Thursday, October 20, 2011

Spanner 23.1: Settle for Nothing

When I came up with the title for this first installment of the final chapter of Spanner Book 1, I thought, “This would be a great name for a punk rock song.”, Well, let us rub our whiskers like Roger Ebert and go back in time, into the backstory, to 1985, when a four-year-old Anglo-American glampunk band called the Band With No Name released their now iconic third album, Street Lethal.

The year before, 17-year-old electric violinist Willa Richter-Thomas released her solo album The Amazing Misadventures of Rebel Mudlark, Space Cowgirl, her beautiful, ethereal, and spunky elegy for New Wave icon Klaus Nomi. The record industry executives, who at that time thought of themselves as part of the fashion industry (or the “fashion-industrial complex,” as Willa sarcastically called it), wanted more Rebel Mudlark. The No-Names gave them the most ferocious A side in the history of glampunk. Track one: “Go,” their new iconic opener, perhaps the first pop-punk song identified as such. Track two: the glampunk anthem “New Wave Video Slut.” Track three: “Settle for Nothing,” a hardcore raveup Willa called at the time “an X song for my ex,” whom she”d recently punched out, tied up, and dumped on the side of a heavily travelled section of US 101 after he listened to Rebel Mudlark and went hysterically homophobic.

“Settle for Nothing” was deliberately intended to be as un-Rebel Mudlark-like as possible. Some rock critics saw the X influence clearly; others called it “Joan Jett gone hardcore,” others in retrospect would call it the original Riot Grrrl tune (being from Bremerton, the No-Names were close enough to Olympia to be part of that scene). Every single record company executive from that point on has called the song “a personal slander against me.”

Meanwhile, in current events news, it strikes me (no pun intended) as uncanny that I’m throwing a general strike into this novel right when there’s one going on in Greece and another being prepared in Portugal. And did you know #OccupyWallStreet intends to “murder us all”? If by “we” you mean the Corporate caste, who by definition (a.k.a “the Law of Social Darwinism”) are the only people that count...

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 23: Black Panic in the Suites
Part 1: Settle for Nothing

Power concedes nothing without a demand.
It never did and it never will.

Frederick Douglass

The time to buy is when blood is running in the streets.
Baron Nathan Rothschild
There will be no election! CPMC does not have elections! CPMC is the government! CPMC is owned by me! I’m the sole owner of CPMC! I, and I alone, am the government! I am the president, the legislature, and the judiciary! It’s all me! I am the law! The law is my word, my whim! You’re on my private property, you parasites! Stop protesting, and get back to doing what I say! Okay? Please?

[The KCUF News Team analyze the Governor’s statement.]

Governor Brinkman looks highly flustered. Could it be the stress of the election period getting to him?

Well, knowing my cousin as I do, Amanda, I’ve seen how he lives for political crises that would stress out a normal man. It could only have been watching his granddaughter Leila Shelley duel to the death the man he arranged her to marry, practically rape her to death, then cut off his head and hold it up for him to see. She fought the whole duel completely naked to signify her open contempt for everything he believes in. If reports I’ve heard are right, and she’s inherited some kind of invulnerability, whether from him or not, then there’s no way even he can stop her. Some consider her decision to openly flout modesty, marriage, and eugenic purity regulations one of the causes of the political crisis now unfolding.

Thank you, Desiree.
3 november 2014.
Shira’s apartment.
Shira sits on the edge of the couch to keep her sticky stuff from mucking up the upholstery. Leila stands before her, just as proudly nude, so she can feel up and down her smooth white body. She kisses each cone-shapped nipple and gently bites them to make sure each one is hard. Jennifer and Steve watch them from either side of the couch. Shira asks her lover, “So Leila darling, how did it feel to kill a man?”

“For once it actually felt good to give in to the hate and destroy him. When I killed that rapist, I puked right in front of his dead body and felt guilty for a year at least. But this was a formal Challenge against an evil man I hated with all my heart. I knew I had no excuse to feel remorse. For the first time I can remember, I feel free. It feels good to be free.”

“But you killed him,” says Steve. “His blood’s on your hands. Don’t you feel at least a little guilty about it?”

“You don’t understand Corporates. A Corporate is not a mere person. His soul isn’t in his body. It’s in his public image, like Shira said.”

“In his public image?”

If I’d simply killed him, his public image would have survived him and gained martyrdom cred, and then he would have been immortal. It would have taken a miracle to make him actually dead. So I had to humiliate him in public. I had to kill his image first. Only then could I kill his body. The reason I feel no remorse is because Corporates aren’t like human beings. You can’t commit homicide against ’em. You have to commit deicide.”

Jennifer smiles at Steve. “She’s right, Steve. Consider the extreme amount of trouble we had to go through just to kill King Patriot. It would have been a simple matter of regicide — only had he been a mere tyrant. Like Leila says, we had to kill a god. Once the god was dead, the man collapsed like an abandoned puppet.”

Steve says, “So the next god we’re trying to kill is CPMC. Right?”

“Ding ding ding!”

Shira is resting her head on Leila’s breast. “He wins the Cheezy Prize™.”

“And that’s what the election’s about?” asks Steve.

“Bouncing Governor CPMC should help, at least.”

The sound of commotion emanating from the study wakes up Hope and Selene. They walk naked into the living room. Hope declares, “Time to get breakfast, get showered, and get dressed so we can head on out.

From the study, Moon asks, “Are Talia and her friends like gonna try and ruin it this time?”

Shira yells back, “If she does, I’m gonna pie-kill her.” The others laugh.

They take turns eating, showering, and dressing. The Cockroach Twins take turns napping. Shira is in her full yellow school uniform, complete with sailor-type hat, when she records her latest vlog post.
A friend of mine who once read Atlas Shrugged told me about a concept she’d gleaned from it, called “the sanction of the victim.” That’s basically Ayn Rand’s way of saying “Stockholm syndrome.” Political scientists have long had a problem with the concept of “the consent of the governed,” since nobody who came after the generation that consented to make the laws had any say in the matter. They had to be coerced into obeying the laws that already existed, as if the original consent never mattered. It did matter once, but only once.

Government is a parasitic entity that feeds on the consent it coerces from its victims. It’s really just an abstract version of the warlords of ancient times, or of modern gangland, but based on abstract hierarchy and police-enforced rules. It’s the game you’re forbidden to quit. When one victim withdraws their sanction, you get dissent. Most governments punish dissent without mercy, because they know it threatens their parasitic life. When enough victims withdraw their sanction, the result is revolution.

Until recently, the hardest thing people could do was keep their sanction withdrawn. The notion of “the consent of the governed” kept getting in the way, and so we got new constitutions, new republics, and, more often than not, new dictatorships, like the one we have to deal with in Euro-America right now. But if we dispense with that notion, we can avoid setting up a new order that becomes an old order in due order. If we keep our victim’s sanction withdrawn — if we reject the idea of authority altogether — we can achieve something that’s never happened before: permanent revolution.

As for the Conservative Revolution? The moment they smashed the liberals, that revolution was over. The new order’s been fighting to prevent any further change ever since.
Dr Henry Becket calls her on the vidphone. “What was that supposed to be?”

She leans in seductively on her elbows and purrs, “Answer me this, Doc: what’s a free market?”

“I don’t know wh—”

“Anarchy in economics. ‘Free’ means ‘free from government.’ Now you, Doctor, being the rationalist technocrat you are, are probably not able to understand this, but to more objective minds it’s glaringly obvious that moral synarchy and economic anarchy make for a glaring contradiction. Two opposites in the same system are certain to destroy the system. It’s a matter of simple logic. A is not non-A.”

“I swear, you will not get away with your insolence.”

“I say you cannot get away with having your A and your non-A too. Things just don’t work that way. Goodbye, Doctor.”

“You—” Shira abruptly cuts off the call.

Mudlark House. “So this was the room where you and Kira used to sleep,” says Leila. She looks around the room, which looks the same as it did the day of the coup because that’s the way Alex wants to keep it.

Shira says, “At least when we came to visit.” She shows Leila the picture of Shira, Kira, Alex, and Lya. “Actually, Kira never liked you much, but she knew I was in love.”

“Why we’re here,” Alex interrupts. She looks around the room. Present: Shira, Leila, Jennifer, Desiree, Charlie, Sparks, Amanda. “We’re facing another day of reckoning. Desiree, explain.”

“I’ve done some economic research,” Desiree explains, “and I came to realize the reason there was a Conservative Revolution in the first place. Of all the economic theories I studied, that of Marx best fits the facts. Capitalism has built-in a permanent tendency for the rate of profit to fall. That’s the amount of profit in relation to investment. Competition forces most companies to cut retail prices in order to survive, and that cuts into their profits. From the eighteenth to twentieth centuries, they were able to mitigate this by making manufacturing more efficient, improving machines, automating and exporting labor. But by the end of that period, they couldn’t do it anymore, so they had to cut wages, cut corners, lower quality. The only means the capitalists had left to increase their profits was speculative finance unconnected to production, and that became increasingly predatory. After the crash of ’08, they had to rely increasingly on government subsidies. But taxpayers became increasingly resistant to paying increasing taxes just to subside the greed of what they called ‘banksters’ and ‘corporate welfare kings.’ So they took over the government. That was the Conservative Revolution.”

Leila feels her head spinning. “I never thought of it that way.”

“You were not supposed to. The words every Corporate dreads most, the ones they dare not speak, are ‘fall in the rate of profit.’”

“And now their profit needs are driving the civilian masses to revolt.”

“Exactly. They privatized government, put the Corporations on permanent subsidies, inflated the dollar, euro, and pound, eliminated the minimum wage and imposed maximum wages, magicked up ever more esoteric forms of speculation; and yet the dreaded day has finally arrived. The rate of profit is now zero. Capitalism is now officially dead. And now the workers are in the streets. The class war is joined.”

Sparks says, “So now it’s come down to the battle in the streets between police and revolutionaries.”

“It’s worse than that. Only one class can survive, the capitalists or the workers. Their evolution is diverging. The workers have finally seen reason and are taking their destiny into their own hands. The Corporates, on the other hand, have already begun to revert to primitive savagery.”

“As in COPCO hiring gangsters.”


“So it’s already too late to choose a third way?” asks Amanda.

Shira, Desiree, Charlie, and Alex nod. Desiree says, “The only question left open is, which side are you on.”

Leila says, “I choose the future.”

“Which future?” asks Alex.

“If what Desiree’s saying is right, the only other option is no future. I have no wish to be a pawn or a sacrifice in a new dark age. I choose the future.”

the city. Day four of the general strike. The day before the election, and the first work day in which the workers of Cascadia refuse to return to their jobs. Instead, they protest. They protest in the town centers, in the city plazas, in front of corporate headquarters. They no longer feel it possible to demand pay raises or benefit improvements. They demand their basic rights, the rights the Conservative Revolution stole from them in order to preserve American dominion and save the ruling Corporate élite from otherwise certain extinction.

Soon protest will no longer be enough. The Corporates are beginning to panic. When a predator is backed into a corner, it abandons all reason and lashes out with irrational fury.
I ordered you to cease your petulant protests. I reminded you that they are in defiance of the Law. I warned you that your defiance threatens the very order of existence. Henceforth, I declare martial law statewide, effective immediately. From now on, I am dictator. My word alone is law.

I have fired all my employees. For that matter, I have expelled all the students, and I have no intention of giving back the tuition they forfeited with their insolent defiance against me that started all this chaos. I am selling SPEC to the Church of America, which will at least put some teeth into the national education.

Brendan Sparks:
We fought the Revolution to save the world from collectivist tyranny. And now the population of your entire state is committing defying all order to impose the Communism we fought so long and hard to defeat? This is the last straw. Starting immediately, our company will send all the agents necessary to put down this treasonous insurrection. If necessary, we will call on our friends in Russia and China to supply reinforcements.

Drusilla Becket:
Jesus America is the one and only God. Jesus America is not the God of the many. God has chosen the few, the deserving, the individuals. He has gifted his chosen with infinite wealth and fame. Now the many have rejected their place in humble service to God’s chosen and turned as a collectivist mass against Our Nation, the one God. He shall punish them with his wrath, and then he will punish them with supernatural torment for eternity.

