Monday, January 24, 2022

Check Mate Ottawa – The Burning Platform - Francis Marion


This guy has the right perspective and attitude.


I read a comment in a previous post a day or two back from a US reader that said that we are going about this is the wrong way. People are going to get fined, have leans placed etc etc etc. But it’s not the wrong tactic for this country. And here is why.

What a lot of American readers don’t understand is that although Canadians are more or less culturally American the country, from a logistical and legal stand point is pretty different.

It’s the 2nd largest nation state in the world in terms of square milage with a population that’s smaller than the state of California. Our supply chains are already crummy and easily disrupted because of the country’s size and where our people live. But more importantly the systems that govern us are relatively weak in comparison to most other countries. We have governments (federal and provincial) with empirical aspirations running on banana republic budgets.

We’ve been here before and reacted similarly on a smaller scale and won. The Wheat Board is a thing of the past because farmers drove their own grain across the border to sell in such large numbers that neither our beleaguered police forces nor our court system could handle dealing with it from the legal end.

This movement is probably about 100 times that size. The police are already saying they’re not going to stop it. And the courts couldn’t handle the fall out if they tried. They’d collapse under the volume and the people would ignore the fines and leans. It’d be a disaster.

The only thing Ottawa and that shit stain, Justin Trudeau can do now is to call millions of Canadians ‘terrorists’ and hope the mainstream media runs with it.

But I don’t think many people are buying the rhetoric anymore. If this thing ends up as big as I think it is going to be then it’s over for the Canadian government.

In the meantime if our American friends and family want to help they can do so by encouraging their friends and family who drive trucks to choke off and blockade our ports of entry on the south side of the border. We can make this ten times worse for our government if goods can’t even make their way north to start. You have ten times our population which means more trucks and more money to back them up. If little old Canada can manage thousands of trucks and millions of dollars in support then so can you.

In the mean time I hope everyone in Canada has plenty of groceries in the pantry. Cause things are going to get skinny in the near future. 

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Iran-Russia hit maximum strategy, by Pepe Escobar - The Unz Review


Three ain’t a crowd: The Iran-Russia summit this week, concurrent with RIC military drills in the Sea of Oman, in advance of a Xi-Putin meeting in two weeks, suggests a rapidly-advancing strategic vision for the three Eurasian powers.

The official visit to Russia by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, at the invitation of Vladimir Putin, generated one of the most stunning geopolitical pics of the 21st century: Raisi performing his afternoon prayers at the Kremlin.

Arguably, more than the hours of solid discussions on geopolitical, geoeconomic, energy, trade, agriculture, transportation and aerospace dossiers, this visual will be imprinted all across the Global South as a fitting symbol of the ongoing, inexorable process of Eurasian integration.

Raisi went to Sochi and Moscow ready to offer Putin essential synergy in confronting a decaying, unipolar Empire increasingly prone to irrationalism. He made it clear at the start of his three hours of discussions with Putin: our renewed relationship should not be “short-term or positional – it will be permanent and strategic.”

Putin must have relished the torrents of meaning inbuilt in one of Raisi’s statements of fact: “We have been resisting the Americans for more than 40 years.”

Yet, much more productive, was “a document on strategic cooperation” between Iran and Russia that Raisi and his team presented to Russian officials.

Raisi emphasized this road map “can determine the prospect for at least 20 years ahead,” or at least clarify “the long-term strategic interaction between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation.”

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian confirmed that both presidents tasked their top diplomats to work on the roadmap. This is, in fact, an update of a previous 20-year cooperation treaty signed in 2001, originally meant to last for 10 years, and then twice extended for five years.

A key item of the new 20-year strategic partnership between the two neighbors is bound to be a Eurasian-based clearing network designed to compete with SWIFT, the global messaging system between banks.

Starting with Russia, Iran and China (RIC), this mechanism has the potential to unite member-nations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), ASEAN, BRICS and other regional trading/security organizations. The combined geoeconomic weight of all these actors will inevitably attract many others across the Global South and even Europe.

The basis already exists. China launched its Cross-Border Interbank Payment System (CIPS) in 2015, using the yuan. Russia developed its System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS). To build an independent, Russian-Chinese financial system by linking the two should not be a problem. The main question is to choose the standard currency – possibly the yuan.

Once the system is up and running, that’s perfect for Iran, which badly wants to increase trade with Russia but remains handicapped by US sanctions. Iran has already signed trade agreements and is involved in long-term strategic development with both Russia and China.

