Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Liberator 6.2

Barack Obama. There, do I have your attention? Of course, Liberator readers have sifted through the hype and are still waiting for Mr. Obama to actually define his presidential platform. We promise not to use Mr. Obama’s name in vain. We fought the urge (or not) to put Melvin’s story about him on the cover in order to increase readership twenty-fold.

Instead, the ubiquitous theme in this issue is honesty. Not just honesty per se (I assume every issue of The Liberator is grounded in that) but rather honesty in people and art and action. Honesty--whether it is harsh, blunt, critical or kind. Honesty that is simultaneously constructive and loving. Honesty that encompasses an unequivocal commitment to truth-telling and truth-seeking.

Having to decide which stories to run each issue is becoming increasingly difficult as more and more writers, young and old, are contributing. Despite the difficulty, the fact that we are choosing among many great articles is a great feeling. To me, it illustrates both the quantity and the quality of writing that we are seeing on a regular basis. I’m convinced that dialogue, in various forms, is the first step to any wise action. And every time we send The Liberator to print, I feel like we’re contributing to our goal to create and support spaces where excellent dialogue takes place.

Besides dissecting Mr. Obama, we sit down with one of the most honest people in the music industry today, K-OS. This brother is a modern-day Bob Marley in terms of the openness and vulnerability he brings forth through his art. He is to music what Saul Williams is to poetry. We finally got a hold of Minnesota’s own Brother Ali as well--another source of honesty. Certain Ali tracks remind me of John The Baptist of biblical lore. Dude is fierce in the way he shares his stories. Ali is convicted and committed to truth and honest expression.

Unapologetic honesty is often accompanied by what media calls "controversy." But with Kara Walker I don’t see controversy, only brilliance. Anyone who makes you think, forces you to talk or feel, without physically acting on you is a powerful soul and mind. Ms. Walker is such a woman. The reputation of her ideas on race often precedes her. Although we don’t see it on Entertainment Tonight or read about it on Hollywood Tuna, celebrity of the mind far outweighs celebrity of personality or character -- that’s character as in cartoon, not "I Have A Dream."

In Positive White Identity, Nathaniel Mathews scrutinizes the character of "whiteness" by bravely turning the lens of critique upon himself in an effort to discover if, as a white man, a positive identity can exist for him. Or, must he move towards separating himself from this obscure, social construct in order to not be at odds with the rest of humanity.

For a large portion of his life, Cle Sloan himself was at odds with humanity. But like Mathews, he demonstrates a courageous commitment to critical (and sometimes damning) self-analysis. His idea of "inactive" gang status, articulated in his feature-length film, Bastards Of The Party, struck me as a revelatory vision. Sloan acknowledges an inconsistency about his own life while at the same time being able to uncover and adopt a redeeming quality in the drama of gang life--giving a vision to those who might be seeking it. If anyone is fit to save someone from the fire it has to be he who knows it firsthand. As with all structural institutions I believe a thorough and comparative analysis is necessary for anyone new to them or growing up within them. It’s the same thing you heard in elementary school (hopefully). Ask questions. Challenge narratives and historical accounts. Mr. Sloan is taking on that task as well by re-telling the origin stories of the Bloods and the Crips in California to include their social, political and economic activist roots.

Soon, Sloan needs to sit down with Dr. Runoko Rashidi, a master at challenging the status quo narrative and historical accounts. Mr. Rashidi’s life mission embodies, in a more mature form, what I think you will find throughout this issue--individuals who not only "feel" something is wrong but who are actively and passionately (sometimes with all they have financially and spiritually) seeking truth. And most importantly, individuals who have realized that the journey begins with an unbreakable commitment to their personal honesty. And yet I also find in this issue that no truth is self-contained. Thus, I cannot be free unless I am helping someone else be free.

Make sure you get Liberator 6.2 in the mail

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

White people gone wild.

It's almost too stupid to be mad at. (full album)

Clemson (link)
Tarleton State University (link)
University of Connecticut (link).

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Baldwin speaks. The fire next time.

My great fear is that post-integration, we might be becoming our "lost, younger brothers" instead of schooling them. That we have also begun to flee from reality and committment to change. That we may not be the one's to bring the fire next time. That instead we may be consumed by it as well.

("The Fire Next Time", Baldwin) ...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...