Richard Becket:
You fools! Don’t you realize you’re committing mass suicide? We no longer need unreliable human workers when we can now produce everything we need with machines. We no longer need fickle consumers now that wealth is fully independent of consumption. The System no longer needs you. If in your petty resentment and your greed for the unearned you decide you want to destroy the System, then we’ll get rid of you. We have already entered the posthuman age. Humanity is obsolete. Corporations, not men, are the heirs to the future.

General Peterson:
Insolent monkeys! You have defied your betters for the last time. This is our final demand. Surrender unconditionally, or we will be forced to declare the entire State of Cascadia collectively guilty of treason and begin saturation bombing at once. America bless God!
Soon enough, LocaFantoma99 posts the unofficial reply to MyTube on behalf of the Seattle Metropolitan Student Union (and still wearing her yellow school uniform):
So the Conservative Revolutionary régime have finally lost their cool and thrown their ultimatums. Their Challenge. Well, I’ve taken the pulse of the people on the streets, and... no go. Not because we won’t, but because we can’t. You’ve backed us into a corner for the last time. It’s become a matter of simple survival. Either we fight on, or we die. Either Tournament ends now, or we do.

Oh, and General Peterson? You’re promising to use the one-size-fits-all American military strategy against Americans? Didn’t work too well against the Communists in Vietnam or the Caliphate in Afpakistan. In fact, that’s why you lost ’em. Prepare to lose Cascadia too.
The helicopters launch, carrying the Shofar LRADs. From the aircraft carriers ported and Naval Base Kitsap Bremerton, they launch. From the airstrips and helipads at Combined Base Lewis-McChord, they launch. From every U.S. Armed Forces base in the entire state, from every COPCO-owned and -leased facility statewide, the helicopters launch, to invade the cities and attack the people with sonic torture.

KCUF studio. “Roll ’em out!” commands Simon Sez. The sound trucks roll out. Martin Lansky’s chip now boosts the power of their sound cancellers many times over, giving them the ability to counter even combat LRADs.

“You think this’ll work?” asks Amanda.

“Every pirate broadcaster in the state’s on this, so don’t worry. As soon as Scope gets here, be ready to fly out.”


Shira’s apartment. It’s not yet Election Day, yet Team Spanner Election Central is a madhouse. Yellow-clad ex-tutors and cyberpunked-out hackers run back and forth, man the laptops, defend against botnets, ICEbreakers, DDoSes. Colette marvels, “They’re still trying to spam the votes!”

“That’s the Mob for ya,” says Evil the Cat.

Shira asks, “Any sign China’s trying to steal votes?”

“Not yet,” Moon replies, “but we’re ready!”

Leila stares at the monitors with growing concern. “I’m wondering if they really can cancel the future.”

“Direct confrontation’s not the only way to beat the Man. Let’s give him a distraction.”

CPMC boardroom. The Fearsome Foursome assemble with Brinkman at the head. They are joined by Drusilla Becket, Brendan Sparks, Byron Scofield, and General Patrick Peterson. Brinkman faces away from the table, and says to the uncle vidphoning him, Dr Henry Becket: “I have told them, this is not 1919 or 1999. Those were limited local disorders. This is 1917.”

“No,” warns the Doctor grimly, “theirs is the counterrevolution. The revolution is ours. This is 1792. The only way to save the revolution, and thereby the world, is to unleash upon them the full force of terror.”

the protests. In every city and town throughout Cascadia, the streets are full and all work has ceased. The Shofars are flying to try to stop them. The pirate broadcasters’ sound trucks are rolling out to counter them. COPCO is sending agents, the National Guard is sending soldiers, the Conservative Revolutionary Party is sending militants. The battle is joined. The fate of Cascadia lies in the balance.
Attention, mainstream and independent media! I am holding a press conference at noon sharp. Be there or be square!
on to the next...

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Copyright © 2011 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons License

[Revision 2, 10/20/11: All new material (the unpublished first draft starts with the next installment).]

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