Back to school…again

BooksFall2015

Fall 2015 books

Today I start fall semester in the second year of the Master of Arts in Global Interaction at Cleveland State. I’ve got a 4.0 GPA, all signs point to keeping it (fingers crossed). I should graduate this coming spring, 2016. Should.

The MAGI program has an internship requirement of 150 hours, which I have spent much of the last year trying to fulfill, to no avail. Internships are hard to come by, especially if you’re overqualified with an ancient criminal conviction. I’ve stopped considering myself special in that regard – most of my classmates have the same difficulty getting anyone to not pay them for work. Cleveland isn’t the most internationally focused city, either, so there’s that.

So what did I do this summer? Since 2004, whenever I have this much time on my hands, I’ve blogged online about politics, and this summer was no exception. Thanks to Eugene McCormick at the Cleveland Leader, I had a pretty big platform to expose the Dickensian filth of marijuana legalization efforts in Ohio. Didn’t take much effort, having been around Ohio politics for so long. I suppose I could try to get all that work approved as my 150 hours, but it’s not really all that international.

If you scroll down a bit, you’ll see my other writing focus this summer was the Labour Party leadership contest. I kinda saw Jeremy Corbyn comin’; not Corbyn himself, but the movement behind him. Few did. The ideological blind spot our landed gentry lives behind couldn’t imagine anything other than Thatcherite “There Is No Alternative” neoliberal free market purism keeping hold of Labour.

I guess my summer was spent watching tectonic plates shift in our politics, delivering us Trump, Sanders, Corbyn. The CSU program is giving me a new perspective on just how ideologically rigged the world has become, even at the highest international levels. Ohio’s marijuana fight in 2015 gave me a grassroots, worm’s eye view of the same rigged game. So even though I never got my internship, I think I learned plenty.

Thanks again to everyone who helped…I promised I won’t let you down, trying as hard as I can to keep that promise. Time to hit the books.

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On to Scotland, Jeremy Corbyn

As of this writing, British Labour Party leadership candidate, Jeremy Corbyn, has yet to visit Scotland in his campaign. Corbyn never wanted to run for leader, so a visit to Scotland was probably not in his plans this summer.

The only reason Corbyn’s even on the ballot is that no one else from the left wing of the Labour Party would stand. Corbyn barely got the required 35 nominations from Members of Parliament (MPs) to be on the ballot, getting there by some MP’s charity, for the sake of “debate”. Corbyn only got that far because a social media storm erupted to get anyone at all from the left onto the ballot.  Corbyn today towers over the contest, with a 32 point lead in the latest poll. Scotland thus beckons.

For it is in Scotland that every Blairite dismissal of Corbyn collapses under its own petulance. None of the attacks on Corbyn, as some bearded sandal wearing leftie dinosaure Trot, ever mention Scotland. That is because Labour is wiped out in Scotland, largely by the same tidal wave of young membership into the Labour Party that will hand Corbyn Labour’s leadership on September 12.

Ideologically, Corbyn’s Labour is Scotland’s Labour. Scotland’s Labour was never Alistair Campbell’s, or Peter Mandelson’s Labour. Or Blair’s. Or even Brown’s.  When Labour abandoned Scotland, to work with the Tories against the Scottish independence referendum, the bankruptcy of neoliberal Blairism was laid bare. Now Labour pays, with only one seat in Scotland, and none of Corbyn’s three opponents has a prayer of bringing Scotland back into the Labour Party.

Let alone the UK. The stakes are high for a Corbyn visit to Scotland this summer.

 

 

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Jeremy Corbyn & Labour’s ideological Stockholm syndrome

The first poll of this summer’s Labour leadership election was an earthquake. Turns out Jeremy Corbyn, who never wanted to run for leader in the first place, is about to crush like bugs all three of his Blairite opponents when ballots are mailed out August 16 for leader of the British Labour Party. Shocked isn’t the word to describe the reaction. Tony Blair, Mr. Cool himself, popped a vein, telling anyone who supports Corbyn to “get a heart transplant.” That will of course backfire. Corbyn couldn’t dream of a better supporter giving him a better slogan.

Up and down the landed gentry of Labour’s last 20 years, panic has set in, leading to talk of party splits from fat cat donors, City grandees, lords, and ladies alike. If there’s a split after Corbyn is elected leader in September, it will be the toffs turned out on their own petards by membership, not the other way round, which is how the toffs did it 20 years ago.

