Capitalism and Coercion: Crisis in the Legitimacy of the U.S. State

By Vince Montes

Global Research, June 11, 2020

The U.S. state appears to be facing a crisis of its legitimacy amid the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown. The killing of George Floyd, yet another unarmed black man killed by the police, has erupted into popular protest. It is quite possible that the disruption to the routinization of life due to the lockdown to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus may very well have been a factor in creating the conditions for many to form a collective conscious, which translated in the outpour of protest against the racial policing policies in the U.S. and in generating the broad support it is currently receiving.

This crisis in legitimacy appears to be aided by many conditions. With millions displaced from work, people may have had a moment in which they did not blame themselves, their neighbors, or God for their troubles. Instead, people may have looked at the structure of society, as they did in the 1930s and the 1960s. Their outrage transformed into protest and rebellion. We should also consider how there is a significant disruption to the full consumption habits. Furthermore, distractions from the culture industry of Hollywood (Marcuse 1963; Horkheimer et al. 2002) and the interruption in spectator sports (as an opium of the masses, Eitzen et al. 2012) may have possibly played a role in getting people to think and act more critically about the world in which they live.

The U.S.’ political order is not solely based on coercion, but based on a multitude of coercive and facilitative measures that seek to co-opt and manufacture consent; thereby, making rebellion rare (Montes 2009; 2016). There is a crisis in the legitimacy of authority when large sections of the population lose trust in the government. The military, police, the courts, the political system (i.e., government) are all institutions of the U.S. state, so when people lose trust in the police, they have lost confidence in the U.S. state’s ability to govern.

The police are similar to the military because they are necessary arms of the state; they protect and maintain the continuation of the political order: a political order that is rooted in racial, class, and gender hierarchies. It is vital to understand that when a government, as is currently occurring in the U.S., can no longer manufacture enough consent to legitimize its authority, it resorts to increased use of state coercion (the U.S. state coercion is by no means dormant, not even in non-rebellious times). Thus, this is why the state has amassed the militarized-police, National Guard, and the military, as an axillary force across the United States to suppress the protest of the police killing of George Floyd. The U.S. state is reliant on physical violence, and repression has been essential in protecting and maintaining the continuity of the U.S. capitalist system.

The use of racism has been fundamental to the so-called “greatness” of the United States. This “greatness” long preceded the Trump administration and has been and continues to be hidden and a not so hidden hallmark of its economic “success.” One can argue that the very inception of the U.S. has been a nation-state engaged racist state-sponsored policies, as in the case of the genocidal policies against the indigenous peoples of North America and the system of slavery, de jure, and post facto racial segregation. This history also involves the usurpation of Mexican land in the southwest, the conquest and colonialization of Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Guan, and Alaska, which all have required physical violence, leaving carnage and trauma in its wake. This physical violence does not always involve invasions and the suppression of insurgencies. Still, violence can be seen in the societies and neighborhoods of the oppressed, with high rates of unemployment, poverty, police brutality, and incarceration. Often, it is also turned inward in the form of collective and individual destruction (e.g., suicide, high rates of alcoholism, drug abuse, et cetera). The above is but an example of the imperialist side of capitalism. This is what Karl Marx meant when he said that capitalism comes into the world “dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt” (Marx 2017:639).

Coercion and Capitalism and the U.S. State

The U.S. capitalist-state does not only depend on its military to secure resources abroad and to expand its markets and influence, but it simultaneously needs endless pools of disciplined workers that are desperate enough to work for low wages. Now, maintaining a system where few benefit from the misery of the many requires a great deal of force and particular ideologies that can justify such a system. Such a system has no real commitment to eradicate poverty and racism. According to Chris Parenti (1999), what lies at the heart of the matter is a contradiction: capitalism needs the poor (i.e., surplus populations of laborers) and creates poverty. Yet, capitalism is also directly and indirectly threatened by the poor. It is the role of police, prisons, and the criminal justice system to manage this contradiction (Parenti 1999:238).

As the new crime control policies took hold in the aftermath of a very explosive period of protest and rebellion in the 1960s, incarceration rates by the mid-1970s began to peak (Parenti 1999; Wacquant 2005). According to Glenn Tonry, the architects of the so-called “war on drug” were aware that this war would be fought mainly in minority areas of U.S. urban cities, which would result in a disproportionate number of young blacks and Latinos incarcerated (Wacquant 2005:21).  For Wacquant, the ghetto was were much of the “war on drugs” policies were carried out; it is an institution based on closure and power, whereby a population is deemed dishonest and dangerous and is at once secluded and controlled (1998:143). Pamala Oliver, for example, state repression includes mass incarceration, because of the role that prisons played as repressive agents on black males in the U.S. during the Black Power Movement (2004). The extension of state repression beyond “subversives” suggests that the most oppressed not only can disrupt the system (e.g., there were over 300 urban rebellions in the 1960s) but can become revolutionary (Oliver 2004). Parenti (1999), Oliver (2004), and Wacquant (2005) suggest that crime control is a form of state repression.

The system of capitalism is a system based on private ownership and profit, and competition (read: in most cases, corporate-state monopolies). Wealth development is not socially owned; it is individually owned, and for this system to exist, it requires ideologies that can justify why rewards and prestige are so unequally distributed. Where does wealth come from? It comes from the exploitation of labor, and the usurpation of land and resources.

The origins of policing are said to be in England in 1829 when the British state concluded that “what was needed was a force that could both maintain political control and help produce a new economic order of industrial capitalism” (Vitale 2017:36). Therefore, the police role was to manage the disorder from capitalism and to protect the “propertied classes from the rabble” (Vitale 2017:36). This policing was also used to manage the British colonial occupation of Ireland, seen as an innovative way to control insurrections, riots, and political uprisings. For Alex S. Vitale, the police in the U.S. are intimately tied to the management of inequalities of race and class, suppressing workers and surveilling and managing black and brown people have always been at the center of policing (2017).  The role of policing in the U.S. is about the protection of private property, the suppression of rebellions, and putting down strikes and other industrial actions. It had also aided the system of slavery, the colonization of the Philippines, the repression of native populations in Texas, as a means for U.S. state expansion, and represses and neutralizes protest (Vitale 2017:40-50).

The present use of policing has maintained its original goal, which is to manage the surplus populations and contain the poor and racial minority communities whose labor is considered redundant due to automation, deindustrialization, and deregulation.  As Parenti stated, the “war on drugs” has been the trojan horse for these policies (1999:10).

The political neutrality of policing or state coercion has always been questioned. Charles Tilly’s research identified a link between coercion and legitimacy. He wrote that whatever else states do (e.g., the idea of the social contract), “they organize and, wherever possible, monopolize violence” (1985:171). For Tilly, state legitimacy is obtained over time because eventually “the personnel of states purveyed violence on a larger scale, more effectively, more efficiently, with wider assent from their subject populations, and with readier collaboration from neighboring authorities than did the personnel of other organizations” (1985:173). Consequently, states, in part, maintain power by legitimizing themselves by creating ideologies, which socializes individuals to the norms and values of the state. As Tilly makes clear, control over the physical forces of violence is fundamental to nation-state’s authority, and the fact that legitimacy depends on the conformity to abstract principles such as the consent of the governed only helps to rationalize the monopoly of force (1985:171). After all, for Tilly, it is through the concentration and accumulation of capital and coercion and successful inter-state war waging that the present nation-state emerged (1992).

Stephanie Kent and David Jacobs argue that a society based solely on coercion could not survive, not even the most authoritarian use coercion by itself, but is often mixed with other means (2004). Kent and Jacobs’ research provide examples that illustrate what occurs when police suddenly become paralyzed (e.g., on strike) and do not respond; the poor tend not to accept the conditions of inequality and would engage in redistribution of wealth. Robert Cover provides an excellent example of the state’s reliance on force by illustrating how “a convicted defendant may walk to a prolonged confinement, but this seemly voluntary walk is influenced by the use of force. In other words, if he does not walk on his own, he will most certainly be dragged or beaten” (in Green and Ward 2004:3). As pointed out above, coercion a crucial component for the establishment and continuation of the political order. Stability is problematic even in the most democratic societies because resource distribution is so unequal that only a few genuinely benefit and have access to freedom, rights, and security. It is undeniable that race continues to be a significant marker of a person’s social, economic status, as well as the degree in which one is targeted and entangled in the criminal justice system.

Unequal relations are maintained in the U.S. by there being over 12 million members of coercive forces -e.g., policing and military and billions of tax-payer’s dollars allocated to this mission. Coercive forces that range from the police, corrections, national security, to the military. They are conjoined in their various task in upholding domestic and foreign policies designed to maintain the status quo in the U.S. and U.S. hegemony around the globe. As a result, there are approximately 7 million individuals under correctional supervision in the U.S. alone and many populations around the world that live in wretched conditions so that the U.S. state can maintain its global dominance (Montes 2016).

The U.S. population consists of approximately 12% black and 15% Latino; however, some reports illustrate that these two groups represent about 60% of those incarcerated. In 2012, the incarceration rate per 100,000 was 2,841 for blacks, 1,158 for Latinos, and 463 for whites (Carson and Golinelli 2013). The rate of incarceration by race demonstrates racial disparity within the criminal justice system. The U.S. incarceration rate is the highest in the industrial world, but it is even higher when aggregating for race. Yet, Bruce Western illustrates that mass incarceration affects the poorest of blacks, which points to the class element (2006:26). In short, one can argue that mass incarceration involves the containment of the most marginalized, in which blacks, brown people, and Native Americans are disproportionately the poorest. The groups that have the most significant distance from wealth and privilege are perceived as the greatest threats to the political order. This theorizing explains racial profiling and how race is a marker for criminality. As a result, there is more reliance on the policing of the poor and racial minority communities. However, the type of crime that should be the focus is the state crimes of omission; this is when state’s failure to protect the rights and to serve the needs of all people within the territory of a particular nation-state; thereby, creating the conditions for non-state crime (Barak 2011: 35-48). Essentially, when these needs are not met, as mentioned above, they can create a breakdown in the legitimacy of state authority, which creates conditions favorable for protest and rebellion.

Crisis in Legitimacy 

Image on the right: George Floyd Mattered graffiti along 38th St in Minneapolis on Wednesday, after the death of George Floyd on Monday night in Minneapolis, Minnesota (Source: Flickr)

The explosion of widespread protest over the killing of George Floyd has become a flashpoint of anger for all the other unarmed black males killed by the police in the United States. For many of the protesters, this had been yet another senseless and unjustified murder. In which the police would once again not be held accountable. The impunity of law enforcement has long enraged black, Latino, Native Americans, and poor communities across the United States.

Just about every community of color and poor community in the U.S. has a list of victims of police brutality. This tension and frustration have been building up for some time, and more recently, with the high media profile cases of Eric Garder (2014), Michael Brown (2014), and Freddy Grey (2016). For many, this problem could no longer be dismissed. As a result of protest and rebellion, ordinary everyday people had to take notice of the repeated police killing of unarmed black youth and men. According to tracking by the Washington Post, half of the people shot and killed by police are white. However, blacks are shot at a disproportionate rate. They account for less than 13% of the U.S. population but are killed by police at more than twice the rate of whites. Police also kill Latinos at a disproportionate rate. Overall, the police kill more people at a higher rate in the U.S. than do police in similar industrial nations. The circumstances of these killings vary – e.g., from being unarmed to being armed to being in the commission of a crime to being a suspect and racially profiled. However, what appears consistent is that law enforcement is not be trusted to investigate themselves. In many cases, had it not been civilians using their phone cameras and/or protesters forcing an investigation, many people would have accepted the official police and political officials’ narrative. What has been bought to light by afflicted black and communities of color has been the systemic nature of police brutality and how it is not restricted to a few police officers or a few police departments.

The system was confronted with a crisis in its authority once the U.S. state and the corporate media could no longer dismiss the protest as just black protest from marginalized areas. The success of the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM) kept the murder of black men and youth at the center of their organizing efforts. The BLM linked together, the spontaneous protests and rebellion of black and people of color communities when they experienced police brutality, propelling these injustices to national and international levels of attention. The multicultural outpour of support, which has included celebrities and professional athletes, has lent their support. One cannot overlook how suddenly everyone appears now to be antiracist. Nor can one deny how this moment seems to have opened up the opportunity for political opportunism, particularly within the duopoly political party system, and the corporate media. It is at these times that the political elite from both parties and the corporate media attempts to angle their messages in such a way as to restore trust in the political order while being semi-critical of it. When politicians and news anchors of the corporate media -e.g., verbally condemn the killing of George Floyd, but at the same time, uphold the status quo. This angling lends itself to discussions about better training in police procedures, the firing and convictions of the officers involved, more racial sensitivity trainings, and pleas to channel the outrage into voting Democrat. Unfortunately, this negates an understanding of the fundamental role policing plays in the U.S. state and its task in upholding an unequal society.

Also, the conflating the outrage of the killing of George Floyd with the protesters who are not “peaceful,” disobey curfew, and loot and burn is another way in which the state officials and corporate media presenters attempt to restore trust in the U.S. state. So, what is absent is a focus on how the various means of protest, civil disobedience, and the destruction and defacing of the property of corporations, the U.S. flag, and the police are symbols of what many perceive is the problem. The problem is the U.S. state and how it is increasingly not protecting the freedoms, safety, and economic wellbeing of all its people, but is protecting its own interests, which includes the interests of corporations, which are interlocking. And configured in this equation is policing and the military, ensuring that the particular political order is maintained.

Discrediting protesters as thugs, terrorists, or the orchestration of external forces such as Russia, and/or Antifa is to absolve the U.S. state of any culpability. Even in the pre-Covid-19 world, there were millions of people in the U.S. who have long lost trust in the system and felt alienated from the political process because they believed that politicians represent their own interests and those interests are allied with the continuation of the political order. As Emma Goldman, a famous anarchist, stated, “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.” As mentioned above, the racialized and exploitative system has long preceded the Trump administration. In fact, the rise of the Occupy Movement in 2011 and the rise of the Black Lives Matter Movement in 2013 was because they had no confidence in the political establishment. There is a reason why these movements were grassroots organizations and struggle to remain as such because the political elite did not act on their behalf. For example, the Obama administration did not use executive orders to step in during the many instances of police killings and protests, such as in Ferguson.  Furthermore, these movements had no interest in being co-opted by the politics of the duopoly political party system.

This crisis in legitimacy can also be seen in how both parties supported the bailout of Wall Street during the Great Recession. Bailouts of corporations are also occurring currently, amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Both parties were responsible for “tough on crime” legislation, such as the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 passed by the Clinton administration. This act, in part, is responsible for furthering mass incarceration and for creating more laws that target racial minorities. Both parties are also responsible for creating more economic insecurity for the poor and people of color by implementing neoliberal policies. The Republican Party and Democratic Party both partake in the gutting of the safety net programs. The Clinton administration – e.g., Welfare Reform Bill of 1996, the repeal of the Glass Stiegel Act in 1999, and NAFTA in 1994. Also, the Obama administration supported the bailout of Wall Street, single-payer health care over universal health care, and the 2014 Farm Bill (that included cuts to food stamps).

Both are different wings of the duopoly political parties, maintaining the status quo of the state. Glen Ford’s astute analysis of what he refers to as the “racist-capitalist state” has remained intact even when political officials are no longer white. For Glen Ford, Obama’s legacy can be seen as protecting corporate power and advancing the imperial agenda, while promoting the myth of a post-racial society (Hedges 2017). During the 1960s, various state strategies were deployed to diffuse urban rebellion, one of them was the incorporation of blacks and other people of color in law enforcement and political office such as mayors to provide the illusion of reform (Katz 2007). The point made is a very sociological one. If the U.S. state does not change from being a capitalist-imperial state and is reliant on coercion to maintain the political order, then no amount of selective incorporation or mimetic reforms (Katz 2007) will change the role of policing.

It is safe to say that this crisis in legitimacy involves the distrust in two wings of the duopoly system (i.e., the government) because the police are but an arm of the state. And this can be seen repeatedly with the endless protest and demonstrations in the streets. A real important indicator of how deep this crisis will be is if the police themselves, from the top brass and the rank and file, find it difficult to hide behind the blue wall of silence. If there is the realization that what separates the people is not the thin blue line or the military mindset of us vs. them, but between equality vs. inequality. Many employed in coercive occupations receive state-sponsored elevated honorific statuses and stable employment with high salaries during insecure economic times. Besides being highly bureaucratic organizations that instill particular self-fulfilling ideologies, the state and other agents of socialization, such as the corporate media and educational institutions, all extend great deference to this institution, making them a difficult group to win over.

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Vince Montesis a lecturer in sociology. Earned a Ph.D. at the Graduate Faculty of New School for Social Research.

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Sterling, VA: Pluto Press.

Hedges, Chris. 2017. “President Obama’s Legacy with Glen Ford.” On Contact. Jan. 22. Video, https://www.rt.com/shows/on-contact/374680-obama-wars-corporate-interests/

Horkheimer, Max, Theodor W. Adorno, and Gunzelin Noeri. 2002 [1948] Dialectic of Enlightenment. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Katz, Michael. 2007. “Why Aren’t U.S. Cities Burning?” Dissent, Summer.

Kent, Stephanie and David Jacobs. 2004. “Social Divisions and Coercive Control in Advanced Societies: Law Enforcement Strength in Eleven Nations from 1975 to 1994.” Social Problems, Vol. 51, No. 3: 343–361.

Loury, Glenn C. 2008. Race, Incarceration, and American Values. Cambridge, MA: Boston Review.

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Montes, Vince. 2016. “Coercive Occupations as State Facilitation: Understanding U.S. State’s Strategy of Control.” Radical Criminology, Issue 6, fall, 71-129. (http://journal.radicalcriminology.org/index.php/rc/issue/view/6/showToc)

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__________. 1985. “State Making and War Making as Organized Crime.” Peter Evens, Dietrich Ruechemeyer, and Theda Skocpol, Bringing the State Back In, New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

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Race, Incarceration, and American Values. Cambridge, MA.: Boston Review. The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Vince Montes, Global Research, 2020

Empires and their puppets including Israel will eventually fall: “Free Gaza Movement” co-founder Greta Berlin

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June 8, 2020 – 12:45
Berlin likens the situation in the occupied Palestinian lands to South Africa under the apartheid regime which will finally be a country for all citizens including Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
 “This kind of situation, like its predecessor in South Africa, will eventually fall apart, and the country will end up being a country for all citizens, Jews/Christians/Muslims,” Berlin, an author and activist, tells the Tehran Times in an exclusive interview:  
This is the text of the interview:
1: Madame Greta Berlin, please tell us what Israel has achieved after 72 years since its establishment. Has it succeeded to win legitimacy?
 A: Israel has achieved what all white/colonial/racist entities have achieved; subjugating, terrorizing, marginalizing, and stealing from the indigenous population to make an illicit country. It’s no different than the U.S. or Canada or South Africa or Australia. 
Israel has the biggest gorilla in the room on its side and that’s the U.S.It’s gotten its legitimacy from the very countries who have done the same thing to a population that was already there and perceived as, somehow, being “less human” than the invaders. After 72 years, it’s only legitimate claim to the land of Palestine has been through force, and all empires and their puppets eventually fall. Israel will as well.  
2: How do you analyze the situation inside Israel?
 A: There are three strata inside Israel; Ashkenazi Jews, the white Jews from Europe/Russia, and the U.S. who control power, politics, and money. The second tier is the Sephardic or Arab Jews who were often forced to immigrate to Israel immediately after Israel was founded on the backs of the Palestinians. Once the European Jews drove out 750,000 Palestinians, they needed workers to come and settle in the land they stole. What better place to find them than the Arab Jews of the Middle East and North Africa? If they didn’t want to come peacefully, Mossad made sure they changed their minds. 
After arriving in Israel, they even made up a name for themselves… Mizrahi… so they didn’t have to be called Arab Jews. They are becoming the largest segment of the population, but they have little power. You’ll often see them as members of the IOF, subjugating the third tier in Israel; the Palestinians, who have no power whether they are Israeli citizens or living in the Bantustans of the occupied West Bank and Gaza. 
Americans are beginning to wake up to the terrorism of the Israeli occupation This kind of situation, like its predecessor in South Africa, will eventually fall apart, and the country will end up being a country for all citizens, Jews/Christians/Muslims. 
 3: Israel plans to annex parts of the West Bank, and Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz are unanimous in this move. Netanyahu has confidently said that annexation will take place within “a few months,” or before the American presidential election in November. What has made Israel behave so unashamedly and intransigently? Don’t you think that an impotent international community or inaction by international bodies have made Tel Aviv so emboldened?
 A: Israel has the biggest gorilla in the room on its side and that’s the U.S. It makes no difference who is President in the U.S., Israel controls Congress, and most politicians will bow to its demands. However, watching what is happening in the U.S., everything is going to change over the next few years, as China emerges triumphant and the U.S. becomes another failed empire like Britain and France. 
Personally, I’m all for a one-state solution and have been for decades. And the sooner, the better for everyone living there. Palestinians already outnumber Jews, and those demographics are only going to improve for Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim.  
 4: You are internationally famous for advocating “justice” for Palestinians since early 1960. What prompted you to highlight the sufferings of the Palestinians?
 A: While in graduate school in 1963, I met and married a Palestinian and had two Palestinian/American children who couldn’t return to Safad, the city where their father was raised, while a Jew from New York City could immigrate there with no other credentials except religion. 
That sense of injustice has challenged me since then. The most outspoken advocate for the rights of marginalized people like Palestinians are often the people who learned the truth after being lied to as children. Like many Americans, I grew up thinking Israel was the victim and Jews had the right to settle in the Holy Land. When I met my husband, and he began telling me the truth of the violent takeover of his land by European terrorist Jews, I became an advocate for justice in Palestine for life.  
 5: You were a co-founder of the Free Gaza Movement and among those brave persons who broke the Gaza siege. Can you please explain your experiences and reactions?
 A: This is such a long story, encompassing two years of planning, buying the boats, sailing to Gaza and so much pain, laughter and delight at finally getting there. It’s a book and a movie and a webinar already. The best way of describing our journey to Gaza is to provide people with these three links.
 6: The U.S. has been blindly defending the illegal behavior of Israel toward Palestinians over the past seven decades. How can such support be justified by a country which proclaims leadership of the free world and defender of democracy and human rights?
 A: The U.S. has never been a defender of democracy and human rights. The country was founded on the genocide of the native population and got rich on the back of slavery. It has had, however, one of the most brilliant PR campaigns of any country in the world. Israel tries to emulate it with many of the same catchphrases such as, “the only democracy in the Middle East.” That’s as big a lie as the U.S. saying it stands for human rights.
However, there is a difference between government propaganda and the citizens of the U.S. Americans, once they wake up, are among the most outstanding advocates for justice for people seeking equal rights, and have put their lives on the line, from the martyrs of the civil rights movement, https://www.splcenter.org/what-we-do/civil-rights-memorial/civil-rights-martyrs
to Rachel Corrie in Palestine. They are the one bright and hopeful beacons of light in the U.S., especially this younger generation. I have great hopes they will become like many of us out of the 1960s, advocates for a better world. 
 7: How is it possible that successive Congresses and to a lesser extent administrations remain so biased in favor of Israel? Does it show that the American people who vote for their representatives are indifferent or ignorant toward the situation of the Palestinians?
A: Bribery, Blackmail, and Benjamins. 
It is true, however, that Americans are beginning to wake up to the terrorism of the Israeli occupation. But to be honest, Americans can barely make it from one paycheck to the next and are overwhelmed with problems in their own back yards. 
And the country is huge, with 331 million people, only 20% who even own a passport. Very few of us travel outside the Northern Hemisphere. America and much of its population are isolated and not very well-educated about other countries.  
 8: And, why anybody who opposes the stealing of the Palestinian lands or criticizes suppression of Palestinians is easily being accused of ant-Semite?
 A: It’s become a badge of honor to be called anti-Semitic. Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, Stephen Hawking, Roger Waters have all been called anti-Semites. I’m proud to be in their company.

US Protests: Why the uneasy silence?

US Protests: Why the uneasy silence?

June 04, 2020

by Ken Leslie for The Saker Blog

Note: I appreciate that some will find the essay controversial or even uncomfortable reading. I hope though that it can destroy the paralysing trope of Soros bad – everybody else good.

I’d very much like to thank The Saker for deeming this essay good enough to publish. Like many others, I have been engrossed in the mayhem unfolding in the United States over the last week or so. I have felt a sense of relief and hope in what I see as the beginning of the end of the United States as a fundamentally fascist quasi-empire whose criminal record in terms of destruction of innocent lives and countries after 1945 is unparalleled (according to some estimates, 30 million people and 56 countries respectively—highly likely more). More important, I have been heartened by the sense that a new, different America might be possible.

This is not the place to elaborate on why and how the USA arrived at a point at which, many people sense, a restoration of its former power and status is impossible. Here, I want to address something that I have found quite strange, namely, the muted if not completely inimical reaction in many alternative (particularly pro-Russian) media to this momentous event. Here, I will briefly comment on some of the relevant points but will avoid dealing with political and tactical reasons for such a reaction.

1. Why destroy a great country over one dead black man—he was passing a fake cheque!

The country as it is needs to end and be replaced by something else—hopefully better. It was built on a massive genocide of the indigenous human and buffalo populations (despite what some revisionists claim). It was built on the sweat of the black, Chinese and other sources of slave or near-slave labour. It achieved its acme at a time when the rest of the world was laid low by the ravages of war. Since the end of WWII, it has leveraged the disgusting, anti-Christian and anti-human myth of exceptionality to loot, pillage, destroy, and bully innumerable countries and retard progress towards a more equitable and just society. This is not even contentious.

Drunk on anti-communism, Russophobia and a completely undeserved superiority complex, successive US governments have also used this pernicious myth (remember the CIA cut-out Obama?) to anaesthetise their population to the fact that the Potemkin village of American supremacy was starting to crumble as early as 1968. The anaesthetic started to wear off in the early 2000s and now we are finally witnessing the moment of full awakening. The ultimate irony of the situation lies in the fact that great American “patriots” strutting on Twitter are quiet about the fact that their own cherished City on the Hill was born from a bloody rebellion, rioting and destruction—of continental proportions.

This is the main reason for the current confusion—people as thoroughly zombified as an average adult American are utterly incapable of comprehending their predicament and reflecting critically in order to affect positive change. Sure, there will be token gestures of “taking a knee” with protesters, sops to the black community etc. None of this however can reverse the rapid descent into Hades of a country built on iniquity. The pain of the black American is real. Still inchoate despite a number of attempts to articulate it intellectually, it reflects a genuine sense of grievance and desperation. The experience of slavery to one side, it is the constant and uninterrupted campaign by the right-wing whites to behead the black leadership and strangle any genuine attempts by the black community to advance—politically, economically or culturally—that has found its expression in an emotive call to protest.

Sadly, some people think of the black Americans as the lowest of the low. According to this view, they are hardly human and their low caste status is justified because of their low IQ, inherent laziness, affinity for violence, promiscuity etc. Never once do these superior human beings stop to consider that the causality might be reversed—that it is precisely because of the inhuman treatment, cruel uprooting and universal contempt of generations of African Americans that have given rise to the criminality. If I were treated by the police and white people the way that many black Americans are treated, I would rob, loot and kill too. This is not to say that white people are irredeemably racist. As the protests demonstrate, younger generations will not stand for racism of any kind.

It is unthinkable for me to view anybody, let alone an African-American, as a sub-human precisely because my people were enslaved for 400 years and as recently as 1940s, my “race” was considered Untermenschen, not worthy of life or any human consideration. In addition, I do believe in the precepts of Jesus Christ. This makes it easy for me to empathise with black Americans despite the constant poisoning of the well by various COINTELPRO machinations. Until now, there has often been more white outrage on the internet over the abuse of animals than over the deaths of black people. The narratives such as “they shouldn’t have resisted arrest” are no longer allowable and rightly so. This is the end of that argument, no ifs, no buts. Unless we are able to recognise our own exceptionalism, we can never claim to be fully human (or Christian). If you were ever thought of as “lower”, you have no right to look down. And especially if you weren’t! You can’t serve God and Mammon both. I am no better than anybody else, just aware of my own darkness.

2. Raise the bridge, Soros at the gates!

Apart from racial insensitivity, that insidious poison of the mind, another reason for the muted reaction must be the fear conditioned by the alt-right that Soros, Illuminati, freemasons, satanic Bolsheviks, Antifa, Frankfurt School etc. are behind the riots. The reticence is understandable—the malevolent speculator Soros is indeed one of the major criminals of the modern era and it is possible that some of this activity is being sponsored by his organisation. However, this has no bearing on the proper understanding of the situation. Even if all of this were true, and it isn’t, so what? Does it mean that we are prepared indefinitely to endure the whims of a belligerent right-wing regime which has taken the world to the brink of a world war (see e.g. the demented pencil-necked Tom Cotton baying for Chinese and black blood)? If nothing else, the protests have taken away what little domestic and international credibility America had and have crippled its soft power beyond repair. Is this such a bad thing?

The hypocrisy of the current US’s position is delightful. After accusing and sanctioning Russia and China for a long list of non-existent crimes, it has exposed itself for what it is—a shaky plywood fortress built on a land cursed by its extinguished owners. Why not celebrate? If Soros is funding the “left”, do you know who is funding the “right”, namely the ultramontane Bannonites, the crazed Evangelicals and assorted right-wing Zionist cabals? What about Jabba the Hutt Adelson? Has Trump’s election fund of over $100 million dollars (five times larger than Obama’s) come solely from the contributions of patriotic Americans? Perhaps, but I wouldn’t bet on it. The idea that the alt-right regime is in any sense “good” is beyond naïve.

Does the fact that nefarious agents always co-opt any meaningful human activity mean that we must forego the fight against obvious injustice? What’s wrong with giving America a taste of the Bolshevik medicine? If the “patriots” are anything like the fat, bearded or steroid-soaked rednecks with AR-15s I see daily on the internet, more power to Soros (and I have been following his criminal activity since the mid-90s). It could be argued that the alt-right has turned Soros into the ultimate scarecrow that successfully distracts from their own evil. If the reason for silence has to do with Russia, again, what is the problem? Russia has gone through three West-inspired tragedies in less than 100 years. If it has not learned the lessons of history, our support for Trump will not help much.

Before I continue, let me emphasise that US Democrats are as far from a true “left” as it is possible to get. The Overton window of the American political discourse has shifted to the right so much that known warmongering murderers and racists such as Hillary Clinton (“black super thugs”) are considered to be of the left. As discussed on this site ad nauseam, the US political scene is a parasitical corporatist duopoly. I am not interested in the flavour of this travesty (patronisingly liberal or patriotic and God-fearing) because both are massive cons specifically promulgated to give the plebs a sense of hope. This is now unravelling and with it, the capacity of the dark empire to harm the world. Why are we not raising a glass? Does anybody here think that the narcissistic racketeer Trump who has sanctioned Russia and China to death, incited a war against Iran and Venezuela, and is now threatening to move nuclear weapons to Poland, A MAN OF PEACE? The time has come to shed such illusions and acknowledge that we were wrong. The most charitable explanation for his failure is that compelled to renege on his campaign promises by the advanced imperial decay, Trump has accelerated the destruction of the fabric of the US society (some say deliberately) and exposed its dark racist and imperialist underbelly. Which brings me to the next point.

4. We must all cheer for Team Murrica!

The fact that the majority of US citizens are completely in thrall of the grand lie, I take for granted. What is more puzzling and troubling is the sense that the desperate and dirty struggle of the US regime to save itself from the justifiable wrath of its own people is somehow our struggle. For over 70 years we have been conditioned to think of America as a unique and irreplaceable Shangri-La whose destiny touches us all. We have spent a large amount of time and best years of our youth in that America of the mind that includes many great things but is ultimately a chimera built on lies with a single intent—to perpetuate the empire without having to resort to the force of arms.

Those living in the USA will say—oh, but it’s not like that, this place is really great. To that I reply—it might have been once and briefly but the unresolved internal contradictions (hello Karl) have sucked out its elan vital, destroyed its cohesion and sense of purpose. Wake up! The world is tired of the bullying, killing and racketeering perpetrated by the trillionaire parasites infesting the Wall Street, the Silicon Valley and the military-industrial-intelligence complex—the three fasciae.

Whether their chosen puppet is Trump or Biden is less important, if at all. For the United States to have any future as a coherent entity, it must first renounce its evil imperialist present and revisit some of the more humane and peaceful modes of existence based on peaceful co-existence. The first people that spring to mind here are Franklin Roosevelt and Henry Wallace (so hated by the “patriots”) but also a number of black intellectuals who have pondered this difficult question. The first step though is the eradication of the deep systemic racism which still blights the landscape. I have no doubt that African Americans deserve better—and this does not mean money but genuine respect. And, what is equally important, in the coming together of the young people of different races, I see a germ of a more hopeful future. Which leads to…

5. Those soy-fed white SJWs have no idea how privileged they are!

A typical reaction to the unprecedented participation of white youth in the protests is met with a lazy alt-right trope: pampered middle-class millenials and Generation Xers are playing at class struggle blah blah. Yet, the response has been so overwhelming that it cannot be explained away by empty generalisations. The young generation in America and the West feels cheated. Decades of lies and empty promises have left most young people helpless and hopeless. They are drowning in student loan debt and mostly have no hope of owning a home or holding a steady job. The typical right-wing injunctions to “get on your bike” or “learn to code” are largely meaningless when you realise that few privileged hustlers who produce nothing useful hold around 70% of the country’s wealth.

Why should a young person work their entire life for slightly more than a pittance in order to increase the profits of a malignant corporation? Why enter the corporate rat race when one can be happy with very little provided the society is based on humane values? Why should they spend years learning a skill or getting a degree only to be immediately removed from the queue and replaced by the cheaper H1b import? I would argue that the young are much smarter than we old f***s give them credit for. They understand the fundamental injustice of the present system and refuse to perpetuate it. Rather than a sign of stupidity, it is a mature and largely rational estimate of the situation. They cannot be lulled into obedience by the slimy appeals to freedom, family and second amendment issued daily by warmongering lechers and paedophiles hiding behind God and homeland.

It is this sense of hopelessness that has awakened empathy for the suffering of others. Yes, some might be selfish and deluded but even in their awkward attempts to embrace their black brothers and sisters, they are saying a loud NO to the system that has betrayed them all. They reject the divisive rhetoric of the fake left (race before class) and fascist right (implicit segregation, racial inequality). Instead of criticising them, it might be a good idea for us to move aside and hope that they are capable of rectifying the errors of their ancestors.

Oh, and FBI has just stated that there has been no Antifa presence at the protests so far.

Ken Leslie is an independent researcher based in the UK with some experience in post WWII history and geopolitics

عنصريّة… هزائم… فشل… تنتج «الربيع الأميركيّ» ثم…؟

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

منذ أن انتصرت أميركا في الحرب العالمية الثانية، سارعت إلى فرض شبه وصاية واحتلال واقعي على أوروبا وسعت إلى الهيمنة على كلّ المعمورة ونصّبت نفسها قائدة للعالم، معتقدة أنّ «الله اختارها لتقوم بهذه الوظيفة» من أجل «نشر الحرية والديمقراطية» بين الدول والشعوب، ورفعت شعار «حقوق الإنسان» إلى الحدّ الذي أجازت لنفسها ان تتدخل وتعاقب كلّ من تتهمه بأنه خرق هذه المبادئ وأهدر سلامة أو كرامة مواطنيه. متناسية أنها دولة قامت في الأصل على القتل والاغتصاب والإبادة والتهجير…

ومن المفيد التذكير هنا بأنّ ما يُطلق عليه اليوم اسم الولايات المتحدة الأميركية هي نتاج عمليات متلاحقة بدأت بعد اكتشاف الأرض بهجرة الأوروبيين البيض إليها، وانتهت بإقامة الدولة الحالية بعد الإبادة التي تعرّض لها سكان البلاد الأصليون (أسموهم الهنود الحمر ظناً منهم بأنّ الأرض المكتشفة هي الهند ذات السكان ذوي البشرة التي تميل إلى الحمرة) إبادة رافقها نقل أو استقدام أفارقة من ذوي البشرة السمراء أو السوداء ليكونوا عمالاً وخدماً لهم في مزارعهم وحقولهم. وهكذا نشأت الشخصية الأميركية وتجذّرت فيها النزعة العنصرية التي تجعل من الأبيض سيداً والأسود عبداً والأحمر شخصاً لا يستحق الحياة. وانّ أهمّ وأخطر ما في الشخصية الأميركية نزعتان داخلية قائمة على العنصرية والتمييز بين المواطنين، وفوقية تسلطية قائمة على النزعة الاستعمارية والهيمنة على الشعوب والدول الأجنبية. نزعتان تحكمتا بسلوك أميركا منذ نشأتها ولا زالتا تتحكمان بسياستها وسلوكها داخلياً وخارجياً.

بيد أنّ سياسة التمييز العنصري في الداخل كانت تواجه بين الحقبة والحقبة باحتجاجات وأعمال رفض تصل إلى حدود الثورة وتتوصّل في بعض الأحيان إلى انتزاع قدر من الحقوق لغير البيض، لكنها لم تصل حتى اليوم إلى انتزاع الحق بالمساواة بين المواطنين وبقي التمييز العنصري قائماً رغم تشدّق حكومة الولايات المتحدة الأميركية بحقوق الإنسان وعلى سبيل المثال نجد انّ السود الذين يصل عددهم اليوم في أميركا إلى 1/8 من السكان ليس لهم في الوظائف العامة أكثر من 1/20 وليس لهم إلا عضوين اثنين من 100 عضو في مجلس الشيوخ و10% من النواب. أما الأخطر فليس ما يظهر في الوظائف إنما ما يكمن في نفوس البيض ضدّ السود من نظرة فوقية وازدراء واتهام بالكسل والبلاهة ما يجعل العلاقة بين الطرفين غير ودية وغير سليمة في اكثر الأحيان، وأكثر ما تجلى مؤخراً نموذج عن هذا الأمر ما جاء على لسان ترامب عندما كال الاتهامات والتشنيع ضدّ أوباما وسلوكه وهو سلفه في رئاسة الدولة وهي اتهامات تنضح منها العنصرية بأبشع صورها. أما المثل الأخير الأبشع الراهن للعنصرية الأميركية فقد ظهر في الوحشية التي أقدم فيها شرطي أبيض على خنق مواطن أسود حتى الموت في مشهد شديد الإيلام مثير للأسى والحزن المصحوب بالغضب والاستنكار رفضاً لهذه الوحشية.

وفي مفعول تراكمي أدّت جريمة الشرطي الأبيض إلى إطلاق موجة من الاحتجاجات الشعبية ضدّ التمييز العنصري وضدّ أداء السلطات المحلية والمركزية التي كان فيروس كورونا قد فضح عجزها وتقصيرها وأظهر وهن النظام الصحي المعتمد في أميركا فضلاً عن الخفة والسطحية التي عالج بها المسؤولون بدءاً من ترامب، الوباء على صعيد أميركا كلها ما أدّى إلى إصابة ما يكاد يلامس المليوني شخص من أصل 6 ملايين مصاب في كلّ العالم ووفاة أكثر من 100 ألف من أصل 370 في كلّ العالم. وبات السؤال المطروح الآن هل يتحوّل جورج فلويد (المواطن من أصل أفريقي الذي خنقه الشرطي الأبيض) إلى بوعزيزي أميركا وتتحوّل مدينة مينيابوليس الأميركية إلى مهد للربيع الأميركي كما كانت مدينة سيدي بوزيد التونسية مهداً لما أسمي ربيعاً عربياً وظهر أنه الحريق العربي؟ سؤال جدير بالطرح والاهتمام خاصة إذا عرجنا على أكثر من ملف وموضوع تتخبّط فيه أميركا وتحصد منه نتائج سلبية.

بالعودة إلى واقع الحال الأميركي دولياً فإننا نجد أنّ أميركا تعاني اليوم من فشل وإخفاق وهزائم في الخارج لا تحجبها المكابرة ولا يمكن لإعلام او لحرب نفسيّة إخفاءها، وتعاني من صعوبات في الداخل لا يمكن لأحد ان يتجاوزها ولا يمكن لمليارات الدولارات التي سلبتها من الخليج ان تحجبها، فإذا جمع حصاد الخارج السيّئ إلى أوضاع الداخل السلبية كان من المنطقي ان يطرح السؤال الملحّ «أميركا إلى أين؟» وكيف سيكون وضعها كدولة متحدة وكيف سيكون موقعها في العالم؟ لأنه من الطبيعي ان يفكر المراقب بأنّ الهزائم والاضطرابات لا بدّ أن تلقي بظلها الثقيل على الكيان ودوره لهذا يبرّر طرح السؤال حول مصير أميركا الذي بات تحت علامة استفهام؟

قبل الإجابة نعود للتوقف عند الهزائم الأميركية في الخارج والتي تسبّبت في تآكل الهيبة الأميركية وتراجع قوة الردع الأميركي نتيجة فشل أميركا في أكثر من ملف في طليعتها عدوانها على دول وشعوب الشرق الأوسط خاصة العراق وسورية واليمن، وعجزها رغم الحروب المتعددة الأنواع التي شنّتها وتشنّها من عسكرية إلى إرهابية إلى نفسية إلى اقتصادية وسياسية، رغم كلّ ذلك لم تستطع إسقاط محور المقاومة الذي وجه لها مؤخراً صفعة قاسية في قاعدة «عين الأسد»، صفعة أنزلتها صواريخ إيران الباليستية، وركلة مؤلمة في فنزويلا حملتها ناقلات النفط الإيرانية. صفعة وركلة كانت قد سبقتهما سلسلة من الهزائم الميدانية بدءاً من حرب 2006 في لبنان وصولاً إلى سورية واليمن ومروراً بالعراق بحيث باتت أميركا تضع في رأس أولوياتها اليوم البحث عن انسحاب آمن من المنطقة يحفظ ماء الوجه.

أما على الجبهة مع الصين فإنّ أميركا تحصد مزيداً من الإخفاق مع كلّ موقف تطلقه مهدّدة الصين بشيء ما، وبات من المسلّم به انّ الصين تفعل وتتقدّم وانّ أميركا تصرخ وتتراجع، ولن يكون المستقبل إلا حاملاً أخباراً أشدّ سوءاً لأميركا مما مضى على الصعيد الاقتصادي، وسيكون أمرّ وأدهى إذا فكرت أميركا بالمواجهة العسكرية حيث يؤكد الخبراء الأميركيون انّ هزيمة استراتيجية عظيمة تنتظر أميركا إذا حاربت الصين عسكرياً.

وعلى صعيد العلاقات مع روسيا فقد بات من المتوافق عليه انّ كلّ الحصار والتهميش الذي فرضته أميركا على روسيا ذهب أدراج الرياح مع تقدّم الأخيرة من الباب السوري لتحتلّ موقعاً متقدّماً على الساحة الدولية مكّنها من دون خوف أن تمارس حق الفيتو في مجلس الأمن من دون خشية من أميركا، كما مكّنها من تقديم المساعدة العسكرية للحكومة السورية لإفشال العدوان الإرهابي عليها المدعوم أميركياً.

يبقى أن نذكر بحال العزلة الدولية التي أوقعت أميركا – ترامب نفسها فيها بخروجها من أكثر اتفاق أو معاهدة دولية وتنكرها لقرارات مجلس الأمن وتصرفها خلافاً لقواعد القانون الدولي العام.

