Tag Archives: Indigenous

Think of it as enhanced evolution, Un-natural selection, cull the gulls…

The debate turns now to whether or not to rescue marine animals from the oil. Pelicans and gulls specifically, but there’s more.
Of course, animals that took millions of years to be what they are, should learn to mutate themselves a lot faster. Seagulls and turtles and manatees and sea-otters, fish, crustaceans, jellyfish, plankton, all need to mutate in a matter of days rather than eons.
True, it would be a LOT simpler for the HUMAN species to modify our behavior, not set our entire economic plan on one focus, like Fossil Fuels. The plan with a built in Self-Destruct button that gets armed and starts ticking away once we drill the first well. Of course that first well was “well” over a century ago, BUT there’s still time to ramp down the madness, get back to a point where we can actually turn off he Self Destruct switch.

Of course, it would take eliminating some of the things the Oil Industry advertising partners have been selling us as “essential to the American Lifestyle”. Things like easily available in large quantities “food” that our bodies don’t have the ability to process correctly, at least not in the concentrations which are being sold to us as a “normal” diet.

Thus diabetes, colon cancers, increased. Also increased are heart disease, respiratory, kidney, thyroid, liver, just every part of the Human Biotic System that depends on a certain chemical balance that the McDiet not only doesn’t provide but actively disrupts.

The private automobile, sure, if you could afford to drive it, but, really, the cost to The Rest Of Us to maintain YOUR “right” to a private car is long since out of control. Witness, for instance the Oil Spills. Witness the wars being fought to secure more Oil, publicly subsidized wars. If the person driving sole occupant in a car made for 8 actually had to Pay His Way he wouldn’t be able to do it. The ultimate Welfare Cadillac. We’re required to provide “cheap” oil to the Consumer or be called Terrorist and Traitor. A system where everybody in the entire world is required to chip in to make a really expensive activity “affordable”…. for a privileged few. People in nations where starvation is in the top 5 causes of death have to chip in for YOUR automotive pleasure. But things like Public Transportation and subsidizing better forms of energy harvesting and use, that the bad ol’ wicked “Socialism”.

Summary of that, Public support of the entire population, BAD.
The entire World Population support of an elite minority GOOD.

Public Support of Mega Corporations like McDonalds altering the agricultural economy, GOOD.
Public criticism of the fact that this impoverishes other PEOPLE in other nations, to the point of people who live on gigantic plantation style “food” factory farms starve…. that’s Bolshevism and BAD. The Oil Corporations have been for the past year putting out some very expensive publicity campaigns saying that actually requiring the Corporations (mainly) and the Consumers to PAY what isn’t anywhere near the Real Cost for oil to be a “burden on the Poor”.

The lying sacks of shit actually cut off three quarters of the earths Poor PEOPLE and then claim to be concerned for “The Poor”.
Just ask any TeaBagger, it’s “unconstitutional” to give a damn about Poor PEOPLE.

And the other non-human species that actually FEED us. Even the plants and animals that we don’t incorporate into our diet form the basis of our Food Pyramid. For the past century that’s been known, and widely. Our focus on cultivating and nurturing a few hundred species out of the 2 billion or so on the Planet (that’s probably a low number) and then simply harvesting others, like ocean fish, crustaceans, disrupting the environments that allow the “good” fish and crustaceans to survive and multiply, and of course FEED US…

“Dang, Le-roy, we used be able to get twenty fish a day out of this here creek, now all we’re getting is them fish we always threw back ’cause they ain’t ‘good eatin’. Wonder whut happent to all them thar good fish?”

Well, it’s like this… that’s the Enhanced Evolution, but it’s not an evolution of a single species, but of an ecosystem. Sure there’ll be an ecosystem in the future. Isn’t that what the Oil Company Smugs tell us? Life will go on. Of course the species we’ve unwittingly favored are ones like Anthrax, Salmonella, e-coli, cockroaches, rats, “weeds” of every sort, animal and vegetable, Republicans, other species of Pig, yeah that was gratuitous nastiness but gosh darn it, sometimes you have to slice off a big steaming chunk of Nasty and serve it up RAW.

The parasites that thrive in our bodies, like Malaria, tapeworms, pinworms, parasitic bacteria and amoeba and protozoans, they thrive because the parasites in Human Form took their native support system, called it food, and culled every species that was in competition with that Food.

The aquatic life forms which are being killed off most rapidly are those the Consumer Economy consider to be competition for the not-very-nutritious “food” resources. Just before the Big Spill, the Oil Company Attack Dogs at Fox News were ramping up a campaign to completely ignore the Endangered Species Act on behalf of people who would pay several thousand dollars to rent a boat for a day and catch a marlin or some other honkin’ big deep sea fish. Screaming loudly that the Department of the Interior should ONLY concentrate on stocking lakes and streams with Bass and Catfish and not stocking it with those things that the Bass and Catfish actually eat. More Pesticides, of course Petroleum or Coal based, to kill off not only the “pest” species of insects, but also the ones that are considered “good bugs” so that the Sport Fishermen (just one example) and hunters can buy thousands of dollars worth of equipment and march proudly into the woods and streams and pretend to be Third World Hunter Gatherers.

Never mind that such practices drive whole tribes of ACTUAL indigenous Hunter-Gatherers into extinction. And for what, validation of ones “manhood”? If you’re so much in doubt of your own manhood that you have to resort to that, bubba, ain’t no amount of guns and fishing rods and money spent going to make you stop doubting your manhood. Sure enough ain’t going to Prove yourself.

Teddy Roosevelt, one of the most outspoken “hunters” in U.S. history, is most famous for a scathing rebuke he made to the Logical End of such pursuits. Right here in Colorado in fact. (shameless plug for the motel, but he stayed at the Buffalo Lodge on El Paso Street in Manitou Springs… the people who own it are good folks, Polish Immigrants so I get to make a slam at those “American Owned Business” assholes as well) but the outfitters of a Bear Hunt he had signed on for, had a young bear tied to a tree that he was supposed to shoot.

In his lifetime, Passenger Pigeons went from having migrations where the flocks darkened the sky like clouds, where all you had to do was point your gun upwards and fire and get several birds… to extinction.American Bison, Elk, Grizzly Bears, wolves of several species, cougars, lynx, bobcats… gone from plentiful to almost extinct in his lifetime. At the time, there was a lot of flack coming from the Religious Corner that extinction couldn’t be possible. They were actually of the opinion that they would find mammoths in some remote valley, Jules Verne even wrote about the possibility of finding living dinosaurs.

It’s been modified now, not that “extinction is impossible because God ordained against it”, it’s gone over to “Extinction is just natural, we shouldn’t care about one species or another going extinct”.

Nice of them to volunteer the entire HUMAN species to go extinct.

Think of it as Enhanced Evolution.

Ward Churchill speaks on which settler invasion wrote the book on Apartheid

Tucson Tohono O'odham
Ward Churchill spoke in Tucson on Friday and Brenda Norrell has posted the footage. Watching the ex-CU professor speak, I can’t help but think about the university students’ loss. They’re missing the lamentably rarefied perspectives he offers of course, but more important, the inspiration gained from such an engaging luminary.

Throughout his lectures, Churchill likes to put questions back at his audience. He understands, if I can presume to project his rationale, that a mentor’s role is to bounce ideas around, and be sure his students have minds open enough to let them resonate. It’s also a sign of someone fully confident with what they are teaching. Churchill gives you the impression he’s interested in the best argument you’ve got, and I believe him, but in reality he’s going to have few peers up to the task.

When it’s time for Q and A, Prof. Churchill calls it mud-wrestling, and welcomes all shots, “even spit wads.” He draws the line at brick bats, because he says, one might bounce off his head and hit somebody else. He warns, as if he’s had practice, “because someone might get hurt. I can assure you it won’t be me.”

I wished at that moment that Tucson was not so far from Churchill’s curiously vile detractors, who attended his trial in Denver, and who hold bitch fests online about every Churchinalia for reasons unspecified. I predict they’re remunerated; the love-to-hate pretext is wearing thin, these yahoos are pro-Israeli tea-baggers. So there’s no Drunkablog or Pirate Ballerina there tonight to take the “perfessor’s” challenge. Although wouldn’t such an exchange have been simply tedious? I recall this dismal attempt mounted against “Wart” by a couple CU college Republicans, it was just embarrassing. Have Churchill’s online critics ever confronted him in person I wonder? They can spout off in the safety of anonymity, and that’s about it.

Churchill’s speech to the predominantly Anglo and O’odham border activists was about the bigger issues behind the border wall. The theme of the gathering was Apartheid in America, and Churchill demonstrated how South African Apartheid came of the successful colonial methods practiced in the United States. These were the strategies employed by the Germans in taking and settling the Eastern Front during WWII, and of course the goals of Israel in Palestine.

Churchill described how settler invasions vary from colonial administration. In the latter case, the colonizers can go home, in the former, they stay. Another distinction is critical, the settlers aren’t moving to a land and becoming part of the social system, they remain citizens of the occupying force. They bring their identity and the foreign system with them, to apply against the people indigenous to the land. The process involves two steps: displace enough of the natives to make room for yourselves, but leave just enough to serve as a labor pool, for all the building that is required of empire building. You’ve need of only a portion of the original population, to do the manual labor required of developing the land, but eventually you need them to die off. The Nazi strategy in Poland was to eleminate a great deal via war, then another mass through starvation, ill health and exposure. Methods mirrored today in Gaza. As a USA example, Churchill sited the average life expectancy of a Native American on a reservation in 1975. The age was 44.6 years old. That’s 1/3 less that the G-Pop average, equivalent to thinning the population by a third.

To cut to the quick, Churchill asked his audience how they felt about social challenges like sexism, racism, ageism, classism. All were basically in accord as being against. What’s the problem, Churchill asked. If so many are against these things, why do they persist? Then he threw imperialism into the mix, which had not been mentioned. Churchill said we cannot adequately address the others until we have a clean conscience about the land taken from America’s First Peoples. This must be the priority. First Peoples, First Nations, First Priority.

Below is the video of Friday’s Tohono O’odham event in Tucson. Take note also of the excellent speeches which followed the keynote, by Ofelia Rivas and her brother in particular.

Click ON DEMAND, then select the “Live Show Fri Nov 13 2009 06:20:55 PM” or watch it at Livestream/earthcycles.

Subcomandante Marcos on LA OTRA

EZLN Zapatistas Subcomandante MarcosReading more about the Tohono O’odham, I came across this speech by the EZLN’s masked leader Subcomandante Marcos, delivered at a 2006 tribal gathering of SW Native American insurgents. It’s about the other Mexico, in solidarity with the other Americas: “La Otra.”
 
Compared his words to President Obama today telling the tribal summit in DC: “You will not be forgotten.” Sounds like a eulogy.

Doesn’t it? Or simply another white man’s empty promise. It appears to me that Obama is playing the forked tongue white man to Americans of every color, giving them assurances that they are now in good hands, yet turning his back on them all when the speeches are through. It’s Obama the great equalizer, making sure that all Americans, Red, White, Brown and Black, get treated like they’re black.

EZLN: A Meeting with the O’odham
By Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

O'odham meetingLa Otra – The Other Mexico
October 26, 2006

Bueno, Compañeras and Compañeros:

First we just want to thank the Monroy family, who is receiving the Sixth Commission and the Karavana’s compañeros, who are giving us lodging here, in… Rancho el Peñasco is it called? Thank you Compañeros and Compañeras. And thank you to all of you who have endured the six hours that we have been here, and I hope you have a little patience for what I am going to say.

We especially want to thank the traditional O’odham authorities. Don José, Doña Ofelia – I don’t see her anymore – Is Doña Ofelia still here? No? Brenda, Doña Brenda? They’re not here either, what a pity. Doña Alicia? Well, that’s what happened to us. The traditional authorities went away and we came to listen to them. No? But Don José is here, as I want to bring a message from the indigenous Zapatista communities to the Tohono O’odham people, and also for the Navajo and Cherokee people.

What the compañero, the Purépecha chief Salvador said, from the National Indigenous Congress, also represents our thinking. The traditional O’odham chief, Doña Ofelia, pointed out something that we already see in the papers. That thing that a few people are promoting here, the National Indigenous Convention, is a lie. It is really directed by someone who was an official under President Vicente Fox, and later was unemployed and is now involved with the National Indigenous Convention, which is really a movement to support López Obrador. The Indian peoples don’t interest them. The documents, which they are presenting, which those people are distributing, make no mention of the San Andrés Accords, which have cost blood and death not just to Zapatistas, but to more than 40 Indian peoples, tribes and nations of Mexico, who are in agreement with that struggle. We are in agreement with what was expressed by Doña Ofelia, the O’odham traditional authority.

“We are Zapatistas. We live in the last corner of this country. We are of Mayan roots. We are people of Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Tojolabal, Chol, Zoque and Mam roots.” And it is our custom at times to speak, when we speak with other Indian peoples, to use a symbolic language with tales and legends – ”sometimes we speak about our history, our goals, with tales, legends and symbolic language, and in this time that we have this message for the O’odham and Navajos and Cherokees, we take this root.” To pass on this message that the Compañeros sent me to tell you, we will use that resource. Our elders, our chiefs, say that the gods made the world, that they made the men and women of corn first. And they specifically put the heart of corn in them. But the corn ran out and some men and women didn’t get a heart. The color of the earth ran out, and they began to look for other colors. Then, the heart of corn touched people who are white, red or yellow. So there are people here who don’t have the dark color of indigenous people, but they have the heart of corn, so they are here with us. Our oldest ones say, our chiefs, that the people who didn’t get a heart, took care of it later, they occupied the empty space with money, and that it doesn’t matter what color those people have, they have a heart that is the green color of money. And our old ones also say that, every once in a while, the land seeks to protect its O’odham Representative Doña Ofeliaand Subcomandante Marcos children, the men and women of corn. And that a time comes – which is when the night is the most difficult – when the land gets tired and needs those men and women to help it live.

They were killing our people with diseases, we were going to disappear, just like the Kiliwa people are disappearing, a few hundred kilometers from here where we are, where there are only 54 families left. And of them, only four speak the Kiliwa language here in Mexico, on this side.

We want to say to the O’odham nation, to the Navajo – I don’t know if Michelle is still here? No, not her either, well, we don’t have any messenger, I hope that someone tapes it… pardon me, Michelle. What happened is that in our land, our chiefs – I am a Subcomandante, because I am not the chief – my chiefs are men and women like Doña Ofelia, like Don José, 100 percent indigenous. And it fell on me – together with other compañeros – to do other work.

We were already dead and we were called upon to become warriors, according to our legend. And as we were dead, we became what we are: shadows. And in a strict sense we are that: “shadow’s warriors or warriors of the shadows.” And January 1, 1994, on the wall of a bank in San Cristóbal de las Casas, appeared a sign that we painted which said: here we are the forever dead, dying again, but now to live. And that was the message that we were giving to the rest of the world: that in this country and on this planet, one had to fight and be willing to die to be able to survive.

In the story that we are telling – or what they ordered us to tell you – the land protected us after the Spanish invasion, and it made us survive and resist the North American invasion, and it made us live. And after the invasion of money or big capital, the land that made us survive is at the point of dying, precisely because of those above. If you think that they are going to conform themselves to seeing us as poor people, without schools, without medicine, you are wrong: they want us to disappear completely.

For entire decades we have been living with diseases, without education, scratching the earth to be able to take some produce from it. Now they also want that land. The Escalera Nautica will mean the total disappearance of the Yoreme, the Mayo, Cucapá and Yaqui peoples from the whole coast of Sinaloa, Sonora, Baja California and Baja Sur, for hotel and tourist businesses. There’s not going to be anything more than deceit from the government, for the Yoreme, the Yaqui, the O’odham, the Cucupá and the Kiliwa.

The governments and those who lead them want that land to convert it into a commodity. If we permit that, this land is going to be destroyed. And that which protected us, that made us survive, is also going to die. And if that land and that world die, there will be no reason to fight, or to live, or to study.

What we are proposing here is that we have to unite as Indian peoples. Land dies the same way in O’odham, Navajo, Cherokee, Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Purépecha and Náhuatl territory, and we must unite, but not only in Mexico, but on the whole continent.

They, those who are up above, have already shown for hundreds of years, for centuries, that the only thing that they have done has been to destroy the earth. No more – “no more that’s enough” – it’s sufficient. Now we have to take the land’s destiny and its defense into our hands. Don’t leave it one minute more in the hands of the rich. We, those who have the color of the earth and hearts of corn, without regard to our skin color – we have to do it, because if we don’t, the whole world is going to disappear.

To the one who has money, what’s happening is not important. O’odham and Navajo territory is now a territory of death. Your fields, where your culture flourishes, is where poor Mexicans are killed, families who try to cross to the other side. The O’odham and Navajo people cannot permit that. You know that they are converting our lands, besides, into their garbage can: we are their garbage dumps. Toxic wastes, nuclear wastes, are not going to the residential zones, not in New York or Washington: they are going to Indian lands. And land is like the human body; one cannot inject poison into one part without affecting the rest. They think that they will only poison O’odham and Navajo land. They are going to poison everything and they are going to destroy it.

As the National Indigenous Congress compañero said: “we came to invite you, not to ask the government, but to get rid of it.” Not to be praying that the North American and Mexican governments respect O’odham territory, which is divided by the borderline. And we know that the borderline crosses through your people’s ceremonial center. We want that border to disappear, so that once again the O’odham, Navajo and Cherokee nations exist, as well as our peoples, because they already demonstrated that they cannot conduct this world and take it to a good end. We have to do it, not just for our Indian peoples, but for all humanity. Therefore, we say that our struggle is for humanity and against neoliberalism.

We wanted to invite you to join this movement, which is called the Other Campaign, so that as Indian peoples, the history of each 100 years is not repeated again. It is going to be repeated, but one part is going to change.

In 1810, we struggled for independence against Spanish power; in 1910, against the landowner’s power. In 2010 – and even before – we will struggle against the power of money. But, differently than the 200 and 100 years before, now the Indian peoples will have to be respected. The same thing will not occur again: that another comes to power and the Indian peoples disappear again, or suffer the same poverty and scorn. Therefore, as Indian peoples, we form separately inside of the Other Campaign, and separately we talk to each other and separately we make agreements.

Those who are up there above, compañeros and compañeras of Sonora – Yaquis, Yoremes, Cucapás, O’odham – are only going to deceive you. They are going to buy off one or two of you, they are going to take them on a trip – like traveling around with those who distributed the paper just now – around the world, but their people are going to disappear. And if you are the leaders, it is certain, they are going to take you to hotels, or to the conventions those that the politicians have, but your people are going to disappear. And photos of your leaders are going to come out in the newspapers, but the garbage dump is going to poison your land.

And there will be many gatherings and declarations, but our poor Mexican men and women are going to continue dying on Navajo land, or on the land of the O’odham. Those things are not going to change if we continue believing in those above.

And that’s what the Sonoran government is going to do, after this meeting you are going to see it. It is going to declare that it will resolve the indigenous problem, it is going to seek you out and it is going to invite you to the big hotels; it’s going to give you good food, and it is going to put papers in front of you to sign. It is going to give you some aid and some credit. But nothing, absolutely nothing, is going to change in your territories.

The San Andrés Accords, which are the ones that represent the agreement of more than 40 peoples, tribes, nations and neighborhoods of the Indian peoples of Mexico, they say one thing that everyone forgets they say: that indigenous territory is indigenous. No one can do anything in indigenous territory if the community doesn’t accept it. Not putting a garbage dump, or a hotel, not even crossing through your territory without permission from the authorities – which is certainly what the compañera Ofelia was complaining about, and about which we also complain.

That is what we are saying wherever we go. And in this case, we were thinking that we were only going to talk with the O’odham people, or with Indian peoples, but how good it is that you arrived from many places. And especially, the people who are struggling on the other side in the United States, also with Indian peoples, and also with this injustice, this war of annihilation there is against the undocumented.

