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Rainbows for the Ruling Class


One of the great things about America is that it’s easy to be psychic here. This is the land of psychic opportunity. Anyone can hang out a shingle and predict the future. Anyone can read a palm that’s greased. If you want to know what’s going to happen next in America, all you have to do is ask yourself: what’s the most outrageous, ironic, perverted and soul-crushing thing that can happen in any given situation? Whatever that thing is, that’s what will happen. And you won’t have to wait long to see your prediction come true.

So it was that last week San Francisco Pride announced that jailed war crimes whistle blower Bradley Manning would be an honorary grand marshal for this year’s LGBT Pride Celebration. Before practically anyone had a chance to note how principled and inspiring Manning’s selection was, the decision was rescinded. Kevin Gosztola at firedoglake has an excellent overview and Glenn Greenwald has a list of all the corporate criminals that SF Pride takes money from and doesn’t find objectionable.

Most interesting to me was the slavish worship of authority in SF Pride president Lisa L. Williams statement announcing that Manning would not be an honorary grand marshal: “Bradley Manning is facing the military justice system of this country. We all await the decision of that system. However, until that time, even the hint of support for actions which placed in harms way the lives of our men and women in uniform — and countless others, military and civilian alike — will not be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride. It is, and would be, an insult to every one, gay and straight, who has ever served in the military of this country.”

This is the same military “justice” system that gives out free passes and wrist slaps to the torturers of Abu Ghraib and the rapists and murderers of the children of Haditha, Iraq. The same system of “justice” that discourages female soldiers from reporting rape — and not a handful but the 20,000 servicewomen that even the Pentagon estimates are sexually assaulted every year, as noted in the 2012 Oscar-nominated documentary Invisible War. So, yes, Ms. Williams, we eagerly await what the mass murdering rape-friendly torture enterprise has to say about a brave young person who blew the whistle on its crimes.

By exposing war crimes, Manning was actually doing his duty and nothing he did put the lives of American troops in danger. He caused embarrassment to the American empire because he showed that war crimes are routine. Everyone who raised hell with SF Pride’s original decision doesn’t, and can’t, name one instance of Manning putting a soldier’s life in danger because there weren’t any. If anything, Manning helped hasten the departure of America from Iraq and saved US soldiers’ lives. When the working class finally vanquishes the capitalist class, there will be monuments built to Manning — and molded clear plastic Bush and Obama heads used as urinals in hospitals. When you’re admitted to the hospital, a nurse will ask, similar to paper or plastic: “Democrat or Republican?” (After the revolution, hospitals are gonna be fun places that keep peoples’ spirits up.)

When reading Williams’ statement, keep in mind what Manning did: he made available to WikiLeaks an on-board video of American helicopter gunners mowing down two Reuters news staffers and several Iraqi civilians, including children and first responders and then joking about it. WikiLeaks released the film almost three years after the crime occurred. SF Pride is more incensed at Manning for exposing this atrocity than the commission of it. What wonderful Barackodile tears Williams cries for the “civilians” that she falsely implies that Manning ever put in danger. How repulsive can you get? (Barackodile tears are tears shed by America’s historic first black president about dead, generally white, children gunned down in massacres while he simultaneously murders brown-skinned children in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, etc.)

Last week I wrote about unclassconscious people wandering around nowhere and in emptiness and mistakenly believing that they’re on the “left.” I called them desolationists. The dead end identity politics of SF Pride, which sells out a peace hero like Bradley Manning to curry favor with the American ruling class, is what I had in mind. The empire loves your tameness, irrelevance and cowardice, SF Pride. You don’t bother the American ruling class — a five foot two, 105 pound soldier does because he has a conscience and because he didn’t make comfort the guiding principle of his life. He went against the most powerful force on earth, the American military, and knew that he would pay an annihilating price for it. That’s why so many soldiers are so venomous toward Manning — he’s got much more courage and honor than they do and they know it. Pro-Manning comments are trouncing anti-Manning comments in online LGBT publications like Washington, DC’s Metro Weekly and the San Diego LGBT Weekly. So who, exactly, is Ms. Williams representing? Perhaps the Whitey House because, according to her bio, Williams “organized satellite offices for the Obama campaign.”

The American empire, its resource wars and racist occupations, the blowback it provokes and the inevitable reduction in civil liberties — these aren’t “issues” that have “two sides.” Congratulations, SF Pride, you’re totally assimilated with the America that is fearful and timid, the America that glorifies authority and welcomes fascism, as we just saw in Boston. Maybe you’ll feel better when a gay soldier’s boot is on your throat and you’re hearing them assert their equality: “I’m just doing my job. I’m just following orders.” Perhaps SF Pride will go all the way and appoint a gay soldier critical of Manning as the Grand Martial Law Marshal.

It would be awesome if thousands of participants at this year’s June 29-30 Pride Celebration wore Bradley Manning masks and kicked in a dollar each to his defense fund. SF Pride needs repudiated in a big way. And now I feel a psychic vision coming on: if SF Pride knew that thousands of participants were going to wear Bradley Manning masks, they would ban all masks for “everyone’s security.” They would say that they must be able to identify everyone and that they have a responsibility to keep everyone “safe” — they, like most Americans, just don’t feel any responsibility about stopping their representative government from slaughtering innocent Muslims. Up against the wall, turn your head and cough — and have a great time. And don’t ever forget: constantly bombing people keeps you free and safe. Can’t you feel the freedom closing in around you?

Randy Shields can be reached at His writings and art are collected at

Randy Shields can be reached at His writings and art are collected at

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