In this video, we discuss Trump’s Mount Rushmore speech, our so-called free country with the highest per capita of prisoners in the world & animals in cages and on factory farms, that was founded on slavery and genocide of the indigenous population, ICE detention centers, the so-called freedom to “not wear masks” and consume, and the state of the upcoming election.
Featuring Orion Moon & Myra Sue St. Clair Baldwin of The Deep End Northwest.
That now makes 4 nonschizophrenic friends who know me well that believe it’s possible there was a real spy operation. A few of my alleged spies were white & wealthy, and I don’t know if they’ll ever have to do one single day in jail for what they put me through.
I wouldn’t put it past my exhusband and his family at all to do that to me. Years ago, when I lived with a roommate, my son and her son were at home (she was at work), and I opened the door to my exhusband. He pushed me aside and started looking through the cupboards to see if I had any weed (this is when it was illegal). He thought I must be smoking weed since I had become a college radical. I could have and should have called the cops on him. I didn’t and instead set a dangerous precedent that it was okay to violate my constitutionally guaranteed privacy rights.
Learn to Swim Episode 5 & Drunkcast Show Episode 3
We couldn’t decide if we were recording an episode for the “Learn to Swim Show” or the “Drunkcast Show”, so this will be filed as both. In this episode we discuss criminal justice, racial justice, revolution, our authoritarian leader, mask-less Trump supporters, the supreme court, flag burning, and artificial insemination. Rated R for “Roasted!”
I don’t understand why many from USM (Uhuru Solidarity Movement) find it harder to recruit people identifying as “leftist” to their movement, which is to take a revolutionary stance against colonialism and capitalism, and for white people to work under the leadership of African leadership to demand reparations for the African community (currently being used for economic independence projects of The Black Power Blueprint). I know that some U.S. liberals are referred to as leftists, such as Bernie Sanders and AOC – who focus on reform projects such as increasing minimum wage and the Green New Deal – but leftists and especially leftists – include anarchists and socialists who are against colonialism, neocolonialism, racism, capitalism, environmental degradation, state violence, occupation of indigenous lands such as the Americas and Palestine, and imperialist wars. I know that some anarchists are into the idea of “no leadership” and thus no hierarchy, but I don’t understand why a lot of leftist socialists and leftist communists would be opposed to the idea of working under African leadership to eradicate the oppression of all people – especially that of indigenous peoples and Africans – who have been robbed of their labor and land.
I personally identify as a leftist and have joined USM. I still have lots to learn about the organization, but I find it perfectly logical for leftists to unite under African leadership – which, by the way, also fights for the rights of the world’s indigenous including the Indians of the Americas. I personally do support some reforms though, such as defunding the military and police, and decriminalizing drugs. And many in the USM believe that reforms just make it easier for people to accept western (and especially U.S.) imperialism. I will have to give that some serious thought, because I think it’s possible some reforms might actually empower liberals like Sanders and AOC and leftists to push for further reforms. Apparently though, Sanders and AOC still represent the establishment. And defunding the police is yet just another reform.
I did a lot of journaling when I was homeless. I will need to go back and read my notes when I am ready to write more extensively about being homeless. In a way, I was more privileged than many of the homeless people at the shelter in that I could go back and forth between my parents’ place in the country and the urban shelter located in downtown Washington. I had been through a lot of trauma though due to the spy operation I had been through. Fortunately I had a bus pass and could easily access the mental health system, which included the Evergreen Club where I could do light volunteer work in a comfortable environment and got to participate in groups at Frontier Behavioral Health which included art group. I wasn’t feeling particularly artistically inclined though, as I lost a lot of my creative energy when I went off of uppers. And I went off of the uppers due to the privacy invasion. So I guess that’s the “silver lining” of getting spied on, since my brain’s not going to become eroded by the toxic chemicals in meth, but I’m still angry about the psychological torture I experienced and plan to bring my former spies – including family, family of my exhusband, and former neighbors – to justice.
If we wear and eat clothing & food produced at low wages, then we’re living off of laborers who receive slave wages. However, if we can afford to wear and eat goods that are union-made & union-grown that reflect the true value of the goods, then we’re among the privileged in our capitalist society.
What we REALLY need to do, short of a socialist revolution, is subsidize (through increased taxation of the wealthy) union-made and union-grown organic sustainably-sourced goods. And we also need to purchase more used items, though that’s hard to do right now with a lot of second-hand stores closed due to the Coronavirus COVID-19. We also need to consume LESS and focus more on QUALITY goods produced & grown by union labor.
I just want someone to come forward and admit to spying on me! Maybe this guy that I heard during the spy operation against me who said he committed a “fuck-up-trois” (pronounced fuck-up-twa). I mean, I really thought he believed in the privacy rights of all U.S. Americans! He posted on Facebook regularly opposing our nation’s increasing surveillance of the masses. Maybe he even cared about all the citizens/residents of the world. Or supposedly cared… And yet he justified violating MY 4th amendment rights granted to me in the U.S. constitution. Perhaps if he comes forward, history will be “kind” to him. As for me, I’ll proudly go down on the “left side of history!” and I will never give up on trying to bring my former spies to justice!
I mostly am guilt-free when it comes to inventing “word salads”. But I remember that one of my alleged spies used a term I was unfamiliar with, “fuck-up-toi” or “fuck-up-twa” I’m not quite sure about the spelling. I just tried to look up the word. BIG mistake to look up a word with “fuck” in it! Anyway, I’m not sure if this is a “real” word, a word one of my spies made up, or if my imagination invented the word. I’m not seeing it in the urban dictionary. The way the voice used it, it meant to fuck something up. I’m not sure who the “toi” referred to, which is French for “you”. Or perhaps the ending is supposed to be spelled “twa.”
I may have misunderstood my sister’s voice during the alleged spy operation (in my apartment) when I heard her voice ask “Is she (me) conspiracy minded”? What I thought she was wondering was if I believe in conspiracy theories. Well, while many conspiracy theories are absurd, or some versions of a theory are absurd, there are times when people really do actually conspire, and some conspiracy theories warrant consideration. So when I heard my sister’s voice say that, I replied that “yes, sometimes people conspire”. Now what my sister may have ACTUALLY meant, was if I was involved in a drug conspiracy. I wasn’t, but my alleged spies seemed aware that I had been using drugs prior to their spy operation, and may have believed that I was indeed conspiring or had conspired to commit a drug trafficking crime. Meanwhile, I believed that THEY were conspiring against me – to get me put in prison or the psych ward, chase me off from the apartment building, or get me kicked out of that apartment building.
Ya know, during the privacy invasion or “schizophrenic episode” I endured, one of the “voices” or “spies” I heard kept calling me a “Commie”. And you know, he was afraid of Communists. So instead of trying to explain what a Communist REALLY is (as opposed to some mean scary dictator), I tried to pass myself off as a “moderate Green Party” person. Which is funny, because I used to think that the Green Party was on the radical left. Nope! And the way our president makes it sound, Democrats are fucking “radical leftists” which is a joke. They’re NOT radical at all. Also the way Trump talks about “radical leftists” is like it’s some bad thing to be. Which couldn’t be FURTHER from the truth! Being a “radical leftist” is a fucking compliment! But you know, I was trying to get my fucking “spies” or the “voices” to leave me the fuck alone, and telling them to “leave me the fuck alone” really just infuriated them and got them going”! So I caved. Sorry, I really tried to put up a big fight at first but was too weak to put up with all the psychological torture they put me through.
A friend doesn’t think I should “waste” all my stimulus check on my business, but it’s totally NOT a waste, even if I never make a buck from it. This website has become a real passion for me. It gives me purpose in life, helps me contribute to society, and is creatively fulfilling. It also gives me an opportunity to build a case against some people that I believe really may have spied on me. While I’m no fan of mass imprisonment, I have come to view spies as being on the same level as snitches, and snitches are bitches! I’m willing to put away some spies and let all my many many junkie friends out jail! Including junkie friends I haven’t ever met; not yet! On the day I put some people behind bars, it’s also going to be widely known as the “Get Out of Jail” Holiday for most prisoners and it will be a national holiday to be celebrated forever more! We’ll be celebrating the holiday with organic, non-gmo, union grown, sustainably grown & transported (by bicycle! haha!) government subsidized cocaine (not funded by the CIA as a cash cow, but rather funded primarily by taxing the rich)! Because someday all drugs will be decriminalized and the violent war on drugs will come to a screeching halt! It will be the celebration of our lifetime! We’ll need government PSA’s of course to remind us not to take too much and overdose and not to give any to our dogs or our children (yes, U.S. Americans can be THAT dumb sometimes).
The Deep End Northwest… is a blog covering life, politics, and social issues such as anti-theism vs. religious supremacy, disease, hunger, global climate change & the environment, peace & war, capitalism vs. socialism, big business & worker’s rights, homelessness, mental illness & privacy issues, drug addiction, art, racism, reparations. LBTQA+ issues, gun rights & responsible ownership, legalization & decriminalization of recreational drugs , and more from a leftist perspective.
Update: We were going to go ahead and sell logo t-shirts as “essential products” but I changed my mind, and told my business partners that I just couldn’t do it. It just feels so wrong. I’m really frustrated with out was-going-to-be supplier. They had blank t-shirts available that were made in the U.S., however t-shirts printed with our logo would be printed outside of the U.S. with probably cheap labor. Even if clothing is made in the U.S. one has to do their research to make sure they’re not made with super-cheap prison labor, which is essentially slave wages. I also am frustrated with the supplier because they offer so-called eco-friendly products that are manufactured abroad using cheap labor and are shipped miles and miles around the globe, from the farming & picking of fibers and/or extraction & production of synthetic fibers to the weaving of fabrics, to the shipment abroad to where they are printed, then to where they are held in a warehouse for delivery, to the customer’s home to where they are finally shipped. If one considers all the gas & pollution that goes into shipping these products, then one can’t really consider them eco-friendly. I’m also frustrated with mass production and think people need to buy less new shit and more used items. The would-be supplier makes some items in the U.S. but not utilizing eco-friendly materials, so we’re stuck with a choice between the two. Another thing – they don’t have the option of Union-made & union-printed clothing. Additionally, if you manage to get clothes that are made from truly eco-friendly materials sourced locally using union-made labor & printing and are sold in a brick & mortar store (because shopping to individual addresses is bad for the environment), then you end up with a product that only a rich person can afford. Of course, the masses really need to be buying mostly used. We really need to transition to a primarily resale-based economy. The system we have is totally unsustainable and it leaves it up to the free market and free market consumers to make their own individual choices about what to produce and what to buy, when we’re faced with detrimental resource depletion and climate change that are an imminent danger to humans and other life on earth.
by Myra Sue St. Clair Baldwin
There are general considerations that sellers are supposedly supposed to make when deciding how to price stuff. Competition is supposed to be a biggie, that or going after a niche market. I say to hell with competitive pricing! How cheap SHOULD clothes be? Charging less just leads to more mass production, shipment of goods around the world, mass consumerism, and poor working conditions – including wage slavery, debt slavery, and downright slavery.
I grew up poor, so really I know what it’s like to not be able to afford something that others can. I blame society for this – for teaching us to want so much.
People should be encouraged to wear their clothes until they’re worn out, and to have their clothes patched and hemmed. The price for mending seems expensive because we’re so conditioned to cheap, sweatshop labor & underpaid cotton pickers. But poor people like me can buy a lot of our clothes used (which is more sustainable). Or we can save up for high quality clothes and wear them longer. We need of course to wear undergarments, and our undergarments should be sustainable too, and most of us don’t want to wear used underwear! Rich people should pay for our high-quality organic undergarments. We can call it “The Sustainable Underwear Bill”! Really, we should abolish poverty and wealth all together and work towards everyone having sustainable clothes, from head to toe. We need to produce, ship, and consume on a much lesser scale. But in the meantime, let’s make do with what we’ve got and scrap mass consumerism!
I’m trying to decide how much to charge for our promotional shirts, and I think $21 plus tax and shipping for t-shirts made & printed in the USA will be a good deal, and will let us make some money without selling lots and lots of t-shirts. I’d rather us think small and sell small and stand up tall!
