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I AM BACK

August 6, 2013

W.E.B Du Bois, “Returning Soldiers,” (The Crisis, XVIII (May, 1919), p. 13.), from:

http://www.yale.edu/glc/archive/1127.htm

We are returning from war! The Crisis and tens of thousands of black men were drafted into a great struggle. For bleeding France and what she means and has meant and will mean to us and humanity and against the threat of German race arrogance, we fought gladly and to the last drop of blood; for America and her highest ideals, we fought in far-off hope; for the dominant southern oligarchy entrenched in Washington, we fought in bitter resignation. For the America that represents and gloats in lynching, disfranchisement, caste, brutality and devilish insult—for this, in the hateful upturning and mixing of things, we were forced by vindictive fate to fight also.

But today we return! We return from the slavery of uniform which the world’s madness demanded us to don to the freedom of civil garb. We stand again to look America squarely in the face and call a spade a spade. We sing: This country of ours, despite all its better souls have done and dreamed, is yet a shameful land.

It lynches.

And lynching is barbarism of a degree of contemptible nastiness unparalleled in human history. Yet for fifty years we have lynched two Negroes a week, and we have kept this up right through the war.

It disfranchises its own citizens.

Disfranchisement is the deliberate theft and robbery of the only protection of poor against rich and black against white. The land that disfranchises its citizens and calls itself a democracy lies and knows it lies.

It encourages ignorance.

It has never really tried to educate the Negro. A dominant minority does not want Negroes educated. It wants servants, dogs, whores and monkeys. And when this land allows a reactionary group by its stolen political power to force as many black folk into these categories as it possibly can, it cries in contemptible hypocrisy: “They threaten us with degeneracy; they cannot be educated.”

It steals from us.

It organizes industry to cheat us. It cheats us out of our land; it cheats us out of our labor. It confiscates our savings. It reduces our wages. It raises our rent. It steals our profit. It taxes us without representation. It keeps us consistently and universally poor, and then feeds us on charity and derides our poverty.

It insults us.

It has organized a nation-wide and latterly a world-wide propaganda of deliberate and continuous insult and defamation of black blood wherever found. It decrees that it shall not be possible in travel nor residence, work nor play, education nor instruction for a black man to exist without tacit or open acknowledgment of his inferiority to the dirtiest white dog. And it looks upon any attempt to question or even discuss this dogma as arrogance, unwarranted assumption and treason.

This is the country to which we Soldiers of Democracy return. This is the fatherland for which we fought! But it is our fatherland. It was right for us to fight. The faults of our country are our faults. Under similar circumstances, we would fight again. But by the God of Heaven, we are cowards and jackasses if now that that war is over, we do not marshal every ounce of our brain and brawn to fight a sterner, longer, more unbending battle against the forces of hell in our own land.

We return.

We return from fighting.

We return fighting.

Make way for Democracy! We saved it in France, and by the Great Jehovah, we will save it in the United States of America, or know the reason why.

.


BEGIN NOW

A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE (2005)

We live in a world made up more of story than stuff. (Jonathan Safran Foer)

I.

And my violence is my story-my spirit as identity that I live in internally as a male; and above all it is a psychology of logic as the true furnace as motor of my way forward in life.

But my violence is a violence of the spirit-of the soul-not in regards to the people or society that as medium I am part of.

This is the story of Du Bois, of Chester Hymes-of Malcom X.

And it is the story of Israel in its relationship as a people with Babylon and Egypt; and in your necessity as a collective group to relate with stronger, more imposing societies for food and sustenance, your stories of uprising, liberation and revolution-because they are in reality, more than anything, a compensation for reality itself-are exactly what keep you alive as a people, in your true identity and independence from that stronger, more imposing other; and it is your violence as story that allows you to be, to affirm yourself collectively in the face of a higher, more abstract form of annihilation.

Because your body-your physical needs and sustenance-belong to that stronger other in your need to physically survive-but that is not what you are.

But real violence is, of course, not an option, for you are the weaker party in this relationship of technical or economic subjugation.

And you survive, on both levels, but more importantly, in your sense of identity where it is truly necessary to defy, to rise up and revolt as story-as an internal, collective psychological narrative of being.

And it is the story of you-or you as collective story in opposition to the stronger other.

