Tuesday, January 31, 2006


That Coretta Scott King, an icon of the Civil Rights movement whose response to her own tragic push to the forefront was to, in turn, push for the inclusion of women in leadership in the struggle against racism, war, and poverty, died on the same day that a goon with a law degree was propped into the highest court in the land is symbolic of too much to be reduced to a blog entry. That Bush began his state of the union address with a hollow eulogy for a woman who worked against everything he has ever done was an insult. We mourn her passing and note her contributions. It has been a sad day.

We also note the recent passing of Yippie Stewart Albert. Our condolences are with both families.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Immortal Technique's The Poverty of Philosophy

Most of my Latino and black people who are struggling to get food,
clothes and shelter in the hood are so concerned with that,
that philosophising about freedom and socialist democracy is
usually unfortunately beyond their rationale.
They don't realize that America can't exist without separating them
from their identity, because if we had some sense of who we really are,
there's no way in hell we'd allow this country to push it's genocidal
consensus on our homelands.
This ignorance exists, but it can be destroyed.

N---- talk about change and working within the system to achieve that.
The problem with always being a conformist is that when you try to change
the system from within, it's not you who changes the system;
it's the system that will eventually change you.
There is usually nothing wrong with compromise in a situation,
but compromising yourself in a situation is another story completely,
and I have seen this happen long enough in the few years that
I've been alive to know that it's a serious problem.
Latino America is a huge colony of countries whose presidents are
cowards in the face of economic imperialism.
You see, third world countries are rich places,
abundant in resources, and many of these countries have
the capacity to feed their starving people and the children
we always see digging for food in trash on commercials.
But putocracies, in other words a government run by the rich such
as this one and traditionally oppressive European states,
force the third world into buying overpriced, unnecessary goods
while exporting huge portions of their natural resources.

I'm quite sure that people will look upon my attitude and sentiments
and look for hypocrisy and hatred in my words.
My revolution is born out of love for my people,
not hatred for others.

You see, most of Latinos are here because of the great inflation
that was caused by American companies in Latin America.
Aside from that, many are seeking a life away from the puppet
democracies that were funded by the United States;
places like El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru, Columbia, Nicaragua,
Ecuador and Republica Dominicana, and not just Spanish-speaking
countries either, but Haiti and Jamaica as well.

As different as we have been taught to look at each other by colonial
society, we are in the same struggle and until we realize that,
we'll be fighting for scraps from the table of a system that has
kept us subservient instead of being self-determined.
And that's why we have no control over when the embargo
will stop in Cuba, or when the bombs will stop dropping in Vieques.

But you see, here in America the attitude that is fed to us is that
outside of America there live lesser people.
"F--- them, let them fend for themselves."
No, F--- you, they are you.
No matter how much you want to dye your hair blonde
and put fake eyes in, or follow an anorexic standard of beauty,
or no matter how many diamonds you buy from people who
exploit your own brutally to get them, no matter what kind
of car you drive or what kind of fancy clothes you put on,
you will never be them. They're always gonna look at you as
nothing but a little monkey. I'd rather be proud of what I am,
rather than desperately trying to be something I'm really not,
just to fit in. And whether we want to accept it or not,
that's what this culture or lack of culture is feeding us.

I want a better life for my family and for my children,
but it doesn't have to be at the expense of millions of lives in my
homeland. We're given the idea that if we didn't have these people
to exploit then America wouldn't be rich enough to let us have these
little petty material things in our lives and basic standards of living.
No, that's wrong. It's the business giants and the government officials
who make all the real money. We have whatever they kick down to us.
My enemy is not the average white man,
it's not the kid down the block or the kids I see on the street;
my enemy is the white man I don't see:
the people in the white house, the corporate monopoly owners,
fake liberal politicians those are my enemies.
The generals of the armies that are mostly conservatives those
are the real Mother-F-----s that I need to bring it to,
not the poor, broke country-ass soldier that's too stupid to
know s--- about the way things are set up.

In fact, I have more in common with most working and middle-class
white people than I do with most rich black and Latino people.
As much as racism bleeds America, we need to understand that
classism is the real issue. Many of us are in the same boat and it's
sinking, while these bougie Mother-F-----s ride on a luxury liner,
and as long as we keep fighting over kicking people out of the
little boat we're all in, we're gonna miss an opportunity to gain a
better standard of living as a whole.

