Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I'm afraid of Americans

As you monkeys know, I am prone to angry outburst about the Great Devil, America. I was hoping it could go on unchecked forever, but now it has finally caught up with me. I have received an open letter from our friend the rat-killer, hauling me over the coals. Go read that first, and then read my reply:

Dear B1,

I’m glad you like the blög, and I certainly don’t expect you to agree with everything I write. I understand your need to defend your country against what you perceive as unfair, or at least unconstructive, criticism. Also, I’m not really certain what foibles are, but I’m sure I have lots of them.

Let me first point out that SHÄDY ÄCRES has no specific political agenda. We are not a political publication. We’re not the news, and we’re not about science, art or popular culture either – we’re about Finnmärck. I do sometimes write what I think about current geopolitical issues, and I suppose that means I had this coming.

You have opened up a very large debate here, one that I’m not sure we have room for, and that I’m not afraid to shy away from - I’m proud to say that I’ll walk away from any discussion if I have to. But since it’s you, our number one customer, I want to do what I can to accommodate you.

I sense that I have provoked you partly by the style of my political writing (the shrill voice of a nanny on the playground), partly by the intention of my writing (the smug look on my face as I press “publish”), partly by the content of my writing (throwing rocks at the barn to impress my friends), and partly by not putting my opinions into practice (being like Switzerland).

OK, why not. Let’s step outside the cardboard illusion of SHÄDY ÄCRES and talk about politics.

Your first grievance is the lack of an analysis in my political writing here, and you’re absolutely right. Not because I don’t have an analysis, but simply because I don’t always choose to share it in this forum.

I am a socialist. There, I said it.

It’s not something I’m proud of, it’s just the way I was brought up. Maybe I’m not a very good socialist, but I try to be. I go to the socialist church where I was baptized. I sing the socialist hymns and say the socialist prayers. I go to socialist confession. I donate money to the socialist church fund and sit on the socialist church committee. I once even met the socialist pope. Come to think of it, I’m really one fucking devoted socialist.

I became an activist at age seventeen. At first I was involved in an ad hoc organization of political (as opposed to occupancy) squatters. We were working to establish an autonomous youth centre as a base to fight an out of control boredom problem which was turning our friends into heroin addicts. After two years of constant conflict, a series of violent clashes with police, and unrelenting negotiations with our incompetent local authorities, we finally achieved our aim. I am proud to say I was delegated to the negotiation team, and ultimately entrusted to sign the agreement that got us the house and cemented our victory. Unfortunately we later lost the house in a poker game, but that’s another story.

Since those days I have regularly been involved in some type of political activity or other. As an expatriate I don’t get to vote as often as I would like to, or run for office, but I try to compensate. I’ve been under the red flag all my life. Sometimes it had a little black in it too.

I have gone to all the protest rallies. I have handed out all the leaflets. Come to think of it, I wrote those fucking leaflets. I’ve even been known to throw a cobblestone or two in my day. There’s also a rumour going round that the reason we don’t have those nazi skinheads in our fair city anymore has something to do with me. I should know – I started that rumour. Yeah, and I spent some time in prison for civil disobedience, that has to count for something.

Today, I am a card carrying member of two socialist parties, one Danish and one Norwegian. Being troubled by a recent, disturbing shift in Scandinavian politics I have become increasingly concerned with immigrants’ rights, and I am therefore an active member of the local party committee for ethnic equality that Sara and I helped set up. I must say I hate the paperwork but what the hell, it’s all for the cause.

If I didn’t have to work half the time, get drunk the other half, and in addition to this publish an immensely popular blögzine about Finnmärck, I would definitely do more. I want to do more. In fact, when the revolution comes - or the American invasion, whatever comes first (we have oil) - I plan to put my military genius to work for the good of the people. One way or another I am destined to become a revolutionary hero, don’t you think?

Now, I can fully understand your reaction to my tirades about America. I wouldn’t like it if someone said those things about my country. But then I don’t live in a capitalist gangster state holding the world at ransom. Geographical, cultural and political distance obviously makes it hard for me to explain my opinions in a way that makes sense to you, but I’ll give it a whirl.

You describe yourself as an American libertarian, proud of a family heritage rooted in human rights and minimal-government pacifism.

From my point of view - that is, from the perspective of Marxist class analysis – those civil liberties that you eulogize are a sham, your so-called democracy is merely a white supremacist contract on which the bourgeois hegemony rests, and the great melting pot is a racist lie denying the reality of national oppression which is the defining feature of American life. I’m not talking about your foreign policy now, and I’m not trying to prove a point. I’m just stating my beliefs.

When your Quaker forefathers came to America eleven generations ago they may have been persecuted, but they were still fortunate enough to come with two passports: One an official English document, the other their white skin.

There is nothing extraordinary about this. The various European immigrant groups all shared that experience, English, Irish, German, Scandinavian, Slavic, Italian – even the Jews: One or two generations of discrimination followed by quick assimilation, the rate of which differed only in the degree of urbanization they were used to from home, and the proximity of their language and culture to that of the English.

For the other peoples who inhabit North America, the Americans of non-European descent, the red, the brown, the black and the yellow, the story is a little different. I’m sure you’re aware of this.

You live in a world of privilege which is guaranteed by the white supremacist contract. That’s your problem. I live in a scary, destabilized world dominated by a rogue superpower. That’s my problem. I don’t see it as my responsibility to offer any kind of solution to this predicament, I’m merely pointing out the obvious.

What you see as me being smug is in fact something very different: It is fear. Fear of you. I am genuinely frightened by America, and I have been all my life. I don’t know how to communicate this to you without talking in headlines, but that’s what it’s like to live everywhere else on this planet right now. Even in tiny Scandinavia, the safest place on Earth.

As to your kind offer, I feel it is a poisoned cup. Your antiquated two-party system feels like a choice between drinking a glass of piss and a glass of blood. And I’ve seen your media, it’s not left wing, believe me. You don’t have a left wing.

But since I feel as strongly about voting as you do, I don’t want this opportunity to go to waste. I therefore request your permission to entrust your ballot to my brother Martin, who has a clearer head than mine, and knows more about American politics.

Keep on rockin’ in the free world. And good luck with the rodent infestation. You should really be grateful it’s not storfs.



P.S.: Sara’s running for the city council, albeit far down on the list of candidates. If you lived here you could vote for her. I know I’m going to.


Blogger Antagonous said...

Is this the same Sara that is drinking and throwing money around in yesterday's cartoon? If so, my vote goes to her. Of confidence that is, since I obviously do not live there.

6:50 pm  
Blogger Mikkel said...

The very same and none other.

8:07 pm  
Anonymous børvis said...

i like the oversized klesklypere

11:30 am  
Anonymous børvis said...

hm i don't like being approved by the blog owner, makes me wanna sleep; that's severe for a depressive

11:31 am  
Blogger Lasse said...

I have invited myself into the discusion, sorry I can't help it -hope it is OK?

I read both B1s question and MGs answer - here is what I feelt like saying.

..and Sara you are too cool! YOu have my vote any day!

6:04 pm  

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