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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Wednesday June 12th 2024

Through Different Eyes

By Peter Molenaar

In this part of the world, we are fortunate to have The Circle, a paper which elevates Native Americans while stifling racism and chauvinism in general. It was not so long ago that I communicated with Ricey Wild to commend her column “It Ain”'t Easy Being Indian.” Her words, so often packed with meaning, are a reflection of personal experience. Do see the June issue for the context of the following quotation.

“I understand now how we the oppressed were with evil intent told to oppress other non-whites so we kept fighting against each other rather than organizing to make null and void our common adversary ”“ White people. I sincerely apologize to people whom I have never met whose culture I degraded. I truly did not know but when I did learn I stopped that behavior and became interested and respectful of others”' human experiences and history”¦ When I say or write White people I mean the culture of greed and hate they cultivate.”

I will disagree here with Ricey”'s reference to “White people” as the “cultivators” of greed and hate. My thinking flows from history more so than from personal experience.

Bear in mind that the ancestors of all people were communal hunter gatherers. Without exception we were “communists” for some 100,000 years! It is only in recent time that the development of agriculture allowed for the social stratification from which evolved a ruling class, and an organized state apparatus to enforce a system of exploitation (i.e. slavery). Moreover, it is abundantly clear that the prevailing ideology under any system of exploitation (i.e. slavery, feudalism, capitalism) is the ideology of the ruling class.

In today”'s world it is the capitalist class which cultivates the various forms of chauvinism. Whereas, the white working class exhibits a tendency to be a carrier. I believe this is an important distinction.

We should recognize, as well, that capitalism inadvertently promotes the opposite tendency via the amalgamation of the various peoples within the factory system. To take one example, I have worked for nearly 35 years in an iron foundry right here in the Phillips Community. Perhaps we are a bit slow, but necessity does dictate the requirement of unity and respect.

It is said that capitalism creates its own grave diggers. Nonetheless, we must consciously forge bonds between the people. We simply cannot win without the white component of the working class on our side. It follows that we all must choose our words wisely.

Ricey, I get where you are coming from and I still love you.

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