Friday, September 9, 2016

Seattle Seahawks: Team and Fans Should Support Kaepernick

By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired
member Green party USA

It is being reported that the entire Seattle Seahawks team will support Colin Kaepernick in his protest of racism and police brutality in the US by either sitting or kneeling during the national anthem at this Sunday’s game. Reports are vague from saying the entire team will kneel or sit to others saying there will be an honor of the country and flag but it will  be a surprise.

If this is true it’s very good and though I do not necessarily think if something does take place it will be a protest of the national anthem as it is being described in some circles but at the right to protest in general. It’s absurd that the national anthem is sung at sports events and that people are pressured to stand and put their hands over their hearts and stuff like that. We even have weapons of mass destruction flying over the game at times although they don’t fire missiles at us like they do throughout the world.

It’s developments like these, even small activities, that scare the hell out of the US capitalist class.  It’s the same reason the trade union hierarchy fears a victory, a strike that makes gains, wins more benefits or time off, as a victory inspires while a defeat brings further despair and the view that we must accept our lot, we can’t win. Victories raise expectations. The reason the unelected mass murderers that run the US are so fond of drone warfare is they know that too many US troops die and these unpopular wars of plunder portrayed as wars for freedom will come to an end. They are not popular, the mood is not there and the burden so far is falling on the shoulders of a small section of US working class families.

There is still tremendous anger that lies not so deep beneath the surface if US society. This is why I oppose focusing on gun ownership as the root cause of the crisis of homicides, mass killings and family anihilations in this country, it obscures the real problem---a crisis of capitalism, of the system.

US Workers and the middle class are overwhelmed with the struggle to keep their heads above water amid mass propaganda about how wonderful things are and how great the country is.  We work longer, as much as two months a year longer, than workers in most advanced capitalist countries. Tiny little Cuba, an island nation bullied and blockaded by the wealthiest and most powerful economy in history for decades that at the same time supports mass murderers elsewhere, has the same life expectancy, a lower infant mortality rate and a better health and educational system than the US.

In my visit to Mexico this week a teacher friend said that yes, the US has the best universities, great universities, but education for the masses, basic education, is worse than Mexico. This is because the private sector wants in this business; all things must be privatized. The US private sector wants to get its dirty little hands in to Cuba, as it does on the US education system. Everything is a business, all things are for sale for them.

The US is not as conservative as the capitalist mass media makes out. The strategists of capital are aware of this. They also know US history, real history and it is explosive. From the first invasions and the genocidal wars against the native people, (if we ever doubt the violent nature of the capitalist class consider that a strategy against native people included starvation, killing all the Buffalo. In Vietnam they used chemical weapons, dioxin that they sprayed on their food, the Vietnamese people and even their own troops.) the shooting of workers in the textile, coal and auto industry as they tried to form unions, the brutality of the slave system in the South and Jim Crow that followed it. History of class society is a history of looting, plunder and mass murder, let's not kid ourselves. And the history of capitalism wins first prize.

US athletes are supposed to keep their mouths shut. Say nothing about politics, about life in the US, about racism, poverty, the attacks on workers. If you talk at all about veterans call them warriors who are defending our freedom. They are not warriors, they are working class youth who do not have the same opportunities the middle class and upper middle class do and they are not defending our freedoms. The children of the bourgeois,  would laugh at the thought of "defending" anything except profits and they only “think” about that, they send working class youth to do the actual physical work of defending US capitalism, that’s why our youth die and workers abroad die in hundreds of times greater numbers.

The support for Kaepernick could spread and the US is a tinder box. More importantly, when this happens it will not be limited to police brutality or the violence against one particular section of US society. We are witnessing an uprising against the 1% and their corporations in North Dakota. The Native people are fighting to protect their land, which means all our lands in the true sense, they are right to argue that they are the guardians of it and the rest of us can join them in that and the struggle against the multi-nationals and global capitalism. Their struggle is not only uniting Native American tribal groups, it is drawing support from around the country.  

Green Party Presidential Candidate, Stein defacing a corporate bulldozer
We should commend Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein for going to North Dakota and both her and GP VP candidate Ajamu Baraka being charged with misdemeanors for spray painting one of the pipeline company's bulldozers that is also desecrating native burial sites.  From what I understand the term capitalism and certainly not socialism was used but we won't see Hillary Clinton doing this. And the self proclaimed socialist Sanders has called on his supporters not to support Stein as he campaigns for Hillary Clinton, so it's not always about a name although the GPUS recently passed an anti-capitalist and eco-socialist resolution that our candidates should raise at their public events. Sanders opened the door with regard to the term democratic socialism we should not let that door close, we should open it further.

There will also at some point be a revolt within organized labor, influenced by these struggles on the outside. This is dangerous as despite the decline in union membership, major industries crucial to US capitalism are unionized. The trade union hierarchy will not be able to contain the anger that exists within their ranks forever either. In a sense, as so-called workers’ leaders they are the greatest criminals of all refusing to break from capitalism’s deathly embrace.

The US ruling class fears that the numerous isolated battles in the US against the violence of the so-called free market will inevitably move closer together if not contained, will begin to link up in to a wider more general direct action movement.. And so they should. It should link with Flint where the market and rapacious quest for profits poisoned a whole city. There is the gas leak in Southern California that forced mass evacuations.  West Virginia is basically a third world country wracked by drug addition and unemployment. The inner cities are explosive as opportunity does not knock there either.  The unionized US worker, the higher paid, often abandoned by the non profits, NGO’s and other liberal pro-market groups are also being savaged. Auto industry wages have been cut in half with the help of the leaders of the UAW leadership and those in the wider trade union movement. Remember the explosion in West, Texas? They want us to forget about all these market failures, Katrina too was a market failure, a product of capitalism in crisis as is the  trafficking of young women.

Students are immersed in debt that will be carried over to their parents and we have millions in prison. Then we have the massive expenditure on wars to defend US capitalism’s profits abroad as US social infrastructure collapses and public services are slashed. Let’s not exclude the massive environmental destruction from the BP spill to the poison industrial farming dumps on the land to the Japan nuclear disaster. They want us to forget about all this, but they are killing us all.

All these struggles must be linked together as they have the same root cause, capitalism in decay. 

Colin Kaeprnick’s mild protest at the treatment of black people is not what bothers them, it’s that it might turn in to an unstoppable movement of workers, youth, immigrants, all those who have a legitimate reason to “down tools” as they say.

If the entire Seattle Seahawks team does support him at Sunday’s game that is a good start. From what I understand, the head coach is also on board. But we should also be on guard. The owner of the Seahawks is Paul Allen, he is worth about $15 billion according to Forbes and is the enemy of the working class, he makes his money on the backs of some of the most exploited workers in the world; he is not our friend. We must reject the infiltration of these people in our movement. Their only motive will be to temper it, to disarm us and preserve their privileged position as directors of the capitalists system.

Meanwhile, while we keep our guard up, if  the Seattle Seahawks follow up with their threat and join Kaepernick and a slowly developing movement, whatever one can do to facilitate this process; do it.

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