Here’s something for the Obama-bashers on the left to ponder: old-line civil rights activists (who have put their life on the line for justice far more often than the critics have in most cases) believe Obama’s win is meaningful. Many black nationalists and Afrocentric scholars believe it to be meaningful. Radical scholars in the black community think it’s significant. Community organizers in oppressed communities, even though they know that the real work is yet to be done, are overwhelmingly saying it matters, all over the country. Perhaps they’re all suckers. Perhaps they, and the millions of folks of color in particular who are excited about this moment, are just stupid. Perhaps the Greens are just smarter, perhaps the white radical anarchist or other left collective down the road has figured it all out in ways the silly folks of color just can’t manage to accomplish, or perhaps the Revolutionary Communist Party is every bit as brilliant as they believe themselves to be. But I doubt it.
Tim Wise has launched an attack on Ron Paul that is worth a read to get an idea of the kind of panic that Dr. Paul’s candidacy has caused amongst liberals. The above quote is from a Tim Wise article, back in 2008, when he supported Obama. This support is worth remembering, because the liberal attack on Dr. Paul does not present an alternative, rather what they offer is four more years of a racist war on Muslims all over the world, and the continuing use of precious resources to “defend” an empire conquered sometime around WWII. Liberals (and their counterpart: the neo-cons) live in a world that no longer exists.
Wise juxtaposes (I won’t quote here) Dr. Paul’s stance with that of David Duke, to underscore the (false) hype that Ron Paul is a racist.
But this is based on an (mis) understanding of Dr. Paul’s stand that comes from listening too much to the nothingness of mainstream media:
Yet to the so-called progressives who sing the praises of Ron Paul, all because of his views on domestic spying, bailouts for banksters, and military intervention abroad, the fact that 90 percent of his political platform is right-wing boilerplate about slashing taxes on the rich, slashing programs for the poor and working class, breaking unions, drilling for oil anywhere and everywhere, and privatizing everything from retirement programs to health care doesn’t matter: the fact that he’ll ostensibly legalize drugs is enough. And this is so, even though he has merely said he would leave drug laws up to the states (which means 49 separate drug wars, everywhere except maybe Vermont, so ya know, congrats hippies!), and he would oppose spending public money on drug rehab or education, both of which you’d need more of if drugs were legalized, but why let little details like that bother you?
Let’s look at this statement, Tim Wise, like many other liberal gatekeeper, minimizes the ending wars “military interventions” (“all because of his views…”) So, the slaughter of hundreds of thousands, if not in the millions, the continued slaughter of women, families, men, children nearly every day is relegated to “all because…” by this liberal gatekeeper. The clear possibility of indefinite detention of Muslims in the US, brought to you by the liberal supported Presidency of Obama is also relegated to “all because of…” The real possibility of a massive war on Iran with another few hundreds of thousands dead is also relegated to “all because… ” Well, I think I made my point.
Let’s look at what Wise says regarding Dr. Paul’s US domestic policy (as he understands it): taxes on the rich do not exist in the US, they were cooperatively cut by liberals and (fake) conservatives. What does exist is a massive wealth transfer from the working class of the US towards the rich, and a massive looting of money from the working class and poor and given to the rich and wealthy of so-called “third world” (aka foreign aid). Ron Paul would effectively end that wealth transfer. Programs (that were massive failures) for the poor were massively cut by liberal Bill Clinton, and Obama has no interest in bringing any of those programs back. And, in California, a liberal Democrat is building on a Republican platform of his predecessor to massively cut whatever programs still exist. Retirement is already, for the most part, privatized – Obama is not going to change that. We’ve seen the kind of pro-industry supported by government health care policy that Obama came up with, not much to say about that… Dr. Paul has not actually said he’d legalize drugs, what he has said is that he would end the racist war on drugs, and clearly spoken out against judicial racism.
I want those of you who are seriously singing Paul’s praises, while calling yourself progressive or left to ask what it signifies — not about Ron Paul, but about you — that you can look the rest of us in the eye, your political colleagues and allies, and say, in effect, “Well, he might be a little racist, but…
How do you think that sounds to black people, without whom no remotely progressive candidate stands a chance of winning shit in this country at a national level? How does it sound to them —
Ron Paul has clearly identified institutions that are racist in the US, Obama never had the guts to do that. Ron Paul further called out anti-Muslim attitudes of a couple of neo-con Republican candidates, Obama is always running away from the Muslim label. Dr. Paul also changed his stance on the death penalty, at least partly because of how it is used (i.e. racist). I would not say anything to “black people” – the responsibility of making your choice is yours, and yours only. And this is Tim Wise writing, so one can only address a response to Tim Wise, not to “black people.” I do, however, wonder how liberal gatekeepers, who continue to support Presidents who promise only to continue wars and threaten more wars … how do these liberals sound to millions under the threat of being killed, or have been killed… how does that sound to them? I wonder…
And no, you can’t separate the man from his movement, so don’t even try.
