Dispatch #34 October 18th 2017
Day 346 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny (PAWSM)
Day 271 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeeOTUS & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings
With bitter pleasure, I note the latest, and perhaps most succinctly eloquent assessment of the PeeeOTUS offered by none other than Gregg Popovich, coach of NBA San Antonio Spurs:
“This man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks that he can only become large by belittling others. This has of course been a common practice of his, but to do it in this manner– and to lie about how previous presidents responded to the deaths of soldiers – is as low as it gets,” Popovich added. “We have a pathological liar in the White House, unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office, and the whole world knows it, especially those around him every day. The people who work with this president should be ashamed, because they know better than anyone just how unfit he is, and yet they choose to do nothing about it.” www.thenation.com/article/a-soulless-coward-coach-gregg-popovich-responds-to-trump/ ; www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/17/gregg-popovich-donald-trump-criticism-barack-obama-nba
Hey, who thinks athletes and sportspeople can’t have incisive politics?! Check out Dave Zirin and the Edge of Sports when you have a moment.
The normalizing of Early 21st Century American Fascism is steadily gaining ground. We Americans are uniquely ignorant about our history; this ignorance is magnified and made malignant by the heroic mythologies and pandering propaganda that are endemic to the American psyche.
Dr. Patricia Hill Collins is a renowned social theorist whose research and scholarship have examined issues of race, gender, social class, sexuality and/or nation. Her first book, Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment (Routledge) was published in 1990. She understands the power wielded by those who create and own history https://socy.umd.edu/facultyprofile/Collins/Patricia%20Hill
To maintain their power, dominant groups create and maintain a popular system of ‘commonsense’ ideas that support their right to rule. In the United States, hegemonic ideologies concerning race, class, gender, sexuality, and nation are often so pervasive that it is difficult to conceptualize alternatives to them, let alone ways of resisting the social practices that they justify. http://www.azquotes.com/quote/850237 Patricia Hill Collins
In America, White-Washed History has always been written by the pitiless white male victors/oppressors. The March for Black Women insisted on a herstory lesson/revision when they explained the choice of September 30th for the March.
September 30th is sacred. September 30, 1919 was the culmination of the infamous “Red Summer” when Black sharecroppers dared to organize themselves as the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America, to demand better pay from white plantation owners. In response, white mobs went on a state sanctioned killing spree. It is estimated that upwards of 240 Black organizers were massacred that day. This Massacre was one of many in a wave of racist lynchings in nearly 36 cities that rocked the nation. At the center of this narrative is that by the “end” of the Jim Crow Era, more than 150 Black women and girls were also lynched, and evidence reveals many of them had been raped first. These Black women and men fought, against all odds, for the protection of their bodies, families, communities and freedom. On September 30th we march for ourselves, for our rights, and we mourn our ancestors, their lives and honor their resistance in our time. Their courage reverberates through generations and inspires our struggle today. www.mamablack.org/single-post/2017/09/18/Black-Women-Respond-With-Statement-on-March-for-Black-Women-and-Yom-Kippur
Eric Foner offers another history lesson/revision in his review of Brahmin Capitalism – Frontiers of Wealth and Populism in America’s Gilded Age by Noam Maggor. Foner identifies these compelling and well-reasoned/well-evidenced themes: 1) industrial capitalism was not inevitable but came to power in the latter half of the 19th century because Eastern capitalists actively and ruthlessly sought economic power in the emerging West; 2) small business people and farmers actively sought and fought for a more egalitarian approach to economic development; 3) populism in these Western territories meant a desire to curb the power of economic elites and use the democratic state to promote economic equity; 4) Eastern economic elites swept these populist movements aside with federal assistance that included troops attacking strikers, Supreme Court striking down state regulation, and national banking system to control capital. He concludes his discussion with this observation:
Maggor’s book offers us an important reminder of the broad impact of capitalist development and the bitter conflicts it engendered. With its vast inequalities of wealth and power, business dominance of the national government, and nationwide debates over taxation, spending, and economic regulation, the era that Mark Twain dubbed the “Gilded Age” bears more than a passing resemblance to our own. Then and now, the key issue facing American society was as old as the republic itself: Is it possible to reconcile capitalism and democracy (aka the public good)? On this question, the jury is still out. www.thenation.com/article/frontiers-american-capitalism/
What could be the consequences of having history shaped/reported/interpreted to promote the common good instead of bigotry, oppression, and hierarchies?
Kaitlyn Greenidge riffs on this question in her poignant and powerful piece, ‘Sisterhood’ Felt Meaningless. So My Sisters and I Got in the Car:
The art historian Moyo Okediji notes that in Yoruban concepts of history, the community must assure children that they are not physically alone and “that a series of road maps exists, made by great and talented ancestors who as individuals have beaten a track for succeeding generations.”
That is why history is a comfort to me, in times of doubt. And this is, of course, why the past is a battleground. Why we fight about statues, and which system of oppression should be enshrined in bronze to be remembered or torn down to be recorded differently.
I have seen, first hand, how understanding history can change people’s present-day attitudes. A decade ago, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, I led a group of black high school students on a tour of the Hunterfly Road Houses. I told them the story of black self-determination and liberation in 19th-century Brooklyn. By the end, these students literally broke into song — a spontaneous rendition about freedom and joy and black excellence. It was one of the most profound moments of my life.
Whenever anyone insists that the past doesn’t matter, that we should get over it, I think of those students, dancing on a lawn in central Brooklyn on a school-day afternoon, stepping to the rhythm of the names of black abolitionists. www.nytimes.com/2017/09/23/opinion/sunday/feminist-history-road-trip.html
Now that is a truly beautiful and inspiring collaborative ownership of herstory/history.