Venezuela, Maduro, and Guaidó

I implore my friends, especially my liberal ones, to stop and consider the possible implications a US-backed coup in Venezuela. Yes, Maduro is awful, No doubt about that. But a US-backed coup would most likely lead to a civil war, massive civilian casualties, and possibly a right-wing authoritarian government (e.g. a military dictatorship) — the US is great at getting those kinds of governments installed. Just. Look. At. History. Were y’all the same people who wanted to invade Iraq on a humanitarian basis? Serious question.

It’s been terrifying seeing so many of my friends latch onto imperialist rhetoric, and I understand the impulse to want to do something. As Cody says, there are non-military options that include brokering diplomatic negotiations, actual humanitarian aid (rather than political destabilization masquerading as humanitarian aid), and possibly getting Maduro to agree to new elections held by the UN.

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Family separations

Let’s talk family separation for a second. Yes, it’s very clear that what’s happening now is unprecedented. Yes, it’s true that Trump created the policy (not the Democrats). Yes, it’s true that we should be agitating to end it once and for all (somehow I don’t trust that the executive order actually did anything).

But let’s not kid ourselves. We were doing inhumane, awful things to undocumented immigrants at the border well before Trump. And the kinds of stuff Trump says could very easily have been said by a Democrat. Hell, they were. Trump (or rather, Sessions) said that the purpose of separating families was to send a message. When asked what the policy should be regarding children seeking asylum from Central American countries, Clinton is clearly on the record stating that we need to send them back to send a message to their parents. Obama, too, has defended his actions regarding family detention, saying that we need to send the parents a message. I could go back further, but hopefully this is sufficient to show that this kind of dubious rationale is not only not new, but also bipartisan.

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This notion that somehow only the South benefited from slavery is just bullshit. Their economy was more dependent on slavery, sure. But America as a whole benefited. It gave America the ability to build up an army, “expand” West (claiming more illegally stolen land for ourselves), “purchase” land from the French (as if it were the French’s to sell in the first place), and so on. All that didn’t only happen with the North’s money. It took all of the money available in America. And for too long, America condoned the abhorrent institution of slavery to keep the economy going and make enough money to fuel the dreams of empire. So to pretend that everything we have — everything — isn’t in some way connected to white supremacy and the institution of slavery is naïve at best and disingenuous at worst.

White supremacy is the reason this country exists in the first place — Europeans who landed here thought they inherently had more claim to the land than Native Americans because of the color of their skin. White supremacy and slavery is the reason our economy grew at a rapid pace right after the country was created (stolen from Native Americans). White supremacy is the reason we (as a country) overlooked the institution of slavery (surely African Americans aren’t people!) while it kept our economy growing. And all of our future successes — all of them — were derived from that first period of growing Westward (stealing more land from Native Americans because duh of course white people are superior to Native Americans) and a rapidly growing economy (thanks to slavery and the North’s refusal to condemn it for a long time).

We secured a place in the world’s economy thanks to those things. We had more land to do with as we pleased thanks to those things. We were relatively isolated from hostile forces (including during WWI and WWII) thanks to those things. And everything — from the Industrial Revolution to our success after WWII — depends on those things being true. So to pretend that we’d still be here if white supremacy weren’t a thing is the height of ignorance.

This country was built on white supremacy, and far too many people still believe in it.

Immigration Restrictions Are American

After the immigration and refugee ban was announced, a narrative emerged — immigration restrictions are “un-American”. However, looking at this country’s history, it is quite clear that that is not the case. Let us go on a tour of American immigration policy from when the country was founded until the present day.

For a long time, no one really wanted to come here — immigration was pretty low and we were effectively left alone to our own devices. The first immigration law that was passed was the Page Act of 1875, which forbid any immigrants considered “undesirable”: forced laborers from Asia, Asian prostitutes, and convicts. Note how the exclusions are already targeted towards specific areas of the world — two of the three restrictions target Asia specifically. The next major immigration law was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, quite literally banning all immigration from China. The reason? People blamed Chinese immigrants for depressed wages. The state which pushed this law most heavily? California.

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