Cuba, USSR and Africa

Borba100 at Borba100 at
Thu Mar 29 10:58:44 MST 2001

In a message dated 3/29/01 12:14:22 PM Eastern Standard Time,
jerome at writes:

Dear Jerome,

All your points are well taken.  The above is perhaps the most important.  I
think one of the key things we in the West can do is to popularize among
ordinary Western citizens the wonderful actions of the most oppressed in
other countries.  When I talk to Black Americans I refer to Serbs as the
Black people of the Balkans and compare the demonization of Serbs to the
demonization of Black men in the U.S.

How does the Establishment stay in power in Western countries?  It is true
that working people (not a homogenous group) are generally much better off
than say in Serbia or Argentina but they are nevertheless oppressed and those
instincts you refer to are always coming to the surface.  Misleadership and
indoctrination with lies and racism are crucial to keeping them down.  A
Black woman I spoke to the other day (while researching an article still
unfinished on the attack on black voters during the Florida elections) said
to me "At least we are fighting racism by getting rid of that dictator
[Miloshevich] in Yugoslavia." And I said, "Sorry, but it's exactly the other
way around.  He leads the people who are the victims of racism." And she
said, "Damn, don't tell me they lied to us again."

You said "I don't want to underestimate the role of opposition to Vietnam war
in the U.S. but I don't think it is responsible for communist victory in
(feel free to correct me if I am wrong)" -  This is a very complex matter.
The defeat of the U.S. was mainly possible because of the incredible
passion/energy of the Vietnamese people. The leadership was in my opinion of
mixed character.  I found and still find some very distressing things for
instance about the Tet offensive which had some positive effects but also
(perhaps predictably) physically eliminated many of the most politically
conscious young people in the South.  The Vietnamese leaders did not make
much effort to win over U.S. soldiers.  This by way of contrast, let us say,
to the policy of the PLA in China during World War II towards Japanese

As you say, some U.S. troops engaged in atrocities, some failed to oppose
them, and some refused or actively opposed them. This never works in some
simply predictable fashion, automatically,  according to the class position
of the soldiers.

This general division is fairly well illustrated in the movie PLATOON, which
dealt with the period around 1968, before the Army became so rebellious.  By
1970-71 a word had been invented, "fragging", to refer to the neutralization
of overly enthusiastic officers through the use of fragmentation grenades.
One of the guys that went into the army to do political work told me that
just after he arrived at Danang a sentry started shooting at him.  He fell to
the ground and shouted his name and rank and the sentry said, "Sorry
Lieberman,  thought you were an officer."

Why does the U.S. Establishment spend so much money lying to the people?
Because they know something we may not: that ordinary people can be won to
oppose Imperialism but not, as you say, without very careful work including
UNSECTARIAN "propaganda".  ANY jargon is IMHO totally counterproductive since
it sets up a barrier to understanding and permits the jargon-user to avoid
dealing with details.


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