About

Messina at UMKC 2013-2015

LUMPENPROLETARIAT

Lumpenproletariat.org is an independent, non-partisan, low-budget, journal (website/weblog/blog) devoted to the emancipation of the working classes through critical free speech. [1] Thank you for reading. Also find @LumpenProles on Twitter. Testify. (It’s right outside your door.)

Dedicated to the comrades of socioeconomic equanimity, friends and enemies. El respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz. [2] Energy of mindfulness goes out to all the homies out there in the hood. Stay up, homies. We need to get up, get out, and get somethin‘.

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Please contribute relevant content to Lumpenproletariat.org. If you would like to contribute your thesis, poem, song, dissertation, essay, article, or prose or just share your thoughts on lumpenproletariat life, working class life, middle class life, leisure class life, ruling class life, or your unique personal struggle, or if you would like to help the endless work of Lumpenproletariat.org, leave a comment or contact founder and site administrator, Messina at messinapedagogy@gmail.com. [3]

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2020 Lockdown Update: I am slowly starting to update Lumpenproletariat.org again. I was teaching social sciences for a couple of years, which left me zero time to post anything. But I enjoy reading and writing, so I will continue to do so, as time constraints allow.

I will also explain how posts will be published. My main concern right now is with the free flow of information. So, I focus on news, perspectives, and information, which are often overlooked, underreported, marginalized, or censored; and which can help inform, empower and emancipate the working classes.

I will post items, especially links, with minimal notes or comments. As time allows, I will return to the highest priority posts to expand notes, transcripts, or analysis, even after publish date. Original and subsequent edit dates are noted at the bottom of each article.

I started Lumpenproletariat hoping to build it up, but I didn’t have the time or resources. So, Lumpenproletariat became like my personal journal, except it’s public. You are basically reading pages from my personal journals, when you read Lumpenproletariat. I take notes on articles I read, interviews I watch or listen to, and media I consume. My hope is always to discuss these topics with friends, family, and the public. But working class life means we don’t always have spare time to write, post, or publish anything. Even though I am dedicated and passionate about social sciences and socioeconomic justice, as a family man, I must prioritize my family responsibilities. So, articles are often scrappy and unrefined. But they’re honest.

At the bottom of each post is the actual date I created, or started sketching, the digital post. Below that, is the last day I made changes to the article. The main blog post date you see reflects when I first annotated my hardcopy paper journals about the topic.

In 2020, I’m now using a mobile app for quicker posts. But I don’t hesitate to edit or revise an article I re-read, which I think can use it. But I’ll always update the “Last modified on…” date for readers.

Thank you for reading Lumpenproletariat.org.

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Halloween 2020 Update:

I just read the passage below from Glenn Greenwald’s resignation letter article he published on his new Substack blog, Greenwald, after resigning from The Intercept last week over censorship issues. This very much resonated with me as to the nature and purpose of my own blog, Lumpenproletariat. Ultimately, we hope to connect with like-minded people to advance democracy at the ballot box, democracy at work, media democracy, and the emancipation of the working classes. Until then, we testify:

From the time I began writing about politics in 2005, journalistic freedom and editorial independence have been sacrosanct to me. Fifteen years ago, I created a blog on the free Blogspot software when I was still working as a lawyer: not with any hopes or plans of starting a new career as a journalist, but just as a citizen concerned about what I was seeing with the War on Terror and civil liberties, and wanting to express what I believed needed to be heard. It was a labor of love, based in an ethos of cause and conviction, dependent upon a guarantee of complete editorial freedom.