A little while ago when we were coming here, we crossed the border, there in Sonoyta, we crossed over on the other side and later we returned because we had to come here. But the big extension of the desert was seen and I was thinking – I imagined what all the compañeros from the Karavana – what it was going to mean crossing that desert, without food. If the heat or the cold doesn’t kill you, the Minutemen kill you, or the ranchers, or the motorcyclists, or La Migra. And no one was going to take count, not even the university studies. If we, as Indian people, do not unite… We are proposing a continental gathering of all the original peoples of these lands, in October of the coming year, when 515 years of the “discovery” are completed. Now it was good! 500 years are enough to show that they couldn’t.

And if the governments of the United States or Mexico didn’t see us when we were few, we will see if the world doesn’t see us when all the Indian peoples of this continent – from Tierra del Fuego to Alaska – unite and begin to tell of all the injustices and struggles. And that gathering is going to be in Northwest Mexico, near the border – which does not exist for us – in other words near the Oodham, Navajo, Cherokee, Cucapá, Kiliwa, Yoreme, Yaqui land, where we have been all these days. In a few days, we are making agreements with each other and taking votes, perhaps next month this call that we are proposing will come out.

That is more or less what we want to tell you. I hope you can pass the message to the traditional chiefs: Ofelia, Brenda, Alicia – Don José is here – Michelle: I ask a favor that you pass it to the Navajo people, the compañera with the Cherokee people.

We only ask you that, we are going to talk directly among ourselves and make an agreement. The next time that we come my chiefs will come, I will not come, they sent me first to see how it was. I report to them and then they will come, those that command me, because that is our way.

That is what we want to say, compañeros and compañeras. Many thanks, Good Night.

Ward Churchill to speak for O’odham

O'odham rightsAccording to Censored News, Activist and scholar Ward Churchill will speak at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, 4831 W. 22nd St., on November 13, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. to benefit O’odham VOICE Against the Wall, which since 2003 has organized and advocated for the traditional O’odham leaders and elders of the Tohono O’odham communities in the southern territory of the United States and northern territory of Mexico. Professor Churchill’s talk is part of the “Apartheid in America: Surviving Occupation in O’odham Lands”

O’odham activist Ofelia Rivas will also participate. The event is sponsored by the Dry River Radical Resource Center, the Earth First! Journal, and Voices against the Wall.

Here’s some background on the O’odham struggle:

pamphlet cover illustrationBy J. D. Hendricks, 2004
TIAMAT PUBLICATIONS #5

The People Who Emerged From the Earth

Over two thousand years ago the descendents of the O’odham moved into the southwestern region of the area now claimed by the U.S. as the state of Arizona. 1 The O’odham have had one of the longest histories of contact with the forces of European colonization compared with the rest of the native North American peoples. The O’odham’s first contact with Spanish invaders took place in the mid 16th century; nearly one hundred years before the colonization of the North Atlantic coast and Great Lakes regions were begun by the French and English colonists. As such, the history of the O’odham provides a good context for an investigation of the colonization of Native North America, and more specifically, an investigation of the interplay between, and results of, the varied responses to colonization – that of collaboration, accommodation, and resistance.

Many histories of the O’odham refer to these desert people as the Papago. The term Papago was a name given to the O’odham by the Spanish colonizers, and is likely the result of a Spanish corruption of the O’odham word “papabi” which was the O’odham name for one of their principal bean varieties. Thus, the Spanish colonizers term for the O’odham (Papago) came to mean “the bean eaters.” 2 For the purposes of this study I will refrain from the use of the term Papago and will refer to “the people” 3 by their traditional pre-colonial name. 4

As is often the case, with the name Papago being a good example, European constructs are often imposed upon indigenous peoples by the historians that seek to portray their past. This result can occur when historians seek to glorify European norms and traditions at the expense of indigenous ones, and can also be the result of the subconscious indoctrination of the historian by the dominant culture – in this case that of western style industrial civilization. In other cases it can be the result of a simple uncritical usage of language.

One of the most dominant and reoccurring “civilized” constructs imposed upon indigenous peoples history is the commonly understood notion that the O’odham, or any other indigenous North American culture for that matter, existed as a totality or uniformed mass. This study will seek to use the history of the interaction between the O’odham peoples and the United States, both its government and its peoples, to deconstruct this myth of the totality and provide a history of the O’odham’s varied responses to colonization from an anti-colonial and anti-industrial perspective. By investigating various important case studies in O’odham history, and looking not only at resistance but also accommodation and collaboration, it is hoped that this work will help to provide a more realistic historical picture of the effects of colonization, and the intentions and reactions of both the colonizer and the colonized. Within the previously stated context and theoretical framework, this study will argue that while the O’odham responded to the U.S. invasion of their lands in various ways, the choices to resist, accommodate, or collaborate with the forces of colonization did not affect the overall U.S. policy concerning the O’odham – that policy being the eventual total assimilation of the O’odham into the dominant “civilized” industrial system. 5

This investigation will include a strong focus on O’odham resistance to colonization, as any anti-colonial history should, however it will not discount or ignore the many historical occurrences of accommodation, and in some cases outright collaboration, with the colonizers. It is important to always keep in mind that none of the actions and reactions in any of the case studies looked at are attributable to the O’odham as a “totality,” but rather are attributable only to the various groupings of O’odham, be they incarnated in the form of the individual, the clan, the village, an economic or spiritual grouping, or an established political organization.

A God of Civilization and Coercion Comes to the O’odham

The O’odham’s first encounter with Spanish invaders took place in the mid sixteenth century when a group of conquistadors led by Alvaro Nunez Cabeza de Vaca entered O’odham territory in search of gold. These men did not find the riches they were looking for and left the desert region to return to the Spanish colony. However, soon after word spread of the O’odham villages on the northern periphery of the Spanish colony, missionaries began to travel north to bring God and “civilization” to the native people residing there. By 1686, Catholic missionaries had formed a few small missions in O’odham territory using what they believed to be the influence of their soft power 6 techniques to lure the O’odham into their missions where they were then subjected to a rigorous schedule of cultural indoctrination. Most O’odham historians, including Winston Erickson, 7 and to a lesser extent, Bernard Fontana 8 have, during this time period, focused on the O’odham who chose to reside nearby and within these early missions, thus painting a picture of the O’odham as accepting of Spanish influence and cultural indoctrination.

However a closer look at this time period reveals that mission O’odham were only a small percentage of the total population of O’odham residing in the Sonoran desert 9 and that the ones who were there may not have been so for the reasons that the colonizers believed. San Xavier del Bac, the largest mission in O’odham lands, as well as many other missions, took advantage of the fact that the desert O’odham migrated in the dry winter months to the Northern Piman settlements along the rivers to work the small farm plots for sustenance. 10 The Catholic missions inserted themselves into this traditional pattern. Those O’odham who worked and lived near the missions were, for the most part, seasonal residents, which shows that the missions were viewed merely as being of utilitarian value. Thus, the O’odham as a totality were not necessarily accommodating to or interested in anything the missionaries had to offer per se, and when the missionaries began to employ “hard power” techniques and abuse or overstep the grounds for their welcome it did not go without consequence. 11

Accommodating and ignoring the missionaries was not the only response to colonization practiced by the O’odham during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Although historians such as Erickson feel that “the missions did serve the O’odham well….,” 12 that assertion is contradicted by the fact that there were many large scale rebellions waged against the missions from outside and from within. In 1695, 1751, 1756, and 1776, large scale rebellions occurred in which missionaries were killed and their missions burned to the ground. 13 In some cases these rebellions were the doing of joint O’odham/Apache alliances, which is significant considering that many histories of the O’odham and Apache portray them as immemorial enemies. This may be the result of the fact that by the early nineteenth century the Spanish government initiated a campaign of divide and conquer that was continued later by the Mexican and U.S. governments to turn the O’odham and Apache against one another, thus easing the project of their subjugation.

A Change in the Occupation Government: Washington Enters O’odham Lands

In 1821, Mexican Independence from Spain was achieved and interest in the O’odham dropped away nearly entirely. By 1828, the new and secular Mexican government began the process of shutting down the missions in O’odham territory and by 1842, the last of the missions were closed. Soon after, in 1846, the United Stated initiated a war for territorial expansion against Mexico. This war was not of immediate consequence to the O’odham peoples. Isolated in desert regions, the fighting between the two occupation powers affected them little in the short run. However, the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, which ended the war, would lay the foundations for a series of disastrous events which would affect the O’odham in very negative ways.

Of greatest consequence to the O’odham was the fact that the boundary between the United States and Mexico was not finalized by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The boundary was designated by Article Five of the Treaty as being an arbitrary line roughly following the 32nd parallel, an area which runs through the southern part of modern Arizona. To the east, the border was provided by the Rio Grande. The exact boundary line along the 32nd parallel was to be decided at a later date. It is also important to note here that the Treaty also provided that all Mexican citizens absorbed by the United States were to be granted U.S. citizenship, which included all indigenous peoples in the annexed territory since under Mexican law they were considered citizens. In the treaty the United States also assumed the responsibility for preventing cross border raiding into Mexico by the southwestern tribes, specifically the Apache. 14

In the aftermath of the signing of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, it became quickly apparent that an acceptable border between Mexico and the United States along the 32nd parallel would not be achieved. An official survey expedition was assembled by the United States and Mexico in 1849 to trace out the boundary between the two countries with little success. Various borderlines were agreed to and then abandoned and re-made by the United States, sometimes in a unilateral decision that dismissed the positions of the Mexican government altogether. 15

The principal concern for the United States was to secure title to an area of land in northern Sonora, Mexico that was ideally suited for the construction of a portion of the southern continental railroad whose building was being discussed in the U.S. Congress at the time. One of the main advocates for this southern railroad route was a South Carolina man by the name of Colonel James Gadsden. Gadsden’s history of connections to powerful business, military, and political leaders is very interesting and his appointment by the United States to be Minister to Mexico in 1853 serves as a very informative source to gauge the United States’ intentions towards Native Americans and the O’odham in particular.

James Gadsden was born into an influential southern family and graduated from Yale University. After enlisting and serving in the war of 1812, Gadsden was sent to the Florida territory with Andrew Jackson to aid in the campaign of removal and extermination being waged against the Seminole Indians, which took place from 1816-1818. After this war against the Seminole, Gadsden was appointed by President Monroe as commissioner to oversee the removal of the Seminole Indians to Indian Territory. Like the more famous removal of the Cherokee, the removal of the Seminole, and the high death rate suffered as a result, unarguably constituted genocide. 16 As a reward for a job well done, Gadsden was appointed by Monroe to a seat on the legislative council of the territory of Florida, thus beginning Gadsden’s political career. In 1840, Gadsden was elected President of the Louisville, Charleston, and Cincinnati Railroad. In 1853, the Secretary of War, an ardent white supremacist and slavery defender by the name of Jefferson Davis, appointed Gadsden to be Minister to Mexico. 17 As Minister to Mexico, one of Gadsden’s primary missions was to negotiate a final demarcation of the boundary between the U.S. and Mexico. Although Gadsden was a zealous believer in Manifest Destiny, his ideas concerning racial Anglo-Saxonism 18 caused him to be an opponent of the total annexation of Mexico. Gadsden, like many racist U.S. politicians of that time, felt that the total absorption of Mexico and its non-Anglo population into the United States would pollute the Anglo bloodline too much and thus he sought only to gain enough territory for the United States to build the southern pacific route. 19 Thus, a man who had presided over a war of genocide against the Seminole Indians, was a devout racist, and who had obvious conflicts of interest due to his connections to the railroads, was put into a position to determine the territorial boundary between the United States and Mexico and in the process also determine the boundaries of the O’odham’s land. With its appointment of Gadsden, the intent of the U.S. government could not be clearer. Business interests and territorial expansion were to run roughshod, by any means necessary, over any native peoples who stood in the way.

It is no surprise that when James Gadsden finally successfully negotiated a treaty with Santa Anna to secure what is now the southern portion of Arizona, the O’odham were not consulted. In fact, the Gadsden Treaty, signed into law in 1853, did not contain any mention of the O’odham at all. Considering that the new boundary line put in place by the Gadsden Treaty literally split the traditional O’odham lands in two, it is obvious that the intentions of the United States were in no way benevolent. Here it is also important to point out that the terms of the Gadsden Treaty specifically included the same citizenship provisions which were spelled out in the earlier Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. 20 Although the Gadsden treaty was of great significance for the O’odham, their isolation and the outbreak of the Civil War enabled them to live another decade in relative isolation from Anglo encroachment.

Assimilation, Cultural Destruction, Double Speak and Ordained Genocide

The causes which the Almighty originates, when in their appointed time he wills that one race of men – as in races of lower animals – shall disappear off the face of the earth and give place to another race, and so on, in the great cycle traced out by Himself, which may be seen, but has reasons too deep to be fathomed by us. The races of the mammoths and mastodons, and the great sloths, came and passed away: The red man of America is passing away!
–United States Congress Committee on Indian Affairs report, 1865. 21

No doubt with similar justifications in mind as those of the Committee on Indian Affairs, Anglo settlers began their invasion of O’odham lands less than a year after the conclusion of the Civil War. The Homestead Act had opened up the lands of Southern Arizona to Anglo squatters and in 1866, one of the first of many bills was passed by Congress granting mineral rights to any citizen who claimed them. 22 Every one of these homesteads opened and every resource extraction operation initiated without the express consent of the O’odham represented an illegal action under the Gadsden Treaty. The citizenship provisions of the Gadsden Treaty had granted citizenship to all former Mexican citizens and the O’odham were, by legal definition, included in this formulation. The United States, however, refused to consider “uncivilized” peoples as being worthy of the protections granted to citizens by the fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits the expropriation of property. This refusal of the United States government to follow its own laws pertaining to Native Americans when those laws happen to stand in the way of U.S. interests has been a common occurrence in United States Indian policy. This land grab was only the first of many illegalities committed against the O’odham people by the United States and its citizens. In this respect the O’odham are in a special position when compared with many other tribes. While the theft of native lands by the United States Government was usually legally justified by treaty stipulations signed between a tribe and the U.S. government, this justification could not and cannot be used in the case of the O’odham since no treaty was ever signed with the O’odham by the United States Government. 23

For the most part, the O’odham did not resist this initial incursion of Anglo settlement, rather the O’odham practiced accommodation and moved farther out into the desert to shield themselves from the new settlers invading their lands. Traditional ways were maintained with the exception of the introduction of cattle ranching. The O’odham territory was well suited for the raising of cattle and a good number of O’odham became cattle ranchers, both for purposes of subsistence as well as for sale to Anglos residing in and around Tucson. In the 1880s, as increasing numbers of Anglo cattle ranchers began to invade and take over their pasture, some O’odham began to resist.

The O’odham resisted by stealing the Anglo cattle herds which were rounded up and driven south to be sold on the Mexican market. The expropriation of Anglo cattle herds was not isolated, and it became a major concern for the settlers and the government. In at least one case, a large cattle outfit was driven out of business. 24 The concern over this outbreak of O’odham theft of Anglo cattle was large enough that newspapers as far away as Los Angeles ran stories about the phenomenon. For the most part these stories seem to have been deliberately used to justify the enclosure of the O’odham into reservations as the government and Anglo cattle ranchers seized the opportunity to gain even more O’odham land by arguing that it was an unfair burden for the Anglo cattle ranchers to have to “support” the O’odham. 25 Here, in previous case study, we have another common attribute of U.S. Indian policy in general, and one which occurs again and again in the history of O’odham contact with the U.S. government and Anglo settlers – blaming the victim.

Another official position of United States Indian policy during this time period was that everything done to the Indians was, in the words of Indian Commissioner J. Q. Smith, in their own “best interests.” 26 Whether this obvious sham was based on a subconscious guilt and delusion or was a cynical example of “double-speak,” it is obvious that Native American’s best interest’s were the last thing on the government’s mind. Nevertheless, with this reasoning as justification, the first official reservation for the O’odham was created by executive order of President Grant on July 1, 1874. This small reservation surrounded the Old Catholic mission at San Xavier del Bac. It is estimated that only about ten percent 27 of the desert O’odham took up residence within this reservation – these were labeled as “civilized” O’odham by U.S. census takers. The vast majority of O’odham were labeled as “wild” and continued to live in the vast desert regions west of San Xavier del Bac. While it is obvious that the desert O’odham were resisting cultural assimilation by avoidance, even the mission O’odham maintained a resistance to European culture as the next example will illustrate.

While visiting the old mission at San Xavier a newspaper columnist from the Los Angeles Times wrote that upon her visit in 1882, she could see “not a single civilized human habitation within miles.” This writer goes on to state that the O’odham’s dwellings were in the form of “conical mud huts.” In the casual racism and Social Darwinist rhetoric of the period she also adds that,

“The Papagos are but little in advance of gophers and prairie dogs in their habitations.” 28

The point is that after more than 200 years of European influence, even the mission O’odham continued to build their traditional shelters. 29

Progressivism and Cultural Genocide: The Dawes Act

In 1887, the General Allotment Act, also known as the Dawes Act, was signed into law. The Dawes Act was the staging point for the forced assimilation of those remnants of Native American groupings which had not been totally decimated by the preceding period of “Indian Wars” and forced relocations. The essential function of the Dawes Act was to disrupt traditional tribal land holding patterns and thus force Native Americans into the Anglo system of private property. The O’odham, like most other Native American cultures, did not have a concept of private property – land was held in common for the benefit of the village group. Communally held land was an essential pre-requisite for their Anarchistic political system and extremely de-centralized tribal structure. 30

The first section of the Dawes Act provides for equal “sections” of land to be parceled out to each “head of family.” This head of family was always understood to be the father of each family when land was allotted. Thus, this first section of the act not only attempted to destroy the communal land system of Native Americans, it also instituted Patriarchy as the basis for social functioning in Native America. 31 In addition, Section Five of the Act also provides that any un-allotted lands be subject to purchase by the United States government. Section Six and Seven provide that all monies paid by the U.S. for un-allotted Native lands be held for each tribe by the U.S. Treasury and “subject to appropriation” by the U.S. government to repay itself for the implementation of allotment as well as to provide for the “civilization” of Native Americans. 32 In less veiled words, these sections are basically stating that Native Americans will be forced to pay for their own cultural annihilation.

This interpretation of the intent of the Dawes Act becomes clearer when one looks at the arguments and debates that took place in Congress and within self described progressive “Indian rights” groups such as the Indian Rights Association. Critics of the Dawes Act in Congress such as Rep. Russell Errett understood that

“the main purpose of this bill is not to help the Indian troubles so much as it is to provide a method for getting at the valuable Indian lands and opening them up for settlement.” 33

And Senator Dawes, the namesake of the final bill, speaking of the land and resources of Native Americans stated that

“civilization has got after these possessions with a greed never before equaled but it is idle to expect to stay it….” 34

As for the progressive Indian Rights Association, they argued that

“the organization of the Indians into tribes is, and has been, one of the most serious hindrances to the advancement of civilization, and that every effort should be made to secure disintegration of all tribal organizations….” 35

And one of their leaders, Reverend L. Abbott, provided justification with the statement:

“Barbarism has no rights which civilization is bound to respect.” 36

So here we have a self-proclaimed progressive Indian Rights organization arguing for cultural genocide and against the notion that Native Americans have any rights that civilized people are bound to respect! This conclusion provides a perfect example of the essence of “progressive” or “civilized” thought.

