This week colonial genocides, white supremacy, and the Democratic Party’s role were on your minds. We share your letters for “BAR Book Forum: Elizabeth R. Baer’s ‘The Genocidal Gaze’,” “Incandescent Whiteness: Dispatch from Portland, Oregon,” and “Blacks Will No Longer Be ‘Chumps’ for the Democrats.”
“BAR Book Forum: Elizabeth R. Baer’s ‘The Genocidal Gaze’” Roberto Sirvent interviews Elizabeth R. Baer about her new book on the links between the German empire’s genocide in Southwest Africa and the Third Reich’s killings in Europe.
Gary Weglarz writes:
“Thank you for reviewing Elizabeth R. Baer’s book The Genocidal Gaze. After reading your interview with the author I will certainly add it to my must read list.
“I'm currently about a hundred pages into the book, Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World, by Mike Davis. I must say as someone who has spent a lifetime educating myself about the horrors of colonialism and ongoing neocolonialism I'm finally beginning to realize how little I really knew about the actual ‘policy decisions’ that resulted in genocide under the various colonial powers.
“I'm now sensing clearly that despite decades of reading I've only managed to scrape the surface of our shared 500+ years of colonial madness that sets the parameters of our current planetary suffering and tribulations. In a just world the details of this shared history would be common knowledge and thus offer a starting point for creating a more humane world. Thanks for sharing this book and author with us.”
In “Incandescent Whiteness: Dispatch from Portland, Oregon” Ethan Johnson argues that the recent police killings are not seen as crimes by much of White America because the suffering of Black people has been normalized in American society since the beginning of the nation.
Carol Schick writes:
“This article is brilliant. It answers my question of why the police did not halt the video recording of George Floyd being murdered. Instead, the police looked right at the camera, unperturbed that their felony was being recorded. But you have explained that this was not a felony, not a murder. It is now clear that the police assumed, as you have stated about previous murders, ‘there is no recourse because there is no crime.’ What we have in the video recording is an updated version of the photographs taken at lynchings. Here is evidence of another act of murder being performed with impunity because it is not murder. No logic required.”
In radio segment “Blacks Will No Longer Be ‘Chumps’ for the Democrats” Dr. Johnny Williams criticizes Black liberals' subservience to the Democratic Party and argues that the current protests mark a shift away from the Black community’s support for this relationship.
Paul Billings writes:
“Terrific interview with Dr Johnny Williams. The Coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated: 1) the complete incompetence of the Trump administration and inability of American capitalism to handle a crisis of this magnitude. Indeed, we still do not even have a comprehensive, broad based testing program in place, 2) large corporations and college football programs appear to be far more interested in making money than they are in the health of their employees/students and 3) the fragility of the US ‘economy’ as post-2008 financial bubbles in all asset categories are on the verge of blowing up, were it not for a continuous infusion of trillions of dollars of taxpayer-backed money from the Treasury/FED to Wall St. In addition, the Pentagon confronts looming strategic debacles in Afghanistan (longest war in US history), Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, that have cost US taxpayers > $6 trillion.
“As you are no doubt aware, Trump is threatening to use the US military against demonstrators and is planning a large campaign rally in Tulsa, OK on June 19th the same day the Mt. Zion Baptist Church was set on fire by white mobs during the 1921 Tulsa massacre. On the international front, the Pentagon is increasing its reckless and bellicose actions against China and Russia, increasing the chances of a direct confrontation between nuclear armed powers- imperialism never takes a ‘day off!’
“Bottom line -- bourgeois democracy is incompatible in a society characterized by vast economic and racial inequity, high unemployment, austerity, poverty and endemic state (i.e., police) violence against working people, coupled with the ongoing theft of public money by the financial elite, facilitated by the Treasury/FED. The American public is now watching the rapid emergence of fascism. As professor Williams points out, US capitalism cannot be ‘reformed’ as the entire system is predicated on exploitation of working people and enrichment of the proverbial 1%. Blacks (and other working people) can no longer be ‘chumps’ for Democrats.”
The current moment requires a rethinking of Black politics and the broader strategies of movements for peace and justice. Our work will be to continue the ideological struggle in this realm.
Jahan Choudhry is Comments Editor for Black Agenda Report. He is an organizer with the Saturday Free School based in Philadelphia, PA.
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