12 January 2017

Poor + White does not = Bigot...


(...even with a Confederate flag)


The whole time I was at Clark Air Base with the Navy in the late 1980s, I had a Confederate flag hanging on the wall of my barracks room, the same which had been hanging on the door inside my bedroom since I was thirteen.  It was to remind me of home, as well as a kind of self-defense against prejudice about the South in other regions of Neverland, which crossed racial lines for both the holders of that prejudice and its targets.  Of course, I also had a Filipino flag hanging on the wall on the opposite side of the window.

The truth of the matter was that I’d tried to find a Tennessee state flag in town for less than a hundred dollars because ordering one by mail that was cheaper would have taken longer than I had.  Al Gore had not yet invented the internet, so I couldn’t order from Amazon.  A little over two years later when I was a civilian going back to the Philippines to work for the U.S. Refugee Program, Wal-Mart had them for ten dollars, and that’s what hung on the wall of our apartment until my despedida, or going away party, when one of my Filipino co-workers begged me for it.

I bet if most people heard of a bunch of young working class and impoverished white people calling themselves “hillbilly nationalists”, carrying or wearing the Confederate flag, and proudly belonging to groups called the Young Patriots Organization or the Patriot Party that they’d next be expecting to see white robes, burning crosses, nooses, and maybe swaztikas.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, Preacherman Fesperman and the Young Patriots allied with Fred Hampton and the Chicago Black Panthers and Cha Cha Jimenez of the Puerto Rican Young Lords to form the Rainbow Coalition, which later included local chapters of the American Indian Movement, the Brown Berets, the I Wor Kuen, the White Panther Party, Rise Up Angry, and the Lincoln Park Poor People’s Coalition.

The Young Patriots formed in Uptown, Chicago’s ghetto for poor whites from West Virginia and the Appalachian regions of Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina.  They found common cause with Hampton and the Black Panthers because they suffered from many of the same things as that community: unemployment, sporadic employment, low wages, poverty, substandard housing, lack of healthcare, inadequate nutrition, and police harassment.

The Patriot Party was the attempt by one faction of the Young Patriots to emulate the Black Panthers on a national level established in 1971 that outlasted its parent, lasting well into th 1980s.  Long enough to protest along with the Black Panthers Jackson’s appropriation and copyright of the name Rainbow Coalition.  Especially since Jackson’s organization had no place for poor whites and was a personality cult and more of a reformist bloc within the Dems than its revolutionary and much more colorful predecessor. 

Having said that, I should point out that I voted for Jackson in the 1984 primary and wrote his name in for the general election in 1996 because I could not stand that neo-Dixiecrat Bill Clinton, whose administration was the most anti-black, anti-labor, anti-poor of the 20th century since that of Woody Wilson.  Wilson used the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918 against more victims than any president until Barry Obama.  Obama has signed into law bills authorizing American intelligence agencies to propagandize the American people, to hold American citizens in “administrative detention” indefinitely, and to create an institution which here would be called the Department of Truth, as well as promoting fake news in order to restart the Cold War because his heir presumptive lost the election she, her campaign, the DNC, and the rest of the Dems so strenuous worked to avoid winning.  And y’all are scared of Donald Trump because he tweets with his tiny little thumbs obnoxious things that a primary schooler would be ashamed to say?  Please.

Look, I lived through the 1980s.  I was an adult, at university, in the early years of little Ronnie Raygun’s playtime in the big white dollhouse.  At the time we didn’t know that the entire American military was at DefCon 2 from 22 September 1982 to 11 February 1983 or at DefCon 1 from 7 November to 11 November 1983 or at DefCon 3 from 1 December 1983 to 19 November 1985, but we knew something was wrong.  Little Ronnie Raygun nearly got us, and by us I mean the whole damn world, destroyed in thermonuclear fire, radiation, and nuclear winter, and even though we didn’t know some of the details, we knew the fear, the terror, the dread.  And y’all are afraid of Donald Trump?  Please.

