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[P]artisan conflict spread across the coffee axis, following the precedent set in Boyaca and the Santanders, beginning in 1945. Liberal notables in coffee districts of Quindio and Tolima, fearing Conservative revenge for the upheaval - which materialized in a wave of local assassinations - mobilized peasant clients into guerrilla militias, hoping for an outcome different firom the War of a Thousand Days. Unlike nineteenth-century military conflicts, dominated by oligarchic leaders, during la Violencia Liberal commanders were peasants, with noms de guerre like “Sangrenegra” (Blackblood) and “Capitan Desquite” (Captain Vengeance).

The goal of these Liberal-communist guerrillas was to overthrow Conservative government, not establish a new society. Yet this resistance fiirther ignited the counterrevolution in the countryside. “Order” was restored in the capital when troops and volunteers came from nearby Conservative Boyaca to reinforce the Army, which remained loyal to Conservatives. The volunteers, known as chulavitas, were at first used locally in Chulavita County in Boyaca, where Liberal violence had been widespread in the 1930s: but in 1949, Liberal presidential candidate, Dario Echandia, was assassinated in Bogota. Thus Conservatives used chulavitas in Boyaca and the capital during and after the Bogotazo, and, later, in the coffee axis further south: Tolima, Valle del Cauca, and Viejo Caldas (Caldas, Risaralda, Quindio). Chulavitas were devoted to the Virgin of Carmen, as theirs was a “holy war” to rid the countryside of atheists, masons, and communists — in a word. Liberals. Backed by the clergy, in Antioquia, Gomez’s Catholic legions mobilized to “conservatize” municipalities before upcoming elections; in Narino they did the same. Those from Nariiio, in turn, were recruited to help conservatize northern Valle, where Conservative advance was total. Liberal communities defected en masse in self-preservation once Conservative “civil police” replaced Liberal police in 1947-8, and were then organized into a professional force of political assassins in 1949-50.

When war broke out after Gaitan’s death, the PSD - already outlawed by Ospina - focused on clandestine work in the countryside, advocating armed self-defense. In 1949 its first groups formed along the railway line in Santander, in the oil enclaves ofShell, Socony, and Tropical Oil in Northern Santander and Ariari; and, most importandy, given the subsequent course of events, in Tolima and Cundinamarca, where the PCC and UNIR’s peasant leagues had been strongest in the 1930s. At the end of the year. Liberal chieftains, backed by the departmental governor, as well as leading merchant-landlords, ap- proached the party for help in setting up guerrillas. By 1950, with official sectarianism operating at a feverish pitch, gaitanistas formed a guerrilla front with PSD fighters in southern Tolima.

The response to 9 April and the revolutionary juntas was barbarous reprisal: Conservatives cut out the tongues and eyes of at least forty Liberals, and disemboweled others in San Rafael in Valle del Cauca, for example. Gaitanista county seats - there had been many in Valle in 1948 - were subject to “litde jobs” {trabajitos) , or selective assassinations, carried out by los pdjaros. These were birdlike killers working for Conservatives, who circidated in black cars wdthout plates, and “flew back” to daily life in the towns as devout Catholic butchers, drivers, bartenders, tailors, laundrymen, or police inspectors. Their leader, Leon Maria Lozano, “El Condor,” began his participation in la Violenciawith. the defense of a chapel - where he had erected a shrine to the Virgen Maria Auxiliadora — against gaitanistas in Cali. He would soon run the largest, most well-protected gang of Conservative Catholic gunmen in northern Valle. He brought in professionals from Boyaca, Antioquia, Santander, Tolima, or Quindio, but recruited others from hamlets and municipios around Tulua. When he was a colonel in charge of the Third Brigade in Valle, Gustavo Rojas Pinilla appeared with El Condor in a photograph. Rojas Pinilla and the Conservative governor planned the suppression of the gaitanista revolt that had taken over Cali’s Palacio de San Francisco. This was an important step in Rojas’s political ascent, which he secured by putting down juntas revolucionarias throughout the department. Thereafter, Lozano and the pdjaros, working with secret police, terrorized the region. Under laureanista Governor Nicolas Borrero Olano, owner ofthe right-wing daily, Diario del Pactfico, Rojas Pinilla’s declaration of “neutrality” in the face of spreading pdjaro violence allowed free circulation of anonymous killers hired to murder Liberals. Military “neutrality” was essential to the success of the “little jobs,” or assassinations, in which the new Conservative police participated in gangs of three or four, with pdjaros. Coffee and cattle merchants, as well as mediumsized landowners, rose in their shadow. 

El Condor was only the most legendary of those in the business of political assassinations; he had counterparts in Viejo Caldas and Tolima. As in Viejo Caldas, the business of la Violencia in northern Valle and Tolima created avenues for upward mobility for middle sectors. The networks of patronage and protection in which the pdjaros moved were run by politicians who filled important legislative, diplomatic, and ministerial posts after la Violencia ended. 