The Dawes Act had a much less devastating effect for the O’odham than it did for many other Native American tribes. At the time of its passage, the only official reservation for the O’odham was the San Xavier reservation which, as was stated earlier, was only a small 71,090 acre reservation around the old mission San Xavier del Bac. When the allotment agent came to San Xavier in 1890, he allotted out 41,600 acres of land to the 363 O’odham whom he counted in his census as being resident at the time. 37 The vast majority of the O’odham still continued to live west of San Xavier in the expansive desert regions and were little affected by the allotment schemes. Even those O’odham who lived in San Xavier and were allotted land paid little attention to the artificial boundaries drawn on paper which supposedly privatized their land – they continued to farm and graze the land communally. 38 This refusal to abide by the provisions of the Dawes Act is also a form of resistance to cultural assimilation and adds one more example to show that for those O’odham who resisted, the most often employed method of resistance was non-compliance and avoidance. This specific response to colonization was made possible by the isolation and expansiveness of their desert home, which many Anglo’s continued to view as a “hopeless desert.” 39

The Domestication of the “Wild Papago”

The vast majority of the O’odham continued to resist assimilation and maintained a fairly traditional lifestyle – minus the introduction of cattle herding and horse rearing. In the twenty years following the passage of the Dawes Act, a growing effort was made to enclose the “Wild Papago” 40 and forcibly strip them of their traditional culture and instill them with the “civilized” values of the industrial Anglo. As was mentioned previously in the paper, ranchers and the government used O’odham cattle theft from Anglo ranchers as one tool to justify the enclosure of the O’odham within a reservation. During this period, Anglo Cattle ranchers continued to encroach deeper and deeper into O’odham territory and scuffles began to break out.

In another classic example of the “blame the victim” tactic, a pro-enclosure story was printed in the Los Angeles Times, no doubt to build public pressure for the domestication of the “Wild Papago.” The story concerns a group of O’odham who had resisted an Anglo cattleman’s attempts to enclose one of their water sources. When these O’odham continually tore down the fence that this cattleman had built, the rancher filed a report with the local Indian Agency sheriff to have the men arrested. When the sheriff arrived to arrest the O’odham responsible for defending their water source, he was taken hostage. The sheriff was later released unharmed; however, the incident was used to make the argument that such troubles can only be expected to increase if the O’odham were not enclosed on a reservation where they could be more easily controlled and monitored. 41

The tactic of occupying and diverting natural water sources was one of the tools used by the Anglo settlers and government to destroy the self sufficiency of the O’odham and force them into reservations where they would be dependent on the government for their water and would thus be easier to control and monitor. Some of the O’odham clearly understood what was happening, which is evidenced by instances of resistance both to the enclosure of natural water sources as well as resistance to the drilling of wells. One example of the U.S. government using water as a tool of forced cultural assimilation can be found by looking at an event recorded by an O’odham calendar stick 42 keeper. In 1912, the O’odham residing in the village of Santa Rosa, an isolated and traditional village in the western desert region of O’odham territory, were paid a visit by an Anglo Indian Commissioner who wished to drill a well for them. The Chief of the village objected to the drilling of the well on the grounds that it would disturb their culture, their autonomy and their self-sufficiency. The government agent proceeded to have the well drilled anyway. Upon completion of the well, the Chief of the village, according to the calendar stick keeper, stated that

“the well must be left alone and, in order that the Papagos might continue their old life, water must still be carried from the spring in the foothills.” 43

However, the prohibition by the Chief could not be upheld due to the overwhelming convenience of the new well and after a period of abstaining from its usage, the village of Santa Rosa (including the Chief) gave in and thus was assimilated into the industrial system by being made dependent on the Government well. 44 During this same time period, encroaching Anglo farmers engaged in the diversion of O’odham water sources to irrigate their farms. This practice served as another method of forcing the self sufficient O’odham into a relationship of dependence upon the government. In many areas so much water was diverted that the O’odham could no longer grow their traditional summer crops. 45

In 1919, the first incarnation of an O’odham reservation to enclose the nearly two million acres of desert that the “Wild Papago” were residing in was established. The formation of the desert O’odham reservation in 1919 ushered in a period of exponentially increased government interference in O’odham matters, and of course, the various forms of coercive assimilation were multiplied. By 1933, thirty-two unwanted wells were drilled all over the new reservation. 46 The well drilling was often opposed by those who were trying to maintain the O’odham Him’dag – the traditional ways of the desert people.

Resistance and Collaboration: O’odham Responses to Forced Modernization

In contrast to the traditional O’odham who had maintained resistance to cultural assimilation for the past 300 years, there was also a small number of O’odham based in the new reservation that welcomed collaboration with the forces of Anglo modernization and advocated for cultural accommodation and in some instances for total cultural assimilation. These men would later form an organization called the Papago Good Government League, which would serve as the propaganda arm of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and government policy in general. The leadership of this new faction had been taken from their families as youths and placed in Protestant boarding schools to be culturally indoctrinated. The Tucson Presbyterian Training School was one of the indoctrination centers where many future members of the Good Government League had been sent. 47

Religious indoctrination, whether Catholic or Protestant, has always been one of the most powerful tools of colonization and its justification used by European invaders against the indigenous peoples of the Americas. The necessary counterpart to the forced indoctrination of Christian principals and morals has always been the repression of indigenous spiritual practices. The United States government understood the profound power that traditional spiritual practices had in maintaining group solidarity and cohesion and it is for this reason that such spiritual practices were made illegal and repressed historically. In 1883, a Court of Indian Offenses was established by congress at the request of Secretary of Interior Henry M. Teller to eliminate traditional spiritual practices. In a report to the commissioner of Indian Affairs, Teller laid out his goals and his rationale stating that,

“If it is the purpose of the Government to civilize the Indians, they must be compelled to desist from the savage and barbarous practices that are calculated to continue them in savagery….”

Teller went on to associate those who resisted the repression of their spirituality with the “non-progressive” faction of Indians and labeled traditional spiritualism as “debauchery,” “diabolism,” and “savagery.” The overarching argument of his letter is that in order to civilize the Indians and bring them into the industrial system, their traditional spiritualism must be destroyed. As an initial step towards this end, Teller advised that Medicine Men be “compelled” to desist from their practice of “deception.” 48

Although the Court of Indian Offenses advocated that coercion be used to repress and destroy indigenous spiritualism, it failed to succeed in this project even when it used force to try to stop traditional spiritual rituals. According to Historian Edward Spicer, the only thing the Court succeeded in doing was driving traditional spiritual practices underground. In the case of many resistant O’odham, traditional spiritual practices were continued without regard to regulations or prohibitions against them, and in many cases, federal authorities resorted to repression and arrest to try to stop these practices. One traditional spiritual practice of the O’odham which was particularly hated by the Protestant Missionaries and Indian Agents was the Vi-kita ceremony.

The Vi-kita ceremony of the O’odham has been written about and studied by many Anglo historians and anthropologists, the most prominent being Columbia Anthropologist Ruth Underhill. 49 Before going into a short description of the Vi-kita it is important to understand that this ceremony varied depending on who was conducting it and where it was being conducted. Peter Blaine, an influential O’odham man sympathetic to the traditional ways, wrote in his autobiography about Underhill’s methods. Blaine explained the traditional way for the O’odham to tell about their past was to do it

“in a group so that everybody had a chance to talk and tell it their way. Underhill was talking to just one man…Dr. Underhill was wrong all the way in how she got her information.” 50

As scholars from the dominant culture often do, Underhill had applied her own notions of hierarchy, authority and individualism to her work with the O’odham and totally disregarded their traditional methods of conveying information in a communal fashion.

The Vi-kita itself was a yearly rain and fertility festival preformed to initiate and give thanks for the yearly summer rains. The ceremony itself consisted of the communal singing of rain songs, dancing, intimate encounters, and the consumption of Navait (Saguaro wine), an alcoholic drink made by the fermentation of Saguaro Cactus buds. The consumption of this wine was meant to symbolize the connection between the sky and the earth. The intake of the Navait was representative of the earth’s intake of rain. Participants drank Navait until vomiting occurred as this act embodied the clouds issuing forth rain unto the earth. It was a powerful ceremony that bonded the O’odham with the elements of nature.

When Protestant missionaries, and a small number of Protestant O’odham in the Good Government League, backed by U.S. Indian Agents, began their attempts to usurp power on the newly formed western O’odham (Sells) 51 reservation in the early 20th century, one of the first things they attacked was the practice of the Vi-kita ceremony. In the early 1930s, Peter Blaine explained that the traditional O’odham from the San Xavier reservation would travel to the western reservation for the Vi-kita. He states that,

“In the late 1920s the government tried to stop this wine drinking ceremony on the Sells reservation. But no Papago or Agency police could ever stop it.”

In one instance Blaine tells the story of how he helped defend three traditional O’odham Vi-kita ceremony leaders when they were arrested by agents from the Indian Bureau and jailed in Tucson. During the trial, a group of Protestant O’odham men from the Good Government League 52 argued for the repression of the ceremony – one of these men, Richard Hendrix, would continue to plague the traditional O’odham in future encounters. To respond to the collaborationist Good Government League, the resistant traditional O’odham formed the League of Papago Chiefs to counter the attempts of the Protestant Good Government League to usurp control on the reservation. 53

The Indian Reorganization Act and O’odham land rights

On June 18th, 1934, President Roosevelt signed into law the Indian Reorganization Act which finally stopped the forced allotment process initiated by the Dawes Act in 1887. The Indian Reorganization Act was viewed by its proponents as being in the best interests of the Indians. One of the reasons for this view was the fact that the Dawes Act and its forced allotment provisions had resulted in the loss of 90,000,000 acres of tribal lands and it was hoped by some, including then Indian Commissioner John Collier, that the Indian Reorganization Act could be used to regain some of this lost land.

The public was also encouraged to view the Indian Reorganization Act as being beneficial for Native Americans. A large article in the Los Angles Times entitled “The Bill to Return Indian Rights” stated that:

“After a century of graft, plunder and injustice, this bill has the objective of handing their own souls back to the Indians.” 54

However, such optimism and notions of cultural relativism were not held by all. As a precursor to the Indian Reorganization Act, a report was prepared for the Secretary of the Interior in 1928 to lay out the need for a change in Federal Indian Policy. The report stated that the “great majority of Indians are ultimately to merge into the general population” and that it was the government’s responsibility to assimilate Native Americans into “white civilization” because “the hands of the clock cannot be turned backwards.” Sympathetic attempts to help Native Americans retain their culture were stigmatized as attempts to “preserve them as museum specimens.” 55 Indian Commissioner John Collier was one of those who believed that Native Americans should retain their culture and that “the awakening of the racial spirit must be sustained….” 56 However, although the finalized Indian Reorganization Act did contain elements that were meant to “help” Native Americans, many of its articles were still designed to impose “civilized” systems on Native Americans.

It can be argued that the intent of the finalized Indian Reorganization Act was to initiate a new chapter in the push for the total cultural assimilation of the Native American tribes. The argument that there was no qualitative change between the Dawes Act and the Reorganization Act is legitimate. The Indian Reorganization Act provides the examples for the argument. The main tool of assimilation in the Indian Reorganization Act was the provision in Section 17 which allowed for Native American tribes to form their own tribal governments, constitutions and laws which, although it is not specifically stated, were intended to be Anglo in structure and functioning. In the case that these native governments were not sufficiently acceptable to the U.S. government, section 17 also provided that all Tribal Government formations must be “approved by the Secretary of the Interior.” 57 This clearly shows that the intent of the Act was not to allow Native Americans to become fully autonomous, either culturally or politically. For a tribe such as the O’odham, which had a long history of decentralization and consensus decision making, the imposition of western style liberal democracy, with its attendant centralization and majority rule system, was an obvious method of forced cultural indoctrination. Peter Blaine, who was mentioned earlier, was an O’odham man who had sympathy for the traditional, decentralized and communal way of O’odham societal organization. When the collaborationist Papago Good Government League began to maneuver themselves into the position of representing all of the O’odham, Blaine took it upon himself to lead the charge to discredit their assertions to business interests and the Federal Government that they represented the O’odham. Blaine wrote that:

“This so-called council represented only their own church people, but they took it upon themselves to become a council for all Papagos. They had meetings. Nobody attended them but these four guys because most people didn’t recognize them as leaders.” 58

In 1934 Blaine, along with another O’odham from the Gila Bend reservation named Leon Pancho became the first O’odham to travel to Washington D.C. These two men were sent as representatives of the traditional chiefs of the O’odham villages to argue against a recent court order that closed the Sells reservation to outside, Anglo owned, mining. The court order was a result of a lawsuit brought by the members of the Good Government League, including Richard Hendrix, who had teamed up with outside lawyers. These lawyers were to receive as payment a ten percent share of all land reclaimed from the mining companies, or a monetary equivalent. As this entire procedure was done behind the backs of the majority of the O’odham, when it was revealed, there was great resentment towards the Good Government League by many of the O’odham.

While in Washington D.C., Blaine was informed of the pending Indian Reorganization Act, and he became a supporter of the Act due to its provision allowing for the self government of Native Americans, as well as a provision in section Six that allowed the Secretary of Interior to manage mineral, mining, and livestock on the reservation. 59 In the case of the O’odham this meant that the reservation would be re-opened to mining and they would regain an important means of economic sustenance. According to Blaine, the mines were an important economic resource for the O’odham as they provided jobs and a market where beef and other O’odham products could be sold. 60 This is yet another unfortunate example of how the incursion of Anglo industrial technology served to destroy the self-sufficiency of the O’odham by making them dependent on it for survival.

Whether or not the mines were truly in the best interest of the O’odham is a complex topic which cannot be dealt with here. However it should be stated that Blaine and his companions’ trip to Washington D.C. was financed by the Tucson Chamber of Commerce, an organization that functioned in support of the mining interests, not the O’odham. This Tucson Chamber of Commerce was the same organization that had aggressively petitioned President Wilson to rescind his 1916 act forming the Sells reservation because it prevented Anglo agricultural interests from exploiting the area’s “best agricultural and grazing lands.” 61

Resistance to and Collaboration with the “White Man’s War”

Not long after the passage of the Indian Reorganization Act and the formation of the first O’odham Tribal Government, the United States declared war on Japan, thus entering World War II. The participation of Native Americans in World War II has been well publicized, especially the role the Dineh (Navajo) played as code talkers in the South Pacific. The United States government and the mainstream media portrayed Native Americans as being eager to fight for their homeland, and eager to assimilate into “white civilization” once they returned from the war. Nearly 25,000 62 Native Americans served in the United States military during World War II, many of whom were no doubt under the impression that their service would be rewarded with increased “rights” after the war’s end. Instead, as a “reward” for Native Americans participation in World War II the United States government established the Indian Claims commission in 1946 to legalize the U.S. occupation of Native American Lands never granted to the U.S. by treaty, passed House Concurrent Resolution 108 to terminate tribal recognition as separate entities from the Federal Government, and then instituted a plan in 1954 to relocate Native Americans off the reservation and into “Indian Ghettos” in the nation’s large cities. 63 These were the “rewards” for participation in World War II.

Like many other Native American Tribes, some of the O’odham Nations members participated in World War II. Ruth Underhill claims that the O’odham enlisted to serve in World War II “in droves” 64 and it is documented that the O’odham tribal government bought $10,000 in war bonds. 65 However, the extent of this involvement was distorted by the media, academia, and even some of the O’odham leaders in the tribal government. Richard Hendrix, a former member of the collaborationist Good Government League, had risen to prominence in the new O’odham tribal government by this time and was interviewed by the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society on November 16, 1942. In this interview Hendrix exposed the extent to which he had allowed his mind to be colonized and assimilated into that of the dominant white culture. Speaking of colonization in general and World War II in particular, Hendrix stated that the O’odham had:

Learned to love the American government and they learned to love the Stars and Stripes. And when the war came and the time came for our boys to be registered, there was no exception. They registered just the same as white boys did. And now they are out fighting alongside the white boys, the American boys. They are just as anxious as the white boys to kill as many Japs, to kill as many Germans, and they are very anxious to win this great war so that the Papago people in this desert land may continue to enjoy the freedom of their homes. 66

Hendrix’s internalization of white supremacist racial notions is a heart breaking and shocking example of the extent to which he had accepted the ideology of “white civilization.” In addition, his assertion that every O’odham boy registered for the war with “no exception” is glaringly false.

Aside from the fact that there are always exceptions to everything, there was also a large scale organized resistance to World War II led by an old Chief and medicine man, Pia Machita, and his band of traditional O’odham who resided in an isolated village in the north western area of the Sells Reservation known as the Hickwan district. According to Peter Blaine, the O’odham residing in some of the most isolated villages in the Hickwan district had not seen a white man until the 1930s, and continued to practice the traditional O’odham Him’dag. 67 When Pia Machita was informed of the compulsory registration of young O’odham boys for induction into World War II, he instructed the youth of his village to refuse to sign the registration forms when they were visited by the local Indian Agent. Pia Machita was a very traditional leader who refused cultural assimilation and would not accept the authority of the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the O’odham tribal government. Finally, after all efforts to persuade Pia Machita’s village to register had failed, the tribal chief of police and a gang of Federal Marshals led by U.S. Marshall Ben McKinney invaded the village at two in the morning on October 16th, 1941, with tear gas bombs and guns drawn – when the Marshals attempted to take Pia Machita into custody some of the young men from the village used force to liberate him and severely beat one of the federal marshals. In the face of this resistance, the government agents and their local collaborators retreated to Tucson. When the Attorney General’s Office heard of the resistance on the O’odham reservation, they immediately got involved in the effort to repress this draft resistance movement as quickly as possible to prevent its possible spread to other reservations. By May 17th, 1941, after a period of about six months of trying to track down Pia Machita and his small band of men, Marshall McKinney and O’odham collaborators including Jose Ignacio from the tribal government, surrounded Pia Machita in the village of Stoa Pitk and took him into custody without incident. 68

Peter Blaine was the O’odham tribal chairman during the time that Pia Machita was leading the draft resistance movement. Although he did not believe that Pia Machita and his men were threats in any way, he was annoyed by what he perceived to be their stubbornness and attributed their draft resistance to his belief that they “didn’t really understand what they were doing.” 69 In reality, it was Blaine who did not understand the reasons behind Pia Machita and his men’s resistance to enlistment. Pia Machita and his men understood very well what they were doing – they were resisting giving aid to a government that they understood was their enemy. Given this understanding, and given the dictionary definition of the word “collaboration,” it becomes necessary to label those O’odham who participated in the arrest of Pia Machita as such – collaborators. The understanding that the U.S. government was the enemy of the traditional O’odham of the Hickwan district was based upon a long history of attempts by the U.S. government to force the Traditional O’odham of that area to abandon the Him’dag and embrace elements of Anglo “progress” such as dams, railroads, wells, and the protestant religion. Despite Peter Blaine’s inability to understand why the O’odham in the Hickwan district rejected Anglo-civilization in its totality, he still maintained sympathy for the people there. When Pia Machita and two co-defendants were finally sentenced to serve 18 months in prison at Terminal Island Federal Prison for their roles in leading the resistance movement, Peter Blaine eventually came to their aid and used his connections as tribal chairman to persuade the sentencing Judge to release Pia Machita early and allow him to return to the reservation and his family. 70

Conclusion

The history of the O’odham’s contact with the United States government has been one marked by a persistent current of resistance to cultural assimilation into “white civilization.” This resistance has included a variety of tactics and actions. The favored tactic of resistance to assimilation for many of the O’odham groupings seems to have been that of avoidance and feigned accommodation to Anglo culture when expedient. However, as was evidenced by the O’odham’s early history of contact with the Spanish, they did not refrain from waging armed resistance to colonization when they were pushed into a situation where other tactics might have been ineffectual.

In addition to resistance and accommodation, it has also been shown that some of the O’odham choose to engage in direct collaboration with the Anglo colonization of their lands and minds. As this paper has shown, the levels of collaborative activity amongst the O’odham varied, and so did the effects of such collaboration. When investigating instances of collaboration it is always important to understand the context which produced them and to remember that the ultimate blame for a situation of oppression should always be placed upon the group committing the acts of repression – in this case the United States government and allied business interests. It is important to show such examples of collaboration and to understand that all human cultures who have been the victim of colonization have invariably contained individuals who chose to collaborate for a variety of reasons. The O’odham are no exception to this rule. Making apologies for collaboration or failing to mention the instances where such collaboration did occur creates a historical distortion and does nothing to aid present struggles for liberation.

