Confederate History Month: Prone to Violence

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An effort to help the Republican Confederate Party celebrate Confederate History Month would be incomplete without noting how these folks tend to embrace violence as the preferred way to solve problems–especially when they feel that they are losing at the ballot box.

The Civil War started because the Confederates embraced violence as the best way to resolve a political dispute that they were losing.

Years before the traitors attacked Fort Sumter they had resorted to violence and domestic terrorism as a way to expand slavery to new US Territories. When settlers in Kansas were inclined to ban slavery, the pro-Slavery forces launched a campaign of terrorism and violence to try and win a victory they were losing at the ballot box.

In 1856, Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner gave a “Crime against Kansas” speech on the Senate floor attacking the violence and calling for a repeal of laws like the Fugitive Slave Act. He named names in ways that would make David Broder faint if a elected official was so bold today in calling out political cowards and charlatans, but I digress.

It was an effective speech and so a pair of South Carolinian Congressmen reacted with violence as a first resort. Two days after the speech, Cong. Preston Brooks entered the Senate chamber with another Wingnut South Carolinian Member and beat the shit out Senator Sumner with a cane. Of course Brooks became a Confederate hero as did Laurence Keitt, his back-up in that attack. While Brooks beat Sumner, Keitt pulled out a pistol and threaten anybody who tried to stop it. The beating continued until Brooks broke his cane. Just a couple years later in 1858, Keitt was losing a discussion on the floor of the House and of course he resorted to violence. Lacking the votes, he started a brawl on the House floor that involved two dozen members.

In 1860 Keitt made clear what the coming Civil War was all about:

“The anti-slavery party contends that slavery is wrong in itself, and the Government is a consolidated national democracy. We of the South contend that slavery is right, and that this is a confederate Republic of sovereign States.”

This is what one ‘celebrates’ when one honors the fucking Confederacy, but again, I digress.

When the Confederates lost the Civil War they responded with violence. They assassinated the President. They started the KKK and began a campaign of organized terror and violence that is still active just below the surface.

Lynchings were common and so were riots–traditional American race riots–where gangs of white people killed people of color and destroyed everything they owned. These common forms of Confederate violence only came to an end in the Sixties (perhaps this is why they hate the DFH so much).

In the last forty years the Confederate Party has had to try and keep their propensity for violence in check. Of course it helped that they took over the Republican Party and did not have to be on the losing end of many political battles.

But there were some times when they were on the losing end or felt like power was slipping away. And when that happens they gin up the “Angry White Man” meme and let it rip.

This is what they did when Bill Clinton won. There was a lot of violence in that era and a rise in hate groups. It was just the Confederate Party letting loose their lunatic fringe. One can add the Oklahoma City bombing as just another tragic part of Confederate history. I guess it is fitting that we celebrate CHM in April.

During the Bush years the Republican Confederate Party kept their street violence in check as they had control of Government and could openly embrace torture and State sanction race bating, xenophobia and hippie punching. And of course in the Bush years resorting to violence as a first resort became our foreign policy.

In 2008 the party ended for these fuckers. And not only that, a black man became President. Once again these Confederate bastards are losing at the ballot box and once again the embrace of violence is coming front and center. As the SPLC has pointed out the number and coordination between hate groups is rising. Worst, the ideas of hate are cross pollinating between these groups and being pushed into the mainstream by Republican Confederate Party politicians, pundits and media celebrities.

It was not a surprise that the response to passing HCR was violence from bricks to spit, to verbal venom and death threats. This pattern will escalate as climate/energy legislation and immigration reform legislation is taken up. This will escalate as the 2010 election heats ups. As they face more defeats they will react with more violence of word and deed. It is all they know.

Many small attacks have been reported. Some people have been murdered. Mostly it is an escalation of the rhetoric of violence to justify, rationalize and excuse future violence that needs to be watched and called out. This has and will lead to more attacks.

Look at Joe Wilson face from last summer as he yelled at the President:

joe-wilson-you-lie-photo

His anger, his rage was there for all to see. One can imagine the spirits of his fellow South Carolinian Congressmen Brooks and Keitt standing proudly at his side and Wilson wishing he could borrow a cane.

As always with these weasels it is the rhetoric of violence that comes first. The more a wingnut feels trapped the more violent the threats become. And soon ‘random’ attacks begins. These outbursts are rationalized away by Republican Confederate Party pundits and politicians as they try to surf the anger to political victories. More often that not they are unable to control the forces they unleash.

The best way to deal with these pricks is to beat them at the ballot box, to ridicule them and to call out the pundits and politicians who would justify the continued use of violence as a political tool. Silence in the face of these fuckers is not an option.

Happy CHM.

Cheers

dengre

95 replies
  1. 1
    jeffreyw says:

    “Crock Pot Craziness”? Sounds like a food thread tag to me!

  2. 2
    Yutsano says:

    @jeffreyw: In honor of our special Canadian mother RedKitten perhaps?

  3. 3
  4. 4
    Yutsano says:

    Oh, I do gotta say this before we get too far off the reservation:

    Silence in the face of these fuckers is not an option.

    A to the fucking men dengre.

  5. 5
    de stijl says:

    Serious question: post Weather Underground, what are legitimate examples of violence from the left in the US?

    I’m not talking about penny ante stuff like a dude who may have (probably not) got kinda pushed by some SEIU guy at last summers townhall meetings, but serious put your butt in jail for more than a year type stuff. Let’s set the bar at more than simple assault.

