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My joy over the Derek Chauvin verdict was fleeting because I know America

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 22/04/2021 - 2:52am in

Tags 

Feature, BLM

No Black mother has ever had the privilege of living in ignorance of the dangers America poses to her children.

While George Floyd took his final breaths under the knee of convicted murderer Derek Chauvin, I was frantically working on my Russian reading skills. I was due to begin my Ph.D. in the fall, and the Russian reading exam loomed large in my head. Then George died.  The police murdered him. My Black life shifted in a way that was, and is, hard to articulate. I did not expect his death to become the symbol of an international movement to show the world that Black lives mattered. But it did.

I do not believe in characterizing George Floyd as a martyr because he did not intend to die that day. He did not choose to give his life to force this country to come to terms with its racism. I was raised Catholic. I know that martyrdom implies agency, willingly giving one’s life for God. George Floyd had his agency and his humanity denied. George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. Daunte Wright. Adam Toledo. Their names, their lives, their last moments on Earth, taken from them. So, I disagree with Speaker Pelosi, who said, after the jury convicted Derek Chauvin of murder, that George Floyd had sacrificed his life for justice.

George Floyd did not give his life for America to learn or appreciate anything. He was sacrificed to the institution of white supremacy.

I was cynical at the outburst of activism following George Floyd’s state-sanctioned murder. Overnight, everyone had #BLM in their Tweets and Instagram posts. Amazon and Netflix wanted me to know that Black people mattered by enticing me to purchase goods packaged by non-unionized workers who have few labor rights. Suddenly, Blackness was profitable. What struck me—annoyed me—was the outpouring of posts on social media that expressed variations of, “When George Floyd cried out for his Mama, he called all mamas.” That angered me because it showed how white supremacy protected white mothers. Neither my Black mother, nor George Floyd’s Black mother, nor any Black mother has ever had the privilege of living in ignorance of the dangers this country poses to their children.

My younger brother is a shy, powerlifting 19-year-old. His body is seen as a threat. I’ve always known, and my parents have always known this. I did not understand why my parents were so strict with us, but now I do. There was a reason I could drive at night only after I let them know where I was going and what route I was taking. The same rule applied ten years later to my little brother. They needed to know because if anything happened in our small town with the police, they could get there. They could protect us as much as they could. I was not allowed to drive in the city. I could not have more than two additional people in my car. My parents were trying to protect me from a world that wanted to destroy my Black life and body. It is hard to mold these life experiences into a marketable Instagram post, but every week we see a new hashtag dedicated to a Black life the police have taken.

That George Floyd and Daunte Wright cried out for their mothers should not comfort us. It should not be a slogan. It is the damnation of this country and how it ends Black childhood much earlier than white. I am struggling with my own decision to have children. I do not know how Black mothers in this country bear this. Every time my brother gets behind the wheel, I am worried. When he comes over to mow the grass, I watch him buckle up and pull out of the driveway. I call our mom to let her know he just left and should be back within 25 minutes.

I do not know if I can carry a child for nine months—never mind my chances of surviving childbirth as a Black woman—to worry about that child’s life constantly. Black children deserve joy, happiness, a safe childhood. I do not know if I can guarantee that for my child. I recall a quote from one of my favorite films, The Crow.  In it, Eric Draven holds an intoxicated woman’s head up and says to her, “Mother is the name for God on the lips and hearts of all children.” That quote has stayed with me since I was 13. When I think of George Floyd calling out for his mother (I refuse to watch the video of his murder, or anyone else’s), his name for God, before his last breath, I break down. How can I bring a child into this?

Honestly, Chauvin’s trial was not high on my radar. As I mentioned on my social media, I learned long ago not to expect this country to find guilt in state-sanctioned murder. I remember waiting with bated breath for Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman, to be found guilty. Nothing. Eric Garner’s killer? No criminal charges. Michael Brown’s killer? No indictment. As the saying goes, when someone shows you who they are, believe them. I believe America. I did not expect a guilty verdict. When I saw the verdict was to be handed down while I was in a seminar, I told myself I would check Twitter after, so my anger would not interfere with my processing of the talk. That’s how I cope with the constant anger and grief I hold in this Black body, avoidance and keeping busy. This is not healthy, but it is how I can function.

My phone went off a few times during the talk. My Black friends. “GUILTY.” “WE GOT HIM.” I had to turn my camera off and cry for a few minutes. I cannot tell you why crying was my immediate reaction. Perhaps I felt relief. Finally, they see what they do to us. The jury found him guilty on all three counts, but without the video provided by a 17-year-old Black child, would the verdict be the same? I doubt it. And at what cost did the judgment come? Darnella Frazier is traumatized. I want to shield her from this world that brutally ended her childhood as she bore witness to his murder. This country devours its Black youth.