The post Kinnock Labour “modernization” project, first via John Smith then Blair, seized the party from its socialist roots for the benefit of capital at the most basic grassroots level, rigging Labour party democracy in every election from constituency party levels all the way to conference every year. It was not pretty. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now that neoliberal free market dogma turns out simply not to work, at all, except for the very richest on earth, well….This comeuppance has been a long time coming.

The death throes of New Labour will take some time. Blairism has kept Labour in neoliberal capitalism’s hostage situation so long, at many levels of the Labour Party the prisoner now treats the captor as a father figure. You hear Blairite dead enders talk of the party committing “suicide”, echoing decades old arguments from another epoch, pretending it’s still the Cold War, that somehow socialism will always appear to voters as a Brezhnev corpse draped in hammer and sickle red. Blairite attacks that Corbyn represents the past are always mouthed in the language of the past themselves. Comic.

The future is seizing Labour, not the opposite. There’s no talk of a Labour Party split among members, in particular the tens of thousands of new members, mostly young people, joining Labour specifically to vote for Corbyn. And none of it has to do with Corbyn himself, just as support for Bernie Sanders in America has nothing to do with Bernie. There is an ideological hunger in western democracies to reject neoliberal capitalism and the assumed holiness of the free market, seeking any vessel through which to do so, no matter how stereotypically bearded and grey haired the lefty.

People often ask me why Americans can’t bring themselves to accept that the New Deal compromise between labor and capital has been destroyed by their own hands. “Why do Americans vote against their own interests?” I tell them that Americans don’t like to think they’ve been fooled, certainly not for decades. Americans are very proud capitalists, we do believe this stuff, so it’s hard to accept that capital has used our optimism against us, on purpose, with our assent, like a carnival barker organ grinder winding up a hurdy gurdy monkey. Brits are similarly stubborn.

Labour should seize this moment. There is no political party on earth more prepared and capable of leading the charge against neoliberalism than Labour in Britain. Labour bears the scars of decades of front line hand to hand ideological combat with our free market straight jacket. Labour bought the bait and switch, made all the mistakes. Labour marches. Labour fights. Labour members are the most educated political actors in any western democracy, with broad shoulders, thick coal miner’s fingers, and a fist when clenched that is the strongest force for good in politics, let alone the pub. Corbyn’s election as leader will invigorate Labour with the energy of youth, the power of righteousness, and the freedom which can only come from a full accounting with the mistakes of the past.

Buck up, comrades. From this side of the pond, things look very hopeful indeed.

Tim Russo is one of the first American Democratic Party consultants to work for New Labour in 1997. Now filled with the zeal of the recently converted, he is pursuing a masters in international relations at Cleveland State University, studying Labour’s approach to the City of London this spring.

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Hillary must know you can lose a primary based on trade alone, right?

Today in her first campaign speech for the 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton used the word “bargain” in a very deliberate context. Hillary knows the decades of scholarship using the term “bargain” to describe the ideological compromise of the New Deal; the location of her speech is no cheap campaign prop.

New America Foundation president and CEO Anne-Marie Slaughter, whose appointment to the Obama administration Hillary herself announced, in 1993 used the ideological bargain terminology to describe the 1944 Bretton Woods System, a Roosevelt project, governing post war international monetary policy and trade.

Repeat. Trade.

According to Slaughter and most other eminent scholars, BWS was a complicated ideological compromise at the global level between American New Deal dynamics and free market, “light touch”, laissez faire neoliberal capitalism.[1] Nation state priorities expressed politically, such  as social welfare and full employment, would co-exist with the interests of money.  Specifically, with the interests of capitalism. BWS created rules, norms, and regimes designed to maximize the benefits of both capital and the state, and minimize the risk that neither state nor capital would repeat their worst known potential – war and collapse.

Hillary knows the New Deal was way more than an alphabet soup in a grainy newsreel, and BWS is arguably its crowning jewel. The BWS monetary order is credited by the same scholarship with creating what Americans uniformly imagine as its nostalgic nirvana – the post war baby boom years, 1945 until the early 1960′s.

The Pax Americana. The white picket fences. Opie. ’57 Chevys. Drive-in movies. Elvis.

You know, Happy Days.

The BWS monetary order created these trade debates based on voluntary participation by nations. BWS gave birth to GATT, which begat the WTO, set in motion the processes that led to NAFTA and PNTR. But Roosevelt’s intent for BWS was to place far more enforcement emphasis on capital controls than on liberalization of trade. Trade negotiations internationally were to be voluntary, based in liberalization and free markets. But capital controls were assumed. Limiting the ability of monetary movements across international borders was a primary lesson of the Greta Depression pre-war years.

That capital control bit is now gone. Nothing controls the movement of capital across international borders. A new compromise between state and capital is long overdue. Yet the zombie undead of trade agreements based on nothing but neoliberal ideological Adam Smith pure capitalist dogma march on. We see the results, which is why Hillary is being pushed leftward.

Hillary’s income inequality references today though seem like window dressing – she certainly understands what’s happening. Knows its theoretical source. Knows the history. Knows what happens when capitalism in its purest form is unleashed at the international level, with no regulation, no taxing powers, no limits on speed of light transfers of titanic amounts. Friday, that march was halted in the U.S., by Congress, incredibly, this Congress, for the first time since, arguably, the BWS compromise in 1944.

Voters are done with the con job of trade agreements. Left and right. White and black. Old, young, Tea Party, Occupy.

Fed.

Up.

Have been since at least 2002, when Ohio Congressman Tom Sawyer was defeated by insurgent primary challenger Tim Ryan based almost solely on Sawyer’s votes for GATT, PNTR, and NAFTA. That long promised lifting tide raising all boats? Voters see the results on their kitchen table.

No tide. No lifting boats. It’s a con. We bought it. We took it for a spin. This thing is a lemon. Woe unto those who try to sell us another one.

Hillary knows there are very deep, ideological and historical reasons for all this. She knows very well how important that TAA vote was on Friday. Without any meaningful control on capitalism, trade agreements based solely in the goal of freeing the Invisible Hand ever further, will merely suck wages ever downward, and income ever upward. All Hillary has to do is ask Mrs. Slaughter.

This is why Hillary’s silence on Friday’s TAA vote in Congress in her first campaign speech is so striking. Hillary surely knows this fight isn’t over, and never really is. The “bargain” Hillary refers to has long been in shreds. I assume Hillary also knows that an incumbent can lose to an unlikely challenger based on nothing else but trade.

I expect she’ll chime in soon.

[1] Burley, Anne-Marie, Regulating the World; Multilateralism, International Law, and the Projection of the New Deal Regulatory State, ed. Ruggie, J., Multilateralism Matters, Columbia University Press, 1993, p. 129.

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Why is Labour going in the opposite direction of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren?

EAST_IS_RED_BANNER

On the eve of the Cultural Revolution in China in 1965, Mao presented an epic “song and dance” number called The East Is Red, an over the top social realism extravaganza, the opening bell of what would become Mao’s final disastrous purge.

Watching the Labour Party after its 2015 defeat is like watching The East Is Red in ideological reverse. Bent over before capital in their summer long struggle session, Labour leadership candidates appear as Mitt Romney confessing his sins against Adam Smith Thought, bad mouthing unions, welfare mothers, immigrants. You know the drill, Fox News style. Like any good Maoist saying, one word will do for Labour this summer – “aspiration”. Let a hundred flowers aspire. The Great Leap of Aspiration.

The game is rigged. Voters know this to their bones, not just in the US, but all over the world. The term “the 1%” governs political debate, even in capital’s promised land, the US. Academics refer to this rigged game as the total triumph by neoliberal free market dogma over the New Deal compromise between labour and capital. Voters describe it with profanity. Collective bargaining has practically disappeared, states have lost the ability to tax their richest citizens, world GDP may now be dwarfed by a mountain of cash kicking its feet up in capital’s perfect nirvana, the untaxed, unseen, unregulated offshore centered in the City of London’s legal remnants of the British Empire. The world has never seen so much capital so free. The nation state is reduced to capital’s ATM.

How rigged? Two Americans responsible for Barack Obama’s presidency worked on opposite sides of the 2015 UK general election, David Axelrod for Labour, Jim Messina for the Tories. They will both cash in on Hillary Clinton. Emphasis on the word “cash”.

The Axlerod-Messina Labour-Tory Two-Step manifests in a growing body of literature proving that capital thus unleashed has eliminated the power of the state to regulate markets, ever further reducing citizen participation in democracy, based on voters’ reasonable conclusion that it does not matter who is elected, from any party, capital will get what it wants. Always.

Interestingly, while the west has shredded the compromise between labor and capital, China’s same compromise, while leaning a bit Stalinist, is taking us all to the cleaners. To western neoliberal high priests of capital, this does not compute. A Marxist state run economy appears immune to the “rules” of capitalism. How can this be? Leaving the market alone is supposed to be an unchallenged law of nature.

