Voices from Russia

Friday, 10 November 2017

The Civil War was About Slavery. Period. End of story. Deal With It.

________________________

Slavery caused the Civil War. A failure to compromise had nothing to do with it. Yes, I know a thousand people have made that point in the days since White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s nonsensical assertion on Fox “News” that “the lack of ability to compromise” is what tore America apart. Allow me to be the thousand and first. There are things that need saying here, and I need to say them. It isn’t just that there is no “compromise” between slavery and freedom. It’s also that Kelly’s use of that word is painfully ironic in a nation that’s always been all too ready to bargain with the humanity of African-American people.

In 1776, in his first draft of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson condemned slavery. Southern states baulked, so he compromised. In 1820, North and South argued whether the new state of Missouri would permit slavery. Congress intervened, so they compromised. In 1877, there was a disputed election. Someone suggested giving the presidency to Rutherford B Hayes if he agreed to withdraw federal troops that protected former slaves in the South. The two sides compromised. In 1961, the Freedom Riders pulled into Mississippi. The federal government made a deal with the state that if Mississippi guaranteed no violence, it could arrest the riders, though they’d done nothing illegal. They compromised. And so on. Historically, America always seems to find a way to sell black people out.

Kelly is just the latest in a long line of those who lack the guts to face this straight-on. They hide out in textbooks where slaves become “settlers”; they flee from Roots because it’s “depressing”. Moreover, they insist on moral equivalence between people sellers and the people they sold, lynchers and the people they lynched, traitors who fought to destroy America and patriots who fought to preserve it. Kelly added in the Fox interview:

Robert E Lee was an honourable man.

That’s an interesting take for a military man on an enemy general in a war that killed more Americans than Hitler, Hirohito, and Bin Laden combined. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in defending Kelly:

All of our leaders have flaws.

As if Lee’s ordering two men and a woman stripped to the waist and whipped (he did say, “Lay it on well”) for the crime of seeking freedom was in the same moral universe as Barack Obama’s cigarette jones. I can anticipate how all this would land among certain people. They’d call it “racist”. They’d call it “divisive”. They’d call it everything but untrue. You see, they deeply invested in the myth that their struggles with poverty, mass incarceration, joblessness, and miseducation arise from something African-Americans chose or did, while the rest of the country, innocent as the dawn, did nothing to cause or benefit from any of it. They’ll be angry at the reminder that this is ridiculous… as if this was about them. As if we should give a damn about their anger.

This country stole from black people. It stole their bodies, their children, their names, their land, and their lives. Now, some of them seek to steal the very memory of the crime. Well, let them tell a thousand lies. Let them treat truth like the money card in a game of three-card monte. Let them salve history with the balm of false equivalence. However, let them know that some of us find strength for our own trials in knowing the trials of our mothers and fathers. We won’t be fooled and we won’t be robbed. We will remember… and demand they do the same.

No compromise.

3 November 2017

Leonard Pitts Jr

Miami Herald

http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/leonard-pitts-jr/article182630021.html

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Paul Robeson’s Role in Spain Remembered

00-paul-robeson-fight-for-freedom-100117

******

******

____________________________________

The life of Paul Robeson was extraordinary; Nancy Wallach ( the daughter of a Veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade) recalled his journey of struggle and steadfast commitment to democracy and the working class in a riveting talk on the connection between Robeson and the Lincoln Brigade, given 17 December at New York University’s Tamiment Library entitled “The Artist Must Elect to Fight for Freedom or Slavery”. The words were those of Robeson himself. An organisation of descendants of some of those who had volunteered to fight in Spain, the Friends and Family of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (FFALB) sponsored the event. The talk highlighted Robeson’s support for the Spanish Republic and the International Brigades… the volunteers who came from around the world to fight for democracy and to resist fascism in Spain. The Lincoln Battalion was part of this International Brigade, a US contingent. The Communist International organised the International Brigade to help the democratically elected Popular Front government of the Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930’s. 60,000 volunteers came from many nations and from many walks of life, but they had one thing in common… the resolve to fight fascism.

Paul Robeson left the USA for Europe in the early 1930’s, at a time when the USA was in the Jim Crow era, so, opportunities for a Black artist were limited. He gave concerts in England and Scotland. Robeson was immensely popular in Europe and his concerts always sold out within hours. During this period, he grew to love the international working class so when the civil war broke out in Spain he already had a deep understanding of how the struggle for democracy was inextricably part of the class struggle. The fascist governments of Nazi Germany and Italy gave General Franco, the military leader of the Spanish fascist rebellion, massive support… including logistics and armaments… while most of the nations in Western Europe and the Americas, including the USA, took a position of “neutrality”, a policy that, in essence, supported the fascist forces.

Witnessing these developments, Robeson strove to enlighten the people of the Western nations about the situation in Spain and worked tirelessly to raise money for the cause of Spanish democracy. During his time in Spain, he visited the troops in the fields and hospitals and gave concerts at every opportunity to help lift the spirits of these courageous fighters and to arouse support for their cause. Robeson eventually travelled to Spain itself and said:

I went to Spain in 1938, and that was a major turning point in my life. There I saw that it was the working men and women of Spain who were heroically giving their last full measure of devotion to the course of democracy.

Later, in 1943, speaking of his visit to the front lines in Spain, Robeson told the Herald Tribune:

My heart was filled with admiration and love for these white Americans, and there was a sense of great pride in my own people when I saw that there were Negroes, too, in the ranks of the Lincoln men in Spain.

Ms Wallach noted that such observations stood in stark contrast to the then-segregated US Army. Comments from the audience were very moving, describing the love shown to Robeson when he visited the working men and women and sang for them in their homelands. Vinie Burrows, actor and storyteller, reminded the audience of “the tallest tree in the forest”, Paul Robeson. She said:

Paul Robeson’s life and vision for a world of peace remain an inspiration for all, but particularly I hope for young people. His unswerving stance against the violence of war and of poverty must motivate all actions to support the global peace movement and for nuclear abolition.

In 1940, the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade made Paul Robeson an honorary member, a rare honour. Founding member of VALB, Milt Wolf, said:

When I stood beside him to pin the star on his lapel, I had this feeling that Paul Robeson wasn’t so much becoming a member of the Lincoln Brigade, as that we were becoming a part of Paul Robeson.

The last word on Paul Robeson came from long-time International Brigade supporter, the musician/actor and activist, Harry Belafonte:

It’s interesting to me that I should have been blessed in those early years of decision-making by having been embraced by a man who had a profound effect on my life… Paul Robeson… and it was from Paul that I learned that the purpose of art is not just to show life as it is, but to show life as it should be.

Finally, Ms Wallach concluded the event with the words, Robeson’s own, which served as the title of the event and engraved on Robeson’s tombstone:

The artist must elect to fight for freedom or slavery. I have made my choice, I had no alternative.

4 January 2017

Gabe Falsetta

Peoples World

http://www.peoplesworld.org/article/paul-robesons-role-in-spain-remembered/

Saturday, 5 March 2016

5 March 2016. A Blast From the Past… Black Russians… NOT an Oxymoron!

01d Black Russians Lyukman Rasakovich Adams

Lyukman Rasakovich Adams (1988- ), European Champion triple jumper, Russian Army officer, Master of Sport International Class

______________________________

One of the Cabinet asked me about “black Russians”… I’ve posted on them in the past. Read this on black Russians and this on the famous poet James Lloydovich Patterson. Remember this… Russia has a “one drop” rule… one drop of Russian blood makes you Russian… if you shed one drop of your blood for Russia, you’re Russian… if you join your life to ours, you’re Russian… full stop.

For instance, there were 16 American agronomists who revolutionised the cotton industry in Central Asia in the 1930s… why didn’t they work in America? It’s because they had black skin… the USSR welcomed them as competent experts and equal men, unlike the USA of its day. Negro intellectuals became Communists for the very same reason… the Soviets treated them like normal human beings. Paul Robeson found this out, too… which led to his persecution by the McCarthyite scum (do note that William F Buckley was a DEFENDER of that scumbag and his evil doings).

If you support Donald Trump, you support the kind of racism that led black people to embrace the Soviet Ideal. If you support Chilly Hilly, you support the same thing (with the difference that she showers favours on the black pols who pander to her and deliver black votes). If you want to embrace the vision of an America that’s fair to all people of all races, all creeds, and all national origins, you’ll “feel the Bern”… he’s the closest to the Soviet Ideal, in a good way.

Socialism is good… don’t listen to the naysayers… they’re either paid by the greedsters or are greedsters themselves… that is, they “have dogs in this fight”. Have a care… the times are evil…

BMD

Thursday, 27 February 2014

27 February 2014. Now, For Something POSITIVE to Lift Our Hearts…”Two Shades of Soul”

00 Stop! Black Russian cop. 27.02.14

Stoi eta! Give this a listen!

******

______________________________

This is for real, kids. It’s from a TV show called A Minute of Glory… as I posted earlier, black folks have one kind of soul, Russian folks have another kind of soul. In this vid, both kinds get mixed together, and… hot damn… it works. Not everything is serious… some things are just FUN. Any road, we need some levity in these horrid times. Let’s attend to something heartwarming and positive, uplifting the human spirit, not with something that tears it down (although we have to go back to the rot, all too soon, for the times are evil)…

BMD

Enhanced by Zemanta
Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.