Lee Camp Original Politics

Lee Camp: America Condemns One Violent Mob While Celebrating Another

Where is the corporate media's disgust for the courtesans of corporate destruction that wreak violence on Americans daily?
The Capitol on January 6 as Trump supporters stormed the building. [Tyler Merbler / CC BY 2.0]

By Lee Camp / Original to ScheerPost

Most rational Americans have correctly criticized and denounced the violent insurrection in the Capitol last week. Those moments of attack by a racist, disgusting mob have not lacked for condemnation and denunciation. They were violent. They were reprehensible. They called for the killing of lawmakers, demanded the hanging of Congress members. The liberal media and even most of Fox News have not held their tongues when it comes to excoriating the morally bankrupt people who took part. And I agree with those thoughts. 

BUT – why don’t we see an equal amount of disgust and condemnation for the violence done by our ruling class, the courtesans of corporate destruction?

Is allowing people to die or fall ill due to lead pipes in Flint, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and hundreds of other cities not violence? 

Is allowing citizens to lose their lives to cancer from Teflon™ chemicals dumped in their water or preventable oil spills not violence? 

Is allowing tens of thousands to die of preventable illnesses from our garbage healthcare system not violence? 

Is allowing 15 million to lose their healthcare during a pandemic and therefore fear going to the hospital when they get sick not violence? 

Is imprisoning millions of people for years for non-violent crimes not violence?

Is locking up political prisoners like Steven Donziger, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Reverend Pinkney, Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Leonard Peltier not violence?? 

Is dropping a bomb every 12 minutes on innocent people in countries thousands of miles away not violence?? 

Is allowing millions in this country to go hungry while we throw out 40% of all food not violence? 

Is arresting people who try to feed those who are starving not violence? 

Is allowing hundreds of thousands to go homeless, living under bridges or on benches or squatting in collapsing structures while this country has trillions of dollars and millions of empty houses —is that not violence?

Is arresting, beating, and persecuting those who try to give those people houses not violence? And bulldozing the homes — is that not violence?

Is causing the sixth great extinction, the mass death of half the world’s wildlife, in pursuit of corporate profit not violence? 

Is causing the deaths of tens of thousands of Venezuelans via economic warfare not violence?

Is creating an opioid epidemic by pushing pills on desperate people, ultimately leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands not violence?

And then arresting those who stand up and fight back against the pollution, against the pipelines, against the factory farming, against the war industry —IS—THAT—NOT—VIOLENCE?

Of course it is. 

It’s violence on a breathtaking scale, far greater than what was done at the Capitol and far greater than any of us will witness in person. And yet large scale corporate-endorsed violence, death and destruction is not only allowable, it’s celebrated, it’s furthered, and promoted. Oil company documents show that they tell cities that oil spills are good for the economy. Other documents show that fossil fuel companies have known about the harm climate change would do since the 1970’s, but they simply saw it as the price of doing business. Corporate sacrifice zones like “Cancer Alley” in Louisiana are well known to be deadly to those who live there, yet it doesn’t matter to the corporations because their money will be green nonetheless. It doesn’t matter to the politicians because the poor who live in these sacrifice zones have no political power. The 40% of food that’s thrown out is not a secret. The subsidies paid to factory farms encourage them to produce heaping mountains of food and dairy and meat even if they can’t sell it all in our market economy. So they throw it out or bury it. Giving it to those in need would take too much time and effort. 

Should the racist violent insurrectionists at the Capitol be punished? Absolutely. But so too should the bought-off politicians who do the bidding of our morally bankrupt corporate America. These politicians and the CEOs they serve are purveyors of violence. They trade in, produce, and reap violence. They sit on hordes of money—the obscene profit from feeding American lives into the death cult of unfettered capitalism. 

Our mainstream media are blanketing the airwaves with talk of how the violent insurrectionists must be punished, and while they are not wrong, the criminal behavior those same talking heads and “reporters” ignore speaks volumes. All violence is not equal. Some of it is profitable and protected. Some of it is the American way.

Lee Camp
Lee Camp

Lee Camp is the host of the hit comedy news show “Redacted Tonight.” His new book “Bullet Points and Punch Lines” is available at LeeCampBook.com and his stand-up comedy special can be streamed for free at LeeCampAmerican.com.

41 comments

  1. Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes.

    I think one thing that might have really shocked people about the events at the Capitol is that the violence wasn’t committed against the traditionally agreed upon and accepted targets. Or by the traditionally agreed upon and accepted perpetrators.
    Otherwise it would have been just another day in America.

  2. As good a definition of what-about-ism as I’ve ever seen.

    Modern Democracy is the most important political development in human history. Moreover, it is the only framework to date in which progress and justice is not only possible but an indispensable bedrock.

    So the idea that a direct, unprecedented and clear assault on it is on a par with atrocities committed within it, or or that these atrocities are even noteworthy in its context, is at best ignorant.

    1. The attack on our cherised capitol was not unprecedented, we,ve been doing it to other democracies for over a hundred years. Guatemala in 1954, we actually bombed the capital to depose their democratically elected president. The 1953 coup in Iran…operation Ajax to depose their prime minister etc. etc. I could go on for days listing the democracies our “democracy” has bombed or couped into oblivion, without nary a word from our mainstream media or mention in our history books. When we get a small yaste of what we’ve been metting out to others, we cry like the selfish spoiled brats we truly are.

      I would highly recommend you visit some of the countries we the people have destroyed and share your good news of democracy and it’s virtues. Iraq might be a good place to start, or if you can’t afford a plane ticket, any native american reservation should do.

      1. You forgot to mention the prison-like reservations and mass murder of American Indians, Japanese-American interment camps, lynchings, slavery, slave patrols, repression of labor organizers, etc, etc, etc. That we have our freedoms isn’t because of the American system but in spite of it.

    2. Democracy? In America? You can’t be serious, you just can’t be that ignorant, come on. For goodness’ sake, all the things Lee listed above are the exact proof that none exists in the US because otherwise these things wouldn’t be. How are you so damn blind to this simple fact is beyond me.

      No democracy in US, the elites do what they please (ongoing situation, proof is all around, much of it listed above). Yes democracy, they can’t do what they please.

      Do you understand?

  3. Excellent and important journalism by Lee Camp. The fact that, like Jimmy Dore, a comedian has more courage and wisdom than the lionized stenographers of the NYT, WP, WSJ, CNN, MSNBC, Fox, et al, reveals the dismal state of mainstream journalism in the US.

  4. The White Riot, lasted approximately four hours. The Capitol was cleared just shortly after 6:00pm. Responsible entities are: Women for America First, the Republican Attorneys General Association/ the Rule of Law Defense Fund, Amy Kremer, Women for Trump, Kylie Jane Kremer, Mike Lindell CEO My Pillow company, Pastor Greg Locke of Global Vision Bible Church, Right Side Broadcasting Network, Turning Point Action, Stop the Steal, Black Conservatives Fund, Robert Mercer, Patrick Krason and slimeballs in the Congress, such as Madison Cawthorn, gun-toting Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Mo Brooks, Paul Gosar, Pete Sessions, Andy Biggs and others. As for it being a coup, that is absurdist and the gang of yahoos that momentarily roamed the halls & offices of the capitol, were incapable of articulating the source of their anger and basely incoherent about any stratagem, other than vague cries to hang Mike Pence or other statements of braggadocio. Hanging a sitting vice-president for being unable to perform an illegal act aka impossible act fits the bizzaro line of reasoning behind the entirety. Not that I advocate hanging or murder, but stringing-up Mike Pence would have been a curious turn of events and well-reflect the quite deranged raison d etre for the entirety. Though the DHS, seems more than capable of attacking aka defending federal buildings against encroachment in Portland, Oregon – they were basically AWOL from the riot at the capitol. The delusional crowd of protestors should have set their sights on ‘K’ Street where the real power rests. All in all, a fitting end to Trump’s reign.

    1. Do you think all the anti-Semitic unemployed “yahoos” who broke windows on Krystallnacht had politically “coherent … strategems”? That the mobs who murdered their neighbors in Rwanda had politically “coherent … strategems”?

      A lot of folks are missing point: The mob does not exist in a vacuum.