Capitalist ideology stands so totally victorious, a movement now exists among economics students to challenge their faculties’ blind, near religious exclusion of anything other than neoliberal free market dogma from their instruction. Perhaps the Chinese compromise between labor and capital works better than no compromise at all, but we can never be allowed to know.

Enter Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Knowing that Hillary Clinton has already benefitted from this rigged game to the point Wall Street has their arms wrapped around her, Democrats who refuse to give up on the New Deal compromise will spend the next year pushing, dragging, begging Hillary Clinton leftward. Sanders and Warren’s call to break up the banks, which even has Republican support, has an equivalent British position, which Labour once advocated as recently as Clement Attlee – abolish the Corporation of the City of London. Can anyone imagine any Labour leadership candidate uttering those words this summer? Not one leadership candidate utters a peep about the City, or Wall Street.

One cannot aspire to anything in a rigged game. Labour has been treating their membership, and through them the voters, like fools for far too long. No one believes a single thing Labour says anymore, on any matter, not in Scotland or the East Midlands. No voter joins a political party of the left to start wars based on lies, or help rig the game for capital. If a political party claiming to be socialist does both, it’s quite plainly nothing more than a vehicle for access to power.

At the grassroots, Labour isn’t fooled anymore. If Labour continues this total farce of a leadership process, the new leader at conference in Brighton in September will look upon an empty shell, precisely what the rigged rules of capital destine a political party conference to be. We Americans know this all too well. My hometown of Cleveland, Ohio will host the Republican Convention in 2016, which no one has mistaken for a political process in decades.

Labour once looked to Bill Clinton, which is how I ended up campaigning in pit villages for three general elections. We Democrats used to see working for Labour as an external validation of our leftiness. About face, comrades, and march back to your roots. Nothing is more aspirational than breaking this rigged game. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are onto something. Regain Labour’s authenticity. The voters, especially in Scotland, will notice. I bet Hillary Clinton notices, too.

Tim Russo is one of the first American Democratic Party consultants to work for New Labour in 1997. Now filled with the zeal of the recently converted, he is pursuing a masters in international relations at Cleveland State University, studying Labour’s approach to the City of London this spring.

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The end of New Labour’s rigged game

On the day Saddam Hussein’s statue came down in 2003, I was at the East Midlands Labour Party HQ in Barratt Lane near Nottingham standing next to then regional secretary, Roy Kennedy, watching it on Sky News. The concern on Roy’s face was evident. So I asked, “What do you think?” Roy said bluntly, in his London Cockney brogue, “They’d better find those weapons, mate.” Roy is now in the House of Lords. There were no WMDs.

I was one of the first Americans to go work for Tony Blair’s New Labour in the UK in 1997, after being Bill Clinton’s 1996 Ohio GOTV State Director. That’s why Labour hired me – for the GOTV expertise. David Axelrod, you’re welcome.

Thus, I was at the very center of the Blair era, for three general election victories, plus Labour’s inaugural campaign for London mayor in 2000, plus a few party conferences. I brought Labour staff to work with me in the former soviet republics training political parties, and brought even more to the US for the Al Gore campaign in 2000. I love and cherish all the friends I made in Tony Blair’s Labour. I even tried to do a documentary film on it all once at party conference in Brighton in 2001; they couldn’t get rid of me.

As the Republican Party (and Hillary Clinton) knows all too well, there has yet to be a fair account and reckoning politically for Iraq, and that includes Tony Blair and New Labour. That is one root of this month’s thrashing at the hands of British voters. That’s not all that Labour must reckon with before voters trust them again with the time of day.

The target of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, today’s rigged game, which has created the first American generation that expects to do worse than the generations before it, was built mostly by New Democrats, and New Labour.  We were the indispensable “progressive” window dressing on capital’s dismantling of the New Deal compromise.

Just look at what Blair’s ballot stuffing “reforms” left behind in the medieval City of London, a rogue state standing atop a mountain of systemic offshore financial risk, utterly uncommented upon by anyone in the Labour Party’s London collection of powerless elected officials, even as they select another candidate for London Mayor in 2016 who is just as silent on the matter, and who upon election will remain without jurisdiction over the Square Mile. I had never realized the role I played rigging that particular game in 2000 until I studied it this semester 15 years later as a student at Cleveland State. No zeal quite like that of the recently converted.

