17 January 2018

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel: A Chronology

This is my version of a chronology for the two TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff Angel, and for their official continuation in comics.  Some of the “noncanon” comics I’ve included because they fill an empty space and do not conflict with the official storyline, at least not significantly, some canon comics have been left out either because they do conflict significantly or because they fall so far outside of the main storyline they are not part of it.

I’ve included very few of the Buffy Classic comics series because some of its overall features, such as the subplot of Buffy working as a model, conflict too much.  But I have, however, included single-issue and miniseries that focus on characters other than the two protagonists.

In parentheses after several of the comic stories, I’ve told in what they were originally published, or whether they are a one-shot, a graphic novel, or a miniseries.

In some of the TV episodes, I’ve grouped together ones in which the story from one continued mid-scene from the previous, though I had to change that up a bit with Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 7 and Angel season 4.

I based the original version of this on the chronology in the Buffy and Angel Wiki, but changed much of the order it was in because of continuity problems in that version.

I should add that this list is primarily for those who have already viewed or read most or all of the entries, because otherwise this order will give spoilers to the story for first-timers.

Prequel

In the first item here, some enterprising huge fan of the Fanged Four edited all the scenes of the Fanged Four—Darla, Angel, Drusilla, Spike—in the two TV series into a separate series all it own in six parts.  The Origin is Whedon’s official version of the story that got corrupted into the movie which came out in 1992.

Fanged Four History and Origins, parts 1-6 (available on Vimeo)
“Dust to Dust” (Angel Yearbook)
BtVS: The Origin (#1-3)

BtVS Season 1

Buffy the High School Years is, unlike the Buffy Classic series, considered canon.  I included “MacGuffins” because it was the very first Buffy comic ever.

BtVS s01e01 Welcome to the Hellmouth
BtVS s01e02 The Harvest
BtVS s01e03 Witch
BtVS s01e04 Teacher’s Pet
Buffy, the High School Years: Freaks & Geeks (graphic novel)
Buffy, the High School Years: Glutton for Punishment (graphic novel)
BtVS s01e05 Never Kill a Boy on the First Date
BtVS s01e06 The Pack
Buffy, the High School Years: Parental Parasite (graphic novel)
BtVS s01e07 Angel
BtVS s01e08 I, Robot…You, Jane
BtVS s01e09 The Puppet Show
BtVS s01e10 Nightmares
BtVS s01e11 Out of Mind, Out of Sight
BtVS s01e12 Prophecy Girl
“MacGuffins” (Dark Horse Presents Annual, 1998)

BtVS Season 2

BtVS s02e01 When She Was Bad
BtVS s02e02 Some Assembly Required
“The Problem with Vampires” (Tales of the Vampires #1)
Spike and Dru #2: The Queen of Hearts
BtVS s02e03 School Hard
BtVS s02e04 Inca Mummy Girl
BtVS s02e05 Reptile Boy
BtVS s02e06 Halloween
BtVS s02e07 Lie to Me
BtVS s02e08 The Dark Age
BtVS s02e09e10 What’s My Line
BtVS s02e11 Ted
BtVS s02e12 Bad Eggs
BtVS s02e13 Surprise
BtVS s02e14 Innocence
BtVS s02e15 Phases
BtVS s02e16 Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered
BtVS s02e17 Passions
BtVS: Ring of Fire (graphic novel)
BtVS s02e18 Killed by Death
BtVS s02e19 I Only Have Eyes for You
BtVS s02e20 Go Fish
BtVS s02e21e22 Becoming
Spike and Dru #1: Paint the Town Red

BtVS Season 3

BtVS s03e01 Anne
BtVS s03e02 Dead Man’s Party
BtVS s03e03 Faith, Hope, & Trick
BtVS s03e04 Beauty and the Beasts
BtVS s03e05 Homecoming
BtVS s03e06 Band Candy
BtVS s03e07 Revelations
BtVS s03e08 Lovers Walk
BtVS s03e09 The Wish
BtVS s03e10 Amends
“Numb” (Tales of the Vampires #5)
BtVS: The Latest Craze (BtVS Annual 1999)
BtVS s03e11 Gingerbread
BtVS: Bad Dog (BtVS Annual 1999)
BtVS s03e12 Helpless
BtVS s03e13 The Zeppo
“Spike and Dru: Who Made Who?” (Lover’s Walk one-shot)
BtVS s03e14 Bad Girls
BtVS s03e15 Consequences
BtVS s03e16 Doppelgangland
BtVS s03e17 Enemies
BtVS s03e18 Earshot
BtVS s03e19 Choices
BtVS s03e20 The Prom
BtVS s03e21e22 Graduation Day
BtVS Classic #20: Double Cross
BtVS: Haunted (#1-4)

BtVS Season 4/Angel Season 1

Here I’ve included several issues of the Angel Classic series because this way we get to see more of Doyle.

Doyle: Spotlight (one-shot)
Angel s01e01 City of
BtVS s04e01 The Freshman
BtVS s04e02 Living Conditions
Angel s01e02 Lonely Hearts
BtVS s04e03 The Harsh Light of Day
Angel s01e03 In the Dark
BtVS s04e04 Fear, Itself
Angel Classic #1-3: Surrogates
Angel s01e04 I Fall to Pieces
Angel Classic #4: The Changeling Wife
BtVS s04e05 Beer Bad
Angel s01e05 Rm w/a Vu
BtVS s04e06 Wild at Heart
Angel s01e06 Sense & Sensitivity
Oz (#1-3)
BtVS s04e07 The Initiative
“Angel: Point of Order” (TV Guide: Ultimate Cable)
Angel s01e07 Bachelor Party
“Angel: The Nepalese Switcharoo” (Dark Horse Extra #25, #26, #27, #28)
BtVS s04e08 Pangs
Angel s01e08 I Will Remember You
BtVS s04e09 Something Blue
Angel s01e09 Hero
“Angel: Lovely, Dark, and Deep” (Dark Horse Presents #153-155)
Angel s01e10 Parting Gifts
BtVS s04e10 Hush
BtVS s04e11 Doomed
“Foreshadowing” (Angel: Masks)
Angel s01e11 Somnambulist
BtVS s04e12 A New Man
Angel s01e12 Expecting
Angel s01e13 She
BtVS s04e13 The I in Team
BtVS s04e14 Goodbye Iowa
Angel s01e14 I’ve Got You Under My Skin
Angel s01e15 The Prodigal
BtVS s04e15 This Year’s Girl
BtVS s04e16 Who Are You?
Giles: Beyond the Pale (one-shot)
Angel s01e16 The Ring
BtVS s04e17 Superstar
Jonathan: Codename: Comrades (one-shot)
Angel s01e17 Eternity
“BtVS: One Small Promise” (Lover’s Walk one-shot)
BtVS s04e18 Where the Wild Things Are
BtVS s04e19 New Moon Rising
“Willow & Tara: Punish Me With Kisses” (Lover’s Walk one-shot)
Angel s01e18 Five by Five
Angel s01e19 Sanctuary
Willow & Tara: WannaBlessedBe (one-shot)
BtVS s04e20 The Yoko Factor
BtVS s04e21 Primeval
BtVS s04e22 Restless
Past Lives (TPB of Angel #15, BtVS #29, Angel #16, BtVS #30)
Angel s01e20 War Zone
Angel s01e21 Blind Date
Angel s01e22 To Shanshu in L.A.

BtVS Season 5/Angel Season 2

Angel Classic #17: Cordelia: Phantom Dennis
BtVS s05e01 Buffy vs. Dracula
Spike vs. Dracula #1
Angel s02e01 Judgement
BtVS s05e02 Real Me
Angel s02e02 Are You Now or Have You Ever Been
Angel s02e03 First Impressions
Angel: Long Night’s Journey #1-4
BtVS s05e03 The Replacement
BtVS s05e04 Out of My Mind
Angel s02e04 Untouched
BtVS s05e05 There’s No Place Like Home
BtVS s05e06 Family
Angel s02e05 Dear Boy
Angel s02e06 Guise Will Be Guise
BtVS s05e07 Fool for Love
BtVS s05e08 Shadow
Angel s02e07 Darla
Angel s02e08 The Shroud of Rahmon
BtVS s05e09 Listening to Fear
BtVS s05e10 Into the Woods
Angel s02e09 The Trial
Angel s02e10 Reunion
Angel s02e11 Redefinition
BtVS s02e11 Triangle
Angel s02e12 Blood Money
BtVS s02e12 Checkpoint
Angel s02e13 Happy Anniversary
BtVS s05e13 Blood Ties
Angel s05e14 The Thin Dead Line
BtVS s05e14 Crush
Angel s02e15 Reprise
Angel s02e16 Epiphany
BtVS s05e15 I Was Made to Love You
BtVS s05e16 The Body
BtVS s05e17 Forever
Angel s02e17 Disharmony
BtVS s05e18 Intervention
Angel s02e18 Dead End
BtVS s05e19 Tough Love
BtVS s05e20 Spiral
BtVS s05321 The Weight of the World
BtVS s05e22 The Gift
Angel s02e19 Belonging
Angel s02e20 Over the Rainbow
Angel s02e21 Through the Looking Glass
Angel s02e22 There’s No Place Like Plrtz Glrb
BtVS: Lost & Found: The Death of Buffy (one-shot)

BtVS Season 6/Angel Season 3

Switching the places in Angel season 3’s “That Old Gang of Mine” and “That Vision Thing” is intentional.  The reasons that order is better are subtle, but noticeable if you pay attention.

Angel s03e01 Heartthrob
Angel s03e03 That Old Gang of Mine
Angel s03e02 That Vision Thing
BtVS s06e01e02 Bargaining
BtVS s06e03 After Life
Angel s03e04 Carpe Noctum
BtVS s06e04 Flooded
Angel s03e05 Fredless
BtVS s06e05 Life Serial
BtVS: Reunion (one-shot)
Willow & Tara: Wilderness (#1-2)
Angel s03e06 Billy
BtVS s06e06 All the Way
Angel s03e07 Offspring
BtVS s06e07 Once More, with Feeling
BtVS s06e08 Tabula Rasa
Angel s03e08 Quickening
Angel s03e09 Lullaby
Angel s03e10 Dad
BtVS s06e09 Smashed
BtVS s06e10 Wrecked
Angel s03e11 Birthday
BtVS s06e11 Gone
Angel s03e12 Provider
BtVS s06e12 Doublemeat Palace
BtVS s06e13 Dead Things
Angel s03e13 Waiting in the Wings
Angel s03e14 Couplet
BtVS s06e14 Older and Far Away
BtVS s05e15 As You Were
Angel s03e15 Loyalty
BtVS s06e16 Hell’s Bells
Angel s03e16 Sleep Tight
Angel s03e17 Forgiving
BtVS s06e17 Normal Again
Angel s03e18 Double or Nothing
Spike vs. Dracula #2
Spike: Old Times (graphic novel)
Angel s03e19 The Price
Angel s03e20 A New World
Angel s03e21 Benediction
Angel s03e22 Tomorrow
BtVS s06e18 Entropy
BtVS s06e19 Seeing Red
BtVS s06e20 Villains
BtVS s06e21 Two to Go
BtVS s06e22 Grave

