By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog
There is an incredibly entrenched political non-reality in the US: a perception that having black skin makes one a reliable and righteous leftist. The US cannot talk honestly about politics – this is just another aspect of that.
Looting can indeed have political motivations and messages, and I’ll get to that later, but the looters looting their own poor neighborhoods are not leftists – those looters are motivated by, in the overwhelming majority, poverty. Nobody with money ever risks looting except a tiny fringe percentage.
But being poor, or being Black, and even – shockingly to American “liberals” – being poor and African-American does not mean one has the post-1917 political values which constitute modern leftism.
The reasons many Americans assume all African-Americans are righteous leftists are manifold, but all are based around ignorance: ignorance of what 20th century leftism is, ignorance of (due to segregation) any African-American culture they cannot watch on TV, and the ignorance produced by deliberately refusing to discuss politics honestly.
The limitations of making racism your political raison d’etre
A fatal flaw of US leftists (and especially the far, far more numerous US fake-leftists) is that they often assume that Blacks are leftists because they are more likely to suffer from poverty, governmental neglect & oppression and racism both casual & institutionalised: it is assumed en masse that black skin makes one “politically hip”. (So then why did the hippest African-American ever, James Brown, support Nixon?)
People who do not view politics primarily through the lens of race see this immediately: US “liberals” – in their non-leftist and latent racism – are obsessed with the “African” in “African-American”; Blacks are Americans, and Americans are often hugely, hugely anti-leftist.
In fact the modern African-American community has been so brutalised, dehumanised and rendered desperate by America’s innumerable reactionary structures that a significant proportion of US Blacks could not be more dedicated to upholding the most virulent capitalist ideals – this could not be more easily proven simply by pointing to hip-hop music. We cannot stress enough how often jaw-droppingly reactionary, fascistic, Scarface-capitalist political ideals inundate modern African-American culture today via hip-hop music.
Take, for example, one of hip-hop’s founding fathers – Ice Cube. He was a voice which articulated exceptionally clearly the political failures and crimes of American society which we saw personified in the 1992 Rodney King Los Angeles Rebellion. But, on the other hand, in 1993 he would write songs like Cave Bitch, which is an atrocious, racist, misogynist, irredeemably reactionary & fascistic diatribe against White women.
There is no political reconciliation possible to be had between these two contradictions. The only thing Ice Cube supporters can do is ignore it or rationalise it, but that is more typically dishonest US political talk.
The explanation is simple – Ice Cube is not a leftist: he may analyse certain aspects of the US socio-political landscape supremely well, but publishing such dehumanising trash shows how very limited his leftism reaches. We can excuse Ice Cube, perhaps, because he was an African-American who grew up amid such dehumanised, brutalised, murderous conditions, but there is no excuse for Cave Bitch.
Those aforementioned conditions were (and still are) truly record-level bad in human history, and I don’t think that is appreciated properly. I think many fail to realise that mass incarceration, CIA-fed crack cocaine, the state’s refusal to establish security and the stray bullets from military-grade weapons (to name just some of these record-level bad issues) has done exactly as the US 1% intended: it has turned many in the African-American community into the most dedicated capitalists, as they are too desperate to have time for the long march required to achieve leftism. These conditions explain why hip-hop is the way it is, but it does not mean hip-hop is not overflowing with reactionary & anti-leftist ideas.
Admirers of hip-hop don’t want to honestly explain its abundant, incredibly anti-leftist, pro-capitalist, reactionary, trash lyrics – it prefers to falsely think of it as “woke” and artistically vanguard. Sure it is – for a bankster ideology in the US bankocratic system.
The problem of assuming classes of identities, not minds and ideologies, can lead
The progression of Western fake-leftism from the 20th to 21st century has shown that many Western fake-leftists believe that identity politics has firmly established that any minority opinion – be the holder Black, female, gay, etc. – is inherently “woke”, instead of being merely worthy of no longer being ignored. At some point conversations such as this article need to be had: agreeing that historic repression of minority voices had tragic consequences, but also agreeing that minority individuals can be just as fascistic, capitalist and politically backward as any White Westerner.
The idea that this needs to be explained, LOL, makes me feel as if I am writing to the reader as if he or she was a child – I am quite sorry! But is it not totally clear that writing “Being Black doesn’t make you a real leftist” needs to be said? I have certainly never read it in any American media.
Similarly, “Being White doesn’t make you a fake-leftist”.
