Stand-up comedian, social satirist and political activist Lee Camp—the “Che Guevara of comedy” as Paul Provenza calls him—is best known for his popular “Moment of Clarity” web series and Camp has performed live for protesters at various Occupy sites around the country.
Now he’s an author, with a new collection of his work in print form, Moment Of Clarity: The Ravings of a Stark Raving Sane Man. I caught up with Lee Camp via email to ask him to clairify a few things for Dangerous Minds readers:
Lee, so it’s been a week… have you had a moment of clarity yet about what happened in Wisconsin?
Lee Camp: I’ll be writing that one tomorrow. It might just be a string of profanities. Wisconsin is just the first explosion in the corporate-backed Citizens-United-fueled demolition of our democracy. If I can get over my moment of dispair-ity, then I’ll work on the Moment of Clarity. [See below!]
Do the WI election results auger as poorly for the future of labor and the Democrats as it seems? I was shocked at the delusion I saw on MSNBC on election night. It was ridiculous, I thought, especially what Lawrence O’Donnell said about Obama being the “biggest winner.” Absurd.
Lee Camp: Yes, they are a horrible sign for the left, for labor, and for this country. I think that as this shit-storm continues people will have no choice but to wake up. At least, that’s my hope. And yeah, you see a lot of delusion from the talking heads because they know that if they’re too depressing, we’ll jump off a bridge. And if we jump off a bridge, they lose viewers. MSNBC is fighting for ratings, so they don’t want anybody dropping their “Lawrence O’Donnell” flag and stuffing handfuls of pills in their mouths.
Scott Walker, the next Nixon?
Lee Camp: Ha. Nixon would seem like a squishy lefty compared to Walker.
As a longtime observer of subcultures, one thing that is surprising to me—-and I should say upfront that I consider this a positive development—is how folks on the Left are starting to tentatively voice an opinion long heard on the Right, of favor of secession. Would it be better to agree to disagree and let Red States do whatever they want—fuck over the unions, poison their water supply with fracking, teaching “Noah’s Ark was real” nonsense in schools, outlawing abortion, curtailing LGBT rights, making church attendance mandatory, whatever—while more, how shall I put this, better-educated regions of the country split off to do what we want? “We” keep “them” from living as they wish to live and vice versa, why not give up and face the facts?
Lee Camp: Sounds kinda nice to me. The problem is that the blue states are on the two coasts. How we will stick together? Maybe a sky bridge over the country? The other problem is that even blue states will allow the corporate raping and pillaging of their land if enough money is poured into the political process. Wisconsin is not necessarily a red state, and it has a noble history of fighting for workers’ rights. However, this last election showed us that if people are handed a pile of shit and shown enough commercials saying it’s chocolate, they’ll eat it with a smile on their faces.
Do you feel that given what we’ve seen shake out in the past decade, the unbridgeable philosophical chasm that exists between Left and Right, where no compromise, no civility and really not even a productive discussion can take place anymore, just yelling on cable news shows, can ever go back into the box?
Lee Camp: Hmmm, maybe. But the truly sad thing is that in many categories the politicians on the two “sides” are not offering different paths. They seem to agree on everything Wall Street and everything military industrial complex. So I think you will see continued energy breaking out of the two part system - like we’ve seen with Occupy.
Speaking of, do you think it’s time to retire the term “Occupy” and what are your observations about how it has seemed to fizzle out in 2012? All winter long, OWS seemed dormant, I was thinking, just because of how cold it was, but it didn’t really come back all that strong this year. What caused all of that amazing energy and commitment to disperse? Or has it? Is it just gestating?
Lee Camp: I think it’s still there, and I think it will come back strong. I don’t think you’ve seen the last of it by any means. Let’s remember what we’re watching here - a handful of protesters going up against riot cops with pepper spray and batons. Is it any surprise that there are going to be lulls? I don’t think this battle is over.
Do you think Romney can beat Obama?
Lee Camp:: Sure he can. The right wing is working furiously to purge all the black and Latino people off the voting roles. If that doesn’t work, we have some of the most hackable computer voting systems this world has ever seen. I’ve seen a monkey hack the voting machines. (Not kidding. Google it.) If a monkey can hack our machines, then a robotic tool like Romney can win an election. On top of that, Romney will have a money advantage. The only way for the left to win is to vote in such great numbers that it swamps the percentage points that will be stolen.
Below, Camp’s calm, cool and collected take on the Wisconsin recall election results and Citizen’s United: