JEFF J. BROWN—The Achilles heel for any movement in the United States, which might permanently bring social and economic justice to the 99%, always has been and still is its Marlboro Man ethic. Me-Myself-I-Go-It-Alone is glorified, admired and exalted. Sorry to say, but outside groups like the Black Panthers, 95% of US citizens would not know the meaning of solidarity if it slapped them in the face, which is Us-Ourselves-We-Sacrifice-Together.
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SHANNON KEATING—Sometimes — a lot of the time, really — these performances work. For most (white) Americans, or at least those who aren’t activists or organizers or obsessive politicos, it’s often enough for leaders to at least look like they’re doing or saying the right things. Democrats and Republicans alike who find themselves longing for the guidance of presidents past — who still think there’s a world in which we could conceivably “go back to normal” — aren’t so much hungering for better policies, but for better optics. Trump, though he’s finally lost the support of some Republican leaders who say they won’t back his reelection, has nonetheless faithfully (if oafishly) executed much of the Republican agenda, from rollbacks of LGBTQ rights and environmental protections to flooding the courts with conservatives.
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KEN LESLIE—Drunk on anti-communism, Russophobia and a completely undeserved superiority complex, successive US governments have also used this pernicious myth (remember the CIA cut-out Obama?) to anaesthetise their population to the fact that the Potemkin village of American supremacy was starting to crumble as early as 1968. The anaesthetic started to wear off in the early 2000s and now we are finally witnessing the moment of full awakening. The ultimate irony of the situation lies in the fact that great American “patriots” strutting on Twitter are quiet about the fact that their own cherished City on the Hill was born from a bloody rebellion, rioting and destruction—of continental proportions.
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T P WILKINSON—Malcolm X once made a poignant observation about the power of PR, although he did not use the term. He noted that the US regime between 1917 and 1949 changed the US public opinion toward Germany at least 4 times. Yet in all its history it has never persuaded the “white” population to accept that Blacks be treated equally with them. Instead the regime insisted that such attitudes towards Blacks were eternal, human nature as it were.
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AJAMU BARAKA—The white outside agitator trope. If it wasn’t frightening enough to see images of young white kids marching shoulder to shoulder with African and other colonized peoples, seeing white kids actually engaged in militant engagement with police authorities, which went beyond the approved forms of resistance, triggered a cognitive dilemma almost as serious as when they tried to comprehend and explain how China could escape the COVID-19 with five thousand deaths while the virus was killing tens of thousands in the U.S.