These ideas are instinctively known by all good people, and this ideology is openly trumpeted in the “all are welcome (except reactionaries)” social unity which is social-ism.
It should be instructive to see how many Black mayors have totally abandoned the lower classes of all colors. The mayor of Atlanta’s pathetic scolding and defense of CNN, after it was righteously attacked by protesters, is a perfect example of how being African-American does not automatically translate into leftism. In Chicago ex-corporate lawyer Mayor Lori Lightfoot did what Paris does for every protest – send all the police resources to defend the rich areas. What added insult to (expected) injury, however, was the way she tried to deflect the constant criticisms from local aldermen and community leaders by saying that as a Black woman she merited the right to be offended by the allegations that her administration prioritised protecting downtown over poor minority communities: Lightfoot has, via the political dishonesty of US culture, been apparently led to believe that her black skin makes her not only immune from criticism but somehow prevents her from politically doing anything against the Black or poorer classes. These exact criticisms (like here) were echoed by Black leftists such as those at Black Agenda Report: News, commentary and analysis from the black left. I note that authors from Black Agenda Report have for years regularly appeared on Iran’s PressTV, but to look for them in the Western MSM is to look in vain.
Oh it certainly is a rebellion! But how can a rebellion succeed amid such cultural dishonesty about politics?
Many in America assume that the youth class will lead the struggle; or the Black class; or the gay class; what they fail to realise is that their politics continues to be dominated by biology and not ideology. This is why it is fake-leftism and not modern in the slightest.
This is also why people who oppose leftism on moral and political grounds have such contempt for leftism – they have been misled about what real leftism truly is! One would assume I would find it difficult to talk with right-wing Westerners – not really: we can always agree to criticise the Western fake-left, at least.
For leftists the class struggle and the struggle to redistribute wealth and power is the longest battle; for Americans overcoming lowly ethnic division (something Americans believe is more of their “exceptionalism”: they ignorantly fail to realise this is an issue for almost every nation) is the highest aim one can aspire to. They fail to see what a great achievement this would be for solely their 1%: even if America can achieve that racial healing about which their “best and brightest” citizens dream of every night with their heads on their pillows – it will cost the 1% none of their money and power.
The rebellion in America is indeed a “rebellion” and not mere “riots” because the latter totally negates the political ideas at play, and the existence of these ideas must not be denied. I can’t imagine how any individual could possibly have the barest handle on what is going on if this is just viewed as empty rioting….
The destruction of the CNN lobby was not looting, but political; the destruction of a local clothing store in a poor area – even if owned by non-Blacks – is not political but mere crime. Burning down a police precinct is a political expression of “down with the system”; burning down a Mom and Pop convenience store is not “down with the system” but mere crime. French protesters set some trash cans on fire, sure, but overwhelmingly their targets are political: over and over they target for destruction banks, real estate agencies, sexist advertising, government properties, corporate symbols, etc. All we can do is look on a case by case basis at each violent act in America recently and then judge if the violence had political justification or not. However, it’s totally clear: there’s a lot political here. And that’s just like hip-hop: there can be a lot political there, but also a lot of reactionary, selfish, destructive, greedy garbage.
Now do I think that this rebellion is going to lead to a revolution, coup or major political changes? Absolutely not – that’s laughable. The US?! Neo-imperial Rome?!
However… one must humbly concede that revolutions can never be predicted. And it is true that – for the very first time in my life – I think that the US and the West is on the cusp of years of no longer avoidable stagnation, stagflation, chaos, burst bubbles, social disaster and open social discontent. The Great Lockdown, LOL… man… what a total disaster and miscalculation by Western capitalist-imperialists.
Was James Brown a reactionary fascist for supporting Nixon? No, but there is zero doubt that he was definitely anti-leftist. Black skin doesn’t guarantee leftist (or even merely “liberal”) political beliefs and actions any more than it guarantees that one is funky and can dance well – both of these are racist, stupid, prejudiced and anti-leftist notions, of course!
I recently took on another sacred cow of the Western fake-left in The Great Lockdown: The political apex of US single Moms & Western matriarchy? I am not against the world’s matriarchs any more than I am against the world’s Blacks (including Iran’s): both articles simply sought to remind that only God is perfect – everyone and everything else is subject to fair socio-political reproaches.
Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis.
A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020
If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020
Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020
Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020
The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV 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 the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the NEW ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.