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A Deep Response to Russell Means' Excellent Analysis of European Political Limitations!

This is a thought-through response to Russell Means' article "For American to Live, Europe Must Die". The original article, listed in the general publishing archive below (which *should* be put in the features section, but we know that most IMC'ers are playing meta games), is a MUST READ for all who are serious at all about the realities of our time, including post-Left anarchists!
Questions/thoughts for Russ Means and other traditionals from one who calls himself Carlos rare bird, o.O. (response to article published at: http://seattle.indymedia.org/en/2005/01/244020.shtml ) NOTE: For those unfamiliar with Russell Means, he is apparently one of the founders of the American Indian Movement (AIM), and someone with real heavy experience in reality. Due to his exceptional stands in solidarity with indigenous people around the world, Russell has been forced to deal with all manner of attack, including hype from the Left, re: the Miskito Indian/Sandinista situation; Russell has also had to deal with a campaign in Indian Country to discredit and silence him, as illustrated in the one (and only?) interview of him on Nativecalling.org (which is the biggest radio network of mostly Apple Indian perspectives online and off).

Russ Means:
It takes a strong effort on the part of each American Indian not to become Europeanized. The strength for this effort can only come from the traditional ways, the traditional values that our elders retain. It must come from the hoop, the four directions, the relations: it cannot come from the pages of a book or a thousand books.

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On the surface this sounds like the same kind of dogma you can find everywhere in formal religion almost everywhere. But the difference I'm seeing in these ways is that they 1) were shared by *every* different tribe/clan across the pre-civilized world when these tribes/clans *did not* have formal relations, or even anything like *chain of command*! 2) my study leads me to say that tribes/clans were not hierarchical based in any euopeon sense of the word. But were more similar to what Harold Barclay says of *natural authority*--people listening to each other because of their proven example; and in the context of serious *community councils* where *perhaps everyone* who felt like speaking up, could.

But of course, we europeonized people are so poisoned in our beliefs and imagination about how people living *close to the land* and *in harmony with it*, that WE SIMPLY CANNOT FATHOM a way of doing things that MAY WELL have been MORE anarchistic than we can permit ourselves to imagine!

How curious.

Russ:
No European can ever teach a Lakota to be Lakota, a Hopi to be Hopi. A master's degree in "Indian Studies" or in "education" or in anything else cannot make a person into a human being or provide knowledge into traditional ways. It can only make you into a mental European, an outsider.

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This is where I have dissented from Russ in the past, even though it appears he's re-written parts of this speech...? Or maybe I just forgot! The idea that *all europeans* can never do something is bullshit. True in the context of what euro-centric culture has become, and what perhaps 99% of europeons (and other "civilized", domesticated) people are; yet still some of us have been able to orient ourselves to seeing our cages, our prejudice, our poisoning, and are on a path of opening up.

In this way, some of us could well assist Indian folks who've bought, for whatever reason, into the dominating paradigm(s), towards traditional ways. Perhaps I didn't even need to point that out, here, since it is so common sensical.

Russ:
The European materialist tradition of despiritualizing the universe is very similar to the mental process which goes into dehumanizing another person. And who seems most expert at dehumanizing other people? And why? Soldiers who have seen a lot of combat learn to do this to the enemy before going back into combat. Murderers do it before going out to commit murder. Nazi SS guards did it to concentration camp inmates. Cops do it. Corporation leaders do it to the workers they send into uranium mines and steel mills. Politicians do it to everyone in sight.

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"Citizens" also do it, as shown in _Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland_ -- by Christopher R. Browning. The *chain of command* thing works right down to "most people"; hell, even kids can intuit what is not good to say and do, and what behavior (such as attacking weaker kids) is tolerated!

Russ:
Most important here, perhaps, is the fact that Europeans feel no sense of loss in all this. After all, their philosophers have despiritualized reality, so there is no satisfaction (for them) to be gained in simply observing the wonder of a mountain or a lake or a people in being. No, satisfaction is measured in terms of gaining material.

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Again, he talks only about the formal truth of this, rather than also demystifying the informal realities, say, of "tourists" who are so detached from their natures that they stop their mobile alienation machines and *take pictures* of "beautiful places" just long enough to then hop back in and drive off, effectively *consuming* yet another part of themselves that has been reduced into *spectacle*.

Our whole lives have been domesticated like this. We lack a connection to the earth, as Trudell has said it. We don't, as a general rule, have MEANINGFUL experiences with the *anarchy* of nature. So we look at nature (within ourselves and outside) with the *frame of references* that are all around us. Lots of indigenous folks are being fooled into this game as well, and it's extremely easy to do so.

As those leaning towards the excellence of anti-politics, we should be exploring these realities and getting past the same old limitations that limits ideologues and their followers!

Russ:
But each new piece of that "progress" ups the ante out in the real world. Take fuel for the industrial machine as an example. Little more than two centuries ago, nearly everyone used wood- a replenishable, natural item- as fuel for the very human needs of cooking and staying warm. Along came the Industrial Revolution and coal became the dominant fuel, as production became the social imperative for Europe.

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Here I see Russ missing some vital truths. For one, the forests were pretty much decimated in the areas where coal became the commodity of choice (probably due to exporting much of it). Why didn't he point that out?

Russ:
...every revolution in European history has served to reinforce Europe's tendencies and abilities to export destruction to other peoples, other cultures and the environment itself. I defy anyone to point out an example where this is not true.

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While destroy their own people, and themselves, as well! And to me that is the crux that even Russ is missing out on (but I can see why, as he's a true example of someone who's been put through the screws of our insane society): The war society reflects its leaders' lostness and emptiness. To repell and change that truth we are going to have to radically liberate them as well. But who "in their right mind" can imagine such a thing, so poisoned as so many of us are?

Russ:
So now we, as American Indian people, are asked to believe that a "new" European revolutionary doctrine such as Marxism will reverse the negative effects of European history on us. European power relations are to be adjusted once again, and that's supposed to make things better for all of us. But what does this really mean?

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Damn excellent question!!

Russ:
Right now, today, we who live on the Pine Ridge Reservation are living in what white society has designated a " National Sacrifice Area." What this means is that we have a lot of uranium deposits here, and white culture (not us) needs this uranium as energy production material.

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It also fits neatly in with BIA/federal desires--to force the indigenous *off* in some damn way! They've been trying every trick in the book. Now they've got a foot-hold on the natives they've been "educating" (aren't they "kind"?)([b]especially all those "Nice" foot soldiers, er, "citizens", helping to pave the way[/b]), people like those who bought into "realism" and have joined in on the idea that "integration" is a viable alternative; when in reality, the war continues unabated, strengthened even, and their belief that because they metaphorically *drape the u.s. flag around their shoulders* (a historical lesson in foolishness), they will "progress"...and that they'll all be "friends again" (ever heard the re-write of the song "this land is your land"?).

Russ:
The cheapest, most efficient way for industry to extract and deal with the processing of this uranium is to dump the waste by-products right here at the digging sites. Right here where we live. This waste is radioactive and will make the entire region uninhabitable forever. This is considered by the industry, and by the white society that created this industry, to be an "acceptable" price to pay for energy resource development.

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And yet, indigenous folks aint' the ONLY ones being forever attacked in these many ways! ANY group of people, "citizens", soldiers, cops, ANY group can be set upon by the war society. Read _American Ground Zero_ by Carole Gallagher. Read about Agent Orange and other ways soldiers have been used as guinea pigs.

So what if Russ started saying these truths? It would definitely HELP indigenous people, because we'd be making a BRIDGE with each other, seeing our COMMONALITIES instead of all of these alienated armies being kept separated and tooled by their "leaders".

Btw, I don't see Russ as a "leader" in the formal sense. I see him as someone who had the BALLS to take a radical stand when Indian Rez's were being made into El Salvadors (albeit imperfect, perhaps, from a post-left perspective). So I don't understand anarchists who throw out these simplifications. What are they up to?

Russ:
Let's suppose further that we were to take revolutionary Marxism at it's word: that it intends nothing less than the complete overthrow of the European capitalists order which has presented this threat to our very existence. This would seem to be a natural alliance for American Indian people to enter into. After all, as the Marxists say, it is the capitalists who set us up to be a national sacrifice. This is true as far as it goes.

