Big Challenges

Hunter Gray hunterbadbear at
Wed Sep 26 09:18:17 MDT 2001

With respect to the ASDnet List, I personally, and for the Cause,  much
appreciate Ralph Suter's good comments joining me in seeking to put Ward
Churchill in
positive human perspective -- and place meaningful issues to the fore.

[And, from another perspective,  we Indians always appreciate another ally
in this ASDnet setting.  There are certainly many other allies.]

With respect to Ward Churchill and myself, the indignation of  our List
critics,  wearing the clothing of  piety and sanctimoniousness, and carried
sometimes to the point of spite and venom , levied against Churchill -- and
even [plus weird, explicit de facto censorship efforts!] against myself for
strongly pointing out a number of times the fact that, whatever mistakes
Ward may humanly make, they're very much indeed outweighed by his positive
social justice contributions -- have certainly been extremely revealing.

For anyone observing, you're seeing a  classic mini-case history in one of
the basic reasons the organizational American radical movement missed an
important date in the case of the rising Southern Movement -- and why, as
the Sixties proceeded, most of the Young Left pushed away [for better and
worse] the Old One!  The critical matter of Eyes on the Prize is ignored in
the reality of the old Mississippi folk saying, "A rabbit can't fight
nuthin' but a rabbit."  But I now say, quickly and obviously, that neither
myself or Ward Churchill or other activist Native people are "rabbits."  And
[ I say this politely but vigorously]  don't ever make the mistake of
assuming that we are rabbits -- whoever you are.

Interestingly,  none in the camp of the "critics"  seem at all inclined to
recognize the obvious validity of my point of the other evening concerning
the well-established historical pattern [long recognized by Native scholars
such as myself and Churchill and  others ] of US military/governmental
"pragmatic" undercounts and overcounts in the matter of Native body kill:
e.g., Wounded Knee 1890 and Sand Creek 1864 [and no end of other anti-Native
atrocities] and the obvious fact that these policies have embraced the Four
Directions, not only in our nation in the broad sense, but now globally to
the present moment.  This historical awareness of this for ourselves as
Indian people very much -- and accurately -- shapes our perception of the
continuingly sanguinary "bigger picture."

In any event, what's called the United States continues to move toward a
bloody "solution" -- taking much of the world along with it -- even as the
factual situation regarding Who-Did-What becomes ever more ambiguous by the

The extremely ugly ethos in this country -- ever more frustrated by the
actions and words of opportunistic politicos, media and jingoists -- is
increasingly frightened, angry, often hysterical -- and obviously seeking
witches and scapegoats with vengeance.  I would say that civil liberty in
the U.S. is facing its greatest danger since 1950 and such Creatures of the
Darkness as  the Attorney General's Subversive List, Walter-McCarran Act
[with its Subversive Activities Control Board and concentration camp
provisions], HUAC and SISS, and an increasingly arrogant and fascist [a word
I do not use loosely] Federal Bureau of Investigation and related agencies.
And, not at all coincidentally, attacks on non-White people -- of Middle
Eastern background and otherwise -- continue to rise very rapidly.

The mood in Idaho is one of quite commonly found [though not completely
pervasive] rapidly burgeoning "patriotism" -- frequently shrill and very
much officially pushed with vigour from the elementary school level  into
all social foundations and their components.  Long involved hereabouts in
the fight against hate groups and on-going racial and ethnocentric and
homophobic prejudice and discrimination -- to say nothing of our activist
concerns with a local and state police force  that I feel to be among the
worst I've encountered outside of the Old South -- I've had my hands full
with the ever-increasing probability of a spate of attacks on "people of
colour" [especially young people] emerging violently from this dangerously
smouldering atmosphere.  So far, we have been relatively lucky but the
future -- in the short range -- does not look good.

I'd like to strongly suggest that any DSA components -- including the
national office -- formally join with [if not necessarily within] the
rapidly growing national civil liberties coalition that is currently
pressing Congress [and at this point, Pat Leahy and the Senate Judiciary
Committee] to block the downright totalitarian Bush/Ashcroft "domestic
security" proposals.

I'd like to strongly suggest too, that DSA components -- including the
national office -- [and DSA Anti-Racism Commission has been, of course,
right to fore at all points on this] formally and specifically move to join
other organizations [e.g., NAACP and Arab-American Anti-Discrimination
Committee etc] in clear and specific opposition to all attacks on people
because of race and ethnicity -- and religion.

And I hope, too, that as we fight War Fever with every ethical resource at
our command, we all avoid attacks and paranoia vis-a-vis other Left groups.
There should be no place in this critical struggle for the long, long ago
discredited tactic of Red-baiting.  That only plays into the hands,
obviously, of the Other Side.

And, for God's sake, as we go along, let's continue to fight -- in every way
big and small -- for peace with full justice and justice with full peace in
every corner  of long-suffering  Mother Earth.  That's really why we are

Fraternally and In Solidarity -

Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]

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