BtVS Season 7/Angel Season 4

Spike: Into the Light (graphic novel)
BtVS s07e01 Lessons
BtVS s07e02 Beneath You
Angel s04e01 Deep Down
BtVS s07e03 Same Time, Same Place
Angel s04e02 Ground State
BtVS s04e04 Help
Angel s04e03 The House Always Wins
Angel s04e04 Slouching Toward Bethlehem
BtVS s07e05 Selfless
BtVS s07e06 Him
Angel s04e05 Supersymmetry
Angel s04e06 Spin the Bottle
BtVS s07e07 Conversations with Dead People
BtVS s07e08 Sleeper
Angel s04e07 Apocalypse Nowish
Angel s04e08 Habeus Corpses
BtVS s07e09 Never Leave Me
BtVS s07310 Bring on the Night
Angel s04e09 Long Day’s Journey
Angel s04e10 Awakening
BtVS s07e11 Showtime
Angel s04e11 Soulless
BtVS s07e12 Potential
Angel s04e12 Cavalry
BtVS s07e13 The Killer in Me
BtVS s07e14 First Date
Angel s04e13 Salvage
BtVS s07e15 Get It Done
BtVS s07e16 Storyteller
Angel s04e14 Release
BtVS s07e17 Lies My Parents Told Me
Angel s04e15 Orpheus
BtVS s07e18 Dirty Girls
Angel s04e16 Players
Angel s04e17 Inside Out
Angel s04e18 Shiny Happy People
Angel s04e19 The Magic Bullet
Angel s04e20 Sacrifice
Angel s04e21 Peace Out
Angel s04e22 Home
BtVS s07e19 Empty Places
BtVS s07e20 Touched
BtVS s07e21 End of Days
BtVS s07e22 Chosen

Angel Season 5

“Pencils and Paperclips” (Angel: Masks)
Angel s05e01 Conviction
Angel s05e02 Just Rewards
Angel s05e03 Unleashed
Angel s05e04 Hell Bound
Wesley: Spotlight (one-shot)
Angel s05e05 Life of the Party
Angel s05e06 The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco
Angel s05e07 Lineage
Spike vs. Dracula #5
Angel s05e08 Destiny
Angel s05e09 Harm’s Way
Spike: Old Wounds (graphic novel)
Angel s05e10 Soul Purpose
Angel s05e11 Damage
Spike: Lost and Found (graphic novel)
Angel s05e12 You’re Welcome
Spike vs. Dracula #3
Angel s05e13 Why We Fight
Angel s05e14 Smile Time
“Mystery Date” (Angel: Masks)
“All the Time in the World” (Angel Yearbook)
Angel s05e15 A Hole in the World
Angel s05e16 Shells
Spike: Asylum (#1-5)
Willow: Goddesses and Monsters (one-shot)
Angel s05e17 Underneath
“Unacceptable Losses” (Angel: Masks)
Angel s05e18 Origin
Conner: Spotlight (Inheritance) (one-shot)
Angel s05e19 Time Bomb
Gunn: Spotlight
Fallen Angel: Reborn (#1-4; features Illyria)
Angel s05e20 The Girl in Question
Spike vs. Dracula #4
Illyria: Spotlight (one-shot)
Spike: Shadow Puppets (#1-4)
 “Antique” (Tales of the Vampires #3)
Angel: s05e21 Power Play
Angel: s05e22 Not Fade Away

Angel Season 6/BtVS Season 8

The entries in brackets at the beginning signify those stories of events which happened after the fall of Los Angeles into Hell and before the restoration, all of which were erased upon the latter.  These are given in the order of the storyline, not the order in which they were published.

The two entries with asterices (plural of asterix) take place in the 24th century, as does the intervening story “Time of Your Life” in BtVS Season 8, but while they are outside of the main storyline, they do provide background to the main 24th century character in the latter.  In fact, Fray was a comic miniseries written by Joss Whedon in 2001, during the run of the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, while Season 8’s “Time of Your Life” as not written until 2009.

