File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0106, message 103

Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2001 20:12:41 -0500
Subject: Re: the Goths

steve.devos wrote:

We have to agree to differ - this seems an impossible political
direction. I do not believe that the current crop of militants drifting
across the continents towards genoa are particularly engaged in
religious practice - unless a relationship to anti-capitalism and
intellectual roots in Marx and Autonomous political action constitute a
religious practice!

I have to admit the idea of militants stopping at a church to say a
novena to the blessed virgin on their way to genoa strikes me as a very
funny image.

What I had in mind was more a sense of religion at the level of desire
as a kind of Hegelian negation of the negation. Not religion practice,
but desiring machines subverting the established hegemony in the name of
what has not yet been born.  

All I can say to these godless militants is fare thee well!

On the question concerning drug laws, I admit I was contextualizing it
primarily in terms of laws against marijuana, ecstasy, LSD, peyote etc.

With regard to other drugs such as cocaine and crack, you are absolutely
right.  It is incredible how racist these laws have become. It is
disgusting how many African-American men have been arrested, routinely
harassed by police and put into prison.

Right now there is a serious movement led by George W. Bush and the
republicans to roll the clock back to a time before the civil rights
movement on housing, affirmative action, education, welfare, voting
rights, Aids etc. 

The following article has a regional US focus, but it does a good job of
explaining what we are up against with regard to racism. (I can't
remember if I posted it previously or not, but it bears repeating in any

Let's Ditch Dixie
The case for Northern secession.
By Mark Strauss

Call it the rebel yell heard 'round the world. Last year, under the
watchful eyes of God and the rheumy stare of the last surviving,
93-year-old Confederate war widow, some 2,500 sons and daughters of
Dixie gathered in Montgomery, Ala., to issue a Declaration of Southern
Cultural Independence from a nation "violent and profane, coarse and
rude, cynical and deviant."

The rally was staged by the League of the South, an organization that
fondly remembers the Confederacy as a golden age (with the awkward
exception of slavery) and that seeks to liberate the Southern people
from the yoke of "a tyrannous central government" unrestrained by the
Constitution. Most people dismiss League members as either harmless
eccentrics or closet white supremacists (they're probably a little of
both), but their views resonate in circles well beyond the good ol' boys
who don Confederate Gray on weekends to re-enact the Battle of Antietam
and pretend-kill some Yankees. You hear echoes of Southern nationalism
whenever Mississippi invokes "states' rights" to justify flying the
Confederate flag over their capitols; or when the GOP's honorary Dixie
chick Gale Norton mourns the defeat of the South saying that "we lost
too much"; or when John Ashcroft praises Southern Partisan magazine for
helping "set the record straight" on the War Between the States.

This re-emergence of Confederate pride is merely the symptom of a much
deeper problem: The North and South can no longer claim to be one

If you want proof, just look at the electoral map from the last
presidential election. Or consider that, although Texas Gov. George W.
Bush lost the U.S. popular vote by 500,000, he won the old Confederacy
by a resounding 3.1 million votes. Meanwhile, the cultural gap that pits
NASCAR fans against PBS viewers continues to widen. Ted Turner all but
confirmed the balkanization of America when he established a cable
network exclusively for the citizens of Dixie, serving up finger-lickin'
TV fare that includes Andy Griffith reruns, the best of World
Championship Wrestling, CNN South, and slapstick movies such as Dumb and
Dumber (which,according to the president of "Turner South," gets
unusually high ratings regionally).

The United States doesn't have to refight the Civil War to set matters
right. Rather, North and South should simply follow the example of the
Czech Republic and Slovakia: Shake hands, says it's been real, and go
their separate ways. And if the South isn't inclined to leave anytime
soon, then we should show them the door by seceding unilaterally.
Because for all the hue and cry of the South being a conquered people,
it is the North that increasingly finds itself under the dominion of the
Confederacy. The White House has been occupied by a Southerner for 17 of
the last 37 years. And the Confederacy's foot-in-the-door of the Oval
Office will become even more pronounced in the next century: The latest
census allowed Dixie to pick up six additional Electoral College votes
(thanks, in part, to the migration of warmth-seeking Northerners in
numbers sufficient to swell the population
of the South, yet insufficient to shift its political landscape). Had Al
Gore won the same states in 1972 as he did in 2000, he would have
trumped Bush with an electoral vote margin of 278 to 260. In 1984, he
still would have won by 271 to 267. But in 2000, even with Electoral
College juggernauts such as New York, Pennsylvania, and California in
his corner, Gore couldn't win the White House without the support of the
old Confederacy.

