Saturday, August 05, 2006
A personal post on activism. I would like to apologize ahead of time if this post is too personal or sounds too self aggrandizing, that is not the intention.
In a day filled with strange happenings, including the loss of my new job, the strangest event was an aggressive attack on a peaceful weekly public protest by a young soldier returned from Iraq and son of a state representative. The protests are small and comprised mainly of religiously oriented peaceniks, “anti-war Democrats” and other liberals. I attend in an attempt to raise a revolutionary opposition to imperialism in the small town where I live and to try to bring a class-struggle perspective to this small group.
On this day as the hour long march was coming to an end a young man walked passed us and proceeded down the street to where our large sign rests on the lawn of a church and proceeded to destroy it. The sign reads something like: “2,571 US dead 30,000> estimated Iraqi dead, the toll of war” these are both underestimates; especially for the Iraqi’s whose deaths probably exceed 100,000. As I saw him do this, I raced to him yelling. I think I said what the hell or fuck are you doing? Standing right in his face I berated him for destroying our sign, and infringing on our free expression and assemblage. The others in the group were all older people well over sixty (I’m thirty). The youth revealed that he was a soldier who had been in Iraq for the past year. He revealed his essentialist contempt for Semitic people has barbarous citing the bible as proof that “they have been fighting over there for ever.” I continued to confront and challenge him on his destruction of our sign t which he replied that we were dishonoring the soldiers over there, and the we should not be running our mouths over here. He said the soldiers, US soldiers, were dying for our freedom. I said they were killing Iraqi’s and oppressing them, to which he replied with a physical threat, “you’re going to get punched in a minute.” I was still inches from his face. No further violence occurred.
I continued to confront him for over half an hour, discovering that he was totally deluded about all of American history. When I said US imperialism massacred two million Vietnamese he replied but we prevented the spread of Communism, to which I responded we were continuing racist French colonial domination of oppressed people. Etc, Etc. I tld him repeatedly that he was wrong, infringing upon free speech, destroying out personal property, and supporting imperialist terror and the murder of innocent people including children.
Finally, the peace activists broke us up and we left.
He confessed that he is the son of a Michigan state representative from Midland. I now know who it is. What made his act cowardly, as I assert in the title, is that if this was a large protest, or there were a bunch of workers, construction workers, steel workers, or even local grocery workers, black, white, Latino, in other words the social strength of the multiracial working class and not just aging but dedicated peaceniks, this coward would have turned his tail and run!
The peace activists there said hey were glad I was there because they would have done nothing. This is the philosophy of the religious anti-war activists, to bear witness and to turn the other cheek. While I probably should have done more, I actively confronted this bandit for the ruling class. He felt entitled to act because of the super–patriotism and chauvinism taught to him by his reactionary family (they are religious Republicans) the reactionary churches, and the reactionary social institutions prevalent here in rural America.
I am however, proud that I defended, in front of this bigoted thug, a proletarian internationalist perspective that the main enemy was at home, that US imperialism is the greatest enemy and oppressor of the world working class, and that I support war waged by the working class against the capitalist class!
I am considering pressing formal charges but am weary of using the capitalist injustice system.