The O’odham responses to colonization never represented a totality, but a strong current of resistance is evident throughout their history. In regards to the United States government, it can be said, given the primary sources looked at, and the final drafts of laws signed and policies followed, that the intent of the United States government toward all Native American tribes, when it was not outright genocidal, has been the cultural destruction and absorption of remaining Native Americans into the dominant industrial culture of “white civilization.” Regardless of the varying tactics used, and the various lip service about “best interests” and “justice,” it has been shown that there has never been a qualitative change in United States policy toward the O’odham people and Native Americans in general. The O’odham have maintained aspects of their traditional culture despite the best efforts of the government to force assimilation, not as a result of such efforts. A continuing current of struggle between the forces of colonization and resistance has persisted for centuries, in all its various forms, within the minds and bodies of many O’odham and will continue until liberation.

NOTES:

1
This date is based on archeological evidence gathered by E.W. Haury in Ventana Cave. Haury, E.W. The Stratigraphy and Archeology of Ventana Cave Arizona. Tuscon: University of Arizona Press, 1950. Cited from Williams, Thomas R. “The Structure of the Socialization Process in Papago Indian Society.” Social Forces, Vol.36, No.3. p.253.

2
Fontana, Bernard L. Of Earth and Little Rain: The Papago Indians. Tuscon: University of Arizona Press, 1989. pp.37-39.

3
The name “O’odham” is roughly translated as “the people” in the Piman dialect spoken by the various O’odham groupings.

4
In 1986 the tribal government of the Papago reservation officially changed its name to the Tohono O’odham Nation.

5
The term “civilized” is a problematic historical term, and its definition tends to be very subjective. The meaning of the term and its use as a label is heavily influenced by how the author and the reader understand its meaning. For the purposes of this paper, the term “civilized” refers to the totality of the “western” cultural, political, and economic system – and most importantly the belief that technological/industrial progress is inherently beneficial and liberatory. For most, being labeled “civilized” is viewed as a positive and the label of “un-civilized” or “savage” is viewed in the reverse. However, for the purposes of this study it is imperative to understand that this author views “civilization” itself as an inherently oppressive and destructive entity, and this must be kept in mind to correctly understand the arguments and analyses in the paper.

6
The term “soft power” refers to the concept of gaining influence and control over another group by means of the attraction of the dominating group’s cultural attributes and the use of commodification rather than using military might and coercion (“hard power”) to gain that influence. See Joseph S. Nye, Jr. Soft Power: The means to success in world politics. New York: Perseus Books, 2004.

7
Erickson, Winston T. Sharing the Desert: The Tohono O’odham in History. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2003.

8
Fontana, Bernard L. Of Earth and Little Rain: The Papago Indians. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1989.

9
According to Catholic missionary records, the numbers of mission O’odham during this time period were somewhere around 2,000. However, according to population estimates there were at least 10,000 O’odham peoples living in this area. See Fontana, Bernard L. Of Earth and Little Rain . pp.11,46.

10
Fontana, Bernard L., p.40.

11
It is well documented that many of the Missions resorted to physical abuse, forced confinement and occasional murder to coerce the O’odham into compliance. San Xavier del Bac, the largest and most famous of Catholic missions in O’odham lands was built with forced labor. See Daniel McCool; “Federal Indian Policy and the Sacred Mountains of the Papago Indians.” Journal of Ethnic Studies 9.3 (1981).p59.

12
Erickson, Winston P., p.66.

13
Fontana, Bernard L., pp.61-64.

14
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Feb 2nd, 1848. United States Statutes At Large, pp. 922-943

15
For a detailed treatment of this series of events see; Garber, Paul N. The Gadsden Treaty. Glouchester: Peter Smith, 1959.

16
For more information on the removal of the Seminole; Stannard, David E. American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. P.124. For additional information about the Seminole Wars see; Churchill, Ward. “A Little Matter Of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas 1492 to the Present.” San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1997.

17
All dates for the political appointments of James Gadsden are cited from Paul Garber’s “The Gadsden Treaty.” Pages 74-81.

18
Racial Anglo-Saxonism was a belief popular in the later 19th century which held that Europeans of Anglo-Saxon descent were at the forefront of evolution and were responsible to bring civilization to the world. This ideology was used as a convenient justification for the extermination and removal of Native Americans. For a detailed study of this ideology see: Horsman, Reginald. Race And Manifest Destiny: The Origins of American Racial Anglo-Saxonism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1981.

19
For a detailed investigation of the role that the railroads played in the Gadsden purchase see; Schmidt, Louis B. “Manifest Opportunity and the Gadsden Purchase.” Arizona and the West, vol.3 (autumn 1961).

20
Forbes, Jack D. The Papago-Apache Treaty of 1853: Property Rights and Religious Liberties of the O’odham, Maricopa and Other Native Peoples. Davis: Native American Studies Tecumseh Center, U.C. Davis, 1979. p.1.

21
United States Congress. Joint Special Committee. Condition of The Indian Tribes. Report of the joint special committee, appointed under joint resolution of March 3, 1865. With an appendix. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1865.

22
Erickson, p.77

23
During this time period many treaties were negotiated with native tribes in the regions west of the Mississippi to gain legal justification for the United States’ theft of their lands. For a detailed list of treaties signed between the United States and Native American tribes, see the compendium edited by Charles J. Kappler. Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties. 7 volumes. Washington, D.C.: Unites States Government Printing Office, 1903-4.

24
Spicer, Edward H. Cycles of Conquest: The Impact of Spain, Mexico, and the United States on the Indians of the Southwest, 1533-1960. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1962. p.138.

25
“Arizona News; Papago Cattle-thieves Brought to Justice.” Los Angeles Times. Feb 1, 1894. Also see: “Arizona News; Report Showing the Depredations Committed by Papago Indians on Stockmen’s Herds.” Los Angeles Times. June 8, 1895, In addition see; “Arizona News: Papagoes Destroying Cattle in Large Numbers.” Los Angeles Times. Mar 23, 1894.

26
Kehoe, Lawrence. “Our New Indian Policy and Religious Liberty.” Catholic World, vol. 26 (Oct. 1887). P.96.

27
Erickson p.78.

28
“Tucson And Fort Lowell; Notes of a Visitor – The Church of San Xavier.” Los Angeles Times. Nov 18, 1882.

29
The Spanish had brought the adobe style of construction to the O’odham but, although the resources for adobe construction were readily available to the O’odham at San Xavier, they continued to build their traditional grass huts.

30
For a detailed study of traditional O’odham tribal structure and life style see; Underhill, Ruth M. Social Organization of the Papago Indians. Columbia: Columbia University Press, 1939. ________. Papago Woman. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1979.

31
For the most part, traditional Native American societies exhibited gender parallelism and were rarely if ever patriarchal by definition. For a detailed study of gender in Native America see: Allen, Paula G. The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions. Boston: Beacon Press, 1986.

32
All direct quotations from Dawes Act. General Allotment Act (Dawes Act). February 8, 1887. Printed in its totality in: Prucha, Francis, P. ed. Documents of United States Indian Policy. 3rd ed. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000.

33
U.S. Congress, House Committee on Indian Affairs, Lands in Severalty to Indians: Report to Accompany H.R. 5038, 46th Cong., 2nd sess., May 28, 1880, H. Rept. 1576, pp.7-10. Reproduced in: Washburn, Wilcomb E. The Assault on Indian Tribalism: The General Allotment Law (Dawes Act) of 1887. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co., 1975.

34
Letter from Henry L. Dawes to Henry M. Teller (Commissioner of Indian Affairs), September 19, 1882. Dawes Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Reproduced in: Washburn, Wilcomb E. The Assault on Indian Tribalism: The General Allotment Law (Dawes Act) of 1887. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co., 1975.

35
Washburn, Wilcomb E. The Assault on Indian Tribalism: The General Allotment Law (Dawes Act) of 1887. P.12.

36
Washburn, p.16.

37
Fontana, pp. 77-79.

38
Erickson, p. 92.

39
“Baboquivari Peak.” Los Angeles Times. Nov 4, 1894.

40
The term “Wild Papago” was a term used by the government and media to marginalize those O’odham who continued to resist “civilization.”

41
“The Indian War Cloud.” Los Angeles Times. May 22, 1885.

42
The Calendar Stick was a device used by the O’odham as a tool to aid in the remembering of their history. The Calendar Stick itself was a cactus stick on which notches were carved at various intervals which aided the history keeper in the remembrance of events.

43
Fontana, p.54.

44
This example is meant to show the insidious nature of industrial technology and is not intended to place any blame on this specific group of O’odham for their ultimate choice to begin using the well. This example is given to show how industrial technology always comes with strings attached. In this case, once the village becomes dependent on the well they in turn become dependent on the Anglo civilization which is needed to maintain the functioning of such a well, and thus become less able to resist other Anglo incursions. In addition it must be pointed out here that the traditional water gathering procedure talked about was preformed by O’odham women. Due to this fact, some may feel that by resisting the building of the well, the male O’odham are in fact seeking to perpetuate patriarchy. It is true that the O’odham did have a system of gendered roles, but the overall system made room for exceptions and is best characterized as one of gender parallelism, not patriarchy. It is the Anglo industrial system that brought patriarchy to the O’odham. For more information see: Underhill, Ruth. Papago Woman. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1979. Also see: Allen, Paula G. The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions. Boston: Beacon Press, 1986.

45
Forbes, Jack D. The Papago-Apache Treaty of 1853: Property Rights and Religious Liberties of the O’odham, Maricopa and Other Native Peoples. Davis: Native American Studies Tecumseh Center, U.C. Davis, 1979. pp..5-8.

46
Spicer, p. 140.

47
Spicer, p.141.

48
All quotes taken directly from: House Executive Document no.1, 48th Cong., 1st sess., serial 2190, pp.x-xii. Reproduced in; Prucha, Francis, P. ed. Documents of United States Indian Policy. 3rd ed. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000.

49
For a detailed account of the Vi-kita see: Davis, Edward H. The Papago Ceremony of Vikita. New York: Museum of The American Indian, 1920. Also see: Underhill, Ruth. Papago Woman. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1979.

50
Blaine, Peter. Papagos and Politics. Tucson: The Arizona Historical Society, 1981. p.42.

51
The expansive western O’odham reservation was officially called the Sells reservation. It was named after the first Indian agent in the region, John Sells.

52
The Good Government League was formed by a small group of Protestant O’odham who used the organization to advocate for the assimilation of the O’odham into Anglo civilization as well as to promote general U.S. Indian policy.

53
Blaine, pp.40-50.

54
“Bill To Return Indian Rights ” Los Angeles Times. June 8, 1934.

55
Lewis Meriam et al., The Problem of Indian Administration. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1928. Selection printed in: Prucha, Francis, P. ed. Documents of United States Indian Policy. 3rd ed. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000.

56
Annual Report of the Secretary of Interior, 1934, pp.78-83. Reprinted in; Prucha, Francis, P. ed. Documents of United States Indian Policy. 3rd ed. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000.

57
Wheeler-Howard Act (Indian Reorganization Act) June 18, 1934. U.S. Statutes at Large, 48:984-88. Re-printed in: Prucha, Francis, P. ed. Documents of United States Indian Policy. 3rd ed. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000.

58
Blaine, p.50.

59
Wheeler-Howard Act (Indian Reorganization Act) June 18, 1934. U.S. Statutes at Large, 48:984-88. Re-printed in: Prucha, Francis, P. ed. Documents of United States Indian Policy. 3rd ed. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000.

60
Blaine, pp.50-53.

61
McCool, Daniel. “Federal Indian Policy and the Sacred Mountains of the Papago Indians.” Journal of Ethnic Studies 9.3 (1981). p.62.

62
Holm, Tom. “Fighting A White Mans War: The Extent and Legacy of American Indian Participation in World War II.” The Journal of Ethnic Studies. 9.2. p.70.

63
For more on this aspect of the Indian Claims Commission, and a discussion about the termination act see: Forbes, Jack D. The Papago-Apache Treaty of 1853: Property Rights and Religious Liberties of the O’odham, Maricopa and Other Native Peoples. Davis: Native American Studies Tecumseh Center, U.C. Davis, 1979.

64
Underhill, Ruth. Papago Woman. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1979. P.94.

65
Blaine, p.115.

66
Hendrix, Richard. Talk by Richard Hendricks, Prominent Papago Indian, Given at the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society, November 16, 1942. The Kiva, vol. 8 (Nov. 1942).

67
Blaine, p.92.

68
Flaccus, Elmer. “Arizona’s Last Great Indian War: The Saga of Pia Machita.” The Journal of Arizona History, vol. 22 (1981).

69
Blaine, p.101.

70
Blain, pp.103-4.

© 2004, REPRODUCTION FOR NON-PROFIT INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES IS ALLOWED

Columbus fall from grace not predicted by Mayan Long Count Calendar

1977 Playboy cartoonFor centuries, we’ve had only engravings to depict the Christopher Columbus discovery of the New World. With the moving pictures of today (a growing number in color according to IMdB), you’d think by now one or two would have caught the real Admiral Cristóbal Colón in blood-red technicolor, terrorizing his new minions with cruel Spanish steel.

Today is still celebrated by the US as Columbus Day. Elsewhere, October 10 is designated International Indigenous Peoples Day.

Accounts in Mexico say the Maya predicted the European invasion which was to plunge the Americas into eternal darkness. They foretold when, 1492 and how, bearded white men delivering uncompromising savagery. Based on the accuracy of this prediction, supposedly, many now have begun to scrutinize another pre-Columbian calculation, the end of the world in the year 2012. It’s odd we accept an unflattering characterization of our scourge, without embracing our inheritance and ongoing role. The villains were our ancestors. We are our fathers.

It’s not just the Italian Americans who cling to the heroic myth of Christopher Columbus. Every white immigrant, and let’s be fair, the hispanic are white too, has an interest in soft-pedalling over the Columbus genocides. The European program of enslavement and pillage continues on these continents today, even as the North American colony serves as platform for the exploitation of all the developing worlds. Every Anglo-Iberian is complicit in extorting indigenous peoples of their well-being and heritage. It would probably be no exaggeration to say that the modern equivalent is not far removed from forcing native populations to slave for gold on pain of dismemberment. Columbus’s men grilled the Indians slowly over spits, or cut off both hands so victims couldn’t staunch their own bleeding. Today’s conquistadors on Capitalism’s wild frontiers use much the same methods.

To re-frame Spain’s discovery with a genocidal agenda is to understand how the competing French and English enterprises redoubled the brutality. Western expansion was invasion. Manifest Destiny was promised land rationalization. Settlements were occupation, and are occupation. To see Columbus in his true horror is to see today’s Indian reservations for what they are, concentration camps for the last embers of the American insurgency. We Anglos and Iberians are inheritors of stolen destinies. Lives stolen 500 years ago and futures we are stealing still.

Meanwhile, Westerners distract their consciences with THE END IS NIGH prophesies. Has there been a lifetime since creation when mankind didn’t fear the end of the world? In recent decades it wasn’t the Rapture, it wasn’t Y2K, so now it’s the end of the Mayan Calendar, whose schedule of events ends in 2012. New Age astrologists have pinpointed a specific date, December 21, 2012. Really. To me that date bears a suspicious resemblance to the symmetric time events which thrill digital watch wearers. December 21 is of course the Day After the end of time, the unknowable vacuum which follows the end: 12-20-2012. On a metric calendar, that’s 20.12.2012. Spooky.

High Country Earth First Denver Meeting

Earth First roadshowHigh Country Earth First is hosting the EF! ROADSHOW, in DENVER, May 25-26: Monday 2pm in Cheesman Park, and Tuesday 6pm at the Gypsy House.
 
Four ongoing EF! projects in Colorado: DENVER: Stop I-70 Expansion through North Denver; SAN LUIS VALLEY: Halt gas drilling in Baca National Wildlife Refuge: and WESTERN SLOPE: Red Cliff mine campaign and Feral Futures (May 24 – June 7).

From “Rockslide,” High Country Earth First!

The need for resistance in solidarity with the wild has never been louder or clearer than it is today; the EF! roadshow is a great tool for growing that resistance. There are countless examples to draw from in the story of radical movements before us: militant labor organizing tours, anti-fascist resistance recruitment and international speaking tours to build cross-border solidarity. The origin of Earth First! itself is credited to a few roadshows that kicked it all off in the early 1980s. We are building on this tradition; akin to a fellowship crossing Middle Earth to amass insurgents to face Mordor head-on.

List-serves and websites aren’t enough
This Roadshow’s primary intention is to strengthen our radical grassroots ecological network. For almost 30 years, we have been an organized voice bridging conservation biology with grassroots community organizing, road blockading and eco-sabotage. In the past 5 years we have seen numbers and experience-level in the EF! movement decline drastically. Yet, our place has never been more urgent. New groups are popping up across the country, but they are detached from many of the groups, history, and skills that came before them. We can’t afford to stumble and make the same mistakes over again.

We are at the tail end of a decade where corporate globalization rooted itself in the US and spread across the planet like a plague. And now that the reality of climate change is finally sinking into the mainstream consciousness, the same superpowers that pushed so-called ‘free trade’ policies to exploit wild nature more efficiently are promoting carbon trading in attempt to make a profitable industry out of the disasters they’ve created. The spineless Big Green environmental NGOs are scrambling for crumbs and cutting deals with the industry for shallow public relations victories. Earth First! must rise and recognize that it’s presence is a strong component of making the broader environmental movement truly effective. We are its spine, or as an EF! co-founder, Howie Wolke, has put it, we are the lions of a movement ‘ecosystem’. Our niche is critical, and its presence (or absence) is felt deeply by our surroundings.

We need to reconnect the multi-generational aspect of Earth First! that has fallen by the wayside in recent years. We need to broaden our network’s base—from radical rural grandparents to revolutionary urban youth. We need re-establish lost relationships with scholars and scientists who resonate with us. We need to re-inspire musicians and artists to contribute their passion to our battles.

When it comes down to it, solid movements are based on strong personal relationships; and real relationships don’t go very far over the internet. We need face-to-face interaction to build trust with—and support for—each other.

