Monday, September 16, 2013

a proposal to combat racism

by cathy aragon

illustrated by penmarq studios

for previous episode, click here

to begin at the beginning, click here

dylan: only a wholesale rearrangement of society can even begin to dislodge or combat racism.

society as it exists must be completely torn down. and built from scratch.

racism is inherent in the present structure of society.

the basic unit of society is still the "family". the fact that the definition of "family" in contemporary industrial society has been slightly modified to accommodate connections other than those of direct heredity does not change this - except maybe for the worse.

as its bourgeois liberal proponents are fond of pointing out, the "new" expansions of the definition of marriage "strengthen the family".

unfortunate, if true.

what is a "family"? it is a social unit like a sports team, in which humans are expected to compete against others, "dog against dog", in which individuals are encouraged to act for the benefit of their "own" families against others - especially those unfortunate enough not to have been born into or picked up by an "own" (most telling word) family.

does anybody question this? that the nuclear family needs to be abolished? cathy?

cathy: well, as with a lot of things, i don't think you can separate the objective from the process of obtaining the objective. a lot of people who might support world socialism would be put off by an out and out attack on the idea of family. especially now when you have so many single women with kids, and gay couples with kids - they have only just achieved the goal and identity of being recognized as "families". are you going to attack the idea of family before they have time to draw a deep breath?

dylan: yes! that was my point exactly. a single white mother is still white. a white gay couple with kids is still white. they enjoy the advantages of being white. these things which everybody thinks are so wonderful are actually perpetuating racism.

sarah: but wouldn't class and race be dissolved together in a truly socialist state?

cathy: of course. i think the question is, which should attacked first? i think race underpins class more than class underpins race.

dylan: exactly. even the media doesn't deny that there are rich and poor. it just pretends that people deserve to be rich or poor. but it denies that race even exists.

sarah: still, why attack one first? why not both together? and sexism and homophobia along with them?

cathy: that is a good question. but let's just suppose for now. what if racism is to be attacked first?

dylan: well, i am glad you asked that question, cathy, because i happen to have a plan b here to attack racism in the context of a still basically capitalist society.

sarah: plan b as opposed to what plan a?

dylan: plan a of one big revolution changing everything all at once.

sarah: of course

dylan: all right, so here is plan b:

first, take a census of all population of the country, or whatever territory is controlled by the revolutionary government.

determine the percentages of the population that are african-american, and native american.

then do a breakdown of the rest of the population by income.

suppose the african/native american population is 15%. i am just using this as an example. then take the incomes and possessions of the top 15% of the rest of the population and confiscate them. possessions is important - the whole point is not to be just shuffling money numbers around on paper.

sarah: but in a total revolution the old money values would be null and void anyway.

dylan: they would still have land, houses, private planes and stuff. and the means of production.

sarah: those would all be seized by the revolutionary government.

dylan: yes, but this is plan b, remember.

cathy: you have to keep the old money system in place to some extent to deal with the societies not yet inside the revolutionary orbit. that was one of the problems the russian soviets had.

dylan: moving right along. the private property of the 15% would then be distributed evenly among the african/native population.

megan: what about the revolutionary cadres. what do they get?

dylan: you know the answer to that. even in the early stages of the revolution - especially in the early stages of the revolution - the revolutionary cadres will remain pure. they get uniforms and something to eat. that's all. no money.

megan: of course.

dylan: another thing to remember, that we can learn from the bolsheviks mistakes, is to avoid the old trappings of power like taking over the white house or the pentagon or the new york stock exchange. so it doesn't look like new boss just like the old boss.

cathy: right. but let's get back on track. about the 15%. here's a question. what do you do with the 15% after you dispossess them?

dylan: well, the top 4 or 5% would be sent to reeducation camps - obviously.

sarah: why not all of them?

dylan: building and staffing the camps might not be the top priority of the revolution in the first stages. obviously you have to do it to the minimum needed. besides, you need people to do stuff like sweep the streets and subways and clean toilets.

sarah: eventually they will all have to be reeducated.

dylan: obviously.

cathy: i have a question, dylan. how easy is it to draw a line between the 15% that will be dispossessed and the 85% that will be left alone. and the 85% - do they get completely off?

dylan: i thought of that. you take the top 9 or 10 percent , no problem. then you take the next 20 or 25% and you have a lottery to determine which ones are in the 15%.

cathy: a lottery? wouldn't that be kind of time consuming and a waste of resources just running it? why not just take the next 5% from the 20% by alphabet - everybody with a last name from a to f or whatever?

dylan: i suppose you could do that. but a lottery would look like we were being quote fair unquote. people like lotteries.

cathy: maybe. and the people who make the cut - do they get completely off?

dylan: no, they don't completely off. it might look that way at first . eventually everybody will be brought to their place in the new order.

megan: i like the lottery. like dylan says, it looks fair. people will get into it. people who might be a little pissed off at the revolution to begin with, it will give them something to look forward to and keep their minds off potential counterrevolutionary activity.

cathy: sarah, what do you think about the lottery idea?

sarah: i don't like it. i think the whole idea of a lottery has the mark of the beast on it.

cathy: all right, we'll come back to it, let's move on.

megan: i have a question. about the revolutionary cadres. suppose you have an african-american or native american person in the cadres, would have to be pure or could they get their share of the 15 percent's wealth?

dylan: they could have their share if they wanted it. obviously. you have a problem with that?

megan: no, no, i just wanted the point clarified.

sarah: i would hope all the cadres would abjure any advantages they might be strictly entitled to.

cathy: but you would not hold them to it?

sarah: of course not.

megan: abjure. that's a mighty big word for a girl your size.

sarah: fuck you.

megan: so while most of the cadres are eating hardtack or grasshoppers or peanut butter sandwiches, some others could be slurping down steaks.

cathy: steaks! what are you saying! the complete dismantling of the meat industry is one of the first objectives of the revolution!

megan: i know, i know. i don't know what i was thinking - i was trying to come up with a symbol of privilege. it just slipped out. i'm sorry.

sarah: it sounds like you might need some reeducation yourself, young lady.

cathy: we all need reeducation, continually. is that all, dylan?

dylan: it's the basic outline. of course, in practice we have to integrate anything we do with the assaults on class and sexism and rape culture and species oppression and homophobia.

cathy: yes, exactly

dylan: i would just like to add - this is a proposal to fight racism - not eliminate it. because we can never assume it is completely eliminated and must always be open to further progress in this regard.

to be continued

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