are all afraid to hate. Hate is something we have all grown up to
hate. Yet in an extreme situation it can be a positive force for change,
it stimulates us to shake off our inertia, our helplessness and our
sense of being victims. Longtime activist, university professor Roxanne
Dunbar-Ortiz, argues that it's ok to hate the rich, simply because
the world has been made into a structure where the rich owns the poor.
Today the rich aren't taxed more and the numbers in their ranks are
growing. However, the more ominous fact is that the numbers of the
poor are also growing... very fast.
"The rich are not like you and me." "The poor will always be with
us." Get real and accept it we are told. Give alms and aid to the
poor, tax the rich. Establish private foundations, be a responsible
trust baby and give.
You've heard it all, and maybe even believe it in your heart. But,
it's toxic thinking. I have a suggestion for clarifying our consciousness:
learn to hate the rich. Hate, yes. You can dress up the language and
call it rage. But, hate is a concept underrated. Everyone does it,
but no one wants to admit it, usually hating the wrong person. Hate
is the opposite of love. Do you love the rich? Like the rich? If not,
than maybe you can learn to hate the rich.
I don't mean shame the rich in order to get money out of their guilt,
as has been a long practice on the left and among non-profits. I mean
NOT taking money from the rich, isolate the rich, make them build
tall walls around their estates and corporate headquarters as the
people force the rich to do in Latin America. How dare they have plate
We are held back and diminished by the claim that hating is bad for
us, bad for everyone. You can hate the act but not hate the person.
You can hate wealth or capitalism but not the rich. It's a ridiculous
logic that keeps us hating and blaming ourselves for not being rich
and powerful. Anyway, it's not consistent; it's all right to hate
slavery and slaveowners, fascism and Hitler, etc. Why not hate the
rich, the individual rich, not an abstract concept?
Ah, but who
are the rich? We have to be careful about that, living in a country
that does not admit to class relations, and class is subject to
little analysis even on the left. It's not a matter of income per
se. And it's essential in hating to target the enemy and not some
front for the enemy.
High income can certainly make a person full of herself, and most
US citizens who live on high fixed or hourly incomes due to circumstances
of a good trade union or a professional degree have no idea that
they aren't rich. In polls they say they are in the top fifth of
the income ladder, and they aren't. A majority of US citizens don't
want to tax the rich more, because they think they will be rich
one day. They won't. The rich own not just a mortgaged house and
a car, maybe a boat or a cabin in the woods or a beach house to
boot; rather they own you.
are held back and diminished
by the claim that hating is bad for us,
bad for everyone. You can hate
the act but not hate the person.
You can hate wealth or capitalism
but not the rich. It's a ridiculous logic
that keeps us hating and
blaming ourselves for not being
rich and powerful.
Even the cash
and luxury soaked entertainment and sports stars are not the rich;
they certainly deserve contempt and disgust, but not hatred. Don't
go for scapegoats - Jews, Oprah, Martha Stewart. Hatred should be
reserved for those who own us, that is, those who own the banks,
the oil companies, the war industry, the land (for corporate agriculture),
the private universities and prep schools, and who own the foundations
that dole out worthy projects for the poor, for public institutions-their
opera, their ballet, their symphony, that you are allowed to attend
after opening night.
My oldest brother, who like me grew up dirt poor in rural Oklahoma,
landless farmers and farm workers, rebuts my arguments by saying
that no poor man ever gave him a job. That says it all. The rich
own you and me.
In all the
arguments about the crimes of the Judeo-Christian-Muslim religions,
rarely is their greatest crime ever discussed - the leveling of
class, rich and poor are the same in god's sight. What a handy ideology
for the rich! The same with US democracy with its "equal opportunity"
and "level playing fields," absurd claims under capitalism, but
ones held dear but liberals. Hating the rich means also hating the
state, the United States of America that is the ruling corporate
body of the rich.
Why are we
so silent about this, grumping over the increase in the income gap,
trying to figure out how to narrow it? What do we expect, that the
rich will empower the people to overthrow them as they almost did
in response to the labor movement in the 1930s or the Civil Rights
Movement with the War on Poverty? Not again will they make that
I'm not saying we shouldn't point to it as evidence of the crimes
of the rich, but we should not delude ourselves that the rich will
give up their ownership of us. So, we need to stop longing for the
return of the New Deal or savior Roosevelt. Passionate, organized
hatred is the element missing in all that we do to try to change
the world. Now is the time to spread hate, hatred for the rich.
Dunbar-Ortiz is a longtime activist, university professor, and writer.
In addition to numerous scholarly books and articles she has published
two historical memoirs, Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie (Verso, 1997),
and Outlaw Woman: A Memoir Of The War Years, 1960 1975 (City Lights,
2002). "Red Christmas" is excerpted from her forthcoming book, Blood
on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, South End Press, October
2005. She can be reached at: [email protected]
L Paul Bremer, the former administrator of the U.S.-led occupation
in Iraq, travelled around with a small private army of Blackwater
security forces. Peace activist, Cindy Sheehan, recalls how her
son, Casey, was tragically killed as he had less protection than
a Blackwater guard. As she says: "I am outraged that Congress
expediently buys into Bush's evil rhetoric that voting to cut
off the funding will not be supporting the troops! THE TROOPS
AREN'T GETTING THE MONEY! Blackwater security agents make more
in two days in Iraq than our troops do in a month. Blackwater
security agents are better equipped and armored than our troops.
Our troops are dying guarding pipelines and Halliburton convoys."
I have long suspected that Blackwater Security and L. Paul Bremer
(what's his nickname? Scooter? Pookie?) were responsible for the
insurgency in Iraq and subsequently the death of my son, Casey.
I am reading Jeremy Scahill's new book: Blackwater and it is doing
nothing to decrease my suspicions, only confirm them.
