Audio Commentary #260

July 1, 2013

Commentaries

Submitted to the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality on June 30, 2013.

Commentary Transcript:

July 4th,2013 on Thursday:  I celebrate July 4th by cutting back on work, trying to get a fresh breath to continue and increase the struggle for freedom for the working class.  I do recognize and celebrate the revolution of 1776 – it was both a successful revolution and a flawed revolution.  Slavery continued and women did not have the right to vote.  So I celebrate July 4th because of the victories of the North at Gettysburg and Vicksburg on July 4, 1863.  Those were great victories but always limited by right wing reaction.  We, therefore, suffered 100 years of Jim Crow Segregation.  With the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1964, we then suffered mass incarceration and voter suppression.

Under Capitalism, no reform is permanent.  This last week we experienced the methods used by the ruling elite to concede and recede.  Under pressure, the ruling class represented by 5 men on the Supreme Court allowed same sex marriage in California and civil unions.  At the same time, the Supreme Court eviscerated the Voting Rights Act.  As a lawyer, the hypocrisy of Republican Conservative claims to be against activist courts and then second guessing the Senate and Congress, turns one’s stomach.  The intellectual dishonesty is disgusting.

As Progressives, we must recognize that these are battles in the class war that is unending.  The victory today sets the battle for tomorrow.  In fact, many women have regretted the waning of the movement after Roe vs. Wade.  Individual opportunism within the African American community has been constantly unfortunate, professionals abandoning the City of Detroit, ministers uniting with the conservative politicians.  And we always face the shame of Clarence Thomas and Ward Connerly.  Whenever we win a small victory, it is a basis for unity as we both celebrate and gird for the next battle.  No reform under Capitalism is permanent and Right to Work in Michigan is proof that every victory faces the counterrevolution.

All these battles are part of the working class struggle for a fair and decent society.  The conservative right wing theme in two cases is clear, whether it is U.S.  vs.  Windsor or Shleby County  vs.  Holder, conservatives take the position that equality means sameness.  Progressives recognize that equality means recognition and respect for differences.  This is an ideological struggle with a long history.  It was the identical position of Plessy  vs.  Ferguson – and it’s constructing separate by equal.  Sameness means lack of variety or change.

Conservatives and the Corporate Media promote sameness because it conceals privilege.  State wide examinations require the same standards.  Affirmative Action is barred because it recognizes differences.  In reading the book of Lincoln, I was surprised that supporters of the South complained because freedman, that is ex-slaves, were given special consideration.  They shouted that everyone should be treated the same.  In other words, we run a hundred yard dash but they start at the fifty yard line.

It is an intentional blindness that runs through all of conservative positions and that of Libertarians.  The Republican Synderites and Libertarians are hateful people because they attack the vulnerable and defenseless.  They attack the unemployed, the disabled, and every group that is vulnerable at the time.  It is narrow and mean.  When I attack the rich and privilege, it is righteous rage.  I am not hateful when I demand retribution from the rich and the corrupt.

Recognition of differences is an essential element of any intelligent analysis.  In societal terms, we should celebrate and nurture the differences extent within various communities.  In my youthful ignorance, I once posited that there was no difference between the small town where I grew up and the big city, which at the time meant Detroit.  Basically, your life is made up of work and sleep, so what is the difference.  But in the city you can, when possible, search out Mexican Village, or the Roma, or Sala Thai, etcetera.  In Stafford, Kansas, there was one restaurant and that was it, period.

In celebrating differences and variety, Progressives attack privilege, even despise the rich structure that disrespects the struggles of working people and maintains control by creating unnecessary divisions within the working class.  As I have said many times, wedge issues used by the right wing Republicans are hate issues.  The ruling class attempts to generate hate by demonizing the differences within the working class, distorting the reality of human differences.

Progressives build unity within the working class by promoting human rights, by recognizing that our differences are our strengths when respected.  Any victory for human dignity is a victory for the working class.  And any loss is regretted as a loss for the entire working class.  And we then turn our anger on the rich and privileged who caused the loss and who seek to create a society opposed to human decency.  We fight because we must.

I am Spartacus and so are We all!

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