In other words, I don't want to escape the plantation
I want to come back, free all my people, hang the Mother-F-----
that kept me there and burn the house to the god damn ground.
I want to take over the encomienda and give it back to the people
who work the land.

You cannot change the past but you can make the future,
and anyone who tells you different is a F---ing lethargic devil.
I don't look at a few token Latinos and black people in the public
eye as some type of achievement for my people as a whole.
Most of those successful individuals are sell-outs and house Negros.

But, I don't consider brothers a sell-out if they move out of the ghetto.
Poverty has nothing to do with our people.
It's not in our culture to be poor.
That's only been the last 500 years of our history;
look at the last 2000 years of our existence and what we brought
to the world in terms of science, mathematics,
agriculture and forms of government.
You know the idea of a confederation of provinces where
one federal government controls the states?
The Europeans who came to this country stole that idea from the
Iroquois lead. The idea of impeaching a ruler comes from an
Aztec tradition. That's why Montezuma was stoned to
death by his own people 'cause he represented the agenda of
white Spaniards once he was captured, not the
Aztec people who would become Mexicans.

So in conclusion, I'm not gonna vote for anybody just 'cause they
black or Latino they have to truly represent the community and
represent what's good for all of us proletariat.

Porque si no entonces te mando pal carajo cabron,
gusano hijo de puta, seramos libre pronto.

Viva la revolution!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The dentist

I don't care much for Hamas. I don't think it is my place to judge the ethical validity of strategy in independence struggles from my perch in the United States, but, nonetheless, I think they have problems with thuggishness. I had the rare opportunity of seeing Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, of the Independent Palestine, speak and remain convinced that if more people knew of him, that he would be revered as a modern day Ghandi, King, or (I hate to add it to the list, but a lot of Americans revere the guy) Dalai Lama. There is a reason that Barghouthi keeps getting arrested by Israel before elections. He's the greatest threat: he's rational, eloquent, believes in peaceful change, and identifies the Israeli state as an apartheid state.
That said, the media's treatment of Hamas winning the election is simply appalling. Hamas is a group that believes in using violence, and particularly terror, to achieve its aims. In article after article, this is given as reason enough for Hamas to be banned from the table: unrecognized, nonnegotiable, poison for the peace process. People are forgetting the dentist. Who is Bush to dismiss a group with a military wing? He is the "war president." He used the strategy of "Shock and Awe;" it was terror with a brand name. He has the military in two countries openly and is speaking of invading another. It isn't as if these countries are far from the middle east, either. We, the United States, are currently engaged in two imperial invasions in the middle east and the mainstream press acts as if the election of a militant party is heresy that can not be tolerated on the world stage. Israel, with its apartheid wall, is much like the United States. Both have vibrant, if weak, peace movements. Both use the excuse of law and order to oppress specific populations: Palestinians there, African-americans and latinos here. Both use brutal violence under the guise of peace.
Israel's government has done many things, but I always think of the dentist. He was a peace activist. Not that this fact makes him any better than if he was a militant, but it does illustrate the brutal hypocrisy of zionist proponents. You knew quickly that he was a peace activist because Israeli peace activists decried his death immediately. His name was Thabet Thabet (also spelled Thabit Thabit). He worked with Fatah, had been under house arrest for several years, but had a number of facts about him that were surprising. He attended the funeral of an Israeli Reservist. Weeks before his death, he secured the safety of twenty israeli soldiers who'd wandered into the wrong area in which two Israeli soldiers had been killed months before. Thabet intervened and made sure the twenty soldiers came to no harm. Israeli peace activists all said that he wanted change, but that he spoke of peace and how to make change happen through conversation and working together, Israeli and Palestinian.
Thabet was leaving his house one day and Israeli forces assassinated him with long range machine guns. This was part of a "liquidation" policy of the Israeli state: targeting members of the independence movements and killing them. It sounds like mafia: the dentist got wacked. It was mafia-style. Peace activist? Peace process? What does it mean when political opponents, even peace activists, can get mowed down on their front lawn?
Now Hamas looks to have been elected. I like Mustafa Barghouthi. But am I to critique the riots after Martin Luther King was assassinated? Am I to chide the days of rage when the army was dropping Napalm on families in Vietnam? (Now we know they are using white phosphorus, which burns through flesh, as an offensive weapon in Iraq. Napalm isn't over.) Can we truly question the election of Hamas without a cold hard look in the mirror? At what point do the writers of these articles realize that they are liars? At what point do they acknowledge they are disinforming? At what point do they type the words "peace process" and realize that it, their typing, is a sham that perpetuates a terrible crime against the Palestinian people? The problem isn't the election of Hamas. The problem is much greater. To reduce it to the election is a lie. Don't forget the dentist.

