Chanukah Flier-Spread the Miracle: Abolish the Police

  • Posted on: 21 December 2014
  • By: Anonymous (not verified)

This text was written for an anti-police brutality, Ferguson solidarity Chanukah ritual/action that was organized by Jewish Voice for Peace and others in Seattle on 12/16, the first night of Chanukah.

“You will smash the roof of the villain’s house,
Raze it from foundation to top. Selah.
You will crack the villain’s skull with Your bludgeon:
Blown away shall be his warriors,
Whose delight is to crush me suddenly,
To devour a poor man in ambush.”
(Habakkuk 3.13-3.14)

Spread the Miracle, Abolish the Police!

Every 28 hours, the police shoot a black man. The recent revolts against the murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner have reignited the continual fight against racism, injustice, and the police. In Seattle, the police execution of John T. Williams, a native man, Oscar Perez-Girion, a Latino man, and others, are burned into our collective memory.

“Mai Chanukah? What is Chanukah?”

Chanukah tells the story of the victory of a few warriors against an empire; the momentary triumph of light over darkness. Quickly though, the victors - Hasmoneans (Maccabees)- reconstituted themselves as State power, reigning as kings, against those they had supposedly liberated. Chanukah is the possibility of a miracle - the triumph over enemies no matter how great. It is also a warning of what happens when a struggle does not recognize that all those who take power are its enemy; In today's terms, that this is a struggle against the police, prisons, borders, and all those institutions which keep us in chains. So, Mai Chanukah? the possibility of the impossible, eight days of light when there could only be one, the possibility of true freedom in the face of the ‘all powerful’ State.

The Jewish history of expulsion, genocide, and ghettoization bears witness to the fleeting nature of rights and privileges. On this continent, the persecution of colonized peoples; native people, black people, and all others who do not fit into legality and rights as determined by the State will not be resolved through an appeal to the state for rights and privileges because those in power can take and give as they see fit. The mere history of the police as slave patrols for black people shows the complicit nature of the system in white supremacy.

For non-POC Jews who would welcome an identification with whiteness: Has the lifting of quotas, the end of ghettoization, the removal of structural anti-Judaism at the end of the 1960s in the US really erased a history a couple thousand years in the making? There is a difference between acknowledging white privilege and identifying with the oppressive apparatus that is white supremacy. The importance of this ‘privileged’ moment is not just to question our role, but also to be openly opposed to whiteness by aligning with insurgent aspects against white supremacy - comrades of color, anti-fascist Jews, and rebellious white people.

“Eitz chaim hi, lemachazikim ba”

From Morocco in the Melahs to Lithuania in the shtetls to Poland in the ghettos Jews have created autonomous and self-sufficient communities of mutual support. The Jewish values of the celebration of life, the quest for survival, and Tikkun Olam grant us the ability to pursue the light of justice; the foundation of all existence.

For the destruction of the police and the white supremacist system they protect!

Happy Chanukah! Black Lives Matter.

Rest in Power: Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Oscar Perez-Girion, Oscar Grant, John T. Williams, Tamir Rice, Aiyana Jones & all victims of the police, borders, and States."

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Comments

The proto-Tiqqunians!!! Channukah was really the Insurrection that Came/Eternal Cycle of the Coming Insurrection!

A bit shallow, but appreciated.

So I actually think this is fine, and coming from a good place. But I need to critique what I see as a weak, and potentially problematic, race analysis.

Who, at all, "would welcome an identification with whiteness"? Like, except for Aryan Nation types. Many, including myself, will identify themselves as white because, well, I look white to everyone in the whole world and I get all the attendant benefits. I don't "identify with whiteness" though.

Aren't non-POC Jews just, in other words, white Jews?

Who "identifies with the oppressive apparatus of white supremacy"? Like, at all. The Aryans deny that it exists. No one else "identifies with" it.

This race analysis doesn't just seem shallow, but confused. I think this analysis has failed to make what would be a very fair point about the place of "the Jew" in the symbolic order of racial/ethnic conceptions on Turtle Island. Which, y'know, remains a shitty, marginalized, scapegoatable place. Instead, it has made some weird statement where Jews, as a result of a history of not being considered properly white, somehow become non-white.

Who are the "rebellious white people" with whom the recipients of this flyer are implored to make common cause? These white people are statistically likely to be the descendants of people who were not considered "properly white" - like, in my case, the Irish. However, Irish folks are white now, but "non-POC Jews" are still somehow not white, at least so last as they avoid an "identification with" whiteness?

This just seems weird. What makes "non-POC Jews" different from other white folks who other white folks, on the whole, have historically considered improperly white? Like the Irish, like Canadian francophones, like Appalachian "hillbillies".

Anyway, if this flyer convinces a single person to join the fight against white supremacy et al. with serious conviction, then great, and all this stuff I'm writing is irrelevant. The content of propaganda is not so important as the result, and Lorde knows that inspiring rhetoric is often more important on a flyer than solid analysis.

