… a thought making crooked all that is straight.

Posts tagged “Racism

Anger in the blood

I was reading today on a friend’s blog about Leonora Carrington. Finding this another, yet very different, inspiration similar to my reaction to Valentino, I sought out her book “Down Below”. This book is unfortunately out of print, in spite of a Virago reprint in the 1980s.

Having gasped at a few ridiculous prices ($75!!!) I found it on an anarchist collective online bookshop. Intriguingly it appears they had a shop in Edinburgh (I couldn’t find any reference to it still going) … but I am sure this is the bookshop that was my haunting ground while I studied there. I recognised the authors and tone of the titles – somehow I just knew it was the same place. I treasured my collection of Ward Churchill essays from there for years, and it still educates me in my opinions of wannabe white ‘native’ playgans.

I had been so sad to see it dwindle and go; students are just not made for activism these days in the UK – they scoff (rather than scoff AT) consumer products and aim for a career in some “blah-blah industry” so they can afford to scoff more Stuff. I don’t know any young person who has marched against unjust wars, for women’s rights, or gone on anti-fascist marches … And living in a rural area is no excuse. These issues affect us all; but instead there are too many kneejerk, tabloid-led mentalities amongst both the kids and their parents – MacDonald’s and Labels over Educations! Guns over Mentalising!

But it gave me a brief blast of nostalgia to find AK Press again and I shall probably buy more from them, once my money coffers are a little higher: the tax man has cleared me out (hopefully my final bit of blood money after having to close my business in March).

Coincidentally, last night I got back in touch with an old schoolfriend. He was a French exchange student now working for the European parliament as a political journalist. It was with him that I went to his hometown of Strasbourg and marched against Jean-Marie Le Pen and his associates: the largest demonstration again Neo-Nazis ever seen in Europe, and I don’t think it has been beaten yet. There were 70,000 of us on the streets and it took all day to march from the beginning to the end of the demonstration route,

Quote from an article you can find HERE:

The 70,000-strong demonstration against the fascists’ annual conference in Strasbourg in March 1997 marked a shift in the anti-nazi movement. The town was virtually shut down as activists marched through the streets chanting “Never Again” and “F for Fascist, N for Nazi, Stop the National Front!”

Recently there has been a lot of debate in the UK over the teachers’ strikes. I saw one poster designed to look like a road sign, with a worker digging but the title “Down tools!”; someone had scribbled underneath, “Lazy bastards!” And that really summarises debate and resistance within the UK today: an A4 poster and a scribble in Biro.

For my own part, these days my health prevents me from travelling to marches, but I still try to counter racist, ill-informed opinion when I find it (more specifically on the internet … lots of it out there) – although it is at a severe cost to my mental balance as I get so passionately and angrily involved. My days of rocking the boat are probably over – curtailed by illness, although I still have my voice, however small. This is why it pleased me no end that anarchist and socialist collectives like AK Press still exist (somewhere out there in the world).

But don’t think that I’m saying “It was different and better when I was young”; twas ever thus that mankind was on a downward spiral as soon as s/he stood on two feet. My studies in paleontology teach me how we are a mere speck in history and will not even come close to a fraction of the period in which dinosaurs lived. Hope for the future? We will die. Our children will die – and due to corrupt governments fighting wars for oil and resources – our children have already started to die before us and shall continue doing so.

An acquaintance raged to me about “the people” wanting windmill power and greener energy and that the government wasn’t doing enough … I countered that “the people” were not willing to be “one-car” or even “no-car” households, they were not willing to have just one TV (or no TV!!); People want everything and they are ignorant of where ‘everything’ comes from. If it changes a person’s lifestyle then suddenly it’s not so important … comfort over ecology; outrage over education (so much easier to be “shocked” and “horrified”, to bond with other “outraged” people, than to actually inform yourself and take an active stance) – “Lazy bastards” indeed, myself included at times as I am no paragon.

AK Press – a reminder today of what I once was before the years battered me down and illness stole the rest of me; at least that is how it feels most days. But there is still a spark of resistance in me, the person I was in essence hasn’t changed: I still hate racists (especially ones who pretend they are making a political point when it is still just lazy racism … oh I know, don’t tell me, “Some of your best friends are …{fill blank}” Tsk. Predictable). My father said that once. I was about 12, listening to him mouth off about black people to his friends and out came the, “Don’t get me wrong, some of my best friends are black people!” And I looked up thinking, where are these black people? At 12 years old, living in rural Britain in the ’80s, I had not yet even seen one, and don’t friends, let alone “best friends” come to your house?  I knew a hypocrite when I saw one. I knew racism when I heard it and it angered me as much then as it does today.

Next to racism I would place a hate of ignorance; and by that I don’t mean a lack of education, because that can happen for various reasons and a list of qualifications doesn’t make a person intelligent. I know plenty of people with educations who are thick as shit. It’s the tabloid opinion and the ignorance of “I heard this in the pub/read it on the internet”, the ignorance of thinking that you have uncovered a point of law previously unseen by anyone in Europe that proves that a certain people are racist … because there is no better disguise for a racist than to get your foot in the door and accuse the Others of the same: I’m not racist, they are. So maybe one (ignorance) will always feed the other (racism)… there are very few Svengalis or Hitlers with malicious motivations driven by a hunger for power; it’s mostly about lazy thinking, ignorance and FEAR of difference and change.

Yes, I am angry. I have the anger of 4 generations of a family killed and mentally maimed by racism flowing in my blood. When I was nine I was taken aside by an old woman and told the story of my family; she said, “Blut zeigt sich” – blood will show; she meant that I would never be able to hide from my heritage and that it was with me forever. So, I make no apologies for being angry and for hating racism – whether it’s expressed by a hardcore Neo-Nazi or ignorantly enforced by doe-eyed well-meaning Playgans. To the former I say, “Fuck off and die” to the latter I say, “Have the decent respect to research the history of the native people you pretend to emulate, speak to them and see how they feel about the cultural appropriation of their spirituality by white people – sticking feathers in your hair does not make you Native American, and banging a drum does not make you a Shaman.”

©StarofSeshat 2011