Wednesday, May 24, 2006 

Celebrate a Great Aniversary for the People's Struggle

Tonight will be the 150th anniversary of an important event in the history of People's Struggle in the United States, an anniversary with special importance for white revolutionaries committed to the destruction of this white-supremacist system. Tonight we celebrate the needed reprisal John Brown, his sons and their comrades visited upon reactionaries aligned with the Slave Power in the Kansas territory. This event has come to be called the Pottawatomie Killings or the Pottawatomie Massacre given the proximity of the killings and the Kansas territory's Pottawatomie Creek. This event also happens to serve as the nominal inspiration for this blog.

To be clear, Brown's actions didn't take place in a vacuum, and certainly weren't the first time that opponents of slavery in the Americas and more importantly freed Africans and slaves themselves had resorted to violent resistance. The Americas had seen slave revolts since the first African captives were forced to cut sugar cane. In what would become the United States brave African men and women had sounded Spartacus's call at Stono in 1739 and again inside New York City just two years later. African women and men lived in maroon colonies throughout the hemisphere as free people, and at the turn of the nineteenth century Haitian heroes established the first and only slave republic in history. During the first half of the nineteenth century in the U.S. Blacks had insisted upon their freedom by participating in or planning full-scale revolts at least a half dozen times, from Gabriel's Rebellion in 1800 to Deslandes's in 1811 to Nat Turner's in 1839.

In response to the pro-slavery raid on the Lawrence settlement, Brown and his compatriots justly killed Slave Power proponents James, William and Drury Doyle and William Sherman. The intense aftermath that followed, known historically as Bleeding or Bloody Kansas, was an early volley in the growing conflict for freedom and real democracy below the Mason-Dixon line. Three years later, Brown and two dozen other brave souls would assault the Harper's Ferry armory prior to being suppressed by the great Southern darling Robert E. Lee. Mere months later millions of Blacks and their white allies would join the thousands of others already engaged in struggle, and for the next quarter century continue to come into struggle in greater numbers than ever before. These fighters would go on to fight for and win some if not the most radical victories in U.S. history.

Repression certainly breeds resistance and single great (white) men do not drive history; as such it seems unfair to claim to much of Brown's role in the period. Conversely we do ourselves no favors by simply ignoring our heroes. The actions taken by Old Ossawatomie and his comrades upon Kansas's grasslands 150 years ago tonight epitomize Mao's famous maxim that a single spark can indeed spark a prairie fire in a more literal way than any other historical example I know of.

¡John Brown, presente!

Thursday, May 18, 2006 

National Call-in Day for Martin Lee Anderson

I have posted twice on this blog about the murder of Martin Lee Anderson at the hands of white-supremacist cops. Student in Florida have designated today as a national call in day demanding justice for the boy, his family and the pigs that killed him. It only takes five minutes.



It has been 131 days since the death of Martin Lee Anderson (below you'll find a timeline of events surrounding the case), the young boy brutally beaten to death in a Florida boot camp, and still no arrests have been made. There have been slow steps toward justice, but not without the citizens of Florida biting at the heels of our government to take action.

Florida Governor Jeb Bush has sent a letter to Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen requesting that former Bay County boot camp supervisor Captain Mike Thompson, who is still employed by Mckeithen's office, be dismissed for his knowledge and approval of the use of ammonia within the Bay county boot camp, which would eventually result in the death Martin Lee Anderson. McKeithen refused! The time has come again to take action. We firmly believe that any and every individual involved in the brutal death of young Martin Anderson should be held accountable. This is only one of the first steps to be taken since the release of the final autopsy findings, and already there is resistance.

Do not sit idly by and allow the injustice to continue. On May 18th 2006, The Student Coalition for Justice will be having a national call-in day! Take this opportunity to express to Sheriff McKeithen your concern for his refusal to act upon the governor's request! This is one small step to show that the citizens of this country are still watching and we will not be complacent! We must do everything we can to ensure that these individuals are not afforded the opportunity to do this to another child.