[Angel Season 6 #6-8: First Night]
[Angel Season 6 #24-25: Drusilla]
[Spike: After the Fall (#1-4)]
[Angel Season 6 #1-5, 9-15: After the Fall, Parts 1-12]
Angel Season 6 #16: After the Fall, Part 13
Angel Season 6 #17: After the Fall, Part 14 (conclusion)
 “OMG, Unicorns!” (Angel Yearbook)
Angel Season 6 #23: Become What You Are
Angel Season 6 #18-22: Aftermath
Only Human (#1-5)
 “My Only Friend” (Angel Yearbook)
Angel Season 6 #26-27: Boys and Their Toys
Last Angel in Hell (graphic novel)
Lorne: Music of the Spheres (one-shot)
 “This One Time” (Angel Yearbook)
Eddie Hope: Eddie and the Crew, Parts 1-11 (Angel Season 6 #28-32)
Angel Season 6 #29-32: Immortality, Inc.
Spike: The Devil You Know (#1-4)
Angel Season 6 #33: Letters Home: A Jamesian Interlude
Eddie Hope: Eddie and the Crew, Parts 6-11 (Angel Season 6: #33-39)
Angel Season 6 #34-38: Connorland
“Fight for the Remote!” (Angel Yearbook)
Illyria: Haunted (#1-4)
BtVS Season 8 #1-4: The Long Way Home
Spike (#1-8)
Angel Season 6 #39-44: The Wolf, the Ram, & the Heart
BtVS Season 8 #5: The Chain
BtVS Season 8 #6-9: No Future for You
BtVS Season 8 #10: Anywhere but Here
BtVS Season 8 #11: A Beautiful Sunset
Riley: Commitment Through Distance, Virtue Through Sin (one-shot)
BtVS Season 8 #12-15: Wolves at the Gate
*Fray, #1-8
BtVS Season 8 #16-19: Time of Your Life
* “Tales”, Tales of the Slayers (one-shot)
BtVS Season 8 #20: After These Messages…We’ll Be Right Back
BtVS Season 8 #21: Harmonic Divergence
Harmony Bites (e-comic)
BtVS Season 8 #22: Swell
BtVS Season 8 #23: Predators and Prey
Always Darkest (e-comic)
BtVS Season 8 #24: Safe
BtVS Season 8 #25: Living Doll
Harmony Comes to the Nation (e-comic)
Tales of the Vampires: Carpe Noctem (e-comic)
BtVS Season 8 #26-30: Retreat
BtVS Season 8 #31: Turbulence
BtVS Season 8 #32-35: Twilight
Magical Mystery Tour, featuring The Beetles (e-comic)
BtVS Season 8 #36-40: Last Gleaming

Season 9

Angel & Faith Season 9 #1-4: Living Through This
BtVS Season 9 #1-4: Freefall
Angel & Faith Season 9 #5: In Perfect Harmony
BtVS Season 9 #5: Slayer, Interrupted
Angel & Faith Season 9 #6-9: Daddy Issues
In Space No One Can Hear You Slay! (e-comic)
BtVS Season 9 #6-7: On Your Own
Angel & Faith Season 9 #10: Women of a Certain Age
BtVS Season 9 #8-10: Apart (of Me)
Spike: A Dark Place (#1-5)
Angel & Faith Season 9 #11-14: Family Reunion
BtVS Season 9 #11-13: Guarded
BtVS Season 9 #14-15: Billy the Vampire Slayer
Angel & Faith Season 9 #15: The Hero of His Own Story
Angel & Faith Season 9 #16-19: Death and Consequences
Angel & Faith Season 9 #20: Spike and Faith
BtVS Season 9 16-19: Welcome to the Team
Willow: Wonderland (#1-5)
BtVS Season 9 #20: The Watcher
Angel & Faith Season 9 #21-25: What You Want, Not What You Need
BtVS Season 9 #21-25: The Core
“Love vs. Life” (Dark Horse Presents #25-#27)

Season 10

BtVS Season 10 #1-5: New Rules
Angel & Faith Season 10 #1-4: Where the River Meets the Sea
Angel & Faith Season 10 #5: Old Habits
BtVS Season 10 #6-7: I Wish
Angel & Faith Season 10 #6-10: Lost and Found
BtVS Season 10 #8-9: Return to Sunnydale
BtVS Season 10 #10: Day Off (or Harmony in My Head)
BtVS Season 10 #11-13: Love Dares You
Angel & Faith Season 10 #11-14: United
BtVS Season 10 #14-15: Relationship Status: Complicated
Angel & Faith Season 10 #15: Fight or Flight
BtVS Season 10 #16-18: Old Demons
Angel & Faith Season 10 #16-18: Those Who Can’t Teach, Teach Gym
BtVS Season 10 #19: Freaky Giles Day
Angel & Faith Season 10 #19-20: A Little More Than Kin
BtVS Season 10 #20: Triggers
BtVS Season 10 #21-25: In Pieces on the Ground
Angel & Faith Season 10 #21-25: A Tale of Two Families
BtVS Season 10 #26-30: Own It
“Harmony: Where Are They Now?” (Dark Horse Day Sampler 2016)

Season 11

At the time this chronology is being posted, the story featuring Rupert Giles has not yet been published, but it does take place between issue #6 and #12 of BtVS Season 11.

Angel Season 11 #1-4: Out of the Past
BtVS Season 11 #1-6: The Spread of Their Evil
Angel Season 11 #5-8: Time and Tide
BtVS:Giles #1-4
BtVS Season 11 #7-12: One Girl in All the World
Angel Season 11 #9-12: Dark Reflections


03 January 2018

Resisters

I’m currently rewatching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and in the third season, which contains a two-part time travel episode called “Past Tense”, in which three of the crew members transport down to Starfleet headquarters in San Francisco from the USS Defiant, the starship attached to the station, only to be diverted from the 24th century to 21st century San Francisco, in the year 2024, a date not far off. 

At that time in the Star Trek Universe, cities in the United States interned unemployed and homeless people, and their families and children if they had any, in concentration zones called Sanctuary Districts.  When the residents take over the district’s administration building and hold hostages to get the outside to listen to their testimony about the horrid conditions, one of the Starfleet characters, Julian Bashir, discusses with one of the social workers how things got so bad.  After she expresses remorse, Bashir tells her, “It’s not your fault things are the way they are.”  She replies, “Everyone tells themselves that, and nothing ever changes.”  That, in essence, sums up the point of the whole episode.

The episode “Past Tense” was first broadcast in 1995, when Bill Clinton’s destruction of the New Deal was beginning to reach cruising speed, two years after NAFTA and one year after passage of the malicious and vindictive omnibus anti-crime bill written by Clinton ally and former Veep the then Sen. Joe Biden.  It was also during the drafting of the omnibus welfare destruction bill that would be passed the next year.  So, it was not for nothing that Alan Greenspan remarked that Bill Clinton was the “best Republican we’ve ever had”.  And his wife, Hillary the Goldwater Girl, was with him every step of the way.

With the religion of neoliberalism dominating most of the world’s governments and all of the global economy, such a thing as the Sanctuary Districts in a dystopian world dominated by psychopathically avaricious corporations as depicted in that episode may soon become a reality in many countries around the world.

A couple of weeks ago I downloaded from Facebook a meme whose bulk is a paraphrase of a passage from an article written by Northampton, Massachusetts, author Noami Shulman, just after the November 2016 election, with the thoughts of the meme’s creator added at the end. 

“Nice people make the best Nazis.  My mother spent her childhood in Nazi Germany surrounded by nice people who refused to make waves.  When things got ugly, the people my mother lived alongside looked the other way and focused on happier things than ‘politics’.  They were lovely, kind people who turned their heads as their neighbors were dragged away.  You know who weren’t nice people?  Resisters.”

Today, the people of Iran are not being “nice”.  They are resisting.  The current protests broke out over a 50% rise in the price of eggs.  Ironically, the two men who organized the first demonstration in the holy city of Mashhad were right-wing religious oppositionists to the Rouhani government, hoping to embarrass Iran’s president.  But like the protests that began in the summer of 2009 and stretched into the spring of 2011, the catalizing event that kicked things off was just that and only that; a catalyst.  In 2009, it was a stolen election; at the end of 2017, it was more expensive eggs, now $6.30 for a 30-count crate.  Just as in 2009, the people’s true feelings and very real, very justified grievances quickly surfaced.

Just as many of the slogans from those earlier protests have been revived—“Esteghlal, Azadi, Jomhuri-e Irani” or “Independence, Freedom, Iranian Republic” (as opposed to Islamic Republic)” and “Marg bar Diktador” or “Death to the Dictator”—most of the real underlying grievances are the same: widespread corruption, a weak mismanaged economy, rampant inflation, a static, moribund political system, a cruel, authoritarian regime in which there is little chance to air grievances and nothing but mocking laughter or complete indifference when there is.  Unlike 2009, however, the added burdens of fighting a war to prop up another authoritarian regime, one much more vicious and bloodthirsty, have taken their toll.

In Iran right now, the people cry out for the needs of the many to come before the greed and ambition of the few.  As Maz Jobrani put it in 2009, the people of Iran are “going Iranian”.

From another scifi/fantasy TV show, this time the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff Angel, comes this line, spoken to the protagonist well after he and his companions had become the senior executives of their former archenemy, the evil law firm Wolfram & Hart, with the thought they could change the system from the inside.  “Every day you sit behind your desk and you learn a little more how to accept the world for the way it is.  Well, here’s the rub: heroes don’t do that.  Heroes don’t accept the world the way it is.  They fight it.”

The world needs heroes.  The world needs objectors and resisters.  Not as saviors, but to carry the torch of anger against injustice in one hand and the torch of hope for a better world in the other.  Not to lead or take control, like the slaves who dream not of freedom but of becoming masters, but rather to pass them on when the people stand up and “go Iranian” on their oppressors, demanding those things which they need for their safety and happiness, for their survival, for their dignity, for their welfare, for their freedom, for their independence.


Rooz-e ma khahad amad, omidvaram.  Our day will come, inshallah.  Keep the faith.  Peace out.

One Nation Under Fire: Bodycount 2017

As I write this just after midnight on the third day of the year, the first two days of 2018 have already seen 68 deaths by gunfire in the USA.

Last year in 2017, we saw a total of 68,556 casualities wounded or killed by gunfire here in the USA.  Of those casualties, 730 were children aged 11 and under, 3,224 were children between the ages of 11 and 17, and 321 were law enforcement personnel, a group which inflicted 2,076 of the overall casualties by gunfire.  Law enforcement personnel killed 1188 people by gunfire and other means in 2017.

Of these 68,556 gunfire casualties, 37,490 were deaths, with 15,490 of these killed by others accidentally or purposefully and about 22,000 being self-inflicted with gunfire.  The remaining 31,066 people were merely wounded.

The year 2017 opened with three mass shootings on New Year’s Day in which five people were wounded, 1 person killed and 3 wounded, and 7 people wounded, respectively.  The last day of the year saw an ambush mass shooting of 6 police officers in Colorado, one of whom was killed.  There were in all 346 mass shootings in the USA in 2017.  This year, 2018, maintained the traditional New Year’s Day opening with a mass shooting, this time in Huntsville, Alabama, in which one person was killed and three others wounded.