I’m waiting to hear back from my business partners on this matter. We won’t be selling any of our nonessential products at all until this COVID-19 crisis is over because delivering packages puts the lives of others at risk and for the most part people can live with the clothes they already have. Unless they’re gaining weight, like me, or losing weight. I guess when I have to get clothes that fit then I’ll absolutely do that. But I think there’s plenty of clothing dealers out there, that the world isn’t in absolute need of our logo t-shirts. The world can wait!
I heard back from my co-founders and they agreed that $21 was a good base-line price for a t-shirt made in the U.S.A. and that we shouldn’t go any lower than that. Unfortunately our supplier doesn’t sell clothes that are BOTH sustainable and made in the U.S.A. (or preferably union-made). We’re just starting out, so the supplier we’re using makes good business sense because we don’t have to buy a whole inventory of products, our supplier will do the shipping for us, and there are no up-front costs.
If you want to shop sustainably, you might want to consider buying at least half of your clothes from a brick & mortar thrift store in your area. Other than that, be choosy who you shop from; make sure that the branded clothing you wear represents what you really believe in and want to support, and wear your clothes till they’re rags & use the rags for cleaning. I hope you will wear our t-shirts with pride, knowing that we stand with leftists worldwide for a better future tomorrow.
To even point out anything that even remotely challenges, our dominance or supposed “good doings”, is labeled as “Un-American.”
By Sean P. McKelvey
As the celebration of our cold, calculated, violent, racist, sexist, xenophobic, entitled, ethnocentric, arrogant, privileged, genocidal, and disgustingly imperialistic leaders quickly approaches (President’s Day, as it’s commonly referred to); I find it a moral imperative and obligation to write this. There will be plenty of celebration of our country’s accomplishments and a sickening amount of gushing about our past presidents’ “greatness,” honorable ideals and accomplishments in the next day or so. I believe, however; in keeping with the American attitude and ideal (that sets us apart and makes us, truly; something to aspire to, given the nobility of our true purpose; which welcomed and celebrated, dissenting opinion and viewpoints, and the free exercise, thereof), the more dark and sad truths of our history, must also be shared. Our society must never forget that although we have, very much indeed, come an incredibly long and very honorable way; we still, and will always have much room for improvement to realize, the true promise of our great nation. That we all, regardless of our individual circumstances, or literally, anything else, at all, are equal, as Americans, and are all on an equal footing to start out. That we, and only we create our own futures and destiny: not, our class, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender or any other factor beyond our own control.
Since that is simply not the reality, at all, in our country; I have trouble blindly celebrating the absolutely broken promises that President’s Day represents. I will always have a big fat bone to pick with anything that feels like bullshit patriotic propaganda. Indeed, we ALL should take issue with any narrative being spoon fed to us, as if it’s the only way we are really allowed to view or understand something, without being ostracized and told we’re “splitting hairs,” and only looking for the negative. “This is a day, time, month, week, hour; what the fuck ever, for us; as Americans, to celebrate, the actual good, we, or our nation, has done. To even point out anything that even remotely challenges, our dominance or supposed “good doings”, is labeled as “Un-American.” This attitude and lack of analyzing complex thought is precisely the overall issue, the world at large, has with our country. And here we are; proving we ain’t learned a damn thing and are still clinging to incredibly antiquated ideals, that chain us to an unsavory and honestly, awful past. That which we maniacally defend, for no real reason and, even further; no quantifiably good reason, at all. Our country has willfully and very purposefully left well over half of us so far behind. It is tragically pathetic that we still hold onto the delusion that we matter, at all, to the corporate juggernaut we call America. Needless to say; in “honor of,” President’s Day, I present you with just a very small taste of the really awful things, our presidents have done, on our dime, and in our name, too…
We all know that plenty of our past presidents were incredibly racist, sexist, and so on. We know plenty of them owned slaves and fought to keep slavery going. We know they carried out the genocide of the Native Americans. Since, these are the well-known points in shameful presidential history, I’d like to focus on a few examples of shameful presidential policy from more modern presidents. We will start with Ronald Reagan. There are many, many things I could use to illustrate a much darker picture of Reagan, than the one we commonly think of, but, I’ve decided to focus on one, truly abhorrent part of his presidential legacy. The Iran Contra Affair, where Reagan gave the CIA the go ahead, to sell cocaine to the ghettos of especially Los Angeles, and use the drug money to buy weapons to exchange for hostages taken by Iran. It was basically a right-wing social engineering, wet dream, come true. It helped create one of the worst drug epidemics the inner city has ever seen and helped arm and train the folks in Iran that would later become members of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network. The negative effects of this horrible ordeal are still lasting today. They can be seen in the despair and desperation of inner-city crack addicts, or in the grief of those who lost someone on September 11. 2001. The Iran Contra Affair, alone, is reason enough to at least think twice before blindly celebrating this presidency.
