Sep 16, 2017
"Ideology is stupid for those of us who have no power. It
doesn’t matter what we would do if we did. We don’t. Seizing power,
taking out the idiotic, incompetent, greedy, evil and stupid people
who are ruining our lives is what matters.” The Anti-American
Ted Rall is a political cartoonist, graphic novelist, journalist, proud Marxist, intellectual, and all around agitator, it is his mission to teeter on every edge, pushing the boundaries of what this culture, and other cultures, can bear to hear about themselves. He’s radicalized. Sometimes it gets him into trouble with the Alt-Right, the regular right, the soft Left, and of course Isis.
Few people, besides The Pope, dare to say the word revolution these days. Rall doesn’t mince words when he says that revolution is the quest for happiness and that it is worth throwing out the whole political system and starting from scratch. “A revolutionary war against exploitation is the only way we can begin to directly adress and solve most of our problems.” We need to define evil and then point to those doing it, “the politicians, beaureacrats, corporate executives, media power brokers and environmental exploiters who spend every waking minute thinking of new ways to fuck us over and rape the world we live in to make an extra buck.”
Ted is an amazingly astute political voice, and after his string of successful graphic biographies he longs to get back to his meatier books, like: The Anti-American Manifesto, which asks the question “Why is there the absence of a full-fledged revolution in America for over two centuries? What’s the explanation for the failure of Americans to revolt, even when they have a chance?”
The main feedback was his advocating the use of force to seize power.
His position is that we are already living in a system with a huge amount of violence. “We might not always be aware of it being ‘privileged white folks.’ Every time someone is evicted from their home — making people homeless is violence, depriving people of healthcare is violence — drones, bombings, police shootings — there’s violence throughout the system! I’m advocating an end to violence that may require some violence in order to effect.”
When I ask him how he moved this far left and became a Marxist, he told me that he’s been paying attention and that he cares about people, that it is “simply illogical and irrational to advocate an ideology that starts from the point of view that we are all created un-equal.” He explains that the metrics that capitalism uses to justify paying some people more than others don’t even make sense. “Some kids are just born smarter than others. Are the ones not lucky enough to be born smart — should they be condemned to a life of poverty and misery and cancer because of this accident of birth?”
When I remind him that not everyone agrees that we are entitled, just by being alive, to basic rights — shelter, health care, education — he fires back: “If you don’t believe that — THEN YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE!”
"People who want revolutionary change and are totally against violence should think — how is that ever going to happen?! The rich and powerful are never going to give up power voluntarily!”
My favorite part of The Anti-American Manisfesto is Rall’s advice for those of us in the bourgoisie and the petit bourgoisie who want to know what we should do to begin to bring about radical change. Rall advises “taking posession of oneself.” He tells me its a mental shift - you just decide — I’m done with this system. I’m no longer vested in it.”
“You’re waiting for the day you see people out on the streets with red flags so that you can go join them — yeah! These are my people! I’m dropping everything — let’s go!”