But it is not permissible that the authors of devastation should also be innocent. It is the innocence which constitutes the crime...

There is no reason for you to try to become like white people and there is no basis whatever for their impertinent assumption that they must accept you. The really terrible thing, old buddy, is that you must accept them. And I mean that very seriously. You must accept them and accept them with love. For these innocent people have no other hope...

Many of them, indeed, know better, but as you will discover, people find it very difficult to act on what they know. To act is to be committed, and to be committed is to be in danger...

Try to imagine how you would feel if you woke up one morning to find the sun shining and all the stars aflame. You would be frightened because it is out of the order of nature. Any upheaval in the universe is terrifying because it so profoundly attacks one's sense of one's own reality...

But these men are you brothers -- you lost, younger brothers. And if the word integration means anything, this is what it means: that we, with love, shall force our brothers to see themselves as they are, to cease fleeing from reality and begin to change it...

We cannot be free until they are free...

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

capitalism = marxism. european culture's the issue.

(Russell Means *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 Europeanized.

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 revolution.

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 revolution.

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 culture.

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.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Neo-Nazis ambush police and black residents.

But no local or national news coverage. WTF?
(Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder) Early Saturday morning, around 1:30 am, December 9, 2006, residents along the 3500 and 3600 block of Bryant Avenue North were awakened by gunshots. What started out as the dispersing of young Blacks turned into an ambush by neo-Nazi gunmen who opened fire on both police and Blacks.

For days, residents waited for news coverage. As of the writing of this column, five days later, all major news outlets have declined to report this terrorist activity that will live in infamy in the Black community.

Why infamy? Because of the nullification and reversal of how police respond to Blacks — by shooting them. We have asked police to respond with maximum restraint until they are sure instead of shooting first and finding suspects unarmed later. Despite these White neo-Nazis firing on them, the police did not return fire.

Undisputed facts: On December 9, when White neo-Nazis fired on Black youth and police officers, the police response was no use of guns. On Wednesday morning, December 14, at the regular meeting of the Police Community Relations Council (PCRC), Police Chief Tim Dolan was asked by me, in my role as co-chair, pursuant to Article 2.28 of the Federal Mediation Agreement, if any critical incidents, including but not limited to public unrest, had taken place.


White Power Powder.

U.S. Representative John Conyer's to hold hearings on Crack v. Powder sentencing disparities.
(The Afro) Over 80 percent of those convicted on crack cocaine charges are Black. These nonviolent drug offenders would be better served by a drug treatment facility but are, instead, sentenced to long sentences - overcrowding prisons and running up a prison expense tab that is now in the billions.

Conyers has long been a critic of mandatory minimums and believes that no distinction should be made between crack and powder cocaine during sentencing.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

White Privilege.

Whites Understand the Advantages of Being White (link)
While many White Americans recognize that they enjoy certain privileges over other races, nearly half of them believe governmental institutions are color-blind and don’t contribute to those privileges, according to a new “Whiteness” survey released by researchers at the University of Minnesota. “The assumption has been that Whites didn’t see or understand the privileges they might have that go along with race,” said Doug Hartmann, an associate professor of sociology at the university and the study’s co-author. “And there we have pretty high numbers.

Sixty percent or upwards of Whites see the way that prejudice and discrimination and family upbringing and access to schools creates advantages for them. That’s surprising to a lot of left-leaning type scholars who assume that Whites didn’t get that,” he said.Although more Whites are starting to understand the advantages of being White in America as a group, they are less aware of it than other racial groups, the study said. The study reported that 46 percent of Whites “agreed that laws and institutions play an important role in explaining why Whites are better off than other racial groups.” Hartmann said, “Whites recognize White privileges in a lot of individualistic domains but they still think that American laws and institutions are fair and treat everyone equally.” The researchers did a telephone survey of more than 2,000 homes nationwide. Of the participants, 1,000 were White, while the remaining participants were a combination of Blacks, Hispanics and other racial groups.

...this study is the beginning of a good dialogue among the races, and “part” of him is excited that White people “are beginning to show an indication that their awareness and knowledge around these issues are improving.” But he is also disheartened that many “don’t see the connection to the systemic, institutional design.”Moore, an African-American, said it is not enough for White people to just recognize their advantages, but to take it another step further and take action to equal the playing field for all Americans. “I want to give you some praise for getting to that point,” he said. “But for me that is not enough.”