 The more “the partisan content of oppositions was emphasized, the more these were stripped of their political potential,” which led to the “disagregation, disorganization, and disarticulation” of radical-popular forces.^^ In vain, the Liberal oligarchy, at the suggestion of Lopez Pumarejo and the insistence of Carlos Lleras Restrepo, tried to recuperate the broken bipartisan consensus. In Bogota, the Liberal newspaper, El Tiempo, as well as the houses of Lleras Restrepo and Lopez Pumarejo, were torched by Conservatives in 1949, demonstrating the impossibility of slowing the momentum of Conservative extremism. In coffee smallholding zones, the aim was not to achieve victory on the battlefield, but to expel the enemy from the region. Conquest of territory - the accumulation of land, livestock, and coffee - was the goal, and killing obeyed a sinister calculus of pain and cruelty. Pregnant women were disemboweled and fetuses destroyed, so new members of the opposite party would not be born.


In the second phase, Laureano Gomez, elected president in 1950, was determined to prevent a repetition of the Bogotazo and its provincial variants. Once laureanistas took over, violence in Antioquia was concentrated in geographically peripheral, but economically strategic re- gions, where Afro-Colombian majorities - organized in the 1940s as gaitanista railroad workers, miners, and road workers - supported radical opposition politics and armed insurgency. There, the central and regional state’s institutional presence was limited to the police and armed forces. Where these proved ineffective, as in Uraba and the east (the Lower Cauca, Magdalena Medio, and the northeast), power was transferred to the contrachusma — parastate forces that, set in motion, proved even more difficult for Conservative elites to manage than police and the armed forces. 

Gomez withdrew due to poor health soon after his term began, and Roberto Urdaneta Arbelaez became the titular head of government in October 1951, as la Violencia took on a greater intensity, appeared in new forms, and affected new regions. Gomez was the first president whose national program sanctioned the most reactionary developments in the regions. The peasantry suffered the brunt ofstate violence: recently returned from Korea, for example, Batallon Colombia massacred 1,500 peasants in a rural area outside El Libano, Tolima, in 1952.

When Gomez attempted to resume his duties in 1953, he was ousted by Colombia’s only military coup of modern times, in part because the Conservatives had split between extremists and moderates. The latter abhorred the parastate contrachmma and its variants, as well as the generalized persecution and criminalization of upstanding Liberal citizens. General Rojas Pinilla, now head of the Army, seized power with the support of Gomez’s factional opponents within the Conservative Party, with which he had close family and personal connections. He set about molding organized labor into a clientelist bloc. His anti-oligarchic, nationalist discourse has led some scholars to see him as a figure similar to Argentina’s Juan Peron. But Rojas Pinilla participated in the Conservative bloodletting as a commander - even the US Embassy complained that he “saw a red behind every coffee bush” - and, as president, amassed a fortune in crooked cattle and real-estate deals. He also personally intervened to free El Condor, leader of the pajaros, from jail in Buga.

With heavier and more decentralized repression, rural violence was far from extinguished under Rojas Pinilla. Beginning with Gomez, violence had become part of central government policy. No longer exclusively regional, it had become a national terror that increased rather than decreased after the “guerrilla threat” was absent. The foundations of the cold war national security state were erected earlier in Colombia than anywhere else in Latin America, since they meshed with Creole traditions of partisan sectarianism. Under Gomez, partisan sectarianism had begun to open the fault lines of the bipartisan system itself, however; and, to the delight of Liberals, Rojas Pinilla made “reconciliation” between the two parties his first priority. Toward that end, his most significant act as president was to declare a general amnesty for Liberal guerrillas. The first demobilization, backed by merchants, landlords, and political bosses, took place in central Tolima. It was widely publicized as a means ofenticing guerrilla chiefs in northern and southern Tolima to follow, which they did. Commanders like Rafael Rangel, who operated in the Magdalena Medio, and Captain Franco Yepes in Antioquia, were not far behind. After five years offighting, the strongest Liberal guerrillas, a force ofsome 1 0,000 on the eastern plains, turned over their arms, under the leadership of Guadelupe Salcedo.

Forrest Hylton, Evil Hour in Colombia

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In Colombia, populism was beaten back in the 1930s and 1940s. When it reared its head again in the 1970s and 1980s, it was decapitated by state and parastate terror. Ironically, this has only weakened the already fragile legitimacy of the central government, and strengthened, at least militarily and territorially. Left insurgencies and the right-wing counterinsurgency. By scholarly consensus, this makes Colombia unique. I argue that when the central government attempted agrarian reform under the pressure of radical-popular mobilization, reform was blocked and counter-reform strengthened in regions and municipalities. As sectarian warfare spread in the 1940s and 1950s, hundreds of thousands of displaced peasant families either colonized agrarian frontiers in sparsely populated lowland regions, or carved out urban frontiers ringing Colombia’s numerous intermediate cities, in zones far from the radius of central government authority.

First through factional warfare between two parties, and later through cold war counterinsurgency, the central government delegated repression when faced with insurgent challenges. This was common in the counterinsurgent terror states that began with Guatemala in 1954, Brazil and Bolivia in 1964, and spread through the Southern Cone in the 1970s. As elsewhere after the Second World War, US government patrons were “distant yet still involved ” in Latin America, and “counterrevolutionary terror was inextricably tied to empire.”

Two things made Colombia’s terror state distinctive, though: first, part of the peasantry, linked to elites through middle-class intermediaries and the dream of property ownership, drove others off the land through terror, dispossession, and expropriation — roughly analogous to what Marx called the “primitive accumulation” of capital in the English countryside. Second, over time, the paramilitaries obtained relative autonomy from the state by becoming a parastate. This concentrated land in fewer and fewer hands, even as it redistributed a small amount of it among a select number of subaltern clients. Cities grew alongside the settlement of an open agrarian frontier, where the previous dynamic of conflict was replicated. And Colombians, in the course of just fifty years, went from living in a society in which two-thirds of people lived on the land - patron and campesino-, criollo y mestizo, mulato, indio and negro - to one in which two-thirds lived in cities.

Even as Colombia has become a society that revolves around a network of cities connected by air and highways, landlords have retained political traction in regions and localities. Colombian politics can be envisioned as an authoritarian parliamentary system in which landlords, rather than coming into conflict with rising merchant-industrial groups, have fused with them. Commercial activity, characterized by an unclear division between licit and illicit, has continuously provided the oligarchy with outsiders and fresh initiatives, as upwardly mobile sectors sought - and found - entry into the ranks of the oligarchy through ruthless entrepreneurialism.

 New manufacturing and commercial elites tied to the coffee export business joined with the landed oligarchy in the late nineteenth century, and rather than weakening the power of the landlordism within the oligarchy, this strengthened it. The reactionary alliance characterized the coffee republic under Conservative rule after 1880, survived intact the gaitanista challenge in the 1940s, provided the basis for National Front policies through the 1980s, and, thanks to the US government’s “war on drugs,” took on new dimensions with the continued rise of the cocaine business in the 1990s. The drug export mafia invested in construction, communication, and services, and its contraband imports undercut domestic manufacturing industry. As latifundistas, they owned most of the country’s best land and urban real estate. Based on landownership, power continued to be dispersed from a weak center into the regions, especially in frontier areas, beyond the reach of the state.

Forrest Hylton, Evil Hour in Colombia

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Since the beginning of time, most thinkers have believed that the vast majority of human beings are incorrigibly stupid and evil. The proportion of thinkers who believed this has naturally changed with historical evolution. In earliest times all men but the Chosen Few were impossible. Before the middle class of France revolted, only the Aristocracy of birth and knowledge could know and do. After the American experiment a considerable number of thinkers conceived that possibly most men had capabilities, except, of course, Negroes. Possibly never in human history before or since have so many men believed in the manhood of so many men as after the Battle of Port Hudson, when Negroes fought for Freedom.

All men know that by sheer weight of physical force, the mass of men must in the last resort become the arbiters of human action. But reason, skill, wealth, machines and power may for long periods enable the few to control the many. But to what end? The current theory of democracy is that dictatorship is a stopgap pending the work of universal education, equitable income, and strong character. But always the temptation is to use the stopgap for narrower ends, because intelligence, thrift and goodness seem so impossibly distant for most men. We rule by junta; we turn Fascist, because we do not believe in men; yet the basis of fact in this disbelief is incredibly narrow.

We know perfectly well that most human beings have never had a decent human chance to be full men. Most of us may be convinced that even with opportunity the number of utter human failures would be vast; and yet remember that this assumption kept the ancestors of present white America long in slavery and degradation.

It is then one’s moral duty to see that every human being, to the extent of his capacity, escapes ignorance, poverty and crime. With this high ideal held unswervingly in view, monarchy, oligarchy, dictatorships may rule; but the end will be the rule of All, if mayhap All or Most qualify. The only unforgivable sin is dictatorship for the benefit of Fools, Voluptuaries, gilded Satraps, Prostitutes and Idiots. The rule of the famished, unlettered, stinking mob is better than this and the only inevitable, logical and justifiable return. To escape from ultimate democracy is as impossible as it is for ignorant poverty and crime to rule forever.

