Tear Gas, Anyone?

As the countdown to the November election turns serious with little over three months remaining, the Trump campaign, in its wisdom, has turned to Gestapo tactics as he and his Attorney General Bill Barr order unidentifiable, armed storm troopers into American cities, ostensibly “to protect federal property”.

Oregon—the first ‘test case’— is not responding in the way that Trump and his advisors predicted. Trump’s desperation and late-campaign tactic is proving to be ill-advised; it seems that he and Barr assumed Oregon would be the perfect state in which their federal invasion could be tested as way of predicting white people’s ultimate reaction to the nationwide support for #BlackLivesMatter. From the outside, one might believe their assumption would be correct, but that assumption appears to be a miscalculation.

Oregon’s population is about 84% white, including Hispanic whites, with barely 3% Black, Native American, and Alaskan Native combined. Not only that, but Oregon, arguably, was known at one time to have the largest enclave of the Ku Klux Klan anywhere in the country, outside of the South.

Indeed, the state of Oregon has a history of bigotry dating back to the mid-1800’s, when the Oregon Territory banned slavery but at the same time forced African-Americans to leave. In her book, ‘The Second Coming of The KKK’, author Linda Gordon, an Oregonian native, discussed Oregon’s convoluted history regarding race.. Back then, while voters banned slavery, they also banned Blacks from entering, living, voting, or owning property, and for the few blacks who refused to leave, they were heavily taxed if they persisted in staying. Other people of color, including Chinese and Hawaiians, were included in the segregative actions. In fact, Oregon refused to officially ratify the 15th Amendment—the right to vote regardless of race or color— until 1959., and further, didn’t ratify the 14th Amendment, which provided an array of citizenship rights, until 1979.

So, if there was anywhere in the country one might expect that white people’s support for a Black causes might waver, it would be Oregon. But in Portland, protesters, mostly white, have steadfastly remained active ever since George Floyd was murdered by police in Minnesota back in May.

So yes, Oregon is as white as white can be, and Trump and his buddies may have thought this incursion would be a test case to gain white suburban support. But if white people in Oregon, of all places, are rejecting his unauthorized visit, his venture into more diverse cities is bound to exemplify a fool’s errand. And that story is quickly unfolding as the president’s desperation to be re-elected is only equaled by his continued cruelty towards Americans.

Black Lives Matter, Marxist? So What!

In case you haven’t noticed, the right-wing propaganda slime machine is doing its dead-level best at reaching back for its old, reliable dog whistle. The same old “They’re Marxist” scare tactic is being employed again to scare the hell out of white people. This time the dirt is being dug up on the Black Lives Matter Movement, and, as usual, for starters and maximum effect they plant the dirt within the religious establishments.

For example, recently an African-American friend reported that during a Bible Study Fellowship (BSF}conducted by a world-wide, interdenominational Christian organization, the coordinator and leader of the group began a prayer in which she prayed that “The Marxist Black Lives Matter Movement be banished from the face of the earth because it is against God’s will and is hurting Donald Trump, our beloved president”. Admittedly, I’m reporting second-hand information, but a quick check with a You Tube video confirmed the indictment that the BLM movement is, in fact, being smeared and slammed as a Marxist organization.

The truth is that Marxism, as a socialist structure, has traditionally been a way of life in black society and is nothing particularly unusual as Black people do tend to share and work together. After 400 years of horrific treatment under European rule, Black people’s survival, having been beaten down and massacred time and time again, especially after Reconstruction in 1865, is nothing short of a miracle; the utilization of socialist ideas represented coping techniques, not methods of overtaking the Capitalist economic system.

And, by the way, Marxism is simply a philosophical statement of the consciousness or perspective of the working class: it spells out how oppression occurs and what is necessary to overcome it. Historically, whenever Black people attempted to gain wealth, it was stolen and/or destroyed — -the people massacred — -or, by some other edit or cruel formulation that white people concocted; Marxism within Black society was never meant as a threat to white wealth or power, but merely an accommodation to fit in and survive in the majority system.

In his book Black Reconstruction in America renowned educator, author, and activist, W.E.B. Dubois outlined the survivalist connection between Marxism and Black people as the only viable route forward, even during the Civil War: “…DuBois’s insistence on labeling black resistance during the Civil War a general strike…as soon as it became clear that the Union armies would not or could not return fugitive slaves, and that the masters with all their fume and fury were uncertain of victory, the slave entered upon a general strike against slavery…DuBois was ahead of the scholarly curve for crediting blacks with winning the war and emancipating themselves. He was putting slave resistance in a capital versus labor, Marxist framework.”

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Photo by Chris Henry on Unsplash

So, in that historical framework, clearly Marxism was a tactic used by the slaves themselves as a survival strategy that Karl Marx would have found admirable, but certainly not life-threatening to the slave-owning capitalists in any way.

Nevertheless, in the 1950’s and 60’s the frightful “Marxism” meme was unveiled and widely spread in the media during J. Edgar Hoover’s notorious F.B.I. slandering and wiretapping of Dr. Martin Luther King. Following World War Two, the ‘Red Scare’ tactic was particularly effective against King because the country was preoccupied with the perception that national or foreign communists were infiltrating or subverting the Unites States. Indeed, the purported communist scheme made some white people even more suspicious of Blacks during the Civil Rights Movement. Nonetheless, King fought against racism and the one-hundred-year-old Jim Crow Laws, which eventually led to President Lyndon Johnson signing landmark legislation, The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and The Voting Rights Acts of 1965.

Despite this progress, however, the right-wing propaganda machine is still effective fifty years later whenever Black people begin to organize.

Black Lives Matter is a movement predicated on the idea that violence against Black and Brown people by police is not acceptable, and that non-violent protest and civil disobedience are simply methods used to highlight the issue. It’s comprised of 16 decentralized chapters of like-minded groups under various names, all existing under the Black Lives Matter umbrella working for policy changes in the interest of Black liberation in the United States and around the world.

When the conservative white power structure paints any Black movement as ‘Marxist’ it is clearly a typical knee jerk reaction aimed at alarming white people. In point of fact, Black labor, beginning with the slave labor that built this country, has been an abomination, and has done nothing to advance the struggle for any significant level of wealth-building for Black people, even after after 400 years.

Perhaps THAT is the threat that the white establishment fears when it hears that Black Lives Matter and realize that, yes, it IS much more than a hashtag!

“It’ll just disappear”. All the hospitals are full’: In Houston, overwhelmed ICUs leave COVID-19 patients waiting in ER

Houston hospitals have been forced to treat hundreds of COVID-19 patients in their emergency rooms as they scramble to open additional intensive care beds.
— Read on www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/all-hospitals-are-full-houston-overwhelmed-icus-leave-covid-19-n1233430

What to do with all those beans? Goya Foods’ CEO said U.S. ‘blessed’ to have Trump as a leader, and calls for boycott quickly followed

Goya Foods was trending on Twitter after some Latinos called for a boycott of the company after its CEO met with President Donald Trump.
— Read on www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/goya-food-s-ceo-said-u-s-blessed-have-trump-n1233392

She’s probably good with the Confederate flag? Black Lives Matter banner made Ginni Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, very angry

Official site of The Week Magazine, offering commentary and analysis of the day’s breaking news and current events as well as arts, entertainment, people and gossip, and political cartoons.
— Read on theweek.com/speedreads/924728/black-lives-matter-banner-made-ginni-thomas-wife-justice-clarence-thomas-angry

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