Category: struggle against slavery
A New Joke – “Jim-Crow Helps The Negro Race”

https://www.marxists.org/archive/james-clr/works/1941/05/joke.htm

J.R. Johnson

A New Joke – “Jim-Crow Helps The Negro Race”

(5 May 1941)


The Negro’s Fight, Labor Action, Vol. 5 No. 18, 5 May 1941, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.


“Oh, Judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason.”

This, is what Shakespeare makes Mark Anthony (that great faker) say in the famous speech over Caesar’s dead body. Often when one looks at capitalist politics today one is tempted to say the same thing.

Friends, Americans and countrymen, lend me your ears. This war is a war for “democracy.” It is a war to preserve “a way of life,” it is a war against tyranny, persecution, aggression. It is a war for freedom. So our modern Mark Anthony, Franklin Roosevelt, says. And all the liberals and the labor leaders follow him shouting “Hosannah!”

State Attorneys Give Their View

Now one of our most precious “free” institutions is Congress, and in this Congress is one solitary Negro, Representative Arthur W. Mitchell. Brother Mitchell tried to travel in a Pullman coach in the South and was kicked out and made to go into another carriage. He filed an action. The case is before the Supreme Court. So far, nothing unusual. This happens regularly. (Since this column, was written, the Supreme Court has upheld the right of Negroes to travel in Pullmans. We will comment on this decision next week. – Ed.)

But note now what has been the result. The attorney generals of ten states, Alabama, Kentucky, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, these men who are the expounders of the laws of democracy, they drew up an appeal and sent it to the Supreme Court, asking it not to take any decision on this question. These lawyers of democracy say that the Jim Crow jungle laws (most elegantly called, “segregation statutes”) “were enacted for the purpose of promoting the welfare, comfort, peace and safety of the people of both races.” And these attorney generals of “democracy” say that “it” is a matter of common knowledge, which this court probably knows, “that in those states which are parties to this brief, where large numbers of both races reside, such statutes do, in truth and in fact, promote the welfare, comfort, peace and safety of the people of both races.”

In other words, these men of “democratic” law say this:

“If Representative Arthur Mitchell or any black man travels with whites, he is personally offensive to the whites. We don’t want him. He offends our welfare and our comfort.

“If he insists on traveling, we southerners are going to beat him up. That will offend his peace and safety. In the course of beating him up of lynching him, he and his friends may hurt some of us. That offends OUR peace and safety. So the laws are for the benefit of both of us. Therefore, Supreme Court, do not interfere.”

These Is a Reason for What They Say

Is it any wonder that Hitler laughs at Franklin Roosevelt’s pretentious to being a defender of “democracy”? There are ten million Negroes in the South whom these and similar laws directly affect. There were only about half a million Jews in Germany. If Hitler had said that the laws against the Jews were passed for their comfort, peace, welfare and safety, how. Mark Anthony Roosevelt would have thundered. Hitler, however, says simply and plainly: “We don’t want you Jews. Get out.” But these southern democrats say that their fascist types of racial laws are FOR the BENEFIT of the Negroes; and the men of law, the attorney generals, write to the Supreme Court and say the same thing.

We began by quoting the passage from Shakespeare, saying that men had lost their reason. Have these southerners lost their reason? Oh, no! They want to keep the Negro where he is in order to exploit him, to work him hard and pay him cheap. That is why they tell these abominable lies and talk this abominable legal nonsense. They SEEM to have lost their reason. In reality they have very good reasons for saying what they do. But the Negroes have very good reason for saying:

“You and your holy war against fascism may suit you, but they don’t suit me! I have my war. And it is against you, Messrs. Attorney Generals, to break that system which is so rotten that it compels its defenders to talk like men who have just come out of a lunatic asylum.”

The peculiar patriotism of Confederate monument huggers | Opinion

Updated on September 25, 2017 at 2:05 PM

http://www.nola.com/opinions/index.ssf/2017/09/national_anthem_protests.html

In “Bart-Mangled Banner,” a 2004 episode of The Simpsons, 10-year-old Bart Simpson offends the town of Springfield when it appears to them that he’s mooning the United States flag.  It’s all a big misunderstanding, one that can only be understood by watching the whole episode which includes Bart going temporarily deaf, Bart taunting a donkey at a donkey basketball game and that donkey ripping Bart’s shorts off with its teeth right before the flag is displayed for the national anthem.  The people of Springfield are outraged at Bart’s apparent disrespect.

“How dare he?!” a character of obvious Southern extraction yells.  “That’s the flag my grandpappy rebelled against!”

I think we need to stop pretending that episodes of The Simpsons don’t predict the future.  “Bart-Mangled Banner” aired more than 13 years ago, and, yet, it seems to precisely predict the contradictions being noisily aired in 2017:  so-called patriots shedding tears over the erasure of Confederate iconography from the public landscape while simultaneously professing allegiance for the flag the Confederates opposed.

Consider Beth Mizell, the Republican state senator from Franklinton who failed in her attempts to protect four Confederate monuments in New Orleans from being removed.  In June, she released a 4-minute video explaining her opposition to the monument-removal trend.  It includes this doozy: “No real citizen was screaming for those monuments to be torn down, but now they’re gone.”

You’re a citizen of the United States at birth if you were born in the United States or one of its territories; or if you were born abroad to parents who were citizens. You can also be foreign-born and apply for naturalization.  Everybody I know personally who was opposed to the monuments to Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, P.G.T. Beauregard and the White League is a citizen, a real citizen.

Mizell is doing that thing that so many conservative politicians do: dismissing people who disagree with their opinions as phony or fraudulent Americans, as inauthentic. She doesn’t even concede that the anger at the monuments might be real, vowing to keep fighting to protect disputed monuments “regardless of who wants to pretend to be offended.”

In her mixed-up worldview, being an American means honoring those people who took up arms against America to perpetuate the enslavement of black people.

If Mizell were by herself, we could respond to her comments real citizens with a laugh and a “whatever.” But she’s not by herself. She’s one of many who have expressed the peculiar belief that reverence for the Confederacy and its symbols is part and parcel of reverence for the United States.

Even the president of the United States falls within that group. Donald Trump has criticized those who protest “our beautiful (Confederate) statues and monuments,” and he’s criticized those who, he says, are disrespecting the American flag by declining to stand respectfully as the national anthem is played.  On which side would Trump have fought in the Civil War?  Or would he have taken his morally evasive “bad people on all sides” approach?

It certainly is confusing to hear people declare allegiance to the United States flag at the same time that they’re weeping at the removal of Confederate flags and monuments. Some people might believe that some black people are sending mixed messages when they criticize they, say,  properly criticize the Confederate battle flag as treasonous and racist and at the same time support professional athletes who kneel during the national anthem.  But it should be fairly easy to understand:  Most sensible black people hate the Confederacy and its images and find it foolish that anybody would expect them to harbor anything other than hatred for the army that fought for their ancestors’ enslavement. Protests that intersect with displays of the United States flag aren’t coming from a place of hatred but disappointment:  How come America isn’t as good as she claims to be? Why won’t Americans collectively demand that everybody be treated fairly and justly?  In a country that has a Constitution and says it follows the rule of law, how is that police officers, government agents, get to kill black people with near impunity?

Martin Luther King Jr. expressed that disappointment the night before he was assassinated when he said, “All we say to America is, ‘Be true to what you said on paper.'” After pointing out the promises explicitly guaranteed by the First Amendment, King declared that “the greatness of America is the right to protest for right.”

A Gallup poll conducted two years before his assassination revealed that a large majority of Americans had a negative opinion of King. That should let us know that anybody who points out that America isn’t what she says she is, anybody who demands that America stop doing black people wrong, is going to be criticized – reviled even.

But somebody’s got to point out the hypocrisies: the hypocrisy of lingering racism in a country with a Declaration of Independence and a Constitution and the hypocrisy of so-called patriots championing the Confederacy and its imagery.

Jarvis DeBerry is deputy opinions editor for NOLA.COM | The Times-Picayune. He can be reached at jdeberry@nola.com or at twitter.com/jarvisdeberry.

Jefferson Davis was never a president | Opinion

In the recent debate over removing Confederate monuments from public spaces, defenders of the statues have argued that such action was part of an attempt to “erase history” and suggested that adding historical information to the sites would better serve the public.

That raises the question of what history will be added and who gets to write it.

“History is always written by the winners,” author Dan Brown says. “When two cultures clash, the loser is obliterated, and the winner writes the history books — books which glorify their own cause and disparage the conquered foe. As Napoleon once said, ‘What is history, but a fable agreed upon?'”

But until recently, the history represented by the Confederate monuments was written by the losing side, a fable honoring men who were committing treason in a rebellion against the United States. The statues have been rightly ridiculed as the 1860s equivalent of participation trophies.

The historical markers written by “winners” would not likely please supporters of the monuments to Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and the Confederacy.

Christopher Wilson, director of the African American History Program and Experience at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, makes that point in a piece on Smithsonian.com under the headline “We Legitimize the ‘So-Called’ Confederacy With Our Vocabulary, and That’s a Problem.” The summation is that “Tearing down monuments is only the beginning to understanding the false narrative of Jim Crow.”

“Most of these monuments sprang from the Lost Cause tradition that developed in the wake of the war, during the establishment of white supremacist Jim Crow laws around 1900, and as a response to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s,” Wilson writes. “Those artifacts are not the only way we legitimize and honor the deadly and racist 19th-century rebellion against the United States. Much of the language used in reference to the Civil War glorifies the rebel cause.”

Wilson builds on a 2015 article by Michael Landis urging his fellow historians to reconsider the terms and language they use when writing about the Civil War and the issues leading up to it.

Landis suggests that we call plantations what they really were, slave labor camps, and to stop referring to the United States as “the Union” and the rebelling states as “the Confederacy,” suggesting a conflict between two equal nations. The Confederacy was never officially recognized by any other world government, and in the view of President Abraham Lincoln and others, the United States never ceased to exist, including those 11 states in rebellion.

Wilson says legal historian Paul Finkelman has made a compelling case against the label “compromise” to describe the legislative deals that kept the slaves states from bolting sooner. Compromise, Finkelman says, implies that both North and South gave and received equally in the bargains over slavery.

He says “appeasement” is a more accurate term as the northern lawmakers gave the slave states almost everything they demanded, “including an obnoxious Fugitive Slave Law, enlarged Texas border, payment of Texas debts, potential spread of slavery into new western territories, the protection of the slave trade in Washington, D.C., and the renunciation of congressional authority over slavery. The free states, in turn, received almost nothing (California was permitted to enter as a free state, but residents had already voted against slavery). Hardly a compromise!”

And as long as we are letting the winners write the inscriptions, we should let President Lincoln have his say.

Lincoln consistently referred to the seceding states as the “so-called Confederacy” and made a point of ignoring Davis’ claim to be president of the CSA, calling him — and never by name — only the “insurgent leader.”

And, if we’re are being strictly accurate the highest rank Robert E. Lee achieved in the U.S. Army was colonel. Given that he achieved the higher rank only in service to a failed rebellion, should we really refer to him as Gen. Lee?

Wilson offers a look at how the current debate might look if we rescued our history from the viewpoint and vocabulary of the Lost Cause.

“When news reports about the debate over monuments say ‘Today the City Council met to consider whether to remove a statue commemorating General Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate Army,’ what if they instead were written in this way: ‘Today the City Council debated removing a statue of slaveholder and former American army colonel Robert E. Lee, who took up arms in the rebellion against the United States by the so-called Confederacy’?”

Tim Morris is an opinions columnist at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune. He can be reached at tmorris@nola.com. Follow him on Twitter @tmorris504.

Neo-Confederates’ plan for unpermitted rally has Richmond police ‘preparing for the unknown’

https://www.rt.com/usa/402556-confederate-rally-richmond-ban/

Neo-Confederates’ plan for unpermitted rally has Richmond police ‘preparing for the unknown’
The Richmond Police Department is coping with “a lot of anxiety,” as a neo-Confederate group promises to rally at a statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee, despite the governor issuing a ban on all demonstrations at the monument.

The New Confederate States of America (CSA II) announced that their rally planned for September 16 to ‘protect’ the General Robert E Lee monument in Virginia from being taken down, “will still be going on” despite the governor’s order.

On August 18, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) signed an executive order temporarily suspending the issuance of permits for protests and barring any demonstrations at the Lee monument.

The ban was ordered after an alt-right rally in Charlottesville turned deadly last month when a man drove his car into a group of counter-protesters, leaving 19 injured and one woman dead.

McAuliffe called the “Unite the Right” rally “an act of domestic terrorism,” adding that the ban was put in place to ensure “nothing like what occurred in Charlottesville happens again.”

“Let me be clear, this executive order has nothing to do with infringing upon first amendment rights,” the governor said. “This is a temporary suspension, issued with the singular purpose of creating failsafe regulations to preserve the health and well-being of our citizens.”

While other groups canceled their events after the ban was ordered, the CSA II issued an emphatic all-caps statement that said that the rally “WILL STILL BE GOING ON.”

“This event is not canceled,” the group’s organizers wrote. “We will be standing up to protect the General Robert E Lee monument from being taken down or destroyed.”

Richmond Councilman Michael Jones (9th District) is expected to introduce a resolution to remove certain monuments during the next meeting on September 11, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

“I think the city of Richmond needs to lead on this,” Jones said. “You look at all these other localities that are making a moral stand and at some point in time, Richmond was going to have to weigh in on this.”

The Tennessee-based Confederate group, which scheduled their event five days after the rally in Charlottesville, emphasized their rally is about heritage, not hate, adding that “any Hate will NOT be stood for on our side whatsoever.”

“No Racist Groups Will Be Allowed In Our Rally Area!!!” the group’s organizers stated.

A counter-protest has been scheduled by the Community of Richmond Virginia (CORVA), a non-profit organization that claims they are protecting their city from the “the same violent extremists that were at Charlottesville.”

CSA II has asked participants to meet at a separate location before the rally to go over the rules that will be put in place by the Richmond Police Department. They claim the police are aware of the rally and are “working on providing security for this event.”

Thomas Crompton, the group’s leader, responded to a Facebook user asking if the event was canceled, saying that he has talked with the Richmond PD “in length” and, together, they are working to ensure the rally is not a repeat of what happened in Charlottesville.

“Our hearts were heavy that that had happened and we will not have a repeat episode of it whatsoever,” Crompton wrote on Facebook.

On Friday, Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham told WWBT they are preparing for the event, but said there is “a lot of anxiety because of the fear of the unknown.”

“We have not received any permits so we really don’t know who’s coming. So that’s what we’re preparing for the unknown,” Durham.said.

Richmond police are also investigating vandalism at the Slavery Reconciliation Statue, one of three identical statues in cities that were prominent in the slave trade. The statues “symbolize a commitment to new relationships based on honesty and forgiveness,” according to Richmond’s tourism website.

The statue was found with graffiti on the base and a sticker that said: “Confederate States Forever,” according to State Delegate Delores McQuinn (D-Richmond)

“It’s so unfortunate because this statue (is) symbolic of where we need to be moving as a country, and that’s reconciling our differences,” McQuinn told WWBT.

Police are also investigating an incident on Thursday after an artist group known as Indecline hung eight effigies of clowns dressed in Ku Klux Klan robes from a tree.

The group said they installed the installation, dubbed “Ku Klux Klowns,” as a “protest of the White Nationalist uprising in the United States,” according to a press release obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.One of the clowns had a sign hung around its neck that read: “If attacked by a mob of clowns, go for the juggler — INDECLINE.”

The group also posted a video showing four masked men dressed in black clothing hanging the clowns from nooses in Bryan Park. Police closed the park for several hours Thursday morning.

Exclusive: Stonewall Jackson’s Great-Great-Grandsons Call for Removal of Confederate Monuments

Stonewall Jacksons Descendants Want His Monuments Taken Down

Descendant Of Gen. Robert E. Lee Says It’s Time For His Ancestor’s Statues To Come Down

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/descendant-of-gen-robert-lee-says-its-time-for-his-ancestors-statues-to-come-down_us_5991e544e4b08a2472765ec9

BLACK VOICES

08/14/2017 06:06 pm ET Updated 1 day ago

Descendant Of Gen. Robert E. Lee Says It’s Time For His Ancestor’s Statues To Come Down

“People are dying because we have been complicit in our silence or in our action,” Lee’s great-great-great-great-nephew said.

General Robert E. Lee is the man who led the Confederate Army during the Civil War, defending the desire of Southern slave owners to keep human beings in chains.

The Rev. Robert Wright Lee, IV, the general’s great-great-great-great-nephew, has for years struggled with the legacy attached to the name he bears. And on Saturday, he followed along in horror when images surfaced online of a white nationalist rally defending a statue of his ancestor in Charlottesville, Va.

As white nationalists clashed with counterprotestors, and the mayhem turned deadly, Lee said he was heartbroken.

“It broke my heart to see a symbol of my family being used to allow such hate,” Lee told HuffPost. “All in the name of what my relative stood for.”

Joshua Roberts / Reuters
Virginia State Troopers stand under a statue of Robert E. Lee before a white supremacists rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S., August 12, 2017. 

The General Lee was a slave owner and army officer who married into a wealthy Virginia family and went on to become the general in chief of the Confederate Army. After the war, he became a symbol of “The Lost Cause,” a revisionist narrative that reimagines the Civil War as a fight for constitutional ideals, instead of a fight about slavery.

In the 1920s, as new Jim Crow laws came into effect, monuments and memorials to Lee began appearing in the South. The Charlottesville statue was erected in 1924, according to The Associated Press.

The white nationalists who gathered in Charlottesville on Saturday were there to protest the city’s decision to remove Lee’s statue from a local city park. Tensions between the white nationalists and their opponents flared into a physical brawl, which prompted law enforcement to sweep in and clear the area.

After the rally was broken up, a driver plowed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters walking down a nearby street. Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old local resident, was killed in the attack, while at least 19 were injured.

Robert Wright Lee IV
Robert Wright Lee, IV is a minister from North Carolina and a descendant of General Robert E. Lee.

Lee, a minister who serves North Carolina’s Bethany United Church of Christ, was preparing to officiate at a wedding on Saturday when he learned about what had happened in Charlottesville.

While emphasizing that he doesn’t speak for all of the general’s descendants, the minister said that he believed it was time for statues of his ancestor to come down.

“These statues have morphed into a symbol of racism, a symbol of bigotry, a symbol of the alt-right, a symbol of white nationalist movements,” he said. “That is not okay and that can never be celebrated or honored in any way, whether you believe you should honor legacy or ancestors or not.”

Joshua Roberts / Reuters
White supremacists, holding shields with a symbol of Vanguard America on them, gather under a statue of Robert E. Lee during a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S., August 12, 2017. 

Lee already had a sermon ready to deliver at Broad Street United Methodist Church, where he had volunteered to be a visiting preacher on Sunday. But he decided to switch gears to address the tragedy, challenging the church to speak up in the face of racism and bigotry.

“It was not safe to be black or a person of color in Charlottesville yesterday. So I have to ask you, what were you doing yesterday? God, who calls us not to silence but to redemption was watching, and if you didn’t see the oppression, if it somehow missed you on social media or the nightly news you only have yourself to blame,” Lee said during the speech, according to a transcript of the sermon he posted to his blog. 

“If you are silent at a moment like this, if you do not condemn the racism you see through whatever channels and avenues you have, you can leave church now because you’re doing church wrong,” he said.

It wasn’t the kind of sermon the congregation hears often, Lee said. But it was important for white Christians to acknowledge the ways in which they may be complicit with perpetuating racism.

“When we don’t acknowledge that white bodies matter more than black bodies in America right now, it’s a gross mishandling of the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said. “People are dying because we have been complicit in our silence or in our action.”