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Thank you for these historically and contemporaneously, comradely and
Roll Tide!


---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Wythe Holt jr. <wh...@law.ua.edu>
Date: Thu, Jun 18, 2020 at 8:11 AM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] On the NASCAR's Banning of the Confederate Flag and
its Social Implications
To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition <marxism@lists.csbs.utah.edu
Cc: A.R. G <amithrgu...@gmail.com>, John A Imani <johnaima...@gmail.com>,
Jeffrey Masko <j.alan.ma...@gmail.com>

This is a strange submission, for one who, like myself, was born and reared
a white racist in the American South, who has fought for decades to
overcome his racism, and who has lived almost all of his life with people
who still think the Confederacy is one of the most meaningful things in
their lives.

For my black friends, it (the Confederacy) is deeply negative -- it means
thoroughgoing and tangible racism -- being "raced" every minute of every
day, being subject to outlandish cruelty and, worse, dismissal as full
human beings, being subjected to second class citizenship and overt haughty
discrimination, a lesser level of imagined possible competence in many
white minds and in much of the law and culture, in education, in
government, in all walks of public and private life -- all offshoots and
holdovers from the human slavery that most of their American ancestors
suffered under.

For a large number of my white friends, it often means unquestioning
glorification of and identification with the white people who led the
Confederacy in military defense of the institution of human slavery.  (NOT
"states rights" -- the "state's right" that -- when I ask them -- these
folks immediately first think about is the "right" to hold human beings in
legal thralldom.)

For all of these people the Confederate flag is centrally meaningful as a
symbol of these wildly differing views and experiences of hundreds of years
of the degradation and enslavement of dark-skinned people.

This needs to be said again, and at length.  Anthema to the former
(African-Americans), and a symbol of life and worth and deep if racist
meaning to the latter (so-called Caucasians), is the Confederate flag.  It
means "slavery" -- still -- to every Southerner born and bred there.  It
means racism.  It means cruelty and overlordship.  It means defiance of the
law, it means being a traitor to the original Constitution and government
of the US, it means that equality is impossible and always nonexistent, it
means that a whole group of people who are black are STILL TO THIS MINUTE
thought to be inherently ignorant and uncivilized and inhuman by many white
people, many of whom do not live in the South.  Look at the continuing
murder of black men by white policemen, something which still seems to
happen monthly or more frequently, 155 years after Appomattox.  For many
black people it means constant struggle in their own minds and culture to
assert and maintain a sense of humanity, a sense denied them by the racism
which envelops them.  Amith, the Confederate flag MEANS racism.  Wherever
you live in the South, look around and discover how many African-Americans
fly this flag, or defend its use, much less glorify it.  How many of them
speak well of it?

Amith, you live in this world of the Old Confederacy now, though you were
not born in it.  My own forebears, all born and reared in Virginia, owned
human beings as slaves and fought -- my great-grandfather for all four
years of the war -- to preserve the malign, ghastly, and deeply prejudicial
institution of slavery.  All the wealth created by that society was due to
enslaved people's work and deprivation but was claimed as theirs and as
their own work-product by their non-laboring white owners.  His son, my
grandfather, a successful politician from about 1895 through 1933, held
black people in contempt and gloried in the supposed military exploits of
his father (whom he could not remember, the man having drunk himself to
death when my grandfather was four) and the other men and women who fought,
often to the death, to preserve slavery and a regime using the labor of
horribly treated black workers to build everything.  The worth of the slave
South was embodied in, and produced by, the labor of people thought to be
and treated as not really human.  This is what that flag means.  This is
what it meant at NASCAR (which still has ONLY ONE nonwhite driver, the one
who protested the use of the flag).  This is what it means to just about
everyone in the US who sees it.


From: John A Imani <johnaima...@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Jun 17, 2020 at 6:10 PM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] On the NASCAR's Banning of the Confederate Flag and
its Social

Agree that other symbols of oppression are relatively untouched by this
series of events.  But N, S, E and W the flag in question is not merely
'kitsch' but an everyday, everytime, threat.  Nightriders in the 19th
century, Klan in the 1900s, vigilantes in the '50s and '60s have terrorized
using that symbol as more than just that.  It will appear again as a symbol
of the rejection of our humanity, if it has not already.

