Of our racist tolerance of the Kramers..

Click on the video above to watch Michael “Kramer” Richards speak on last Friday, as the audience enjoys a hearty laugh. In fact they were so enjoying that Richards was not stoned or kicked out. He went on to get exclusive interviews on television channels, entirely unharmed. No, the interviews were not conducted in some dingy prison cells, but atop celebrity couches for CNN consumption. The great mainstream media melting pot even aired him as he went on continuing with his racist unapologetic mode: “I’m not a racist. That’s what’s so insane about this.”

What had he said at the first place that he found those objecting to him were actually the insane people?

“Shut up! “Fifty years ago we’d have you upside down with a fucking fork up your ass.”

“You can talk, you can talk, you’re brave now motherfucker. Throw his ass out. He’s a nigger! He’s a nigger! He’s a nigger! A nigger, look, there’s a nigger!”

Politics of apology is a prerogative of the privileged. After all, the essentially underlying presumption is normalization of situation. In fact, apologies are the soothing weapons of the smooth criminals.

Michael Richards aka Kramer of the “Seinfeld” is another one in the line, following the horrible footsteps of Mel Gibson. No, I am not outraged that these celebrities became honest about how utterly inhumanely and disgustingly racists they were. But certainly outraged that these bigots are still at large in the society hogging the fancy of thousands of their young fans clearly as misguided missiles as are the Aryan sisters called “Prussian Blue”, about whom I wrote last year.

I am clearly outraged that the white supremacist society has yet not found a solution to teach itself some decent lesson in human dignity even after its long evolution as it claims, other than letting some liberal middlemen hosting quick subsequent apology shows to forgive evil intentions as some form of accidental lip-slips.

Was I hoping any better than this? Are we all hoping that the Congressmen will suddenly behave better than corrupt jerks preaching moralist pronouncements of the sexist church order? Are we hoping that the Hollywood will eventually make better movies than pathetically dumb discourse called Crash and the television stars will become any better than this sick, deafeningly sick, Michael Richards? Or that our educational institutes will finally stop bullshitting us about how World War II ended with bombing of Japan and that Ronald Reagan “apologized” a bit too late. Or that we shall be treated to some charming Oprah any better than announcing that “Dreamgirls” is the movie she loves because its made for all people irrespective of their economic class! Aha!

No, I am not expecting miracles here. For the most, the way the television culture has depraved us, a movie or a performer only remains to be graded in terms of recognition and awards. Will she win Oscars? An entirely uncritical society resting on laurels of backdoor promotional competitions to shape its yardsticks of appreciation will only be able to reflect in its churned out “talents”, its own true self.

Michael Richards is not some self-made TV star. He is not some celebrity on his own merit. He is just one of us. He is there at that stage, because we put him there to entertain us. Because most of us actually laughed like sick saddists without applying our critical minds to the television culture. Every evening, this country (and following it, most in the rest of the world) telecasts stupid comedy shows that runs late into the late night with special comedy shows, apparently by liberal by names of Stewarts and Lopezs too. There are dedicated channels and prominent companies producing “stand-up comedies” 24/7. The culture of humor in capitalistic marketplace is the most potent ingredient to normalize the otherwise actual tension that prevails in the society.

Humor as capitalistic agent of illusive consensus:

Racial tensions are not some exaggerated fictionalized accounts of hyped media reports. They are for real. In fact, in every racist country from Britain to France, they are the only things that’re real. Denial of privilege and race-blindness is the prerogative of the few elites representing the historically oppressing racial category that manufactures the divisions to distinguish humans on basis of color skin. One would have wished the Apartheid ended. One would have perhaps also imagined that the black issues were resolved following desegregation. But wishes and hopes do not make a society run.

The reality is that the racial tensions are necessary consequence of free trade capitalism. It is capitalism that’s the creator of racism through its patriarchal control of private property by means of subjugating human beings as slaves to further the profit consolidation of the masters class. In fact, for capitalism to grow and further its own interests, racism needs to be furthered too. New forms of racism will take place of old forms of racism, just as credit cards are replacing old cash circulation. But the essential implementation of divide and rule will forever remain the cornerstone for the wealth-grabbers to stay in power over those that earlier used to remain as slaves, and now as freemarket consumers. Earlier they were house slaves, today they are software slaves. Difference is in the degrees.

Likewise, earlier the subjugation of society used to take place through sheer brutal force. As the levels of sophistication increased, the territorial conquests were replaced by imperialistic expansions. And these days, via more implicitly sophisticated means such as words defined by the masters’ dictionaries as soothing: words such as liberty, democracy, family, happiness, elections, television, comedies and organic food.

