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Challenging the Music Industry's Commodity Complex

An Interview with Punk-Rock Guerilla, Justin Pearson

Mimi Soltysik

I wish there was an easy answer. For me, what I end up doing, or being part of, usually stems from my subconscious, or comes from something that might include elements that I am not initially aware of. It's the retrospect where I can fully study the outcome of something that I was part of. I can breathe and dissect it with ease and in peace (with myself). I think over the years, while everything that happened, tons of weird energy was exchanged and moved. It made sense to some degree, but it took time to really see the broader picture or possible understand the magnitude of something. I'm not sure if that makes sense or not. I suppose, the simplistic way to answer that part of this question would be that fortunately things seem to come organically, for the most part. However with that being said, organically doesn't mean that it's a simplistic way, or a peaceful experience, or that it comes from a natural space. So moving into the later part of your question, about the era that we are in, it's grim in many respects. It's more and more absurd. I feel a great deal more anxiety than what I felt in recent years. It seems that time might be running out. I can feel the tension in the air, and smell the shit that is lingering. But with that being said, I can see new ideas, I feel rad power from people, and change is being birthed and evoked in a lot of creative and powerful stuff. Man, this is a massive, massive topic to try to articulate and nail down in a simple answer. I guess over all, I see things being polarized. I do think that might be what was and is needed, to avoid the stagnation that seemed to keep everything at bay. For so long, I could see that nasty band-aid on everything was gonna fall off eventually. It sure seems to have fallen.

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The Significance of Karl Marx

Chris Wright

The explanatory (and therefore strategic, for revolutionaries) primacy of class can be established on simple a priori grounds, quite apart from empirical sociological or historical analysis. One has only to reflect that access to resources-money, capital, technology-is of unique importance to life, being key to survival, to a high quality of life, to political power, to social and cultural influence; and access to (or control over) resources is determined ultimately by class position, one's position in the social relations of production. The owner of the means of production, i.e., the capitalist, has control over more resources than the person who owns only his labor-power, which means he is better able to influence the political process (for example by bribing politicians) and to propagate ideas and values that legitimate his dominant position and justify the subordination of others. These two broad categories of owners and workers have opposing interests, most obviously in the inverse relation between wages and profits. This antagonism of interests is the "class struggle," a struggle that need not always be explicit or conscious but is constantly present on an implicit level, indeed is constitutive of the relationship between capitalist and worker. The class struggle-that is, the structure and functioning of economic institutions-can be called the foundation of society, the dynamic around which society tends to revolve, because, again, it is through class that institutions and actors acquire the means to influence social life. These simple, commonsense reflections suffice to establish the meaning and validity of Marx's infamous, "simplistic," "reductionist" contrast between the economic "base" and the political, cultural, and ideological "superstructure." Maybe his language here was misleading and metaphorical.

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When Fellow Workers Can No Longer Find Work

A Talk with the Long-Term Unemployed

Devon Bowers

The entire time I have been unemployed, I have not remained idle. I have labored. Intensely. I have: raised my children, grown gardens in my backyard in a step towards self-sufficiency, I have worked my family member's land and houses. I have done handiwork in my own home. I have constructed things. I have educated people, adults and children on a multitude of different issues. While on CalWorks, I have gone to college, increasing my own knowledge, and working towards my goal of becoming an educator; a history teacher to be specific. I have volunteered with countless organizations, including Western Service Workers Association (WSWA), which is a mutual aid organization and a "para-union", or a union for non-unionized workers, like IHSS workers or farmworkers. I am currently a coordinator for their food procurement program, which entails me going to different grocery markets and taking donations for our food bank, so that it may be fully stocked and ready to help other families and individuals in need. I have become an organizer for the Socialist Party USA (SPUSA). I have organized protests against the DAPL and other such pipelines. I have organized demonstrations in support of universal healthcare. I have organized demonstrations of solidarity with the LGBT community when our local mega-church Bethel openly declared themselves a hate group in support of conversion therapy and told their congregation to vote against a CA Assembly bill which would grant members of the LGBT community greater access to healthcare and would ban the practice of billing people for conversion therapy.

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South Carolina Prisoners Reflect on Causes of Violence in Prisons, and Solutions

Jared Ware

On April 22, I interviewed three individuals from various prisons inside the South Carolina Department of Corrections. One of the prisoners identified himself as a member of Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, a group of imprisoned human rights advocates that has made national calls to action for a prisoner-led strike in response to the conditions they feel are truly responsible for the violence and hopelessness within prisons across the United States. The strike is expected to begin on August 21st, 2018. Throughout our conversation, these three individuals, who are identified only as D, S, and E to protect their identities and prevent retaliation by prison officials, highlight the impacts of policies pushed by President Bill Clinton's administration and implemented by states across the country. They also point to the dehumanization of prisoners and challenge our conception of "gangs," which does not take into account the ways in which incarcerated people are forced to create their own collective means for safety, survival, and camaraderie in a situation where hope is the scarcest commodity. They also urge the public to reconsider the nature and source of violence within prisons and the absence of human dignity and a rehabilitative environment within our nation's prisons. They present actionable solutions to mitigate some of the harm caused by prisons on our ultimate path toward shedding carceral responses to legitimate societal needs. As I write this introduction on May 2nd, 2018, South Carolina prisoners have confirmed that all Level 2 and 3 facilities have remained on a statewide lockdown since April 15th. This means people imprisoned..

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