MEDIA ROOTS — Carl Dix, Revolutionary Communist Party, is back in the S.F. Bay Area and will deliver an address to UC Berkeley this evening entitled “Mass Incarceration + Silence = Genocide.” The last time Mr. Dix visited northern California, Media Roots featured his KPFA radio broadcast and UC Berkeley event with Dr. Cornel West. Today, we present a new interview with Carl Dix.
THE MORNING MIX WITH DAVEY D — “Good morning, everybody. Welcome to another edition of The Morning Mix. It is at the top of the hour. Davey D hangin’ out wit’ you and we’ve got a good, good, show for you. We have a special guest in the building, Mr. Carl Dix of the Communist Party. He is here to talk about mass incarceration, silence, and genocide, also about his big speech coming up tomorrow [29 Feb 2012] at UC Berkeley. So, you don’t want to miss that, all that and more, coming up after the morning headlines.”
Carl Dix, Revolutionary Communist Party:
“Now, some people will say, well, look, I knew Obama wasn’t gon’ be able to do much anyway and maybe he didn’t even want to, but that’s not the point Brother Dix. Think of the inspiration that Black youth will get from seeing a Black man in the White House, from seeing a Black First Family. Think about what that will mean and how that will spur them to greater heights of achievement.
“So, let’s talk about that. See? And youth are getting charged up around it. But what direction do they go when they get charged up? I’ve had youth tell me, ‘I wouldn’t fight for George Bush. But, now, that Obama guy, he’s smart. If he says I gotta go fight, maybe I should do it.’ That’s where some of that inspiration has taken them.
“But even as they take that inspiration out and try to achieve more in this society, and try to move on up and do better than they had done before, what will they run into? They will run into the reality of the continuing White Supremacy that’s built into the very fabric of this country. They will run into the male supremacy that’s out there. They will run into capitalist, imperialist America.
“So, what will happen to those dreams? Will they be crushed to the Earth? Will they dry up like a raisin in the sun? Because I will tell you, sisters and brothers, the doors that are open for our youth are not the doors to higher education. They’re not the doors to meaningful jobs, contributing to the development of society because it is still the case that the educational systems in the inner-city schools where most Black and Latino youth are are underfunded. They are not geared toward success. And most of the youth in there are being tracked towards failure by the time they reach the third and fourth grade.
“It is still the case that jobs are being sucked out of ghettos and barrios. And drugs have been poured in there. That’s still what the youth are up against.
“The doors that are being opened to our youth are the doors to the courthouse, where they get treated unequally by the criminal justice system in this country, and the doors to the jailhouse, where Black people are being warehoused at horrific numbers. 900,000 of the almost two and a half million people who are in prison are Black. That’s a door that’s open for Black youth.
“And then there is the door to the recruiting station to join the military to go halfway around the world and kill people for this system, become a mindless killer for it. Those are the doors that are being opened. This is what’s being offered to our youth.”
Davey D (c. 10:52): “So, there you have it. That’s our guest, Carl Dix. He’s in the building with us, long-time revolutionary. He is also one of the co-founders of the October 22 Coalition to Stop Police Brutality. He is also a founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party here in the U.S. And, more recently, we know Carl for being an outspoken force against the New York City Police Department for their infamous Stop and Frisk situation. In fact, him and Cornel West were up here at UC Berkeley not too long ago speaking truth to power around that situation.
“And, man, we could go down. You have a long list of things. You don’t shy away from any of the controversies, from Katrina on down to the police to definitely railing against the system, as you were doing there and the response to Barack Obama’s NAACP address where you very skilfully pointed out some of the challenges that we would still have no matter who’s in the White House. You haven’t changed your mind on that, eh?”
Carl Dix (c. 12:02): “No, I haven’t changed my mind. See, the thing is, I’ve been at this for awhile because this system has been at what it does to people here in this country and around the world. And, from one end, my grandmamma told me, you, stubborn, boy. But as long as you on the right thing, then you should be stubborn about it. And then, from another end, I have not lost my hope in the possibility of bringing a totally different and far better world into being through revolution.”
Davey D (c. 12:34): “Do you think that can happen? In this lifetime? Or is it something that you resigned yourself to seeing in a distant future somewhere when you might not be here, me and you.”
Carl Dix (c. 12:46): “Okay. Well, just on that thing of might not be here, you know, I could step out on the street and get hit by a bus, so I’m not going at it like I definitely have to be here for it. But it is necessary, including in relation to the topic I’m gon’ be speakin’ at tomorrow in Berkeley, Mass Incarceration, to really end that and all of its consequences. You gotta make a revolution and get this system off the face of the Earth. And that’s what I’m working for; and the potential for that is there. It’s real. You can’t make revolution with people and conditions the way they are now, but conditions are changing. And people can change, as they try to deal with those conditions. And that’s something I’m working on, contributing to. Can’t say exactly when that might happen, but I will not let somebody say it can’t happen because you could even see in just a few months of Occupy, people have begun to question things that had been accepted as, well, that’s just the way it is, capitalism is being talked about.
“Even revolution has come up, although people mean a lot of different things by revolution. And that’s two discussions, capitalism and revolution, that I enjoy engaging in.
Davey D (c. 14:02): “They’re not necessarily the same thing?”
Carl Dix: “No, they’re not necessarily the same conversation, but I enjoy engaging in both.”
Davey D: “You know I was very specific and deliberate by playing that speech that you gave; I think it was 2009, if I’m correct.”
Carl Dix: “Yes.
Davey D: “And I wanted to play it, and people might be, why did you play that one? You know? Since 2009, there’s been increased conversation in many circles around the incarceration rate of Black and Brown youth, in particular, as you pointed out, Black youth. Michelle Alexander, of course with her groundbreaking book, talking about the new Jim Crow, another word for slavery; we’re now seeing that come up. Dr. Joy DeGruy talks a lot about what is happening with this increased prison situation. And on top of all that we know have lots of conversations of domestic spying, people being labelled ‘terrorists,’ all these types of things. And for many of us, including myself, we didn’t think we would see that sort of direction take place under this President [Obama].
“First of all, are you surprised that we moved in this direction at the rate that we have? Or is this something unique in the air that has made this accelerate or, at least, made the conversation be something that is more pointed now?”
Carl Dix (c. 15:29): “Well, I think there are a few things. One is that this has been a direction over four decades ‘cos, [if] you go back to the Attica Prison rebellion, there were less than 300,000 people in prison back in 1971. Today, it’s more than 2.4 million, a more than eightfold increase, which is rooted in the very operation of this capitalist setup and conscious policies that the rulers adopted to deal with ‘how do we head off another 1960s-type situation?’ I mean, they consciously laid that out. Richard Nixon is quoted, the President back then in the late ‘60s/early 70s, he’s quoted by members of his cabinet, as having said at a cabinet meeting, ‘The problem is the Blacks. And we have to devise a solution that does not acknowledge that’s what we’re dealing with.’
“And they came up with wars on drugs, wars on crime.”
Davey D (c. 16:30): “Well, Nixon started off with a war on youth.”
Carl Dix: “Yeah.”
Davey D: “If I remember correctly.”
Carl Dix: “See, all of this was supposedly not about ‘race,’ but was carried out in oppressed communities, Black communities, then, increasingly, in Latino communities. And this is what led us to the more than eightfold increase. But part of what brought this together in this period, ironically, Obama’s election in the way that people got off into it, thinking they had fundamentally changed the direction of American society. And I said, at the time, that hope that was being generated, there’s a real question of where will it go? Will it be crushed to the Earth? Will it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or will it explode? And that I’m out here working, so that people will come to understand that their hopes in Obama were misplaced, but they don’t [have to] become demoralised or passive because of that.
“And I’m not saying that it’s due to my work. It’s just how things came together that as people became disappointed and let down in Obama, things have moved somewhere else. And it’s not just Black people because I’ve had a lot of young White people tell me back in 2009, we made our revolution, we got our first Black president. Now, they are seeing that the thrust has continued because we are dealing with a capitalist, imperialist, system. And what it was doing was putting in place the person that it felt was best able to lead things, in relation to its interests, which are diametrically opposed to the interests of the overwhelming majority of people not only in this country, but also in the world.
“And people are beginning to see that and taking stands around it. That’s why we you’re seeing Occupy. That’s why you’re seeing Michelle Alexander’s book and people taking it up and reading it, doing study groups around it.”
Davey D (c. 18:28): “If you’re just tuning in, we have Mr. Carl Dix in the building with us. He will be speaking tomorrow night at UC Berkeley. I’m gonna get the exact address. It’s gonna be at the Maude Fife room in Wheeler Hall and that will be starting tomorrow [29 Feb 2012] at 6:30pm. And the topic: Mass Incarceration: Its Source, the Need to Resist Where Things Are Headed, and the Revolution We Need.
“Two questions: You had mentioned a game plan initiated by President Nixon and carried on, as you said, for the past three or four decades to really oppress and repress numerous communities that are marginalized. Was this because there was a fear in terms of the direction this country might go or did they discover early on that this is a money-making operation? And if I’m looking at the prison-industrial-complex and, especially, I’m sure you know, when you go down south and people are literally paying for their incarceration. There’s all these side-industries that start to make lots of money: prison unions, private prisons, cheap labour, all these things. Now, we have an economic incentive to fill these prisons up with bodies. And why not go to communities that are voiceless in the mainstream sphere? How are you seeing this? Was it a political fear or was it a money-making venture?”
Carl Dix (c. 20:01): “Okay, that’s a very good question. And while the money-making part is a part of it and it’s become increasingly more of it, what it is has been at the start, and continues to be, a fear factor, as you were putting it and, frankly, a counterinsurgency, including a counterinsurgency before there was the insurgency has begun because they looked at the 1960s. They remembered how their system was rocked back on its heels. Henry Kissinger talks about how they felt under siege in the White House. They also looked at how did that develop? And the way that it developed was off of the inspiration of Black people standing up against what was being done to them in the South first and then throughout the country. And that’s also where the revolutionary edge of it came from because you had groups like SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Black Panther Party, that began to question the system, not saying Black people need to get into the system, but begin to question the character and the nature of the system itself. And that’s where the revolutionary thrust of that period came from. And they are saying we’re not gonna let that go down again. That’s what Nixon’s quote was all about: We’re gonna go after this section of society and not give it a chance to play that role again.
Davey D (c. 21:23): “Oftentimes, when we look back at the ‘60s and that turbulent period, the focus does go to the Black freedom struggle, the Civil Rights era, but we would be wrong to dismiss the activities that were taking place in other communities, the Chicano Movement, American Indian Movement, Puerto Rican—”
Carl Dix: “The Women’s Movement.”
