anarchism, poetry, Revolution, Sonnet, Spain, Uncategorized, We The People, Writing

The Onyx and Litarge

We can not jeopardize our only charge

We resolve to fly the peasants banner

Damned for our belief and strident manner

We partisans prevail beyond the marge

 

The land inspires the onyx and litarge

Which will forever be the People’s streamer

Aragon shall be its own redeemer

With fate as its commitment to discharge

 

We warriors whose hearts beat in harmony

Unfurl the flag and watch the colors soar

Caballeros of truth and anarchy

Avenge the lamentations of the poor

Strive onward contra fascist tyranny

And banish their deceit forevermore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Guns, racism

White Washing Gun Violence

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Another day, another public shooting that has devastated a community, this time Virginia and this time love on WDBJ TV. This time the shooter defies statistics and is black. Watch the media and conservatives say that the shooting in Virginia by a black man is “about racism” because of his brain fart of a suicide note. These are the same folks who have said and will continue to say that the “motives” of a “lone wolf” white shooter are “irrelevant” and that one is “being insensitive” bringing up race at a time of tragedy. The white power structure in our society has decided that a black shooter is a representative of the “problem” of “black culture” but that a white shooter can only ever be insane, or misguided, or somehow a free radical in the healthy white body politic. A white person with a gun is always a good guy until he shoots the wrong people, then he is a “lone wolf”. A black person with a gun is always a “thug” and is representative of black people everywhere. I am sorry for the people who died at the hands of this asshole but I am sick and tired of the narrative that will turn these folks into martyrs for myth that black people are “violent thugs” white people need to arm themselves against. A white person shoots a up a black church to start a race war, not a peep from the right or the media about motive. A black man shoots two white people supposedly because he feels he is IN a race war a white shooter started? Now THAT’S relevant. Makes me sick, the hypocrisy of our culture.

It is already happening online and in the conservative media regarding this shooting. Watch as it spreads and the Black Lives Matter movement is “blamed” for this somehow. Watch as the media clutches it’s collective pearls over the “outrageous racism” that motivated this attack, while they will bend over backwards to say that the next of 20 more white male shooters this year is somehow “damaged” or “misunderstood”. I am sick of it. White people commit murder in the US, they only make “mistakes”. We have black people to blame for everything else. Fuck this country…seriously.

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Activism, Race

The Cost of Whiteness

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In America all too often to identify oneself is to indemnify oneself against the wrongs and crimes done by our ilk in the past. White America has convinced itself that whiteness brings with it a sort of dignity and wealth that is inherent, or at least self-evident, and this fact overrides the grievances and pain and struggle of other groups, specifically black people. No white, when it comes right down to it, will deny the privilege that comes with white skin but White America has a resentment towards those who would even suggest that privilege is unearned or built upon a foundation of violence and theft. We live in a nation built on the backs and with the blood of black slaves, on the land of Native peoples, improved with the labor of exploited and abused workers and immigrant laborers and the profits glide upwards into the pockets of those whose only hardship in life was having to decide which elite institutions one would be associated with. What began and continued as exploitation of black bodies continued into the exploitation of all bodies that had the misfortune of being born outside of the circle of inherited wealth and property. The white body politic has understood for a long time that the circle must be relaxed here and there in order to bring more people into the white “inheritance”: certain immigrants, certain economic groups, even certain people of color as long as the toed the line and gave up on justice for all and any sense of being wronged as a group. We arm ourselves against the “others” and we turn our homes into unassailable castles where there is no law and no respect for anything but our possessions and our sense of self-importance. We expected to be “protected” from…god knows what. Those who have the least to fear, fear the most, while those who have the most to lose, lose it all and are laughed at and spit upon while they lose it all. Every black body is a weapon aimed at our pure, white heart. Only an all powerful, unaccountable blue wall can save us from the fear of losing our place at the top of the pile.

