Democratic Party, Race, racism, Uncategorized

The Clinton’s “Peculiar Institution”

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

—Section 1 of the 13th Amendment to The Constitution of the United States

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It is Hilarious how Clinton Liberals are now trying to be pro-slave wage prison labor at Southern plantation/gov buildings and sympathetic to racist stereotypes about IQ and emotional intelligence now that the racist segments of Hillary Clinton’s ’96 book are going viral. And by “hilarious” I mean morally repugnant.

I’m going to post an article that features Sec. Clinton’s own words on this. Warning, the way she talks about the human beings who served her is incredibly demeaning, Uncle Tom’s Cabin levelshit. Also remember, the 13th Amendment explicitly carves out an exception for PRISON SLAVE LABOR, which is what is being described here. I’ve seen liberals try to say “but inmates WANT to work” or “it’s good for inmates”. Remember, these are the exact same excuses slavery supporters used to justify chattel slavery. Also, I’ve seen liberals say “well, this IS legal”. So was chattel slavery.

Inmates used for labor are often unpaid or only paid a tiny, pitiful fraction of minimum wage, often as little as a few cents an hour. They often must work over 10hrs a day in unsafe, undignified, or unsanitary conditions while wearing humiliating prison garb and be overseen by armed guards with absolute authority over their bodies. The vast majority of unpaid or token-paid prison labor is done by black men.

Here are links to Clinton’s casually racist and cavalier attitude to the imprisoned black men who served her and an article putting it all in context. Note how Mrs. Clinton seems most concerned for her own safety and how this “peculiar institution” at the Arkansas Governor’s residence confirms or denies her personal prejudices about “criminals”. Also note how she acts as though she is helpless in the face of an entrenched institution, even though in reality she and her husband, then Governor Clinton, were in fact uniquely empowered to do something, anything, to mitigate or eliminate this injustice.

Ask yourself, Clinton true-believers, would you be defending these words or actions if they had instead come from, and described by, the pen of a Mike Huckabee or George Bush…or a Donald Trump? The passage bellow is taken verbatim from Mrs. Clinton’s 1996 book “It Takes a Village”. It is important to remember, however, that while the Clinton’s are a particularly hideous example of this moral evil, we’re ALL party to this crime. As Nathan J. Robinson says in the articled linked below:

This is not a mere pathology of the Clintons, but a pathology of the country we all inhabit. And it is not just a single noxious political family that is complicit. We all are. 

https://www.currentaffairs.org/2017/06/the-clintons-had-slaves

Solidarity, Comrades

“Workers of the World…Unite!”

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2016 Election, 2nd Amendment, Uncategorized

The Real Third Rail of U.S. Politics

gunsguns

I wish that the moderators asked the Democratic candidates more questions about our toxic gun culture, and the racial undertones of the proliferation of white male gun ownership and “stand your ground” and “castle doctrine” laws. They seem to me to be the last remnants of the Jim Crow laws meant to protect white property, which often included wives and sisters and daughters etc. I mean, the myth of the “thug” who stalks rich and middle class white neighborhoods and can only be stopped by an armed (white) man are essentially left overs from the post-Reconstruction nadir of race relations, where the white power structure attempted to use economic/sexual/racial anxieties of lower and middle class whites in the face of black rights and emergence from slavery. This deserves to be confronted in a national forum.

In fact, the more I watch these debates the more I have come to the realization that gun “rights” are the REAL third rail of U.S. politics, to the point where journalists and moderators assume that there will be a permanent gun culture and that this is the natural state of the U.S. I have experienced the fact that even mentioning the ACTUAL WORDS of the 2nd Amendment will cause many gun “rights” activists to attack you, as though even implying that regulated means regulated. It is an all or nothing argument: any regulation means an inevitable slide towards a totalitarian confiscation of guns. We are even at the point where it is ASSUMED that gun owners should be a protected class, as though there were some sort of endangered minority group. I have experienced situation where gun “rights” activists have actually claimed the mantel of MLK and Gandhi to support their claims to be the true heralds and representatives of the oppressed. It is ridiculous, and I do believe that the Founding Fathers would find many men who walked openly armed in a place of business or a government building to be a sign of the collapse of civil society.

