Thursday, August 31, 2017

Defend Kaepernick against the billionaires blacklisting

By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

It clear then. You can be a rapist, a wife beater, an all round general misogynist or an organizer of dog fights with the incredible cruelty that entails, and still be a sports hero. But do the most heinous thing, drop to one knee during the anthem of what was a colonial settler state in its origins to protest racism and the overwhelmingly disproportionate killing, in what in most cases amounts to state murder of black people, and you become a pariah and unemployable. You are blacklisted.  Union activists are all too familiar with blacklisting and in US working class history they have been shot, deported, murdered by goons employed by companies. We owe all we have to those who died fighting big business.

Kaepernick's statement had nothing whatsoever to do with disrespecting veterans. The US government disrespects veterans. The politicians, Wall Street and the generals that defend Wall Street and their media disrespect workers who are the bulk of the veteran population by lying to us about why they are being sent to kill or be killed and also creating the conditions that leave working and poor folks few options for security and a future except the military.  That's why unemployment is so crucial for the ruling class. Their kids don't fight wars.

These are American values are they?

It's clear the folks who matter support Kaepernick, like those in the picture. And I know many white workers do as well. If the union leadership atop organized labor would speak out and link the racist attacks on people of color and the poor to the generalized offensive against all workers and the need for jobs, housing, free education and health care paid for through an end to trillions spent on capitalism’s predatory wars and taxes on the 1% ,a lot more workers would speak out. The leadership of organized labor is ideologically bankrupt.

Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay quarterback has voiced his support, a minor but important show of solidarity. Kapaernick’s opponents, supporters of the status quo and a quiet life, drag out the domestic abuser Jim Brown, an establishment bootlicker along with the Boxer Mayweather who reminds us that "All Lives Matter" after getting a $300 million payday for fighting an unqualified opponent he didn't have to train for. Rewards are good if you say the right thing.

And here's the net worth of just a few of the NFL's team owners and remember, their  stadiums are more often than not paid for by the tax/rate payer and even ticket sales are often guaranteed. Not a bad deal. They are worried Kaeprnick bringing politics in to sport might cut down on profits, might get people thinking about the real world. Just like we explained in a previous article we had up on the Harvey catastrophe and how developers consciously undermined regulations that would have guarded against the destruction we see now in order to cut costs and keep profits high. It's not Kaepernick that's disrespecting anyone.

Paul Allen Seattle Seahawks: $17.5 billion
Stephen Ross Dolphins $12
Stan Kroenke LA Rams $7.7 billion
Shahid Khan Jaguars $5.9 billion
Jerry Jones Cowboys $5 billion
Robert Kraft Patriots $4.8 billion
Malcolm Glazer  Tampa Bay $5 billion

Yes, collectively they could cure world hunger.

Of course “All lives matter”. The Black Lives Matter Movement does not suggest otherwise. But it is an insult to make that argument, no, it’s really an attempt to obscure the racism in society and in particular the racist justice system and prison industrial complex. For some, the counter of “All Lives Matter”  is just plain racism but they can’t say it, for others it’s just ignorance of the world around them and an acceptance of the ideology of the ruling class.  One positive thing about Trump is that he’s flushed some of the worst of his kind out in to the open.

Can we imagine being in Nazi Germany during Crystalnacht or other periods where Jews were beaten, dragged out of their homes and murdered in the streets by Brown Shirts (Fascists) and Jews respond and organize round the slogan “Jewish Lives Matter”. Would we counter with “All Lives Matter”, “Brown Lives Matter? Sounds absurd in that context doesn’t it. It’s just as absurd in its present usage.

I recently joined the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). The rise of DSA is an important development no person on the left foresaw, myself and probably the DSA included. The self styled revolutionary groups will no doubt be lecturing DSA on how to go forward as they flock to it in an effort to prey on the members and recruit them to the only “legitimate” organizations and leadership of the working class and socialist revolution. There are so many organizations that are the only legitimate socialist organizations we can barely count them. Read our previous statement on this issue.

As far as Kaepernick, it would be a good idea as the assault on him continues, if DSA contacted him if they have the resources to see if he was open to speaking at a meeting or meetings and those DSA members in unions could take the issue in to their locals and call on their local unions to join in such a campaign and link the issues facing all workers with Kaepernick’s stand against racism and police brutality. I have contacted his agent but have yet to receive a reply. 

But if DSA with a union local or two were to do so this would have a different affect I think. This would help DSA sink deeper roots in to the organized sector of the class and also among black workers and youth. It would help union members build stronger links in the communities and among youth. What do folks think about this suggestion? 

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