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The Amerikkkan electorate: militarist and chauvinist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Amerikkkan electorate: militarist and chauvinist

raims.wordpress.com

U$ imperialists, of both parties, appeal to the chauvinism and militarism of the Amerikans this election cycle. Then again, our readers will be asking by now, “What’s new?” For the past couple years, talking heads and ideologues from both of the main partisan wings of the US system have been rallying their respective “bases” in preparation for the contentious midterm elections. In just the past few weeks, the imperialist media had been inundated with political ads and substanceless, vitriolic rhetoric.

On the Republican side, their Amerikan grassroots “Tea Party” movement has whipped up a white chauvinist frenzy right in time to derail the “Obama phenomenon.” In the midst of this racist uprising by the recently dispossessed Amerikan settler white nation, the favorite target has been migrant labor from Mexico. The most egregious example of the consequences of this radical reaction is the “Papers, please” legislation in Arizona, on Mexican land stolen by Amerika no less! (1) Fast forward over 160 years later, and over 70% of Amerikan are in favor of some similar draconian and fascist legislation. (2) Another side-effect was the recent inflammation of Amerikan chauvinism against Islam in general, which had exceeded levels beyond anything seen during the Bush era. (3)

On the Democratic side, the Obama-lovers are attempting to paint the Republicans as “shipping Amerikan jobs overseas.” (4) This thinly-veiled “pro-labor” racism serves to merely shift the chauvinism of Amerikans towards Latinos, to chauvinism directed towards Asians. To pile onto this chauvinism, the White House itself is attempting to paint their GOP opponents with the “Chinese money” campaign corruption card. (5) As if US imperialism hasn’t attempted to influence political processes by whatever means, monetarily or militarily, worldwide.

The two political parties of US imperialism aren’t just battling over who Amerikans should be more chauvinist against. They are also battling for Amerikan public opinion over which Muslim-majority country to invade and occupy. The Republicans’ latest superstars have been some the most fervent Zionists, with a warmonger’s eye towards toppling the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Democrats’ “common-sense” militarism has its eyes toward continuing the existing occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan in a “non-direct, supervisory form,” as well as continuing the incursions into Pakistan. Long gone are the anti-war voices from the political spectrum, from either “libertarian” Republicans or “progressive” Democrats. One Tea Party-backed congressional candidate in North Carolina includes a US pig soldier suspected of killing two unarmed civilians in Iraq. (6) On the other side, Democrats in Washington State appeal to the votes of “workers” from Boeing, a major imperialist arms manufacturer. One such political ad, from a Democrat no less, makes a simultaneously chauvinist and militarist appeal to Boeing workers. The ad says, in essence, that Amerikans should continue to be paid handsomely for building and maintaining the imperialist war machine. (7)

What else is new with politics in the US empire? Certainly not the brain dead response of the First World so-called “left” to Amerikan elections. The constant meme coming from them states that the top two imperialist parties don’t really represent the “will of the [Amerikan] people.” The supposition here is that the Amerikan so-called “masses” are inherently progressive (if not “revolutionary”) in their majority. (8) Nothing could be further from the truth. One question for our First Worldists: If Amerikans are so inherently “progressive,” why do the two top imperialist parties pour billions of dollars into filling their airwaves with this chauvinism and militarism? (9)

A “democracy” that does not represent the will of the world’s oppressed and exploited majority is not democratic in any real sense. Bourgeois democracy in the First World seeks to affirm the unity of the imperialist populations against the global majority. RAIM struggles for a world where the needs and will of the global popular majority, who make less than $2.50 a day, are placed first per the democratic principle of “majority rules.” (10) To create a truly democratic society, the world must be turned upside down.

Notes:

1. http://antiimperialism.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/long-live-mexico-in-commemoration-of-the-100th-year-anniversary-of-the-mexican-revolution/

2. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/05/12/94050/most-americans-approve-of-arizonas.html

3. http://www.lewrockwell.com/margolis/margolis201.html

4. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2013264531_bruce27.html

5. http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/ap/china-bashing-is-bipartisan-in-us-races-106366768.html

6. http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/10/gop-candidate-killed-unarmed-iraqi/

7. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyk3QLaX2nQ

8. http://revcom.us/Constitution/constitution.html

9. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/us-politics/8093993/US-midterm-elections-2010-Campaign-spending-set-to-reach-2.5-billion.html

10. http://raims.wordpress.com/2010/10/01/the-anti-kolumbus-day-manifesto/

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Filed under Afghanistan, Agitation Statements, Anti-Racism, Barack Obama, Fuck The Troops, Imperialism, Iraq, News and Analysis, Occupied Mexico/Aztlan, Political Economy, RAIM-Seattle, White Amerika

Anti-Kolumbus Day 2010

Anti-Kolumbus Day 2010

(www.raimd.wordpress.com)

Kolumbus Day, amongst Amerika’s quaintest celebrations of its founding genocide, rolled through again throughout Occupied North America. In Denver, the usual crowd of fake Italians and flag-waving crackers put on another grosteque display of parasitism and reaction. In absence of any evident protest plans, RAIM put a call-out to protest against the chauvinist Killumbus celebrators.

