Non-Violent Protest vs. Riot Violence, to Change Society
Some say: “Promote non-violent civil disobedience. Violence is hurting the George Floyd protests at this point.” Well, yes and no. Without violence the U.S. media won’t cover protests against our neoliberal paradigm and its occupation forces. Look at the Bernie Sanders campaign and his huge “unseen” rallies; and the large protest marches by Rev. William Barber’s Poor People’s Campaign, also “unseen.” “A riot is the language of the unheard” (MLK,Jr.).
By some Cheyenne accounts, when the U.S. Army of 1876 found the bodies of the dead 7th Cavalry soldiers at the Little Big Horn two days after the battle, General George Armstrong Custer’s eardrums would have been found to have been punctured (by two Cheyenne women) with awls so he could hear better in the next life. Custer (whose body was found with two gunshot wounds: one to his left chest and from which he had bled, and the other to his left temple and likely due to a post-mortem stray bullet), and the many American non-Indians like him, were so intransigently deaf to the cries of pain and pleas for peace and freedom from the Sioux, the Cheyenne, and all the other Indian nations and tribes, that the ear-piercing symbolism may rest on now-unrecoverable historical fact. That symbolism was certainly not recognized in 1876 nor heeded if it was, as the corralling of Indians and the murder of Crazy Horse in 1877, and the continuing Indian Wars all the way to the ‘final’ massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890, showed.
Non-violent protests and waiting for “inevitable” social change didn’t do anything for the American Indians between 1492 and 1890 (the American Indian population reached its nadir in 1900). So, I understand where violent protest can come from with some anti-Trumpers. But I think most of the tide of violence comes in from the right, from cops desperate to keep exerting their Custer-like dominance (for, what else have they got in life to feel “big” about, being mere enforcers just like the legally deputized Lincoln County Regulators of 1878 in New Mexico, and which Billy the Kid was a member of), and from Trump-allied provocateurs and violence-hero wannabes, and certainly also some assholes just taking advantage of disorder. All that surrounding and threatening violent agitation during these May-June protest marches, plus well-justified and long-standing grievances, push some protestors over the edge of polite behavior.
Remember that Trump — our illustrious genius president — has repeatedly called for violence by his goon squads because the idiot thought it would only be inflicted on an eternally cowering “untermensch” population that he despises, and that he could control that violence. Well, now he’s got his violence and it’s out of his control, and it doesn’t seem to be helping his reelection campaign. An increasing number of mainline Republican “intellectuals” are now openly calling for a Biden electoral near-sweep (of Trumpy ideologues only), which I guess means they are completely confident that Biden and the usual gang of DNC-Democrats are seen as reliably loyal partisans to the preservation of corporate capitalism, which is what they all really only care about anyway. So, they’re looking to Slow Joe as their savior-of-the-year for their precious neoliberalism.
I hate violence — with its resulting injuries, deaths and destruction — and never encourage any of it; but how else do the poor, oppressed, disorganized and unmilitarized “lower classes” (everywhere and throughout history) frighten their rich and disdaining overlords to get those Big Brother boot-heels off their necks, and give them decent chances of living in physical safety and economic security?
I think of the American Indians, the Palestinians, and the Jewish fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943 (against the Nazis, who were immune to non-violent protests) for historical perspective. You can also throw in the American Civil War to that list, because in essence we are still fighting it.
As many wise commentators have already said: the only redemptive outcome of riot violence today would be if it sparks the creation of a large, organized and self-sustaining mass social and political movement against the entire neoliberal regime (and takes it down!) — a substantial, continuing, non-violent and effective socio-political force that aims far beyond just cop-reforms, Trump-tumbling, and the electoral reining in of Republican politicians for a couple of years.
The riot injuries, deaths and destruction that Americans are suffering today are at best a societal forward payment — like a first month’s advanced rent deposit — before we get the chance to “move in” to a better paradigm of American society.
May the battles and bleeding in the streets stop as soon as possible, and the sweeping transformation (and rebirth) of our society commence immediately.
Thoughts on the George Floyd Riots
2 June 2020
On “Good Cops” and “Bad Cops”
I posted the following comments on a public access blog of a long-term policeman and high-level police instructor of arrest techniques, where he excoriated the Minneapolis cops who killed George Floyd, but also said that 99% of cops are good and he asked that the public not judge them all by the 1% who are bad. The classic “bad apples” pose. I replied as will follow. The Counterpunch article linked after these comments says it much better.
Well said, but…
99% of all cops are not good, it only takes a few minutes of viewing all the videos being posted from around the nation to see that. Doing research back through time (even only from Eric Garner forward) makes that impression worse. By eyeballing the videos, the proportion of bad cops seems very, very, very high.
“No one hates a dirty, piece of shit cop more than a good cop who does this job with honor and pride. I beg you, do not judge the 99% of good police officers based on the actions of an ignorant and evil few.”
I know you have to believe that – if you are a good cop – in order to be able to do a cop’s job (which is what? and for whom?) and not lose all sense of self-respect or go insane. But…
The most likely fate of “good police officers” who turn in “a dirty, piece of shit cop” is to get disciplined, fired or worse, for ‘betraying’ the cop fraternity, while the “dirty, piece of shit cop” goes on unperturbed and free to continue exerting dominance over and wreaking havoc on the public (the part of the public he/she is most prejudiced against). Look what happened to Serpico.
“A policeman’s first obligation is to be responsible to the needs of the community he serves … The problem is that the atmosphere does not yet exist in which an honest police officer can act without fear of ridicule or reprisal from fellow officers. We create an atmosphere in which the honest officer fears the dishonest officer, and not the other way around.” — Frank Serpico (in 2003).
So, it’s like opening a crate of oranges and seeing all the top ones moldy. You don’t think: ‘well, the bottom ones are probably okay, so I’ll take it.’ No, you throw them all away.
As another person said: if there are 10,000 good cops, and 10 bad ones, and the ten thousand good ones don’t kick out the bad ten, then you have 10,010 bad cops.
And finally, the municipalities and agencies that keep “dirty, piece of shit cops” on the payroll, and that do not prosecute them for their cop-crimes, are equally complicit in those crimes. They are the “institutions” of institutionalized racism and institutionalized oppression, and their cops are their bullying occupation troops stomping down on a victimized public.
The Fires This Time and Next
8 June 2020
John G. Russell
Thoughts on the George Floyd Riots
Yesterday, a friend wrote me: “I really don’t know how we are going to come out of this. For a while I was okay. Over the last week I have grown more desperate with each day as the news develops.” I am trying to answer him here.
Many of my social media friends have expressed their anger, outrage, sadness and disgust at the lynching of George Floyd by a white supremacist cop in Minneapolis on May 25th (8 days ago as I write this). That lynching was carried out by an arresting cop kneeling for 8 minutes and 46 seconds on the right side of George Floyd’s neck while the handcuffed Floyd was lying face down on a city street. Floyd kept pleading for relief because he could not breathe, but the killer cop continued his kneeling choke-hold for 2 minutes and 53 seconds after Floyd had become unresponsive. Three other cops participated in the lynching: one holding Floyd’s back, another holding his legs, and the third looking on and preventing intervention by a person who stood nearby, watching in horror. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killing_of_George_Floyd)
The country has blown up, large protests and riots now fill the streets of many cities and towns in America, and have for the last week. “A riot is the language of the unheard,” as Martin Luther King, Jr. said about the expressions of that truth in 1965 (Watts, Los Angeles CA) and 1967 (Newark NJ, Detroit MI, and 157 other places). That truth again erupted into view in over 100 cities in the United States after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on 4 April 1968, with “the greatest wave of social unrest the United States had experienced since the Civil War,” before it finally flamed out on 27 May 1968. And that truth was again acted out during 6 days of riots (29 April to 4 May) in Los Angeles CA in 1992, after the four cops who had savagely beat Rodney King in 1991 were acquitted of any crime.
“We are witnessing America as a failed social experiment,” Dr. Cornell West said on 29 May, as he preached on CNN television with crystal clarity on the massive and systemic failure of America — as a society, an economy and a tangle of governments — to protect and defend all of its people. Listen to Cornell West for yourself to unflinchingly face the reality of America (https://youtu.be/cs3jdyfx_fo), a reality that had been made plain by Malcolm X by 21 February 1965, when he was assassinated.
People are in the streets because the George Floyd murder was the last straw on their unbearably strained patience in waiting for justice in America. They blew up because they saw that justice in America will never arrive. Their many pent-up disappointments and frustrations came to a head on seeing the video of the George Floyd murder. Those disappointments and frustrations include experiences of victimization — many fatal — by racist policing, as well as economic victimization by a structurally racist and fundamentally rigged economy.
So, the victim populations of the race war against Blacks, Latinos, American Indians, and others disfavored by white supremacists; and the class war by the rich and powerful against: wage slaves, the unemployed, youth without prospects, and the 99% of Americans who are outsiders from the con games and self-aggrandizing capers of the economic insiders, just went ape-shit on seeing the Floyd murder and its obvious acceptability to the Trump-led bipartisan power structure. That is why I call it a lynching.
All this is happening during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has paralyzed society with its obvious deadliness, and that in turn has collapsed any hope of financial security for so many people who were already in the bottom tiers of the fundamentally heartless American economic system.
Many of these people are faced with sudden devastating losses: of health and life to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and of being cast into bankrupting debt by the medical bills for having survived COVID-19; of confidence in remaining healthy while on jobs they need for economic survival; of income when their jobs disappear, and with it their health insurance if those jobs even provided it; of housing with the inability to pay rent; and even of ready access to food. The pandemic has also interfered with the most fundamental source of solace we all rely on in our times of despair: sharing the company of our families and true friends. So going out into the streets now to protest is natural for many who want relief from the unbearable suffocation of the choke-holds on them, and for some of those people who feel they have nothing left to lose, to even riot.
Unfortunately, there are rotten malevolent scumbag bigots who are taking advantage of the street protests to act violently and destructively in the hopes of provoking a much wider race war of oppression by white supremacy. And there are too many cops and government people (the cop employers) who are obsessed with control and domination instead of public and individual welfare, and they too create more hurt and provoke more reactive rioting by their heavy-handed cop-riot “law enforcement” actions.
So we get a vicious cycle of violence begetting violence. The best way to break that cycle is to quickly legislate substantive social and economic improvements that clearly address the underlying distresses of the people protesting visibly, and the people despairing silently and invisibly. The blinded-by-bigotry Trump-type people don’t want to enact those long-needed reforms because it would mean cutting back on their money-making schemes and their biased administrative actions.
I am guessing the current cycle of unrest will wind down simply because of exhaustion on the part of most of the people in the streets, coupled with heavy suppression by militarized police and federal troops. That won’t end the problem, but just make it more “invisible” to the authorities and simply delay its resolution, which if not forthcoming will simply mean another outbreak is inevitable.
I think things will get back to “normal” in time (within weeks?), but the “normal” that we had before late May was toxic. It carries within it the makings of more, longer and worse future riots if we let it return and continue unchanged.
A Bernie Sanders presidency aided by a helpfully supportive Congress would have been a potentially mild reform of our toxic “now,” but that reform was forbidden by the corporate-owned bipartisan power structure through its Democratic Party wing, with the full concurrence of its Republican Party wing. So now we have the George Floyd riots because people don’t feel like compromising any more, or of waiting for the Godot of American justice, or of turning the other cheek of a failed Christianity.
I don’t know and can’t really guess what’s coming next, or of how things will play out for the rest of this year.
We need a lot of wise leadership — which is obviously entirely lacking from the Trump Administration, from the U.S. Congress, and from many governors and elected politicians — and we need a lot of steady confident calmness that holds off from violent actions, by governors, mayors and police forces, who would in turn all be supported in that type of compassionately wise response by those wished-for intelligent and unbiased Federal authorities, for this national crisis to be calmed down quickly and humanely; and to then be permanently resolved by essential social and economic reform legislation, which was assiduously enforced thereafter.
The slogan “no justice, no peace” says it all. We’ve always known that, and the Kerner Commission Report spelled it all out after the riots in 1967 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerner_Commission), but it was ignored.
This crisis will be fixed for real when justice in America is established for real. I don’t know when or if that will ever happen. But I just wish it would soon.
For America today: shamrock = lily; Erin = Freedom.
A September 6, 2017 report by the PBS Newshour (https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/white-christians-now-minority-u-s-population-survey-says) states that “White Christians are now a minority of the U.S. population,” at 43%. My op-ed stream-of-rant reaction (perhaps impolite?) to this now established demographic fact follows.
One motivation for US conservatives’ opposition to abortion – “a woman’s right to choose” – as stated by demographer Ben Wattenberg (after the 1970s in his increasingly neoconservative later years), and cited by Jane Elliott (the wonderful educator) in her anti-racism teachings, is that white supremacists’ great fear is over demographic dilution.
American conservatives’ opposition to abortion is not primarily concerned with preventing Blacks, minorities and the poor from procreating too many (and “too costly” to the public purse) non-white babies, but in fact to prevent white women from producing too few white babies.
This was exactly the policy of the Nazi regime in Germany, when bounties were paid for high fertility by acceptably white – “Aryan” – women. The fertility rate of Whites (in Europe, in the U.S.A., in South Africa, in Israel with its captive and concentration-encamped Palestine) is the lowest of all ethnicities/races. Generally speaking, the poorer and darker people are, and the closer to the equator they live or come from, the more children they are likely to have produced and/or have in their families. There is a worldwide darkening of the complexion of humanity underway.
Were there not immigration into the wealthy and comfortable Northern European nations, which we used to think of as “pure white,” they would be losing population in coming decades (if not already). There is a direct INVERSE correlation between an ethnic/racial segment of a national population having greater educational attainment and financial security, and a higher standard of living (a higher level of their nation’s Human Development Index, as tallied by the U.N.), and their fertility rate. The education and emancipation of poor Third World women – teaching them to read, and giving them means of gaining independent income – is the best way to reduce runaway fertility and stabilize “overpopulation.” That is why Whites have the lowest fertility rate as compared with darker and poorer people.
So, Northern Europe, the U.S.A. and other wealthy White enclaves are seeing their share of the population drop (proportionally in their nations). This is due to higher competing fertility more so than by “invasive immigration” by non-whites and foreigners of different type from that of the nativists.
In one sense the Nazi policy was kinder than that of tight-fisted US conservatives today, in that the Nazis provided good maternal medical care nationally to their favored “Aryan” portion of the German population (from 1933 till the war destroyed domestic life in Germany).
Jane Elliott’s basic point is that US white supremacist panic about demographic dilution is what lies behind American political anti-abortion. The pseudo-moralistic religiosity camouflage layered over this “pro-life movement” is just to hide its racist foundation. This religious put-on is easily revealed as a fraud by the complete lack of concern by “moral majority” and “tea party” type nativist-racists about any real threats to women and girls by good-old-boy Roy Moore type child molesters, and other sexual harassers of women, like Donald Trump and many other men in power, especially if white and “conservative.”
Do you imagine the Republicans and their base (indeed) supporters would now be yawning, instead of incensed, over the Stormy Daniels ’Castoff Porn Star Lover Of The President’ affair if it was Barack Obama (or even serial masher Horny Billy the C) she was calling out instead of Trump?
Abortion: White Panic Over Demographic Dilution
17 May 2019
What is behind the bigotry masquerading as sanctimonious religiosity fervently opposed to abortion in the United States?One motivation for US conservatives’ opposition to abortion – “a woman’s right to choose” – as stated by demographer Ben Wattenberg (in his increasingly neoconservative later years, after the 1970s), and cited by the wonderful educator, Jane Elliott (“White Fear” https://youtu.be/0k3yCG7PHzg), in her anti-racism teachings, is that white supremacists’ great fear is over demographic dilution.
American conservatives’ opposition to abortion is not primarily concerned with preventing Blacks, Latinos, minorities and the poor from procreating too many — and “too costly” to the public purse — non-white babies, but in fact to prevent white women from producing too few white babies. 60% of the 1.6 million abortions annually in the United States are for white women.
The banning of abortion was exactly the policy of the Nazi regime in Germany, when bounties were paid for high fertility by acceptably white – “Aryan” – women. The fertility rate of Whites in Europe, in the U.S.A., in South Africa, and in Israel with its captive and concentration-encamped Palestine, is the lowest of all ethnicities/races. Generally speaking, the poorer and darker people are, and the closer to the equator they live or come from, the more children they are likely to have produced and/or have in their families. There is a worldwide darkening of the complexion of humanity underway.
Were there not immigration into the wealthy and comfortable Northern European nations, which we used to think of as “pure white,” they would be losing population in coming decades, if not already. There is a direct INVERSE correlation between an ethnic/racial segment of a national population having greater educational attainment and financial security with a higher standard of living (a higher level of their nation’s Human Development Index, as tallied by the U.N.), with respect to their fertility rate. That is why Whites have the lowest fertility rate as compared with darker and poorer people.
The education and emancipation of poor Third World women – teaching them to read, and giving them means of gaining independent income – are the best ways to reduce runaway fertility and stabilize “overpopulation.” Demographic economists calculate that a stabilized world population of 2 to 4 billion people could live with comfortable standards of living in a stable world economy of much greater equality, and which was in balance with Nature; at present there are over 7.7 billion people on our planet. (The idea of reducing world population by 50% or more in 3 to 4 generations, is contentious and involved, and reserved for another essay in the future — maybe.)
So, Northern Europe, the U.S.A. and other wealthy White enclaves are seeing their share of the population drop, proportionally in their nations. This is due to higher competing fertility more so than by unregulated “invasive immigration” by non-whites and foreigners of different type from that of the nativists.
In one sense the Nazi policy was kinder than that of tight-fisted US conservatives today, in that the Nazis provided good maternal medical care nationally to their favored “Aryan” portion of the German population, from 1933 till the war destroyed domestic life in Germany, by 1945.
Jane Elliott’s basic point is that US white supremacist panic about demographic dilution is what lies behind American political anti-abortion. The pseudo-moralistic religiosity camouflage layered over this “pro-life movement” is just to hide its racist foundation. This religious put-on is easily revealed as a fraud by the complete lack of concern by “moral majority” and “tea party” type nativist-racists:
about childhood poverty and malnutrition, and the abandonment by government of poor children to abysmal “education;”
about white nativist enthusiasm for, instead of their repulsion at, the snuffing out of “precious life” by the brisk police execution of black, brown, mentally challenged, and alternatively sexual people disfavored by Bibleist Bigotry, and arbitrarily assigned as athwart the law; and also the favoring of the legalized lynching known as “capital punishment;”
and about hollow Christianity’s utter lack of concern for any real threats to women and girls by good-old-boy Roy Moore type child molesters, and other sexual harassers of women, like Donald Trump and many other men in power, especially if White (or on the Supreme Court) and “conservative.”
This White nativist Bible-thumping Christian (sic) fear of demographic dilution has two components:
1. “White Christians are now a minority of the U.S. population,” at 43% (https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/white-christians-now-minority-u-s-population-survey-says), and
2. Between 1950 and 1970, the fractional White population dropped from its highest proportion since 1700 (about 90%) to nearly 88%. The fractional Black population rose from 10% to 11%; and the fractional Hispanic population grew at an accelerating pace — more than doubling — from 2.1% to over 4.4%. During the 40 years between 1970 and 2010, the fractional White population dropped significantly from 88% to 72%. The fractional Black population rose modestly from 11% to 12.6%; and the fractional Hispanic population zoomed from 4.4% to 16.3% (almost quadrupling proportionately). In the year 2000, the fractional Black and fractional Hispanic populations were essentially equal (12.3% and 12.5%, respectively), and subsequently the fractional Hispanic population became larger, and continues growing faster.
