How Much The Cost?

When did freedom become an economic choice
I would be free if I could afford to just BE
Shit I know I’m difficult
How much does it cost to be a person like me
Nah for real, let’s break it down, economically
Standing against patriarchy
Refused adherence to euro-centricity
Deconstruction of white supremacy
Let’s run that tab, how much will all that cost me?



There is War

There is war
Til we no longer have to run like emmet
Until Catch 22s no longer systemic
Until there is no longer the allusion of seclusion
Or delusion towards inclusion
There is war
Until truth is shed through the M.I.C.
And they heed the locks of Martin
Avoid the booze in more than just the tunes
And refuse the general dynamic of a destructive planet
There is war
Oh yes there is war
Until we no longer celebrate the pawns used to destroy
For the sake of capitalistic game
There is war
We will fight it in the street
There is war
We will fight it in the classrooms
There is war
We will fight it in the boardrooms
There is war
We will fight it in the court rooms
We will fight this war
Revolutionary war
War of love

– Sobrevivente

Note: Inspired by “War” by Bob Marley

Labor Day

Unions and labor rights movement is essential to our pursuit of liberation. But it has to be intersectional. It has to include femme labor and black labor and immigrant labor, and trans labor, etc.

“Have you ever asked yourself
When did you consent
To their power

“Where do you go for blessings
When you can’t afford to move with the ti(des/thes)
You re(collect) with the people
And rise”

“We finally see what it means
To seize the means
And control the things
That produce
The needs
Necessary to be
To be me
To be you
To be we”

“We used to feel invisible
Worshiping at their alter
Now we moving towards invincible
Reached heights still getting taller
Right, left makes us stronger”

“It doesn’t belong to the bourgeois
It doesn’t belong to the capitalist
You know who you are
Even if it leaves you with bloody fists
Take it back
It’s yours”

“Some things you have to be willing to die for.
Some things you have to be willing to kill for.”

Jesse Sobreviviente Cosme

A Breath of Fresh Air

​After a year where I was able to go to travel to various places across 4 different continents I thought it was important to understand the nature of travel and the things we are often blinded to during those travels. I hope this poem captures that a bit:

A breath of fresh air

A saying that goes without saying
Goes without words indicating
That it is a positive in the life of the person in which it’s permeating
But how different this breath can be

You step off the 747 plane and onto the island of which it’s inhabitants you know nothing of
Fuck do you care you just trying to soak up the sun
Vacation, your breath of fresh air

I wonder how the fuck I’m going to pay my rent this month
Landlord beating down my door
Unemployment rates sore
My son wonder why I never take him to the store
Why the gift flow has slowed
Does daddy not love him no more?
I light up my spliff hoping to mend my soul, it’s torn
Take a breath of fresh air

You lay back on the beaches soaking in the sun
See a cutie wearing little to none
wink your way as she takes her morning run
You smile and take a sip of that pineapple rum
Breath of fresh air

I demean and destroy myself everyday
Not sure how it got here, shit we don’t own no boats no planes
At least with this my happiness is feigned
The only time I’ve seen this much white is when I look at those in power
I pull that powder so deep I can barely see
Through my nose I breath my breath of fresh air

You come back from jet setting
To invest heavy in the oppressed deadly addictions
Fast food, consumerism, and television
Check your accounts and realize that you are set for life
You can retire early and your kids can take their time and find themselves
You done enough dirty to take care of them till they are past thirty
You lean back in your leather chair overlooking the skyline of the city you tear
And take a breath of fresh air

I fight and scrap because that’s the only way I know how
Shit I’ll fight my brother if it means we can move up out this town
Swollen fists, bloody noses, guns, knives are my tools chosen
It’s how I express my intent to live
By any means necessary
My mean is necessary to survive
My cope is so dope no lyric heard, read or spoke could give you this feeling
So I’m leaning back feeling it flow through our veins forgetting all the pain, all the pain,

I breath my last breath of fresh air

– Written from the perspective of Jose Cosme, Jaime “Jimmy” Cosme, and Juan “Lefty” Rivera.

Nuyoricans lost to the system too soon.


Sobreviviente – What is in a Name

Sobreviviente is my nickname.  It is my writing name.  But honestly it has become more than that.  So I want to share with you all a little more about the name and what it means to me:

On top of


Surviving is about living. Being above what people define living as. Getting in the essence of living. Always being on top of what it means to be living each and every moment. Always concern yourself with it. That’s what it means to survive.

Anytime you pretend you want to be free,
I hear them chanting my name
So be
So me
So civil
So disobediently
– Sobreviviente

The Pursuit of Happyness

In conversation with a friend she seemed to have the idea that she could just will herself out of her dissatisfaction with her life.  Will herself to happiness.  That happiness was just a choice that she could make every day if she was just strong enough to do so.

It seems with the rise of books/documentaries like the secret this is a common idea among people.

From what I have experienced you cannot simply just choose happiness or sadness.  Your choices have to be a change in the material conditions that facilitate your happiness and sadness.  You can’t continue to do the same exact things when you were sad or angry and think just telling yourself these things make you happy actually will.  Your emotions towards these things are valid and should signal in you a desire to change.  So changing your understanding of the world around you and changing your behavior will help garner incremental improvements.  But the real improvements will come when environment is changed. That is when you will truly begin to see a shift in your emotional state and well being.  A change in people, places, and things as the fellowships would call it.

These are the lessons I have learned through quitting a high paying job to chase my dream as a social change agent using dialectical materialism as my guide.

I hope this helps.


With Revolutionary Love,


I Seen a Man Cry, suprisingly, No Man Died

As a child I think we all are taught to believe that our parents are borderline superhuman.  They have an omnipotent and omnipresent dominion over the world as you know it.  They both have their reigns of vulnerabilities that they are “allowed” based on gender norms but even those seem never to hint at any fallibility in who they are (e.g. mothers crying and fathers getting angry).  There are rare occurrences where that is challenged.

I remember the first time that I saw my father figure, Vega, at the time cry.  I was 7 years old and he was leaving us to move to Florida so that he can start up a life there that we would follow him into.  As he hugged my mom and me at the airport he was crying.  It wasn’t just a subtle cry but an uncontrollable cry similar to the one I would do when my mom would get in that ass for me lying or being the rambunctious little demon she claims me to be (I dispute this wholeheartedly).  I had never seen him release so much emotion and appear so vulnerable.  For the first time I was able to feel like he was scared, unsure, and hurting.  

That was one of two times I ever saw him cry in my life.  After that I had seen other men cry but I never had the reverence for them as I did for Vega and they never represented that male figure in my life the way he did.  Also their cries never seem to be as free and revealing as his was in that moment.  They seemed like they were being fought at every step.  Almost a betrayal of the tear ducts from what the mind really wanted to happen.  I had many deaths in my life preceding and succeeding this time I saw Vega cry but even then I never saw this type of cry.  

About two years ago I went to a conference in which we broke out into small groups. In these groups we worked through this exercise that brought us to an end in which we admitted something that we wish we could do but just felt like we couldn’t.  People throughout the room shared their various end results to this exercise.  I was in a group with three men, one white latino, myself mixed race latino, and a black man from the US.  We all had the same end result, “I just wish that I could cry and it would be okay.”  It was a stunning revelation for me and made me reflect on that event that grips such a strong place on my childhood memory, Vega crying. I wondered, how often did he really want to cry in that same way but never did?  How often do all men feel that way?  Why are we so afraid to cry?  

The answer of gender roles, toxic masculinity, and patriarchy are obvious answers here.  Men are not allowed to be their full true selves in a society that puts them in a box of acceptable expressions of emotion completely ignoring the uniqueness of who they are and the spectrum of masculine and feminine energy that lives inside all of us.  This is why male acceptance of third world feminist/womanist revolutionary theory and action is so vital.  We have a stake in this to.  Our freedom to be our full selves is at stake with our complicit or overt uplifting of the system of patriarchy and our overt or passive refusal to making dismantling such a system a priority.

I look back and I wish that my parents and the community that raised me would have expressed more vulnerability to me.  Wished that they showed me that they were not perfect and admitted that to me.  Maybe I wouldn’t have felt so much pressure to be so perfect all the time.  The pressure to live up to all the gender roles they laid out for me and the denial of self at times to fulfill the “successful man” archetype needed to receive the praise and love of peers who buy into a white-patriarchal-capitalist-imperialist system.  

