Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Letter to Joe Bageant - Liberals And The Anti-War Movement: Enablers For Empire

What’s up Joe! It is your friend from Brooklyn wanting to say hello as well as weigh in on your latest piece. As always, you express your opinions in the most colorful manner. I am glad that in your piece prior to the present one you connected with folks from the other side of town so to speak. My parents are from Dominican Republic and when I was there last summer I witnessed the extreme poverty but also the greater sense of community. I mean people actually visit each other’s homes for no particular reason and social life is not mediated through the mall, the mass media/entertainment complex or cell phones. I tell you every time I see someone with a cell phone or the earpiece to one sticking out of their ear I cannot help but cringing. I’ve always felt that much communication is lost during a phone conversation. You cannot read the other individual’s body language, which in turn impacts, no so positively, tone and delivery. Then, with cell phones, there is the added ingredient of being always within reach but not necessarily in touch. As a result, conversation tends to become staid, banal and just plain mindless. This is why Kurt Nimmo (you’ve probably heard of him, his blog is at ) derisively calls the 40 and under crowd “the cell phone generation.” A group by and large wrapped up in its own self-centeredness and thus unable and unwilling to engage the pressing issues of the day. Even if it’ll ultimately result in great harm befalling them.

Which brings me to your latest piece where you bemoan the state of the nation and its somnambulant inhabitants. I kinda feel that, like me, you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired! Perhaps I mentioned this in one of my earlier messages to you but after the rot (and I don’t mean the actual physical rot but the social rot) that was laid bare by hurricane Katrina, I’ve never felt the same. I just felt this deep despair coupled with rage. Black people were largely abandoned and left to drown. Meanwhile that goddamn witch Barbara Bush looks around the Dante’s inferno that was the New Orleans Superdome at that moment and says:

And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them. (1)

All I could think of was how do White folks continually allow the worst elements from amongst them to rise to the top, or remain there, and lead them. These people are barbarians and represent the most backward sections of humanity. There should have been riots in every major city in this country! Yet, what did we get? Yep you guessed it, hand wringing by the so-called Left and outright hostility or indifference by all these compassionate conservatives (sic) we have around here. More recently, after the suicide of three prisoners in the notorious Guantanamo concentration camp, we get some of these nuggets:

Colleen Graffy (the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy on the BBC’s Newshour):

It does sound like this is part of a strategy—in that they don’t value their own lives, and they certainly don’t value ours; and they use suicide bombings as a tactic. Taking their own lives was not necessary, but it certainly is a good PR move.

Guantánamo base commander Rear Admiral Harry Harris:

I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.

Wait a minute let me get this straight, three men who were being held incommunicado, subjected to torture both physical and mental for several years and robbed of all hope took their own lives as a PR move or as a way of attacking their captors! Do Americans really buy this bull crap! It is the absolute epitome of hubris, denial and just plain bone-headedness that someone could think the suicide of these desperate men was something other than their choosing the only means of escape they felt left open to them. Any one of us would likely do the same considering the situation.

Like you, I lament the condition of what passes for the Left in this country. This morning I was reading about the eviction of the urban farmers in LA from their land and saying to myself will the people in this country ever learn or will the Barca lounger approach to resistance continue to be the norm. Yeah, we’ll just chain ourselves together, engage in peaceful civil disobedience and have a party while we’re at it. Uh hugh, that’ll stop’em. Here is what Daryl Hannah, speaking on Democracy Now, describes what happened next:

There has been a massive show of force. I can see hundreds of police cars and I can't even tell you how many police and storm trooper outfits. And they're executing an eviction, which is -- seems to be unnecessary. Because there was a deal on the table -- the Annenberg Foundation and the Trust for Public Land had put an offer on the table for Mr. Horowitz. And I don't know why they're wasting taxpayers' money this way. These are families who depend on this food. Literally, they're subsistence farmers.

I see hundreds of police officers. They've got band saws, they've got a teargas canister pointing right at us, a big gun with a teargas thing on it, bolt-cutters, generators, and cables, and climbing people in climbing gear. The officers -- some of them are putting on rubber gloves. I don't know if that's to handle some of the people down below the tree who are in lockdown mode. But hopefully they won't be using chemical weapons. (2)

Later in the program Tezozomoc, the elected representative of the South Central Farmers says:

We basically continue today, we’re going to court. One of the things that will happen is that as usual, Mr. Horowitz's arrogance will probably get him in a lot of trouble. One of the things that he has done is the destruction of personal property. The bulldozing of the plots is -- we are going to go challenge that situation in court today, because that is destruction of personal property. When somebody is evicted, you can't destroy their property. You have to give people an opportunity to take that property with them. Even after the eviction. And that happens – you know, if you're evicted out of an apartment, they can't just destroy your stuff. They tell you, “ok, you have 10 days, and in 10 days you'll have three hours to get everything out of there.” And that's one situation that he obviously has overestimated his authority. (3)

