What the Response to the Killing of Black Men Reveals About the USA: 3
In the previous part of this series, I talked about how the inability of politicians to control cops was a sign that the USA has become an unsuccessful and unstable tyranny- one where nobody is recognized as being in charge of the overall situation. While I was initially going to talk a bit more about how this lack of a clear hierarchy destabilizes modern nation states, events in the last couple of days have made me push that more scholarly discussion into a later part. I shall instead write a bit about that particular incident – Man Shoots, Kills Two NYC Cops “Execution Style,” Apparently as Revenge for Garner, Brown.
The gunman appears to have traveled to New York specifically to kill police officers as he allegedly wrote Instagram posts in which he expressed a desire for revenge for the killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. “I’m putting wings on pigs today,” he wrote, according to the screen capture of the Instagram post. “They take one of ours … let’s take 2 of theirs. This may be my final post.” He then signed off: “I’m putting pigs in a blanket.” Witnesses say the gunman did not appear to hesitate, shooting several rounds into the car. “The perp came out of the houses, walked up behind the car and lit them up,” a police official said. Another witness told the Daily News: “He just walked up and shot that cop in the head.”
Now, as most of you also know- the guy who executed those cops also killed (or seriously injured?) his ex-GF. So what can we make out of all this? How do we classify the actions of Ismaaiyl Brinsley? Was he a black guy who stood up for injustice or just somebody who wanted to kill for the sake of killing? Well.. here are my thoughts on that topic. Firstly, it is almost always impossible to classify incidents and people without the benefit of considerable hindsight. For example- the people who led the Russian revolution were criminals until they succeeded and became national heroes and then rulers. We may never know what precise combination of circumstances and beliefs drove Gavrilo Princip to kill Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, and thereby starting WW1. Nonetheless, the effects of the successful 1917 revolution and WW1, and the lasting effects of both events (including WW2) caused many seismic changes and shifts throughout the world.
The effects and legacy of any event or person, especially their representation in subsequent popular culture, bear little resemblance to how they were perceived at the time those events actually occured.
Consider, for example, the well-documented fact that most of those signed the american declaration of independence in 1776 were slave owners who bought and sold human beings like livestock. I have always found it funny that people who wrote about the intrinsic equality and rights of all men went back to torturing, killing and profiting of the labors of black slaves after they adjourned their pompous meetings. While most american morons still revere them as the “founding fathers” of the USA, and objective person would see them for what they really were- extremely greedy, deceptive and sadistic slave owners whose gamble of establishing an independent country paid of. The fact that white slave-owners like Washington and Jefferson are seen as enlightened human beings is almost exclusively due to the downstream effects of them accidentally hitting the jackpot. If events had proceeded differently, the world would have just remembered them as greedy and sophistic white slave owners. Therefore “facts” such as the “criminal record” of black men who shoot cops or are killed by cops are intrinsically meaningless and worthless.
To better understand such incidents and their downstream effects we have to first understand their context – as best as we can.
Doing so requires us to factor in obvious pieces of information such as the what preceded those events as well as their socio-economic context and less obvious ones such as the world they occurred in. While trying to objectively understand the preceding events and socio-economic context of such events is fairly straightforward, understanding the implications of the less obvious factors can be complicated. So let us begin with the more easy to understand parts of the context underlying such events. Slavery, specifically the enslavement and exploitation of black people, is a very important part of the foundation of american and american-style capitalism. Unfortunately, many white americans including those whose ancestors gained little from such practices like to ignore this fact. But the legacy of pre-1865 slavery is only part of the problem.
Indeed, the systemic legalized abuse, murder, exploitation and systemic impoverishment of blacks in the USA in the post-1865 constitutes the larger part of this problem. Whether it was Jim Crow laws in the post-reconstruction South or more subtle legalized abuse and impoverishment of blacks at the same time in the North- it is fair to say that laws were always used to abuse blacks while letting whites pretend to be fair, at least in their own minds. It is also no surprise that laws that were supposed to be “tough on crime” and “imprison druggies” started becoming popular at around the same time as the Civil rights movements started gaining legislative victories in the late-1960s. As some of you might already know, the war on drugs is basically Jim Crow version 2.0. And this brings me to an important concept.
The relationship between most (especially older) whites and blacks in the USA has more in common with apartheid-era South Africa and other now defunct post-WW2 white colonies in Africa than most white americans will ever want to accept.
Consequently, no amount of non-violent protests and appeals to the decency of american whites (especially CONservatives) will ever fundamentally change this situation. I mean, how can you appeal to the basic decency of american whites (especially CONservatives) when they have none? All of these marches, die-ins, protests, hashtag “activism” and calls for legislative fixes have the same likelihood as succeeding as they had in erstwhile african colonies of western countries. Non-violent movements only appear to succeed in achieving change if the option is significantly worse for the abusers. And this brings us to the issue of how western colonies in Africa ceased to exist.
The downfall and eventual demise of western colonization of Africa was brought about by a combination of circumstances in the aftermath of WW2. However, the single most important factor that led to the demise of western colonies in Africa was the spread of soviet anti-personal weapons such as the AK-47. Once this occurred, it became virtually impossible for white colonists in Africa to ever feel physically secure enough to profit from exploiting the people. Empires and colonial systems cannot make a worthwhile profit if the areas they claim control over are too unsafe for centralized economic activity. Eventually the cost of suppressing near constant uprisings and military casualties (especially indirect) ensure that empire or colony is unprofitable.
Now, I am not claiming that the lessons of destroying western colonialism in Africa can be applied to the USA. As you know, the USA is still technically a white majority (but not for long) society. While its white population is rapidly aging and has sub-replacement level fertility, it might be able to hold on to absolute power for a decade or so longer. However that is not the real Achilles heel of the USA. Its real shortcoming is that there is not much substance left to back up its old image of supremacy. If you want to be objective about it, the USA is best described as a country that exports entertainment, porn, expensive and useless weapons and the pretense of being a safe place for investment.
To put it another way, the power of white USA in the real world is now mostly based on lies, scams, fiction and window-dressing.
Think of white USA as an aging woman who has undergone countless cosmetic procedure and put on tons of makeup to look more youthful and vital than she really is. Taking apart such an entity starts with demonstrating the reality under all that plastic surgery and makeup. The loss of image control made possible via decentralized media, especially the internet, has exposed people around the world to the grim reality under the glossy facade of the USA. However that by itself is not enough to make modern nation states fall apart.
If you have studied the fall of modern nation states over the last hundred years, one factor keeps popping up with remarkable regularity in places as diverse as the Middle-East and Eastern-Europe. It can be best described as the constriction of normal socio-economic discourse caused by overreaction by the security forces (enforcers) or by privileging them over the rest. We have seen this work in slow motion in post WW2 communist countries as well as numerous “countries” in the Middle-East. Personally, I do not see evil systems coming apart from runaway auto-immune reactions as a bad thing- do you?
I will write more about this particular issue in a future post.
What do you think? Comments?