On a personal note, what kind of crazy person would feel the need to own a weapon like an AR-15, Ak-47, or rapid fire Desert Eagle .50? I am sorry, but I have to doubt your sanity if you want to own a weapon that can put dozens of bullets into another person in a matter of seconds. What’s next, RPGs? And watch, the gun rights people will say “it is not an assault rifle it is a heavily enhanced blah blah blah”. It’s not a rocket propelled grenade, it’s a speedily propelled home defense device. And a tank is a “heavily protected family protection vehicle.” And a howitzer is a “protect your family from distant threats gun”. Where does it stop? Really? I mean back in the “good ol’ days” that the conservatives who love guns seem to lionize, no one walked around with a gun on their hip, and amazingly, everyone was not shot down by “thugs” in the street because of it. Even DEADWOOD in the “wild west” made gunslingers disarm before they walked into town. The idea that you need a gun to be safe in America is a very successful marketing plan put forward by the NRA since the 1970’s, when the minority population in the US started gaining more rights and excercising them the right wing, including the NRA, tried to connect the civil rights gains to the rising violent crime rate in the 70s and 80s. They were largely successful in this propaganda endeavor to the point where white men, the most powerful demographic in the US, now feel like lives and their property (which includes their wives and children in their minds) are in so much danger that they must wear deadly weapons on their persons when they go to get a gallon of milk. In the U.S. white men view property as more valuable and important than human life, especially in the context of feeling that they are constantly under siege…in a nation where they are increasingly making everyone else feel under siege with their flaunting and abuse of their 2nd Amendment Rights. 

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Politics, Uncategorized

Why I Am Not “Feeling The Bern”

Ok, it’s been a LONG ASS TIME since I have posted anything on here, so of course I have to break my radio silence by posting something that will most likely make 75% of my readers hate me forever…but I don’t care so enjoy!
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I will say, up front, that what I am writing is from my OWN perspective. I am not writing this as someone who thinks he understand “the black point of view” because A. I do not, and B. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A UNIFIED BLACK PERSPECTIVE ON ANYTHING, just like there is no unified woman, LGBTQ or even white male perspective. We are all shaped by our experiences to one degree or another, and no community is a monolith. That being said, let’s get into this thing:
I have been told by my liberal friends, liberal sparring partners, liberal family members etc etc that I MUST vote for and support Bernie Sanders for president of the US. The reasons why are myriad: he is the “only one” who gets “it” (whatever IT means), he is the only one who can beat Trump (I doubt Trump even makes it to the general, but I digress…), that he alone can bring about a “political revolution” in the U.S. just by being elected (didn’t we go through this before, in ’08?) and that not voting for him is tantamount to personally ushering a Republican into the Oval Office.
 
Enough is enough. I will vote for Bernie Sanders for one reason, and one reason only: he is not Trump, Ted Cruz, or Hillary Clinton. That is it. I am not impressed by Sanders having “marched w/ MLK”, especially not the way that this fact has been used by my fellows on the left to shame anyone, especially black folks, who DARE to question whether or not he is the best thing to happen to Civil Rights since the aforementioned Rev. Dr. King, Jr. Anyone can march, anyone can stage a sit in or hold a sign. Sanders is a well meaning, old, civil rights era liberal, he is not some sort of revolutionary racial savior. And to tell our fellow Americans, who happen to be black, that they should “know who their friends are” or “stop making trouble” is to show that we are still quite racist in our attitudes. Sanders boggled his first response to BLM, though he has engaged them since then, and he continues to put his foot in his mouth when it comes to issues of racial justice. Just the other day he said he did not believe that reparations for slavery was a viable option for making the US a more fair and just place because the issue would be “divisive” and have a hard time “getting through Congress”. As Ta-Nehisi Coates puts it in his piece analyzing this very issue (and which I link to at the bottom of this piece):
“The spectacle of a socialist candidate opposing reparations as “divisive” (there are few political labels more divisive in the minds of Americans than socialist) is only rivaled by the implausibility of Sanders posing as a pragmatist”. I find his sudden concern for Congressional feasibility rich given that most of his platform has no chance in hell of passing through anything less than a Democratic Super Majority in both Houses of Congress. Why is it that issues that matter the most to black people and that could have a real impact on the lives of black folks and strike a real blow against institutional racism are always considered “divisive” or “not proper” or “a non-starter”? Sanders seems to think that a blanket approach to economic injustice i.e. a few basic tweaks and overhauls to the economic and regulatory systems, would have in the end benefit all Americans, regardless of race. This, to put it politely, is complete and utter bullshit.
Again, as Ta-Nehisi Coates has showed, many times and in much more beautiful language than I can ever muster, that the best liberal programs in the world will do nothing to lessen the burden on African Americans if it is not coupled with an understanding that every system in the US is tainted, corrupted, by racism. Housing aid after WWII, Welfare Reform in the 90s, the New Deal in the 30s, all these things were meant to lift “the masses” out of poverty, but were designed, intentionally and not, to exclude or to marginalize black folks. Unless Sanders wakes up to the fact that you must first attack the ROOTS of racism in this country, inequality at ALL levels of civil society, then his policy pledges and kind words mean nothing. It also bothers me, as someone who has took the time to study and read up on the issues, that Sanders and his supporters INSIST that the Senator is a “democratic socialist”. This is not true. A democratic socialist would be in favor of the workers taking control of the means of production, abolishing wage labor, and allowing for direct democratic control over all aspects of the economy and government. I see nothing of the sort suggested by the Sanders camp. He pays lip service to true revolutionary ideas and to the radical streak in many young people, but he does not have policies to back up his very strong assertions. His platform does nothing to undermine capitalism, to attack the imperialist tendencies of our government systems, or to remove our military from the many bases we have all over the world imposing our will and whims on everyone else.
He is a New Deal/War On Poverty style liberal Democrat, which is, I admit, better than the Democrats have put forward for years, but a socialist this does not make. Do I think that Bernie Sanders is some sort of closet racist? Absolutely not. Do I think he is an old white man who thinks he has the answers to why black people are suffering? Abso-fucking-lutely. He is no different than many other “liberal white saviors” who seem to come and go with such frequency in American Democratic Party Politics. I even wrote about this issue once before on this blog
So, to sum up, yes, I will be voting for Sanders, NO, I do not think he is the most “revolutionary political figure” in recent U.S. political history, and no, he is NOT a Democratic Socialist, or any kind of socialist. He is a white liberal Democrat from the east coast running for President, the same sort the Democrats have been putting forward for a generation or more. Nothing more, nothing less. And one more thing about those white liberal Bernie Sanders supports who like to lecture everyone about everything race, radicalism, or revolutionary: shut up, now. As my brilliantly political minded wife put it to me, they come off less like Che Guevara and more like Brian Griffin from Family Guy. 
Ta-Nehisi Coates’ piece on Sen. Sanders and Reparations: Why Precisely is Bernie Sanders Against Reparations?
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Civil rights, Politics

We White Liberals Need To Listen & Learn

Marissa Johnson, left,  Mara Jacqueline Willaford and Sen. Bernie Sanders, far right  (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Marissa Johnson, left, Mara Jacqueline Willaford and Sen. Bernie Sanders, far right (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

I will say upfront that I like a lot of what Bernie Sanders says he stands for: I support his position on student debt relief and free college tuition, he says the right things and supports the relevant bills regarding financial regulation and the breaking up of the big banks. He seems to be supportive of LGBT Rights and has a relatively sane point of view when it comes to foreign policy (with the exception of a little too friendly attitude to Israel, who I actually see as an enemy to the interests of our country). I will consider voting for him in the Illinois Primary next year, and I probably will end up voting for him as I will cut off my own hand before voting for that hawkish corporatist shill Hillary Clinton…

Here comes the “But”…

I am concerned about the response Bernie Sanders has had to the black activist movement in particular and the Black voting bloc in general. African Americans are THE key voting block that lets the Democratic Party get into power at all. Without the almost unified Black Vote in presidential elections, every President after Lyndon Johnson would have been a Republican. Bernie Sanders seems to have the “all lives matter” mentality when it comes to his policy prescriptions i.e. if we reform the economic and regulatory systems of the US everyone will benefit and advance equally. US History has shown that is never the case. From the New Deal to Federal Housing Assistance to the Great Society to Welfare Reform in the 90s, every upgrade or expansion of the welfare state has either passed black Americans behind, ignored them entirely, or in the case of Housing actively held them back. I am not saying that Bernie Sanders’ remedies will have the same issues, but there is no historical or logical reason to believe they will be any different. If Sanders wants to really address the true institutional racism problem in the US he will embrace the Black Lives Matter movement’s values totally, and start an ongoing dialogue with the black communities across the US in order to understand what THEY think must be done to address the deeply racist United States government and society. He is a older, White, Upper Middle Class, man in a position of power.That is a fact, not a condemnation, and this fact comes with its fair share of privilege and biases. Take his tone deaf response to the Black Lives Matter disruption of his appearance at the Netroots conference:

Instead of addressing the actual concerns of the Black Lives Matter protesters or even debating them on the merit of their positions, he let his privilege get the better of him and he scolded the activists. A quote from a Salon article on the Netroots debacle quotes Sanders as saying this in response to the Black Lives Matter disruption: “But I’ve spent 50 years of my life fighting for civil rights. If you don’t want me to be here, that’s okay.” He then went on to “remind” people that he “marched with MLK” and was a big supporter of Civil Rights back in the good ol’ days of white liberal activism. This is the political rhetoric equivalent of the “but some of my best friends are black” argument against examining ones own privilege. Sanders repeated this sort of defensive white liberal guilt speak when he was confronted once again at his speech in Seattle. When interrupted by protesters who said they were with the Black Lives Matter Movement (which is very much a grassroots and decentralized movement) he reacted like a deer caught in the headlights and eventually left the stage. Instead of saying he respected the fact that they were outraged over institutional racism and that he would devote his campaign to addressing the concerns of the one voting block he CANNOT afford to alienate if he wants the nomination, he harrumphed off stage and muttered aloud “I guess I’m not wanted hear.” One could almost hear the collective black political activist head slamming into the desk. Black voters are savvy, perhaps THE most savvy political bloc in the entire country (Black Women especially vote at a higher rate than any other group in the nation). They know when they are being pandered too, and also when they are being taken for granted. The response of White Bernie Sanders supporters online is not helping. When I deigned to criticize (rather gently) Sen. Sanders’ response to the disruption, I was inundated with dozens and dozens of responses saying that black voters should “know why their real friends are” and that “Bernie is the ONLY person” who can “solve” structural racism. Some even said that “those people” are not acting intelligent and don’t know how to protest “the right way” so as not to “force” white voters to not support black issues. Talk about taking a group for granted…

Political activism is messy, it is often annoying to outsiders and unpleasant. It is rarely polite or even civil. That is exactly the point though: activism is never effective unless it galls and disrupts, especially those with authority, especially those who actually have the potential to do something and the willingness to listen if pestered enough. Black Lives Matter doesn’t bother protesting Donald Trump or Rick Santorum for the same reason SNCC or MLK didn’t bother showing up at Strom Thurmond or George Wallace rallies: those on the racist and bigoted Right and Far Right will NEVER care what black protesters and activists have to say, not matter what they do or how much they disrupt or protest. They have already decided that black people are the enemy and nothing will change them. It is a waste of time, creativity, and energy to try and get the attention of folks who already see you as less than human. You make REAL change happen by embarrassing, manipulating, disrupting and petitioning moderates and liberals, people who may actually do something concrete if they see that the political stakes are too costly to ignore. But no establishment leader, no matter how progressive, will act on the issues important to a oppressed minority, even a politically essential one, unless they are MADE TO. This was proven over and over again during the Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ and Clinton administrations. Black activists have never gotten the desired results for themselves and their communities by “playing nice” with the white liberal savior of the moment. Bernie Sanders is on point with a lot of things, but he is not the “only person who can save us” or the “solution to institutional racism”. SNCC and MLK had to agitate against and antagonize liberals all over the country, from the White House and the Justice Department on down, before they deigned to do things like send in the national guard to desegregate schools or sign the Voting Rights Act. These things did NOT come about because of the beneficence of White Liberal politicians.

