Thursday, September 07, 2006

A Quick Interlude

I am going to briefly interrupt the most recent series on Social Justice to, well, point and laugh. I have been known to pickup the local "Indy Media" rag from time to time, in whatever city I happen to be in, to look for good food (why are there so many food reviews in those things?!). I tend to ignore the political article which all seem to be very urgent! About a problem! A big problem!! With the local zoning board! That thinks our local performance art theater may be unsafe! And they want us to spend money on a fire system! And the poor kids don't have to pay admission, so we don’t have the money!! These articles tend to boil down to "The Man is keeping us down, man", which is cool, if a bit too ZNet for me.

Today, though, someone placed one such piece on their blog’s ‘obligatory reading’ post and I dropped by. I found this. It is the typical “White male conservatives sure are evil, aren’t they?” rant, complete with jabs at the ‘male hegemony’ and ‘Jim Crow laws’ pandering to the guilt-ridden middle-class urban White crowd that tends to read these things. But I only got to that stuff after I stopped laughing at the huge errors in the first four paragraphs or so. If you need a laugh or (heaven forbid!) believe the stuff he wrote, let me give you some details.

The author, a Bob Geary, starts with this paragraph:

“Is there an example in American history of the police reacting to a radical threat and not making things worse? From the abolitionists to the anarchists to the communists, and in more recent memory from the Black Liberation Army to the Symbionese Liberation Army to the Weather Underground, we've never lacked for a few revolutionaries willing to kill people and blow up buildings to make their point about how corrupt the country was. After which, the inevitable government crackdown--carried out to the applause of a grateful, fearful nation--did far more damage than the revolutionaries ever could've, making their point about corruption for them.”

Bob seems to think that the Weather Underground (most of whom blew themselves to kingdom come by accident while the majority of the survivors suffer mightily as – tenured professors at prestigious universities) and the SLA (whose revolutionary activities were comprised mainly of robbing banks, taking drugs, and kidnapping people – but they were wearing berets!) are great examples of how the police over-reacted with, I guess, investigations into other groups that used the same language and were comprised of the same sorts as the Weathermen and SLA members. Oooh! Chilling!

More importantly, he seems to have completely forgotten something. White Supremacists and the various Militia groups. Once a source of great apprehension (especially for the Left, who seemed really worried about *Right-wing* militants compared to the Left-wing militants they support, like Che). These groups were quietly investigated, evidence was compiled, and the ones that were engaged in or planning illegal or violent activities were steadily arrested and shipped off to the hoosegaw. No over-reaction, no massive shootouts. Oh, sure, a stand-off or two (like the Montana Feemen), but nothing too serious. Today, the militias are jokes and groups like White Aryan Resistance are more interested in selling music than with the violent overthrow of the ZOG.

Bob doesn’t seem to realize this. Maybe he’s too young to remember all of those news reports on the Militias in the ‘90’s.

But wait! After this we get to the real howler:

“The worst radical threat in U.S. history, though, is the one the government did almost nothing about. The KKK lynched people by the hundreds, burned buildings and churches, and generally terrorized America for decades in the 19th and 20th centuries. At its peak in 1925, it claimed 4 million members, and 30,000 marched proudly in Washington, in a show of how clueless your government can be about who's dangerous and who isn't.
The KKK wasn't stopped by the police or prosecutors, as an important new exhibit in Raleigh makes clear. Civil rights leaders and ordinary people are what brought it to its knees.”

Really, Bob? So the destruction of the first Klan in the 1860’s-1870’s had nothing to do with the so-called “Ku Klux Klan Act” law and President Grant’s use of federal troops? Not to mention the various Southern leaders and politicians who denounced it a scant 2 years after its founding and persecuted its members after they turned to violence? Aren’t you aware, Bob, that the police and politicians of Alabama were so successful at stamping out the second Klan that by 1930, barely 15 years after the founding of the second Klan, it was virtually non-existent in that state? Are you also aware of the major success of police and politicians throughout the 1930’s and 1940’s that reduced the Klan to such lows that they were barely able to claim 5,000 members in 1960? And that governmental program you mention, COINTELPRO – didn’t you know that it was hugely successful in infiltrating and destroying the KKK in the 1970’s?

I guess Bob is totally ignorant of the great success the federal government has had in stopping terrorism in the US, including the very violent Aryan Nations, SLA, KKK, and Weathermen – even though he mentions them specifically.

Its errors like these that keep me from reading the political opinions in the Indy Media.

h/t to Coturnix

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