This part is true, and that is why I do not separate the man Obama, his wars, and the liberal movement affiliated with him – they are the same. This is why many liberals who support Obama are, in fact, imperialists. These people want a massive government to (humanitaringly) military intervene, and the US constitution be damned.
In short, if you’re still disappointed in Barack Obama, it’s only because you never understood whose job it was to produce change in the first place.
Now, that is interesting, if bringing change is not the job of the President, then why be concerned about Dr. Paul’s support in the first place? If you liberals don’t care for Ron Paul’s ideas, you can bring change – right? So, what’s the problem here? I would hypothesize that the real problem is a severe fear factor that Ron Paul’s freshness is real, it is not the fakery of Obama. This is what is striking fear in the hearts of both liberals, and their compatriots, the neo-cons.
(for a limited time – opening up comments – ’cause this is getting a lot of views)
Today’s General Assembly in Oakland was one of the more powerful ones I’ve attended. The proposal to change the name to decolonize Oakland failed the modified consensus vote (68% for approx 32% against, requirement to pass is 90%). The points made by the proponents of the change revealed the depth of experience and social and cultural and political sense that lives amongst the people involves in this movement. It was a privilege to hear so many indigenous individuals express themselves, bringing and sharing their values, history, and traditions.
Why did the proposal then not garner the necessary votes? I addressed some of the issues in my previous post on this topic here. The arguments presented against the name change were basically the same, “occupy” is a brand name, “yes” we are for decolonization, but …, “now is not the time” … or, what does “decolonize” mean etc.
Those against this proposal were not only your usual white liberals, but also included a number of people of color, most notably a number of African American individuals. As such, this makes the actual process of decolonization of #occupyoakland more complex – but the underlying reasons, I think, are the same – way too many people, oppressed peoples, have bought into the notion that they have some sort of an ownership of this land, because they “built this nation.” Believing in such a concept does not lend towards a social-cultural-economic transformation, that so many in the “occupy” movement wish to move towards. One point brought up is that “we” want to “occupy” the seat of power… but while sounding nice, just “occupying” does not really mean anything, if there is no transformative process.
We don’t just want to replace individuals in the seat of power (many liberals/leftists etc. did that a few years back – didn’t do much did it?) What we want is a change that reflects our hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Such a change won’t come about by simplistically “occupying.” Decolonization, on the other hand, not only provides historical context, but it changes the power dynamics of the movement – with decolonization we are placed in a space where we must include a discourse about the process of colonization – in all its dimensions: social, religious-cultural, economic – and what that has meant for indigenous peoples, african-americans, latino/mestizos, asians, and working class whites. Decolonization has a built in process through which we can begin to understand our common history, in North America, and connect at a deeper level with the rest of the planet.
Any successful movement in the US will not only have to leave the rotten Republicans and their cronies the Democrats behind, but also the professional non-profit “activists” , who make their living acting as gatekeepers. Gatekeepers of not only what is acceptable to be said, but also correspondingly how a movement is organized. The strength of especially #OccupyOakland is that they by passed – the unions, the non-profits, the so-called ‘progressive’ city mayor – all of it… and spoke directly the people of oakland.
The unions and non-profits did show up after a couple of weeks – they were forced to respond to the cord that the occupiers had struck… While the people in attendance remained majority White, clearly the message had found resonance in East (latino and black) and west (gentrified white and black) oakland. The unions then half heartedly showed up at the general strike, they were, in fact, in danger being made even more irrelevant than they have already become – because the people were going to show up in massive numbers – no matter what… The union endorsement was a mere formality, it had no real meaning. The unions and non-profits, then showed up to basically pacify the occupiers, and to return to the same old game of staged “civil disobedience” – i.e. non-confrontational towards power… the same staged game that they have played for decades that has gone no where.
In two three weeks – occupy oakland accomplished a serious challenge to the slaves of the 1%: the city hall – something that the non-profits/unions etc. refused to do for decades. This refusal to directly address power has resulted in Oakland becoming one of most difficult places to live for so many people of color. I don’t buy the line that the success of occupy oakland is because of past struggles of existing non-profits, unions etc. I think its success is a result of speaking to the issues, and taking action, without waiting for bureaucratic approval of union administrations, or non profit board of directors. I don’t think that the occupiers in Oakland need to owe something to the non-profit organizers – including people of color organizers – these people had failed the city – with their crap ful of backroom and approved weeling and dealings.
If the outmoded and archaic organizers and non-profits are serious about moving forward, they owe a lot to #OccupyOakland, and they need to come forward and really and seriously join the movement – not try to stifle it… unfortunately, for the time being – the movement may be contracting… but it will rise again, inshallah, ’cause the rotten slaves of the 1% don’t have anything to give… but we will see, or else, the empire will keep going deeper down the rabbit hole.