Thoughts and prayers.  Thoughts and prayers.  Moment of silence.  Thoughts and prayers.

The body count of those killed by others in 2017, 15,490, is just over a hundred people below the number of American military personnel killed in action in the Viet Nam War during the peak year of 1968, which came to 16,592, and far surpassed the total killed in action for the other years.  The total number killed in action for the entire war, with deaths by suicide, accident, and disease extracted, was 40,934, just 3500 more than the total number of deaths by gunfire in 2017.

God bless the Second Amendment and the National Rifle Association and the Republican Party and the Christian Right and ammosexuals from sea to shining sea.


28 December 2017

Yes We Can (Hope and Change Obama-style)

Yes We Can…

…throw down thunder, lightning, and hail upon Wall Street in public then behind close doors tell them we have their backs in the face of massive public outrage over the stock market crashes beginning in late 2007 and the Great Recession (that is still ongoing) and that while it would be good if they were nicer, we will do nothing mandatory to prevent it from happening again

…keep Gitmo open for the entire eight years of the administration

…legalize indefinite detention for America citizens

…increase SIGINT surveillance of all American citizens and those of the entire world

…completely abolish independent oversight of said surveillance

…increase the body count of those assassinated by drones to five times that of the previous administration

…dither over Syria until the situation is beyond hope

… reward the finance bourgeoisie for their rape of the world’s economy

…increase Russia’s influence in Southwest Asia by abdicating our role

…not say anything for nearly a week about the worst man-made environmental disaster in the planet’s history

…do absolutely nothing about immigration reform

…deport 3.2 million persons, more than all the other presidents of the US combined

…repeal more gun control laws than any other administration, thereby putting more firearms in the hands of people willing to use them on other humans

…target American citizens for assassination

…prosecute and persecute more whistleblowers than any previous administration

…obstruct investigation and prosecution of war crimes by members of the previous administration and their subordinates

…ignore war crimes and human rights violations by American military and civilian personnel during our watch that should be prosecuted

…continue kidnapping people and holding them away from human rights monitors in violation of the Constitution, the UN Declaration on Human Rights, and several treaties

…continue to sanction torture as US policy

…loan at zero interest $7.7 TRILLION to the same American and foreign financial institutions which brought on the Great Recession while withholding funds from struggling American families going bankrupt, defaulting on loans, and having their mortgages foreclosed.

…end net neutrality and destroy the Internet as we know it

…assassinate more people with drones than ever before.

…sign into law a provision allowing for indefinite detention of American citizens without warrant or charge

…repeal the law forbidding the administration and the federal government from propagandizing American citizens with deliberately false information.

…authorize over $1 trillion to upgrade and expand our nuclear arsenal

…sign into law a bill allowing for the propagandizing of American citizens by U.S.G. intelligence agencies

…create what is in effect a Department of Truth

…continue to ignore gross police brutality and murder, especially of Afro-Americans

…restart the Cold War

…pass the Monsanto Protection Act

…engage in war every single day of the administration, spreading to a total of seven countries

…increase the number of bombs dropped on those seven countries every year until surpassing 26,000 for 2016

…state that American exceptionalism is official policy of the US government

…give away $38 billion to the most ethnocratic, sectarian, genocidal state in the world today

…vindictively seek retribution for the loss of our chosen heir through her fault, through her own fault, through her own most grievious fault, by sanctioning Russia based on tabloid-level “evidence”

…push the TPP (Trans Pacific Pact), the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), and the TISA (Trade In Services Agreement), despite how badly the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) negotiated by Bush I and signed by Bill Clinton have hurt manufacturing and workers in this country

…do nothing for Afro-Americans but instead throw up roadblocks to groups such as Black Lives Matter, and always take the side of law enforcement in shooting cases

…leave office with the strongest, and most regressive and reactionary Republican Party since the Roaring ‘20s, in control of the presidency, both houses of Congress, and the overwhelming majority of state legislatures

…pull down $400,000 for each speech to the same lords of Wall Street whom we never held accountable for the massive damage they did to the American and world economies after we leave office.

…et cetera.


06 December 2017

The Monkey Trap

Welcome to another trip down the rabbit hole from your clever commie cunt in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in Neverland, author of the blog Notes from the Ninth Circle; just call me Chuck.  And, yes, that is a reference to Dante; the name Hell’s Half Acre was already taken when I began the blog in 2011.

When I saw the theme of this podcast, “The Gift”, the first thing I thought of was the Season 5 finale of the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, because that is the episode’s name.  It’s related to n an episode earlier that season called “Intervention” in which Buffy goes on a vision quest in the desert and meets the First Slayer, who tells her, “Death is your gift”.  As in, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…for I am Death, destroyer of worlds and slayer of men”.  Or, in Buffy’s case, vampires.

The first time I heard the story of the Monkey Trap was when I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance when I was at uni.  A hunter cuts a hole in a coconut shell just big enough for a monkey’s hand to fit in.  Inside the coconut shell, the hunter places some sort of food like a piece of fruit.  The monkey comes along puts its hand inside, grabs the fruit, but can’t get its hand out holding its prize.  Thus it is trapped by its unwillingness to recognize that it cannot both have and hold at the same time, that it cannot have its fruit and eat it too.  Its perceived bounty, or privilege in some cases, is that which condemns it to the stew pot, or, worse, to those tables with the little round hole in the top when the halves slide together.  In other tellings of the story, the monkey holds onto the fruit until it dies, clinging to the food that cannot be eaten until it starves to death.