Davey D: “Women’s Movement. There was a lot of questioning of the system. Of course, White students with the Free Speech and Antiwar. I bring this up to ask a couple of questions: One, the concern of having these various groups now start to recognise that they have a common oppressor and that they start to act in coalition with one another, was that a main concern? And I’m asking that now looking at the type of tactics that have been swift and very decisive around movements like the Occupy where you see this potential to all of a sudden get on the same page and start really going full force. So, I guess what I’m asking is does this power structure fear us coming together across racial lines, ethnic lines, class lines, or is there something else at work?”
Carl Dix (c. 22:48): “No, if definitely does fear that and is moving to try to make sure that doesn’t happen. But, again, we have to look to history and all of those movements did take off in this country. There was also a worldwide thing going on. You know, 1968 there were landscape things in France. There was a war going on in Vietnam that was a liberation struggle on the part of the Vietnamese people. There was a Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China, so it was a worldwide phenomenon and it was broadly taken up here.
“But there is a way that the struggle of Black people was kind of on the cutting edge of that. And a lot of the White youth who got involved in the Free Speech Movement, in the Antiwar Movement, and, increasingly, became more militant, radical, and, even, revolutionary. A key thing for them was the relationship to the struggles of Black people. So, that’s why I talked about the inspirational aspect of that, not that Black people were doing it by themselves. But that it helped to spark off broader developments. It helped to get a sharper edge to that. And [the establishment] saw that and they don’t want to see it again. So, they’re moving to cut that off and part of that is keeping people separate as well as crushing anything that comes up with the appearance of a threat to the [state] set-up. And Occupy became that in the Fall [of 2011] when it spread like wildfire across the country, started posing big questions about the role of the banks, the big corporations, getting towards this question of capitalism.
“They held that coordinated phone conversation from the mayors of different cities across the country with the federal government. And what came out of that were things like what you saw here in Oakland where they launched a military assault on Occupy, nearly killed a young man in that.”
Davey D (c. 24:48): “Right. You mention about things going on around the world in 1968 and we see that happening in the form of the Arab Spring. Just this morning we were hearing of unrest. Well, we knew there was unrest in the Ivory Coast. Now, we’re seeing a lot of questions come down in Senegal and other places. Is this separate? Or is this part of a larger reaction to the same forces? If I’m framing the question well.”
Carl Dix (c. 25:18): “I think you’re framing the question well. And it is a reaction to a larger force, that force being capitalism and imperialism and the way that it is weighing down on people around the world. Because when the young man in Tunisia killed himself that sparked things there and then Egypt came up in relation to that, in both cases you were talking about governments that were backed up by international imperialist forces. And in Egypt you were talking about a government backed up and propped up by the U.S. And then people there standing up began to spread, not only in the Muslim/Arab parts of the world, but people around the world, including right here were looking at that. And, so, that played a very important initiating role, to tie this back to my points around mass incarceration, which I’m gonna get into. And the title of my talk is ‘Mass Incarceration plus Silence Equals Genocide.’
“You have a lot of people around the world who are seeing that this system is not offering them anything in terms of future. And in some cases, it’s people who used to think they had a future and are beginning to see they don’t and in other cases it’s people who’ve never had a future or haven’t had one, or appeared to have one, in decades. That’s the thing with Black people and Latinos and the way in which this system offers them nothing for the future like I was talking about in that speech that you played. You know, jailhouse, courthouse, into the military to be killed or to kill someone else. That’s what they offer large sections of our youth today. And people don’t like that, in some cases, never liked it, but didn’t see an opening to do anything about it. But things are coming together right now with the Arab Spring, with it being taken up in other parts of the world, that people are beginning to see an opening.”
Davey D (c. 27:23): “Is that a few people or do you think the masses have become very comfortable? I mean I know we may travel in circles where we’re gonna see people who are gonna constantly question, they may challenge, etcetera, etcetera. But at the same time, you know, in the middle of the biggest demonstrations you still have people rushing home to watch Real Housewives of Atlanta and lose themselves into those things. You have folks that won’t show up for an Oscar Grant or a Sean Bell rally, but will be up at four in the morning, literally, setting off a riot, to get the new, you know, Air Jordans that wasn’t even advertised.
“And, so, we have a lot of these things going on and then you have people that will tell you, You know, Carl, I’m just tryin’ to put food on my table, feed my kids; I’m not trying to get involved with all this.
“So, the day to day life of just making sure that they can sustain themselves, even if it’s very marginal, is a front and centre thought and dictates action. So, how detached from that routine and oftentimes a very limited type of space are we, versus moving in a direction where we can actually kick up dust?”
Carl Dix (c. 28:39): “Okay. Well, look, I’ve been in New York over the past period. See, I’m not just talking with you about the people who come out to rallies and what they think.”
Davey D: “Right.”
Carl Dix: “We’ve been out in Harlem, talking about Stop and Frisk. And before we did the first action what we would hear, often from the same person, is I hate Stop and Frisk. They did this to me. They did this to my son. They did this to—even sometimes—they did this to my sister, or my daughter. You know, because they’re doing this to women as well.
“But then the next point is: But you can’t do anything about it. And that’s why we decided we have to do something about it. And we launched this campaign to stop Stop and Frisk, which is a policy under which the police can just step to you, stop you, make you turn out your pockets, or search you themselves. And then often bust you for nothing.”
