Posts Tagged ‘racism’
“Corruption, elite domination, and white favoritism are the most important factors in understanding Arizona’s strange political history, including this latest episode. But class struggle against it is key to understanding why the nation’s strangest state may soon be in the vanguard of struggles for real freedom. Those involved in such struggles stand like saguaros in this beautiful state, even as the snakes and scorpions scurry about us.”
Thanks to Jed for pointing out this essay. The piece first appeared on Facebook.
Corruption and Class Struggle:
What It’s Like to Live in Arizona Right Now
By Joel Olson
With the passage of the notorious anti-immigrant bill SB 1070 last spring, the outlawing of ethnic studies as of January 1, the gutting of the school and university systems, the collapsed housing market, the high unemployment rates, and now the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, you might be wondering what it’s like to live in Arizona right about now.
It ain’t easy.
But it helps to put Giffords’s shooting in historical perspective, which is defined by two things in Arizona: corruption and class struggle. And ironically, this perspective gives me hope about the radically democratic future of my home state.
Arizona’s economy was founded on the “Five C’s:” copper, cotton, cattle, citrus, and climate (tourism). These C’s were controlled by big mining and agricultural interests and real estate developers. Corruption was commonplace as they manipulated the political system for their benefit.
A group of these capitalists, called the Phoenix 40, controlled state politics until the 1970s, when the political establishment opened up some. But even after their rule, the state capitol has always been a place to lie, bribe, and scam your way to what you want. If the names Don Bowles, Evan Mecham, AZ scam, Fife Symington, or the Keating 5 (which included Senator John McCain) mean anything to you, then you know that corruption is as plentiful as the parking here. And I haven’t even mentioned Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio or State Senator Russell Pearce, the tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum of racist nativism.*
SB 1070 and Giffords’s shooting, in other words, are but the latest of a storied history of corrupt cowboy capitalism.
Such tomfoolery is part of the class struggle in the Grand Canyon State. Three classes matter in Arizona: elites, the white middle class, and the working class. The elites come mainly from the agriculture/mining, tourism, and construction/real estate sectors (with an emerging tech sector). They are the masters of the corruption I described. But in a system of majority rule, elites need a junior partner to dominate. This is where the white middle class steps in.
The white middle class is the engine of suburban development here. The new housing developments, strip malls, and big box stores that pop up almost daily (until the recession, at least) are built for and fueled by this class. Many in this class run small businesses related to the main sectors of the economy, such as ranching, construction, landscaping, and pool maintenance. Many are retirees who used to manage businesses in other states. This small business atmosphere contributes to the libertarian, Barry Goldwater-style political culture of the state.
For years, this relationship has been mutually beneficial. While legal segregation never took deep root in this state (most of Arizona’s explosive growth took place after Brown v. Board of Education was decided in 1954), unofficial practices have kept many neighborhoods and schools comfortably white for decades, and the best jobs have been traditionally denied to Chicanos and Natives. (With a Black population of just three percent, the racially “out” groups in this state have historically been Chicanos, Mexicans, and indigenous peoples.) Politicians have successfully tied these practices to the laissez-faire economic policies of the elites, giving whites the sense that their success is due strictly to their own work ethic rather than being facilitated by white privilege. As a result, many white middle and working class Arizonans identify with the success—and conservative politics—of the elites.
This collusion has created an anything-goes capitalism mixed with a suburban consciousness. Call my state the Wild West or suburban hell—they’re both accurate to a large degree.
But the partnership has been fraying in the last two decades. Pressures to diversify corporations, universities, and governments have led elites to support various multicultural initiatives, which middle class whites resent. (Arizona voters in November voted to outlaw affirmative action by a wide margin.) The state’s Latino population has outpaced white growth, and the state is now nearly one-third Latino. Areas that were once comfortably white now have Spanish-language business signs. More and more schoolchildren have brown faces—even in the “good” schools. Cars roll down formerly white streets bumping music whose percussion comes from a tuba.
Further, middle class whites increasingly see elites in collusion with the Brown working classes rather than them. They have reasons for believing this. Agriculture, construction, and tourism all depend on a highly exploitable, low-paid working class, which makes migrant labor desirable. Undocumented labor makes up 27% of all construction workers, 60% of agricultural workers, 25% of restaurants workers, and 51% of all landscaping workers in Arizona. This sets small business interests—who usually can’t take advantage of such labor—into a tizzy. It sets off many other middle and working class whites as well, who feel that “they” are stealing “our” jobs. This is the political power behind SB 1070—a law that Arizona’s elites largely oppose.
The frayed alliance between these two classes has created the political mess this state is in today. It is the story behind SB 1070, HB2281 (the anti-ethnic studies law), the elimination of affirmative action, the attack on the public education system, the attack on public workers for enjoying “Cadillac” pension plans, and Giffords’s shooting. The alleged shooter, Jared Loughner, is not only of the white middle/working class, his addled mind is a gross exaggeration of its contradictions and confusions. Of course Loughner is probably crazy, but his mental health—and even his ideology—are not the point. What matters is that the conflict over this frayed class alliance—and all the political vitriol it has generated by Tea Partiers and others—pointed his illness toward Gabrielle Giffords.
In the face of this mess, it is the working class—largely Brown, largely poor, largely poorly educated, largely ignored—that represents the best hope to build a new Arizona within the corrupted shell of the old. Exploited by the elite, despised by many whites, and largely shut out of the political system, this class has had to make its own way through the state’s crazy political landscape.
With a weak Democratic Party, a labor movement crippled by “right to work” laws, a small civil rights contingent, few political nonprofits, and almost no organized left, Arizona’s working class is turning to grassroots democracy, operating outside the “official” political channels and fearlessly making political demands that challenge the pillars of laissez-faire capitalism itself. This path they are carving is quite possibly a model for working class struggles throughout the nation.
Take the grassroots fight against SB 1070, for example. The Tierra y Libertad Organization in Tucson has been a leader in opposing SB 1070. But it is also creating a new model of democracy. Declining to become a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, they raise funds through the community, which they use support their struggle for the self-determination of its base communities. In Phoenix, Puente has organized the major immigrant rights demonstrations in Arizona, but they are also organizing neighborhood meetings throughout the Valley of the Sun. In Phoenix and Flagstaff, the Repeal Coalition (I’m a member of this group) demands that all persons in a global economy be free to live, love, and work wherever they please, and they demand that ordinary people have a full say in those affairs that affect their daily lives. The undocumented workers, moms, and college students who make up the group don’t seem to worry that these demands are deeply radical and disrupt the very functioning of Arizona politics as it currently operates. These groups work with others, such as Border Action Network, No More Deaths, and Arizona Interfaith, that are organized in a traditional nonprofit format but nevertheless encourage face-to-face democracy and are courageously fighting 1070 and myriad other evils.
These working-class struggles suggest a new Arizona. They suggest a world in which working people decide the fate of the community, not the rich. They suggest a world in which democracy rather than white privilege decides how to allocate resources. They suggest a world in which borders are tools of the bosses rather than walls that “defend sovereignty” or “prevent terrorism.”
This class will not win for a while. The elites and the white middle classes are yet too powerful. This coming year, Arizona politicians will gut the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of birthright citizenship, defund public education until it barely operates, and do many more stupid things. But as elites and the white middle class continue to bicker, the Arizona working class continues to learn lessons, develop leadership, practice grassroots democracy, and make demands that seem “unreasonable” today but might tomorrow become as obvious as the multiplication table.
Corruption, elite domination, and white favoritism are the most important factors in understanding Arizona’s strange political history, including this latest episode. But class struggle against it is key to understanding why the nation’s strangest state may soon be in the vanguard of struggles for real freedom. Those involved in such struggles stand like saguaros in this beautiful state, even as the snakes and scorpions scurry about us.
* * * * * * * *
Joel Olson has lived in Arizona for over 25 years. He is a member of the Flagstaff Repeal Coalition and teaches political theory at Northern Arizona University.
* For the uninitiated or un-Arizonan: Don Bowles was an Arizona Republic reporter who was murdered by a car bomb in 1976 while investigating connections between Arizona elites and the Mafia. Evan Mecham was a racist governor (he was a John Birch Society supporter) from 1987-1988 who was impeached for obstruction of justice and misuse of government funds. The Keating 5 were five U.S. Senators, including Arizona Senators John McCain and Dennis DeConcini, who were accused of corruption in 1989 for illegally intervening on behalf of Charles Keating, whose Lincoln Savings and Loan bank collapsed, causing thousands to lose their life savings. “AZ scam” was a bribery and money laundering scandal that several state legislators were convicted of in 1991. Fife Symington, the governor of Arizona from 1991-1996, was impeached and indicted for 23 counts of fraud and extortion.
It Can’t Happen Here – But It is
To millions of Americans, the “end times” seem to be on us. The BP disaster in the Gulf may leave 25% of America virtually uninhabitable, eco-systems destroyed for sure but maybe much more, a destroyed sea floor, toxic gas clouds moving inland and warnings of something worse, a geological disaster of biblical proportions sitting offshore like a ticking time bomb. Millions of American believe the president is a foreign born Muslim, a puppet of the terrorists while millions believe he is working for Israel. Every speech, every state visit, everything done is seen to support one side or another, sometimes both. The destruction of the American presidency is only part of it, part of a program of racial division, fear, hate and a descent into class warfare and violence.
The end result of the disasters, political infighting, religious extremism, the total collapse of trust in America’s system of government and the infiltration of terrorist elements into every institution, America’s military and political core, financial terrorists working to destroy America’s standard of living, its industrial base, its currency and, eventually the last of its freedoms will be the division of America, starting with an apartheid state and ending in “Balkanization” and the world’s largest nuclear arsenal being unleashed on the world. This has been heard before, it is a story that faith based broadcasting has been sending out to the American people for the past thirty years. The biblical flood began when the money disappeared.
The serious side is the economic meltdown. Even with the hundreds of billions Americans borrowed to give to our “banksters” who our “congress critters” decided were too big to allow to fail, we have no banks, simply depositories for stolen money while it waits to be shipped overseas. Money is taken in, none loaned out, not for jobs in America anyway. All the government did was to push the burgeoning debt left us by the Bush/Cheney failures even higher, topping $13 trillion dollars this month, money we owe to pay back money we never got from people who had no right to print it in the first place.
More and more Americans are becoming aware of the fact that our system, the Federal Reserve, is nothing but a racket where foreign bankers, all thinly disguised Rothschilds, sell us our own money while maneuvering us into debt, really a massive mortgage on America’s future, we can never keep up the payments on. America has been systematically destabilized, the most powerful nation in the history of the earth, living on borrowed money and, frankly, borrowed time.
TOO MUCH TO STOMACH, BP BUYING OUR GOVERNMENT AND LIEBERMAN CONTROLLING THE INTERNET
When Americans look at television and see half their politicians crying about BP, a company that laid waste to more of the planet than any in history, they see a world upside down. They know their politicians take money, everyone knows this, but to think they would be brazen enough to scream out “yes, we are crooks, what are you going to do about it?” is more than that. It is an announcement that anyone in government can do anything they want, anything, and never answer for it, not even face reelection problems. The more crooked a politician, the more favorable press he gets, the more the Israel lobby supports him, the more the Tea Baggers support him, the more “heroic” he is portrayed by the pundits and fear mongers.
Things have gotten so bad that Senator Josef Liebermann (I-srael) has introduced a bill that would allow the internet to be closed down in case of “emergency.” Liberman talks about terrorism or espionage but the real problem was that the “corporate press” got caught lying over the Freedom Flotilla massacre and millions of Americans have turned to the internet for the news, news sometimes bizarre, conspiratorial and fringe, often however, much more accurate and truthful than the newspapers and TV networks. His bill, written in Tel Aviv, is designed to make Americans who depend on the internet for news and communication feel helpless, isolated and ready to turn to violence.
Picture yourself going to the computer. Your email is blocked, nothing in, nothing out. You are looking at one screen, the same thing on every computer in the country. The logo, a simply, DHS, Department of Homeland Security. In the middle of the screen is a new search engine, “Safety Friendly Family Approved Searches.” Below that are approved news stories, linking you to ABC, CNN, FOX, CBS, MSNBC, the WSJ, NYT, WP and Family Security Matters.org. Below that is a warning:
“Your microphone and webcam are in active mode. Do not attempt to mute, shield or disable under penalty of law.”
Senator Lieberman is trying to start a civil war, more than just planting the seeds, this is a provocation, a clear and present danger to American freedom.
