We have just begun to fight!
By Grace Lee Boggs
Special to the Michigan Citizen
The Aug.17 People’s Forum, organized by Detroiters Resisting the Emergency Manager (DREM), is a historic meeting.
I’ve been a Detroiter for 60 years, and this is the first time in my experience that so many different organizations with different ideologies and personalities have recognized the time has come for us to join together to resist and defeat the growing counter-revolution, now more than ever.
This counter-revolution is very unprincipled, very dangerous and taking many forms. Therefore, its defeat will take a lot of cooperation, courage and principled struggle.
Rooted in race and the search for the American Dream, it began at the end of World War II when white people moved to the suburbs to escape blacks in cities like Detroit where whites were becoming the minority. Taking with them their schools, their businesses and their taxes, they impoverished the cities and attracted the attention and money of extreme right-wingers like the Koch brothers.
As a result, over the years, the suburbs have become increasingly reactionary. They have elected governors like Scott Walker and Rick Snyder. They have passed anti-union right to work, anti-women and anti-black Stand Your Ground laws, which have given men like George Zimmerman permission to kill teens like Trayvon Martin as if they were roaches.
It is also mushrooming on college campuses. Professors are writing books celebrating Senator Joe McCarthy, claiming that his red-baiting witch hunts were actually early warnings against the big government that Obama is trying to force on us. Every year, the ultraconservative Phyllis Schlafly hosts a nationally-telecast Collegians Summit at the Heritage Foundation to provide these professors with a youthful audience.
As a result, on some campuses, white students warn black professors not to flunk them — or else. At UCLA’s medical school, Dr. Christian Head, a black surgeon, was assaulted by a flier depicting him with the body of a gorilla being sodomized by another professor. He sued and was awarded $4.5 million.
With growing unemployment, the crisis in the Middle East and the decline in this country’s global dominance, we have come to the end of the American Dream. The situation reminds me of the 1930s when good Germans, demoralized by their defeat in World War I, unemployment and inflation, followed Hitler into the Holocaust.
These days, in our country, a growing number of white people feel — as they are becoming the minority and a black man has been elected president — the country is no longer theirs. They are becoming increasingly desperate and dangerous.
We need to address their fears and, at the same time, invite and challenge them to join with us in creating a new American Dream.
It will not be easy. It will take the willingness to risk arrest that North Carolinians are demonstrating in the Moral Mondays movement.
It will take the kind of militancy that students are exhibiting in sit-ins against Stand Your Ground legislation.
It will take the kind of courage and persistence that Texas State Senator Wendy Davis demonstrated when she carried out a 13-hour filibuster against a bill that would have denied women the right to choose.
We have just begun to fight!