Category Archives: Racism

Free Joy Powell!  America’s Political Prisoner for Fighting Police Brutality

If you protest against police brutality in America, you are definitely going to get brutalized by the police.  And lately, federal marshals, homeland security, ICE officers, and assorted militarized federal goons and thugs will pile on.  If you led a movement against police brutality in Rochester, NY in 2006, like Rev. Joy Powell did, you will be set up on felony burglary and then murder charges, and spend a long time in prison—doing very hard time as a female, African-American, political prisoner.  It’s important to make sure Rev. Powell’s story is out there, because she was in the forefront of the black effort to protest this most lethal form of white supremacy, and as the only political prisoner jailed for directly fighting police brutality, is paying dearly for it.

Joy Powell recently wrote about the killing of George Floyd:

We live in a system which blatantly displays “White Justice and Black Laws” with random killing of Black and Brown people based upon the color of their skin. . . [T]he world is enraged after the traumatic news aired of an unarmed black man named George Floyd being brutally murdered by a Minneapolis officer named Derek Chauvin who strangled him to death as his knee pressed in this unarmed victim’s neck while George was handcuffed on the ground.  This evil and diabolic murderer didn’t treat George Floyd with dignity and humanity. . . [It] has me disgusted and totally vexed.  We’re pushed to the brink and forced to protest.  It’s really happening;  it’s called “CIVIL UNREST”!

Rev. Powell knows all about the lack of dignity and humanity of the police.

Powell is in solitary at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women—harassed by guards, and, typically for prisoners, especially political prisoners, denied medical treatment for diabetes and asthma.  Born in 1962, she grew up in bad conditions in Rochester, NY, and started young, dealing drugs, for which she was jailed at the Albion Prison—where she was raped and then stalked by a corrections officer.  In spite of that trauma, she came out determined to devote her life to advocating for the mentally ill and then organizing protests against violence.  By 2002, this included the lethal violence of the Rochester Police Department.  By then a Pentecostal pastor, Powell organized demonstrations criticizing the police when six people died in police custody and when a man was beaten to death.  The police beat a mentally ill black man to death, and then they “maced, beat with billy clubs, stomped and arrested” those who tried to intervene to prevent his death.  It was all on tape, but not only did the police go unpunished, they were commended by the police department and the mayor.  All this sounds very familiar.   It certainly is to Joy Powell.  She has recently written:  “African-Americans are subjected to the harshest laws. The color of my skin seems to be the only crime:  racial profiling comes to white supremacist minds.”  The harshest punishment was definitely meted out to Powell.

Powell’s activism against police brutality and racism resulted in her being framed for serious crimes.  The Rochester PD had warned her she was a “target.” She was not to get away with speaking out “against corruption, police brutality, and police justifications,” as the Jericho political prisoner organization put it.  She was set up:  falsely charged with burglary in 2006, and convicted—getting 16 years—and then, in 2011, convicted of killing a man back in 1992, given 25 years to life, with no credible evidence and witnesses who later admitted to lying.  She will be eligible for release in 2022.

That is, she will if she survives that long.  It’s been reported that at Bedford Hills Prison, women with corona virus symptoms are housed virtually on top of each other in isolation.  After two weeks, they’re released into the general population.  There’s no widespread testing; each prisoner gets one disposable mask.  At Carswell “Medical” Prison for Women in Ft. Worth, there have been at least 500 cases.  One of the women politicals I’ve written about, Red Fawn Fallis, in for resisting the pipeline poisoning of indigenous lands, has been transferred to Dublin (California).  But fellow Native-American prisoner Andrea Circle Bear was not as fortunate.  She died of the virus at Carswell, after delivering her baby.  Earth Liberation Front (ELF) political transgender Marius Mason was also transferred, to Danbury (Connecticut), but not Aafia Siddiqui.  Siddiqui is a victim of horrific injustice, tortured as an alleged Muslim activist, and is still at Carswell, serving her 86-year sentence as a “terrorist.”  All political prisoners should immediately be released.

As Joy Powell said in her recent statement on Floyd’s murder:  “My people came here in shackles and chains, yet nothing has changed.  It remains the same. . .  They maced a 9-year-old girl and busted a 75-year-old man’s head open in Buffalo.”  In Powell’s own Rochester NY, her struggle continues and the response is still brutality.  In July of 2018, 16 people were arrested at a Black Lives Matter Rochester march.  The marchers were met by Rochester riot police with “guns, batons, and helicopters” and with no mainstream press coverage.  In June of this year, after yet another violent police response to their George Floyd rally, the Rochester BLM released a statement criticizing the RPD’s “disregard for our basic humanity” and insisting the city of Rochester must “divest from police and invest in our communities.”  The dissent goes on and so do brutal police riots.

As of the end of June, at least 10,000 protesters have been arrested.  And as ever, police certainly do not spare women when it comes to their brutality—many, many videos can be seen online where women are knocked down, held down, maced at close range—very young women and women from the Wall of Moms in Portland.  And also as ever, black women can count on special attention from police as they defiantly protest against faceless, heavily armed storm troopers.  In early July, in Des Moines, protest organizer and African-American Jasmine Johnson, 19, was charged with “criminal mischief.”  She told of two officers holding her handcuffed arms while she said to them:  “Let go.  I have handcuffs on.  I can’t do anything.  You’re holding me too tight and it hurts.  Let go of me!”  According to Des Moines’ BLM, law enforcement “became violent” at that demonstration.  They tackled a woman, while other protesters tried to push away the cops.  And they put two black women in chokeholds—one of them was then slammed up against the side of a van, causing her injury.  Such police violence is way too common.

Another egregious example is the experience of Miracle Boyd, a black 18-year-old activist, a recent high school graduate, who is an organizer for Chicago’s Good Kids Mad City.  She advocates defunding the police and using the money to help black and Latinx communities.  She has also worked against gun violence and poverty.  On July 20th she was filming the cops’ violence at a rally to protest the Christopher Columbus statue.  She was filmed when she was punched in the face by an officer—the blow knocking out several of her front teeth.  She’d been recording the violence around her where the CPD struck at least 32 people with their batons, some on the ground when being hit.  After the incident she got hate mail, racist messages and threats, all of which blamed her and thought she deserved to be punched.  Boyd said, at a news conference, that she was attacked by the CPD, “who value a supremacist statue over my life, safety and well-being.”  Her lawyer, Sheila Bedi, a law professor from Northwestern, says the officer was using “lethal force” illegally.  They want him fired, and Boyd is bringing a civil lawsuit.  The social media visibility of the incident, as with other filmed violent incidents, means that perhaps at least some of these police crimes might face punishment.

The Black struggle against the lethal force unleashed by white supremacy to keep them in line dates back to slave patrols, but in terms of more recent movements, the Black Panther Party was very important, and very dangerous as far as the government was concerned.  The Black Panthers, begun in 1966 (over 50 years ago!), demanded an end to police brutality and had armed patrols to ensure it.  According to the BPP’s Safiya Bukhari (another female political prisoner), the Panthers’ “10 Points” featured “an end to police brutality and murder of blacks” and “black men freed from jails.”  The US systemic white supremacist government has not lost that fight yet.  Famed political prisoner—until she escaped to Cuba—Assata Shakur, member of the BPP and its underground military wing, the Black Liberation Army, clearly saw that their enemy was, as Shakur said in her Autobiography (1984), “the capitalistic, imperialistic oppressors.”

The Panthers put their analysis in the global context of American imperialism abroad.  Truths about capitalism and imperialism cannot be admitted by the US, because of the necessity of maintaining the Big Lie of America personifying freedom, equality and democracy.  So when Julian Assange tore back the curtain to reveal the true nature of the US war to “help” the people of Iraq with the revelation of the “collateral damage” tape, it had to be quickly contained and those responsible for the truth-telling harshly punished.   Similarly, when the tape of George Floyd’s murder was widely broadcasted, the corporate government and media tried to contain and co-opt the horrible truth of unchecked police violence, and has now moved to forcibly suppress the anti-racist/anti-government protesters.

As Joy Powell puts it:  “Unity, shame and fear, has moved in weeks what centuries couldn’t.  Acknowledgement is power.”  There’s hope in that recognition.  Assata Shakur talked of “political, social and economic oppression” of black people.  And then “where there is oppression, there will be resistance.”  So many black women political prisoners have fought white racism—from anarchist Lucy Parsons in the 1870s, to Communist Claudia Jones in the 1950s, and SNCC’s Diane Nash, MOVE’s Janine and Janet Africa and the Black Panther women of the 1960s and 70s—and now for BLM.  BLM’s politicals include the jailed (in 2016) Jasmine Richards from Pasadena, and Sandra Bland, who was quite possibly murdered in a Texas jail in 2015. All political prisoners must be freed—this is even more urgent as prisoners confront the corona virus.

And Rev. Joy Powell, jailed for exposing police brutality, is one who should be released.  It was good to see that the Black is Back Coalition, in advertising their August conference, pictured Joy Powell with Mumia Jamal, Sundiata Acoli and Mutulu Shakur; she was there with all the black male political prisoners, many in jail since the age of the Black Panthers. The Coalition argues that during this latest uprising, it would be a good time to free all these prisoners.  Joy Powell’s statement on the uprising is moving:  “We need love, peace and the police abuse to cease! . . . THE GIG IS UP IN 2020, like thunder we sing!  No Justice, No Peace, No Racist Police!”  She wants to be free—to have justice.  She wonders—as do the protesters in Seattle, Portland, NYC, Des Moines and Rochester—“why can’t I exercise my first amendment right of ’free speech’?”  In Powell’s case, she wants to exercise her right “without being set-up, and beaten, with trumped-up charges, a couple of wrongful convictions and a 6’ by 8’cell.”  She’s the only political prisoner jailed directly for fighting police brutality.  Free Joy Powell!

COVID-19 Crisis Failure, People Must Save Themselves and the Economy

Positive COVID-19 Test (Shutterstock)

The US is at a moment of truth. This week, Congress has to face up to a pandemic that is out of control and an economy that is collapsing. The Republican’s and Democrat’s proposals show they will fail this test. The people will need to protect themselves and lead from below.

The pandemic is worsening with more than 60,000 new cases and approximately 1,000 new deaths daily. Deaths, now over 158,000, are spiking across the sunbelt and increasing across the Midwest. By Election Day, the US could have 250,000 deaths making COVID-19 the third largest killer after cancer and heart disease.

The economy shrank at a record 32.9% annual pace in the second quarter, the largest since records were first kept in 1947. Jobless claims increased for the second week in a row with 1.4 million new people seeking unemployment benefits and continuing claims have risen to 17.06 million. More than 35 million people have lost their jobs since March.

In the face of these depression-era numbers, neither the Democrats nor Republicans are planning enough spending to rebuild the economy. President Trump, who has botched the response to the pandemic, is unable to lead but seems willing to sign anything that passes Congress.

Boxes of food are distributed by the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, at a drive thru distribution in downtown Pittsburgh, 10 April, 2020 (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar.)