      If a politically unorganized and disparate mob invades a political space, it is not the mob itself that is “coherently” trying to pull a coup. They are the shock troops, the useful idiots, a source of intimidation and “chaos” that can provide cover for attempts by those in power to normalize martial law, anti-democratic judicial or legislative maneuvers and the like.

      Since Trump clearly did not have enough elite/insitutional support (i.e, in the military or the courts or other political bodies) his coup attempt looks farcical. He is himself a political savant for also an actual idiot who believes what the lampreys sucking to his underbelly tell him through his TV set, so he does not even understand how ineffectual his coup attempt is — yet he clearly was trying to subvert the election so that he could stay president.

      1. For your information, Krystallnacht was done by random thugs. The German police arrested and charged many of the perps actually. They had no plan, they were thugs.

      2. This is a lie. It was a pogrom led and carried about by the Nazi “Storm Detachment,” the party’s original paramilitary wing.

        In any case, the point I was making is it doesn’t matter who actually breaks the windows/raids the capitol if it benefits those actually behind a coup attempt.

    2. There’s a good reason the DHS was absent during the inserrection, their trumps personal goon squad.

      A useful analogy would be to view this as gang warfare. One side has the fbi and cia (gang blue), the other side has the boogaloo boys, dhs, and local police (gang red). Expect some to change loyalties as the war intensifies along with civilian casualties , albeit not as egregious as the “normal” civilian casualties vistited upon our most vulnerable on a daily basis.

  5. Excellent. You might have mentioned also the evil irony that, within 48 hours of condemning the violent mob that stormed the US Capitol, Biden nominated to be one of his top advisers Victoria Nuland, who orchestrated the far more murderous and fascistic mob that overthrew Ukraine’s democratically elected government.

  6. I’ll try this again after posting early today before others had (comment was removed)
    Thank you Lee Camp for this wonderful piece. Doesn’t seem threatening or out of line for me, let’s see if it stays the second try.

    1. oh dear,. it is one of those kind is it? Well he has been with RT. The most hypocritical censor on the net in my experience.

  7. To Lee Camp’s great question about where the corporate media’s disgust is with the “courtesans of corporate destruction” I would add at least one at least pretty good question—How is it that all us Little People here on the wrong end of the “violence done by our ruling class” are not abjectly disgusted with ourselves over our membership in a more and more dead-end race of beings that includes Little People like us who can’t be bothered after so many millennia of civilization to even jury-rig some kind of very sensitive or even hair-trigger internal alarm system that goes off everywhere at the very first sign that hundreds and hundreds of millions of Little People the world over are once again doing nothing about the ones they’re the Little People relative to getting back to work at removing any and all ceilings on the kind of astronomical self-importance that is so well known to make it so easy for members of our species to do the most awful things to everybody and everything below them?

    I guess another question I would ask is why the Little People have not bothered to come up with some social-scale equivalent of the simple umbrella to protect ourselves against all the trickling down of so much narcissism and other kidneys of self-interest and self-importance that’s been making it so easy for the Little People to do to each other what the ruling class is doing to them.

    I would ask as well if Lee’s piece isn’t flirting to some degree with further infantilizing the Little People and otherwise rendering them useless by kind of characterizing them as helpless victims of what’s worst about our race even though with their bottomless tolerance for inequality of all sorts and all the awfulness that always comes with all the inequality their many many little fingerprints are all over the scene of this worldwide crime of doing nothing but violence to all our promise as human beings.

    The dropping of 5 bombs per hour on other human beings doesn’t get done without a lot of Little People doing stuff like pushing buttons and oohing and ahing over and saluting the military spectacles our national pastimes have become and getting blithely on with their own so important lives without thinking once much less twice about what happens when one bomb gets dropped on their fellow human beings much less what becomes of their fellow human beings when 5 times 24 times 365 bombs (366 on leap years) and counting get dropped on them.

    1. Thank you, great comment about the complicity of all the “little citizens” in the military industrial complex! Not a thought given to all the innocent lives snuffed out by this cold blooded murder now often done by drones from a Florida bunker! Brave warriors, my ass!

  8. Ironic too, how Biden and white church leaders who backed Trump came out after and said, “This is not who we are!” Sorry but white America needs to look in the mirror and own it, yes this is who you are. The utter hypocrisy of another 70 plus year old white man responsible for the devastation of black lives by his authoring of his crime bill should be a scandal to all Americans of conscience.

    Furthermore, the presence of off duty law enforcement, military, ex-military, and capital police aiding this violent mob reinforces the reality of America’s deep roots in white supremacy. Time to stop lionizing and making heroes out of law enforcement and military. These are the storm troopers of empire just like the Roman Legions. The party is over America you are not the “Shining City on a Hill”. To quote # 45 sadly America is just another “shithole” country! Time to wake up and smell the coffee!

    1. I can’t say I agree with you on the racial aspect. We just went through 8 years of hell with our first black president who commited mass murder on a daily basis, while prosecuting the whistleblowers and journalists who dared shed the light of truth on our nations crimes.

      Obama and the black misleadership class as Glen Ford calls them are equally as culpable as the republicans for the mess we find ourselves in.

      Racism isn’t the problem, it is a very odiferous symtom of the disease. Attempting to end racism without addressing the underlying disease is like putting a bandage on skin cancer. It might cover it up for a while but then you die.

      MLK and Malcolm X both realized towards the end of their lives that poor whites faced many if not all of the same problems as blacks. Listen to MLK’s Riverside church sermon, when he started talking about excessive consumerism and vietnam the crowd begins to condemn him a sign that he was a true prophept, willing to take the heat for speaking the truth.

      Libya today is the only country in the world, that to my knowledge has open slave markets. It took Americas first black president and a white woman to accomplish that. I’m kinda thinking the world deserves better than that.

  9. Perhaps we should just keep on watching TV, drinking alcohol, and getting high and just let our leaders keep making the decisions for us. Better to not think too much about about how much the world sucks. Isn’t this what our leaders want us to do?

  10. Sure, centrist Ds are calling out obvious fascist demagoguery. While saying nothing about WHY the appeal to so many of our relatives and neighbors. Easy diagnosis: racism and paranoia. Ooooh, we PoC and the self-righteous libs can revel in that–we smart good, they dumb bad.

    Never forget how the centrists usurped the D party, abandoning the New Deal and labor. Pushing neolib policies, they cozied up to Wall St. They did for Rust Belt workers exactly what they did to Wall St. vultures who caused the ’08 crash–NOTHING! No coincidence that the Rust Belt became opioid abuse central and now leads in what are called deaths of despair.

    The Ds, once the party of the working class, has mostly ignored them for 4 decades. Vague promises of trickle down have been shown to be false. As the econopathy rolls on, devastating communities and destroying ecosystems, these neolibs only offer more of the same. Then are “shocked” when desperate peasants turn to the only ones offering them anything.

    It’s no comfort to know the fascists are liars and use the deep discontent to further their own power. Smug superiority does nothing to change a failing econ system, the real source of the current horrors.

  11. Overall a a good number of serious questions, albeit rhetorical. The thing is, I could’t concentrate on the flow because there’s this enormous, smelly and rather noisy elephant standing in the middle of this rhetorical feast. It puzzles me why Lee doesn’t even acknowledge its existence, even though it is stinking the place up with noxious farts the whole way through. How is it the BLM and ANTIFA riots, looting, arson and the deaths of 47 people it has caused somehow failed to at least be given a name tag and a packet of peanuts for its attendance? Sort of a consolation prize for not being able to take its rightful place in that lineup? Or is that also a rhetorical question Lee?

  12. It’s the classic American story of “justice”. Street crime is routinely punished to the point that some are just at the wrong place at the wrong time and get their life screwed to hell due to shit like the RICO Act, while white collar crime goes not only unpunished but outright enabled or advocated.

    Of course what the Capitol protestors did was horseshit. I’m hearing some left commentators whitewash these idiots by saying it was due to economic hardship, no stimulus checks, no M4A, stuff like that. Nope, big nope. Interviews were conducted on the ground during and before this was going on, and those interviewed said they were there to overturn the election results. That’s it, there was no other reason stated, much less one that could remotely be construed as honorable. So these right-wing corncobs deserve the book thrown at them. I’ve known these fuckers since day-1, they are precisely what their reputation is.

    Nevertheless, I fully agree with Lee’s much larger point. But reasons matter.

  13. This article draws a false equivalence between the ‘morally bankrupt people who took part’ in the Capitol riot versus those who led it. While the thrust of the article is commendable in its showing the magnitude of the violence in the Capitol to be utterly dwarfed by the economic, social and imperial violence meted out by the US ruling class on its own population, and in its white supremacist ‘exceptionalism’ on non-white peoples around the world, is it believable that the ~100,000 there were all ‘morally bankrupt’? Surely not. And were those who made it inside the Capital but not actually engaging in any violence also ‘morally bankrupt’?

    Blacks attended that rally and others who overwhelmingly Trumpers but not fascists still have good cause to suspect the way elections are conducted and voting counted in the US (although it’s highly unlikely that Trump had really ‘won’). Just ask Tim Canova from Florida about the machine-based vote flipping he experienced in his run against Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

    Fiorella Isabel and Craig ‘Pasta’ Jardula of the Convo Couch filmed the rally, and attest that those outside the Capitol overwhelmingly were peaceful, which is pretty evident from the footage they posted. But no-one condemning the Capitol riot wants to properly address the actual issues causing all the grief and rage, across races and communities that fall along class lines, which fuels the anger of those attending the stop-the-steal rally. These people, ignorant maybe, Trump supporters to be sure, weren’t all ‘morally bankrupt’.

    But there’s a double standard operating here. What if this were a rally for Medicare for All and/or for income support in a pandemic and economic depression, and that it wasn’t being met by the usual full force and violence of the state? The latter admittedly is an unrealistic assumption given the current balance of forces, but what if the insurgents actually were carrying pitchforks, rope and the odd guillotine in order to acquaint the politicians with the imminent proximity of their maker(s)? After all, the’ve overseen and are responsible for the qualitatively greater violence outlined so eloquently in this article. Would there not be a collective cheer nationwide from all the oppressed and downtrodden if threats of rough justice were ‘delivered’ in person, in what might conceivably be the first shots in a revolution that begins to address decades of violent abuse by this ruling class? Would these insurgents venting their fury from their suffering also be ‘morally bankrupt’? In fact in this circumstance they’d be morally bankrupt if they didn’t. And would those genuinely horrified by the all the violence of the ruling class really issue a call for the full force of the law to crack down on such insurgents? Hopefully not, because such a reaction would only show a naive and touching faith in the capitalist state.

    But definitely there also would be a hue and cry from those who frighten easily at the first instances of any violence, especially its threat from the ‘lower orders’, in social crises, who still believe, even after the George Floyd uprisings, that real social change can and ‘must’ only be achieved ‘peacefully’ against a deeply violent ruling class. Somehow.

    This isn’t to say that elected officials, even elected known war criminals, not be defended against fascist-led attacks. They must be. And if there were a large organised labour contingent at the ‘stop-the-steal’ rally then it would have been contingent on it to defend the politicians holed up in the hot air factory and smash up the fascists. That’s defensible violence.

    If you’re partisan on the side of the working class and the oppressed, and understand that real change won’t occur without a revolution and that revolutions unfortunately entail violence, then there’s a real difference between how to respond to violence inflicted by the ruling class and its fascist minions versus that carried out by the oppressed defending themselves or engaging in revolutionary uprisings against the ruling class. No doubt such efforts in self-defence or in uprisings will be condemned by the rulers and all their liberal supporters as ‘mob violence’ and ‘mob rule’, etc, but for those who support a revolutionary overthrow of the ruling capitalist class, then violence is to be expected because invariably it’s initiated by the rulers who, after all, have an awful lot to lose. To expect otherwise is suicidal.

  14. Clearly, violence is the convenient descriptor when the ruling elites and their political henchmen (and women), are suddenly threatened.

  15. “It is only the ignorant who despise education” Publilius Syrus 1st century BC

    The United States would have been much wiser to teach all its students the parables of Aesop. Then maybe more of them would have learned that “Any excuse will serve a tyrant”.

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