As Steinbeck saw all too clearly, the American Dream (the dream of whiteness/wealth/power inherited and “earned”) is and has always been a lottery whose main purpose is to provide the illusion of meritocracy, of social mobility, of economic self-determination. Decades of government action on behalf of those who already had a centuries long head start, a welfare state for those who had all the welfare they could ever need, a bait and switch that gave the trappings of an illusory and always lily-tinted middle class to some in exchange for obscene and ever expanding wealth for the very very few who had always resided at the top. And when black or brown or female or gay or poor bodies dared speak up and question this moral foundation for the nation, dared to ask for their fair share of what they had built with their blood, sweat, toil and tears, when these wretched folk dared to make a peep the great white house on the hill, that home of the great beacon onto a dark world, would convulse with rage and self-indulgent fury. How dare those people imply we have not earned all of this largesse? How dare those people question our right to all that our forefathers gave to us, no questions asked? How dare those niggers and sluts and faggots and bums and illegals suggest that this system is anything but the most fair, the most amazing system ever created? All this self-importance, all this self-delusion, just so we can say “at least I am better than those people”, while clinging like barnacles to a luxury liner that steams ever more resolutely forwards, first class passengers popping champagne bottles and laughing at our pitiful pretensions all the way.

We sold our souls for whiteness; we sold our sense of decency, our sense of outrage, our sense of right and wrong, justice, intelligence, fair play, and brotherhood. And for what? For a chance to say that we are better because of what we own, where we live, and what we look like? We have made ourselves dunces, fools who can only nod their heads when their betters tell us who to hate and who to glorify. We vote against our own interest and the interests of our brothers and sisters and friends and family just so we can say we voted for the winners instead of “those people”. Whiteness has given us a culture of consumption and greed that eats us from the inside out like some sort of galling medieval blight. We are lepers whose only balm is the material we grasp at with fingers bloodied and broken in the fight for precious lucur and capital. Our wealth resides in things and our worth is derived from what objects we use and what people we choose to abuse in order to obtain them.

And the lies we have to tell in order to maintain this fragile facade! Decades, centuries of history distorted, edited, misplaced, erased, shoved like so much garbage down the memory hole. Every day has been remade into a relentless march forward towards this moment, this time, these purchases, these jobs, these trinkets and prizes and fixtures. In order to justify our empty consumption and greed we had to remake history into one grand and meaningless disney-fied ticker-tape parade, with white banners flying and patriotic odes sung with ever increasingly shrillness and desperation. We wanted whiteness, now we need it. We need it because what else is there? To reject our privilege, to even question it, is to look ourselves in the mirror and acknowledge all the crime and filth and dirty deeds done to our brothers and sisters. To reject whiteness is to reject the idea of America as a blameless, beautiful, god-blessed nation with nothing ahead of it but destiny and nothing behind it but laudatory deeds. But you can only deny truth and history and justice for so long before those you have stood upon, trampled over, begin to try and force you to confront reality. If we do not choose to look into ourselves we will be torn apart and forced to contemplate a shattered wreck of a body and spirit that never even gave itself a chance at decency or transcendence. The cost of whiteness is our humanity and that is a price that none of us can afford to pay.

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Civil rights, Ferguson

White America: WE are the Problem

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White people, especially white men, are the most dangerous people in the US to people of color, women, immigrants, children and LGBTQIA people. I say this as a white man. We must look in the mirror. See who we are and what we have wrought on this nation and on this world. WE are the problem. WE are the danger that our fellow citizens need to be protected from. It is our fear, our rancor, our privilege, our hate, our greed, our power, our arrogance, our stupidity, our lack of empathy, our closed ears and closed eyes and loud, brash, cruel voices that are the problem. We must correct ourselves before we tear what was once a great democracy to the ground. We must make sure that the efforts and struggles and heroism of men and women like MLK, Malcolm X, Emma Goldman, Abraham Lincoln, John Brown, Frederick Douglas, Cesar Chavez, Upton Sinclair, Harvey Milk, Eugene V. Debs, Susan B. Anthony, Ida B. Wells and  the countless educators, Civil Rights marchers, Reconstruction workers, Union Soldiers and labor rights activists were not in vain. There have been too many Mike Browns, too many black and brown bodies hanging from sturdy tree branches. We must look into our hearts and realize that this nation is dying, this democracy is being taken apart day by day and that we, the white men of this nation, are largely to blame. This is not meant as condemnatory screed, or a public shaming but as a CALL TO ACTION! We are better than this, we are human beings. We must start behaving like human beings and realize that the wealth and power we possess was purloined from the labor of countless millions of women and immigrants and laborers and slaves. We are making monsters of ourselves and plucking the wings off of the better angels of our nature, casting them down into a dark, endless abyss where only capital, power and narcissism remain. The US can only survive if we realize that we are the ones destroying it and making it uninhabitable unlivable, for the millions of our fellow human beings who do not share our gender or our skin tone. We must join our fellows in the streets and marches and teach-in and theaters of national conversation and raise our voices with those who have trod upon for too long with impunity. We are not the master race, no one race is or could be, but how could we even conceive of such a possibility be if we are not even the masters of our own baser instincts. The white man is the rotten core of this mess. We must purge ourselves of our hate and our prejudice. We must make our enemy the powerful, the entrenched interests, the corporations and the warmongers and the do-nothing leeching investor classes. We must make common cause with those who we have wronged. We must rejoin the family of humanity in good standing and atone for our crimes. Only then will we truly deserve a place in the American system.