From EF! Here is a glimpse of ongoing local and national campaigns and projects related to EF!. They could all use your support in a variety of ways—from fundraising to showing up in person. Please contact the organizing groups directly to find out what they need most:

Northern California Redwood Defense
Since the fall of Maxxam/Pacific Lumber, forest defenders in the Redwoods have been directing attention on another logging empire: Green Diamond Resource Company (formerly Simpson). In the last 10 years they have clear-cut 52,000 acres of Northern California forests. They are killing off endangered Spotted Owls and have aspirations to sell off thousands of acres in Humboldt County for Salmon killing suburban development. We have set up multiple treesit villages to oppose the destruction, and we need your help TODAY.
www.efhumboldt.org

Appalachian Anti-Mountain Top Removal
The presence of coal plants are threats to the lives within both the human community and the mountain ecosystem. One of the most biologically flourishing areas of the world is being environmentally and socially impoverished by companies practicing mountain top removal. Mountain top removal clogs streams, destroys forests, threatens biodiversity and forces coalfield residents into the unjust choice between income and well-being.
www.blueridgeef.com

Stop I-69 in Indiana
I-69 is a NAFTA superhighway, already constructed from Canada to Indianapolis and projected to extend down into Mexico. This highway is intended for the mass transportation of goods and resources, to further exploit workers and the land, and to lessen companies’ accountability in terms of human and environmental rights. In 2008, they began construction of this road through southwestern Indiana, which will evict hundreds of rural families, destroy hundreds of acres of land, and devastate the habitats of countless species of animals, including the endangered Indiana Bat. www.stopi69.wordpress.com

Fight Development in the North Woods of Maine
The largest piece of undeveloped land east of the Mississippi is under attack. Plum Creek, the nation’s largest corporate landowner, is in the process of rezoning 20,000 acres of the Moosehead Lake region in Maine for luxury house and resorts, while trying to balance it off with a fraudulent conservation easement plan. This plan would still allow timber harvesting, commercial water extraction and the building of new infrastructure, among many other ecologically devastating practices. www.maineearthfirst.wordpress.com

Defend the Last Free-Roaming Wild Buffalo in Montana
The Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) is the only group working in the field, everyday, to stop the slaughter and harassment of Yellowstone’s wild buffalo. Volunteers from around the world defend buffalo on their traditional winter habitat and advocate for their protection. Our daily patrols stand with the buffalo on the ground they choose to be on, and document every move made against them. Tactics range from video documentation to nonviolent civil disobedience. www.buffalofieldcampaign.org

Fight new Copper Mines and Roads in the Deserts of Arizona
Chuk’shon Earth First! is fighting the proposed Rosemont Copper Mine in the Santa Rita Mountains, which is greenwashing itself by claiming a need for increased copper extraction for the solar panel industry. The group is also opposing the expansion of I-10, part of the Department of Transportation’s “Corridors of the Future” program to increase capacity of global industrial commerce. The proposed I-10 Bypass would bisect wild/rural lands and facilitate more sprawl between Tucson and Phoenix. www.chukshonef.wordpress.com

Blue Mountain Biodiversity Project in eastern Oregon
Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project (BMBP) formed in 1991 to increase regional and national awareness of the Blue Mountains ecosystems, to ensure the protection for and reintroduction of diverse native wildlife species, to promote ecologically sound restoration and address the root causes of ecological and community instability. They have trained countless EF!ers is forest monitoring. They are one of the country’s premier grassroots ‘paper-wrenchers’, filing legal challenges that help make our blockades successful. They can be reached at 541-385-9167

Stop Florida Power & Light from trashing the Everglades
Everglades Earth First! (EEF!) have been battling FPL’s plans to build the country’s largest fossil fuel power plant in the Loxahatchee Basin; a headwaters to the remaining Everglades ecosystem. EEF! Is also challenging over 500 miles of new gas pipelines and 2 new Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) facilities. Get more details: www.evergladesearthfirst.org

Stop Gas Drilling in Western New York
There is a proposal on the table to begin one of the largest fossil fuel exploration projects in the country. This project would result hundreds of millions of tons of CO2 emissions, along with the impacts of pipelines, power plants, and new LNG storage facilities. Get in touch with Shale Shock: www.shaleshock.org

Bank of America, Stop Funding Coal!
A national campaign is well underway to stop Bank of America (BoA), who is the largest investor to Mountain Top Removal coal mining. The company recently offered lip-service to address their support for the coal industry, but have made no real steps towards cutting ties with King Coal. With BoA locations in cities across the U.S., this campaign can easily be supported in a decentralized fashion. Give ‘em hell! For more info: www.ran.org

No 2010 Olympics
The Native Youth Movement and other First Nations groups in occupied Canada have called for full-scale resistance to the Winter Olympics proposed in British Colombia. The Olympics proposal includes a mess of development, ski-resorts and infrastructure on indigenous land. Learn more at: www.no2010.com

Root Force
This project is a research database and strategic think tank for direct action intended to target corporate/colonial infrastructure, such as: roads, dams, power plants, and mines. Their website offers background information on transnational companies, government agencies and their local affiliations across the United States. www.rootforce.org

Anti-Zionism 4D: Defining Demonization Double Standards and Delegitimization

The word “nutritious” defines a food quality that provides sustenance. I’ve no doubt as skepticism grows about the likely poisonous aspects of refined sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup, the corporate sugar-water purveyors will append “satiates your subliminal impulses” to the meaning of nutritious. Who safeguards our dictionaries from authoritarians who profit from reweaving the fabric of knowledge we consider inviolate?

We expect facts to change, but it is unsettling to be robbed of the words which we count on to measure the change.

Did you think “anti-Semitic” meant prejudice against the Jews? It does, except the Zionists behind sustaining Israel want it to indemnify their unpopular endeavor too. Anti-Semitism now means opposing Israel, although the stigma implied is of course still “Jew Hater.” But the appropriation is unseemly. Crusading Evangelicals could tell you, if you oppose their bloody incursions into the lands of Islam, then you must be anti-Christian. But are you?

It would seem only fair that the victims of anti-Semitism should be entitled to define what oppresses them, but that’s not who’s wrapping themselves in its protection. Zionists (both Jewish and Christian) claim that an overwhelming percentage of World Jewry supports sustaining the US-Israel occupation of Palestine. Is it true? I wager that the far greater proportion of both Jews and non-Jews repudiate military aggression, occupation, ethnic cleansing and religious oppression. But if it were true, claims of suffering historical persecution are not grounds to be given license to persecute others.

Anti-Semitism describes real, tradition-rooted anti-Jewish sentiment. To expand its meaning disrespects the very tangible prejudice which Jews still face. Opposition to sustaining Israel is actually Anti-Zionism, which is neither for nor against Judaism. Anti-Zionism denounces another long-held prejudice: White European Man’s assertion that the Holy Land belongs to him.

Anti-Zionism is the opposition to sustaining an illegally invaded, illegally occupied, racist administration of Palestine in the name of “Zionism.” Anti-Zionism calls for “the destruction of Israel,” meaning the dissolution of the Western colonial theocracy imposed on the indigenous population of the Middle East. To oppose the sustaining of Israel is a call to exterminate Israeli apartheid. Anti-Zionism is no resurrection of the Final Solution. It means leave people be. White settlers should not assume to usurp the lands and water rights of the native Palestinians.

Zionism defender Nathan Sharansky has constructed a definition of anti-Semitism with an expanded breadth, he calls them the three Ds: Demonization, Double Standards and Delegitimization. It’s this 3D definition with which Zionists are branding UCSB professor William Robinson, himself a Jew, as an anti-Semite. Professor Robinson circulated an email among his sociology students, comparing Israel’s actions in Gaza to methods used by the Nazis, now US-Israeli lobby groups are calling for UCSB to censure him.

Sharansky’s three Ds are easily refuted because he offers no more than circular argument. Ipso Facto my eye. I reprint Sharansky’s explanation below, but first an abridgment:

Demonization: “…having [the Jewish state’s] actions blown out of all sensible proportion … can only be considered anti-Semitic.”

Double Standards: “It is anti-Semitism … when Israel is singled out by the United Nations for human rights abuses while tried and true abusers … are ignored.”

Delegitimization: “…the denial of Israel’s right to exist is always anti-Semitic.”

Thus, if Israel considers the criticisms leveled against it to be insensible, then the criticisms are anti-Semitic; also, so long as abusive regimes persist, Israel reserves its prerogative to abuse; and, the legitimacy of Israel’s biblically ordained Manifest Destiny is never to be questioned. These are self-rationalizations which beg ridicule, but doing so would appear anti-Semitic.

Sharansky finishes: “If other peoples have a right to live securely in their homelands, then the Jewish people have a right to live securely in their homeland.” To suggest that the right of the Palestinians to live in their homeland, have been usurped by the Jewish people, most of whom knew other homelands, is apparently anti-Semitic.

Here is Nathan Sharansky’s statement to support the 3-D formula for decrying “ANTI-SEMITISM!”

I propose the following test for differentiating legitimate criticism of Israel from anti-Semitism. The 3D test, as I call it, is not a new one. It merely applies to the new anti-Semitism the same criteria that for centuries identified the different dimensions of classical anti-Semitism.

DEMONIZATION
The first D is the test of demonization.

Whether it came in the theological form of a collective accusation of deicide or in the literary depiction of Shakespeare’s Shylock, Jews were demonized for centuries as the embodiment of evil. Therefore, today we must be wary of whether the Jewish state is being demonized by having its actions blown out of all sensible proportion.

For example, the comparisons of Israelis to Nazis and of the Palestinian refugee camps to Auschwitz — comparisons heard practically every day within the “enlightened” quarters of Europe — can only be considered anti-Semitic.

Those who draw such analogies either do not know anything about Nazi Germany or, more plausibly, are deliberately trying to paint modern-day Israel as the embodiment of evil.

DOUBLE STANDARDS
The second D is the test of double standards. For thousands of years a clear sign of anti-Semitism was treating Jews differently than other peoples, from the discriminatory laws many nations enacted against them to the tendency to judge their behavior by a different yardstick.

Similarly, today we must ask whether criticism of Israel is being applied selectively. In other words, do similar policies by other governments engender the same criticism, or is there a double standard at work?

It is anti-Semitism, for instance, when Israel is singled out by the United Nations for human rights abuses while tried and true abusers like China, Iran, Cuba, and Syria are ignored.

Likewise, it is anti-Semitism when Israel’s Magen David Adom, alone among the world’s ambulance services, is denied admission to the International Red Cross.

DELIGITIMIZATION
The third D is the test of deligitimization. In the past, anti-Semites tried to deny the legitimacy of the Jewish religion, the Jewish people, or both. Today, they are trying to deny the legitimacy of the Jewish state, presenting it, among other things, as the last vestige of colonialism.

While criticism of an Israeli policy may not be anti-Semitic, the denial of Israel’s right to exist is always anti-Semitic. If other peoples have a right to live securely in their homelands, then the Jewish people have a right to live securely in their homeland.

Leischmaniasis.

An infestation of a parasite carried by a small genus of biting flies, Leischmania.

Most of them indigenous to Mesopotamia.

There was a BBC news show yestereven, about the British pulling out from their latest FAILED attempt to impose their “superior” culture and civilization on one of the oldest civilizations on Earth.

The Tommies were packing up all their gear to leave, they had tanks and trucks etc up on racks being power-washed and fine-cleaned to get rid of all the Iraqi sand… and especially the Leischmania flies and their eggs contained in that sand.

One of the Tommies said something that resonated, “We learned this a long time ago, UNLIKE THE YANKS WHO NEVER DID learn it”.

See, we were asked how exactly sand flies from Iraq could cause Leischmaniasis HERE, in Colorado Springs.

“Where, oh where” we were asked, “could those sand flies have come from?”

My sanity and that of Miss Johnnie were questioned at times…

That it would be somehow impossible to get the flies and therefore the parasites they carry from Iraq to the middle of the United States.

How about it, GI Joe types, when you came back, how thoroughly did you have to clean the gear?

Some of you were probably very good at it, but then, are ALL your comrades so diligent?

Is EVERY commander from that gigantic Mongolian Cluster Fuck as dedicated as perhaps your own officers?

You know as well as I do that some or perhaps most of them are the type who can’t find his ass with both hands.

The Army is still denying that they screwed up in this instance.

Or that Leischmaniasis even exists in Colorado.

Until last year they were officially denying that Gulf War Syndrome could have anything to do with the Depleted Uranium shells.

There’s still denials of PTSD and Helmet-head.

There’s still denials of Agent Orange.

You guys are being screwed by the Army even long after you leave, you really ought to get angry then get even.

Or at least get loud and get started demanding justice.

Don’t let them do a Bonus March Massacre on YOU.

UCSB Prof William Robinson pro-Semite

Putting down the Warsaw Ghetto uprising
Wouldn’t you think it bad form for Israeli militants to behave like Nazis, while immunizing themselves with the self-righteous indignation that any criticism of their actions can simply be dismissed as “anti-Semitic?” Photographs and confessions emerging from the IDF’s atrocities in Gaza just beg comparison the German Einsatzgruppen in Poland. Earlier this year UC Santa Barbara professor William Robinson forwarded an email photo essay to a UCSB listserv, the already much-circulated side by side comparison to the WWII atrocities. Two students complained, plagiarizing stock IDF lingo. Now the Anti-Defamation League wants Robinson to recant. With IDF propagandists pouring on the bullshit, let’s revisit the documents.

As has already been noted, Professor Robinson is a harsh critic of US foreign policy, and already a likely target for the goon squad enforcers of Western Capitalism. Not many of America’s actions are defensible, so Robinson has to be attacked by desperate means. Lucky for the lackey-jackals, Robinson chose to criticize Israel’s atrocities against the Palestinians of Gaza. Bingo!

The Israeli propaganda machine has armed aspiring Israel-defenders with a blanket rebuttal: just yell “ANTI-SEMITISM!” And what a load of crap that is. Much turns on the definition of “anti-Semitism.” It packs the punch of meaning someone who hates Jews, but the advocates of Zionism have expanded the definition into 3-D! Zionist apologist Nathan Sharansky has coined the 3D definition of ant-Semitism: demonization of Israel, double standards, and delegitimization. You don’t have to look closely to note that those points outline all the rebuttals of criticisms of Israel and any question of the legitimacy of the Zionist usurpation of Palestine.

The criticisms posed by those concerned for the fate of Gaza are the same expressed by a large portion of the Israeli Jewish population as well. But the US Israeli lobby, militantly Zionist, has the complicity of the US war-mongering corporate media, thus the IDF Megaphone protestations get traction. These are the same cheap shots leveled against Ward Churchill. By flooding the internet to create the sensation that the indignation was shared, the IDF spammers have been successful in slandering these dissenting academics.

Since we’re seeing this technique being slopped unto our comment forums, let’s examine the statement for which Robinson is being attacked. First we’ll present Robinson’s email. The next post will feature the ensuing letters of complaint, two from UCSB students, and third from the ADL.

Original Email
Here is Professor Robinson’s original email, including his attachment of the Judith Stone article. This accompanied the aforementioned photo essay he forwarded.

Subject: [socforum] parallel images of Nazis and Israelis
From: “William I. Robinson” …
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2009 21:00:05

If Martin Luther King were alive on this day of January 19, 2009, there is no doubt that he would be condemning the Israeli aggression against Gaza along with U.S. military and political support for Israeli war crimes, or that he would be standing shoulder to shoulder with the Palestinians. I am forwarding some horrific, parallel images of Nazi atrocities against the Jews and Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians. Perhaps the most frightening are not those providing a graphic depiction of the carnage but that which shows Israeli children writing “with love” on a bomb that will tear apart Palestinian children.

Gaza is Israel’s Warsaw – a vast concentration camp that confined and blockaded Palestinians, subjecting them to the slow death of malnutrition, disease and despair, nearly two years before their subjection to the quick death of Israeli bombs. We are witness to a slow-motion process of genocide (Websters: “the systematic killing of, or a program of action intended to destroy, a whole national or ethnic group”), a process whose objective is not so much to physically eliminate each and every Palestinian than to eliminate the Palestinians as a people in any meaningful sense of the notion of people-hood.

The Israeli army is the fifth most potent military machine in the world and one that is backed by a propaganda machine that rivals and may well surpass that of the U.S., a machine that dares to make the ludicrous and obnoxious claim that opposition to the policies and practices of the Israeli state is anti-Semitism. It should be no surprise that a state founded on the negation of a people was one of the principal backers of the apartheid South African state not to mention of the Latin American military dictatorships until those regimes collapsed under mass protest, and today arms, trains, and advises military and paramilitary forces in Colombia, one of the world’s worst human rights violators.

Below is an article written by a U.S. Jew and sent to a Jewish newspaper. The editor of the paper was fired for publishing it.

Quest for Justice

By Judith Stone

I am a Jew. I was a participant in the Rally for the Right of Return to Palestine. It was the right thing to do.

I’ve heard about the European holocaust against the Jews since I was a small child. I’ve visited the memorials in Washington, DC and Jerusalem dedicated to Jewish lives lost and I’ve cried at the recognition to what level of atrocity mankind is capable of sinking.

Where are the Jews of conscience? No righteous malice can be held against the survivors of Hitler’s holocaust. These fragments of humanity were in no position to make choices beyond that of personal survival. We must not forget that being a survivor or a co-religionist of the victims of the European Holocaust does not grant dispensation from abiding by the rules of humanity.

“Never again” as a motto, rings hollow when it means “never again to us alone.” My generation was raised being led to believe that the biblical land was a vast desert inhabited by a handful of impoverished Palestinians living with their camels and eking out a living in the sand. The arrival of the Jews was touted as a tremendous benefit to these desert dwellers. Golda Mier even assured us that there “is no Palestinian problem.”

We know now this picture wasn’t as it was painted. Palestine was a land filled with people who called it home. There were thriving towns and villages, schools and hospitals. There were Jews, Christians and Muslims. In fact, prior to the occupation, Jews represented a mere 7 percent of the population and owned 3 percent of the land.

Taking the blinders off for a moment, I see a second atrocity perpetuated by the very people who should be exquisitely sensitive to the suffering of others. These people knew what it felt like to be ordered out of your home at gun point and forced to march into the night to unknown destinations or face execution on the spot. The people who displaced the Palestinians knew first hand what it means to watch your home in flames, to surrender everything dear to your heart at a moment’s notice. Bulldozers leveled hundreds of villages, along with the remains of the village inhabitants, the old and the young. This was nothing new to the world.

Poland is a vast graveyard of the Jews of Europe. Israel is the final resting place of the massacred Palestinian people. A short distance from the memorial to the Jewish children lost to the holocaust in Europe there is a leveled parking lot. Under this parking lot is what’s left of a once flourishing village and the bodies of men, women and children whose only crime was taking up needed space and not leaving graciously. This particular burial marker reads: “Public Parking”.

I’ve talked with Palestinians. I have yet to meet a Palestinian who hasn’t lost a member of their family to the Israeli Shoah, nor a Palestinian who cannot name a relative or friend languishing under inhumane conditions in an Israeli prison. Time and time again, Israel is cited for human rights violations to no avail. On a recent trip to Israel, I visited the refugee camps inhabited by a people who have waited 52 years in these ‘temporary’ camps to go home. Every Palestinian grandparent can tell you the name of their village, their street, and where the olive trees were planted. Their grandchildren may never have been home, but they can tell you where their great-grandfather lies buried and where the village well stood. The press has fostered the portrait of the Palestinian terrorist. But, the victims who rose up against human indignity in the Warsaw Ghetto are called heroes. Those who lost their lives are called martyrs. The Palestinian who tosses a rock in desperation is a terrorist.

Two years ago I drove through Palestine and watched intricate sprinkler systems watering lush green lawns of Zionist settlers in their new condominium complexes, surrounded by armed guards and barbed wire in the midst of a Palestinian community where there was not adequate water to drink and the surrounding fields were sandy and dry. University professor Moshe Zimmerman reported in the Jerusalem Post (April 30, 1995), “The Jewish children of Hebron are just like Hitler’s youth.”

We Jews are suing for restitution, lost wages, compensation for homes, land, slave labor and back wages in Europe. Am I a traitor of a Jew for supporting the right of return of the Palestinian refugees to their birthplace and compensation for what was taken that cannot be returned?

The Jewish dead cannot be brought back to life and neither can the Palestinian massacred be resurrected. David Ben Gurion said, “Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves…politically, we are the aggressors and they defend themselves…The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country…”

Palestine is a land that has been occupied and emptied of its people. It’s cultural and physical landmarks have been obliterated and replaced by tidy Hebrew signs. The history of a people was the first thing eradicated by the occupiers. The history of the indigenous people has been all but eradicated as though they never existed. And all this has been hailed by the world as a miraculous act of G-d. We must recognize that Israel’s existence is not even a question of legality so much as it is an illegal fait accompli realized through the use of force while supported by the Western powers. The UN missions directed at Israel in attempting to correct its violations of have thus far been futile.

In Hertzl’s “The Jewish State,” the father of Zionism said, “…We must investigate and take possession of the new Jewish country by means of every modern expedient.” I guess I agree with Ehud Barak (3 June 1998) when he said, “If I were a Palestinian, I’d also join a terror group.” I’d go a step further perhaps. Rather than throwing little stones in desperation, I’d hurtle a boulder.

Hopefully, somewhere deep inside, every Jew of conscience knows that this was no war; that this was not G-d’s restitution of the holy land to it’s rightful owners. We know that a human atrocity was and continues to be perpetuated against an innocent people who couldn’t come up with the arms and money to defend themselves against the western powers bent upon their demise as a people.

We cannot continue to say, “But what were we to do?” Zionism is not synonymous with Judaism. I wholly support the rally of the right of return of the Palestinian people.

Who said Israel is an Apartheid State?

Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd“Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.” …Who said this? The ANSWER
 
Further Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd, the Architect of Apartheid, said “…a colonial racist mentality which rationalised the genocide of the indigenous peoples of the Americas and Australasia, in Africa from Namibia to the Congo and elsewhere, most clearly has its parallels in Palestine.”

For more info about The Architect of Apartheid

Peru convicts Fujimori for war crimes even as Sri Lanka slaughters thousands in a similar counter insurgency war against its citizens

Tamil Tigers The world once sat by and allowed the United States and its Peruvian puppet, Alberto Fujimori to slaughter off tens of thousands of its indigenous citizens. The excuse was that Sendero Luminoso, the oppositional group, was not a nice enough group of people for liberals and Leftists to campaign to stop the slaughter from occurring. Today the whole world sits by, because they don’t like the Tamil Tigers, and does the exact same thing of allowing the slaughter to go on.

Yet, On this very same day, today Fujimori got convicted and Tamils are demonstrating to stop the same sort of slaughter. The world as a whole though seems to learn nothing? No CHANGE has occurred still.

The role of the US government has been is to simply accept what its ally, India, does in Kashmir and in regard to the ‘Tamil Question?’ India is needed in a US constructed Asian regional alliance against both Russia and China, so this slaughter is just not important enough to the US government to prevent from occurring. The Tamils will simply join others as collateral damage.

Israel as Old South USA- No Nigger Arabs need apply here

Arab workIn Jonathan Cook’s The “Hebrew Labor” Principle Lives On, one gets a true picture of the Jewish State as Old South USA. We often hear in Zionist posts to our blog that, ‘Our Arabs get treated better than they do in the Arab countries themselves’, but it’s just another one of their lies. Who would want to be anything other than Jewish in a theological dictatorship like present day Israel?

YES, and there are multiple forms of discrimination against the non Jewish in almost every way, and that includes who gets the choicer jobs, too.

In Old South USA, Blacks were systematically kept out of choice employment, and instead had to take the jobs of picking up the garbage, cleaning the poop of old people and small kids, and doing all the back breaking labor in the fields and doing all the deadly jobs in industry. We can always suspect that the Jewish Final Solution to getting rid of the indigenous population will not be the total elimination of the Palestinians. If all Palestinians were to be totally removed, then who would do the dirty work for the Master Race of only those officially registered to the Jewish religion?

YES, what would the Apartheid Jewish Supremacy State do then? Who then could the Jewish State call upon to do the actual construction of the physical Jewish State infrastructure? See ‘Arab Work’ a new Israeli comedy for the ‘humorous side’ of the Israeli Apartheid State. It might be as funny as The Jeffersons sitcom once was, so I wonder if it will ever be shown on American TV?

Ward Churchill: Some People Push Back

British edition titled Reflections on the Justice of Roosting ChickensHere is Ward Churchill’s notorious 9/11 “Little Eichmanns” essay, published online September 12, 2001, presented here for archival purposes lest critics think they can silence one of our nation’s strongest dissenting voices. Churchill later expanded this piece into a book entitled On the Justice of Roosting Chickens: reflections on the consequences of U.S. imperial arrogance and criminality published by AK Press in 2003.

Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens
by Ward Churchill

When queried by reporters concerning his views on the assassination of John F. Kennedy in November 1963, Malcolm X famously – and quite charitably, all things considered – replied that it was merely a case of “chickens coming home to roost.”

On the morning of September 11, 2001, a few more chickens – along with some half-million dead Iraqi children – came home to roost in a very big way at the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center. Well, actually, a few of them seem to have nestled in at the Pentagon as well.

The Iraqi youngsters, all of them under 12, died as a predictable – in fact, widely predicted – result of the 1991 US “surgical” bombing of their country’s water purification and sewage facilities, as well as other “infrastructural” targets upon which Iraq’s civilian population depends for its very survival.

If the nature of the bombing were not already bad enough – and it should be noted that this sort of “aerial warfare” constitutes a Class I Crime Against humanity, entailing myriad gross violations of international law, as well as every conceivable standard of “civilized” behavior – the death toll has been steadily ratcheted up by US-imposed sanctions for a full decade now. Enforced all the while by a massive military presence and periodic bombing raids, the embargo has greatly impaired the victims’ ability to import the nutrients, medicines and other materials necessary to saving the lives of even their toddlers.

All told, Iraq has a population of about 18 million. The 500,000 kids lost to date thus represent something on the order of 25 percent of their age group. Indisputably, the rest have suffered – are still suffering – a combination of physical debilitation and psychological trauma severe enough to prevent their ever fully recovering. In effect, an entire generation has been obliterated.

The reason for this holocaust was/is rather simple, and stated quite straightforwardly by President George Bush, the 41st “freedom-loving” father of the freedom-lover currently filling the Oval Office, George the 43rd: “The world must learn that what we say, goes,” intoned George the Elder to the enthusiastic applause of freedom-loving Americans everywhere. How Old George conveyed his message was certainly no mystery to the US public. One need only recall the 24-hour-per-day dissemination of bombardment videos on every available TV channel, and the exceedingly high ratings of these telecasts, to gain a sense of how much they knew.

In trying to affix a meaning to such things, we would do well to remember the wave of elation that swept America at reports of what was happening along the so-called Highway of Death: perhaps 100,000 “towel-heads” and “camel jockeys” – or was it “sand niggers” that week? – in full retreat, routed and effectively defenseless, many of them conscripted civilian laborers, slaughtered in a single day by jets firing the most hyper-lethal types of ordnance. It was a performance worthy of the nazis during the early months of their drive into Russia. And it should be borne in mind that Good Germans gleefully cheered that butchery, too. Indeed, support for Hitler suffered no serious erosion among Germany’s “innocent civilians” until the defeat at Stalingrad in 1943.

There may be a real utility to reflecting further, this time upon the fact that it was pious Americans who led the way in assigning the onus of collective guilt to the German people as a whole, not for things they as individuals had done, but for what they had allowed – nay, empowered – their leaders and their soldiers to do in their name.

If the principle was valid then, it remains so now, as applicable to Good Americans as it was the Good Germans. And the price exacted from the Germans for the faultiness of their moral fiber was truly ghastly. Returning now to the children, and to the effects of the post-Gulf War embargo – continued bull force by Bush the Elder’s successors in the Clinton administration as a gesture of its “resolve” to finalize what George himself had dubbed the “New World Order” of American military/economic domination – it should be noted that not one but two high United Nations officials attempting to coordinate delivery of humanitarian aid to Iraq resigned in succession as protests against US policy.

One of them, former U.N. Assistant Secretary General Denis Halladay, repeatedly denounced what was happening as “a systematic program . . . of deliberate genocide.” His statements appeared in the New York Times and other papers during the fall of 1998, so it can hardly be contended that the American public was “unaware” of them. Shortly thereafter, Secretary of State Madeline Albright openly confirmed Halladay’s assessment. Asked during the widely-viewed TV program Meet the Press to respond to his “allegations,” she calmly announced that she’d decided it was “worth the price” to see that U.S. objectives were achieved.

The Politics of a Perpetrator Population
As a whole, the American public greeted these revelations with yawns.. There were, after all, far more pressing things than the unrelenting misery/death of a few hundred thousand Iraqi tikes to be concerned with. Getting “Jeremy” and “Ellington” to their weekly soccer game, for instance, or seeing to it that little “Tiffany” and “Ashley” had just the right roll-neck sweaters to go with their new cords. And, to be sure, there was the yuppie holy war against ashtrays – for “our kids,” no less – as an all-absorbing point of political focus.

In fairness, it must be admitted that there was an infinitesimally small segment of the body politic who expressed opposition to what was/is being done to the children of Iraq. It must also be conceded, however, that those involved by-and-large contented themselves with signing petitions and conducting candle-lit prayer vigils, bearing “moral witness” as vast legions of brown-skinned five-year-olds sat shivering in the dark, wide-eyed in horror, whimpering as they expired in the most agonizing ways imaginable.

Be it said as well, and this is really the crux of it, that the “resistance” expended the bulk of its time and energy harnessed to the systemically-useful task of trying to ensure, as “a principle of moral virtue” that nobody went further than waving signs as a means of “challenging” the patently exterminatory pursuit of Pax Americana. So pure of principle were these “dissidents,” in fact, that they began literally to supplant the police in protecting corporations profiting by the carnage against suffering such retaliatory “violence” as having their windows broken by persons less “enlightened” – or perhaps more outraged – than the self-anointed “peacekeepers.”

Property before people, it seems – or at least the equation of property to people – is a value by no means restricted to America’s boardrooms. And the sanctimony with which such putrid sentiments are enunciated turns out to be nauseatingly similar, whether mouthed by the CEO of Standard Oil or any of the swarm of comfort zone “pacifists” queuing up to condemn the black block after it ever so slightly disturbed the functioning of business-as-usual in Seattle.

Small wonder, all-in-all, that people elsewhere in the world – the Mideast, for instance – began to wonder where, exactly, aside from the streets of the US itself, one was to find the peace America’s purportedly oppositional peacekeepers claimed they were keeping.

The answer, surely, was plain enough to anyone unblinded by the kind of delusions engendered by sheer vanity and self-absorption. So, too, were the implications in terms of anything changing, out there, in America’s free-fire zones.

Tellingly, it was at precisely this point – with the genocide in Iraq officially admitted and a public response demonstrating beyond a shadow of a doubt that there were virtually no Americans, including most of those professing otherwise, doing anything tangible to stop it – that the combat teams which eventually commandeered the aircraft used on September 11 began to infiltrate the United States.

Meet the “Terrorists”
Of the men who came, there are a few things demanding to be said in the face of the unending torrent of disinformational drivel unleashed by George Junior and the corporate “news” media immediately following their successful operation on September 11.

They did not, for starters, “initiate” a war with the US, much less commit “the first acts of war of the new millennium.”

A good case could be made that the war in which they were combatants has been waged more-or-less continuously by the “Christian West” – now proudly emblematized by the United States – against the “Islamic East” since the time of the First Crusade, about 1,000 years ago. More recently, one could argue that the war began when Lyndon Johnson first lent significant support to Israel’s dispossession/displacement of Palestinians during the 1960s, or when George the Elder ordered “Desert Shield” in 1990, or at any of several points in between. Any way you slice it, however, if what the combat teams did to the WTC and the Pentagon can be understood as acts of war – and they can – then the same is true of every US “overflight’ of Iraqi territory since day one. The first acts of war during the current millennium thus occurred on its very first day, and were carried out by U.S. aviators acting under orders from their then-commander-in-chief, Bill Clinton. The most that can honestly be said of those involved on September 11 is that they finally responded in kind to some of what this country has dispensed to their people as a matter of course.

That they waited so long to do so is, notwithstanding the 1993 action at the WTC, more than anything a testament to their patience and restraint.

They did not license themselves to “target innocent civilians.”

There is simply no argument to be made that the Pentagon personnel killed on September 11 fill that bill. The building and those inside comprised military targets, pure and simple. As to those in the World Trade Center . . .

Well, really. Let’s get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America’s global financial empire – the “mighty engine of profit” to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved – and they did so both willingly and knowingly. Recourse to “ignorance” – a derivative, after all, of the word “ignore” – counts as less than an excuse among this relatively well-educated elite. To the extent that any of them were unaware of the costs and consequences to others of what they were involved in – and in many cases excelling at – it was because of their absolute refusal to see. More likely, it was because they were too busy braying, incessantly and self-importantly, into their cell phones, arranging power lunches and stock transactions, each of which translated, conveniently out of sight, mind and smelling distance, into the starved and rotting flesh of infants. If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I’d really be interested in hearing about it.

The men who flew the missions against the WTC and Pentagon were not “cowards.” That distinction properly belongs to the “firm-jawed lads” who delighted in flying stealth aircraft through the undefended airspace of Baghdad, dropping payload after payload of bombs on anyone unfortunate enough to be below – including tens of thousands of genuinely innocent civilians – while themselves incurring all the risk one might expect during a visit to the local video arcade. Still more, the word describes all those “fighting men and women” who sat at computer consoles aboard ships in the Persian Gulf, enjoying air-conditioned comfort while launching cruise missiles into neighborhoods filled with random human beings. Whatever else can be said of them, the men who struck on September 11 manifested the courage of their convictions, willingly expending their own lives in attaining their objectives.

Nor were they “fanatics” devoted to “Islamic fundamentalism.”

One might rightly describe their actions as “desperate.” Feelings of desperation, however, are a perfectly reasonable – one is tempted to say “normal” – emotional response among persons confronted by the mass murder of their children, particularly when it appears that nobody else really gives a damn (ask a Jewish survivor about this one, or, even more poignantly, for all the attention paid them, a Gypsy).

That desperate circumstances generate desperate responses is no mysterious or irrational principle, of the sort motivating fanatics. Less is it one peculiar to Islam. Indeed, even the FBI’s investigative reports on the combat teams’ activities during the months leading up to September 11 make it clear that the members were not fundamentalist Muslims. Rather, it’s pretty obvious at this point that they were secular activists – soldiers, really – who, while undoubtedly enjoying cordial relations with the clerics of their countries, were motivated far more by the grisly realities of the U.S. war against them than by a set of religious beliefs.

And still less were they/their acts “insane.”

Insanity is a condition readily associable with the very American idea that one – or one’s country – holds what amounts to a “divine right” to commit genocide, and thus to forever do so with impunity. The term might also be reasonably applied to anyone suffering genocide without attempting in some material way to bring the process to a halt. Sanity itself, in this frame of reference, might be defined by a willingness to try and destroy the perpetrators and/or the sources of their ability to commit their crimes. (Shall we now discuss the US “strategic bombing campaign” against Germany during World War II, and the mental health of those involved in it?)

Which takes us to official characterizations of the combat teams as an embodiment of “evil.”

Evil – for those inclined to embrace the banality of such a concept – was perfectly incarnated in that malignant toad known as Madeline Albright, squatting in her studio chair like Jaba the Hutt, blandly spewing the news that she’d imposed a collective death sentence upon the unoffending youth of Iraq. Evil was to be heard in that great American hero “Stormin’ Norman” Schwartzkopf’s utterly dehumanizing dismissal of their systematic torture and annihilation as mere “collateral damage.” Evil, moreover, is a term appropriate to describing the mentality of a public that finds such perspectives and the policies attending them acceptable, or even momentarily tolerable.

Had it not been for these evils, the counterattacks of September 11 would never have occurred. And unless “the world is rid of such evil,” to lift a line from George Junior, September 11 may well end up looking like a lark.

There is no reason, after all, to believe that the teams deployed in the assaults on the WTC and the Pentagon were the only such, that the others are composed of “Arabic-looking individuals” – America’s indiscriminately lethal arrogance and psychotic sense of self-entitlement have long since given the great majority of the world’s peoples ample cause to be at war with it – or that they are in any way dependent upon the seizure of civilian airliners to complete their missions.

To the contrary, there is every reason to expect that there are many other teams in place, tasked to employ altogether different tactics in executing operational plans at least as well-crafted as those evident on September 11, and very well equipped for their jobs. This is to say that, since the assaults on the WTC and Pentagon were act of war – not “terrorist incidents” – they must be understood as components in a much broader strategy designed to achieve specific results. From this, it can only be adduced that there are plenty of other components ready to go, and that they will be used, should this become necessary in the eyes of the strategists. It also seems a safe bet that each component is calibrated to inflict damage at a level incrementally higher than the one before (during the 1960s, the Johnson administration employed a similar policy against Vietnam, referred to as “escalation”).

Since implementation of the overall plan began with the WTC/Pentagon assaults, it takes no rocket scientist to decipher what is likely to happen next, should the U.S. attempt a response of the inexcusable variety to which it has long entitled itself.

About Those Boys (and Girls) in the Bureau
There’s another matter begging for comment at this point. The idea that the FBI’s “counterterrorism task forces” can do a thing to prevent what will happen is yet another dimension of America’s delusional pathology.. The fact is that, for all its publicly-financed “image-building” exercises, the Bureau has never shown the least aptitude for anything of the sort.

Oh, yeah, FBI counterintelligence personnel have proven quite adept at framing anarchists, communists and Black Panthers, sometimes murdering them in their beds or the electric chair. The Bureau’s SWAT units have displayed their ability to combat child abuse in Waco by burning babies alive, and its vaunted Crime Lab has been shown to pad its “crime-fighting’ statistics by fabricating evidence against many an alleged car thief. But actual “heavy-duty bad guys” of the sort at issue now? This isn’t a Bruce Willis/Chuck Norris/Sly Stallone movie, after all.. And J. Edgar Hoover doesn’t get to approve either the script or the casting.

The number of spies, saboteurs and bona fide terrorists apprehended, or even detected by the FBI in the course of its long and slimy history could be counted on one’s fingers and toes. On occasion, its agents have even turned out to be the spies, and, in many instances, the terrorists as well.

To be fair once again, if the Bureau functions as at best a carnival of clowns where its “domestic security responsibilities” are concerned, this is because – regardless of official hype – it has none. It is now, as it’s always been, the national political police force, an instrument created and perfected to ensure that all Americans, not just the consenting mass, are “free” to do exactly as they’re told.

The FBI and “cooperating agencies” can be thus relied upon to set about “protecting freedom” by destroying whatever rights and liberties were left to U.S. citizens before September 11 (in fact, they’ve already received authorization to begin). Sheeplike, the great majority of Americans can also be counted upon to bleat their approval, at least in the short run, believing as they always do that the nasty implications of what they’re doing will pertain only to others.

Oh Yeah, and “The Company,” Too

A possibly even sicker joke is the notion, suddenly in vogue, that the CIA will be able to pinpoint “terrorist threats,” “rooting out their infrastructure” where it exists and/or “terminating” it before it can materialize, if only it’s allowed to beef up its “human intelligence gathering capacity” in an unrestrained manner (including full-bore operations inside the US, of course).

Yeah. Right.

Since America has a collective attention-span of about 15 minutes, a little refresher seems in order: “The Company” had something like a quarter-million people serving as “intelligence assets” by feeding it information in Vietnam in 1968, and it couldn’t even predict the Tet Offensive. God knows how many spies it was fielding against the USSR at the height of Ronald Reagan’s version of the Cold War, and it was still caught flatfooted by the collapse of the Soviet Union. As to destroying “terrorist infrastructures,” one would do well to remember Operation Phoenix, another product of its open season in Vietnam. In that one, the CIA enlisted elite US units like the Navy Seals and Army Special Forces, as well as those of friendly countries – the south Vietnamese Rangers, for example, and Australian SAS – to run around “neutralizing” folks targeted by The Company’s legion of snitches as “guerrillas” (as those now known as “terrorists” were then called).

Sound familiar?

Upwards of 40,000 people – mostly bystanders, as it turns out – were murdered by Phoenix hit teams before the guerrillas, stronger than ever, ran the US and its collaborators out of their country altogether. And these are the guys who are gonna save the day, if unleashed to do their thing in North America?

The net impact of all this “counterterrorism” activity upon the combat teams’ ability to do what they came to do, of course, will be nil.

Instead, it’s likely to make it easier for them to operate (it’s worked that way in places like Northern Ireland). And, since denying Americans the luxury of reaping the benefits of genocide in comfort was self-evidently a key objective of the WTC/Pentagon assaults, it can be stated unequivocally that a more overt display of the police state mentality already pervading this country simply confirms the magnitude of their victory.