So much of Glenn Greenwald’s love of free speech reflects my own. In his letter of resignation from The Intercept, despite the censorship, he went on to add his continued love for The Intercept, which he co-founded with Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras. His description of the editorial capture of The Intercept by east coast Democrat Party partisans reminds me of my first-hand experiences witnessing the editorial capture by west coast Democrat partisans of the original listener-supported free speech radio outlet and network in the United States, perhaps in the world—KPFA radio, 94.1 FM, Berkeley, California. Even as I have watched KPFA, and its parent company Pacifica, betray its original mission, one is left with sadness, rather than fury, and always a lingering sense of hope of restoring the organization to its original mission. Like The Intercept, KPFA and Pacifica Radio still have some honest journalists. But, increasingly, Democrat Party apologism and dogma tends to dominate. We saw the same thing happen with The Nation, The Huffington Post, Mother Jones, Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen and Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), and any media outlet or organization, who critiques or otherwise challenges the Democrat Party or, by extension, the two-party dictatorship. We have even seen the same thing in academia, as economics departments adhere to orthodoxy and marginalize heterodox economics perspectives. We could say the same of the majority of social science curriculums across the nation. Anything left of center is marginalized. Such is the nature of thought police, censorship, and political dictatorships.

And none of the critiques I have voiced about The Intercept are unique to it. To the contrary: these are the raging battles over free expression and the right of dissent raging within every major cultural, political and journalistic institution. That’s the crisis that journalism, and more broadly values of liberalism, faces. Our discourse is becoming increasingly intolerant of dissenting views, and our culture is demanding more and more submission to prevailing orthodoxies imposed by self-anointed monopolists of Truth and Righteousness, backed up by armies of online enforcement mobs.

And nothing is crippled by that trend more severely than journalism, which, above all else, requires the ability of journalists to offend and anger power centers, question or reject sacred pieties, unearth facts that reflect negatively even on (especially on) the most beloved and powerful figures, and highlight corruption no matter where it is found and regardless of who is benefited or injured by its exposure.

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Testify” by Rage Against the Machine

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How will you make it, if you never even try?

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La Raza” by Kid Frost (sampling El Chicano’s “Viva Tirado”)

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Viva Tirado” (interpreted live on TV) by El Chicano

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Viva Tirado” interpreted by El Chicano

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Viva Tirado” by Gerald Wilson

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[1] This site began as an expedient repository for popular culture news and information transmitted from one working class sibling to another, who was engulfed in academia. One may not have time to listen or read now, but one can always visit later. “Before we go any further, let’s be friends.

To my friends and relations in California; Peru; Canada; Australia; Chicago; Mexico; Kansas City; Costa Rica; Washington, D.C.; Hawaii; Michigan; Charlotte, N.C., and other far-off places to where friends have moved, especially, my friend teaching Native American literature at the University of North Carolina-Pembroke, you already know that this journal (website/weblog/blog) exists in lieu of all of the many conversations we never got to have once we moved apart, geographically.

—Messina (Waldo Heights Apartments, living on the Troost Wall, Kansas City, Missouri)

[2] “Respect for the rights of others is peace.” Benito Juárez (July 15th, 1867) This was, for various reasons, a controversial phrase uttered by the great Mexican (more specifically, Zapotec) lawyer and political leader from Oaxaca, who went on to serve as the president of Mexico for five terms. This now-famous phrase was uttered in a manifesto delivered after the defeat and execution of the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian (of the House of Habsburg) and the overthrow of the Second Mexican Empire. Ferdinand Maximilian had been coronated, with the support of Napoleon III of France, as Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico. Monarchism was, thus, defeated in Mexico.

Miguel ‘El Gavilan’ Molina would often remind his lowriding audiences tuning in to La Onda Bajita on Friday nights, cruising con el radio del varrio Aztlán for decades: El respeto al derecho ajeno es al paz. Indeed.

[3] Messina holds a BA in Economics with Honors from the radical heterodox economics department at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC, 2015) and is temporarily immersed in capitalist modes of production, providing for his family, and looking forward to transitioning to the world of academia, research, and public affairs.

Lumpenproletariat is in no way associated with KPFA radio, nor any of its broadcasters, staff, or management. Although its founder, Messina, has run for the KPFA Local Station Board (LSB) in 2010. The question of finding ways to expand the online presence of free speech radio has been one, which has been debated for years on KPFA’s board. Generally, the LSB has been divided between one side, who wants greater volunteer participation, such as to help transcribe educational transcripts, in the spirit of Pacifica’s Mission Statement, and the other side, which seeks the opposite.