Now let’s focus on everyone’s favorite “liberal” president, Bill Clinton. There are, as with all American presidents, many policies and actions one could use to paint a very dark picture of his presidency, so I’ve chosen to focus on a few points of policy that were terribly ill advised and their negative effects still last, to this day. The Three Strikes Law was one of the most racist pieces of legislation in modern history and led to the creation of what can be referred to as the “prison-industrial complex” that we have today. The law has been found to unfairly incarcerate minorities and has strengthened the shift to the privatization of our prison system. People were getting 25 to life sentences for crimes as petty as shoplifting small amounts of food, when this policy first passed. This policy was bad enough; but apparently that wasn’t enough, because Clinton also brought us Welfare Reform. His reform was cruel and unfairly targeted especially single mothers. (Ironic for a man raised by a single mother, himself, who was on welfare). Welfare Reform kicked tons of people off welfare and forced many more into below poverty level wage jobs, that were not full time, offered no benefits and offered no upward mobility whatsoever. People were forced to work these low level, crappy jobs, in order to collect welfare; however, the minute these people made even one dollar above the cutoff amount, they were ineligible to collect welfare, at all. Basically, it forced them to work low level, crappy jobs to collect welfare, but took it away as soon as they were working. That is just plain cruel. There are many other examples from Clinton’s presidency that show he was not this champion of the people he’s regarded as. I simply don’t have the time or space to delve into them, here.
Finally, we get to Barrack Obama. I fear that, since our current president, Donald Trump is so bad; so far beyond the pale, that Obama will basically get a free pass from history on anything, not so great, is his presidency and that bothers me greatly. There are examples from his presidency that show that he is just as much a part of our political establishment as any other member of it. He promised to shut down Guantanamo Bay; it is still open. He signed the Whistleblower Act, then exiled Edward Snowden, arrested Julian Assange and kept Chelsea Manning in Guantanamo Bay for years. Then there were the drone strikes. He authorized and carried out countless drone strikes over the course of his presidency, that killed thousands of innocent people along with the one target they had. He was very much a defender of the surveillance state, that is rapidly eroding our reasonable expectation of and right to privacy. Finally, he didn’t have the backbone to insist upon a public option in the Affordable Care Act. Had he done so; it would have taken care of a lot of the problems with healthcare.
Last week I wrote about Bayard Rustin; an essential figure in the civil rights movement, who seems basically left behind and forgotten by our history books. Unfortunately, there are a whole slew of activists that were instrumental in ushering necessary change into American society – when it needed it most – that are strangely (and suspiciously, may I add) left out of our history books. This week, I want to place a special spotlight on Kwame Ture aka Stokely Carmichael; another shining example of someone incredibly important yet seemingly left out of history, altogether.
Kwame Ture was born Stokely Carmichael in Trinidad in 1941. He moved and resided in the United States of America from the age of 11 until his eventual exile from the states, which came later in his life. He was exiled after years of activism and academic critique of the U.S. American system that still greatly oppressed himself and basically, any and all other members of his race, at the time, anyway. Stokely Carmichael, was a very passionate and intelligent civil rights activist, who took a more controversial stance than other groups. He was certainly more in line with the Black Panthers and Malcolm X, when he said; “By any means necessary…” than others touting the idea of complete nonviolence, and simply turning the other cheek, so to speak. He was also instrumental in popularizing the Black Power movement, domestically, here in the United States. He was a vehement anti-imperialist who was also a prominent figure globally in the Pan-African movement.