The great political commentator and activist Imani Gandy  got right to the heart of the issue of White Liberal privilege and political entitlement in an article on her “Angry Black Lady Chronicles” blog (which I will link to at the bottom of this post):

“As a white liberal of adult age in the 1960s, [A White Liberal was] politically required to do these things, right? And if the answer is yes—and we all know that it is—why the hell are you tossing Bernie Sanders’ record of doing them in Black people’s faces in order to shut down conversations about structural racism, police brutality, and the #BlackLivesMatter movement?”

White Liberals may have good intentions and many good ideas, but they DON’T understand what is “best” for the black community and black activists, who are as varied and diverse in their interests and issues as any other segment of the population. We have to realize that it is not Black Lives Matter who needs white liberals, but white liberals who need Black Lives Matter.

Here is a Link to the positively genius article Imani Gandy wrote about Bernie Sanders and his supporters response to Black Lives Matter: http://rhrealitycheck.org/ablc/2015/07/22/youre-white-marched-dr-king/ 

UPDATE 8/10/15

At his 27,000 person rally in L.A. tonight Bernie Sanders opened by inviting #BlackLivesMatter activists onto the stage to speak to the crowd. This information comes from Los Angeles Times politics reporter Kurtis Lee. I have to say, that is a very impressive and prompt response to the criticism leveled against him by #BlackLivesMatter and people on the far left like me. Very Impressive.

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essay, racism

3/4 White OR How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Hate My Privilege

Polished Shoes

Polished Shoes

My Grandmother, the one I actually adore and like, is from Ecuador originally. She is a gorgeous woman, the sort of woman who at 80 still has men flirt with her & try to get her attention. She enjoys it now, I think, but she did not enjoy that attention back when she was a recent immigrant to the United States from Quito, Ecuador, in the early 60s. She fled a terrible relationship and went to the United States so that her children could have a better future away from the alcoholic, abusive male chauvinists who ran her family and her country. She struggled being a young hispanic woman in the early 60’s era Chicago Suburbs. She had to leave most of her children, my aunts and uncles, behind out of necessity, leaving them back in the country she loved but also had to flee. She worked any job she could so she could save up enough money to bring her kids over. All the while she had to fight off, literally, the lecherous advances of everyone from her managers, her co-workers, her neighbors and even her landlord. A story she frequently told us as (probably far too young) children was about whenever the rent came due her fat ugly white landlord would come and try and break down her door so that he could rape her. She laughed about it as though if it were a plot from a favorite movie, but I am sure that laughter was covering up a lot of pain and rage. She never showed that side of herself to me or my siblings or cousins though: she was always a happy, smiling, generous, boisterous and proud Latino woman who loved her grandchildren and obviously loved the life she had created for herself and her family.