In those critiques I realize the community that raised me did they best they could with the subset of information they had.  They put me in a position to become who I am and be able to work through some of the deconditioning necessary to be my true self.  Helped me attain the access to the means to create a world I want to live in.  For that I am grateful.

Election Boycott – Why aren’t we really talking about it? Serously?

Over the past year or so it seems that we have had numerous and constant political debates about democrat, republican, green party, and libertarian in regards to our presidential candidacy.  The main focuses of these debates recently have been the magnitude of “shit” (I am sorry no more appropriate language can be found at this time) we have got ourselves into between Hillary and Trump.  Which shit smells worst, which shit would be easier to swallow, which shit would be more conducive to social progress and liberation of oppressed people.  All valid and necessary discussions.  Though between the two of them I believe that the choice may be obvious and at the same time irrelevant but that is a different post for a different time.

The other post I have seen floating around has involved a lot more name calling and what I view to be dissensions among organizers and activists about the privilege and narcissism that can be associated with voting third party (mostly green from what I have seen, hey that rhymed, I must be a poet ;-))  versus voting for Hillary.  Again this is another conversation that has been had ad nauseum and is better served for another place and another time.

Simultaneously it seems there has also been constant discussions about boycotts.  These discussions include their usefulness or their lack thereof.  What situations they are appropriate and which they are not. As well as some going so far as to begin attempting to organizing boycotts. Shaun King is actually in the process of putting one together as we speak. You can find more information here.

I bring these topics of discourse up because it seems to me there has been a key discussion missing from all of this back and forth that has merely been glazed over (something like my eyes after watching any political debate these days) and that is the discussion around whether or not we should simply boycott the whole thing.  

At this point you have probably already read the title of this article and got over the shock value or you haven’t made it this far and have already written me off as an anarchist cook but for those of you who have indulged me long enough to make it to this point you are probably feeling a lot like how I felt as I wrote this.  “Isn’t that a tad bit hypocritical?” My internal response to that … “Yea, kinda.”  

It seems as organizers and activists and people who are beginning to see the socio-political-economic systems for what they truly are we have embraced rejecting the system in many ways with the exception of that being voting.  I had to do some serious reflecting to try to deduce why.  And no voting third party doesn’t count as a voting boycott despite what many have attempted to convince people to believe.  It is still a belief that you should vote for the “best” candidate available even if that candidate has no perceived shot of winning you still are voting under the guise that you believe if that candidate does win there is power in that election and somehow the president of the united states has the power to instill or facilitate change within our current democratic structure as is.  Now that is where I lose me (yup, I lost myself, I hope you are keeping up better than I am) with this philosophical discourse.  With the amount of money and power involved in politics pulling legislation, candidates, and court decisions in their favor; I find it hard to believe that the current political structure is even democratic (Noam Chomsky argues it isn’t here) and also that the power structure would even allow for our country to become a democracy (at the risk of seeming to drink too much of the Chomsky Kool-Aid see him drop the one two punch describing that as well in the same link, “Oh, Yea!”).  

So if we do not believe either of the two party candidates are viably fit to serve our interests as oppressed people in this country, we cannot decide whether or not voting third party is beneficial in this election or any for that matter in getting us towards a more democratic society, and we have begun to have some serious discourse around boycotts that brings up the question as to why organizers/activists/oppressed people aware of their systemic oppression (note my struggle in finding an appropriate term identifier) have yet to begin to reject voting and begin to seriously discussing a voting boycott.  Back to some reflection.

As organizers/activists we often have a sense of social capital that guides people who may not have the privilege/desire to get as ingrained in radical progressive movement work as we are or we do.  So a lot of times we will serve as the “tip of the spear” so to speak.  Now we, like all others, are guided by our material conditions.  What are the material conditions of organizers/activists of the radical progressive movement that would lend to an almost seemingly deep committal to eliminating any discussion of election boycott?, why I thought you’d never ask.  