Davey D (c. 29:00): “Right. I don’t think people really clearly understand here [in the S.F. Bay Area] ‘cos we don’t see it as much. But in New York that is a huge problem that you could be walkin’ with a tuxedo on with your wife and kids and they pull you over and say, empty out your pockets, to make sure you don’t have a gun.”
Carl Dix (c. 29:46): “Yeah. And how big is it? They stopped and frisked almost 700,00 people; it was 684-thousand-plus last year alone in New York City: 85% of them Black or Latino, more than 90% of them they let you go after they’ve harassed you and humiliated you, but then even some of that 10% that they don’t let go, some of them were doing nothing wrong because when we did the action in Queens, they held us overnight. So, we were in there with a bunch of other people and people were telling us, Oh, they stopped me under Stop and Frisk. I didn’t have my driver’s licence. I didn’t have an ID, so they ran me in the prison. So, it’s like, did I wake up in Johannesburg, South Africa, 30 years ago when there were past laws? Because what’s the crime in not having an ID?”
Davey D (c. 30:39): “Right. And that’s why I ask the question because it is so massive. We just had, you know, we did a show about a brother who was killed over Stop and Frisk. He had a little bit of weed. The cops came by. He decided to walk, you know, into his building—I’m sure you remember this.”
Carl Dix (c. 31:01): “Yeah. I’ve seen the video of it.”
Davey D: “He just walked into his building—he wasn’t under arrest or anything—they ran up into his apartment, kicked down the door, and shot him in front of his grandma. There was no gun, no nothing. But there was a couple of joints that he was trying to get rid of, but this becomes the justification that is often used. Well, they should’ve just listened to the authorities. Or, they shouldn’t run. Or, you shouldn’t, if you don’t have anything to hide, then there won’t be any problem. But it’s those types of encounters that we see over and over again where people are like, the police are here, they’re gonna find something. I don’t want to deal with this. And oftentimes it’s a fatal situation.
“When you have these types of scenarios, Amadou Diallo, another victim of Stop and Frisk, all he had was a wallet, shot 41 times. How did we go from the Panthers and Dr. King and Malcolm X to allowing ourselves—or did we allow ourselves?—to be in such a situation right now where it’s not even talked about in the mainstream, even amongst our pundits? You know?
“I mean, you do it. Cornel does it. But if I tune on and I see our own folks sitting up there, they’re not really making this a front and centre issue. You know? They’ll talk about LeBron James and what team he’s gonna choose before they’re talking about the absurdity of 700,000 people being stopped in one year.”
Carl Dix (c. 32:24): “Okay, two things. The first thing is we’re acting to change that. And tomorrow night, when I talk, I’m gonna talk about a proposal for a national day of resistance to mass incarceration. That’s the first thing, but to get back to your question: How did we go from the days of the Panthers to this kind of situation?
“And a couple things came together. One is that they came at the Panthers with their fangs bared. I mean they murdered Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, leaders of the Chicago Panthers, as they slept in their beds. And they knew they were gonna be asleep because they had had—”
Davey D (c. 33:03): “An informant.”
Carl Dix: “—an informant drugged them, to make sure they’d be asleep. And then they busted in and shot the place up, including consciously murdering these brothers. They had a diagram of who would be sleeping where. And they went straight to Fred Hampton’s bedroom and shot him, as he lay there asleep. So, that happened.
“And the question of how to make a revolution and what kind of organisation and leadership you had for that, well, it was a gap there because the Panthers had been the leading force on that.
“They came at the people, the communities that had been supportive of the Panthers with police acting like occupying armies in a conquered country, unleashed all kinds of—they even passed laws directed at trapping up our youth in prison, the 100-to-1 crack-to-powder cocaine disparity [policies], consciously aimed at Black and Latino communities. They did all of that.
“And that’s what got us there. And there wasn’t the leadership for what to do about it. And then people got put in a situation where this just becomes the routine. Right now, for large sections of Black and Latino youth in the inner-cities, going in and out of prison is a rite of passage. It isn’t like for many youth, Am I gonna go that route or am I not gonna go that route? It’s just; This is what happens to everybody in my neighbourhood. You know? And you see that in the cultures and the styles and all like that.
“But what needs to happen is we need to bring to people—and that’s something that we, in the Revolutionary Communist Party are working on—things don’t have to be this way.”
Davey D (c. 33:48): “Right.”
Carl Dix: “It’s this way because of this system and how it operates, what it operates based on. But we can make revolution. And then you get into a whole lot of questions about revolution because most people have heard, Well, that was tried and it failed. And we say, Okay, revolution was tried and where, it succeeded, it accomplished many positive and powerful changes.
Davey D (c. 35:03): “Right. I want you to hold that thought for a second.”
Carl Dix: “Okay.”
Davey D: “I want to take a break. It’s 8:34 AM, if you’re just tuning in. We have—I was gonna say doctor—Carl Dix. Well, I’m ‘a call you doctor, anyway, ‘cos you have solutions.
“Carl Dix will be speaking at UC Berkeley tomorrow Wednesday [29 Feb 2012] at Maude Fife Room, Wheeler Hall. And his topic is, [as] we were talking about, Mass Incarceration plus Silence Equals Genocide.
“I wanna take a break and come back. And I wanna ask you to define revolution because many people have very different opinions as to what that means. And then, I think, many people are asking, do we have to overhaul the system? Because you’ve been like, get rid of the system. But can it be reformed? I mean if we get the right people in there and, you know, put all the right tools into place, can the system be reformed and saved and made to do what it’s supposed to ideally do?
“So, let’s take those questions. Maybe we’ll take a couple of phone calls. If you wanna holler at Carl Dix, you can call us at 510.848-4425. Once again, 510.848-4425. And let’s check this out and we’ll be right back.”
[Musical intermission: Curtis Mayfield and Carl Dix mashup]
Audio of Carl Dix speech (c. 36:21): “See, and let’s get real particular about what happens to our youth. Let’s talk about Sean Bell. See? And I want to tell you; and I’ll tell Obama, I know William Bell, Sean Bell’s father. I know Valerie Bell. These were not parents who were not involved in Sean’s life. The problem wasn’t that they didn’t turn on the TV and make sure that he did his homework. The problem wasn’t that Sean had his pants down too low, or that he was into gangs and drugs. The problem was some trigger-happy cops happened on him the day of his wedding and blew him away in a hail of 50 bullets. That’s what happened to that Black youth.
“This is what our youth are up against. See? And we gotta talk about the fact that it wasn’t just Sean Bell. And I could give you all kinds of statistics, but I’m not gonna do that. I’m just gonna remind you of something because we were out organising youth to protest when they let those cops go. The slogan that the youth really got into and really took up was one that said, We Are All Sean Bell. The Whole Damn System Is Guilty.
“Youth were wearing stickers. Youth carried signs. Youth made t-shirts that said that. See, now, what’s the significance of that? Why were the youth saying We Are All Sean Bell? Because they all felt that, just like Sean, they could be blown away by trigger-happy cops, too. And the cops could get away with it. They knew in a certain intuitive sense that they were living their lives under a death sentence, a death sentence that may or may not be carried out, but was real just the same.
“See, now, this should break your heart to hear about this and to know about that. It should make you angry. But then you’ve got to move from being angry. You’ve got to go forward. And going forward is a question, like I read in that quote, of sweeping this system off the face of the Earth because that, just that, would be enough to do it. But that ain’t the only thing; there’s the wars for empire. There’s the torture. There’s the indefinite detention. There is a way in which women are treated, as breeders of children, not as full human beings, subjected to rape and domestic violence. There’s the way the environment is being spoiled. You know, the very planet we are living on is being ripped apart in the chase after profit by this imperialist system. There’s the disease and the starvation and the misery that this system inflicts on people. There’s all kinds of reasons to want to get rid of this system.
“See, and in that context, it is especially criminal to get sucked back into this system because there’s a Black person presiding over the crimes that it’s carrying out. ‘Cos look, here is the deal: Obama’s problem is that this system is deep in trouble. And his mission is to save that system. Our problem is this system. We don’t need to see it saved. In fact, we need to see it ended through revolution.”
Davey D (c. 39:52): “So, I guess you might have answered my question. And that is the voice of Carl Dix. I’m playing a little excerpt of a speech he did a couple of years ago. He’s in the building with us. And we are talking to him about changing the system. Or can it be reformed, Carl? If I put you and people like you into office, this would be a better place, right?”
Carl Dix (c. 40:13): “No. Actually, it wouldn’t. And, frankly, if you put me into office, there would probably be a contract put out on me by the real—”
Davey D: “But I said, people like you.”
Carl Dix: “—by the real gangsters—”
Davey D: “Okay.”
Carl Dix: “—in this world, the people that run this system. Because you pose, like, can we get the right people in there? Can we get some new mechanism, some new policies, so it would work like it’s supposed to?
“Well, the question behind that is what is it supposed to do? And from the very beginning—‘cos people talk about, well, we gotta get back to what the Founding Fathers were about.”
Davey D (c. 40:47): “Right.”
Carl Dix: “The Founding Fathers were about slavery. They were about stealing the land from the Native inhabitants. And—”
Davey D: “Right. But they stole a lot of the ideals. You know? In terms of the separation of powers and this whole thing of democracy where one man, one vote was the ideal. Now, they didn’t practice it, I would argue. But can we get to that idea?”
Carl Dix (c. 41:12): “Okay. But see? Look. Again, people need to check out Thomas Jefferson.”
Davey D: “Okay.”
Carl Dix: “Because he was probably one of the foremost proponents of American Democracy. And Thomas Jefferson talked about the common man; he meant the common White man, but we’ll leave that part of his limitations aside for the moment. But, see, on top of saying, we gotta get the common man involved, he said the common man needs people like us to lead him. And you saw that in practice when some farmers up in Massachusetts, all White, were being abused by this system, being ripped off, and rose up around that. And the Founding Fathers, this was like a couple years after the founding of the American Republic, the founding fathers brutally crushed that rebellion. You know?
“So, from the beginning, this set-up was about how to maintain and protect the interests of the handful of people who had wealth and power and monopolised that power. And, at that point, they were split between developing capitalists and outright slave-owners.
“But the system has been geared from the beginning to protect those interests and to keep those interests in play. And, frankly, the best way to do that is to give the majority of people the feeling that they have a stake in this.”
Davey D (c. 42:38): “Okay.”
Carl Dix: “You know? And that’s what this thing has worked on. And that’s why I say we need a revolution, because this stuff is built into the fabric of this system. I mean, we talk about mass incarceration. One side of it is the way this system has sucked the legitimate means of employment out of the inner-cities, takin’ it half-way around the world because they could make a lot more money by exploiting people. They are paying them much less than they’d have to pay somebody here and working them in more dangerous conditions.