He began developing the Black Power movement, and while he led the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), he continued developing and spreading the ideals of the Black Power movement as “Honorary Prime Minister,” of the Black Panther Party. He also led the All African People’s Revolutionary Party. Ture was involved with and in the Freedom Rides – working tirelessly with the aforementioned organizations – spending countless hours organizing, lecturing, writing, and protesting for civil rights over the course of his life.
All of that activism, unsurprisingly, made him a great target for J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI at the time; whom had also targeted Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and countless others in the movement, in this period of time. The COINTELPRO program was one the FBI had developed, at that time, to specifically target what they (typically, wrongfully) considered potentially “problematic” public figures, especially in the civil rights movement. One of the techniques used by COINTELPRO was called “bad-jacketing;” which was spreading disinformation campaigns amongst an organization, about an individual within the organization; specifically to falsely turn that organization against that individual. The FBI spread a disinformation campaign amongst the Black Panther Party that painted Ture as an FBI informant or snitch. This was shortly after he had been named the party’s “Honorary Prime Minister.” Hoover and the FBI targeted especially him, because they believed after Malcolm X’s assassination, he would be the next “black Messiah.” He ended up fleeing to Ghana to escape the FBI’s persecution of him; so he was really, de facto, exiled. He was also placed under CIA surveillance for years after leaving the States as a 2007, a declassified document stated.
After fleeing the US, he became the aide to the Guinean president Ahmed Sekou Toure, and was a student of Ghana’s exiled president Kwame Nkrumah (this is where he took the name Kwame Ture, as a way to honor the two African leaders). He continued writing, lecturing and traveling for years. He remained very active in activism in Africa and throughout the world, until his death in 1998. This is just a quick overview of the man’s life and achievements; there is so much more. I could spend pages writing about it; definitely worth looking up, if this article has interested you at all.
Here are the highlights from Orion Moon’s interview with Myra Sue St. Clair Baldwin of The Deep End Northwest. Orion interviewed Myra about the different stages of her life, including when she left her husband, opened a so-called Anarchist bookstore, helped with an underground newspaper, and endured privacy invasion or a schizophrenic episode.
Have you ever been evicted? No? You are missing out! Imagine someone telling you that you must move in the next three weeks. Wait! You only have 20 days; one day less than three weeks. Not quite three weekly paychecks! Or maybe you have to wait until the 3rd of the month for your $800 check to come in. That’s in 23 days because you got your notice out of blue on the 10th and there are 31 days in October. That means 24 days to payday. The landlord says you have been late with rent four times, but you have always paid the rent by the 5th and they never complained before. Why did they change this?
Nothing changed and now your whole life is being turned upside down and you just don’t know why you have to move. You are told that if you don’t move out in 20 days, you will be evicted! Your stuff, your belongings, your LIFE will be put on the sidewalk where anyone can grab it and any critter can dig through and ruin what is left of your life. You have lived there three, or five, or maybe even ten years and your landlord thinks you can just pick up your whole life and move it somewhere else in less than three weeks.
Who will help? You are disabled; that’s why you get a check on the 3rd. Why is your rent suddenly late on the 3rd? What did you do wrong? How can you fix it? You called the landlord, but they won’t answer the phone. You want/NEED to work something out cuz you can’t find another place to move to. There are no places to rent where your disability will fit. If you can’t find a place by the 30th, you will have to live on the streets – with your disability – without your stuff, your belongings, your life! The landlord is not negotiating, at all. Your comfortable, orderly life as you have known it will become chaos; freezing and dangerous. Your life will be hell! Why? Why is the landlord doing this? It makes no sense! They have gotten thousands of dollars from you over these last several years, doesn’t that mean something?
You have been a good tenant, quiet – haven’t made one complaint – but, they are telling you that you have to move. Why, why are they turning your life upside down? What gives them the right to make a human being homeless? What gives them the moral authority to ruin a person’s life? Why?
