The Last Refuge Of Radical America

Discussion in 'Politics' started by bitterlyclingin, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. bitterlyclingin
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    bitterlyclingin Silver Member

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    [Well, besides Chicago, that is, the city where the head of its Communist Philosophical School still has five months to run on his DC lease.
    When Pope Sixtus returned the Papacy to Rome after its temporary sojourn in France, Rome was a pretty wild place, the only people enjoying any degree of safety or comfort were the thugs, street criminals and murders, so Sixtus took the bull by the horns in the best American Far West tradition and had them rounded up and killed. The Italian cities of Siena and Florence had already passed the zenith of their Rennaissance activities and by so doing the Pope made the city safe for the Rennaissance to flower and bloom in Rome, paving the way for the likes of Michelangelo and Davinci, something that would not have happened had Rome maintained the street demeanor of, say, our own Oakland, Ca, Newark, NJ, or a Bridgeport, Ct.]

    "It's Oakland, California, according to the New York Times, "Oakland, the Last Refuge of Radical America":
    Why are radicals so inexorably drawn to Oakland? The cheap rents don’t hurt (free, if you’re willing to squat in an abandoned house or industrial space, and hundreds apparently are). Oakland is urban, dangerous and poor — fertile social conditions for inciting revolution. What’s more, it has a long, easily romanticized history of militancy. America’s last citywide strike, in 1946, took place there; the Black Panthers were born in Oakland; and David Hilliard, a former Black Panthers chief of staff, still gives three-hour tours of the movement’s local landmarks and sells his own line of Black Panthers hot sauce: “Burn Baby Burn.”

    Running parallel to this history of political militancy is a history of lawlessness. In the early 1970s, when the Hell’s Angels were scandalizing America, their most infamous clubhouse was located in East Oakland. The Oakland native Felix Mitchell was one of the first to scale up corner drug-dealing into a multimillion-dollar, gang-controlled business. On his death — he was stabbed in Leavenworth in 1986 — the city gave him a hero’s send-off: thousands came out to see his coffin borne through his old East Oakland neighborhood by a horse-drawn carriage trailed by more than a dozen Rolls Royces and limousines.

    In Oakland, the revolutionary pilot light is always on. At the dawn of the 20th century, the Oakland writer and social activist Jack London said this to a group of wealthy New Yorkers: “A million years ago, the cave man, without tools, with small brain, and with nothing but the strength of his body, managed to feed his wife and children, so that through him the race survived. You on the other hand, armed with all the modern means of production, multiplying the productive capacity of the cave man a million times — you are incompetents and muddlers, you are unable to secure to millions even the paltry amount of bread that would sustain their physical life. You have mismanaged the world, and it shall be taken from you.

    It’s a dream that still exists in Oakland — that the world can be taken from the haves and delivered to the have-nots. Like all dreams that are on the brink of being extinguished, its keepers cling to it with a fierceness that is both moving and an extreme exercise in the denial of the reality that is at their door.

    “I’m not afraid to call myself a Communist,” the rapper and activist Boots Riley told me one morning last spring in the kitchen of his weather-beaten yellow Victorian house in Oakland’s Lower Bottoms section. “I think some people call themselves everything but, because they don’t want to associate themselves with the failures and mistakes that other folks who have called themselves Communists have made. But Christians don’t stop calling themselves Christians just because some other Christians made some mistakes.”"

    American Power: The Last Refuge of Radical America
     

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