BUILDING THE MECHANISM OF APOCALYPSE, THE MOVE TO APARTHEID
Let’s talk about “social cohesion.” Israel has shipped their five million Palestinians to Jordan, Lebanon or Gaza to have social cohesion, one country, one race, one religion, no room for outsiders, no matter how long they have been around. America did the same thing with the Indians (Native Americans), eventually wiping most of them out in a series of wars, treaties and resettlement programs. However, America’s problems with social cohesion are far greater than Israel’s or even those of America during the pioneering years. Today, we are a society divided on, not only race and ethnicity but region, religion and, worst of all, extremist political views. The government that is supposed to join us together and the constitution that is meant to guarantee our belief in equal justice for all have been ground into the dust, twisted, bought, obliterated and disfigured.
America is heading for a meltdown. Another civil war is possible, even likely. 40% of states are bankrupt. This means they can’t pay police or teachers or fix roads except with borrowed federal money. It also means their pension plans, all that is meant to keep millions of Americans out of dire poverty in retirement, are gone. The states lost their pension plans in the 2007 collapse. Only federal bail outs, which aren’t going to happen, will cover this massive shortfall. Eventually, workers, hundreds of thousands of families who worked and saved for financial security will be told it isn’t there anymore. This isn’t the future, it happened, its real and it can’t be hidden very long.
There is no federal government to step in and carry the load. Wars have left it drowning and political corruption has crippled America to where it is no more stable than many of the nations of Africa. Hiding behind years of scare tactics, terrorism, tiny countries with nuclear weapons, or the real problem of Mexico’s collapse under the rule of drug lords and the millions flooding into our country, financial criminals have looted America and a worldwide criminal conspiracy of financial criminals, headquartered in Tel Aviv and New York, protected by congress and Mossad death squads traveling the world with German passports. The press, something we generously call either the “mainstream media” or “corporate controlled press” isn’t just a mechanism for censorship, its part of a long term effort to destroy the faith Americans have in their own ability as people to rule themselves and trust, not the criminals presented to vote for in elections, but their own ability to reject the lot of them.
THE MANY FACES OF THE AMERICAN TALIBAN
Radicalization of America has been the goal all along. Who would have ever believed that internet conspiracy theory would end up being, not only more believable, but more fair and certainly more balanced than traditional media sources that have been discredited to such a degree in recent months. A key area of division in America has been religion. For awhile, financed by the Israeli lobby and the “bankster” criminal elements, the “neo-cons” were able to build a bridge uniting Evangelical Christians with Christian Zionists, groups that are, from a scriptural standpoint light years apart. To this, the abortion/women’s rights issue drew many Catholics to abandon their traditional values and join with these groups which had shared little in common with them. Catholics are urban, typically well educated with a Euro-centric culture, while Evangelicals shun higher education for religious instruction.
The first American Taliban may have been the Puritans but they have been eclipsed in American history by the atavism of the Mormon Church, whose beliefs deeply parallel the most frightening and profound heresies of Islam, church over state, no rights for women and an undercurrent of violence unrivaled by any sect seen in a western society since the Albigensians. Mormons, chased across America, seized much of the Southwest and set up a defacto government, one with little in common with the rest of America. As the Mormon regions of America come into conflict with the massive Hispanic Catholic population, the roots of dissolution, border wars, draconian race laws and eventually full apartheid will take hold. It will start in Arizona and spread through the American West.
Perhaps the largest threat is the religious theory of Zionism. Originally a race theory based on Jewish racial superiority and political supremacy, offshoots of Zionism have entered Evangelical Christian belief systems creating the heresy known as Christian Zionism. Original Zionism, a violent and radical offshoot of Judaism is more racial than religious or political in nature. Though a minority of American Jews practice Zionistic beliefs, most are coerced into either financial support or even into sending children into military servitude in Israel in order to avoid social ostracism.
As the result of the founding of Israel in Judea or Palestine, a slow decline in social,cultural and intellectual traditions has infected the Jewish community in America, one known for the advancement of social causes and broad advocacy of American freedoms. With the increased radicalization of America and her economic decline, many Jews have looked to Israel as an anchor, failing to take into account the role Israel has played in the onset of the entropy they fear. This situation could be equated with burning down your home to save your garage.
