An activist and youth organizer named Bree Newsome climbed the flagpole in front of the South Carolina capitol in Columbia early Saturday morning and pulled down the Confederate flag still flying on Statehouse grounds, telling media, "we can't wait any longer."
As a Marine Vietnam Veteran, I honor your courage. Treasure Life = Organize We The People.
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It’s about time! It shouldn’t have ever been there to start with. Over 500K Union soldiers died to see that flag taken down and it’s presence anywhere on American soil is an act of overt Rebellion and Treason. It’s time to stop tolerating it and the ugly reality it represents.
Good for Bree. Bigots exist but NOTHING should compel people of good will to tolerate them. Time to organize flag burning ceremonies.
Perhaps our world is starting to turn a corner…Just a few days, in 1941, after the Nazis occupied Greece, a teenager by the name of Manolis Glezos climbed up a flagpole set on the Acropolis with a Nazi flag on top. He took down the hated banner, while German officers confidently sat toasting each other about their victory. Outraged, the Germans announced that they would find the culprit. But the culprit found them, instead. The very next night he once again took the flag down. His action did not end the occupation but it helped to build the energies of resistance. Years later, as the Syriza party was campaigning in the streets, Manolis Glezos appeared in the crowd, speaking out for freedom for Greeks from the masters of European finance. Yes, these issues always take time to get straightened out but personal integrity and bravery provide the fuel to keep things moving ion the right direction.
Matt Heins: As symbols, battle flags are always something more than mere signalling devices. Those who went to war on behalf of the Confederacy surely regarded the flag as expressive of their cause. For them, the flag was an affective, meaningful statement of values worth dying for.
Events in history are typically caused by complex, multi-faceted factors, but the US Civil War is distinctive in that the cause of it is clear and unambiguous: the slavery question that divided North (and West) from the South. The Confederates were adamant that secession was about defending “the Southern Way of Life” (which to them mean slavery and white supremacy). A key cause of the war was that with the election of Liincoln, for the first time since the Revolution, the South could not sure of its rule over the policy of the national (federal) government. Lincoln was an “anti slavery” man (not an abolitionist), and this, for the planter class, was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
As regards the revolutionary sensibilities of the Confederate leaders, one is reminded of the question posed by Samuel Johnson, on the eve of the 1776 conflagration: “why is it,” said Johnson, “that we hear the most about freedom from the drivers of slaves?” Johnson’s question is a good one, and it applies very well to the hypocritical planters who argued for their “rights” to brutalize enslaved men, women and children.
Agreed that racism in the ante bellum United States was widespread but it was not ubiquitous. Lincoln was not the ideal of an anti-racist “white” person. In fact, he was quite conservative and moderate. Someone like Lydia Maria Child is much nearer the mark. She wrote a well-known book that denounced the evil of white racism.
Agreed that in one respect the stars and the stripes is hardly the moral superior of the confederate flag. But there is one major difference: oppressed peoples have fought hard for the meaning of the American flag, as in the Civil rights demonstrators who carried the flag with them on freedom marches. But who among the oppressed has ever identified with the confederate flag? Working class white folk who identify with the flag do so for all the wrong reasons. They think that the USA is a “white man’s country” (as they used to say). It’s tragic and pathetic that such people sink themselves into the bullshit mythology of “the lost cause,” instead of trying to live in the demented, beautiful and dangerous USA that has been bestowed upon us by history.
Squeeze the balloon of white supremacy and all its’ spinoffs; the bulges magically reappear, just more misshapen and distorted. Congrats to the brave organizers they showed real courage in capturing this flag; symbols certainly matter, here… But until the nation understands that supremacy inhabits our banking, military, policing, prison system, employment, healthcare, education and housing sectors, much work remains. And, as Molly Ivins so righteously observed, " the fight in this country is not between the left and right, it is between the ups and the downs. " Time to tip some more sacred cows over, please.
Personally, I find the Confederate battle flag useful in helping me identify persons and entities with whom I don’t wish to associate.