But, as I've tried to point out, this "truth" is very deceptive. Revolutionary Marxism is committed to even further perpetuation and perfection of the very industrial process which is destroying us all.

It is a doctrine that despises the American Indian spiritual tradition, our cultures, our lifeways.
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My feeling is that this isn't so much a despising as a prejudice based on the kind of severe alienation that is perpetuated in the "good education" of a typical university or college, still. Books, a Master's Tool, which even now after, what, 150 years, is dominated (on *all* fronts) by the thought-control-oriented book industry. *Internalized values* or whatever, the pattern is obvious across the spectrum!

If Marx and other similar people 'despised' natives, I suspect it was a propaganda method rather than what they said in private. Something more along "pragmatic" strategy lines than honesty.

Russ:
I think there's a problem with language here. Christians, capitalists, Marxists. All of them have been revolutionary in their own minds, but none of them really means revolution. What they really mean is continuation. They do what they do in order that European culture can continue to exist and develop according to its needs.

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Wow!

Still, as one who identifies with John Trudell (for similar reasons of feeling alienated from 'activists'), my feeling is that *we* generally don't *have any idea* of what it means to be free. And that we're working on building from scratch, from our uninformed intuitions, and the Master's Tools called books and dark age imagination (something passed down to us quite forcefully, in the old 'chain of command' structures).

As for myself, i don't want the idea of "revolution" i want *evolution*. Evolution of mindset from our fear-stuck, alienated beliefs that have become myriad tools of The Master and his obedient implementers.

i want us all to start realizing the value of our common situation! And i don't see that there has to be bloodshed at all, except when the frenzied praetorian guards (and their "dutiful" adherents) just cannot allow themselves to see.

So my self-theory moves me to say there's a way out of these dark ages, these stupidized ways of relating and looking at each other and our world. And i think that the anti-ideological ideas of the post-left anarchist *tactic* and this anti-politics thing has got some serious depth that i don't see anywhere else (including traditional indigenous style).

So i'd like to reach over to Russ and other traditionalists and challenge you guys and ladies on this. And i've been interacting with native folks on several rezes and one pow-wow so far (in this style; i've been to pow-wows 'too many' times without this style).

Russ:
The statement of the Soviet scientist is very interesting. Does he know what this alternative energy source will be? No, he simply has faith. Science will find a way. I hear revolutionary Marxists saying that the destruction of the environment, pollution, and radiation will all be controlled. And I see them act upon their words. Do they know how these things will be controlled? No, they simply have faith. Science will find a way.

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Fucking excellent quote. And that brings me to the 24 year existence, so far of "Anarchy, A Journal of Desire Armed" (the pre-eminent post-left/anti-ideological journal in the u.s. and perhaps the world--www.anarchymag.org). What has it accomplished in this area? Is there a good reason why it hasn't come up with solid ideas? Maybe AAJODA's editors have wanted to lay down their basic radical groundwork (a very good thing, in my view). But the situation still stands, and i think that's one of the biggest reasons why most people ignore anarchist theory.

Think about it.

That doesn't mean there isn't room for evolution here. Hell, with the new group coming to the plate for AAJODA, that could easily change! i look forward to being a part of that (as one who *also* has had little idea of how to articulate solid alternatives).

Or perhaps i'm mistaken in this point?

Russ:
I do not believe that capitalism itself is really responsible for the situation in which American Indians have been declared a national sacrifice. No, it is the European tradition ; European culture itself is responsible. Marxism is just the latest continuation of this tradition, not a solution to it. To ally with Marxism is to ally with the very same forces that declare us an acceptable cost.

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Russ:
There is another way. There is the traditional Lakota way and the ways of the American Indian peoples. It is the way that knows that humans do not have the right to degrade Mother Earth, that there are forces beyond anything the European mind has conceived, that humans must be in harmony with all relations or the relations will eventually eliminate the disharmony.

Here, i think he'll get labeled "moralistic" for couching the situation in these terms. But i think, as i said above, that people's alienation from nature keeps them overlooking the value of these ideas, no matter whether they sound "sentimental" or not.

The anti-civs/primitivists have been, i figure, trying to make a bridge here, right?