I quoted them at length Joe because both speakers are indicative of what’s wrong with the supposed Left. Hannah can’t understand why they, the powers that be, are doing this and that “hopefully they won’t be using chemical weapons”. Is she really that naïve? They do not give a flying fuck about the little people. The money on the table is not the issue in this particular instance. Whenever they, the peons, even slightly get out of line, we’ll have to show them who’s boss. Just like we did with the Transit workers in NYC. Yeah, and we can *only hope* that the same folks that justify and applaud torture and collective punishment won’t resort to chemical weapons. Hell, let’s take them to court! That’s what we’ll do! Great Plan Edison! Nevermind, that the court system is part and parcel of the system of domination and serves the interests of private power, it’ll be fair and balanced. Sorta like Fox News.

What a crock of shit man. I’ve come to the conclusion that the supposed Left in this country has gotten so fat off the New Deal and the over-arching golden age of capitalism, that they have lost their “cojones.” They seem to have forgotten how power works. It’s like they keep getting their asses kicked and still insist on the same tactics that just failed them. Whenever el Pueblo has won anything in this country fighting the system it has seen blood spilt. That remains true today and will remain forever true as long as class societies exist. Fredrick Douglass once said, “power yields nothing without a demand.” That was his way of saying if you want something you’re gonna hafta kick some ass. The Right clearly understands this and this is why they are consistently against gun laws. Just picture someone like Al Franken or Leslie Cagan on the eve of the American Revolution talking about moderation. Shit if the American patriots didn’t bayonet both of their asses the redcoats surely would have. It is not by accident that our right to bear arms is enshrined in the Constitution. Even the “Founding Fathers,” greedy Mercantalist Capitalists that they were, understood the dangers of a tyrannical government with no hard means of reining it in. At this point reasoning with the system will not work and barely ever did before. Reforms, even if possible, only buys the system time and are short-lived anyhow. Things have gotten way too far out of hand. I have friends who, though meaning well, go to the latest anti-war demo and think they are doing something other than making a meaningless spectacle. Hello! Your puppets, teach-ins, snazzy placards, street theatre and such are being met with rubber bullets, sometimes live ones, mace and batons. Yet, the war went on and goes on. Then again, maybe that is the point. Go out let yourself be fenced into designated free speech zones while “protesting”, call the whole smelly shitty surreal scene a demonstration of popular resistance and then go home and ask “mirror mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all?”

I am of the opinion that since the state is consistently pulling a Tiananmen Square on us we are going to have to eventually Iraqify this joint. I just do not see any other way out. Yes, build those grass-root organizations and initiate the movement. However, be ready to fight it out because power will most certainly not be relinquished peaceably. That has never been the M. O. of any ruling class and the American one seems to be particularly nasty and brutish. In the end, those who close off all avenues to peaceful change invite violent change. In the neo-con’s warped version of this adage, they did just that with Iraq and now, even more distinctly, it is happening with Iran. We desperately need a change in course confronted as we are by Peak Oil, global warming, economic meltdown, when the real estate bubble goes POP, and Fascism and its handmaiden military adventurism. For the good of themselves as well as the rest of humanity, U. S. citizens must put on the brake big time on the grasping planetary hegemon that is their country.

In any case, one way or another we will see civil war or revolution here when the contradictions and looming ecological disasters come to a head. In the not so distant future there will be no more big-box stores full of cheap crap from countries paying slave wages. No more, as James Howard Kunstler put it, “easy motoring within this drive-in utopia.” Certainly, there in no room any longer for a set of folks such as American liberals who function as a faux opposition and are movement killers rather than movement makers. Move-on, whom I sorely wish would do just that, comes to mind here. We are essentially at the point now where this regime in particular, but also the system as a whole, gangster-like character has become readily apparent. Trouble looms ahead, from all angles, for the U. S. Capitalist ship of state. They’ve tacitly acknowledged as much by getting Kellogg Brown and Root to build these so-called “detention and processing camps” to supposedly deal with “an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S.” (4) Why, one might be led to ask, would they be expecting such a large movement of people thus ostensibly necessitating these camps and are these camps reserved just for “illegal immigrants?” No, like the Iraqi people we’ll have to fight if we are to rid ourselves of this oppressive system. Otherwise, it will keep trudging along until it self-destructs like the tape recorder in Mission Impossible after being played.

I know you realize all this shit Joe but for one thing, I know you’ll understand what the fuck I mean and for another, I just want to show you the love. Heaven knows, the way things are going, we may find ourselves shoulder to shoulder in one of KBR’s detention centers waiting for the Grand Ole Opera to play our exit tune while munching on Soylent Green. Let’s just hope it doesn’t come down to that and people in this country rise up and throw the bums out if not give’em the Lenin treatment.

Your Brother in Arms,
Johnnie Q

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?