Organizers are people like everyone else.  In that we have to find a way to pay the bills.  Oftentimes that means take paid organizing jobs, mostly with workers unions but often times with other progressive groups.  These groups mostly are heavily funded by political candidates and political parties.  That funding incentives these groups to push forward voter registration drives, political candidate forums, and political endorsements to secure the future influx of their financial interests.  For them to reject the voting system or our “democracy” as a whole would be biting the hands that feed them in a sense and as we all know someone has to pay the bills.  Organizers are now caught in a catch 22.  If they do not believe in voting and do think an election boycott is an idea worth discussing they are exploring this idea often while simultaneously holding get out to vote drives.  So in order to have a serious discussion they would have to face the contradiction that their employment puts them in and work against their best interest.  For those who know anything about system theory or even how psychological incentives work they are well aware that getting someone to work against the systemic reward system is something that is very difficult to do, especially when it is tied to your ability to eat and pay your rent.  Now this happens every election cycle and consumes many organizers time throughout that cycle.  

Another psychological theory that influences the lack of discussion on the election boycott is the Sunk Cost Fallacy.  The Sunk Cost Fallacy makes it so that people begin  to reason that further investment is warranted on the fact that the resources already invested will be lost otherwise, not taking into consideration the overall losses involved in the further investment.  Now what does that have to do with voting?  Absolutely everything.  There was so much time, energy, lives, blood, sweat, tears devoted to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  It had a charismatic “leader” in Dr. King (and we know how much we love our celebrity, male, charismatic leaders) that convinced us how important voting equality is that we went all in on it through non-violent resistance and legislation that would allow you to use the vote as a source of power and influence over the communities of oppressed people, specifically black people.  To have conversations about not using that voting power to vote for an actual candidate that you feel will be most inclined to (thought they probably will not fully commit to) push forward your interests would feel like discrediting all the hard work down by so many people before us and it has been positioned that way many times when someone expresses they will be making a deliberate choice not to vote during this presidential election cycle.  This feels so counter-intuitive. We are at a time now when people are seeking to think about things in a revolutionary way and are already discussing, critically I might add, the topic of boycotts.  We should make the connection that since we have “earned” the right to voting “equality” we cannot use that vote in a powerful way by denying its validity in the same way we are doing with our money (see the parallel we “earned” the right to make money “equally” therefore we use that money powerfully in denying its use at certain venues or outside of “essentials”).

Now I do not want this writing to be taken as a hard critique on any of the organizations or people included.  This is simply an analysis of the conditions and a call to question whether we need to create new conditions to be more conducive towards radical progressive change.  We have to take a serious look at the Zapatistas election boycott in Mexico, the “No Land! No House! No Vote!” campaign in South Africa, and other election boycott campaigns to judge their effectiveness and/or lack of effectiveness and if any of those methods used are applicable to our current conditions to further our liberations struggle.  I hope that this piece serves as a spark for that conversation that can last through this election cycle and beyond to future elections.  Just the thought of people writing in “Black Lives Matter,” “Native Lives Matter,” “Trans Lives Matter,” “Migrant Lives Matter,” “Women’s Lives Matter,” “LGBTQ Lives Matter,” etc..  That is a romantic idea and I surely don’t want to get caught up in the romanticism too much.  I just hope that maybe some romanticism can guide some dialogue that can create the foundation for revolutionary theory on this topic as it applies today and embrace the fact that in order to be revolutionary we may very well be or be perceived as kinda hypocritical towards past or current action.  Can we put something together quick enough to be effective for this current election? I am not sure but this election could serve as a catalyst for powerful actions around the the non-use of your vote to create strong and long lasting political statements to transform our political system to a true democracy.

NOTE:  The election boycott being addressed is that of the presidential election as local politics are completely separate discussion to be had that I am more than happy to have as well.  Future posts on this topic are to follow.

Please share your thoughts and feedback!

(In)Dependence Day For Puerto Ricans

On July 4, 1898, in the Central Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn, the Reverend J. F. Carson read from the Holy Bible, “And Joshua took the whole land, and the land rested from war.” He sermonized that “the high, the supreme business of this Republic is to end the Spanish rule in America, and if to do that it is necessary to plant the stars and stripes on Cuba, Porto Rico, the Philippines or Spain itself, America will do it.” That same night, in the Presbyterian Church of Fifth Avenue, the Reverend Robert MacKenzie prophesied, “God is calling a new power to the front. The race of which this nation is the crown . . . is now divinely thrust out to take its place as a world power.” Senator Albert J. Beveridge also saw a divine plan. “God has not been preparing the English-speaking and Teutonic peoples for a thousand years for nothing,” he declared. “He has made us adept in government so that we may administer government amongst savages and senile peoples.”

