So memorial day happened and I did the thing I do where I try to remind people that the U.S. military is only protecting the freedoms of certain people. But those ideas get shouted down and destroyed because we live in a society where this busted idea of patriotism means any sort of disparaging remark about America (and this especially means it’s military) means you’re a traitor eligible for death. I was going to write a long involved post about this, but decided against it cause I was tired and sick and this summer isn’t going quite how I originally imagined and so forth.
But today I read this quote and decided I would come back to the topic.
“I’ve seen a ton on the facebooks about “thanking veterans for their service.” As a veteran let me just be very straightforward and honest with you. We didn’t “serve our country”; we don’t actually serve our brothers/sisters or our neighbors. We serve the interests of Capital. We never risked our lives or spent months on deployment away from our family and friends so they can have this abstract concept called “freedom”. We served big oil; big coal; Coca-Cola; Kellogg, Brown, and Root and all the other big Capital interests who don’t know a fucking thing about sacrifice. These people will never have to deal with the loss of a loved one or the physical and/or psychological scars that those who “serve”, and their families, have to deal with for the rest of their lives. The most patriotic thing someone can do is to tell truth to power and dedicate yourself to building power to overthrow these sociopathic assholes. I served with some of the most real and genuine people I’ve ever met. You’ll never see solidarity like the kind of solidarity you experience when your life depends on the person next to you. But most of us didn’t join for that; we joined because we were fucking poor and didn’t have many other options.”
|—||An anti-capitalist veteran (via elitc)|
Yay this guy. I catch so much flack for saying the military isn’t out here protecting my freedoms because the state is busy steadily trying to take them away from me. The military is fighting against some vague idea of terror or something to make sure that the cops can kill black people with no fear of reprisal? That’s something to stand up and cheer. The military was out there fighting Hitler so those same white soldiers could come home and join lynch mobs? So that same greatest generation of soldiers could come and burn down homes and churches and try to dismantle black communities? So they could rape Native American women and laugh about how nothing will be done? They went to fight in Vietnam so that land and property could continue to be stripped from Native peoples? We’re currently in Iraq so that black women can be sentenced to 20 years in jail for firing a warning shot in self defense? Our military went out to kill Osama Bin Laden so that a trans woman of color could be charged with murder and the white people who instigated the event can walk away without any charges? So trans people can be attacked and killed every day and our criminal justice system can ignore the perpetrators? Our soldiers are out there fighting to keep the private prison industry awash in young black bodies? So we can continue this war on drugs (read: war on poor black people).
These people aren’t heroes just because they signed up for the military. Dying in action is a blower, but so is dying because some racist ass hole follows you around and decides your blackness is a plague on this earth that needs to be wiped out. I’m not in the business of praising people who aren’t actually doing anything worthy of praise. Yeah, they’re out killing a bunch of other brown people with different political ideas than America has.
News flash. I’m a brown person with different political ideas than the rest of America. So pardon me when I don’t jump up and down that our brave sons and daughters kill a bunch of people not too dissimilar to me. Not when they’re coming home to this country that is so fucked up and feels so hopeless most days. They’re not protecting my freedoms. I don’t have a whole lot of them to begin with, and the ones I do have are protected by the brave men and women who are dying on American soil. The ones being beaten and killed by cops in the name of our war on drugs. Those are the people I choose to memorialize. Those are who I pay homage to.
So here’s to the people who can’t see their families because going to visit them would mean not being able to even come back into this country. Here’s to the little kids taken away from their parents because the bill of goods about building a better life doesn’t actually apply to them. Here’s to the women who die in pregnancy because their fetus was more important than them. To all the people stuck in generational poverty. Here’s to my siblings detained and questioned on the sole grounds of belonging to a particularly thriving mosque. To all the people who don’t live life according to an arbitrary gender binary. To all the people who started living homeless since becoming high school dropouts when their parents found out they were some kind of queer and booted them out. To all the kids who commit suicide because our society says they’re not valuable humans. To the people who choose to love as many people as they please in whatever manner they please, and those who choose not to love anyone. To the people who are told how their anger is unwarranted and to get over the hardships of their personal lives because no one is actually discriminating against you. To everyone who is raped and then told that it’s their fault, that they had it coming, that it wasn’t really rape, that they asked for it, that they’re a bad person for not cheering for the person who raped them at a high school basketball game.
These people and so many more are who I memorialize. No one is fighting for us. The military isn’t protecting our freedoms. This isn’t unpatriotic. It’s just a statement of fact. None of the terrible shit happening in our lives would actually get worse if the U.S. was involved in a few less conflicts.