So what we have is the culture of comedies in the most obnoxious of places. In the most inappropriate settings. During the most pathetic times. Never in the history of humanity, so many people of the world felt so very helpless at their inability to prevent wars of mass destructions launched by the most unqualified of people to assume leaderships. And yet during days like these, the television shows and comedy films are making the biggest of business. During a time when the entertainment industry should have been focusing on agitating the people through critical education about their role in reversing world order, we have all the world television channels owned by five old men and the film industries run by people like Tarantinos (another N-word hyperactivist). And all of them have readymade shows to make people stay relaxed. How will we know if we need to be relaxed? The celebrities tell us when is the time to relax and how to feel relaxed after undergoing body jobs. How we shall know this is the time to laugh? The background clap sequences on comedies will ask us to laugh along the scenes. Such perversity of underestimation of collective human intelligence is a compelling tale of how far have we regressed in our movements.

What to do with Michael Richards?

Nothing. Ideally he should be jailed for “fifty years with a fork up on his ass”. That’s the minimum verdict that he deserves. But that’s not even a portion of what we must all undergo if we envisage our future as active agents of humanity, and not some remote controlled passive recipients of messages and bullets.

All of us must daily observe a couple of hours introspecting about our own inactions, apathy, indifference, involvement and withdrawal from the largely racist world that has been a direct creation as a result of our collective indecisiveness. While at it, we must realize that we need to be as honest with ourselves as Richards and Gibson were with themselves, not just when we are angry, but throughout the 24 hours everyday. If overcoming the deep love for our own dominant supremacist race at the cost of degrading those we oppressed becomes too difficult, we must be prepared to die the way that abominable creature and our racist epitome called Hitler ended his life. We don’t need another television show which the neo-nazis like Michael Richards pay to apologize. We need Richards and his likes to be forced to introspect and change. And if they do not “amend”…..Well, they better amend.

I wish I could say all that I wanted to. But unlike some elite white folks in this country and their counterparts in much of Europe, I certainly do not enjoy “Hate Speech” privilege anyway. And neither do I want to enjoy any of this. Good for them.


Bring the War Home (Part II)

So the CNN poll says that most Americans feel no one is winning the war in Iraq. Apart from the statistical tables drawn from little more than a 1000 people who were telephoned, the CNN forgets to mention one more word in its headline: Ignorant.

Only when people are deliberately kept ignorant about the state of affairs, can they make any such claim. CNN, after perfecting the art of mediocrity and disparaging neutrality during periods of great crisis, has been able to contribute to the pool of mythmakers who lull the population. The fact of the matter is that the Bush administration is winning the war.

Because the war is not being fought in Iraq. The war is being fought right here inside the United States. It’s just that this is the war that the corporate media would not like to talk about. Just as in any other capitalist country in the world today, media in the US have decided to bury the hatchet after digging the graves.

Colors of the Wars

Why is it that we call it a war only when a western country involves itself in external aggression? Be it the so-called “World Wars”, which were nothing but capitalistic battlefields for profits, or the “Cold War”, which was nothing but hot pursuit at destroying civilizations through barbaric American interventions, or the “Gulf War”, which continues in various names the showmanship of white masculinity despite international condemnations—the war is the game that men play, and worse, the game that the dominant ruling class men play.

Is it any coincidence then that the real colors of the war are shoved to obscurity through deliberate dislocation of the locale—geographical and psychological? Since the massive acquisition of world power following the world wars that led to obscenities such as G-7 and NATO, by color, wars are now being attributed solely to irresponsibly dangerous people of color. And by locales, they are always being fought only outside the Euro-American soil!

Omissions and Psychological Warfare:

In a recent exhibition to sensitize the American public about what it feels like to be in a war-ridden territory, Doctors without Borders had organized artificial refugee camps in the heart of New York City. I was struck by a world map that welcomed the visitors who were spoon-fed distorted history of warfare by a very able NGO propagandist. The physical/political map depicted the countries that had internally displaced population in the world today. Two kinds of refugees were enumerated: those who are foreigners to the warring country, and those that are resident aliens. Much careful planning must have gone through in preparing this exhaustive map, as the small group audience gasped at the reality.

The gasps of disbelief! Photo by Saswat.

Whereas people—mostly European-Americans–were clearly disturbed at the glaring map, they were visibly comforted as well. Reason: Each and every country in the world seemed to be depicted on the map as having displaced refugees, except for the country of United States and continent of Europe! It was as though the entire world was dotted with crisis, except for these two western regions that are entirely without a problem!