After Labour’s 2015 defeat, a campaign in which no Labour candidate would dare be seen in their presence, we now hear from Blair, Alan Johnson, Peter Mandelson, John Prescott, who, incredibly, argued after the election that Ed Miliband should have campaigned on the banking bailout. This predictable parade of Blairite lords and ladies, at this point indistinguishable from Mitt Romney, lectures us that Labour needs to stay “aspirational”, as if one can aspire to anything in a rigged game. Lord Mandelson is even pimping to be the new leader Chuka Umunna, a City of London “employment” lawyer (read: outsourcing and union busting) straight out of the City’s offshore petri dish. It’s become comical.

Is anyone awake in Britain? Does it not bother me old mates that Jim Messina, late of Barack Obama, now takes credit for electing Tories, and next shall cash in on Hillary Clinton? Are the lights on? There’s a reason Democrats want to push Hillary leftward for a solid two years. No one joins the Democratic Party, or the Labour Party, to start wars based on lies, or rig their country and the world for plutocrats and oligarchs, but turns out that’s exactly what we did. Some of us are in a mood to reverse that course.

Labour members know better. It isn’t 1997 anymore. The days when a Labour staffer could fool a Trot into missing a key policy vote at conference by offering them tea are well over. The blinders are off, voters know to their bones the game is rigged, quite aware of who rigged it, and to those voters, Labour in 2015 stands for nothing other than access to power. No matter how many vapidly facile “pledges” get carved into an Ed Stone, when a party loses trust this badly, voters do not wish to hear how aspirationally sincere a party’s rigged noncredible leadership claims to be.

Labour’s conference is again in Brighton this September. Before deciding on a new leader, Labour needs to hold a broad, inclusive, loud, air-clearing debate at party conference in Brighton, hold itself to account, rebuild credibility from the bottom up, and begin the long struggle of unrigging this game. A party called Labour ought to be counted on for at least that. Across the pond, we could use the help.

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The City of London vs. Bretton Woods

Worshipful Whatnots

Worshipful Whatnots

Completed for the International Political Economy class in the CSU MAGI program, Spring semester 2015. This paper includes some of my personal collection of campaign leaflets from my time working for Labour’s London mayoral candidate Frank Dobson in 2000.

ABSTRACT: Based on an analysis of Krasner’s four factors of sovereignty, the 1,000 year history of the Corporation of the City of London, and the inaugural election of the Greater London Authority in 2000, this paper will argue that the Corporation is a sovereign state which in 1955 breached the Bretton Woods framework by creating the Eurodollar market, embedding a systemic risk into the international monetary system through the sovereignty of the City’s offshore. 

Read the paper here - CityOfLondonVersusBrettonWoods

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Kant’s Trickster Quotient

So this paper disappeared from my website while I revised the paper at the end of last fall’s semester, and submitted it for publication to various academic journals. It’s still under review for publication, so in the meantime, I provide the paper at the link at the end of this post. There is almost no theoretical study in academia addressing the internet’s role in political risk; in fact, I’m pretty sure this paper is alone in applying settled international relations theory to political risk arising from the internet.

TITLE: Kant’s Trickster Quotient – A Non-State Actor Accesses International Relations Anarchy From The Internet

ABSTRACT: Kant’s 1795 essay Toward Perpetual Peace forms the basis for “democratic peace” theory in international relations. Kant posits a moral enforcement mechanism upon mankind, “nature” or “providence”, i.e. God, or a god, based in reason, which forces mankind to evolve toward perpetual peace. Functioning as a mythical trickster deity, the internet, via groups like Wikileaks & Anonymous, opened a channel during the Arab Spring through which Kant’s normative global consensus acts a “trickster” upon international relations as a nonstate actor with unprecedented power to threaten the survival of states incompatible with perpetual peace. This paper introduces “T”, a political risk index that can measure, observe, and potentially predict Kant’s trickster at work.

PSC501TermPaperTimRusso

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I’m a student again

Last year, summer 2013, I applied to my 1989 alma mater Cleveland State University for the Master of Arts in Global Interaction (MAGI). Some folks will recall that didn’t go so well. I was denied admission based on my 2002 criminal conviction. I appealed the denial directly to CSU president Ronald Berkman with a letter writing campaign from friends, family, and supporters, to no avail. After my run for County Executive in the May 6, 2014 Democratic primary, I decided to re-apply to the same MAGI program based on my performance in the election. The only additional information required for my new application was an updated personal statement, which follows.

In 2013, I applied for the MAGI program, and was denied admission based solely on my 2002 criminal conviction. A few months later, I decided to run in the 2014 May 6 Democratic Primary for County Executive. 
The reason I decided to place my name on the ballot for the second time (first in 2010 for County Council Disrict 7 where I earned 730 votes), is that the political process, and specifically the voters, are the only forum in which I can be judged as an entire person, not by one mistake. Voters decide who should lead them based on the entirety of a candidate’s record, biography, achievements, faults, mistakes…warts and all.
I earned 9,171 votes on May 6, placing third among six candidates, well ahead of both a former county sheriff, and a former mayor. Voters were given ample notice of my mistakes and faults, in fact, every single mention of my candidacy in Cleveland media pointed directly, and often only, to my past.  Still, I placed third.
I believe CSU, my alma mater, did me a great and very personal wrong in 2013. Thousands of voters in Cuyahoga County disagree with CSU’s admissions committee decision in 2013, with their votes. If someone like me cannot attend a public university, even after proving himself not just professionally & academically, but politically, then I believe I have proven CSU’s admissions policy as unjust and wrong as applied in my case, and that policy must change. 
CSU has an excellent opportunity to right that wrong, today, in 2014. It would be an honor to help CSU move forward beyond this mistake as a MAGI candidate. 
I learned this morning, August 9, 2014, my application was successful and I begin classes as a full time student in a couple of weeks. I would like to thank everyone who helped me along this journey – you know who you are – and I promise I won’t let any of you down.

 

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Insight into the inevitable, Loren Naji edition

Exploding_Plastic_Inevitable

playbill, 1966

Art, if it works, holds a mirror up to the observer where they see themselves, forcing them to question their assumptions about their world. In performance art, the observer ideally becomes part of the art piece in some way. Hence, The Exploding Russo Inevitable, i.e., my campaign for county executive in 2014. It was a group performance from Day One.

The origins of the piece’s title were foreign to almost everyone, even the finest artists in CLE – very few people “got it”. (isn’t CLE the birthplace of rock ‘n roll? Come on, people.) Getting it required that you at least had heard of The Exploding Plastic Inevitable, a performance art combination of pop art and rock n’ roll, performed by Andy Warhol and The Velvet Underground & Nico across America in 1966. It’s music forms the entire “Banana Album”, the Velvets’ debut, widely understood as one of the most influential albums in the history of popular music. No one really “got it” either when the album was released in 1967 (the year I was born). It never sold. The Brian Eno saying goes that everyone who did buy the album started a rock n’ roll band.

The “art” of the Exploding Russo Inevitable, the work product, wasn’t done by me – it was done by others via their reactions to it. From all manner of social media silliness all the way to the banal of hand shaking at bingo games, speeches, debates – I may have held the paint brushes. Everyone else was the paint.

My favorite example was, of course, the media reaction to my candidacy. Very reliable materials. No paint on a palette behaves as predictably as our local media behaved in response to me running for office. Almost unanimously, they hit the canvass in one of two ways – invisibly with their silence, or spectacularly with their despise. When I got lazy, or depressed, or tired, like any artist, they were my go-to can of Pollock splatters. They were too easy.

Good art, of course, doesn’t rely on two colors used predictably. Like in a Rothko, or a Turner, the interesting bits are where the better colors bleed into each other, “react” with one another. That began happening as observers saw themselves in the mirror, and did something. Today, social media allows you to often watch that reaction in real time. See whose reflection in the mirror affects them most, or least. I ended up with just over 9,000 votes. Each one, a splash of paint, a carve on a marble, or a note of music.

But those were just the votes.  Mixing art and politics in a performance piece goes well beyond the artificial “deadline” of an election and its crossed T’s or dotted I’s. Henry Senyak was a late arrival in the paint box – his raid on Loren Naji the Friday before the election should have been something I ignored – if I was a typical candidate. For the Exploding Russo Inevitable? It was an opportunity.

Seeing how people reacted to learning, from me, two days before the election, how Senyak became Joe Cimperman’s Senyak, how this one sorry buzz killer had accrued enough power to send 7 cars of tactical geared jackboots to an art gallery opening – the first brush strokes have been very revealing. Lots of people seeing lots of things in the mirror. Drops of paint are still hitting the canvass, behaving very interestingly.

Pay attention to them.

They’re inevitable.

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