[Marxism] The racist methods of Truthout's "anti-imperialism"

Clay Claiborne clayclai at gmail.com
Wed Jan 8 21:34:46 MST 2014

      The racist methods of Truthout's "anti-imperialism"

One of the basic methods used to booster oppression in general, and
racial oppression in particular, is to rob the oppressed people of any
agency in the struggle to end their own oppression. Typically the racist
will seek to portray the oppressed people as happy in their oppressed
state while attributing any resistance or rebellion to outside or
foreign influences. This is designed to denigrate people fighting
against their own subjugation as pawns or tools of others, thus taking
away their human agency as the primary actors in their cause, while
claiming for the master race or dominate class the agency on both sides
of the struggle.

I first saw these methods widely used by white racists in their struggle
against civil rights in the 1960's. When Black Southerners, in their
millions, were taking to the streets, defying both police violence and
the Klan, in rebellion against centuries of racial injustice, the white
racists almost always blamed this movement on /"outside agitators."/
Historian Gilder Lehrman gives us a good example of the use of this
method when he recounts
the response of George Wallace to a Mrs. Martin, who asked him about
segregation as he was running for US president in 1964:

Despite growing conflict over race and civil rights, Wallace wrote
Martin that /"we have never had a problem in the South except in a few
very isolated instances and these have been the result of outside
agitators."/ Wallace asserted that /"I personally have done more for the
Negroes of the State of Alabama than any other individual,"/ citing job
creation and the salaries of black teachers in Alabama. He rationalized
segregation as /"best for both races,"/ writing that /"they each prefer
their own pattern of society, their own churches and their own
schools."/ Wallace assured Martin that Alabamans were satisfied with
society as it was and that the only /"major friction"/ was created by
/"outside agitators."/

Actually such racist complaints about /"outside agitators"/ served a
dual function. First, it deprived the black people in the south of any
agency in the struggle for their own liberation. Second, it implied that
anyone who took up this struggle that wasn't a southern black was an
/"outsider,"/ whose involvement in the struggle was illegitimate. Often
one was branded an /"outside agitator"/ on the flimsiest of grounds. For
example, after years of involvement in the student and anti-war
struggles at Washington University, St. Louis, including a term as the
president of the campus SDS chapter, I was branded an /"outside
agitator"/ by the school administration in the first semester I was no
longer attending classes. Peter de Lissovoy, a SNCC worker in 1963,
recounts <http://www.crmvet.org/nars/peter1.htm> how those that who were
white or came from the north were branded communists as well as outside

I guess the idea was that it was we /"outside agitators"/ from the North
who were communists trying to bamboozle the /"good Nigras"/ of the
crackers' fond imagination into communist revolution.

Sadly, we see this same racist method being used today by members of the
so-call /"anti-imperialist"/ Left in their attack on the popular
democratic revolution in Syria. The Christmas day *Truthout* article,
*Last Chance for Peace in Syria: Will Obama Sabotage the Geneva II Syria
peace talks?*
written by Shamus Cooke and republished from CounterPunch, gives us an
excellent example of how this approach is applied to the Syrian
Revolution. I am citing only selected quotes related to the subject at
hand. Those looking for the larger context can find it in the whole
article through the link above. However these selections are taken in
the order that they are found in the Truthout article.

First, the entire struggle for freedom and democracy, and against the
Assad dictatorship, which has taken so many Syrian lives that the UN has
stopped counting, is negated. We are told about:

    the religious sectarian killing across the Middle East that is the
    life-blood of the Syrian conflict.

Which sounds awfully like the real problem is squabbling among the
tribes. Next, it is implied that those shedding their blood to defeat
the dictatorship are not doing it for themselves but are agents, or
proxies, of /"outside powers"/ and then the so-called anti-imperialist
Truthout/CounterPunch calls upon these imperialist powers to put an end
to this struggle against the Assad dictatorship. They suggest that:

    [If] groups on the ground in Syria refuse to negotiate, the outside
    powers are then expected to exert their leverage on their proxies,
    with the threat of being cut off politically and financially.

And it is the US president, who has never given more than token support
to Assad's opposition, that is promoted to the position of
commander-in-chief of this /"proxy"/ army. These were happy slaves
before he set them in motion as agents of his plans of /"regime change."/

    Obama is essentially attempting to achieve via talks what he
    couldn't achieve through a proxy war.

Saudi Arabians aren't allowed an independent policy either. They are
/"dogs,"/ in fact, they are /"attack dogs"/ and these so-called
/"anti-imperialists"/ are calling upon the US imperialists to /"muzzle"/
them. The denigration of human beings as unpleasant animals is another
racist method with a long history. It's sad to see that some on the Left
are still willing to stoop to it:

    But Obama continues to encourage war in Syria by refusing to muzzle
    his attack dog, Saudi Arabia.

In the glory days of George Wallace, and his attack dogs, all those who
fought for freedom were branded as /"communists."/ Times have changed
since then. The /"War on Communism"/ has been replaced by the /"War on
Terrorism"/ and the new whipping boys of the imperialists are the
Islamic extremists, so it is not surprising that those who oppose the
Syrian Revolution today brand 100% of their opposition /"Islamic
extremists"/ just as those who opposed the civil rights struggle then
branded 100% of their opposition /"communists."/ What is surprising is
that forces on the Left are in the forefront of this name calling:

    in Syria there are zero /"moderate"/ rebel forces with any shred of

Meanwhile, in the real world, far from the racist propaganda of these
leftists, those "zero /'moderate'/ rebel forces" have been doing quite
well in their struggle against the real Islamic extremists. As the LA
Times reported
on Sunday:

/"The rebels have achieved tremendous progress against [Islamic
extremist] ISIS in all the points of conflict, liberating more than 80%
of the Idlib countryside and 65% of Aleppo and its countryside"/ said
Abu Bakr, a media activist for the Sham News Network in Raqqa.

Even though Obama has given no heavy weapons to the FSA, only a
sprinkling of small arms, some radios, some food and a token program in
Jordan designed to train 50-100 rebel fighters a month when Hezbollah
troops, in their thousands, were pouring across the Lebanese border to
fight for Assad, and now even these paltry efforts have been abandoned,
they are /"his Free Syrian Army."/

And true to the history of this method, they are quick to complain about
all manner of /"outside agitators."/ Now they are called /"foreign
fighters"/ and as far as these Leftists are concerned, they have no
business supporting the Syrian Revolution.

    a recent study estimates that as many as 11,000 foreign fighters
    have fought in Syria

The bulk of these /"foreign fighters"/ are Arabs from neighbouring
countries with a strong sense of Arab nationalism, but even though as
early as 1931 a pan-Arabist covenant
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_nationalism> declared:

The Arab countries form an integral and indivisible whole. Hence the
Arab nation does not accept or recognize the divisions of whatever
nature to which it has been subjected.

These so-called anti-imperialists do and give no credit what-so-ever to
Arab nationalism. If Arabs in Iraq crosses an artificial line drawn up
by a white man from England, Mr. Sykes, and a white man from France, Mr.
Picot, almost a hundred years ago, to help their brothers and sisters on
the other side fight a dictatorship, even though they both be of the
same tribe, they are /"foreign figthers"/ .i.e. /"outside agitators"/ as
far as these so-called Leftists are concerned.

And again they negate Arab nationalism by suggesting that Qatar and
Saudi Arabia are as foreign to this struggle as Iran or Russian. Then
they drive home their point that the Arab countries who support the
revolution are not acting with regards to their own best interest as
those countries see it. They are controlled by US imperialism and can
only do what they are /"allowed"/ to do:

    Obama continues to allow Saudi Arabia to fuel the conflict

Never mind that John Kerry met with Bashar al-Assad six times even
before he became Secretary of State, and was meeting with him still as
popular protests broke out in March 2011. Never mind that Mr. and Mrs.
Assad and Mr. and Mrs. Kerry could break bread together at a private
dinner or that he called
Bashar al-Assad his /"dear friend,"/ they are /"his rebels."/ This is
how this /"new"/ Left sees the Syrian Revolution, as a proxy war between
western imperialists and the "anti-imperialists" who support Assad.
Again the Syrian people are robbed of their agency.

    John Kerry openly mocked the prospect, so sure he was of his rebels
    taking power.

Syrian protesters in their hundreds of thousands have braved gunfire
fire and detection to demand an end to the Assad Regime but they are
Ralph Ellison's /"Invisible Man"
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Man>/ to the
Truthout/CounterPunch crowd. They see only Obama's repeated /"demands"/
that Assad voluntarily step down:

    Obama has sabotaged peace talks for over a year by attaching
    pre-conditions and demands --- such as the removal of Bashar
    al-Assad-- before peace talks could begin.

Finally, they say peace in Syria has little to do with what Syrians do.
As any network engineer will tell you, proxies only forward what has
been sent to them by their masters, they have no agency or content of
their own:

    Obama's actions will testify to his intent in Syria; he will either
    insist on a no conditions peace talk and pressure his allies to stop
    the bloodshed, or he will do the opposite and remain a driving force
    for senseless slaughter and the continued butchering of innocents.

So while the Assad Regime is busy dropping barrel bombs from Russian
made war planes on schools, hospitals, and bakeries, he is not
responsible for the /"senseless slaughter and the continued butchering
of innocents"/ and it isn't even the Syrian opposition fighters because
proxies are dumb and only do what they a told. It is the leader of US
imperialism that is behind the carnage! This is how racism is done by
the /"anti-imperialist"/ Left in the 21th century. This is so sad.

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

Clay Claiborne, Producer
Vietnam: American Holocaust <http://vietnamamericanholocaust.com/>
Linux Beach
Venice Beach, CA 90291

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