The Same Old Struggle Against Imperial America

by GREG MOSES

If, at the break of this century, you feel like an abolitionist, who 200 years ago hissed at bloody murder, then you have but three-score years and one Civil War to go.

If, in 2004, your outrage feels like W.E.B. Du Bois in 1904, censuring American pornographies of lynch, then you have only six decades, two World Wars, exile, and death between you and The Dream.

If, today, you would share the choice fates of abolitionists and anti-lynchers who wrestled America down, then, on or about Juneteenth of the year 2063, you shall carry your story, finally, beyond the killing zone. But, Lord, don’t be foolish about the costs these journeys take.

In the moral history of America, presidents have always fed public appetite for turf, guns, and frontier contracts. In the case of Jefferson, who got re-elected in 1804, land-grabbing and Indian genocide went right along with slavery.

Teddy Roosevelt, by the time he got re-elected in 1904, had already stolen Guantanamo Bay from the Spanish and leased it to the Marines. Meanwhile on the domestic front, reported Mary Church Terrell, "Before 1904 was three months old, thirty-one negroes had been lynched."

And how have the press helped out, as presidents helped themselves? Let’s see what Terrell says about that: "The facts are often suppressed, intentionally or unintentionally, or distorted by the press." Because pornographers of violence love a good, bloody fight, lynching news, like war news, could be instigated, and according to Terrell, it was.

So let’s keep a few wits sharpened as we read about gunpoint executions in the City of Mosques or trash bags filled with voting records in Florida. This is not a beast we have never known before. Nor is it a power that we have not tamed.

As the slave whip of 1804 and the lynching rope of 1904 were both finally taken out of popular hands, so will the black bags of 2004 eventually be lifted from the heads of prisoners, and the terror of US foreign policy will be brought to law. But defeating the popular will that supports these technologies will require the moral equivalent of civil war.

"And in each nation," scolded Thrasymachus in Republic Book I, "whoever rules passes the laws that are to their own advantage. After they pass these laws, they say that justice is obeying the law." Thrasymachus was a hothead patriot, whose heirs today pound their steering wheels to the rhythms of kick-ass country music.

"Whoever fails to keep the law is punished as unjust and a lawbreaker. So that, my good man, is what I say justice is." Although the loudmouth opinion of Thrasymachus echoes down our halls of power today, endorsed by a Texas attorney who would become Attorney General, we don’t forget how Socrates could make that man blush.

So these are old, old struggles and we’re walking in well worn shoes. We’re gonna fight these war crimes that seek to globalize the whips and ropes that we once put down, and we’re gonna resist these attorneys who never got as far as Republic Book II. And as for all this lately talk about the downright popularity of homophobic core values, please pass the earplugs. That kind of noise only keeps us from our work.

GREG MOSES writes for the Texas Civil Rights Review. Moses contributed a chapter on civil rights under Clinton and Bush for Dime’s Worth of Difference: Beyond the Lesser of Two Evils. He can be reached at: gmosesx@prodigy.net


Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
July 30, 2015
Bill Blunden
The NSA’s 9/11 Cover-Up: General Hayden Told a Lie, and It’s a Whopper
Richard Ward
Sandra Bland, Rebel
Martha Rosenberg
Tracking the Lion Killers Back to the Old Oval Office
Binoy Kampmark
Dead Again: the Latest Demise of Mullah Omar
Kathy Kelly – Buddy Bell
No Warlords Need Apply: a Call for Credible Peacemaking in Afghanistan
Ramzy Baroud
Darker Horizons Ahead: Rethinking the War on ‘IS’
Stephen Lendman
The Show Trial of Saif Qaddafi: a Manufactured Death Sentence
Karl Grossman
The Case of John Peter Zenger and the Fight for a Free Press
Cesar Chelala
Cultural Treasures Are Also Victims of War
John Grant
The United States of Absurdity, Circa 2015
Jeff Taylor
Iowa Conference on Presidential Politics
July 29, 2015
Mike Whitney
The Politics of Betrayal: Obama Backstabs Kurds to Appease Turkey
Joshua Frank
The Wheels Fell Off the Bernie Sanders Bandwagon
Conn Hallinan
Ukraine: Close to the Edge
Stephen Lendman
What Happened to Ralkina Jones? Another Jail Cell Death
Rob Wallace
Neoliberal Ebola: the Agroeconomic Origins of the Ebola Outbreak
Dmitry Rodionov
The ‘Ichkerization’ Crime Wave in Ukraine
Joyce Nelson
Scott Walker & Stephen Harper: a New Bromance
Bill Blunden
The Red Herring of Digital Backdoors and Key Escrow Encryption
Thomas Mountain
The Sheepdog Politics of Barack Obama
Farzana Versey
A President and a Yogi: Abdul Kalam’s Symbolism
Norman Pollack
America’s Decline: Internal Structural-Cultural Subversion
Foday Darboe
How Obama Failed Africa
Cesar Chelala
Russia’s Insidious Epidemic
Tom H. Hastings
Defending Democracy
David Macaray
Why Union Contracts are Good for the Country
Virginia Arthur
The High and Dry Sierras
Jon Langford
Mekons Tour Diary, the Season Finale, Mekonception in Redhook
July 28, 2015
Mark Schuller
Humanitarian Occupation of Haiti: 100 Years and Counting
Lawrence Ware
Why the “Black Church” Doesn’t Exist–and Never Has
Peter Makhlouf
Israel and Gaza: the BDS Movement One Year After “Protective Edge”
Carl Finamore
Landlords Behaving Badly: San Francisco Too Valuable for Poor People*
Michael P. Bradley
Educating About Islam: Problems of Selectivity and Imbalance
Binoy Kampmark
Ransacking Malaysia: the Najib Corruption Dossier
Michael Avender - Medea Benjamin
El Salvador’s Draconian Abortion Laws: a Miscarriage of Justice
Jesse Jackson
Sandra Bland’s Only Crime Was Driving While Black
Cesar Chelala
Effect of Greece’s Economic Crisis on Public Health
Mel Gurtov
Netanyahu: An Enemy of Peace
Joseph G. Ramsey
The Limits of Optimism: E.L. Doctorow and the American Left
George Wuerthner
Bark Beetles and Forest Fires: Another Myth Goes Up in Smoke
Paul Craig Roberts - Dave Kranzler
Supply and Demand in the Gold and Silver Futures Markets
Eric Draitser
China’s NGO Law: Countering Western Soft Power and Subversion
Harvey Wasserman
Will Ohio Gov. Kasich’s Anti-Green Resume Kill His Presidential Hopes?
Jon Langford
Mekons Tour Diary, Episode 4, a Bowery Ballroom Blitz
July 27, 2015
Susan Babbitt
Thawing Relations: Cuba’s Deeper (More Challenging) Significance