Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Do Not Kill Your Landlord WORLD TOUR

Whether you're the organizer of a gig or not, you're always more than welcome to print out a tour poster, fill in gig details from the details provided below in the blank space on the bottom of the poster, and share them widely!  (And here are several other tour posters you can choose from...)  And of course if you can share this post with folks who might want to come to a show somewhere, that would be fantastic.

People can also keep abreast of my touring activities by signing on to my email list at www.davidrovics.com and by following me on Songkick, Bandsintown, Facebook, Twitter, Spotify and elsewhere.

I'll do my best to bring enough t-shirts this time, but if you want to make sure I have your size, the best thing is to get your Do Not Kill Your Landlord t-shirt through the post by ordering one online.


Tuesday, July 18th, 7:30 pm
Community Church of Boston
565 Boylston, 2nd floor
Boston, Massachusetts

Saturday, July 29th, 8 pm
University Christian Church
4731 15th Avenue NE
Seattle, Washington

Saturday, September 16th, noon
rue de la Station 35
4800 Verviers

Saturday, September 16th, 8 pm
Centre de Jeunes "Les Récollets" 
Enclos des Récollets, 100 
4800 Verviers 

Thursday, September 21st, 7:30 pm
Zinnschmelze -- Facebook Event page
Maurienstr. 19
22305 Hamburg

Saturday, September 23rd, 4:30 pm
Huset -- workshop and concert
Absalonsgade 26
5000 Odense C

Wednesday, September 27th, 8 pm
Floating City -- Facebook Event page
Vasbygade 20
Copenhagen 2450

Thursday, September 28th
House concert

Friday, September 29th, 6 pm
Sidesporet -- Facebook Event page
Skovgårdsgade 1a
8000 Aarhus C

Saturday, September 30th, 6:30 pm
Sommervej 5

Saturday, September 30th, 10 pm
Bar de Ville
Gravene 14 D

Sunday, October 1st
Gothenberg -- Facebook Event page

Monday, October 2nd, 8 pm
Makvärket -- Facebook Event page
Teglværksvej 30
4420 Regstrup

Tuesday, October 3rd, 7 pm -- Facebook Event page
Nya Tröls Bar & Restaurang -- with Kristian Svensson!
Karlskronaplan 1
214 36 Malmö

Wednesday, October 4th, 8 pm
Cafe Hellebaek -- Facebook Event page
Nordre Strandvej 95

Thursday, October 5th, 7 pm
Oktober Books -- Facebook Event page
Vesterfælledvej 1B, st., th.

Friday, October 6th, 9 pm
SF Ungdom conference
Hoje-Taastrup Gymnasium
Frøgård Alle 2
2630 Taastrup

Saturday, October 7th
Café Zähringer
Zähringerplatz 11

Sunday, October 8th
Rossli Bar
Neubrückstr. 8

Monday, October 9th, 8 pm
Basler Straße 103

Wednesday, October 11th, 8 pm
Esperanza -- Facebook Event page
Benzholzstraße 8
Schwäbisch Gmünd

Friday, October 13th
Media Innovation Studio
Uclan Media Factory
Kirkham St
Preston, Lancashire PR1 2XY

Saturday, October 14th
Bolton Socialist Club
16 Wood St
Bolton  BL1 1DY

Sunday, October 15th
House concert -- email Patricia for more info if you'd like to attend

Tuesday, October 17th
The institute of Excellence -- with Fellow Travelers opening
Pipley Barn
Brockham End
Bath BA19BZ

Wednesday, October 18th
Two Guys from Brussels -- Facebook Event page
307-309 High Street
Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 1UL

Thursday, October 19th
Y Cwps (The Coopers Arms) -- Facebook Event page
Northgate St
Aberystwyth SY23 2JT

Friday, October 20th -- Facebook Event page
The Maze -- with Calum Baird opening
257 Mansfield Road
Nottingham, NG13FT

Saturday, October 21st
Cellar Bar
The Braes
14-18 Perth Road
Dundee DD2 4LN

Sunday, October 22nd
MacSorley's Music Bar -- Facebook Event page
42 Jamaica St

Monday, October 23rd
Leith Depot -- Facebook Event page
140 Leith Walk

Thursday, October 26th
The Grove
South Kirkby
Pontefract WF9 3QF
West Yorkshire

Friday, October 27th -- Facebook Event page
Royal Sovereign -- with the Commie Faggots!
64 Northwold Rd

Saturday, October 28th, 10 am to 7 pm
London Anarchist Book Fair -- and then there's the After Party
Park View School
West Green Road
London  N15 3QR

Sunday, October 29th
The Anchor Hotel with Mike Reinstein opening -- Facebook Event page
3 Market Square
Horsham  RH12 1EU

Tuesday, October 31st
Rostrevor Inn
33-35 Bridge Street
Rostrevor, Co. Down

Wednesday, November 1st
The Sunflower
65 Union Street

Thursday, November 2nd
Water Street

Friday, November 3rd
Hanlon's Bar
Hanlon's Corner
189 N Circular Rd
Cabra East
Dublin D07 KW3P

Saturday, November 4th, 6 pm
Russian Revolution Commemoration
Nordic Black Theatre & Cafeteatret
Hollendergata 8

Sunday, November 5th, 6 pm
MIR -- memorial concert for Hub
Toftes gate 69

Wednesday, November 8th, 8 pm -- Facebook Event page
House concert -- ring Christoph Allemand
Jülicher Str. 114a
52070 Aachen

Saturday, November 18th, 4:15 pm
World Peace Forum Teach-In -- Facebook Event page
SFU Harbour Centre
515 W Hastings
Vancouver, BC

Sunday, November 19th, 8 pm
Spartacus Books
3378 Findlay St
Vancouver, BC

Wednesday, November 22, 8 pm
Victoria Event Centre -- Facebook Event page
1415 Broad Street
Victoria, BC

Friday, December 8th, 7 pm
Redstone Labor Temple
2940 16th Street
San Francisco, California

Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Global Consequences of Inequality -- from Portland to London to Mosul

"...He's taught in his school
From the start by the rule
That the laws are with him
To protect his white skin
To keep up his hate
So he never thinks straight
'Bout the shape that he's in
But it ain't him to blame
He's only a pawn in their game"

Bob Dylan
"The tactical, or if you will, 'technical,' task was quite simple -- grab every fascist or every isolated group of fascists by their collars, acquaint them with the pavement a few times..."
Leon Trotsky
"The pundits on the TV will talk of integration
Most of them agree there's too much immigration
They'll talk of social policies, things they should've done before
Whatever you say, don't mention the war --
If you bomb somebody, they might just bomb you back"

David Rovics
I'm sitting at a cafe in the north of England.  I landed at the Manchester airport the night after the suicide bombing there.  The normally bustling airport was almost completely empty -- life is anything but normal here.  Soon after that event, I got the news about the multiple stabbings by a white supremacist on a train in my home town of Portland, Oregon.  Then last night as I was going to bed in a hotel room in Leeds, I turned on BBC only to hear the breaking news about the van-and-knife attacks that were ongoing at the time.  (Actually they were over by then, with the three attackers killed by police, but nobody knew yet when I tuned in whether or not there were more of them.)

These events represent only a tiny fraction of the death that has been meted out by suicide bombings, aerial bombings, stabbings, and gunfire by state and non-state actors in many other countries over the same week, with scores killed in Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Cameroon, Mexico and elsewhere.  This, of course, is to say nothing of the many more who have died in the past week due to malnutrition and car accidents.

With the fast-moving nature of this multitude of violent events, it's easy to get lost in the details, and overlook the blaringly obvious fact that all of these things are very intimately related, and all of this ongoing violence is ultimately -- and often directly -- a consequence of endemic and growing inequality, both within and between societies.

Today in Portland there is a white supremacist rally that is scheduled to happen downtown, and an anti-fascist rally will confront it, with lots of riot cops in between the two groups, presumably.  Masked, primarily white youth will destroy property, get beaten and arrested by cops, and this will dominate the news cycle.

I sat down to write this now because all day I've been thinking about the stabbings in Portland and the attacks in London, and all the similarities between these two events.  The fact that they both involved knives and happened within a week or so of each other helped to make the connections for me, but there are many other, far less superficial connections that need to be made.

And then I was thinking about the planned antifa protest in Portland today, and whether I would go to it if I were there.  While I have no moral problem with following Trotsky's advice on what to do with fascists, he was, as he would have been the first to explain, talking about appropriate tactics at a certain place and time -- and if you read the rest of the essay that the oft-quoted bit above is derived from, he makes that context abundantly clear.

But whether or not Trotsky would agree or disagree with Jesse Jackson on whether or not antifa should protest the "alt right" in Portland today, and what kinds of tactics they should attempt to employ if they did, the thought of attending that rally also got me thinking about whether I would go to a rally in London or Manchester against Islamic State, if anyone were to organize one.

I wouldn't.  But why?  Isn't Islamic State a horrible bunch of genocidal killers?  Well, yes.  But the young Englishman who blew himself up at the Manchester Arena last month was, just like the extremely troubled racist on the train in Portland, a pawn.  People like them are the predictable result of divided, unequal societies with hysterical, racist pundits and politicians -- politicians who have a longstanding tendency to "solve" many of their problems through militaristic violence.

Obviously, anyone in any society, confronted by a knife-wielding attacker of any color, creed, religion, etc., should ideally defend themselves and others against such people.  It is entirely right to praise any such efforts as heroic, and entirely right to mourn and remember the dead.  But this doesn't mean falling victim to the divide-and-conquer tactics of the ruling class.

Most politicians are not the bumbling idiots they appear to be.  (Whether Trump might be an exception to this rule is not the point.)  Insurgent campaigns within some political parties notwithstanding, for most of US history and most of modern British history as well, the powers-that-be have consisted of two main political parties, both of which have ruled in the interest of capital and empire.  In both countries (and many, many others) these ruling classes have systematically, cynically created and exacerbated divisions in society in order to maintain those divisions, so that people will fight over crumbs, rather than going for the whole loaf.

These neocolonial powers have also systematically used these divide-and-conquer tactics to create and/or exacerbate conflicts within different groups in societies they control (or seek to control), such as the Sunni/Shia divide in many predominantly Muslim countries.

At the same time, the wars and the very real refugee crises in the Middle East and the so-called refugee crises in Europe and the United States -- all largely manufactured by US foreign policy in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America over the past century or so -- are also used to foment racism and division in western societies as well.

My understanding of history and my experience traveling extensively in 25 or so countries leads me to the conclusion that, at least among the more prosperous nations in the world, there is no country more successfully divided and conquered than the United States.

While there are many other countries ruled by two main political parties that have few significant differences between them, both parties and their policies are much further to the militaristic right in the US than anywhere in Europe.  The way this plays out in terms of people's lives is we have a shorter lifespan, a vastly more huge problem with poverty, homelessness, property speculation, housing costs, police brutality and endemic violence of all kinds -- the biggest prison population in the world, and so many other problems that were created by bipartisan consensus.

It seems clear to me that the main way the US ruling class has been so much more successful than its European counterparts at screwing its own population, as a rule, has been the rulers' ability to take advantage of the racism that they systematically created over the course of the past centuries.  For a long time this division was a largely black-white one in most of the country.  As the whites-only immigration policies have very slowly given way to allowing immigration from places other than Europe, the dynamic of racism in the US has evolved to include other marginalized groups.

If I or any other self-styled anarchist intellectual could tell you how to get from point A to B, I would.  I don't know, and nobody else seems to know, either, otherwise maybe we'd be making some progress here, rather than just watching an ever-increasing series of imperial wars and terrorist attacks combined with austerity budgets, even more privatization, "free trade" bills, bank bailouts, rapidly increasing stratification of wealth, mushrooming homelessness, etc.

But where point B is located is abundantly clear.  And knowing where we need to get to is extremely important, for this is a very large part of the equation in terms of who controls the narrative.

We need to remember that the "alt right" is our main problem just as much as Al-Qaeda or Islamic State is.  These movements are real, they're terrible, and terribly violent, but they are just symptoms of a much, much bigger set of problems.  Those problems -- the problems that have given rise to these movements -- are the same problems.  And if I were to try to boil down all of those problems to one word, it would be this:  inequality.  And how inequality can be exploited by ruling classes, racists, and terrorists alike.

This state of ever-increasing inequality in the US, the UK and much of the rest of the world has inevitable consequences.  The vast majority of people in most societies won't take the bait, but a significant number will.  And this number will grow, unless we can manage to change the course of the future in this particular respect.  If we can do that, then the consequences of inequality will begin to dissipate until they become insignificant.  If we fail, we'll have lots more weeks like this last one, and much, much worse.

Once the political "choices" in places like France and the US are between a capitalist and a fascist, supporting the capitalist against the fascist will only delay the inevitable.  I am not here taking a cut-and-dried position on whether or not one should bother supporting the capitalist vs the fascist, whether or not one should go protest the "alt right" when it manages to gather more than a couple dozen testosterone-poisoned young men in one place, etc.  These kinds of tactical choices can vary depending on the situation, and I don't know the answers to these questions.  What I do know is that the problems, divisions, violence, etc. will grow as long as inequality and poverty continues to grow.

And I also know that the solution is equality.  Neither May or Macron's Clintonian capitalism nor Trump's neofascist politics of deception will bring us forward -- on the contrary, these sorts of rulers will only guarantee everything gets much worse, very quickly.  And if we busy ourselves primarily with arguing with the pawns of the game, it seems clear to me that we'll achieve less than nothing.

Now more than ever, we need to remain focused on the goal, rather than on the consequences of not achieving that goal.  I don't pretend to know how we get there, as I've said -- but I'm sure there are many different ways that societies can move in that direction, through large, militant, visionary and well-organized social movements, whether those movements are regional, national or global.