W.E.B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction in America

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In the #subterranean #passages underneath the #Pyramid of #Lahun, in the changing #umbras of the interplay of #light and #dark, I enjoyed some #magical moments with #Shakespeare #scholar and #polymath @thebardcode Alan Green, speaking of the mysterious nature of markings inside the #GreatPyramid, as two exploratory expeditions converged, like opposed #Fibonacci #spirals reciprocating a #designed course, @robertedwardgrant leading #egypt2020αxω and @sagesilent leading #EgyptLeap2020.
I enjoyed the momentary glow I received in your presence Alan!!
Come with #AIP to #Egypt in November 2020😃⚡️🗝 (at Ellâhûn, Al Fayyum, Egypt)

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A Janela de Overton (Glenn Beck)
A maior parte das pessoas pensa na experiência em termos de anos, mas, a bem da verdade, o que a define são alguns momentos decisivos. Em geral nunca mudamos e passamos boa parte da vida na mesma, até que, de repente, crescemos de maneira súbita, em momentos decisivos.
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The original codes favored by the Southern legislatures were an astonishing affront to emancipation and dealt with vagrancy, apprenticeship, labor contracts, migration, civil and legal rights. In all cases, there was plain and indisputable attempt on the part of the Southern states to make Negroes slaves in everything but name. They were given certain civil rights: the right to hold property, to sue and be sued. The family relations for the first time were legally recognized. Negroes were no longer real estate.

Yet, in the face of this, the Black Codes were deliberately designed to take advantage of every misfortune of the Negro. Negroes were liable to a slave trade under the guise of vagrancy and apprenticeship laws; to make the best labor contracts, Negroes must leave the old plantations and seek better terms; but if caught wandering in search of work, and thus unemployed and without a home, this was vagrancy, and the victim could be whipped and sold into slavery. In the turmoil of war, children were separated from parents, or parents unable to support them properly. These children could be sold into slavery, and “the former owner of said minors shall have the preference.” Negroes could come into court as witnesses only in cases in which Negroes were involved. And even then, they must make their appeal to a jury and judge who would believe the word of any white man in preference to that of any Negro on pain of losing office and caste.The Negro’s access to the land was hindered and limited; his right to work was curtailed; his right of self-defense was taken away, when his right to bear arms was stopped; and his employment was virtually reduced to contract labor with penal servitude as a punishment for leaving his job. And in all cases, the judges of the Negro’s guilt or innocence, rights and obligations were men who believed firmly, for the most part, that he had “no rights which a white man was bound to respect.”

[Du Bois proceeds to examine specific legislation in many different states regulating black labor in detail. I reproduce here only a couple examples.]

Mississippi provided that

“every freedman, free Negro, and mulatto shall on the second Monday of January, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-six, and annually thereafter, have a lawful home or employment, and shall have written evidence thereof… . from the Mayor… or from a member of the board of police… which licenses may be revoked for cause at any time by the authority granting the same.”

Louisiana passed an elaborate law in 1865, to “regulate labor contracts for agricultural pursuits…” The law required all agricultural laborers to make labor contracts for the next year within the first ten days of January, the contracts to be in writing, to be with heads of families, to embrace the labor of all the members, and to be “binding on all minors thereof.” Each laborer, after choosing his employer,

“shall not be allowed to leave his place of employment until the fulfillment of his contract, unless by consent of his employer, or on account of harsh treatment, or breach of contract on the part of the employer; and if they do so leave, without cause or permission, they shall forfeit all wages earned to the time of abandonment… .In case of sickness of the laborer, wages for the time lost shall be deducted, and where the sickness is feigned for purposes of idleness, … and also should refusal to work be continued beyond three days, the offender shall be reported to a justice of the peace, and shall be forced to labor on roads, levees, and other public works, without pay, until the offender consents to return to his labor… .When in health, the laborer shall work ten hours during the day in summer, and nine hours during the day in winter, unless otherwise stipulated in the labor contract; he shall obey all proper orders of his employer or his agent; take proper care of his work mules, horses, oxen, stock; also of all agricultural implements; and employers shall have the right to make a reasonable deduction from the laborer’s wages for injuries done to animals or agricultural implements committed to his care, or for bad or negligent work. Bad work shall not be allowed. Failing to obey reasonable orders, neglect of duty and leaving home without permission, will be deemed disobedience… . For any disobedience a fine of one dollar shall be imposed on the offender. For all lost time from work hours, unless in case of sickness, the laborer shall be fined twenty-five cents per hour. For all absence from home without leave, the laborer will be fined at the rate of two dollars per day. Laborers will not be required to labor on the Sabbath except to take the necessary care of stock and other property on plantations and do the necessary cooking and household duties, unless by special contract. For all thefts of the laborers from the employer of agricultural products, hogs, sheep, poultry or any other property of the employer, or willful destruction of property or injury, the laborer shall pay the employer double the amount of the value of the property stolen, destroyed or injured, one half to be paid to the employer, and the other half to be placed in the general fund provided for in this section. No live stock shall be allowed to laborers without the permission of the employer. Laborers shall not receive visitors during work hours. All difficulties arising between the employers and laborers, under this section, shall be settled, and all fines be imposed, by the former; if not satisfactory to the laborers, an appeal may be had to the nearest justice of the peace and two freeholders, citizens, one of said citizens to be selected by the employer and the other by the laborer; and all fines imposed and collected under this section shall be deducted from the wages due, and shall be placed in a common fund, to be divided among the other laborers employed on the plantation at the time when their full wages fall due, except as provided for above.”