Republican HEALS Act Will Spread the Virus, Deepen Economic Collapse

The Republican Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act seeks to push people back to work and reopen schools even if it is not safe to do so. Their proposals to cut unemployment benefits are designed to make workers desperate so they will work in conditions that put their health at risk. A large portion of school funding is restricted to schools that physically reopen forcing unsafe schools. Here are some of the details of the bill:

Health care: The inadequacy of for-profit healthcare has been magnified by the pandemic. The loss of jobs resulted in millions of people losing their health insurance on top of almost 30 million people who were already uninsured. Republicans do not include a funding increase for Medicaid, which 70 million people rely on. The National Governor’s Association reports states are experiencing budget shortfalls ranging between 5 and 20 percent. The Republicans do not provide any funding to state and local governments to make up for this loss of income. Without new funding, states will have to cut Medicaid eligibility, reduce benefits, or reduce payments to providers at a time when the economy and virus mean more people need it.

Food: The Census reports 26 million people do not have adequate food. Food banks are reporting shortages and 14 million children are going hungry but the Republicans did not extend funding for food assistance programs. The Republicans did not extend either the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known as food stamps, or the Pandemic EBT program, a benefit for households with children who have temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals, which ended in June. In contrast, they did propose a 100 percent deduction on business meals through the end of 2020.

Housing: The eviction moratorium expired last week. It protected an estimated 12 million renters in federally-backed properties. The HEALS Act does nothing to prevent evictions from restarting. There are 110 million Americans who live in rental households. Twenty percent of them, 23 million people, are at risk of eviction by September 30 according to the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project. With the cut in unemployment benefits, the Census Bureau estimates 24 million people will be unable to pay next month’s rent, including 45 percent of Black and Latinx households.

Worker safety: As workers are being forced back to work, the HEALS Act cuts their ability to sue at a time when worker-safety is at its greatest risk in a century.  Senator McConnell calls this a “red line” that must be in the final bill. His proposal would preempt the few state workplace safety laws that exist and supersede such federal worker safeguards as the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, among others. The Republican proposal would erect almost insurmountable obstacles to lawsuits by workers who become infected at their workplaces and limit damages. To be immune, employers would merely have to show they were  “exploring options” to comply with federal law, or they found the risk of harm to health could not be “reduced or eliminated by reasonably modifying policies, practices, or procedures.” A worker whose lawyer issues a demand letter and settlement offer would find themselves potentially facing litigation by the employer against them. If employers sue workers, there is no limit to punitive damages. These provisions would be retroactive to December 1, 2019, and remain in effect at least until October 1, 2024.

Student debt: The HEALS Act doesn’t extend the interest-free payment pause on federal student loans or halt debt collection on government-held student debt, two forms of relief in the original CARES ACT. Without extending the relief Congress first granted to student loan borrowers through the CARES Act, 40 million people are likely to have to resume payments on September 30, 2020 at a time when there are Depression-like levels of unemployment.

Business support: The Act provides $100 billion more for the problematic Paycheck Protection Program, which has been rife with corruption as members of Congress and the administration as well as their friends, families, and donors got payouts. Big businesses got loans even though the program was intended for small businesses, making small business owners furious. Black and minority businesses were denied loans. Money is needed for main street businesses but PPP needs major changes rather than just pouring more money into the failed program.

The bill also includes $1.75 billion for the FBI building. This was added at the insistence of the Trump administration because the president’s hotel is across the street from the FBI. Without funding to refurbish the building, the FBI could move to Virginia or Maryland, leaving the current building to be torn down and likely replaced with a hotel that would compete with Trump’s hotel.

Military spending: Nearly $30 billion in the HEALS Act would be allocated in a brazen giveaway to the military. The bill includes billions for the Pentagon including $686 million for F-35 stealth fighters, $650 million for A-10 ground attack airplane wing replacements, $1.4 billion for four expeditionary medical ships, and $720 million for C-130J transport aircraft, $375 million for armored vehicles, $360 million for missile defense, and $283 million for Apache helicopters. This is reportedly being added to make up for money taken from the Pentagon for the border wall and comes after Congress recently passed a record military spending bill.

Paramedics taking a patient into an Emergency Room at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

The Democrats Fail To Use Their Power

The Democrats control the House of Representatives. Nothing can pass the Senate without Democratic Party support. The Senate Republicans are divided and Trump is desperate to sign a bill. Polls show Republicans could lose the Senate so they need to pass a good bill. The political alignment favors the Democratic Party but it still isn’t doing what is needed.

The Democrats passed the HEROES (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions) Act in May, a $3 trillion proposal compared to the $1 trillion HEALS Act. Two months ago this may have been adequate but now that figure needs to be increased as more jobs have been lost, state and city governments have lost income, and the cost of treating the virus has increased with more cases.

A “red line” for the Democrats should be funding state and local government with at least $1 trillion to continue basic services. More than 20 million people work for state and local governments such as firefighters, teachers, police, sanitation workers, and transportation workers. The Economic Policy Institute estimates 5.3 million jobs will be lost without state and local funding. President Trump and the Republicans do not want another massive increase in job loss, so the Democrats are in a strong position to make this demand.

The decrease in unemployment benefits should be another unacceptable “red line” as this will further shrink the economy. The Economic Policy Institute finds the loss of the extra $600 of unemployment benefits, which people are currently spending on basic needs, will result in the loss of an additional 3.4 million jobs.

One area where the Democrats can build on some agreement is the $1,200 COVID-19 relief payment to individuals. These payments are too small. A good COVID-19 relief package would increase payments to $2,000 per person monthly for the duration of the pandemic and recession for households earning under $150,000 as suggested by Sen. Bernie Sanders. This would slow the economic collapse and ease suffering.

It is essential to extend the moratorium on evictions not just for federally-subsidized housing, but the federal government should also cover rent and mortgage payments for the duration of the crises. Otherwise, millions of families will lose their homes in an election year, which should be politically unpalatable for both parties.

Health workers give people free Covid-19 tests in Arlington, Virginia, on May 26 (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)

We Need a Plan

What is missing from both the Republican and Democratic bills is a strategy to control and stop the pandemic. The virus is 7 months old and still spreading rapidly. President Trump has failed to lead so Congress must do so. The bill should include a massive investment in making rapid testing available across the country. Every business and school should have rapid testing capability before they reopen. This should be combined with hiring 500,000 public health tracers so those who have been exposed to COVID-19 can be tracked to prevent further spread of the virus.

Everyone wants to restart the economy but this must be done safely. In addition to testing and tracing, workplaces and schools must be safe. School districts should decide whether to restart or continue web-based learning and should be supported by the federal government whatever they choose. Hundreds of thousands of tutors who can do one-on-one teaching to support web-based learning are needed. With high unemployment, especially among recent graduates and college students, there are people available to take on this task.

Congress should authorize OSHA to rapidly enact stringent standards for workplaces to reopen, along with funding for necessary safeguards. There should be increased funding for OSHA workplace inspections and investigations of inadequate safety. Employers who meet the standards for a safe workplace should have legal protection from frivolous lawsuits but employees should also have the right to sue if workplaces do not meet safety standards. This approach protects both workers and employers and will reduce the spread of the virus.

Neither party handled healthcare well even before the pandemic. COVID-19 has magnified the failure of for-profit healthcare. To stop the spread of the virus, Congress needs to break away from its privatized approach to healthcare. With the widespread job loss, 5.4 million workers lost their health insurance as did millions more family members. This is the largest decline in health insurance coverage in US history. The rapid response to this healthcare crisis should be the expansion of Medicare to everyone in the United States. Ideological opposition to publicly funded healthcare should not block this essential step. The long term failure of our healthcare system and widening health disparities demonstrate why we need a community-controlled, public, universal healthcare system.

Workers strike over safety (Yahoo Finance)

he People Must Rule, and Protect Ourselves

Congress and the President are unlikely to enact the laws needed to confront the pandemic and economic collapse. As a result, both will worsen. We will have to take action to protect ourselves and build popular power to win our demands.

We need to organize mutual aid to people meet people’s basic needs, such as for food and housing. Many cities have vacant buildings owned by the local and federal governments. As homelessness rises, these should be taken over to house people. We discuss the practical steps for taking over homes with Cheri Honkala this week on Clearing The FOG, (available as a podcast on Monday).

We build popular power by taking the streets as people have been doing for over two months now across the country, only buying essentials, refusing to pay rent or debt payments, blocking evictions and by building in our workplaces for a general strike.

Our actions must not be about which presidential candidate from the two parties of the millionaires to elect. Only one serious presidential campaign is right on COVID-19 and the economy, the Green candidates Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker. Our actions need to be about building a people’s movement that grows in power before and after the November elections. No matter who is elected, the people will need to resist, create new systems and rule from below.

Harlem’s Pearl: James Baldwin

The American idea of progress is how fast I become white. And it’s a trick bag. Because they know perfectly well I can never become white. I have drunk my share of dry martinis; I have proven myself civilized in every way I can. But there is an irreducible difficulty: something doesn’t work. Well, I decided: I might as well act like a nigger.

— James Baldwin, UC Berkeley, 19791

A dangerous individual.

— F.B.I. field report2

Grandson of a slave, the eldest of nine children in a Harlem family rooted in bitter poverty, he grew up amidst junkies, winos, pimps, racketeers, pick-pockets, and con-artists.

Surrounded by despair, he took refuge in literature, reading with such focused intensity that his mother took to hiding his books.3 He knew the Bible so well he became a teen sensation in the pulpit, luxuriating in Old Testament rhetoric and poetry. By then he had devoured everything he could get his hands on close to home. “There were two libraries in Harlem,” he remembered, “and by the time I was thirteen I had read every book in both libraries and I had a card downtown for Forty-second street.”4

His brilliance stood out. One of his teachers, a Communist with a Theatre Project job thanks to the WPA, began giving him books and taking him to plays and movies and museums, nurturing his keen mind while teaching him an ironic lesson about the supposed master race: “She gave me my first key, my first clue that white people were human,” Baldwin said.5

Racism affected everything, often in unexpected ways. Baldwin, for example, had learned from his mother to always offer his seat to a woman when he rode the subway. But in church some preachers taught that he should never surrender his seat to a white woman, because that would be “an act of servility.” Baldwin solved the conundrum by never sitting down on the subway.6  But other racial dilemmas were not so easily side-stepped, such as when two police officers beat him “half to death” when he was but ten years old.7

Somehow emerging literate, self-assured, and honest in a world that defined him as but a half-step removed from jungle savagery, he found himself perpetually in danger of doing or saying something that would trigger disaster. At 18, he lost control of his suppressed rage and hurled a glass of water at a waitress who had refused him service in a segregated New Jersey restaurant, watching along with the astonished patrons as it shattered against the mirror behind the bar. The following year Harlem erupted in a race riot as he buried his father, whose rage had consumed him long before the tuberculosis that finished him off. Five years after that, young James had had more than enough of the brutalities of American life and fled the U.S. “about five minutes before being carried off to Bellevue.”8

Reaching Paris with $40 to his name and no French, he spent his nights there on park benches consoling the victims of France’s Algeria campaign, while his pent-up bitterness at all he had endured in the U.S. came spilling out.9 For an entire year he was busy “breaking up bars, knocking down people,” he later remembered, eventually ending up in jail. “You’ve been taught that you’re inferior,” he explained, “so you act as though you’re inferior. And on the level that is very difficult to get at, you really believe it.”10

When the chaos subsided, Baldwin discovered that his life had at last become personal, allowing him a detached look at the crippling racial obsession ravaging his native land. Like an Old Testament prophet he sounded the alarm in the pages of The Fire Next Time: “This is the crime of which I accuse my country and my countrymen, and for which neither I nor time nor history will ever forgive them, that they have destroyed and are destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and do not know it and do not want to know it.” He saved his richest contempt for the willfully blind: “It is not permissible that the authors of devastation should also be innocent. It is the innocence which constitutes the crime.”11

Brilliant, driven, deeply troubled, he warned that time was running out to atone for slavery. “If we do not now dare everything,” he wrote, “the fulfillment of that prophecy, re-created from the Bible in song by a slave, is upon us: God gave Noah the rainbow sign, No more water, the fire next time!”12

Baldwin’s soaring rhetoric landed with a sickening thud against the deaf ears of the liberal establishment, which was busy dragging its feet in response to a civil rights movement that Baldwin more accurately called America’s latest “slave rebellion.”13 Embarrassed by the screaming headlines and distressed at the propaganda coup the USSR was reaping from racial upheaval in the U.S., the Kennedy administration moved only reluctantly and belatedly to support the black freedom movement.14  While blacks were set upon by mobs, clubbed with lead pipes, and shot, bombed, jailed, and killed, Attorney General Robert Kennedy’s FBI agents took notes and filed reports, but made no general move to enforce the law against rioting police and KKK vigilantes. Concerned about losing support in Congress, JFK opted to shore up his southern political base, appointing racist judges to the bench, including one in Georgia who sought to prevent “pinks, radicals and black voters” from overturning segregation, and another in Mississippi who saw no point in registering “a bunch of niggers on a voter drive.”15

In the midst of all this, Baldwin sent Attorney General Robert Kennedy a telegram taking the Kennedy administration to task for the siege of Birmingham, and Kennedy responded by inviting him to assemble a group of black luminaries for a meeting in his New York apartment. It didn’t go well. Baldwin’s brother David shook a fist in Kennedy’s face. Playwright Lorraine Hansberry blasted the “specimens of white manhood” portrayed in a recent Time magazine photo: Alabama police pinning a black woman to the ground with a knee to her throat, better known today as the George Floyd maneuver. Lena Horne suggested sarcastically that Kennedy try promoting his policy of Jim Crow collaboration to Harlem residents, but warned that “we ain’t going, because we don’t want to get shot.” Freedom Rider Jerome Smith, crippled for life from a Mississippi beating, said he was nauseated to have to meet with Kennedy at all (in order to have his rights respected). He told the shocked Attorney General that he could no longer conceive of fighting for his country in uniform, but was nearly ready to pick up a gun against it.

Baldwin and his guests pleaded with Kennedy to have the president send troops to quell racist violence in Birmingham, and demanded to know why he himself hadn’t escorted James Meredith when be became the first black student to register at Ole Miss.

Kennedy laughed.

Failing to see anything funny, Baldwin and his group demanded a demonstration of moral commitment by the White House. The President, they insisted, should escort a black child into a Deep South school, so that any racist who spat on that child would also be spitting on the nation.

Kennedy dismissed the idea as a meaningless moral gesture. Son of a bootlegger, helped into office by Mob connections, he recommended that blacks pull themselves up the way his family did. With luck, he concluded brightly, one of them might be president in forty years.

Forty more years and blacks might get relief from racist terror — on top of the 400 years they had already endured – and then only if they behaved themselves! Baldwin told Kennedy his comment was absurd. The point was, he said, that a Kennedy could already be president, while blacks, who had arrived in America long before the Irish Catholics, were “still required to supplicate and beg for justice.”

When Kennedy remained unmoved and unmovable, Baldwin emerged from the meeting profoundly depressed, pronouncing him “insensitive and unresponsive to the Negro’s torment.”16  The FBI marked him down as a “Communist,” and though he flew all the way from Paris, he was not allowed to speak to the March on Washington three months later,17 where Dr. King delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech. Eighteen days after that speech a bomb exploded in Birmingham, blasting four black girls attending Sunday school into eternity.

Dreams are one thing; change, quite another.

Though Baldwin regarded himself as “at bottom an optimist,”18 he gradually gave up hope that the United States would change, as a string of assassinations (Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Fred Hampton, Mark Clark) made it increasingly obvious it had no intention of doing so. To the extent the country defined itself as white, he thought, to that same extent it was irrelevant. Change would come, but from elsewhere.

When Black Power emerged and Baldwin expressed sympathies for a new generation of black radicals, white liberals often expressed consternation at what they saw as his retreat from integration and reconciliation. Baldwin took a certain pleasure in setting them straight:19 white people had long ago (forcefully) integrated the country, he reminded them, the facts not being subject to dispute, as “my grandmother never raped nobody.”20 Furthermore, the “negro problem” was actually a “white problem,” as it was they who invented the “nigger” fantasy, and they who were continually tormented by it. The burden was on them to discover why.21 Until they did, all talk of racial reconciliation was premature, if not consciously diversionary.

Such relentless honesty proved hard to handle even for the most balanced and resourceful minds. In a three-part discussion with Baldwin in August, 1970, Margaret Mead’s detailed anthropological and historical knowledge checked Baldwin’s tendency toward poetic exaggeration through seven fascinating hours of wide-ranging conversation. But when Israel-Palestine came up, Baldwin’s passion for truth proved more reliable than Mead’s faltering reason. “I have been the Arab, in America, at the hands of the Jews,” he said, denouncing Israel’s 1948 displacement of the Palestinians by “an entirely irreligious people” based incongruously on “something that is written down by Jehovah on a tablet.” Mead lost her composure at this, and accused Baldwin of making a racist comment, “just because there have been a bunch of Jewish shopkeepers in Harlem.”22

But there was no trace of anti-Semitism in Baldwin then, or at any other time in his career. He was just telling the truth.

And he never stopped. In 1974, he won the Cathedral of St. John the Divine’s centennial medal for the “artist as prophet,” and was invited to address a congregation for the first time since his teen years. Using the Old Testament story of David slaying Goliath and the Philistines, the diminutive Baldwin let loose a blast of hyper-articulate fury at the U.S. “betrayal” of its black brethren, and thunderously dismissed President Nixon as a “motherfucker.”

The sub-dean of the cathedral, unhappy with the tone of the service, confided to the dean: “No one ever before has said ‘motherfucker’ from the pulpit of St. John the Divine.”

The Dean replied that times had changed: “It’s about time someone did.”23

Thirteen years later, Baldwin’s funeral took place in that very same church, and mourners celebrated his wildly improbable and incredibly abundant life. Maya Angelou called him a “great soul.”24  Toni Morrison remembered that “the season was always Christmas” when he was around, and thanked him for replacing evasion and hypocrisy with clarity and beauty in his 6895 pages of published work.25  Amiri Baraka praised his “insistent elegance” and ranked the importance of his work with Dr. King and Malcolm X.26

Of course, taking fair measure of a life lived on three continents, and dedicated to human liberation by embracing every vulnerability, probing all weaknesses, and excavating the most deeply buried truths is an impossible task. Perhaps all one can say is that — by the power of his spoken and written words — Baldwin transformed a horrifying legacy of pain and rage into grace and light.

It’s hard not to be grateful for that.

Had he lived, Baldwin would have turned 96 years old today. Happy Birthday, James, and well done!

  1. Reflections of James Baldwin, C-SPAN, March 3, 2007.
  2. William J. Maxwell, James Baldwin – The FBI File (Arcade Publishing, 2017) Chapter 21, p. 167.
  3. W. J. Weatherby, James Baldwin – Artist on Fire, (Donald I. Fine, 1989) p. 15.
  4. James Baldwin and Margaret Mead – A Rap on Race, (J. B. Lippincott, 1971) pps. 45-6.
  5. Ibid., p. 31.
  6. Ibid., p. 55.
  7. Ibid., p. 213.
  8. Ibid., p. 56.
  9. Ibid., p. 242.
  10. Ibid., p. 57.
  11. James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time, (Dell, 1962) pps. 15-16.
  12. The Fire Next Time, p. 141.
  13. Reflections of James Baldwin, speech at UC Berkeley, January 15, 1979 (broadcast on C-SPAN 3 March 3, 2007).
  14. Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States, (Harper, 1980) p. 445; Baldwin, The Fire Next Time, pps. 117-18
  15. Tom Hayden, Reunion – A Memoir, (Random House, 1988) p. 59.
  16. The account of the Bobby Kennedy meeting is from: James Campbell, Talking At The Gates – A Life of James Baldwin, (Viking, 1991) pps. 163-5; David Leeming, James Baldwin – A Biography, (Henry Holt, 1994) pps. 222-6; W. J. Weatherby, James Baldwin – Artist on Fire, (Donald I. Fine, 1989) pps. 221-4.
  17. Leeming, p. 296.
  18. A Rap on Race, p. 88.
  19. Leeming, p. 185.
  20. Baldwin 1965 Cambridge Union debate with William F. Buckley Jr.
  21. I Am Not Your Negro (film).
  22. A Rap on Race, pps. 215-16.
  23. Leeming, p. 322.
  24. Maya Angelou, “When Great Trees Fall,” bookpatrol.net, May 29, 2014.
  25. Toni Morrison, “James Baldwin: His Voice Remembered – Life In His Language” New York Times, December 20, 1987.
  26. Amiri Baraka, “James Baldwin, “His Voice Remembered – We Carry Him With Us” New York Times, December 20, 1987.

Neo-Nazi Bad, Left-wing Israel-Critic Store Owner much Worse?

Contrasting the Jewish establishment’s reaction to alleged bigotry from a left-wing Toronto restaurant and unambiguous hatred from a far-right politician is a sad comment on their political priorities.

As I detailed here and here, the anti-Palestinian lobby went into overdrive after Foodbendors owner Kimberly Hawkins posted to Instagram at the start of the month: “Open Now – 8 PM for non-racist shoppers #Bloordale #Bloorstreet, #Toronto, #Open, #ftp [fuck the police] #FreePalestine and #ZionistsNotWelcome.”

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and others claimed the #ZionistsNotWelcome hashtag discriminated against Jews. CIJA tweeted no less than 25 times about a restaurant known for supporting indigenous rights, Black Lives Matter and other social justice causes. As of writing, CIJA’s pinned tweet was a press release from July 8 largely about Foodbendors. CIJA also released a long statement regarding the small left-wing Toronto restaurant and sent an action alert asking its members to complain about Foodbendors’ to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. The advocacy arm of Canada’s Jewish federations also called on politicians to denounce the restaurant and pushed a campaign targeting Foodbenders’ delivery services, institutional customers, website host and social media accounts.

As the Foodbendors brouhaha was mostly dying down the head of the Canadian Nationalist Party, Travis Patron, published a flyer and video titled “Beware The Parasitic Tribe”. In the video he described Jews as “inside manipulators” who “infiltrate the media, they hijack the central bank, and they infect the body politic like a parasite.” His conclusion was of an ethnic cleansing variety. “And what we need to do,” Patron exalted, “perhaps more than anything, is remove these people once and for all from our country.”

There is little ambiguity here. Patron is spewing vile anti-Semitic hatred. Additionally, Patron has been accused of violence. He’s currently before the courts on charges of aggravated assault and assault causing bodily harm for an incident in November so it’s not implausible that he could commit a violent hate crime against Jews or others he regards as targets.

While CIJA condemned Patron’s comments, they did so with considerably less vigor than Foodbendors. They only tweeted about it twice (versus 25 times for Foodbendors) and I couldn’t find a press release or action alert on the matter.

