Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Among the protesters angry about the whitewashing of the murder by a white Ferguson, MO police officer of a young Black man are many seeking to leverage the outrage, and peoples' willingness to take to the streets, into a wider uprising. People of the type I've been following on Twitter, which I've become interested in in the past several weeks, are rushing (in most cases belatedly) to show support for African Americans, who still live as third class citizens in their own country: feminists, striking Wal Mart workers, Palestinians, people associated with leaderless groups like Occupy and Anonymous, and random miscellaneous Leftists who are passionately interested in all of the above from the safety of their own living rooms, people like me, are all putting out there the idea that we're all oppressed and exploited and should stand together.

It's interesting to watch this happen. Black people so far aren't being swayed by calls for unity, that I can see. They have their plight on the front page and want to keep it there. You can't blame them. And some of them are very angry and not of a mind to cooperate with their oppressors. Most White people aren't aware of their racism or how they benefit from racism as it's manifested in the United States historically and now or of the privileges it affords them.

Neither can you blame the others for wanting to piggyback on the emotive power of the moment and try to leverage it. Among those others are people who see an opportunity to unite all working people, who, as evidenced by the existence of all these different groups, are divided and fractured in ways that dilute their power to levels the ruling class can easily manage. Agitation for unity seldom has any direct effect, but if the anger and protest evolve into a genuine uprising, it might be there in the back of peoples' minds when they look to give rational reason to the natural act of rebellion.

I don't know if these Ferguson protests will keep escalating or not. The possibility is there. The impulse to resist, to revolt, to fight back against the pain of oppression, is part of us. It's a human trait but one that manifests in certain ways because we're social animals. It's part of us and it's outside of us, too. It's between us. It acts through and upon the society at large.

It's like a flame that if it keeps flickering long enough can draw more and more people near it. This flame is seen by those who fear it as an inferno that must be fled or extinguished at all costs. It's not something we have much control over. You can only watch to see what happens, and either join, draw near, or join the other side, flee.

While all this is unfolding the ruling class is preparing for war. President's Obama's firing of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is a seen as a sign that the president wants a more hawkish defense secretary who will help the ruling elite make the case for expanding the more than decade old war that now encompasses most of the Middle East. This expansion may not be something Obama necessarily wants, but I think he sees it as necessary, in the context of the 2016 US presidential election.

Warmongering. It's about another kind of flame, or maybe the antithesis of the flame. The void. The impossible to fill emptiness. But I think the president understands it. He's not going to stand in its way and be consumed by it.

The point is that a war abroad, if it comes, might thwart the war in the streets, or it might help provoke it. War can draw peoples' attention away from the flame, or, like Vietnam did, act like gasoline.

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