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WKOG Op-Ed | Keystone XL: The Specter of Truth

WKOG Op-Ed

November 8, 2015

by Forrest Palmer and Cory Morningstar

 

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In 1865, the Civil War ended. The narrative at that time was that the Civil War was fought and won by the North for the preservation of the Union. Revisionist historians the past few decades have concluded that in hindsight, it wasn’t about preservation of the Union, but the destruction of slavery in a false account that it was done to somehow save the Africans who were being used as free labor during that period. With all that being said, any impartial opinion that takes into account the past history and present circumstances of the post-Civil War period must come to the conclusion that the Civil War was fought to end slavery, but not to save the victims of that scourge of humanity. It was fought to shift the power base of the country to the banking and manufacturing North instead of residing in the agrarian, staple crop South. This is shown in the fact that all the slaves in the South were worth more monetarily than everything else in the country, be it the land, textile industries, buildings, et. al. This in and of itself meant that economic power resided in the South. This was problematic for the North in regards to which region held sway over the other economically, the ONLY thing of importance in a capitalist system.

In regards to the victims belief in this revisionist history, this cultural lie has framed the modern day mindset of black people into thinking that their freedom was ultimately attained due to some benevolent factors in the North (regionally) and federal government (institutionally). Most believe that these were not only the primary reasons, but the only reasons. Systemically, this is indoctrinated into young black minds at the school level through Western education, whereby most black people have been trained to reflexively think that the Civil War was fought to specifically set them free for moral reasons. And since the end of the Civil War, black people in Amerikkka have looked at all the efforts of the civil rights movement as the SOLE answer as to why they have been able to gain some social successes in the country. Hence, the misguided belief is that black Amerikkkans will only get results by way of how much pressure is put on the powers that be through marching, protesting, voting and the like.

Now, the delusion of black people when it comes to the causes of why they have achieved societal gains resides in the faith that it was just their personal organizational efforts, protests and white beneficence. This isn’t the case since there were many SUPERSEDING things that allowed the black community to make gains, such as the fear by the state that black people would collectively become anti-capitalist and align with socialist and communist structures both internal and external to the United States and the need of the country’s leaders to portray the U.S. as a world leader on human rights to both its enemies during the Cold War and its allies in the Western world. (It doesn’t look good when the leaders of the “free world” are at a conference and on the front page of an international newspaper, there are a bunch of white Amerikkkans standing around a hanging black body that has been burned to a crisp with his genitalia cutoff). But, when you look at the levels of poverty, incarceration, discrimination and everyday vagaries of survival in Amerikkka presently, the improvements made by black people have been miniscule at best in most areas and have reverted back to how they were during previous decades in many instances.

This topic of conversation is germane to the Keystone XL issue in that this type of delusion as to the exact causes of its rejection by Barry will disallow the environmental movement from dealing with the present circumstances of its ultimate INSIGNIFICANCE and the future obstacles that will have to be broached in order to reach the ultimate goal (whatever that is, since the ultimate goal in the Western environmental movement has never been detailed to any great degree since it ranges from a faux “green” capitalist economy to the total dismantling of industrial civilization, which leaves a lot of room in between). This current myopia is entirely reminiscent of the delusion present in the Amerikkkan black community in regards to the walk towards an ersatz freedom all these countless years. In terms of the environmental movement, it is this lack of concrete ideals amongst the protesters that has allowed disparate personalities and causes to claim “victory” for Barry (Obama) rejecting the permit for TransCanada. As people have touted this rejection as showing that these people with diverse interests have been able to come together and accomplish a common good, all it will take is many of the people whose self interests are no longer being affected to turn against those who see this as a global issue when their self interest are no longer involved. Hence, many allies today will quickly turn into enemies tomorrow once those who understand the gravity of our situation step out of the bounds administered by those who don’t question the system, but only momentarily take issue with its effect and control in terms of their personal self-interests. Truthfully, it will be the ones who are today judging this in its most stark and honest terms who will be the ones that will stand in solidarity with the same people who are today congregating with those who will one day be their enemies in the mainstream environmental movement. Regarding the most servile response by the people in the mainstream, the fact that people are in celebration because of one measly pipeline when Barry himself said that he and his administration “added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth and then some”, is beyond astounding.

