Dispatches has received a communique from an anonymous collective called OBU, announcing a sixteen-part Manifesto. The group has stated that it intends to send Dispatches one section every week over the next four months. The Manifesto apparently meditates on the current conjuncture and calls for the formation of a diffused cultural resistance of a brand new kind. The Manifesto as a whole is entitled OBU Manifestos 1-14 (Plus Two OBU Interludes). Past sections of the manifesto can be found under our Dispatches section tab, where they will be archived as they arrive.
OBU Manifesto #5
OBU performs momentous acts of political theater.
OBU causes buildings to levitate for freedom.
OBU is the Orchestra Bringing Unraveling to all injustice.
OBU is the music in your head that persuades you that happiness is possible.
Every person alive and dead is at the center of OBU’s story.
OBU is a pompous sack of manure. Spread it and let it nourish the soil of the cities and towns. Sunlight and rain will oxidize the pomposity. New trees will grow. The only problem will lie in grasping the complexities of their roots and branches.
OBU is Oafish Bunglers Undulating.
OBU is unequal to the tasks that face us.
OBU is our only hope.
OBU is willing to violate all the laws of nature to achieve justice.
OBU’s Mad Genius Monkeys and Dolphins are working on how to do this.
OBU is One Big Union
OBU is divided on this.
Oligarchy and oppression can be fought without supplementary readings. But OBU believes that we need our ghosts. The more wise ghosts we have, the surer we’ll be in our struggle.
OBU postpones and delays and defers. Now is not the right time, it avers. Now is the time for understanding time. Time is lending itself. When must we pay it back? OBU says that many things are now imperative. OBU calls for immediate action. OBU posts its ruminative demands on FaceBook. OBU is part of a community of shock. OBU says, we are not surprised this happened, it was always implicit in a racist system. OBU says the inconceivable has happened; a conman buffoon has found the racist integuments of the American political corpus and ripped them off like new intestines spewing excrement to the vast entertainment of millions.
OBU contends that if you don’t know what a word means, look it up.
OBU is divided on this.
OBU believes that the defunding of public education from K through college is having exactly the effect that was intended: the contempt for knowledge, the lack of understanding of how knowledge is acquired, the deep suspicion of sustained thinking, the fear of other ways of thinking and living, the vulnerability to political whims (from Obama’s vacuous “Hope” directly to the Tea Party and to Trump’s poisonous charisma), apathy, addiction to opioids.
OBU read that the lower the average educational level, the more likely was a county to vote for Trump.
OBU does not believe that “postmodern” thinking, art, poetry, and philosophy or the various forms of “identity” politics and scholarship–African American studies, gender studies, various ethnicity studies, etc.–are what have brought universities (and the Left) to cultural irrelevance, or somewhere on the road to it. It may be that these have not been especially effective as politics over the past twenty or thirty years. But then, who or what has? Democratic Party technocratic, austerity Liberalism has deepened the power of oligarchy–an oligarchy without overt racism, in contrast to the Republican Party version.
OBU is (still) Oligarchy Busters United
OBU knows magic tricks. OBU knows the date and time of every lunar and solar eclipse. OBU has memorized the tides and can identify clouds, trees, and musical chords. OBU impersonates new elements on the Periodic Table.
But will OBU learn to use firearms? OBU can recite extended passages from the Old and New Testaments, from the Koran, and from the canonical books of Hindu, Jain, Bahai, Parsee, Buddhist, Shinto, Confucian, Mayan, Iroquois, Ashanti, and Mormon traditions. OBU feels at home in all places of worship.
OBU has a newly engineered translation chip planted behind the left eye that allows OBU to understand and speak all human languages.
OBU believes in non-violence. But it likewise believes those who are attacked in their exercise of non-violence have the inalienable right to self-defense. OBU will seek to practice non-violence even when attacked and it will earnestly encourage others to do so. But it will not condemn those who honorably defend themselves and their loved ones and communities in legitimate acts of protection.
Now can we move forward?