Christian Zionists have only anecdotal similarities with the Judaic variety. They tend to be rural, poorly educated, envious and resentful, not only of what they call “elites” but many other groups as well but primarily African Americans. The basis of Christian Zionism is hatred of African Americans. All other monikers or descriptions are a subterfuge to escape the labels these same groups had been associated with in the past, Klan, racist or bigot.
Hiding behind tortured and obscure biblical references and using bizarre stories of disaster and apocalypse, stories oddly well supported by current times, these simple rural people unable to grasp much of the complex modern world. They have been melded into a political front serving the interests of Israel, a state they understand poorly, and the class of economic criminals, many associated with Israel but also with the movement in America called “conservatism.” Their political role has been to serve as a vocal and sometimes violent front for the economic oligarchy, a very real monied elite, that has assumed broad control over America’s policitcal and social life.
THE DOOM SO MANY PRAYED SO HARD FOR IS HERE
America’s security has been tied, for 65 years, to NATO. Today, our newspaper and TV gurus are telling us to dissolve NATO. With the breakdown of the alliance between Israel and Turkey, Israel, who controls 444 members of congress and 50% of America’s wealth has demanded that America either throw Turkey out of NATO or leave herself. As yet, Israel is allowing the United States to remain in the United Nations because America’s security council veto, used hundreds of times to save Israel from sanctions for war crimes or nuclear proliferation violations, is vital to the welare of Israel.
This week, Israel was discovered on the verge of bombing Iran. Little real damage would have been done. Iran has no nuclear infrastructure tied to weapons manufacture. The intent would be, as Israel had planned it, to enter Iran from the north where there are few defenses, bomb useless and remote targets, safe targets so all planes could return and claim a major victory, destroying that which did not exist. As Saudi Arabia has already been set up as the fall guy, said to have allowed the attack in advance, something the Saudis deny, they would become hated among Muslim nations.
Israel’s plan is to force Iran to attack Saudi Arabia, close the Straits of Hormuz and push America and Western Europe into total collapse. With 60% of the world’s oil supply eliminated, world financial and currency markets would collapse and the world’s armaments industry would explode with orders. Israel is the third largest exporter of weapons. Israel prides itself as the inventor of “game theory,” the method of strategic planning making use of deception, manipulation, “false flag attacks,” assassinations, bribery and blackmail in a complex chess match meant to bring the world to a chaotic state subject to their mathematical models. Israel is filled with Nobel Prize winners. This is what they work on.
The apolcalypse that Christian Zionists prayed for, the “end times” though to begin with a series of natural disasters has been hurried along. Pushing for a nuclear war has always been a part of it but the possiblity, not yet proven, that the BP disaster in the Gulf could eventually turn the Gulf Stream and leave Europe uninhabitable is a continual subject of discussion with America’s religious broadcast community.
HOW DESTABILIZATION BECOMES APARTHEID
With collapse in the trust in America’s institutions, a Supreme Court with five neo-Fascist judges, congress with 444 “Israeli-firsters,” and millions of Americans believing the president is the Anti-Christ, one more economic disaster, the one Israel is attempting to stage right now, would make the 2007 collapse seem like a joke. With the broadcast media having worked the country into fear, distrust and ready to pick up weapons to use against their neighbors, all carefully staged, the scripts have been passed out.
You will know when you see the face of Sarah Palin on every network, perhaps in a pantsuit with a miltiary cut. Do you think she will be wearing a beret? There will be a flag behind her and the Star Spangled Banker will fade to silence as she makes the announcements.
Nuclear arsenals will be seized by patriotic groups from within our military, led by Israeli commandos and helped by our armies of private defense contractors. Those secret “FEMA/UN” prisons will suddenly turn out to be real, with local police in riot gear, American flags on their cars and uniforms, hunting down journalists, activists and, eventually, the educated.
Senator Lieberman will pull the plug on the internet. Private logins will carry arrest lists.
After the educated classes and politially progressive groups are rounded up, then the African Americans and Hispanics will be cataloged, given travel restrictions. Pass laws will be enacted.
Then, surprise of surprises, they will start rounding up Jews.
Welcome to the hell of your own making.
* Gordon Duff is senior editor of Veterans Today.
Recently discovered this excellent video deconstructing Shakira’s sudden burst of activism. Carlos has investigated her past affiliations and allegiances and found them quite troubling. Thanks to Carlos for his excellent videos and blog!
Carlos in DC blog
- CARLOS A. QUIROZ
- WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES
- Writer, video blogger, online activist, artist painter living in Washington, DC. I believe in equality, life, human rights, environmental and social justice. I’m a progressive thinker. I was born in Peru, I’m proud to be gay and Indigenous. I write three blogs: Carlos in DC, Peruanista and Two Spirits One. My articles have been posted in 11 countries. I love Peruvian food, sports, reading and traveling. / Escritor, bloguero de videos, activista de internet, artista pintor, vivo en Washington, DC. Creo en la igualdad, la vida, los derechos humanos, la justicia ambiental y social. Soy un pensador progresista. Nací en Perú, me siento orgulloso de ser gay e indígena. Escribo tres blogs: Carlos in DC, Peruanista y Two Spirits One. Mis artículos han sido publicados en 11 países. Me gusta la comida peruana, deportes, leer y viajar.
BOYCOTT everything ARIZONA
Here is a partial list of Arizona based companies to boycott until they put pressure on the state to repeal their racist immigration bill.
Boycott: Ambient Weather; Boycott: Best Western International, Inc; Boycott: Cable ONE ; Boycott: Clear Channel Outdoor; Boycott: P. F. Chang’s China Bistro, Inc; Boycott: PetSmart, Inc; Boycott: Ramada; Boycott: Sky Mall; Boycott: TriWest Healthcare Alliance; Boycott: U-Haul International, Inc; Boycott:The Dial Corporation; Boycott: Discount Tire Company; Boycott: Fender Musical Instruments Corporation; Boycott: Kona Grill; Boycott: Samurai Sam’s Teriyaki Grill; Boycott: Surf City Squeeze; Boycott: Taco Time; Boycott: Circle K; Boycott: LifeLock, Inc; Boycott: US Airways Group Inc.
Even though Arizona Jeans (JC Penney) and Arizona Iced Tea aren’t based in the state, they should be boycotted also. Every company using Arizona in their product line needs to get the message: NO to RACISM, NO to RIGHT WING coups, NO to FASCIST POLICE STATES.
Read Naomi Wolf’s article. My comments follow the link.
NOTES on the Tea Party – by China Rose
1) AlterNet ain’t very alter. Though the article is oozing with mainstream media assumptions, as least they published this. Maybe someone will learn a thing or two….
Viva Naomi W!
Think of the benefits of manipulating fed-up but undereducated citizens. You can…
2)… approriate and pervert the rhetoric of the American revolution (which, BTW, was against an EMPIRE) to serve America’s corporate masters. MAJOR switcheroo.
3)…turn the emphasis off of certain touchy subjects (the bailout, foreclosures, homelessness, offshoring, job loss, infrastructure meltdown, the demise of public education, posse comitatus. Katrina, Detroit, widespread violation of civil liberties, pollution, factory farming, GMOs, 9-11 and the NWO) and onto one SINGLE issue: the health care fiasco (which d could be easily cured by dismantling, or at least stepping on, Big Pharma and the medical establishment).
4) …make Obama the Hun seem like a “leftist” or “socialist” as he pursues the most aggressively right wing militaristic agenda in US history. An absurd notion beyond all imagining.
5) …funnel all the discontent into Republican party cages.
6)…use racist code words to get the masses riled and rekindle any latent racism. The idea that Obama’s disastrous “leadership” has anything whatsoever to do with race is another corker. Obama’s policies are as white as any other Pres, maybe more so. The original purpose of the race card was to shelter him from any criticism — and it’s working for the Dems and libs. Perhaps the other purpose was to kindle discontent among those who have latent race issues, thus vindicating Obama by default. Provocateurs anyone?
For the record:
1) A goverment run by an elite is an oligarchy
2) A government in which the forces of the military, the government, ‘Big Religion” and corporations are merged to form a new and dangerous creation, and is usually accompanied by corruption (bribes), tyranny (abuse of power) and dictatorship (an abusive chief exective), is known as fascism.
Don’t even think of getting me started on the inane “coffee parties” counterpoint.
“What a tangled web we weave…” et cetera.