More Fun with InfoWars: Pacifism and the Right to Self Defense

By Greg Moses

"Texas Civil Rights Review attacks Alex Jones, Defends Plan of San Diego," reads the headline
at InfoWars.Com. The story there is a fairly accurate review of a brief
Sept. 19 commentary posted by yours truly. I do think Alex Jones picked
a poor target for his energies and resources when he chose to protest a
Diez y Seis de Septiembre rally on Saturday. So it is fair to say that
I attacked Mr. Jones, although my attack is limited and carefully
qualified.

But nowhere in the article of Sept. 16 do I defend
the plan of San Diego. In fact, I say in the story, "I am a pacifist.
No killing please." To the extent that the plan of San Diego calls for
killing of any sort, it is not something that I support. This portion
of the article is misrepresented in the headline, and ignored in the
otherwise comprehensive quotations. It may be the only part NOT quoted
by InfoWars.

What I encourage Mr. Jones to consider is another
way of reading references to the Plan of San Diego as a fragment of
historical memory. In the Sept. 19 article I suggest that the language
of Malcolm X provides a suitable analogy for thinking about the meaning
of voices who advocate a right to violence, especially when, just like
Malcolm, the people who preserve that right in speech happen to serve
as poor examples of violence in action. If we notice that expressed references to the Plan of San Diego
accompany peaceful and inclusive public actions, then we might ask: is
this to be taken literally? Or might there be some message intended to
provoke deeper thinking about justice and deeper commitments to the
everyday challenge of justice in our streets.

This is not a new argument from the Texas Civil Rights Review. I have made the case before in two articles: "Are Civil Rights Groups Racist?" and in an editorial entitled, "Measuring Racism.
In those articles I show how Alex Jones proceeds from a libertarian
logic that does many things well (as the work of Alex Jones is valuable
in many ways) but which fails precisely on such occasions as last
Saturday, when Mr. Jones made the Diez y Seis march a venue for his
protest against Chicano nationalism and its language of La Raza.

When
I hear Malcolm talk about the "white devil", when I hear him threaten
the "bullet" if the ballot won’t work, or when I hear the thinly veiled
reference to the right to violence in the call to justice "by any means
necessary", I do not chime with the judgment that this is, as Mike
Wallace once put it, "the hate that hate produced." Yet this is about
as far as libertarian logic can take us, where all parties stand on equal
ground and where demands for civility are evenly spread.

To go
beyond libertarian logic one must first deal with the hard question:
does white supremacy still prevail? I think you will find by and large
that libertarians have no way to answer the question, because they
embrace a logic that cannot do the proper analysis. All the libertarian
sees are individuals, some white, some black, some brown, etc. From
this basis, the libertarian has a difficult time conceiving how racial
power is to be discerned or how collective relations of power enter the
analytical field.

At any rate, let’s not multiply our
disputes. Here at the TCRR I am clear about which logic is being used
and why. I respect many uses of libertarian logic, but I also reject
its limitations. The decisive question I answer this way: white
supremacy persists in theory and practice. And this is the conceptual
premise upon which I build my working theory of the value of Civil
Rights. Had there never been any white supremacy, there never would
have been a Civil Rights movement, etc.

So I welcome
wholeheartedly the attention that TCRR is receiving from InfoWars. And
I suspect that the InfoWars audience will have some members who agree
that white supremacy is still a problem. Others will not. To those who
agree that white supremacy is still a problem, I ask this question: do
people have a right to self defense?

As a pacifist, I do not
draw quick or easy conclusions from the right to self defense, but I do
think the right exists and the Plan of San Diego was drawn and
conceived during such a time when that right was perceived to have
special urgency as a right. And this is the lesson that the Plan of San
Diego can teach us if we are interested in peace. Because the better
response to those who would recall the Plan of San Diego during these
times of crisis is not to condemn outright their right to recall, but
to ask, what are we going to do about white supremacy today?

For
anyone interested in the people and programs of power that are
disrupting our democratic dreams all over the globe, the work of
InfoWars is a helpful resource. What is too sad is the inability of
Alex and InfoWars to see that what motivates MEChA and Chicano
Nationalism is the living experience of centuries of power that has
always operated in just the way InfoWars says it does. Which I suspect
is why InfoWars hangs onto the Second Amendment with unpried fingers.
And what is this commitment to the Second Amendment about if not the
right to violence?

As Alex Jones and InfoWars protect their
right to bear arms, so do some voices of a beleaguered community
protect the community’s right to self defense. As Alex Jones and
InfoWars demonstrate, where one goes with these rights to violence,
besides defending them, is a complex and auspicious responsibility that
nobody takes lightly, least of all the Texas Civil Rights Review, which
at once respects rights and encourages vigorous militant, nonviolent
activism, and peaceful assemblies such as the "beauty of it all" seen
Saturday in the streets of Austin during the Diez y Seis de Septiembre
celebration.

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