I went to jail over Viet Nam.  Chaired the convening meeting of the LA
chapter of United People for Wounded Knee.  Didn't eat grapes for over 20
years in keeping with Cesar Chavez and the UFW.  As for Israel, wrapping
its flag masks the hypocrisy of American fundamentalists who love Israel
while simultaneously hating Jews only a bit less than they do the
Palestinians.  And throughout all those incidents, for all that time and
more, the Confederate flag has been used to terrorize people of color.  It
is more than mere symbol, it is a material meme.


From: Marxism <marxism-boun...@lists.csbs.utah.edu> on behalf of A.R. G via
Marxism <marxism@lists.csbs.utah.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, June 17, 2020 7:17 PM

Speaking from an entirely personal perspective -- I am neither black nor
white and I am not from the South (though I live there now) nor am I a fan
of NASCAR or country music, though I am a fan of classic rock which appears
to use the Confederate flag quite a bit until recently -- I am not sure it
proves anything. I am also thinking of films like Gone with the Wind. Not
only is the film a celebrated classic, the book is an international
best-seller. It was sold even in India where my dad and his college friends
read it and enjoyed it.

I am guessing it is different for Southerners, both black and white. For
people in other places I'm not sure the flag or other
Confederacy-sympathizing kitsch like GWTW hold any particular significance
at all. Maybe they should -- I mean, GWTW in retrospect is just 3 hours of
Confederate propaganda -- but I don't think my dad or anyone else in India
saw it that way. My dad took me to see it in a theater once when I was a
kid. I was confused that the slave characters were so friendly with their
former "owners," but beyond that I didn't really follow the plot and fell

On the other hand, the author of GWTW has a house in Atlanta that now
functions as a museum to her works, that is driving distance from my
apartment. I was told by black activists in the community that in previous
decades, when the area had not been gentrified and laced with security
cameras, that activists had repeatedly attempted to burn it down.

To me the issue is that insofar as parts of American culture are indicative
of racism, it is not limited to the Confederacy. Indeed, I do detect some
degree of hypocrisy. We are expected to throw out the Confederate flag, but
we are told not to condemn the Union flag which was the flag of those who
colonized the Western parts of America where indigenous people were
brutally massacred (not to mention the wars on the rest of the world that
are ongoing). We are also not allowed to burn the Israeli flag -- in fact,
if we do so, then *we* are the racists. That is, of course, not a reason to
whitewash Confederate symbols but as someone who associates most of
American culture with racism and jingoism it is hard not to notice the
contradiction, particularly given that much of the Confederate kitsch is,
like many parts of American culture writ large, treated as banal and does
not have *apparently* racist connotations because it is mixed with so many
parts of American culture that have no apparent link to the Confederacy
(such as NASCAR or Lynnard Skynnard). I recall that when I visited Durham,
NC some time ago, the statue of a Confederate soldier had been toppled by
activists and there was simply an empty platform. But only a few feet away,
another statute for American soldiers commemorating the war on Vietnam was
left curiously untouched.

Amith R. Gupta

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: John A Imani <johnaima...@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Jun 17, 2020 at 3:06 PM

I am in LA on family business and not where I live in Lancaster (70 miles
NE of LA, of which the surrounding countryside has seen two lynchings of
young blacks in the past three weeks.  Cops immediately branded them as

I brought that up cause I don't have access to the sports channels I am
used to.  I would have tuned in the EPL games today if nothing else than to
see how 'dead' the games would be without the fanbase in attendance.  Your
analogy of the reaction to futbol with NASCAR's reaction to BLM is not

Thanx for your thoughts.


---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Jeffrey Masko <j.alan.ma...@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Jun 17, 2020 at 1:49 PM

This  took me by surprise and I am interested how this will pan out as the
fabric of social life is much more centered on sport and entertainment than
on more formal institutions like police deps. Any meaningful change in
policing must be accompanied by a win in the war of position, so to speak.
Of course, there are virulent puritanical streaks in the U.S. left that
dismiss sports in a opium of the masses type Frankfurt school idea of
deluding the stupid working masses. As John pointed out, how the fan base
reacts at large will be interesting and can be compared with how antiracist
messaging has worked (and not worked) in world football. Also interesting
is how dedicated the English Premier league is to honoring George Floyd,
even having Black Lives Matter on the back of their kits.
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