Saturday, November 2, 2013

Call out the posse

A log cabin, set in a small clearing in a vast forest. A pioneer family, sleeps under patchwork quilts, on corncob mattresses. In the darkness outside, a horse gallops down the dirt trail to the house. The rider shouts out the hue and cry, calling upon the militia. The householder strikes a light, drags on his pants and his boots. He reaches for the rifle set on pegs over the door. He rushes out into the night.

America's national mythology has reverence for the militia-men who stood shoulder to shoulder on the bridge at Concord. Citizen-soldiers and their flintlock rifles are woven into the cloth of Liberty. Movies and television shows set in the American West the sheriff called out citizen-soldiers to defend civilization from bandits and outlaws-- the posse.

Organized private violence was part of American culture from the earliest times, and shaped American's relationship with our government and our guns.
tremendous state violence was necessary to occupy a territory, suppress its indigenous population, enslave millions of Africans, and assault striking workers. But the United States is unique in the extent to which we’ve relied on paramilitary forces – groups going by the names of militias, slave patrols, lynch mobs, and posses – to impose racial and economic domination through terrorism. These paramilitaries were usually not professional forces. Instead, their members were ordinary white folks: Landowners, slaveholders, and businessmen took part, but so did poor farmers and those in the working class. Participation in these groups was instrumental in creating a common white identity that crossed class lines. Paramilitarism bestowed privilege upon many whites who were otherwise indebted to and exploited by the upper classes. It created a culture of popular violence linked inextricably to race.

Legal precedent established the "collective right" of citizens to own guns within the context of a regulated state or federal militia. A determined coalition of shooting organizations, gun manufacturers, and political libertarians argue that the second amendment guarantees "individual" right to own and bear firearms. In fact, the insurrectionist movement holds that citizens may need to defend Liberty against the government itself-- "to prevent tyranny and overpower an abusive standing army."
SECOND AMENDMENT:  "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

In the 18th and 19th centuries, paramilitary patrols put down slave rebellions.

Slave rebellions were fairly common. There were at least 250 conspiracies or uprisings involving more than ten slaves throughout US history. Whites in the South were, in general, terrified of slaves’ potential power, especially given that slaves outnumbered whites by large margins in much of the region. White fear meant that wherever there were slaves, there was a patrol ready to shoot should anyone get out of line.

Following the Civil War and formal abolition of slavery, whites formed paramilitary organizations to continue their domination of blacks. These groups – the Redshirts, White League, and Ku Klux Klan – were a natural continuation of slave patrols. ...The group’s favored method of terrorism against black people was the lynching, usually under the pretext of “delivering justice” for crimes like rape, murder, or hitting on white women. White vigilantes hanged nearly 5,000 blacks between 1882 and 1968.
The western US had its own forms of paramilitarism, which were no less violent or pervasive. During the 19th and 20th centuries, white mobs attacked Chinese, Japanese, and Mexican immigrants as well as the Irish and Slavs who were not yet considered white. Many of these attacks were against striking workers.
Rich Wilson
The Western vigilante classically claims the right to act because the state is either absent, in the hands of criminals, or in default of its fundamental obligations (for example, to enforce immigration laws or defend private property). Thus the Brawley News in 1933 resorted to the following sophistry to justify a particularly brutal vigilante attack on striking Mexican farmworkers: “It was not mob violence, it was a studied organized movement of citizens seeking the only way out of difficulties threatening the community’s peace when the hands of the law are tied by the law itself.”  White Southerners, on the other hand, have always asserted supreme racial prerogatives that override any state or federal statue. The Westerner defends his actions in the name of unenforced laws and the frontier principle of posse comitatus, while the Southerner appeals to the primal priority of race and ‘white honor.’

2nd Amendment-- militias, slave patrols, lynch mobs, and posse's –  impose racial and economic domination through terrorism

No comments:

Post a Comment