Technocrats or Humanists?

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In his book Harvard and the Unabomber, Alston Chase describes how Theodore Kaczynski, a 16-year-old Harvard student in 1958, suffered traumatizing abuse as an unwitting test-subject in a CIA-connected experiment designed to manipulate human behavior under intensive isolation and harsh interrogation (and also ultimately: LSD and torture). This humiliating, formative experience, Chase argues, shaped Kaczynski’s strong dislike for the techno-scientific manipulation and control of human beings. But Chase also maintains that the Harvard Gen. Ed. curriculum itself—which included moral philosophy as well as critiques of modern civilization (Mumford, Veblen, etc.)—could only exacerbate despair about the state of the modern, “civilized” world. At that time, little more than a decade after the unspeakable horrors of Auschwitz and Hiroshima, the developing Cold War arms race—made possible by the militarized, extremely well-funded, scientific elite–hung like the proverbial sword of Damocles over the fate of humanity.

On the one hand, by the mid-20th century, technocrats and applied scientists had brought unparalleled managerial “expertise” and new technologies to imperial conquest and war profiteering. Trained at a technical university, the architect Albert Speer had risen to become Hitler’s notably efficient Minister of Armaments. By the Fifties, nuclear physicist Edward Teller was successfully promoting his creation—the hydrogen bomb—by politically manipulating Cold War fears (and even advocating the possible benefits of a “limited” nuclear war). By the Sixties, Robert S. McNamara–statistician, WW2 bombing coordinator, auto executive—escalated the genocidal horrors of the Vietnam War as U.S. Secretary of Defense. (The penultimate technocrat, he would eventually admit to a virtual ignorance of the actual historical struggles of the peoples of Indochina.)

But, at the same time, in this post-WW2 period, public intellectuals and literary figures were shaping a revived “mini-Enlightenment” of sorts—renewing, once more, the 18th century vision of progressive reason, universal human rights, and “the dignity of man.” In the shadow of this new “atomic age,” seeking to prevent another, possibly final, war (and associated war crimes), world nations including the U.S. ratified the Nuremberg Charter, the UN Charter, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Concurrently, arms-reduction initiatives were sponsored by leading intellectuals (Russell-Einstein Manifesto, SANE, Linus Pauling, etc.)

Moreover, despite the atmosphere of Cold War political repression (“internal security”), many prominent artists and writers who had abandoned Stalinist Communism still embraced some version of socialist-humanism (often jeopardizing their careers: witness the Hollywood Ten). Playwright Arthur Miller combined a post-Ibsenesque social realism with an earnest moral humanism. His plays—such as “Death of a Salesman” and “The Crucible”—probed the hollow core of the “American Dream,” as well as ideological repression. And like existential humanists (notably Camus), Miller emphasized the ultimate autonomy (and thus dignity) of each individual’s moral practice. Pop-sociology tracts assailed mass-conformism (e.g., David Riesman, Vance Packard); and the youthful Colin Wilson, self-taught intellectual, glorified the defiant rebel/artist in his bestselling The Outsider (1956).

As in Kaczynski’s experience at Harvard, academic psychology continued its disturbing trend toward behavior-modification and social control—sometimes as an adjunct to covert, illegal government programs. Yet at the same time, an alternate psychology was bringing deeper self-awareness and social sensitivity to American attitudes. Dr. Benjamin Spock, A. S. Neill (Summerhill), Abraham Maslow’s humanistic psychology—all emphasized the intrinsic value of the individual’s free growth and self-realization. Psychoanalysis itself—as both a theory of human nature and a therapeutic endeavor toward deeper self-understanding—was tacitly accepted (repressions, inner conflicts, unconscious motivations, etc.). Such notions as sexual neuroses, “Freudian slips,” the Oedipus complex—became so well-known that they could be dramatized (and satirized) in innumerable films (such as Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant Dr. Strangelove). Whether focusing on child-rearing or education, the goal of this humanistic psychology was healthy psycho-emotional development—not “adjustment” to the demands of the petty dictators in the home, workplace, bureaucracy, military.

Likewise, at least by the early Sixties, genuine amelioration of human deprivation became a desirable goal for both activists and applied sociologists (poverty, racism, housing, health care). Thus, the prevailing respect for such ideals as the “public sector,” “public service,” and the “public interest.” Correspondingly, college students gravitated toward liberal-arts fields (history, sociology/social work, anthropology), with the ultimate aim of employment as educators or in social-service/counseling professions. Even in the McCarthyite Fifties, a number of prominent public intellectuals and professors had found forums to advocate disarmament and détente with the Soviets–and, by the Sixties, “socialism with a human face” (e.g., Baran, Mills, Marcuse, Fromm, etc.).

But–ultimately? In this collision between humanistic/socialist values and totalitarian technocracy, the latter “won” (or so it seemed). In 2013, “value-free” (amoral) weapons scientists are still devising new WMD, and techno-entrepreneurs seek lucrative government contracts with the latest “system” of authoritarian social control (more invasive than ever—as the NSA revelations have shown).

AND YET…once again, in our 21st century world, an ethos of universal human values is unmistakably in the ascendant. No doubt the horrors and senseless waste of two recent wars of U.S. aggression have galvanized world opinion—as has the dramatic success of a revitalized social democracy in Latin America. And thus—ironically–with the assistance of hi-tech alternate media (and the global solidarity it has helped to foster), hundreds of millions of human beings are already beginning to recognize that–“We are the 99%.”

William Manson, a psychoanalytic anthropologist, formerly taught social science at Rutgers and Columbia universities. He is the author of The Psychodynamics of Culture (Greenwood Press).

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America’s Last Renegades?

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Historian Thaddeus Russell argues the respectable vs. renegade divide is ignored in American history.