  6. 6
    confitesprit says:

    Dengre,

    As usual, this is very powerful stuff. You connect the prone to violence dots very convincingly. This piece deserves a wider audience, IMHO, and no disrespect to this site intended.

    Thanks again for all of your efforts.

  7. 7
    Dennis G. says:

    @Yutsano:

    Thanks.

    I know some do not like the cuss words, but the word “fuckers” just seemed to be the exact right word to describe these assholes.

    Cheers

  8. 8
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Dengre: I don’t know — can’t imagine — what you plan to do in May or June that could come close to your deconstruction of CHM throughout April. This entire series has been extraordinary, and a fair few of the comments have also been thoughtful and informative and have added to the overall value of the discussion.

    I’ve said before, I truly hope you don’t simply let this languish once April comes to a close. You have the makings of a wonderful book or MAJOR article here. Please tell us you plan to take the best of your own research and some of the finest from the commentariat and take it to whatever the next level is.

    Bravo on the entire series.

  9. 9
    geg6 says:

    dengre, you are truly a treasure. This is the history and truth of these fucks–thuggishness and violence and murder, unthinking and unblinking. Bullies, every single one.

    I was always taught that the way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them, mock them, and never ever back down to them. It has always worked. Bullies are nothing but cowards under it all and their biggest fear is that someone will see how they quiver under all the bluster.

  10. 10
    Dennis G. says:

    @de stijl:

    Post Weatherman?

    Nope, I can not really think of any. And really if you look at what they did, the Weathermen were just not very good when it came to being violent. Mostly, they just blew up themselves, but they did generate a lot of hype.

  11. 11

    splendid writing sir, splendid indeed.

  12. 12
    Tastes Like Chicken says:

    Good stuff. More like this please.

  13. 13
    Yutsano says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: This.A million times this.

    @Dennis G.: If you think about it, swearing is the most honest language you can use. If the word fits use it. George Carlin would be proud.

  14. 14
    slag says:

    Best part:

    Silence in the face of these fuckers is not an option….

    quickly followed by:

    Cheers
    __
    dengre

    It’s like I imagine A People’s History would sound as read by Mary Poppins. Surprisingly congruous.

  15. 15
    MikeJ says:

    @Dennis G.: I wouldn’t let violent wingnuts off the hook just because they were incompetent. Weather Underground had the intent, if not the skills. Of course that was 40 years ago.

  16. 16
    Union Dixie says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUyNBEzJTNE

    Away down south in the land of traitors, rattlesnakes, and alligators
    Right away, come away, right away, come away
    Where cotton’s king and men are chattels, union boys will win the battles
    Right away, come away, right away, come away

    We’ll all go down to Dixie, away, away
    Each dixie boy must understand
    That he must mind his Uncle Sam
    Away, away, we’ll all go down to dixie
    Away, away, we’ll all go down to dixie

    I wish I was in Baltimore, I’d make secessions traitors roar
    Right away, come away, right away, come away
    We’ll put the traitors all to rout, I’ll bet my boots we’ll whip ’em out
    Right away, come away, right away, come away

    Oh may our stars and stripes still wave forever o’er the free and brave
    Right away, come away, right away, come away
    And let our motto ever be, for union and for liberty
    Right away, come away, right away, come away

  17. 17
    Short Bus Bully says:

    This CHM series you have put together here has been so educational and enlightening that it at least deserves its own tagline around here for easy reference in its entirity. Reading you and TNC all month long has been an absolute joy and a “class is now in session” education for a guy like me.

    You are getting the word out. Keep going. Write a book, get on teevee, whatever. This shit is important and these traitorous fucks deserve an opponent like you to cane the shit out of them.

    Saw a “The South will rise again!” bumper sticker the other day. That sticker was right, the Confederacy is on the rise. It’s an all-hands-on-deck kind of year. Keep on keeping on bro!

  18. 18
    TenguPhule says:

    The best way to deal with these pricks is to beat them at the ballot box shoot them in job lots.

    Corrected for accuracy. Granted, its not ethical or moral. But all too effective.

  19. 19
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Yutsano #13: Clearly I’m not the only one thinking along these lines . . .

  20. 20
    TenguPhule says:

    I was always taught that the way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them, mock them, and never ever back down to them. It has always worked.

    Your bullies must have not been complete monsters then.

    Sadly, I have found that only completely beating them to the point of unconsciousness is the only thing that works. And even then I am always tempted to finish the job just to be safe.

  21. 21
    de stijl says:

    @MikeJ:

    Okay, I thought of at least one and a possible.

    Symbionese Liberation Army. I’d label this one as a definite.

    MOVE could possibly be considered as a left movement given their green proclivities and communal living arrangements. I’d say it was an insane personality cult with some beliefs that overlap with what one would consider to be stereotypical beliefs of the left.

  22. 22
    Yutsano says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I already leaned on dengre to start collecting his notes and get something together or better yet collaborate with TNC and blow this thing out of the water. This needs a ton of sunlight to get disinfected, but someone has to lift the shade first.

  23. 23
    danimal says:

    Wonderful service you have provided this month, Dengre. I suspect more future spotlights like these will greatly discourage the cynical glamorizing of the Confederacy as a GOP political strategy.

  24. 24
    Jay C says:

    The best way to deal with these pricks is to beat them at the ballot box

    Easier said than done: if they haven’t/can’t do anything else right, the one thing today’s GOP is good at is suppressing voter involvement by anyone who isn’t one of them. The list of States which have done serious purging of their voter rolls in recent years is a long one, and almost always, such programs (usually pitched as “anti-fraud measures”) are carried out by “Republican Secretary Of State Joseph Blow III” – who just by coincidence, no doubt, typically manages to make sure that it is Democratic-leaning cities or districts that end up having to re-enrol vast numbers of voters, or get shorted on voting machines, or find their polls closing early, etc. Just by chance, naturally.

  25. 25
    Dave C says:

    @de stijl:

    Some of the more aggressive animal rights groups, perhaps? I know they’re sort of specialized in their aims, but I would guess a majority of them hold to some sort of “left-ish” politics.

  26. 26
    de stijl says:

    @Dave C:

    You beat me to it – I was just going to comment about ELF and ALF activities.

  27. 27
    BR says:

    @Dave C:

    Maybe, though a number of the eco groups are more about anarcho-primitivism and destroying physical infrastructure (like dams, so that salmon can spawn) rather than targeting people. That’s a subtle but importance difference between the (neo)confederates.

  28. 28
    Anne Laurie says:

    @de stijl:

    Serious question: post Weather Underground, what are legitimate examples of violence from the left in the US?

    We get blamed for Ted Kaczynski, even though he’s more anarchist than “leftist”. And there are still Very Serious People who insist the 2001 anthrax mailer “must have been” a leftist, because the deaths (should have) embarrassed the Bush administration, and only leftists would commit that kinda treason, knowhutImean? Apart from that, the fReichtard thugs are pretty much reduced to bitching that every ELF arson of an empty McMansion subdevelopment or Hummer car lot is “just as bad” as Oklahoma City or at least Eric Rudolph, because hey, destruction of rich peoples’ property is totally equivalent to the deaths of a couple hundred gubmint workers and their kids…

    Also, “we” of the American Left are to blame for every suspected government-sanctioned killing in Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti, Iran and North Korea. Which does not mean that the American Right is responsible for every government-sanctioned killing in Iraq, Afghanistan, China, Columbia, or any other third-world “client state”, because shut up, that’s why.

    I only wish I were joking about this.

  29. 29
    Paul says:

    I think we can stipulate that there are violent political extremists on both ends of the political spectrum.

    The important question is which group has a major political party encouraging and egging them on for short term political gain, not to mention true believers in their ranks?

  30. 30
    Jess says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure the Weathermen did not target people, but property. I believe the grad student who was killed in Madison was the only fatality (other than themselves), and that was unintentional. Furthermore, I don’t recall any mainstream politicians or media figures embracing the Weathermen as heroes or misunderstood/unfairly provoked patriots. Every movement has its nuts–what counts is the degree of sane leadership.

  31. 31
    Tom says:

    How about the LA Riots?

  32. 32
    TuiMel says:

    @BR:
    I can’t work up much credit for these folks. They are still using violent means to advance causes they cannot win politically. They torched the UW Horticultural Center a few years back. No one died, thankfully. But it was still a wanton act.

  33. 33
    Brachiator says:

    @Paul:

    The important question is which group has a major political party encouraging and egging them on for short term political gain, not to mention true believers in their ranks?

    This is indeed the difference. This is the first time since I’ve been observing the political scene that I have seen anything resembling populism co-opted by the right in America. This is the first time that I have seen large numbers of people deliberately, stupidly, act against their own interests.

    This is the first time that I have seen sore loser Republicans who are willing to risk a new kind of ideological Civil War, because they are so angry at their November defeat and so determined to regain power that they would rather see the country torn apart than see the Democrats govern.

  34. 34
    Paul says:

    @TuiMel:

    Spot on. Please, please, please don’t argue about degrees of violence between the left and right. This is just a step away from the apologists for the atrocities of the Bush administration.

  35. 35
    Jess says:

    @Jess: I double checked, and actually the Sterling Hall bombing in Madison (1970) was not the Weathermen, but a random group of anti-war protesters. Still an example of left-wing violence, but they don’t appear to have been targeting people–just the building. They’re still assholes though.

  36. 36
    Hael says:

    I don’t know if I’ve ever commented before but I’d like to say I’m digging these kind of posts. It’s nice (if disturbing) to be reminded where these people are coming from.

  37. 37
    Jess says:

    @Paul:
    I disagree. In a democracy, we do need to call out those who resort to violence to get what they want when the political process doesn’t go their way. That’s a part of the job of self-governing. And the point isn’t the violent fringe so much as it is the “mainstream” politicians and media egging them on instead of reining them in. We absolutely do need to put pressure on these would-be leaders to actually, you know, lead.

  38. 38
    de stijl says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    We get blamed for Ted Kaczynski, even though he’s more anarchist than “leftist”.

    Hey, don’t let libertarians off the hook. Anarchism is completely a libertarian thing unless they’re anarcho-communists when we may be kind of on the hook.

    BTW, I mean no disrespect to the Revolutionary Anarchist Bowling League. I am a Minneapolis native and pitching bowling balls through windows that need bowling balls pitched through them is a legitimate political protest IMO. But here’s my caveat – you can only pitch bowling balls through windows owned by the people; i.e., State and Federal windows. Pitching bowling balls through private windows is low-scale terrorism.

