Okay someone actually did something.

Silent Sam No Longer Stands. But the Saga of UNC’s Confederate Statue Is Far From Over.

So where's the "yay Jim Crow" movement? And where's the "yay slavery" movement? Where are these counter-movements that were supposed to erupt as a result of students tearing down a Confederate memorial? (Well, it's actually a Jim Crow memorial.)

And where are all the dangerous neo-Confederates with guns? No violent response just yet?

Meanwhile in Chapel Hill:

But for now there is joy among many on the Chapel Hill campus. “I can’t get the smile off my face,” said Jasmin Howard, a 2013 graduate. She is pursuing a Ph.D. at Michigan State University but has recently been doing research in North Carolina. When Silent Sam fell, she and others at the protest immediately started cheering, dancing, and hugging. “I don’t know if we expected it to actually happen,” she said. “We couldn’t contain ourselves.”

Hours later, on Tuesday, Brown saw McCorkle Place, a plaza that for 105 years had been dominated by the bronze statue, in a way she never had before.

“It feels like I’m looking at something photoshopped,” Brown said, staring at the pedestal where Silent Sam, rifle in hand, once stood. “It just feels open, and new, and liberated.”

My honest opinion? If the Confederacy rises again, it will be because the Democratic Party and its neoliberal friends manage to stifle its opposition so thoroughly that when the neo-Confederates finally move to bring back Jim Crow they discover that everyone is waiting for the Great Democratic Party Savior to oppose them -- and he/ she never arrives.

Fortunately that isn't happening just yet. Keep in mind, though, that the US Civil War began when Lincoln called in militias to protect Washington DC against a Confederate attempt to take it over. Eh?

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earthling1's picture

or phrase to describe these reminders of that ugly era and "dog whistle" fits the bill.
Silent Sam whistles loudly.

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Lily O Lady's picture

being reduced from 9 to 2, a reduction of 72%. Randolph County is rural and predominantly black. Most residents are poor and have little or no access to transportation. Jim Crow rides again.

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

Cassiodorus's picture

@Lily O Lady where sellout personified John Lewis was telling everyone to vote for Clinton?

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"The degree to which liberals are coming to inhabit an alternate reality, impenetrable by facts or reason, is actually frightening." -- Steve Maher

Lily O Lady's picture

@Cassiodorus

parts of central Fulton (Atlanta is in Fulton), Dekalb and Clayton counties. He apparently used some dirty tactics against Julian Bond to win his seat there. I understand there was no love lost between them.

I was horrified when he said that Democrats didn’t want free stuff. He’s been in the game too long.
During Occupy he wanted to join the Atlanta group, but thet turned him away. Very prescient.

Randolph County, however, is in the south west of Georgia. It is rural and very different from the very urban 5th district.

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

EdMass's picture

From the Wiki

Jim Crow laws were state and local laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States. Enacted by white Democratic-dominated state legislatures in the late 19th century after the Reconstruction period, these laws continued to be enforced until 1965.

You wrote

when the neo-Confederates finally move to bring back Jim Crow

Well, who? Today's Democrats are the neo-Confederates?

This worked out well? There are regrets, even there for some fng reason

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Lily O Lady's picture

@EdMass @EdMass

After the last Democratic governor, Roy Barnes, was defeated, politicians left the party in droves, many after being elected as Democrats. That’s what turned the state from blue to red.

Edit: My husband says there is only one party in Georgia: the white peoples party. It goes by various names, but it always dominates. I’m surprised Democrats lasted so long in Georgia.

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

I think what you'll see is something more like a single white gunman, apparently unaffiliated--or perhaps really unaffiliated.

However, not sure how you could tell the difference between the violence that erupts in response to tearing down Confederate statues and the violence that erupts anyway.

They don't need to create more yay Jim Crow movements, obviously; they have the ones they've always had.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

of every racist who ever lived. I said that before. If you want to do it, go to it. And if it makes people happy, that's good.

It's a purely superficial change, that's all. If people want to invest meaning in it (the way those on the right do), again, go to it. But even in comparison to other aspects of the culture war, it's more than usually superficial. After all, the end result is an empty space, which after several years (assuming we all live that long) no one will remember held a statue of a bigot and a bastard.

If erasure of shitty things long dead is what we can do, then, again, people should do it and enjoy it. It just shouldn't be confused with substantive change.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Pluto's Republic's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

...especially history. In this case, I really, really want people to be reminded of human nature and our tendency toward tribalism and disdain toward the "other." I want them to dwell on it, not deny it. Civilizations produce these people. Does destroying history improve civilization? If it does, then would holocaust denialism be a step in the right direction?

I didn't even like Saddam's statue being pulled down in Iraq. There's something disturbing about it. Our insane interventions actually managed to destroy the cradle of civilization in recent years — after it was shepherded across time for 5,000 years. Until we the infidel stepped in the sand, no one felt the need to wipe away the precious artifacts of our early evolution. But then, our American civilization manages to produce the kind of people who are capable of this sort of thing.

Perhaps we really are the throwaway people.

That being said, I don't feel this very strongly. It's not an ideology. It's more of a wistful pondering in a world where so much and so many are being lost.

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The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus
Cassiodorus's picture

@Pluto's Republic was in going all the way with this "history is bunk" notion spouted by Henry Ford in 1916. What would it look like, Huxley speculated, if we had a society in which people took the idea of "history is bunk" seriously, and submitted to a control so total that history itself was rendered impossible.

Now, to be fair, there are a few shards of history which appear as explanatory notes in Brave New World. One of them is this "Nine Years' War" event, supposedly beginning in AF 141, or one hundred and forty-one years after the Ford Motor Company issued the Model T. Supposedly this war revealed to the global ruling class that history was an endless string of failures, and so afterward there was a "campaign against the Past," characterized:

...by the closing of museums, the blowing up of historical monuments (luckily most of them had already been destroyed during the Nine Years' War); by the suppression of all books published before A.F. 15O.'' (p. 51)

But that's not what's going on here. The memory of the statues isn't being destroyed; the statues are simply being removed. At any rate, history itself is still an open book. Karl Marx thought history was a nightmare:

Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and borrowed language.

Friedrich Engels, for his part, hoped for a time when people would make their own history consciously. From the Dialectics of Nature:

With men we enter history. Animals also have a history, that of their derivation and gradual evolution to their present position. This history, however, is made for them, and in so far as they themselves take part in it, this occurs without their knowledge or desire. On the other hand, the more that human beings become removed from animals in the narrower sense of the word, the more they make their own history consciously, the less becomes the influence of unforeseen effects and uncontrolled forces of this history, and the more accurately does the historical result correspond to the aim laid down in advance. If, however, we apply this measure to human history, to that of even the most developed peoples of the present day, we find that there still exists here a colossal disproportion between the proposed aims and the results arrived at, that unforeseen effects predominate, and that the uncontrolled forces are far more powerful than those set into motion according to plan.

By Engels' measure we still do not make our own history consciously, history is still a nightmare laid out for us, and so it's still an open question whether or not we'll have a Nine Years' War after which it will be decided for us that history has been a failure. So, yeah, it's good to remember history -- but history has not yet been a success, we still do not do it consciously, and part of that history is the politics of the Confederate revival of the Jim Crow era, history which needs to be confined to the history books, to museums, and to places in which history is celebrated as a dead thing.

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"The degree to which liberals are coming to inhabit an alternate reality, impenetrable by facts or reason, is actually frightening." -- Steve Maher

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Cassiodorus History is important in its relationship to truth. "What happened?" should not be answered by "whatever we need to have happened at this moment, happened."

I'm more an Orwell fan than a Huxley fan. I think he understood the relationship of authoritarian power structures to history pretty well. And it's a clear pattern: authoritarians always go after history. It's hard to come up with an example of when they didn't. Controlling history and all forms of cultural memory gives people a lot of power over human perception, which is what all tyrants seem to crave. (After all, we've always been at war with Eastasia.)

How does that relate to the current movements for Black power and justice? Well, it's not surprising that the concession the system is willing to make to them involves eradicating a piece of history (an ugly and barbarous piece, I agree).

I'm not particularly supportive of putting up statues to murderers and other bastards, but the idea that people will always remember there was a statue of a murderer and a bastard in what is now an empty space and that that represents some kind of cultural victory over racism--that's all a bit tenuous and rather thin gruel even if it is true. If this civilization is around 30 years from now, I doubt very much that anybody is going to remember what once stood there, and if anybody does, it will probably be the white reactionaries, who are really good at being pissed off about the past, and have been since they lost the Civil War. But even if everybody remembers, it's more of a morale exercise than anything else. I understand why movement leaders might feel the need to rack up some wins and improve morale; I even sympathize. But I'm not going to pretend that superficial change is substantive change, mainly because after Obama I'm kind of done with that.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Cassiodorus's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal They're simply taking it away from a prominent public location. Statues put in prominent public places are supposed to say something about community values. Silent Sam can say what he wants in a Museum of Racism or something like that.

As for changing the system, they can work on that, too, though it means giving up on an important sacred cow; the Democratic Party. Those of us who have done this already watch, and wait.

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"The degree to which liberals are coming to inhabit an alternate reality, impenetrable by facts or reason, is actually frightening." -- Steve Maher

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Cassiodorus You're right, C., I stand corrected. If it starts moving into museums and curricula I'll have a problem with it, but as it stands now, you're right.

However, my main problem with it remains. I think it's a mighty poor focus. I can think of a dozen things that would be better to do with a movement's resources off the top of my head. I also think it's likelier to please the powerful than just about anything they could do aside from mobilizing votes for Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden. On the other hand, it's not my movement.

On yet another hand (I'm starting to sound like Tevye), I'm not giving any support to a movement whose tactics I disagree with so strongly. But that's basically been settled since 2016. Someday I'll tell the story of how I was on the verge of making a large donation to BLM, merely waiting for the weekend to come so I could discuss it with my family, since it would entail sacrifices for us--and what happened to stop me before the weekend ever came.

On yet another hand, a hell of a lot of things call themselves BLM, like a lot of things called themselves Occupy toward the end. Co-optation is a thing.

On a final hand, that's why I determine who I will support by an examination of their tactics, not who they are or what they call themselves or what they say they're against.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal Rec'd, btw.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Mark from Queens's picture

The old anarchist style of using dynamite. Personally, I'd take pleasure from watching one of these monuments getting blown to pieces. It would be cathartic for many people.


Want to get rid of Confederate statues? Send in the Irish

Let's not transfer some kind of historical significance to these statues. That's not how they should be viewed (put them in a museum then, end of story).

They were specifically commissioned and put in place to remind black folks of who is running things and as a reminder of their still present subjugation. Most of them came into being and were put in place to bolster Jim Crow evilness. Fuck these people and their "culture." Their culture has been pure dominance at any cost, mob murder sprees and the most heinous harassment, intimidation and all sorts of psychological warfare.

While there shouldn't be a focus on removing and toppling statues as much as on building and sustaining the larger BlackLivesMatter movement (extending to the corrupt and murdering justice system and corrections sector) and demanding economic justice, it is still a very necessary cathartic exercise that, if only symbolically, throws some of the yoke off their collective back.

I cheer every time another one careens to the ground or is removed by shunned authorities.

And I hope we move more in the direction of slave musuems coming into existence.

‘The Blood of Lynching Victims Is in This Soil.’

The color palette inside the jars is an array of browns. The rich, red clay found throughout Alabama, where men and women did backbreaking work from before sunrise to well past sundown. The dark fertile dirt of the black belt. The sandy soil of the Gulf Coast.

“Soil is really a powerful medium for talking about this history,” Bryan Stevenson tells me, as we walk by the jars. “In many ways, the sweat of enslaved people is buried in this soil. The blood of lynching victims is in this soil. The tears of people who were segregated and humiliated during the time of Jim Crow is in this soil.”

The soil in these jars represents the lives of countless Americans who never had a proper burial, who met unspeakably violent deaths for “serious offenses,” like arguing with a white man. These are the victims honored as part of the Equal Justice Initiative’s new Legacy Museum and memorial in Montgomery, Alabama...

I learned the story of Elizabeth Lawrence, a schoolteacher in Birmingham who scolded a group of white children after they threw stones at her. The children told their parents. A mob came to her home, murdered her, and burned her house down. I learned the story of Thomas Miles, Sr., of Shreveport, Louisiana, a black man who was accused of writing a letter to a white woman. After a judge acquitted him, he was abducted by a mob outside the courtroom and taken to a tree where he was beaten, stabbed, shot, and hanged.

I learned the story of Mamie, who was a child in Mississippi when her father and his friend were threatened with lynching. Mamie’s family fled; her father’s friend stayed and was hanged. Mamie had not uttered the state’s name until she returned many decades later, to gather soil from the lynching site for the friend’s memorial jar. In that moment “I felt like I laid my burdens down,” said Mamie Kirkland. She was 107 years old.

Some descendants have traveled great distances to make the sad sojourn to see the place where their ancestors’ remains had long ago been absorbed by the earth. The EJI has documented more than 4,400 people lynched in 35 states—the most in Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi—between 1877 and 1950.

How about, in place of Confederate statues, simple, austere monuments to where another human being was murdered by a frothing, roving mob that sometimes held picnics for the occassion, not far from where a person dangled from a tree?

How about statues to the numerous slave uprising insurrections completely absent from our history books?

This isn't reparations, yet. But it is worthwhile of a serious effort to make a reality.

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"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Mark from Queens @Mark from Queens This is my problem with it, as you know:


While there shouldn't be a focus on removing and toppling statues as much as on building and sustaining the larger BlackLivesMatter movement (extending to the corrupt and murdering justice system and corrections sector) and demanding economic justice,

I'm seeing a lot less of that, as the focus gets put on statues. Perhaps that's just because statues are what the mass media focus on, including places like Twitter. I hope so.

If the movements for Black rights and power have really put their focus on taking down statues, if it's not just the mass media directing everyone's attention in a relatively unthreatening direction, it's probably because taking down statues is something people can do. Unlike changing the murderous American legal system, or recognizing the relationship between racism and poverty and doing something about it, getting a statue taken down is a concession one can extract from the racist system. The reason the racist system will allow it is that ultimately, it disturbs no one and nothing in the racist power structure aside from the deplorable far right. And it's fine to piss off the deplorable far right because it's not like the powerful give a shit about the right-wing working class. They are, rather, using the right-wing working class as a distraction from their own evils, deploying them simultaneously as a cudgel and a whipping boy and hoping that we will all tear each other to shreds. For some reason, I'm not sure why, the powerful don't want to look in our eyes while they're killing us and know that we recognize them for what they are.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem