I want to believe that Joe Biden will be measurably better than Donald Trump; I sincerely do. It’s just, history and his voting record have already told me it isn’t too likely. Sure, he could sound more professional in speeches, and would make less errors or gaffes in, said speeches (only less though, cause he seems to love shoving his foot in his mouth, fairly often, as well,). It would pretty much stop at speech though.
The best example of this is his utter refusal to defund the police. I understand why he won’t, and no, it ain’t got a damn thing to do with public safety or crime. It has everything to do with him being the co-author of the 1986 crime bill, which further militarized police departments, and ramped up the racist and classist “War on Drugs,” to a fever pitch.
This bill was nothing more than a bridge to build a new industrial complex in America for corporations and the rich to benefit off of, as the Cold War, was, at this point; fairly clearly, coming to an end. Out with the Military Industrial Complex and in with the Prison Industrial Complex, instead. I say it was nothing more than that because all data and research of that era show massive declines, nationally, in violent crime; while politicians like Biden were more inclined to believe Reagan era propaganda, and make the safe political move, as opposed to the one that’s fact based and helps a larger demographic of the population.
Of course this is just one of many, corporatist, one could even argue, vaguely racist and classist political decisions Biden has made through the years; however, given the climate we are currently in, certainly the most striking and pertinent example. How exactly is the man that helped ensure it would be us (the poor and minorities,) versus them (the police,)? It’s funny, in this article I started out with the intention of, begrudgingly, endorsing Joe Biden; given Trump’s recent descent into literal and outright fascism with his militaristic responses, and now secret federal policing of the protests.
As it turns out, though; I am not okay with utter hypocrisy, which is exactly what I’d be endorsing, by endorsing Joe Biden for the presidency. Fascism is fascism, no matter how friendly the face delivering it may be. Jerry Garcia once said; “Choosing the lesser of two evils, is still choosing evil.”
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!”
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.
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.
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.