    —–

    Okay, this is weird. I just read my last paragraph and I was disconcerted. I was going to delete it because it disproved my point in a very personal way, but it was my first thought and I wrote it and I mostly believe it so deleting it would be dishonest.

    Do we excuse and understate political violence because we think it’s funny (and believe me the RABL folks were funny) or it was only a window or no one was physically hurt or because we consider them on our side?

  39. 39
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Paul:

    The important question is which group has a major political party encouraging and egging them on for short term political gain, not to mention true believers in their ranks?

    This is, I think, the most important point. You will always have violent people at both ends of the political spectrum. The difference right now is that the violent rhetoric and eliminationist talk has been mainstreamed and is coming out of the mouths of elected officials.

    You could argue that the LA riots were an example of leftist violence (though I’d argue that they weren’t nearly organized enough for that label) but which liberal elected officials egged them on and publicly supported them? Anyone?

  40. 40
    Quiddity says:

    I can accept all that Dennis G has written on the subject in his post, but I have a question: Aren’t these folks a severely diminished minority by now? We’ve had tons of people come into the country in the last 150 years (many through the northern states), AND the union has expanded to include prairie, mountain, and western states. That’s got to dilute the Confederates. Yet they still have substantial political heft. How come?

  41. 41
    Paul says:

    @Jess:

    That was my point, exactly.

    Arrghh, Central time, must sleep now.

  42. 42
    stickler says:

    Quiddity:

    Aren’t these folks a severely diminished minority by now?

    Yes, and no. These folks feed on — and spread — some powerful messages, which appeal to a big minority of citizens. So that extremist violence appeals to 15-20% of the electorate. Can they win elections? Hell no. Can they kill activists and our Presidents? Well, yes — yes, they can. And that intimidation works, often enough, so that they’ll try it. What else have they got? Reason? Science?

  43. 43
    anna missed says:

    I think there’s quite a difference between the weathermen, the SLF, or the black panthers and right wing violence. For one thing, the examples from the left were very short lived, small cell level activities without mainstream political representation, and were directed not so much at overthrowing the government but changing the political direction toward a more liberal domestic and civil rights policy and an anti-imperial foreign policy. Right wing violence on the other hand has a long entrenched history of extremism with and a close affiliation/representation to either the democratic or the republican party depending on the time frame. And unlike left wing activism, is primarily about reducing or eliminating government power as opposed to changing its direction. Or in other words left wing activism is all about pushing government to achieve social parity while right wing activism is about throttling and reducing the power of government in favor of a social system of cultural disparity. The former, would prefer these changes to happen through democratic process while the latter has less faith in democracy, and easily reverts back to its authoritarian honor based culture where the preferred method of persuasion is either threats, violence, or both. Nonetheless, the primary difference is that right wing activism/violence has always recieved tacit government approval while the same from the left has not.

  44. 44
    bago says:

    Apparently Tenguphule is impervious to hypocrisy.

  45. 45
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Quiddity:

    Yet they still have substantial political heft. How come?

    The Southern Strategy, which caused the Confederate rot to spread all over the country as Republicans in every state eagerly embraced the anti-union, anti-labor, anti-tax, pro-authoritarian ideas of the Confederacy.

    That’s the problem: Confederate thinking is no longer confined to the South. It’s infected the Republican Party from top to bottom. They may be a small minority of the country, but they’ve captured the entire Republican machine so that everyone from John Boehner on down spouts the Confederate line.

  46. 46
    TenguPhule says:

    Apparently Tenguphule is impervious to hypocrisy.

    The reason violence is used is because it works more often then not.

    I don’t make the rules, I just exploit them.

  47. 47
    BethanyAnne says:

    You know, I was typing a reply on violence, and realized that I believe, and have experienced, several contradictory things about violence. I’ve whipped a school bully’s ass, and had him never dare to lift a voice near me again. But I also validated violence as a solution doing that.

    Personally, I like using the system: law enforcement and the ballot box against them now. Mainly because they consider it so dishonorable, and *unfair*. You not only win, you get the satisfaction of seeing them whine about it, too. A redneck will accept an asskicking as legitimate. They never forgive you for winning with laws.

    I’m tired and my head is fuzzy. Hope this came out vaguely coherent :)

  48. 48
    Mnemosyne says:

    This seems like a good place to bring in yet another of the thought-provoking essays that Fred Clark from Slacktivist steered his readers to:

    Facing the Myth of Redemptive Violence

  49. 49
    de stijl says:

    @anna missed:

    I think there’s quite a difference between the weathermen, the SLF, or the black panthers and right wing violence. For one thing, the examples from the left were very short lived, small cell level activities without mainstream political representation, and were directed not so much at overthrowing the government but changing the political direction toward a more liberal domestic and civil rights policy and an anti-imperial foreign policy.

    I should have been more explicit about this when I first broached the subject. I’m not trying to compare and contrast the reasons for modern violence from the left vs. violence from the right and who was right and who was wrong.

    I was thinking more about the relative frequency,and (for lack of a better word) effectiveness, and the bodycount. Is there a recent US “leftist” analog to Timothy McVeigh or James Earl Ray.

    I don’t care if the violence from the Weather Underground or the SLA was short lived, or small cell, or without mainstream political representation, or had an admirable goal. Frankly, this quasi-apology smacks of the ends justify the means thinking. Your rationale disgusts me.

    Killing people to advance your political goals in a stable democratic representative republic is unacceptable. Arguably, the WU Haymarket Police Memorial bombing was legitimate, although many if not most people would disagree (I disagree – a bomb is never acceptable. Why bomb something out of existence when you can make major fun of it by putting a copy of Of Human Bondage or an empty bottle of Jagermeister or an ironic sign in the statue cop’s hand.)

    Yeah, you get more publicity if you blow up the statue, but you cannot be certain that you won’t kill someone in the process. Meanwhile, you have crossed a line that can never be uncrossed.

  50. 50
    Jrod says:

    I’d say there’s a significant difference between those who target violence against buildings and objects only, and those who target people. Both are criminal and terrorist, and both should be subject to whatever punishment the law lays out, but I can’t help but consider the latter much worse.

    It’s like the difference between robbing a 7-11 for 50 bucks and a criminal conspiracy to fraudulently raise electricity rates to obscene levels that many can’t pay. Yes, both are bad, but only one is a crime against humanity.

  51. 51
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @BethanyAnne: I have similar mixed feelings about violence. I once yanked back the head of a woman who bullied me every day and told her I would kill her if she ever bothered me again. I meant it at the time. She left me alone after that. So, violence does work, but I didn’t like the way it made me feel. I am not coherent on this subject. I would like to say that while I understand the impulses behind violence, I pretty much dislike the outcomes of said actions.

    @de stijl: I agree with your outcome, but not necessarily with your process. I think there are many different reasons people have to commit violence, and I do think there are valid reasons to seriously think about committing violence. Take the Black Panthers, for example, or Malcolm X. Living in a country that systematically denied me full humanity would probably have led me to be more of the Malcolm X mindset than of the MLK Jr. one. While I don’t believe in inciting violence, I do know that if I were in a situation where it came down to me or the other person, I’m taking out the other person any way I can.

    dengre, I echo the others in thanking you for your tireless devotion to this subject during CHM. I really would enjoy a compilation of your work and TNC’s on the subject. I got schooled this month, and I’m the better for it.

  52. 52
    de stijl says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    I agree with your outcome, but not necessarily with your process.

    Can you clarify? I’m not quite sure where you’re coming from.

    I’m not trying to put words in your mouth but I’m assuming that you’re disagreeing with my assertion that political violence against people is always wrong; I’m glad you challenged me because I need to really think this through.

    I made the political non-violence assertion from a “today” perspective, but what I think you’re getting after is what is our responsibility if this were the Jim Crow era.

    My first reaction is that the ballot box should be the final arbiter, but you raise a provocative point in that what would do if Brown vs. Board Of Education was decided differently or that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had failed to pass.

    Am I way off base, or is this what you were going after?

  53. 53
    bago says:

    @TenguPhule: So extremism in defense of violent exploitation is no vice? Interesting concept.

    There are several newsletters you might want to subscribe to.

  54. 54
    Keith says:

    And for more deja vu, after Keitt broke his cane over Sumner’s face, he began to receive dozens of replacement canes in the mail from supporters. Imagine if they had Amazon.com back then!

  55. 55
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @de stijl: Yup. You hit the nail on the head. I think I come down ultimately on the violence is not a good option choice, but I also think I have the luxury, as it were, of having that choice. And, given the laws being made in AZ and other states, I am not so sure that other people have the same option. I don’t necessarily believe in the power of the ballot box, sadly. I see similar de-humanizing of undocumented workers that I have read about with blacks and others in prior times.

    Like I said, I am not very coherent on the subject as I have many conflicting ideas about violence.

    P.S. I think I can state it better as that I can understand why someone might resort to violence. In the case of Gitmo, had it been me detained indefinitely and tortured for no reason, I might want to do some serious ass-whipping in return. I can’t say for sure I wouldn’t wreak some sort of revenge.

  56. 56
    NobodySpecial says:

    Why is everyone so down on violence? They’re pretty little purple flowers, never hurt anyone, they look nice in the garden…

    Oh.

    Nevermind.

  57. 57
    de stijl says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    I hear & feel where you’re coming from, but this is where it gets interesting.

    At what point does violent reaction to a democratically elected, republican (I’m talking about citizens entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them, and not the Republican party) become imperative?

    Let’s not equivocate here: we’re talking insurrection, rebellion, treason, domestic terrorism. It is attempting to take by force, or fear of force, that which you did not win at the ballot box.

    Other folks will have an entirely different set of laws and regulations that they strenuously object to and may violently react as well.

    We’ve already seen one civil war. Do we want another?

  58. 58
    Steeplejack says:

    @jeffreyw:

    Everything sounds like a food thread tag to you.

  59. 59
    Yutsano says:

    @Steeplejack: You make this sound like a bad thing.

  60. 60
    brantl says:

    @de stijl: They lump enviro-terrorism into this. And it’s all they have, besides the one “blackout drunk” who threatened a congresscritter.

  61. 61
    Xenos says:

    @de stijl: Right where it gets interesting is also where it gets hardest to talk about. Maybe I am just a child of the 70s, raised with the martyrdom of MLK and the sanctification of Gandhi, but the force of such moral exemplars should not be discounted. But at a certain point non-violence is futile because the oppressors are not capable of shame.

    I remember reading about non-violent protesters to the Imperial Japanese army lying down in front of tanks, and the tanks proceeding to drive right over the protesters. More to the point of this discussion, non-violent protest to the confederate government would have been utterly pointless. Even then, it took the wide acceptance of a fictionalized martyr (Uncle Tom) to trigger a tipping point in favor of abolitionism among a large portion of northern elites.