The contrast between B’nai B’rith’s reaction to Patron and to Foodbendors was similarly striking. While it tweeted about Patron twice, it put out two dozen messages about the restaurant and different ways to bankrupt it, including two tweets three weeks after the kerfuffle began. On July 24 B’nai B’rith tweeted, “Big shout out to @MrCaseDelivery to thank them for severing business ties with Foodbenders in Toronto” and then another stating, “Anti-Zionist Canadian Restaurant Owner Faces Growing Legal Woes.”

From what I can find Toronto Sun columnist Sue-Ann Levy stayed silent on Patron though she published a half dozen articles on Foodbendors. Even Bernie Farber, Chair of Canadian Anti-Hate Network and former head of the Canadian Jewish Congress, tweeted more times about Foodbendors (8) than Patron (2).

The ferociousness of the campaign against Foodbendors has been remarkable. Contrasting it with the Israeli nationalist Canadian establishment’s reaction to unambiguous anti-Semitic hatred from a far-right politician would seem to indicate that destroying a business owned by a left-wing owner is of greater priority than opposing neo-Nazis.

As American Society Crashes and Burns, the Cult of Neoliberalism Marches on

The right to have a slave implies the right in some one to make the slave; that right must be equal and mutual, and this would resolve society into a state of perpetual war.

— William Seward, from the “Freedom in the New Territories” speech, March 11, 1850

Long after they have set fire to the values of the New Deal and the civil rights movement, neoliberals continue to regard themselves as a bulwark protecting civilization from barbarism. In reality, they have betrayed all the values that the New Dealers and the civil rights leaders courageously and nobly fought for. Indeed, a class that once espoused unions, public education, the Constitution, integration, and freedom of the press, while standing in unequivocal opposition to imperialism and McCarthyism, has been transformed into a cult which speaks in the trappings of a progressive-sounding language, yet which has come to be allied with the forces of reaction on each and every one of these issues.

The mass media has successfully convinced a vast swath of the population that Obama and Hillary stand in brave opposition to racism and sexism, while Trump personifies Racism and The Patriarchy. This inane view of politics, coupled with the fact that the education system has raised an entire generation on nothing but woke novels and immigrant memoirs that pathologize whiteness, has resulted in a crisis where Western Civilization and the values of the Enlightenment are in grave danger. The videos showing Hillary supporters sobbing as their beloved Class-A war criminal was defeated in the 2016 election signifies this dangerous rift with reality.

Let us posit that a cult is a social structure that embodies the following characteristics:

* A rejection of logic and reason

* A fanatical devotion to an irrational belief system

* A profound anti-intellectualism

* A rejection of history and objective truth

* A relentless vilification of those who are outside of the cult, especially those who attempt to challenge the cult’s dogma

* An Orwellian manipulation of language

That neoliberalism possesses each of these characteristics is irrefutable; while all who attempt to question this creed are branded as “racists,” “fascists,” “Nazis,” “bigots,” “sexists,” or “conspiracy theorists”; i.e., mentally ill. Moreover, faux leftists continue to exhibit a blind faith in the holy texts of neoliberalism; and no matter how many times The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The New Yorker lie and dissemble, they refuse to read these publications with even the faintest trace of skepticism.

A critical tenet of neoliberalism is that it “fights racism,” when, in fact, the opposite is the case, as evidenced by the fact that multiculturalism and identity politics relentlessly foment and exacerbate segregation, ghettoization, and tribalism. And despite the fact that the two parties have been doing essentially the exact same things since (at the very least) the inauguration of Bill Clinton, the cult of neoliberalism remains anchored in an uncompromising belief in the two-party system. The idea that it is “progressive” to dispense with the national identities of the West since they epitomize “racism,” is yet another putrefying pillar of neoliberal ideology. Following this line of thinking, Americans can get along just fine with vocational communities and tribal identities that break down along lines of ethnicity, language, religion and sexual orientation.

A belief that the multicultural society is a meritocracy where everyone gets the job and income that they deserve; an insistence that “the left” should no longer concern itself with improving the lives of workers, students, patients, and prisoners but with “fighting racism,” are likewise foundational tenets of identity politics doctrine. In actuality, the fragmentation unleashed by the multicultural curriculum, identity studies, the multilingual media, and bilingual education create the very racism, sexism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia that faux-leftists claim to combat, undermining their very raison d’être. In a curious historical irony, neoliberals have even backed the restoration of McCarthyite witch hunts, thereby facilitating attacks on those who remain outside, or in defiance of, this peculiar dogma.

The multicultural curriculum has been specifically engineered to deny black, Latino, and poor immigrant youth an education in American letters, British literature, and classics of Western Civilization. This underscores the sinister and bigoted intentions of liberal academic administrators. Jettisoning these books from public schools which are dominated by students of color has led to staggering amounts of illiteracy, from which sectarianism has arrived to insatiably and inexorably fill the void. Perhaps unsurprisingly, proponents of the anti-working class have birthed an anti-humanities curriculum.

Multiculturalism subverts class consciousness without which there can be no political literacy, no understanding of history, and no progress. The anarchy, chaos, and atomization of the multicultural society (an oxymoron), turns workers into amoral automatons and interchangeable parts, while facilitating plutocratic pillage and authoritarianism, which its architects know full well.

In many ways, the demonization of Trump serves to deflect attention away from the fact that it is the ideology of neoliberalism which has betrayed the legacies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) and Martin Luther King, turning the country into a failed state. Black nationalism and white nationalism are, in fact, two sides of the same coin. It is not possible to have one and not have the other. Indeed, anti-white bigots are no more interested in the restoration of unions, the Constitution, integration, good public education, demilitarization, and freedom of the press than their white nationalist counterparts. If these critical checks and balances are not restored, and the health care system remains privatized, our democracy will be lost. The political prosecutions of Julian Assange, John Kiriakou, Chelsea Manning, Reality Winner, Daniel Hale, Barrett Brown, and Jeremy Hammond mean nothing to these zealots, as the accused are white, and the reinstatement of habeas corpus is not a part of their agenda.

A country can have different ethnicities, religions, and languages, but it cannot survive competing and mutually hostile curricula, as a nation-state must have a cohesive canon and a common historical narrative in order to sustain itself. As things presently stand, we have one curriculum which portrays white people as the devil incarnate; the other, a conservative curriculum, portrays Americans as the Indispensable Nation, and inculcates its charges with an ideology anchored in jingoism and Manifest Destiny. Both courses of study denigrate American literature, and refuse to educate their students in the history of European and American imperialism. These two curricula are on a collision course, and it would be unwise to dismiss the possibility of serious sectarian violence.

James Madison was acutely aware of the vital importance of having a literate population. As he wrote in a letter to W.T. Barry, on August 4, 1822:

A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

John F. Kennedy reiterated this fundamental truth when he stated at Vanderbilt’s 90th Anniversary Convocation Address on May 18th, 1963, that “Only an educated and informed people will be a free people.”

Faux leftists continue to be fanatical supporters of illegal immigration and the importation of guest workers, and refuse to acknowledge the many problems this has wrought, particularly with regard to deunionization and the depression of wages, ghettoization, catastrophic overcrowding in public schools and hospitals; and the fact that mass immigration foments destabilization, which in turn facilitates the ruling establishment’s dismantling of due process and the rule of law.

Are liberals truly “fighting racism” by allowing so many destitute Americans to wallow unaided in a hell of mass incarceration, mass illiteracy, mass unemployment, and appalling unmet health care needs, while simultaneously clamoring for more cheap labor to be brought in from abroad? There are also large numbers of Americans with advanced degrees that struggle to find jobs, and yet are forced to compete with a seemingly endless arrival of foreign workers that are hired to fill these very positions. Can a society survive if it incessantly denies educational opportunities and job opportunities to millions of its young people while replacing them with indentured servants and more compliant foreign workers?

The taboo placed on criticizing these policies has made it virtually impossible to discuss extremely serious domestic problems with any degree of intellectual honesty. And while liberals have long forgotten that the egregious economic inequality of the Gilded Age was inextricably linked with open borders, the ruling establishment has never forgotten that this has always been capital’s most effective and devastatingly powerful weapon.

With regard to the nonsensical term “cultural Marxism:” Marx himself understood that mass immigration was used by the ruling elites of the US and UK to drive down wages and pit workers against one another. Furthermore, he would have understood that identity politics atomizes the working class, shattering it into a dizzying array of competing and antagonistic camps. Far from having anything to do with Marxism, the true meaning of “cultural Marxism” is unfettered capitalism. Indeed, when “the free market” is at its most unbridled, checks and balances are no longer sustainable.

For liberals and socialists it has long been anathema to suggest that bigotry can be anything other than a one-way street, yet upon closer examination this argument reveals itself to be mere casuistry. In the ‘60s, “fighting racism” was synonymous with fighting segregation. Today, “fighting racism” has devolved into calls for more “diversity”; i.e., less white people. In the neoliberal cult, the word “racist” has literally come to mean “evil white people,” which has in turn given birth to the idea that only whites can commit “hate crimes.” As towns, cities, and institutions that are predominantly white are denounced as “racist,” it is clear that the goal of multiculturalism is to make whites into a minority throughout the country, burn books by white people, and tear down statues of white people. Is this not what is meant by the growing calls to end “white privilege” and “white power?” This can only lead to a perpetual state of acrimony between the cult of neoliberalism and the rest of American society. The ahistorical and knavish notion of “white privilege” is contradicted by the fact that there has never been a time in the history of the country when there weren’t significant numbers of poor white people. Furthermore, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that while the white middle class is being systematically dismantled, the white oligarchs are richer than ever. (Another mysterious feature of “white privilege” is that roughly 70% of all suicides in the US are committed by white males).

Liberals once fought segregation, ghettoization, and tribalism – now they fight for these things – a turn of history evidently lost on them. Irregardless of whether the multiculturalists succeed, or the political pendulum swings back to a traditional far-right element such as the Christian Right, the road to despotism has been paved by the liberal class. Martin Luther King’s dream, that Americans would one day “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” has met its inversion in identity politics. Hundreds of thousands of white Union soldiers died so that over three million black slaves could be free. Were they also “racist?”

It is clear that the minions of multiculturalism have no more understanding of the historical significance of these events than the squirrels of Central Park. Nevertheless, it is also conceivable that the oligarchy understands this totalitarianization all too well, and that these events are part of a deliberate strategy to destroy the working class.

The fiendish nature of identity politics is underscored by the fact that statues of Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant, and Hans Christian Heg have been toppled, while a statue of Matthias Baldwin has been defaced. While none of these individuals fought for the Confederacy (paradoxically, they held quite radical views), they all have one thing in common: they were white. That the marauders do not differentiate between Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, and Robert E. Lee, on the one hand; and Jefferson, Grant, and Heg on the other, underscores the fact that this is a wicked movement hell-bent on the destruction of our civilization. (In this same vein, the book burners do not distinguish between The Scarlet Letter, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Mein Kampf). Moreover, it is from precisely this very anarchic environment that a Mussolini, Pinochet, or Franco could seize power — and save the country from “the left.”

Speaking at the unveiling of the Freedmen’s Monument (also known as the Emancipation Memorial) in Washington, DC, on April 14, 1876, which was paid for by freedmen, and which woke barbarians are champing at the bit to destroy, Frederick Douglass said of Lincoln:

Fellow-citizens, I end, as I began, with congratulations. We have done a good work for our race to-day. In doing honor to the memory of our friend and liberator, we have been doing highest honors to ourselves and those who come after us; we have been fastening ourselves to a name and fame imperishable and immortal; we have also been defending ourselves from a blighting scandal. When now it shall be said that the colored man is soulless, that he has no appreciation of benefits or benefactors; when the foul reproach of ingratitude is hurled at us, and it is attempted to scourge us beyond the range of human brotherhood, we may calmly point to the monument we have this day erected to the memory of Abraham Lincoln.

The multiculturalists are now denouncing this memorial as “a monument to white supremacy.”

Were it not for Lincoln and Grant, it is highly probable that the Confederacy would have successfully seceded. Heg was slain at Chickamauga, and gave his life fighting against the Slave Power. The iconic statue of Theodore Roosevelt in front of the Museum of Natural History, which I once gazed up to in wonder as a young boy, is also slated to come down. That Roosevelt was a complex individual who fought for things both progressive and reactionary means nothing to these philistines. Even Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ exquisite Shaw Memorial, which took 14 years for the artist to complete, and which honors the all-black Massachusetts Fifty-Fourth Regiment, has not escaped the wrath of the mob.

The rise in racial diversity and diversity of sexual orientation has coincided with an unprecedented demise in diversity of thought. As historian James Oakes said in an interview with the World Socialist Web Site on November 18th, 2019:

There was a time, a long, long time ago, when a “diverse history faculty” meant that you had an economic historian, a political historian, a social historian, a historian of the American Revolution, of the Civil War, and so on. And now a diverse history faculty means a women’s historian, a gay historian, a Chinese-American historian, a Latino historian. So it’s a completely different kind of diversity.

More dangerous than racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia, are those who use these words in intellectually dishonest and disingenuous ways. This is exemplified by the vitriol heaped on those who maintain that all public school students should be required to read American letters, British literature, and classics of Western Civilization. Denying these books to students of color isn’t “fighting racism;” but conversely, its quintessence. (Note how the euphemisms “respecting cultural differences” and “protecting diversity” serve to glorify segregation). Once these students are inculcated with the pernicious sophism that all white authors are racist they become unteachable. It is as though they have been injected with an anti-literacy vaccine.

There is little difference between students at an elite preparatory school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and the sons and daughters of the Ancien Régime. Likewise, there is little difference between the polyglot rabble that are warehoused in the New York City public schools and the children of medieval serfs. The only difference is that the multicultural serfs are so dehumanized that they have been taught to despise the very books that they so desperately need, and without which they are destined to become second-class citizens.

International students who hail from high schools where English is not the language of instruction should devote their time in the US to earning bachelor’s degrees in American or British literature. Alternatively, they are destined to learn nothing more than the English language jargon of their field; an arrangement deemed advantageous, both for the for-profit universities, as well as to their future exploiters. The idea that it is “anti-racist” to sell an international student a graduate or undergraduate degree when they struggle to read John Steinbeck’s The Pearl, or write an essay with a single grammatically correct sentence, is indicative of what Gad Saad has called “an idea pathogen.” Again, this begs the question: who is the real racist here?

Arguing that foreign-born students should, at the very least, always be less than ten percent of any student body K-12, and that they should not be allowed to arrive after the sixth or seventh grade, is nothing more than basic common sense. This would help protect not only the integrity of the public schools, but also foreign-born students themselves, who frequently fail to become literate and articulate in English, either because they arrive too late, or because they are educated in schools where ghettoization has relegated academic standards to the lowest possible level. What are immigrant children to integrate into when they are literally hanging from the chandeliers?

In Britain, faith-based schools continue to have a deleterious impact on native and foreigner alike, as this greatly exacerbates the problem of parallel communities. How can a Muslim child growing up in Luton become a literate British citizen if his education is predicated entirely on Islamic texts? Those who raise this issue are invariably met with accusations of “racism,” “xenophobia,” and “Islamophobia” — or most preposterous of all — “hate speech.” The first casualties of any cult are logic and liberty of thought.

The American canon has always been dominated by the so-called “dead white men.” Getting rid of these books cannot be done without destroying the entire society. (Do I have the right to go to Pakistan and complain that their education system is dominated by “dead brown men?”) The poor academic performance of many Americans of color is rooted in the fact that they have the black or Latino nationalist in one ear and the white neoliberal in the other, two Iagos essentially spewing the same venom: don’t have anything to do with white teachers, white students, or books written by white people. Indeed, all the great black writers and orators in the history of the country: Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, Martin Luther King, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Langston Hughes, to name a few, would never have accomplished anything intellectually without having attained a solid foundation in classics of Western Civilization. Did Martin Luther King martyr himself so that black children could read Amy Tan, Edwidge Danticat, The House on Mango Street and be railroaded into African American studies departments?

Here is Du Bois from The Souls of Black Folk:

I sit with Shakespeare, and he winces not. Across the color line I move arm and arm with Balzac and Dumas, where smiling men and welcoming women glide in gilded halls. From out of the caves of evening that swing between the strong-limbed Earth and the tracery of stars, I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will, and they come all graciously with no scorn nor condescension. So, wed with Truth, I dwell above the veil.

Above all, an education system must maintain and safeguard a particular national identity, as manifested by its unique humanities curriculum. Once this sacrosanct mission has been abandoned, education deteriorates into a collection of soulless vocational institutes that become technocratic factories for illiteratization. No multicultural curriculum can exist, because it is not possible to make children literate and articulate in hundreds of different languages. Notwithstanding neoliberal protestations, the multicultural curriculum is a psychopathic, nihilistic, and deeply reactionary curriculum. Nevertheless, it does what it was designed to do: foment tribalism and ignorance, while deflecting anger away from the oligarchy’s destruction of the country and towards white people.

As Frederick Douglass said in his “Our Composite Nationality” speech on December 7, 1869:

Mankind are not held together by lies. Trust is the foundation of society. Where there is no truth, there can be no trust, and where there is no trust, there can be no society.

If white power is wrong, black power must also be wrong. If misogyny is to be denounced, misandry must also be denounced. It is unconscionable for the cult of neoliberalism to continue to indoctrinate American youth with extremist ideologies.

In the cult of neoliberalism white nationalism is everywhere, yet anti-white bigotry — even when it is at its most spiteful and vicious – is nowhere to be found. Black nationalism is romanticized, as it “fights racism;” while misandry is extolled, as it “fights sexism.” Identity studies and the multicultural curriculum (where classes are taught by demagogues and not by academics), have fomented unprecedented forms of sectarianism, and fueled the free market jihadis of black nationalism, Latino nationalism, and Feminisis, along with other anti-intellectual and anti-Western hordes which are tearing apart the cultural fabric of society. The absence of a legitimate progressive alternative to endless wars, austerity, book burning, the medical industrial complex, and mass incarceration, where one may choose only between a white right and a colored right, has straitjacketed us into a paralysis of analysis. Irregardless of who is victorious, there can only be one winner: the kleptocracy.

The Yellow Vest movement, presently crippled by the Covid-19 pandemic, is a traditional working class movement which seeks to protect social services, unions, and middle class jobs, and whose supporters understand that endless ranting and raving about race and gender is divisive and self-destructive, as this can only enhance the power of a rampaging bourgeoisie increasingly hostile to democracy. They also understand that the triumph of identity politics would constitute the triumph of alienation over camaraderie and solidarity.

Ultimately, multiculturalism is rooted in the idea that our national identity is illegitimate, a form of self-flagellation that is increasingly popular in Europe, notably Sweden. This humiliates and dehumanizes Americans of all ethnicities, and degrades and sullies the credibility of the left, while emboldening traditional reactionary ideologies.

Theodore Roosevelt was acutely aware of the dangers of tribalism. Speaking to the Knights of Columbus at Carnegie Hall on October 12, 1915, he warned:

The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic.

If the multicultural cancer continues to metastasize unchecked our civilization will disintegrate, leaving the younger generation with nothing but a desolate wasteland enveloped by amnesia, where those who cry “extremist” are the real extremists, and where the citadel of reason lies in ruins, as Old Abe’s “mystic chords of memory” fade into a broken hourglass forever.

Ever hubristic and increasingly deranged, the cult of neoliberalism continues to maintain that the multicultural society constitutes a revolutionary movement comprised of integrationists, whose disciples are the heirs to the civil rights movement and the New Deal, when these crusades are diametrically opposed to one another. That the acolytes of identity politics fail to see this is lamentable. Yet cults require only emotions and blind obedience — not cognition. As Paul Craig Roberts writes in “Education Is Offensive and Racist and so is America:” “The elite have worked long and hard to acquire a divided population that cannot unite against them. They have succeeded.”

As American Society Crashes and Burns, the Cult of Neoliberalism Marches on

The right to have a slave implies the right in some one to make the slave; that right must be equal and mutual, and this would resolve society into a state of perpetual war.

— William Seward, from the “Freedom in the New Territories” speech, March 11, 1850

Long after they have set fire to the values of the New Deal and the civil rights movement, neoliberals continue to regard themselves as a bulwark protecting civilization from barbarism. In reality, they have betrayed all the values that the New Dealers and the civil rights leaders courageously and nobly fought for. Indeed, a class that once espoused unions, public education, the Constitution, integration, and freedom of the press, while standing in unequivocal opposition to imperialism and McCarthyism, has been transformed into a cult which speaks in the trappings of a progressive-sounding language, yet which has come to be allied with the forces of reaction on each and every one of these issues.

The mass media has successfully convinced a vast swath of the population that Obama and Hillary stand in brave opposition to racism and sexism, while Trump personifies Racism and The Patriarchy. This inane view of politics, coupled with the fact that the education system has raised an entire generation on nothing but woke novels and immigrant memoirs that pathologize whiteness, has resulted in a crisis where Western Civilization and the values of the Enlightenment are in grave danger. The videos showing Hillary supporters sobbing as their beloved Class-A war criminal was defeated in the 2016 election signifies this dangerous rift with reality.

Let us posit that a cult is a social structure that embodies the following characteristics:

* A rejection of logic and reason

* A fanatical devotion to an irrational belief system

* A profound anti-intellectualism

* A rejection of history and objective truth

* A relentless vilification of those who are outside of the cult, especially those who attempt to challenge the cult’s dogma

* An Orwellian manipulation of language

That neoliberalism possesses each of these characteristics is irrefutable; while all who attempt to question this creed are branded as “racists,” “fascists,” “Nazis,” “bigots,” “sexists,” or “conspiracy theorists”; i.e., mentally ill. Moreover, faux leftists continue to exhibit a blind faith in the holy texts of neoliberalism; and no matter how many times The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The New Yorker lie and dissemble, they refuse to read these publications with even the faintest trace of skepticism.

A critical tenet of neoliberalism is that it “fights racism,” when, in fact, the opposite is the case, as evidenced by the fact that multiculturalism and identity politics relentlessly foment and exacerbate segregation, ghettoization, and tribalism. And despite the fact that the two parties have been doing essentially the exact same things since (at the very least) the inauguration of Bill Clinton, the cult of neoliberalism remains anchored in an uncompromising belief in the two-party system. The idea that it is “progressive” to dispense with the national identities of the West since they epitomize “racism,” is yet another putrefying pillar of neoliberal ideology. Following this line of thinking, Americans can get along just fine with vocational communities and tribal identities that break down along lines of ethnicity, language, religion and sexual orientation.

A belief that the multicultural society is a meritocracy where everyone gets the job and income that they deserve; an insistence that “the left” should no longer concern itself with improving the lives of workers, students, patients, and prisoners but with “fighting racism,” are likewise foundational tenets of identity politics doctrine. In actuality, the fragmentation unleashed by the multicultural curriculum, identity studies, the multilingual media, and bilingual education create the very racism, sexism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia that faux-leftists claim to combat, undermining their very raison d’être. In a curious historical irony, neoliberals have even backed the restoration of McCarthyite witch hunts, thereby facilitating attacks on those who remain outside, or in defiance of, this peculiar dogma.

The multicultural curriculum has been specifically engineered to deny black, Latino, and poor immigrant youth an education in American letters, British literature, and classics of Western Civilization. This underscores the sinister and bigoted intentions of liberal academic administrators. Jettisoning these books from public schools which are dominated by students of color has led to staggering amounts of illiteracy, from which sectarianism has arrived to insatiably and inexorably fill the void. Perhaps unsurprisingly, proponents of the anti-working class have birthed an anti-humanities curriculum.

Multiculturalism subverts class consciousness without which there can be no political literacy, no understanding of history, and no progress. The anarchy, chaos, and atomization of the multicultural society (an oxymoron), turns workers into amoral automatons and interchangeable parts, while facilitating plutocratic pillage and authoritarianism, which its architects know full well.

In many ways, the demonization of Trump serves to deflect attention away from the fact that it is the ideology of neoliberalism which has betrayed the legacies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) and Martin Luther King, turning the country into a failed state. Black nationalism and white nationalism are, in fact, two sides of the same coin. It is not possible to have one and not have the other. Indeed, anti-white bigots are no more interested in the restoration of unions, the Constitution, integration, good public education, demilitarization, and freedom of the press than their white nationalist counterparts. If these critical checks and balances are not restored, and the health care system remains privatized, our democracy will be lost. The political prosecutions of Julian Assange, John Kiriakou, Chelsea Manning, Reality Winner, Daniel Hale, Barrett Brown, and Jeremy Hammond mean nothing to these zealots, as the accused are white, and the reinstatement of habeas corpus is not a part of their agenda.

A country can have different ethnicities, religions, and languages, but it cannot survive competing and mutually hostile curricula, as a nation-state must have a cohesive canon and a common historical narrative in order to sustain itself. As things presently stand, we have one curriculum which portrays white people as the devil incarnate; the other, a conservative curriculum, portrays Americans as the Indispensable Nation, and inculcates its charges with an ideology anchored in jingoism and Manifest Destiny. Both courses of study denigrate American literature, and refuse to educate their students in the history of European and American imperialism. These two curricula are on a collision course, and it would be unwise to dismiss the possibility of serious sectarian violence.

James Madison was acutely aware of the vital importance of having a literate population. As he wrote in a letter to W.T. Barry, on August 4, 1822:

A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

John F. Kennedy reiterated this fundamental truth when he stated at Vanderbilt’s 90th Anniversary Convocation Address on May 18th, 1963, that “Only an educated and informed people will be a free people.”

Faux leftists continue to be fanatical supporters of illegal immigration and the importation of guest workers, and refuse to acknowledge the many problems this has wrought, particularly with regard to deunionization and the depression of wages, ghettoization, catastrophic overcrowding in public schools and hospitals; and the fact that mass immigration foments destabilization, which in turn facilitates the ruling establishment’s dismantling of due process and the rule of law.

Are liberals truly “fighting racism” by allowing so many destitute Americans to wallow unaided in a hell of mass incarceration, mass illiteracy, mass unemployment, and appalling unmet health care needs, while simultaneously clamoring for more cheap labor to be brought in from abroad? There are also large numbers of Americans with advanced degrees that struggle to find jobs, and yet are forced to compete with a seemingly endless arrival of foreign workers that are hired to fill these very positions. Can a society survive if it incessantly denies educational opportunities and job opportunities to millions of its young people while replacing them with indentured servants and more compliant foreign workers?

The taboo placed on criticizing these policies has made it virtually impossible to discuss extremely serious domestic problems with any degree of intellectual honesty. And while liberals have long forgotten that the egregious economic inequality of the Gilded Age was inextricably linked with open borders, the ruling establishment has never forgotten that this has always been capital’s most effective and devastatingly powerful weapon.

With regard to the nonsensical term “cultural Marxism:” Marx himself understood that mass immigration was used by the ruling elites of the US and UK to drive down wages and pit workers against one another. Furthermore, he would have understood that identity politics atomizes the working class, shattering it into a dizzying array of competing and antagonistic camps. Far from having anything to do with Marxism, the true meaning of “cultural Marxism” is unfettered capitalism. Indeed, when “the free market” is at its most unbridled, checks and balances are no longer sustainable.

For liberals and socialists it has long been anathema to suggest that bigotry can be anything other than a one-way street, yet upon closer examination this argument reveals itself to be mere casuistry. In the ‘60s, “fighting racism” was synonymous with fighting segregation. Today, “fighting racism” has devolved into calls for more “diversity”; i.e., less white people. In the neoliberal cult, the word “racist” has literally come to mean “evil white people,” which has in turn given birth to the idea that only whites can commit “hate crimes.” As towns, cities, and institutions that are predominantly white are denounced as “racist,” it is clear that the goal of multiculturalism is to make whites into a minority throughout the country, burn books by white people, and tear down statues of white people. Is this not what is meant by the growing calls to end “white privilege” and “white power?” This can only lead to a perpetual state of acrimony between the cult of neoliberalism and the rest of American society. The ahistorical and knavish notion of “white privilege” is contradicted by the fact that there has never been a time in the history of the country when there weren’t significant numbers of poor white people. Furthermore, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that while the white middle class is being systematically dismantled, the white oligarchs are richer than ever. (Another mysterious feature of “white privilege” is that roughly 70% of all suicides in the US are committed by white males).

Liberals once fought segregation, ghettoization, and tribalism – now they fight for these things – a turn of history evidently lost on them. Irregardless of whether the multiculturalists succeed, or the political pendulum swings back to a traditional far-right element such as the Christian Right, the road to despotism has been paved by the liberal class. Martin Luther King’s dream, that Americans would one day “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” has met its inversion in identity politics. Hundreds of thousands of white Union soldiers died so that over three million black slaves could be free. Were they also “racist?”

It is clear that the minions of multiculturalism have no more understanding of the historical significance of these events than the squirrels of Central Park. Nevertheless, it is also conceivable that the oligarchy understands this totalitarianization all too well, and that these events are part of a deliberate strategy to destroy the working class.

The fiendish nature of identity politics is underscored by the fact that statues of Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant, and Hans Christian Heg have been toppled, while a statue of Matthias Baldwin has been defaced. While none of these individuals fought for the Confederacy (paradoxically, they held quite radical views), they all have one thing in common: they were white. That the marauders do not differentiate between Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, and Robert E. Lee, on the one hand; and Jefferson, Grant, and Heg on the other, underscores the fact that this is a wicked movement hell-bent on the destruction of our civilization. (In this same vein, the book burners do not distinguish between The Scarlet Letter, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Mein Kampf). Moreover, it is from precisely this very anarchic environment that a Mussolini, Pinochet, or Franco could seize power — and save the country from “the left.”

Speaking at the unveiling of the Freedmen’s Monument (also known as the Emancipation Memorial) in Washington, DC, on April 14, 1876, which was paid for by freedmen, and which woke barbarians are champing at the bit to destroy, Frederick Douglass said of Lincoln:

Fellow-citizens, I end, as I began, with congratulations. We have done a good work for our race to-day. In doing honor to the memory of our friend and liberator, we have been doing highest honors to ourselves and those who come after us; we have been fastening ourselves to a name and fame imperishable and immortal; we have also been defending ourselves from a blighting scandal. When now it shall be said that the colored man is soulless, that he has no appreciation of benefits or benefactors; when the foul reproach of ingratitude is hurled at us, and it is attempted to scourge us beyond the range of human brotherhood, we may calmly point to the monument we have this day erected to the memory of Abraham Lincoln.

The multiculturalists are now denouncing this memorial as “a monument to white supremacy.”

Were it not for Lincoln and Grant, it is highly probable that the Confederacy would have successfully seceded. Heg was slain at Chickamauga, and gave his life fighting against the Slave Power. The iconic statue of Theodore Roosevelt in front of the Museum of Natural History, which I once gazed up to in wonder as a young boy, is also slated to come down. That Roosevelt was a complex individual who fought for things both progressive and reactionary means nothing to these philistines. Even Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ exquisite Shaw Memorial, which took 14 years for the artist to complete, and which honors the all-black Massachusetts Fifty-Fourth Regiment, has not escaped the wrath of the mob.

The rise in racial diversity and diversity of sexual orientation has coincided with an unprecedented demise in diversity of thought. As historian James Oakes said in an interview with the World Socialist Web Site on November 18th, 2019:

There was a time, a long, long time ago, when a “diverse history faculty” meant that you had an economic historian, a political historian, a social historian, a historian of the American Revolution, of the Civil War, and so on. And now a diverse history faculty means a women’s historian, a gay historian, a Chinese-American historian, a Latino historian. So it’s a completely different kind of diversity.

More dangerous than racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia, are those who use these words in intellectually dishonest and disingenuous ways. This is exemplified by the vitriol heaped on those who maintain that all public school students should be required to read American letters, British literature, and classics of Western Civilization. Denying these books to students of color isn’t “fighting racism;” but conversely, its quintessence. (Note how the euphemisms “respecting cultural differences” and “protecting diversity” serve to glorify segregation). Once these students are inculcated with the pernicious sophism that all white authors are racist they become unteachable. It is as though they have been injected with an anti-literacy vaccine.

There is little difference between students at an elite preparatory school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and the sons and daughters of the Ancien Régime. Likewise, there is little difference between the polyglot rabble that are warehoused in the New York City public schools and the children of medieval serfs. The only difference is that the multicultural serfs are so dehumanized that they have been taught to despise the very books that they so desperately need, and without which they are destined to become second-class citizens.

International students who hail from high schools where English is not the language of instruction should devote their time in the US to earning bachelor’s degrees in American or British literature. Alternatively, they are destined to learn nothing more than the English language jargon of their field; an arrangement deemed advantageous, both for the for-profit universities, as well as to their future exploiters. The idea that it is “anti-racist” to sell an international student a graduate or undergraduate degree when they struggle to read John Steinbeck’s The Pearl, or write an essay with a single grammatically correct sentence, is indicative of what Gad Saad has called “an idea pathogen.” Again, this begs the question: who is the real racist here?

Arguing that foreign-born students should, at the very least, always be less than ten percent of any student body K-12, and that they should not be allowed to arrive after the sixth or seventh grade, is nothing more than basic common sense. This would help protect not only the integrity of the public schools, but also foreign-born students themselves, who frequently fail to become literate and articulate in English, either because they arrive too late, or because they are educated in schools where ghettoization has relegated academic standards to the lowest possible level. What are immigrant children to integrate into when they are literally hanging from the chandeliers?

In Britain, faith-based schools continue to have a deleterious impact on native and foreigner alike, as this greatly exacerbates the problem of parallel communities. How can a Muslim child growing up in Luton become a literate British citizen if his education is predicated entirely on Islamic texts? Those who raise this issue are invariably met with accusations of “racism,” “xenophobia,” and “Islamophobia” — or most preposterous of all — “hate speech.” The first casualties of any cult are logic and liberty of thought.

The American canon has always been dominated by the so-called “dead white men.” Getting rid of these books cannot be done without destroying the entire society. (Do I have the right to go to Pakistan and complain that their education system is dominated by “dead brown men?”) The poor academic performance of many Americans of color is rooted in the fact that they have the black or Latino nationalist in one ear and the white neoliberal in the other, two Iagos essentially spewing the same venom: don’t have anything to do with white teachers, white students, or books written by white people. Indeed, all the great black writers and orators in the history of the country: Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, Martin Luther King, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Langston Hughes, to name a few, would never have accomplished anything intellectually without having attained a solid foundation in classics of Western Civilization. Did Martin Luther King martyr himself so that black children could read Amy Tan, Edwidge Danticat, The House on Mango Street and be railroaded into African American studies departments?

Here is Du Bois from The Souls of Black Folk:

I sit with Shakespeare, and he winces not. Across the color line I move arm and arm with Balzac and Dumas, where smiling men and welcoming women glide in gilded halls. From out of the caves of evening that swing between the strong-limbed Earth and the tracery of stars, I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will, and they come all graciously with no scorn nor condescension. So, wed with Truth, I dwell above the veil.

Above all, an education system must maintain and safeguard a particular national identity, as manifested by its unique humanities curriculum. Once this sacrosanct mission has been abandoned, education deteriorates into a collection of soulless vocational institutes that become technocratic factories for illiteratization. No multicultural curriculum can exist, because it is not possible to make children literate and articulate in hundreds of different languages. Notwithstanding neoliberal protestations, the multicultural curriculum is a psychopathic, nihilistic, and deeply reactionary curriculum. Nevertheless, it does what it was designed to do: foment tribalism and ignorance, while deflecting anger away from the oligarchy’s destruction of the country and towards white people.

As Frederick Douglass said in his “Our Composite Nationality” speech on December 7, 1869:

Mankind are not held together by lies. Trust is the foundation of society. Where there is no truth, there can be no trust, and where there is no trust, there can be no society.

If white power is wrong, black power must also be wrong. If misogyny is to be denounced, misandry must also be denounced. It is unconscionable for the cult of neoliberalism to continue to indoctrinate American youth with extremist ideologies.

In the cult of neoliberalism white nationalism is everywhere, yet anti-white bigotry — even when it is at its most spiteful and vicious – is nowhere to be found. Black nationalism is romanticized, as it “fights racism;” while misandry is extolled, as it “fights sexism.” Identity studies and the multicultural curriculum (where classes are taught by demagogues and not by academics), have fomented unprecedented forms of sectarianism, and fueled the free market jihadis of black nationalism, Latino nationalism, and Feminisis, along with other anti-intellectual and anti-Western hordes which are tearing apart the cultural fabric of society. The absence of a legitimate progressive alternative to endless wars, austerity, book burning, the medical industrial complex, and mass incarceration, where one may choose only between a white right and a colored right, has straitjacketed us into a paralysis of analysis. Irregardless of who is victorious, there can only be one winner: the kleptocracy.

The Yellow Vest movement, presently crippled by the Covid-19 pandemic, is a traditional working class movement which seeks to protect social services, unions, and middle class jobs, and whose supporters understand that endless ranting and raving about race and gender is divisive and self-destructive, as this can only enhance the power of a rampaging bourgeoisie increasingly hostile to democracy. They also understand that the triumph of identity politics would constitute the triumph of alienation over camaraderie and solidarity.

Ultimately, multiculturalism is rooted in the idea that our national identity is illegitimate, a form of self-flagellation that is increasingly popular in Europe, notably Sweden. This humiliates and dehumanizes Americans of all ethnicities, and degrades and sullies the credibility of the left, while emboldening traditional reactionary ideologies.

Theodore Roosevelt was acutely aware of the dangers of tribalism. Speaking to the Knights of Columbus at Carnegie Hall on October 12, 1915, he warned:

The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic.

If the multicultural cancer continues to metastasize unchecked our civilization will disintegrate, leaving the younger generation with nothing but a desolate wasteland enveloped by amnesia, where those who cry “extremist” are the real extremists, and where the citadel of reason lies in ruins, as Old Abe’s “mystic chords of memory” fade into a broken hourglass forever.

Ever hubristic and increasingly deranged, the cult of neoliberalism continues to maintain that the multicultural society constitutes a revolutionary movement comprised of integrationists, whose disciples are the heirs to the civil rights movement and the New Deal, when these crusades are diametrically opposed to one another. That the acolytes of identity politics fail to see this is lamentable. Yet cults require only emotions and blind obedience — not cognition. As Paul Craig Roberts writes in “Education Is Offensive and Racist and so is America:” “The elite have worked long and hard to acquire a divided population that cannot unite against them. They have succeeded.”

“Feeding a Bedouin”: Roy Oz and Israel’s Outrageous Racism 

On July 11, a video footage which showed a popular Israeli TV celebrity demeaning Palestinian children from the Bedouin community in the Naqab area, went viral on social media.

“Let’s feed a Bedouin. Don’t you want to feed a Bedouin?” Israeli Children TV host, Roy Oz, repeatedly asks his children, who were seated in the back seat of his car. Outside the vehicle, two Palestinian children were filmed as they stood waiting eagerly for the cookies promised to them by the Israeli driver.

Palestinian Bedouins are treated like “monkeys”, said Atia al-Asem, head of the Regional Council of Palestinian Villages in the Naqab, after viewing the disturbing footage.

Arab Member of the Israeli Parliament (Knesset), Ahmad Tibi, described Oz’s behavior as the “lowest of human behavior, racist and despicable brutishness.”

In truth, Oz’s actions were merely consistent with the very racist reality that governs Israeli society — its laws, political institutions, media apparatus, its economic sector and popular perceptions.

In particular, the thousands of Palestinians who are still living in the Naqab desert have been subjected to a relentless Israeli campaign of dehumanization, racism, and ethnic cleansing.

Racism and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian Bedouin communities go hand in hand.  Oz’s video cannot be viewed separately from the Israeli government’s plans to corral Palestinians in the Naqab into isolated and impoverished communities in order to make space for Jewish-only housing developments.

For this sinister scenario to succeed, the Palestinian Bedouins need to be dehumanized by the Israeli political and media establishments. Oz’s racist video is a mere expression of this outrageous reality.

However, the issue exceeds that of the devastation and racism underway in the Naqab, into all aspects of Israeli lives.

In July 2018, Israel approved a “basic law”, dubbed the “Jewish nation-state law” that gave ascendency to everything Jewish and denigrated all else. It was a desperate, and ultimately failed, attempt at reconciling between the “Jewishness” of the state with universal democratic ideals.

“The Land of Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people, in which the State of Israel was established,” the new law said, celebrating the country as “the nation state of the Jewish People, in which it realizes its natural, cultural, religious and historical right to self-determination.”

In accordance with the above assertions, the new definition grants the “Jewish people”, everywhere, the right to “exercise  … the right to national self-determination in the State of Israel.”

The millions of Palestinian Arabs — Muslims, Christians and Druze — who share that same piece of land, though not as equals, have no place in Israel’s undemocratic definition of itself. Needless to say, the nearly 7 million Palestinian refugees were also excluded from claiming any rights in “the State of Israel”, including their internationally-enshrined Right of Return.

The Israeli Nation-State Law, however, must not be seen as the event that ushered in institutionalized racism in this country. Israel was founded on the racist principle that it belonged to the “Jewish people” only, and no one else, not even the Palestinian Arab natives of the land.

However, the law is significant in the sense that it represents the final blow to the hope that Israel will eventually come to terms with its past, and embrace the humanistic principles of equality, justice and democracy.

That hope — really an illusion — was dashed, and irrevocably so, as there is little resistance within Israel itself by any significant political force that is capable of confronting and defeating the racist, chauvinistic and ultra-nationalist trends that have always dominated the country.

According to an election survey published in January 2019, those who identified as “leftists” have dwindled  significantly, as they now represent only 12 percent of all Israelis – a number that includes Arab communities, where the left has historically had a strong presence.

This realization might be one of the reasons that made some optimists imagine that the supposed next best thing — Israel’s centrist Blue and White Party coalition under Benny Gantz — was still able to, at least, slow down the advancement of right-wing and religious parties.

These hopes persisted over the course of a tumultuous political year that witnessed three major elections in a row, despite the fact that many of Gantz’s stances were equally — if not even more — hawkish than those of right-wing Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Unsurprisingly, on April 20, Gantz joined Netanyahu to form a coalition government that is arguably the most militaristic in the country’s modern history, as both camps are keen on a new military confrontation with Gaza and a massive annexation scheme of nearly 30 percent of the occupied West Bank.

Armed with constitutional racism, Israeli leaders can now justify, at least to themselves and their constituencies, any action that may be deemed abhorrent, illegal or racist by the rest of the world.

This is the very reality that allows racist ‘celebrities’, such as Roy Oz, to go on safari-like adventures with his well-fed children in their air-conditioned top model vehicles to hand cookies to malnourished and poor Palestinian Bedouin children in the Naqab.

For Israel, Oz is the epitome of the ultimate victory of the “Jewish people” — as defined by Israel’s racist Nation-State Law — over the alienated, corralled and victimized Palestinians.

But racism in Israel is not only the work of political institutions as a direct outcome of the disparities created by Israel’s military superiority and expansive colonial enterprises. It has long passed all of that into many other aspects of Israeli society, and can be felt in other sectors of law, economy, the health care system and education; especially education.

Aside from the “racist ideology” taught in Israeli public schools, which denies the historical roots of Palestinians in their own land, and often demeans the Palestinian natives in ways that violate the minimal standards of modern education — let alone human rights — the very set-up of the educational system is a testimony to Israel’s deeply entrenched racism.

Schools dedicated to Palestinian Arab children in Israel are “a world apart in quality from the public schools serving Israel’s majority Jewish population,” according to one Human Rights Watch report.

“Often overcrowded and understaffed, poorly built, badly maintained, or simply unavailable, schools for Palestinian Arab children offer fewer facilities and educational opportunities than are offered other Israeli children.”

Racism accompanies the average Jewish citizen of Israel from the hospital where he is born, to the iniquitous school system, to the discriminatory business sector, to the utterly racist fans at the soccer field, to the unruly, murderous army and beyond. And every step of the way, Palestinians are belittled, dehumanized, exploited, subjugated, confined, imprisoned and, in many instances, killed.

With that being the everyday reality in Israel and Palestine, should we really be surprised that a morally bankrupt fool like Roy Oz mistreated Bedouin children, offering them candy as if zoo animals?

The truth is, Oz is the actual face of Israel — privileged, entitled, racist and delusional. And the same way Israeli media — which gives the likes of Oz his celebrity status — should be shunned and boycotted, Israel should also be sanctioned and boycotted. Because, without international pressure, Israel will never, on its own, confront its demons of military occupation, apartheid and deep-rooted racism.

Racism in Chile

They killed black woman

Recently, when a retired Chilean U.N. employee tried to enter ECLAC (United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, based in

Santiago de Chile) to claim her pension in a bank inside the compound, her car was stopped by a U.N. security officer. She was asked to complete formalities. To her taste, the process was taking too much time, and she began honking. The head of security approached her, trying to explain the procedure, which had recently toughened up, due to the outbreak of COVID-19. The security head happened to be an African-Brazilian.

She clearly did not like this fact, and she exploded:

That spicy nigger (‘el negro picante’) is the security head? I’m going to send him to the United States so that they could kill him there! I’m going to write to ‘El Mercurio’ newspaper! Who would think that this nigger could be a boss?