Russ:
A lopsided emphasis on humans by humans-the Europeans' arrogance of acting as though they were beyond the nature of all related things-can only result in a total disharmony and a readjustment which cuts arrogant humans down to size, gives them a taste of that reality beyond their grasp or control and restores the harmony. There is a need for a revolutionary theory to bring this about; it's beyond human control. The nature peoples of this planet know this and so they do not theorize about it. Theory is an abstract; our knowledge is real.

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Another part to highlight! Russ:
But rationality is a curse since it can cause humans to forget the natural order of things in ways other creatures do not. A wolf never forgets his or her place in the natural order. American Indians can. Europeans almost always do. We pray our thanks to the deer, our relations.

Mother Earth will retaliate, the whole environment will retaliate, and the abusers will be eliminated.
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The stupidized mindset simply cannot hear this. It sounds like religion to them/us because religionist dogma is all we know. Whatever we say about others is a reflection of ourselves and our experiences.

If people thought things through, they would see the truth of this. It can get pretty metaphysical, and of course, even post-left anarchist theory *hasn't yet* been able to go there fully, it seems to me.

And that reminds me of Carlos Castenada and don Juan where don Juan was saying that people who need to use psychedelics to hear this kind of thing are "stupid". But Castenada, being the anthropologist-in-training that he was, didn't seem to get it (or, he didn't adequately articulate it in his books, of what i read). And it's simple: [b]We've been *stupidized* as an entire class of people--domesticated. And that's why we "need" psychedelic medicine to see this, usually.[/b]

Note that "abusers being eliminated" will include *all*, including that human known as Russ Means and you and me, possibly, in our "lifetimes". But the traditional inner-seeing feels that when our outer husk (the body) dies, our inner spirit continues. And when you think about how HUGELY GIGANTICALLY GARGANTUANLY MEGABIG the cosmos are, ANYTHING could be possible!

And this idea that we have that "death" is so final is a direct reflection, as near as i can understand it, of the deadening culture all around us that so consumes us and keeps us so well-chained.

Russ:
Things come full circle, back to where they started. That's revolution. And that's a prophecy of my people, of the Hopi people and of other correct peoples.

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And here again, to the stupidized mind, this sounds authoritarian, dogmatic. Because we lack the *frame of reference* where "correct" is so, based on direct experience with ways of living that were perfected over thousands of years, and *did not need to be* evolved, basically.

Now they need to be evolved because the indigenous have been forcefully alienated from us stupid-ized/domesticated people, by our ancestors.

Russ:
American Indians have been trying to explain this to Europeans for centuries. But, as I said earlier, Europeans have proven themselves unable to hear.

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This is a simplification. Formally, the stupid-ized have been unable to hear. Informally we see another matter. Such as in how many europeans connected with and became 'members' of the tribes.

But of course, Russ is speaking to 'his own peoples' and want to keep their ear due to his own predilection for propaganda; himself being a product of the dominating society. He sees deeply, yet cannot help, like all of us, to have blindspots!

Russ:
A part of our survival is to resist. We resist not to overthrow a government or to take political power, but because it is natural to resist extermination, to survive. We don't want power over white institutions; we want white institutions to disappear. That's revolution.

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Sounds more like evolution to me. Evolution from those dark age ruling control forms that Trudell has talked about.

Russ:
At this point, perhaps I should be very clear about another matter, one which should already be clear as a result of what I've said. But confusion breeds easily these days, so I want to hammer home this point. When I use the term European, I'm not referring to a skin color or a particular genetic structure. What I'm referring to is a mind-set, a worldview that is a product of the development of European culture. People are not genetically encoded to hold this outlook; they are acculturated to hold it. The same is true for American Indians or for the members of any culture.

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Fuck yes!

May we meet again someday and find mutually beneficial connections (i met you once a few years ago in a now-out-of-business bookstore in AZ), have listened to your audio tapes, and read a lot in various places, including your book (to which i have only one significant challenge for you...and to which i wrote a hand-written letter to you about it).

Carlos rare bird, o.O. (that's a bit of "my art" there above)

Aho! To all our relations!

homepage: homepage: http://seattle.indymedia.org/en/2005/01/244020.shtml

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