FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Same Old Struggle Against Imperial America

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 16, 2019
Patrick Bond
Jim Yong Kim’s Mixed Messages to the World Bank and the World
John Grant
Joe Biden, Crime Fighter from Hell
Alvaro Huerta
Brief History Notes on Mexican Immigration to the U.S.
Kenneth Surin
A Great Speaker of the UK’s House of Commons
Elizabeth Henderson
Why Sustainable Agriculture Should Support a Green New Deal
Binoy Kampmark
Trump, Bolton and the Syrian Confusion
Jeff Mackler
Trump’s Syria Exit Tweet Provokes Washington Panic
Barbara Nimri Aziz
How Long Can Nepal Blame Others for Its Woes?
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: When Just One Man Says, “No”
Cesar Chelala
Violence Against Women: A Pandemic No Longer Hidden
Kim C. Domenico
To Make a Vineyard of the Curse: Fate, Fatalism and Freedom
Dave Lindorff
Criminalizing BDS Trashes Free Speech & Association
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: The Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party: Part Two
Edward Curtin
A Gentrified Little Town Goes to Pot
January 15, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
Refugees Are in the English Channel Because of Western Interventions in the Middle East
Howard Lisnoff
The Faux Political System by the Numbers
Lawrence Davidson
Amos Oz and the Real Israel
John W. Whitehead
Beware the Emergency State
John Laforge
Loudmouths against Nuclear Lawlessness
Myles Hoenig
Labor in the Age of Trump
Jeff Cohen
Mainstream Media Bias on 2020 Democratic Race Already in High Gear
Dean Baker
Will Paying for Kidneys Reduce the Transplant Wait List?
George Ochenski
Trump’s Wall and the Montana Senate’s Theater of the Absurd
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: the Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Glenn Sacks
On the Picket Lines: Los Angeles Teachers Go On Strike for First Time in 30 Years
Jonah Raskin
Love in a Cold War Climate
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party
January 14, 2019
Kenn Orphan
The Tears of Justin Trudeau
Julia Stein
California Needs a 10-Year Green New Deal
Dean Baker
Declining Birth Rates: Is the US in Danger of Running Out of People?
Robert Fisk
The US Media has Lost One of Its Sanest Voices on Military Matters
Vijay Prashad
5.5 Million Women Build Their Wall
Nicky Reid
Lessons From Rojava
Ted Rall
Here is the Progressive Agenda
Robert Koehler
A Green Future is One Without War
Gary Leupp
The Chickens Come Home to Roost….in Northern Syria
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: “The Country Is Watching”
Sam Gordon
Who Are Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists?
Weekend Edition
January 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Richard Moser
Neoliberalism: Free Market Fundamentalism or Corporate Power?
Paul Street
Bordering on Fascism: Scholars Reflect on Dangerous Times
Joseph Majerle III – Matthew Stevenson
Who or What Brought Down Dag Hammarskjöld?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
How Tre Arrow Became America’s Most Wanted Environmental “Terrorist”
Andrew Levine
Dealbreakers: The Democrats, Trump and His Wall
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail