Saturday, October 20, 2018

To African Americans and Latin@s in Uniform

If you are in the military, you are now effectively serving as muscle for a white supremacist government that is days away from trying to consolidate white supremacy in the US for the long term.

You salute a flag that was designed for a slaveholding nation, you stand for an anthem that has explicitly racist lyrics, you allow yourselves to be the servants of a crackpot cult leader named Donald Trump. Meanwhile, your government is deporting your friends and relatives, scrubbing them from voting rolls, and imprisoning them at astronomical rates for a bunch of bullshit.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Honduras, just so you know

Honduras. In 2009, the Obama Administration supported a coup d'etat in Honduras, which was papered over by the administration and a servile media as "a constitutional crisis." Even Wikipedia calls it that. President Zelaya was kidnapped from his own home, with his family, at gunpoint, in his underwear, and spirited to Costa Rica via the US Sotocano Air Base in Comayagua. Zelaya was popular for his reforms that aimed to assist the poor and give them greater political agency. This was anathema to the Honduran ruling class, a collection of thuggish families from around the world, and to the US neoliberal estsblishment, as well as John McCain's favorite sponsor, AT&T, for years now eying Hoduran telecommunications for a juicy privatization.

Hillary Clinton, then the Secretary of State, hired the fascistic gusano John Negroponte as her Deputy for this hit job. Negroponte already had an impressive body count as a violent Cold Warrior in Latin America, including a stint under Reagan as Ambassador to Honduras. Google or Duck-Duck it: "negroponte" "death squads," and you'll get almost 39,000 hits. He loved them, and they loved him, and anybody who wasn't careful could find herself at dawn laid out on some central plaza with her head chopped off.

Behind ther scenes, the Honduran ruling class unleashed a wave of terror to consolidate their post-coup grip on power. Mostly, it went unseen to the rest of the world, because for a time, Honduras became the most dangerous country in the world to be a journalist. Not Afghanistan. Not Colombia. Not Yemen. Honduras.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

DSA, Democrats, and Sectarian Fabulism

Nothing but the avalanche!

The Democratic Party of the United States has around 44.7 million members. The Green Party has 248,000, or one half of one percent of the membership of the Democratic Party. The Working Families Party has about 53,000. In 2016, 137.5 million Americans voted in the General Election.

One of the Green Party candidates in my state is running this year with 9-11 conspiracy-mongering (calling it a “false flag” operation) right in his campaign literature. And some on the left continue to embosom this sectarian, self-marginalizing party as The Alternative to the Democrats.

In a recent article by Carl Boggs in Counterpunch called “The Democrats and ‘Socialism’,” he says the following: 

Monday, October 15, 2018

Pocahontas: Blood quantum rant

Elizabeth Warren has apparently had her DNA tested to “prove” she has “Indian blood.” Which has naught to do with being representative of any actual First Nations people, culture, or experience.

Awhile back, my maternal first cousin had one of those DNA tests done, and it showed we had markers not just for First Nations, but more specifically people now called Salt River Pima Maricopa, neighbors of the Apaches. Arizona Indians.

This was a surprise, because our Great Grandma, Minervia Isom, had become Cherokee-maybe-Choctaw in the family’s informal oral history. She’d married my Great Grandpa, a white man, in Mississippi . . . and it probably wasn’t talked about a great deal. Which may be how Grandma Minervia got switched from being one of those Mexico Indians into being one of those Black Belt Indians. There were Cherokee and Choctaw down that way . . . but as the story goes, Minervia was a res-jumper who had been in Oklahoma before she stole a team of horses and ran off to Mississippi and her future family.

I’d not known it until after Cousin Anne decided it was time to get nekkid with the family DNA, but Arizona Indians were shipped off to Oklahoma, too. So, there you have it. I’m sure the real story is different. I might be 1/8 Salt River Pima Maricopa.

But I’m not saddling up to attend powwows or appropriate my Great Gran by sitting with other white dudes in mythopoetic sweat lodges because I have a “blood quantum” of 1/8 or whatever that is—Minervia may not have been “full blood.”

First Nations are a history and a people constituted by a specific experience, an experience in relation to other peoples, and to power. DNA has jackshit to do with that if the bearer of that DNA—mwa mem—has lived his entire life as an Anglophone white guy.

I know the “real story” of the sly Elizabeth Warren—whose devotion to her First Nations “heritage” hasn’t compelled her to stand up for Palestinians, whose treatment is so similar to that we meted out to effect our Westward expansion. The "real story" making the rounds is the Bad Orange President (the real story every damn day, Lord have mercy!) derided her claim to “Indian blood” (I wonder if Great-Gran had A-negative like me) by calling her Pocahontas and challenging her to take a DNA test. Cool, she did it, there was something, Agent Orange owes $1 million, but the asshole never pays his debts and lies about it. So . . . back to DNA.

I find DNA testing to be exceptionally creepy in many respects, so it triggered me to rant about the thing concealed in our great and justified desire to be rid of Trump, which is how DNA can get conflated with some kind of “authenticity.” Lived experience. Full stop.

Rant over.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

How the left lost the women

I was a Communist for a couple of years, a member of the very conservative leftist CPUSA. We parted ways over gender, mainly. When I cited bell hooks to Jarvis Tyner, he dismissively called her an “ultra-feminist.” When two of the guys came down to Raleigh from New York, I heard them speculate derisively about which of the women didn’t shave their legs. When I wrote an article that emphasized the dynamics of gender I’d seen in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, I was called onto the carpet to demand repentance for putting “the woman question” before the “primary contradiction,” which is of course economic class. One of the more astute fellow travelers at the time, Gerald Horne, who was teaching at UNC then, was more internationalist in perspective, and he claimed at a meeting once that “US imperialism is the primary contradiction in the world.”

Ferrets, Electioneers, DA’s, Scavengers, Grubstakers, Maroons, Barristers, Civilians, Attachés

 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”
-Matthew 10:16

“Asymmetric struggle presupposes an epistemic break.”
-Jake the Snake

So now all three branches of the US Federal Government are in the hands of reactionaries, who have backstopped themselves for around thirty years in the high court.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Dear Baby Boomer White Guys,

I am one of you. I was born in 1951. And because it gives me unearned cred with your bitter, indoctrinated asses, I am a veteran—retired from the Army in fact—which is relevant only because I went through the same indoctrination you did, which has trained us like organ monkeys to genuflect before all things military. If you are one of those weird outliers for whom the shoe fails to fit here, move along or share with one of your dumbass acquaintances or relatives.

I empathize. I get it. You look at the span of your cramped little lives, and you see Death holding the carriage door open for you not far enough up the road. And things didn’t turn out the way you’d fantasized. I know those fantasies, too. I was raised on the same TV Westerns during the same Cold War, when white people didn’t have to think much about anyone but white people, because we were the universally acknowledged norm. Every planet revolved around the White Male Sun. The fantasy was that we would somehow prevail in heroism (against what, it doesn’t matter, it’s the prevailing that is probative of our masculinity), then have an adoring woman who fucks obediently, keeps the house  spotless, and watches our adorable children who also worship us.

The measure of our general disappointment is the distance of those fantasies from our actual reality—remembering our pills, dealing with wives embittered themselves by years of our stupidity, posturing, control-freakery, and neglect, children who have absorbed just enough of our self-centered meanness to keep us at arm’s length for the rest of our lives, soaking up stupidity from the television, and sharing our bitter disappointment with other old white guys via a scapegoat mechanism that identifies the disruptors of our dreams as dark people . . . and women. You are so disappointed with the distance between fantasy and reality that you can’t even see what a pathetic, dependent, overfed, and pampered existence you really have, and there is nothing that pisses you off more than someone pointing that out . . . that you are privileged, entitled assholes. And, of course, the proper male reaction to that is to dig in deeper, to cherish your own stupidity, and to flaunt that stupidity like petulant four-year-olds.

Not surprising really, because we are the first fruits of the post-WWII consumer bacchanalia. We did stamped out jobs, lived in stamped out houses, and bought stamped out age-appropriate toys, as the most infantilized generation in history. We called it Progress, and we built an idol for it that was a big ivory phallus, and we gazed at it adoringly.

We never matured in the way that was once thought about, when Mine-More-Now wasn’t an ethos, but an indication of immaturity. The captains of the business class are our leaders, and we are their obedient kiddies drinking the Kool-aid. And wow, did you all drink down great draughts of it with that shit stained, combed over, carnival barking jackass, Donald Trump. In your fit of collective pique, and in your terminal refusal to grow your asses up, you demonstrated to the world and posterity that you still don’t understand, or accept, the fundamental fact that actions have consequences. And you don’t give a damn that others will bear the brunt of it.

If you give a child a bulldozer, the child will run over things. But that’s what you wanted to do anyway, because this is a tantrum. You look old, like I look old, but your mentality accords with someone not far out of diapers . . . and may I remind you all, we’ll be back in diapers soon enough.

Vulnerability is part of our existence as humans, and the basis of morality. And every human being is vulnerable at some point. It’s how we respond to vulnerability that determines our characters.

But in that psycho-bubble of probative masculinity, vulnerability is Bad. Toughness is Good. And so every shred of morality must be driven out to protect a pure masculine essence the light of which we chase like bewildered cats pursuing the red dot from a pointer. This is how you’ve fallen into the trap of cruelty and its celebration.

So now, in ten years when you are shitting into your Depends and talking to dead Aunt Jenny between lucid intervals, you will take your turn at human vulnerability, and it will be too late. Your Medicare gone, your Social Security gone, you’ll go through the inevitable devolution that awaits any of us who hang around long enough and watch your family go broke trying to keep up with the demands of the same predatory institutions that have run your lives since birth.

Hey, at least we showed those black people, those immigrants, those women a thing or two. Mess with White Men, mess with our entitled masculinity, and we’ll tear everything down.

At the center of the center of your creepy little universe is your hatred of women, because that is what you’ve spent your whole lives trying not to be. Compassion is for pussies. And from that, we can now unfold a whole architecture of vandalizing stupidity—a world that is burning around the cries of billions—a damaged, impoverished future for those we will leave behind soon enough. But you don’t care about them either.

Which more morally attuned people, then, will be by your beds as your bodily systems crash, showing you the empathy you withheld from others? Will you still be entitled? It’s coming.

Here is the good news. Grace is a door held open indefinitely. In Greek, the word repent means turn around. You can still turn around. It is never too late for contrition. One way or another, I’ll see you in that carriage.

Your friend,