Bremer arrived in
Iraq in 2003 to oversee reconstruction and the occupation as the
Assistant Fuhrer to BushCo and the war profiteers. He surrounded
himself with a virtual small army ("Praetorian Guard", as Scahill
calls them) of Blackwater security personnel; two helicopters;
armored humvees; and armored SUVs. He traveled from place to place
heavily guarded, as a hated, marked man, while Casey (a motor
pool driver and mechanic) was sent to do battle in the back of
a wide open trailer.
"Orders" disbanding the Republican Guard
former armed soldiers to hate and target the US; he began de-Baathification
which let go myriads of professionals who could help with putting
the Bush-torn country back together and the mere fact he slunk
out of the country, secretly, under the cover of darkness with
almost nine billion reconstruction dollars missing only increased
Iraqi hatred of Americans.
So Punky Bremer, or
whatever they call him, is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
for totally making FUBAR of the occupation and escalating an insurgency
by allowing Blackwater to run rampant over the citizens of Iraq.
In one horrible instance, a Blackwater employee brags about using
a bullet that can pierce through armor, but when it gets into
a body it explodes and does horrible damage. He was really proud
of himself when he shot someone in the ass who died from internal
injuries. Blackwater agents randomly kill innocent Iraqis with
impunity because Bremer also issued an order that they could not
be held accountable for killing innocent Iraqis, unlike our soldiers
who are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
So, on March 31, 2004,
the residents of Fallujah, who were already mad at America for
a "stray" bomb during the first Gulf War that missed a bridge
and hit an apartment complex, killing and injuring dozens of residents,
were already fed up with the oppressive occupation of Iraq, Buster
Bremer and Blackwater, who strut around like cocks of the walk
with their Oakley sunglasses and sub-machine guns.
On that fateful day, four security agents were killed, burned
and hung from a bridge in Fallujah. I don't condone or support
those killings and my heart aches for their families... and for
the families of Fallujah who have been devastated (time and again)
by Bush and his cronies. On that day, Sporty Bremer instituted
oppressive measures against the Fallujans and Moqtada al-Sadr
called for ambushes on American soldiers. That's as far as I have
gotten in the book...
Enter Spc. Casey Sheehan.
On the fateful day of March 31, he began a letter to us, because
he finally knew where we could write to him. He never finished
the letter or sent it to us. We got it back with his "personal
effects" from Iraq. He said that they had an uneventful convoy
to Baghdad from Kuwait and that they were looking forward to a
pretty "smooth year" because "only two" soldiers from the unit
that they were replacing were killed the previous year. He also
said something that broke my heart and will haunt me until I die.
people accuse me of
being "angry." I just want to say,
I am not "angry," I am filled
with a white-hot rage
that my first born is dead.
He called me from
Kuwait one day before his unit convoyed to Iraq. It was about
noon his time and after midnight our time. I was thrilled to hear
his voice and I would have kept him talking forever if I knew
it was the last time I would hear from him. But in his letter,
he expressed his doubts that I would remember the conversation
because I was half asleep. How could my boy think I would forget
that he called me? I am forgetting what his voice sounded like.
I am forgetting what he smelled like. I am forgetting how smooth
his cheeks felt when I kissed him. I will never forget his last
call or what he looked like in his coffin, though, after I have
forgotten many other things.
Anyway, on April 4,
2004, his unit got the call that some soldiers had been trapped
in one of the insurgent's ambushes. Casey's sergeant was told
to put together a Quick Response Force to go help them. There
was no room in the back of that open trailer for Casey, but he
made a private get out, pulling rank on him. His sergeant. told
him: "Sheehan you don't have to go." "Where my sergeant goes,
I go," Casey replied. Well, Casey and six other soldiers
five from the first Cavalry like Casey, and one, Michael Mitchell
from the First Armored Division who only had one week left in
Iraq, were killed in an ambush on the way to rescue the other
soldiers that were ambushed. Eight soldiers were killed that day
in Baghdad, and from reports I have heard from two un-embedded
reporters that were there: scores of innocent Iraqis were killed
in a First Cavalry bloodbath retaliation.
Some people accuse
me of being "angry." I just want to say, I am not "angry," I am
filled with a white-hot rage that my first born is dead. My courageous,
sweet, honorable, honest, funny, irreplaceable Casey is dead so
companies like Blackwater, Halliburton, KBR, Exxon, Raytheon,
etc can rape the American taxpayers. But can it be rape when the
partner is willing?
I am outraged that
Congress expediently buys into Bush's evil rhetoric that voting
to cut off the funding will not be supporting the troops! THE
TROOPS AREN'T GETTING THE MONEY! Blackwater security agents make
more in two days in Iraq than our troops do in a month. Blackwater
security agents are better equipped and armored than our troops.
Our troops are dying guarding pipelines and Halliburton convoys.
I am angry for 3,200
other wonderful lives cut short like Casey's and I am angry that
hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are dead, because L. Paul did
his job of increasing the insurgency well and was rewarded handsomely
The people who say
I am angry are correct. I am also angry that there is not sufficient
fury in this country to get our citizens to demand that Congress
pull back the money from the war profiteers and bring our troops
I am especially enraged
that BushCo are still in power: reigning free to commit any crimes
impervious to all slings and arrows. I am sick of waiting for
the time when BushCo's "Get out of jail free" card expires.
When will the nightmare
I suspect never, as
long as the Military Industrial Complex is running roughshod over
every branch of our government with the silent complicity of the
Note: Cindy Sheehan
is the mother of Spc. Casey Sheehan who was killed in Bush's war
of terror on 04/04/04. She is the co-founder and president of
Gold Star Families for Peace and The Camp Casey Peace Institute.