Days of Future Ferguson

I finally saw X-Men: Days of Future Past at our local close-to-DVD-release cheap theater that we South Minneapolitans all love, The Riverview. I loved it. I knew a few of the main comics discrepancies beforehand, but they didn’t bother me. It was gripping, the effects were sick, and I for me personally, I’m not sure there’s a limit to great acting performances once Lawrence and Fassbender hit the screen in damn near everything they do. All of that said, once I was waiting for the credits and the usual Marvel post-flick teaser, I started thinking about something else: Ferguson, MO.

I was glad, in a way, that I waited and saw it when I did. With all of the tragedy revolving around Ferguson, it reminded me why I got into the X-Men as a kid in the first place: the fight for equality and the celebration of diversity in a dogmatically intolerant world. Stan Lee knew exactly what he was doing when he created these characters surrounded by the Civil Rights Movement. The impact was also powerful and instantaneous on a brown multilingual transnational kid trying to make sense of shit in a white Midwestern town in the 90s. In addition, I had a science teacher that said I had a genetic mutation in my tendons in my wrist, so you know, that didn’t set me off fantasizing or anything. No tendon powers so far.

On one hand, I cry and get enraged with events like this as a person of color and a parent of children of color. On the other hand, having studied capitalism and it’s most refined evolutionary state, fascism, it’s sadly no surprise these terrible things keep happening. Mumia Abu Jamal said something like, while good people can be cops, nobody should be surprised that hateful racist arrests, beatings, and murders by police continue to happen because the entire historical system of policing is forever tied to the protection of capitalists’ capital. We all know how things break down around ethnicity and skin color along these lines. The point is, while perhaps it has gotten better, we are talking about a systemic disease. Changes to policing can happen for centuries, and have, but as long as capitalism exists, there is only so much progress that can happen and Michael Browns, Trayvon Martins, and the daily deaths of unarmed black and brown people will continually happen.

I’ll try not to spoil, but towards the end of the movie, Mystique makes her choice. A future world of war, intolerance, and genocide disappears to be replaced by something beautiful and ideal where mutants and humans coexist. We have a lot to learn from these fictional characters. How many one step forward, two steps back situations must we stupid and stubborn animals endure? Whether in policing, in military aggression, in politics, in religion, and so on, when will we start talking about the system at the root of it all? And when will we realize we’re all connected and sink or swim together? I was inspired by the  Holocaust survivors’ words and actions between Gaza and Ferguson where the woman actually rocked her Franti Stay Human shirt. I realize the “one race: human” ideal seems too much for the world as it is, but we have to set a bar and dream. Someone once had a dream. We have many real life X-Men, past and present, you readers may be among them. May they save us from a future like the one shown in the film that I don’t even want to think about. Punho no ar, fist in the air.








Connecting the top 3 current events via the F Bomb

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.