Following the election of Obama, many folks involved with a spectrum of different anti-racist work were left dumbfounded by the rise of the aggressive and often explicitly racist white Tea Party movement. Though the Tea Party Movement had been funded in the millions, enjoyed the enthusiastic backing of Fox News and was being manipulated by powerful forces on the right, it was also clear that the right was comfortably engaging with a sector of the North American working class largely abandoned by the broader left. In the throes of economic crisis many formerly enfranchised whites were looking at serious setbacks. In response the left for the most part smugly responded by dismissing the crazy tea baggers while white supremacists and conservatives moved into largely uncontested territory. In looking for exceptions, I decided to check out the John Brown Gun Club, a group of white working class anarchists who before the emergence of the Tea Party movement, had been sowing class struggle and anti-racist solidarity amongst mostly white gun enthusiasts in Kansas. Here Dave Onion interviews long time anti-racist gun slinger Dave Strano.
Not content to see Arizona be the sole butt of jokes about being an Orwellian police state, Pennsylvania State representative Daryl Metcalfe has introduced House Bill 2479– apparently another example of Federation for American Immigration Reform (F.A.I.R) inspired authoritarian nonsense.
A philosopher once said patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. I always took that quote with a grain of salt and never gave it much thought until recent events brought the quote to the forefront of my mind. As the two ruling parties continue to contend for power within this country, the political and cultural right have adopted a battle cry of “take America back,” as if a foreigner occupies the White House. Every day we’re bombarded with shouts that a radical left-wing government has seized power and have to suffer the protests of a Tea Party movement composed of grumpy old white people pissed off that an intelligent “socialist” African American was elected president of the United States. For real radicals and revolutionaries to hear this nonsense is really insulting considering that Obama is neither radical or socialist. As a matter of fact, Obama is probably one of the most moderate presidents in U.S. history. He‘s even disillusioned much of his liberal base by maintaining many of the policies of his predecessor, George W. Bush. Guantanamo remains open, troops remain in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan has been escalated, and funding for mass imprisonment continues. In short, little has changed within the United States under Obama.
While Philadelphia has a long and dirty history of white supremacist violence, Philly also has a long, strong and beautiful history of racial justice organizing and victories. Diverse participation, people of color leadership, and white antiracist solidarity have always strengthened this racial justice work, although that language has not always been there. In the last few years, we have seen a dramatic conversation about race evolving around us: from the victory of President Obama to the racist, hate-mongering Tea Parties; from the struggle to keep libraries open and operating to the escalation of xenophobia and ethnic cleansing in Arizona, we see race being talked about from a lot of different angles.
Urgent Action Alert! Prisoners Under Attack in Camp Hill's SMU
Summary of Prisoner Reports
In the last four months over a dozen prisoners confined in the Special Management Unit (SMU) at State Correctional Institution (SCI) Camp Hill have written HRC/Fed Up! about conditions of severe brutality, white supremacy, and the systematic sabotage at all inmate efforts to file grievances and/or obtain legal assistance. See the attached 14-page document culled from prisoner reports detailing a violent program of dehumanization. The SMU at Camp Hill is one of two such control units in the PADOC system, the other being in Fayette, and functions primarily to repress prisoners inclined to file grievances, pursue civil suits against PADOC staff and officials, and otherwise assert their dignity as human beings.