Thursday, March 30, 2006

From a newsletter.

"Was Gombrich Jewish? The easy answer is yes, but in a 1999 radio interview, Gombrich provides a more complicated answer. He poses the question, "How does one define a Jew?" and then responds: "I have been forced to think about this question longer than I cared to. Jewishness is either a religion, and I don't belong to it, or, according to Nazi teaching, a so-called race, but I don't believe in race." To the interviewer's question of whether Jewish tradition could be seen as a cultural force, Gombrich replied: "I don't believe that there is a separate Jewish cultural tradition. I think the German jews were largely assimilated.. Many didn't even know that they had Jewish roots...But when one is asked today, one naturally says, Yes, I'm jewish. The right answer would be, I am what Hitler would call a Jew. That's what I am."
(From "E.H. Gombrich: "Once Upon A Time"" by Melanie Gustafson, u. of Vermont in the Bulletin of The Center of Holocaust Studies)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Quoted post

HIAW's blog rarely quotes other Blogs. We're just not into quoting blogs. In fact, this may be the first time we quote another blog, but you'll know why when you read this excerpt from Urban Guerilla's latest post:

The other topic I would like to mention today is directed to Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Samuel L. Jackson, Martin Lawrence, Will Smith, and virtually every major Black actor in Hollywood. I know, I'm revealing who some of my celebrity readership is, but I feel that this transcends my readers' privacy. I heard Dave Chapelle recently put forth a conspiracy theory that white Hollywood execs have been working to put every male Black actor in a cross-dressing scene to emasculate them. While I won't debate the merits of such a theory, nor the questions of heterosexism both on the part of Chapelle and on the part of white execs, I have what I believe is a more pressing matter to discuss.

Dear Black actors of Hollywood, please, for the love of Marcus Garvey and all that is Black and Beautiful, STOP PLAYING LAW ENFORCEMENT. Every single one plays law enforcement, and often that is their most common role, typecast, or otherwise. Even worse, most have played Black law enforcement or private detectives who were focused on saving WHITE CHILDREN! What the fuck is going on in Hollywood? This is a phenomenon I have noticed for a good number of years, and it hasn't peaked yet. These are stars, who I assume have something of their pick of roles, so please stop playing law enforcement.

Amen, brother, Amen!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Good News (and concerns)

Caspar Weinberger, scum, dead at 88. Weinberger was Secretary of War during the Reagan administration, tripled the national debt (though corporate press obituaries now recall his nickname as "cap the knife" for his "cost-cutting ways." Cue eye-rolling back into head.), and was a personal crony of the wickedest of evils, Reagan. As we love to say around here, Hell burns a little hotter tonight.

We've heard that Elbert "Big Man" Howard of the Panthers is recuperating in the Hospital. Naturally, we send our regards and hopes of a speedy recovery.

Addendum: There is a new, and interesting organization, The International Endowment for Democracy. And they've posted a nice library on democracy.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Convict Lease

Just added The Convict Lease System by Frederick Douglass.

And just because, below is Angela Davis' Tribute to George Jackson:

August 23, 1971

An enemy bullet has once more brought grief and sadness to Black people and to all who oppose racism and injustice and who love and fight for freedom. On Saturday, August 21, a San Quentin guard's sniper bullet executed George Jackson and wiped out that last modicum of freedom with which he had perservered and resisted so fiercely for eleven years.

Though deprived so long of the freedom of movement enjoyed by his oppressors, even as he died George was far more free than they. Like he lived, he died resisting. A Field Marshal of the Black Panther Party, George belongs to a very special breed of fallen Black leaders, for his struggle was the most perilous.

He was recognized as a leader of the movement which sought to deepen the political consciousness of Black and Brown prisoners who constitute 30 to 40% of California's prison population. His impact on the community outside was and continues to be boundless. George's example of courage in the face of the spectre of summary execution; his insights honed in the torment of seven years of solitary confinement; his perserverance in the face of overwhelming odds will continue to be a source of inspiration to all our sisters and brothers inside prison walls and outside.

His book, Soledad Brother, a stirring chronicle of the development of the highest form of revolutionary fortitude and resistance, serves as a primer to captured brothers and sisters across the world. Equally important, this volume, perhaps more than any other, has given impetus and shaped the direction of the growing support movement outside the prisons. George, from behind seemingly impenetrable walls, has placed the issue of the prison struggle squarely on the agenda of the people's movement for revolutionary change. His book reveals the indivisible nature of the struggle on the outside of the prison system with the one inside. Whether in prison or not, Black and third world people are the victims and targets of a common system of oppression and exploitation. Only the methods used are different.

The prevailing conditions of race and class exploitation invariably result in the captivity of a disproportionate number of Black and third world people. Our brothers and sisters are usually locked up for crimes they did not commit, or for crimes against property - crimes for which white youths receive prosecutorial, judicial, and penal leniency. George himself was an 18 year old man-child when he was sentenced to serve from one to life for a robbery involving $70 - one to life - or eleven years' enslavement and sudden death. Through George's life and the lives of thousand of other brothers and sisters, the absolute necessity for extending the struggle of Black and third world people into the prison system itself becomes unmistakably clear.

The legacy left us by George and his dead brother, Jon means that we must strengthen the mass movement which alone is capable of freeing all of our brothers and sisters in prisons. We know that the road to freedom has always been stalked by death. George knew that the price of his intense revolutionary commitment was having to live each day fighting off potential death blows. He had repeatedly seen death used as a standard reprisal for blacks who "stepped out of line." In January of 1970, he had seen his brother prisoners, Nolan, Miller, and Edwards, warrantlessly and viciously murdered in the Soledad Prison yard. In Soledad Brother, George graphically told of the manner in which he had learned to thwart the many past attempts to murder him.

The dimensions of the task which lie ahead of us are clearer now, but the price of our new vision has been the death of two brilliant and brave revolutionaries, brothers in blood. Associate Warden Park promises us that the new wave of repression which has been unleashed within San Quentin will not halt with George's death. Rather, he has ushered in new terrorism by openly inviting guards to make a show of force and fully exhaust their vengeance on the prisoners themselves. Efforts to squelch revolutionary prison activity will not stop with one murder Park tells us, but will continue until San Quentin is purged of all revolutionaries and every revolutionary thought. The newspaper of George's party, the Black Panther Party, is hereafter forbidden within San Quentin's walls. "Old-fashion prison methods," namely raw brutality, without its cosmetic dressings, is officially the new regime. Brothers Ruchell Magee, Fleeta Drumgo, and John Clutchette are identified targets; others in the so-called Adjustment Center who have taken sides are equally in danger. Our responsibility extends to all these brothers upon whom war has been declared - the people must secure their safety, and ultimately their freedom. Prison authorities seek only to cover up their own murderous crimes by attempting to initiate new frame-ups. These efforts must be swiftly and forcefully

The Jackson family must be saluted. Their grief is deep. In little more than a year two of their sons, George and Jonathan, were felled by fascist bullets. I express my love to Georgia and Robert Jackson, Penny, Frances and Delora.

For me, George's death has meant the loss of a comrade and revolutionary leader, but also the loss of an irretrievable love. This love is so agonizingly personal as to be indescribable. I can only say that in continuing to love him, I will try my best to express that love in the way he would have wanted - by reaffirming my determination to fight for the cause George died defending. With his example before me, my tears and grief are rage at the system responsible for his murder. He wrote his epitaph when he said:

Hurl me into the next existence, the descent into hell won't turn me. I'll crawl back to dog his trail forever. They won't defeat my revenge, never, never. I'm part of a righteous people who anger slowly, but rage undammed. We'll gather at his door in such a number that the rumbling of our feet will make the earth tremble.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Two wonderous Additions

History is a Weapon is delighted, no, Giddy, to be able to offer the following two classic texts:

The American Revolution: Pages From a Negro Worker's Notebook by James Boggs


Die Nigger Die: A Political Autobiography by H. Rap Brown

Enjoy your reading!

P.S. was reading an essay and came across the following piece, which I thought, like the rest of the piece, was quite good:

Whatever is written in a book is right — such is still the mentality of culturally backward Chinese peasants. Strangely enough, within the Communist Party there are also people who always say in a discussion, "Show me where it's written in the book." When we say that a directive of a higher organ of leadership is correct, that is not just because it comes from "a higher organ of leadership" but because its contents conform with both the objective and subjective circumstances of the struggle and meet its requirements. It is quite wrong to take a formalistic attitude and blindly carry out directives without discussing and examining them in the light of actual conditions simply because they come from a higher organ. It is the mischief done by this formalism which explains why the line and tactics of the Party do not take deeper root among the masses. To carry out a directive of a higher organ blindly, and seemingly without any disagreement, is not really to carry it out but is the most artful way of opposing or sabotaging it.

The method of studying the social sciences exclusively from the book is likewise extremely dangerous and may even lead one onto the road of counter-revolution. Clear proof of this is provided by the fact that whole batches of Chinese Communists who confined themselves to books in their study of the social sciences have turned into counter-revolutionaries. When we say Marxism is correct, it is certainly not because Marx was a "prophet" but because his theory has been proved correct in our practice and in our struggle. We need Marxism in our struggle. In our acceptance of his theory no such formalisation of mystical notion as that of "prophecy" ever enters our minds. Many who have read Marxist books have become renegades from the revolution, whereas illiterate workers often grasp Marxism very well. Of course we should study Marxist books, but this study must be integrated with our country's actual conditions. We need books, but we must overcome book worship, which is divorced from the actual situation.

How can we overcome book worship? The only way is to investigate the actual situation.

(From Mao's Oppose Book Worship | May 1930)