Her horrid outburst was reported, and it quickly reached the ECLAC head who happens to be a progressive Mexican scientist – Alicia Bárcena – who is a vocal admirer of AMLO, Hugo Chávez, Correa, and Lula. Indignant, she took immediate action, barring the former employee’s entry to the compound and reporting the incident to the U.N. headquarters in New York.

This story could be dismissed as an ugly anecdote, as something sick and unusual. Except, it is not unusual at all. Chile is a dreadfully racist place, although, as many countries where racism thrives, it does not openly admit that it is.

Gone are the internationalist ideals of Allende’s era, gone is solidarity with other Latin American nations. It appears that only the Chilean Communist Party has at least some sympathy with the plight of Venezuelan people. And no one here is demanding the return of the access to the sea to Bolivia: access which was literally stolen during the shameful “War of the Pacific,” during which Chile disgracefully joined forces with Great Britain against Bolivia and Peru.

*****

“We are English of Latin America.” This is how Chileans like to view themselves.

And they openly despise those who are not as white as they are: Peruvians, Bolivians, Haitians.

Throughout the 20th Century, Chilean immigration policy was based on a determined effort to attract the whitest of whites, from Germans to Czechs, Croats, Swiss. Even the Italians were not good enough for them. A new wave of European migrants was mainly settling in the south, pushing indigenous, native Mapuche people to the margins, and into misery.

Chilean Left has very little to do with the indigenous struggle. It is a Western-style left, much closer to defunct “anarcho-syndicalism” in the United States, then to Cuban, Venezuelan, or Bolivian pan-Latin American struggle. The majority of Chilean ‘revolutionaries’ feel much more at home in Miami, Paris, or Rome than with their own oppressed people in such places as Puerto Saavedra or Temuco.

In Chile, race plays an extremely important role. It opens and closes doors. It determines who gets what jobs, and who ends up living in inescapable misery.

*****

Under the cover of “fight against COVID-19”, Chilean extreme right-wing government of Sebastian Piñera unleashed a new stage of the war against Mapuche people, a war that even some foreign mass media outlets could not ignore, anymore.

Fight against the fascist Pinera

According to Thomas Reuters Foundation News report from 17 June 2020:

The Mapuche, which means “Earth People” in the Mapudungun tongue, make up about 10% of Chile’s population of 19 million and mainly work as subsistence farmers in the Araucania region – one the poorest areas of the country.

Mapuche activists have gone on hunger strike, occupied and burned forestry and farming lands, and cut off highways to demand territories they say were stolen from them.

Mapuche leaders say that, like black Americans, they have lost a disproportionate number of their own young men to police violence.

One such case was Camilo Catrillanca, who was shot dead in 2018 during a police operation that sparked widespread fury among Chileans.

The 24-year-old became a symbol of police brutality, and his death triggered the resignation of the country’s police chief.

Mapuche people expressing their frustration

However, while there is now even the “Papuan Lives Matter” movement, in far-away Indonesia, until this very moment, there is nothing resembling like “Mapuche Lives Matter” movement in Chile.

The Reuters report continues:

Still, the struggles of indigenous people remain unknown to many, according to Karina Riquelme, a Chilean lawyer.

Every day they (the Mapuche) live in fear that one of their members could end up dead,” said Riquelme, who works with indigenous groups.

I don’t think people can imagine, but there are tanks, helicopters, and police installations in their communities.

Holding those responsible to account and getting justice is rare, said opposition lawmaker Emilia Nuyado, Chile’s first Mapuche congresswoman elected in 2018.

 *****

The plight of non-white migrants in Chile is horrific, particularly of those with non-white skin.

Haitians are taking the worst part.

Even Venezuelans, those who were leaving their country mainly because of the economic difficulties which have risen due to illegal U.S. sanctions against their country, have to face discrimination and often even open hostility.

When the Chilean neoliberal economy began collapsing as a result of the 2019 popular uprising, as well as mismanaged COVID-19 crisis, most of the Venezuelan migrants lost their jobs. They ended up literally on the street, facing insults, ridicule, even attacks. Hundreds gathered in front of their Embassy in Santiago, hoping to return home, but there were no flights. The temperature was dropping as winter had arrived. The Chilean state did nothing to help. In the end, it was the Communist mayor of Recoletta, who took decisive action and housed all Venezuelan people in need in his neighborhood.

Venezuelans who want to return home

The Chilean government began preparing what is termed as ‘voluntary repatriation’ of both Haitian and Venezuelan citizens, demanding that they sign an affidavit with a clause that they cannot re-enter the country for at least nine years. Thoroughly unlawful and unconstitutional move, but here nobody cares.

*****

In Chile, racism has many diverse forms, and some of them are truly monstrous.

Right after the Pinochet dictatorship officially ended, I went to Chile, to write about, and to expose “Colonia Dignidad,” an evil German enclave, run by extreme right-wing (some of them Nazis) child molesters (listen to my interview here). This huge compound, in remote Maule Region, spreading towards the Andes and the border with Argentina, was, particularly during the dictatorship, notorious for torturing, raping, and disappearing people. Its name was changed in 1991 to Villa Baviera, but even after that, for years it continued to function as a state inside the state, equipped with barbed wire at its perimeter, as well as searchlights, German shepherds, two airstrips, power plant, and the arsenal of weapons stored in the underground tunnels.

After returning to Chile, several months ago, I discovered that all major Chilean supermarket chains are stuffed with the Villa Baviera products, from German bread to sausages of all kinds.

This pinnacle of racism, bigotry, sexual abuse (mainly pedophilia), and torture, the colony is now operating as some sort of “tourist resort.” This is clearly a spit in the face to its countless victims, many of them kidnapped and ‘adopted’ Mapuche children, and to the Chilean democracy, which was broken to shards on 11 September 1973, during the fascist, US-backed military coup. Democracy, which was never restored, until this very moment.

*****

Even in the United States, one statue after another is getting desecrated, painted with graffiti, or simply destroyed. Crimes against humanity are being exposed. With each of the statues, respect to US racist past has been vanishing.

In Chile, racist, white pro-imperialist figures have always been admired and revered. During the last year’s uprising, however, several monuments were attacked, including those to the conqueror Pedro de Valdivia, in the cities of Concepcion, Valdivia, and Temuco.

History of the country has been closely tied to various brutal conquerors, butchers of the native population, and to the collaborators with the European and lately North American interests: Pedro de Valdivia, General Baquedano, and others.

Desecrated statue of mass murderer Baquedano

In Santiago de Chile, a huge statue of General Baquedano was painted over with graffiti. It served as a gathering place for the anti-government demonstrations at the end of 2019.

However, under cover of the four months long COVID-19 lockdown, the government of Sebastian Piñera managed to stop most of the protests, and consequently repaint the Baquedano’s statue. At one point, the president himself stopped his motorcade and took his own selfie in front of the monument to the butcher of Bolivia and Peru.

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In Chile, there is no love for the Chinese or other Asians. The country fell under the total influence of the U.S./European political and cultural propaganda.

I knew several Asian women who used to face intimidation and harassment in Santiago.

Here, to be white, to be of European stock, is worn like a coat of honor. The highest honor.

Twenty years ago, when I lived here for over two years, Chileans were obsessed with different cultures. People appeared to be thirsty for everything coming from Asia or the Middle East. Now, it is back to the mainstream Western offerings: from U.S. pop music to Hollywood junk. The number of art cinemas shrank dramatically. Santiago reduced itself to a provincial, culturally dull capital. Unless one is interested in the second-rate Western offering, there is very little of interest here now.

Little wonder. Under the neo-liberal model, Chile’s upper and upper-middle classes adopted the Western/white complex of superiority fully.

Obviously, individuals who spit at black people will not be seeking African art.

In a report published by Palabra Publica, some facts and analyses appear to be shocking:

The report ‘Manifestations of Racial Discrimination in Chile: A Study of Perception’s, published by the National Institute for Human rights (NIHR) in February of this year, indicates that 68.2% of surveyed individuals declare that they agree with measures to limit the entrance of migrants into Chile. In turn, a third of them consider themselves “whiter than other people from Latin American countries” and almost 25% in the Metropolitan Region see immigrants as “dirtier” than Chileans. Additionally, the National Institute for Human rights indicates in their report that “the fact that skin color and indigenous features are indicated as reasons for rejection denotes their use as indicators of social exclusion and, therefore, as an implicit expression of racism (…) the indicators of the responses show that over 30% of the participants do not clearly reject the idea of stigmatizing them.

Black lives do matter, increasingly, even among the many progressive groups of people in the United States. But not in Chile. Despite gross discrimination, assaults and even killing of the people with a different color of skin, (one of the most ‘famous’ cases was that of a 27-year-old Haitian immigrant, Joanne Florvil, who got, in 2017, arbitrarily detained, denied an interpreter and killed), there seems to be no organized, powerful movement in Chile, which would stand determinately against racism and continuous theft of what is left of the Mapuche lands, or for the return of access to the sea to Bolivia.

Now, during the draconical COVID-19 lockdown (Chilean neoliberal government absolutely failed in its ‘battle’ with the novel coronavirus — Chile presently having the highest number of infections in Latin America, per 1 million people), Haitian immigrants are abused more and more, openly and brutally. Bizarrely, many Chileans believe that Haitians are ‘dirty’ and that they are responsible for spreading the virus. Horrid conditions in which they have to live, as well as abuses they have to face, were recently depicted even by Al-Jazeera and otherwise staunch neo-liberal reporter Lucia Newman.

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In a way, Chilean racism and racial divisions are an extreme version of what is happening in several countries of South America. Here, the European descendants became what is called ‘elites.’ They control political, cultural, and economic life, and they control land, despising other ethnic groups.

Politically, they are controlling not only the right-wing, but also in some cases (like Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay), a substantial part of the Left. Here, much of the Left now has nothing to do with the Latin American Left, which is governing in countries like Cuba and Venezuela. As described above, in Chile, it is a defunct pseudo-left similar to the Western anarcho-syndicalism, which is alien to the mentality of the native, non-Western cultures. It is all about ‘rights’ and individualism, and very little or none, about internationalism. In Chile, during the big uprising which took place at the end of 2019 — an uprising which I photographed, filmed and covered — there were almost no voices supporting Venezuela or denouncing US-backed coup in Bolivia. However, there were many demands for free abortion.

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Chilean racism is deadly. Here, European migrants ruined great native cultures, both in the south and north. Alliance of Chile and the U.K. robbed Bolivia of its access to the sea and damaged Peru. Chile spied on Argentina, on behalf of the U.K., during the War of Malvinas. The country was the essential participant in Operation Condor, with Colonia Dignidad being one of the main torture centers on the continent. Until now, Santiago plays a crucial role in isolating and intimidating Venezuela and other left-wing countries in Latin America.

All this, because of desperate desire to be accepted, to be part of the Western club of predominately white nations.

“The English of Latin America,” Chile does not want to be a victim. It prefers to be a victimizer. And in many ways, it is. Domestically and internationally.

But the word is quickly changing, and Chile may find itself on the very wrong side of history. The Western regime, the Western empire, is rapidly collapsing. And the white color could and should, very soon, become just that and nothing more — a color.

While the great original cultures of Latin America will, no doubt, return to both prominence and former glory.

It says it all

* Written for and first published by Orinoco Tribune in Venezuela

• Photos by Andre Vltchek