On Matters of Proportion and Intent
As things stand, including the 1993 detonation at the WTC, “Arab terrorists” have responded to the massive and sustained American terror bombing of Iraq with a total of four assaults by explosives inside the US. That’s about 1% of the 50,000 bombs the Pentagon announced were rained on Baghdad alone during the Gulf War (add in Oklahoma City and you’ll get something nearer an actual 1%).

They’ve managed in the process to kill about 5,000 Americans, or roughly 1% of the dead Iraqi children (the percentage is far smaller if you factor in the killing of adult Iraqi civilians, not to mention troops butchered as/after they’d surrendered and/or after the “war-ending” ceasefire had been announced).

In terms undoubtedly more meaningful to the property/profit-minded American mainstream, they’ve knocked down a half-dozen buildings – albeit some very well-chosen ones – as opposed to the “strategic devastation” visited upon the whole of Iraq, and punched a $100 billion hole in the earnings outlook of major corporate shareholders, as opposed to the U.S. obliteration of Iraq’s entire economy.

With that, they’ve given Americans a tiny dose of their own medicine.. This might be seen as merely a matter of “vengeance” or “retribution,” and, unquestionably, America has earned it, even if it were to add up only to something so ultimately petty.

The problem is that vengeance is usually framed in terms of “getting even,” a concept which is plainly inapplicable in this instance. As the above data indicate, it would require another 49,996 detonations killing 495,000 more Americans, for the “terrorists” to “break even” for the bombing of Baghdad/extermination of Iraqi children alone. And that’s to achieve “real number” parity. To attain an actual proportional parity of damage – the US is about 15 times as large as Iraq in terms of population, even more in terms of territory – they would, at a minimum, have to blow up about 300,000 more buildings and kill something on the order of 7.5 million people.

Were this the intent of those who’ve entered the US to wage war against it, it would remain no less true that America and Americans were only receiving the bill for what they’d already done. Payback, as they say, can be a real motherfucker (ask the Germans). There is, however, no reason to believe that retributive parity is necessarily an item on the agenda of those who planned the WTC/Pentagon operation. If it were, given the virtual certainty that they possessed the capacity to have inflicted far more damage than they did, there would be a lot more American bodies lying about right now.

Hence, it can be concluded that ravings carried by the “news” media since September 11 have contained at least one grain of truth: The peoples of the Mideast “aren’t like” Americans, not least because they don’t “value life’ in the same way. By this, it should be understood that Middle-Easterners, unlike Americans, have no history of exterminating others purely for profit, or on the basis of racial animus. Thus, we can appreciate the fact that they value life – all lives, not just their own – far more highly than do their U.S. counterparts.

The Makings of a Humanitarian Strategy
In sum one can discern a certain optimism – it might even be call humanitarianism – imbedded in the thinking of those who presided over the very limited actions conducted on September 11.

Their logic seems to have devolved upon the notion that the American people have condoned what has been/is being done in their name – indeed, are to a significant extent actively complicit in it – mainly because they have no idea what it feels like to be on the receiving end.

Now they do.

That was the “medicinal” aspect of the attacks.

To all appearances, the idea is now to give the tonic a little time to take effect, jolting Americans into the realization that the sort of pain they’re now experiencing first-hand is no different from – or the least bit more excruciating than – that which they’ve been so cavalier in causing others, and thus to respond appropriately.

More bluntly, the hope was – and maybe still is – that Americans, stripped of their presumed immunity from incurring any real consequences for their behavior, would comprehend and act upon a formulation as uncomplicated as “stop killing our kids, if you want your own to be safe.”

Either way, it’s a kind of “reality therapy” approach, designed to afford the American people a chance to finally “do the right thing” on their own, without further coaxing.

Were the opportunity acted upon in some reasonably good faith fashion – a sufficiently large number of Americans rising up and doing whatever is necessary to force an immediate lifting of the sanctions on Iraq, for instance, or maybe hanging a few of America’s abundant supply of major war criminals (Henry Kissinger comes quickly to mind, as do Madeline Albright, Colin Powell, Bill Clinton and George the Elder) – there is every reason to expect that military operations against the US on its domestic front would be immediately suspended.

Whether they would remain so would of course be contingent upon follow-up. By that, it may be assumed that American acceptance of onsite inspections by international observers to verify destruction of its weapons of mass destruction (as well as dismantlement of all facilities in which more might be manufactured), Nuremberg-style trials in which a few thousand US military/corporate personnel could be properly adjudicated and punished for their Crimes Against humanity, and payment of reparations to the array of nations/peoples whose assets the US has plundered over the years, would suffice.

Since they’ve shown no sign of being unreasonable or vindictive, it may even be anticipated that, after a suitable period of adjustment and reeducation (mainly to allow them to acquire the skills necessary to living within their means), those restored to control over their own destinies by the gallant sacrifices of the combat teams the WTC and Pentagon will eventually (re)admit Americans to the global circle of civilized societies. Stranger things have happened.

In the Alternative
Unfortunately, noble as they may have been, such humanitarian aspirations were always doomed to remain unfulfilled. For it to have been otherwise, a far higher quality of character and intellect would have to prevail among average Americans than is actually the case. Perhaps the strategists underestimated the impact a couple of generations-worth of media indoctrination can produce in terms of demolishing the capacity of human beings to form coherent thoughts. Maybe they forgot to factor in the mind-numbing effects of the indoctrination passed off as education in the US. Then, again, it’s entirely possible they were aware that a decisive majority of American adults have been reduced by this point to a level much closer to the kind of immediate self-gratification entailed in Pavlovian stimulus/response patterns than anything accessible by appeals to higher logic, and still felt morally obliged to offer the dolts an option to quit while they were ahead.

What the hell? It was worth a try.

But it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the dosage of medicine administered was entirely insufficient to accomplish its purpose.

Although there are undoubtedly exceptions, Americans for the most part still don’t get it.

Already, they’ve desecrated the temporary tomb of those killed in the WTC, staging a veritable pep rally atop the mangled remains of those they profess to honor, treating the whole affair as if it were some bizarre breed of contact sport. And, of course, there are the inevitable pom-poms shaped like American flags, the school colors worn as little red-white-and-blue ribbons affixed to labels, sportscasters in the form of “counterterrorism experts” drooling mindless color commentary during the pregame warm-up.

Refusing the realization that the world has suddenly shifted its axis, and that they are therefore no longer “in charge,” they have by-and-large reverted instantly to type, working themselves into their usual bloodlust on the now obsolete premise that the bloodletting will “naturally” occur elsewhere and to someone else.

“Patriotism,” a wise man once observed, “is the last refuge of scoundrels.”

And the braided, he might of added.

Braided Scoundrel-in-Chief, George Junior, lacking even the sense to be careful what he wished for, has teamed up with a gaggle of fundamentalist Christian clerics like Billy Graham to proclaim a “New Crusade” called “Infinite Justice” aimed at “ridding the world of evil.”

One could easily make light of such rhetoric, remarking upon how unseemly it is for a son to threaten his father in such fashion – or a president to so publicly contemplate the murder/suicide of himself and his cabinet – but the matter is deadly serious.

They are preparing once again to sally forth for the purpose of roasting brown-skinned children by the scores of thousands. Already, the B-1 bombers and the aircraft carriers and the missile frigates are en route, the airborne divisions are gearing up to go.

To where? Afghanistan?

The Sudan?

Iraq, again (or still)?

How about Grenada (that was fun)?

Any of them or all. It doesn’t matter.

The desire to pummel the helpless runs rabid as ever.

Only, this time it’s different.

The time the helpless aren’t, or at least are not so helpless as they were.

This time, somewhere, perhaps in an Afghani mountain cave, possibly in a Brooklyn basement, maybe another local altogether – but somewhere, all the same – there’s a grim-visaged (wo)man wearing a Clint Eastwood smile.

“Go ahead, punks,” s/he’s saying, “Make my day.”

And when they do, when they launch these airstrikes abroad – or may a little later; it will be at a time conforming to the “terrorists”‘ own schedule, and at a place of their choosing – the next more intensive dose of medicine administered here “at home.”

Of what will it consist this time? Anthrax? Mustard gas? Sarin? A tactical nuclear device?

That, too, is their choice to make.

Looking back, it will seem to future generations inexplicable why Americans were unable on their own, and in time to save themselves, to accept a rule of nature so basic that it could be mouthed by an actor, Lawrence Fishburn, in a movie, The Cotton Club.

“You’ve got to learn, ” the line went, “that when you push people around, some people push back.”

As they should.

As they must.

And as they undoubtedly will.

There is justice in such symmetry.

ADDENDUM
The preceding was a “first take” reading, more a stream-of-consciousness interpretive reaction to the September 11 counterattack than a finished piece on the topic. Hence, I’ll readily admit that I’ve been far less than thorough, and quite likely wrong about a number of things.

For instance, it may not have been (only) the ghosts of Iraqi children who made their appearance that day. It could as easily have been some or all of their butchered Palestinian cousins.

Or maybe it was some or all of the at least 3.2 million Indochinese who perished as a result of America’s sustained and genocidal assault on Southeast Asia (1959-1975), not to mention the millions more who’ve died because of the sanctions imposed thereafter.

Perhaps there were a few of the Korean civilians massacred by US troops at places like No Gun Ri during the early ‘50s, or the hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians ruthlessly incinerated in the ghastly fire raids of World War II (only at Dresden did America bomb Germany in a similar manner).

And, of course, it could have been those vaporized in the militarily pointless nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

There are others, as well, a vast and silent queue of faceless victims, stretching from the million-odd Filipinos slaughtered during America’s “Indian War” in their islands at the beginning of the twentieth century, through the real Indians, America’s own, massacred wholesale at places like Horseshoe Bend and the Bad Axe, Sand Creek and Wounded Knee, the Washita, Bear River, and the Marias.

Was it those who expired along the Cherokee Trial of Tears of the Long Walk of the Navajo?

Those murdered by smallpox at Fort Clark in 1836?

Starved to death in the concentration camp at Bosque Redondo during the 1860s?

Maybe those native people claimed for scalp bounty in all 48 of the continental US states? Or the Raritans whose severed heads were kicked for sport along the streets of what was then called New Amsterdam, at the very site where the WTC once stood?

One hears, too, the whispers of those lost on the Middle Passage, and of those whose very flesh was sold in the slave market outside the human kennel from whence Wall Street takes its name. And of coolie laborers, imported by the gross-dozen to lay the tracks of empire across scorching desert sands, none of them allotted “a Chinaman’s chance” of surviving.

The list is too long, too awful to go on.

No matter what its eventual fate, America will have gotten off very, very cheap.

The full measure of its guilt can never be fully balanced or atoned for.

In response to criticism, Churchill issued this press release January 31, 2005:

PRESS RELEASE

In the last few days there has been widespread and grossly inaccurate media coverage concerning my analysis of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, coverage that has resulted in defamation of my character and threats against my life. What I actually said has been lost, indeed turned into the opposite of itself, and I hope the following facts will be reported at least to the same extent that the fabrications have been.

* The piece circulating on the internet was developed into a book, On the Justice of Roosting Chickens. Most of the book is a detailed chronology of U.S. military interventions since 1776 and U.S. violations of international law since World War II. My point is that we cannot allow the U.S. government, acting in our name, to engage in massive violations of international law and fundamental human rights and not expect to reap the consequences.

* I am not a “defender”of the September 11 attacks, but simply pointing out that if U.S. foreign policy results in massive death and destruction abroad, we cannot feign innocence when some of that destruction is returned. I have never said that people “should” engage in armed attacks on the United States, but that such attacks are a natural and unavoidable consequence of unlawful U.S. policy. As Martin Luther King, quoting Robert F. Kennedy, said, “Those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable.”

* This is not to say that I advocate violence; as a U.S. soldier in Vietnam I witnessed and participated in more violence than I ever wish to see. What I am saying is that if we want an end to violence, especially that perpetrated against civilians, we must take the responsibility for halting the slaughter perpetrated by the United States around the world. My feelings are reflected in Dr. King’s April 1967 Riverside speech, where, when asked about the wave of urban rebellions in U.S. cities, he said, “I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed . . . without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government.”

* In 1996 Madeleine Albright, then Ambassador to the UN and soon to be U.S. Secretary of State, did not dispute that 500,000 Iraqi children had died as a result of economic sanctions, but stated on national television that “we” had decided it was “worth the cost.” I mourn the victims of the September 11 attacks, just as I mourn the deaths of those Iraqi children, the more than 3 million people killed in the war in Indochina, those who died in the U.S. invasions of Grenada, Panama and elsewhere in Central America, the victims of the transatlantic slave trade, and the indigenous peoples still subjected to genocidal policies. If we respond with callous disregard to the deaths of others, we can only expect equal callousness to American deaths.

* Finally, I have never characterized all the September 11 victims as “Nazis.” What I said was that the “technocrats of empire” working in the World Trade Center were the equivalent of “little Eichmanns.” Adolf Eichmann was not charged with direct killing but with ensuring the smooth running of the infrastructure that enabled the Nazi genocide. Similarly, German industrialists were legitimately targeted by the Allies.

* It is not disputed that the Pentagon was a military target, or that a CIA office was situated in the World Trade Center. Following the logic by which U.S. Defense Department spokespersons have consistently sought to justify target selection in places like Baghdad, this placement of an element of the American “command and control infrastructure” in an ostensibly civilian facility converted the Trade Center itself into a “legitimate” target. Again following U.S. military doctrine, as announced in briefing after briefing, those who did not work for the CIA but were nonetheless killed in the attack amounted to no more than “collateral damage.” If the U.S. public is prepared to accept these “standards” when the are routinely applied to other people, they should be not be surprised when the same standards are applied to them.

* It should be emphasized that I applied the “little Eichmanns” characterization only to those described as “technicians.” Thus, it was obviously not directed to the children, janitors, food service workers, firemen and random passers-by killed in the 9-1-1 attack. According to Pentagon logic, were simply part of the collateral damage. Ugly? Yes. Hurtful? Yes. And that’s my point. It’s no less ugly, painful or dehumanizing a description when applied to Iraqis, Palestinians, or anyone else. If we ourselves do not want to be treated in this fashion, we must refuse to allow others to be similarly devalued and dehumanized in our name.

* The bottom line of my argument is that the best and perhaps only way to prevent 9-1-1-style attacks on the U.S. is for American citizens to compel their government to comply with the rule of law. The lesson of Nuremberg is that this is not only our right, but our obligation. To the extent we shirk this responsibility, we, like the “Good Germans” of the 1930s and ’40s, are complicit in its actions and have no legitimate basis for complaint when we suffer the consequences. This, of course, includes me, personally, as well as my family, no less than anyone else.

* These points are clearly stated and documented in my book, On the Justice of Roosting Chickens, which recently won Honorary Mention for the Gustavus Myer Human Rights Award. for best writing on human rights. Some people will, of course, disagree with my analysis, but it presents questions that must be addressed in academic and public debate if we are to find a real solution to the violence that pervades today’s world. The gross distortions of what I actually said can only be viewed as an attempt to distract the public from the real issues at hand and to further stifle freedom of speech and academic debate in this country.

Ward Churchill
Boulder, Colorado
January 31, 2005

Third class citizens in the Jewish Apartheid State

israeli againstIndigenous Palestinians are not really even second class citizens within the ‘Jewish Apartheid State since certain elements of the Jewish community are given second class status themselves. Even calling Israel’s Palestinians Third Class citizens is kind of a stretch since they correctly believe and feel that the Jewish community will try to expel them at the first opportune moment. Discrimination against their culture, heritage, religion, and language is everywhere. Israel’s forgotten Palestinians Israel is a classic colonialist Apartheid State. Even the rather conservative ex-Prez Jimmy Carter can see and admit that.

Costa Rica a prototypical Western Democracy

PUERTO JIMINEZ, CR- Touring Costa Rica has been interesting. Considering the turmoil of Central America, it may be a shining example of a functional Capitalist Democracy. It´s got a healthy middle class and a relatively contented populace. Can it offer a lesson to its strife torn neighbors? Sure. Get rid of the Indios.

Citizens of the “Rich Coast” pride themselves on being light skinned, owing to a Spanish heritage of course. They´re the descendants of settlers, mixed some with labor imports from the Caribbean. But the indigenous people are gone. Which makes for scarce land redistribution demands.

When Columbus first came to Costa Rica, there were 400,000 inhabitants. When they saw that the Spaniards were enslaving whoever they conquered, the tribes hid in the mountains. As a result, Costa wasn´t properly subjugated like elsewhere. The Spanish didn´t want land that didn´t come with ready slave labor. But hiding didn´t save the indians. As the Spanish settled the land, the original population dwindled, to 10%, then 2% within 200 years. They are, as Randy Newman sang it: “Gone, real gone.”

There is an inspiring history to Costa Rica´s present relatively egalitarian government, and I´m going to write more about some of their laudable leaders. But I have to argue that CR smacks of US artifice. And lo, even as I cringe at the camo themed souvenir caps that remind me of the Contras, it turns out Oliver North operated his Contra army and drug smuggling operation out of an airfield in northern Costa Rica. There´s a surfing destination near there called Ollie´s Point, named after the would be filibuster himself. Those apolitical surfer fucks.

(It is hard to surpress disdain for the hard-recreating American asses despoiling CR toilet paper. I cannot bear their vibes of inutile indifference.)

So the Costa Ricans are less Central Americans than good old Americans. And that never meant Native American.

Israeli fury seals a Single State Solution

Israeli Defense ForceIsrael’s relentless and unrepentant program to exterminate the Palestinians of Gaza, will yield but a single outcome. And it would certainly please the Palestinians, if they live to see it. First, if Palestine is deprived of viability as an independent state, Israel is left with only a single state solution. Second, with Israel convinced that its security from rocket fire depends on every last Arab neighbor being interned or interred, there is no other choice but cloistered Apartheid. Will the international community long tolerate a feudal theocracy constantly inflaming the resentment of its indigenous laborers?

I was being facetious to suggest that Palestinians will not live to see Israel vanquished.

Much as Israel might try, the Palestinians won’t be killed off like North America’s original natives. Neither Gaza nor the West Bank will succumb to genocide, alcoholism or uranium poisoning, nor vanish like an eclipsed civilization. They can be driven off, and dispersed among the neighbors, but the Palestinian diaspora will hang interminable with a much fresher claim to the lands of their fathers than ever had the Zionists.

But on the ground, the captive Palestinians will never reconstitute even a client state, so long as Israel pens them in like Soweto. Lands allotted to Palestinians will be work camps, and prison camps, with every un-free man’s right to rebel against the yoke of occupation. Israel will dodge rockets until the last slave is shackled.

And I guess the world will sit by and let them do that. However blatant they want to be about it.

Knowing that after Lebanon and Gaza, Israel has disciplinary actions aimed at Syria and Iran, what are the prospects for cohabitation in the Middle East? Does Israel expect that its “right to exist” grants it a swath of no-man’s zone, extended beyond the borders of all its neighbors? Israel’s wrathful attack on Gaza, as retaliation for Hamas’ motley rockets, the disproportionality of the air strikes, and the IDF’s disregard for innocent civilian casualties, betrays Israel’s racist ambivalence about the fate of non-Jews. Without a humanitarian regard for others, how can Israel expect to be asked to the adult’s table?

So Israel has sealed its own fate. Obliterate the Palestinians or drive them off, ostracize the neighbors until you are all alone. Israel will be a solitary state, inhabited by the white elite, separated by a state religion forbidden to their darker working castes. The untouchables will live behind apartheid walls until delivered by an Arab Mandela. Then international pressure, hopefully too a domestic conscience, will bring Democracy, and then, as current opponents of a single-state-solution fear, a popular vote will eradicate the oppression of religious rule.

Say goodbye to Israel, the Jewish State. It will “be wiped off the map” of the Middle East, and left for Jews and Palestinians to inhabit with equality. So long as particular Palestinians do not survive who have claims to properties appropriated by the Zionists, or so long as some compensation is offered to buy off the Palestinian’s right of return, the rich Jewish enclaves will coexist with the have-nots, like the gated communities of any other third world nation.

