By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog
Yes, the gravestone is of THAT Joseph McCarthy.
Joseph McCarthy, United States Senator, rabid Russophobe, fanatical anti-socialist, leader of America’s 2nd Red Scare (1947-57), ruiner of countless lives, raging alcoholic, the most effective shill ever for the military-industrial complex, whose name became the eponym to describe political witch-hunts, rests in his home state of Wisconsin in a lakeside plot along a gorgeous stretch of the Fox River.
Passing by one day, I couldn’t pass up the chance to stand on the grave of the man who did more to falsely smear progressive movements and unions – many of which subsequently turned, out of fear, into fake-leftist movements and unions – than any American in the 20th century.
It was a photo opportunity which now seems… well, these days is anyone even allowed to publicly remember McCarthy without getting subjected to McCarthyism?
Back in 2017 – in disbelief that United States Democrats were persisting to insist that Hillary Clinton lost because of Russian troll farms – I wrote the satirical article, US progressives must demand 3.5 more years of Russophobia!
It’s not funny anymore.
Well, the article is funny, but the US Russophobia campaign has now had massively deadly consequences in the Ukraine.
By using Russophobia to close the door to all sociological and political analysis on all things involving Russia the crisis in Ukraine was allowed to fester for a decade, leading to 14,000 deaths fuelled by far-right Ukrainian Russophobes, who probably have sweetheart pictures of Joseph McCarthy in their wallets. The chance for diplomacy passed – in order to close the door to all sociological and political analysis on all things involving Donald Trump – and today we have a hundred thousand Russian troops in the Ukraine and a 3rd Red Scare sweeping the entire West at digital speed.
If US “progressives” can’t see how their tolerance of things like the fake explanation of Hillary Clinton’s loss, or the nightly Russophobia of Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, helped provoke an anti-Russian climate, which gutted interest in diplomatic engagement and thus raised the inevitability of a mushrooming of the violence in Ukraine, then you likely need to go the library and engage in a rigorous personal denazification campaign of your brain.
I wonder: how will Western faux-progressives receive my photo of the king of the blacklist?
It’s a time when Russians are getting blacklisted in the skies, the universities, the airwaves, the halls of diplomacy, the banks, the football pitch, your aunt’s Facebook page, the damned Disney channel? Am I treasonously fuelling anti-hysteria by reminding America, now, of its own history of hysterically and violently turning against all things Russian?
I say the following without hysteria but full-throatedly:
McCarthyism! McCarthyism! McCarthyism!
It must be shouted right now if only to give some people pause. There is a dangerous, deadly history here, and if it goes back to even before 2014 I’m sorry for the young, for the uneducated and for those currently foaming at the mouth and sharpening their pitchforks. If in 2022 Germany was on a drive to cancel all things Jewish I would shout Hitler! Hitler! Hitler! This is no different, and this is no exaggeration.
Western “progressives”: You seem to think that it is Western conservatives whom can be relied on to keep a cool head during times of jingoism, war and sometimes tedious de-ignorance campaigns? This is why I address you, and not them. Of course they cannot – they are the ones who must be restrained from rushing to war and their visions of fabulous profits.
But the bloodlust of the US Democratic Party and European so-called “center-left” parties is probably why Russia chose war – they know there hasn’t been an “antiwar” party in the Western mainstream for decades.
I shout McCarthyism because hate campaigns only spread unjust violence, and also because American Russophobia has already spread unjust violence abroad:
The “Russophobic faux-explanation” made its way to France and was used to justify the most violent repression in France in a century – of the Yellow Vests. Who can forget the way Emmanuel Macron immediately pointed the finger at Russia, or articles from the French and English mainstream media such as “Russian Accounts Fuel French Outrage Online”?
In my naiveté I have written books on Chinese socialism and what I term Iranian Islamic socialism – these are efforts to bridge gaps; to explain the side of the “other”; to provide a point of view regarding these living cultures with living humans to counter the usual mainstream McCarthyist attacks. I am about to publish France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values to do the same for that movement (see! I’m not anti-Western). In my research I read the book Dans la tete des gilets jaunes (In the head of the Yellow Vests) in which the authors provided a quantitative study of that allegation of malign Russian influence:
In 2018 from November 10th through December 4th there were 200 Twitter accounts presumed to be linked to Russia which provided 1,600 tweets and retweets on the Yellow Vests. Wow, hundreds of accounts – seems like a problem, right? Well, over that same timeframe in English and French Twitter there were 360,000 accounts which emitted 1.6 million tweets and retweets about the Yellow Vests.
Remember McCarthyism – pause just a moment to consider.
You likely had the same initial reaction as the authors: “Well, even before getting into quantitative analysis, it seems at least surprising to us that the activity of 200 Twitter accounts could spark an important impact and, worse, lead certain observers to see in them the mark of foreign interference.”
Remember McCarthyism – move beyond instinctual reactions into reasoned reflection about the ROLE of Russian trolls causing the Yellow Vest movement.
The authors concluded, as you likely did: “This approach DOESN’T say anything about the profound causes of the movement, and closes the door to all sociological and political analyses.”
Obviously, Twitter was abuzz about the Yellow Vests because every Saturday from November 2018 until June 2019 an unpopular government was sponsoring a bloodletting of protesters, and not because malign Russian influence had duped 75% of France into supporting the Yellow Vest anti-government movement. Just like the US election defeat of the Democratic Party in 2016 must be laid at the feet of the failures of the Democratic Party to attract sufficient voters which would overcome their electoral college system, Russia’s role in the Yellow Vests was as infinitesimal as those currently daring to call for the stop of a 3rd Red Scare.
Maybe Russia was wrong to invade the Ukraine?
Even though I have been reporting and writing about the Ukraine for years, and thus have a bit more background knowledge than the average person (as every journalist working today in the West should, of course) I remain totally open to that possibility.
But to engage in a knee-jerk condemnation of all things Russian which closes the door to all sociological and political analysis? Above all: to not even listen to their arguments, thus closing the door to diplomacy, thus making war the only option?
You’re acting just like Joseph McCarthy did – and that’s deadly.
That’s also sure to set back your own country for years or even decades, just like McCarthy did for the US.
You’re pushing for a spectacular increase in the amount of war in the world while claiming to be on the side of freedom and right – just like McCarthy did.
Keep doing it – if you get successful enough at it perhaps one day I’ll be standing on your grave?
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.