My latest for LR: http://www.latinorebels.com/2015/02/19/ai-carnaval-carnaval/
My latest for the NOC: http://thenerdsofcolor.org/2015/01/06/besouro-black-lives-matter/#more-11515
No, not the F Bomb you’re thinking of, though I will use that one quite a bit in this piece. I’m talking about another F Bomb few people want to talk about: Fascism. Some would like to believe that the fascism of old from Hitler and Mussolini died when the U.S. saved the world in World War II. Thank you Steve Rogers. There are many new breeds of modern fascism and it exists with I don’t know how many people in every nation in the world under different names. Time to pull some cards my people. Online the first definition of fascism that comes up is: “an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.” Not bad, but there are certain tenets that need to be mentioned (that not by accident, helped me to write my song “They Think It’s Fun” recorded by Quilombolas):
1. Powerful and continuing nationalism. Lot of flag waving, slogans, patriotism, etc. 2. Disdain for Human Rights. Violence. Lots of violence against the citizenry. 3. Enemies or scapegoats as a unifying cause. Could be ethnic, religious, political, etc. This is an important one for later. 4. Supremacy of the military/military industrial complex and the obsession of national security. “Fear is your only god!” screams de la Rocha. 5. Sexism, ties into 3., but also includes homophobia, anti-abortion, so on. 6. Censorship/mass media control. 7. No separation of church and state. Another important one for our modern theocracies. 8. Extreme savage capitalism and protection of business interests/corporate power. 9. Suppression of organized labor. 10. Attacks on intellectuals and artists are common. 11. Crime and punishment gone wild, guilty until proven innocent. 12. Rampant corruption, cronyism, and fraudulent so-called “elections.” Now after reading this, if you’re a citizen of whatever the country and your thinking, “Oh, shit!”, well, yeah. I’m happy to give shots of the red pill.
Now let’s look at the never-ending mess between Israel and Palestine. Firstly, please click immediately go to Democracy Now and catch up on their amazing (and depressing) reporting, especially if you’ve only been watching corporate media. If you want images that will bring tears to your eyes, Revolution-News can oblige. Maybe something changed with NBC reporter Mohyeldin’s situation, but I doubt it. Next, let me disclaim: if you want to believe in something religious, fine. I’m a proud atheist, but I don’t force my beliefs on anyone just as I expect others to not force theirs on me. Ok? Not an anti-dentite here. There is a lot of progressive work happening by Jewish activists in Israel, the U.S., and elsewhere. It’s not your Christ I fear, but your Christians, and so on.
It’s fucking heartbreaking and exhausting. The same thing, over and over again, and nothing changes. Isn’t that what Einstein said about insanity? Let’s look at those tenets again. My Jewish amigo Zehavi whote: “The right-wing fascists are in power in both Israel and Gaza, this is a war of macho bullshit.” First card to be pulled: Zionism is a form of fascism. And I can’t imagine the idea that there is potentially a great-grandson of a Holucaust survivor out there screaming fascist slogans and attacking left-wing Jews. It’s a layer of fucked up beyond belief and is terribly sad. I also get tired of the “only democracy in the Middle East” mantra. Please. Compared to what’s around it, it may be different, but it still walks and talks like a theocracy my dear. It doesn’t end there. Islamism, whichever form Hamas is using, is also a form of modern fascism. I’m playing neutral here and saying they are both locked by those tenets, particularly the unholy alliance between religion, the state, and the military, with a healthy shot of racism/ethnocentrism.
What pisses me off so much about Israel is the victim becoming the perpetrator complex. It’s like any old Chuck Norris flick: Anglo dude gets his ass kicked. He then gets some training, or guns. He then goes and kills every person of color in sight. Vengeance; victim no more bitches! Not surprisingly, Norris has become a right-wing icon in the U.S. as of late. The Holocaust was atrocious. No human being deserved that. But is it really that hard to see the irony with the Palestinians if you’re a Zionist? The connection to the U.S. and Europe also has to be mentioned. There simply is no such a thing as credibility with the Zionist lobby with a boot on Washington’s throat and a fist around corporate media’s neck. As for Hamas, it’s horrible to think of launching attacks with civilian shields, or scurrying around like ants in underground tunnels knowing that if they push just hard enough, maybe that powder keg will blow and other Islamic nations may enter and lead to the holy war they so desire.
Would a two-state solution work? I don’t know. Land is a huge part of it all, but the roots of hate are just so deep. European and U.S. guilt and policy and the arming to the teeth on one side, and the radical Islamist allies on the other side are ultimately to blame. I mean, a native Sephardic (Mizrahi) Israeli and a Palestinian’s DNA are nearly identical. They would be like cousins. Does anyone see that? It’s a geopolitical Hatfields vs. McCoys that could end the world. I don’t have a solution accept to say: a secular radical left-wing revolt is what should happen; but likely won’t. The crack is just too good after decades of fixes. My heart just sinks when I hear the numbers come out: 500 to 15, 600 to 30, the dead keep climbing, especially on the Palestinian side. Fascism on both sides is at the heart of it all. Victims of genocide perpetrating genocide and cowards dropping bombs and hiding behind human shields; if there were a devil, this would have to be his favorite TV show.
Next, thousands of Central American refugee children have plunged the U.S. into a humanitarian crisis on the borders. This certainly isn’t the first time something like this has happened. In our community we have opened our doors to families from East Africa, Latin/Central America, and Indochina that were once in similar humanitarian crises. Similar to the first example, the word “heartbreaking” first comes to mind. Many people along border communities are doing what they can for them. Sadly, many towns are simply overwhelmed and are forced to deport them. However, there happen to be loud voices of not just opposition, but hate. Words like “patriots” or “real Americans” mixed with armed border militias all screaming a whole bunch of horribly racist and xenophobic words I won’t put up here get thrown around at these poor children. Check, check, check, and check. Welcome to yet another form of modern fascism this time on the United States border (sadly, not the only form in the U.S.). Card pulled.
Firstly, these are CHILDREN! What is wrong with these fucking pieces of shit for people? Second, wouldn’t you love to hear a Native American opinion about all of those slogans thrown around? Finally, all of the border hate really revolves around race and ethnocentrism. Another smaller card to pull: if a person says he/she is anti-immigrant, turns out, that person is also a racist (and most likely, a fascist). Just as an example: my wife has a Dutch friend that was here undocumented for years and he really felt for others and became an activist on the immigration issue. As he would say, he was never, ever, in danger of deportation, unlike the hundreds for whom he fought. John Stewart had a good one about the Statue of Liberty’s “huddled masses” fading for good, because it turns out that Lady Liberty is now a bouncer. European illegals, red carpet. Central American, a kick in the ass. I saw a great post floating around that simply said: “Keep the kids, deport the racists.”
And finally, Malaysian flight MH17. What? This too E.? Oh yeah, baby. Yet another terrible tragedy. The initial reports of a number of Dutch AIDS doctors on board was quite scary. Though the number went down to six, the little shadow of conspiracy theory in me was still looking around. Look, these Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine are militaristic, nationalistic, sexist and homophobic, and have probably all taken turns peeing on the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. It turns out, Putin is almost the same, except while he’s shirtless on the horse, he aims his horsey to shit on it. Last card to pull: these are some scary fascists.
I can’t tie the flight as a target of these homophobes directly, there seems to be more than coincidence with the AIDS researchers at play, but Ukraine already has an issue with ultra-right fascist skinheads attacking immigrants, Jews, gays, lefties, and so on. Now, if they pledge allegiance to Putin’s nipples, they get surface-to-air missiles and a bunch of other toys of mass destruction to play with? Super. Nobody wants to talk about it, but from the lens of rising global fascism, is it really a surprise? A tie that binds these events is this: bad things tend to happen when small minds get big guns.
An honorable mention if a may for my other country of citizenship: Brazil. I’ve wrote a few posts about the Cup that you can read here. Brazil has a fascist past under the Vargas regime and then again in the 60s after Goulart was overthrown with CIA help, per usual with Latin American dictatorships snuggling with Washington. I mention this because the security build-up for the World Cup was outrageous. It was a military-industrial complex on steroids with Robocops (actually nicknamed by protestors) armed to the teeth from both the military and military police everywhere, including hyper militarized perimeters around the stadiums, violating citizens rights and filling prisons like Julio Cesar was giving up German goals. At one point, I read there were more armed forces on the streets of Brazil than all of the U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not to mention the drones flying over the stadiums doing recon that were probably also armed. This brought a lot of chills to survivors of the fascist dictatorships from the 60s to 1990. As irony would have it, one of those victims of torture that was calling the shots of those drones: President Dilma Rouseff. Once again, that victim to perpetrator complex.
It has been a crazy news cycle the last few weeks, but nobody is using one particular F Bomb in their analyses. You don’t have to agree with me, but just look at those tenets again, take a breath, and ask yourself if it makes sense or not. Get it out there. Red pill my Neos.
I’ll write this one in English since my last Copa was in Portuguese about the epic loss to Germany now known as the Mineiraço. Now, after also going down 3-nil to Holland in the 3rd place match (why the hell a 3rd place match still exists is beyond me) this Brazil team, a minha Seleção triste, fraca, horrível, made history as the team to give up the most goals, 13, IN THE HISTORY OF ALL WORLD CUPS. The unraveling and humbling of Brazil at home is without question the top story of the tournament. I’ll have you all know that I saw it coming two years ago even before their Confederations win last year. You can only get by with dives, paid-off refs, and a shit team (probably the shittiest defense and goalie in the Cup) for so long. I couldn’t have predicted 7, but my distrust in the team is all documented on facebook baby. We had other stories too.
FIFA and CBF’s (Brazilian Football Confederation) corrupt and dirty little paws were clearly in the games. If you missed John Oliver’s ingenious tirade on the “sausage principal,” it’s now the greatest FIFA bashing piece out there and must-see TV. The overall refereeing was atrocious and as mentioned before, seemed to push the hosts forward. There was biting, a broken back, and so many dives Greg Louganis shut it off. On the other hand, I don’t know how you write a script for a few of these unless they got an A-list Hollywood screenwriter on board. Germany was clinical and precise, as expected, but they had their scares too. Algeria looked good and made them work. But oh what a gorgeous Goetze goal to make them World Cup Champions for the fourth time. I enjoyed Holland and Chile quite a bit (honestly thought Chile had Brazil). That Van Persie header is one of the sickest goals I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen thousands at this point. Australia surprised me and put on a great show with that Cahill goal. My favorite story though, the one that just seems impossible to script, is Costa Rica.
They were like the little engine that could and almost did. I couldn’t believe my eyes as the Ticos brought down Copa giants and former two-time winners Uruguay and four-time winners Italy and then played former winner England with their B TEAM, because they had already won the group. WON A GROUP WITH 3 FORMER WORLD CUP WINNERS?! Incredible David and Goliath narrative. While Brazil was vexame e vergonha, utter humiliation for the team of one of my passports, I was quite proud of my other team representing my other passport: the U.S. Though they left earlier than Brazil, I’d argue they had a more successful campaign. They played much tougher teams earlier and battled hard to earn that berth to the next round. Not to mention they lost 1-0 to Germany; not 7-1, 1-nil. While the future looks grim for Brazil, it looks quite bright for Klinsman and his young stars. The CONCACAF confederation was outstanding and had their best ever World Cup. In any case, these are the stories and battles you’ve heard about and watched on TV.
Then there are the real battles outside the white elephant stadium “Green Zones” that have received less coverage. The Shock Doctrine of Sport is nothing new with FIFA and mega-events like the World Cup or the Olympics, but with over 11 billion spent this Cup and none of it going to the average Brazilians (see my earlier article on ludicrous financial planning and management), Brazil has reacted in ways we’ve only hoped, but have never before seen. We all saw those incredible mass protests last summer during the Confederations Cup over the displacement of people and destruction of favelas, the rise of the security state, and the absurd amount of expenditure of taxpayer money and incredible profit flowing to FIFA, CBF, and Brazilian politicians while millions of Brazilians lacked basic necessities. “FIFA quality healthcare” became one of the rallying cries. In response, the military and police crackdowns once the actual World Cup began have been extremely violent, perhaps the worst in the history of mega-events.
I’ve been posting and following a lot of the protests and movements outside of the stadiums since last year’s Confederations Cup. I still have a few contacts from my student (black bloc) days in São Paulo and my family has more direct contacts keeping up with the oppression on the streets. My friend and journalism guru, Dave Zirin of The Nation/Edge of Sports, has done outstanding work on the ground in Rio. If you still haven’t read his book Brazil’s Dance With the Devil, change that immediately. People have wondered why they haven’t seen any protests during the Cup. Were people satisfied and done protesting? Did they give up and decide to just watch the games and shut up? Not on your life. Two things: first, a total sports media blackout of anything outside the stadiums was put into effect by corporate media. Next, each host city fully militarized a two mile perimeter around each stadium creating eerily similar circumstances to the Occupied Territories in Palestine, not to mention the arming of the police and military Robocops by Israeli defense contractors and drones flying overhead, was keeping the tourists in and the local population out. There were more troops throughout host cities in Brazil than U.S. military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan combined, which greatly decreased the numbers on the streets during the World Cup. The fear is that the occupation and militarization of Brazil is anything but temporary bringing back frightening memories of the former military dictatorship in the country.
I can’t possibly go through everything that happened while we were watching the matches. What I can do, is post links that will help to show the “man behind the curtain” and show bits of the real stories that few in the mainstream were covering (I was amazed to see this from an ESPN reporter). Firstly, check out Revolution-News. I have one degree of separation from someone working with Midia Ninja, anarchist street reporters, that have been doing an amazing job covering the protests and especially the police repression (risking their butts) and posting on Revolution-News. I watched one such march and police response live on Revolution-News via Midia Ninja and was pissed off and saddened by what was happening. Zirin returned to Brazil (and got tear gassed) and had some more great insights. His blog in general is a must on these and other sports and politics related topics. If you’re short on time and can only read one piece; read this by Zirin. Global Exchange has also been running a blog by former professional MLB player and Brazil-loving guy Derek Poppert.
These are some places to get you started, but keep digging, and get out the truth out of what has and is happening behind the scenes of the World Cup. Just a day before the final, for example, a preemptive round-up of activists and journalists in Rio was leaked. I love my futebol, but FIFA, the OIC, and the other huge sports organizations that mate with local and national governments and their police and military powers for these mega-events need to be reformed, or better yet, abolished. I believe the momentum will not stop as the 2016 Olympic plans now kick into gear. I believe there is a strong possibility that as the Brazilian conscience continues to grow surrounding what has happened with the World Cup, there is a possibility the citizens of Rio can even kick out the IOC within the next two years. The great irony here, is that as I rant about my motherland far away in Brazil, my actual city is currently under police “security”as it hosts the MLB All-Star Game. When will it end? It’s up to us queridos. Punho no ar/Fist in the air!