Or Israelis could choose the single state solution right now.

Anti-Zimbabwe sanctions create cholera epidemic in Africa

There is nobody more cynical and murderous than Gordon Brown, the Barack Obama equivalent who is Great Britain’s Prime Minster at the time. Here is Gordon the Goodie promoting genocide in July of this year UK looks to Europe for Zimbabwe sanctions Now here is the same Gordon Brown in December PM urges Zimbabwe cholera action where he blames Mugabe for the cholera outbreak and not himself. He wants regime change in Zimbabwe and he is not about to cry (other than crocodile tears) about any collateral damage he might cause!

Who gave Gordon Brown and the British the right to be intervening against any government of Zimbabwe anyway? This all started back when Mugabe moved against the couple of thousand left over Rhodesian White Apartheid regime’s leftovers in the country, who had taken away about 40% of the best land in the country from its indigenous Black population. Mugabe began a program of redistribution of that land and Great Britain went bananas about it. Today, cut to the cholera epidemic where the same Brits have used economic warfare to destroy Zimbabwe and to create untold suffering.

Mugabe is no hero in all this, but the issue really is imperialist intervention and not just one unlikable head of state is up to or not? It really is nauseating to see the BBC reports where they honey coat their pro economic warfare against Zimbabwe ‘reports’ as they always do. Gordon Brown as saint? Not even close.

Smile, your mom chose life!

masturbation is murderOn Fillmore Street there is one of those giant, obnoxious billboards with a giant smiling baby on it, and the words, ‘Smile, your mom chose life’. Probably put up there with the help of one pedophile plagued church, too. You know the name of that church, I think?

All over the world this church that aided the Nazis and aided in the genocides against indigenous people in the Americas and aided in the pogroms against Jewish people even before the Nazis, is on one giant campaign to make people think that they respect life because they want to impose their will on young women. Smile, but did your mom always not have an abortion when she got pregnant? One rather thinks that it is not quite that simple at all, in fact.

You see, these crazy church people are often liars and hypocrites. They do one thing for themselves and urge something else entirely on others. Does Ted Haggard come to mind? Maybe many of those religious moms did have an abortion even if they did later on life give birth to you and your brothers and sisters? Maybe they had several abortions before they started to raise kids? Maybe they had an abortion or two after you were born? It’s not quite as simple as that billboard portrays it as being, now is it?

These crazy religious nuts don’t even choose much life at all, but choose death most often instead. Imagine advocating that women give birth wholesale in countries like Nicaragua, where this obnoxious church, the Catholic, has gotten the government to ban all abortions for all reasons. The Nicaraguan people do not even make $1,000 per year per capita to raise their families on. Does this church do anything to ‘choose life’ when these children are born? I rather think that they do not. How about you?

You know what this church does with its money? It invests it in real estate. It invests it in sanctimonious propaganda billboards that tell others what they should do. But they don’t help raise those poor families in countries like Nicaragua where they force women to give birth to often unwanted and uncared for children. They spend it on lawyers to get out of paying money to people molested by their priests when these people were still children. This is the Catholic Church for you. This is the American Catholic Church.

‘Smile, your mom chose life’ my ass. The Catholic Church has a totally checkered attitude towards choosing life, and that’s their little secret they don’t want you thinking much about. Life with the Catholic Church! What a trip! And NO, life does not begin at conception. And NO, there was no ‘immaculate conception’ either.

So keep your nutty religion away from the rest of us, OK? And reform yourself before you go getting ‘papal’ on those you disagree with you on this issue. (No Catholics were actually harmed by this commentary, I might mention) And Catholics, stop trying to force women to do dangerous things to keep from getting themseves financially sunk into a hole! They have kids to raise, you know? You’re not going to raise these kids for them. Now are you?

Uncle Tom’s Hotel Rwanda

Is the Don Cheedle?Let’s clear something up for the sake of poetic justice. Uncle Tom was a maltreated slave who bore his burden with dignity. He was no collaborator, no stool pigeon, no upper class of black slave that kept the lower savages in order. That “Uncle Tom” is what the term has come to mean: a white man’s black man, owing perhaps to the original character’s civilized humanity which a white reader might not have expected to be a capacity of an African slave. The neo-Uncle Tom is a Tutsi.

I heard the film Hotel Rwanda was just incredible, I’m sure it was. I watched the Frontline documentary to commemorate the anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda and so thought I knew the sad story already. Well I was right and I was wrong, but not about the film.

The mounting trouble in the Democratic Republic of Congo is causing leaders to forewarn of genocide such as Rwanda experienced in 1994. We’re told the same Hutus are marauding today. In addressing the issues of the Congo, do we have an understanding of what happened in 1994, beside the film dramatization?

The question to ask is whether what happened in Rwanda was genocide. That’s not to minimize the killings, but to scrutinize the motives. Was the fighting between Hutus and Tutsis racially motivated tribal warfare, or was it class warfare? Were the events of 1994 components of a peasant rebellion, distinguished by the opposing forces being from different ethnicities?

The distinction is critical. Behind the Hotel Rwanda imagery is the theme that African tribes need to be protected from each other. This happens in the form of UN intervention usually. The storytellers also know that if the narrative is bloody enough, a Western audience is just as ready to throw up its hands. Thus our impulse to join the Peace Corps or Medecins Sans Frontieres is quietly scrubbed in favor of calling in the cavalry. And then, only in the event of genocide.

Someone keeps wanting Westerners to believe that African tribes will continue to kill each other regardless what we do. Is it true? No, the Africans fight because of what we do.

The Tutsi victims of Hotel Rwanda were not just hotel keepers and clerks. The Tutsis were the administrative enforcers of post-colonial central Africa. The Hutus were the oppressed, and rose up against the Tutsis after generations of oppression and killings.

If Africa were let to develop autonomous states from its indigenous populations, its people could put their natural resources to use improving their lives. Instead, our post-colonial tentacles continue to stir up instability. Our business interests make sure that the native Africans never get their footing. We fund strong men to enforce violent rule over the inhabitants. It’s a controlled instability that facilitates the minimal societal infrastructure our traders require. But instability is difficult a balancing act. When the mayhem gets out of hand, peace-keepers are brought in at the people’s expense, to restore the disordered order.

Colorization of the Grapes of Wrath

migrant-motherI think it’s time to colorize The Grapes of Wrath. And I don’t mean the Turner Classics process exactly. It may help to dumb down the artistic contrast of the black & white for a contemporary audience palate of splashy Disneycolor, but how about trying to make Steinbeck’s theme more accessible to today’s spoon-fed viewers? Let’s colorize the skin of the poor migrant workers to reflect the inhumanly-treated populations of today’s displaced im-migrants of color.

I can’t remember where I come down on colorizing the old movies. No one’s insisted on infusing CMYK into Ansel Adams or Picasso’s sketchbook, why are masterpieces filmed in black and white supposed to be pigment deficient? We don’t presume to dub dialog over the silent movies made before the age of the talkies. As yet. Of course, Ted Turner was concerned for reviving interest in old intellectual properties, many of which were already in-artful. And perhaps his salesmanship maneuver has been proven effective. When my family sat down to watch Grapes of Wrath, the grey image tuned a number of youthful eyes away.

Like Dorothea Lange’s famous photographs, John Ford’s film depicted disadvantaged Okies with whom the American audience could identify. We may not know what it feels like to be forced off our homes, but how the families cope with the hardship, we all can recognize. I’m curious how the film was received by Californians in 1940, coming less than ten years after the original plague of destitute Oklahoma refugees. How would the characters have faired with our sympathies if they had been played as coarse hillbilly Crackers with guns and a poor person’s chip-on-the-shoulder desperation?

The poor protagonists of The Grapes of Wrath were weakened skinny po-folk, who staked their relief on the strength of a single hopeful job listing flyer, who protested their oppression without resorting to violence, and who accepted hardship as their lot. Seeing into their daily lives, viewers were shown a dignified, earnest people who treated others with respect and compassion. Antagonist characters in the film were less charitable, taking advantage of the hard-luck migrants with guile, violence and authority. People into which the Oklahoma refugees traveled, New Mexico, Arizona and California, treated the migrants like vermin. Even as onlookers might express admiration for the Okies’ determination to cross Death Valley, the better fed Californians held them in disdain for not knowing enough to be in such a predicament. The Okies were blamed for their own poverty. They threatened to burden everyone’s already depleting resources. Only the viewers understood the unfair actions which had landed the otherwise self-sufficient sharecroppers to have to leave their livelihoods.

The circumstances of the Dust Bowl cum great depression era forced removal of the small Oklahoma farmers is eerily familiar to today’s economy and its foreclosures. Homesteaders find themselves made homeless, as a consequence of business decisions between corporations, banks and regulators. The Oklahoma farmers wanted to point their shotguns to warn the financial disruptors from their land, but found the conduits of the dirty work were their own neighbors and relatives. Everyone was merely following orders from someone higher up. That the system could be at fault, left the victims with no clear recourse.

Here’s the classic eviction exchange.

THE MAN
I can’t help that. All I know is I got my orders.
They told me to tell you you got to get off,
and that’s what I’m telling you.

MULEY
You mean get off my own land?

THE MAN
Now don’t go blaming me. It ain’t *my* fault.

SON
Whose fault is it?

THE MAN
You know who owns the land–the Shawnee Land and Cattle Company.

MULEY
Who’s the Shawnee Land and Cattle Comp’ny?

THE MAN
It ain’t nobody. It’s a company.

SON
They got a pres’dent, ain’t they?
They got somebody that knows what a shotgun’s for, ain’t they?

THE MAN
But it ain’t *his* fault, because the *bank* tells him what to do.

SON
All right. Where’s the bank?

THE MAN
Tulsa. But what’s the use of picking on him?
He ain’t anything but the manager, and half crazy hisself,
trying to keep up with his orders from the east!

MULEY
Then who *do* we shoot?

THE MAN
Brother, I don’t know. If I did I’d tell you.
But I just don’t know *who’s* to blame!

There was a lot more in The Grapes of Wrath which could inform a modern world view. The dreaded “Cats” for example. These were the Caterpillar tractors which were shown ravaging the land like locusts, arriving to demolish the houses of the reluctant dispossessed. Bulldozers are still used for that function today. In fact, Caterpillar manufactures armored versions to deploy in war zones for the destruction of houses. Palestinians have shown to be less reluctant than the poor Okies about trying to shoot the bulldozer drivers who are taking aim at their homes. Israel is expanding its settlements in Palestine with the aid of Caterpillar tractors which clear the land of its recalcitrant invadees.

Likewise, the union busting strategies portrayed in Grapes of Wrath are the same used today. Police officers are called in when work supervisors encounter workers who show too much skepticism for the employer’s scam. Troublemakers are arrested lest the workforce succeed in organizing itself. Instigators are paid to infiltrate a social event and start a fight, to give law enforcement the excuse to break in and make its calculated arrests. Casual viewers may think the famous 1939 film depicts a bygone age. Not at all.

Director John Ford made sure that the Okie migrants were deathly skinny, while everyone else, from gas station attendants to deputized union-busters, was immaculately dressed and well fed. But the audience could identify with both sides, because both were white. Imagine if the displaced peoples were not the same color.

Today’s migrant workers are hispanic. They are illegal immigrants, just like Okies passing through the Arizona checkpoint in Steinbeck’s novel.

GUARD
Where you going?

TOM
California.

GUARD
How long you plan to be in Arizona?

TOM
No longer’n we can get acrost her.

GUARD
Got any plants?

TOM
No plants.

GUARD
Okay. Go ahead, but you better keep movin’.

Could a modern audience appreciate the travails of a Mexican family in an exact same predicament? Mexican farmers have been forced from their land in an even less polite manner today. They have similar claim to their homesteads, some of them even have indigenous claims. But American and Mexican corporate interests have been forcing the Mexicans to flee. The migration north is not about seeking fortune; picking lettuce it most certainly is not. The work our illegal immigrants are willing to do is out of desperation and subsistence. Corporate America reserves our agricultural work for migrants because it’s cheaper. Otherwise American citizens have devised unions to ensure that workers are paid an honorable wage. Exploitation of the illegal immigrant is simply a bypass of decent labor practices meant to protect everyone.

In selfish, protectionist terms, hiring illegal immigrants undermines the strength of unionized labor. Ultimately the exploitation of others dehumanizes us all.

I wish Americans could see The Grapes of Wrath as a projection of the ongoing injustices suffered by all exploited migrants. As well-fed American citizens leading prosperous lives, wouldn’t it be our responsibility to help the victims of our system? Instead, we are those cold-hearted leather-jacketed Californians herding them into lives of slow death by hard labor and starvation.

The Grapes of Wrath offered a strong Socialist message, disguised in a protagonist who did not yet have all the answers. Before setting out to light the way, Henry Fonda’s character says this to his mom:

TOM
…maybe I can do sump’n. Maybe I can jus’ fin’ out sump’n.
Jus’ scrounge aroun’ an’ try to fin’ out what it is that’s wrong,
an then see if they ain’t sump’n could be done about it.
But I ain’t thought it out clear, Ma. I can’t.
I don’t know enough.

MA
How’m I gonna know ’bout you?
They might kill you an’ I wouldn’t know.
They might hurt you. How’m I gonna know?

TOM
Well, maybe it’s like Casy says, a fella ain’t got a soul
of his own, but on’y a piece of a big soul–the one big soul
that belongs to ever’body–an’ then…
Then it don’t matter. Then I’ll be all aroun’ in the dark.
I’ll be ever’where–wherever you look. Wherever there’s
a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there.
Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there.
I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad
–an’ I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re
hungry an’ they know supper’s ready.
An’ when our people eat the stuff they raise,
an’ live in the houses they build, why, I’ll be there too.

I had to see The Grapes of Wrath in high school. It was required. Are schools today trying to infuse students with social wisdom? How about a Grapes Redux starring people of color? Imagine this closing line, spoken by a dark skinned mother, about the hardship that is her people’s fate:

MA
…Maybe that makes us tough. Rich fellas come up an’ they die, an’ their kids ain’t no good, an’ they die out. But we keep a-comin’. We’re the people that live. Can’t nobody wipe us out. Can’t nobody lick us. We’ll go on forever, Pa. We’re the people.

Denver Columbus Day Parade wants to kick indigenous ass

DENVER- Does it look like the COLUMBUS DAY PARADE organizers are practically begging for a comeuppance? Here comes the US cavalry of the American Indian Wars to finish the job Columbus began.
Denver Columbus Day Parade

On Columbus Day, the anniversary which has now become a teaching moment about revisiting the Columbus myth, about the holocaust unleashed by the European discovery, conquest and enslavement of North America, isn’t it rather odd to CALL IN THE CALVARY?
columbus-2-cavalry-capitol

I MEAN, a celebration of Italian Americans is one thing. Is Christopher Columbus the only hero they can muster? Why not the Pope? I’m all for diverting Americans from the stereotype of the Sicilian American Sopranos legacy. But make it about pizza, not the frigging conquest of the American West. Columbus’ own diaries confess his exploitive inhumane designs in Hispaniola. White man western expansion was no less genocidal. Who should be celebrating that?

columbus-6-parade-routeThis squad looks like they’re reenacting Colonel Chivington and his raiders freshly back from the Sand Creek Massacre. Perhaps they are retracing the victory lap the soldiers rode in Denver, festooned with the body parts of their victims, women and children, they exhibited as trophies of their victorious raid on the Indian encampment at Sand Creek.

How fitting that for the modern day route, the western revelers drive Hummers. The glorification of the military is not coincidental, nor perhaps is the celebration of the uneducated. columbus-3-hummer-line
columbus-hummer-bannerDo YOU, for example, count Winston Churchill’s WWII England among your ancestors? Here is the invitation to the 2008 parade:

“On Saturday October 11, 2008, at 10:00AM, we will celebrate the American National Holiday which commemorates Columbus’ contribution to the formation of this great nation. It will also remind each one of us of the blood, sweat and tears our ancestors shed so that we might live and enjoy our lives in the land of the free.”

These are the Denver organizers’ own photos of the 2007 parade. In the next you can catch an unedited glimpse of a protester. And what other can that be but a reactionary scowl?
columbus-4-hummer-hitler

columbus-5-hummer-frown

Here’s what those opposed to the Columbus commemoration are putting together.

1. RACE, RESISTANCE AND THE COLUMBIAN LEGACY
Join nationally-known activist Glenn Spagnuolo, co-founder of Re-create 68, for a night of education and dialogue about race in America and resistance to the Columbian Legacy!
When: 5pm Thursday, October 9, 2008
Where: CU Boulder Campus, Hale Hall Room 240

2. Columbus Day Resistance March and Rally
The annual protest of the Columbus Day Holiday and the racism that it embodies will begin with a march from Four Winds that ends at the Capitol Building followed by a rally for a better future.
When: March starts at 8 am, Rally at 9am, Saturday, October 11
Where: Start of March is at Four Winds at 5th and Bannock in Denver

3. People’s Council
Following the Columbus Day resistance, people will be gathering to organize a new alliance locally that can act as a national vehicle for radicals. Bring your thoughts and cooperative energy. Please come and represent R68.
When: 1pm, Saturday, October 11
Where: The Great Hall at the Iliff School of Theology just past Evans on University Blvd, Denver.

4. Student Walk-out on Racism
Whether you are a student or not, join the students of Iliff, CU Denver, CU Boulder and DU as the educate the public about Denver’s hidden racial past on the 101st Anniversary of the Columbus Holiday. There will be a student walk-out, a short rally, followed by a march to locations with a racial history that will end at Civic Center Park.
When: 12 Noon, Monday, October 13
Where: CU Denver’s Auraria Campus, The Plaza Building Lawn

Bolivian president talks about US subversion in his country

CheThe Bush Administration and US government are promoting a terrorist campaign against supporters of the Bolivian president, Evo Morales. In fact, the US government is promoting and fomenting Civil War there, as it backs Rightist elements that have engaged in racist witch hunts against the indigenous community, whom in their great majority are backers of the ‘Change’ that their current president is trying to bring about. You tube has an interview with Morales just recorded this week. Check it out.

South America unites in rejecting US subversion on continent

evo moralesMuch of Latin America has watched on in disgust as the US government has fomented regional strife, civil war, and racist pogroms against the indigenous community in Bolivia that has claimed at least 30 lives so far. Reuters reports though that South American leaders back Bolivia’s Morales and not Washington DC in this battle.

Leaders of countries all around the globe are beginning to resist US government terrorism. Pakistan also has begun to fight back against US subversion of peace in their country, just as Russia gave a kick in the teeth to US subversion in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. See Pakistan troop fire turns back U.S. helicopters

Latin America, too, is just fed up with the US government. Yankees Go Home! That is the cry every where these days!

Americans are stealing babies from Guatemala after all

DNA tests have proven for the first time that a baby adopted in the US, was in fact stolen from a mother in Guatemala. Adopted Guatemala baby ‘stolen’

How many others have been stolen previously, but never were tracked down? Indigenous women in rural areas were always at risk in Guatemala of having their babies stolen, simply because it was so profitable for the criminals involved and because the mothers were so powerless.

This is reminiscent of another recent case of imperialist kidnapping, where a French agency was trying to steal children out of Chad, saying that they were ‘Lost Children’ from the war in Darfur. Chad Charges French Charity With Kidnapping When there is such a power imbalance like these between the US and Guatemala, between France and Chad, and between the US and Iraq and Afghanistan, abuses like this will be rampant.

Children should be treasured and not destroyed by war, poverty, disease, and other forms of criminality that help make the rich richer, and make the poor suffer in silence. What type of world is this where atrocities like kidnapping babies from their mothers goes virtually unnoticed? I have seen it for myself, and it was happening directly inside the US.