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.
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OBU Manifesto #14
OBU is One Big Union
OBU is Oligarchy Busters United
OBU observes that Trump is so astonishingly brazen. The fact that he’s rude is part of his appeal. He’s not polite, judicious, discrete, kinder or gentler. He’s a jerk and a clown and he has boatloads of money and the boats to put it in. He doesn’t take shit and he doesn’t give a shit, and he’s all out in the open. All of you polite, liberal, pc jerkoffs and losers–Trump welcomes your contempt. Bring it on, he says. I can dish it back stronger than you can deliver it. Who wouldn’t want to be like that? The clown is now king; the Lord of Misrule rules. How can you blame him for being authoritarian? Trump doesn’t even realize that the U.S. isn’t a monarchy.
If someone is your enemy, OBU observes, you should welcome them as your enemy. Out of that real struggle, some kind of truth will emerge. If you’re afraid of that truth, then don’t acknowledge your enemy as an enemy. The conflict will still take place, but without your participation. You will lose, or perhaps there will be a stalemate. But no truth will emerge; or whatever emerges will be unreadable.
What are you afraid of?
Are you afraid the majority of people will be against you? Are you afraid that 40% of the people will be against you? Are you afraid of violence? Are you afraid of confrontation?
Don’t kill, says OBU. Defend yourself. But once killing starts, as OBU reads the historical documents, it is hard to turn back.
Always be listening, always be talking to those you disagree with–to your enemies. Make violence unnecessary. Be on offense, not defense.
Lower the carbon footprint everywhere. If your taxes are lowered, create escrow accounts for the common good. Defend freedoms of the press–and make the press earn those freedoms. Defend immigrants. Defend teachers. Make public schools important; make them work. Reject the deflection of funding away from public education.
Annihilate euphemisms. “Choice” in education. “Right to Work.” Even the famous woman’s “Right to Choose”; this is the right to procreate or not, which is not an easy decision, it’s not like some consumer “choice.” It’s a serious thing, it should be taken seriously. The compromise of Roe v. Wade is sensible and should be defended–but it’s not about “choice,” it’s about necessity and judgement, it’s about entire contexts of life as each woman lives it.
Defend unions, and insist that unions work for the common good not just for their particular contracts. Unions now face existential threats; it’s time for them to conceive of broader visions for why they exist.
What can defeat Trumpism and the Oligarchy that was there before and is still in power? No existing group can do it. The Democratic Party clearly can’t do it (and the Democratic Party in truth is the liberal branch of the Oligarchy). Organized labor as it currently exists can’t do it. MoveOn can’t do it. Common Cause can’t do it. Environmentalist groups can’t do it. Black Lives Matter can’t do it. OBU can’t do it.
It will take more than we can imagine; we have to imagine better.
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OBU Interlude 2
to actually imagine
an effective politics would look
if it could be brought into being what it would
what it would be
what it would
if it could
while we resist
theft and poisoning of the lived-in living world
while we resist and maybe win a little
and maybe lose
It might not be
such a bad idea
to think through
to be thought
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OBU Manifesto 15
OBU is up! OBU is in action!
OBU is at the major international airports. The unconstitutional detentions of non-citizens with valid visas and Green Cards reentering the U.S. is being contested. People are at the airports. Dictatorship and government by whim will not be accepted. OBU is the spirit of not-lying-down for these abuses.
The judge rules in favor of law and against dictatorship.
A Dictator believes he can dictate. He must be shown he cannot.
OBU is Jews protecting Muslims and Christians protecting Muslims and Muslims protecting Jews. No one group will allow the others to be oppressed. When the Dictator came for the Muslims, the Jews and Christians and blacks and whites and browns all were there. Nobody said, I am not a Muslim.
The Dictator may have been elected–by a minority with help of a racist, archaic constitutional atavism–but OBU will not allow him to dictate.
This is a day both of shame and of pride.
OBU is in action. r