As the conflict between Coast Salish Nation and oil companies like Shell and BP escalates, Indian tribes of Northwest Washington and Southwest British Columbia face a tsunami of proposed developments to add railroad infrastructure, refining capacity, and shipping terminals. But if Congress repeals the 30-year ban on US crude oil export, all bets are off in the Salish Sea fossil fuel export war. If litigation and lobbying fail to halt this insanity, the tribes and their supporters might find themselves in an ethical quandary; will they countenance sabotage, or will they content themselves with being sore losers?
History offers one example of tribal peoples successfully defeating an empire by disrupting rail service, but that only happened thanks to T. E. Lawrence and the Arab Bureau.
Ideological predecessors of the Tea Party, like the John Birch Society and the White Citizens Councils, mounted fierce resistance to racial equality in the United States. Their opposition to integration of public schools and transportation in the 1950s and 1960s Civil Rights Movement could be described as nothing short of terrorism.
Today, that fierce racism of white supremacy plays out in other venues where John Birch Society and the Tea Party jointly oppose universal human rights advocated by the Indigenous Peoples Movement. One can easily track their direct influence within state-level organizations like Republican Liberty Caucus.
As white supremacy affinity organizations like Citizens Equal Rights Alliance promote termination of American Indian tribes, Tea Party, John Birch Society and Republican Liberty Caucus ideologues bring sixty years of experience in organizing hate campaigns to the racist alliance. More sophisticated than the hooded Klan of yesteryear, these modern white supremacists hide behind concocted legalisms and outdated notions of American society.
As traditional American liberals find themselves confronted by modern organized racism, it is tempting for them to resort to customary practices of diplomacy, compromise and negotiation. The problem with this well-meaning but wrongheaded approach is, What’s to negotiate?
With the liberal reforms of the 1950s-1970s long over, indeed annihilated by Reagan/Bush, the conservative investment in a white supremacy revival via the Tea Party, Religious Right and GOP is harvesting the fruits of judicial appointments like U.S. Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia. One reason the Indigenous Peoples Movement in the US is steering away from the courts, and seeking diplomatic initiatives between the National Congress of American Indians and the Obama administration.
Since the liberal elite is rightly seen as hypocritical by both human rights adherents and white supremacists, the conservative elite has an advantage. There is no grassroots liberal counterpart to the Tea Party. The liberal grassroots rarely organizes for power; the conservative grassroots does nothing but. Exploring common ground with violent racists is more of that nonsensical diplomacy with people who are dead set to destroy them and their values. An examination of history shows it never works.
Liberal values have to be fought for, which means opposing conservative values, embraced since Reagan by the liberal elite. Thus, acolytes of Reagan, like Obama, and neoliberals like Hillary are unreliable allies of the liberal grassroots. Meanwhile, the conservative grassroots is a frenzied hate machine pushing the GOP toward values of the Confederacy. All of which means grassroots liberals need an organizing strategy, not a mission statement.
Cambridge University’s money-laundering for a Ukrainian oligarch with ties to Russian gangsters is the most fun we’ve had since former President Clinton’s foundation got in bed with the daughter of the Uzbek president known for boiling his opponents alive. Now it seems the wife of said Ukraine crook, wanted for extradition by the FBI, is hobnobbing with British royalty.
Can a new Coen brothers movie be far behind?
The Wise Use Movement of industry-sponsored violence against environmentalists and indigenous peoples is a fascist movement. Like the racist fascists and the theocratic fascists, Wise Use fascists deploy intimidation and thuggery as standard operating procedures. Sometimes, Wise Use fascists combine with or complement racist and theocratic fascists to achieve their goals. This appears to be the case with Pacific International Terminals, Citizens Equal Rights Alliance, and the Tea Party.
As a rationalization of theft, fascism in America incorporates much more than the Minutemen and Tea Parties; while these white supremacy factions of fascism are especially repugnant, the rationalization of theft found in the neoliberal privatization project is far more lethal in terms of scope and numbers. While Wise Use fascists might be uncomfortable with Christian Patriot fascists, their mutual willingness to use violence to maintain power and privileges based on wealth or race make them natural allies.
Excusing Wise Use because they are not racists or theocrats is common, but racist and theocratic fascism cannot be defeated by cuddling up to Wall Street fascists. One has to be against fascism in all its forms, or not at all.
The Wise Use/Tea Party threat noted in my editorial Gateway Pacific Terminal Consultant Threatens Journalists exposes how ruthless Wise Use and racist fascism can be, and foreshadows the potential for fascist violence if not circumscribed by the moral sanction of progressive religious leaders and the beloved communities that have fought fascism in the United States since Mississippi Freedom Summer fifty years ago.
As the iconic folksinger hero Woody Guthrie once remarked, “This fight against fascism gotta start right here.”