The historic divide between the “respectable” vs. the “renegades” is the subject of historian Thaddeus Russell’s 2011 book A Renegade History of the United States, which argues that when renegade groups gain civil rights and social acceptability, they lose their renegade culture. At least one group of American outsiders, not discussed by Russell, continues to be socially unacceptable, making it easier for them to retain a renegade culture.Normies is a term you might hear at an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) twelve-step meeting to describe the non-addict world. The non-normie tent also includes others who may not be substance abusers but who are behaviorally noncompliant, do not take most authorities seriously, and have been labeled as “mentally ill.”Twelve-steppers routinely poke fun at their experiences in non-normie culture, and for many of them, “recovery” means trying to fit into the normie world. However, many ex-mental patients who have become “psychiatric survivors” and “mad priders” question the value of normie culture and see value in their own—this an outlook which puts them in the tradition of Russell’s historic renegades.Image via Simon & SchusterA Renegade History of the United StatesHoward Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States championed the idea that American history is not just the story of rich people, presidents, and generals but also includes class conflict and ordinary Americans trying to gain economic and social justice. For Thaddeus Russell—“Bad Thad” to his students—American history also includes the conflict between those who seek power to either maintain or reform society vs. freedom-loving, pleasure seekers.The American mainstream has long been an oppressive culture, valuing alienating work and conformity over pleasure and freedom. For Russell, prohibitions against entry into the American mainstream have historically allowed outsider groups to develop and maintain cultures that had far more pleasure and freedom. So, for example, racism and bigotry toward African-Americans’ and their exclusion from the mainstream resulted in a renegade culture that could celebrate pleasure and freedom, and that could create the blues and jazz.A Renegade History of the United States has two narratives, one uplifting and one depressing.Russell’s uplifting narrative is advertised on the book jacket: “Russell demonstrates that it was those on the fringes of society whose subversive ways of life helped legitimize the taboo and made America the land of the free.” These renegades include drunken workers who helped create the weekend, African-American slaves who saved America from Puritanism, financially astute prostitutes and madams who set the precedent for women’s liberation, unassimilated immigrants who ushered in birth control, and a bold gay culture that helped break open sexuality.The depressing narrative of A Renegade History of the United States is how America has become less of a renegade nation since the American Revolution, which ushered in increasingly more moral and legal proscriptions against alcohol use, sexual pleasures, and other personal freedoms that had been far more tolerated in colonial America.Perhaps even more depressing is Russell’s description of how once renegade groups have become less so with social acceptance, which resulted in them buying into the work ethic, sexual restraint and repression, and less interesting lives. Specifically, in chapters on African-Americans, Jews, Irish, Italian, and gay American, Russell describes their great cultural contributions to pleasure and freedom when prohibited from entry into mainstream society, but how their gaining acceptance resulted in an end of their renegade cultural contributions.In Russell’s chapter, “Gay Liberation, American Liberation,” he describes the historic clash between gay people who enjoyed the pleasures and freedom of being outside mainstream America vs. gay people who sought to gain mainstream respectability and social acceptance. Russell argues that, ironically, the respectable homosexual civil rights movement in the 1950s failed to end police harassment, but what worked was the Stonewall uprising in 1969—for Russell, “one of the great renegade moments in American history,” where gays couldn’t care less about mainstream respectability as they flaunted their sexuality and physically terrified the police.And a year after Stonewall in 1970, the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) infiltrated a conference of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) where a film was demonstrating the use of electroshock treatment to decrease same-sex attraction. GLF members, again caring little about notions of acceptable behavior, shouted “torture” and seized microphones to scold psychiatrists. Gay activists effectively intimidated the APA into abolishing homosexuality as a mental illness in 1973.The post-Stonewall gay pride movement with annual marches that included semi-naked people celebrating sexual openness was, for Russell, a truly renegade culture. But he argues that as homosexuality has become more socially acceptable, gay activism has come to primarily be about the right to have the same lifestyles as exist in mainstream culture—e.g., marriage, monogamy, and the nuclear family. For Russell, this is one of many examples of how mainstream acceptance results in a loss of freedom-loving, pleasure-seeking renegade values.While those attempting to maintain the status quo try to limit personal liberties for the sake of their notion of social order, Russell argues that so too do reformers attempt to limit personal liberties of their group for the sake of greater social acceptability for their cause. He argues that all groups that have sought social control—to either maintain or reform society—have strongly promoted the work ethic, condemned sexual freedom, and decried the decadence of consumerism.Russell’s general argument—that the respectable vs. renegade divide is an ignored and hugely significant part of American history, and that with social acceptance comes a loss of a renegade culture—is such a valuable contribution that I hesitate to quibble about his renegade categorizations and correlates. But I don’t know how one could not define anarchists such as Emma Goldman and her buddies as renegades, yet Emma and her friends and lovers fought for both social reform and sexual freedom, practicing sexual freedom in their own lives. And there is another renegade culture that today exists which also doesn’t fit so neatly into Russell’s categorizations and correlates.Psychiatric Survivors: America’s Last Renegades?Twelve-steppers at AA or NA meetings, attempting to recover from alcohol or drug abuse, routinely offer funny stories about the destructive craziness of their lives before recovery, though one often senses that there remains some attraction for the freedom, pleasure, and excitement of their non-normie past.In contrast, there is a non-normie culture—in the tradition of renegade cultures that Russell describes—who pokes fun at normie culture, seeing their own culture as life-affirming. This non-normie group is comprised of ex-mental patients who refer to themselves as “psychiatric survivors” or having had “lived experience of altered states of consciousness.” For them, psychiatric treatment was dehumanizing and oppressive.Similar to the historic conflict within persecuted gay culture, there is conflict among psychiatric survivors as well. While all fight against psychiatric oppression, some want their behaviors depathologized so they can fit into the mainstream, but others want to hold on their renegade culture.MindFreedom is a coalition of psychiatric survivor organizations from around the world and has championed Mad Pride. As the New York Times reported in 2008 (‘Mad Pride’ Fights a Stigma), “Just as gay-rights activists reclaimed the word queer as a badge of honor rather than a slur, these advocates proudly call themselves mad.”Janet Foner, psychiatric survivor and MindFreedom Board Member who leads Mental Health Liberation workshops, describes “The 10 Warning Signs of Normality,” jokingly describing normality as a“chronic mental illness afflicting much of the general population.” Some of these “normality warning signs” include:COOL: Holding everything in and always putting “a good face on it.”SERIOUS: Always doing the proper thing—never anything unusual, playful, spontaneous, wild, or creative.NICE:Always acting nice even if you can’t stand the other person.RIGHT:Always doing everything right— wear the “right clothes,” saying the “right thing,” and associating with only with the “right people,” and believing there is only one right way.BORING: Conversations, life, and living space are dull and boring.OBEDIENT:Always trying not to offend, especially those in authority.In this renegade culture, life affirming non-normality includes even hearing voices (what mainstream psychiatrist call “auditory hallucinations” and consider a hallmark symptom of psychoses such as schizophrenia). This culture asks, "So, What’s Wrong with Hearing Voices?" (Behavioral Healthcare, 2011), and have developed the Hearing Voices Network.This renegade culture share the anarchist beliefs of non-hierarchical organization, personal liberty, mutual aid, and resistance to illegitimate authority. While they might not fit neatly into Russell’s renegade characteristics and correlates—as individuals vary on their commitment to social reform, the work ethic, consumption, and sexual freedom—they share an opposition to coercion and to the control orientation of normie psychiatrists and normie society. This and their belief in fun makes them renegades, one of the last renegade groups who together are having some good times in bad-times America.

Related StoriesReal-Life Hunger Is No GameThe Physical and Mental Wounds That Torment Combatants and Their Families Long After the War Is OverThe White Gaze Kills (Again): Renisha McBride was Shot in the Face by a Shotgun Because Black Americans Do Not Have the Luxury of Being Strangers in Need of Help

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Native Americans Should Have Let the Pilgrims Starve

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British historian EJ Hobsbawm died just over a year ago. His works had a tremendous impact on my generation of progressive historians. He would take a theme and deconstruct it by using meticulous logic and documentation. Hobsbawm never suffocated his narrative with obtuse theory or meta-language.

One of my favorites was a thin anthology that he co-edited with Terence Ranger titled The Invention of Tradition. In his introductory essay, Hobsbawm defined the invention of tradition as “a set of practices … of a ritual or symbolic nature, which seek to inculcate certain values and norms of behaviour by repetition, which automatically implies continuity with the past.” The invented traditions had a purpose, and gave a continuity of varied accuracy that formed a largely fictitious history.

Other historians have tied this invention of tradition to state building endeavors. William H. Beezley in Mexican National Identity: Memory, Innuendo, and Popular Culture sees identity as fashioned “in the streets”; however, there are others who say that very few holidays come from the people, tying the process to state building.

Essentially, the state builds a historical narrative that gives its citizens a sense of unity. Holidays are designed to give legitimacy to the accepted version of history that not does always conform to the Truth. It is a process that builds a “national culture.”

Deviation from this narrative disturbs people and even offends them. My sister would not invite me to social gatherings during the Vietnam War because I would bring up topics such as racism, police brutality and the Vietnam War. I was told that I was a party pooper, and would lay intellectual pedos (farts)—forcing people to move away.

Hobsbawm was like Rene Descartes who in the 17th century began his journey by questioning scholasticism, and paved the way for historical materialism. It was and is not easy to correct traditional narratives. Like toddlers people want to hear stories told the way they first learned them. There are people who still cling to the story of George Washington cutting down the cherry tree, for instance.

The months of October and November are replete with fictitious versions of history. During these to months, the state allocates holidays for Columbus Day, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. These official narratives become the Truth. Teachers teach students fictitious narratives, and in turn the public is grateful for the gift of a holiday.

By far the “the king of the holidays” is Thanksgiving. The narrative has been burned into our consciousness to the point that few Americans question the facts because no one wants to lay the proverbial intellectual pedo.

Almost everyone is grateful for the day off. Merchants love Thanksgiving. It is the perfect opening act for Christmas.
The ritual of sitting down with the family to eat cheap turkey, chucked full of hormones, has been immortalized by Norman Rockwell. It is a day when you eat cheap turkeys and hams and everyone can pig out.
Not much thought is given to the truth of the narrative. Kids just want their four day relief from school, and parents are smug in the belief that the colonist and the Indians lived in peace. The only ones that care about changing the narrative are Native Americans who call it a National Day of Mourning.

I call Thanksgiving “El Día de los Pendejos” (The Day of the Fools). I tell my students to enjoy making graveyards out of their stomachs that they fill with the flesh of turkeys that have been held prisoners in small dirty cages.

Why do I call the Indians fools? Because they should have let the Pilgrims starve.
Few people know that the tradition of Thanksgiving was invented during the Civil war by President Abraham Lincoln in October 1863 when he proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday. Thereafter, the myth of the Pilgrims and the Indians was constructed.

The story is known by almost every American. For twelve years, from K-12, they learn the story of that in the early autumn of 1621 fifty-three surviving Pilgrims celebrated a successful harvest. The natives joined the celebration and instead of attacking the Pilgrims they made peace.