“But, then, that leaves them with the people in the inner-city. And then that’s where the criminalisation of our youth come from because those 2.4 million people are in jail because they have been criminalized.”
Davey D (c. 43:18): “What do we replace the system with?”
Carl Dix: “We have to replace it. And, let me bring in the point about what is revolution.”
Davey D: “Okay.”
Carl Dix: “Revolution comes down to—‘cos if you pose a challenge to this system, they’re gon’ try to violently suppress you; we’ve seen that, not only in the past, but I’m talkin’ about a few months ago with the Occupy, they even violently suppressed that. So, you have to meet and defeat the attempts at violent suppression of this system. And I mean actually defeat them and dismantle the repressive apparatus, dismantle the way in which the economy is dominated by a handful of capitalists, and replace it with different institutions that work on a different basis, that aren’t aimed at how do we keep these large corporations and the people who own them in effect ‘cos it will no longer be a thing of individuals owning factories, large farms, mines, all that, everything to create wealth. We’re talking about a socialist system here.”
Davey D (c. 44:21): “Right.”
Carl Dix: “But a socialist system that is in transition to a point where exploitation and oppression is ended, once and for all. And that’s what communism comes down to.”
Davey D: “Right. Now, let me ask you this—and we’re gonna take your calls in just a second; we have a number of people on hold at 510.848-4425. Our guest: Carl Dix.
“This sounds good. You know?”
Carl Dix: “M-hm.”
Davey D: “I hear what you’re sayin’. But my mindset is like, you know, I’m gonna be a predator no matter what you do. You can put me in the most serene, utopian-type place, but I’m still gonna be lookin’ like I want everything you have and then some. I’m addicted to power or trying to attain it. How do we change the mindset of people that are like that? That are just gonna act a fool, even in the best of scenarios, because we’ve been conditioned that way?”
Carl Dix (c. 45:13): “Okay. That’s what I meant by, you can’t make revolution with people and conditions as they are now. But that can change because, look, let’s look back in the 1960s and what people did back then. What did Black people do in the South? They put their lives on the line. They went to lunch counters and knew they were gonna get their behind kicked for doing it.”
Davey D: “Right.”
Carl Dix: “For integration. The Freedom Riders got on the bus, knowing that they—they made their wills out before they did it—so, they weren’t looking at it like, I’m doin’ this to get mine.”
Davey D: “Right.”
Carl Dix: “They thought they were doing this to make revolution, to change society, to end injustice. But it was through the process of looking at the problems, deciding what to do about it, doing some stuff. That’s how their mindsets changed.”
Davey D (c. 46:03): “Okay.”
Carl Dix: “And, in the 1960s, I mean this whole thing of brother and sister. You’re walking down the street, you see another Black person, that’s your brother or your sister. That actually became the way people looked at each other to a large degree—”
Davey D: “Well, it planted seeds of consciousness.”
Carl Dix: “—because of the struggle, even if you weren’t right in the middle of that struggle, you were influenced by that. See?
“So, that’s what we’re looking at. It’s not human nature. If you are in a predatory situation, you gon’ have to pick up predatory instincts and aspects in order to survive in it.”
Davey D (c. 46:36): “Right.”
Carl Dix: “But we have to unleash a collective struggle to get rid of that. And, through the course of that collective struggle, people are going to change their mindsets, change their instincts, develop new aspects. And that’s how we’re gonna deal with that.
“And, then, after we make revolution, because that’s what we’re aiming to do, get rid of this system through revolution, then we have to have a set-up where—‘cos people will have been born and grown up in the old society, so we’re gonna have to deal with that. And, see, we’ve learned a lot from how they dealt with it in China and the revolution there. Bob Avakian has led in looking at that, both, its strengths, but also its shortcomings.
“And one thing is they unleashed people. You know? They’d have a situation where a man felt like his wife was his property; he beat her up, he’d do this, he’d do that. They’d have a delegation of his neighbours, especially, women neighbours. But also men neighbours will sit the brother down and say, we got to talk about this because it was like that in the old society, but this is a new society. We can’t have this. And then, if the brother persisted, they would come back and with a heavier form of communication, including sometimes they would whip the brother down and say, okay, now, we did that to you because you refuse to stop doing that to your wife, who is actually your partner, not your property.”
Davey D: “So, in other words, bad habits are gonna have to be broken.”
Carl Dix (c. 47:55): “Yes. Bad habits have to be broken, mainly through persuasion. But, you know, like sometimes—what do the Jamaicans say? I’ve got to bring heavier manners to it.”
Davey D (c. 48:04): “Okay. Let’s take some calls. We have, it looks like we have, Mary out of Sacramento. I hope you’re still there. Thanks for holding.”
Mary in Sacramento: “Yeah. Hi.”
Davey D: “How you doing?
Mary in Sacramento: “Yes, hello. And thank you for taking my call. My name is Mary Trudel. I’m an author of A Voice of Reason and also a founder of a non-profit called A Voice of Reason. And the reason I’m calling, first of all, is my, I’m from Elmira, New York, which is in the Iroquois Nation and, actually, it’s, Elmira is one of the oldest prisons in America.
“Where I grew up there’s two major maximum-facility prisons and five ghettos. And I grew up watching this socially-engineered economic restraint where I noticed that all the people of colour in my city were basically the target of these prison systems. Namely, the prisons would allow these kingpins to come out and the D.A. would give drugs to the kingpin who would set him up in, say, a corner apartment. And then the next thing you know everybody’s over there. And he’s gettin’ everybody in the neighbourhood hooked. Then next thing you know there’s these sting ops and then—boom!—the whole netful of people gone to prison.
