Not Many Sides

Spreading the word from someone who was there. Don’t fall for false equivalency. Self-defense doesn’t mean that “all sides” are responsible for violence. Disclaimer: I don’t personally know Sonya Knox. I’ve only seen a few video clips of the alt-right attacks on counter-protestors because I still have to be careful about my blood pressure. So on the validity of this particular witness account I’ll say “maybe” until I learn more. Please feel free to suggest good sources of information. “got this from Sonya E M Knox. Please read & circulate, stories not really being reported: From a (verified) source who was on the ground at Charlottesville.” (If you want to share, please copy-paste.) —– “I rarely post politics or anything else on Facebook …. But let me be clear. I was acting as a medic in Charlottesville. “Both sides”-ing about it is absolutely unacceptable. Content note: I’m going to get quite graphic here, because while I understand that there’s quite a range of political viewpoints among my Facebook friends, I want to *get this point through to everyone whatever your politics*. In the run-up to that weekend, some local counterprotest organizers’ families were forced to flee their homes because of violent threats. Some of them had “bodyguards” – friends escorting them everywhere they went that week, even to the grocery store, work, all the mundane places that people go in their normal lives. “On Friday night, a torch-wielding mob chanting Nazi and other racist slogans (e.g. “blood and soil,” “Jews will not replace us”), some doing Nazi salutes, surrounded, screamed “White lives matter” and “anti-white” at, a small group of college student counterprotesters who had linked arms around a statue and had a banner. They then threw fuel at them, beat them with lit torches, pepper-sprayed them, and punched them (including pepper-spraying a girl in a wheelchair). The police mostly stood by until the nazis were gone. A medic who was wearing a kippah (a Jewish skullcap) was followed in the dark by one of the nazis, and took it off after that so as not to be targeted. A university librarian who joined the students to try to protect them has now had a stroke. At some point that evening, the torch-wielders also surrounded a black church while chanting racist slogans. All of this not only hurt people that night but set expectations for how the white nationalists would behave the next day. “On Saturday morning, a line of clergy, along with a gradually growing group of other protesters, showed up outside the nazi rally (given the iconography, including swastikas, the Black Sun, and fasces, and the chants, of involved groups, I don’t have a problem using that word, don’t let anyone fool you into thinking these were mainstream conservative groups that are being described hyperbolically), facing militia movement members who were carrying assault rifles. There was shouting back and forth, and a small early fistfight where a nazi punched a nearby counterprotester who spilled coffee on him. Nazis were screaming antisemitic things at rabbis in the clergy line, and chanting “blood and soil” in response to the clergy singing “This little light of mine.” At one point, some clergy did a peaceful blockade of one of the park entrances, which was forcibly broken by an incoming white nationalist group with skulls painted on their shields. The heavy bidirectional fighting, though, mostly got going after a group of counterprotesters nonviolently blocked the way of an oncoming group of white nationalists, who broke through the blockade with clubs and heavy shields. Some people defended themselves as the white nationalists kept charging and swinging clubs. After that, there were fistfights and club-fights breaking out all around, nazis pepper-spraying and tear-gassing counterprotest crowds, plastic water bottles thrown in both directions. A nazi group that didn’t know where the entrance to the park was added to the street fights. Some clergy ran to shield vulnerable people with their bodies, and those clergy were protected by antifa-associated counterprotesters – multiple clergy/theologians have said that they would have been “crushed” and maybe killed if antifa had not protected them. This went on for a long time. For most of this, the police stood around. Eventually, they cleared both sides out of the area. “The town’s synagogue is a short distance from the park. Throughout the day, nazis paraded by it doing the Nazi salute and shouting antisemitic slurs. The police had refused to provide a guard to the synagogue for some reason, so it had hired its own armed guard. There were threats of burning it down coming in. It had to cancel a havdalah service at a congregant’s house that evening out of fear of attack. “The march that was attacked with a car by James Fields was that afternoon. What street fighting had happened was long-since over by then. It was a happy march, it was not fighting anyone. The car attack came out of nowhere and the aftermath looked like a war zone. It hit the front of the march as the march was going around a corner, and many people weren’t sure what had happened at first, people were screaming about a bomb. In addition to the woman who died, many people had serious injuries. A medic who was hit had to have emergency surgery to not lose her leg. A 13 year-old girl and her mom were among the injured. The street was covered in blood. The firefighters and paramedics were great. The police, on the other hand, rolled in an armored vehicle and threatened the crowd of survivors with a tear gas launcher. Police officers ordered the medics who were performing CPR on the woman who died to leave her and clear the area. They refused, and bystanders negotiated with the police to leave them alone. “There were several other incidents throughout the afternoon where white nationalists/nazis/whatever were menacing small groups of wandering counterprotesters with their cars, swerving toward them on the sidewalk like they were going to hit them, that kind of thing, including after the car attack. At one point my medic buddy and I were about 50 feet ahead of such a group and heard screeching car sounds and screams, and ran back, thinking for a second that there had been another terrorist attack and that this time we were the only medics on site, but fortunately it was just a scare – the driver then “rolled coal” (intentionally emitting a dark cloud of exhaust) at the people on the sidewalk before driving away. There was also an incident at some point where a young black man was badly beaten by white nationalists in a parking garage. “There is no “both sides” here. I mean, first of all, there is no moral both sides because antifascists and nazis aren’t morally the same, period. Disrupting nazis isn’t the same as being one, period. But there was also no “both sides” even beyond that. Mutual street fighting primarily kicked off by an attack from the opposing side, doesn’t compare to mowing people down with a car, to threatening a synagogue and a black church, to stalking someone for being visibly Jewish, to being part of a Nazi-slogan-screaming mob that surrounds and attacks peaceful college kids and could have easily killed one of them if the fuel thrown on a couple of them had been lit by one of the many thrown or swung torches. “Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking the Saturday rally was starting out just a rally like others, but with racist assholes. The people organizing counterprotests, whose families had to flee town, would probably take issue with that. The black church and the synagogue, the synagogue congregant who had to cancel a religious/cultural ceremony out of fear, and the ones who had to leave the building in groups out the back entrance to avoid attack, would probably take issue with that. The people who were physically attacked, on Friday night, by those in town for the Saturday rally, would probably take issue with that. “Don’t elide the difference in the questions of whether hate speech should be criminalized, and how communities and their supporters should protect themselves when people who are already threatening to kill them roll into town to rally and then physically attack community members before their rally while the police don’t stop it. Don’t invoke the Civil Rights Movement to elide it, or tsk-tsk people who were on the ground in Cville. The Civil Rights Movement had its Deacons for Defense and Justice, and similar groups. Just as importantly, many of the leading lights of the Civil Rights Movement were murdered. If you think the only valid kind of activism in response to racist hate is martyrdom, you need to at least think through the implications of that belief. “I did not have a good weekend and I have no interest in hearing comments about how, despite everything I saw and everything I said here, you think this is a “both sides” thing. If you find my activism unacceptable you are welcome to unfriend me.”

Chickens Coming Home to Roost

This is NOT our fight? When President Obama was running for office, America attacked him for the words of his pastor, Jeremiah Wright. There was a sermon Minister Wright gave called “The Chicken Comes Home To Roost”. Many in the black community understood the sermon to mean the history of white people will come back to them. In a conversation I had with one of my Latino brothers, he mentioned to me the sermon “The Chicken Comes Home To Roost” In this conversation, we were talking about how the horrible acts of the white culture is now coming back upon white people. In this sermon, Pastor Wright speaks about the horrible history of the white culture. The history of death and destruction the world has faced. From White people coming to America and destroying Native Americans—-to white people stealing Africans and enslaving them here in America. From the moment they were forced to free slaves, white America has calculated every moment to place African Americans at a disadvantage to the rest of American. From dropping bombs in the Middle East, to various invasions in Central America. So here we are today……looking at the events this past weekend in VA. White people are turning on each other…..The Chicken Comes Home to Roost. So is this a battle for people of color? Many of us are asking this very question right now. If you live or have any family members in the South, the KKK meet and rally on a regular basis. We already know there are some parts of this country which are “Klan Country”. So why did this rally strike a nerve? Many people of color are looking at this battle as if we are sitting in Wimbledon and watching Venus battle Serena. Do we step in? What do we say? NOTHING that happened this weekend is new to us. Some of us wonder if the public is involved because of the anti-Semitic cries, or because of the injustice. We find ourselves asking….If this was JUST a Klan rally, would the response form the public be the same? If so, where are all the white people when the Klan still have public events in places like Alabama and Mississippi? Many people of color are standing still. Almost like a PTSD victim who lacks the ability to respond due to the re-introduction to the trauma. Many of us want to confront the problem head on. Some of us are sitting back and saying I am not getting involved at all. But one thing many people of color do know—–What Trump has said is something MANY white people feel inside, but just will not say it out loud. How do we know this…..because NOTHING will be said or done about his comments. We can all sit on social media and complain, the media can talk about it for the next 2 weeks—NOTHING will happen to this man. Many of us are now placing private bets almost one another as to when we will hear him say “nigger”. That is coming soon. So, many people of color are sitting back and wondering—Is this our fight? Is this a fight we need or want to take on? Will this fight save our children from being killed in the streets by police officers? Will this point out the members of these horrible groups that ARE police officers? Will this change the murder rate in Chicago? Will this address is high unemployment rate for people of color? So we sit silence, as the Chicken Comes Home to Roost