The Indians were thanked: their land was stolen from them, they were massacred, and many lived out their lives in slavery. The consequence is that less than one percent of Americans have Native American blood, contrasted to 90 percent of Mexican Americans with indigenous blood.

It is difficult to change the narrative because most Americans love their myths, and they love their cheap turkey. They want to believe the lie that makes them feel exceptional.
There is little doubt that invented tradition strengthens nationalism. The elites are legitimized by the invented traditions, and in turn they invent other traditions. This phenomenon is not exclusive to the United States where it permeates political views and historical narratives.

No doubt that Thanksgiving happened. However, the narrative is not vetted, and it introduces a new set of dynamics. It affects our decision-making, and often clouds what is true and what is fiction.
When the French peasantry was starving in the 18th century because they could not afford bread, it caused widespread discontent. The myth was born that French Queen Marie Antoinette said, “Let them eat cake.” It inflamed the masses – beautiful story but it wasn’t true.

Traditional narratives are good and bad, and are difficult to correct. As Napoleon once said, history is the tale of the victor. Today the narrative belongs to the state and those who control the state.
The truth be told, Thanksgiving hides the reality of the soup kitchens. The corporate owned media show charitable groups passing out free traditional Turkey Dinners to the poor when the reality is that many have been deprived of jobs, food stamps, and their children have been robbed of free nutritious lunches. Greater numbers are homeless. Yet the Thanksgiving narrative shows us as a compassionate people – one big happy family.

The myth of the grateful Pilgrims permeates this narrative. In many ways, we are like the Indians who were robbed and killed after sharing our labor.
The invented tradition of Thanksgiving is so much part of the American narrative that many people go into depression if they cannot celebrate it with family and friends. Psychologists say that it is the worse time of the year to be alone; loneliness causes a social anxiety disorder (SAD).

Thanksgiving is the ultimate example of social control, and the invented reality that Americans like the pilgrims were justified in stealing the land and killing the people.
Our lives become one big Thanksgiving for being an American. The Sierra Club reports “that the average American will drain as many resources as 35 natives of India and consume 53 times more goods and services than someone from China … With less than 5 percent of world population, the U.S. uses one-third of the world’s paper, a quarter of the world’s oil, 23 percent of the coal, 27 percent of the aluminum, and 19 percent of the copper.”

There is a similar gap between the poor and the 1 percent in America. The fictitious history alleviates our guilt, and we forget the reasons why some people are in food lines, and others are eating cheap hormone infected birds, while a few eat organic turkey.

Not knowing, not questioning makes this El Día de los Pendejos. We are fools because we don’t question the narrative. It is why we keep repeating injustices.
So now pass me the gravy.
RODOLFO ACUÑA, a professor emeritus at California State University Northridge, has published 20 books and over 200 public and scholarly articles. He is the founding chair of the first Chicano Studies Dept which today offers 166 sections per semester in Chicano Studies. His history book Occupied America has been banned in Arizona. In solidarity with Mexican Americans in Tucson, he has organized fundraisers and support groups to ground zero and written over two dozen articles exposing efforts there to nullify the U.S. Constitution.

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Black Pop Culture As the Tool of Empire

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Throughout American history popular culture has been deployed by the ruling elite as a means to solidify the imperatives of American capitalism and empire.

