruling class cannot afford to maintain infrastructure, or give people education or healthcare because money must be spent on building a strong military. They want everyone to be gullible so they can continue making their blood money. The military industrial complex, in other words, is their true servant.

The Military Industrial Complex exists for two reasons and two reasons only: 1) To start wars and 2) For capitalists to make profits. That’s it! The government controls anywhere between 700-1000 military bases worldwide, bases which they use in order to dictate the world stage of affairs[7]. Each base must be filled with troops, small arms, ammunition, offensive and defensive weapon systems, logistical necessities, and food. Obviously this is all expensive and is indicative of only a single base.[8]

From here the warmongers wait until the politicians can hammer other governments into accepting unwanted diplomatic deals (deals which hurt their economy while propping up ours).What If the governments do not like having bases on their soil? What if the social tide turns against those who allow the bases to be kept? Well, usually the result is either armed conflict or revolution. Often violent and prolonged, the U.S could swiftly bring an end to any such upheaval by simply ‘up and leaving,’ yet they won’t because there is no profit to be made from peace.

When you are an industrialist the military becomes your best friend. Nearly anything you produce can be harnessed for them. With this in mind more and more businesses produce with the military in mind: why produce pencils and blankets when bombs and infer-red lasers are so much more lucrative? Why donate to charities and help improve an unstable nation when destabilizing it not only gives way for future “investment opportunities” but also for those juicy military contracts?

Such implicit Imperialism is why the U.S has never done anything altruistic in the world; this is why Sierra Leone was devastated by an 11 year civil war which killed over 50,000 people (Blood Diamonds)[9], this is why over the course of decades over ten million Koreans and Vietnamese were massacred (Anti-communism), why nearly a third of East Timor was wiped out in brutal genocide (Arm Sales)[10] , why Iranian democracy was overthrown and replaced with a theocracy (geo-political relations), why Mexico has only half of her territory (Manifest Destiny), and why Guatemala, Cuba, Panama, The Dominican Republic, Cambodia, Oman, Laos, Chile, El Salvador, Angola, Nicaragua, Lebanon, Honduras, Grenada, Bosnia, Croatia, Sudan, Colombia and more, all have felt the wrath of the Military Industrial Complex’s funding of right-wing rebels and allied interests. Untold billions- wasted! Untold lives squandered[11].

This is the reality of life in Maine so as long as we continue to allow the para-fascist 1% to dictate our future. The 1% would desperately want everyone to believe the delusion they spread, the delusion about capitalism, about wealth distribution, and resource allocation, because they need all afraid of foes which do not exist; otherwise they lose their grip on power. They need all brainwashed into believing this manufactured fairytale about terrorists all while ignoring the fact the United States is the world’s biggest funder of actual terrorism. The truth is stark: we have no enemies; there is no all mighty Canadian Empire to our north, no land greedy Mexican Federation to the south, and no devious Cuban conspiracy in the ocean. We make our own future and if we are to create, as some here wish, a horizontal workers democracy, than what we must do is rise up and overthrow the 1%. Whether this uprising is peaceful or violent depends on the 1% and whether or not they retaliate with force. One way or another peace will be attainted.

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