The new roadmap

When Amir-Abdollahian described Raisi’s visit to Russia as a “turning point in the policy of good neighborliness and looking to the East,” he was giving the short version of the roadmap followed by the new Iranian administration: “a neighbor-centered policy, an Asia-centered policy with a focus on looking to the East, and an economy-centered diplomacy.”

In contrast, the only ‘policy’ de facto deployed by the collective West against both Russia and Iran is sanctions. Nullifying these is therefore on top of the agenda for Moscow and Tehran. Iran and the EAEU already have a temporary agreement. What they need, sooner rather than later, is to become full partners in a free trade area.

While Amir-Abdollahian praised the resolution of disputes with neighbors such as Iraq and Turkmenistan, and a reconfiguration of the diplomatic chessboard with Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, the UAE, and even Saudi Arabia, President Raisi – when addressing the Duma – chose to detail complex foreign plots to dispatch networks of Takfiri terrorists to “new missions from the Caucasus to Central Asia.”

As Raisi said,”experience has shown that only pure Islamic thought can prevent the formation of extremism and Takfiri terrorism.”

Raisi was unforgiving on the Empire: “The strategy of domination has now failed, the United States is in its weakest position, and the power of independent nations is experiencing historic growth.” And he certainly seduced the Duma with his analysis of NATO:

“NATO is engaged in penetration into the geographical spaces of various countries under the pretext of cover. Again, they threaten independent states. The spread of the Western model, opposition to independent democracies, opposition to the self-identification of peoples – this is precisely on the agenda of NATO. It is only a deception, we see the deception in their behavior, which will eventually lead to their disintegration.”

Raisi’s main theme is ‘resistance,’ and that was imprinted in all of his meetings. He duly emphasized the Afghan and Iraqi resistances: “In modern times, the concept of resistance plays a central role in deterrence equations.”

The Islamic Republic of Iran is all about that resistance: “In different historical periods of Iran’s development, whenever our nation has raised the banner of nationalism, independence, or scientific development, it has faced sanctions and pressures of the Iranian nation’s enemies,” Raisi emphasized.

On the JCPOA, with the new round of negotiations in Vienna for all practical purposes still bogged down, Raisi said, “the Islamic Republic of Iran is serious about reaching an agreement if the other parties are serious about lifting the sanctions effectively and operationally.”

University of Tehran Professor Mohammad Marandi, now in Vienna as a high-level advisor to the Iranian delegation, compares his experience with the original JCPOA negotiations in 2015, when he was an observer. Marandi notes that as far as the Americans are concerned, “it’s the same mentality. We’re the boss, we have special privileges.”

He stresses, “a deal is not imminent.” The Americans refuse to provide guarantees: “The main problem is the scope of the sanctions, they want to keep many of them in place. In fact they don’t want the JCPOA. Basically it’s the same attitude as during Trump.”

Marandi offers practical solutions. Remove all maximum pressure sanctions. Accept “a reasonable verification process if you have no intention of cheating Iranian people again.” Provide assurances so “Iranians know you won’t violate the deal again. Iran won’t accept threats or deadlines during negotiations.” It’s unlikely the Americans will ever accept any of the above.

The contrast between the Raisi and Rouhani administrations is stark: “In the hope of getting something from the West, the previous administration wasted serious opportunities with both China and Russia. Now it’s a completely different story,” says Marandi.

The Chinese angle is quite intriguing. Marandi notes how Amir-Abdolliahan has just returned from China; and how the only nation in West Asia that the Chinese can reliably depend on is Iran. That is inbuilt in their 20-year strategic deal, many positive facets of which should be adopted by the Russia-Iran mechanism.

The lineaments of a new world

The gist of Raisi’s expose to the Duma is that Iran has been winning battles on two different fronts: against Salafi-jihadi terrorism and against the American campaign of maximum economic pressure.

And that places Iran in a very good position as a Russian partner, with its “extensive economic potential, especially in the fields of energy, trade, agriculture, industry and technology.”

Geoeconomically, Raisi noted how “the privileged geographical location of Iran, especially in the North-South corridor, can make trade from India to Russia and Europe less expensive and more prosperous.”

Way back in 2002, Russia, Iran and India signed an agreement to establish the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC), a 7,200 km multi-modal ship/rail/road cargo network linking India, Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Russia and Central Asia all the way to Europe as an alternative transportation corridor to the Suez Canal. Now Putin and Raisi want maximum impetus for the INSTC.

Raisi’s visit happened just before a crucial joint drill, codenamed “2022 Marine Security Belt,” started in the Sea of Oman, actually the north of the Indian Ocean, with marine and airborne units of the Iranian, Chinese and Russian navies.

The Sea of Oman connects to the ultra-strategic Strait of Hormuz, which connects to the Persian Gulf. Pentagon denizens of the “Indo-Pacific” strategy will be hardly amused.

All of the above spells out deeper interconnection. The Putin-Raisi meeting precedes by two weeks the Putin-Xi meeting at the start of the Winter Olympics in Beijing – when they are expected to take the Russia-China strategic partnership to the next level.

A new Eurasia-led order encompassing the vast majority of the world’s population is a work in fast progress. China using Eurasia as the larger stage to upgrade its global role, in parallel to the fast-evolving Sino-Russian-Iranian interaction, carry larger than life implications for the Western gatekeepers of the imperial ‘rules-based order.’

The de-Westernization of globalization, from a Chinese point of view, does involve a completely new terminology (“community of shared destiny”). And there are hardly more glaring examples of ‘shared destiny’ than its deeper interconnection with both Russia and Iran.

One of the crucial geopolitical questions of our time is how an emergent, supposedly-Chinese hegemony will articulate itself. If actions speak louder than words, then Sino-hegemony looks loose, malleable and inclusive, starkly different to the US variety. For one, it concerns the absolute majority of the Global South, which will be involved and vocal.

Iran is one of the leaders of the Global South. Russia, deeply implicated in de-Westernizing global governance, holds a unique position – diplomatically, militarily, as an energy provider – as the special conduit between East and West: the irreplaceable Eurasian bridge, and the guarantor of Global South stability.

All of that is at play now. It is no wonder that the leaders of the three main Eurasian powers are meeting, and holding discussions in person, within just a matter of days. As the Atlanticist axis drowns in hubris, arrogance, and incompetence, welcome to the lineaments of the Eurasian, post-Western world. 

Éric Zemmour on the Great Replacement and Civic Nationalism – The Occidental Observer - by Guillaume Durocher

The conservative French-Jewish pundit Éric Zemmour may well become France’s next president. The centerpiece of his campaign is opposition to the Great Replacement. The latter means the ongoing trend of substitution of the indigenous populations of France and Europe by non-European immigrants, in particular by Africans and Muslims.

In his most recent book, Zemmour writes the following on the Great Replacement:

I have the impression that no politician rightly apprehends what is at stake: the death of France as we knew her. . . . One simply needs to look at the films of [the 1960s and 70s] to realize this. The “great replacement” is not a myth, nor a conspiracy, but an implacable process. This vital identitarian question renders all other questions subsidiary, even the most essential such as education, industry, social protection, or the place of France in the world. I am sure that no candidate – not even Marine Le Pen – will dare to impose this identitarian and civilizational quarrel in the campaign. . . . Only [the far-left] Jean-Luc Mélenchon dares to mention the subject, but only to glorify the future of a mixed-race, “creolized” France …[1]

Zemmour’s central campaign promise is “zero immigration” to France (presumably not including immigration from the European Union). In addition, he would deport foreign criminals and would deprive criminal dual nationals of French citizenship (a suitable prelude to deportation). Significantly, French citizens of Turkish or Arab origin typically are dual nationals by default.

The key measures on immigration would be submitted to a national referendum. If successful, this clear expression of the people’s will would enable the government to punch through the predictable opposition of globalist elites in the media and judiciary. Great Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, despite the kicking and screaming of globalist elites, shows that referenda can lead to concrete results going against Establishment preferences.

In addition to his opposition to the Great Replacement, Zemmour is a forthright civic nationalist. He wants migrants to “assimilate,” by which he means to become culturally indistinguishable from Frenchmen. He is opposed to Islam as a “totalitarian” religion and wants Muslims to have a purely interiorized private spirituality, like Christianity, with no role in French public life. Zemmour’s assimilationist zeal goes so far as to propose restoring an old law mandating that children born in France be given only traditional French names.

Clearly there are serious contradictions here. The French “assimilationist” model has already failed, producing about the same results that we see in the United States or Great Britain: a society marked by ethnic stratification, clustering, and conflict. Today, around a third of newborns in France are African or Muslim, simply making assimilation obsolete. No doubt Zemmour can see this. His clinging to assimilation may be due to a combination of personal reasons (his own position as a proudly assimilated French Jew) and political ones (electoral palatability). Significantly, Zemmour has previously said that he understands why young French whites no longer believe in assimilation and that his attachment to it is due to his belonging to an older generation.

The Great Replacement in Practice: Kosovo and Seine-Saint-Denis

A typical street scene in Seine-Saint-Denis

In his book, Zemmour goes into vivid detail on the existential threat that the Great Replacement poses for France. He often compares the emerging new France to Kosovo or Lebanon, where besieged Christian minorities live at the mercy of the new Muslim majorities. He notes that in Kosovo, a highly important province in the history of Serbia, Muslim Albanians became the majority by the early twentieth century. With the 1999 NATO bombings the Muslim Albanians became the rulers over the Serb minority:

[I]n the 1970s, Orthodox Serbs represented only 13% of the population. Today they are only 5%, expulsed from the capital, Pristina, confined to enclaves, as ostracized second-class citizens, when they are not persecuted, martyrized, chased out of the land of their ancestors. The ethnic cleansing is accompanied of course by a religious and cultural great replacement. Medieval churches are burned down by ecstatic Muslim crowds, mosques dripping with gold-leaf are built in their place, financed by the nabobs of Saudi Arabia and Qatar: the inexorable and cruel reality of a great replacement that does not exist![2]

Zemmour often sarcastically remarks on the alleged “non existence” of these demographic and civilizational changes. He denounces the academic “sophists” who claim no significant change has occurred, falsely arguing that populations have always been in complete flux. The mainstream media-political establishment in France claims the Great Replacement is a mere “conspiracy theory.”

On the contrary, the demographic Great Replacement is prepared by a symbolic replacement in the cultural sphere. France, we are told, has “always” been a diverse land of immigration and thus there is nothing novel at all about the Afro-Islamization of the country. A museum of immigration celebrating these changes was installed precisely in … the building of the 1931 colonial expo celebrating France’s intercontinental empire in Africa and Indochina! Zemmour observes: “In the museums of France, too, it is the hour of the great replacement.”[3]

In France, the shape of things to come is announced by the département (county) of Seine-Saint-Denis, which makes up the northeast suburb of greater Paris, a significant place in French history as the resting place of our kings. For Zemmour, “Seine-Saint-Denis is the symbol of this great replacement which does not exist.”[4] Over two thirds of newborns have at least one foreign parent. Over 60% of youths are of foreign origin. But these figures are merely indicative: the administration simply doesn’t know how big the population is or how many illegal immigrants there are (estimated between 8 and 20% of the population).

While President Emmanuel Macron may hold up Seine-Saint-Denis as “California without the sea” [sic!], the territory is an economic basket case. National civil servants flee postings there after 2.7 years on average, despite a €10,000 bonus, whereas they last 7 years in the more comfortable département of Essonne. Huge urban renewal projects lead to no lasting change and even the corporate offices set up there (taking advantage of special tax breaks) fail to attract local workers: they are unqualified. Zemmour argues the issue is one of human capital, not infrastructure: “the problem is the content, not the container.”

Zemmour sees the State’s efforts in Seine-Saint-Denis as useless, akin to the myth of Sisyphus. Furthermore, the territory’s mosques have been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood, as documented by the sociologist Gilles Keppel. No wonder François Hollande told journalists that France’s multicultural situation will “end with a partition.”[5] For Zemmour, “Kosovo is the future of Seine-Saint-Denis; Seine-Saint-Denis is the future of France.”

Zemmour on the Limits of Civic Nationalism

While an ardent advocate of assimilation, Zemmour can also be quite frank on the failures and weaknesses of civic nationalism. He is critical of the many French Jews who, at the time of the 1967 Six Day War between Israel and the Arabs, suddenly rediscovered their Jewish identity and began publicly agitating in favor of Israel.

For Zemmour, this acting on behalf of one’s sectarian community, as opposed to the national community, is a dangerous faux pas for anyone who claims to be a citizen. However, he is cognizant that it is difficult, even a constant effort, to override ethnic reflexes for the sake of the political community:

Assimilation is a mode of integration which demands cerebral control of one’s most archaic reflexes; a rational detachment which the supreme intelligence of [the Jewish anthropologist Claude] Lévi-Strauss pushed very far when he declared that if Hitler had completed his project of exterminating the Jews, the Earth would not have stopped going round, nor humanity have stopped living, just as it has digested the disappearance of other peoples, in particular the Indians of America.[6]

During the Six Day War, Lévi-Strauss was able to remain a detached French citizen, but not so his fellow citizen and fellow Jew, the normally unflappably dispassionate Raymond Aron. Once scratched, the normally supremely rational and composed Aron discovered wellsprings of ethnic feeling for his fellow Jews. On Aron’s unconscious Jewish identity, Zemmour’s assessment is very similar to my own.