Things A Leftist Isn’t Allowed to Say

Here’s Laurel Brett’s latest: ” Things a Leftist Isn’t Allowed to Say” My Face book page delivers someone asking why we Hillary bitches won’t just let 2016 go and get behind Bernie in 2020. Like why are you even writing this fucked piece they would want to know. And why don’t you reserve this stuff for the Trumpers? I have been called a bitch, a cunt, a JAP, a neoliberal (apparently the worst thing you can call another person), a war monger, a cow, a sow, and had my life threatened on many occasions. That threat is nothing new for me. I first had my life threatened at 3 a.m. on the telephone in 1982 while a women’s crisis center worker for not giving an angry husband the address of his abused wife’s safe house. And that motherfucker knew where I lived. So I’m not scared, but that doesn’t mean I like it. Why don’t I reserve my Face book arguments for Trumpers? To battle the Trump administration I don’t bother with his Face book minions. Instead, I contact legislative aides calling offices to protest legislative agendas. I send postcards. I attend rallies. I battle actual initiatives. I don’t see many Trumpers on Face book. As a Jewish New Yorker I don’t have Trump supporters in the family members I regularly communicate with and none have friended me. We do have a group, Let’s Go Visit Lee Zeldin, who is our representative to Congress, and I sometimes find myself fruitlessly arguing with him and an occasional rant that someone on our side has posted. But I’ve had many friends on the Bernie side of the primary, and many members of the Resistance, which to me are the HRC warriors, post the constant pieces that still blame Hillary Clinton for too many undesired consequences to catalogue as if she, and not a Putin-Trump alliance had detailed a Democratic victory. I am not a very prominent Bernie opponent, though I have lost at least two friends to my opposition as well as membership in a closed chat room I’d been a member of for ten years. I wasn’t exactly booted out, but the ire of a very important personage and the lack of support from everyone else made it impossible to stay. Still, I usually only engage in anti-Bernie sentiments in response to the frustrations of a Resistance comrade, an egregious rewriting of facts, or another story about the elderly Bernie running for the presidency in 2020 or a strong assertion that had he been the Democratic candidate, he would have won the election. From my occasional remarks and other casual remarks on similar subjects I have learned that there are some things leftists, at least old lady leftists, are not allowed to say without being called the names I began with. To be honest, the first time I was called a bourgeois sow was in 1971 at sit-in at the office of the president of our college. The demonstration was led by a prominent student who had formed his own collective and organized many demonstrations under its aegis. My then live-in boyfriend was up in the president’s office for his first major political event. When it became clear to me that everyone was about to be arrested, I pleaded with him to avoid that since I had no way of getting home unless he drove me, not having procured a driver’s license before I went to college. The organizer, someone I had canoodled with on occasion, called me a bourgeois sow for my unconscionable self-interest. I suppose I was a hopeless bourgeois when I attended my boyfriend’s arraignment and even more bourgeois when I collected money for his bail and gave what I had left over to a general fund for all the defendants. But I digress. The continuing outrage of folks on the left has taught me that there are things leftists can never say. Women who support Hillary Clinton can never react when Bernie or Bust people insist Hillary and her tribe are splitting the party. We can never say that Bernie was the spoiler, not only throwing his hat in the ring but casting aspersions on her competence, ability, motives, and values. Her years of service, her untiring work on behalf of women, children, people of color, veterans and working people count for nothing because her rhetoric was not simplistic and lacking a revolutionary fervor. We can never say that Bernie, not Hillary, cost the Democratic Party the election. If we do, we’re called a dirty name just for voicing the opinion. Former SDS members who fought for peace, social justice, and economic equity our entire adult