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racism, Sports

Richard Sherman Commits the Unforgivable Sin [Updated]

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The Seattle Seahawks defeated the San Francisco 49ers to advance to the 2013/14 Super Bowl. No one is talking about this fact though. No, everyone is talking about the interview Hawks corner Richard Sherman had with sports reporter Erin Andrews right after the win. Ms. Andrews asks Mr. Sherman to walk her through the last play of the game. Instead the player, obviously still pumped up and riding high on joy and adrenaline enthusiastically claimed he was the best corner in the game and that no one could touch him, least of all the 49ers Michael Crabtree. Crabtree and Sherman were visibly antagonistic on the field and verbally sparing off. This is par for the course for athletics professional or not and while amusing for its enthusiasm the “outburst” by Sherman was nothing more than a winning player rubbing his losing opponent’s nose in it a bit. Erin Andrews seemed surprised by the boisterous response to her question but she handled the situation fine and obviously saw the humor in the situation. The white racial naysayers online do not seem to have the same sense of humor. Here are a few randomly picked responses from across the internet to the Sherman interview:

The Washington Post calls Sherman’s interview a “rant” as does Glenn Beck’s “The Blaze” website. If you want to say what the commentors on The Blaze are saying about Sherman then go look for yourself. I will not reprint the vile and horribly racist things they are saying here on this blog.

Richard Sherman is trending world-wide on twitter as we speak, and unbelievably much of what is being said is negative at best and horribly bigoted at worst. He has been called a “thug” the N-word, a “monkey” and an “animal”. All this for the sin of being enthusiastic while male and black in front of a white woman. People are out there expressing “sympathy” for Erin Andrews, as though she were somehow harmed or disturbed by doing her job interviewing the most expressive, colorful, and boastful of people in the entire sports universe: NFL players (of all colors and races).

The outrage seems to stem from Sherman daring to speak his mind live on TV and also daring to pull no punches when expressing his enthusiasm and joy at defeating a tough and hated (in an athletic context) foe. So what? Could it be that anytime a black man yells or expresses himself enthusiastically in public the white American media and public are conditioned to see this as a sign of a “thug” attitude or that he is “ranting” and being “inappropriate”? Especially when that black man has dark skin and long dread-locked hair? This reaction was reflexive on the part of many of the white commentors online. Our society, the society that says that Trayvon Martin was “armed” with the pavement while letting off his gun-wielding non-black killer, the society that fills our TV screens and newspaper pages with images of black crime that are far out of context with who really commits the majority of crime in this nation, the society that still judges all black men and young children on what they wear, how they speak, and even they way they express their emotions, that society is not ready to admit that they cannot handle a black man being himself in public and in front of a white woman.

Do we really think that if the Packers Clay Matthews had given the same response in the same way to Ms. Andrews’ question that he would be called a “thug” or have his very humanity brought into question? I think not. I think they would say that Matthews was being a “mans man”, a “hero” and showing his “intensity”. No such luck for Mr. Sherman. No such luck for all black men in the US who dare to speak their minds and show their emotions. We have a long way to go before we can just see an athlete and not a “black” one or a “white” one, or a “hero” instead of a “thug”.

Here is the video of the Richard Sherman interview if you are interested. If so much outrage had not come out in the white community at large (this writer excluded) I would not have given it a second thought. The man is happy and pumped up. That is all I see here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjOkTib5eVQ

UPDATE: After Richard Sherman and the Seahawks totally dismantled the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII (the most watched Super Bowl of all time with 111 mil + viewers) I find it funny that a championship season that began with some racist bashing of a talented football star ends with the racist bashing of a sweet and harmless Coca-Cola ad during the game…People on the internet are going NUTS over the commercial, which showed Americans of all different races, genders, sexual orientations and national origins singing “America The Beautiful”. The response from the right has been disgusting and has even surprised me with its pettiness and crudity. There is even an idiotic hashtag campaign with the totally un-ironic name #SpeakAmerican…when the xenophobes cannot even identify the language they are supposedly trying to defend from “foreigners” you know it is time to call it a night.

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Activism, Philosophy, racism

Thoughts On American Racism Part I

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“How does it feel to be a problem? To have your very body and the bodies of your children [assumed] to be criminal, violent, malignant.” –Melissa Harris-Perry

                                                                                                                                       Part  I

                                                                                                               The Modern Racist Paradigm

I see his corpse up on the television screen, limp and cold and dead just dead. He wore clothing that matched much of my wardrobe and he had been holding a can of the fruit juice that I liked to drink. These strange little coincidences underscored my horror at viewing the image of Trayvon Martin’s corpse. I remembered another innocent corpse, this one scorched onto my conscience by a photograph in a book, Emmett Till and his mangled face and bruised and bloodied body. Trayvon died because his killer did not think he belonged in the neighborhood we was walking through, Emmett died because his killers did not think he should be flirting with the white woman who caught his eye at the general store. It was hate that killed these two young men, a sort of American hate that is as persistent as it is corrosive and poisonous. This is hate so deep that it strips the humanity from people with dark and brown skin and condemns them for the poverty that was imposed upon them by those condemning them for it! This hate has consumed the lives of millions emotionally, psychologically, and physically and continues to consume still more. Slavery, Jim Crow, Separate But Equal, The War On Drugs, Stand Your Ground. These are the names hate takes when hate wishes to justify itself and ingratiate itself with the powers and cultures that be. The roots of hate, the true, deep, primeval core of hate that must exist deep within the dark bowels of our collective history, the meaning of why we hate…These are concepts I do not have the capacity to truly understand or really even contemplate. Perhaps that is because I do not want to look with such a fixed and searching gaze directly into the hideous core of the American experiment. I, like far too many of my fellow citizens, do not want to grasp at that the peculiar institution is instead the essential institution for America.

The assassinations of Evers, Malcolm X, King, the lynching of thousands upon thousands, the sexual assault and rape of thousands of women, men and children, the slaughter of thousands by “law and order” forces, the 400 year dark edifice known as slavery. The suppression of the black vote, the mass imprisonment of black men and boys, the economic and psychological warfare that was and continues to be Jim Crow. I have no point to make after this list. The point is the list. American history is not a progression from slavery to freedom as much it is a self-perpetuating cycle of fear and lust manifesting itself in volcanic bouts of racial violence and class warfare. White, conservative, capitalist, Christian men have ruled America through the various governments that have been imposed and have imposed themselves upon the continent. The structures of power have always been in white hands, and this continues to be the case. Racism has not abated, but in this day and age it behooves the smart power broker or businessman to pretend at tolerance and fairness. They know what to say and where to keep the fickle liberals and willfully ignorant conservatives happy and content with their own passive racism. Reverse racism is the shame of the oppressor displacing itself as hostility. Fear, which begets hatred which in turn begets shame,  is the consistent zeitgeist of the community of bigots

Reverse Racism. Post-Racial Society. White Pride. We are berated with such sentiments today from white Americans desperate to escape the fear that consumes them because of their knowledge of how much they have to lose if the rest of America is allowed, finally, an equal chance at making their peace with the American system. White America feels it must scramble to use the levers of power to protect and empower themselves as much as they can before they inevitably lose power to a rising collective of empowered blacks, latinos, women, asians, enlightened whites, and LGBT people ready to compromise, reform and revolutionize the American system and its culture, economy and laws. The future is not white, the future is multi-colored. White Americans fail or refuse to realize that they will have a place, an equal place, in an American future that is based on true democracy, love, and shared responsibility. Instead they see the empowerment of all as a violation of the “right” of one segment of humanity to dominate and exploit the others.