Similar detailed regulations of work were in the South Carolina law. Elaborate provision was made for contracting colored “servants” to white “masters.” Their masters were given the right to whip “moderately” servants under eighteen. Others were to be whipped on authority of judicial officers. These officers were given authority to return runaway servants to their masters. The servants, on the other hand, were given certain rights. Their wages and period of service must be specified in writing, and they were protected against “unreasonable” tasks, Sunday and night work, unauthorized attacks on their persons, and inadequate food.

Contracting Negroes were to be known as “servants” and contractors as “masters.” Wages were to be fixed by the judge, unless stipulated. Negroes of ten years of age or more without a parent living in the district might make a valid contract for a year or less. Failure to make written contracts was a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $5 to $50; farm labor to be from sunrise to sunset, with intervals for meals; servants to rise at dawn, to be careful of master’s property and answerable for property lost or injured. Lost time was to be deducted from wages. Food and clothes might be deducted. Servants were to be quiet and orderly and to go to bed at reasonable hours. No night work or outdoor work in bad weather was to be asked, except in cases of necessity, visitors not allowed without the master’s consent. Servants leaving employment without good reason must forfeit wages. Masters might discharge servants for disobedience, drunkenness, disease, absence, etc. Enticing away the services of a servant was punishable by a fine of $20 to $100. A master could command a servant to aid him in defense of his own person, family or property. House servants at all hours of the day and night, and at all days of the week, “must answer promptly all calls and execute all lawful orders.”

W.E.B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction in America

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The transubstantiation of Andrew Johnson was complete. He had begun as the champion of the poor laborer, demanding that the land monopoly of the Southern oligarchy be broken up, so as to give access to the soil, South and West, to the free laborer. He had demanded the punishment of those Southerners who by slavery and war had made such an economic program impossible. Suddenly thrust into the Presidency, he had retreated from this attitude. He had not only given up extravagant ideas of punishment, but he dropped his demand for dividing up plantations when he realized that Negroes would largely be beneficiaries. Because he could not conceive of Negroes as men, he refused to advocate universal democracy, of which, in his young manhood, he had been the fiercest advocate, and made strong alliance with those who would restore slavery under another name.

This change did not come by deliberate thought or conscious desire to hurt—it was rather the tragedy of American prejudice made flesh; so that the man born to narrow circumstances, a rebel against economic privilege, died with the conventional ambition of a poor white to be the associate and benefactor of monopolists, planters and slave drivers. In some respects, Andrew Johnson is the most pitiful figure of American history. A man who, despite great power and great ideas, became a puppet, played upon by mighty fingers and selfish, subtle minds; groping, self-made, unlettered and alone; drunk, not so much with liquor, as with the heady wine of sudden and accidental success.

W.E.B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction in America

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Once peace came, what was the attitude of the Turkish Republic to the original genocide ? To interested foreigners, Kemal would deplore, usually off the record, the killings as work of a tiny handful of scoundrels. To its domestic audience, the regime went out of its way to honour the perpetrators, dead or alive. Two of the most prominent killers hanged in 1 920 for their atrocities by the tribunals in Istanbul were proclaimed ‘national martyrs’ by the Kemalist Assembly, and in 1926 the families of Talat, Enver, Sakir, and Cemal were officially granted pensions, properties and lands seized from the Armenians, in recognition of services to the country. Such decisions were not mere sentimental gestures. Kemal’s regime was packed, from top to bottom, with participants in the murders of 1915-1 6. At one time or another his ministers of foreign affairs and of the interior; of finance, education and defence; and of public works, were all veterans of the genocide; while a minister of j ustice, suitably enough, had been defence lawyer at the Istanbul trials.39 It was as if Adenauer’s cabinets had been composed of well-known chiefs of the SS and the Sicherheitsdienst.

What of Kemal himself? In Gallipoli till the end of 1915, he was posted to Diyarbakir in the south-east in the spring of 1916, after the region had been emptied of Armenians. He certainly knew of the genocide-someone in his position could hardly have been unaware of it-but played no part in it. How he would have acted had he been in the zone at the time is impossible to guess. After the event, it is clear that he regarded it as an accomplished fact that had become a condition of the new Turkey. In this he was like most of his countrymen, for the elimination of the Armenians in Anatolia, who were at least a tenth of the population, unlike that of the Jews in Germany, who were little more than 1 per cent, was of material benefit to large numbers of ordinary citizens, who acquired lands and wealth from those who had been wiped out, as from Greeks who had been expelled, another tenth of the population. Kemal himself was among the recipients of this vast largesse, receiving gratis villas abandoned by Greek owners in Bursa and Trabzon, and the mansion on the hill of Cankaya that became his official residence as head of state in Ankara. Originally the estate of an Armenian family, there the presidential palace of the Republic stands today, it too planted on booty from the genocide.

