FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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

 

More articles by:

Greg Moses writes about peace and Texas, but not always at the same time. He is author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. As editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review he has written about racism faced by Black agriculturalists in Texas. He can be reached at gmosesx@gmail.com

January 23, 2018
Carl Boggs
Doomsday Panic in Hawaii
Mark Ashwill
If I Were US Ambassador to Vietnam…
Jack Rasmus
US Government Shutdown: Democrats Blink…Again
Nick Pemberton
The Inherent Whiteness of “Our Revolution”
Leeann Hall
Trump’s Gift for the Unemployed: Kicking Them Off Health Care
Dean Baker
Lessons in Economics For the NYT’s Bret Stephens: Apple and Donald Trump’s Big Tax Cut
Mitchell Zimmerman
Law, Order and the Dreamers
Ken Hannaford-Ricardi
The Kids the World Forgot
Dave Lindorff
South Korea Slips Off the US Leash
Ali Mohsin
Extrajudicial Murder of Pashtun Exposes State Brutality in Pakistan
Jessicah Pierre
Oprah is No Savior
John Carroll Md
Keeping Haiti in Perspective
Amir Khafagy
Marching Into the Arms of the Democrats
January 22, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
It’s Time to Call Economic Sanctions What They Are: War Crimes
Jim Kavanagh
Behind the Money Curtain: A Left Take on Taxes, Spending and Modern Monetary Theory
Sheldon Richman
Trump Versus the World
Mark Schuller
One Year On, Reflecting and Refining Tactics to Take Our Country Back
Winslow Wheeler
Just What Earmark “Moratorium” are They Talking About?
W. T. Whitney
José Martí, Soul of the Cuban Revolution
Uri Avnery
May Your Home Be Destroyed          
Wim Laven
Year One Report Card: Donald Trump Failing
Jill Richardson
There Are No Shithole Countries
Bob Fitrakis - Harvey Wasserman
Are the Supremes About to Give Trump a Second Term?
Laura Finley
After #MeToo and #TimesUp
Howard Lisnoff
Impressions From the Women’s March
Andy Thayer
HuffPost: “We Really LOVED Your Contributions, Now FUCK OFF!”
Weekend Edition
January 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Dr. King’s Long Assassination
David Roediger
A House is Not a Hole: (Not) Caring about What Trump Says
George Burchett
How the CIA Tried to Bribe Wilfred Burchett
Mike Whitney
Trump’s Plan B for Syria: Occupation and Intimidation
Michael Hudson – Charles Goodhart
Could/Should Jubilee Debt Cancellations be Reintroduced Today?
Marshall Auerback – Franklin C. Spinney
Boss Tweet’s Generals Already Run the Show
Andrew Levine
Remember, Democrats are Awful Too
James Bovard
Why Ruby Ridge Still Matters
Wilfred Burchett
The Bug Offensive
Brian Cloughley
Now Trump Menaces Pakistan
Ron Jacobs
Whiteness and Working Folks
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Keeper of Crazy Beats: Charlie Haden and Music as a Force of Liberation
Robert Fantina
Palestine and Israeli Recognition
Jan Oberg
The New US Syria “Strategy”, a Recipe For Continued Disaster
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Return of the Repressed
Mel Gurtov
Dubious Partnership: The US and Saudi Arabia
Robert Fisk
The Next Kurdish War Looms on the Horizon
Lawrence Davidson
Contextualizing Sexual Harassment
Jeff Berg
Approaching Day Zero
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail