Sunday, February 27, 2011

Words on Revolution

Well, there's the poisonous culture of consumeerism, the ideology of possessive individualism. and the whole idea that anyone who isn't "successful" is himself/herself at fault for lacking "drive", intellgence, etc. It's what Dr. Du Bois in BLACK RECONSTRUCTION calls the "American Assumption." All this must be overcome. We've become so alienated from even the notion of coummunity that ordinary civic engagement with one's neighbors is now regarded as an odd activity. Even rent and waistline parties that were so popular in inner city communities when I was coming up, have now become far less common.
Part of the process of making a revolution--nonviolent or otherwise--is the CREATION of COMMUNITY. Within the creation of community and the cooperative spirit, one already finds the seeds of REVOLUTION in society which estranges people from each other, and reifies human relations.
It is of no small importance that the FBI feared seemingly harmless ventures as community theatre or societies of poets. Can you imagine COINTELPRO infiltrating societies of poets?
It is no coincidence that the FBI feared the Black Panthers's breakfast programs, political and cultural education initiatives, and community clinics more than they ever feared the Panthers' guns.
The authorities knew very well that a community organization with a few shotguns and leather jackets were no threat to the existing order with its massive military and paramilitary forces.

But the IDEAS that the Panthers were spreading, and the EXAMPLES of COMMUNITY solidarity and self-determination---these were DANGERS that the ruling classes could not ignore.
Yet what could be more NONVIOLENT than a breakfast program to feed hungry children whom the system has abandoned? What could be more PEACEFUL and than EDUCATION program? But an education program which transcents the limits of the established corporate school system, which invites people to look at the world in NEW WAYS which break with the capitalistic worldview, and clinics which (like breakfast program) depends on SELF-DETERMINED community support--these were clearly revolutionary challenge....a challenge which threatened to win millions away from old ideas which uphold and legitimate the status quo.
Ideas are more powerful than bullets.



And it's not only racism that needs to be overcome. Many are sold on the cliches of capitalism... the boss deserves to have a much better lifestyle, etc., a lot of social Darwinism which has been sold to people by the corporate media.

And it's not only whites full of this brainwashing.

-Barros Serrano
If you're not DEAD you can awaken. Whites have been sold the snake oil of racism and white supremacy for centuries. And yes, it's deeply rooted in American culture.
Yet, some whites clearly see through it. Others may come to see through the hype later. And there may be some who never will. Of those who do awake, as with those of earlier generations who cast off their blinders, it is possible for form a new popular democratic movement.
Progressive historian Howard Zinn---a white ally of the freedom movement of the 1960s--suggested that about 25% of the American people are soooooo far to the Right that there's no reaching them. And, of course, the vast majority of those American reactionaries are white.
But that leaves open about 75% of the American population who MIGHT still be won. Who wins them over will determine the future history of America, and much of the world.
But if we assume that the vast majority of whites are incorrrigible bigots and reactinaries, then we end up abandoning the field for the Right to REALLY win over the majority.
That would be GROSS irresponsibility on our parts, and would virtually guarantee the triumph of an American fascism.
Anti-racist progressives of all races, creeds and nationalities mush commit to winning over the majority of Americans of all races, creeds and colors to a vision of more human society void of racism, sexism and class oppression.
And nonviolent struggles like those in Madison, Wisconsin and Ohio may offer part of the solution, part of the way forward.
If we fail to seize the challenge--SEIZE THE TIME--as Bobby Seale would have it, then we are facing our doom.
This is a struggle between freedom and despotism, between civilization and barbarism. We cannot afford to lose this battle.

Harrisson wrote:

Oh, I am definitely keeping an eye on those happenings, brother.
How ironic that the first African-American U.S. President is tasked by Western corporate elites with the challenge of taming and stage-managing an inconvenient, populist revolt on African soil.
Victory! At least thus far. For the struggle continues. A Luta Continua!