“And, since the 1850s, the Irish have been, kind of, captains of industry as far as authority over there and have been mainly the police. I’m not saying it’s that way today. It’s a little bit better.
“But I really believe this is a socially-economic setting—”
Davey D (c. 49:33): “Okay.”
Mary in Sacramento: “—to, basically, keep coloured people down. And I witnessed it all my life.”
Davey D: “Well, we appreciate that, Mary. And I think a lot of people would agree with you. I’m gonna hold your comment for a second [Carl]. I want to get another call ‘cos we have a lot of people on. Let’s go to, I believe it is Barbara from Berkeley. Barbara what’s happening?”
Barbara in Berkeley (c. 49:59): “Hey, Davey D and brilliant guest. I want to go back to the Occupy Oakland situation. And, you know, Jean Quan has plausible deniability based on her being in the air going to Washington, D.C. to secure funds for Oakland, federal funds. And, yet, two weeks prior to that those federal funds provided an Israeli commando force to come and train the Oakland police on so-called crowd control.
“And this is what I’m trying to get at, they pick out, the police pick out, one person that they will kill or harm to the point that it brings such fear to other people that were considering coming out into the streets. And it’s just really a terrible, terrible thing. You know?
“Oakland is living in a police state right now.”
“And I don’t feel very good that the federal police are gonna come in and take over the police force in Oakland because it’s not gonna be the answer to this. Ands, so, I just wanted to get my two cents in on the fact that we’re all being so controlled by fear that we can’t go out and peacefully demonstrate without loss of life.”
Davey D (c. 51:37): “Okay. Well, I appreciate that. And I think there are a number of people that are concerned if it becomes a federal takeover, maybe federal tactics and rules may suddenly be used.
“Let’s go to Antonio out of Castro Valley, how you doing, Antonio?”
Antonio in Castro Valley (c. 51:53): “Good morning. Yes. Mr. Dix, I’m a Marxist. And you say you are a Communist, but what you preach here has nothing to do with Marxism. We, the Marxists, are not for the minorities. We are for the majority, the working-class.
“And what matters to us is class, not ‘race.’ ‘Race’ doesn’t matter to us. To us, what matters is class!
“And about the working-class, Marx says that the working-class has to transition from being a class, in itself, to a class for itself, not for anybody else, for itself. So, lumpen elements are not our allies! Lumpen elements are the most threat to—”
Davey D: “Okay. Antonio, you have different points of view. But this is not a shouting match and this is not something to just, you know, get off on, so thank you.
“I’m gonna give you a chance to respond to a few of the comments [Carl]—”
Carl Dix: “Okay.
Davey D: “—and we may have time for a couple other calls.”
Carl Dix (c. 52:54): “Alright. Let me start with the last one. I’m not talkin’ about the lumpen. Who are the people in the inner-cities who have had the jobs ripped from them? Because people talk about, well, these kids are into drugs, they’re into this, they’re into that.
“Well, I did some work in the projects in Watts after the 1992 L.A. Rebellion. And one thing that I ran into—because I got to know a lot of people, including some of the people higher up in the drug thing—and somebody who was fairly high up complained to me one day that when they opened up a new supermarket, he lost all of his runners and distributors of his product because they all ran down there to try to get the few jobs that had opened up.”
“These people are not something separate from the working-class. They’re that section of the working-class that can’t find employment.”
Davey D (c. 53:49): “Right.”
Carl Dix: “That’s what they are. And they still look at themselves that way. And that is an indication of that, that if they get a regular job, they would drop all of this stuff. You know? So, that’s still where they’re coming from. They’re just lower and deeper in the working-class, not by their choice, but by the workings of capitalism.
“So, you know, class does matter. But it’s not that class matters and not ‘race’ because race is also a reality. And, see, that’s actually where Marx was coming from. He was coming from reality. So, you have to look at how reality is developed. That’s on that.
“On the first two people—because, largely, I’m with them on that, you know? They’re getting different parts of this. Because if people think the federal government coming in and taking over is going to deal with the problems in the relations between the police in Oakland and the communities, they haven’t been paying close enough attention because that assault on the Occupy Movement was part of a coordinated national assault that the federal government pulled together and pulled off. So, that’s what you’re talking about, if you say that.
“And the sister is right on this question of the prisons, the fact that this is an engineered thing, that jobs were taken out. And drugs were pumped in. Go back to the Oliver North/Contras in Nicaragua situation where they would run weapons down to the Contras and then load up with drugs and bring the drugs back to the United States. And when you looked into the funding for that project, it was these two brothers that were heavy into the cocaine thing in Central America, that were funding the whole project, both, the weapons side and the drugs on the back end.
“That’s what was going on. That’s what’s been happening. And that’s what’s got our youth trapped up in the criminal justice system. And, see, from the perspective of making revolution, you have to say that that’s a section of society that would most need revolution and, many of whom, would welcome it. And that’s why they want to trap them up in the criminal justice system.”
Davey D (c. 54:24): “Right.”
Carl Dix: “And that’s why we should want to not see that happen and build resistance to that.”
Davey D (c. 56:08): “Let me see if we could just get one more [caller] in here. It looks like we have Philip from Oakland.”
Harry in Oakland: “Hello.”
Davey D: “You’ve got maybe thirty seconds.”
Harry in Oakland (c. 56:22): “Yes, I’m Harry. I would like to ask your guest, what does he actually mean about his comment about Jamaicans? Does he mean violence or torture? What exactly does he mean? Can he spell it out please?”
Davey D: “He’s talkin’ about when—”
Carl Dix: “Okay.”
Davey D: “—do the Jamaicans come with heavier force.”
Carl Dix (c. 56:40): “I’m from New York. And I go to some shows, including reggae and dancehall-type shows and what they always put on the flyer is expect heavy manners. I have never seen exactly what that means because the shows have all been copasetic. So, I get the sense that what they’re basically saying to you is—”
Davey D (c. 57:05): “Violence—”
Carl Dix: “—don’t start none, won’t be none, is where it’s coming from.”
Davey D: “You know, we have run out of time. And we have so many people that wanted to talk to you. First, we’ll remind them that tomorrow night [29 Feb 2012] you’ll be at Wheeler Hall at the Maude Fife Room. That will be Carl Dix speaking on mass incarceration, silence, and genocide. They will be talking about its source, the need to resist where things are headed, and the revolution that we need.
“So, Carl, I appreciate that. Is there a way that people can get a hold of you?”
And [if] you want to talk to me, come on out tomorrow night. You know? ‘Cos we gon’ have an extended question and answer discussion period. We gon’ mingle afterwards. If you think I’m goin’ too far by calling it a genocide, come on out ‘cos I’m gonna break down why I call it a genocide and what that means.”
Davey D (c. 58:20): “Carl Dix, thank you. We’re gonna make way for Democracy Now! We’re out, folks.”
Transcript by Felipe Messina for Media Roots
Video streaming by UstreamUpdated 3 Mar 2012: “Mass Incarceration + Silence = Genocide,” Carl Dix, UC Berkeley, 29 Feb 2012
Further Reflections on the Work of Carl Dix
Carl Dix is, perhaps, one of the more important thinkers of our time, speaking to the common sense nuts-and-bolts mechanics of the state repression grinding the lives of countless millions of working-class people in the U.S, shunning the false hopes of the Democrat Party. One may be reminded of the oratorical courage of a Malcolm X or Martin Luther King. Carl Dix is one of the few advocates who speaks out plainly about the viciousness of the state against the working-class and its attempts toward liberation and socioeconomic justice. It seems we have arrived at a point in U.S. history where the obvious truths about our nation have become sacrilegious truths, truths we dare not speak, truths which may provoke the rabid state to brand us with any number of labels designed to dehumanise and derail people of conscience with watch lists and arbitrary and indefinite detention. Activists and journalists must conform to the establishment or get canned. The persistent ones, the independent ones, are being secretly surveilled, obstructed, detained, harrassed, and killed—anyone with the slightest shred of curiosity in anything other than banal entertainment and distraction becomes an enemy of the state.
Carl Dix speaks about the state’s counterinsurgency before there was even an insurgency. This point cannot be understated. Dix describes the state’s motivation to avoid a repeat of the 1960s liberation and countercultural movements. He characterises elected officials, such as Nixon, bemoaning how the problem, from the view of the state, “is the Blacks.” Indeed, if any group within the U.S. during the 20th century had the potential to galvanise the U.S. people against the succession of repressive governments they’ve endured in their lifetimes, it was Afroamericans, Blacks. Indeed, self-educating oneself about Black nationalists, Pan-Africans, Civil Rights organisers, and so forth, gave this author an education as a youth on the very real brutality and savagery of the state, behind the Disney veneer.
The mighty U.S. ship of state, may not be a monolithic entity, but it is predicated upon certain basic institutions and assumptions. Some of those key assumptions are elitism, class division, a two-tiered justice system, racism, male chauvinism, and electoral complacency. One key assumption is that people will shed their concern for others and play ball, U.S. style, which is to say, ignore injustice and go for self-enrichment. Another key assumption is that U.S. voters, stubbornly clinging to egalitarian tendencies, will continue to fall for the false left/right paradigm, that they will continue to place their blind trust in the Democrat Party for Congress and the Executive. Perhaps, Obama’s continuation and worsening of Bush policies will disabuse many progressives of such a notion. To this end, Carl Dix is one of the few people who will speak plainly and truthfully.
“So, there you have it, just a little bit of the sights and sounds that went down yesterday, Indigenous People’s Day at Oscar Grant Plaza on 14th & Broadway, Occupy Oakland.
“As I said, folks, and I think, one of the people there that we interview laid it out:
“Life as we know it here in the United States is done. It’s a wrap. You now have a situation where those who are in the 1% are gonna be trying to take everything and anything and go all out to try and oppress the rest of us. And now is the time that we better pick a side. And we better figure out how we’re going to struggle to overturn that situation. And, more importantly, what are we gonna do to make sure we recognise and uplift the humanity in each of us?
“So, that’s definitely something to think about.” —Davey D, The Morning Mix with Davey D, 11 Oct 2011
Indeed. As many of our friends and neighbours are going to support or ignore Obama’s campaign for reelection, enabling the continuation of U.S. imperialism and domestic repression, some are working to put the brakes on this madness. Our nation is being gutted and we seldom hear truly indignant voices of righteous rage. But it seems the public no longer has the stomach for fiery or towering critique, or even question the monopolised two-party system, as may have been heard during 20th century struggles. We seem to be coerced into having such polite manners these days. The good news is it’s in our hands to choose.
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