أما في الداخل فإنّ أهمّ واخطر ما تواجهه أميركا الآن هو تلك الاضطرابات التي نرى انّ إطلاق اسم «الربيع الأميركي» عليها أسوة بالتسمية الأميركية لما حصل في الشرق الأوسط وأسمي بـ «الربيع العربي» هي تسمية معقولة. هذه الاضطرابات والاحتجاجات التي تكاد تلامس الثورة والتي يرافقها النهب والإحراق والسرقة والقتل والتي تمدّدت الآن خارج مينيابولس (موقع الجريمة ومهد الاضطرابات) لتصل إلى 19 ولاية ولا زالت قيد التوسّع إلى درجة التخوّف من شمولها كلّ الولايات الأميركية الـ 50، ما شكل خطراً جدياً باتت الحكومة الأميركية تخشاه فعلياً جعلها تلجأ إلى فرض إعلان التعبئة في بعض الولايات والاستعانة بالحرس الوطني والجيش في ولايات أخرى، وباتت كلها تشكّل نذر شؤم على أميركا لا يُعرف إلى أين ستودي بالنظام الأميركي الذي يعاني كثيراً أمام تراجع الاقتصاد وتفشي البطالة وإفلاس الشركات واشتداد الغضب الشعبي دون أن ننسى وجود نزعات انفصالية لدى بعض الولايات.

إنّ تراكم هزائم الخارج خاصة في وجه محور المقاومة والصين وروسيا كما تقدّم، مع التخبّط والفشل في الداخل والمعبّر عنه بالفشل في معالجة أزمة كورونا وتفشي البطالة إلى حدّ بات فيه 40 مليون أميركي عاطل عن العمل وإفلاس شركات وإقفال أخرى بما ينذر بوضع اقتصادي صعب يفاقم العثرات الاجتماعية، ثم انفجار الغضب الشعبي إلى حدّ الوصول إلى البيت الأبيض واجتياز الحاجز الأمني الأول أمامه ما أقلق ترامب ودفعه إلى الاختباء في طوابق تحت الأرض وغموض الرؤية في معالجة الأحداث… كلها مسائل تبرّر السؤال هل كيان الولايات المتحدة الأميركية في خطر؟ وهل وحدتها مهدّدة؟ وهل سيتأثر موقعها دولياً بكلّ هذه الأحداث؟

أسئلة جدية لا بدّ من طرحها في ظلّ ما نسمع ونقرأ ونراقب؟ ويُضاف السؤال الآخر هل ستشرب أميركا من كأس ربيعي أميركي خاص بها كما سقت شعوب الشرق الأوسط مما أسمته ربيعاً وكان حريقاً التهم الأخضر واليابس؟ نعتقد ذلك… وعلى أيّ حال انّ أميركا بعد الهزائم الخارجية والانفجارات والعثرات الداخلية لن تكون هي أميركا التي تسيطر على العالم، هذا إذا بقيت موحّدة، وهو أمر نشكّ به.

*أستاذ جامعي – خبير استراتيجي.

Solidarity between Palestinians and Indigenous Activists has Deep Roots

Rally supporting indigenous communities in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo: Supplied)

Source

By Marion Kawas

Palestinian solidarity with indigenous struggles here in Turtle Island was highlighted last week, with both local and international Palestinian support for the Wet’suwet’en nation’s struggle on unceded territory in British Columbia.

The BDS National Committee (BNC) released a powerful statement at the same time as diaspora Palestinians in Vancouver sent greetings to the daily #WetsuwetenStrong protest in that city. Both emphasized the brave and tireless resistance of the indigenous defenders, with the BNC noting that Palestinians owe them “a great debt for teaching us how to resist settler colonialism generation after generation through your powerful resistance, grace and indomitable spirit”. 

But these strong expressions of Palestinian support are not new and have a long and rich history.

Mahmoud Darwish’s iconic and epic poem, “The Penultimate Speech of the ‘Red Indian’ to the White Man,” is one early example of the modern Palestinian resistance movement’s link with indigenous issues. Some verses of that poem have been put to music by Roger Waters in a segment appropriately entitled “Supremacy”.

Russell Means, leader of the American Indian Movement, also wrote a poem in response to Darwish, entitled “The Song of the Palestinian”. In fact, solidarity delegations of AIM visited Beirut in the 1970s and were welcomed at many Palestinian offices and centers.

Mahmoud Darwish was in Vancouver, Canada in 1976 as part of the Palestinian delegation to the UN-Habitat Conference. At a packed public meeting organized by local activists, he appeared on stage to recite his poetry along with celebrated indigenous poet Lee Maracle. He read several of his poems, and she presented the English translation of “Write Down, I am an Arab” for the audience.

Maracle later said that upon “Hearing his work…she felt an intrinsic connection. ‘He spoke to something so old inside my body it felt like floating in a sea of forever’.”

That same year, indigenous activists in Vancouver were also protesting the arrest and later extradition of Leonard Peltier. Peltier had been part of the 1973 resistance to the US military siege on Pine Ridge, but was falsely accused of murdering an FBI agent. He came to Canada, was jailed and later handed over to the US government, where he was incarcerated and remains to this day.

Weekly protests were held in 1976 to support Peltier, and Palestinians were there to support those actions. An article from the Native Study Group in a newsletter of the day “Palestine in Struggle”, highlighted Peltier’s case and showed why solidarity between all indigenous struggles is critical.

In 2012, there was a strong statement of support from Palestinians with the IdleNoMore movement and indigenous rights. Multiple organizations and individuals signed on to show the depth of support and understanding between the two struggles.

They said in part:

“We recognize the deep connections and similarities between the experiences of our peoples – settler colonialism, destruction and exploitation of our land and resources, denial of our identity and rights, genocide and attempted genocide.”

Indigenous activists from Canada have been part of the Gaza Flotilla multiple times. Both Robert Lovelace and more recently, Larry Commodore, sailed on Boat to Gaza vessels in solidarity with the Palestinians. Larry, in particular, was treated brutally and injured by the Israeli military upon his arrest from the al Awda in 2018.

Solidarity between Palestinian and Mohawk activists also has a long history across Canada. There are many examples of mutual support, with Mohawk flags being seen at Palestinian demos and Palestinian flags flying high on Six Nations land.

One activist, the late Splitting the Sky (John Boncore), who was part of the Gustafsen Lake standoff, was also pivotal in furthering indigenous solidarity in British Columbia. He joined the parents of Rachel Corrie and others on a Vancouver stage in 2003 in a remarkable meeting to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinians.

Slogans such as “Sovereign Forever, Never Surrender” and “If you deny our Existence, Expect our Resistance” have been highlighted in the #WetsuwetenStrong protests. These slogans also resonate completely with the current phase of the Palestinian struggle, as Palestinians deal with Trump’s apartheid plan and the crushing vision for the future it embodies.

The bonds of shared trauma, shared resistance to settler colonialism and the enduring spirit of defending the land will keep the solidarity between Palestinians and the indigenous people of Turtle Island alive for generations.

– Marion Kawas is a member of the Canada Palestine Association and co-host of Voice of Palestine. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Visit: www.cpavancouver.org.

