Tag: Propagandhi

Lyrics of the Month: December 2015

The Funeral Procession

The funeral procession passed by here today. Confusion and questions left strewn in its wake. But I feel like I knew his pain-a mechanical failure while enduring the norm. Some of us fracture, others simply deform and lose their elasticity, never to return to the shape they were. I wonder which is worse? I try to keep my composure amidst the insanity, resigned to the truth that I will not live to see the dawn of a better day that might wash away the sadness of this age. I try to keep the voices calling me at bay, desperately clinging to any futile act of human decency. The voices love to remind me of my futility. Sitting on my hands hoping anyone else than me will do what should be done, it’s hard to not succumb as they call my name. You gotta keep on truckin’ anyways.

-Propangandhi, Supporting Caste, The Funeral Procession

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Lyrics of the Month: August 2015 – Incalculable Effects

We were all together in the pouring rain. Solvents being passed around to dull the pain. The air was choked with the dismal smell. The reek of sadness and despair. Minds fucked-up beyond repair. She said she just turned six. She’s got some good jokes for a kid. She’s working hard to avoid a woman bleeding from her teeth. Her life goes on despite the fact her mom sleeps fucked-up on the cement. She flashed a look, an image burnt into my mind. I know that sinking feeling all too fucking well. Shame, frustration setting in. Confusion that burns us inside out. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I don’t know why she can’t wake up.” Her life goes on despite the fact. Her mom lays fucked-up on the cement. It’s an ugly fucking world.

Propagandhi, Supporting Caste, Incalculable Effects

Lyrics of the Month: April 2013 – Rio De San Atlanta, Manitoba

Our cities seem to function quite the same: sweeping ghettos undeer one big rug makes them easier to contain, so the upper-middle class can sleep (or shop in peace) and convince themselves that “trickle-down” will solve this poverty. Yes, murderers walk our streets and their weapons are their pens, desks, policies and P.R. campaigns (fed by the spoils of war) against the “lazy, shiftless” populations of the poor. This system cannot be reformed…(so how about we try something different?)

Propagandhi, Rio de San Atlanta, Manitoba, Less Talk More Rock

Lyrics of the Month: February 2013 – The State Lottery

Now the real prospects for authentic democracy depend on something else. They depend on how the people in the rich and priveliged societies learn some other lessons. For example the lessons that are being taught right now like the Mayans in Chiapas, Mexico. They are among the most impoverished and oppressed sectors in the continent. But unlike us they retain a vibrant tradition of liberty and democracy. A tradition that we’ve allowed to slip out of our hands or has been stolen from us. And unless people here in the rich and privileged society, unless they can recapture and revitalize that tradition, the prospects for democracy are indeed dim.

Does it seem strange to you? The confetti. The balloons. The mile-wide grins and the victory dance to welcome in the heir to a state of (utter and complete) disrepair? Because it sure seems strange to me: they’re acting like they won the fucking lottery! I mean, shouldn’t they feel terror at the task that lies ahead: to feed and house the people that this system’s left for dead. And could I have hit the nail much harder on the head? It’s profits before lives. They are motivated by greed. First they taught us to depend on their nation-states to mend our tired minds, our broken bones, our bleeding limbs.

But now they’ve sold off all the splints and contracted out the tourniquets and if we jump through hoops then we might just survive. Is this what we deserve? To scrub the palace floors? To fight amongst ourselves? As we scramble for the crumbs they spit out, frothing at the mouth about the scapegoats that they’ve chosen for us. With every racist pointed finger I can hear the goose-steps getting closer. They no longer represent us so is it not our obligation to confront this tyranny?

-Propagandhi, Less Talk More Rock, The State Lottery

Quote by Noam Chomsky
Dedicated to all High Profile Victims of Graffiti in Regina, promising Housing Summits, but providing Stadium Summits instead

Albums of the Year: 2012

Tim Barry – 40 Miler

Propagandhi – Failed States

Andy Shauf – The Bearer of Bad News

OFF! – S/T

Title Fight – Floral Green

Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas

In no particular order, these were the albums that mattered most this year. Top Ten lists are usually a crock, since there isn’t actually that much good music out there. Or at least that much different music out there. If it isn’t interesting, it isn’t in my ears. Other significant mentions: Fugazi. This band took up a lot of my time this year, I was only maybe a decade or two behind.

One of my picks was also a pick by The New York Times. Who the hell is Frank Ocean?

Balls of Rice Albums of the Year 2011

Losing Faith

Nenem

I recently received this in an email from a friend in India:

Do you still remember my youngest sister Nenem, you may take her to be your wife if you have any interest. But it would depend upon your choice only though I say anything. Actually young girls needs a trustworthy, abled man for husband and they should be loyal. A lot of marriages are broken causing a lot of problems consquencly.

Directly after receiving this email, I booked a flight, moved to India, and took Nenem as my first wife. She is currently cooking rice and tending to our Kama-Sutra-conceived children while I sit in a mango tree, my feet being massaged by jewelled monkeys, my scalp being pampered by one hundred barbershop gurus.

And just now, as the basement furnace powers up and blows cold air at my feet, I am transported back to my cobwebbed corner in my hole in the frozen ground—left only to the gurus of daddy-long-legs and head lice that pamper my once routinely- and professionally-kneaded head.

Sweet India. Land of many faiths, land where I lost my own.

The last time I returned from India a new man. It wasn’t I-lived-in-an-ashram changed, nor I-tried-forty-kinds-of-marijuana changed, or even I-was-almost-raped-three-times changed. I came back with a newly-filled gap in my mind. I came back with no interest in the functioning church in which I grew up, and which I partially went to support. I lost complete interest in proselytization or evangelism. I lost my faith and replaced it with a set of values. I became so fed up with the culture of organized belief, the culture of changing people’s beliefs, and the language of faith that inhibits people to speak in the realm of reality—reality, where suffering occurs but where nothing is done because of often blinding visions of a possibly non-existant afterlife utopia—that I handed it in and haven’t really looked back. My friend, Nenem’s brother, was unable to speak of anything but the Glory of Our Lord and the financial support he required to live and to preach. I didn’t write a list of for and against. It wasn’t an immediate disbelief in the resurrection that made me never return to church. It was part of a constant evolution of the mind that peaked while travelling alone, as it tends to do.

It is a mysterious thing, the loss of faith—as mysterious as faith itself. Like faith, it is ultimately not rooted in logic; it is a change in the climate of the mind.

-Orwell, A Clergyman’s Daughter, p249

Propagandhi’s Supporting Caste coincidentally came out during my last trip in India, and I somehow managed a minor miracle to download the album off of Indian iTunes. It was my only friend while travelling. One night, after calling home on my prepaid Indian cellphone, sitting on the beaches of Cochin at night, after four months of solo-travel, I finally realized that the greatest moments in life are better when shared. I have been able to enjoy things alone, but having the ability to acknowledge the greatest things with someone else, is the creation of joy. Joy isn’t a seasonal shopping opportunity at the Victoria Square Mall. Joy isn’t a faith-only feeling. I realized this again over the last few nights when watching my favourite band of all time. I enjoyed parts of the set alone, but the moments I was most elated were those when I sang aloud in the arms of good friends. Imagine the everlasting joy I would have if I actually just took part in arranged marriage to a conservative Christian girl in a village in India. Never-ending, tantric, yogic, conservative joy.

My faith was replaced with something else. Something no less powerful. It was replaced with some sort of logical desire for decency and equality in the real and tangible world, both rooted in my Christian upbringing and my love for socially-conscious punk rock. Not that values didn’t exist in my life beforehand, they just sat at the back on my brain, washed out by uncertainty and contentedness. And as much as it pains my father to hear it, my faith was partially replaced with many of the tenets of a Winnipeg punk band. Neither the band nor the church would quickly agree that (what I would identify as) their basic doctrines line up—absolute equality, that the “unifying principle of this universe is love” (Propagandhi, Duplicate Keys Icaro). I connected my early life in the church basements in which I had grown up, to the realities of poverty, inequality, and hypocrisy that I had seen while travelling, and filled that gap with a set of discernible values that I seemed to lack previously. A serious respect still exists in the utmost for people who adhere to systems of faith, as it is another means to the end I am constantly seeking, and it helped mould my values to what they are now.

The smell of glue was the answer to her prayer. She did not know this. She did not reflect, consciously, that the solution to her difficulty lay in accepting the fact that there was no solution; that if one gets on with the job that lies to hand, the ultimate purpose of the job fades into insignificance; that faith and no faith are very much the same provided that one is doing what is customary, useful, and acceptable.

-Orwell, A Clergyman’s Daughter, p295

A man of faith is the same as a man of no faith, as long as both are acting positively in regard to humanity. Both are inevitably flawed. One puts hope in the unknown, one puts hope in something else—science, humans, another form of the unknown. Perhaps I put my hope in myself, not in a self-righteous, superiority-complex kind of way, but in the way that I am the only thing that I know can make an absolute change in, and hope things can move on from there.

This is no where near the first time I’ve been proposed to, or propositioned, by someone in India, but it has been some time. Though I am flattered, though I wish I could get fifty-cent haircuts in India once a week, and though I think it could potentially work out better than a love-marriage, I will not take him up on the offer. This man, Nenem’s brother, is still a friend. And though many of his thought-processes irritate me as anti-productive or misdirected, I do not see my new vague set of values as greater than his faith. Mine will waver and transform as does anything philosophical. I merely lost my faith a while back, replaced it with something new. If he forgets his ultimate purpose, and I realize that I don’t have an ultimate purpose, and we work together to help those we know need it, then we can be mutually productive. The fact that he offered me his sister without her even knowing it, or likely even speaking English, is another issue that we’ll have to sort out after the marriage. Curry feast to follow.

Lyrics of the Month: November 2012 – Without Love

All in nature ends in tragedy and I was the first to finally fade away from my grandfather’s memories. How long ’til the day my memories of him finally fade away? Dissolving into gray. Is breathing just the ticking of an unwinding clock? Just counting down the time it takes for you to comprehend the sheer magnitude of every single precious breath you’ve ever wasted? I did everything I could. I bargained with the universe to take my life instead of hers. But no amount of money, drugs or tears could keep her here. What purpose did her suffering serve? Is breathing just the ticking of an unwinding clock? Just counting down the time it takes for you to comprehend the sheer magnitude of every single precious breath you’ve ever wasted? So much misery. So much indifference to so much suffering that we can become tempted by appeals to hatred. But this world ain’t nothing more than what we make of it. Revenge ain’t no solution to the inevitable pain that every single one of us must face in losing the kindred spirits in our lives. Lives so brief, so disappointing, so confusing. As Cronie slipped away I held her in my arms, reduced to “Please don’t leave me. What will I do?” But this cosmic sadness is just here to remind you that without Love, breathing is just the ticking of…

-Propagandhi, Supporting Caste, Without Love

Blog Action Day 2012 – The Power of We


In my career as an eligible voter I have celebrated no victories. Not a single representative I have voted for has been elected, not a single party I have supported has won. On the contrary, they have usually lost quite successfully. I am well aware that my beliefs and values do not reflect those of the majority, Balls of Rice and my voting record reflect that quite well. This has all led me to a familiar cynical place where I have found myself many times before, for many different life issues. The Underdog Syndrome, where whenever I cheer for the underdog, they are doomed to fail. Sports, nerdy gentlemen in a bar, elections. The principle is the same, and my support seems to kill it.

Because of my lack of success in democracy, I have been debating whether it is worth my time to vote at all, not out of apathy or resignation, but as a form of protest. Because the voting system is off, and democracy is nothing more than choosing between egotistic businessmen who are often charismatic beings, but not exceptional people who love people—the wealthy who are already in positions of power, but want greater power to create greater wealth, and yes, I have a hard time not seeing all political leaders in that way. I still do believe that one human being should not and cannot properly represent an entire population, and that it is possible for there to be order and progress with no single person in charge. I’m still stuck on this one, but until I decide, I will continue to vote.

Then I came to understand protest. Dissent. The Occupy Movement, which many see as a futile collection of hippies, bums, and anarchists who decided to join together in several groups around the world to be able to collect welfare and charity more easily. A group of undemocratic urchins who, if they really cared about the system, would pull themselves out of the mire and contribute to society in a pragmatic, businesslike way. And this is likely why it resonated. Groups of likeminded people gathered to express their dissatisfaction with the structure of the system, the inequality and corruption. My ability to relate to such a movement likely came from my upbringing and affinity with the punk scene. Coming together in hundreds of different communities with no clear goal apart from stoking the young flames of revolt. Disapproval shown in groups of people physically gathering together. It felt right.

Despite the overly utopian seeming title of this year’s Blog Action Day, I have grown to understand the power of groups of people that come together with dissent, goals, and hope in common. The more I see the importance of participating in politics, the more I see that this means something greater than simply voting when an election is called. Although I will likely never in my lifetime see someone I voted for in a position of power, I can rest comfortably knowing that other actions can be taken. That groups of people outside of the realm of electoral politics can change policy, and are often necessary to do so. Regardless of whether or not my vote will ever be on the winning side or not, it is evident that the solidarity between groups of people is equally as important as being politically active. A group of people with a common goal may not make an obvious difference, but it always has the power to make a significant one.

When the cops and the courts refuse to confess the sins of the few, what is there left to do? The answer’s there right before your eyes: rise.

Propagandhi, Note to Self, Failed States

Lyrics of the Month: September 2012 – Hadron Collision

Ride fucking free, forty below, it’s the car that kills the punk. Pedal for momentum, feel the fucking vibe, blaze through traffic, burn the red, push my luck. There’s not much I need, I ride a single speed, my toque and mitts protect me from the freeze. Hadron Collision. I’m ripping through a cloud of exhaust. A fucking conniption, in their cages on wheels they fucking rot. I might be trapped in a world going backwards but nothing’s in vain – right now I’m happy just to clog up your lane. There’s not much I need, I’ll leave you with your greed to wallow in your shit ’til you can’t breathe. A head-on collision, a species that’s lost all control. We’ll learn by extinction: we don’t need all that shit we’ve been sold. We might be headed for the brink of disaster but nothing’s in vain – right now I’m happy just to clog up your lane. If all that I can do is just stay on the move, keep a few cents from your grasp – that’s all I need to prove. I’ll see you on the bus. It’s the car that kills the punk.

Propagandhi, Failed States, Hadron Collision