Category Archives: First Nations

Pre-TCD 2 for 1

Before the Transform Columbus Day protests there will be a very special pre-event. On August 30th the University of Denver will be will be hosting an awards dinner featuring not one, but two, modern day perpetrators of genocide.

Wayne Murdy, the CEO of Newmont Mining, is being given an award by the University of Denver. Newmont Mining is the second largest gold stealer in the world. It operates mines all over the globe. In the process it plunders the wealth of nations, devastates natural environs and poisons local, often indigenous, populations. Wayne Murdy, Newmont Mining and companies like it are waging systematic economic and ecological warfare against poor peoples of the world in what amounts to a protracted genocide.

But that’s not all. The key-note speaker for this award ceremony will be Madeleine Albright. Madeleine Albright is a psychotic terrorist who during the Clinton presidency was Secretary of State. She implemented a policy of sanctions against Iraq which led to the death of over 500,000 children. When asked about the murderous implications of such a policy she said, on national TV, that the deaths were “worth it”.

What: Protest Newmont Mining for the economic and ecological destruction it’s caused and the deaths that have resulted; Protest Madeleine Albright for being a mass murdering lunatic hiding behind the ‘legitimacy’ of the United Snakes.

Where: The Denver Marriot (17th and California)

When: August 30th at 5:00 PM

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Filed under Actions and Events, Environment, First Nations, KKKolumbus Day, Newmont Mining, Organizing

When Race Burns Class: Interview with J. Sakai

WHEN RACE BURNS CLASS

“Settlers” Revisited

An Interview With J. Sakai

EC: In the early eighties you wrote Settlers: Mythology of the White Proletariat, a book which had a major impact on many North American anti-imperialists. How did this book come about, and what was so new about its way of looking at things?

JS: Settlers completely came about by accident, not design. And what was so “new” about it was that it wasn’t “inspiring” propaganda, but took up the experience of colonial workers to question how class really worked. It wasn’t about race, but about class. Although people still have a hard time getting used to that–it isn’t race or sex that’s the taboo subject in this culture, but class. Like many radicals who struggle as organizers, i had wondered why our very logical “class unity” theories always seemed to get smashed up around the exit ramp of race? At the time i’d quit my fairly isolated job on the night shift as a mechanic on the railroad, and was running a cut-off lathe in an auto parts plant. The young white guys in our department were pretty good. In fact, rebellious counter-culture dope smoking Nam vets. After months of hanging & talking, one night one of them came up to me and said that all the guys were driving down to the Kentucky Derby together, to spend the weekend getting drunk and partying. They were inviting me, an Asian, as a way of my joining the crew. Only, he said, “You got to stop talking to those Blacks. You got to choose. White or Black.” Every lunch hour i dropped in on a scene on the loading dock, where a dozen brothers munched sandwiches and had an on-going discussion. About everything from the latest sex scandal to whether it was good or not for Third World nations to be getting A-bombs (some said it was good ending the white monopoly on nuclear weapons, while others said not at the price of endangering our asses!). Plus the guy from the League of Black Revolutionary Workers in our plant area had recruited me to help out, since he was facing heavy going from the older, more established Black political tendencies ( various nationalists, the CPUSA–who had great veterans, good shop floor militants –etc). And, why would i go along with some apartheid agenda anyway? Needless to say, the white young guys cut me dead after that (though they later came out for me as shop steward, which shows you how much b.s. they thought the union was). That kind of stuff, familiar to us all, kept piling up in my mind and got me started trying to figure out how this had come about in the u.s. working class. So for years after this i read labor history and asked older trade union radicals questions whenever i could. Finally, an anarchist veteran of the autoworkers’ historic 1937 Flint Sit-Down strike told me that the strike had been Jim Crow, that one of the unpublicized demands had been to keep Black workers down as only janitors….or out of the plants altogether. This blew my mind. That’s when it hit me that the wonderful working class history that the movement had taught us was a lie. So i decided to write an article (famous writer’s delusion) on how this white supremacy started in the u.s. working class. i didn’t know–maybe it was in the 1920s?, i thought. So Settlers was researched backwards. i knew what the conclusion was in the mid-1970s, that white supremacy ruled the white working class except in the self delusions of the Left. “No politician can ever be too racist to be popular in white amerikkka”, is an amazingly true saying. Settlers was researched going back in time, trying to find that event, that turning point when working class unity by whites had dissolved into racial supremacy. 1930s, 1920s, pre-World War I, Black Reconstruction, Civil War, 1700s, 1600s, i kept going back and back, treading water, trying to touch non-white supremacist ground. Only, there wasn’t any! Continue reading

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Filed under Black Nation, First Nations, Imperialism, News and Analysis, Occupied Mexico/Aztlan, Organizing, Political Economy, White Amerika

Stolen At Gunpoint: Interview with J. Sakai

Stolen At Gunpoint: Interview with J. Sakai
Written by Ernesto Aguilar
Thursday, 16 September 2004
Originally from http://www.illegalvoices.com, website of People of Color Organize:

 

Interview with the author of Settlers, covering Chicano Mexicano liberation, the Southwest and settlerism, for the Latino-culture program Sexto Sol. The show originates from KPFT in Houston, Texas. The collective assessment of Sakai and Aguilar was that the interview was ‘ok’; part of the challenge is making larger revolutionary concepts accessible to a possibly uninitiated radio audience. Please read on with this in mind. J.Sakai wrote a book in the 1980s called Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat. In it, Sakai takes apart U.S. history, examining the development of the U.S., the white working class and oppressed nationalities, especially Mexicanos, Africans, Native nations and Asians. He tears down popular lies about history, and posts fresh perspectives for revolutionaries of color.Ernesto Aguilar conducted this interview on June 17, 2003, covering Chicano Mexicano liberation, the Southwest and settlerism, for the Latino-culture program interview was ‘ok’; part of the challenge is making larger revolutionary concepts accessible to a possibly uninitiated radio audience. Please read on with this in mind.

Ernesto Aguilar: In the early eighties you wrote “Settlers: Mythology of the White Proletariat,” a book that took a deep historical look at the role of white workers in lives and histories of oppressed people. Can you break down for listeners what inspired you to write Settlers and the ideas you put forward in it?

J. Sakai: Well, I wrote it because at that time — and we’re talking about the mid-‘70s when I started working on it — it seemed to me that every time there was a struggle or an outbreak of something, or an act of injustice happened, racism, there were always more and more calls to study people of color. More books piling up about us, we’re getting funded to do things, but actually, we’re not the problem. The problem is white people. So I said ‘what about them?’

The other thing, of course, is, at the time, I was working in an auto parts plant. As a revolutionary, I had been taught all this stuff about class unity and how white workers and workers of color were going to unite. Except in real life I didn’t actually see that. What I saw was there were some good guys who were white, to be sure, but basically the white guys were pretty reactionary and they were always selling us out. So I was trying to figure out where did racism in the white working class begin? Is there a point when they started selling out or got misled or something?

EA: And where did that lead you?

JS: That led me all the way back to Plymouth Rock! I’m not a historian, or wasn’t then. I started reading and figured ‘maybe it happened in the 1930s, before we were born.’ Or ‘maybe it was the 1920s,’ going back and back. It was like treading water. I never found ground.

I figured out that actually there wasn’t any time when the white working class wasn’t white supremacist and racist and essentially pro-empire. Yet I couldn’t figure, ‘how did this happen?’

That’s when this whole idea came to me, which isn’t my idea. But at the time I knew a lot of African revolutionaries in exile from Zimbabwe and South Africa, whose people were waging guerilla wars against the colonial powers. They were always talking about white people, but they didn’t really mean race. They kept using the term ‘settlers’ and they kept talking about ‘settler colonialism.’ Then I ran into some Palestinians and they talked about the Israelis that way. It was ‘settler colonialism,’ i.e. that European populations had been imported to these countries to act as the agents for capitalism and for the ruling classes. And at that point, of course, the light bulb went on over my head and I said, ‘my god, that describes America.’ Continue reading

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Filed under First Nations, Occupied Mexico/Aztlan