Power Again – Democracy > Health

>> March 13, 2020

>> Blog Post #40

Power: That which you do not want to let go of.

Follow-up to yesterday’s post.

France just changed the rules. The situation is more dire than it was before. Let’s pick another random number and now say that all gatherings of more than 100 people are banned in our fight for Corona Virus.

Exceptional situations warrant exceptional measures. All schools will be closed until further notice. 12 million students, out of a total population of 67 million people will have to stay home.

Where this really gets ridiculous is that municipal elections will be maintained this weekend, all in the name of democracy, as more than 45 million French people are invited to come and gather in their townhalls to vote.

Meanwhile in America Trump leads the way. To fight the virus all you have to do is shake hands with corporate America. No better time to make money than when people’s lives are at risk.

A sick “democracy” must be better than a healthy world. Or maybe only the economy needs to be healthy.


>> March 12, 2020

>> Blog Post #39

Power: That which you do not want to let go of.

France just passed a law last week making it illegal to organize any gathering of more than 1,000 people because of the Corona Virus outbreak.

The goal is plain and simple, try to contain the spread of the virus as much as possible.

My first reaction was to wonder how they had come up with this number. Seems almost random. Actually, I’m fairly sure it is just as random as anything else. How does a group as large as 1,000 people help prevent exponential growth? What are the economic numbers that would make cancelling gatherings of 500 or 893 people to difficult?

In any case, the reaction was fairly logical, at least in my books. Most events that I know of or have heard about since then have been cancelled. Garage sales, school reunions etc., except for something very specific.

Political meetings. It is election season in France, with all French municipalities voting in a few weeks for their mayors. Apparently, who gets elected in places like Paris are more important than curbing the spread of the virus as they tried to pack their meetings over the weekend by limiting the number of attendees to just under 1000 people. Here, let’s organize a meeting of 999 people, we are complying with the law. Now please vote for me because I’m a responsible person who should take all sorts of decisions with the powers you grant me…. That tells you a lot about the consideration politicians have for their fellow compatriots, but no one seems to say anything about it. I think these politicians should just go fuck themselves.

Now let’s turn our eyes to Russia for a second. The Parliament just passed a bill that would enable Vlad Putin, to potentially stay in office until 2036! Hey, when something in the law isn’t to your advantage, just change it. Why would you ever want to surrender your power?

Fortunately, some opponents decided to hold rallies to protest these rule changes that seem to come from another age, but… those rallies were not authorized because of the risk of contamination due to the corona virus…. The irony….

No here I am today, wondering what I should think about the risks to me and my family, friends, loved ones, when some many people, countries, governments are taking very different approaches to the pandemic risk. The only thing I know for sure is that I shouldn’t base any of my decisions on the laws that politicians pass as they have nothing to do with what is right for people and everything to do with their own very personal agendas.

Voting – Letter to Jean Grave

>> March 5, 2020

>> Blog Post #36

Here is a short text that I like a lot on the topic of voting. I’ve tried to translate it into English the best I could. It was written by Elisée Reclus in 1885

Letter to Jean Grave – Élisée Reclus 

Clarens, Vaud, September 26, 1885.


You ask a man of good will, who is neither voter nor candidate, to outline his ideas on voting.

The timeframe you are allowing me is very short, but having strong convictions on the topic of electoral vote, what I have to say can be formulated in a few words.

To vote is to abdicate; naming one or more masters for a short or long period, renouncing one’s own sovereignty. Whether he becomes an absolute monarch, a constitutional prince or a simple agent of royalty, the candidate you are putting in power will be your superior. You appoint men that are above the law, since they are in charge of writing them and their mandate is to have you obey.

To vote it to be fooled; believing that men like you will suddenly acquire the ability to know and understand everything. Your agents having to legislate on all sorts of things, from matches to warships, weeding to the extermination of tribes, it will seem to you that their intelligence grows as their tasks grow immensely. History will teach you that the opposite is true. Power has always caused anxiety; chatter has always rendered dumb. In sovereign assemblies, mediocrity always prevails.

