Thursday, May 20, 2010

Memories of Montgomery 1963 / 1968

You had to smell the fear. Real, palpable fear from the whites all around me. I was living in an all-white neighborhood and attending an all-white school; and everybody was worried. Worried the marches and riots would come "here."

But most of all they were scared: scared that blacks would have the same civil rights, the same legal protections enjoyed by middle-class whites. Own the same kind of homes, attend the same kind of schools, hold the same kind of jobs. Practice the same professions. You could see it in their eyes, hear it in their voices when they talked about it. It would be the end of the white race.

The history of what happened, the reasons people of color marched, the harsh reprisals against them--including torture and murder--gives the lie to the Libertarians and their opposition to civil rights.

Make no mistake: the Libertarians you see on television and on the internet, these "Tea-Partiers," are Bourgeoisie who have hijacked anarchist terminology to justify their yearnings to restore and maintain the status quo. They are not interested in freedom, they are not motivated by any belief in human dignity, but seek instead money and power. Their credo is "I'm free--too bad about you."

Libertarians oppose laws against discrimination because these laws prevent discrimination. No fancy explanations are needed. People marched in Alabama for civil rights against a system that was formed against them, economic, legal, social and political, to make them sub-human. They marched because they had no other redress. Their only hope was make enough of a stink of fear and hatred so the federal government would step in and protect them from the local governments that created the problems in the first place.

The values and principles espoused by Libertarians were not available to people of color. They had no self-determination. The private institutions and businesses Rand Paul says we had no business regulating were sheltered and protected in their discrimination by their local governments. When civil rights protesters boycotted the lunch counters, the police responded with dogs and firehoses because the businesses were losing money.

The basic causes of prejudice and bigotry have not been addressed--often not even acknowledged to this day. Libertarianism does not address those causes of fear and hatred; instead offers only an alternative based on an ideal form of Individualism. This was of no help whatsoever to King, Sutherland and the other organizers of the civil rights marches of Birmingham.

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