My joy about the verdict was fleeting. One of the first thoughts in my head, after I finished crying, was, “we need to be careful.” I believe America. I did not expect this triple guilty verdict to go down peacefully. I even tweeted that Black folks need to be careful (as usual) because they (the police) still expect their pound of flesh. I was right. Near the time of the announcement of Chauvin’s verdict, another Black child, Ma’Khia Bryant, was shot to death by the Columbus, Ohio police. I did not expect the pound of flesh to be taken so soon.

In my sociology seminar, my professor had us watch a short clip of Maya Angelou. In it, she quotes another scholar, who says, “I am a human being, and nothing human can be alien to me.” It is impossible to improve on the words of brilliance, but I would say, “I’m a Black American woman, and nothing American can be alien to me.” I believe America. Black people have always believed America. We do not need slogans, nor Kente cloth-clad Members of Congress who maintain the institutions that oppress us. We need systematic, intentional, deep-seated foundational change. Our oppression, our struggle, our humanity must be recognized because it most certainly exists. Most of all, we need everyone else to believe America because it sure as hell sees Black people, and America takes what it wants.

The post My joy over the Derek Chauvin verdict was fleeting because I know America appeared first on The Conversationalist.

Historical Ignorance and Prejudice on Sadiq Khan’s Monuments Panel

Sadiq Khan has been at the centre of more controversy this week. The Tories hate him with a passion because he’s a Labour politico, and they can’t tolerate the idea, let alone the reality, of someone from the left being mayor of London. And so he has joined his predecessor, Ken Livingstone, the head of the GLC when Thatcher was in power, as the target of right-wing hate and venom. They also dislike him because he’s a Muslim, and so in the mayoral elections a few years ago we had the noisome spectacle of Tory candidate Zack Goldsmith implying that Khan was a radical Islamist cosying up to terrorist or terrorist sympathisers to bring down Britain. All rubbish, of course, but there are still people who firmly believe it.

Following the attacks on Colston’s statue in Bristol and the campaign to remove other statues of slavers and other British imperialists elsewhere in Britain, Khan has set up a panel to examine the question of doing the same in the capital, as well as renaming streets and other monuments with dubious historical connections. The panel has fifteen members, but it has already been denounced by its critics as a panel of activists. There have been articles in the Depress, Heil and Torygraph strongly criticising its composition and the selection of its members. The Torygraph’s article complained that it contained no historians, who could set these monuments into their proper contexts or any Conservatives. This is actually a fair point, because the actions of some of the panel’s members strongly indicates that those individuals have zero knowledge of the history of slavery.

One of Khan’s choices for membership of the panel is Toyin Agbetu, who managed to cause outrage in 2007 at a service in Westminster Abbey to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade. Agbetu disrupted the service and tried to approach the queen, shouting that it was all a disgrace and You should be ashamed. We shouldn’t be here. This is an insult to us’. I think that he was outraged that the British were congratulating themselves were ending the slave trade when they should never have been involved in it in the first place.

Another appointee is Lynette Nabbossa, a business academic and head of an organisation to provide role models for young Blacks. She has claimed that White supremacy is rooted in British history. In October she wrote that the UK was the common denominator in atrocities across the world, and

‘No matter where you find examples of white supremacy, all roads lead back to my country of birth.

‘It was the UK’s racism that birthed slavery and colonialism. We say it is in the past but our schools, colleges, universities, streets, museums etc have never stopped honouring the enforcers of our oppression.’

These are statements of historical ignorance and racial prejudice which should cast severe doubt on the suitability of these individuals for membership of the panel. 

British imperialism was based on the notion that the White British were superior to the non-White nations they conquered and ruled over, and this country and its ally, America, have been responsible for propping up various horrific dictators and murderous despotic regimes around the world. But neither Agbetu nor Nabbossa seem to know or understand that slavery existed long before the British empire, and that White supremacy wasn’t just a British phenomenon. What about the Spanish, Portuguese, French and Dutch empires? Apartheid has its origin amongst the Afrikaners, who were Dutch colonists. Britain only gained Cape Colony, the founding settlement of what later became South Africa, in 1800, seizing it from the Netherlands during the Napoleonic Wars. And we were hardly responsible for atrocities in Africa committed by some of the newly independent African regimes, like Idi Amin’s Uganda, the Rwandan genocide or Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.

They also don’t seem to realise how near-universal slavery was as a global phenomenon. It was a part of many African societies before the establishment of the Atlantic slave trade. Muslim slavers transported Blacks slaves north to the Arab states of north Africa, while African and Arab traders exported slaves from east Africa across the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean to Arabia, India, and south east Asia. The first Black slaves in Europe were imported, not by White Christians, but by the Arab-Berber states of al-Andalus, Muslim Spain. And the campaign against slavery began in White, European culture. This has been stated repeatedly by western Conservatives and attacked and denounced by their opponents on the left. But it’s true. I haven’t been able to find evidence of any attempt by a non-western society to abolish slavery before the Europeans. The closest I found is a document in one of James Walvin’s books, a complaint from a Muslim Egyptian against the enslavement of the Black Sudanese. This was not an attack on slavery as a whole, however. The Egyptian objected to it in the case of the Sudanese because they were Muslims, and under sharia law Muslims are not supposed to enslave other Muslims. The author of the complaint does not object to the enslavement of non-Muslims.

Part of the rationale behind British imperialism was the campaign to stamp out slavery around the world, particularly in Africa. When Jacob Rees-Mogg made a speech in parliament claiming that BLM had shot itself in the foot and that people were now interested in the careers of imperialists like Gordon of Khartoum, he had a point. Gordon was sent to the Sudan by the Anglo-Egyptian authorities to put down the Mahdi’s rebellion. All very stereotypically imperialist. But the Mahdi wasn’t just rising up against infidel oppression. He and his followers were slavers and slaveowners. Slaving was an integral part of Arab Sudanese society and trade, and they were outraged when the British tried to stamp it out and protect the indigenous Black peoples.

Slavery was also part of the African societies further south, in what became Rhodesia and Malawi. The Kapolo slaves there, apart from other indignities, had to use broken tools when working and eat their food off the floor. And the explorer Richard Burton, writing in the 1840s, says in his book Wanderings in West Africa that the condition of the slaves on that part of the continent was so wretched and the enslaved people so starved that if Black Americans saw them, they’d give up all ideas of freedom and be glad of their lives in the west.

As for slavery being the product of White British racism, the opposite is true. According to scholars of western racism, such as Sir Alan Burns, the last British governor of Ghana and the author of Colour and Colour Prejudice, and books such as Race: The History of an Idea in the West, there was little racism in Europe before the 15th century. White racism and modern ideas of White racial supremacy arose after the establishment of the Atlantic slave trade to justify the enslavement of Black Africans. But this all seems lost on Agbetu and Nabbossa.

Now they are only two of Khan’s panel. There are 13 others, and it’s probably that the Tory press seized on them to make mischief. The others may well be more moderate and informed. I’ve certainly no objection to the inclusion of a Star Wars actor, who outraged Tory sensibilities by describing Boris Johnson as a ‘c***’. It’s not the word I would use, and it is obscene, but Johnson is a thoroughly nasty piece of work, as is the party he leads. I’d therefore say that, barring the language used to express it, it’s an accurate assessment of the vile buffoon. Tom Harwood, chief catamite at Guido Fawkes, has also been stirring with the claim that the panel was considering the removal of a 16th century statue of Queen Elizabeth. This is something he seems to have pulled out of his rear. The panel has not said anything about Good Queen Bess’s statue, and it’s just Harwood trying to cause trouble by lying. Which is standard Guido Fawkes’ practise.

But the inclusion of Agbetu and Nabbossa does cast severe doubt on the panel’s expertise as a whole and the suitability of its other members to make informed judgements on controversial historical monuments. But the ignorance and racial prejudice of the two also shows that we really need to have the global aspects of slavery taught. The deeds of the past should not be covered up, but they should be placed in context. It needs to be made very clear that slavery is a global phenomenon, that it was not invented by White Europeans preying on Black Africans and that it was also deeply ingrained in many African societies and practised by the Islamic states and empires as well as Hindu India. Such knowledge might be a shock to people like Agbetu, who seem to labour under the illusion that Africa was somehow free of it before the European invasions, but that is no reason why it should not be taught.

Otherwise you get bad history and the politically correct anti-White racism these two promote and demand.

The Lesson Of The BLM Protests: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 03/02/2021 - 2:43pm in

Tags 

War, BLM, Politics

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Remember when Americans shook the earth with massive protests demanding an end to the police state and the entire liberal establishment just kept saying “I hear you, I agree with you” and then did absolutely nothing to even reduce police brutality? It’s important to remember such lessons.

People would ask me “Why are you supporting Black Lives Matter Caitlin?? Don’t you see all the corporations and corporate Dems support it? Why would they do that if it didn’t serve them?” This is why they did it. Empty words of support can defuse a situation far easier than open opposition.

Imagine if all the plutocrats, pundits and politicians had just yelled at the BLM protesters and admonished them to stop? It would have only turned people against them with far more aggression, and it would have exposed the fact that they are the enemy. It’s much more effective to say “I hear you, I agree with you” with no intention of taking any real action.

And really this is all institutions like the Democratic Party exist to do: defuse left populism and crush grassroots activism not with opposition, but with empty words of agreement that have no intention of action behind them. They’re just a bottomless pit that tricks people into pouring their energy into it, thereby stopping all leftward movement.