In looking at all these various issues, if the people at the grassroots level are not willing to be honest about the truth, such as the other outside factors that have had MORE INFLUENCE on whatever freedoms black people have today and, in comparison, the facts as to why this one pipeline was rejected that don’t reside in mass mobilization at the grassroots level, then how can people actually affect change? The removal of the obstacles will never be achieved unless the masses are at least willing to be honest. In relation to the Amerikkkan civil rights movement, this mindset has been the major impediment to black people making measurable gains in this country. As black people have become more patriotic and less of a threat to ally themselves with any internal and external groups who don’t want to continue “business as usual”, it is no mistake that things such as mass black unemployment and incarceration levels have exploded in the Amerikkkan black community. And although this is anathema to most black people in Amerikkka, the inability to accept these truths as fact is probably the greatest impediment to actually making strides towards liberation, physical and, even more importantly, mental in nature. This comparable anathema is wholly present in the response by the mainstream environmental movement to anyone who questions the importance of the Keystone XL project’s rejection.

In terms of ongoing pipeline proliferation, if there was a carefully orchestrated plan to shut down ALL pipelines and go to a ZERO CARBON emissions lifestyle and this was the beginning of this long and arduous task, akin to laying the first spike down in the transcontinental railroad, then there would be reason to celebrate. However, other than momentarily affecting the balance sheet of a handful of multinational corporations with the Keystone XL rejection, this has been and will be an irrelevant non-starter to dealing with the literally suffocating problem of carbon emissions and capitalism’s reliance upon said emissions. But, as Barry’s act is being portrayed as being due to the efforts of those at the grassroots level, all evidence points to this being anything but the case. The grassroots just benefited from the actions of Barry (to only a very miniscule, microscopic degree, I might add). In summary, the raw truth is that Barry’s actions weren’t a byproduct of pressure, but of political expediency.

Honestly though, the same people who will look at this commentary as sacrilege in telling the truth about the Civil War or the lack of primacy when it came to the civil rights movement in establishing inroads to white supremacy are the same ones who will take the truth tellers to task for being honest about Keystone XL on this day. But as you look at the plight of black people in Amerikkka today, who are existing in as miserable conditions as they did at any given time during the post Civil War era, the attempt to live a lie has a had a deleterious effect on society as a whole, which is a harbinger of the outcome of this ultimately insignificant action by Barry and how it is being promoted by the mainstream environmental movement.

In that same vein, to act like this is a victory of some sort gives the impression to the masses that the fight is won while there is not a shred of credible evidence to prove this as being a fact. In all the congratulatory talk about the pipeline, there is no discussion of how this will have no real effect as to the present carbon emissions issue where it will only slow down our runaway environmental issue globally to a small degree, at best. The reason this discussion isn’t present is that this would be seen for exactly what it is: a hollow victory.

And to compare an individual in the civil rights movement to those who are willing to tell the truth about this current event regarding the environment, after the hallowed Martin Luther King Jr. turned from just talking about civil rights for black people and delved into capitalism, Western militarism and poverty during the last couple of years of his life, he became a pariah to those on the right and left, white AND BLACK. But once again, revisionist history will not tell you this since it is much more palatable to pawn King to the masses as someone who was beloved throughout his life in the guise of obsequious obedience to the social order illustrated in his adherence to non-violent principles. In the hands of the power structure, this is used as a euphemism to inculcate people into allowing themselves to be walked over and feel bad about responding “by any means necessary” as a justifiable reaction by any unprejudiced measure, to use a phrase coined by the great Malcolm X.

So, as that is the case, all of the people berating the ones who are shining a light on how this Keystone XL decision is not a victory in any way, shape or form are in direct alignment ideologically with the ones who castigated King during his last years on this Earth because he was willing to speak the truth no matter how uncomfortable it made the people who he was ultimately trying to help. Since that is the case, I think it is time to ask the same people today whose side they are truly on. Because if people aren’t willing to disprove the statements by the individuals who are critiquing this in as honest way as possible, then the responders are being disingenuous at best and are enemies posing as allies at worst. I think we are learning that many are the latter and not the former.

Ultimately, the single pipeline that was stopped MOMENTARILY by stroke of Barry’s pen is akin to a single slave running away from a plantation in the Deep South. And although we like to culturally aggrandize the singular stories of certain slaves that were able to escape from Amerikkkan slavery, like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, the TRUTH is that less than 1% of slaves were able to make the arduous journey from enslavement to freedom during the legal slavery on these shores. Hence, the past celebration and present commemoration of singular successful slave attempts at freedom while millions of other lived in the worst conditions possible is beyond dishonest. In the same way, to celebrate this individual event of Keystone XL is beyond shortsighted. It is time to stop celebrating the individual battles when we are losing the war by any unbiased opinion. And for those who are concerned with the truth, it is time to start talking about winning the war and not be satisfied with useless, facile individual battles and their interpretative victories.

Summarily, if you can’t talk honestly about the problem, then how can you ever come up with a solution?