Very important: YOUTH led the way! And the ideas that some of them have. Notions of autonomous community (which Kathleen Cleaver now talks about) have entered the lexicon of revolt.
And I can't forget the words of a poorly paid, 25 year old Egyptian English tutor: "We don't want you MONEY. RESPECT us as HUMAN BEINGS!"

Or as striking Black sanitation workers led by King had on their placards: "I am a man!"

RESPECT US AS HUMAN BEINGS! At the end of the day, that's what freedom is about. That's what Revolution is about. The right to be human in a human community.




In Egypt, about 65% of the population is under 30 years old.
And it was YOUTH that led the way. Such was the case with the Black movement in the 1960s, the women's movement, and the peace movements as well.
The nonviolent resistance reminds me in many ways of our movement in America, especially in the American South.

Also, the Movement in Egypt has thus far remained independent from the theocrats, despite Mubarak's last ditch effort to work out some kind of deal with the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Revolution wasn't started or led by the Muslim Brotherhood, nor by any other sectarian outfit. It has been created by the Egyptian people themselves.
Moreover, it was a revolt of Egyptians CHRISTIANS as well as MUSLIMS--united against tyranny. Hopefully, they will maintain this unity across religious boundaries.(Indeed, it was a positive sign weeks before the current insurgency when THOUSANDS of Egyptian Muslims formed human shield between their Christian brethren and militant Islamists when those Islamist began making attacks on Coptic churches).
Furthermore, we cannot forget the inspiring sight of hundreds of thousands of insurgent WOMEN in Liberation Square making their voices heard in the making of history. Malcolm X once said that in his travels abroad he noted that the most progressive countries were those in which the emancipation of women were at center of the struggle for freedom. Let's us remember this.
Also, it seems that youth have found new ways of organizing for a democratic revolution with the use of new technologies of communication that cannot be as easily censored as radio, TV or newspapers. Such seems to be the case in Iran (I ear the opposition may be planning to bring their Green Revolution back into public spaces as early as next week).

Now one of my fellow philosophers and colleagues posed to us (faculty and students) a question:
If the Egyptians can do what they've done under a DICTATORSHIP, what the hell is holding us up?
It 's time to resume our fight against racism and economic injustice, against poverty and war, aaginst militarism and imperialism, against the patriarchal degradation of women.
It is time for Americans resume the fight for a more RADICAL DEMOCRACY in a cooperative society.
Time to build a NEW America, and contribute what we can to the transformation of the world.


Harrisson wrote:

I hope so, brother, I hope so.
However, I have to say that my first long-term exposure to unionized public-sector employees was troubling. It was troubling to see a white, working-class man with relatively secure federal government employment, labeling himself as "conservative," seeing himself as a victim of affirmative action, and voting a right-wing Republican agenda.
In fact, a disturbingly high percentage of union households overall, vote Republican. How much a problem this is in the public-sector unions is not clear to me.
Nonetheless, I find myself ENCOURAGED by the enormous ruckus and agitation that the labor movement is making in Wisconsin state capitol.
I read the news developments with great satisfaction and think "Give 'em hell!!!"
Maybe some of those conservative white union workers now voting Republican (or at best, "blue dog Democrat") will begin taking a new look at things as they see those reactionaries taking away their jobs, benefits and collective bargaining rights.
King once said that if whites were as AWARE of their oppression as the Blacks, there would have been more whites picketing and protesting than African-Americans.
Guy Debord, of the leftist French Situationist International once wrote (shortly after Watts uprising in LA): The Blacks are ALIENATED. So are the REST of Americans, but the Blacks are AWARE of it.
With the awakeing of the awareness of whites--providing we don't lost OUR OWN AWARENESS---can mark the beginning of a new era.
Eventually we can have a new revolutionary society in which a right to a liberated life of dignity and happiness will be the birthright of every man, woman and child on earth.
Victory to the the working class insurgents of America! Victory to the insurgent peoples of the Middle East. Long live freedom!



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