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16. Civil War in July, 1967 Part III

Masterpiece of Unconscious Humor during the July Days: the unmitigated gall of President Johnson in his July 24 proclamation: “We will not endure violence. It matters not by whom it is done, or under what slogan or banner. It will not be tolerated.”

Let us savor that statement, surely a classic of its kind. It is a statement from a man in charge of the greatest violence-wielding machine, the mightiest collection of destructive power, in the history of the world. It comes from a man in charge of the day-by-day use of that power to bomb, burn, and napalm thousands of innocent women and children and old people in Vietnam. For such a statement to come, in all seriousness, from the greatest violence-wielder of our time, and to be taken with a straight face by the public, demonstrates how far our society has gone down the road to irrationality. So, “it matters not by whom it is done, or under what slogan or banner,” eh, Mr. President? Does that include the banner of “saving” the crushed and bleeding people of Vietnam from “International Communism”?

And so here we have our President making a totally absurd, irrational, and self-contradictory statement about violence, which no one seems to think is in the least out of order.

Let us contrast to this, the Masterpiece of Conscious Humor of the Month, and the clarity and sanity of this statement, by a supposedly irrational Negro extremist, H. Rap Brown, head of SNCC [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee]. Brown was asked at a press conference what it would take to satisfy black power militants. Brown replied: “I want Lyndon Johnson to resign and go to Vietnam and fight — he and his family.” The reporter adds that “Negro onlookers cheered as he brushed aside newsmen’s requests that he be ‘more specific.’” Surely Brown cannot be blamed for this brushing aside; how specific can one get?

The Negro movement has come a long way from the days when compulsory integration was the goal and the NAACP was the leader. The old civil rights movement was thoroughly statist and modern-liberal; its goal was to use the arm of the federal and other governments to coerce whites into hiring, eating, and living with Negroes. The new movement, headed by Rap Brown and Stokely Carmichael of SNCC, is totally and radically alienated from the government of the United States and the entire “power structure.” To contrast, once more, two statements of LBJ and H. Rap Brown, LBJ proclaimed: “From its earliest day, our nation has been dedicated to justice, to equality — and to order,” while Brown declared: “The white man makes all the laws, he drags us before his courts, he accuses us, and he sits in judgment over us.”

There speaks the voice of a true black nationalist; and the logic of black nationalism, finally explicitly stated in the National Black Power Conference at Newark this July, is a national black republic totally separated and seceded from the US government. As absurd as this goals seems when first stated, this is the inner logic of the continuing rebellions of the Negro ghettoes, and this is the direction in which these rebellions are, willy-nilly, moving. For the other traditional solutions are not going to work. The conservative solution of ever-greater force it not going to work, for during the rioting it was the entry of the National Guard that stimulated and accelerated the retaliatory sniping; the conservative solution cannot work, short of exterminating the entire Negro population.

And nothing is deader than the liberal solution of more federal funds, more playgrounds, and the rest of the liberal pap. Detroit was supposed to be the great model home of Liberal Race Relations, with plenty of playgrounds, inter-racial committees, and all the rest. And Detroit suffered a week-long civil war and property damage of $1 billion. Detroit murdered liberalism, and good riddance.