I was listening to Peter Gabriel's inspirational song about Steven Biko, a black activist beaten to death in a South African jail. His death was part of what created the wave that eventually overthrew Apartheid rule. There are some lyrics that we should take to heart:
You can blow out a candle
But you can't blow out a fire
Once the flames begin to catch
The wind will blow it higher
And I realized that we are right now in a struggle much like that in South Africa, not so much in terms of race, but in terms of class. And the weird part is that almost half the nation has been willingly convinced that they're not black. This is part of the insanity we live in today; decades of hate, crafted phrasing, media control, and pride-fueled lockstep support have created the perfect Republican automaton. Cemented with religious piety without the core of caring, this new brand of conservative is in legion with the CORPservatives ruling the GOP. They have forgotten the human tenets of true conservatism, and latched onto the guns, God, and gays mantra excluding all else. Through their cloud of passion, they can’t see the ways they are oppressed by corporate and class rule. It’s like they’re black but don’t know it, cozying up to Apartheid rule because it feeds their ego and sense of superiority. Using another analogy, they are serfs who think they’re barons because they wear the colors.
But when you look at the structure of the struggle we’re all in, it does look like a version of Apartheid, only the violence is economic more than physical. It affects nearly everyone, yet the blame has been shifted through the right-wing spin machine.
Let's hope that our movement doesn't have a similar martyr, someone who is beaten to death simply because of their politics and their power.
Listen to Gabriel's "Biko," you'll understand that the roots of inspiration are the same. Hopefully the eventual outcome will be as well.