The Chinese reputedly have a curse: “May you live in interesting times.” By now, this has become something of a canard. Personally, I have heard more than once a hearty “FUCK YOU!” in China, with the occasional “Fuck your Eighteen Generations!” IN any case, these certainly are interesting times.
Before moving on to the obvious bad news, some personal news: I have just completed my first week back at school after a four-month hiatus, enforced because of the CoVID-19 viral plague. It feels good to be back in harness, and also gratifying that my students also missed me. So far, everyone has returned, so no more worrying for me about the health of my students or their families. We have all, apparently, weathered the plague more or less successfully. They also report that the enforced quarantine was insufferably boring– though for all that, they’re not necessarily thrilled to be back in school. –Kids are the same the world over. They filled their time with online classes and video games. Fortunately for them, they will have a summer break from mid-July through to September. Perhaps they’ll be able to go out to play and relax.
I gave them an easy first week back, since they need to re-acclimate, and since I didn’t get to see all of my classes this week. (There were two and a half days of testing done, to make sure the kids hadn’t forgotten everything over their “vacation,” and that they have been following their online classes.) I prefer to use one lesson for my classes for the week, so as to prevent confusion; twenty classes with forty-five pupils in each class can make it difficult to see who is progressing, who needs help, and who needs to be promoted along.
I am supposed to have a meeting in the near future with the principal of the school to discuss the possibility of my staying on for another year. I plan to make the case that because the viral plague robbed us of four months of class time, perhaps he might be able to convince the municipal government to extend the grant allowing Liangxiang High School to retain me for another semester or two.
As I noted in an earlier post, I will not be returning to America this year for my annual vacation. At first, it was because of the virus and work; I didn’t want to abandon my students, and was worried about being unable to return to China. Of course, now, while we are able to re-open and return to life (while being wary of the inevitable “Second Wave” of infections, of course), the United States is now the epicenter of the pandemic, with thirty percent of the world’s deaths because of the virus. It is safer here in China.
And now, as you all doubtless know who are reading this post, there are massive demonstrations and uprisings happening throughout the United States. Since last weekend, there have been massive demonstrations against the murder of African Americans by police, sparked by the public murder of George Floyd by four police officers in Minneapolis. I’m sure I need not re-tell that story. But the blatant nature of this murder, the casual attitude of the murderers, and the fact that it took four days before one of them was charged with third-degree murder, despite a clear video record of the killing, has exasperated the public. As a rule, African Americans have been targets of extra-judicial murder for decades, and it seems that people have reached their limit for tolerating such injustice.
In response to the demonstrations, marches, riots, and looting, militarized police have been deployed and let loose upon the public, indiscriminately attacking any and all, regardless of age, whether or not they were engaging in violent behavior, whether or not they were members of the press (foreign or domestic) whether or not citizens were on the streets or in their homes– All are being attacked with the same brutality that set off the demonstrations in the first place. And now, Trump is threatening to set the military on the people if the governors cannot quell the uprisings. And these uprisings are occurring all over the country.
A good friend of mine, ex-IDF, Golani Brigade, has been participating all week in Philadelphia. On the first day and night, they were able to force the police off the streets, and six squad cars were set ablaze. There was a lot of looting and destruction. But, five days later, the marches continue peacefully, and the city has even removed the statue of former mayor Frank Rizzo from Thomas Paine Square (Philadelphia natives will understand the significance of that).
It is sad to admit, but it certainly does appear that violence has warned off the police and allowed the peaceful demonstrations to continue unimpeded. It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth to realize that Mao and El Che were right about how to effect revolution, to force real change. –But there is more work to do, of which, after a few more paragraphs, more.
There are pundits decrying the violence and looting. But those voices are the ones who are happy with the status quo. They don’t want change– at least, not change that doesn’t benefit them directly. Violence seems to be the only way to overcome the societal inertia beneath which we are trapped. The people are disturbing the complacency of the Sub-Ruling Class. They decry the violence and the looting; but where were their voices to decry the deaths of Amadou Diallo, Manuel Loggins Jr, Ronald Madison, Kendra James, Sean Bell, Eric Garner, Alton Sterling, Akiel Denkins, Gregory Gunn, Samuel DuBose, Brendon Glenn, Freddie Gray, Natasha McKenna, Walter Scott, Christian Taylor, Michael Brown Jr, Ezell Ford, Philando Castile, Akai Gurley, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, Yvette Smith, Jamar Clark, Rekia Boyd, Shereese Francis, Ramarley Graham, Manuel Loggins Jr, Sean Bell, Ronald Madison, LaTanya Haggerty, Margaret LaVerne Mitchell…and on, and on, and on…and many, many more whose deaths were not shown in public.
Of course, I cannot endorse violence as a tactic. On the other hand, peaceful protests don’t work: Kaepernik knelt with respect, but that wasn’t the right way to protest. And he had his career ruined. King marched peacefully, offering no resistance, but that was not the right way to protest. And he was assassinated. Gandhi starved himself and led non-violent marches, but that was not the way to protest. And he was assassinated.
There is never a right way, or a right time to protest. The Parasite Class wants, not peace, but submission. They want our silence. And they want us to fight amongst ourselves, if there must be fighting at all. If peaceful protests are ignored or condemned, if they are deaf to the people’s cries, then what is left to us? How else can we be heard? These same pundits, these same Ruling Class parasites also tout the Second Amendment– But is not the Second Amendment for exactly this situation of oppression and tyranny? In their own words! Will they condemn the people if they take up arms in their own defense?
To further muddle things, White Nationalists, Klansmen, Nazis, and police infiltrate and instigate, causing riots and looting, so as to credibly blame the proletariat.
How can we condemn the looters in this situation? The Oligarchs give themselves tax cuts, deregulate their industries, loot the wealth of the nation, imprison children in concentration camps, deny us healthcare, and housing, and a living wage. Still they oppress and murder their own citizens as police are no longer police officers, but militarized agents of the State. Who is looting the nation? Koch, Bezos, Zuckerberg, Gates; their corporations pay no taxes, leaving the burden of the upkeep of our country’s decaying infrastructure to the working poor and a rapidly disappearing middle class. Who are the real looters of the public treasury?
Gerrymandering and suppression of the vote has destroyed what franchise the citizens should have. Private, and for-profit, and federal prisons hire out prisoners for slave labor to the largest corporations. Environmental regulations are dismantled as the Arctic melts and the Amazon burns and our oceans turn acidic. Children are imprisoned in concentration camps, and families are torn apart on our borders. Bribery is legal, and without money, one has no voice in government. Propaganda is allowed to pass for news. We are currently governed without voice, without consent.
America cannot mobilize to protect us from a viral pandemic. They cannot provide PPE for medical workers, or life support systems for our hospitals. But they can mobilize police and paramilitary forces to beat us in the streets. They can equip them with advanced military equipment with which to kill and maim citizens.
The ruling Parasite Class has our collective neck under its boot. What else can we do, if non-violent means avail us nothing? I can think of one way, provided we can persevere, remain united, and organized. We can starve the Parasites.
We can withhold our labor, our votes, and our taxes. If we, as a nation, could do this, we can bring them to their knees to the negotiating table. General strikes, tax strikes, and even voting strikes. It would not be easy, but if we can remain steadfast, if we can remain organized and united, if we can convince at least fifty percent of the population to join in, we could bring the Oppressors to their knees, without violence– but make no mistake; they will certainly use violence against us, if we dare to rise up in this way. As Gandhi noted, when asked if his techniques of “non-cooperation” could be used in Europe against Hitler, he admitted, “Not without great loss of life, and suffering.”
It is rapidly coming down to this choice: If we are going to die anyway, then shall we not chose ourselves how we will die?
I hope we can do this without violence. I hope I am wrong about the direction in which we are headed. And I hope that the people do not fall back into complacency after a brief period of “letting off steam.” Because it will only be a matter of time before the pressure builds to exploding again.