lives can never say that the Revolution’s ideas are empty rhetoric that has been tried again and again. We have had class revolutions in many places and the results haven’t been pretty and have most often led to political tyranny. We can’t say that HRC’s plans were grounded and that even Tom Hayden in the end decided he had to vote for Hillary. If we do, we’re called a dirty name just for voicing an opinion. Humanitarian mothers who have raised a family cannot say that although we want economic equity we are not in favor of massive social dislocation because we know the suffering it would bring. We can’t say that we want good lives for our children and everyone else’s children. We can’t say that a purity test or dogmatic ideas are sophomoric and lead to faulty conclusions and suffering. If we do, we’re called a dirty name just for voicing an opinion. Mature women who have had multiple jobs and lived complete lives can’t say that the perfect is the enemy of the good – that we’d rather see things change slowly than tear down the house and start from scratch, not because we’re apologists for any system but because we’ve lived long enough to understand human nature, greed, ambition, and meanness of spirit. We are happy when we can get things to improve, and we want things to improve for everyone except the rich. We want them to pay their fair share. We can’t say that the poor we know don’t want a revolution. They want a leg up to provide good lives for their children. If we do, we’re called a dirty name just for voicing an opinion. Nuanced thinkers can’t talk about needing to work with others. We can’t reject a world of white hats and black hats in which there are good people and bad people. We can’t say that negative traits are distributed across the entire socio-economic spectrum. We agree that Citizen’s United, Voter Suppression, Gerrymandering, Big Pharma, unregulated Wall Street, unregulated banks, unregulated industry, lack of health care are horrible conditions but that black and white ideology and simplistic plans won’t fix them for many reasons because if we do, we’re called a dirty name just for voicing an opinion. HRC supporters committed to social justice can’t insist that the lives of people of color, queer people and the reproductive rights of women are as important as the economic rights of working class white men. If we do, we’re called a dirty name for voicing an opinion. Feminists cannot suggest that the press as well as the supporters of the challenger in the Democratic primary have been sexist and biased against Hillary Clinton. We can’t point out that her positions and history have been scrutinized more than any other candidates. We can’t say that her actions speak volumes, and speak far louder than Bernie’s words because if we do we’re called a dirty name for voicing an opinion. Strong gun opponents can’t point out Bernie’s votes against gun control in support of the gun industry. Because if we do we’re called a dirty name just for voicing an opinion. Jews on the left who don’t spout extreme rhetoric can’t condemn the government of Israel while still understanding that Israel needs to exist. We can’t point out the actual history of Israeli-Arab relations. We can’t say that whereas he abhor Netanyahu and the Israeli hard liners and hate the West Bank and Gaza settlements but still sympathize with the Israeli people and Jews around the world still bearing the psychic wound of the Holocaust when half of our people were killed, one of our cultures destroyed, one of our languages annihilated because if we do we’re called very dirty names just for voicing an opinion. As a mature woman fighting political battles since joining SDS at 15 in 1966 I can’t list all the people I’ve met and worked with: William Kunstler, Abbie Hoffman, Gloria Steinem, John Lennon, Helen Caldicott, Bobby Kennedy, Ron Kovic, Bobby Seale, Cesar Chavez. I can’t say that even if other leftists don’t agree with me, my opinions come from love, from struggle, from teaching underprivileged students, immigrants, and minority students at a community college for over 30 years. I can’t say that as an older woman, a feminist, and a Jew I am automatically suspect under the purity tests of the new Young Turks because if I do I’m called a dirty name just for describing my experience.” Laurel Brett (She doesn’t see comments on my posts, so if you want to communicate with her, best is her Medium page @

And Then They Came…

Posted by a friend:

“A few years ago, I was watching a documentary about Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.
At one point during the documentary, they were interviewing a former concentration camp guard.
He was telling of how he was amazed at the disbelief of the Jews that were being led into gas chambers and before firing squads.
He said he heard them murmuring the same phrases over and over… He kept hearing them say, “I can’t believe this is happening”.
“How can this be happening”?
“Why is this happening”?
The guard said that every time he heard them mumbling these questions as they were being led to their deaths, the same response would go through his mind….
“For 10 years we’ve been telling you that we hated you… For ten years we’ve been telling you that we were coming for you… Why didn’t you believe us”?
Think about all the things that this new breed of right wing fanatic, empowered by Trump has said they want to do.
Ban the media.
Purge minorities from the voter rolls.
Turn over absolute power to their Fuhrer.
Commit acts of violence against dissenters.
Target Muslims Americans
Target black Americans
Target LGBTQ Americans
Target Mexican Americans
… And much, much more…
Now ask yourself, are you gonna take them at their word?”

Posted by Craig Turner

Poor,privileged Otto

“Thank you Random Internet Person. I am just as confused as you are.
“On Otto Warmbier:
Of course North Korea is repressive.
Of course they’re wrong.
Of course they’re brutal!
They treated that boy like Sandra Bland!
They treated him like Kalief Browder!
They treated him like Freddy Gray!
They treated him like Levena Johnson!
They treated him like Philando Castille!
They treated him like Walter Scott!
They treated him like Sean Bell!
They treated him like Oscar Grant!
They treated him like Michael Brown!
They treated him like so many hundreds of black men who were disappeared in the Chicago PD’s secret torture chamber.
Kinda sucks, doesn’t it? It’s downright barbaric.
But it’s funny how I don’t remember any tears coming from some who are calling for our tears now when all these people died. NOW they want me to cry though. But “all lives matter”, right?
Otto Warmbeir was breaking the law and I don’t hear any of them calling him a “thug”. But…I thought this was all about “law and order”? What happened to “don’t break the law” and “just comply” and “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time”? Where has all of that gone? Was a moratorium declared on that? Please explain.”
Thanks Sturge Moreland up

Dear White People (again)

WOW <3 <3 <3
“Dear white people, You know how horrible you felt when North Korea killed Otto Warmbier? You know how you kept thinking that could have been your kid? How you went and told stories about that movie Midnight Express and thought about all the stupid mistakes your kid made growing up and thanked God that at least he/she made those mistakes here where they were protected and not in some “foreign country” which did not privilege them? You know how you thought that if only there was some way of warning young people about the dangers of travel to “certain” places it would all be allright? Well that’s the way black and brown people, and maybe SOME who are in solidarity with them (still very much a work in progress) feel when OUR cops working for OUR country killed Philando Castille (and so many more, so very many more) and OUR jury failed to convict except, of course, it isn’t happening in a foreign country. It is happening here and there is nowhere they can go to escape it. They do warn their children with “the talk” and more, but it makes no difference. They can do everything right, just like Philando Castillo and so many others did everything right, and they will still be killed. What is worse, most of their white neighbors and co-workers and, dare I say, friends don’t even see it, let alone care. Until his life matters just as much TO US as Otto’s life, until we are just as outraged by the way our police and our courts and our prisons and our government all conspire to kill black and brown kids, often for nothing, as we are about foreign governments killing white kids for stupidity the horror will continue. So what are you willing to do today? Are you willing to at read this post and give it some thought? Are you willing to ask yourself these questions? Are you willing to talk to your friends and family about it? Don’t go apologizing to black or brown people. They are tired of hearing it. Don’t bother them at all. Bother US. We have work to do in our own families and communities. Let’s get on it.”

Can’t Have

Bev Collier posted:
“We can’t have nothing. Not our skin. Not our peace. Not our sanctuary. Can’t have nothing. Can’t shop, can’t swim, can’t walk home. Can’t pray. Can’t worship. Can’t have candy. Can’t sit in a car with friends with the windows down, bathed in bass. Can’t be a free black girl, free black child, free black boy. Can’t have courtesy. Can’t ask for help. Can’t have nothing. Can’t get the benefit of the doubt. Can’t get called by the names we want to be called. Can’t sit in church, pray in church, have a church, mosque, temple. Can’t have nothing. Can’t have a nice day, Can’t have an uninterrupted ride home. Can’t have a day when you don’t have to look over your shoulder. Can’t have nothing. Can’t have a day where you KNOW without a shadow of a doubt the people you love will come home alive. Can’t. Have. Nothing. Can’t have a day when our everything isn’t in question. Can’t even die without an “assist”. Can’t even have a proper burial. Can’t even have a memorial that goes untouched.
Can’t not be followed. In a store. For a block. For a mile. For a day. For days. For years. For life.
Can’t even get an isolated incident.
Can’t get an acknowledgement that the race card is manufactured, store bought, and made from our skin.
Can’t have nothing.
Can’t be a disappeared black girl found safe and in time.
Can’t get a disappeared black girl’s name read on air.
Can’t have an indictment, conviction, blah, blah, blah.
Can’t have paid leave, unpaid leave,
Can’t have nothing.”
– Derrek Westin Brown.

No Joy

To the Republicans
I feel no glee.
I just don’t want to hear that we need to pay for secret service for each of you because you are in grave danger due to crazies with guns. It was no big deal when those little children were massacred. The citizens of this country begged you for more protection and reasonable laws by making gun owning more difficult. You laughed when our President cried.

When Mrs. Gifford got shot in the head and people were killed on that day, you made it easier to buy guns. You used the opportunity to rally. Your glee was in record sales for the NRA.

I don’t want to hear your whining. You got lucky today. The citizens are not always as lucky as you are. They die at the hands of criminals daily because of you being an enabler.
Evelyn Cook

Feel free to share with credit, please. *From Evelyn Cook.*