Saturday, March 30, 2013
Chavez was never known as a shrinking violet, but there is an incident where he showed mighty restraint. This is what I remember about Hugo Chavez: The King of Spain telling Hugo Chavez to shut up at a conference of Latin American-Iberian friendship in Santiago Chile.
Chavez was rambling on interrupting the Spanish Prime Minister's talk by accusing him of being a Fascist; something that at this moment could not be a bigger insult in Spain no matter how true. After repeated interruptions and attempts by the Prime Minister to continue, The Spanish King leans into the conversation and says angrily , in Spanish, "Why don't you shut up?" This in a nutshell conveys the reality of Latin American-Iberian friendship; you have no voice, you must listen to what we say when we say it.
Chavez continued his rambling, but what was picked up by the North American press was the Spanish King standing up the the "Socialist" and Chavez' inability to make any kind of rebuttal. I see it as not a retreat from verbal battle, but as a heroic bit of restraint from Hugo Chavez. Because if he wanted to, and if he had done what I think he should have done, He could have simply listed what was needed from the Spanish King, and all colonialists, in the Americas:
- Return all the money derived from gold, silver and natural resources stripped from the Americas and shipped to Europe.
- Return all land taken from the indigenous people and remove all European presence from these lands.
- Remove all European money lenders and banks from the Americas as well as any remaining corporations that continue to rape the land.
- And finally, return the dead millions of indigenous people slaughtered in the conquest and maintenance of the European colonial system. Return those enslaved and debased, return those women raped and coerced into satiating the needs of the conquerer.
But he didn't.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Nothing like a lecture from your elected leaders.....
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Until people who like to quote the 2nd amendment actually read the whole second amendment and are prepared to use a little critical thinking in discussing its origin, intent and implementation any discussion is an exercise in mythological cock blocking. That is, the American mythology surrounding the second part of the amendment (the part after the comma) steeped in hubris, jingoism and chest thumping Americanism steps in and prevents any real discussion of what was meant by the framers of the constitution and how it affected the lives of the general population over 200 years ago.
This book may help those who refuse to read the 1st part of the amendment in the formulation of an argument for the mythological aspect of the amendment and might be a useful resource for them.
My own conclusions on the 2nd amendment differ radically from those espoused by most Americans, but it is my right as an American to come to these conclusions:
1. The accepted reading of the second amendment, fostered by the NRA, is based in the national mythology of an America based in racism, jingoism and paranoia.
2. Of all of the amendments the 2nd is the only one, which seems to be obsolete.
3. The reason for this obsolescence is delineated in the first part of the amendment.
4. The “misreading” of the amendment is a deliberate attempt to create a meaning that is otherwise not spelled out in the amendment.
5. Like all national mythologies the misreading of the 2nd amendment would not withstand the glare of the public light without the acquiescence of the public itself.
First, the amendment itself:
Some of the many things not said in the 2nd amendment:
1. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.
2. Register criminals not firearms.
3. Gun safety tip #1: carry one.
4. America: love it or leave it.
The real meaning of the 2nd amendment is based in the loose militias formed in the nascent country by the British Army going back before the French and Indian War for the “common defense” of Americans. What is said in the 2nd amendment, but is rarely discussed is, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state…”
There was no standing army in the early days of the republic. In a national emergency it was necessary for an individual to grab his gun and get his ass to the mustering point so that he could be counted on to fight. Every able-bodied man was charged with the defense of his county.
At that time having a gun was necessary for a lot of reasons: the gathering of food; defense from pesky Indians trying to get the new Americans off of their land and general all around protection from marauding fellow citizens. Having a gun, apart from being necessary for basic survival was also part of an individual’s duty for the defense of the nation.
The 1st part of the amendment tells you why the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The second amendment is obsolete because we now have a series of well-regulated militia’s securing our free state. They are the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines State Police, local police, etc., etc.
The misreading of the amendment is derived from an economy and attitude based in capitalism and colonialism. Freedom loving men who have invaded a virgin land and have murdered, raped and stolen everything they could and used their enslaved humans to provide them with a lifestyle of relative luxury. Those unable to afford the luxuries of colonialism strived to acquire the resources through more of the aforementioned murder, rape robbery and defense of the ill-gotten spoils of the nation with their constitutionally protected guns.
The entire history of the struggles and the acquisition of freedoms and rights by anyone other than the dominant majority in America is seen as a threat to that majority and the reifies their reading of the second amendment. “…the rights of the people to bear arms, shall not be infringed” is read as “the rights of the majority to maintain their majority shall not be infringed.”
The problem of people who use these arms for their continued striving for a part of the American dream remains and is now couched in terms of race and class warfare: those who have not (those blacks, Mexicans and such) want your stuff and will stop at nothing to get it. Because of their misreading of the 2nd amendment as it pertains to them, they are criminals and must be dealt with accordingly. The protection and defense of your stuff necessitates the acquisition of more and more guns. The fact that the murders, rapes and robberies denounced by the defenders of the 2nd amendment are simply one end of the same gun owning continuum that they themselves inhabit is almost laughable.
All of this is rooted in the fears of the Americans of someone, someone of a different color or race, taking all the stuff that they have stolen away from them. So, it is necessary to use any means necessary to protect themselves and their possessions.
Thus, the mythology of the amendment supersedes its original meaning. The defense of country has been conflated with the defense of our possessions, and it has happened with our consent.
Most of the fear is based, as Public Enemy put it so succinctly, in Fear of a Black (or any other color, but white) Planet. In the 60’s the Black Panthers began to legally carry guns in ride-arounds in Oakland California monitoring the police as they pulled black Americans over. It seems that an inordinate amount of black men were being killed in these police stops. The Panthers showed up legally armed at the California legislature and left only after a tense stand off. The answer from the Oakland police, the police countrywide and the public in general was the destruction of the Black Panthers as a viable political entity and the murder of its leaders. And now, as of 2008, “one in nine Black men between the ages of 20-34 are incarcerated compared to one in 30 other men of the same age.
And in a true reading of how this all plays out, nowadays, armed white men show up at the local Starbucks and are hailed as protectors of the second amendment.
Saturday, March 3, 2012