The Doctors without Borders expert then went ahead to narrate her personal experience in African countries and Muslim countries. Audience roared at first with laughter at the model of toilet that ‘those people’ use. And when the narrator said that some Muslims would not use the toilet when it would be faced in the direction of their mosque, some in the audience sneered at the preposterous audacity of ‘those ungrateful people’. It was not merely shocking for me to go through the public mockery at the toilet design that I had grown up with most of my life, but even for an atheist like me, the entire lack of religious sensitivity was quite disgustingly unpalatable an experience.

…and the vacuum of indifference Photo by Saswat.

The kind French doctor then took us around more to the way camps are set up, the hardships that NGOs face while saving the lives of the war-torn people and while distributing bare minimum food supplies to cornered people. And all the while, the exercise seemed like a self-congratulatory exercise of sizeable measure. Worse, it was the victory of sorts for the actors in global psychological warfare.

Acts of genocides caused by repressions by colonialists and imperialists in Africa and Asia were suddenly dismissed by the well-meaning reformist activist circles of organizations like Doctors Without Borders as processes to stop “civil wars” brought forth by “infighting” and “tribal clashes” and “Muslim conflicts”. The international organization even went to the extent of celebrating the beautiful, noble and charitable roles that European countries were playing in rehabilitating the greedy, fanatic and needy infighters.

In fact, nowhere in the narration at any point were the people told of the role of the “safe countries” that lead to the ravages in the affected countries. No where were we reminded that the safety in the western front is only a swelling mocking silence at sheer indifference that comes with luxurious ignorance. That’s because the reformists work to depict the wretched, torn, poor in a neutral way, after remaining silent at the continuous supply of arms by the militarist yet ‘safe’ countries to the warring sides. The war against Lebanese people is a case in point. It was depicted as though Middle East is a crisis. Not us—not even if we in the first world actively remain silent when our leaders negotiate arms deals with militarist regimes that we support actively through money, germs and warfare.

Revisionist Reactionary History Retold:

What the Doctors without Borders were essentially doing was continuing the legacy to distort the reality by replacing them with lasting impressionist images that are value-laden.

First off, the reassuring idea that Western World has no refugees and no war inside the countries is a blatant white lie. The kind French doctors should only have looked at war-torn (in their language ‘rioting’) Paris. The New Yorkers should have only looked at war-torn (in their language poverty and homelessness) Bronx. And the map could have been altered and the definitions of genocides and wars could have been revisited, as also attributions of perpetrators and victims.

Secondly, the perpetrators themselves have always become the largest preachers. In the name of church, they sanctified holy wars. In the name of charity, they legitimized unholy alliances. Unable to contain the mass resentments at colonial expansionist motives to force Africa to debt trap, the Euro-American alliances have now resorted to throw rice bags at warring tribes who have been forcefully devoid enough of their lands to the extent that staying sane has become an unknown privilege for them.

Thirdly, the preachers and moralists of the first world liberalism have helped themselves in getting rid of a guilty conscience that sure would have popped up, if not for sheer inaction and lack of imagination. So, the well-meaning doctors and journalists and peaceniks get together once in a while to pat each other’s back in their hard-earned efforts to hail the British sophistry to claim civilization, to herald Europe as the well-meaning citadel of freedom and continue the Nirmala (of Missionaries of Charity fame) doctrine: Poverty is the gift of God. Then, war must indeed be a perpetuating gift to be treasured as well, that continues to spin the money, influence and moral sense.

What’s the war about?

Plain and simple: the war that’s being fought now is a misnomer. Its just another scale of capitalistic perversion indulged in by the Eurocentric liberals. A sudden sense of powerlessness that engulfed the white ruling class world impaired its confidence to such a great deal that out of the vacuum came many a pseudo liberal and conservative movements. From safeguarding church sanctity, to curb communism, to attack sovereign lands, and to pose peace marches to oppose such attacks by terming them as wars: we have seen the hegemonists staking claim on both sides of the mainstream politics.

All along, what these reformers and reactionaries alike have consciously refrained from doing is to recognize the kind of war that’s the need of the hour. There is only one war that is needed to be fought today, and that is the Class War. In my view, the class wars have the following inherent features. (Bestselling works have different –often spiritual– types of Seven Laws. But that’s merely because they have a different population in mind):

1. Class wars are not fought outside the ‘national’ boundaries. Indeed, class wars do not recognize any divisions other than Class.

2. Class wars are organized attacks on global capitalistic economic system. They are not peaceful reform movements based on appeals and petitions and requests and preachings.

3. Class wars are not fought by recruiting working class people to fight on behalf of the imperialist masters. Quite the contrary, class wars force the capitalists out onto the street to fight their own battles and in fear or new found knowledge, many from capitalist classes join the working class people, and out of the enslaved mindsets, many from working class prefer to join their former masters. Apart from Bolsheviks, one could find instances in Black Panthers and Weathermen Underground, where people of all classes came onto the streets, many changed their class loyalties and consciously chose sides and fought the battles on principles.

4. Class wars are organized through radical education of the youths, by disavowing old reactionary knowledge, by replacing canonic texts and reactionary history and colonial languages with brand new narrations by the oppressed, language of the dispossessed and writings of the agitated. Vladimir Mayakovsky and Che Guevera and Maxim Gorky would come to mind who replaced the old texts with the new.

5. Class wars are fought against the entire lot of class elites, including the scientists who make bombs, doctors who pimp expensive drugs, teachers who teach classics, students who benefit from nepotisms. But since the class wars cannot be exclusionary in nature, the peoples sides always invariably accept those from different classes and backgrounds as long as they willingly change their statuses by giving up adamancies, class characters and superficial hierarchies.

6. Class wars always are organized, although outbursts are always spontaneous. It is the duty of the educated and privileged who feel oppressed, to heed to the call of the most dispossessed, and thereby help form the class in solidarity. In class wars, there are no gradations and levels and degrees. It’s an absolute war against the tiny minority of controllers of global resource, not against the exploited workers, mid-level managers or even those from the bourgeois class who are willing to consciously switch positions.

7. Class wars are not dogmatic, they do not follow arbitrary wishes of despots, and yet certainly do not entertain any reformist, and liberal understandings that look for intra-system micro changes. Class wars are about grand visions, great leaps and global single union of all workers.

It is only important for people of the biggest empire in world history to recognize that the war has to be brought home. With due apologies to Doctors without Borders, refugees are not outside of Europe or America. It is the majority of people in these countries that are the refugees within the ruling class boundaries. Just for an example, to take a leaf out of last month which was observed in the US as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, one needs to only redefine the scope of internally displaced people: Acts of domestic violence occur every 12 seconds in the U.S. – making it the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the country – more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined. More than 4,500 women are killed each year in the U.S. by abusive husbands or boyfriends. This is the state of women’s rights in the country that goes on preaching morals to China about human rights abuse and along with its European counterparts like UK, and France—which are even worse performers on human issues–issues warrants to Muslim countries regarding the freedom that ‘their women’ deserve and to ensure that, they declare wars on poor people. Largest undertrials, and biggest military-industrial complexes, fraud elections that steal the polls, education system working for the rich, healthcare industries at the call of the privileged—on almost every count of human dignity, the majority of people in the so-called first world are living in no better condition than the working class lives in the victim countries. And yet, the wars–to enforce a standard of governance that has invariably failed to deliver everytime—continue against the poor people of the world and crocodile tears are shed by the enlightened liberals at their plights. Its almost in charity towards the poor that the emotions are misspent, instead of asking the crucial question regarding who leads to their plights and thereby organizing them on an international economic class basis.

These utter hypocrisies of the elitists have led the world to believe in the external aggressions as some kind of feasible war, whereas the truth of the matter is, this is just a genocide being caused against the working poor of the world by the moral pundits of the first world who spread their neo-colonial tools of culture, media and redundant, privilege-ridden talk-shows laced, media-hyped, bogus talks about equality and liberty and freedom and all other superficially diverting values of plutocracy.

The real war needs to be brought home, and the demarcations need to be made. We did let go of the Katrina disaster that brought out the class dynamics because there were not enough among us who identified with the suffering black people of America who would like to give up our knowledge about issues defined by the structure as ‘issues’. Hence we looked at race dynamics, we looked at geographical dynamics, we looked at political dynamics. We entirely missed that it is the class that creates the divides across, geography, race, gender, religion, sexuality, disabilities, nationalities, political systems—to name but a few. Not the other way around. Yet again, this month, let us not allow the farcical elections blind us to a system that just doesn’t seem to be working for the people. This election is another reformist tactics to get rid of one ruler while upholding the structure that will seat just another. The absurdities surrounding these imposters are so well known that their media bombard us with multitudes of news only to force us to forget things we should have noticed. For example, John Kerry disgraced himself after talking about who gets stuck in wars. Sure, I don’t think it was a disgrace because Kerry was wrong in content. Just that he forgot to say he got out of Vietnam not because of education alone. But ironically he disgraced himself again for a second time (truly in sync with Democratic Party tradition of eating words) by apologizing: implying that it’s a good thing to be conscripted after all… Whose bickerings are we even choosing our sides for: These are not even worthy fights!

We don’t need militarists to misspell imperialism as some necessary war. We also don’t need peaceniks to preach against all sorts of wars. The fact of the matter is, we have submitted to these jargon jugglers for a long time now. And the need of the hour is for the ongoing class wars to be recognized and organized and brought back to homes—to every place of this planet and unionize our class identity before they move the focus to their media machines and central parks.