Please Call and Ask for Sheriff Frank McKeithan at: 850-747-7500
Bay County Sheriffs office - (850) 747-4700

Suggested script:
My name is (Insert Name Here) and I am a student at (Insert School Here). I am greatly concern about your refusal to dismiss, former Bay County Boot camp supervisor Captain Mike Thompson, at the Governors request. Captain Thompson lied about the events surrounding the death of Martin Lee Anderson and authorized the use of ammonia tablets in the boot camp that ultimately led to the death of the young boy. Please heed the Governors recommendation, and dismiss Captain Mike Thompson.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 

Comments on "Hispanic Quebec" Makes Its Entrance by Pierre Dubuc

Yesterday morning I ran across this article on MRZine. Very good, it wrongly identifies the Chican@ nation in the US south-west as the first instance of "ethnic" concentration in a specific region, but still very good. Below is the comment I posted on MRZine.

Comment posted on MRZine:
Bonjour Pierre, and thank you for this very important article. Questions of nationality and national rights (something more than "race" or "ethnicity") is an area of political work, both theoretical and in practice, that the organized left in the US (which is so overwhelmingly white) rarely takes up with any kind of vigor. The perspective you bring as an oppressed nationality comrade in this hemisphere, but from a people (le Québécois) that many folks in the US seem to easily forget, is so very refreshing.

I think that most of your conclusions are right on. I draw one major difference with your insistence that Latin@s in the Southwest constitute the first "ethnic" group to be concentrated in one region of the US. This point, coupled as you did with the role of US aggression and outright land-theft, is very important. But we must not forget about the south's Black Belt which stretches from southern Virginia and North Carolina to eastern Texas, including South Carolina, portions of Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.

The Black Belt south was home to the vast majority of Africans in America for nearly 300 years prior to the great migrations north. Even then, many southern counties still had Black majorities or near majorities inside white-defined county boarders. And this is after 30 decades of post-Reconstruction intense class struggle, lynching, bulldozing and other forms of Klan terror. A must read work, in my opinion perhaps the seminal presentation of this regions unique political economy and the importance of the Black National question, is Harry Haywood’s 1948 work Negro Liberation. In recent years the Black population density in many of these same states and counties is rising as grandchildren and great-grandchildren of former migrants return to their families’ form communities.

(To see this illustrated with maps and charts, the US Census’s American FactFinder and the Historical Census Browser are great sources for data)

That said, again I think that your article is very sharp, and should be read by anyone who wishes to better understand this movement in its own words, on its own terms and in its proper historical context.

Also, to the author of the previous comment: this class reductionism nonsense hasn't helped our movement yet. So can we please just drop it? Our movement must realize that without a strategic alliance between oppressed nationalities inside the US (Blacks and Chican@s, and other minority nationalities) and the US multi-national working class we're doomed to fight the same defensive battles in perpetuity. Lacking such an alliance, the use of words like "solidarity" in the above context aren't just trite, they are actively white-supremacist in form and content.

¡Se ve, se siente, Latinos estan presente!

Saturday, May 06, 2006 

"Rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg"

Much ado has been made about Steven Colbert's recent flogging of President Bush and the Washington Press Corps at the recent White House Correspondents’ Dinner. (the entire dinner is available here on CSPAN's website). When I sat down and watched Colbert's how stick with my little brother this weekend I was speechless. Damn, much more than I would have expected from any liberal.

But the comment, perhaps one of the sharpest of the evening, that has received not nearly enough attention is the following:

"The greatest thing about this man [Bush] is he's steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change; this man's beliefs never will."

Many people may not make this connection right off the bat, so follow along and we'll get there. During my first semester in college the University Libraries' study room was sold to UT Dining Services, which is privatized out to Aramark. Several of us, especially anarco-types on campus (of which I was one at the time), started a failure of a campaign to "boot Starbucks." Our tactics were tired from the beginning, free coffee every Tuesday and occasional street theatre involving folks in bear-suits and life-size Monopoly in the cafe.

And this leads us back to Colbert. My first semester was Fall 2001, and on one of those Tuesdays (those days between Monday and Wednesday), early on in the campaign as we stood out in an unusually cold September day handing out coffee, US imperial hubris was smashed into by two commercial airliners.

So to repeat, damn. This guy, especially for a liberal, wasn't pulling punches, even if he was "boxing with a glacier."

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