News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Building the insurgency

The main defect in the new media is that it calls wolf so much that people lose the ability to discern real facts and dangers.  The American right wing is yelling communism and Marxism so much at the Democrats that the country is largely unaware of the forces that support a left-wing totalitarian take-over of the U.S.  And a majority of Americans are unaware of the U.S. plunge into a fascist, corporate plutocracy despite the fact that evidence is constantly slapping them in the face and diminishing their earnings. 

 As we sank into near depression depths a few years ago, the neo-con, neo-fascists howled in alarm that the attempts to rescue the economy from total collapse were Marxist-like attempts to nationalize the financial industry, the auto industry, and a whole bunch of other businesses.  When the Obama administration set up rules for BP and its drilling cohorts to be held responsible for the Gulf oil spew, Republicans denounced the attempts as a violation of the sanctity of corporate capitalism.  There is a small, but growing, group who see nationalization of industries as the only way to create fairness and responsibility in the economy. They look at the changes in the Venezuelan and Bolivian economies brought about through nationalization of the energy industries, and they especially watch Brazil with its vast offshore oil reserves.  Brazil on one hand offers other countries, including the U.S., opportunity to participate in the development of those reserves, but on the other hand looks to a degree of regulation that will channel profits into the national economy.  The London-based BG Group has committed to spending $30 billion in the development of Brazilian oil reserves.  Brazil is a leader in the use of alternative energy sources and has indicated it intends to stay on that course, using petroleum sales to further develop its energy independence and use of renewable fuels. 

There were some voices in the background during the barrage of charges about Obama taking over private enterprise that thought such a prospect was the best that could come of the financial debacle caused by Wall Street and the failing corporations.  There is a a  growing number of people who find a startling absence of liberty, equality, and justice in contemporary American life, and the extreme left may offer to some the only option.  Venezuela, Bolivia, and some aspects of Brazil offer models to the growing poverty class of America.

The efforts to use the fiscal crisis in America as a means to nullify labor unions and other forces of the middle class have portrayed an America that is stridently fascist in its direction.  The forces of small, totalitarian government are being posed against those who look to government to administer social and economic justice.  The right wing has re-instituted class war in its most basic form.  But the propaganda battles being carried out on cable television news and the Internet are obscuring the growth of an insurgent force that is becoming convinced that open revolt might be the only course to regaining any liberty, equality, and justice in America.  The massive labor demonstrations in Madison, Wisconsin, are an indication of the ability to mount an insurgency.

But there are many fronts where that possibility can be found. Interested Party has noted evidence of a new insurgency among the indigenous people of North America.  This is something that, as a scholar in native American literature and culture, I have  been asked to examine.  A few years ago, when the suicide and crime rates on the Standing Rock reservation became alarming, I became involved in efforts to find a solution to the problems.  The first measure was to augment the tribal law enforcement agencies with personnel from the BIA.  The crime rate went down, but the suicide rate did not.  The causes behind the unrest and the despair were not by any means eliminated.

We have put great hope into the tribal colleges on Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, Rosebud, and Pine Ridge to provide some solutions to the poverty and despair on the reservations.  A common platitude is to make the native people like the general American population.  It was hoped by many that the colleges could work effectively toward that end.  But the colleges are also places that preserve and practice the native values.  And the more the Indian students see of American culture, particularly in the direction it is taking now, the less they want to do with it.  Their knowledge of history is not limited to the conqueror's self-crowing about superiority, but includes tribal history and it embraces a new scholarship.  Recent books like Sitting Bull, Prisoner of War  by Dennis C. Pope and The Killing of Crazy Horse  by Thomas Powers have verified the accuracy of oral histories and provided an authenticating dimension of documentation.  That the Indian wars were, in fact, campaigns of genocide and that the reservations were designed to be concentration camps that would result in the eventual decimation of the native populations are recorded in the military records and personal papers of the participants.

What indigenous culture would emulate the culture that wants to kill it off?  America's indigenous people have lived with that question for centuries and have chosen not to submit to subjugation and denial as a condition of life.  The new interest in warrior societies is a parallel to the knowledge being created about American Indians and the growing confidence in the moral rightness of their own culture, which contrasts so starkly with the predatory oppressions of the white culture as it is defining itself in contemporary times.

The strident claims of the right wing about the superiority of American exceptionalism have totally missed the point about what is exceptional in America and have made stand out in bold relief the malignant moral deficiencies that are apparent to those America has chosen to exclude from liberty, equality, and justice.  

The insurgency that is evident among the indigenous people is becoming more pronounced in the middle class, that has come into recognition of how maliciously it has been betrayed.  

When America finally erupts, it won't look like Egypt or Madison, Wisconsin.  It will look like Iraq. 


larry kurtz said...
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larry kurtz said...

"a hundred million castaways looking for a home..."

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States