She married my Grandfather, the son of a German speaking Polish immigrant, and had two more children, my father and my (full) uncle (I consider all my Ecuadorian born relations fully my relatives as well, even though technically they are “half” uncles, aunts, and cousins). My Dad was a small fellow growing up, someone who today would be the sort of adorable mixed race child who would grace a Cheerio’s commercial or star in a PBS children’s shows, but back in late 60’s-early 70’s DuPage County, looking like he did didn’t do him any favors. My Grandmother would dress my dad in small business type suits and sent him off to school with a briefcase and polished shoes. My grandmother meant well, she really did, but a little brown boy in tiny business attire made a great target for the richer, bigger, and meaner white bullies who would torment him, beat him, and steal his money every day on his way to school. My dad laughs about it now, but I am sure that experience was something akin to a living Hell. As he grew older, he began to look less “brown” and he grew into himself more, becoming a high school wrestler, started to write, and generally began embracing his strengths. Today you would have a hard time guess he was Hispanic at all, except for his ease at attaining a tan, and I know that has probably helped him in the intense and superficial sales world he has made his living in throughout his life. He can now “pass” and is more or less fully embraced by the white society that used to shun, humiliate, and torture him for the audacity of his brownness. My dad is a very open-minded fellow, very kind and also probably the least prejudiced person I have ever met. He is patient and kind with everyone, though he has told me that some of his white co-workers over the years have tried to bring him into their little “white man” club, mistaking him for someone who wants to listen to their disgusting bigoted opinions about their black or Mexican co-workers. Appearing white and being male seems to be a green light for bigots to try and rope you into their foul prejudiced worldview.

When I was born I was clearly different. I didn’t really like being around people that much, outside of my family, and I did not like to go outside of my house or yard to do things with other kids. I was quiet in public and polite to point of being strange. I liked nothing more than being in my room, reading my books, playing with my sisters with their barbies and my action figures and G.I Joe’s, coming up with ever more elaborate stories that made no sense to anyone but me. It is clear now that I was an autistic child, and now I am an autistic adult (I was not diagnosed until I was 21…mainly because I was homeschooled but also because my mom is autistic as well and we really thought I just took after her!). At the same time, I am a white, cisgender male born into the middle of the middle class. Privilege was something I was born with and that benefits me in ways small and large that I will never completely understand. I look totally white. You would never guess I have a grandmother whose first language was Spanish and who looks like Inca royalty. With my red beard, dark blond hair, green eyes and printer paper pale skin you would guess I was full blooded Nordic (I am 1/8th Swedish by the way). The worst teasing I ever got was having some brats throw pebbles at me at the play ground one time because I was a “nerd” who actually liked playing with my sisters in public. Not really a story of hardship and adversity, was my childhood.

That being said, I grew up thinking that EVERYONE had a grandmother who was brown and spoke Spanish fluently. I thought EVERYONE had Uncles and Aunties with olive skin and thick black hair. It was quite a shock to me to realize that this was not at all the case, especially not for little boys and eventually young men who looked like me. As soon as I grew old enough to have a desire to go out and do somethings in the public world, I began to realize how much a privilege my looks really were. Nothing was ever really hard for me, not getting part time jobs (even though I was and still am a terrible employee) nor getting into the school I wanted to get into. I have never been pulled over, I have never been stopped by a cop, I have never been condescended to because of my appearance, I have never been profiled in a bookstore or a shopping mall because I look like “the sort” who would shoplift. In other words, I am as much a part of the status quo as the brick post office or the VFW building: I am “normal”, I am what an American is “supposed” to look like. Being Autistic it took me longer than would otherwise be the case to realize that I was in fact “normal”: In my own mind I am such a strange, esoteric, out of place person who does not understand people. The idea that I did NOT stand out was alien to me, but I started to realize this fact as I got out into the wider social universe. White people, men especially, would assume I was “one of them” and would crack their cruel jokes about “those people” and women. Not having any sort of social filter, my discomfort and displeasure would be apparent on my face and would usually be enough to drive these sorts of people away. I am the sort of person who will tell a stranger or someone I barely know that they are “wrong” to their face. This tends to upset, or at least unnerve, a lot of people, white men especially.

I always fit in better with people who did not look like me: the Pakistani-American kids I worked with at the college library embraced me because I didn’t crack cheap terrorist jokes or make distasteful comments about Muslim women. The foreign born and foreign exchange students liked me because I listened instead of talking, and I was genuinely interested in how they viewed the world (I love geography, and I love cultural history of all sorts). I made friend with women easily because I didn’t try to get in their pants and I didn’t condescend to them. I grew up with 3 strong and independent sisters and a very feminist mother, so even IF I had had a misogynist inclination, it would have been figuratively “beaten” out of me at a young age. As it was, I never saw women as the different species that most men seem to see them as. I think my autism has something to do with my lack of prejudice: I tend to see everyone as a sort of blank face that I slowly fill in as I get to know their patterns and their quirks.

