Carl Dix, Events of January 6th, KPFK, Pacifica Radio Network, Revolutionary Communist Party, Robert Bruce "Bob" Avakian (b. 1943), The Michael Slate Show, Thorstein Bunde Veblen (1857-1929)
LUMPENPROLETARIAT—This week has been intense, politically, in the United States. Our nation’s two most powerful political parties seem to be crashing our economy, mishandling the government’s response to the pandemic, and destroying America’s hopes for true democracy by undermining the democratic process at every turn. The events of January 6, 2021 will definitely go down as a day of infamy in U.S. history. That is, if the people write the history books, not the gaslighting corporate media or corporate political parties. If you review the reactions of Americans, it seems, the darker one’s skin, the higher the cortisol secretions, the higher the stress, horror, and anxiety levels. White liberals seemed to be perturbed; blacks seemed to range from bemused to horrified, terrified, and/or disturbed. Meanwhile, over half of Republican voters polled felt the tens of thousands of Trump loyalists were justified in protesting across America, especially in D.C., to halt what they perceived as a stolen election. We seriously need an American Town Hall of some sort and some open public debate.
Already, the narrative this week has been distorted by the mass media. Pacifica Radio is still out there, although it has been infiltrated by pro-Democrat Party partisans, who stifle free speech and keep trying to NPR-ize or simply destroy the world’s oldest listener-sponsored radio network.  For example, when some Pacifica Radio stations allowed leftists on the air this week, such as Carl Dix, the more centrist, NPR-ish Pacifica Radio stations, such as KPFA in Berkeley (CA), opted out of the emergency simulcast, which was being enthusiastically simulcast across the Pacifica Radio network and affiliates in smaller signal areas. The national Pacifica broadcasts addressed breaking news and analysis regarding the events of January 6th, which featured frank discussion of the Capitol Police stand-down. The special broadcasts were also hosted by Sunsara Taylor (RefuseFascism.org; Revolutionary Communist Party). Ever since the internal KPFA controversies, or the colonization of KPFA by centrist Democrats, KPFA is slowly morphing into NPR, but with a lower budget. Meanwhile, the real NPR is entertaining with slick production value, but also often politically-sedating.
As Americans suss out the real narrative, NPR has basically helped MPD say nothing wrong was done. Maybe not on their part, but NPR doesn’t question the Capitol Police behavior, taking selfies with Trump loyalists, opening doors, helping the trespassers and vandals and whatnot. So, that’s deceptive, bad journalism, lying by omission. The liberal corporate media, for their part, are broadcasting elected Democrats tweeting that it’s time to move on already. That’s even more deceptive, straight up putting out lame ideas. The liberal mass media seems bad enough. But the mass right-wing media is outright evil, saying things like, What’s wrong with taking a guided tour of the Capitol?
Right-wing media is parroting Trump’s false claims of election fraud, whilst ignoring the real complaints of people, like investigative journalist Greg Palast, who have been exposing voter suppression for decades. And American voter suppression and disenfranchisement is usually perpetrated by the GOP, which primarily targets populations of color. But the Democrat Party colludes with the Republican Party to block alternative political parties from ballot access in states across the nation with top-two primary laws and whatnot. The presidential debates have also been captured and corrupted by the collusion between the Republican and Democrat Parties to prevent alternative political parties from challenging the corporate narratives being used to gaslight and manipulate the American people into supporting political parties, which do not represent their interests, only those of corporate, antidemocratic power.
One of our nation’s keenest observers of such trends has been Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party. Yes, he’s a partisan; but so is everyone else. And he’s not trying to hide it. And what’s more important is that his analysis of the state of our nation, especially at a moment like this, is spot on. You don’t need to join his political party to listen to what he has to say, nor to see that it makes perfect sense. We need more people, such as Carl Dix, to tell the people’s story in a way, which can draw upon our collective years of experience as American observers, workers, and, really, as American patriots. 
Today, the esteemed Carl Dix was interviewed on The Michael Slate Show to help us all make sense of what the events of January 6th mean for America. What does this display of white privilege, white supremacy, disaffection with the Democrat Party, disaffection with Washington corruption, even disaffection with the Republican Party status quo teach us about America? Eyewitnesses on the ground have reported that the Trump loyalists were chanting, “Hang Pence!! Hang Pence!!” That is extremely dangerous. We can only wonder whether that was before, or after, Vice President Mike Pence called the National Guard, in defiance of the reluctant lame duck President Trump, to control the disturbances, vandalism, violence, and looting. What does this all mean for white people? What does this mean for black people? What does this mean for yellow people? What does this mean for brown people?  Listen and/or download here. 
THE MICHAEL SLATE SHOW—[8 JAN 2021] — transcription pending volunteer labor; please reach out to us, or leave a comment, if you would like to volunteer at Lumpenproletariat.org to help the American working class self-educate for correct political action. Solidarity. —
Learn more at THE MICHAEL SLATE SHOW.
 Just this week, I heard KPFK’s Ian Masters (Background Briefing) invite listeners to a Local Station Board (LSB) meeting to defend the station from NPR-ization, as station bosses, he reported are trying to ouster him and Sonali Kolhatkar (Rising Up).
 After all, as Chris Hedges has noted, a patriot is someone, who works to make his country better. And, over the years, we’ve noticed that whenever political tensions have flared in the United States, like when we had the Global Financial Crisis of 2007/2008 or war or imperialism flares up, Carl Dix has always provided sharp analysis to help us make sense of the political world around us. Dix tends to defer to his party’s leader, Bob Avakian, which may sound strange to apolitical people outside of party politics. But the point is not to feed into a cult of personality, but to gather relevant information and analysis about the world around us in the most honest and effective way for organizing working class people for self-defense against capitalist, fascist, racist, and imperialist forces of hostility and aggression.
 Anecdotally, I can report that numerous well-to-do immigrant Asian families in Silicon Valley, particularly from China, have been moving back to Asia. Contractors will tell you about the demographic shift of which Silicon Valley families have actually been spending money on services. Peninsula communities in Silicon Valley, such as Palo Alto, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, but also the greater San Francisco/Oakland Bay Area, have seen episodes of gentrification, population relocations, and now economic stagnation, and decline.
When I was a kid, it seemed like white people ruled. Middle class and wealthy homes in the Bay Area would spend loads of money on seasonal color in their landscapes. Saratoga, for example, is a wealthy town on the eastern edges of Santa Clara County, towards the hills. Those homes used to abound in seasonal color, that’s what landscapers call installing flats, flowers, ground cover. These days, ground cover is merely dirt. Homes are unkempt, landscaping services have declined or been discontinued. The industry is in the dumps. And seasonal color isn’t installed anymore. Generally, the landscaping, even in wealthy areas, such as Saratoga and Atherton, reflects the economic depression in which our nation is mired. It’s only an anecdotal observation, but it’s a visually stark one.
As a kid, working as a landscaper around Saratoga, you would see crowds of people everywhere. The local nurseries would be crowded with people buying seasonal color. All of the homes would fill their flower beds with loads and loads of flats of impatiens, daisies, lavenders, chrysanthemums, and whatnot. I mean this was some real Edith Wharton-House-of-Mirth–type stuff, where families buy fresh flowers for the table. I mean, what can we say? Admittedly, Thorstein Veblen lived in Menlo Park, smack dab in the heart of my childhood stomping grounds among the leisure class. No wonder I’ve often felt such a strong connection with Veblen’s levity. Each wealthy home seemed to try to outdo the next. And mom-and-pop landscapers and small businesses did alright for a while. The same would go for all the other rough trades, which built the homes and landscapes as well as serviced and maintained them.
“[…] the queer thing about society is that the people who regard it as an end are those who are in it, and not the critics on the fence. It’s just the other way with most shows—the audience may be under the illusion, but the actors know that real life is on the other side of the footlights. The people who take society as an escape from work are putting it to its proper use; but when it becomes the thing worked for it distorts all the relations of life.”
Lawrence Selden, quoted in The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
As a kid, working as a landscaper around Saratoga, you would see crowds of people everywhere. Shops and cafés were teeming with life. Economic activity and frivolity spilled out everywhere. And I was younger, so everything seemed all the more innocent. (I had not yet heard of the Veblenian Dichotomy, conspicuous consumption, pecuniary prowess, invidious distinctions, or any of that.) America just looked amazing, if I could someday make enough income to not be so broke all the time, I thought back then, feeling like a green Raskolnikov. (My teenaged mind just wanted to fix up my ’63 Impala and make it clean, ese.) The local nurseries would be crowded with people buying seasonal color. All of the homes would fill their flower beds with loads and loads of flats of impatiens, daisies, lavenders, chrysanthemums, etc. I mean this was some real Edith Wharton-type stuff. Each wealthy home seemed to try to outdo the next. And mom-and-pop landscapers did alright for a while. The same would go for all the other rough trades, which built the homes and landscapes as well as serviced and maintained them.
The peninsula would be teeming with construction and service providers, since the 1980s and into the 1990s. I can only imagine the obscene levels of wealth Veblen must have seen in my hometown stomping grounds of San Mateo County and Santa Clara County back in his day, the Late Victorian Age, the Age of the Robber Barons. Everywhere one looked in the peninsula, there was economic and social activity going on, tons of service providers, painters, roofers, construction workers, dog walkers, joggers, tour de france-looking bicyclists clogging up the shoulders of thoroughfares, carloads of teenagers playing loud music, whether preppies blasting modern rock or alternative or whatever, or working class kids blasting hip hop or punk or reggae or alternative and whatnot.
Today, you see virtually no youth culture on the streets anymore. I mean we can recall the local Bay Area newspapers shriveling up, the nightlife was shut down. In San Francisco, there was this whole political push against the nightclubs and music halls. I remember when the Maritime Hall was closed. Slim’s closed this year; but that was probably more to do with the coronavirus economic crash. Since the Clinton administration 1990s, cops have swept the lumpenproletariat off the streets.
All that was left by the late 1990s/early 2000s was conspicuous consumption and night life. But, if you could still afford hedonism and distraction in places like the Bay Area, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, then the Global Financial Crisis of 2007/2008, made it that much more expensive. So, nightlife and popular culture was further shut down by the time the 2010s rolled around. And, if hedonists were still out there somewhere having fun, well, then, COVID-19 shut everyone down. All we could afford by the mid-2010s was the occasional music festival. But, now, post-COVID-19, everything was cancelled. Mr. Olympia 2020 was postponed repeatedly, until, finally, a bizarre, semi-masked contest was held in front of a semi-empty audience. All music festivals were cancelled. A few comedians and musicians tried to hold concerts at drive-ins, or other outdoor areas. Dave Chappelle organized his socially distanced Comedy Camp during the summer of 2020 out in his childhood stomping grounds around Yellow Springs, Ohio. Chappelle’s Summer Comedy Camp was finally shut down due to “possible exposure within our inner circle” in September.
Society seems to have been slowly closed down…
Some say this is temporary. Others are warning the state wants this to be permanent. The concerning fact is that many indicators in the recent past, and not-so-recent past, point to an increasing police state society. We must respect those among us, who have spent a great deal of time thinking about, and studying, these issues and gathering information and data.
Going back to the Bay Area, and its colonization by big tech, gentrification, and now cultural stagnation. It seems families aren’t owning the communities in the peninsula and in Silicon Valley anymore. Banks, corporations, and venture capital seems to be owning the communities in the peninsula these days. Over time, you didn’t really see white people spending money on their homes anymore, mostly Asian folks, newer immigrants. Many established white families in the wealthier enclaves seem to be fading away, their kids moving away, perhaps, unable to afford the same cost of living as their parents. These appear to be mostly aging baby boomers. Mr. Russie(sp?), an 8th grade teacher predicted most of my cohort probably wouldn’t be able to afford living in San Mateo by the time we were adults. It was a harsh thing to say to a class of 8th graders; but it was true. He was right.
My parents’ former post-WWII tract home in the Shoreview neighborhood of San Mateo County was sold to them for about $245K circa 1989, which they sold probably for double that circa 9/11. Today, that same basic three-bedroom, two-bath home we lived in when I was in 8th grade in virtually the same condition now sells for $1.23 million.
Well, it has been interesting to hear reports of the rough trade clientele demographic shifting to predominantly Asian immigrants in the wealthy enclaves of Silicon Valley in recent years. But 2020, the year of the coronavirus, has seen something of an exodus back to China and Asia of many of those wealthy immigrant families. The first families of immigrants going back to China, was reported to your author, as precipitated by the floundering of the peninsula schools post-pandemic. The families I spoke to were very respectful, but had serious concerns with the way their kids were being taught since the lockdowns. They pulled their kids, and went back to China. This was during the summer of 2020.
Around the same time, we saw news reports of higher education taking hard hits because their enrollment of foreign students had dropped in the wake of the Trump administration’s belligerent stance toward China and Chinese people. Many Chinese students were feeling unsafe at American universities due to the racial tensions. Of course, fast forward to the second wave of 2020 coronavirus in the fall, and things got even worse. After the Thanksgiving break, even universities were trying to sell online learning for full-price tuition. Students began protesting; and foreign student enrollment dropped even further.
Today, between COVID-19 lockdowns, infection rates, suffering, and death rates soaring, a crippled economy, and racial tensions, cops killing unarmed innocents on the streets with impunity, citizens protesting said killings, other protestors protesting the protestors protesting the killer cops, it’s all a big clusterfuck, innit?
We can understand why hardworking, well-to-do Asian families are bailing out of Silicon Valley, those families, who seemed to be the only young and growing families in Silicon Valley.
But, again, this is only anecdotal. It’d be interesting to get into the serious statistics about these demographic and socioeconomic shifts we’re seeing anecdotally. But, on the ground, today, the peninsula and the Bay Area is looking very much like the Great Depression, especially when those were your stomping grounds since the ’80s and ’90s.
 To access the audio archive narrow the program selection to “The Michael Slate Show”, then select the audio archive for the “Friday, January 8, 2021” broadcast archive.
[10 JAN 2021]
[Last modified on 10 JAN 2021 at 23:59 PST]
(c. 1:50) “Hello, Carl?”
“Hi. Let me introduce you to everybody first. We’re operaring under difficult circumstances. But we really, really need to get this out. And I think it’s a very important show, that we have going. (c. 2:07)
“And, basically, what the run is: we’re gonna be talking to Carl Dix