Tag Archives: OWS

Respectable Criminals


HUNGER > PUNISHMENT BY vagabond ©
HUNGER > PUNISHMENT BY vagabond ©

this is the last money on the longshot
the math is designed to work towards someone else’s favor
like pawnshop lottery tickets
like that tip on a horse that lost by a nose
like the house always wins
the long odds stacked up like riot cops
when everyone realizes the same thing at the same time
the long odds stacked up like bars in a cell
when everyone realizes the same thing at the same time
the long odds stacked to the ceiling with the money they taxed you
to bail out banksters
to bail out white collar criminals who never broke a sweat
to steal what you sweat for

i have more respect for bank robbers
there’s risk there
there’s the tight rope walk of getting away with a few dollars
or taking the da’s plea offer for no trial and less time
while the respectable criminals with manicured hands
shuffle numbers on a sheet
as suddenly they turn your house upside down
and shake you out of what they’ll never live in
turn your world upside down like a snow globe
turn it right side up for themselves
as the snow falls on you and yours with the first winter winds coming

i have more respect for blue collar criminals
stick-up men who prowl the streets trying to steady their nerves
so the gun doesn’t go off in a murder rap
there’s risk there
at least you can look them in the eye
when they take your last twenty and the maxed out credit cards
at least it feels real when you look them in the eye
it’s not the surreal intangibility of a last notice in the mail
it’s not the surreal intangibility of a foreclosure notice
it’s not the surreal intangibility of a pink slip
and an escort out of the building
a blue collar stick-up man is tangible
it’s visceral and you can see the fear

this white collar crime will drive you insane
if you had a semi-automatic who would you shoot
who could you hold responsible
why are the real targets so out of reach
more math designed to work towards someone else’s favor
change the formula and make the math work for you
instead of against you
take 15 bullets with you and load the magazine
if you could only get over the 12 foot country club fence
as 3 bank ceo’s finished the 18th hole
you could put 1 bullet in each of their heads
and 1 bullet where each of their hearts would be
you’d still have 9 shots left
as an example to the rest of them
that now no 1 is safe now

this is the last money on the longshot
you could offer these banksters an ultimatum
a life behind bars or a ceo killing spree
you’ll get to smile like the folk hero outlaw
they’ll write songs and poems about
you get the last laugh as the other ceo’s of the other banks
beef up security in an effort to protect themselves
from the idea of justice you put into the world
if you had killed yourself there would have been no satisfaction
at least now you can go to your death knowing
you pulled some evil from the root
to wither and dry in the sun

– vagabond

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1ir

John Penley Anarcho-Yippie (Pt3)


JOHN PENLEY ANARCHO YIPPIE by vagabond ©
JOHN PENLEY ANARCHO YIPPIE by vagabond ©

In this episode of John Penley Anarcho-Yippie, John compares and contrasts his experiences with the Yippies with his days in Zucotti Park and being involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement. John also talks a little bit about more his archive of 30,000 images in the Tamimnet Library at NYU. As he does he reminisces about his days as photojournalist documenting the Squatters movement of NYC’s Lower East Side.

To check out Part’s 1 & 2… click here

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-139

John Penley Anarcho-Yippie (Pt2)


JOHN PENLEY ANARCHO YIPPIE by vagabond ©
JOHN PENLEY ANARCHO YIPPIE by vagabond ©

In this episode of John Penley Anarcho-Yippie, John talks about how he first came to New York and his experiences with the Yippies in New York. He talks about meeting Abbie Hoffman, Bob Fass, Wavy Gravy, Dhourba Bin Wahad, and Judith Molina of The Living Theater and many others. He also talks about how the Yippies taught him to manipulate the media to bring attention to the protests that he organizes. John also speaks about his recent occupations starting in Zucotti Park with Occupy Wall Street up to his present occupation in front of the NYU library that holds his archive of 30,000 photos from his days as a photojournalist in New York. John was protesting against NYU and their rapid gentrification of the Lower East Side and Greenwich Village. John also recounts his experiences with law enforcement from his day with the Yippies to his days as a photojournalist and to his recent encounters with police during his recent occupations.

By the way… Today is John’s birthday so be sure to wish him a Happy Personal New Year’s Day… HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHN AND MANY MANY MORE!!!

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-12X

John Penley Anarcho Yippie Pt. 1


JOHN PENLEY ANARCHO YIPPIE by vagabond ©
JOHN PENLEY ANARCHO YIPPIE by vagabond ©

John Penley is an Anarcho Yippie is a new web series that i’m launching today with a new episode coming each week for the next few weeks. The story of how John became an Anarcho Yippie and what an Anarcho Yippie is, has everything to do with NYC in the 1980’s… John first moved to the Lower East Side of New York City in 1985 and became a freelance photojournalist. His photos were featured in all the daily newspapers like the The Daily News, The NY Post, The New York Times and many other publications. His archive of some 30,000 images was recently acquired by the Tamimnet Library at NYU.

At the end of the summer of 2011 John became homeless. Since then he’s been a part of various Occupy movements in New York, Washington DC, and Asheville NC. In March of 2013 John returned to New York to work on his archive in the library. In true Anarcho Yippie fashion John is also holding a protest against NYU by sleeping on the sidewalk in front of the library that houses his archive to bring attention to NYU’s contribution to the rapid gentrification to the Lower East Side and it’s planned expansion into Greenwich Village. In this episode John talks about his days as a photojournalist and how he came to NYC after serving a federal prison term for jumping bail to join the Yippies on Bleecker Street.