That flag is a hated symbol that no more belongs in front of a government building than a Swastika flag belongs in front of a synagogue. That being said, this is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. After the governor, both federal senators and the South Carolina assembly agreed that the flag must come down, they have been preempted from doing what THEY should do by this impulsive act of self-promotion on the part of Bree. And for what? So that she can see if her hashtag “trending” rating is higher than Caitlyn Jenner or the infamous Kardashians? The racist bigots are celebrating because Bree has changed the conversation. You go girl!
Not to worry. There’s plenty of them in closets everywhere. Er,… let me rephrase that. The closeted have their flags in their jockey boxes inside the trucks which they park inside their garage which has a great big flag above the tool bench next to the kegerator and the AR-15s … No that’s not it, either. OK, I got it; just assume every 5th adult, including the ones in blue uniforms,. are white supremacists. Tipoff: bonus points if he talks about having a deep and abiding personal relationship with THE LORD.
Ummm no, over 500K Union soldiers did not die:
At least 618,000 Americans died in the Civil War, and some experts say the toll reached 700,000. The number that is most often quoted is 620,000. At any rate, these casualties exceed the nation's loss in all its other wars, from the Revolution through Vietnam. The Union armies had from 2,500,000 to 2,750,000 men. Their losses, by the best estimates:
Battle deaths: 110,070
Disease, etc.: 250,152
The Confederate strength, known less accurately because of missing records, was from 750,000 to 1,250,000. Its estimated losses:
Battle deaths: 94,000
Disease, etc.: 164,000
I couldn’t agree more. That flag represents both treason and and a society, a culture, a way of life predicated on profits from human trafficking. Shameful. And it should not be flying anywhere. The appropriate place for that flag is in history books and museums. It is a part—sadly–of our history as a nation. And history is what it needs to be.
You joined the Marines and invaded Vietnam because you’re opposed to the racist history symbolized by the Confederate flag?
Wow, talk about some screwed up thinking…no wonder you’re proud of your “service” in Vietnam, although I’m not sure who this service was for.
Another hateful symbol is the star of David under which Palestinians were driven out and continue to be oppressed and killed.
and what about the statues and monuments to slaveholders (e.g. Washington, Jefferson, etc.).
Any ideas on that Poet?
Heck, we killed a lot more Iraqis than that…
I am not aware of any Israeli government officials who want the Mogen David removed from official Israeli government institutions. That being so, your comparison to the adventures of celebrity seeking and hashtag generating freebree in South Carolina is not valid.
Neither am I aware of any movement on the part of the African American community to expunge from existence monuments to or statues of slave owning presidents–so your comparison in this matter is not valid either.
Its always funny that everyone has to wait on the racsist to get their crap together. For decades, Congress told humans with darker skin tone, to wait for their rights as free people of the United States upto the last moments of pre-civil rights movement. They said,‘wait, we are doing some things,’ and that rights had to be waited on. Kennedy wasnt any different (sorry to burst that bubble). And now again, literally the exact same situation after being told over and over (remember, propaganda has to be repetative and consistant to work well) by Fox news and every white Republican that decides to put their personal crime wave down for a sec to come and speak to the low life scum called American (non-political) citizens. Hmmm…
That’s a pretty shitty thing to say-especially as you have no idea why he joined the Marines, what he did in Vietnam, and what he thought about it while he was there, and afterwards. The world is a complicated place, and going after one grunt from the safety of your basement doesn’t make it any less so.
Who is the guy in the hardhat?
What a ridiculous comment. Are you some kind of mind reader? You alone know what Bree’s motivations were for taking that flag down? You have decided that she was not sincere, that she just did it for publicity and self promotion? Really? I think the main reason why she took the flag down was her disgust for what that flag represents and I don’t care if she also did it for self promotion as a side benefit. The main thrust is that this flag must go from government property. Her actions won’t affect the eventual taking down of the flag, the governor still wants the flag taken down. I don’t get your nasty comments against Bree.