    Violence in favor of justice is nearly always not just a mistake, but a serious strategic blunder. It can make an interesting thought experiment but the norms of social thought have developed, for now, at least, to make it nearly always counterproductive. But what would be the exception to this rule? Excellent question…

  62. 62
    Svensker says:

    @BR:

    They were also “spiking” trees, so that a logger cutting the tree with a chain saw risked his limbs if not his life. Those people put a very low value on the lives of humans they didn’t like.

  63. 63
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @de stijl: I have no idea where to draw that line. I really don’t. You ask if I want another civil war. I don’t particularly. That said, I also don’t want to revert to the laws that stated certain people were not full human beings. That is the road we are sliding down again. It started under W., and it’s continuing with the laws such as the one passed by AZ. As I said, I am extremely reluctant to say that violence is the answer, but I am also extremely reluctant to say that it is completely out of the question as a way to protest against inhumane behavior. I don’t have much faith in people in general, as a collective, and certainly not when people have power. It takes a certain caliber of being to react nonviolently in the face of violence and violation to one’s being. I am not sure I personally have that caliber of being.

  64. 64

    Man, I’m going to be sorry when Treason in Defense of Slavery Month is over. These have all been awesome.

    More often that not they are unable to control the forces they unleash.

    And this is what Republicans still don’t get. They don’t (can’t?) understand that most people don’t like violence. They continue to believe they can hang out with and publicly encourage violent people and then convince normal people that they are shocked, shocked! That those people they were just speaking to last week would do a horrible thing.

    Of course, we’re talking about a group of people who still don’t get recording devices and think they only have to deny they said a thing to make it so.

  65. 65
    debbie says:

    Maybe I’m splitting hairs, but one difference between the Weathermen et al. and the right wingers is how they view their use of violence.

    I was plenty angry back in 1968 (I ran around my highschool wearing a red armband). I even joined SDS, but when I went to my first meeting, I only lasted about 10 minutes. That was when they started talking about carrying guns and making bombs. I realized at that moment that there wasn’t one cause, no matter how just, that was worth the taking of a human life.

    From what I’ve seen of tea party rallies, I don’t think that any of those attendees would have the same kind of reservation.

  66. 66
    Honus says:

    @de stijl: pitching bowling balls through a government office window is a little more First Amendment than shooting police, FBI or Revenue agents. Or doctors in church. Or Unitarians. Or sneaking to what you think is a congressman’s house and cutting a gas line.

  67. 67
    Honus says:

    @BethanyAnne: “A redneck will accept an asskicking as legitimate. They never forgive you for winning with laws.”

    I think it’s sort of the opposite. Because when the law beats them they can whine about the government their freedom, and states rights and socialism and stuff.

  68. 68
    LGRooney says:

    Okay, on violence being wrong, addressing several above…

    I have a 6 y.o. boy who once got knocked down by another that, after knocking down my son, began to pummel him. My son thought it was all part of play, although he said it hurt and wasn’t much fun, because he had never been exposed to violence by other kids before. My wife smacked that kid and threw him off our son. The other parents around yelled at her that you can’t hit a kid but she ground down all of them for doing nothing and yelled even more when no one else owned up to being the parent/guardian of the bully.

    We then explained to my kid that there are bullies who want to hurt him in the world and it is okay to hit back. In fact, we told him to always give twice what he gets to make sure the message gets across. I concluded by telling him simply, “Bad people start fights; good people stop them.”

    IOW, never hit first but you must defend yourself and if that means a withering response to ensure it never happens again, so be it, you’re still the good guy.

  69. 69
    kid bitzer says:

    the refusal to abide by the results of elections.

    it makes southerners, republicans, and other confederates the biggest sore losers in our land.

  70. 70

    […] trust myself to do so without blowing a gasket, LOL – but Dennis G over at Balloon Juice just said about everything that needs to be said on the subject. I’ll quote a bit of it in a moment, but essentially, he sums up exactly what […]

  71. 71
    Dennis G. says:

    @Xenos:

    Resorting to violence is an acceptance of failure and political cowardliness. One can find examples of this failure on the right and left, but here is the thing–you really have to stretch to find equivalent examples between the two.

    If you go back to the sixties and seventies you can find radical groups on the left who embraced violence. Their body count, their record of effectiveness, their ability to employ the threat of violence to win political concessions was pretty poor.

    OTHO, the record of organized violence on the right has been very effective over the last 150 years. The current right is using the thinly veiled threat of violence as a way to intimidate politicians, the press and citizens to bend to their political will. It is an old story and it always has the potential of getting out of hand.

    Regardless of where somebody stands on the political spectrum, if they threaten or use violence (even if they are total fuck-up failures at it), then we as a Nation need to come down hard on them. No excuses.

    I would grant one concession though, when the modern night riders come to kill you, your family and your neighbors I think it is fine to resort to self-defense. American history is filled with stories of these night riders attacking a community and trying to kill and destroy everything in sight. I have no doubt that so-called Minutemen in Arizona would love to ride in and exterminate a few of the communities of brown people they fear as a way to intimidate everybody else. This law is a way for them to try and do that, but when it fails I expect them to escalate the violence.

    We need to be ready to stop them.

    And the best way to do that is coming this November. If the Republican Confederate Party suffers defeats we may be able to finally destroy them. That would be a great way to really celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

    Cheers

  72. 72
    beergoggles says:

    please add an index on this blog for the CHM posts for quick reference in the future.

    thanks.

  73. 73
    Michael D. says:

    I think there are extremists on both sides of the political spectrum who would use and have used violence. Of course, harming someone is something I never agree with. But is it not just as useful to look at it this way: Both sides are using inappropriate means to get to their specific ends. The MEANS are improper.

    The ENDS though are usually quite different.

    The RIGHT’s “ends” are to deny access to healthcare for millions, celebrate the Confederacy, etc, etc.

    The LEFT’s “ends” are to save animals, prevent climate change, provide healthcare, treat people equally, etc.

    So both are using very inacceptable means – violence.

    The Right is it to achieve horrible ends.

    The Left is it to achieve good ends.

    That’s the difference.

  74. 74
    Malloy says:

    This is right on point — I might add: Slavery ITSELF was violence — sometimes slow, sometimes immediate — but in truth one centuries-long act of violence against innocent persons.

  75. 75
    JGabriel says:

    Keitt:

    We of the South contend … that this is a confederate Republic of sovereign States.

    This is one of the things that pisses me off with respect to today’s States Righters: we scrapped the idea of States Rights superseding Federal power when we got rid of the Articles of Confederation and adopted the Constitution.

    The Founders not only didn’t believe in States Rights, they tried it and it didn’t work.

    .

  76. 76
    Beej says:

    @Michael D.: In other words, the ends justify the means. No. Violence is violence, for whatever reason, and is unacceptable as a social or political tool except as a self-defense to violence from the opponent. The major difference between left and right has already been stated and discussed-when those on the left resort to violence, the leaders of a major national political party and commentators in the media do not and have not applauded them and tried to justify the violence. When those on the right have resorted to violence, a major national political party and commentators in the media not only applaud, but blame the violence on the opposing party. Evil.

  77. 77
    JGabriel says:

    Michael D.:

    I think there are extremists on both sides of the political spectrum who would use and have used violence.

    Who on the left has resorted to violence in the last 20 years? Which elected Democrats have advocated or threatened it?

    I don’t think there’s a “both sides” equivalence here.

    .

  78. 78
    Bender says:

    these folks tend to embrace violence as the preferred way to solve problems—especially when they feel that they are losing at the ballot box.

    So you saw the Arizona protest/riot footage? “We will use our pickaxes and shovels against YOU!”

  79. 79
    Hob says:

    Two slight historical corrections:

    1. MOVE neither committed nor was accused of any political violence. They were just weird folks who lived in a somewhat culty situation and, when cops attempted to roust them out of their place, they responded by shooting. That happened twice, and the second time, the cops burned down their building (and much of the neighborhood) and killed everyone. Basically the Ruby Ridge/Waco of the left, with scary Philly cops instead of boneheaded feds.

    2. The Weathermen may not have killed anyone, but the ones who blew themselves up in 1970 certainly wanted to. The alleged plot was to bomb a party at Fort Dix, but if it wasn’t that, it was something like that: you don’t use nail bombs unless you want to kill people.

  80. 80
    TenguPhule says:

    So extremism in defense of violent exploitation is no vice?

    I just said that it isn’t moral or ethical.

    Merely all too effective.

  81. 81

    […] and much more testy about "honor" than other regions of the country. Dennis G. continues his study of Confederate History Month at Balloon Juice: An effort to help the Republican Confederate Party celebrate Confederate History […]

  82. 82
    Original Lee says:

    @Short Bus Bully: I agree with Short Bus Bully. This has been an amazing series of essays. I appreciate all of the work you have bee putting into them.

  83. 83
    Jim Bales says:

    Dennis writes the best one-sentence explanation for the start of the civil war I have ever seen.

    “The Civil War started because the Confederates embraced violence as the best way to resolve a political dispute that they were losing.”

    Bravo!
    Jim Bales

  84. 84

    Regarding violence:
    You certainly won’t change someone’s ideas through violence but you can make certain courses of action dangerous.

    It is nice to hold MLK & Ghandi up as examples of non-violent political action but what gets forgotten is that both were protected by force – laws and guns in the hands of authority.

    Political violence is generally counter-productive in democratic states, social violence has shown that it works – see abortion, Jim Crow, etc.

  85. 85

    The Founding Fathers, mostly Super Human Freemasons, could have ended slavery upon signing the Declaration Of Independence(From a tyrannical Church and State.)

    The Southern Delegation, who were to become Democrats, would not sign the document, until wording that ended slavery, was removed.

    There’s going to be a quiz on this, Monday.

    This isn’t my OPINION…This is the unvarnished/un sugared truth. DEAL WITH IT!

  86. 86
    Lex says:

    Late but relevant: The only successful armed ousting of a duly elected government in U.S. history was a bunch of white supremacists throwing out Negroes in Wilmington, N.C., in 1898.

  87. 87
    Kyle says:

    Reactionary bigots are with us always, in every era in every country.

    If you read the history of South African white supremacist Eugene Terre’Blanche and his Afrikaner Resistance Movement, you’ll see many similarities with the neo-Confederate Repigs.

    When these chickenhawks actually tried putting their Wolverines fantasies into practice, invading one of the ginned-up ‘homelands’ in their cars (remote wastelands where the apartheid government exiled blacks) to randomly shoot civilians, they quickly folded like the cowards these types usually are when three of their number got lost and were shot and wounded, then summarily executed by the local cops in front of the world media.

