[Marxism] Anglos (aka whites, gringos, gabachos, Americans)

Mike Friedman mikedf at amnh.org
Fri Aug 18 08:23:51 MDT 2006

Les is absolutely right, on many counts. We have been focused on the
situation in the Middle East not merely to the neglect of the "war at
home," but to the extent of buying into some of the haze generated by the
rulers -- i.e., that working people are "comfortable" or "contented" or
stupid or whatever. While Joaquin (with the late Ted Allen) is correct in
noting that white-skin privilege provides the matrix that immobilizes us,
I think there is an explanation at another level:  I think Sayan hit close
to the mark in an earlier post, in which he responded to the question of
why most people aren't in the streets, why they are complacent. He quoted
from an interview with derrick Jensen, who pointed out:

> Jensen: "If your experience is that your water comes from the tap and
that your food comes from the grocery store than you are going to defend
to the death the system that brings those to you because your life depends
on that; if your experience is that your water comes from a river and that
your food comes from a land base then you will defend those to the death
because your life depends on them. So part of the problem is that we have
become so dependent upon this system that is killing and exploiting us, it
has become almost impossible for us to imagine living outside of it and
it's very difficult physically for us to live outside of it."

Quite a while ago, I mentioned on this list the useful concept of
"cotidianidad" or "everyday-ness" coined by Chilean socialist and media
expert Armand Mattelart (who drew on Gramsci and the concept of hegemony),
which I came across in a pamphlet during the Sandinista Revolution. In
this booklet, Mattelart explained that to the degree that revolutions,
within the great transformations that occur, are able to institutionalize
this sense of stability and continuity and security and "normality" in
everyday life, Jensen's water coming from the tap, to that degree a
revolution will assure its survival when faced with counterrevolution. In
Allende's Chile, the CIA was able to disrupt that "cotidianidad" with its
rumors, disruptions, etc. As a result, ordinary people became scared and
demoralized. Sectors -- like during the famous housewives strike --
opposed Allende. (As I noted in a post yesterday, the family was a key in
all of this: the CIA struck at the family). In Nicaragua, something
similar happened. The blockade, coupled with widespread rumor-mongering,
spreading fear -- a whole campaign spelled out in the CIA's famous
Operations Manual -- contributed to demoralizing the population.

I believe that the very same phenomenon constrains the population, here.
And, as Mark pointed out, it isn't just the white population that is held
in check, although white-skin privilege is very much a part of this
"cotidianidad." This is coupled with the second part of Jensen's comment,
quoted by Sayan:

"Also, one of the smartest things the Nazis did was they made it seem
every step of the way according to Sigmund Bauman's "In Modernity and the
Holocaust." They made it seem it was in the Jews' rational best  interests
to not resist. The example there would be - "do you want to get an ID card
or do you want to resist and possibly get killed? Do you want to live in
the ghetto or do you want to resist and get killed? Do you want to get on
this cattle car or do you want to resist and get killed? Do you want to
take a shower or do you want to resist and get killed? Every step of the
way it was in their so called "rational best interest." We see  the same
thing happening today. People will keep suffering all these indignities
because if you resist there is the theatre of terror to put you back."

This may be a useful way to assess our current situation.

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