Zemmour draws an interesting parallel between Lévi-Strauss and Jean Raspail: two men who had an intimate knowledge and real appreciation for indigenous peoples across the world, something which contributed to their realization that the peoples of Europe were also worth preserving.[7]

Zemmour’s Jewish identity

Zemmour defines himself as “a Jew of Algeria raised in the Parisian suburbs whose family heritage and readings have transformed into a Frenchman of the land and of the dead.”[8] He contrasts himself with politicians like François Bayrou, a native Frenchmen from rural southeast France, who have enthusiastically embraced globalism.

Zemmour has one interesting argument in favor of his membership of the French nation: he is not an immigrant but his people were granted citizenship after his native Algeria was conquered by the French![9] Thus he considers himself as French as an Alsatian or a Corsican.

Jewish community leaders have unequivocally condemned Zemmour. The chief rabbi of France has called Zemmour an “anti-Semite,” while the official Jewish lobby of France (the CRIF) has called for “not one single Jewish vote” to be cast for him. Zemmour considers the CRIF to be a baleful “State within the State,” influencing policy towards sectarian ends.

The journalist Léa Salamé once criticized Zemmour on television for being an “ashamed Jew” who wanted to be “more goyish than the goy.”[10] Zemmour could only laugh at Salamé’s inconsequence: as a Christian Lebanese, her parents had fled her home country precisely because of the Islamization and resulting civil war that he is precisely trying to prevent in France.

France: death or renewal?

Zemmour says he has seen civil war coming in France since October 1989, when three Moroccan girls in the city of Creil, north of Paris, refused to remove their Islamic headscarves at school.[11] The girls only backed down not when this became a French national scandal, but when the king of Morocco, Hassan II, told them to.[12] With or without Zemmour, I cannot say if and when France will experience violent ethno-religious civil war à la Lebanon or a more gradual decline into third-world violence and social dysfunction à la Brazil.

If elected, Zemmour will not be able to restore the old France. Remigration on that scale is simply not on the cards today, nor can the tremendous social and technological changes of the past decades be wound back. However, Zemmour may well be able to significantly stem the flow of Afro-Islamic immigration. That alone would be a worthy goal: the French would be infinitely more secure as a two-thirds majority in their own country, rather than a minority like the Christians of Kosovo and Lebanon.

Zemmour often remarks on the fundamental asymmetry between atomized post-68 liberal Whites and Muslims who still have a strong sense of religion and clan:

For forty years, the [French] community of citizens has been disintegrating under the blows of a society of individuals who only want to know their rights, and not their duties, and see in the State only a distributor of services and laws to satisfy their smallest caprices. Individuals without roots and without history, who dream of themselves as “citizens of the world” detached from any national mooring. … They call a “republic” this society of individuals which no longer has anything to do with the Republic of citizens. It is in this abyssal void that Islamic diasporas have taken root, increasingly numerous, bound together by the archaic notions of family, clan, and religion, and who import these archaisms into a blind postmodernity which sees in them only isolated individuals. The most skilful representatives of these diasporas have well understood how to use this liberalism to explode what remains of the Nation-State and of the Republic, to emancipate themselves from its now-feeble tutelage, and impose in its place, in foreign enclaves, the archaic law of Allah.[13]

The mass sexual abuse of White girls by Pakistani gangs in Rotherham and other English cities or the 2015–16 New Year’s Eve sexual assaults on White women by Muslims in Cologne[14] are early examples of this clash between clannish Third-World cultures and isolated Western individuals.

Significantly, Zemmour also promises to dismantle at least parts of the legislative and media apparatus persecuting French patriots. In particular, “hate speech” laws are to be abolished and litigious “anti-racists” starved of their generous subsidies at taxpayer expense.

No one can say how stable or effective a nationalist regime in France—under Zemmour or anyone else—would be. However, we can say that such a government might be able to prevent France’s final submersion and eliminate many of the boundaries of discourse imposed on French patriots and defenders of indigenous Europeans. And, if successful, no doubt this example from a founding nation of the European Union would reverberate across the continent.

[1]Ériz Zemmour, La France n’a pas dit son dernier mot (Rubempré, 2021), p. 24.

[2]Ibid., p. 72.

[3]Ibid., p. 67.

[4]Ibid., p. 73.

[5]Ibid., p. 77.

[6]Ibid., p. 105.

[7]Ibid., p. 106.

[8]Ibid., p. 49.

[9]Ibid., p. 148.

[10]Ibid., p. 190.

[11]Ibid., p. 139.

[12]Ibid., p. 190.

[13]Ibid., p. 73.

[14]Also denounced by Zemmour, ibid., p. 32. 

I Became a Race Realist Growing Up in Gary, Indiana, by James Hanna - The Unz Review

This is part of our continuing series of accounts by readers of how they shed the illusions of liberalism and became race realists.

I was born in Arizona, the second of two boys, not far from the Grand Canyon, but I have no memories of that state from childhood — my mom divorced my dad when I was two or three. As many women do after a divorce, she moved back to where her family lived, and brought the children with her. In our case, that meant Gary, Indiana — a blue-collar steel town.

Steel was Gary’s reason for being and its number-one industry. It was founded in 1906 and named after industrialist Elbert H. Gary, who helped start U.S. Steel. He chose the site because it was close to Chicago on Lake Michigan. Gary bought a huge tract of land along the shore, which he devoted solely to steel mills. To get to the beach you have to drive to the far northeast side of the city.

Grandmother lived in downtown Gary, a few blocks from the front gates leading to the mills at the northern end of Broadway. Her husband, my grandfather, worked at the mills as an accountant, but he died before I was born. To make ends meet, Grandmother worked as a secretary at a mental-health clinic. They did not own a car; everyone walked to work in those days.

5th Ave and Broadway in 1908
5th Ave and Broadway in 1908

Although my grandmother was second- or third-generation American, both sides of her family were German. She knew a smattering of German and occasionally recited German-origin poems and nursery rhymes she learned as a child. How I wish I had tape-recorded some of these bits of history, or at least written them down!

When my mother divorced and returned to Gary, it was still prosperous. Mother worked as a transcriptionist at the Gary Hospital for a few years, where she met her second husband. After she remarried, she, her second husband, and we boys moved to nearby Lake Station, which was then called East Gary (its name was changed a few years later to avoid association with the declining city).

The two-and-a-half years we lived in Lake Station during the 1960s were tumultuous ones for Gary and for the nation. The broad leftward swing of politics was starting in earnest. The cultural revolution that swept the country was reflected in Gary, which elected Richard G. Hatcher as mayor — one of the first black mayors of a large American city.

Hatcher was a radical black activist, just when it became fashionable to be one. He resented whites, a sentiment he made clear during his 20 years in office. Whites fled the city, most of them settling in Merrillville, Gary’s southern suburb.

When my mother’s second marriage failed in the early 1970s and we came back to stay with Grandmother, Gary’s downtown seemed like a different place. Whites in the neighborhood were a small minority. There was one young white ne’er-do-well a few doors down from Grandmother’s house, and a couple of decent white boys around my age, but that was about it. My childhood best friend, Bobby, who had lived across the alley from my grandmother’s house, had already moved away before Mom’s second marriage. A white man of German descent owned the apartment building next door, and on the other side lived a Hispanic family with whom we got along well. Almost all our neighbors were now black.

The racial tensions were sharp. At New Jefferson school, within walking distance, where I attended third and fourth grade, my brother and I were often chased by black bullies who kept us in constant fear when school let out. There were certain neighborhoods we knew we were not allowed to go. Menacing blacks told us that a local park with a large hill — one of the few in the area suitable for sledding — was off limits.

There was a general malaise drifting over the city. There was more litter and garbage. As a kid, I thought some of Gary’s problems could be solved just by making the city look better, so in the fifth grade I started an anti-litter campaign, complete with posters that I drew myself. This was inspired by the “Keep America Beautiful” television ad campaign that was running at the time (the one with the crying Indian), but the ad that most inspired me starred a cartoon superhero called “Captain Cleanup.”

The downtown shopping district decayed gradually. I remember walking with my mom and brother downtown to go shopping, and I still have fond memories of Gary’s once-bustling shopping streets. There was Gordon’s, a somewhat upscale department store — I enjoyed riding the escalator. Sears was there, as well as JCPenney’s. Goldblatt’s, a regional department store, straddled the alley and bustled with delivery trucks.