And it is a story of violence.

This is the story of human history.

II.

But Du Bois, in his text, embraces, also, the stories of the other, of a Democratic America that he does not see as foreign to himself.

And in the horror he feels towards open civil violence as war, he even identifies with the other’s faults as also his own, for the violence of his logic must also be curtailed and reined in by reason.

But logic as the base to the violence of his soul-of that story that he carries internally-can never be ignored or suppressed.

But we all must live, collectively-all of us-in reason, not just logic, no matter how sharp-cuttingly sharp-that logic is.

And it is hard-a painstaking and tryingly constant effort-to balance the logic of reality and the need to live in reason.

And you live in the danger of the extremes, on both sides.

But ultimately, in the long run, the greater danger is towards accommodation-towards the non-violence of reason that degenerates ultimately into a disguised pretext for denial of logic itself.

Because that logic is painful.

And because acting reasonably on that logic is truly an almost insurmountable effort.

Above all psychologically!

But through accommodation as flight from the pain and monstrosity of truth as logic, reason itself eventually becomes irrationality.

Becomes internal suppression and a profound, deep-seated form of denial at one’s core.

Becomes, finally, annihilation of the spirit-of one’s soul.

But your body will still get you to 7-Eleven for a slice of pizza.

If your body has a job and perhaps a bank account.

Or some other form of procuring money, by asking –or forcing-another body to give it to you.

III.

Du Bois’ father was originally from Haiti and Du Bois probably carried bits and pieces in his own internal narrative of the history of Haiti as part of his own understanding of the story of himself.

Du Bois grew up in the northern town of Great Barrington in the state of Massachusetts;

And above all, Du Bois received a formal and quality education in a racially mixed environment as a child and adolescent.

And both factors, his origin and his education, probably allowed him to forge as he grew older, the spirit of critical independence he represents-if you in fact know who Du Bois was.

And surely the history of Haiti as a mythology itself of uprising and liberation based on a greater sense of identity black slaves managed to hold on to under French rule-because of, in part, the idiosyncrasies of French-Creole– cultural and society-became part of Du Bois’ own internal narrative of violence as self.

But Du Bois-and even Malcom X-did not live in or preach, really, violence; they tried to deal with it, and they needed to contemplate and discuss-and talk-about it.

Because they refused-unfailingly-to deny logic.

And they struggled to keep reason.

And reason is-has always been-the path to humanity’s better future, however that future is to be understood, now.

And paraphrasing Du Bois’ closing words of his Returning Soldiers text, to truly save democracy is to understand the reason why-to understand the reason why it in fact it cannot be saved.

And it is, once again, logic as reason, that frees itself of internal and cultural crypto suppression and denial as life mode, that is our true salvation.

Same as it ever was!

III.

But of course, by understanding the reason why, you are in fact in a better, real position of actually saving democracy.

And the reason why is reason itself, and how it always eventually conflicts with the interests of one or another of the groups involved.

And it becomes easier-this has always been the case-for groups that have power over others or over the system itself, to muffle the voice of reason.

To kill reason itself-usually by burying it in alternative, purposely deceptive narratives of, simply, self-serving permanence in a position of power or control.

And often by socially-or literally-killing the human beings who are the primary origin of that voice itself.

And reason becomes an impossibility if it is not defended, ultimately, by violence itself-by the real world capacity to impose, finally, reason.

Of course, to know, in the end, which narrative –or combination of narratives and to what degree-is actually reason, requires a painstaking process of reasoning as well.

Fortunately, I have all the necessary ingredients and requirements, point by point, to create a context, now, of reason in which to live collectively and at a global level.

Vested interests and the bad faith they lead to are the greatest forces of perversion of reason itself.

And this now is becoming plainly understood for a broader world public.

We are off to a good start, indeed!

Finally, the violence of individuals must be controlled and not tolerated socially.

But it is never to be suppressed internally in individuals as, ultimately, their very will to be-it is to be understood and contained, but also allowed its internal space as the heart of the human spirit itself.

And it should not be demonized by social institutions as the specter of man and his darker side, but rather shed light on, understood and incorporated in a better way into the mechanism of culture as human, collective vital context.

And life becomes, suddenly, the seriousness of being in respect for the true nature of people as individuals.

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