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Well, If You Ask Me: By the time I get to Oregon

By Dano T Bob - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, January 10, 2016

So, I guess I gotta weigh in on this whole Oregon wildlife preserve/bird sanctuary/stolen native land takeover thing. Jeez, what a spectacle! I guess that is what the “wanna be militia” wanted, though, right? I’m just not sure why we are obliging to give it to them, but it is a bit too late to stop that.

My first thought upon hearing about it was to ignore it, not give them my media attention. No, I don’t think they should be ignored period, at the risk that they turn out to be dangerous and harmful to the land and people, etc. But, media-wise, I wish that we collectively didn’t believe the hype, which I don’t personally.

A couple of good reads have summed up a lot of my thoughts on this. The irony of bourgeois white men talking about this collectivized land as “stolen” from them, while ignoring it was stolen from indigenous peoples, as Earth First so correctly points out. Yeah, the Paiute are probably first in line if anyone has dibs to this land first stolen from them by the government and then set aside and reserved for the public, and for endangered birds.

Oh, and poor ole Ammon Bundy! Sure, government oppression is real and fucked up, but getting a $53,000 dollar Small Business Administration loan, and refusing to pay public grazing fees for your cattle at below market rate prices, is not exactly my idea of “oppression” at all, more like class warfare from those with money, privilege and resources refusing to pay for the collective good of our society to use public land to make more money for themselves, at our expense. And yes, you read that right, Oregon ranchers are getting a 93 percent discount from the going market rate, according to, to use OUR public land for their own benefit and cattle grazing.

I will say, though, that Jacobin did have a very thoughtful article on the real problem with those calling for state violence or crackdown on these “occupiers.”

I quote, “But what we must not do is call for the police to move in with the tear gas and rubber bullets of Ferguson and Baltimore, or the live rounds of MOVE or Wounded Knee, because equal injustice is not justice done.

I complete agree, and hope that more rational minds and more radical attitudes come to favor this view. The rest of the article is gold and I want to quote it at length.

“The improbable logic of many liberals is that state violence can be held to a moral rubric, that the deeply corrupt American state, bound to the functional psychopaths of the one percent who rule it, can be induced to be fair.

It cannot. The current US state is racist and venal; it doesn’t call the Oregon gunmen terrorists and doesn’t mow them down because their occupation cannot threaten it even a fraction as much as Black Lives Matter actions have. The right-wing militia movement is virulent and dangerous, and its ideals nourish the worldview of people like Dylann Roof, but Black Lives Matter questions the very legitimacy of our society. That threat, and systemic racism, decides when the government pulls the trigger; mass action, not words, will hold it to account.

How we respond to those calling for blood in Oregon makes manifest the crucial dividing line between liberals and socialists.

A socialist approaches the state with critical caution. She might call for the incarceration of a rapist, but she knows only a people’s challenge to misogyny and capitalism can end rape culture. She demands that police be sacked and jailed for their racist murders, and she fights to reform the police to spare lives, but she also fights against the gentrification of communities and the criminalization of the marginalized that the police routinely enforce.”

Amen, so to speak. And another internet jewel, this collection of tweets on the “insurrection.” It features such gems as, “Sure, #YallQaeda is funny. But people in Oregon don’t say y’all. Yes, I get it, but it’s also a terrible way to stereotype rural people.”

Boom! Thank you, score one point against liberal elitism that does nothing to help the cause against reactionary bourgeois libertarianism.

And, as always, the hits do keep coming. Like, “Calling Oregon a white state full of right-wingers also erases other non-white people…” and “When people like the Hammonds and Bundys talk about stopping federal “land grab” they mean they want to be able to destroy that public land.”

So, just as the feds plan to cut the power to get ye olde soft bourgeois fake militia to go home, so they can snack in peace, let’s all cut the power media-wise and not give this brilliantly dubbed, “Skirmish among Colonizers” anymore spotlight or anymore of a platform for their racist, private property driven nonsense that does nothing for the community, nothing for native peoples and nothing for endangered birds. Hell, I feel dirty just having given them this much in a blog…

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

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