A kid who doesn’t want to clean their room will tell their parents “No! I don’t wanna!” A very clever kid who doesn’t want to clean their room will say “Yes! I’ll get on that right away” and then enjoy hours of peace and relaxation without parental nagging, and without cleaning. It’s the exact same way with the powerful. It’s much more efficacious for them to pretend to be on your side than expose the fact that they’re not. In the end the result is the same: the kid doesn’t clean their room. But they don’t get the kind of pushback they’d get if they said no.

Manipulators are good at manipulation. The people who make their way to the top in a corrupt system are manipulators. You can’t take their words at face value, mustn’t mistake vapid placation for victory. They’ll happily give you a mountain of words in exchange for your real treasure.

They’re so used to manipulating Americans into believing narratives that wildly differ from reality they were like “We’ll tell them $1400 is $2000, they won’t notice.”

The world would be greatly improved if Americans became far more powerful and their government/military/media became far less powerful.

Yemen alone, just by itself, is a sufficient argument for the dismantling of the entire US-centralized power alliance.

To be clear, Yemen isn’t some tragedy that we are passively witnessing. Civilians are being deliberately targeted and starved with the backing of the US, UK, Australia, Canada and France. Our governments are helping to inflict this horror upon innocents. And it may get worse.

A world order which can create something as horrific as the atrocities in Yemen or the unforgivable Iraq invasion is not a world order that will lead the world in a good direction. The facts are in. The US-led world order must end.

“You hate all US politicians Caitlin! You can’t name a single one you like!”

That’s like wanting me to pick a favorite Nazi leader. It’s a system which only elevates assholes who will cooperate with a machine that is fueled by human blood. You just don’t see how ugly it is yet.

Anti-imperialism makes you look like a radical, because it makes you reject even the politicians who are considered “radical” in mainstream discourse since they are all imperialists. In reality there’s nothing radical about opposing the mass slaughter of innocents; it’s just being a normal human being. Basic human sanity is often painted as “radical” because most people have no understanding of how bat shit insane our current world order is.

The surest way to get rich in media is to spread lies which serve the interests of the powerful. The surest way to get labeled a “grifter” is to do literally the exact opposite of this.

It’s not enough to reject mainstream politics, we need to reject mainstream culture as well. The propagandists understand that politics is downstream from culture, so we should too. The culture manufacturers in New York and LA are not your friend; they are an extension of the empire.

We who oppose the empire must reject its manufactured culture with the same disgust with which we reject its political lackeys and news media. We must create our own culture to outshine the manufactured garbage they are shoving down everyone’s throats.

If you want normal people to listen to an idea, you’ve got to make it easy to understand and you’ve got to make it interesting. No normal human being going about their life has any incentive to listen to you unless you do both of these things. The onus isn’t on them, it’s on you.

Telling people to read theory doesn’t work. How narcissistic would you have to be to think you can just tell some stranger to read Marx or Lenin or whatever and they’ll go “Well that complete rando ordered me to invest my scarce time and energy in this so I’d better do it”? No. This is our job.

Whenever I bring this up people say stuff like “It’s not a popularity contest Caitlin”. Yes it fucking is! You want your ideas to be more popular than the shitty, self-destructive, soul-crushing, world-destroying ideas which support the status quo. This won’t happen by itself.

It’s not enough to be right. You can’t save the world just by holding the right beliefs in your obscure corner of the information ecosystem. That’s like believing life will reward you if you’re a nice person on the inside. Share the ideas. Make them simple, make them interesting.

One of the many advantages manipulators have over sincere people is that sincere people have no idea how very, very much better at manipulation a manipulator is than them, in the same way a chess newbie has no understanding of how many skill levels they are below a chess master.

This is why it’s so important for us to have the humility to know that we can be manipulated, and that we can be manipulated in ways we hadn’t even thought of. Ways we wouldn’t think of in a million years, because we are not that sort of creature.

When you’re in an abusive relationship, leaving seems impossible. After you escape, you look back and see that most of the barriers to leaving which felt so real at the time were illusory mental constructs. Escaping our abusive relationship with our oppressors will be like that.

Freeing ourselves and creating a healthy world is not impossible. There are no solid walls preventing us from leaving the abusive relationship. The door’s not even locked. The only thing holding us in place is mental manipulation via mass media propaganda. It’s all in our head.

______________________________

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my new book Poems For Rebels (you can also download a PDF for five bucks) or my old book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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EXTRA! BLACK MOB STORMS CAPITOL

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 19/01/2021 - 1:25am in

A mob sporting BLM flags invaded the Capitol yesterday, breaking windows and doors to gain access to the House and the Senate chambers, the Rotunda and congressional offices. It appears that they had been summoned to Washington from around the … Continue reading

The post EXTRA! BLACK MOB STORMS CAPITOL appeared first on BillMoyers.com.