""Anyone who says this is going to destroy the peace process has not been paying attention to the fact that there isn't a peace process to destroy."
Michael Tarazi

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Martin Luther King

So, I'm not sure what started it all, but I recall seeing something like "amusement park owner" as a game. While I always liked the old simcity (despite the not-so-subtle reagonomics promoted), these new "own something so you can design it" games never really impressed me. Then there was lemonade stand owner, mall owner, and it got further and further from anything I could sympathize with people wanting to play. Well, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. day, I want to point out that I just read the following sentence: "Private prisons have become the new growth industry." No, Critical Resistance doesn't have a new report up. No, there is a new game that promises "From Chaos Comes Order" and the front of the package is a guard in the watchtower with a pumpaction shotgun overlooking a yard full of prisoners. Yes, there is a game called Prisoner Tycoon and it promises to turn my stomach each time I think of it: "You will construct and run an efficient rehabilitation facility with nothing but money on your mind."

In other news, the repackaging of King continues unabated for another year. King's political analysis, especially towards the end, never gets proper credit. Even a lot of "radical" activists have bought into the lopping of one of King's central tenets. As Bruce Hare pointed out years ago, the mainstream press refers to King's nonviolence and loses the rest of the phrase: "Nonviolent direct action." (As if nonvilence can truly be a philosophy in and of itself. Was King nonviolently cooking? Did he nonviolently check his mail? No, he nonviolently challenged the white supremecist state and extralegal terror apparatus). Any good school library should carry a copy of King's collected papers. Go spend a day looking at the last volume or two. It would be mindboggling to comprehend Reagan, a scumbag's scumbag, signing King's birthday into a holiday if we hadn't been present for the steady repackaging.
This year, in San Antonio, there will be a military flyover during the King parade. The chairman of the MLK commission's response to the furor this has sparked is ""It all depends on how you look at it. They say the planes represent war and bombs and death, but at the same time those planes can also represent our freedom and peace."
This next quote hammers it home:

City Councilwoman Sheila McNeil, whose district includes the march route, contented the flyover is exactly what King would have wanted.
"I think that the military plays too significant of a role in our community for us to ignore them and not include them in this march," she said. "They are the reason why we have peace, and this is MLK's peace march."

It is important to note that activists condemning the flyover responded that soldiers are welcome, but that military jets are arms. Now I'm less sympathetic to the argument that King's primary issue would be weapons being at the parade. I think King would have thrown in something about them being weapons of imperialism, though, articulate at he was, he would probably have said it a little better.
Either way, King's memory shouldn't be left to the elites to refine and recast. He is a hero, he should be celebrated, and he should be recognized for who he was: a regular man trying to do right. I'll end this post with two quotes by this man:

You can’t talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can’t talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums. You’re really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry… Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong…with capitalism… There must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a Democratic Socialism.
Every now and then I guess we all think realistically about that day when we will be victimized with what is life's final common denominator - that something we call death. We all think about it. And every now and then I think about my own death, and I think about my own funeral. And I don't think of it in a morbid sense. Every now and then I ask myself, "What is it that I would want said?" And I leave the word to you this morning.
If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don't want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long. Every now and then I wonder what I want them to say. Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize, that isn't important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards, that's not important. Tell him not to mention where I went to school.
I'd like somebody to mention that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. I'd like for somebody to say that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody. I want you to say that day, that I tried to be right on the war question. I want you to be able to say that day, that I did try, in my life, to clothe those who were naked. I want you to say, on that day, that I did try, in my life, to visit those who were in prison. I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.
Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice; say that I was a drum major for peace; I was a drum major for righteousness.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Truancy and criminalization of behavior

I think a lot of people have problems when we talk (historically) about the criminilization of working class behavior versus "crime waves" that require new levels of policing. Regardless of the need for the ex-guild-style/newly industrialized capitalism to want to police working class behavior (loitering, public drunkeness, etc) because workers need to show up on time, today people just tend to focus on the fact that public drunkeness can be a nuisance (*cough*or a great tuesday *cough*) and that it is perfectly reasonable for the police to police this sort of thing. Reading Kristian Williams' Our Enemies In Blue, I was struck by the idea of truancy. Pick any mid-nineteenth century decade (say, the 1850s). A twelve year old wandering the streets on a week day would've been asked why he wasn't in the factory if anything at all. Same kid a hundred years later would be grabbed for truancy. His behavior is the identical, but it has been criminalized by the capitalist state. This needs to be polished up as a point (e.g. how would this example be different if it was an african-american kid or recent chinese immigrant in Chinatown?), but I think it points to something.
Speaking of which, I really need to point out the excellent website 360 Degrees. With a name like that, it kind of sounds like some new music magazine or cola marketing scheme, but in fact it is a great "web documentary" on prisons. Check out their timeline!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Two interesting Websites and Ariel Sharon

Hop Louie Street Art in Stockholm (Via Wooster)
From Monuments To Masses (File under Music, via Zach)

In light of Ariel Sharon's numerous strokes, we hope that everyone goes and checks out the history of Sabra and Shatila. We must be careful to remind ourselves, as well as those around us, that Sharon was no more a "man of peace" then Bush is. The fact that he is dying does not mean that we must be silent as he, as well as history, are re-worked into an inversion of political reality. There have been hundreds of Palestinians, as well as Israeli Jews, that have been killed in a conflict that he is one of the key architects and masters of. A "man of peace" would've looked towards post-apartheid South Africa as a model instead of apartheid South Africa.
While the situation in Palestine/Israel is difficult, there are a few standards that all people working towards justice must agree to, namely: the right of return is a right and not a privilege that can be granted or revoked, that we cannot accept two tiers of justice for the Israelis and the Palestinians, and last, that security and peace are not the highest goal if they are gutted of justice and founded on slavery. When Bush & Co. talk about peace as the highest goal, we must recall that the master can find the plantation peaceful and found Nat Turner terrorizing.
We know that there are people doing good work in the area, the first that comes to mind is Mustafa Barghouti. We had the privilege of seeing Dr. Barghouthi speak in the United States. It was for a largely Arab crowd and he was clearly speaking his mind. What we saw was amazing. If Dr. Barghouthi was in the mainstream press more often, I think a lot of Americans would be astounded. Not to reduce it to hyperbole, but it was like watching a Ghandi or King. He is pretty amazing (You can read some of his articles here). Instead of mourning the Bulldozer, let's spend the time examining real solutions for peace and justice.

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Front

Because I know for a fact that a lot of the visitors come in the side door, I just wanted to draw attention to the new front.
If you wave your mouse over the top "History Is A Weapon," you get to see a bunch of pictures. For our groupies, (you know who you are) we'll post what all the pictures are: The books are as follows:The Autobiography of Malcolm X, SDS by Kirkpatrick Sale, Black Reconstruction by DuBois, The Angela Davis Reader edited by Ms. James, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Rodney, Black Heretics, Black Prophets by Bogues, Chomsky's Understanding Power, Assata, A People's History of the United States, Lockdown America, Hammer and Hoe, The Cointelpro Papers, Black Feminist Thought by Collins, Capitalism and Slavery, and Gramsci's Prison Notebooks. Coming out of the books to the right is a picture of Nat Turner organizing his rebellion in the backwoods. For each of the letters, W is three black women at a march for Union Justice (I think this might have been from Memphis after King was killed, but don't quote that), E is Rosie the Riveter, A is a smiling Malcolm, P is a lynched black man, O is John Brown (Not Lincoln as someone groggily guessed, we still challenge his legacy around here), and N is from Angela Davis's FBI Wanted Poster.
If this doesn't work on anyone's browser, please let us know in the comment section or by sending us an email, because we don't want to sacrifice use for aesthetic. Thank you to the people that chimed in their support in the research phase, you can all consider yourselves honorary members of the paper tiger auxiliary cadre of HIAW. Speaking of which, at the moment, History is a Weapon is both a dot com and a dot org but is also available shortened for the ultra-lazy at hiaw.org. So you have no excuse when you get into arguments with fools and you want to footnote them with some reading material for after the bar, you write it on a book of matches.