Friday, May 1, 2015

May Day Week

SHORT TAKES ON THE WEEK THAT WAS

Baltimore The biggest impact the rebellion against police murder in Baltimore is having is more than the increase in scale, as Baltimore is a large city with a large black working-class.  The issue of ‘class’ itself has now been put front and center in this black struggle against repression.  The citizens of Baltimore have a black President who promised ‘change’ and brought little, a new female black Attorney General who coddled Wall Street and supports the incarceration state, a female black Maryland AG, a black female mayor of Baltimore, a black police chief and many black cops on the Baltimore police force.  All basically called the young rebels ‘thugs’ and tried to focus attention on a burnt pharmacy, a burnt check-cashing store and looting.  The state wants a monopoly on violence, which is what is behind their calls for 'non-violence.' 

Yet, from the facts in this case and the long history of police settlements and violence against the Baltimore working class, the real thugs are the Baltimore police force, and ‘blue on black’ crime. Now these cops have been indicted, so facts are starting to have some impact.  Thanks to one black female prosecutor, who is finally doing her job.  That is 1 out of 6.  However the majority of the black ‘respectability’ middle and upper class had chosen the wrong side.  As Britteny Cooper said in Salon a few days ago, when they do this she doesn’t solidarize with the prominent ‘sistuhs’ anymore.

The tactic to lift up a black ‘talented tenth’ through ‘affirmative action’ was conscious social policy by the more intelligent sector of the ruling class in response to the rebellions of the 1960s.  It was mostly aimed at a sliver of the black population.  That tactic worked.  This is the fruit of that tactic.  The movement for black liberation is now at a new stage.  Young black people are not as invested in the dominant preacher / Democrat leadership that has failed these last 50 years  They resemble the radicals of the 60s.  Let’s hope they form organizations that embrace a class approach to social struggle.  Because that is what we have witnessed in Baltimore.

On a side note, the creator of the HBO series “The Wire,” David Simon, has been taking the enlightened side in the matter of Baltimore police brutality. That series was about black ‘crime’ in Baltimore, but also about corruption in the city.  Simon recently pointed out that Marx was right about the effects of capitalism on the working class. He continues to ridicule Marx’s idea of a solution – a ‘classless society’ - as ludicrous.  Well, given that one of the main reasons that the U.S. had to end Jim Crow was because of the presence of the USSR, China and other socialist revolutionary movements in the world, I’d say ridicule is not quite in order.  Nor is the odd coincidence that it was only the destruction of the majority of workers' states that really allowed capital to rule the world without greater opposition.  Of course, you must remember, admitting you like any of Marx makes you some kind of social leper.  But that is changing now.  The leopard must be changing its spots!

Bernie Sanders One of the reasons the image of 'socialism' is changing is that Bernie Sanders, an independent ‘democratic socialist’ who caucuses with the Democrats, is running for the Democratic Party nomination.  Just listening to newscasters choke on the words ‘democratic socialist’ makes Bernie’s run worth it.  He says all the right things about a host of issues, but not Palestine, where he still comes out as a war-mongering Zionist. There are certainly other positions, especially in foreign policy, where he sounds like another imperialist Democrat.  However, he is the 'real deal' as they say, a real human being and not just the pandering politician who says what people want to hear.  Sanders right now has no capitalist support. Sanders is backed by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which is a deep-entry reformist organization within the Democratic Party who have propped up the Democratic Party since the Vietnam War days. (Yes, really.  They loved LBJ.) The tricky phrase 'democratic socialist' they use implies that anyone calling themselves a 'socialist' or something else is a totalitarian of some sort. 

The worst part here is that, barring some kind of ‘Obama surge” for Sanders against Clinton, this will just reinvigorate the Democratic Party and move Clinton to the left verbally, so she can win the election and run the country like the neo-liberal she is.  The Clinton’s perfected ‘neo-liberalism’ in the U.S. after all.  They are still owned by big finance.   Many unions certainly like Sanders more than Clinton, but any incipient move to Sanders will be squelched by the sclerotic union leaderships.  So a ‘debate’ may happen, but the power is not changing anywhere. Next time Sanders should try to help build an independent labor/ progressive/ populist/ party, which is the mass political solution to the '1-party-with-two-heads' bind of American politics.

May Day   These Mayday marches happen across the U.S. now.   The funny part is that “May Day” – the historic working class holiday started by socialists and celebrated all over the world, is growing more vital in the U.S. while the official American “Labor Day” is shrinking. The latter is celebrated by that same sclerotic union leadership in passive picnics and gatherings, where union members are force-fed Democratic party politicians.  Again this year some unions locals of AFSCME and SEIU are breaking the mold and endorsing the more left May Day march.  However paper endorsements mean little.  The ragged groups of socialists, anarcho-syndicalists, Latino and Black radicals, community organizations, left educators and youth  marching today in Minneapolis are separated from the Archdiosese-endorsed rally at the State Capitol in St. Paul, which is narrowly focused on the sole issue of immigrant drivers' licenses.   Nearly all these 'labor days' in the U.S. are emaciated versions of what happens in the rest of the world unfortunately.  Nevertheless, Happy May Day! 

GofT (Spoiler Alert).  Now for the fiction show that most resembles our brutal world – ‘Game of Thrones.’ Beheadings are not limited to the early Middle Ages after all.  In fact, you could basically call what happened to Freddie Gray in Baltimore a beheading.    80% of the neck spine cut inside a police paddy wagon?  The only difference is the Baltimore police didn’t do it in public, unlike Daesh or the Saudis.  At any rate, ‘neo-liberalism’ is creeping into the ‘good guys’ at GofT.  Queen Daenerys ordered the public beheading of an ex-slave who killed a master who killed a slave.  Bad idea if Daenerys is really running a ‘dictatorship of the slaves.”  She’s not – as the sensitive young white males writing the show point out in a trailer.  She’s running a liberal fantasy land where ‘all are equal under the law.’  Even though in the cities she rules over like Meereen, class society has not disappeared.  The fight that broke out after the beheading between the ex-slaves and the well-dressed former masters proved this.  

Jon Snow also got into the beheading act.  Sensitive Jon was elected head of the Night’s Watch, and his first order to an old bitter-ender was angrily rejected.  So he gets out his long sword, and like his father in the first episode of this whole bloody tale, beheads the bloviating bastard. Capital punishment?  Why not just let the shit-bag rot in a dungeon?  Really.  At this rate, GofT will end in the reign of Queen Hillary Clinton.  Or King Bush III.  After all, Stannis Baratheon and his crazy red priestess Melisandre just burned the leader of the free Wildlings of the North, Manse Rayder, at the stake like Joan of Arc.  

Victory for Vietnam - 50 years ago, April 30, 1975, the U.S. and their Vietnamese puppets were finally defeated in a war for national and perhaps social liberation.  The U.S. television press chose to focus on the heroism of Americans in those last days. The myth of the 'good guys' never goes away.

Prior reviews of "Game of Thrones," "The Wire," below.

Happy May Day!
Come to our Party on Saturday
Red Frog
May 1, 2015

2 comments:

AA said...

It was unsafe to confine Lord Janos Slynt to a dungeon -- he had powerful and dangerous allies such as Ser Alliser Thorne. And an example had to be set to discourage others who might be reluctant to follow Jon Snow's orders. Besides, Slynt was a worthless scumbag who was an integral part of the conspiracy against Lord Stark in King's Landing.

It's not Mance Rayder who gets burned at the stake but the Lord of Bones. The TV people are playing fast and loose with the story.

Daenerys executing a slave is again only in the TV version.

Red Frog said...

Maybe. Jon Snow is just repeating Ned Stark. No change. I'm going with the HBO story, not JRR Martin.