But what is whiteness other than being white? And what is being white other than looking white and having white privilege? Finally, if we believe that a difference from the dominant American paradigm in terms of a community's culture/customs/language/religion/philosophy is enough to make them non-white, then fuck, what if I just start learning Irish or whatever?

Personally, I don't think that would be good enough - and when people have made the argument to me that I can "decolonize" by "going Celtic", I have thought, and still thought, "Bull fucking shit."

Yep. That's it. Interested in what anyone's thoughts are.

At the risk of starting another endless circle-jerk with the worst trolls on the site, I'll take a stab.

It's easy to talk about this stuff in context with very real/tangible oppression that is obviously directed at people based on a blurry intersection of class and race. There's plenty of data to make a pretty solid scientific argument if you won't take my word for it but you really should not need much verification. (Demanding proof here is automatic douche status)

Ideas of "whiteness" recede like the horizon as you try to examine them because ultimately, they don't exist. That's the weirdness you're talking about. It's a hall of mirrors based off of preconceptions that are mostly invisible to people who enjoy the privilege, meanwhile creating the systemic oppression experienced by those outside this paradigm, which is real.

The boot on the neck is real, the motivations of the boot are an illusion and that's why these ideas evaporate under serious analysis. I went through something similar because I look pretty white but with native ancestry, true product of colonialism.

Okay, that was pretty thoughtful, fellow anonymous commenter. I appreciate it! Especially cuz, like, that's a better answer than I deserve for my tl;dr and somewhat all-over-the-place original comment.

I think you're right about the illusory nature of whiteness. It sorta confirms my feeling that "identifying with" whiteness is, again, something that no one does except for Aryans, KKK types, neo-Confederates, at least some Odinists, etc. It seems to me that most alienated young white folks "identify with" something that is not white (like Buddhism), something not necessarily white (like Quebec, or anarchism), or with something that is "pre-white" (i.e. European but characterized as "indigenous", which is exactly how the Celtic revivalists talk about their whole thing).

But yeah. I'm not sure what else to say, other than... Thanks!

Sure, no worries. I'm here because most of the people I know in real life hate talking about this stuff.

IMHO anarchism is the logical bargaining position for an alienated, vindictive person of few material means. As in, everyone who isn't independently wealthy should be an anarchist out of pure self-interest alone and then you can mix and match it with whatever analysis or philosophy to suit your taste. That is to say, it's only a source of identity along with all the other things I'm forced in to by economic realities … like being a wage-slave, having a driver's license, hating capitalism and working to fuck that shit up, etc.

It's not really me, it's what other people force me to be because I still have a few shreds of dignity left.

A lot of mizrahi Jews in the west see themselves as "white" and sort of superficially adopt the ashkenazi narrative. The picture attached to this article is incredibly distasteful. The worst violence against Jews in the 20th century was carried out at the behest of 2 secular atheists. At the moment most Ortodox Jews (in defiance of Talmudic law) are literally, borderline genocidal in regards to the Palestinians. The breakdown of the state in many places as well contributed to violence against Jews. You can't simplify these histories into neat little narratives, even if I agree that the state is inherently violent, the holocaust itself the climactic buildup of nationalist violence and bureaucratic statehood.

Good ol' Sammy Davis Jnr! He showed you up for being a black afro-american Judaist! And he could entertain as well, showbiz personalities FTW, forget about politics, enjoy the show!

I mean, if it's fear or disgust of gentiles that is the motivation than the United States imperialist narrative "we saved you now look white and make with the AIPAC" still wins, or ethnic religious nationalism (Zionism) still wins. Can't simplify it. You're either morally and rationally against it, or it's "us v.s. them."

...I meant "bagels," not AIPAC, Freudian slip

You know it dawned on me after I went and ate pizza that this was directed at the JVP. I'm a member of the JVP. There are already Anarcists in the JVP. Noam Chomsky sits on their advisory board. Emma Goldman is a reference for members of the JVP. You need to step out of your bubble here, because not only is this a little condescending but you're condescending to the choir. I'm sure this wasn't meant with ill will, but seriously...

I didn't get that because I assumed you would have known this.

"There are already Anarcists (sic) in the JVP. Noam Chomsky sits on their advisory board."

You said one thing and then said another thing contradictory.

The group was founded by Judish Butler for Christ's sake. Would it really have hurt to Google the group before you started condescending to them? They're non Zionist Jews who are range from progressive to radical, dispersed equally along the way.

Butler is a liberal Leftist who's been promoting the same deluded views on Palestine so widespread among the NA Left, especially its deeply antisemitic leadership. They also see Muslim Brotherhood and their "offspring" organizations like Hamas as liberal progressives, which is a fucking joke. They are all Islamic fascist jihadists... The fact that they are opposed to Sunni genocidal maniacs like Al-Nusrah, the Taliban and ISIS only makes them slightly better on the surface, but they are religious fanatics and racist nationalists.

Which doesn't mean that the current the State of Israel is any better. It's probably like comparing Bin Laden's Al Qaeda to George Dubya's administration... or ISIS to Obama's administration.

Leftists really have got to be taught again and again on the Islamic branch of fascism and Nazism since the '30s.

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