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Why labor keeps losing in the South, because they have stopped believing

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The finale scene in The Sopranos features the Journey song “Don’t stop believing,” is a perfect metaphor for the idea of White Hegemony.  If you are white, you can come from ANYWHERE, even Michigan, and with a bit of luck and a throw of the dice, or maybe put a hit on Phil Letardo, and you can move up.  But you can’t “stop ... believing” in the White Hegemonic system, a worldview that was perfected in the ideals of the Confederacy and remains its unspoken racist spine.  

White labor has had 160 years to shed their petty place on the social ladder, to move beyond individual throws of the dice with singular triumphs and mostly losses.    

White hegemony's oppression does not stop with who checks the race Black or Asian or the ethnicity Latino. It also includes white labor.    

The  dishonorable U.S. Senator from South Carolina James Hammond described this social structure in an appeal to the divine.  His Mudsill speech presents the social order as another reworking of the Great Chain of Being in which genteel sophisticated Planters pursue lives of thought and culture, while the Blacks in the field break their bodies supporting their betters.   .

“We do not think that whites should be slaves either by law or necessity. Our slaves are [B]lack, of another and inferior race. The status in which we have placed them is an elevation. They are elevated from the condition in which God first created them, by being made our slaves.”

James Henry Hammond “The ‘Mudsill’ Speech” Speech to the U.S. Senate on March 4, 1858

To paraphrase his ideas from his speech: Every society must find a class of people to do menial labor, whether called slaves or not. Assigning status is on a racial basis followed natural law (eugenics). 

We work while the (RICH LANDOWNER) white man thinks. 

The North’s class of white wage laborers presented in Hammond’s mind and his fellow oligarchs a revolutionary threat to this idea, and it still does. 

Don’t get hung up on regions or locations. In 1830 the West used to end in Missouri, and one of the most anti-black presidents in history was former Governor of New Jersey, the U.S. 28th President, Woodrow Wilson. The South and the North are ideas bounded by philosophy not physical location. 

“A spectre is haunting America — the spectre of the Great Replacement.” 

“A spectre is haunting America — the spectre of the Great Replacement.” 

Larx

In the U.S., 10 million white people believe in the Great Replacement, the third generation of the Lost Cause. 

These people still view the Civil War not as The War of Southern Intransigence and Incontinence, but as a case of brutal and barbaric Northern Aggression.   They see the  1619 project as an abomination that besmirches their hallowed founders as brutalists and rapists.  They still view this post-bellum government that stole their property —their enslaved Black workers— as illegitimate. 

In these true believers' vision, they return to the old ideas of all rights arising from Property and limited only to those with property.  The white laborers who do not own his own land has forsaken his roles and place.  These white dissenter are disturbing the natural order and deserve to be subordinated. The white men who insist on a labor class that is not only racially diverse and gender diverse, cease to be white men, at least as far as their idea of white hegemony.  

The 2020 election was simply another clash of the Blue and Gray that NEVER ENDED.  

The big battles just moved indoors. The Compromise of 1877 liberated the Southern Planters from Federal Restrictions and the minor protections of the rights of Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness to their former enslaved Africans.  One of the neo-confederate movement’s most sophisticated propaganda campaigns was the Southern Strategy crafted in 1964, first implemented by the 37th U.S. President Richard Nixion the Californian.  Nixon was not a wide eyed Californian that stumbled into white resentment.   His copperhead, Ohio-born father sent him to the center of Southern Intellectual Resistance, Duke University, for Law School.  Nixon adopted the ideals of the Drittes Süden: (Antebellum, Reconstruction, and now Rebuilt New South).  The Southern Strategy continues to be a strong piece and powerful tool for the white power philosophy. 

Neo-confederates are anti-government because they are anti-Federally Protected rights for anyone who makes their living as a worker. After all, if you don’t own land, you’re not a white man, and only white men can own land and have rights because this is a white nation.

This is why when the white leftists attempt to organize the South through appeals to reason and universalism, it doesn’t work.  They can try to have a reasonable discussion with them and talk to them “reasonable white man to reasonable white man” on labor, rights, and unionism, but their mics will be cut.  In many ways, it is a racist Pascal’s Wager.  It doesn’t matter what the chance is that they are right, their racial place in the Great Chain of Being is their eternal reward. To the Drittes Süden, the Third South, the leftist and labor organzier  are not white men. At best they are race traitors and at worst, untermensch.  To the Southern Partisan, the labor organizer has “Stopped Believin’” and are failures of real men.  They need to shut up, let us teach those Black (and Latinx) workers their  place with a hit or a HIT, and let them, the white men who own land, resume their roles thinking, writing, and the decision making.

I say all this to say, in some ways, the left’s idea that race is a distraction is correct, but they are simply making a mistake of who it is distracting. 


Teka Lo, Public Intellectuals

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