Jack Random

Jack Random is the author of the Jazzman Chronicles (Crow Dog Press) and Ghost Dance Insurrection (Dry Bones Press). See The Chronicles have been posted on the Albion Monitor, Bellaciao, Buzzle, CounterPunch, Dissident Voice, Pacific Free Press and Peace-Earth-Justice. www.jazzmanchronicles.blogspot.com

Sunday, 28 November 2010 00:00 GFP Columnist - Jack Random

I am a student of history. While I hold no degree in that particular discipline I enjoy a good narrative that places seemingly scattered events in a greater context and extracts meaning from our march through time. I resent narratives that abuse history, that subvert words and events to serve a philosophy or political cause for which they were not intended.

I resent those who accuse others of rewriting history as if that in itself were objectionable, as if a narrative once commonly accepted as faithful were written in stone, impregnable and unassailable. Thus, the narrative of Manifest Destiny that justified the extermination of tribal Americans in the name of a Christian God should be allowed to stand. Thus the narrative that champions unfettered industry with the rise of America’s greatness should go unchallenged. Thus the narrative that justifies all American military actions in the cause of freedom and democracy should never be questioned.

It is the duty of every historian to challenge all dogmatic narratives and to constantly rewrite history in service to the truth. While personal bias can never be fully eliminated, it is the duty of every historian to defend true history against the constant assaults by those with perverted intent.

Wednesday, 03 November 2010 00:00 GFP Columnist - Jack Random

The party in power will lose in midterm elections and the loss will be proportionate to the nation’s economic pain.

It is as predictable as the sun setting in the west and as simple as a three-chord song. The 2010 election results, a convincing takeover of the House Representatives, a narrowing of Democratic control of the Senate and a net loss of nine governorships, was neither surprising nor representative of any philosophic change. The effect of the Tea Party movement was negligible and the effect of unrestricted corporate funding of electoral campaigns was stunningly muted.

Against a backdrop of a prolonged recession and a real unemployment rate far exceeding ten percent of the working force, the only surprise was that the Republicans failed to take control of the Senate. Had they done so, it would have set up a war between Congress and the White House for the next two years. It would have challenged the president to wield the power of the veto. As it is we will have gridlock, paralysis, two years of posturing and politicking without substance. There will be no major legislative initiative. There will be no repeal of healthcare reform. Nothing will change. 

Monday, 18 October 2010 00:00 GFP Columnist - Jack Random

This is intended as a general guide to voting in the upcoming California election for like-minded progressive independents. The further right you are on the political spectrum the more you should consider this a guide on how not to vote.

STATEWIDE OFFICES: GOVERNOR: Jerry Brown, Democrat. Is this the year of the CEO? I think not. We are less than two years removed from the Wall Street meltdown that nearly landed the nation in a second Great Depression. Make no mistake: The politics of Meg Whitman and her wealthy Wall Street cohorts are what landed us in this protracted recession. I think it generous of Whitman to boost California’s economy by spending a large chunk of her fortune to become Governor but the jobs she’s created will disappear in a few weeks and the only jobs she’s likely to create if elected will be in China, India or anywhere that labor is cheap.

The sky will not fall if Whitman is elected because she’s unlikely to get anything passed in the California legislature but why should we reward the arrogance of a candidate who never voted in her adult life yet believes she can buy the governor’s palace?

Saturday, 09 October 2010 00:00 GFP Columnist - Jack Random

ANARCHIST: 1. A person who rebels against any authority, established order or ruling power.  2. A person who believes in, advocates or promotes anarchism or anarchy, especially one who uses violent means to overthrow the established order.

ANARCHISM: a political theory holding all forms of governmental authority to be unnecessary and undesirable and advocating a society based on voluntary cooperation and free association of individuals and groups.

ANARCHY: A. absence of government; B. a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority; C. a utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government. - Merriam Webster

At some time on our journey from childhood naivety to youthful rebellion and before we advance to the relative cynicism of adulthood, many of us are intellectually attracted to those who identify themselves in the pages of history as anarchists.

Monday, 04 October 2010 00:00 GFP Columnist - Jack Random

It seems to me that anyone who has a vision of real and systemic change in government must inevitably come to terms with the reality that change is a long-term proposition. It is improbable that we are the change we’ve been looking for or that the change we seek will come in our lifetimes.

Historic change requires a convergence of events far beyond our collective ability to control or create it.

History instructs us that change often requires a catalyst in the form of a catastrophe, a disaster or a tragedy so profound it touches the heart and invades the psyche of every man, woman and child who bears witness.

At a time when news was carried primarily by word of mouth from tavern to tavern, from church to public hall, on the wings of an emerging independent press, the Boston Massacre was such an event. Analogous in some ways to Kent State and Jackson State in 1970 it was widely perceived as the first occasion where those charged with protecting us, turned on us and killed our fellow beings for merely asserting their rights of citizenship. It struck a deep chord with the American colonists and propelled us forward toward the war for independence.

Sunday, 29 August 2010 00:00 GFP Columnist - Jack Random

An Answer to the Tea Party - In the beginning it was a simple concept: majority rule. Whether it claims root in ancient Athens or some unknown tribal community, it has survived the millennia as the democratic ideal and remains today a powerful force in the governance of nations.

Modern democracy emerged in the eighteenth century as an alternative to monarchy, aristocracy, dictatorship and other forms of tyranny. The founding of the American nation, with all its flaws and inequities, was civilization’s first marriage of the nation state to the democratic ideal.

Rightwing cynics will point out that America is not and has never been a true democracy; it is rather a republic. They are of course literally correct yet fundamentally misguided. Democracy is an ideal that has never been attempted on the scale of nations and until the advent of advanced technology has never in fact been possible. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries no nation could afford to wait for a poll of the franchise before making a critical decision. 


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