Perry Anderson, The New Old World

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There is no reason to suppose that Kemal himself was anything other than a robust atheist, of more or less French Third Republic stamp, throughout his life. In that sense, he is entitled to be remembered as a Turkish Emile Combes, scourge of monkish mystification and superstition. But in his rise to power, he could no more dispense with Islam than Talat or Enver had done. ‘God’s help and protection are with us in the sacred struggle which we have entered upon for our fatherland’, he declared in 1920.30 The struggle for independence was a holy war, which he led as Gazi, the Warrior for the Faith of original Ottoman expansion, a title he held onto down to the mid-thirties. 'God is one, and great is his glory!’, he announced without a blush, in a sermon to the faithful delivered in a mosque in 1923. When the Constitution of the Turkish Republic was framed in the following year, Islam was declared the state religion. The spirit in which Kemal made use of Muslim piety in these years was that of Napoleon enthroning himself with the blessing of the pope. But as exercises in cynicism they moved in opposite directions: Napoleon rising to power as a revolutionary, and manipulating religion to stabilize it, Kemal manipulating religion to make a revolution and turning on it once his power was stabilized. After  1926 little more was heard of the deity.

Tactical and transient, the new regime’s use of Islam, when no longer required, was easily reversed. But at a deeper level, a much tighter knot tied it to the very religion it proceeded on the surface to mortify. For even when at apparent fever pitch, Turkish secularism has never been truly secular. This is in part because, as often noted, Kemalism did not so much separate religion from the state as subordinate it to the state, creating 'directorates’ that took over the ownership of all mosques, appointment of imams, administration of pious foundations-in effect, turning the faith into a branch of the bureaucracy. A much more profound reason, however, is that religion was never detached from the nation, becoming instead an unspoken definition of it. It was this, however, that allowed Kemalism to become more than just a cult of the elites, leaving a durable imprint on the masses themselves. For if at village level secularism failed to take, nationalism sank deep popular roots…  The ambiguity of Kemalism was to construct an ideological code in two registers. One was secular and appealed to the elite. The other was cryptoreligious and accessible to the masses. Common to both was the integrity of the nation, as supreme political value.

But there remained another large community within the country, most of whose members spoke little Turkish, that could not be so dispatched, because it was Muslim. In ethnically cleansed Anatolia, Kurds made up perhaps a quarter of the population. They had played a central role in the Armenian genocide, Kurdish detachments supplying shock troops for the extermination, and fought alongside Turks in the War of Independence. What was to be their place in the new state? While the struggle for independence was in the balance, Kemal promised them respect for their identity, and autonomy in the regions where they predominated. 'There are Turks and Kurds’, Kemal declared in 1919, 'the nation is not one element. There are various bonded Muslim elements. Every Muslim element which makes this entity are citizens’ .32 But once victory was assured, Kurdish areas were stocked with Turkish officials, Kurdish place-names were changed and the Kurdish language banned from courts and schools. Then, with the abolition of the Caliphate in 1 924, Kemal did away with the common symbol of Islam to which he himself had appealed five years earlier, when he had vowed that 'Turks and Kurds will continue to live together as brothers around the institution of the khilafa'Y The act detonated a major Kurdish revolt under a tribal religious leader, Sheikh Sa it, in early 1 925. A full half of the Turkish army, over fifty thousand troops, was mobilized to crush the rebellion. On some reckonings, more of them died in its suppression than in the War of Independence.34 In the south-east, repression was followed by deportations, executions and systematic Turkification. In the country as a whole, it was the signal for the imposition of a dictatorship, with a Law for the Maintenance of Order that closed down opposition parties and press for the rest of the decade. In 1937, in the face of a still more drastic programme of Turkification, Alevi Kurds rose in the Dersim region, and were put down yet more ruthlessly, with more modern weapons of destruction-bombers, gas, heavy artillery. Officially, by now the Kurds had ceased to exist. After 1925 Kemal never uttered the word 'Kurd’ in public again. The nation was composed of one homogeneous people, and it alone, the Turks-a fiction that was to last another three generations.

But if Kurds were no different from Turks, whatever their language, customs or sense of themselves, what defined the indivisible identity of the two? Tacitly, it could only be what Kemalism could no longer admit, but with which it could never dispense: religion. There were still tiny Christian and Jewish communities in the country, preserved essentially in Istanbul and its environs, and in due course, these would be subjected to treatment that made it clear how fundamental the division between believers and unbelievers continued to be in the Kemalist state. But though Islam delimited the nation, it now did so in a purely negative way-it was the covert identity that was left, after every positive determination had been subtracted, in the name of homogeneity. The result has been that Turkish secularism has always depended on what it repressed.

Perry Anderson, The New Old World

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“Thither all argument again and again returned; but it tried desperately to crowd out these real points by appealing to higher constitutional metaphysics. This constitutional argument was astonishing. Around and around it went in dizzy, silly dialectics. Here were grown, sensible men arguing about a written form of government adopted ninety years before, when men did not believe that slavery could outlive their generation in this country, or that civil war could possibly be its result; when no man foresaw the Industrial Revolution or the rise of the Cotton Kingdom; and yet now, with incantation and abracadabra, the leaders of a nation tried to peer back into the magic crystal, and out of a bit of paper called the Constitution, find eternal and immutable law laid down for their guidance forever and ever, Amen!”

W. E. B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction in America: Toward a History of the Part Which Black Folk Played in the Attempt to Reconstruct Democracy in America, 1860-1880

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“Fellow-citizens, let us entreat you, have faith in your own principles. If freedom is good for any, it is good for all. If you need the elective franchise, we need it even more. You are strong, we are weak; you are many, we are few; you are protected, we are exposed. Clothe us with this safeguard of our liberty, and give us an interest in the country to which, in common with you, we have given our lives and poured out our best blood. You cannot need special protection. Our degradation is not essential to your elevation, nor our peril essential to your safety. You are not likely to be outstripped in the race of improvement by persons of African descent; and hence you have no need of superior advantage, nor to burden them with disabilities of any kind… 

We may conquer Southern armies by the sword; but it is another thing to conquer Southern hate. Now what is the natural counterpoise against this Southern malign hostility? This it is: give the elective franchise to every colored man of the South who is of sane mind, and has arrived at the age of “twenty-one years, and you have at once four millions of friends who will guard with their vigilance, and if need be, defend with their arms, the ark of Federal Liberty from the treason and pollution of her enemies. You are sure of enmity of the masters,—make sure of the friendship of the slaves; for, depend upon it, your Government cannot afford to encounter the enmity of both.”

Resolution of a black National Convention in Syracuse, New York, in October of 1864.

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W.E.B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction in America: Toward a History of the Part Which Black Folk Played in the Attempt to Reconstruct Democracy in America, 1860-1880

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“It was all foolish, bizarre, and tawdry. Gangs of dirty Negroes howling and dancing; poverty-stricken ignorant laborers mistaking war, destruction and revolution for the mystery of the free human soul; and yet to these black folk it was the Apocalypse. The magnificent trumpet tones of Hebrew Scripture, transmuted and oddly changed, became a strange new gospel. All that was Beauty, all that was Love, all that was Truth, stood on the top of these mad mornings and sang with the stars. A great human sob shrieked in the wind, and tossed its tears upon the sea,—free, free, free.

There was joy in the South. It rose like perfume—like a prayer. Men stood quivering. Slim dark girls, wild and beautiful with wrinkled hair, wept silently; young women, black, tawny, white and golden, lifted shivering hands, and old and broken mothers, black and gray, raised great voices and shouted to God across the fields, and up to the rocks and the mountains.

A great song arose, the loveliest thing born this side the seas. It was a new song. It did not come from Africa, though the dark throb and beat of that Ancient of Days was in it and through it. It did not come from white America—never from so pale and hard and thin a thing, however deep these vulgar and surrounding tones had driven. Not the Indies nor the hot South, the cold East or heavy West made that music. It was a new song and its deep and plaintive beauty, its great cadences and wild appeal wailed, throbbed and thundered on the world’s ears with a message seldom voiced by man. It swelled and blossomed like incense, improvised and born anew out of an age long past, and weaving into its texture the old and new melodies in word and in thought.”

W.E.B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction in America

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“With perplexed and laggard steps, the United States Government followed the footsteps of the black slave. It made no difference how much Abraham Lincoln might protest that this was not a war against slavery, or ask General McDowell “if it would not be well to allow the armies to bring back those fugitive slaves which have crossed the Potomac with our troops” (a communication which was marked “secret”). It was in vain that Lincoln rushed entreaties and then commands to Frémont in Missouri, not to emancipate the slaves of rebels, and then had to hasten similar orders to Hunter in South Carolina. The slave, despite every effort, was becoming the center of war.

Still Lincoln held off and watched symptoms. Greeley’s “Prayer of Twenty Millions” received the curt answer, less than a year before Emancipation, that the war was not to abolish slavery, and if Lincoln could hold the country together and keep slavery, he would do it.

