*edited for length*) Hegel and Marx were heirs to the thinking of
Newton, Descartes, Locke and Smith. Hegel finished the process of
secularizing theology- and that is put in his own terms- he secularized
the religious thinking through which Europe understood the universe.
Then Marx put Hegel's philosophy in terms of "materialism," which is to
say that Marx despiritualized Hegel's work altogether. Again, this is
in Marx' own terms. And this is now seen as the future revolutionary
potential of Europe. Europeans may see this as revolutionary, but
American Indians see it simply as still more of that same old European
conflict between being and gaining. The intellectual roots of a new
Marxist form of European imperialism lie in Marx'- and his followers'-
links to the tradition of Newton, Hegel and the others.
Being is a spiritual proposition. Gaining is a material act.
Traditionally, American Indians have always attempted to be the best
people they could. Part of that spiritual process was and is to give
away wealth, to discard wealth in order not to gain. Material gain is
an indicator of false status among traditional people, while it is
"proof that the system works" to Europeans. Clearly, there are two
completely opposing views at issue here, and Marxism is very far over
to the other side from the American Indian view. But let's look at a
major implication of this; it is not merely an intellectual debate.
...After all, their philosophers have despiritualized reality, so there
is no satisfaction (for them) to be gained in simply observing the
wonder of a mountain or a lake or a people in being. No, satisfaction
is measured in terms of gaining material. So the mountain becomes
gravel, and the lake becomes coolant for a factory, and the people are
rounded up for processing through the indoctrination mills Europeans
like to call schools.
But each new piece of that "progress" ups the ante out in the real
world. Take fuel for the industrial machine as an example. Little more
than two centuries ago, nearly everyone used wood- a replenishable,
natural item- as fuel for the very human needs of cooking and staying
warm. Along came the Industrial Revolution and coal became the dominant
fuel, as production became the social imperative for Europe. Pollution
began to become a problem in the cities, and the earth was ripped open
to provide coal whereas wood had always simply been gathered or
harvested at no great expense to the environment. Later, oil became the
major fuel, as the technology of production was perfected through a
series of scientific "revolutions." Pollution increased dramatically,
and nobody yet knows what the environmental costs of pumping all that
oil out of the ground will really be in the long run. Now there's an
"energy crisis," and uranium is becoming the dominant fuel.
Capitalists, at least, can be relied upon to develop uranium as fuel
only at the rate which they can show a good profit. That's there ethic,
and maybe they will buy some time. Marxists, on the other hand, can be
relied upon to develop uranium fuel as rapidly as possible simply
because it's the most "efficient" production fuel available. That's
their ethic, and I fail to see where it's preferable. Like I said,
Marxism is right smack in the middle of European tradition. It's the
same old song.
There's a rule of thumb which can be applied here. You cannot judge the
real nature of a European revolutionary doctrine on the basis of the
changes it proposes to make within the European power structure and
society. You can only judge it by the effects it will have on
non-European peoples. This is because every revolution in European
history has served to reinforce Europe's tendencies and abilities to
export destruction to other peoples, other cultures and the environment
itself. I defy anyone to point out an example where this is not true.
So now we, as American Indian people, are asked to believe that a "new"
European revolutionary doctrine such as Marxism will reverse the
negative effects of European history on us. European power relations
are to be adjusted once again, and that's supposed to make things
better for all of us. But what does this really mean?
...Revolutionary Marxism is committed to even further perpetuation and
perfection of the very industrial process which is destroying us all.
It offers only to " redistribute" the results- the money, maybe- of
this industrialization to a wider section of the population. It offers
to take wealth from the capitalists and pass it around; but in order to
do so, Marxism must maintain the industrial system. Once again, the
power relations within European society will have to be altered, but
once again the effects upon American Indian peoples here and
non-Europeans elsewhere will remain the same. This is much the same as
when power was redistributed from the church to private business during
the so-called bourgeois revolution. European society changed a bit, at
least superficially, but its conduct toward non-Europeans continued as
before. You can see what the American Revolution of 1776 did for
American Indians. It's the same old song.
Revolutionary Marxism, like industrial society in other forms, seeks to
"rationalize" all people in relation to industry- maximum industry,
maximum production. It is a doctrine that despises the American Indian
spiritual tradition, our cultures, our lifeways. Marx himself called us
"precapitalists" and "primitive." Precapitalist simply means that, in
his view, we would eventually discover capitalism and become
capitalists; we have always been economically retarded in Marxist term.
The only manner in which American Indian people could participate in a
Marxist revolution would be to join the industrial system, to become
factory workers, or "proletarians," as Marx called them. The man was
very clear about the fact that his revolution could only occur through
the struggle of the proletariat, that the existence of a massive
industrial system is a precondition of a successful Marxist society.
I think there's a problem with language here. Christians, capitalists,
Marxists. All of them have been revolutionary in their own minds, but
none of them really means revolution. What they really mean is
continuation. They do what they do in order that European culture can
continue to exist and develop according to its needs.
So, in order for us to really join forces with Marxism, we American
Indians would have to accept the national sacrifice of our homeland; we
would have to commit cultural suicide and become industrialized and
At this point, I've got to stop and ask myself whether I'm being too
harsh. Marxism has something of a history. Does this history bear out
my observations? I look to the process of industrialization in the
Soviet Union since 1920 and I see that these Marxists have done what it
took the English Industrial Revolution 300 years to do; and the
Marxists did it in 60 years. I see that the territory of the USSR used
to contain a number of tribal peoples and that they have been crushed
to make way for the factories. The Soviets refer to this as " the
National Question." The question of whether the tribal peoples had the
right to exist as peoples; and they decided the tribal peoples were an
acceptable sacrifice to the industrial needs. I look to China and I see
the same thing. I look to Vietnam and I see Marxists imposing an
industrial order and rooting out the indigenous tribal mountain people.
I hear the leading Soviet scientist saying that when uranium is
exhausted, then alternatives will be found. I see the Vietnamese taking
over a nuclear power plant abandoned by the U.S. military. Have they
dismantled and destroyed it? No, they are using it. I see China
exploding nuclear bombs, developing uranium reactors, and preparing a
space program in order to colonize and exploit the planets the same as
the Europeans colonized and exploited this hemisphere. It's the same
old song, but maybe with a faster tempo this time.
The statement of the Soviet scientist is very interesting. Does he know
what this alternative energy source will be? No, he simply has faith.
Science will find a way. I hear revolutionary Marxists saying that the
destruction of the environment, pollution, and radiation will all be
controlled. And I see them act upon their words. Do they know how these
things will be controlled? No, they simply have faith. Science will
find a way. Industrialization is fine and necessary. How do they know
this? Faith. Science will find a way. Faith of this sort has always
been known in Europe as religion. Science has become the new European
religion for both capitalists and Marxists; they are truly inseparable;
they are part and parcel of the same culture. So, in both theory and
practice, Marxism demands that non-European peoples give up their
values, their traditions, their cultural existence altogether. We will
all be industrialized science addicts in a Marxist society.
I do not believe that capitalism itself is really responsible for the
situation in which American Indians have been declared a national
sacrifice. No, it is the European tradition ; European culture itself
is responsible. Marxism is just the latest continuation of this
tradition, not a solution to it. To ally with Marxism is to ally with
the very same forces that declare us an acceptable cost.
...Distilled to its basic terms, European faith-including the new faith
in science-equals a belief that man is God. Europe has always sought a
Messiah, whether that be the man Jesus Christ or the man Karl Marx or
the man Albert Einstein. American Indians know this to be totally
absurd. Humans are the weakest of all creatures, so weak that other
creatures are willing to give up their flesh that we may live. Humans
are able to survive only through the exercise of rationality since they
lack the abilities of other creatures to gain food through the use of
fang and claw.
But rationality is a curse since it can cause humans to forget the
natural order of things in ways other creatures do not. A wolf never
forgets his or her place in the natural order. American Indians can.
Europeans almost always do. We pray our thanks to the deer, our
relations, for allowing us their flesh to eat; Europeans simply take
the flesh for granted and consider the deer inferior. After all,
Europeans consider themselves godlike in their rationalism and science.
God is the Supreme Being; all else must be inferior.
All European tradition, Marxism included, has conspired to defy the
natural order of all things. Mother Earth has been abused, the powers
have been abused, and this cannot go on forever. No theory can alter
that simple fact. Mother Earth will retaliate, the whole environment
will retaliate, and the abusers will be eliminated. Things come full
circle, back to where they started. That's revolution. And that's a
prophecy of my people, of the Hopi people and of other correct peoples.
American Indians have been trying to explain this to Europeans for
centuries. But, as I said earlier, Europeans have proven themselves
unable to hear. The natural order will win out, and the offenders will
die out, the way deer die when they offend the harmony by
over-populating a given region. It's only a matter of time until what
Europeans call "a major catastrophe of global proportions" will occur.
It is the role of American Indian peoples, the role of all natural
beings, to survive. A part of our survival is to resist. We resist not
to overthrow a government or to take political power, but because it is
natural to resist extermination, to survive. We don't want power over
white institutions; we want white institutions to disappear. That's
American Indians are still in touch with these realities-the
prophecies, the traditions of our ancestors. We learn from the elders,
from nature, from the powers. And when the catastrophe is over, we
American Indian peoples will still be here to inhabit the hemisphere. I
don't care if it's only a handful living high in the Andes. American
Indian people will survive; harmony will be reestablished. That's
At this point, perhaps I should be very clear about another matter, one
which should already be clear as a result of what I've said. But
confusion breeds easily these days, so I want to hammer home this
point. When I use the term European, I'm not referring to a skin color
or a particular genetic structure. What I'm referring to is a mind-set,
a worldview that is a product of the development of European culture.
People are not genetically encoded to hold this outlook; they are
acculturated to hold it. The same is true for American Indians or for
the members of any culture.
It is possible for an American Indian to share European values, a
European worldview. We have a term for these people; we call them
"apples"-red on the outside (genetics) and white on the inside (their
values). Other groups have similar terms: Blacks have their "oreos";
Hispanos have "Coconuts" and so on. And, as I said before, there are
exceptions to the white norm: people who are white on the outside, but
not white inside. I'm not sure what term should be applied to them
other than "human beings."
What I'm putting out here is not a racial proposition but a cultural
proposition. Those who ultimately advocate and defend the realities of
European culture and its industrialism are my enemies. Those who resist
it, who struggle against it, are my allies, the allies of American
Indian people. And I don't give a damn what their skin color happens to
be. Caucasian is the white term for the white race: European is an
outlook I oppose.
The Vietnamese Communists are not exactly what you might consider
genetic Caucasians, but they are now functioning as mental Europeans.
The same holds true for Chinese Communists, for Japanese capitalists or
Bantu Catholics or Peter "MacDollar" down at the Navajo Reservation or
Dickie Wilson up here at Pine Ridge. There is no racism involved in
this, just an acknowledgment of the mind and spirit that make up
In Marxist terms I suppose I'm a "cultural nationalist." I work first
with my people, the traditional Lakota people, because we hold a common
worldview and share an immediate struggle. Beyond this, I work with
other traditional American Indian peoples, again because of a certain
commonality in worldview and form of struggle. Beyond that, I work with
anyone who has experienced the colonial oppression of Europe and who
resists its cultural and industrial totality. Obviously, this includes
genetic Caucasians who struggle to resist the dominant norms of
European culture. The Irish and the Basques come immediately to mind,
but there are many others.
...But there is a peculiar behavior among most Caucasians. As soon as I
become critical of Europe and its impact on other cultures, they become
defensive. They begin to defend themselves. But I'm not attacking them
personally; I'm attacking Europe. In personalizing my observations on
Europe they are personalizing European culture, identifying themselves
with it. By defending themselves in this context, they are ultimately
defending the death culture. This is a confusion which must be
overcome, and it must be overcome in a hurry. None of us has energy to
waste in such false struggles.
Caucasians have a more positive vision to offer humanity than European
culture. I believe this. But in order to attain this vision it is
necessary for Caucasians to step outside European culture-alongside the
rest of humanity-to see Europe for what it is and what it does.
To cling to capitalism and Marxism and all other "isms" is simply to
remain within European culture. There is no avoiding this basic fact.
As a fact, this constitutes a choice. Understand that the choice is
based on culture, not race. Understand that to choose European culture
and industrialism is to choose to be my enemy. And understand that the
choice is yours, not mine.