And, of course, some past KPFA station managers have been friends (Andrew Leslie Phillips, who trained Amy Goodman, among others; Arlene Engelhardt, former Pacifica Radio Executive Director) or acquaintances (Nicole Sawaya, former KPFA Manager). And others, who shall remain nameless have been inimical. Many KPFA broadcasters have been friends, such as La Onda Bajita, going back to Messina’s high school days, when he’d be invited over to visit and read poetry on the air.

More recently, Messina’s transcripts, including those published at Media Roots, have gone on to be published in book form, such as in heterodox economist Dr. Michael Hudson‘s Finance Capitalism and It’s Discontents, which addressed modern monetary theory (MMT), or modern money theory. Dr. Hudson’s book incorporated transcripts Messina produced of KPFA’s Guns and Butter, whose host Bonnie Faulkner travelled to Rimini, Italy to attend a weeklong conference on the revolutionary new approach to heterodox economics.

MMT is taught at heterodox economics departments, such as at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC). MMT shows us how our modern monetary system works and how we have the economic policy space to end involuntary unemployment as we know it with an MMT-based, federally-funded, job guarantee programme. After learning about MMT though KPFA’s Guns and Butter (a radio show eventually removed from KPFA by its political opponents), Messina transferred to UMKC to study MMT and heterodox economics, studying under professors Dr. L.R. Wray, Dr. Stephanie Kelton, et al.

Dr. Kelton went on to work for Bernie Sanders as Chief Economist in the Senate Minority Budget Committee and, later, in his 2016 Democratic Primary campaign. Unfortunately, Bernie Sanders never gathered the courage (or simply decided not) to inform the American people about modern money theory or its policy implications, such as a job guarantee programme, about which Dr. Kelton has worked vigorously to educate the nation. So, we learn from history. Good ideas are often blips on our social radar, which might be broadcast on free speech media, but are too rarely followed up on by society at large, rarely verified, and/or incorporated into our common stock of knowledge. We fail to collectively aggregate ideas, such as MMT, which can be so beneficial to public wellbeing if implemented wisely. We fail to learn from these concepts we too often throw around cavalierly without taking the time to fully comprehend them, such as the rule of law, democracy, egalitarianism, socialism, capitalism, and capital.

The main point is that we learn many interesting, fascinating, and important ideas through free speech media. Unfortunately, all too often on the left (and right) we treat the ethereal information we consume every day as disposable entertainment, which comes and goes, such as MMT, ranked choice voting, and proportional representation. If free speech radio KPFA, for example, had paid attention, as an editorial entity serving the community, we would have dug deeper and verified the facts presented about MMT on Guns and Butter, instead of working against, and eventually removing, the radio show. We wouldn’t perpetuate the economic myths of the establishment in our society, on corporate media, or on free speech media. We would stop talking about federal taxes as paying for government spending, which is completely incorrect. As heterodox economists, such as UMKC’s Dr. Stephanie Kelton, teach us: Federal taxes don’t pay for anything. All money today, all modern money, exists as an IOU. It is either spent into creation by the Treasury or lent into creation by the Federal Reserve. When taxes are paid to the federal government, those IOUs are extinguished. We would understand monetary sovereignty and our untapped policy space to spend modern money for public purpose. But because this information gets buried in hours of broadcasts without summaries and without transcripts the people miss opportunities to learn from our collective experiences.

Lumpenproletariat stands as an example of what free speech observers can do to help crowd-source and aggregate our collective energies to transcribe, archive, and make freely available, under Creative Commons principles, free speech news and information, which is in keeping with the Pacifica Radio Mission Statement, the original free speech broadcaster. For years, we may have heard useful information on free speech radio. But, without transcripts or summaries or searchable archives with detailed notes on each broadcast, we lose tons of useful information, such as the factual lessons of MMT, which can benefit the working classes and disabuse us of the prevailing myths about our monetary system. If your favorite free speech broadcaster isn’t providing transcripts or building a decent online presence, if you’ve gone to board meetings and asked for volunteer opportunities to help expand your local free speech radio station content and online presence, but you’ve been met with resistance, if your free speech broadcaster is hindering the free flow of information, then it is incumbent upon you to make it happen. Free speech media doesn’t have the luxury of corporate funding or underwriting. Free speech media must rely on conscientious volunteerism, user donations, and a shared Creative Commons ethos in order to break through the sound barrier, as Amy Goodman likes to say. Let’s push things forward.