To vote is to conjure treason. Voters probably believe in the honesty of those to whom they give their votes –  and maybe they are right, on the first day, when candidates are still bathed in the fervor of their first love. But there is always a tomorrow. As soon as the environment changes, man changes with it. Today the candidate will bow to you, maybe too low; tomorrow, he will straighten himself, maybe too high. He begged for votes, now he will order you around. Can a worker who becomes a master remain himself? Doesn’t the fiery democrat learn how to bow down when the banker deigns to invite him in his office, when the kings’ valets honor him? The atmosphere around these legislative bodies is unhealthy. You send your agents in a corrupt environment, don’t be surprised if they end up corrupted.

Do not therefore abdicate. Do not give away your destiny to incapable men and future traitors. Do not vote! Instead of trusting others with your interests, defend them yourself; instead of engaging lawyers, act! Opportunities abound for men of good will. Holding others responsible for one’s conduct is to lack bravery.

I wholeheartedly salute you brothers.

Elisée Reclus.

You Did Not Approve Of This

>> January 20, 2020

>> Blog Post #13

Today, I saw something that totally disgusted me. Something I did not know existed.

And yet, I had seen it before. It was out there in plain sight. I can’t even say that I am surprised about it now that I have seen it. Human nature sometimes is just that bad.

What do you think the following images have in common?

A picture containing floor, yellow, indoor, food

Description automatically generated
A wooden bench in a park

Description automatically generated

Modern city architecture.

That’s probably what I would have answered had someone else asked me that question. Or maybe I would have come up with something else if for some reason my system 2 had kicked in and wondered why the hell you had asked me the question in the first place.

I can only guess what my response would have been. Bad art, waste of taxpayer money, why the hell do they make things complicated when they could be easy and so on…

Another guess I’ll make is that you probably don’t know either what the common element is in those images.

Honestly, I don’t know if I would feel better if you didn’t know, which somehow might help me believe I wasn’t the only one to be fooled or If you did know. People who know can then either turn a blind eye, the worst-case scenario, or hopefully stand up and do something about it.

Now here is the answer to the question. These “things” are what are called “anti-homeless architecture” Like I said, I didn’t know there was such a thing.

If you didn’t know about those either, take a look at this thread. That’s where the pictures come from and how I learned about this. Look at each one of those constructions and imagine just how twisted the minds of some people are.

One, you have to determine you need something like anti-homeless architecture to start with. That means someone has to invent the entire concept, give it birth, make it real. Two, you have to agree that this is what you need in your town or city. Three, you need to bring it up to the town council. Four, the town has to go through some kind of RFP process to look for architects who could create such “architecture”. Five, architects actually have to agree to make proposals. Six, the municipality has to decide that it will have these built and installed. Seven, someone has to build that thing. Eight, someone has to install it.

While I do believe at this point that some people along the chain might not know what these devices actually are, it is impossible that most people aren’t aware.

Are you that afraid or disgusted by homeless people that you want to remove them from your sidewalks? Does it make you feel better if you can’t see these people? Do you actually believe that they are people? I know they have these around nice monuments to prevent pigeons from shitting all over the façade, but is that really necessary for humans?

How is this even possible? Do you not find it shocking? I find the lack of humanity in this appalling.

Every time you go vote during elections; you surrender a part of yourself. People get voted into office because they collect some kind of majority. They then govern, taking decisions on topics you will never even know were discussed, while pretending to represent you. That includes building anti-homeless architecture, and a truck load of other horrible things. They will use your vote to bring these into existence. Now you did not expressly agree to this decision, nor is anyone else “responsible”. It is just how the system works. It removes the responsibility of individuals and hides it behind a system, a group, a council. That is where inhumanity happens. But behind those systems are people. And people can be stopped. Do not surrender to them.

To vote is to abdicate. To say nothing is to abdicate.

I refuse to let people take such decisions on my behalf, in my name or with my vote, that is why I believe not voting carries a lot of value.

But there is one more thing I can do. It isn’t much, but at least it’s something. I will take a picture of these man-made creations of inhumanity every time I see one. I will post the picture online, while calling out whatever municipality I have found them in. Make people see what elected bodies do without your permission.

Because hopefully,

You Did Not Approve Of This

indecency at its finest