In August, Lincoln faced the truth, front forward; and that truth was not simply that Negroes ought to be free; it was that thousands of them were already free, and that either the power which slaves put into the hands of the South was to be taken from it, or the North could not win the war. Either the Negro was to be allowed to fight, or the draft itself would not bring enough white men into the army to keep up the war.

More than that, unless the North faced the world with the moral strength of declaring openly that they were fighting for the emancipation of slaves, they would probably find that the world would recognize the South as a separate nation; that ports would be opened; that trade would begin, and that despite all the military advantage of the North, the war would be lost.”

W.E.B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction in America

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Scenery #6

I didn’t keep much of you; your atmosphere always so diluted or wrenched of moisture; dry, like you wringed all joy out of the cloth of your life. It was barren, dusty, the soles of your feet like concrete - hard, skin like the whites of an orange in between the thick surface and the flesh. You needed oils, massages and warm tender care but it always crept back. Your tears like acid rain, your copper locks oleaginous against my inwards caving stomach; god knows how all of me turned inwards against you; everything in protective agony against your hollowness. But I kept some things. Like the foresty groves that reflected from some distant backdrop in your eyes. The little thread of faith for better days that someone, maybe your higher self, kept so mindfully tidy for your next chapter - almost like you saved the best for last (I always knew I was just a passage in your story). You sure knew how to, with perfection, shape mindful objects to your will when you exited the barren house you dwelled in. I bottled the feeling I felt under your gentle fingertips - hands so eager to build with wood and steel and sparks, forge what was hard to something soft and magmatic. Your mellifluous crazy chaos like water cascading from a hard cliff; I sincerely wished I had known how to float the drowning effects of your sea when it rolled its tidal waves in over my shore.

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“When Northern armies entered the South they became armies of emancipation. It was the last thing they planned to be. The North did not propose to attack property. It did not propose to free slaves. This was to be a white man’s war to preserve the Union, and the Union must be preserved.

Nothing that concerned the amelioration of the Negro touched the heart of the mass of Americans nor could the common run of men realize the political and economic cost of Negro slavery. When, therefore, the Southern radicals, backed by political oligarchy and economic dictatorship in the most extreme form in which the world had seen it for five hundred years, precipitated secession, that part of the North that opposed the plan had to hunt for a rallying slogan to unite the majority in the North and in the West, and if possible, bring the Border States into an opposing phalanx.

Freedom for slaves furnished no such slogan. Not one-tenth of the Northern white population would have fought for any such purpose. Free soil was a much stronger motive, but it had no cogency in this contest because the Free Soilers did not dream of asking free soil in the South, since that involved the competition of slaves, or what seemed worse than that, of free Negroes. On the other hand, the tremendous economic ideal of keeping this great market for goods, the United States, together with all its possibilities of agriculture, manufacture, trade and profit, appealed to both the West and the North; and what was then much more significant, it appealed to the Border States.

‘To the flag we are pledged, all its foes we abhor,

And we ain’t for the n*****, but we are for the war.’

The Border States wanted the cotton belt in the Union so that they could sell it their surplus slaves; but they also wanted to be in the same union with the North and West, where the profit of trade was large and increasing. The duty then of saving the Union became the great rallying cry of a war which for a long time made the Border States hesitate and confine secession to the far South. And yet they all knew that the only thing that really threatened the Union was slavery and the only remedy was Abolition.”

W. E. B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction in America: Toward a History of the Part Which Black Folk Played in the Attempt to Reconstruct Democracy in America, 1860-1880

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“With the Civil War, the planters died as a class. We still talk as though the dominant social class in the South persisted after the war. But it did not. It disappeared. Just how quickly and in what manner the transformation was made, we do not know. No scientific study of the submergence of the remainder of the planter class into the ranks of the poor whites, and the corresponding rise of a portion of the poor whites into the dominant portion of landholders and capitalists, has been made. Of the names of prominent Southern families in Congress in 1860, only two appear in 1870, five in 1880. Of 90 prominent names in 1870, only four survived in 1880. Men talk today as though the upper class in the white South is descended from the slave-holders; yet we know by plain mathematics that the ancestors of most of the present Southerners never owned a slave nor had any real economic part in slavery. The disaster of war decimated the planters; the bitter disappointment and frustration led to a tremendous mortality after the war, and from 1870 on the planter class merged their blood so completely with the rising poor whites that they disappeared as a separate aristocracy. It is this that explains so many characteristics of the post-war South: its lynching and mob law, its murders and cruelty, its insensibility to the finer things of civilization.”

W. E. B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction in America: Toward a History of the Part Which Black Folk Played in the Attempt to Reconstruct Democracy in America, 1860-1880

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TEAL = We have a lot in common.

CINNAMON = You’re a really cool person and admire you from afar.

BLUSH = Seeing you on my dash makes my day a little better.

TANGERINE = I love your aesthetic

BURGUNDY = I get excited when I see posts from you

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