what Americans believe

jones/bhandari djones at uclink.berkeley.edu
Fri Sep 8 17:45:18 MDT 1995

After a thought-provoking note about EP Thompson's The Making of The
English Working Class, Kenny writes
>This, no doubt, is also why I tend to be on the side of those who say we
>need to argue for the working class militia members and the members of
>the NOI, rather than writing them off.  What they're looking for seems,
>on the surface, to be fulfillable by right-wing ideologies, but under the
>right social conditions we might just convince many of them that our
>ideas are more promising.

Kenny, do you think many members of the Militia or the NOI are likely to
express that identification with Black feminism which you have argued is
the elixir of revolutionary consciousness?

I do not deny that some (not many) of the rank-and-file may well break from
the reactionary politics which their organizational leadership will
(continue to)  pursue.

Though after having spoken recently  with two different people sympathetic
to the Militia at the local Starbuck's coffee shop, one sporting the latest
in Restore America t-shirts and the other a former strung-out Hells Angel,
I do have my doubts.

The former was looking for a fight (and you know how utterly physically
awesome I am, Kenny I almost kicked the shit out of that 250lb patriot),
and the other was singing the praises of Rush Limbaugh. However, I did find
myself agreeing with his Limbaugh-inspired criticism of the welfare state
as destructive of the human personality.  And one will find many people who
have been close to those destroyed by the bureaucratic subsumption of the
self express the same opposition to it.  It is probably incorrect to
dismiss as reactionary the whole of the Right's (which includes the Nation
of Islam) criticism of the welfare state.  Though it still bothers me a bit
that he wonders out loud how severely the state should punish those urban
rioters, spoiled by welfare.

 I  have a Chicano friend originally from New Mexico who tells me that his
comrades from the Southwest have been pleasantly surprised at times by some
of the Militia members.  And I will try to relay back to the list what I
learn about them via my friend here.  He tells me that his friends have not
noticed any Militia involvement in immigrant bashing.  This does surprise
me and as I learn more, perhaps I will be proven wrong by the informal and
formal research which has been recommended by many.

 I maintain the same skepticism towards the NOI after having spent an
evening with two Black poets from LA who remain inspired by Brother
Farrakhan and his recent alliance with Brother Chavis and then could not
provide one concrete example of what they found so inspiring (except of
course that the two strong Brothers are now getting along, couldn't you
just cry from joy?).  But, heck, why press the poets for detail?  The
advanced degrees they are pursuing in social science from UCLA should not
get in the way of a poetic appreciation for the way Farrakhan can call the
whitey out.

Anyways, do you like pork?


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