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The Civil War Has Never Ended: It's Just Continued on in a Different Form, and on a Class Basis

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Reprinted from Greanville Post

Micah Xavier Johnson: the much vilified shooter in Dallas, especially by the sanctimonious liberal punditocracy. Johnson pulled the trigger, but despicable, entrenched injustice loaded the gun. As injustice and inequality become bolder, expect more Johnso
Micah Xavier Johnson: the much vilified shooter in Dallas, especially by the sanctimonious liberal punditocracy. Johnson pulled the trigger, but despicable, entrenched injustice loaded the gun. As injustice and inequality become bolder, expect more Johnso
(Image by (Photo: Finklea, Gillian, 10 News, Tampa Bay Sarasota))
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I have come to the conclusion that what happened in Dallas, although quite rare, is just another instance of the continuation of what most historians and other observers refer to as "The Civil War," which came to an official end on the battlefield, at the Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. For quite some time, I have referred to that conflict as "The First Civil War." I have predicted that there will be a Second Civil War, and in my book The 15% Solution (originally published in 1996), I described one form that war might take. Indeed, I have also described the South as having, de facto, won the Civil War of 1861-65. After all, as that column shows, in the long term the South achieved all of its War objectives other than the perpetuation of chattel slavery.

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The Unforgettable Tragedy of Emmett Till
The Unforgettable Tragedy of Emmett Till
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However now, following the most recent police murders of black men, in Baton Rouge, Los Angeles and St. Paul, MN, and the Dallas assassinations, I have come to the conclusion that actually the U.S. Civil War has never ended. It has just taken a different form: primarily in the ongoing oppression and repression of the U.S. African-American population that has been underway since almost the day after the implementation of Emancipation Proclamation in the states of the former Confederacy, shortly after the conclusion of the military action.

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Further, I have come to the conclusion that this repression, based on the continuation, and indeed spread across the nation, of the Doctrine of White Supremacy that provided, for the Southern Slavocracy, the justification for the institution of slavery, has served a vital class interest for the capitalist ruling class in the United States, down to this very day.

A 'justified lynching' as depicted in Birth of a Nation. The victim to be hanged is a white actor in blackface. The KKK's main goal at the beginning was to terrorize African Americans away from voting.
A 'justified lynching' as depicted in Birth of a Nation. The victim to be hanged is a white actor in blackface. The KKK's main goal at the beginning was to terrorize African Americans away from voting.
(Image by Wikipedia)
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The continued repression of the bulk of the African-American population of the United States has been played out, over time, by for example: the violent institution of what was politely called "Jim Crow" in the post-Civil War South, led by the original Ku Klux Klan, the practice of lynching, designed to put forth a powerful image of what could happen to "uppity ni__ers." Images of lynching were actually disseminated by postcard throughout the South for many decades. As for the Ku Klux Klan, its original, stated, primary objective was the prevention of voting by the newly freed slaves.

There have been breaks in the chain, from the Federal Employment Practices Commission of the New Deal through the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. But we are now in the midst of a very well-planned Republican campaign all across the country to repress the votes of various African-American communities all across the country. (Ku Klux Klan politics, anyone?) Then there is the well-known ghettoization of African-American communities, the (historically) recent mass incarceration of black young men, often for non-violent "drug" offenses (see my book on the "drug war," a lengthy explication of that one), the second- (or third-) class education provided for many African-American communities, and so on and so forth.

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But how, one is justified in asking, does this history and social-economic situation (only very briefly summarized above), justify the conclusion that the Civil War never ended, but just took on a different form? Well, first of all, there has always been a political party representing particular economic interests that in the national government has taken the part of those interests. During the Slave Era, after the original Federalist Period it was primarily the regional Democratic Party, helped by the "Southern Whigs." From the time of the end of Reconstruction to the late 1960s it was the post-Civil War Southern Wing of the Democratic Party which staunchly defended Segregation. From the time of the institution of President Nixon's "Southern Strategy" in the late 1960s, accompanied by the launching of the "drug war" which singled out the African-American community, for political reasons (see chap. 3 of my book), it has been the Republican Party which has promoted the Doctrine of White Supremacy and the continued repression of the African-American community.

The US ruling class could have wiped out the KKK decades ago, a clear and indisputable terrorist organization, but they know it fills a useful political role of latent intimidation.
The US ruling class could have wiped out the KKK decades ago, a clear and indisputable terrorist organization, but they know it fills a useful political role of latent intimidation.
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Slavery itself (at its base, very cheap labor) served the economic interest of the Southern white ruling class. But it was the Doctrine of White Supremacy which enabled the almost total co-opting of the poor white, non-slave-holding farmers and small businessmen of the South to support that ruling class and indeed die by the several hundred thousand in defense of the institution of slavery. (There was, however, the occasional, class-based, poor-white resistance to the Confederacy, exemplified by the recent movie, The Free State of Jones. See a splendid review of this film right on this site.) And the white Southern ruling class kept their dominant position through the continued use of the Doctrine of White Supremacy. But then the Doctrine began to spread North.

For example, from the time in the 1880s of the first attempts to form trade unions among the newly minted "wage-slaves" that built the industrial North, the northern, then national, industrial ruling class has used the same doctrine to help it keep control of the white working class. And that effect has lasted down to this very day. It is seen in the attraction of white workers to the openly racist and xenophobic Republican candidate for the President (as of the time of writing) and in the adherence of many of those same people to the openly racist Propaganda TV Channel of the Republican Party. It, of course, is being less and less successful in hiding behind its "dog-whistle" racism, as its candidates succumb to the Rightward Imperative of becoming ever more open about their racial and gender bigotry.

But how does all of this mean that the Civil War never ended, but just continued in a different form? The basis of the original Civil War was the Northern opposition for a wide variety of reasons, from the moral to the economic, to the oppression of vast numbers of people, who happened to be of African descent and the use of the Doctrine of White Supremacy to justify that oppression.

Since that time, the oppression of (now) African-Americans (and it is ironic how much "white blood" flows in their veins but they still don't make it out to full equality) has been used by the national capitalist ruling class, firmly now represented by the Republican Party (but hardly challenged on the basic issues by the other wing of the political Duopoly), to help them maintain their rule, a rule that has now produced the widest gap in wealth and income in the history of the nation. Indeed, it is the widest in the world.

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http://thepoliticaljunkies.org/
Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 35 books. In addition to his position on OpEdNews as a "Trusted Author," he is a Senior Editor, (more...)
 

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