Walgreens and Kresge’s both had lunch counters where I occasionally ate with my grandmother. Fannie May was on the ground floor of the ten-story Gary National Bank Building, along with an independently owned drugstore. There was the Palace movie theater, the Bank of Indiana (with a heated sidewalk that stayed snow-free in the winter), and Hotel Gary. Some of the side streets off Broadway were also lined with stores.

Decline started in the early 1970s and sped up as the decade progressed. People blamed the large shopping mall that opened in the white refuge of Merrillville, but that was several miles away, and the region could have supported both. The real cause, of course, was white displacement.

My brother fell in with a bad crowd and became friends with some black juvenile delinquents; he was in danger of getting into real trouble. My mother, struggling to make ends meet at her hospital job while raising two boys, called my father, who lived in Montana, and he was happy to take my brother to live with him. It was a reminder of the benefits of having two parents, even if they were divorced. Partly to keep me off the streets and out of trouble, my grandmother cleared out a room in her basement so I could have my own “clubhouse,” although I was allowed to have only one friend over at a time.

My grandmother, a Republican, had some glimmerings of racial awareness. She had a photocopy of an article from the March 30, 1969 New York Times titled “Psychologist Arouses Storm By Linking IQ to Heredity” about Arthur Jensen’s research. She showed me this article in private and talked about it in hushed tones, almost the way I imagine dissident literature was discussed in the Soviet Union. When we watched TV, my grandmother would occasionally note that if there was a criminal, he was usually white while the heroes were usually black. Once, when the miniseries Roots was being rebroadcast, my grandmother called and wrote the station to complain that constantly rehashing slavery stirred up black resentment.

A still from Roots
A still from Roots

I respected my grandmother. I couldn’t understand the hypocrisy of whites who carefully arranged their lives to avoid blacks, yet lectured people like her on race relations. I could understand even less the tendency to blame whites for all racial problems when, from what I could see, real racial animosity came mostly from blacks, not towards them.

My mother and I moved out to the Glen Park section of Gary while I attended junior high and high school. Glen Park was further south and closer to Merrillville. The black advance was proceeding south from downtown, but Glen Park was still mostly white and prosperous. Broadway ran through Glen Park, and there was still thriving retail there. I visited my grandmother every weekend.

Crime got worse and worse. My grandmother’s house was burgled more than once. We knew who the burglars were, because my mother saw one of them leaving the house as she was bringing my grandmother back from shopping. One of them lived down the block and across the alley. He would find out if my grandmother was home by knocking on the door to ask to borrow something. If there was no answer, he knew he was safe. When my grandmother confronted his mother, she came to Grandmother’s house to proclaim his innocence. Later, my grandma found a bag of her stolen silverware, which had obviously been dropped there by the mother.

My uncle was mugged walking down Fifth Avenue. My mother had her purse snatched. Someone pushed a gun through my grandmother’s front door when she had opened it a crack with the chain still on. She slammed the door shut and the perp ran off. One night, a rock came through my grandmother’s upstairs bedroom window. Once, when my grandmother and her sister came home by taxi, a mugger jumped them and stole their purses. My grandmother resisted and the mugger broke her arm.

The city’s official seal.
The city’s official seal.

I had a black friend who lived a few doors down from my grandmother. I’ll call him “William.” Since he was a bit younger than me, Mom thought he might not be a bad influence, but he kept trying to get me into trouble. I broke with him when he stole money from me.

I attended the Lutheran Church, which was on the block next to my grandmother’s house. When I graduated from first communion at age six or seven, only one of the three graduates was black, but now the membership was majority black. Once, a kindly white church lady, sensing that I was being excluded by a group of blacks, told me that someone in a minority may sometimes feel excluded and that I shouldn’t be resentful.

The white pastor led a confirmation class that included me and William. During a break, someone stole a case of soft drinks. The pastor grilled each student to find the culprit, and I couldn’t help smiling when he came to me, because his deadly seriousness struck me as ludicrous. That smile pegged me as the culprit, and no doubt his white guilt kept him from thinking any of the blacks could be responsible.

When I got home and told my grandmother what happened, she called the church and gave him a piece of her mind. Within minutes he was at her house and we had a discussion around the dining room table with my grandmother and my mother, who had taught Sunday school at the church. My grandmother told the pastor what she thought of his accusation. Finally, exasperated, he said “Will you please shut up?!” We stopped attending that church. The real perpetrator, of course, never stepped forward.

