Monday, April 22, 2024

The Manifesto of Max Azzarello: The Man Who Set Himself on Fire Outside Trump Trial Courthouse

I came across this article quite by mistake...sort of. It's the death manifest of Max Azzarello, ago 37 from St. Augustine, Florida. Never heard of him? Me either, but he's the guy who set himself on fire (and later died) outside of the  Manhattan courthouse on Friday where Trump's trial is take place. Normally, I don't pay much attention to thinks like this but for some reason it caught my attention. Perhaps it's because the only time we hear about people setting themselves on fire always happens somewhere else, such as in Nepal, China, or Algeria.

In those cases it was a Buddhist monk,Thich Quang Duc, protesting persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese Government  of Ngo Dinh Diem and, indirectly, by the Roman Catholic Church, set himself on fire in 1963. The second, in 2011, was a Tunisian street fruit and vegetable vendor, by the name of Mohamed Bouazizi. He set himself on fire as a way to protest oppressive government regulations and harassment by local police. 

In the former case, not much happened except some brief outrage and condemnation of the government and to earn some photographers a few good paychecks. In the latter case, it lit the fuse (pardon the pun) and ignited a massive pro-democracy movement throughout most of the Middle East known as the "Arab Spring" (in Tunisia, Bouazizi's death ignited the "Jasmine Revolution" to overthrow the authoritarian government of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and institute major democrat reforms). 

So what do these two "incendiary" acts have to do with Mr. Azzarello except three individuals, out of desperation, decided to turn themselves into human candles. At least, that was as far as I got initially. It's not often the police or the media allow manifestos like this to be published. Usually, the media gets a brief peek at it and publishes some intriguing but vague tidbits, and after a few days the story...and victim are buried without much fanfare and the briefest of public explanations.  Not in this case it appears. 

In the case of Mr. Azzarello, his manifesto was posted on a site called "The Ponzi Papers" which appears to be the project of one "M. Crosby". For whatever reason, "M. Crosby" published the political manifesto of Max Azzarello (who may have been one and the same). I am posting the link, which you'll find below, so you can read what Max had to say himself. 

Much of the manifesto is, well, "crazy stuff" and full of references to schemes by the rich and powerful, especially financial schemes on a global scale (which is the only level the elites play on). War and conflicts often have little to do what we're told they're about---democracy, freedom, ending extreme poverty, and so forth.

In reality, behind all the flag waving, patriotic sounding sound bites, photo ops and photo plants, they're almost always about gaining access to or control of economic markets, cheap and unregulated labor, or access to certain natural resources such as rare earth metals, gold, tin, oil, iron ore, and increasingly, fresh water. Everything else is designed to appease us---the masses---so that we'll go along.

However, what I found interesting, at least from my perspective, as a political and historical writer, is that Mr. Azzarello identifies today's government as being fascist and his actions as "revolutionary" act (I guess that would make his letter a "revolutionary manifesto"). A neo-fascist America has been a topic of interest for decades (my first introduction to America's transition was the 1980 book "Friendly Fascism" by Dr. Bertram Gross and "Trilateralism", also written in 1980, and edited by Holly Sklar. These two eye opening books (which I reread repeatedly) were followed by countless others, along with numerous academic papers and articles. 

I don't know where or how Max Azzarello came to his political realization, but obviously he must have read or watch many of the same sources (not to mention being an observer of certain recent events such as Ruby Ridge, Waco, and the January 6th protests). He claims many of his conclusions were the result of his intensive investigation of Peter Thiel and his venture capital firm, Founders Fund. Thiel was a co-founder of PayPal, Valar Ventures (a venture capital firm), Palantir Technologies (which specializes in software platforms for data analytics), and was an outside investor of Facebook.

Thiel is also a member of the Republican Party. He regularly gives to both Republican and Libertarian candidates through his private political action committee, "Free Forever". While gay, he is an avid supporter of strict border control, restrictive immigration policies, support for veterans, and backs an anti-interventionist foreign policy.

Azzarello claimed that Thiel, a conservative libertarian, was responsible for a run on Silicon Valley Bank and was a key figure in a massive financial "ponzi scheme" which adversely affected thousands for nothing more than a simple fat payday. 

Public records indicate that in 2023, Thiel's company, Founders Fund, advised corporate investors to pull their money from Silicon Valley Bank after their announcement that the bank needed to raise capital to cover losses by selling certain assets. That resulted in a run on the bank . Within 48 hours of disclosing the sale of its assets, the bank collapsed, resulting in the takeover by the FDIC. 

The FDIC later facilitated the sale of Silicon Valley Bank to First Citizens Banks while the FDIC kept control of approximately $90 billion in assets and securities in receivership. According to the FDIC, the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank cost taxpayers roughly $20 billion dollars.

Despite claiming that he spent over 1700 hours in his research of Thiel and Founders Fund and producing a slew of information which he claims supported his allegations regarding a defacto "raid" on the bank.  Was Mr. Thiel the villain as alleged or just a investor protecting his and others money? I can't say I totally agree with Mr. Azzarello's conclusions of pure greed by Thiel, but I certainly do not agree with his "solution" in bringing attention to his efforts.

America needs results to its growing problems, not martyrs. That means we need to find ways to bring about term limits, removing Citizens United and the ownership of the two large political parties by Wall Street, serious tax reform, overhauling our education system, and stopping illegal immigration. We need voter approval on any tax, fee, or rate increases, at least at the local and state levels. It's our money after all.

We need stronger employee input in business through not just unions but non-union employee associations and the creation of more Employee Stock Ownership Programs ("ESOP") whereby the employees are the owners of the business they work for. We need to address climate change, dissolve defacto monopolies, end "wars and conflicts for fun and profit" and stop interfering in the domestic affairs of other countries.

We need to reform our political system so that those elected or appointed stop being partisan and start representing everyone in their district regardless of party. The political playing field also needs to be leveled so that the same rules expected of Democrats and Republicans apply to third parties and Independents. As it is, third party candidates and Independents are forced to jump through some outrageous hoops just to get on the ballot!.

For instance, instead of requiring three signatures (of the same party as you) on your application to run, Independents and third parties have to have dozens or more signatures! Also, while Independents are overwhelmingly the nation's largest voting bloc, they are rarely appointed to boards and commissions. Instead, most of these appointments go to the two corporate owned parties (with the party in power getting the lion's share).

These are but just a few of the changes we need if we're to restore our Republic, and it's going to take a lot of work and people. After all, we didn't lose the Republic overnight. Personally, I believe our freedom and the freedom of our children and grandchildren are worth the effort. Don't you? This is where Max missed the boat. A live reformer (or even "revolutionary") is better than a dead martyr.

So, without further ado, here's the link to Mr. Azzarello's "manifesto". I'm also including a link to a booklet written by the mysterious "M. Crosby" which you might find interesting entitled "The True History of the Work (Haunted Carnival Edition)":

I have set myself on fire outside the Trump Trial

The True History of the Work (Haunted Carnival Edition)

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Man sets himself on fire outside Trump trial


Mohamed Bouaziz

Thich Quang Duc

List of Political Self-Immolations

Founders Fund


Peter Thiel

Arab Spring

Silicon Valley Bank collapse explained: Whatyou need to know

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