With February comes Black History Month. While I personally believe that “Black History” is indeed merely American history and am appalled that it seems to only get one out of twelve months to not only be focused on but acknowledged at all, since that’s how it is understood and presented in our cultural lexicon. Here is my (makes me uncomfortable to even say this) contribution. I will be writing a short series of articles, throughout the month that each cover a different leader of the black community. That is what I consider, more obscure or tragically unheard of black leaders, for their considerable and great contributions to the struggle for equality in America.
My first profile is of Bayard Rustin; arguably just as important as MLK in regards to the Civil Rights movement, yet suspiciously absent from history. There is a reason we don’t know Rustin’s name as we know MLK’s or Malcolm X’s. Rustin was an advocate for socialist democracy, and was also openly gay; at a time when just one of those could literally land you in jail. In fact, Rustin had actually been arrested and convicted of “sex perversion,” in Pasadena, CA in 1953 (“sex perversion,” was what California called, even consensual, same-sex relations). He served 60 days in jail for the conviction. This conviction would haunt him throughout his life, and was used by the racist opposition to his causes in an attempt to discredit him and his work.
Rustin was an incredibly accomplished Civil Rights leader, that operated mainly in the shadows for fear of his sexuality and political affiliations being used to discredit him and distract and detract from his causes. He helped organize and form the Journey of Reconciliation in 1947, which was the first of the Freedom Rides. He was arrested and served 22 days on a chain-gang in North Carolina for his participation in that. In 1948, he traveled to India to learn techniques of non-violent civil resistance, directly from the Gandhian movement that basically created those concepts and practices. In 1951 he formed the Committee to Support South African Resistance (which later, became the American Committee on Africa). Rustin would later use what he’d learned in India, to teach Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the ways of non-violent resistance, which as we all know was one of the central tenets of King’s movement.
He served as an unidentified member of the American Friends Service Committee’s task force to write “Speak Truth to Power: A Quaker Search for an Alternative to Violence” in 1955. That essay was one of the most influential and commented upon expressions of pacifism in the United States. He remained anonymous for fear that his sexuality would be used by critics to invalidate the essay. Although he was open about his sexuality; he knew it would be something critics and opponents could latch onto and use to their advantage to discredit and demonize him and anything he lent his name to so, he often put the cause ahead of himself. That is incredibly admirable, and makes him a real American hero as far as I’m concerned.
His list of accomplishments is staggering; too long to even list here in all honesty, so I will close out my highlights of that list with what I believe to be his most recognizable and grandest achievement: he was the main organizer of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August, 1963. He was credited as the deputy to A. Philip Randolph for the March, but he did most of the planning for it. Other civil rights leaders didn’t want Rustin to be publicly recognized, so the skeletons in his closet that were always dug out and used against him by opposition leaders could not be used to discredit the movement because it was too important. Although, he wasn’t credited as he should have been by his fellow civil rights leaders; he still received credit as a “leader of the march,” because he was featured with A. Philip Randolph on the cover of Life Magazine, and in the story was given the credit he was due.
One last accomplishment I nearly forgot to mention that is crucial to acknowledge: he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest honor one can receive in our country, and clearly well deserved in his case. I only briefly summarized his life, career and achievements. Rustin did, much, much more over the course of his life; if this story has interested you, definitely look him up and witness the broad legacy of this often forgotten national treasure.
Bayard Rustin is one of many unsung American heroes. There are far too many men and women throughout American history that are either left out of or even erased from the history books, merely because something about who they are could be viewed as problematic. I believe it’s our patriotic duty to give these people the credit and acknowledgement they so deserved yet never widely received when it was certainly due.
I am so damn sick and tired of the supposed “opposition,” party in my country; telling me that centrism and moderacy will win, and root out the social and political evils, happening today. There is quite literally no logical, intellectual, or historical basis to support this, flawed, disingenuous and outdated philosophy. We all remember when those incredibly moderate, political activists, effected real change; in regards to race, class, gender, sexuality or belief system, right? Yeah, that was quite literally; never in our collective, or any other society’s, for that matter, entire god damned history.
