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Yet with a steady beat

” . . . no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” Friedrich Nietzsche

  • Fall Draft
  • “The points of contention in my complaint are not about whether or not the glass is half-full or half-empty; they are about the dirtiness of the water in that symbolic glass.” Tom States

  • The Survey
  • “The survey will request information from various communities LGBT, YorkU, CUPE, Law Enforcement etc.” Tom States
     

    Collective Action: A Privileged Equilibrium of Power

    In the United States and Canada the special rights, immunities and exemptions that Mexican Kleptocrats attach to their person are disembodied. As non-state actors these foreign nationals can influence public and private entities nationally and internationally through collective action that incarnates their privilege. Kleptocratic non-state actors weaponize collective action by adopting devices and techniques of social engineering for purposive acts of ventriloquy. Ventriloquizing our body politic to articulate the transgressive narratives of Kleptocratic state sponsored privilege subverts our policies, organizations, speech, rules, norms, values, identities, statues etc.

    To take action against persons and entities outside of Mexico, Kleptocrats rely on the form of collective action that employs ventriloquy and comprehensive social engineering tactics. Their aim is to dictate how our society treats them and their adversaries. This kind of collective action requires agency of a specific privilege. It is the state sponsored privilege of Kleptocrats. As non-state actors, Kleptocrats seek to reproduce their state sponsored privilege in Canada and the United States by subverting and manipulating our institutions, organizations, laws, customs, and principles.

    “Mississippi Goddamn”: ‘Religious Liberty Act’

    In 1964, a year after Philip A. Gunn, current Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representative, was born the Klu Klux Klan beat several members of the Mt. Zion Methodist Church before burning their church to the ground. The Klan was looking for two ‘outside agitators’ and their local black accomplice. Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney were not there that night. Several months later, however, the three men were detained by Mississippi law enforcement and handed over to the Klan. They were shot to death and buried in an earthen dam a few miles from Mt. Zion Methodist Church.

    The concept of an ‘outside agitator’, at the time, signified persons and organizations from outside of the state of Mississippi working with collaborators within the state to restructure social relations. With the introduction of House Bill No. 1523, Speaker Gunn has lived to usher in a welcomed collaboration with ‘outside agitators’. The ‘outside agitators’ that have enlisted Speaker Gunn as their local accomplice are groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Based in Arlington, Virgina, this organization and organizations like them draft and share model state-level legislation like House Bill No. 1523 introduced as the “Religious Liberty Accommodations Act.”

    By the time House Bill No. 1523 reached Governor Phil Bryant’s desk it had done a ‘David Duke’. The blunt language of bigotry had been stripped down to the legal vocabulary of discrimination that the State of Mississippi practically invented. So as not to arouse the suspicion of lesser minds, the “Religious Liberty Act” was renamed “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act”.By the time House Bill No. 1523 reached Governor Phil Bryant desk it had done a ‘David Duke’. The blunt language of bigotry had been stripped down to the legal vocabulary of discrimination that the State of Mississippi practically invented. So as not to arouse the suspicion of lesser minds, the “Religious Liberty Act” was renamed “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act”. It appears that the sincerely held “moral convictions” of the Mississippi Legislators that introduced and sponsored House Bill No. 1523 loss some of their courage when it came to passing and singing the legislation. Let us consider House Bill No. 1523 as Speaker Gunn submitted to the Mississippi House of Representatives and as it was passed by the House.

    My McCallie Black History

    Twenty-eight years ago, I asked what McCallie was doing to celebrate Black History Month. There were no formal plans or events. Students of color upon request had the option of being excused to attend a ceremony or commemoration of black history. Sitting in class at a private secondary school nestled on Missionary Ridge, a former Confederate strong hold known as the “Gateway to the lower South” (1863), was in itself a personal celebration of black history. One hundred and twenty-five years before I arrived, Maj. General William T. Sherman dislodge the Rebels and began his March to the Sea laying waste and setting fire to everything in his path. Sitting in a house bequeath to surviving members of our family known to her as former slaves and free born, my great grandmother neared the end of her twilight in Minter City, MS. Founded almost 20 years after she was born, The McCallie School (est. 1905), nuanced the meaning of Black History Month for me. Black History Month became and remains for me the remembrance and the reflection of the many times that ‘dawn’ appeared on ‘the edge of darkness’ along the many journeys from slavery to freedoms. During Black History Month at McCallie I recognized an opportunity to share moments of shared history. Now some years later, in celebration of Black History Month, I would like to share with you a few aspects of my personal black history that McCallie’s community of students, teachers, host parents, administrators and alumni made and continue to make possible.

    Shortness of Breath

    There are entire sets of personal, social, economic and institutionalized pathologies of power that would have to be unraveled if ‘racism’ disappeared tomorrow. More to the point without referencing the historical sedimentation of these ingrained power-narratives, police brutality would be an incomprehensible ‘effect’ with a fathom ’cause’. In other words, police brutality would be what it is in Friedersdorf’s thinking, a set of problems that can be solved if you don’t think about ‘racism’ too much. After all, a key component of ‘whiteness’ is the effortless expectations of the realness of certain possibilities churning silently in the background as ‘whiteness’ listens intently for the echo of a historically refined and calibrated ego attributed to the self-made man.

    eracewords

    The Roberts Court

    Today the Court fashions a dagger out of ’40-years of facts’ dating back to the Civil Rights Movement and hands it to a dysfunctional Congress thereby affording the House of Representatives the power of inaction to kill the Voting Rights Act. This tactic of poisoning the well of progress to quench thirsts of freedom, justice and equality goes as far back as the legacy of current efforts to limit and to curtail the exercise of the franchise. Following the lead of the Court many States and locals are now revising their Jim Crow tactics to nullify the voting power of persons whose lives have been colored by differences of race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, faiths and ethnicities. Not all change is progress, especially when the persons and interests opposed to that change remain in their intent and purpose the same.

    What is Identity?

    The one that is common sense to most people is the concept of the individual that expresses the individual in terms of an independence from the set of social relations in which each person is embedded. Here, distinct individuals emerge when human beings are defined against society. Featured in this understanding of the individual is some aspect of the individual that has to be preserved and protected from society or social interests. Key to this understanding of the individual is a potential threat that society poses to some aspect of an individual’s existence. This ‘threat assessment‘ is a determining factor in how some groups and persons identify themselves. They recognize and respond to ‘the other’ as a threat.

    The eRace War

    If you are reading this, you have seen, heard, read and or met an advocate of imposing the private passions of a ‘closed group’ on the general public. The number one thing thwarting their efforts is a general public organized around principles that undermined them. The key aspect at this moment in the evolution of intolerance is the determination and the desire of right wing extremist to shred the democratic processes that sustain the body politic incubating threats to their way of life. Their way of life can only be preserved and protected by eradicating ways of life and pursuits of happiness appertaining the life and lives coloured by difference. To save us from ourselves and the freedom for which they say they fight, when will more than a hand full of them be willing to give your way of life for their ‘God and Country’?

    Apples of Fools Gold

    What principle and general truth did Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia speak to from the bench of the highest court in our land during oral argument in Shelby County v. Holder? What society or part of our society was he representing when he uttered, among others, these words; “Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes”. Was he talking about the conditions of servitude that necessitated a Civil War to water ‘the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants’ then almost a hundred years later with the blood of patriots at the vanguard of a Civil Rights Movement? If not, his words were neither ‘fitly spoken’ or ‘apples of gold’ but rather grotesquely spoken and ‘apples of fools gold’ .

    Difference

    Like eRacism ‘The Color of Water’ is not about skin color. It is an autobiographical portrait of a ‘colored’ life. In it McBride the offspring of a Southern black man and a white Jewish woman asks his mother, ‘what color is God?’ His mother tells him that ‘God is the color of water.’ The wisdom of this answer is that it analogizes the substance of difference with an element that makes up sixty percent of every human being without regard for the ways in which we are different. Difference like water is not only an essential component of human being it is a persisting process of accidental and necessary social interactions, colonialism and slavery among them, that defines who we are and are becoming.

    Curriculum Vitae

    Tom L. States PhD Candidate

    Fields of Interest: Political Theory, International Relations, Marxist Political Economy

    Research Topic: eRacism - Conflicts of Difference

    Education History: Williams College, BA Political Science; New York University, MA Politics; York University PhD Candidate

    Languages: English, German

    Hometown: Greenwood, Mississippi

    Words of Wisdom: “IT” is what you are when you are young. Your youth mistakes certainty of the few things that you think you know for knowledge of things that it takes a life time to understand. With time and a few life experiences “IT” becomes the thing you pursue to give your life meaning. Somewhere along the way of having or getting “IT” you ask yourself, ‘Is this “IT”? Panic sets in when you realize that “IT” is your life. Fear and insecurity is that feeling you get when “IT” has not been worth a life time.

    Bookshelf

    Harvey, David. Justice, Nature, and the Geography of Difference. New York: Longman, 1996.

    Fanon, Frantz. Black Skin White Masks. Trans. Charles Lam Markmann. New York: Grove Press. 1967.

    Cancian, Francesca M. Gender Politics: Love and Power in the Private and Public Spheres. Gender and the Life Course. Ed. Alice S. Rossi. New York: Aldine, 1985.

    Sand, Shlomo. The Invention of the Jewish People. New York: Verso, 2009.

    Lay, Shawn. The Invisible Empire In The West: Toward a New Historical Appraisal of the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920's. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2004.

    Journal

    Carothers, Thomas. Think Again: Civil Society. Foreign Policy Date, (Winter: 1999-2000).

    Ober, Josiah. The original meaning of "democracy": Capacity to do things, not majority rule. Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics. American Political Science Association meetings, Philadelphia, (2006).