Shut Down Canada Until It Solves Its War, Oil, and Genocide Problem

FEBRUARY 20, 2020

Photograph Source: tuchodi – CC BY 2.0

by DAVID SWANSON

Indigenous people in Canada are giving the world a demonstration of the power of nonviolent action. The justness of their cause — defending the land from those who would destroy it for short term profit and the elimination of a habitable climate on earth — combined with their courage and the absence on their part of cruelty or hatred, has the potential to create a much larger movement, which is of course the key to success.

This is a demonstration of nothing less than a superior alternative to war, not just because the war weapons of the militarized Canadian police may be defeated by the resistance of the people who have never been conquered or surrendered, but also because the Canadian government could accomplish its aims in the wider world better by following a similar path, by abandoning the use of war for supposedly humanitarian ends and making use of humanitarian means instead. Nonviolence is simply more likely to succeed in domestic and international relations than violence. War is not a tool for preventing but for facilitating its identical twin, genocide.

Of course, the indigenous people in “British Columbia,” as around the world, are demonstrating something else as well, for those who care to see it: a way of living sustainably on earth, an alternative to earth-violence, to the raping and murdering of the planet — an activity closely linked to the use of violence against human beings.

The Canadian government, like its southern neighbor, has an unacknowledged addiction to the war-oil-genocide problem. When Donald Trump says he needs troops in Syria to steal oil, or John Bolton says Venezuela needs a coup to steal oil, it’s simply an acknowledgement of the global continuation of the never-ended operation of stealing North America.

Look at the gas-fracking invasion of unspoiled lands in Canada, or the wall on the Mexican border, or the occupation of Palestine, or the destruction of Yemen, or the “longest ever” war on Afghanistan (which is only the longest ever because the primary victims of North American militarism are still not considered real people with real nations whose destruction counts as real wars) , and what do you see? You see the same weapons, the same tools, the same senseless destruction and cruelty, and the same massive profits flowing into the same pockets of the same profiteers from blood and suffering — the corporations that will be shamelessly marketing their products at the CANSEC weapons show in Ottawa in May.

Much of the profits these days comes from distant wars fought in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, but those wars drive the technology and the contracts and the experience of war veterans that militarize the police in places like North America. The same wars (always fought for “freedom,” of course) also influence the culture toward greater acceptance of the violation of basic rights in the name of “national security” and other meaningless phrases. This process is exacerbated by the blurring of the line between war and police, as wars become endless occupations, missiles become tools of random isolated murder, and activists — antiwar activists, antipipeline activists, antigenocide activists — become categorized with terrorists and enemies.

Not only is war over 100 times more likely where there is oil or gas (and in no way more likely where there is terrorism or human rights violations or resource scarcity or any of the things people like to tell themselves cause wars) but war and war preparations are leading consumers of oil and gas. Not only is violence needed to steal the gas from indigenous lands, but that gas is highly likely to be put to use in the commission of wider violence, while in addition helping to render the earth’s climate unfit for human life. While peace and environmentalism are generally treated as separable, and militarism is left out of environmental treaties and environmental conversations, war is in fact a leading environmental destroyer. Guess who just pushed a bill through the U.S. Congress to allow both weapons and pipelines into Cyprus? Exxon-Mobil.

Solidarity of the longest victims of western imperialism with the newest ones is a source of great potential for justice in the world.

But I mentioned the war-oil-genocide problem. What does any of this have to do with genocide? Well, genocide is an act “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group.” Such an act can involve murder or kidnapping or both or neither. Such an act can “physically” harm no one. It can be any one, or more than one, of these five things:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Numerous top Canadian officials over the years have stated clearly that the intention of Canada’s child-removal program was to eliminated Indigenous cultures, to utterly remove “the Indian problem.” Proving the crime of genocide does not require the statement of intent, but in this case, as in Nazi Germany, as in today’s Palestine, and as in most if not all cases, there is no shortage of expressions of genocidal intent. Still, what matters legally is genocidal results, and that is what one can expect from stealing people’s land to frack it, to poison it, to render it uninhabitable.

When the treaty to ban genocide was being drafted in 1947, at the same time that Nazis were still being put on trial, and while U.S. government scientists were experimenting on Guatemalans with syphilis, Canadian government “educators” were performing “nutritional experiments” on Indigenous children — that is to say: starving them to death. The original draft of the new law included the crime of cultural genocide. While this was stripped out at the urging of Canada and the United States, it remained in the form of item “e” above. Canada ratified the treaty nonetheless, and despite having threatened to add reservations to its ratification, did no such thing. But Canada enacted into its domestic law only items “a” and “c” — simply omitting “b,” “d,” and “e” in the list above, despite the legal obligation to include them. Even the United States has included what Canada omitted.

Canada should be shut down (as should the United States) until it recognizes that it has a problem and begins to mend its ways. And even if Canada didn’t need to be shut down, CANSEC would need to be shut down.

CANSEC is one of the largest annual weapons shows in North America. Here’s how it describes itself, a list of exhibitors, and a list of the members of the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries which hosts CANSEC.

CANSEC facilitates Canada’s role as a major weapons dealer to the world, and the second biggest weapons exporter to the Middle East. So does ignorance. In the late 1980s opposition to a forerunner of CANSEC called ARMX created a great deal of media coverage. The result was a new public awareness, which led to a ban on weapons shows on city property in Ottawa, which lasted 20 years.

The gap left by media silence on Canadian weapons dealing is filled with misleading claims about Canada’s supposed role as a peacekeeper and participant in supposedly humanitarian wars, as well as the non-legal justification for wars known as “the responsibility to protect.”

In reality, Canada is a major marketer and seller of weapons and components of weapons, with two of its top customers being the United States and Saudi Arabia. The United States is the world’s leading marketer and seller of weapons, some of which weapons contain Canadian parts. CANSEC’s exhibitors include weapons companies from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere.

There is little overlap between the wealthy weapons-dealing nations and the nations where wars are waged. U.S. weapons are often found on both sides of a war, rendering ridiculous any pro-war moral argument for those weapons sales.

CANSEC 2020’s website boasts that 44 local, national, and international media outlets will be attending a massive promotion of weapons of war. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Canada has been a party since 1976, states that “Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.”

The weapons exhibited at CANSEC are routinely used in violation of laws against war, such as the UN Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact — most frequently by Canada’s southern neighbor. CANSEC may also violate the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court by promoting acts of aggression. Here’s a report on Canadian exports to the United States of weapons used in the 2003-begun criminal war on Iraq. Here’s a report on Canada’s own use of weapons in that war.

The weapons exhibited at CANSEC are used not only in violation of laws against war but also in violation of numerous so-called laws of war, that is to say in the commission of particularly egregious atrocities, and in violation of the human rights of the victims of oppressive governments. Canada sells weapons to the brutal governments of Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

Canada may be in violation of the Rome Statute as a result of supplying weapons that are used in violation of that Statute. It is certainly in violation of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. Canadian weapons are being used in the Saudi-U.S. genocide in Yemen.

In 2015, Pope Francis remarked before a joint session of the United States Congress, “Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.”

An international coalition of individuals and organizations will be converging on Ottawa in May to say No to CANSEC with a seris of events called NoWar2020.

This month two nations, Iraq and the Philippines, have told the United States military to get out. This happens more often than you might think. These actions are part of the same movement that tells the Canadian militarized police to get out of lands they have no rights in. All actions in this movement can inspire and inform all others.Join the debate on FacebookMore articles by:DAVID SWANSON

David Swanson wants you to declare peace at http://WorldBeyondWar.org  His new book is War No More: The Case for Abolition.

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