The trends shown above are what fuel US white supremacy, both in sentiment and in political action. The growth of the US Hispanic population is driven overwhelmingly by a higher fertility rate, less so by immigration. White people, worldwide, are the richest “racial” population, and they have the lowest fertility rate (more money, less kids). “Darker” and poorer populations have higher fertility rates.
Trumpism (which includes anti-abortionism for white people too), the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and the former apartheid by and for white South Africa were/are wars against demographic dilution, perpetrated by the wealthy white low ‘fertiles’ (WWLFs) against poor dark high ‘fertiles’, (PDHFs). These “heart of whiteness” wars against demographic dilution are also wars for exclusionary capital hoarding (“race capitalism”).
Also, these wars are the echoes of the slave-owning White fears of the 17th through 19th centuries (over slave revolts), and the fears by the European imperialism of the 18th through 20th centuries (enacted through colonial wars). There is tremendous resistance among the world’s people to tolerate each other and share the Earth, for doing so would tumble capitalism, authoritarianism, patriarchy and religion.
While there is certainly a strong component of a “war on women” in anti-abortionism, to cover for chauvinist male insecurity that seeks idiotic reassurance by possessing and dominating women, the deeper wellspring of American anti-abortionism is the White supremacist fear of demographic dilution.
Also at Counter Punch:
Abortion: White Panic Over Demographic Dilution?
20 May 2019
I was mistaken to say 1.6M abortions/year are performed in the U.S. The actual number is hard to pin down; from several sources I find that abortions/year reported to the CDC amount to about 650,000 in recent years, BUT not all states report abortions within their state to the CDC, California and Florida (high abortion states) being among them, and the unreported (to the CDC) number is about 180,000+. So, accounting for that, one site claims “the estimated number of U.S. abortions in 2015 closer to 826,199.” The wikipedia article on abortion states “1.1 million in 2011.” So it seems the actual number is in the range of 800,000 to 900,000.
Trump is the best wake-up call Americans have had in decades. America has always been this way, but American politicians and capitalists have tried to mask it to keep the wheels of profitability: business, pork barrel and graft, turning smoothly. “Political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness” for that overarching purpose (Orwell quote). But Trump has dispensed with that, which is why the professional Republicans and Democrats hate him (for pantsing the long-standing corporate-run bipartisan con-job on the public) and most of the public hates him (for stating the crude heartless reality crudely; embarrassing, frightening and insulting them, a tough blow after eight years of Obama’s soothingly elegant and inspirational lying). Trump has the fool’s witless honesty of parading the leprous body of white-supremacy-capitalist-controlled government naked in public for all to see (because he’s a narcissistic true-believer in his religion: Mammonism). People who say “America has changed” or “America has degenerated” are actually reacting to the fact that the core reality of American government and capitalism (particularly since Ronald Reagan, 1980, but generally since far back) has finally broken through their benign wishful fantasies about American society. Trump’s overt and inadvertent ripping back of the curtain hiding the rotten truth has dispelled those innocent illusions, and that in turn has excited his religion’s worse elements to act out.
In Charlottesville, Virginia, resentful White knuckleheads torch-marched protesting against the demographic dilution of White Supremacy in America, shouting: “We will not be replaced!” Yvette Carnell (a Black woman political commentator) continues voicing the protests of resentful only-African-American-descendants-of-slaves against African and Afro-Caribbean Blacks and Hispanics prospering in America: “We should not be displaced!” These are two sides of that most popular American thousand-sided counterfeit coin: “My race uber alles!” Race-love and race-hate are both the opium of the discards from American capitalism.
Black men are 6% of the US population, and that group “contributes” 40% of the killed-by-police dead. Not all of those dead were armed and/or significant threats to society. Police in America have a very difficult job to do (because Americans are so efft-up, and on opoids and all kinds of other street shit, as well as alcohol, and are TV-addled dopes, sports fans, and even domestic abusers; besides so many just normal drama-queens wanting attention). And, by and large, our police are doing a meh job. Most cops are so-so, but too many are total shit. It would be good for Americans if their cops were unarmed (no guns). Those cops who didn’t like that would quit (good) and those who accepted that challenge would probably do okay. Knuckleheads seeking power-by-association do not make the best cops. Bigotry exists in America because most Americans find it comforting (they feel scared and inadequate), “business” finds it more profitable to tolerate than reject (don’t contradict the richer customers, and take advantage of the hungry workers), and most people are too chicken to go beyond their ethnic-racial-‘cultural’ clannishness, especially if it impedes attending to their greed/self-interest. America hasn’t changed, it’s just that in the Trump “era” no effort is being made to mask the reality: it’s all about the money. If you REALLY wanted to see racism disappear (at least in actions) in the USA, we would have to do what the Cuban Revolution did: full socialism (all in for the benefits and opportunities), and inflexible laws for inclusion and anti-discrimination (regardless of the “cost” to “business”). Americans aren’t there yet, they’re too wrapped up in their stupid, selfish fantasies.
It got so bad in Charlottesville, VA (where the whiney white supremacists were yowling about not being uber-special anymore, roughing people up, and in one case committing automobile homicide of a counter-protester), that President Trump had to give an almost Bernie-like speech, that “regardless of your race, color or creed, we are all Americans.” Wow, he had to push back on his base for his own political survival. What the proportions of hypocrisy and sincerity were in Trump’s speech, I’ll let you judge (and I believe there is some degree of sincerity in it) [15 August 2017, I now believe there was zero sincerity], because ALL Americans are race-conscious (that is to say, racist!!). Bigotry in our country will not die in our lifetimes, because it is so comforting. Bigotry will live in America as long as it is good for business (money beats morals every time). The popular attitude is: “I’m perfect, all my problems are caused by other people.” My vision of America is unachievable: fairness, support and equal opportunity for all, regardless: “to each according to his and her needs, from each according to his and her abilities.”
Yvette Carnell (the political commentator on Facebook, a Black woman) is right: it is a battle for the crumbs between America’s (the U.S.’s) minority populations. And it is the natural clannishness and tribal-centric focus of these many races and ethnicities, in their economic competitiveness, that is their greatest contribution to the continuing domination of the dominant culture and the dominant “race” in our White capitalist society.
Freedom versus Equality
The Cuban Revolution brought to power a centralized authority — Fidel Castro — who the Americans called a dictator, who could impose a vision of racial, sexual, and eventually sexual-orientation non-discrimination on the entire Cuban society. This Cuban Revolutionary vision extended to the liberation of African Blacks from colonialism and apartheid, and this Fidelista vision transformed the Cuban people, moving them beyond the Spanish colonial and Catholic racial and sexual hierarchies and prejudices that existed in Cuba up to the mid 1960s. Cuba was transformed from the top down into a society of great equality because of a great dictating power. (1)
In contrast, the United States is a society of great inequality because of a great degree of freedom from top-down restraints on individuals — especially on those with means — so they can pursue their many schemes of personal enrichment by the legally-accepted exploitation of weaker and poorer people. So, for the winners in America’s capitalist competition for self-aggrandizement America is “free” and Cuba is a “dictatorship.”
While to the Cubans who have been liberated from poverty, oppression and corruption, and have then been uplifted with state-provided physical security, healthcare and education, the obviously racially prejudiced and exploitative American capitalist elite are rabid imperialists and even fascists, whose “liberty” is exclusively the liberty of slaveowners to globally expand their temp-gig and prison labor plantation economy. The equalized Cuban socialists see American democracy as the democracy of property owners whose voting power is equated with the magnitude of their wealth, whose ultimate power rests on the micro-fragmentation of American society (by racism, sexism, anti-socialism, anti-unionism), and where the degree of one’s personal enslavement is equated with the depth of poverty that one can “freely” achieve.
Envy Enslaves Us
Black Americans resent White Americans for not loving them, and they resent all immigrants and their American-born descendants for getting in the way of that yearned-for love. The divide and conquer program of dominating colonizers continues in the United States, with the many minorities set into vicious labor competition with each other for the economic crumbs falling off the feasting table of the White capitalist elite. So, Black Americans deeply resent the Spanish-speaking people in “their” country, the one they believe they have priority rights for minority benefits and preferences, because their ancestors paid early and heavily during slavery for those yet-to-be received “reparations.”
It is true that every immigrant and immigrant group that lands in America aims to improve their economic condition, and they take advantage of whatever opportunities the system allows them. This is a threat for American Blacks because they see themselves as still struggling to own the opportunities available at the bottom rungs of the economic ladder. They resent the fact that all immigrant groups do better than they do in the battle for the crumbs in American capitalism. They also resent being conned by elite White neoliberals like Hillary Clinton, and their own self-aggrandizing Black mis-leadership class, to believe “we are all in this together” with other minority groups with whom they experience bitter labor and economic competition.
Capitalism Is Racist
There is overt discrimination by everybody. Every minority individual and group, given the opportunity to make employment decisions, will hire their own. So, it is easy to find Latinos (“Hispanics” to the Gringos, and the Blacks Stockholm-Syndromed to them) excluding monolingual Blacks from job calls (e.g., Miami), and Blacks being excluded in favor of Latinos by temporary job agencies because of White employer preferences (e.g., Chicago). Here in Oakland, California, it is also unfortunately easy to learn about instances of personal attacks on Latinos (and Chinese) by Blacks (I have seen such, and heard from people involved). Social media exudes vituperativeness in this regard (e.g., comments by some Black Oaklanders about Mayor Libby Schaaf, a White woman). Also, I have seen Chinese patronage-by-hiring enclaves within a large corporate structure, a very closed form of Affirmative Action. Basically, every race and ethnicity one can imagine prefers their own kind when doling out advantages.
Humans Prefer Division
Every American, of whatever type, is a racist without exception. Individuals who object to this characterization only do so to defend their egos. We humans are all just a species of primate (and there is only one “race” of humans, who happen to have some variety of physiological features and pigmentation). Like our primate cousins the chimpanzees, we fragment into troops that maintain fierce rivalries with other troops (we myopically see other human “races” as other species) for territory, resources, food: wealth. This basic human characteristic (flaw) has been used by imperialists, colonizers and race-dominating slaveowners for millennia to keep the “natives,” the plebes and the slaves at odds with each other, to ensure the rule of the dominant minority over the squabbling, oppressed and exploited majority.
The chronic toxicity of American racism and race-consciousness is such that today a perfectly acceptable vision for many Americans would be the idea that President-Elect Donald Trump could uplift Black Americans — the descendants of slaves, not the more successfully competing modern black immigrants from Africa — by offering a down payment on reparations in the form of making them (exclusively) the well-paid construction workforce in his mega-project of building a 3,201 kilometer (1,989 mile) wall along the Mexican border, to exclude potential labor competition to the English-only American underclass.
Prejudice Is The Self-Worth Of The Defeated
People imbibe their defining racist attitudes (ignorance) with their mother’s milk, it is passed down through families and by their “traditional culture.” Most people do not make the effort to gain the intellectual sophistication and the moral character needed to grow out of this prejudicial ignorance, and to evaluate other individuals on the basis of their personal merits and flaws, instead of as symbols of abstract concepts called “race.” Most people form their personas — their images of themselves and their foundational ideas — early in life (usually by 14 years of age) and are loath to alter them because doing so is sensed as a loss of confidence, a diminution of self. So, they are stuck for life with the misconceptions of their youth, however acquired.
But, each new generation always absorbs some new attitudes that are in general circulation in the local and world societies of their formative years, and in that way the consensus attitudes of larger populations (both ethnic-tribal populations and regional-national populations) glacially evolve. What I conclude from the efflorescence of popular racist ignorance in this present Brexit-Trump period is that the pace of attitudinal evolution about “race in America” is indeed exceedingly slow. One would have thought that a century and a half after the end of the Civil War that racism would be absent in the United States; but no. So, the half-life for the decay of American racism may be in millennia instead of centuries. It is conceivable that climate change will wipe out humanity with Americans still being stupidly racist, sexist and capitalist.
(1) Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (13 August 1926 – 25 November 2016)