Tune in next week for Part 2 of John Penley Anarcho Yippie…

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-12o

Threats Become Promises


Now That There's Justice There Can Be Peace by vagabond ©
Now That There’s Justice There Can Be Peace by vagabond ©

threats become promises
you still have time
to lay down your greed
and raise your hands
to surrender
and assume the position
of the guilty
consider this
your last warning
your final notice
you were duly warned
when we marched and screamed
no justice without peace

but you believe too much
in your hubris
and now slogans
must become threats
and threats
must become promises
that fill the nostrils
with gasoline and smoke
to be laid out
like victory wreaths
on the smoldering ruins
of the foundations
where your excess once stood

– vagabond

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-SA

Of Ballots And Bullets


Ballots & Bullets Revolver X by vagabond ©
Ballots & Bullets Revolver X by vagabond ©

“Political power comes out of the barrel of a gun.” – Mao Zedong

It’s (s)election season again in the United States Of America… Every four years when it comes time for the US to choose a president i’m reminded of Malcolm X infamous speech The Ballot Or The Bullet. The speech is a recognized as being the the 7th best American speech given in the 20th century. The power of that speech comes from it’s analysis of the modern American political system and in a way it’s a kind of bench mark in terms of how much progress (if any) has been made in American politics. But there never seems to be any real meaningful forward progress in American politics… and Malcolm’s speech made in Cleveland Ohio on April 3rd of 1964 is a reminder of just how much American politics hasn’t really changed.

Malcolm’s speech was delivered a year after the famous 1963 march on Washington DC in which Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech. That was a high water mark for the Civil Rights movement and yet with all it’s hope and promise of change, with all it’s generational upheaval and force of will very little had changed a year later  in 1964 for Black people in America. In much the same way that Barak Hussein Obama was elected president in 2008 with all it’s hope and promise of change, with all it’s generational upheaval and force of will, not much has changed for Black people or for anyone else in 2014. And so Malcolm’s speech of 1964 has a haunting and prophetic relevance because the politics of America doesn’t change.

If you listen to Malcolm’s speech and replace the reference of Black people with the 99% you’ll see that the keen empirical and analytical analysis Malcolm makes of the American political system in 1964 is completely applicable in 2014. Why? Because the American political system is not designed to change in a way that benefits those who need it to change most. It’s not designed to respond to the demands of the people who are clamoring for it. History has born this out… from the abolition of slavery, to the suffrage movement, to labor rights, to the civil rights to gay rights and immigration reform, change has been achingly slow in this country. Change may be inevitable but in this country it’s not about stopping change as much as it is about slowing it down to a glacial pace.

Please don’t mistake this as some anti-Obama rhetoric, this goes beyond Obama… Obama is one man within a system… A system that was designed for self preservation no matter who was the president and what kind of change they might want to bring… Obama inherited an abysmal situation, but it’s a situation that’s been politically designed to be nothing else but a tragedy… The global financial collapse of 2007 – 2008 was created by the American political system. The so-called “rescue” of that financial system, on the part of that very same American political system, was only concerned with the financial institutions that the political class has always been beholden to in contrast to the people who elect them.

There has been recent pressure brought to bear on this American political system for a more rapid and radical change in the form of the occupy movements which by and large are rejecting these outmoded forms of political representation. That message though, seems to have fallen on ears that refuse to hear, eyes that refuse to see, minds that refuse to reason, and hearts that refuse to feel when in comes to the two major political parties. The occupy movement seems to have awoken people to the idea that the two major parties are dictating what the issues are from a top down position as opposed to a bottom up approach. This may be the reason why the two major parties have stayed away from the occupy movement, the threat of real democracy looms large within the occupy movement.

What Malcolm was trying to get at in The Ballot Or The Bullet, was that if we can’t get what we want by the ballot then we’ll have to get it by the bullet. If the political system that claims to represent you fails to do so then the only option left is revolution… The Ballot in Malcolm’s speech is of course, the status quo, the Bullet is the revolution. Revolutions are bloody as Malcolm points out but he closes his speech by saying that America has an opportunity to create a bloodless revolution… That bloodless revolution can only happen when the paradigm shifts and those at the bottom dictates the direction and speed of the change that need to happen. The form that our “Bullet” may take in this revolution may take on a less literal form in order to create this bloodless revolution, but make no mistake, whatever form it takes it must be in the end as affective as a bullet…

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-OZ

Centuries End


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


centuries end
(for the artist responsible for the work on sw 57 and 9 and mohamed bouazizi)

hakim bey said the end of the 20th century
occurred when the wall came down in ’89
and who can argue with hakim bey?

it’s common knowledge that capitalism fell in ’07
and everything since then is just voodoo economics
making zombie capitalism in a way only george romero prophesied

they say trickle down economics
is gonna make it rain prosperity but it smells like piss
as it bounces off the tops of our heads

i say the beginning of the 21st century
began with the self-immolation of mohamed bouazizi in tunisia
setting fire to the african winter of ’11

everything in-between ’89 and ’11
was side line gestation and formulation
out of the binary and into the dialectic

the writing and the pictures were on the wall
on the sw corner of 57th and 9th in new york shitty
but no one bothered to look

but once felt these ideas spread like a virus across walls and into streets
and it’s easier to serve up the messengers head to madness
than decipher the coda of a centuries end

– vagabond

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-M6