Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Last Confederate Surrender

150 years ago today, June 23rd, 1865, the last Confederate general surrendered. Obviously, the last official surrender, and the conflict continues, and will no doubt persist for another thousands years.

I say this based upon the evidence, the universal fact, that every country and region contains some disgruntled group that nurses and nurtures the wounds and narratives of past conflicts.Why, there are people in the Middle East who are still bent out of shape about the Crusades.

Wars come in two flavors, conventional and unconventional. In conventional wars, you have set piece battles, supply lines, field of operations, orders of battle, all that crap. Conventional war seeks to control the apparatus of the state.

Unconventional warfare is guerrilla tactics, hit-and-run, sabotage, insurgency, terrorism. Unconventional war seeks to control the civil population. Without the civil population as logistic support, sustained combat is impossible.

Both forms are, of course, parasitism. Practicioners of warfare tend to think of themselves as superior,  with noncombatants as subjects. They may seem to have the upper hand due to military might, but in reality, their existence, their sustenance and livelihood, is wholly dependent upon the civil populations as a host. They are fucking blood-sucking parasites whose existence no one would miss should they, tomorrow, vanish in a puff of smoke.

I think the one disservice Ken Burn's documentary, the Civil War, did, was to romanticize and ennoble the Southern cause. The idea that they were fighting a losing battle from the beginning, that they were underdogs, engenders a sympathy to their utterly vile cause - slavery - which is wrong. Just plain wrong.

Studies and statistics have shown that the institution of slavery has ennervated and enfeebled my fellow citizens below the Mason-Dixon line. Those of former Confederates states are, today not even remotely associated with all of the vile characteristics of this practice, are nevertheless malformed and retarded from this disgrace.

I wish that it were not so. Call me stupidly idealistic, but I would prefer that everyone live up to their full potential, and any obstacle to this ideal I have no choice but to view as evil.

So, do I think the Confederate battle flag is evil? It's a symbol, and the unfortunate tendency of we primitive superstitious Cargo Cult Americans is to think that by imbuing an object as a symbol, and ceremonially banishing it from our consciousness, that somehow the problem is fixed, everything is made right again. But it just ain't so.

Do I think that state endorsement of the flag should be ended? Hell, yes. But we've all of us got a long, long way to go to end the problems if ever.

Want to work against racism? Banishing a flag won't do it. Want to do something really constructive? Something that will be more than just symbolic, something that will have a real positive impact for everyone involved? Simple. End the War On Drugs. It's a hundred years old. It's time to stop it. It's a racist policy. It's an INCREDIBLY racist policy, and anyone who has examined it at length cannot come to any other conclusion.

If you can show me any more important current institution of racism than the War on Drugs, I'd be quite astonished. The fact of the matter is it is a racist policy of the state which we can actually end in a short amount of time, and with only a small amount of effort, but it requires a large amount of will.


  1. Can't disagree with a word you wrote, but I wasn't familiar with the living-memory history of that flag's use.


    In your browser, find Dixiecrat on this page, and it will take you directly to Don Doyle's interesting summary review of when the battle flag came back into vogue in 1948 under Strom Thurmond.

    1. "The history of this flag—keep in mind, first of all, that this is not the Confederate flag. It’s the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, Robert E. Lee’s major army, not just for Virginia, but for the Eastern Theater. And it was a symbol of rebellion, rebellion in 1860, ’61, against the electoral victory of the Republican administration under Lincoln. And it was a rebellion to secede and to overthrow the power of the federal government within the what became 11 Confederate states.

      So, a century later, that flag then became, or had been, a symbol of a second rebellion, and that was a rebellion against desegregation and federal efforts to interfere in the states’ rights to perpetuate segregation. It goes back not to 1962, but earlier to at least in 1948, when Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, U.S. senator, led the Dixiecrats out of the Democratic Party, protesting the civil rights plank that was included that year in the Democratic Party platform. And it continued to become a symbol. Now it was politicized and became a symbol of resistance to desegregation in 1961, 1962. This was a time when the—when Clemson was about to be desegregated, with Harvey Gantt applying for admission, James Meredith in Mississippi. And not just South Carolina, but nearly all of the Deep South states began to use the Confederate flag as a kind of symbol of resistance.

      Now, it was also entangled with the commemoration of the Civil War centennial of a century earlier. So it was confused and shrouded in this issue of heritage and history and this kind of benign concept of celebrating or honoring the past. And I think people very sincerely believe in that, but at the same time, the political implications of the flag in 1962, when it was raised on the state House dome along with the United States flag, the state flag and then this battle flag, I think it was clear to everyone that this was a symbol of resistance, of defiance, and that if it provoked and offended, I think that was OK with the people who defended the place of that flag up on the state House dome."

  2. To me, the core issue is declaring this phukker a terrorist like Tsarnaev and dealing with him federally.

    When terrorism is invoked, many Americans––Republicans especially––have assented to indefinite detention; the criminalization of gifts to certain charities; secret, extrajudicial assassinations; ethnicity-based surveillance; and the torture even of people who might know about a future attack. Having undermined so many civil-liberties protections in pursuit of terrorists, the white majority and Republicans especially are alarmed at the idea of the homeland-security bureaucracy treating them as they’ve treated Muslim Americans.

    Is this why there’s a flagrant double-standard wrt both media and law enforcement narrative and terminology when it comes to the persistent problem of domestic terrorism?

    “terrorism” means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.

    The Commonwealth of Massachusetts could have tried the Boston Bomber and sentenced him to life without parole. However the Federal Government came in and took control and brought somewhere around 40 charges many carrying the death penalty. Convicted of all charges he is now on Federal Death Row. Dylann Roof deserves equal justice. If he is charged and convicted federally he will only get federal appeals and state judges can't screw things up. Federal terrorism charges should not be for the foreign born only.

    Finally, his use of murder as a political tool involving an elected official - place his status as a terrorist beyond any legal doubt.

    1. Roof to be charged by Feds: http://www.ibtimes.com/dylann-roof-federal-hate-crime-charges-charleston-shooting-could-be-imminent-new-1981430

  3. The score so far, braindead whitewing rednecks: 48 American murders, Muslim Extremists: 26. USA! USA! USA!