As the electoral center of gravity has shifted in the United States, so
too have the orientations of the two major political parties. The
Democrats lost their historic claim to the "Solid South" when the party
fractured over the New Deal and the civil rights movement. With Dixie up
for grabs, the GOP went carpetbagging for electoral votes?Barry
Goldwater paved the way when he won the loyalty of Southern delegates at
the 1964 Republican convention through his championship of states'
rights and his opposition to the civil rights bill. Every victorious
Republican candidate since then has dished out exactly what Southern
voters want to hear: Nixon attacked busing and racial quotas; Reagan
embraced the Christian Right while his attorney general, Ed Meese,
charged that the 1965 Voting Rights Act discriminated
against the South; and Massachusetts-born George Bush Sr. surrounded
himself with country and western stars and added a Willie Horton plank
to his platform. Since Republicans won the House in 1994, Southerners
have dominated the congressional leadership. Today, Republicans maintain
their bare voting majority in the evenly split Senate by virtue of the
fact that there are four more Republicans from Dixie than Democrats.

The Dixification of the "Party of Lincoln" would be tolerable if the
North had a political party of its own. But increasingly it doesn't;
hence the rise of Ralph Nader, who expressed the pent-up frustration
among liberals and populists who no longer feel comfortable in a
Democratic Party that speaks with a down-home drawl. In all the
presidential elections between 1980 and 1992, the Democrats succeeded in
winning only one Confederate state. Clinton's path to victory was the
trashing of Sister Soulja as he and other Southern Democrats weaned
their party away from Northern special interests (aka "the party base")
such as environmentalists, organized labor, African-Americans, consumer
advocates, Latinos, and gays. Gore lost the election (and even his home
state, which he loyally represented for 16 years) because he went off
message and dared to espouse progressive,
populist themes on government, gun control, and the environment. Shut
out of all branches of government, some party leaders are once again
pushing a Southern strategy to retake the White House and Congress, all
but guaranteeing that the Democratic Party will continue whistling

Economically and socially, secession will be painless for the North. The
South is a gangrenous limb that should have been lopped off decades ago.
More people live below the poverty line in the old Confederacy than in
the Northeast and Midwest combined. You are three times more likely to
be murdered in parts of Dixie than anywhere in New England, despite a
feverish devotion to "law-and-order" that has made eight Southern states
home to 90 percent of all recent U.S. executions. The South has the
highest infant-mortality rate and the highest incidences of sexually
transmitted diseases, while it lags behind the rest of the country in
terms of test scores and opportunities for women. The Confederate states
rail against the tyranny of big government, yet they are the largest
recipients of federal tax dollars. They steal business away from the
North the same way that developing countries worldwide have always
attracted foreign direct investment: through low wages and anti-union
laws. The flow of guns into America's Northern cities stems largely from
Southern states. The tobacco grown by ol' Dixie kills nearly a
half-million Americans each year.

Imagine then, for just a moment, the North as its own nation. Trent Lott
and Dick Armey would be foreigners. We would no longer be subjected to
round-the-clock TV commercials for Dale Earnhardt commemorative plates.
you were to expel all Southerners from Congress (both parties, mind you)
the new liberal majority would be able to pass tougher gun laws and
legislation barring discrimination against gays and lesbians
With the South banished from the Union, we could begin to correct the
objectionable aspects of Southern behavior with the same tools we use to
engage countries such as China: by making trade and continued foreign
contingent upon sincere efforts to clean up the environment and improve
human rights. We could implement "Plan South Carolina" to convince
growers to develop alternative crops. Northern observers could ensure
democracy in Florida polling places. Peace Corps volunteers could teach
necessary skills that would allow Southerners to pull themselves out of
poverty and illiteracy while simultaneously promoting a better
understanding of American values.

In fact, the only obvious downside is that the South would almost
insist on keeping the 3,150 nuclear warheads that are scattered
throughout Georgia, Texas, Louisiana, and Virginia. Maybe we could
strike a deal to
get those nukes back, the same way Russia did with Ukraine after the
Soviet Union broke up. If not, then perhaps national missile defense
might not be such a bad idea after all.


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