[Marxism] Vets, current military and grass-roots Organizing

Craven, Jim JCraven at clark.edu
Thu Jul 8 15:40:55 MDT 2004

There is a difference beween understanding--and starting at--where
people are ideologically, conscious-awareness-wise, etc, and moving from
there, to actually pandering to where people are in order to get their
ear and attention. As a Blackfoot and U.S. Army veteran, I am often in
contact with young Indigenous persons who want to join the military to
excape the poverty of reservations, get college tuition, deal with some
low-self-esteem problems and/or think they are somehow "living the
Warrior code" in joining up ( throughout U.S. history, even when Indians
were not American citizens, disproportionate--to their numbers in the
general population-- 
numbers of American and Canadian Indians have "served" in the military
forces of those countries). I do not pander to their illusions and
backward consciousness in order to try to move them off their
positions--I confront them directly. Why? Because as long as they
"serve" as tools and dupes of U.S. imperialism, no matter how
explainable/understandable the factors and causes of their false
consciousness and patent ingnorance about what and whom they are really
serving, they are ultimately more victimizers than victims. I ask young
Indians directly how they are any different than the Indians who served
as "scouts" for Custer and if they would have served as "Custer's
scouts." They are objectively, despite their subjective intentions and
the reasons for such intentions, acting as agents of a system that is
daily exterminating what they dare to call "their own" People and Blood.
If I had been in the position of interviewing that mother who was at the
White House asking why her son was dead in Fahrenheit 9-11, I would have
had no choice but to have asked her if she had ever considered how many
innocents her little Johnny had killed before he himself had been
killed; I would have had to have asked that question if for no other
reason than respect and sorrow for the victims of the imperial machine
of which her little Johnny had once been a willing part and accomplice.
I remember vividly, during the late 1960s and early 1970s, when I worked
with VVAW and other grass-roots organizations to develop outreach
programs to those currently serving in the military, that among the
anti-War Vets, there were still many harboring many illusions about what
they had really been doing and for whom they had been doing it. I
remember that many were still stuck on the personal and self-absorbed
level (" I fought for freedom--[bullshit]--and now I have been dumped
like garbage, the government refuses to recognize/pay for the effects of
Agent Orange, I'm not getting the benefits I was promised, I lost some
limbs or buddies and now I am against the government and its war...").
But few I knew, ever read the Pentagon Papers that told, from the inside
the U.S. imperial machine, what the real interests, motives, intentions
etc of the Vietnam War were really about. Few that I knew, really
considered how many victims they had left and created with as much
intensity and pain as they considered their own victimization and scars;
many were as self-centered/absorbed as the culture from which they
came--whose media only talks about American dead or the dead from a
particular State or city on the local news. Few I knew considered--and
took some personal responsibility for--how there own
self-imposed/assisted backward and false consciousness contributed to
their own victimization--and the victimization of so many innocents on
"the other side"--as tools and dupes of U.S. imperialism.
James M. Craven
Blackfoot Name: Omahkohkiaayo-i'poyi
Professor/Consultant,Economics;Business Division Chair
Clark College, 1800 E. McLoughlin Blvd.
Vancouver, WA. USA 98663
Tel: (360) 992-2283; Fax: (360) 992-2863
Employer has no association with private/protected opinion
"Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present
controls the past." (George Orwell)
"...every anticipation of results which are first to be proved seems
disturbing to me...(Karl Marx, "Grundrisse")

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