    After the fall of aparthied they became a joke, a dwindling pack of resentful losers disdained by the public. We can hope the Repigs end their days the same way.

  88. 88
    Steeplejack says:

    I’ve been out all day and missed most of this thread, but I thought this was apropos–from Sunday’s New York Times: “Robert Hicks, Leader in Armed Rights Group, Dies at 81.”

    Apologies if someone has already brought this to the group’s attention.

    Someone had called to say the Ku Klux Klan was coming to bomb Robert Hicks’s house. The police said there was nothing they could do. It was the night of Feb. 1, 1965, in Bogalusa, La.
    __
    The Klan was furious that Mr. Hicks, a black paper mill worker, was putting up two white civil rights workers in his home. It was just six months after three young civil rights workers had been murdered in Philadelphia, Miss.
    __
    Mr. Hicks and his wife, Valeria, made some phone calls. They found neighbors to take in their children, and they reached out to friends for protection. Soon, armed black men materialized. Nothing happened.
    __
    Less than three weeks later, the leaders of a secretive, paramilitary organization of blacks called the Deacons for Defense and Justice visited Bogalusa. It had been formed in Jonesboro, La., in 1964 mainly to protect unarmed civil rights demonstrators from the Klan. After listening to the Deacons, Mr. Hicks took the lead in forming a Bogalusa chapter, recruiting many of the men who had gone to his house to protect his family and guests.
    __
    Mr. Hicks died of cancer at his home in Bogalusa on April 13 at the age of 81, his wife said. He was one of the last surviving Deacon leaders.
    __
    But his role in the civil rights movement went beyond armed defense in a corner of the Jim Crow South. He led daily protests month after month in Bogalusa–then a town of 23,000, of whom 9,000 were black–to demand rights guaranteed by the 1964 Civil Rights Act. And he filed suits that integrated schools and businesses, reformed hiring practices at the mill and put the local police under a federal judge’s control.
    __
    [. . .]
    __
    The Deacons’ turf was hardscrabble Southern towns where Klansmen and law officers aligned against civil rights campaigners. “The Klan did not like being shot at,” said Lance Hill, author of The Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement (2004).
    __
    In July 1965, escalating hostilities between the Deacons and the Klan in Bogalusa provoked the federal government to use Reconstruction-era laws to order local police departments to protect civil rights workers. It was the first time the laws were used in the modern civil rights era, Mr. Hill said.
    __
    Adam Fairclough, in his book Race and Democracy: The Civil Rights Struggle in Louisiana, 1915-1972 (1995), wrote that Bogalusa became “a major test of the federal government’s determination to put muscle into the Civil Rights Act in the teeth of violent resistance from recalcitrant whites.”
    __
    [. . .]
    __
    By 1968, the Deacons had pretty much vanished. In time they were “hardly a footnote in most books on the civil rights movement,” Mr. Hill said. He attributed this to a “mythology” that the rights movement was always nonviolent.
    __
    Mrs. Hicks said she was glad it was not.
    __
    “I became very proud of black men,” she said. “They didn’t bow down and scratch their heads. They stood up like men.”

    What a moment it must have been for this man to see Barack Obama sworn in as president of the United States.

  89. 89
    Dennis G. says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    This bit:

    …what gets forgotten is that both were protected by force – laws and guns in the hands of authority

    is not really accurate. It was true at some points in both their lives and in some circumstances that each has some protection from some element of authority, but is was not the norm.

    And in both cases these two kept pushing things to be what they should be and both were killed.

    The use of violence and the rhetoric of violence to intimidate is a proven political tactic. It can and does work.

    Non-violence has a decent track record as well. Non-violence requires courage. Violence only requires fear.

    Cheers

  90. 90
    Dennis G. says:

    @Trawling_4_Moonbats:

    An edit is required:

    The Southern Delegation, who were to become Democrats and are now Republicans, would not sign the document, until wording that ended slavery, was removed.

    Happy to help.

    Cheers

  91. 91
    JWW says:

    Dennis G,

    In what state were you born and where have you spent most of that time in residence?

  92. 92
    JWW says:

    Dennis,

    I think I recall that you were from NY, maybe the Adirondack area.

  93. 93
    Dennis G. says:

    @JWW:

    Born in Detroit, MI and lived there for 20 years or so. Spent a brief time in Colorado. Then a dozen plus years in Georgia. Then I was off to Texas for a short bit and then to Maryland.

    A quick geographical bio.

    Cheers

  94. 94
    DAN T says:

    Violence ALWAYS WORKS !! until I beat down a bully back in school he was terrorizing all the smaller kids he stopped immediately !! when Reagan showed Russia that we were capable of wiping them off the face of the earth the wall came down, don’t tell me violence isn’t necessary

  95. 95
    Kyle says:

    We of the South contend … that this is a confederate Republic of sovereign States.

    Yet when they seceded as the Confederate states, they implemented a centralized structure that allowed the individual Southern states no more latitude in the CSA than they had as part of the U.S.

    Liars as well as evil assholes.

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  2. […] trust myself to do so without blowing a gasket, LOL – but Dennis G over at Balloon Juice just said about everything that needs to be said on the subject. I’ll quote a bit of it in a moment, but essentially, he sums up exactly what […]

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