Behind the scenes we discussed the issue with interested parties and decided two protests were a good idea: first a rally and demonstration against the parade itself; then a protest across the street from their after-parade lunch.

Our efforts resulted in around 50 protesting the celebration of conquest and genocide. RAIM made a number of signs and banners. Some examples included, “End Amerika’s Longest Running Genocide: 1492-2010,” “I Hate the USA (there, I said it),” “Kick Cracker Bum$ Off Stolen Indian Lands,” and “No Amnesty for Pilgrims or Their ‘Anchor Babies.”

The protest slowly warmed up and was diverse and energetic, especially as the plunder parade drew near. There was no shortage to opposition this blatant display of reaction.

The actual Kolumbus Day parade was as trashy as usual.  It was both a celebration of past imperialism and genocide and a reflection of that which goes on today.  As usual, the parade was made up of motorcycles, muscle cars, some Hummers, and semis with empty flatbed trucks: all toys for Amerikan parasites. The parade featured Amerikan military troops, who are imitating Kolumbus in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere today.

Tom Tancredo, who was scheduled to appear in the convoy of conquest, didn’t show because he supposedly had a cold. The popular right-wing candidate in Kolorado’s 2010 governor campaign, his politics include: defining unborn Amerikans as living people and abortion as murder; advocating bombing Mecca and other Muslim holy sites; describing Spanish-speaking migrants as “illegal;” and claiming that Hezbollah has activist “terrorist” cells in Mexico. Even though Tankkkredo was too sick to sit in the passenger seat of a slow moving vehicle for 40 minutes, plenty of his racist supporters were there to represent.

The protesters’ chants included “Kolumbus Go to Hell,” “Kolumbus Go Home” “Yankee [and Gringo] Go Home,” and “Face It, You’re Racists, Your Claims On This Land Are Baseless.” These chants reflected the fact that Amerika is in fact a settler-empire founded on stolen land. Many of the protesters wanted to change that.  Many people took the opportunity to give the parade-goers  history lessons. Some suggested a wider range of other Italian history figures to celebrate besides Kolumbus.  RAIMers asked through megaphones, “Where are your hoods, you racists?”

The second protest was even more charged. This was the first year that protesters showed up to the Kolumbus beneficiaries’ after-party. There, many of racists tried to piggishly provoke fights with protesters in front of the cops. Others challenged protesters to back-alley brawls. Some asserted we were lucky the Denver police were near by, suggesting we would be physically harmed if not. For the protesters, this merely confirmed the Kolumbus Day gathering was just another lynch mob.

Some of the krackers called protesters ‘faggots.’ This was met by a wide range of responses. Some protesters admitted to not conforming to traditional gender or sex roles. Others suggested the krackers themselves might by projecting their own repressed desires onto the anti-imperialist opposition before them. George Vendegnia, head of the ‘Sons of Italy,’ with all the grace of a drunken date-rapist at a honky-tonk bar, gestured simultaneously to his genitalia and various protesters numerous times.

A moment of comedy for the protesters occurred when some of the racists again tried to look tough. A large groups of biker-krackers pulled near the intersection next to the protesters and began revving their obscenely loud engines. The protesters’ chants of “Pigs On Hogs” were muffled out by the noise. However, when the biker klan was order by the cops to move along, one kracker’s bike slid out from underneath him, resulting in him dropping it and scratching his multi-thousand-dollar custom paint job. Laughter largely overtook the protest crowd. However, one protester’s effort to help the pig recover his motorcycle from the pavement sent 10 or so more racists running over expecting a fight.

 

After a time of letting the paraders know they were racists, we headed out, fired up from confronting racial hate in the town. Over the course of the day, RAIMers had handed most of the protesters copies of the ‘Troublemaker’ DVD, from which we still get positive feedback, and our recent programmatic statement, ‘The Anti-Kolumbus Day Manifesto.’

Some local media made note of the declining number of protesters at the first protest, but failed to report on the second protest, which drew additional people. The media also noted the declining participation of the parade.  Even with the better weather from last year, the parade was still pathetic at barely 200 participants.

The Kolumbus myth is a center of the official narrative of Amerika as a beacon of freedom and democracy, and glosses over the legacy of imperialism that is at the heart of Amerika. Beginning after the anti-colonial movements, this narrative has been challenged internationally. In many countries and regions, Indigenous Peoples Day or Indigenous Resistance Day has replaced Kolumbus Day: a step in the right direction. Kolumbus Day is not part of a celebration of Italian or Italian-America history or heritage. It is a celebration of US and Western supremacy based on aggression and exploitation. It must be opposed along with imperialism itself.

It is worth noting that in Occupied America, anti-imperialist forces are a vast minority. We are ‘behind enemy lines.’ This was evident at the second protest, which was more of a stand-off at times. The racists were correct in one clear sense. Were the cops not present, they could have easily overran the diverse, smaller crowd of protesters. The 200 or so krackers present represented 200 or so potential modern brownshirts in a future fascist movement; 200 out of many more. To underscore the fascistic nature of the Kolumbus Day paraders and the danger they represent would be an error of underestimating the nature of the enemy. Already, Kolumbus Day has become a rallying cry for those who champion the reassertion of global Amerikan supremacy. (1)

Kolumbus Day, like imperialism, will come to an end. However, it will not be through the singular efforts of a small minority of anti-imperialists in western, First World countries. It will only end when the exploited masses of the Third World stand up, assert control over their own lives, beat back the First World and build a world free from imperialism. Standing against our material interests and becoming a traitor to one’s exploiter background; siding with the world’s exploited majority and supporting national liberation for captive, oppressed nations; opposing Amerikan chauvinism and overt celebrations of genocide and supremacy: these things are the least we can do here.

Notes:
(1) http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/28647

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Filed under Actions and Events, Anti-Racism, First Nations, KKKolumbus Day, News and Analysis, Occupied Mexico/Aztlan, Organizing, White Amerika

Palestine and Israel: The Pit and the Pendulum

(image by Carlos Latuff)

Palestine and Israel: The Pit and the Pendulum

(www.raimd.wordpress.com)

The theatrical and the macabre are taking place again in the so-called Middle East Peace Process. Israel still wants to rid the land of the Palestinian Question. And it came as no surprise to those of us who pay attention to that part of the world. Netanyahu is exactly as we expected, a fucking racist pig who hails from the tradition of western imperialism. Israel  is doing what it has from the beginning, demanding what they’ve already taken; Jerusalem (al Quds), the land Israel has occupied since 1967; The West Bank, land the fucking racist settlers continue to steal. Israel rejects the Right of Return for all refugees to Occupied Palestine, “Israel” for the racists.

The first element in this conflict is the land, whether al-Quds Sharif, Jayous, Bil’in or the Golan Heights and Jaffa. The so-called security fence in the West Bank is actually a well-fortified wall with military back-up that has swallowed up the resources that once fed Palestinians. The wall serves to maintain the lavish consumption of the settlers, who, along with Israel’s themselves, are part of the world richest 15%. Israel won’t budge on “Jerusalem.” The demolitions and land grabs continue in al-Quds. The “security fence”, or apartheid wall, continues to swallow up and maintain resources in the West Bank. The arrests of members of resistance groups continue, and Israel has refused to extend the 10-month ban on settlement building in the West Bank, which expired 26 September 2010.

Once again, the negotiations fail, as if anyone is surprised. The power, the capital, the weapons of Israel, serve to oppress, impoverish, and starve the people of Palestine. Israel continues to murder the Palestinians as the imperialist world watches. The only real justice for Palestine is the dissolution of the settler state of Israel and imperialist system it serves. As with any other monster, only those comfortably in the belly will miss it.

(Here’s a classic example of how the narrative works care of the BBC)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11138790

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US Activists’ Homes Raided, Support for Third World “Terrorists” Alleged

http://www.raimd.wordpress.com

On the early morning of September 24th, SWAT teams in Minneapolis and Chicago kicked in the doors of private residences, seizing computers and documents and serving grand jury subpoenas to at least thirteen US activists. The activists, many associated with First Worldist organizations, are, according to an FBI representative, part of an investigation “concerning the material support for terrorism.” (1)

Ted Dooley, a lawyer for one of the activists, said the raids regard “contact with FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) and Hezbollah, all of which are FTOs (Foreign Terrorist Organizations).” Some of the subpoened activists had recently traveled to Columbia and Palestine to do solidarity work with those resisting US-sponsored militarism and admit to meeting with members of these groups, yet deny providing any material support to any organizations labeled ‘terrorist’ by the US.  (2)

The raids against Amerikan activists come during the ‘progressive’ administration of Barack Obama.  Despite this reputation, Obama has stepped up the war in Afghanistan (3); increased drone attacks in Pakistan and elsewhere(4);  amplified support for Israel (5); and maintains close relations with the comprador dictatorship in Columbia. (6) Now, as White supremacists openly organize militias and street gangs, such attacks come upon members of the self-described ‘peace’ movement. (7)

The First Worldist so-called ‘left’ has made a lot out of the FBI raids. For the most part, the First Worldist ‘left’ is ignored in the US, both by the imperialist state and the petty-imperialist asses. Such raids are therefore a relatively big deal for First Worldists, and small protests were held in dozens of US cities. (8)

Many on the so-called left have described the raids as part of an intimidation campaign meant to silence opposition prior to escalated imperialist militarism in the Middle East and Latin America. Others have described it as a ‘fishing expedition,’ an attempt to acquire as much information on the nominal ‘left’ as possible. (9) While both are likely true to a small extent, it misses the obvious.

The FBI raids concern those who facilitated connections between US activists and those resisting imperialist designs in their respective countries. The raids targeted activists who support, at least at face value, the active struggle of Third World masses.

Any criminal charges will likely be based around ‘material support’ for US-designated ‘terrorist’ organizations. There are only 46 such ‘terrorist’ organizations, a number which does not reflect the far greater magnitude of peoples’ resistance. ‘Material support’ is extremely broad and can be interpreted any number of ways.  While we certainly support the activists as defendants for the ‘crime’ of reaching out to those resisting imperialist terror, we question the very nature of First Worldist ‘aid’ to Third World peoples’ struggles.

First Worldism, the thought that the First World masses are exploited and part of a global proletariat, is not a minor error or slight miscalculation. When espoused to Third World peoples, it is an outright lie that misrepresents the true scope of the anti-imperialist struggle. Such a lie is so fundamental, its spread can only set back the anti-imperialist struggles being waged in Latin America, the Middle East and around the Third World. First Worldism, which denies First Worlders are affluent due to the exploitation of Third World peoples, must be opposed on an international level.

True First World anti-imperialist solidarity comes from working to create support for Third World liberation struggles, not globe-trotting while spreading the lie of First Worldism. True anti-imperialist solidarity comes by honestly assessing the social landscape and building public opinion in favor of Third World peoples’ revolution, not opportunistically pimping-off pre-existing resistance movements in an attempt to stand-out amidst an array of similar, First-Worldist grouplets.

The imperialist state vamped on several Amerikan activists for what they did right: work to build support for Third World liberation struggles. However, these attacks are light compared to what imperialism doles out to Third World peoples.

Imperialism will be defeated by the exclusive struggles of the world’s exploited majority and their allies. As the contradiction between the people of the exploited Third World and imperialist First heats up, we can only expect increasing legal attacks against those in the US and First World who foster support for such struggles. The correct route to take is not one of eclecticism, opportunism and appealing to the broad First World so-called ‘masses.’ The correct rout is one of clarity, determined strategy, and honesty guided by the sprit of revolutionary anti-imperialism. Real support is telling the truth and still working to advance the revolutionary struggle of the world’s exploited masses.

Sources:

(1) http://www.pjstar.com/news/x1936771969/Group-plans-protests-of-FBI-raids
(2) http://www.twincities.com/ci_16168424
(3) https://raimd.wordpress.com/2009/08/22/obama-more-troops-more-imperialism-more-of-the-same/
(4) https://raimd.wordpress.com/2010/10/03/drones-kill-28-people-then-hit-the-funeral/
(5) http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2010/09/28/Israel-gets-boost-in-US-military-aid/UPI-98411285697147/
(6) http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/09/obama-congratulates-colombias.html
(7) http://www.democracynow.org/2010/1/11/white_power_usa_the_rise_of
(8) http://kasamaproject.org/2010/09/26/actions-planned-in-coming-days/
(9) http://www.frso.org/about/statements/2010/activists-denounce-fbi-raids.htm

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Drones kill 28 people, then hit the funeral

Drones kill 28 people, then hit the funeral

http://www.raimd.wordpress.com

A recent string of bombings, killing dozens in Pakistan, has the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, or “drone,” making headlines once again. So-called “Predator Drones” have become one of imperialism’s favorite tools of oppression. Bombing attacks by these vehicles are being carried out consistently and more frequently than ever. (1).

Predator Drones are center stage as the US ups its assault on Pakistan’s northwest border region. At least 28 people were killed as a result of drone strikes in South Waziristan during the week of September 19 (2). The week’s two bloodiest attacks, responsible for more than a dozen deaths, took place on September 22. The initial strike launched two missiles at a targeted vehicle, killing seven. A funeral was arranged for the victims in the following hours; subsequently, this funeral was also targeted by a drone strike, resulting in more deaths yet. This absurd sequence mirrors an incident that took place last summer. On the morning of Tuesday 23 June 2009, unmanned drones killed more than 45 people in a series of bombings including a strike on a funeral procession for victims of the earlier assault (3).

Violence caused by drone missiles has sparked outrage in Pakistan, where drones have killed at least 1,700 people(4). The mutilation caused by the bombings makes compiling a solid count of the deaths all but impossible. Even so, it is clear that hundreds of those killed have been civilians (5). Drones have been a fixture in Pakistan for over five years; however, US officials do not officially comment on any drone activities. The attacks fall under the veil of CIA secrecy. It is clear, nonetheless, that using drones has become particularly attractive to decision-makers in the past two years. Estimated death tolls clearly show drone attacks being responsible for more deaths in 2009 alone than in the four years between 2004-2008 combined (6).

With mounting numbers of casualties, drone attacks have become known for their haphazard destruction. Missiles fired from the unpiloted vehicles are often grossly off-target. This, and general belligerence have contributed to the high civilian deaths which have, embarrassingly for the US, included Amerikan citizens (7).

Part of the cause of the vehicle’s reckless imprecision is being revealed in an ongoing lawsuit. Accusations and evidence depict the as CIA consciously utilizing faulty targeting software in the unmanned vehicles. IISI, a small, Massachusetts-based software company alleges that IT firm “Netezza” facilitated the CIA with a pirated, and knowingly-unreliable, version of their software to the CIA for use in US drone vehicles. The location-analysis software in turn may have produced locations up to 13 meters off target (8). IISI was pressured to meet a quick deadline to provide the software, when the company voiced reservations, Netezza allegedly went ahead and reverse-engineered the program themselves. The IISI Chief Technology Officer summarized his earliest feelings on the situation, stating, “they want to kill people with my software that doesn’t work” (9). The lawsuit aims to halt use of the pirated software by Netezza and its clients, including the CIA. IISI has expressed concern that the buggy software may lead to loss of innocent life. Unfortunately, the host of civilian deaths cannot be declared a mere “software issue.” Such recklessness is hardwired into the logic of imperialism.

Predator Drones are becoming a standard instrument in the oppression of Third World peoples by . As RAIM has noted (xhttps://raimd.wordpress.com/2010/07/02/imperialism-drones-on/), US drones are now deployed everywhere from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and recently on the militarized US/Mexico border. Israel used US-provided drones in attacks on Gaza in December 2008. The First World is looking to a high technology, impersonal approach of fighting their battles. These machines cause much destruction, but high-tech gadgetry will not defeat Third Wold resistance. As comrade Lin Biao wrote in “Long Live the Victory of People’s War!”

However highly developed modern weapons and technical equipment may be and however complicated the methods of modern warfare, in the final analysis the outcome of a war will be decided by the sustained fighting of the ground forces, by the fighting at close quarters on battlefields, by the political consciousness of the men, by their courage and spirit of sacrifice. Here the weak points of U.S. imperialism will be completely laid bare, while the superiority of the revolutionary people will be brought into full play. The reactionary troops of U.S. imperialism cannot possibly be endowed with the courage and the spirit of sacrifice possessed by the revolutionary people. The spiritual atom bomb which the revolutionary people possess is a far more powerful and useful weapon than the physical atom bomb. (10)

The Third World majority, collectively terrorized by imperialism, must collectively defeat imperialism. The enemy’s extravagant technology cannot hold up against People’s War.

Notes.

1. Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann’s drones database at the New America Foundation
xxhttp://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/drones
2. xxhttp://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2010/09/2010921181212227907.html
3. xxhttp://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2009/06/200962317958264507.html
3. Ibid. Protest
4.xxhttp://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/drones#2010chart
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid.
7. xxhttp://blog.washingtonpost.com/spy-talk/2010/09/cia_drones_killed_us_citizens.html
8. xxhttp://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/09/cia-inaccurate-software-drone-attacks/
9. Ibid.

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Movie Review: Machete and The Baader Meinhof Complex

Movie Review: Machete and The Baader Meinhof Complex

http://www.raimd.wordpress.com

Machete (2010, Ethan Maniquin and Robert Rodriguez) and The Baader Meinhof Complex (2008, Uli Edel) are two recent movies set in imperialist countries, both depicting armed struggle against reactionaries.

Machete garnered criticism prior to its release, including campaigns by White supremacists to have the film pulled from Amerikan theaters, ostensibly for fear its depiction of Mexicans engaging in mass-violence against Whites would spark a real-life ‘race’ revolt. (1) The Baader Meinhof Complex is ‘foreign film’ dramatizing the real-life Red Army Faction, a clandestine group which beginning in 1970 waged armed struggle against the Federal Republic of Germany in the name of communism and anti-imperialism.

While the movies follow dissimilar plots, both deal with the topic of revolutionary armed struggle and reaction. It’s worth noting that we at RAIM-Denver are fairly familiar with the situation involving the national oppression of Mexicans on both sides of the militarily-imposed US/Mexico border, yet are largely ignorant regarding the factual details surrounding the RAF. Thus, our treatment of The Baader Meinhof Complex will be solely as a cultural product, and not as historical analysis of the real-life RAF.

In Machete, we meet the protagonist of the same name (Danny Trejo) as a federal agent of the Mexican state. Fleeing a powerful drug cartel, Machete ends up in Texas where, while searching for work as a manual laborer, he’s forced-hired into assassinating an anti-migrant state senator, played by Robert De Niro. It’s a set-up, however. The botched assassination attempt is pinned on Machete in hopes of building public opinion for even more anti-Mexican legislation, including an electrified fence along the border.

The Baader Meinhof Complex opens in 1967, showing a student protest against the despotic Shah of Iran. The students are beat by goons of the CIA-supported monarchy and by German police as they stand defenseless, backed against a wall. Soon into the film, Ulrike Meinhoff (Martina Gedeck), a sharp-worded, progressive journalist, Andreas Baader (Moritz Bleibteu), depicted as arrogant, extreme and prone towards violent action, and Gundrin Esslin (Johanna Wokalek), a young blonde depicted as rebellious and verbally aggressive towards her parents, decide that words alone will not stop “Amerikan imperialists” or the fact that over “half the people in the world do not have enough to eat,” deciding instead to take up arms against the West German state and organs of Western capital. After going underground and running from the law, the group is apprehended and placed in isolation together as their trial begins. Subsequent ‘generations’ of the RAF arise, continuing the armed struggle but with the goal of freeing the original members. After several years and armed actions by various RAF unit, the imprisoned lead members, save Meinhof who previously died in what was called a suicide, lose hope and kill themselves as well.

People who like Machete for its thematic violence of the oppressed against the oppressor will also find The Baader Meinhof Complex interesting, though the latter is fairly longer and has slower moments towards the end. While Machete depicts plenty of over the top, high-action, fight scenes and climaxes with a ‘battle royale’ between the forces led by Machete and White supremacist militias, The Baader Meinhof Complex depicts a number of gun fights, bombings, bank robberies and even an ill-fated plane hijacking. The Baader Meinhof Complex is also explicitly more political. Cries of ‘Ho Ho Ho Chi Mihn’ are chanted at one gathering; students have Mao posters on their dormitory walls; references are made to ‘May ’68’ in Paris and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.; RAF members meet with members of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in Tunis and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Jordan; and there is a steady denunciation of the West Germany’s support for US imperialism and “fascism.”

Both movies have strong female lead characters. In The Baader Meinhoff Complex, Ulrike Menhoff is the the eldest founder of the RAF and in charge of propaganda. Esslin Gundrun, the youngest lead character and girlfriend of Baader, is nonetheless shown as passionate and as someone who was pivotal in getting things done within the group. Further into the movie, under the pressure of capture and confinement together, both begin to break down emotionally and increasingly argue with one another, reinforcing the view that women are emotional and weak while discounting the psychological pressure brought to bare on them by the reactionary state.

In Machete, the two female lead characters are initially foes. Lulz (Michelle Rodriguez), shown as righteous and socially concerned, organizes an underground “network” to provide services for oppressed migrants while Sartana (Jessica Alba), a naive, sycophantic ICE agent, harasses her and makes threats of criminal charges. The women come together as part of Machete’s quest for revenge. In the process, Lulz gets shot in the eye and comes back fighting even harder: if nothing else an allegory for revolutionary determinism. Sartana recants her previous position in support of imperialist legalism and declares to a crowd of migrants, “We didn’t cross the border. The border crossed us!”

Unfortunately, Machete does drop the ball regarding gender in a number of ways. In one notable scene of question (of many), Machete gives tequila to the wife and daughter of the man who set him up, sleeps with them and films it for his foe to watch later. While there is no doubt an element of humor simply for the outrage this must generate on the part of actual White supremacists, this scene is symptomatic of the film’s larger depiction of women, i.e. they are not treated as independent agents (with perhaps the exception Luz), but instead act as objects, things to be acted upon in one way or another by Machete or the male viewer.

In both movies nudity is prevalent. In The Baader Meinhof Complex, such is not so one-sided. In an opening scene, children and adults are shown nude at a beach. In this regard, that nudity serves not sexual purposes solely, The Baader Meinhof Complex is less reactionary. In another scene however, while the original RAF are training with Muslims in Tunis, they sunbathe nude in plain view. When told by the camp commander to cover themselves, they respond, “fucking and shooting are the same.” In the scene, Baader and Esslin are rightly depicted as crass, almost as if they are Amerikan vacationers. If fact, this is not an example of anti-imperialist fraternity nor spreading sexual liberation, but imposing the culture of a dominating society under the guise of such.

Revolutionary Violence

While there is much to say about the minutia of the films, the main theme of both is violence in name of the oppressed against the oppressor within imperialist countries.

In Machete, a work of fiction, the violence is over-the-top and gratuitous. In one early scene, the protagonist swings his machete in a circle and decapitates three people who were closing in on him. In another set in a hospital, he uses a ‘bone-scraper’ and several surgical knives tied to a belt to cut up several gun-toting men before using one’s small intestine to jump out the window and swing into the floor below. Likewise, the social setting in Machete is narrow, there being only politicians, main characters, hired guns, a few pigs, border militiamen, migrants and some cholo-type Chicanos. Missing from the picture are Whites- particularly the reactionary White masses, including so-called “workers,” or the imperialist state in full force. This, along with the movie’s revenge-based plot, allows Machete to be a movie with a happy ending, where Machete himself defeats the bad guys and ‘gets the girl.’ By the end though, despite the protagonist’s personal achievements, nothing has really changed. In an ironic twist, the right-wing politician played by Robert De Niro is shot to death near the border by White vigilantes who thinks he’s Mexican. Perhaps Machete will return in a sequel and broaden the scope of the struggle? We won’t hold our breath.

In The Baader Meinhof Complex, supposedly based on true events, the ending isn’t as happy. The members of the RAF, mostly student-aged and young adults, are driven by causes such as anti-imperialism and communism and are sympathetic to the plight and resistance of Third World peoples. They are outraged and disenchanted with the response of everyday West Germans to these phenomena, yet never come out and say as much, nor do they ever make the demarcation and write off West Germans entirely. When they launch their clandestine armed struggle, they envision it as being part of a world-wide revolutionary movement yet make efforts to not harm your average West German, seeing this as pivotal to winning public sympathy. After the founding members of the RAF are apprehended, others from similar backgrounds arise, carrying on the struggle and including “the release of political prisoners” as part of their campaign against German reactionaries and imperialism. This too is ill-fated, as these newer members are all apprehended or killed, leading to the climax that is the apparent suicide of the remaining lead characters.

While certainly not the ‘happy ending’ of Machete, the down conclusion to The Baader Meinhof Complex does leave us asking, “what went wrong?,” a serious question for revolutionaries in imperialist countries. Many would say RAF were ultra-leftist and their militant armed struggle freaked out the west German ‘masses.’ In truth, this is not the case. Rather, the RAF was ultra-“left.” Though their action appeared militant and extreme, it was always predicated on a perceived political alliance and unity with a portion of the west German population, all of which were part of a global petty-bourgeoisie and thus an unreliable ally (at best) to their struggle. The founders of the RAF would have done better to develop their writing capabilities under the direction of Ulrike Meinhof, coordinate real ties to foreign fighters, fall under their discipline when appropriate and develop alternative means of contributing to the global revolutionary struggle, not launch an hasty armed struggle in west Germany with the assumption that west Germans would support them.

The Network

More interesting than any possible Machete sequel or the First Worldist focoism of the RAF would be a film featuring She and the Network. In Machete, it’s stated that Lulz has been busy organizing migrants, helping them cross the border, securing housing and jobs and “making sure they play their part” once they’re settled. The operation is called the Network, and it includes a mythology about a militant female leader known only as “She.” When Machete makes his hulkish last stand, his success is aided b y the connections Lulz has already made.

Today, the situation involving Mexicans migrants is dynamic. Historically, there has been a trend towards assimilation. However, as the numbers of Mexicans and Chicanos rise, particularly in the Amerikan ‘southwest’ (occupied Mexico), a situation may arise where the social basis for national liberation struggles becomes more readily apparent. Ultimately, it will be the type of work typified by Lulz, politicized ‘serve the people’ programs organized outside pre-existing power structures, which will advance and aid this struggle.

Again on Violence

One final note. We imagine many First World viewers will find the presentation of violence in both Machete and  The Baader Meinhof Complex to be off-putting in one way or another.

In Machete, the violence is unnatural, over-the-top, intense, frequent, etc. However, the same could be said with the Expendables or any number of Amerikan-inspired action movies. In Machete, the difference is that the violence is dished out by forces representing the oppressed against oppressors. Simply put: that is why it stands out, why it is good.

Many so-called “leftists” would reject the violence of the RAF on rotten grounds, whether pacifism, charges of being too extreme and “left,” or other liberal reasons. However, the violence of the RAF should be looked at critically and put in the correct perspective.

Nothing is more violent than imperialism. Every 2.43 seconds, someone dies from starvation- a form of structural violence. The violence in Machete by contrast is mild and restrained. Though ultimately misguided at a fundamental level, the same could be said about the RAF. The question is not whether in either movie violence was depicted in a gratuitous way, this answer being obvious. Ultimately, it matters against whom the violence is being expressed upon, and towards what end. And for this, we see no reason to broadly criticize either movie.

Notes:

(1) http://www.stormfront.org/forum/t737495/

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Filed under Culture and Art, Imperialism, Movie Reviews, News and Analysis, Occupied Mexico/Aztlan, Organizing, Youth

Army “Kill Team” Targeted Civilians in Afghanistan, Business as Usual for Imperialists

Army “Kill Team” Targeted Civilians in Afghanistan, Business as Usual for Imperialists

(raimd.wordpress.com)

Recently it was revealed that a secret Amerikan “kill team” murdered Afghan civilians at random, and collected cut-off body parts as trophies, of “finger bones, leg bones, and a tooth taken from the corpses”. Twelve Amerikkkan soldiers are being court martialed, under trial in military court, and 5 of them are charged with murder. The others are charged in aiding a cover-up. There are 76 crimes total pinned on the twelve, including the murder of 3 Afghan civilians, and the beating of a soldier accused of blowing the whistle on their crimes. Whatever the results of the trial these atrocities are nothing new in Amerikan history, and will likely not generate any action on the part of the Amerikan people.

The “kill team” was formed by a group of soldiers from the Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State. They were part of the 5th Stryker Infantry Brigade in Southern Afghanistan located at the Forward Operating Base Ramrod, west of Kandahar. The founder of this kill team was Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, who served previously in the occupation forces in Iraq and boasted about the war crimes he committed there and how easy it was to get away with them. Talk of forming this team began in December 2009 after he arrived in Afghanistan for his 2nd tour of duty there. Gibbs emphasized throwing fragmentation grenades at civilians. This kill team performed that method of murder in its attacks on civilians, with 3 deaths being charged on this group.

The first attack happened the following January. A civilian, Gul Mudin, was killed when Cpl. Jeremy Morlock threw a grenade at him, giving other soldiers a reason to open fire. The carnage of this team went on until May of 2010. Another victim was Afghan cleric Mullah Adahada. They also murdered civilian Marach Agha and afterward placed a drop gun, a Kalashnikov rifle, by his dead body to justify the killing.

Six of these soldiers are accused of taking body parts as trophies. One soldier collected fingers for souveniers, and others posed for photos with the dead bodies. One, Michael Wagon, carried a skull of one of his victims.

This team came to light after a soldier was beaten after attempting to blow the whistle on this team. Spec. Adam Winfield, a member of the platoon the team was from, reported to his superiors about members of his unit smoking hashish stolen from Afghan civilians. Gibbs reportedly showed sliced fingers they collected to the informant soldier to force his silence. Gibbs also first solicited soldiers to cut off the fingers of the corpses. Winfield also purportedly discussed the actions of the kill team to his father over Facebook, stating that people there were getting away with murder. His father attempted to warn military authorities, and was repeatedly rebuffed. Eight days after he tried to warn the military the team killed Agha.

The troops are going through the trial process, all of them securing attorneys, and some of the families of the accused have set up websites for their defense.(1)

The military is attempting to sweep this away. This year has been the deadliest year for the occupation forces since 2001 when the invasion began. They have expressed concerns about how this case will effect the already declining support the Amerikan-led occupation has with the Afghan people. The military is painting this kill team as a rogue operation. In truth, this is likely just one of many war atrocities committed by the occupation forces.

With the release of the Afghan War Diary on Wikileaks, this kill team is shown as not news, but part of the official policies of the U.S. imperialists. As Wikileaks states in the introduction on the leaked documents:

“The material shows that cover-ups start on the ground. When reporting their own activities US Units are inclined to classify civilian kills as insurgent kills, downplay the number of people killed or otherwise make excuses for themselves.”

“The reports, when made about other US Military units are more likely to be truthful, but still down play criticism.”

“Conversely, when reporting on the actions of non-US ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) forces the reports tend to be frank or critical and when reporting on the Taliban or other rebel groups, bad behavior is described in comprehensive detail. The behavior of the Afghan Army and Afghan authorities are also frequently described.”(http://wardiary.wikileaks.org/)

The soldier who allegedly linked the documents, Bradley Manning, is currently in jail. He is also suspected of leaking the video of a helicopter attack, unprovoked, on civilians in Iraq. For bringing to light the secret atrocities of these two wars, he is subjected to court martial, attacked for being gay, had his facebook musings publicized, and had his psychology attacked. (2)

After taking over the imperial reigns of the presidency, Barack Obama has escalated the war in Afghanistan. He has increased the number of ground troops, expanded Predator drone attacks in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, and even authorized targeted assassinations including on U.S. citizens. With opposition to the Afghanistan occupation not only from the Afghan people but from the U.S. public itself, in spite of the lack of an antiwar movement, Obama seems to want to have a “peace with honor” before the withdrawal of Amerikan forces. But as seen in this latest case of Amerikan atrocities, the honor of imperialist war is and never was there.

The humanity of the troops reflects the humanity of Amerikans as a whole. Amerikans barely blink an eye when the troops they support commit murder, rape, and torture. In fact, a sizable fraction of Amerika cheers on these atrocities. War is nothing desired by the masses of the world, but in order to end war they must engage in war. The crimes of the imperialists will end when they are defeated through global peoples war waged to create a new world. The people of the world united against a common enemy will defeat the main oppressor.

Sources:

1.  This story was reported in the following news sites:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/18/AR2010091803935.html

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2010/09/2010994272865650.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/09/us-soldiers-afghan-civilians-fingers

http://theweek.com/article/index/206971/did-a-us-kill-team-go-rogue-in-afghanistan

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/09/09/100321/stryker-brigade-soldiers-kept.html

2. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/7918632/Bradley-Manning-suspected-source-of-Wikileaks-documents-raged-on-his-Facebook-page.html

http://www.frumforum.com/wikileaker-struggled-with-dont-ask-dont-tell

Bradley Manning Support Network: http://www.bradleymanning.org

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Filed under Afghanistan, News and Analysis