By Nick Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Growing up I was obsessed with the counterculture of the 60’s and 70’s, so much so that I now instinctively associate a lot of it with my own childhood even though I grew up in the 90’s and 00’s. Shaved Fish and Let It Bleed play like soundtracks to my teenage years. Some of my first crushes were on righteous babes in arms like Angela Davis and Leila Khaled. And I spent hours pouring over my parents vintage magazines, devouring articles on the Black Panther Party and the Symbionese Liberation Army. What can I say, I was a weird fucking kid. But my fixation with radical chic felt very appropriate during the Orwellian miasma of the Bush years and in some very sad ways, it feels even more appropriate today.
One of the big moments that had a permanent impact on my socio-political outlook were the riots of the ’68 Chicago Democratic National Convention, when, unlike today, the radical left took on their own supposed party for refusing to get serious about ending their growing bloodbath in Vietnam. Irate kids filled the streets chanting expletives, the Yippies threatened to contaminate the city’s water supply with LSD, and the MC5 crashed the caucus on a flatbed truck with an eight our marathon performance that helped give birth to the Yippies mutant offspring later known as punk rock. The moment that stuck with me most, however, was the one that sent the club swinging pigs in the Chicago PD into a skull cracking frenzy that even the state agreed was a police riot, the moment on night three of the Convention when ten thousand kids raided Grant Park and took down an American flag before replacing it with a red one in an act of solidarity with the Vietcong. To many meat and potatoes Americans, this was the step too far, when protesters went from simply opposing an illegal war to supporting the “enemy”.
But from an anti-imperialist perspective, this was the only moral option. The Vietcong were peasants defending their country from an American invasion of genocidal proportions. They were the one force standing between the American war machine and a million My Lai’s. To appose the war without supporting this resistance would be an act of absurd hypocrisy. It wasn’t about politics. Though their were plenty of communists in the antiwar movement, they didn’t make make up the majority any more than fascists made up the majority of the America First Committee. The leading figures in Grant Park included queer anarchist bard Allen Ginsberg, who was later thrown out of Cuba for calling Che Guevara “cute”, and foul mouthed libertarian socialist prankster Abbie Hoffman, who owed at least as much to classic liberal populists like Thomas Paine and Henry George as he did the Frankfurt School. They didn’t support “Charlie” because they were commies, they supported them because they were the real heroes fighting for their freedom.
Flash forward fifty years, an Arab coalition backed by US Dollars and armed to the fangs with American weapons has slaughtered tens of thousands of civilians and starved countless more in the tiny nation of Yemen, one of the poorest on earth. Their latest victim’s crime? An old one, Supporting another rag-tag militia of rural freedom fighters known as the Houthis and, regardless of the latest UN ceasefire, with the last rebel held port of Hodeidah surrounded by a death squad of 30,000 mercenaries, our imperial superstate is a cunts hair away from shutting down the source of 70% of the already impoverished countries imports making the deaths of millions an inevitability. Chicken-hawks like Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary, James “Mad Dog” Mattis have called for a tentative peace deal sometime in December. But their grim track record speaks for itself. These were the same little Kissingers who sabotaged the last ceasefire in June. Meanwhile, the weapons just keep flowing to the front lines while the Saudis launch new fronts in the north west and the Trump administration openly toys with making such a peace deal null and void by declaring the embattled Houthis terrorists.
In other words, the fabled ceasefire is a rouse to calm down Europe while the Saudis prepare to land the death blow in Hodeidah. However, against all perceivable odds, the Houthis continue to make the bastards bleed for every last inch of their country while remaining open to peace. They stand alone against the greatest forces for tyranny the world has ever seen. Contrary to state appropriated myth, there are no Iranian sugar daddies supplying them with arms. The only guns in their hands are the ones they pried from the bodies of the tyrants we sent to subjugate them. These are not terrorists. They aren’t even extremists. Though their humble beginnings rest in the Shia stronghold of their nations mountainous north, they are a non-sectarian, non-denominational militia that has earned the hard won support of their nations working-class majority.
But where are the Houthi flags flying here in the land of the free, the sacred belly of the beast? Where have all the Yippies gone? Where is our generations Grant Park moment? well I for one am willing to forgo political correctness to make that stand. So I am calling on you, my dearest motherfuckers, to take this November, National Veterans Month, to pledge your solidarity to the brave men who are truly dying for their freedom. Stand with the Houthis as they make what could very well be their final stand. Tear down the American flag and raise the one that calls for the death of this wretched empire. Support peace. Support justice. Support the Houthis.
Peace, Love, & Empathy- CH
Soundtrack; songs that influenced this post
* Kick Out the Jams by the MC5
* Power to the People by John Lennon
* Teenage Riot by Sonic Youth
* Gimme Shelter by the Rolling Stones
* Wave of Mutilation by the Pixies
* Flowers in December by Mazzy Star