Only connect: Ferguson and Gaza

 

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The structures of our society are subtly racist, for these structures reflect the values which society upholds. They are geared to the success of the majority and the failure of the minority.
Racism has been part of the social fabric of America since its European colonization….
Racism is apparent…in unemployment figures…in housing patterns…in the population in our prisons…in the attitudes and behavior of some law enforcement officials...

So wrote the US bishops 35 years ago and as a we watch things unfold in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson, nothing much seems to change. The US is still a racist society which has never come to terms with its black citizens.

After the famous riots of 1967 the Kerner Commission concluded: “Our nation is moving toward two societies — one black, one white — separate and unequal.

Well, plus ca change, plus la meme chose.

In a commentary I heard two black activists make pointed references to Gaza.

Only connect as E.M. Forster advised us.”Live in fragments no longer.”

Go to any US large city and you notice the same phenomenon, blacks are shoved into holding pens called ghettos, out of sight and out of mind to the predominant white community. The stats are shocking about the education gap, the wealth gap and any social gap you choose. The police force in this case 53 strong with only 3 black officers. The whites live out of town and do not know what the hell is going on. They live elsewhere. And when the frustration erupts in black on black crime, the people turn away, shrug their shoulders. Nothing to do with me. Same on the Reserves—as Canadians should know. The neglect of poor people is massive. Segregation is deeply injurious to a country. Human rights and human dignity have been forgotten.Capitalism is hardly big on these values.

Democracy Now reported that a new survey by the Pew Research Center finds the public reaction to the shooting of Michael Brown is sharply divided along racial lines. Eighty percent of African Americans say the case raises important issues about race that need to be discussed. Less than 40 percent of whites agree. In fact, nearly half of whites say race is getting more attention than it deserves

 

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They are both right. What nobody wishes to talk about is class. The ghettoes contain the neglected underclass of the capitalist system, the price to be paid for the unequal division of wealth. This of course has been accelerated by the 2008 financial meltdown created by the greedy largely white banksters. A small number of blacks have moved forward, brought into the inner circle and largely neglectful of “their brothers”. People point to the Colin Powells and Condaleeza Rices as proofs of successful integration. Both regarded as “Toms” by many black observers.

In Palestine we see a similar racist society. Now Palestinians are placed behind a wall as the state steals more land. But the wall acts as a real “separation barrier”. Israelis do not even want to look at their cousins. A 2006 poll indicated that two-thirds of Israelis would not live in the same building as an Arab. keep the vermin, animals, cockroaches out of sight, words all used by prominent Israelis. Segregated like american blacks, they become “the Other,” not like us. Not too dissimilar to Ferguson and other black ghettos..It is about race but also about power relations and economics.

We are dealing with systematic exclusion here both racist and classist. The police and the National Guard are simply part of the power elite.

In terms of Israel how can you explain such depressing,massive state violence visited on fellow humans? When another people become “not like us” it is a short step to massive dehumanization.

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1 Comment »

  1. 1
    mushafta Says:

    There’ll be many more Lac Megantics when you consider oil coming out of the tar sands by rail has had an increase of 2000 percent over the past year. And if the pipeline continues its pattern of stall until another election, it could get even worse.

    Oil mixes much better with politics than with water. And that’s another casuality of this issue.


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