Let’s Push Things Forward” by The Streets

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[This page was originally published on 12 MAR 2015 at 22:16 CDT, with the exception of trivial modifications, the last of which occurred on 1 NOV 2020 at 09:35 PST.]

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2 thoughts on “About”

  1. Steve said:

    Liberalism is a mental disorder! Please seek professional help from a non-liberal psychiatrist!
    President Obama was your fascist dictator leader! Where were you when he choked out small business with nothing but red tape and high taxes along with mandatory health care coverage for all employees? You really don’t know what you’re talking about, dude! Stop wearing your emotions on your sleeve and truly think about what you are saying!

    Like

    • Steve, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Although, you come off as rather rude, man. I’m gonna give you the benefit of the doubt and reply respectfully.

      Liberalism, what I call centrism, may very well prove to be a mental disorder. There’s a degree of cognitive dissonance involved, isn’t there? But all kidding aside. Dr. Howard Zinn was correct—wasn’t he?—when he asserted that “You Can’t Be Neutral On a Moving Train”. The moving train, to borrow his metaphor for our purposes, is the political center of our body politic in the USA. It’s widely understood by now that President Obama is actually to the right of Ronald Reagan, if we graph U.S. presidents along a right-left, single-axis political spectrum model. So, we clearly see the political center shifting rightward over time, since the Democrat Party is not a sincere opposition party to the Republican Party. The Republican Party is allowed to promote right-wing extremism. But the Democrat Party, not only refuses to allow left-wing extremism to counterbalance the right-wing extremism, but the Democrat Party even stifles center-left voices, such as Bernie Sanders and AOC.

      I agree that President Obama worsened the American police state. He refused to prosecute any of the white collar criminals, fraudsters, and banksters, which crashed the economy in the 2007/2008 Global Financial Crisis. When Obama, was running for office, even Chris Hedges was supporting him on KPFA and Pacifica Radio, like most of the liberals on free speech media at the time. I was campaigning for Ralph Nader. Everyone said he’ll never win. Only a few people raised the idea of ranked choice voting.

      You misunderstood me, if you perceived me as a liberal. I define “liberals”, at least in the contemporary American context, as centrists. Personally, I position myself on the left side of the standard left-right, single-axis political spectrum model. But I’m not interested in imposing my positions. Writing this journal helps me clarify my own understanding, and hopefully encourages others to think about these topics as well. I am most interested in identifying, and understanding, areas of common ground among working class people of all backgrounds, political positions, income brackets, “races”, and ethnicities. That’s why I prefer to keep this platform non-partisan.

      Physical health care, i.e., health care for all or universal health care, including mental health care is a human right and a luxury. As a student at UMKC, we had access to free sessions with professional psychologists included in our student fees. As a working class bloke, such services were alien to me. But I decided to avail myself of the free services to help with the stress of final exams and whatnot. Well, it was a very enlightening experience, which taught me a great deal about myself. I absolutely recommend it to anyone, who can afford it. But the trick is to find a therapist that you connect with very well, that you’re comfortable speaking with.

      But, dang, Steve, it seems you’re just being outright rude with your comments, though. Like I said, I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt and giving you a sincere reply anyway, assuming you had the best intentions. As for your point about expertise, I am an expert in my perspective. I did not complete my economics training; so, I don’t have a PhD; but I may complete graduate school in the future. But you don’t need a graduate degree to express yourself, Steve, nor to share news and information. All you gotta do is be yourself. You can wear your heart anywhere you like, Steve. Or you can hide it, too, until you overcome the “stranger danger” and decide to become friendly.

      By the way, apologies for the late reply. I began teaching in the fall of 2017, which consumed all of my time, and precluded me from updating my public journal (i.e., Lumpenproletariat.org) until now…

      Like

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