Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Quiz: CNN And Marc Lamont Hill”

More self-flagellation is in order: the problem when one gets behind in posting important Comments of the Day, new entries tend to push themselves into line, making it harder to catch up. The quiz about whether CNN was ethical to fire Marc Lamont Hill spawned this too- interesting- to- put- off discourse on the use of violence in activism in the U.S.  To recap, Hill had told the U.N, in the course of advocating pushing the Jews into the sea,

“Contrary to western mythology, black resistance to American apartheid did not come purely through Gandhi and nonviolence. Rather, slave revolts and self-defense and tactics otherwise divergent from Dr. King or Mahatma Gandhi were equally important to preserving safety and attaining freedom.”

To this,seasoned Ethics Alarms commenter Isaac wrote,

He’s also wrong about uprisings and violent tactics being “equally important” to African freedom and equal rights in America. Not even close to true. If anything such tactics, while understandable, hindered the hard uphill battle being fought by the likes of Douglass and King. You can trace virtually every single concrete step forward in both the abolition and civil rights movements to peaceful activists, non-violent advocacy, and people working within the American systems to change them. Not sexy, but true.

This sparked Michael R’s Comment of the Day on the post Ethics Quiz: CNN And Marc Lamont Hill:

I would disagree with you on your points about violent tactics. Violent self-defense was an integral part in the Civil Rights movement in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The Deacons for Defense and other armed groups of black men provided armed guards for civil rights leaders. Without groups of armed black men like the Deacons for Defense, CORE would have been wiped out. The KKK would have won and the civil rights movement would have collapsed.

  • The KKK attacked CORE and the Deacons fired back. One KKK member was killed. Another one drove to the next state for medical attention to hide the fact that he was in the KKK and a police officer.
  • Bogolusa, LA hired its first black deputy and the KKK murdered him a few days later. CORE President James Farmer was to preach at the funeral, but was warned by the government that the KKK was going to assassinate him. Armed Deacons escorted him from the airport. Fifty armed Deacons guarded the funeral. The KKK was held at bay.
  • In 1965 in Jonesboro, LA, the police along with the KKK were about to use fire hoses on black students protesting the segregated high school. A carload of armed Deacons showed up and began loading their weapons. The police and the KKK withdrew.
  • When King and Meredith had their March Against Fear in Jackson, MS, the Deacons provided armed escort.During the 1967 march from Bogolusa to Baton Rouge, the marchers were surrounded by armed Deacons or they would have been killed by the KKK. 25 Cars full of KKK drove through Bogolusa one night shooting into the homes of black families. The blacks fired back with superior firepower.I
  • n 1966 Bogolusa Jr. High School integrated. The black students were being beaten up regularly. They fought back. The KKK showed up with guns to remove the black students from the school. The Deacons showed up with M1 carbines. The KKK left.

The events in Bogolusa were repeated all over the South. Woodrow Wilson reinvented the KKK as a nationwide organization that worked with local officials to maintain Democratic control. To do this, they needed absolute control of the black community. Any hint that blacks might shake off this noose of control (and maybe vote Republican) would be met with aggressive and possibly violent action. Civil Rights activists, both black and white, were high-value targets of the KKK. Peace and love wasn’t going to cut it.

Martin Luther King, Jr. often used the Chicago chapter of the Deacons for Defense for security. Martin Luther King, Jr. was surrounded by armed men at almost all times. He applied for a concealed carry permit, but was denied because he couldn’t ‘show need’ to the chief LEO. Requiring people to demonstrate ‘need’ is a consistent policy of the Democratic Party used to arbitrarily deny people their rights. So much for your assertion of nonviolence.

This escalation of violence is what really won the Civil Rights Movement. The fact that blacks proved that they would not back down and would defend THEMSELVES eventually led to the FBI cracking down on the KKK and their ties to law enforcement in the South. Without that, there was no hope that the Cvil Rights Movement could succeed. Without the protection from the KKK and local law enforcement that the Deacons and (later) the FBI provided, any Civil Rights group would have been destroyed. Once the crackdown happened, Civil Rights groups were free to operate without much opposition.

The Deacons were supported by the US’s oldest civil rights organization, the NRA. As part of the CMP, the NRA sold at a discount (and gave) surplus government ammunition. This actually really infuriated the federal government. A lot of that ammo had just been given to the NRA and they in turn gave it to a bunch of black men in the South to shoot at the KKK.

The NRA has always been open to members of all races. During the early 20th century, the NRA range was one of the few facilities in Washington D.C. that wasn’t segregated.

I’m back, briefly.

The threat of violence is crucial and indispensible, more so than violence itself. The fool Democratic Congressman who talked about nuking citizen gunowners who resisted his proposed AR-15 confiscation notwithstanding, it is the threat of violence that has, so far at least, protected the right to bear arms.


17 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Quiz: CNN And Marc Lamont Hill”

  1. Interesting, I didn’t know about this. Using M-1 carbines, hopefully converted to semi-automatic would do the job. I guess this is a nail in the coffin of the NRA supposedly being a racist organization.

    • But we’ve been screeched at repeatedly that “weapons of war” have no place on our streets! I’m sure a bunch of single-shot guns (who needs more than one bullet to kill a deer, after all?) would have had the same deterrent effect on the KKK as military-surplus semi-automatic rifles, right?

      Back in those days, one could buy a 20mm anti-tank rifle mail order direct to your home. Now THAT is how you deal with people driving through your neighborhood shooting at houses…

      • One of the slanders against the 2nd Amendment was that it was specifically included in the bill of rights to permit slave states to more easily arm slave suppressing militias.

        1) it fits the mold of calling anything not left wing as racist

        2) it helps hide the history that the 2nd Amendment had been one of the emerging black community’s best friends in America.

        • Of course it did do that, but buried in there is the inescapable fact that one of the earliest forms of American gun control was the ban on slaves owning guns. Gun control and gun rights are two sides of the same fence, the fence that separates those with a right to self-rule from those who we deem must be ruled over by their betters. It’s been that way since back when it was sword control.

    • M1 carbines are all semiautomatic. The full-auto requirement was dropped during the trials period. Later, a full-auto version, the M2 carbine, was developed and widely used in Korea. This was almost identical to the M1, but had two magazine latches to better support the larger, 30 round magazine. Some of those M2’s were converted to M1’s by removing the full-auto trigger.
      After the Korean War, M1 carbines were widely sold in the US in gun and hardware stores for a few dollars each.

  2. Those aren’t examples of the absurd claim of guerrilla tactics having anything worthwhile to do with securing civil rights as Marc Lamont Hill claimed, but it’s a nice clarification. I should have stipulated that self-defense had plenty to do with INDIVIDUAL people protecting (or saving) their lives while going about the cause. I didn’t because I’m lazy.

    It would be an interesting alternate history if Freedom Riders had been Freedom Rioters, Rosa Parks had started a bus brawl, and Bull Connor had been able to claim he was staving off a violent mob because the Birmingham protestors had showed up dressed like Antifa and torching stores.

    • It would be an interesting alternate history if Freedom Riders had been Freedom Rioters, Rosa Parks had started a bus brawl, and Bull Connor had been able to claim he was staving off a violent mob because the Birmingham protestors had showed up dressed like Antifa and torching stores.

      If African Americans, in whatever scenario, had been forced to fight for their independence instead of having it more or less handed to them, it always seemed to me that it would have been far better for them.

      Without that struggle, and without becoming ferocious and self-determining, what was allowed to African Americans was not independence and freedom but a kind of cooption. What that meant for those people who had been, let’s face it (and as Angela Davis said) “robbed from the shores of Africa”, was to grow in seething anger over what had been done to them. They did not have to struggle for it, it was given to them, but under the proviso that they should (to put it colorfully) kiss the hand of their former noble master.

      When I read Leroi Jones this was the impression I had. The *Black experience* in white America was one of complete disorientation. Having lost all their own cultural trajectory, their own language, their own power to self-determine, all that they were allowed was the prospect of being *good negroes* or, as was also the case, *bad negroes*. Black identity is now and will likely always be allied to resistance to this strange fate. It is an ingrained resistance, a deep resentment of a very strange fate that, as it seems to me, remains recorded in the flesh.

      What might have been a *better* option could have been that of a fight to secure a national territory of their own. Obviously, it would have turned out to be something like Haiti, or what the southern cities now beginning to be run by African Americans is turning out to be (according to some reports, but perhaps they are excessively prejudiced?) but it would have been their own and their success or failure would have been their own.

      As it is now — this is my impression and my understanding — Black identity remains one of seething resentment and, in different ways, one of a desire, conscious or unconscious I am uncertain, of undermining the structures built by white, European society. Since the notion of ‘integration’ is, as I suggest, a sort of insult, a sign of defeat and cooption, something in the human spirit can only subvert the process. In a sense, to become Americans means to stop being Black and to surrender their own history. Historical and cultural awakening means facing what had been done to them, and rectifying it in one way or another. My impression is that a great deal of Black cultural products have always to do with rebellion and resistance in one form or another. This means of course *subversion* of white norms and white social rules.

      What I also find interesting here is the tie-in to the other conversation about Israel and its occupation. It is vastly different in many respects but there is a similar underlying *sentiment* (if I can call it that). It is visceral, unconquerable resistance and a will to answer the oppressor with a similar harm. I watched a series of videos that were interviews with Israelis and Palestinians with the question “Do you hate Palestinians?” “Do you hate Israelis?” Most of the Israelis said no. Most of the Palestinians avoided the question or said “yes” in the most emphatic terms. The lesson I got from that is that the oppressor (and I use the term in its true sense here) has little reason to ‘hate’, because he is at least the director of his own self, and anyway is the one who has gained the advantage. The oppressed, on the other hand, is living within his own wound, and for that reason ‘hates’ the one who did him harm.

      • “Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letters US, let him get an eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder, and bullets in his pocket, and there is no power on earth or under the earth which can deny that he has earned the right of citizenship in the United States.” – Frederick Douglass 1863.

        You demean the service of perhaps 200,000 blacks who enlisted in the U.S. Army during the Civil War and fought for their freedom.

        • I made no reference to that service, so it cannot be claimed that I *demeaned* it or those who served. You employ an underhanded tactic of debate which I dislike. In the end, you demean yourself when you use tactics like that.

          • You started out by stating: “If African Americans, in whatever scenario, had been forced to fight for their independence instead of having it more or less handed to them”

            They did not simply have their independence handed to them. They were active participants in the struggle for abolition and the Civil War. They fought for their freedom.

            • Powers superior to them, that also did not really respect them, and certainly did not open the doors of society to them, used them in a larger battle that did not have to do, in fact, with either slavery or the abolishment of it. There, Diego, you have a more honest telling of history.

              To a limited degree, and I would suggest to a somewhat but not entirely false degree, they were given a role as an expedient. When no longer needed, they were abandoned. This was not true self-direction and their freedom was not, as I said and still maintained, self-initiated and self-actualized. I would say that this is one of the issues and problems — even of a certain pathology — of being Black in America.

              “If African Americans, in whatever scenario, had been forced to fight for their independence instead of having it more or less handed to them…”

              I attempt not to denigrate the historical struggle of African Americans but actually to acknowledge it and in this sense to validate it. History is not done and finished. Obviously, Blacks still seem to be in their process of struggle and certainly in the US. Where it will lead is not clear to me.

              I am open to better understanding that struggle from a meta-political height which is one of the reasons I choose to jump into difficult topics and explore them.

              However, I also incline toward a political and social view of so-called white nationalism and the reassertion of white social and cultural dominance. And I respect similar movements all over Europe as well, and wherever the occur. Surely that statement there is troublesome, from your perspective. My views always land me in trouble as you might have noticed. But they are not unethical.

  3. Thanks for a bringing back a forgotten history, Michael R. The Deacons weren’t headline grabbers – they just did their job protecting the lives and freedoms of black people and their leaders -, so their being precursors to the Black Panthers (originally The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense) has been lost in a Marxist mist and a 10-point, much broader, agenda. The point about the Deacon’s NRA backing was new to me and most welcome. Eventually, it all comes together, piece by piece.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.