Political radicals brought you Civil Rights, Gay Rights, an end to slavery, workers rights, women’s rights, religious freedom, representative democracy instead of monarchy, ended European fascism (the French Resistance, Spanish Revolution, an end to German and Italian fascism, the New Deal, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Federal Housing Programs and low interest loans, Roe v Wade, an end to Segregation here and Apartheid in South Africa, the abolition of slavery, the decriminalization/legalization of marijuana, equal employment opportunity, equal lending and housing legislation, child labor laws, gay marriage equality, trans rights, federally protected public lands, food and drug safety legislation, non-nuclear aggression pacts, and far too many incredibly beneficial to humanity at large, programs and laws to list.) Moderates, historically speaking; would’ve allowed the proliferation of fascism to continue at its most crucial historic moment; would have allowed segregation to continue on, would have crushed women’s, gay and minority rights, would have allowed fascism and imperialism to spread like incurable cancers, would have, quite literally handed the entire fucking world over to Adolph Hitler, would have (if given the opportunity,) ensured that minorities, women, gays, and anyone belonging to a “problematic,” group, were categorically; not only denied their god given rights; but also used as an example to any and everyone else that recognized these “attitudes and beliefs,” as problematic, exclusive, hypocritical, disingenuous lies, the ruling class repeat over and over to convince us we are wrong.
I say, absofuckinglutely not! It is high time, we the damn people, stand up and flat out fucking refuse to let “them,” tell us a damn thing. As evidenced by over two decades of failed, do nothing, bullshit “policy,” that merely toes the corporatist line that couldn’t be more overtly against the average working American, their system does not, will not, and is designed not only not to work for you or me; it exists to work against us.
In conclusion; if you are still even capable of riding the fence or going with a “safe and moderate,” choice: you are not part of the cure, but part of the rotten, cancerous, ugly, appalling, offensive and completely morally bankrupt, disease…
On this particular day (Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to be exact) I feel that focusing, not only on his vision of racial equality to be prudent; but, especially given the newfound support for socialist leaning economic policy (the successful, thus far anyway, candidacies of Bernie Sanders and even Elizabeth Warren , to some extent): attention must be paid to King’s own ideals and words on economic equality and socialism, as well.
“I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic…[Capitalism] started out with a noble and high motive… but like most human systems it fell victim to the very thing it was revolting against. So today capitalism has outlived its usefulness.” (Letter to Coretta Scott, July 18, 1952) This is just one of many of the great man’s anti-capitalist quotes, and leanings. King knew that there could be no reasonable expectation of any kind of equality without economic equality. Further, he also understood that said, economic equality could never and would never be ushered in by a capitalist system that profits obscenely off of inequality.
Of course we all revere and deeply respect his work and accomplishments, in regards to racial equality, in our country. I feel, though; his push for income equality and economic justice was just as important and goes very unsung and unnoticed, largely due to the vilification of socialism, or really, anything that challenges the capitalist status quo, driven by unbridled greed, income inequality, and higher and higher profit, at whatever cost, no matter how great or grave, said cost is. I also fear his untimely end had just as much to do with his unpopular with the ruling elite, opinions (and willingness to proclaim them publicly and loudly) on economic justice and equality, as it did with his ideals and words on racial equality. I can’t be certain, of this; but stranger things have certainly happened in the sordid history of our country, is really all I’m saying.
Today is a day for all Americans to reflect on the legacy King left us, and we would be very remiss, as a society to continue to ignore the big part socialism and being very critical of the inequalities of capitalism, King left us as actually a fairly large part, of his wonderful legacy. He knew, and wasn’t afraid to say, that our capitalist system was and still is one of the largest creators and sources of absolute societal inequality; at a time when it was incredibly dangerous to not only hold these views, but a possible literal target on your back to share these views publicly. And, this man, didn’t care and shared what he knew to be a fundamental truth, in regard to true equality, anyway. That is real courage, and is one of the reasons I celebrate today.
“The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and the evils of racism.” (Speech to SCLC Board March 30, 1967) Please take some time to truly consider and think about what this great American hero had to say about the largest source of modern inequality, capitalism has become, on this day.