While the story of the monkey trap is frequently used these days by self-help motivational speakers, the same principle can be applied to groups, movements, and parties.  At this point, I specifically mean socialists and other leftists.  Comrades, the Russian Revolution is our fruit inside the coconut.  The October Revolution itself was socialist, but what came after was most definitely not.

In her critique of the Bolsheviks called The Russian Revolution, Rosa Luxemberg makes a statement in Chapter 6 that sums up the entire work:  “Socialist Democracy does not come as some kind of Christmas present for the worthy people who have loyally supported a handful of socialist dictators”.  After the Bolsheviks took power, all they did vis-à-vis the Russian people was to trade one one tyrant three thousand miles away, in social heirarchy if not in actual physical distance, for three thousand tyrants one mile away, figuratively speaking again.  Three thousands tyrants following the dictates of a committee of just twenty.

Believe it or not, one self-proclaimed socialist tried to tell me that Luxemberg actually praised Lenin and Trotsky and the rest in her critique; I don’t think they understood that that praise was that of Mark Anthony for Brutus.

Comrades, we socialists need to follow the examples of Luxemberg, Maclean, Debs, Goldman, and others contemporary to that time and let go of the delusion that the Bolshevik leaders, all of them, established anything remotely resembling socialism or building a path toward it.  Under Stalin, it was not a “failed workers state” because it had never been anything of the kind.  To those who prefer to lay all the blame at Stalin’s feet for what the Soviet Union became, and he does have the lion’s share of blame, I remind you that the very structures of which he took advantage were those put in place by Lenin, Trotsky, Zinoviev, and the rest.

And I mean all the Bolshevik leaders; Lenin aborted the existent socialism in Russia to establish state capitalism on the excuse that having socialism that early would violate the protocol of a hypothesis first expounded by Engels and expanded upon by himself.  That is as absurd an action as when the Communist Party of the Philippines ordered its newly-established New Peoples Army from its homebase in the province of Pampanga in Central Luzon where all its members spoke the local language, Kapampangan, to Cagayan Valley in the northeasternmost province of the island of Luzon, where the local language was Ibaneg.  Their rationale?  To imitate Mao’s Long March, since the party has recently adopted Maoism as its ideology.

As long as socialists hold onto the idea that the Bolsheviks were genuinely socialist, capitalists are going to have the coconut our hand is stuck in to beat us over the head with.  Or to simply let us starve to death in obscurity.  The Bolsheviks were nothing more than slaves who dreamed of becoming masters and then did.

On another topic, let’s talk about voting.  Specifically here in Neverland, but the same principle applies everywhere.  Way too many people after the November 2016 election claimed that “Donald Trump is not my President”.  Well, tough fucking shit.  He is.  Get the fuck over it.  Voting is a social contract that implies giving one’s consent that whomever wins the election by the rules laid out at the time is the winner, provided the election is fair.  If you participate by voting, you necessarily consent to the election of the winner.  Otherwise, your vote is morally invalid.  That doesn’t mean you can’t protest if the winner is a racist, misogynist, bigoted, greedy, selfish, narcissistic asshole.  But what it does mean is that everyone who voted for someone other than Trump as well as those who voted for him consented to his election. 

So stop throwing stones at Trump supporters in general; many voted for him simply because his major opponent had less than nothing to offer and in many cases did not even bother to ask for their vote.  Commenting on the Obama presidency someone stated that “American liberals would rather have someone who makes them feel good about themselves than someone who actually does good”.  Which is certainly true, seeing the way too many people cling to the Democratic Party as the “only viable progressive option” to the Republicans, the lesser of two evils.  But sugar on shit don’t make it a brownie.  Nonsocialist progressives need to let go of the fruit in their own coconut.

And that is why so many people voted for Donald Trump; he made them feel good about themselves, even if they had misgivings about some of his other rhetoric.  That is something that calling Trump supporters “deplorables”, Bernie supporters “basement dwellers”, and Black Lives Matter activists “not important” most certainly did not do for Clinton.

On the Electoral College, I would point out that it did precisely what it was designed to do; stop a candidate from winning by campaigning in just the states with the largest, most concentrated populations.  Imagine if the UK had a nationally elected president and a candidate standing for that office could win simply by campaigning almost exclusively in London and Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh, Belfast and Derry, Cardiff and Swansea.  Clinton tried to win by campaigning on the eastern and western coasts, ignoring the heartland almost entirely.

Those casting stones at George Bush and Hillary Clinton for being warmongers need to remember that Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act containing a provision allowing the indefinite administrative detention (a la Israel) of American citizens without charge in order to continue the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, etc., dropping 26,000 bombs a years on seven countries, and keeping up drone strikes on “anyone, anywhere on Earth, at any time, for secret reasons based on secret evidence in a secret process undertaken by unidentified officials” (Rosa Brooks).  Obama also initiated the upsurge in expulsions of illegal immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees that Trump had so greatly expanded.  Just as Stalin couldn’t have been Stalin without Lenin, Trotsky, Zinoviev, and the rest, Trump couldn’t be Trump without Obama; in this, at least, he is following in the footsteps of his predecessor.

Finally, I want to add a few comments of my own on the masculinists in the nationalist and, yes, socialist and progessive, movements in Scotland.  The masculinist, or “men’s rights”, movement in America is the breeding ground from which the alt-right movement sprang.  The tiki torch Nazis in Charlottesville?  Those kind of people came from there.  If that is the company you want to be inyou should start calling yourselves Friends of Trump.  Or you can wake up to the fact that the same system which has created the conditions which make you feel oppressed is oppressing your female fellow humans even more, and turn your anger there.  Let go of the fruit in the coconut.

Last of all, I want to say this:  Be the darkness that illuminates.  Be the silence that resonates.  Be the stillness that agitates.

Our day will come, inshallah.  Keep the faith.  Peace out.


15 November 2017

Time to leave Lenin behind

In the beginning was the proletariat.  And the proletariat was with God, and the proletariat was God.  The proletariat was in the beginning with God.  All things are made by the proletariat, and without the proletariat nothing gets made that is made.  In the Labor of the proletariat is wealth, and that wealth is the foundation of Capital.  Wealth flows from Labor to Capital but Capital shares it not, except for a trickle downward that smells suspiciously like piss.

The Russian and Iranian Revolution shared the factor of the working class, the proletariat, being its main strength and backbone.  Likewise, both revolutions turned on these foot-soldiers and destroyed their freedom, and in many cases their very lives.

The central tenets of Leninism are state capitalism, Taylorism, democratic centralism, and the party as the vanugard of the proletariat.  Lenin was a fairly effective propagandist, one of the best in the world in fact.  It would have been nice if he’d meant a damn thing he said. 

The tools for the establishment of socialism, first and foremost control of the means of production by the workers and of the military by the soldiers and farms by the peasants, were already in place in the spring of 1917.  After the October Revolution, the Bolsheviks destroyed these.  In the case of industrial workers, the classic proletariat, Lenin and the Bolsheviks took control of the means of production from the workers and placed it in the hands of the state.  Lenin remarked in several writings that the ideal at this stage was the state capitalism of the Prussian Junkers, the very people against whom Marx first rose.  God forbid anyone violate ideological protocol by taking advantage of existing workers’ control to build a system based upon that very thing.  Much better to destroy that budding socialism in order to save it.

After taking away control of the means of production, Lenin outlawed independent trade unions and instituted the form of work management know then as Taylorism.  In Taylorism, individual workers have to account for every single minute of their workday with bosses micromanaging their time and methods of work.  Taylorism at the time was one of the main targets against which trade unions in the UK and USA were then struggling.

In democratic centralism, the emphasis is on centralism  Sometimes literally in writing.  This means that a central organ or “collective” makes a decision and all subordinate bodies have to fall in line.  Within Russia itself, decisions were made by the five members of the political bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, and all subordinate bodies of the party were expected to fall in line.  Kind of like the way the Democratic National Committee in the USA demands of the members of its party. 

Democratic centralism was adopted explicitly by the Russian Communist Party in 1921, but the year before, Zinoviev, then Lenin’s right-hand, had imposed it as standard operating procedure upon the new Third or Communist International, thereby subordinating the interests of working class people in other countries and the working class in general to those of the Russian Communist Party, or more specifically, to that party’s five member Polituro.  The Comintern ceased to be anything but a tool from thence forward.

Nowhere in Marx or Engels is there anything about a party of intellectuals and professional revolutionaries acting in the name of working people as the vanguard of the proletariat.  That was an invention of Lenin all on his own.  Because, you know, how dare the workers—and peasants and soldiers—act without the guidance of their betters who know more about what’s better for them than they themselves, just as in capitalist society the bourgeois know better than the proletariat and in agrarian society the planter and the landlord know better than the slave and the peasant.

Leninism and its offspring, Trotskyism, Stalinism, Maoism, etc., did not come to fullfill the socialism but to destroy it.

And Karl Marx had a comment relevant to those who cling to the illusions of the past the way too many would-be socialists cling to the discredited ideas of men a century dead.  In “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte” of 1852, Marx wrote, “The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.  And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and borrowed language.”

I want the needs of the many to outweigh the greed of the very few.  I want a national health service and hospitals run by nurses, committees of practicing nurses rather than by administrative specialists.  Doctors should be subordinate to nurses, in charge of medical issues only.  Whether owned by the state or the workers themselves, I want the means of production to be run by the workers for the benefit of themselves and their community and the world around them.  I want a legal system in which the state finances defense of the accused at the same level it finances prosecution.  I want an America disarmed with Australian-style gun control and police forces dominated by unarmed officers trained in de-escalation tactics.  I want free education for all at all levels.  I want an end to private prisons, private schools, private probation agencies, private food production, private armies, private corporations.  In a free market, the only things free are the corporations.

Contrary to the pompous pronouncements of its detractors, the Occupy movement achieved its purpose, one which conservatives, neoliberals, and the media cannot co-opt, subvert, undercut, or cast as a reflection of themselves.  Concensus councils, free lending libraries, and communal organizations of the Occupy camps were not the point, which the 1% now find buried in their chests, figuratively speaking.  Occupy changed the conversation from evaluating the worth of individuals by how much profit they can make for the few to focus on correcting the results of the gross inequality that ideology created and ending the Second Gilded Age.

(This piece was written for the latest podcast of Left Ungagged @ https://leftungagged.org/2017/11/17/building-utopia/ ; my piece starts at 2:28.20