“They tryna lock niggas upThey tryna make new slavesSee that’s that privately owned prisonGet your piece today”– Lyric from Kanye West’s 2013 single “New Slaves.”Popular culture in American society serves multiple functions. Viewed by many as simple artistic expression seeking to provide entertainment for its audiences, throughout American history popular culture has been deployed by the ruling elite as a means to solidify the imperatives of American capitalism and empire in the minds of the nation’s citizenry as well as the world abroad.“President Dwight D. Eisenhower helped lead the foundations of global jazz diplomacy in the aftermath ofBrown v. Board of Education–a decision that provided impetus for a world wide United States Information Agency (UNIA) propoganda campaign.” – ”Jazz Diplomacy: Promoting America During the Cold War Era,” by Lisa E. DavenportBlack Jazz Musicians were recruited by Eisenhower and subsequent administrations to be the ambassadors to American Capitalism in third world countries that were recently gaining independence and flirting with Communism as a political and economic model at the height of global Soviet prominence. These Black musicians were being recruited at a time when America was only making slight overtures to crack the walls of Jim Crow Segregation. Yet, the recent Supreme Court Decision of Brown vs Education led some in the Black community to naively believe that a transformative victory had been won as opposed to a judicial policy choice to improve America’s image abroad in the face of Communist expansion.“Starting in the 1950’s, the U.S. State Department solicited jazz artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, and Louis Armstrong as ‘cultural ambassadors’ to third world countries and the African continent to try to ‘rehabilitate’ America’s racist image and offer the American way of life as an alternative to the increasing post-colonial popularity of Communism. Armstrong was performing in the Katanga Province in the Congo the same time as Patrice Lumumba’s capture and torture with American complicity. He was on the continent when Lumumba was killed.Adam Clayton Powell Jr. was the brainchild behind this movement of recruiting Jazz artists for this purpose”– "In Search of the Black Fantastic," Richard Iton.In today’s political age with the browning of America, the ruling elite understand the importance of having the pop culture/media arm of the Black mis-leadership class endorse empire in Black face. Politicians like Barack Obama and Cory Booker are crucial to ensuring that people of color embrace the empire’s agenda as their own. Celebrities ranging from Oprah Winfrey, Samuel L. Jackson, to Jay Z swear their loyalty to the Booker/Obama types in fulfillment of a ridiculous Black redemptive fantasy. Racial kinship politicsbecomes a tool of empire.Currently all the rage in the Black community, the Kerry Washington political intrigue program “SCANDAL” is about a Black Woman whose job is to help Washington DC politicos through damaging and embarrassing dilemmas. The show is an excellent example of the way Black popular culture is deployed to breed reverence for American empire and those who benefit from it. “SCANDAL” The result is a kind of female Obama Effect, shrewdly creating a sense of collective racial necessity for placing Brown faces in high imperial places. The most oppressed segment of American society is encouraged to fantasize about becoming the most effective agents of the same empire that is destroying them. Very shrewd indeed.What’s most interesting about “SCANDAL” is that it’s based on the real life story of a Black woman who got her political start in the Reagan administration and played a key role in getting Clarence Thomas confirmedto the U.S. Supreme Court despite Anita Hill’s charges of sexual harassment. She also helped clean things up for the Republicans during the Iran Contra Scandal. As recently as May of this year, the real life character behind “SCANDAL” represented Paula Deen, the White TV Cooking Show maven who outraged Black America for allegedly admitting she fantasized about “owning slaves”. So dramatically speaking, this is the woman Black America is cheering for while watching “SCANDAL.”In a very interesting twist, another fixture of Black popular culture, Kanye West, has used his membership in the elite star chamber to write a song called “New Slaves” that essentially embraces the agenda of the ruling class elite while unfurling the Confederate Flag. The song acknowledges the rise of mass incarceration and private prisons, corporate dominance over peoples lives, and even suggests the role of class as a source of contention within the Black community. West critiques “those in their Hampton Houses” while bizarrely singing the refrain, “I know we the New Slaves….I know we the New Slaves…We the New Slaves.” (The lyrics can be found here.) However, in true elite fashion, West admits that this agenda can’t touch “HIM” because he can “fly [his] family out the country.” But what about the supermajority of Black Americans who will never be able to fly their family out of the country as they face the five pronged merciless agenda of American Empire: 1) Finance Capital Hoarding of Wealth; 2) Neoliberal Privatization of Prisons, Schools, and government services; 3) Austerity cutting of social programs like Social Security and Food Stamps; 4) Mass Incarceration; and 5) Growth of the Surveillance State via NSA, Homeland Security, etc. This is the agenda that Obama and the Cory Booker types have been assigned to lay on Black America and the rest of the country while people cheer and scream, “That’s my president!”If Black redemption is premised on showing White Imperialists and oppressors that we are equally competent at managing their evil affairs, then we are also morally bankrupt – maybe even more so than those who truly control American empire. Hypocrisy and duplicity are always the more repellant treasonous crimes.“African Americans have been rendered redundant and more valuable in prison than as a functioning part of the functioning economy.” – Ajamu Baraka, Public Intervenor for Human Rights in the Democracy Branch of the Green Shadow Cabinet of the United States.Pascal Robert is an Iconoclastic Haitian American Lawyer, Blogger, and Online Activist for Haiti. For years his work appeared under the Blog Thought Merchant: thoughtmerchant.

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