|Our resident poet and essay contributor, Mankh, has a new book forthcoming.
Drive-thru Theofascism and The Hero's Journey: essays, poems, & photos is a selection of essays and poems, most of which were originally posted at Axis of Logic, plus he’s written a new 17-page introduction and an afterwords summary along with B&W photos.
The turtle on the cover represents Turtle Island, what Native Peoples have called North America for thousands upon thousands of years, long before the land was divvied-up and branded what many call the United States.
As an editor, I have posted much of Mankh’s poetry and essays online so much of what appears in this book I have seen previously. And as I knew it would, the introduction brings together his wide-ranging interests and studies and finds the common threads that run through them. The works themselves each stand on their own, but the nature of Mankh is clear to see in all.
Paul Richard Harris, Editor
What follows are excerpts. Since a limited number of books are being printed, you can reserve a copy by going to Mankh’s website here.
The editors of Axis of Logic highly recommend this book.
... from the Introduction & Overview
A totalitarian state is in effect a theocracy, and its ruling caste, in order to keep its position, has to be thought of as infallible. But since, in practice, no one is infallible, it is frequently necessary to rearrange past events in order to show that this or that mistake was not made, or that this or that imaginary triumph actually happened.
― George Orwell, Collected Essays,
Journalism and Letters of George Orwell
Volume 2 My Country Right or Left, 1940 – 1943
The thesis of this book is that the dominant culture (worldwide, though highlighting the US Empire) is theo-fascist with a drive-thru colonial mentality ― and there are ways to avoid, prevent, and heal from the various enforced limitations. ...
The US Empire or USE is named as such because of its approximately 1,000 military bases worldwide, Special Ops missions in 105 countries, and because it “uses” people and resources. Though the label of “empire” may seem new, there was an imperial bent from the get-go:
“... and add to the Empire of liberty an extensive and fertile Country thereby converting dangerous Enemies into valuable friends.”
“The foundation of a great empire is laid...”
The word “theo,” from the Greek “god,” is used in the context of: religiosity that manipulates or sways people with a grandiosity that is disconnected from reality (for example, a reason sans reason à la Papal infallibility); add to that Mussolini’s definition of fascism: the merger of corporate and state power.
Ideally, a state would care about the well-being of its citizens and a corporation/business would care about its customers and the world so as to provide a healthy product (with carefully controlled toxic wastes) while making a fair profit. The fascist over-lapping of the two entities creates a proverbial fox guarding the hen house.
Cases of revolving-door are prevalent nowadays. As examples, former corporate oilsters in government positions, and vice versa; the interchange of Monsanto-ites and the FDA; USDA approving Monsanto’s GMO soy and cotton crops; the EPA protecting the coal industry with their coal ash waste instead of the citizens and environment.
“The word fascio came in modern Italian political usage to mean group, union, band or league. It was first used in this sense in the 1870s by groups of revolutionary democrats in Sicily, to describe themselves.” Although the “Fasci Siciliani dei Lavoratori (Sicilian Workers Leagues) were a popular movement of democratic and socialist inspiration, which arose in Sicily in the years between 1889 and 1894,” the term “fascio” later took on militant connotations. As Alain Joxe explains in his book L'Empire du Chaos (Empire of Chaos, or translated book title, Empire of Disorder), ”...the definition of fascio: armed groups. They are paramilitaries, they have special uniforms, they are militias.”
A main example of theo-fascism is the government (state) deciding to go to war (despite the majority of people being against it), while the weapons manufacturers and many other corporations make huge profits (see Nick Turse’s The Complex, i.e. the military-industrial complex), all under the auspices of a tag-line such as “God bless America.” Wars have a toxic impact on land, air, and water; the sheer amount of traumatic injuries, cases of PTSD, soldier suicides, civilian deaths, ad nauseam make such invocations of “God” highly questionable if not downright sacrilegious. ...
The hero’s journey refers to the guiding framework presented by Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Having studied worldwide myths and creation-stories, Campbell’s framework serves as a generic blueprint for the spiritual journey/quest that each human being ultimately takes. ...
As example, the phrase “we all have our cross to bear” alludes to the hero’s journey of Jesus Christ; for some that “cross” is laden with religious dogma and suffering, while for others it can be as simple as non-denominationally “doing the work” that no one else can do. The hero’s journey is finding one’s unique purpose, learning how one is “endowed by their Creator,” or as Indigenous Peoples call it, Original Instructions.
According to Campbell, “The standard path of the mythological adventure of the hero is a magnification of the formula presented in the rites of passage: separation – initiation - return.” ...
The hero’s journey is doing heroic deeds large and small: gestures and prayers that help others, random acts of kindness, selfless service. The hero’s journey enables one to become as a demi-god and thus trump the false gods of theo-fascism, as well as any inner totalitarian tendencies because part of being human is resisting temptations to power-trip.
The hero is not some puffed-up super-human; rather, the hero-in-the-making humbles him/herself so as to be worthy of bigger responsibilities, so as to better receive assistance and guidance from tutors, mentors, spirit beings, impromptu messages, talking birds, and such like... and eventually earn the feather (from a bird) in the hat (or Indigenous headdress) label of full-fledged hero. ...
 “The Golden Age of Black Ops: Special Ops Missions Already in 105 Countries in 2015“
 “Fasci Siciliani”
 “Fascio”. Also: “Fasces: (in ancient Rome) one or more bundles of rods containing an axe with its blade protruding; a symbol of a magistrate's power.”... “ Carried before a lictor, a superior Roman magistrate, as a symbol of power over life and limb: the sticks symbolized punishment by whipping, the axe head execution by beheading.” (See here)
 Joxe, Alain, translated by Hodges, Ames, Empire of Disorder, Semiotext(e), 2002, p24.
Mankh (Walter E. Harris III) is an essayist and resident poet on Axis of Logic. In addition to his work as a writer, he is a small press publisher and Turtle Islander. His newest haiku chapbook is “so many people go hungry.” He also hosts an audio show "Between the Lines: listening to literature online." You can contact him via his literary website.
READ MORE POETRY AND ESSAYS BY MANKH ON AXIS OF LOGIC