dean-rusk

Black Panthers vs. “Co-opting” struggles

From Black Against Empire:

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The Party also keenly understood that the Black Liberation Struggle needed nonblack allies, particularly progressive white allies. An editorial in the Black Panther explained why this alliance was important: The increasing isolation of the black radical movement from the white radical movement was a dangerous thing, playing into the power structure’s game of divide and conquer. We feel that in taking the step of making the coalition with the Peace and Freedom Party, we have altered the course of history on a minor, but important level.”

From its inception, the Black Panther Party had embraced both an uncompromising commitment to black liberation and a principled rejection of a separatist black politics. The coalition with the Peace and Freedom Party, which a number of black nationalists criticized, illustrated both. Explaining the Party’s position to its expanding black base was critical. “Because our Party has the image of an uncompromising stand against the oppression of the white power structure on Black people, we could take this step without getting shot down with the charge of selling out.”

As the Black Panther Party promoted the “Free Huey!” campaign, it built on emerging alliances with students and white antiwar activists, advancing an anti-imperialist political ideology that linked the oppression of antiwar protestors to the oppression of blacks and Vietnamese. Bobby Seale elaborated this position at a January 28, 1968, rally at UC Berkeley supporting students who had been arrested during Stop the Draft Week. Citing Newton’s article “On the Functional Definition of Politics,” Seale spoke to the crowd about self-defense power and the parallels between the Vietnamese and the black American liberation struggles. He pointed out that the antidraft students were locked up right alongside Huey Newton in the Alameda County jail. He made common cause with the students, arguing that the antiwar demonstrators faced a plight like that of the black community:

Black people have protested police brutality. And many of you thought we were jiving, thought we didn’t know what we were talking about, because many Black people in the community probably couldn’t answer your questions articulately. But now you are experiencing this same thing. When you go down in front of the draft [board], when you go over and you demonstrate in front of Dean Rusk, those pig cops will come down and brutalize your heads just like they brutalized the heads of black people in the black community. We are saying now that you can draw a direct relationship that is for real and that is not abstract anymore: you don’t have to abstract what police brutality is like when a club is there to crush your skull; you don’t have to abstract what police brutality is like when there is a vicious service revolver there to tear your flesh; you can see in fact that the real power of the power structure maintaining its racist regime is manifested in its occupying troops, and is manifested in its police department—with guns and force.

The new approach to draft resistance was compelling because of its universality. The black anti-imperialism championed by SNCC compared the plight of blacks in the United States with the plight of the Vietnamese and others throughout the world who were waging struggles against colonialism and imperialism. At SNCC’s invitation, student antiwar activists came to see themselves as fighting for their own liberation from the American empire. The imperial machinery of war that was inflicting havoc abroad was forcing America’s young to kill and die for a cause many did not believe in. Young activists came to see the draft as an imposition of empire on themselves just as the war was an imposition of empire on the Vietnamese.

SDS leader Greg Calvert encapsulated this emerging view in the idea of “revolutionary consciousness” in a widely influential speech at Princeton University that February. Arguing that students themselves were revolutionary subjects, Calvert sought to distinguish radicals from liberals, and he advanced “revolutionary consciousness” as the basis for a distinct and superior morality: “Radical or revolutionary consciousness … is the perception of oneself as unfree, as oppressed—and finally it is the discovery of oneself as one of the oppressed who must unite to transform the objective conditions of their existence in order to resolve the contradiction between potentiality and actuality. Revolutionary consciousness leads to the struggle for one’s own freedom in unity with others who share the burden of oppression.” 

The speech marked a watershed in the New Left’s self-conception. Coming to see itself as part of the global struggle of the Vietnamese against American imperialism and the black struggle against racist oppression, the New Left rejected the status quo as fundamentally immoral and embraced the morality of revolutionary challenge. From this vantage point, the Vietnam War was illegitimate, and draft resistance was an act of revolutionary heroism.

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How different the discourse of the Black Panthers is from much of today’s activism, with its concerns for “co-opting” struggles, for parsing actions down to discrete authentic groups, for emphasizing the special and distinct nature of each struggle, incommensurable with any other group’s oppression, even when they are locked up in the same cells.

The revolutionaries of a previous generation thought exactly the opposite: the struggle must broaden, and the way to do that was to identify common oppressions, and further, to identify oneself as oppressed. This absolutely did not mean co-optation – the Black Panthers never abandoned black liberation, they simply understood that it would require a global revolutionary movement uniting many oppressed people against racist imperialism. They aligned with other groups who were on board with these politics – which meant breaking ties with reformist black organizations. The authors also stress how the Black Panthers actually led the antiwar movement: they pioneered draft resistance tactics, and agitated on college campuses, emboldening a moribund student left.

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Does there exist any old Korean map which depicted Takeshima/Dokdo? (by GloriousJapanForever)

This territorial dispute between Japan and South Korea over Takeshima(Dokdo) is quite simple.

1. There is no historical fact that Korea had ever exercised any “effective control” over the islets prior to 1905.
2. Japan officially incorporated the islets in 1905 strictly following the procedures prescribed in the International law.
3. After the WW2, the Allies determined that Takeshima/Dokdo should remain as Japanese territory in the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1951.
4. Though the South Korean government had been informed of the determination by the U.S. government in those diplomatic documents like “Rusk documents”, they ignored this international determination and started occupying the islets illegally from 1952.

Korea killed over 50 Japanese people back in ’50s when they took over the island belonged to Japan for long time. Korea escapes from a dispute at the international UN court over the teritorial conflict since they know Korea shall be lost.

Recalling a trip to India and Pakistan with her sister, Lee Radziwill, in 1962, Mrs. Kennedy says she was so appalled by what she considered to be the gaucherie of the newly appointed United States ambassador to Pakistan, Walter McConaughy, that before even completing her descent from the Khyber Pass, she wrote a letter to her husband alerting him to “what a hopeless ambassador McConaughy was for Pakistan, and all the reasons and all the things I thought the ambassador should be.”

She even named possible replacements.

“And Jack was so impressed by that letter,” she tells Mr. Schlesinger, that he showed it to Dean Rusk, the secretary of state (whom Mrs. Kennedy disparages as apathetic and indecisive). According to her account, Mr. Kennedy said to Mr. Rusk, “This is the kind of letter I should be getting from the inspectors of embassies.”

JFK’s & LBJ’s Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the mid 60′s when Frances President Charles De Gaulle decided to pull out of NATO.  De Gaulle said he wanted all US Military out of France as soon as possible.

Rusk responded “Does that include those who are buried here?“

Photo - US cemetery in Normandy, France where 10,000 Americans are buried.