Gary’s downtown continued to decline, and one store after another was boarded up, never to be reoccupied. A jewelry store, which had been there for 26 years, was one of the first to leave. There had been repeated break-ins and blacks threatened the owner several times at gunpoint. Gordon’s department store and the Palace Theater closed in 1972, Sears in 1975, the State Theater in 1977, and Goldblatt’s in 1981. Meanwhile, Highway 30 in mostly-white Merrillville, grew as a retail hub. The full blocks of unoccupied stores along Broadway became an attraction for urbanologists, who studied them for documentaries on how buildings decay when they are neglected for decades.

April 28, 2021, Gary, Indiana, USA: A boarded and abandoned business in the city’s formerly thriving downtown (Credit Image: © Robin Rayne / ZUMA Press Wire)
April 28, 2021, Gary, Indiana, USA: A boarded and abandoned business in the city’s formerly thriving downtown (Credit Image: © Robin Rayne / ZUMA Press Wire)

Many other notable buildings were lost. The Tivoli Theater on Fifth Avenue near my grandmother’s house, which had a terra-cotta façade dominated by a massive rosette stained glass window, was torn down. Gary had benefited from its proximity to Chicago, an architectural hub, and boasted buildings by notable architects. My grandmother lived in a house — one of several in the city — built with an innovative method of poured concrete, commonly credited to Thomas Edison. Although it was a modest workingman’s home, it had hardwood floors, a cast-iron fireplace, a small pantry area, a built-in china cabinet with cut-glass doors, and central heating.

Even as a teenager, I saw that blacks had little appreciation for historic architecture. The oldest, most distinctive homes were the most likely to be neglected and abandoned.

The decay continued to spread into Glen Park towards Merrillville. The basement apartment where my mother and I lived in Glen Park was burgled. During a school-bus strike, I had to ride my skateboard home from school, since bicycles were stolen even when they were chained up. I was menaced by a black who didn’t think I should be in his neighborhood. More and more Glen Park businesses closed.

The city buses were used as school buses. Students dropped coins into the fare box when they boarded, just like on any other bus, and one of the black drivers held his hands over the coin slot, taking the money for himself. None of the black students had any objection to this, but I reported it. I was about the only white on the bus, and I was immediately suspected of being the “rat.”

My high school in Glen Park was about 25 percent white, 60 percent black, and 15 percent Hispanic. One night, someone broke into the school and set fire to the library. Firefighters rescued the building, but students were deprived of a library and the auditorium above it for two-and-a-half years.

Not all my experiences with blacks were bad. A black English teacher in junior high was my favorite. He was an accomplished amateur magician, and he let me perform a ventriloquist act as the opener for his yearly magic show in the auditorium. Because I drew a comic strip for four years for the high-school newspaper, I was inducted into the gifted and talented program, where I studied under the black cartoonist for the Gary newspaper. However, I never had any really close black friends. There was an insurmountable wall of differences and resentments between whites and blacks — and to a lesser degree Hispanics — that made true friendship impossible.

My grandmother moved when I graduated from high school, perhaps barely in the nick of time. One night, when I was staying at her house, I heard bangs I thought were firecrackers. When I woke up the next day, I learned there had been a shootout in the garage behind the next-door apartment building. My grandmother moved into the renovated Hotel Gary, which had become a retirement home and renamed “Genesis Towers.”

The Genesis Towers (Credit Image: Takingactioningary via Wikimedia)
The Genesis Towers (Credit Image: Takingactioningary via Wikimedia)

My father, a college professor (with liberal politics to match), told me about a college with a work-study program for poor people in the Appalachian region. I applied and was accepted. It turned out the college was founded by a white abolitionist minister as one of the first integrated colleges in the region, but it was about 90 percent white — a breath of fresh air after Gary. I was subjected to a certain amount of indoctrination. Alex Haley, author of Roots, spoke at a convocation and was named honorary dean. I thought he wasn’t such a bad guy and was a little embarrassed that my grandmother had complained about his miniseries. Years later, I learned Haley had plagiarized much of his novel.

Time passed, and after the 9/11 attacks, I became more interested in world politics. Reading an article on all the problems in Africa prompted me to Google “Why Is Africa Poor?” and it led me to an article by William Robertson Boggs in the American Renaissance archives with that very title (that was back when Google still took you to AmRen articles). The article explained a lot, not only about Africa, but about what happened to Gary. I read every article in the archives and have been a daily AmRen reader ever since.

If you have a story about how you became racially aware, we’d like to hear it. If it is well written and compelling, we will publish it. Use a pen name, stay under 1,200 words, and send it to us here.