I had forgotten how bad little Ronnie Raygun’s cabinet and administration officials were until I ran across a meme with a quote from his first Secretary of the Interior, James Watt.  The person in charge of all natural resources belonging to the federal government said that we didn’t have to worry about the environment because Jesus would be returning soon.  They were all like that, that degree of crazy and/or corrupt (both of which Watt definitely was); for example, Edwin Meese, Michael Deaver, Richard Perle, Oliver North, Richard Secord, Bill Bennett are just a few.  Yes, Donald Trump’s nominees are nausea- and suspicion-inducing, but as scary as Raygun’s?  Please.

Now, let’s get back to white people with the Confederate flags, and this time I mean voters for Donald Trump.  The prejudice of urban/suburban people against rural folks roughly equals that of those of the rest of the country against Southerners, and a large part of his electorate came from those two sources.  The same sources which produced the founders of the Young Patriots organization and later of the Black Panther-led original Rainbow Coalition (non-inc.).  Not all of them wave the Confederate flag, and most that do just want to feel enfranchised and are offended and outraged when racists try to claim it.  So don’t judge Trump voters by what they wear on their clothes or their car or over their house.  After all, at the same time I myself was adjutant of the Sam Bennett camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans on the cusp of this century, I was also chairman of the local branch of CPUSA called the Chattanooga Communist Club.

Look, for a moment, to Scottish history.  That royal ass Bonnie Prince Charlie was a drunk, an authoritarian, a sectarian Catholic zealot, and an incompetent fantasist who thought himself an Englishman designated by God to rule over the whole United Kingdom.  He was followed by an army that was mostly Scottish Highlanders whose culture was much less stratified, mostly Presbyterian and Episcopalian, marching for “Scotland and No Union”.  Sure, many of their leaders drank the Stuart Kool-aid, but the rank-and-file fought for their homes, a better way of life, and a country of their own.  That shouldn’t be diminished by the surety we know from hindsight that they would have been grossly betrayed had the Jacobites instead won and Jamie the Rover been enthroned to be followed by his worthless son.  So all the poor white mostly rural and/or Southern voters, citizens, that the white, neoliberal establishment Dems and their sheep are weeping, wailing, and gnashing their teeth over?  They are potential allies, and rather than laugh when Trump & Co. betray their desperate hopes, we on the Left should be ready with open hands to welcome them aboard, Confederate flag and all.

Sunday morning, 8 January, on NBC’s Meet the Press, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said was that Repugs shouldn’t be laughing at Dems over Wikileaks exposing their fraudulent and corrupt conduct in their primary and the general election because it didn’t feel good when the Dems laughed at Repugs when Wikileaks exposed the fraudulent and corrupt conduct of the Bush administration selling the case for the Iraq War.  Much praise is aimed at his supposed bipartisanship in his subsequent statement that the two groups have a common outside enemy that they need to unite against.  That enemy, however, is not Russia, but Wikileaks, and the crime of Wikileaks was to tell the truth, and dishonest, morally corrupt politicians hate that.

I doubt Graham realizes that he is admitting that Dems and Repugs are merely two factions of a single party serving the corporate oligarchy, the 1%.  If revealing embarrassing information about illegal and corrupt practices by one is an attack on both, that is exactly what he is saying.  Thank you, Senator Graham, for your candor.

No number of big shot political appointees authoritatively claiming that “17 intelligence agencies all agree” that Russians hacked the emails will make it any more true than big shot political appointees claiming that “16 intelligence agencies all agree” that Saddam had massive WMD programs made that true.

One final word on the Dim-Dems:  How many times does the Frog have to be stung by the Scorpion to learn that it can’t be trusted?  Resistance is only futile if you allow it to be coopted by “leaders” such as them.  Let there be no gods and no masters.  Thig ar latha.  Peace out.

For a recent movement toward those same ends, see:


Redneck Revolt Builds New Anti-racist, Anti-capitalist Working Class White Movement


http://www.mintpressnews.com/redneck-revolt-builds-anti-racist-anti-capitalist-movement-with-working-class-whites/229127/

And their website at:

https://www.redneckrevolt.org/


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