Posts tagged The South

Monday Lazy Linking

Monday Lazy Linking

Happy birthday!

So, as you may have noticed, it’s June 27th; I don’t know if you know this, but it’s quite a day for radical birthday parties. To-day take some time to say:

  • Happy birthday to Emma Goldman, revolutionary Anarchist organizer, agitator, speaker, writer, and publisher — born June 27, 1869, in Kaunas, Lithuania (then occupied by the Russian Empire).

    The STATE IDEA, the authoritarian principle, has been proven bankrupt by the experience of the Russian Revolution. If I were to sum up my whole argument in one sentence I should say: The inherent tendency of the State is to concentrate, to narrow, and monopolize all social activities; the nature of revolution is, on the contrary, to grow, to broaden, and disseminate itself in ever-wider circles. In other words, the State is institutional and static; revolution is fluent, dynamic. These two tendencies are incompatible and mutually destructive. The State idea killed the Russian Revolution and it must have the same result in all other revolutions, unless the libertarian idea prevail….

    … There is no greater fallacy than the belief that aims and purposes are one thing, while methods and tactics are another, This conception is a potent menace to social regeneration. All human experience teaches that methods and means cannot be separated from the ultimate aim. The means employed become, through individual habit and social practice, part and parcel of the final purpose; they influence it, modify it, and presently the aims and means become identical. —My Disillusionment in Russia (1923).

    At the dances I was one of the most untiring and gayest. One evening a cousin of Sasha, a young boy, took me aside. With a grave face, as if he were about to announce the death of a dear comrade, he whispered to me that it did not behoove an agitator to dance. Certainly not with such reckless abandon, anyway. It was undignified for one who was on the way to become a force in the anarchist movement. My frivolity would only hurt the Cause. I grew furious at the impudent interference of the boy. I told him to mind his own business. I was tired of having the Cause constantly thrown into my face. I did not believe that a Cause which stood for a beautiful ideal, for anarchism, for release and freedom from convention and prejudice, should demand the denial of life and joy. I insisted that our Cause could not expect me to become a nun and that the movement would not be turned into a cloister. If it meant that, I did not want it. I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody’s right to beautiful, radiant things. Anarchism meant that to me, and I would live it in spite of the whole world — prisons, persecution, everything. Yes, even in spite of the condemnation of my own closest comrades I would live my beautiful ideal. —Living My Life (1931)

  • Happy birthday to FW Helen Keller, the Alabamian author, scholar, lecturer, and radical agitator — born June 27th, 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Remembered today mainly for being blind and deaf and an inspirational example for the moral uplift of the young, what didn’t make it onto stage or screen was how, in her adult life, Keller won fame and infamy as a radical agitating for worker’ freedom, feminism, peace, anti-militarism, and the revolutionary unionism of the Industrial Workers of the World, which she joined in 1912.

    I became an IWW because I found out that the Socialist party was too slow. It is sinking in the political bog. It is almost, if not quite, impossible for the party to keep its revolutionary character so long as it occupies a place under the government and seeks office under it. The government does not stand for interests the Socialist party is supposed to represent. … The true task is to unite and organize all workers on an economic basis, and it is the workers themselves who must secure freedom for themselves, who must grow strong. Nothing can be gained by political action. That is why I became an IWW.

    — Helen Keller, interviewed by Barbara Bindley, Why I Became an IWW, New York Tribune (January 16, 1916)

    [Bindley:] What are you committed to—education or revolution? [Keller:] Revolution. She answered decisively. We can’t have education without revolution. We have tried peace education for 1,900 years and it has failed. Let us try revolution and see what it will do now. … Again the advisability of printing all this here set forth. And this finally from the patience-exhausted, gentle little woman: I don’t give a damn about semi-radicals! —Helen Keller, interviewed by Barbara Bindley, Why I Became an IWW, New York Tribune (January 16, 1916)

    The future of the world rests in the hands of America. The future of America rests on the backs of 80,000,000 working men and women and their children. We are facing a grave crisis in our national life. The few who profit from the labor of the masses want to organize the workers into an army which will protect the interests of the capitalists. You are urged to add to the heavy burdens you already bear the burden of a larger army and many additional warships. It is in your power to refuse to carry the artillery and the dread-noughts and to shake off some of the burdens, too, such as limousines, steam yachts and country estates. You do not neet to make a great noise about it. With the silence and dignity of creators you can end wars and the system of selfishness and exploitation that causes wars. All you need to do to bring about this stupendous revolution is to straighten up and fold your arms.

    … They know that if the government dresses them up in khaki and gives them a rifle and starts them off with a brass band and waving banners, they will go forth to fight valiantly for their own enemies. They are taught that brave men die for their country’s honor. What a price to pay for an abstraction—the lives of millions of young men; other millions crippled and blinded for life; existence made hideous for still more millions of human being; the achievement and inheritance of generations swept away in a moment—and nobody better off for all the misery! This terrible sacrifice would be comprehensible if the thing you die for and call country fed, clothed, housed and warmed you, educated and cherished your children. I think the workers are the most unselfish of the children of men; they toil and live and die for other people’s country, other people’s sentiments, other people’s liberties and other people’s happiness! The workers have no liberties of their own; they are not free when they are compelled to work twelve or ten or eight hours a day. they are not free when they are ill paid for their exhausting toil. They are not free when their children must labor in mines, mills and factories or starve, and when their women may be driven by poverty to lives of shame. They are not free when they are clubbed and imprisoned because they go on strike for a raise of wages and for the elemental justice that is their right as human beings.

    … Strike against all ordinances and laws and institutions that continue the slaughter of peace and the butcheries of war. Srike against war, for without you no battles can be fought. Strike against manufacturing scrapnel and gas bombs and all other tools of murder. Strike against preparedness that means death and misery to millions of human being. Be not dumb, obedient slaves in an army of destruction. Be heroes in an army of construction.

    — Helen Keller (January 5, 1916), Strike Against War, speech at Carnegie Hall on behalf of the Women’s Peace Party and the Labor Forum

  • And while we’re on the subject, let’s also wish happy birthday to the Industrial Workers of the World! The IWW’s founding convention began 105 years ago today in Chicago, on June 27, 1905.

If the workers of the world want to win, all they have to do is recognize their own solidarity. They have nothing to do but fold their arms and the world will stop. The workers are more powerful with their hands in their pockets than all the property of the capitalists. As long as the workers keep their hands in their pockets, the capitalists cannot put theirs there. With passive resistance, with the workers absolutely refusing to move, lying absolutely silent, they are more powerful than all the weapons and instruments that the other side has for attack.

— FW Joe Ettor, in the Bread and Roses textile strike of 1912

  • And happy birthday to the radical gay and trans liberation movements! Late at night, 41 years ago today, on June 27th, 1969, and early in the morning on June 28th, the Public Morals Squad [sic] of the New York City government’s police force infiltrated and then assaulted the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, believing that they would use violence, prison, and social shaming yet again in their ongoing campaign on behalf of the Basher State. But something happened that night that they didn’t expect — when the poorest and most marginalized in the queer and trans community said no more, began to resist, and then fought back against the cops. When people dressed as women refused to be taken back to the bathroom to have police verify their sex, men began to refuse to show their IDs, and cops started bullying and groping lesbians during frisks, the police shoved the people in the bar outside. Those who hadn’t been singled out for arrest refused to leave, and stayed to witness in solidarity. People began to shout Gay Power! and sing We Shall Overcome. When a cop smashed a stone butch over the head with a billy-club for complaining that her handcuffs were too tight, the crowd finally erupted, turned on the police, and freed the prisoners from the police wagon. The police, humiliated and massively outnumbered, barricaded themselves inside the bar until the NYPD’s Tactical Police Force arrived to pull them out and beat a hasty retreat. Running battles with police in Greenwich Village streets continued the next night. Witnessing the example of street kids, gay men, lesbians, drag queens and trans folks rise up, fight back, and win against the government violence of the Morals Police brought about a new urgency, a new daring, and effectively a new movement. Within a few months, the Gay Liberation Front, Gay Activists Alliance, and Gay Pride organizing committee had sprung up in New York, with the first Gay Pride march in New York City’s history being held on June 28, 1970, in honor of Christopher Street Liberation Day. As Frank Kameny, a longtime organizer for the Mattachine Society put it, By the time of Stonewall, we had fifty to sixty gay groups in the country. A year later there was at least fifteen hundred. By two years later, to the extent that a count could be made, it was twenty-five hundred.

    We all had a collective feeling like we’d had enough of this kind of shit. It wasn’t anything tangible anybody said to anyone else, it was just kind of like everything over the years had come to a head on that one particular night in the one particular place, and it was not an organized demonstration. It was spontaneous. That was the part that was wonderful.

    Everyone in the crowd felt that we were never going to go back. It was like the last straw. It was time to reclaim something that had always been taken from us…. All kinds of people, all different reasons, but mostly it was total outrage, anger, sorrow, everything combined, and everything just kind of ran its course. It was the police who were doing most of the destruction. We were really trying to get back in and break free. And we felt that we had freedom at last, or freedom to at least show that we demanded freedom. We didn’t really have the freedom totally, but we weren’t going to be walking meekly in the night and letting them shove us around—it’s like standing your ground for the first time and in a really strong way, and that’s what caught the police by surprise. There was something in the air, freedom a long time overdue, and we’re going to fight for it. It took different forms, but the bottom line was, we weren’t going to go away. And we didn’t.

    — Michael Fader, quoted in David Carter (2004), Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution, p. 160.

Here’s to many happy returns.

Men in Uniform: Corporal Keil Joseph Cronauer and Lance Corporal Christopher Charles Stanzel, United States Marine Corps. Savannah, Georgia.

In Savannah, Georgia, Corporal Keil Joseph Cronauer and Lance Corporal Christopher Charles Stanzel, two government soldiers working for the United States Marine Corps, sucker-punched a gay man from behind as he was walking away, and then beat him unconscious, for allegedly winking at them. (The Marines, in their defense, claim that they beat him half to death because he might have been coming onto them.) Their victim, Kieran Daly, is recovering in the hospital from bruising to his brain.

A gay man was attacked by two Marines in Savannah, Georgia, reportedly because the soldiers thought that he was “winking” at them.

Kieran Daly was struck in the back of the head shortly before 4:00 a.m. on June 12, following an altercation with the two Marines, reported the local newspaper the Savannah Morning News that same day. A police officer saw the Marines running, then received word of the incident, the article said. The officer investigated the scene where Daly lay on the ground being given CPR by his friends, and then chased after and arrested the Marines, identified as Keil Cronauer, 22, and Christopher Stanzel, 23.

The Marines said that Daly had come on to them, saying sexually suggestive things and following close behind them; but their story was contradicted by witnesses who said that the Marines accused Daly of winking at them.

Daly suffered bruising to the brain, but was talking to the media from the hospital later that day. The guy thought I was winking at him, Daly recounted. I told him, I was squinting, man… I’m tired. Daly added that, the last thing I remember is walking away. I remember the feeling of getting hit, but I only kind of remember it. According to witnesses, one of the Marines punched the back of Daly’s head as he was walking away.

— Kilian Melloy, edge (2010-06-16): Outrage Mounts After 2 Marines Viciously Beat Gay Man in Savanah, Ga.

Here is how the government police responded to this hyperviolent gay-bashing by a couple of government soldiers (their colleagues in the trade of unhinged government violence):

Although there were multiple eye-witnesses who confirmed that the attack was unprovoked, local police authorities charged the men with a misdemeanor and released them into the custody of military police.

— Action alert from Georgia Equality, quoted by Kilian Melloy, edge (2010-06-16): Outrage Mounts After 2 Marines Viciously Beat Gay Man in Savanah, Ga.

(Care to take bets on whether two gay men would be charged with misdemeanor battery right now if they had singled out a young Marine for harassment on the street, attacked him from behind and then beat him unconscious and put him in the hospital with head trauma?)

But, never to fear. The military has them in custody and is assuring us that the Incident will be Internally Investigated. Hear the reassuring words of Colonel David Robinson, Commanding Officer, MAG-31, and know that the guilty will be held accountable. Or, at least, some reports will damn well be made consistent.

Although this certainly does not justify the actions of the Marine who punched the individual, it is important for us to consider both sides of the story, said Col David Robinson, Commanding Officer, MAG-31. As with most incidents there are multiple perspectives, accounts and recollections. The facts of this isolated incident will come out through investigations by civilian and military authorities.

Although the initial reports from the arresting officer and the media coverage of the incident are widely disparate, we are committed to resolving the inconsistencies between the reports, added Robinson.

— Quoted in Kilian Melloy, edge (2010-06-16): Outrage Mounts After 2 Marines Viciously Beat Gay Man in Savanah, Ga.

Boldface mine.

Ah yes; Consider Both Sides; and remember, above all, that this is Yet Another Isolated Incident. Isolated, just like all the others (trigger warning).

What we’re actually dealing with here is an entrenched and institutionalized culture of violent masculinity, in which young men are taken away and set apart, to bond with each other around killing and through over-the-top violent hypermasculinity; where, like many other spaces where over-the-top violent hypermasculinity is encouraged, it’s often expressed through homophobic hostility and celebrations of torture and sexualized violence; where these men trained to see themselves as becoming stand-up men through their dutiful practice of violence on command from other men; where they are constantly told that they can do no wrong and that Their Country will Honor Them for their unrelenting brutality; and after which they are constantly treated as a special class apart, with an entirely separate system of policing and law, deserving special honors, special protection, and also special consideration and kid-glove handling by fellow soldiers and government police, when they turn around inflict that violence on innocent people.

When men in uniform are encouraged to see their manhood in violence, and violence as essential to their manhood, and when government insulates its trained killers, over and over again, from accountability for their violence, you are going to see that violence acted out on the people that masculinity targets: on women, on lesbians, on gay men. The problem here isn’t the apples. It’s the damn barrel.

See also:

Oh for Christ’s sake

I don’t at all agree with Bash Back’s tactics. For a lot of reasons. But this ain’t one of them:

Look at the Civil Rights movement, I dont see minorities storming anything and doing this sort of thing and look what we have in the White House. I hope those guys are all arrested and fined.

This is stupid, Marquette County, Wednesday, November 12, 2008 at 8:07 a.m.

O.K.; let’s look at the Civil Rights movement.

Black students storm the whites-only Blue Boar cafeteria and sit in. Louisville, Kentucky.

Black students sit in at a whites-only lunch counter. Nashville, Tennessee, February 1960.

Sit-in at a whites-only Woolworth’s lunch counter. Jackson, Mississippi, 28 May 1963.

Black students arrested for storming a whites-only library and illegally reading in it. Jackson, Mississippi, 1961.

Oh, and while we’re at it:

Eric Evans and other members of the Afro-American Society announce the end of their 36-hour takeover of Willard Straight Hall at Cornell University. 20 April 1969.

You know how you can tell when some discussion in mainstream politics is going to have absolutely nothing to do with the history of the Civil Rights movement? Answer: if it starts out with someone saying Look at the Civil Rights movement….

See also: