Corrupt and lazy black politicians in Birth of a Nation.
Corrupt and lazy black politicians in Birth of a Nation. The Birth of a Nation

The GOP is brazenly calling Andrew Gillum—the black politician running for governor in Florida—a monkey, a criminal, and stupid. The GOP is nothing but that party. What's now dead for good is the idea that American politics is composed of two sides that are represented by two large parties that have two views of what's good for the US as a whole, with each side possessing its legitimate points, its strengths and weaknesses. That idea, which was never real to begin with, but was nevertheless reinforced by mainstream media, went straight to the grave with John McCain. That was the other meaning of his death. That kind of shit is over. The illusion has lifted like a fog from a field, and what we see is a party that's a confusion of voices from neoliberals, to progressives, to socialists; and one that's unified in calling a black politician a monkey, a criminal, and stupid. Neoliberals fall from the highest corporate positions because of that kind of thing. Not the leaders of the GOP. What has definitively changed in US culture in 2018 is that, even for the intelligence that believes itself to be just that potato of common sense, bothsidesism can no longer be honestly entertained. This is your poor George Will.

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Make no mistake. The GOP knows exactly what 'monkey,' 'criminal,' and 'stupid' mean when applied to black people. The European and American exploitation (a nice word for robbery) of African bodies and resources was justified with exactly these representations. Without them, capitalism's claims to be the spirit of progress would have no substance. We would see it for what it is, and see that the features that initiated its historical movement (also know as primitive accumulation) are still with us today. The exploitation and its justifications are not extinct. The human anatomy and the anatomy of the ape are one and the same thing.

Enslaved and colonized blacks were called monkeys, criminals, and stupid because the mass markets for tobacco, sugar, coffee, and other commodified luxuries once only available to the rich were exceptionally profitable. These markets generated huge fortunes for a few white people on both sides of the Atlantic. But there was a moral problem, by Christian standards. Primitive accumulation, as Marxists call it, is just robbery. Thou is stealing. The solution? Call the enslaved and the colonized not humans/animals, morally bankrupt/lazy, and needy/dependent. These themes are with us to this day because they are baked into a culture that never really resolved its racial history after the official end of slave labor (The Birth of the Nation). It failed to do so in the last quarter of the 19th century, the whole of the 20th century, and the opening decades of the 21st century.

The GOP, however, gets nothing (financially or politically) or little from black America. Its entire worry and fuss is focused on white America. But here is the thing. Calling black people monkeys, criminals, and stupid has a renewed application. It no longer justifies the exploitation of labor for capitalist markets; it now excites and supports a structure of emotion that has the feeling of answering all of the problems that exploited common white Americans' daily experience. It no longer officially shackles black bodies; it now shackles white minds.