So Proud of Our Dirt

Baytown, Texas

I fear we have yet to understand, to wake up to the fact, that every single thing that seems to create contentious debate and divide our citizenry is endemic and intentional.  That this disease of industrial capitalism and imperial aggression has in wretched collaboration, in approximately 200 years, found a way to upset all the ways the planet restores equilibrium.

All flows to all.

MLK on War and Civil Liberties in 1967 (via Greenwald):

I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube.So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such . . . .

As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent. . . .

Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land. . . .

This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation’s self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.

Chris Hedges on the renewal and expansion of the National Defense Authorization Act, signed by the president Dec. 31, “Why I Am Suing Barack Obama.

The act authorizes the military in Title X, Subtitle D, entitled “Counter-Terrorism,” for the first time in more than 200 years, to carry out domestic policing. With this bill, which will take effect March 3, the military can indefinitely detain without trial any U.S. citizen deemed to be a terrorist or an accessory to terrorism. And suspects can be shipped by the military to our offshore penal colony in Guantanamo Bay and kept there until “the end of hostilities.” It is a catastrophic blow to civil liberties.

Arizona outlaws ethnic studies as it unduly promotes resentment of the white ownership classes.

Greenwald points to this Op-Ed by Jonathan Turley, “10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free,” where he highlights the most egregious assaults on our civil liberties:

Assassination of U.S. citizens; Indefinite detention; Arbitrary justice; Warrantless searches; Secret evidence; War crimes; Secret court; Immunity from judicial review; Continual monitoring of citizens; and Extraordinary renditions.

Industrial Capitalism and the Surveillance State

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In 1854 Dickens writes Hard Times; in 1912 Shaw writes of the novel,

Coketown (any city turned a horror of idustrialization) is the whole place; and its rich manufacturers are proud of its dirt, and declare that they like to see the sun blacked out with smoke, because it means that the furnaces are busy and money is being made; whilst its poor factory hands have never known any other sort of town, and are as content with it as a rat is with a hole…factory operatives who toil miserably and incessantly only to see the streams of gold they set flowing slip through their fingers into the pockets of men who revile and oppress them.

This is Karl Marx, Carlyle, Ruskin, Morris, Carpenter, rising up against civilization as against a disease,  and declaring that it is not our disorder but our order that is horrible; that it is not our criminals but our magnates that are robbing and murdering us…

…that the condition of the civilized world is deplorable, and that the remedy is far beyond the means of an individual righteousness.  In short, whereas formerly men said to the victim of society who ventured to complain, “Go and reform yourself before you pretend to reform Society,” it now has to admit that until Society is reformed, no man can reform himself except in the most insignificantly small ways.

America, truly the progeny of the darkness born in Britain, was still to perfect this heinous government of men by labor systems serving the dark heart of wealth and power.

It is forever on the march and forever carrying the disease of white progress as deadly and as black as the plague.

Photo Credit: billjacobus1

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