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AlterNet / Will Liberals Ever Stop Blaming Identity Politics for Trump's Election Win?
« Last post by AlterNet on Today at 06:00:59 AM »
Will Liberals Ever Stop Blaming Identity Politics for Trump's Election Win?



 
 
 



In his newest book, Mark Lilla hopes to save the left from itself. He's doing it no favors.


 

Last November, a New York Times essay by Columbia humanities professor Mark Lilla set off a yuuge controversy by blaming the outcome of the 2016 election?and even alt-right rage?on liberal Democrats? peddling racial and sexual ?identity politics.? Implicitly casting most whites, especially white men, as privileged, racist and sexist, liberal Democrats had only added insult to those people?s real economic injuries and given cover to Republicans who claimed to represent and defend the injured (and insulted) heartland, even as they implemented Reaganomic policies that were ravaging it. Or so Lilla insisted.

But Democrats themselves had caved to and compromised with Reaganomics at many turns, and Lilla?s emphasis on their cultural betrayal, now recycled in his instant book, The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics, is itself a betrayal of the shared American citizenship and solidarity ] he blames liberals for disowning. I took him on for that on AlterNet last November (and briefly, in the New York Times). My worry is that the high ideals of shared citizenship and self-sacrifice for the greater good have been taking a beating not mainly from the "liberal" practitioners of racial and sexual identity politics whom Lilla is so hot to blame, but from accelerating, de-regulated ?free marketeering? that?s turning thoughtful citizens into manic consumers.

Democracy journal has just posted my rather severe review of Lilla?s new book, noting his ?unsubtle animus against ?movement? progressives? and college-campus leftists. (Another devastating assessment by the historian Beverly Gage is in the New York Times.)

But why has this supple if sometimes slippery interpreter of Western political thinkers grabbed a trade publisher?s offer to turn his fevered Times polemic of last November into a mass-market manifesto? Whence this itch to come down from the heights of intellectual historiography from which he watched the electoral battle of 2016 to shoot the wounded, politically correct survivors who've already taken body blows from the conservative campaign and from Trump himself? Some of Lilla's past writing offers an answer.

In 2009, rebuking liberal academics for shunning conservative scholars and viewpoints, Lilla toldChronicle of Higher Education readers that he?s touchy about it because he had ?experienced similar reactions throughout my academic career. In the early 1980s, I helped edit the neoconservative public-policy journal The Public Interest, and though I haven't considered myself a conservative for at least two decades, many academics I meet are astonished to learn this little fact. Some are rendered speechless. Others ask, ?Are you still a neoconservative?,? by which they mean, ?Are you still beating your country???

Lilla isn?t beating his country, but he's letting it down. That he was once a neoconservative of sorts doesn't explain why he?s as eager now to correct what he considers a self-indulgent, myopic identity liberalism as Arthur Schlesinger Jr. was eager in 1949 (in his book The Vital Center) to rescue liberalism ?as an instrument of social change, not of private neurosis? by purging it of its world-saving romantics. The difference is that the romantics whom Schlesinger was assailing were communists who?d run Henry Wallace?s 1948 third-party presidential campaign, which almost threw the election from Harry Truman to Republican Thomas Dewey.

Although Lilla doesn?t say it in The Once and Future Liberal, the book will reinforce some readers? belief that Bernie Sanders? supporters did even more damage than Henry Wallace?s by facilitating Trump?s victory. But Hillary Clinton won two million more votes than Trump. In blaming identity zealots for liberalism?s setbacks, Lilla is indulging some of his own romantic, world-saving inclinations, which he detailed in 2005 in an insightful public self-examination in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, recounting how he?d undertaken many different crusades to save very different groups?secular, religious, left, right?from their illusions and sins.

He recounted that, raised as ?Roman Catholic in a blue-collar Detroit suburb,? he was a fairly typical, Mad Magazine-reading, atheistic 13-year-old until he attended a Christian rock concert that inspired him to join an exhibitionist crusade for Christ. He then read the Bible so intently it became ?my only portal into the realm of?ideas about morality, justice, cosmology, psychology, eschatology, mortality.?

?All teenagers are dogmatists; a teenager with a Bible is simply a more intense teenager,? he reflects. ?I relished being a prophet without honor in my own homeroom. Not long after I was saved, I? asked a friend to make me a large leather cross, which I wore around my neck every day, just so people knew where I stood. I prowled the school halls with a leatherbound Scofield Reference Bible tucked under my arm, looking for victims. I even took on teachers, whose skepticism struck me as a sign of spiritual degeneracy? I was doing them a favor.?

?Conversion stories are slippery things,? Lilla reflects. ??My new life as an evangelical Christian ended almost as abruptly as it had begun, and was followed by other rebirths that took me to college, to graduate school, to journalism, to stints living in Europe, and now to middle age as a professor.?

Each rebirth unleashed a passion to bring along others not yet reborn. Long after leaving Christianity, he went to a Billy Graham rally with a friend for whom it was ?an anthropological expedition.? He fell into a discussion with a young true believer of Graham?s message that one must be born again.

?I felt a professorial lecture welling up in my throat about the history and psychology of religion,? Lilla recalls. ?I wanted to expose him to the pastiche of the biblical text, the syncretic nature of Christian doctrine, the church's ambiguous role as incubator and stifler of human knowledge, the theological idiosyncrasy of American evangelicalism. I wanted to warn him against the anti-intellectualism of American religion today and the political abuses to which it is subject. I wanted...to help him see there are other ways to live, other ways to seek knowledge, love, perhaps even self-transformation...I wanted...to save him."

The urgency in this passage overwhelms the irony in it, and it hasn't left Lilla yet. ?The curious thing about skepticism is that its adherents, ancient and modern, have so often been proselytizers,? he writes. Working on that neoconservative journal in the 1980s under Irving Kristol, whose Two Cheers for Capitalism is a sophisticated apologia for corporate America, Lilla in effect proselytized readers to share his skepticism about liberal Great Society programs.

But in 2004, he marched with liberals in midtown Manhattan to protest Republicans? gesture to post-9/11 New York in holding their national convention there to re-nominate George W. Bush, the progenitor, with neoconservatives, of the Iraq war fiasco. Lilla had been reborn as their adversary. Now, in The Once and Future Liberal, he's been reborn to save liberals from themselves, not as a conservative or neoconservative, but as the liberal he thinks they really ought to be. He wants to do them a favor.

But this is psychodrama, not political engagement. Last year, the death of Robert Silvers, co-founder and editor of the New York Review of Books and another of Lilla?s mentors, prompted him to write a memorial tribute that concludes: ?In reading the Review, you always learn something. In writing for Bob, you became something. It was a gift none of us really deserved.?

Perhaps Lilla really meant to say that in ?becoming something,? he?d been reborn. And now, yet again?






 

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Source: Will Liberals Ever Stop Blaming Identity Politics for Trump's Election Win?
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Centre for Research on Globalisation / Video: Syrian Army Delivers Devastating Blow to ISIS in Homs Province
« Last post by Centre for Research on Globalisation on Today at 06:00:56 AM »
Video: Syrian Army Delivers Devastating Blow to ISIS in Homs Province

Pro-government forces, led by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) Tiger Forces and Hezbollah, and supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), have delivered a devastating blow to ISIS terrorists in the province of


Source: Video: Syrian Army Delivers Devastating Blow to ISIS in Homs Province
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Centre for Research on Globalisation / Korean Americans Denounce US War Threats in Coordinated Protests
« Last post by Centre for Research on Globalisation on Today at 06:00:56 AM »
Korean Americans Denounce US War Threats in Coordinated Protests

On August 14?ahead of the 72nd anniversary of Korea?s liberation from Japanese colonial rule?Korean Americans across the United States rallied to demand the U.S. government stop war provocations against North Korea and start talks towards peace. Korean Americans and other


Source: Korean Americans Denounce US War Threats in Coordinated Protests
4
Centre for Research on Globalisation / Barcelona ? The Hypocrisy of Sorrow
« Last post by Centre for Research on Globalisation on Today at 06:00:56 AM »
Barcelona ? The Hypocrisy of Sorrow

Barcelona, 17 August, 5 PM ? a white van plows with 70 km/h into a mass of pedestrians, many of them tourists, on the famous Las Ramblas, in the heart of Barcelona. The death toll, 13 plus more than 100 injured.
Source: Barcelona ? The Hypocrisy of Sorrow
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Anarchist News dot Org / TFSRadio: Free Kara Wild plus Conflict in Movement
« Last post by AnarchistNews.org on Today at 06:00:56 AM »
TFSRadio: Free Kara Wild plus Conflict in Movement

Download This Episode


Interview


This week, we're featuring two segments.


Kara Wild


The first conversation is with a supporter of Kara Wild.  Kara is an anarchist, a trans woman, an artist and is currently incarcerated and awaiting trial in France for participation in the Nuit Debout protests that swept across France in 2016 against changes to labor laws in that country. Kara was arrested on May 16, 2017 and will finally be going to trial Sept 19-22nd and so could use some immediate support. More information on Kara's case can be found at freekarawild.org.

* Here's a little background on the Aachen robbery case referenced in the interview.

* And here's a guide to writing to Lisa of the Aachen Case

* Solidarity to Aachen from International Revolutionary People?s Guerrilla Forces

* Info about the Kalimero Solidarity Group

* An article about Damien's release

* An article about Damien being beaten

* Kara retracts her apology that she was weaseled into giving to the judge by her previous lawyer. She really regretted it and after Krem was arrested, she decided to retract her apology.


To write to Kara:

BRAULT, David (Kara) #428682,

MAH de Fleury, 7 Ave des Peupliers,

91705, Fleury Merogis, Cedex, FRANCE


To write to Krem:

Ari Rustebholtz

°434293, D2

Mah de Fleury

7 av des Peupliers

91705, Fleury Mérogis, Cedex

Franc?


Conflict in Movement


Next, we do something a little experimental. We present a conversation with a member of an anti-authoritarian movement in Europe.  We don't say what movement.  We talk about conflict internal to their movement, but we don't name the parties involved.  The conversation was conducted from an anti-authoritarian perspective, in the interest of creating heterogeneous communities of struggle. The purpose of this recording is to promote a mental exercise on the part of the listener to plug in their own experiences in movements with many different trajectories inside of it.  The anonymous nature of the conversation was in part to not contribute to internal conflict to the movement, conflict is better addressed between parties involved than with an outside party (our radio show) who's interest may not be the same as the movement. I hope that this conversation is helpful, for all of it's purposeful vagueness.


Announcements


Katie Yow


If you are in Asheville, there will be a benefit for North Carolina grand jury resister Katie Yow on Tuesday the 29th of August at the Double Crown on Haywood Road in West Asheville. There will be bbq of the vegan and non vegan sorts, plus a great lineup of bands including Margaret Killjoy?s Nomadic War Machine, Snake Musk and Wyatt Yurth and the Gold Standard.


Yow, who is a social worker with a professional past in education, has been an anarchist for over half her life. Her commitment to resist this grand jury shows a bravery in the face of the kinds of trauma and isolation that only the state can instill, yet she has named this resistance as "the easiest decision I have ever made".


Stay tuned for an interview with Katie Yow and a supporter on next week's Final Straw!

For more information on Yow, updates on her resistance, and many resources on grand juries and grand jury resistance, you can visit https://ncresiststhegrandjury.com/


Cvill, AVL, and Calls for Solidarity


It's been a week and a day since the events in Charlottesville, and for me it is a bit difficult to know what to say. There have been many excellent report backs - from Solecast, It's Going Down, CrimethInc Ex Worker, and Radical Underground podcast - definitely check those out for in depth analysis and on the ground perspectives from anarchists and antifascists. Since Cville there have been very well publicised resistances to fascism and ongoing white supremacy in Durham, Boston, and right here in Asheville where four brave community members attempted the removal of a plaque commemorating Robert E. Lee at downtown's Vance Monument. These four folks put themselves and their safety on the line to fight white supremacy and racist, revisionist history by engaging in this act. If you want to read a statement from these folks or donate to their legal fund, you can visit youcaring.com and search for "Asheville Monument Removal Legal Fund".


Activity seems relentless right now, with elements on both sides galvanized by recent events, marches and calls to action are coming fast and furious. It is important to mobilize, but mobilize wisely, in the spirit of complete honesty about your capacities and energy. We cannot fight longterm unless we fight alongside all our comrades, support those who put themselves or are on the frontlines, and help prioritize all levels of antifascist engagement and accompliceship.


With that in mind, I want to say that if you are interested in keeping up with these calls or solidarity keep your eyes on itsgoingdown.org for announcements and updates.


One that'd like to mention right now are a call for solidarity in Phoenix AZ. This is a "call for an anti-fascist & anti-colonial contingent against Trump?s rally on Tuesday, August 22 at 6pm at the Phoenix Convention Center.


We will converge, in the spirit of solidarity and hostility to the current order, and as a physical body ready to act in self-defense and mutual protection of each other from cops, fascists, and liberal/radical 'peace police.'"


This rally is a reaction to Trump's suspected decision to pardon former AZ sheriff Joe Arpaio who was recently found guilty of criminal contempt for defying a state judge?s order to stop traffic patrols targeting suspected undocumented immigrants. Those patrols were kept in place by Arpaio for 17 months after the order was issued. This same sherrif rose to infamy for his intentionally cruel and sadistic treatment of incarcerated people.


This rally will be held on Tuesday, August 22 at 6pm at the Phoenix Convention Center at 100 N. 3rd St. in downtown Phoenix. It's recommended that people arrive and look for the black flags.


For a complete anti colonial antifascist analysis of this day and the liberal response to it, you can visit  "Phoenix, AZ: Call for an Anarchist Anti-fascist & Anti-colonial Presence Against all Presidents"


Vouched Fundraising Efforts


As always, keep vigilant about sources of fundraising! White nationalists are capitalists too, they will coopt anything including revolutionary momentum on the far left.


If you are in a position to donate, you can look at the sources below, all of which will directly benefit those who fought and were injured in Cville:


* ASH Medical funds: https://fundly.com/defendcville


* Richmond Medic Collective Funds: https://www.paypal.me/rivercitymedics


* ASH General: https://fundly.com/ash-general-fund


* Seven Hills Autonomous Queers gen funds: https://fundly.com/help-queers-defend-charlottesville-2


* Alexis Noelle and her 14-year-old daughter: https://www.youcaring.com/alexismorrisnoellemorris-903027


* Natalie Romero: https://www.gofundme.com/natalie-romero-medical-fund


* Dre Harris: https://www.gofundme.com/i-was-beaten-by-white-supremacists


* Star Peterson: https://www.youcaring.com/starpeterson-903042


* Two UVA students: https://www.youcaring.com/vayouthinvolved-902691


NYC GDC & MACC benefit for CVille


On August 12th in Charlottesville, many IWW and GDC members from across the country were present.  Members of Metropolitan Anarchist Coordinating Committee, or MACC,  from New York City also had members present at the vehicular manslaughter that occurred that day. The NYC GDC and MACC stand in solidarity with all those who oppose the growing wave of fascism around the world. Cowardly attacks will only strengthen our resolve to fight back and defend ourselves. An injury to one is an injury to all!


To support all those injured by fascist violence in Charlottesville, NYC GDC of the IWW as well as MACC are holding a fundraiser and screening of the latest episode of ?Trouble? by SubMedia at Rebecca?s, at 610 Bushwick Avenue in Brooklyn on Sunday, August 27th from 8pm to 10pm. ?Trouble? is a new monthly documentary series that broadcasts first-hand accounts of struggles for community self-defense. Previous episodes have explored topics like water protectors fighting the construction of the DAPL pipeline at Standing Rock, anti-fascist organizing, solidarity efforts for refugees and resistance to state repression. SubMedia has encouraged groups to host screenings of the show to bring communities together and provoke discussion of tactics, struggles and movement dynamics.


The best defense against fascism is a strong and supportive community, based on principles of mutual aid, solidarity and self-defense. Heather Heyer will live in our hearts forever!


If you'd like, here's the fedbook event


category: 

Source: TFSRadio: Free Kara Wild plus Conflict in Movement
6
Transcripts to Layla AbdelRahim radio interview: Anarcho-Primitivism: Civilization, Symbolic Culture, and Rewilding

From Feminist Primitivism


Revolutionary Left Radio, Jul 24, 2017


Dr. Layla AbdelRahim is an anthropologist, author, Revolutionary, and anarcho-primitivist thinker who urges us to examine civilization, its premises, its psychology, its pathologies, and its manifestations (including capitalism). She sits down with Brett to discuss the philosophy of anarcho-primitivism and debunks myths that many leftists have about the tendency and the philosophy that goes with it. It?s not a call to dismantle everything with no concern for who it hurts; rather it offers a way *forward* by insisting on an analysis that goes deeper than capitalism, and cuts to the core of our civilization, our evolutionary history, and our psyches. This is a must-listen episode!


Topics Include: Civilization, language, anthropology, symbolic culture, the use of language, the agricultural revolution, Marxism, the concept of ?rewilding?, meditation, train journeys across Russia, going into nature, and much more!!!


Interview Transcript


Host: ?Layla would you like to introduce yourself and say a little bit about your background?


Layla: Alright. Usually I have difficulty introducing myself because I happen to be a human being from the species of unwise apes (laughing)? who happens to be very interested and dedicated in questions of sustainable life for all species on Earth, and in questions of self-realization of every individual, every person. And so this of course led me to my work in a variety of disciplines ? anthropology, I borrow a lot from biology, economics ? in order to understand what are the principles of life and how do different social, economic and cultural choices impact our community of life and communities in general.


Host: ? This episode is going to be centered around the politics of anarcho-primitivism and anti-civilizational politics? So let?s start off with what is anarcho-primitivism, and how does it differ from more orthodox variance of anarchism?


Layla: Anarcho-primitivism is, I wouldn?t say it?s a framework, but a methodology and a perspective on available data on life, like what makes life possible, what makes life feasible on our planet, and where does the suffering come from. So it?s basically all aspects of forces or groups that have historically fought against oppression, against civilization, against different forms of human self-organization that imposes war, violence, dispossession. They have always been interested obviously then in questions of liberty, they would frame them differently, egalitarian or justice. And so you have a variety of movements through history that would address or focus on one of these or several aspects of oppression. Anarcho-primitivism in this sense zooms out. Most of those movements, all shades of anarchism, socialism, communism, anti-colonialism, have focused on oppression from anthropocentric lens. They have inadvertently then fallen into the very economic machine that ensures the proliferation of civilization and then its expansion. Anarcho-primitivism zooms out from this human selfishness, egotism and anthropocentricism to look at ? if life existed on Earth for millions of years what were the principles, and then by virtue of such an analysis or zoom out, you lose your high ground or your position of supremacy. Because then you realize that life knew how to proliferate and how to balance itself through principles that governed equal and free anarchist access to energy, to space. The sense of time would be then intertwined with that proliferation of diversity and life. The sense of space would be intertwined with that co-existence. Then there?s no place for the human ape at the top of a pyramid, that has designated itself as having the right to consume and to hunt and to kill and to possess eventually. So then you see that place and you look at what governs those societies, and that?s mutualism. And our place falls into how we can contribute to the proliferation of diversity of life. Eventually then using this set of tools for analysis, which is observations from nature, or wilderness, observation of historical culture choices and communities, human and nonhuman, then you realize that anarchism can work only if we cede that ultimate supremacy.


Host: ?One way that I conceptualize anarcho-primitivism is this distinction between more orthodox forms of leftism, they root their critique in capitalism as the basis of so many social ills that are promoted through the economic paradigm of capitalism. Anarcho-primitivists in my understanding at least, would say that capitalism itself is a manifestation of a further deeper ill, and that ill is civilization. Would you agree with that framing?


Layla: Exactly.


Host: How would you define civilization, and maybe you could touch on the agricultural revolution here, so when did civilization start, and what is fundamentally wrong with civilization?


Layla: ? In my work civilization is the byproduct of certain cultural and socio-cultural, socio-environmental decision of certain humans to domesticate nonhumans, and then eventually it led to humans domesticating humans as well, sedentary and labor oriented, predatory social organization. So what does that mean then. It means that the material effects of civilization which manifest themselves into growth, of domesticated human and nonhuman populations for the purpose of using them as either labor, or nonhumans using them for food, and for different things. Crops, you domesticate crops, you force them to reproduce more of what you want and exterminate everything else that poses more of a threat. So you see that settlements start growing, and cities start growing, and with that came obviously diseases, hierarchy, starvation, the health of humans and nonhumans suffered, longevity then suffers, quality of life, happiness, the joy of life in its diverse and unpredictable but yet harmonious wild co-existence then cedes to this hierarchical, exploitative system of where the domesticator owns the lives, the time, the effort and the flesh of what it conceives as its rightful resources.  For me, this is where I differ from other critiques in anarcho-primitivism, is that civilization is not the root of all evil. Civilization is a response to the human revolution in its anthropology, in its self-perception, social construction of itself as the supreme predator. So predation then. And then you see that language, the birth of speech, human language, and art, representational art in the caves coincides with the humans taking that step toward hunting, killing, and then vacating that previous spot in the diversity of life, what I can social contract, where the human primates were disseminators of seeds, to carnivorous killers. The first technology toward civilization can be found then in that language and in the depiction of animals that they would kill that allowed the human predator to alienate herself, himself, because gender starts from there, himself, that ?he? would kill and then those who give birth to the human resources settle and domesticate the plants in order to have that surplus, to feed the hunter, to sustain the hunter during that hunt. So settlement and domestication is a response to that decision.


Host: So not only is it this physical separation from the natural way human beings have lived for so long, but it?s also representative of this psychological split where the human being starts to conceive of itself almost as an abstract concept, and that psychological break from nature perpetuates this confrontational attitude toward nature this predatory attitude, where nature must be confronted, and where it can be preyed upon it should be preyed upon, and where it could be beaten into submission it should be beaten into submission. Is that a proper way of understanding what you?re saying here about that fundamental change in the human mind?


Layla: Absolutely.


Host: From there we seen the rise of hierarchies, the rise of what eventually would turn into kings and queens and monarchies and feudalism, which then again turned into capitalism. So what role does a critique of capitalism play in the broader critique of civilization?


Layla: The different critiques in themselves are actually very useful, because you look at for example critiques of epistemic racism, critiques of slavery-based economics, slavery and race based economics, which is connected to epistemic critique of racism, feminist critiques of economic and political capitalization of social power and social wealth. You see queer theory offering serious challenges to how under this whole capitalist system gender then gets conceived, used and constructed. All of these critiques are important. The problem is that where they fail is that if you focus on only that little department without zooming out to connect them together to yet zoom out and to see how in the end without this critique of human predation you will end up reconfirming that very system that keeps evolving and finding new ways of using and abusing symbolic capital, social capital, labor resources, land extraction economies, everything until finally it will devour the globe. Now the future of life is in crisis. This is the problem with people who adhere to one school or another and then they start fighting among themselves without looking at how the hierarchy places us in a way that we shall always keep using the resources in this hierarchy, in this food chain, we will predate on those weaker than us and we will feed those who are stronger than us.


Host: ?What would an anarcho-primitivist ideal society look like, Is there any going back? Is the psychological split that gave rise to civilization and thus capitalism, is there any way we could rationally or responsibly gear down, or is it just going to have to end in some sort of catastrophe because the momentum of thousands of years of civilization is so strong that there?s no way to shift gears and get out of that mentality?


Layla: That?s another myth usually attributed to anarcho-primitivists, is that You want to take us back to the cave.   As much as I would have loved to live in a cave, and actually I really enjoyed the Neanderthal caves in the Crimea, I visited there in 2006. The result of civilization is this unsustainable human population growth. There?s no way you can have 7 billion and marching on people move into caves. So obviously we cannot go back to a sustainable number of humans as we were say 300,000 years ago, or even 10,000 years ago, or even beginning of the 20th century. That?s not what anarcho-primitivists are saying, you go back. You go forward with what you have. The way to go forward is not to hide your head in the sand and pretend these painful questions don?t exist because they?re uncomfortable. We have to address them. The first question is, the way it?s going on its unsustainable for first of all other species, and without other species we are doomed. In the end, the collapse is going to affect everyone, and unfortunately us in the very end, because those who are higher up the human hierarchy will find ways to extend their existence as long as possible, but it?s just impossible to survive on a planet that won?t have fresh water and oxygen. Unless they somehow figure out how to change the base of human life on this planet, which is science fiction and it just won?t happen. So where do we go from facing the facts as they are? And facing the facts that 7 billion and marching on is not sustainable. But obviously we?re not going to say? too bad, those can?t afford to survive, die off. Obviously not. So then we?re going to start rewilding our own relationships within our own hierarchy to include nonhumans in a way that will then naturally control our propensity to proliferate under domestication. The birth of human population was triggered because it was a requirement of domesticated humans and nonhumans to produce resources. For example, you compare domesticated dogs and wild wolves. How many pups the wild wolves have, and they have those pups within specific seasons. They keep their population growth at zero. And that?s why they get threatened by human expansion, because if you don?t proliferate, the more you are killed the less there will be. Most so-called predators in the wild reproduce very rarely. But the humans, when they took that decision to become predators actually switched their reproductive clock and started demanding? more and more human resources ? those who would farm, those who would protect and defend, so the military, etc. Then the step to realizing how the economy of wilderness works, and rewilding our own relationships with our domesticators, and our propensity to reproduce will curb, and we?ll start ceding those deserts that were created by human civilizations by inviting more diversity of life and sharing. And by inviting that diversity of life, instead of for example, controlling all the crops, you plant apple trees and then you?re the owner, and you have the farmers or the peasants who work for you, and those who guard or sell them. Instead of using that monocultural hierarchical system of extraction, if you allow a diversity of plants in that land, if you cede that ownership of the human labor, and the crops, say apple orchards yield, you will find that there will be more life, more variety of crops, and there will be less need to have humans who will be exploited either in wars or other. So the path to the future depends on how willing we are to really live. And if we want to live then we have learn how to let life proliferate and live and enjoy in its diversity.


Host: So right here is a pivotal point in our conversation. Because I think so many leftists, so many anarchists or Marxists or what have you, have a view of anarcho-primitivism as a fundamentally regressive one that as you correctly said, they think that it means a going back to a hunter-gatherer environment, thousands and thousands of years ago. So many of the critiques of anarcho-primitivism come from this characterization of it as just tear down the hospitals, tear down the drug companies, tear down the roads and infrastructure, just destroy civilization and let?s go back to living in caves. But what you are saying is that is fundamentally false, and the truth of the situation is that there is no way to go back, all we can do is go forward. And the way to go forward is to understand this critique, internalize it, and then begin the process of what you refer to as rewilding.  Is that fair, and if so can you go on to defining what rewilding means on a personal or societal level?


Layla: Yes, absolutely. That is exactly so. I guess the critique comes from a misunderstanding of anarcho-primitivists, and John Zerzan?s warning which was taken out of context. He warned, in his analysis, that civilization is unsustainable, civilization is cruel, and civilization will ultimately lead to economic, social, ecological collapse. That was taken out of context and then the reaction was, So you are waiting for collapse. And that was not what the critique entails. The critique entails, you want that collapse in order to start re-envisioning on its ashes a new future. But the analysis shows that that future cannot exist on a dead planet. So how do we take into our hands the rewilding, or making life viable. And this is where my critique of all the revolutions that took place so far in an attempt to, well first we know the French, the British revolutions, the American revolutions, the Russian, the Chinese all the wars against colonialism, revolution after revolution in Africa and Asia and Latin America, have ultimately failed precisely because the epistemic foundation of human supremacy was never addressed. And so the predatory revolution, the original revolution, that ruptured us from this community of life and diversity of life and the joy of life, was an epistemic, anthropological revolution in self-conception. In order to really succeed this time, we have to understand what is at stake in the ways in which we envisage ourselves, envisage our roles in society. For example we can start by What is society? If you consider that society is the humans with whom you have economic networks, these are very alienating, highly segregated economies and groups and networks, if you feel you can thrive in that network it?s because you have a lot to exploit below you, so how are you going to envisage yourself outside of that network? Is it a specific gender with whom you mostly interact and with whom you have the most important economic exchanges? What is the hidden economy behind that which you do not want to acknowledge you have access to? What makes that materialize? Once we start understanding the effort, the economic input and output and extraction and consumption that is behind everything that we take for granted, this is where the epistemic revolution will take place. Because you will understand how predatory it is. And you will understand how to invite a diversity of beings from other classes, human social classes, for me social classes can be organized by gender, by race, all of these epistemic classifications have a value in this economy. This is where Marxist analysis is really useful and helpful. Because you can understand how we are alienated from both what we extract and what we produce. Once we start facing that and understanding the whole economic mesh in which everything exists, and inviting others from other species, other classes, human and nonhuman. This is where the rewilding begins. What do you give back to that wild community that you allow to exist for its own purpose, to simply enjoy life, not for your pleasure, not for your profit. Then we start to rewild ourselves and we will find that actually the quality of our experience on this Earth will immediately rise. We will be less stressed, because we will be less predatory, and being less predatory we will not expect a predator to constantly loom over our shoulder because the ultimate predator is us, consuming each other.


Host: That?s really interesting, the notion of looking over your shoulder for a predator and these sort of boogie men that we construct in our minds as almost a natural outgrowth of that sort of paranoia, of being a predator. And what you?re talking about when you speak of rewilding and the epistemic revolution, I find that fascinating, and I really think that leftists of all stripes need to really be honest and listen to what you are saying Layla. Because you are taking this tendency of anarcho-primitivism and really giving it a wonderful defense. And you?re knocking down so many caricatures that are push up against it, as you mentioned earlier. But when you talk about the epistemic revolution, I?ve heard the terms civilized and wild narratives be brought up in your writing and your talking. So what is the difference between civilized and wild narratives and what role does that play in the epistemic revolution you are talking about?


Layla: That?s part of the title of my second book that came out with Routledge in 2015, Children?s Literature, Domestication & Social Foundation: Narratives of Civilization and Wilderness. That was based on my doctoral dissertation in which I looked at the ways these fundamental premises of civilization and wilderness play out in narratives that we think are fiction or science or holy texts and even revolutionary children?s books. When we do not understand what is in those principles, for example in this book I use an example of Ann of Green Gables or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which apparently to many at first sight might appear to be a feminist, or anti-proletarian, poverty-stricken revolutionary text? If we analyze the underlying premises of civilization as monocultural, hierarchical, that naturalize killing ? it?s based on hunting, right? On domesticating of animals for human use, and rape. Because if you force crops to reproduce, what they would not have not chosen through their intricate and intimate community of pollinators and disseminators, then that is rape. We don?t think in those terms of crops, but this is what we do. We don?t think in those terms of the turkeys that we have modified in such horrendous ways that they can?t even reproduce themselves, we have to force inseminate them, that?s rape. If this is the principle of civilization, then there is no way that any civilized text, no matter how revolutionary it might claim to be, that will ever challenge that very economic basis. Evolutionary theory, scientific interpretation of facts will then be tainted by these norms that we take for granted because we don?t even see them. Scientists then become biased because they don?t see this as a problem, So they will end up, no matter how much they sincerely may want to topple oppressive economics, they will keep reconfirming the same structure. It?s very linear, because it always goes towards a certain goal, extractionist, that means violence, rape, racism, forced reproduction, is part of that narrative towards who will then gain access. So Charlie and the Chocolate Factory shows that one boy who wins the lottery will inherit this hierarchy. With the Oompa Loompas, those poor creatures brought in crates from obviously Africa because where else does coaco grow, and will work for you and dance, and all of you will live happily ever after in exactly the same violent structure. If language is the grammar, the technology that helps this system to self-propagate, then my question was can we, standing from the fact that we are diseased by civilization, occupied, civilized, domesticated by this predatory, almost alien within ourselves that makes us act against ourselves, is it possible. And it is possible. I found there are some texts. So in this book, I use the example of different indigenous stories, some stories from north of Russia where I was born, even in a civilized setting, Tove Jansson wrote the Moomins Trolls in Finland during World War II, she went on until the 70?s, there were nine books in the Moomins Trolls, and I found that the premises of these books are wild, just like the premises in those stories told by indigenous people in the north of Russia, and they could be indigenous, they could be ethnically Russian or different nationalities and ethnic groups in Russia as well, so it doesn?t matter. What makes them wild is that, first of all there?s no grammar to situate the human as the highest rightful predator/owner of every good outcome in an economic transaction. There is no linear movement and logic toward that human winning over other forces, animal or nonhuman. There is no grammar that expects the protagonist to beat something and then emerge victorious against something else. The Moomins Trolls is amazing because, it?s different no moral of the story experiences of little Moomin troll going through life in a diversity of life, with dangerous looming out there, because obviously there could be danger, but in the end if you know how to tune in to that harmony of diversity that your family is never static and monospeciesist or monoclassist, then everything will be fine. The most important part is that you can never take a grammatical rule, extract it in whatever happened in that story and apply it next time. It kind of follows this ? If it?s chaos that?s moving through the universe, and we all are particles that dance and tune to each other, but every time it?s something new, and every time it works out because you were intelligent and wise and wild to have figured out how to move with that community.


Host: Would you say there is a role to play for people that are sympathetic to anarcho-primitivist ideas or the ideas that you are expounding today, there?s a role for artists and filmmakers and authors and novelists to take into their own hands the duty of rewilding the mind by putting into their work these wild narratives? Would you say that is one way that people who are sympathetic to these ideas can operate in the real world and start to schange the minds of other people?


Layla: Could be one way. May be the optimal thing would be for everyone, because this is what narratives of wilderness tell us is that, if there?s no moral of the story, there?s no rule for protagonists to emerge as protagonist as heroes, then everyone in whatever moment of time and space experiences some communication with others, regardless of their species or class again, regardless of language. Like you go to forest and you will experience an encounter with trees with bugs with animals, they are protagonists and you are protagonist in that moment, and this is your story and you can share it with others. But ultimately, it?s what you live and how you end up not being a voyeur or the supreme user of that space but you tune into the economy and you look into what you bring to that economy is exactly what you take, then you become a protagonist. Then art and stories start becoming relevant and wild and ever-evolving.


Host: In my personal life I find that when I?m stressed out, when I?m struggling with depression or anxiety, one of the main things I do is I go into nature. I set my life aside even if it?s just for a few hours and walk around alone in the wood. It?s almost an experiment to test these ideas, because I find that when I immerse myself in nature, when I let my thinking and my internal dialogue slow down and I feel myself as an awareness inside of the beauty and depth of nature it actually has a profoundly healing effect on my psyche and own my psychology. So do you think that by rewilding you should try to as much as possible interact with nature, embed yourself in it, and just sort of let it consume you for a while as a way of breaking down civilized narratives or however you want to frame it?


Layla: Absolutely, I love the way you phrased it, the critical word here is to embed yourself, which means that you become responsible, bound to a social contract, a pact that we have with life. If you felt that emotional healing, did you bring emotional and other healing to that community. Then it becomes much more powerful, it stops being consumers. A lot of, now, school programs realize that kids suffer from depression, I saw a few articles in the Guardian and other places, poorer kids in downtown say Los Angeles don?t have access to the ocean and so you take them on the bus to the ocean for the first time and then you feel good about yourself because you took them on that bus, they ran around and then you take them back. Or there was another project, you take them and they clean the ocean. And I was like, Excuse me, none of these are solutions for permanent healing of these kids and them being stuck in situations where it becomes only, according to your generosity that you could take a bus to take them and clean, their whole lives they will be most probably, if they are in the ghetto they will be serving you and cleaning, so there?s nothing fundamentally new to the capitalist and civilized economy that devastates human and nonhuman populations. So embedding, I like the way you put it, embedding yourself in that community is giving people access to a spot that they will rewild and open up to the growth of plant diversity, food diversity, for nonhuman and human alike. I know Deep Green Philly is involved in attempting to rewild Philadelphia in a more meaningful way. Of course there will be a lot of resistance because the minute it will start threatening the capitalization of space and gentrification and different new ways of recuperating of different spaces and human and nonhuman resources for this hierarchy, of course will have resistance. But you see these attempts throughout the world, like total liberation groups in Europe, reach out to Tunisia, to Turkey, to Georgia in order to make meaningful total liberation spaces for humans and nonhumans precisely in ways that will embed more and more people into these wild economics where you will start being accountable before yourself and before that community of diversity.


Host: Once you start feeling it, once you have those experiences in nature, there is this internal pull, you are compelled to go back because it is so intrinsically rewarding. So this notion of trying to have organizations that rewild certain areas, or create little spots for children to go to, not coerced, not in the context of cleaning up for the system, which I think are great critiques, I love that idea and I think it?s important.   Specifically you talked about the use of language with relation to narratives, what is John Zerzan?s critique of language and symbolic culture specifically, because I really think that touches on what we?re discussing here in a deeper way?


Layla: John Zerzan basically observed that language and symbolic thought and symbolic representation allowed us this degree of separation from that which you are then going to use or consume. Anthropological research you can find in my Routledge book, I list a whole bunch of anthropologists, Jack Goody, Walter Ong, among others, who observed that actually literacy emerged with agricultural civilization, with hierarchy. The first texts were not poetry or even religious texts. The first texts were actually lists of who owes who. And that kind of solidified, so literacy was a further step in the developing of that technology of alienation that John Zerzan observed, before literacy that started with hunting, solidified and made permanent those relationships of debt. That you no longer are bound to the community of life, where if you take something, for example, if we are primates, on the trees, say in Central American we eat avocados, and we take and throw away the seed of the avocado, and then the avocado grows, and this is how we agree together with avocado, it gives us some flesh, and we help it spread the seed, while birds and butterflies help pollinate and cross pollinate and spread a variety of possibilities of offspring. We rupture from that, and we take a step away from this, and we suddenly change our self-conception, and we become at a certain point scavengers, and then suddenly decide we are no longer going to heed that pact, that contract, we are going to hunt, what is going to help us through generations maintain this decision, is something that then becomes like a pneumatic or genetic imperative that then solidifies in the texts and the stories, and those lists of who owes who, and it is no longer that we owe the berries or the avocados, it becomes we owe those who domesticated us in order to consume and help spread that hierarchy and desertification. So literacy also plays, scientific literature, starting with say Peter Kropotkin?s theory of evolution through mutualism, his book Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, where he observes that mutualistic economies in the wild are guarded by empathy. So if you feel the suffering of the other, regardless of whether that other is a human being or nonhuman being, most animals then respond, even predators respond to other species? children?s cries. They have and they heed that pact they have with life, that they are going to consume the old, but you will have a young lioness risking her own life and starving protecting a baby deer or a baby gazelle. Symbolic thought, by representing a relationship as something not other allows us to withdraw and not to feel what we would have instinctually felt. It superimposes itself on reality, that when we are domesticated we start looking at reality through specific narratives. We don?t understand that reality is what it is. And this is what we see in a lot of the clashes. You will have very decent white supremacists (laughing)? really sincerely arguing that their vision, and maybe they sincerely believe sometimes, well when reality comes to testing, is it because you did not know that a race that has been exploited by your forefathers still suffers, would you give up some of your goods, some would and some wouldn?t, but let?s say that some of them don?t know, the narrative allows them to actually honestly not feel and not know, and be closed to that experience. If you take away that narrative, a lot of them if they felt that suffering and they realized, I can do something not to hear those screams of pain, they would do it, they would go and rewild themselves. So the narratives help keep the status quo even in cases where there would have been a sincere desire to disrupt that economy. And it solidifies that economy, and keeps transmitting. And this is where my analysis of the texts, the literature in the scientific texts, some of them claim to be revolutionary. The film Up, same thing, two poor people and civilization growing around, I discuss that in my book, they work all their lives, she?s the one who dreams to go the mountaintop in South America, finally it?s like a heroic feat, but she dies, and her husband is old and he takes off in the balloons, and you will see that the narrative sneaks into and normalizes naturalizes the fact that if the woman is dead, it?s enough to have her picture go to the top of the mountain, it?s as good as if she had made it. They actually claim it to be a feminist narrative. It?s symbolic, it?s very symbolic, just the photograph. If you look at the reality of that economic culture, what happened to her? She was consumed and she died old and frail who had forgotten and abandoned her dream. And you look at how the white man who goes to live Ellie?s dream enters the space of so called South America, and nothing exists in South America except for him and that symbolic dream. If you don?t have that text, if you go to South America and go to the forest and you see what the petroleum companies are doing, you will not want to participate in that economy.


Host: This is maybe getting a little off the rails here, but everything that you?re saying is leading my mind to this thought, because it?s something that I?ve done in my own life, and when I talk about going out in the forest this is an activity that I partake in, and that activity is meditation. When you?re talking about symbolic culture, when you?re talking about language, what we?re talking about in some respect or at least it leads back to this idea, of talking to ourselves in our heads all day. And that is a veil of thought that disconnects us from the world around us and the people around us, and in my personal experience, I have found that when I am keeping up a consistent and deep meditation practice, my empathy explodes. My care for other people, my care for the world around me, the boundaries between me and everything else start to get loose and start to dissolve. What are your thoughts on meditation and the notion of that as a tool to de-program your mind from this symbolic culture.


Layla: I totally agree with the way you interpret it. Where the danger, that?s the danger of language, is that a term like this will be taken, say a new age economy, and taken to mean that meditation is you and yourself and you are so important and love yourself, pay me money I?ll teach you how to help yourself. So it?s totally taken out of the original context where, as you point out that meditation is actually where you become one with the cosmos, when you become one with everything around you here and beyond and the stars, where you feel that depth of connection because in the end we are made of the same substance as this Earth and as the stars. So its opening up to that empathy. And it?s not closing into how good you want to feel and the world is burning. So yes, absolutely. Maybe meditation would be the best term to describe it in this sense, but it?s really going out into the forest, and experiencing it not like what you said, not with that cognitive stuck in language, obsessive compulsive, re-running this and that, but really turning off of that civilized linguistic existence to understanding what happens within you and without you on this multi-level wild intelligence that we are yet to retrieve, because we have that and we can have that if we stop being enmeshed in this domesticating linguistic existence.


Host: And I think you?re absolutely right when talk about the way meditation or the East Asian culture of Buddhism and meditation has been coopted by the capitalist corporate state and their practices. So now you?ll see these huge fortune 500 companies having meditation time with their workers where they all come and they sit in a room and they meditate and that increases productivity? There?s something much deeper there in that culture if you care to delve into it. And I would even argue that by embedding yourself in nature for extended periods of time nature itself sort of does that work, it starts to break down the conceptual apparatus because you?re so disassociated from the society if you stay in nature long enough that nature will start to ease you out of those thought patterns and embrace you in its own existence, and you have to start adapting your body and mind to the natural world around you. I just thought that was interesting, I think it does fit in to some of these things we?re talking about, at least in my experience it?s 100% conducive with these notions of symbolic culture and language and getting past that.


Layla: I had an experience like that in 2005. We went back to Russia with my husband and my child. We were in the north? in the forests in Russia, you go on the rivers canoeing and sleeping on islands and within days you use language to the minimum, you don?t scream at the kids, everyone kind of tunes into it. I left my child and her dad with the friends there, I had to go to a conference through Finland in Norway? I know Russia very well, I take the midnight train, I emerge from the forest, hop on this midnight train to St. Petersburg in order to take the train to Helsinki. And so I didn?t realize I was back in civilization in the morning, it was lucky to be the final station St. Petersburg, so I step down off the train, and that city, I did my master?s research degree on rock music there, it was like I have never seen that city before. I had no idea what to do with the ticket I had in hand, where to step, how to ask, what to ask. I?m so lost, I felt like I had no idea where I was. There?s buses? What is a bus? It was so painful to remember, Oh the bus will take me from this train station to the next, Oh I have to take a train, Oh that?s what I came on train. Everything was slow motion, it was so painful to remember the vocabulary, the technology. Finally, I got back, unfortunately (laughing).


Host: Well, we?re well over an hour, we deviated a little bit from the questions I was going to ask, but this has been a wonderful conversation. I absolutely love this. You?ve taught me a lot, and I know you taught my listeners a lot. When I advertised the fact that you were coming on to discuss anarcho-primitivism, there were so many caricatures which even I myself have fell prey to, if people saw the sort of questions and outline I made for this episode, they would immediately see my own caricatures of anarcho-primitivism, and the errors in my thinking in what I thought it was. But you have done all of us a service by defending the position and correcting so many of the errors. You?re an absolute delight to talk to, I really appreciate you coming on, it means so much to me. I?d like to have you on in the future because I find you to be totally fascinating and to be thinking in ways, there just aren?t a lot of people thinking in those ways. Before we go before we say our goodbyes.


Layla: I want to say thank you, it was really wonderful to discuss with you, and yes absolutely I?d be happy to discuss more in the future?


 


Links to Layla?s websites, where you can find her books and writings:


Layla?s Work


Layla on FB


 


category: 

Source: Transcripts to Layla AbdelRahim radio interview: Anarcho-Primitivism: Civilization, Symbolic Culture, and Rewilding
7
Richard Mellor / Books: US Gun Culture, Outlaws and False Heroes
« Last post by Richard Mellor on Yesterday at 06:00:54 PM »
Books: US Gun Culture, Outlaws and False Heroes

     
Order this book here
Here are the first few pages of a chapter from Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz' forthcoming book, Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment.  The chapter is on Missouri Confederate guerrillas. In this short excerpt Ms Ortiz destroys a few favorite myths propagated by popular culture and the mass media about guns and the aftermath of the Civil War. It looks like a must read for those of us intent on unlearning official history. RM

 Here is one critic's review:

"Gun violence, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz compellingly shows, is as U.S.  American as apple pie. This important book peels back the painful and  bloody layers of gun culture in the United States, and exposes their  deep roots in the killing and dispossession of Native peoples, slavery  and its aftermath, and U.S. empire-making. They are roots with which all  who are concerned with matters of justice, basic decency, and the  enduring tragedy of the U.S. love affair with guns must grapple."?Joseph  Nevins, author of Dying to Live: A Story of U.S. Immigration in an Age of Global Apartheid
                 

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment. San Francisco: City Light Publishers, January 2018. *

CONFEDERATE GUERRILLAS TO OUTLAW ICONS
                 
I grew up in rural Oklahoma. Both my parents were born in western Missouri. My father, besides being a tenant farmer and rodeo man, was an actual proletarian cowboy who worked on a large cattle ranch in Oklahoma mending fences and herding cattle long distances before he married my mother.
 
In this world, stories of ?Robin Hood? outlaw heroes were pervasive. These included the James Gang, Jesse and Frank; and the Younger Brothers, Cole, Jim, John and Bob, Belle Starr?dubbed the ?Bandit Queen??my female role model. I was, thanks to my mother, a devout Southern Baptist; yet it didn?t seem contradictory that these bandits broke nearly all the Ten Commandments, because they stole from the rich and gave to the poor, or so it was said. Not until I moved to San Francisco when I was twenty-one and took a college course in U.S. West History did I learn that all my heroes had been Confederate Guerrillas, associated with William Quantrill?s Rangers. They all came from middle-class families who bought, sold, and worked enslaved Africans, and who were devoted to the Confederacy, that is, the preservation of chattel slavery. This came as a shock, because by that time, I had for the previous four years taken sides in favor of the Civil Rights movement and despised racism, the main reason I left Oklahoma as soon as I could. I?ve been trying to figure out this disconnect ever since. But I do know that border-outlaw narratives have played a role in gun fetishism and a culture of violence and racism in the United States.

I was not alone in buying into the myths about these outlaws. Even in San Francisco, New York City, and beyond, during the folk music revival of the late 1950s, Woody Guthrie?s 1939 recording of the 1882 traditional song extolling Jesse James was revived and made the pop charts:

Oh, they laid poor Jesse in his grave, yes, Lord They laid Jesse James in his grave
Oh, he took from the rich and he gave to the poor But, they laid Jesse James in his grave
Pete Seeger recorded the song in 1957, followed by Eddy Arnold in 1959, the Kingston Trio in 1961, and in the 1970s, it made the charts again recorded by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band as well as by Bob Seger; even The Pogues as well as Bruce Springsteen got in the act in the mid-1980s. It was recorded by dozens of other lesser known folk, pop, and country musicians.

And, there was a larger theme of sympathy for the slave South?s ?Lost Cause? in the 1960s counter-culture. The Band first recorded ?The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,? with lyrics by Robbie Robertson,77 in 1969, when they were closely associated with Bob Dylan, topping the charts in several categories; Joan Baez recorded it in 1971, with the same result, as did Johnny Cash in 1975. Liberal San Francisco music critic Ralph J. Gleason waxed eloquently on The Band?s recording: ?Nothing I have read ... has brought home the overwhelming human sense of history that this song does...It?s a remarkable song, the rhythmic structure, the voice of Levon [Helms] and the bass line with the drum accents and then the heavy close harmony of Levon, Richard and Rick in the theme, make it seem impossible that this isn?t some traditional material handed down from father to son straight from that winter of 1865 to today. It has that ring of truth and the whole aura of authenticity.?

Virgil Kane is the name...
Back with my wife in Tennessee
When one day she called to me ?Virgil, quick, come see,
There goes Robert E. Lee!?
Now, I don?t mind chopping wood And I don?t care if the money?s no good You take what you need
And you leave the rest
But they should never have taken the very best
The night they drove old Dixie down And the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down And all the people were singing

This was a post-World War II composition mourning the Confederate defeat in the Civil War, written by Robbie Robertson, also a member of The Band and one of the most celebrated of the many musicians, writers, and producers coming out of the 1960s. He is also Mohawk, his mother from the Six Nations Reserve outside Toronto, Canada, his father Jewish. Not having grown up in the United States, Robertson likely had very little knowledge of the Civil War, but Joan Baez did and was a pacifist and an icon of the African-American Civil Rights Movement of the time. It seems that the sanitized lore that views bloody, murdering, Confederate guerrillas as righteous outlaws continues to be deeply ingrained in United States culture.

And, it wasn?t just the music counterculture, but also mainstream pop culture. True Grit, a best-selling 1968 novel by Charles Portis, also serialized in the popular mass-distributed magazine The Saturday Evening Post, was made into a blockbuster movie in 1969, featuring John Wayne as the fictional Rooster Cogburn, former Confederate guerrilla with Quantrill. John Wayne won the Academy Award for best acting the role as the good-hearted drunken antihero who proves himself a true hero. Ethan and Joel Cohen did a 2010 duplicate remake of the film for the new generation starring Jeff Bridges in the John Wayne role, accompanied by a new edition of the novel with an afterword by bestselling author Donna Tartt, which reached number one on The New York Times bestseller list.

The 1976 film, Outlaw Josey Wales, directed by Clint Eastwood, the script by Forrest Carter adapted from his 1972 novel, The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales, featured a Missouri Confederate guerrilla played by Clint Eastwood, based on the true story of Bill Wilson, a folk hero in the Ozarks. After Union troops murder his wife and child, Wales refuses to surrender at the end of the war, seeks revenge, and guns down the Union man that killed his family. He then flees to Texas with a bounty on his head. In the film, Josey Wales expresses his world view: ?Now remember, things look bad and it looks like you?re not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. Cause if you lose your head and give up then you neither live nor win. That?s just the way it is.?

Forrest Carter, who wrote the script for Outlaw Josey Wales, is the pen name of Asa Earl Carter (1925-1975) who was a leader in the Ku Klux Klan in the 1950s and a speech writer for the segregationist Alabama governor George Wallace in the 1960s. He changed his name and successfully turned to writing, first the Josey Wales book, then in 1976 what claimed to be a memoir, The Education of Little Tree. The story is told by an orphaned boy of five years old, being raised by Cherokee grandparents who called him ?Little Tree,? with stereotypical noble savage actions and settings, perfect for the growing ?New Age? appropriation and distortion of Native ways. At the book?s release, The New York Times published an article outing Forrest Carter as Asa Carter, former Klansman. It was not a big secret, as Carter had run for governor of Alabama in 1970. The article reported, ?Beyond denying that he is Asa Carter, the author has declined to be interviewed on the subject.?

Carter died at age 53 in 1979, beat to death in a fight with his son. His literary fame faded. There had been no questioning of Carter?s claim of Cherokee identity until the University of New Mexico Press bought the rights to The Education of Little Tree in 1985, and published it as non-fiction in 1991. The book took off and became the number one best seller on The New York Times best-seller list and won the American Booksellers Book of the Year award, and became a much loved book. The Cherokee Nation denied that Carter was Cherokee, and Carter?s Ku Klux Klan background was once again revealed, leading the Times to shift the book to its fiction list. Despite calls from the Native American academic community and the Cherokee Nation that the University of New Mexico Press withdraw the book from publication, instead they changed the cover, removing the ?True Story? subtitle and reclassified it as fiction, but the biographical profile did not change to include Carter?s Klan activities and the lack of evidence of his being Cherokee; it remains one of their bestselling books. Oprah Winfrey had endorsed the book when it was published, but removed it from her recommendations in 1994.

Clint Eastwood, directing The Outlaw Josey Wales, featured several stereotypical Native American characters, written by Carter, and performed by excellent Native American actors, Geraldine Keams as a love interest, the elderly Chief Dan George as his spirit guide, and Will Sampson as a protector. In the script, there is no mention of slavery even though Wales was a Confederate guerrilla who rejected the Confederate defeat.

Two other widely viewed films?Bonnie and Clyde and Pat Garret and Billy the Kid?glorified gun violence of real-life outlaws who were not Confederate guerrillas, but have contributed to those narratives being folded into ones of the Wild West even though Bonnie and Clyde were bandits in the Great Depression era, and Billie the Kid?s short life ended in 1882. With Bonnie and Clyde, Arthur Penn broke through to mainstream box office triumph and was embraced by the counterculture of 1967 at the same time. The film was noted for the bloodiest scenes in film history, and starred Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. Sam Peckinpah?s 1973 film, Pat Garret and Billy the Kid, featured the popular musician and songwriter, Kris Kristofferson as the Kid, and a memorable soundtrack by Bob Dylan, who also played a cameo role.

How did it happen that popular culture transformed Confederate guerrillas into celebrity Western gunfighters, merging them with actual Western gunfighters, and what has this phenomenon contributed to the culture of violence, racism, and gun love in the United States?

*             Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz grew up in rural Oklahoma, the daughter of a tenant farmer and part-Indian mother. She is the author of many books, including Outlaw Woman, a memoir of the 1960s and her time in an armed underground group, and the acclaimed An Indigenous Peoples' History ofthe United States. She lives in San Francisco.

Source: Books: US Gun Culture, Outlaws and False Heroes
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An Astounding Number of Republicans Still Support Trump, as His Approval Ratings Actually Go Up Post-Charlotte


Trump's approval rating went up compared to beginning of month, but more people anticipate he'll get nothing done.


Despite the fallout from the Charlottesville, Virginia attack, President Donald Trump?s approval rating miraculously rose this past week, according to a national pollconducted by Quinnipiac University.

Trump had earned himself a 33 percent approval rating two weeks ago, his lowest grade since the inauguration. This week, Quinnipiac?s survey showed that Trump had a 39 percent approval rating. The national telephone poll was done from Aug. 9 through Aug. 15, during the height of the Charlottesville controversy.

 

A stunning 81 percent of Republican respondents expressed approval for the president, while 94 percent of Democrats signaled they disapproved of the job he was doing. A slim majority of independent respondents indicated they also disapproved of Trump.

While 39 percent is nothing to celebrate, it can be seen as a win for the Trump administration since it indicates an increase of six percentage points from two weeks ago.

The U.S. economy has continued to fare well under the new administration, with the national unemployment rate falling to 4.3 percent, the lowest level of unemployment in 16 years.

But one survey question asked by Quinnipiac might explain why Trump saw a jump in his approval ratings the past two weeks. A total of 58 percent of the latest poll?s respondents said that they did not believe Trump or the Republicans in Congress would be able to pass any significant legislation by the end of the year. This was a significant percentage drop from early June, when 50 percent of respondents indicated that Trump would fail to get the job done.

Now that most Americans have lowered expectations for the president, some could be allowing themselves to judge Trump under different standards ? such as not starting a nuclear war with North Korea.

 

 

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Source: An Astounding Number of Republicans Still Support Trump, as His Approval Ratings Actually Go Up Post-Charlotte
9
Centre for Research on Globalisation / Selected Articles: South Korea: There Will Be No War on the Korean Peninsula
« Last post by Centre for Research on Globalisation on Yesterday at 06:00:49 PM »
Selected Articles: South Korea: There Will Be No War on the Korean Peninsula

Global Research strives for peace, and we have but one mandate: to share timely, independent and vital information to readers across the globe. We act as a global platform to let the voices of dissent, protest, and expert witnesses and


Source: Selected Articles: South Korea: There Will Be No War on the Korean Peninsula
10
Centre for Research on Globalisation / Talk Emerges of a Diplomatic Boycott of the Trump Administration
« Last post by Centre for Research on Globalisation on Yesterday at 06:00:49 PM »
Talk Emerges of a Diplomatic Boycott of the Trump Administration

There is increasing chatter among mostly European diplomats that their nations? displeasure about President Donald Trump would best be shown by staging a diplomatic boycott, namely, recalling ambassadors in Washington and leaving only chargés d?affaires in charge. This type of


Source: Talk Emerges of a Diplomatic Boycott of the Trump Administration
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