The powerless are said to be the ones with the real power. George Zimmerman’s attorney introduced us to a seemingly new, but ultimately familiar, paradigm in the ongoing attempt to refuse any dignity to black and brown people. Now, we are told, there is no such thing as an unarmed black man or child. No no, we forget that the danger inherent to black people is so profound that the concrete sidewalk itself is weapon enough to justify his being killed by a person who “feels threatened” by his very being. This is as profoundly hateful a sentiment as any in the history of white self-justification and obfuscation on matters of race and justice. Black men kill, white men defend themselves and white women. A white man cannot kill a black man because, by the logic of hate, if a black man dies at the hand of a white man, or a man working from point from within the spectrum of white privilege like Zimmerman, the black man must have been to blame. Even by being blameless he is condemned and castigated and condemned by his color. In the eyes of white power dark skin is the ultimate weapon, because it is a constant reminder that the wall separating those in power from those without is an imaginary and will fall when human beings stand up together as one people. In every case involving a black man or youth it is he who is on trial, even if he is the victim.

The great and criminally under-appreciated journalist and human rights activist Ida B. Wells said

No nation, savage or civilized, save only the United States of America, has confessed its inability to protect its women save by hanging, shooting, and burning alleged offenders

In the place of woman substitute privilege and we have in one sentence the problem of white America.

The political classes who seek to exploit white anxieties and inbreed racism understand that language matters and that whomever controls the vocabulary of an issues often controls the issue itself. Today there are a proliferation of terms used to both demean black Americans, belittle their struggle, and undermine their progress towards gaining full equality as citizens and human beings. Paul Gorski, an education reformer and civil rights activist, makes the point that racism and the necessary and inevitable denial of racism by the racist exist on a continuum and do not always conform to popular notions of the issue and, in fact, racists are

quick to distance [themselves] from that prejudice, as if [they were]  somehow shielded from its permeation

The prejudice in question is of course against Black Americans in particular. Terms and apologies such as “reverse racism”, “I have a black friend so I can say what I want about race” and “they always see racism when it doesn’t exist” are just a few of the myriad ways white Americans seek to express their racism without having to deal with the now extant social stigma that comes with open expression of prejudiced views and behaviors. Outright racial slurs and insults have been replaced, at least in polite company or in public, with talk of “low information voters”, insinuations about the utilization of welfare and social programs, and outrage over the supposed collapse of “morality” and “culture”. The “Post-Racial” society that the white  establishment and their apologists said had come about after the election of Barack Obama is an example of this narrative taking the form of a meme that pervades society and becomes a justification for the very prejudice that was declared obsolete. Since the election of Obama there has been a resurgence of prejudiced statements, legislation and attitudes within the American culture and political systems. New voting restrictions, racially motivated redistricting, attacks on reproductive rights and healthcare access for the poor (a group with a disproportional number of black and other minority peoples) and rhetoric shaming those who use welfare, public assistance or food stamps. Indeed the “black President” who supposedly ushered in this post-racial utopia is termed by his white conservative detractors as the “Food Stamp” President and his parentage and upbringing are constantly called into question. One idiot lynching a dummy figure of the first black president is one thing but racist memes introduced into the body politic that deal with the very legitimacy of the presidency of Obama is clearly a sign that racism is still festering in many areas of American society and its institutions. The modern racist paradigm is based upon the historical and systemic dehumanization of black and brown peoples over centuries. Chattel slavery led to feudal exploitation which led to political and social marginalization which continues to this day. Those condemned to struggle are blamed for their own debasement. The racists then claim that the social ills and psychological conditions that inevitably arise from this debasement are a result of the inherent inferiority of black and brown peoples. White crime and immorality  is often systemic and entrenched within corrupt systems. Black crime or other moral failings, driven by the social conditions imposed by unjust individuals and systems, are seen by whites as more personal, innate, and violent and this idea is re-enforced by a media controlled by those with a vested interest in maintaining the racial and class status quo. The cycle of abuse, reaction, and inevitable debasement is allowed to continue even though the conditions and systems that led to the problem may be long gone or at least proscribed by laws and social mobility.

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