That is not to say I am some sort of perfect liberal paragon. The insidious part of privilege is that you are not SUPPOSED to be aware of it when you have it, and combined with my autistic inability to read social situations well I have certainly made some faux pas and hurt feelings in ways I will never be aware of. That knowledge depresses me (I have clinical depression so this is not altogether strange for me) and it worries me constantly; it is one of the reasons I avoid contact with many people. I hate the idea that I could inadvertently hurt or marginalize another person. I hate my privilege even while I benefit from it every day. My lizard brain, the part that seeks to avoid stress and pain, of course enjoys the fact that I can go through life as an unmolested, benignly invisible person if I so choose, but the moral me, the human me, despises that privilege and wishes that it would be wiped from the face of the Earth forever.

Today I am a Anarcho-Socialist writer/artist/editor in the working class who is generally happy and comfortable who does everything he can to make sure he does not make others feel like my dad and my grandmother felt in their respective youths. I write and I create, but what I try to do most of all is to make sure that I leave people feeling better for having met me. There is no greater gift you can give to the world than to make sure that you do not make life more difficult for others. I suppose there is more I could do, more I could say, but I am still only 28 and I have a long way to go before I fully understand myself, my world, and the privilege I inherited, like a stolen heirloom, and still use, whether I like it or not.

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Civil rights

Baltimore is Burning

Freddie Gray Protest in Baltimore

Baltimore is burning, but not because of the fires set by a few protesters. It is on fire with the passion and rage of the people, who have had enough of a gestapo police force that re-enforces the unequal, bigoted, exploitative status quo. Baltimore, Ferguson, New York, the police torture in Chicago, the police state in Oakland, the lynching of black men by the police and by vigilante minded white men. CNN b**ches and moans about the burning of a CVS and the cutting of a hose as though this is some sign of the collapse of Western Christian society, but the murder, by having his spine severed in custody, of a young black man by the police is cast in a moral shade of grey. Freddie Grey is just a new name on a long list of black men terrorized and murdered by mob justice, vigilantism, and police authority. The bodies of black men are considered weapons, are seen as dangerous, a threat. The black mind is dismissed as cultish, brutish, without thought or nuance, by pigs in blue who barely understand the Constitution they swear to uphold. The intelligence and wisdom, the genius, of an entire people is dismissed because of skin hue, and a history that white hands and white minds set in motion.

Baltimore is burning, but the fires were set 400 years ago when the first white man dragged the first black man in chains from HMS White Lion. The flames were stoked by 250 more years of chattel slavery, rape, torture, white supremacy and greed. The nation that was created “by the people, for the people” was actually an empire forged “by the slave, for the rich and white”, a fact acknowledged and enshrined in the Constitution of this country. The moral cowardice, and avarice, of our Founders extended the holocaust of American slavery for another hundred years. The craven political whims of the post-civil war generation helped to extend the terror of white supremacy long after slavery was officially abolished. Rights were issued in name only, while in fact black bodies found themselves re-categorized from property to vermin, and this in a nation that was BUILT by black bodies. The entire history of the United States has been one long, ongoing larceny perpetrated by whites against people any color but white, any gender but male.

Baltimore is burning, but the powers that be, and their pet media, do not weep for the people, do not strive to sooth their pain. They instead seek to protect property, to preserve the same order that is nothing but a boot on the necks of the black people of Baltimore, of the US. The media act as those peace and calm have been disrupted. The people of Baltimore, especially the people of color, know that there was never any peace to interrupt, there never has been. Every day another insult to dignity, every interaction with the capitalist owned government and with their police army another punch in the gut, a reminder that people of color indeed have “no rights which the white man was bound to respect” (a reminder from on high, straight from the mouth of one of the members of our sainted Supreme Court). White eyes watch black bodies act out in rage, desperation, pathos and righteous fury, and the only question on their lips is “what do those people have to complain about?”. “They” destroy “their” own neighborhoods, an unwitting admission by white citizens of the continuing presence and reality of Jim Crow in our cities, towns, and villages. What the law now condemns the culture denies, a reality of pain and hate and repression that is justified because “we” gave “them” what “they” wanted back in the 60’s…as though dignity and respect and justice were something whites must bestow upon blacks, a belated gift that arrived late but “just in time” to be a salve for white liberal guilt. Baltimore is burning, but is the hearts and minds and souls of the people that are on fire now.

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2nd Amendment

American Violence: God, Guns, and Gore

gun control

I saw this story today on one of my favorite news sites http://www.rawstory.com/2015/04/fake-georgia-cop-yells-fcking-nrs-pulls-shotgun-on-skateboarders-for-being-in-the-street/ 

I could not help but thing…How, HOW is it legal to buy a Kalashnikov in this country? So because some criminal could “theoretically” have “any” weapon, we should be allowed to buy any weapon to “protect” ourselves? Theoretically, a criminal (who could be ANYONE…gun nuts act as though criminals have a certain physical trait that shows who they are…oh, wait…) could get their hands on any sort of weapon. Should we be allowed to by a tank or a anti-tank weapon? Where does the insanity end? The article really captures the key themes of US worship of guns and violence: racialized attitudes about “protecting property” and self-defense, gun fetishization, a macho attitude and delusions of authority. These themes come up again and again and again but STILL gun “rights” advocates try to divorce the social ills that plague US society from the US obsession with firearms and with crime. It has gotten to the point where I cannot even have a discussion about guns IN SCHOOLS without being called a “gun grabbing fascist” or a gay/sexist slur (it seems to be assumed by ammo-sexuals that one who does not believe in the power of the gun is by default a gay man or a woman). There also seems to be a real religious, especially Christian, obsession with arming oneself against the threat that is the “other” in the world. The Conservative Christian mind in this nation is a mind that is always fearful. It is an issue I am working on in my writing lately…it is a real cause that I am fascinated in and devoted to.

We to make the case, as a civil society, that guns are not the answer to all of our problems and that unlimited gun ownership is NOT a right, it never has been. It is a PRIVILAGE and can be taken away or restricted if you show yourself to be a danger to your family or your community. Even in TEXAS of all places Dallas County is finally going to start confiscating the guns of people convicted of domestic violence. This is also a Federal statute, but many states do not have enforceable laws on the books that protect people from domestic gun violence. We are always told that a gun is “just a tool”, as though this is some sort of argument AGAINST restrictions or of understanding gun violence as a social disease. According to the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics guns were responsible for the deaths of more than half of all women killed by their partners between 2001 and 2012. So guns are used as the weapon of choice for those who terrorize their partners. That should give unlimited gun rights activists pause.

More education and dialogue is needed on the issue of human violence and obsession with “security” and “purity”. If you want to understand human violence, obsession with “rights” and “liberties”, and mythic tendencies, I suggest reading the books Sapiens and Blood and Soil. Two of the best books I have ever read. Both talk about what makes human beings tick as an animal, what causes them to seek out violent solutions to complex problems and, in the latter especially, how societies and groups go about the ugly business of doing and justifying violence. I worry that a genocidal sort of fury may be coming from the Right in this country…so much misguided fear and hate directed towards immigrants (this obsession with “legality” is just a new of articulating the “purity” aspects of xenophobic nationalism that existed in the past regarding immigrants), towards LGBT people, towards atheists, towards Muslims. When the majority group, Christians, feels as thought IT is the one being persecuted, they start getting paranoid, and violent, and start arming themselves and convincing themselves that the “others”, “Those People” and “their culture” are to blame and that something needs to be done about it for the good of the nation. That is how genocide happens, that is how you get armed racist bands in the streets, and how you get Muslims being herded into pens…I am trying to be more aware of the hate and fear in this country. The gun/2nd Amendent cult obsession and the persecution complex of conservative christians worry me the most

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