Sunday, June 21, 2015

June 21: This wil be a short one..,.

.. because it's cold, wet, and miserable both inside and out. Besides, my children are taking me out so I can buy them their supper for Father's day.

It's both alarming an disgusting to think about the news. In South Carolina, where a young man wearing confederate flag patches and mourning the decline of of the Ku Klux Klan burst into a Black church meeting and murdered nine people, the state refuses to lower or (better) to take down the confederate flag - the flag that idealizes Black slavery.

The killer is not some oddball.  Abusing and killing Blacks is mainstream thinking in white, Christian South Caroline. (And North Carolina and Alabama and Texas and California and New York - and on.)  It can also be a bad idea to be close to a policeman if you're Black - even if you're doing nothing and are a girl and are twelve years old. Such a girl got her faced smashed into a squad car by a policeman who felt threatened by her. If you're Black in the US, your chances of getting shot by a policeman are far higher than are the chances of a Saudi Arabian being beheaded - and Saudi has beheaded over 400 at this half-way mark in 2015.

A spokesman for the gun lobby in South Caroline said the church shootings were the fault of the minister. It seems he had been a state senator, and had favoured tightening gun laws. The spokesman said that if the minister and the congregation had been armed, they could have shot it out with the killer. So it was all the minister's fault.

In a related matter, Donald Trump is running for president on a platform of racism directed at Hispanics because they rape White, American women. And he'll get votes on that.

Caution - Canadians should not kid themselves that this sort of thing isn't happening here. It's not as severe in Canada. But it does happen.

Why is this happening?


For a start, the rate of poverty in the US is one of the highest in the developed world - and it's rising.
Official figures run to 30% or more - and official figures commonly understate the problem. The worst poverty is in glamorous California. And, in most states, the worst off are Blacks and Hispanics.

Nor is education an easy way out. Schools in poor districts are notoriously underfunded. To make it worse, much of the secondary system has been privatized - and that has made the private schools higher in prestige and, so, almost essential for any child to get ahead. It's tough enough, for all kinds of social reasons, for poor kids who are bright to get a decent education. In the US, it has become almost impossible. And you think university fees in Canada are high? In the US they're as high as Jack's beanstalk. They're out of reach for virtually the whole of the working class, and they're a lifetime of debt for the middle class.
Health care? Forget it.

So where have all the jobs gone? To impoverished countries - which remain impoverished after our capitalists move into them - they remain impoverished, environmentally destroyed, with no social help. They die young of malnutrition, lack of medical care and, often enough, of beatings and shooting by company police and, if necessary, by the army.

That behaviour, never mentioned in our press (though Canadians are prominent in it), is as disgraceful as slavery, and even more cruel and deadly. And many of what the Irving press would call our "noted" and "respected" citizens are up to their ears in it. We are back to the days of the British Empire when British wealthy slaughtered millions and abused tens of millions to make themselves unspeakably rich while, at the same time, leaving most of the British people to try to survive in poverty.

Americans (and Canadians) lose jobs with free trade. They also lose taxes because all those profits are hidden away. That's why we can't afford universities. That's why we have to cut back on public schooling, on health. That's why the hungry have to turn to charities that can't possibly afford to feed them all.

That's why, when a rich man speaks to the cheerful charlies of the Rotary Club and the Chamber of Commerce about how they have a duty to help the community, I say stuff it. Tell the very rich to pay their taxes like the rest of us do.

As the wage gap spreads, and as the rich become much, much richer at our expense, most of our news media teach us to hate. We're taught to hate and fear Moslems so that we will help them to make our oil billionaires richer. We're taught to hate Russians so that western capitalists can use us to kill them so that western capitalists can control the Russian economy. We shall soon be getting more advanced hatred to be aimed at China - partly so Western capitalists can make profits out of its cheap labour, partly so the US can get out of paying back its massive loans from China - loans which have been handed out to a stunningly corrupt defence industry by stunningly corrupt politicians.

We're taught to hate so that instead of seeing our real problems and the cause of them, we focus on a target that is within our reach. Like people who look different from us. That's what happened in South Carolina.

Sometimes, people in trouble turn to institutions that they control as their outlet.  That's why, after the British conquest, francophone became deeply attached to the Catholic church in Canada. It was much the same with Irish immigrants to Canada. That's why Blacks in the US turned to a Martin Luther King in the US, and why members of a Black congregation were gathered in their church in South Carolina. We need to feel part of something that is a foundation for our lives.

In a sort of  bizzare  way,   that is why American evangelicals often worship a God  who is, in their view, a White American.  And they are His chosen people. It went under the name of Manifest Destiny and now as American Exceptionalism, That concept has been used to justify American wars that are really fought to make billionaires richer. (The British worked under a similar delusion to justify their empire.)

In Canada and the US, instead of looking at our real problems, and dealing with them, we take it out in a form of racism directed at whoever we are told to hate. And so we are told to hate and fear  Russia (which is evil) and Muslims (who are evil.). And a white boy in South Carolina kills the people he has been raised to hate and to blame.

Two things have reached a dangerous level.
1. We have been programmed to hate people who have done us no harm and who, if evil, are not more so than us.
2.We are not looking at the real problem - a capitalism that is destroying us to satisfy the greed  (and, arguably, the criminal insanity) of the very, very rich in our society.

And if we allow that to continue, neither Canada nor the US will survive.


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