On July 21, 1898, the US government issued a press release stating, “Porto Rico will be kept. . . . Once taken it will never be released. It will pass forever into the hands of the Unites States. . . . Its possession will go towards making up the heavy expense of the war to the United States. Our flag, once run up there, will float over the island permanently.” On the floor of the US Senate, Republican Senator Joseph B. Foraker declaimed, “Porto Rico differs radically from any other people for whom we have legislated previously. . . . They have no experience which would qualify them for the great work of government with all the bureaus and departments needed by the people of Porto Rico.”

This is what “independence” means to a 2016 colony, the last colony in the world, Puerto Rico.

People may be aware of the recent news that has been highlighting the Puerto Rican economic crisis, 73 Billion US dollars of debt hanging over the head of the Puerto Rican people.  That is over 20,000 US dollars per person living on the island.

Currently there is a bill that was signed by President of Obama called PROMESA that was supposed to help with the restructuring of the debt for the people of the island of Puerto Rico.  Here are some highlights of the bill:

  • No clear path to restructuring the debt, no clear bankruptcy or restructuring protocol or procedure is outlined.
  • The installation of a Financial Control Board of the island that can overrule any financial decision made and voted on by the people or governmental bodies of Puerto Rico.
  • This Financial Control Board is allowed to receive “gifts”, no description on what is meant by “gifts”, on the bill though it is obvious this creates the inherent conditions for bribery.
  • The people of the Financial Control Board are to be selected by the US Senate, where Puerto Rico has no voting representation at all, and approved by the President. Not a single one of these people have to have any ties to the island.
  • The minimum wage of the island will be reduced to $4.25 for workers under the age of 25 on the island, a place where Cost of Living is already drastically higher than most other places in the US.

This bill obviously exerts the colonial rule of the US over Puerto Rico in 2016.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Other things are contributing to the miserable human and social conditions of the island.

  • Puerto Ricans pay the same amount for Medicaid as any other state or US territory but they only receive 50% of the Medicaid benefits that other states and territories receive. This coupled with the economic crisis has helped contribute to the closing of hospitals and clinics throughout the island creating a health crisis on the island that is already experiencing the Zika virus scare and the possibility of poisonous gasses being sprayed on the island to kill the Zika virus at the detriment to the health of the Puerto Rican people.  That gas spray is being protested by the people of the island.
  • Schools are being closed and privatized due to lack of funds. University of Puerto Rico has raised its tuition again making educational attainment ever more difficult for people already struggling to meet high tuition costs.
  • Public Beaches are being sold and privatized to pay for the debt. Obama also announced the “Promise Zone” which favors US developers to build resorts, entertainment, and high end real estate on the eastern part of the island.
  • The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) will no longer monitor water resources in Puerto Rico because the island’s government owes it $2 million

The slow death of Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican people through an economic and colonial chokehold has gone mostly unnoticed and unchecked.  The reason why it has gone mostly unnoticed is because most people don’t know how it got this bad or that it really is this bad.  Until the debt crisis and PROMESA no one really knew anything about Puerto Rico outside maybe Jenifer Lopez and Marc Anthony.  Even many people within the Dream Defenders organization know little about Puerto Rican people or the history of US oppression in Puerto Rico despite the use of the Young Lords in the DNA development.  DD is no outlier here, many Puerto Ricans don’t even know the history of the island that led to these conditions.  That is due to the incredible refusal of US media to cover things pertaining to the island and, until recently, a scarcity of educational resources detailing the progressive destruction and now, in my opinion, a guided gentrification of the island and slow murder of the Puerto Rican people.  It would take too long for me to detail these things but if anyone is interested in taking a deeper dive read War Against All Puerto Ricans by Nelson Denis.

Now why have these oppressive forces gone unchecked?  There are many factors that have contributed to the inability for Puerto Rican Freedom Fighters to do so through legislative or political means.

  1. Puerto Ricans on the island are unable to vote for the President of the United States.
  2. Puerto Ricans have no vote in congress, only an elected representative who can speak to the issues on the island but has no voting power at all.
  3. The Supreme Court ruled that Puerto Rico is in fact a “Territorial Possession” of the US and therefore any law or decision made by any governmental faction of the island can be, and usually is, superseded by the United States Senate.
  4. Puerto Rico was not allowed to vote for any government representatives on the island until 1941. Electing their first governor Luis Munoz Marin.
  5. 1953 Gag Law made it illegal to outwardly show any support for any Puerto Rican independence movement, which included even owning a Puerto Rican flag.
  6. 1917 US Citizenship granted to Puerto Ricans, only months before World War I draft is initiated. This allowed the US to exploit the people of the island for military means as well as recruit island people to the mainland to serve as cheap labor in industrialized cities in the US guised as the “American Dream.” This creation of the Puerto Rican diaspora has created a rift between mainland Puerto Ricans and island Puerto Ricans especially through language.

This also doesn’t directly account for the 1943 proposed Tydings bill that outlined a path to independence for Puerto Rico similar to that given to the Philippines that was blocked by then governor Luis Munoz Marin, who ran on the platform “Pan, Tierra, Y Libertad” (translated: Bread, Land, and Liberty).  Why would someone running on that platform vote against the bill.  FBI files show that J Edgar Hoover, a familiar name to Black Liberation movements in the US, had evidence that Marin had made an FBI case against him for drug trafficking and use “disappear” and J Edgar Hoover threatened that he would pursue not only the drug charges but federal fraud charges as well.  This was all the “incentive” Marin needed to betray his people and convince Congress that the Puerto Rican people were uninterested in independence. This wouldn’t be the last time that Hoover would be involved in infiltration and disruption of Puerto Rican independence movements.

Beyond the legislative pursuit, there also have been many different independence movements on the island that have sought to free the people of the island by “Any Means Necessary” if you will.  The US, at every turn squashed all movements towards independence created outside the US corrupted Puerto Rican political system.  Some of the main incidences are listed below.

  • 1937 The Ponce Massacre, the Puerto Rican Insular Police murder 19 peaceful marchers for Puerto Rico independence, including a 13 year old. They would later use photography and media to create the appearance that the independents instigated the shooting though it was later discovered that none of them were armed.
  • Pedro Albizu Campos Nationalistas bombed in Jayuya, PR by US Air Force in 1950. Shortly after Pedro Albizu and others would be arrested on charges of conspiracy.  Albizu Campos would be used for radiation testing while in prison causing him to get cancer and leading to his eventual death.
  • The Young Lords, a more household name stateside, were riddled with FBI infiltrators, fictitious arrests, and trumped up charges similar to that of the Black Panthers.
  • 1981 Oscar Lopez Rivera is arrested for seditious conspiracy for his involvement in FALN, a Marxist-Leninist Puerto Rican independence movement organization. At 35 years he is among the longest held political prisoners in the history of Puerto Rico and in the world.

This culture of infiltration and subjugation by over policing, AKA “The Trap”, has been existing in Puerto Rico since the beginning of Puerto Rico’s pursuit of independence.  As recently as 2012 the ACLU and the DOJ completed an investigation of the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), which was founded in 1898 the year the US occupied the island of Puerto Rico.  The systemic use of the PRPD to subjugate the PR people into docility and fear is apparent through this report. Below are some highlights.

  • Use of excessive and lethal force against civilians, especially in poor and Black neighborhoods and Dominican communities, often resulting in serious injury and death.
  • Violent suppression of peaceful protestors using batons, rubber bullets, and a toxic form of tear gas that was phased out by mainland U.S. police departments in the 1960’s.
  • Failure to protect victims of domestic violence and to investigate reported crimes of domestic violence, rape, and other gender-based crimes.
  • Between 2005 and 2010, more than 1,700 police officers were arrested for crimes including murder, assault, and drug trafficking. That’s roughly 10 percent of the force.

The similarities between the current state of Black America and the trap used to subjugate black communities through economics, gentrification and disruption of black communities, and the use of the TRAP are eerily familiar.

Don Pedro Albizu Campos once said “[US] cares more about the cage than the bird.”  Our cage is physical, mental, and spiritual.  Colonialism has infiltrated our very veins through the 118 years of US rule over Puerto Rico. Now as the conditions have worsened for the people on the island to a breaking point independence movements and solidarity movements have begun to take form. It will be a long and difficult road but what more could be worth fighting and dying for than Freedom?  Vive Puerto Rico Libre!