Monday, December 13, 2004


The Blind Spot at the WSWS

I commend Bill Van Auken On his piece "America on a Killing Spree" ( He is absolutely correct in saying that "That the massacre of an innocent people more than 5,000 miles away can be promoted as a means of boosting public morale and fostering national unity is an indication of a society suffering from protracted and profound degeneration." This degeneracy was again made perfectly apparent domestically with the uproar over football player Terrell Owens and "Desperate Houswives star Nicollette Sheridan's plug for her T. V. show before the start of MNF (ABC's intro showed Sheridan wearing only a towel and provocatively asking Owens to skip the game for her as the two stood alone in a locker room. She then drops the towel and jumps into Owens' arms). Never mind that Sheridan's show is a monument to trash and that football is a very violent sport that glorifies war and militarism. What most of the mainstream press concentrated on instead was the trashiness of the plug while little was said of the raced based sexual taboos raised and the violent culture that helps make the NFL the most popular sport in the U.S. This whole episode is yet another example of how far off the moral compass of U. S. society is. This is particularly true in regard to race and this is where I believe Mr. Van Auken falters. While he touches upon many bases he does not directly address the endemic racism within U. S. society. It is racism, as well as militarism, nationalism and cultural hubris, that is a defining characteristic of the face that American society is now perhaps more clearly than ever presenting to the world.

A British newspaper noted how American forces view Iraqis as "|ntermenschen." As a white settler state, genocide of native peoples of the continent came along with the founding of the country. The mindset that allowed for the carrying out of this genocide, as well as the enslavement of African peoples, has been handed down from generation to generation amongst most, if not all, white ethnic people in the country. This not to say that racism cannot be challenged and minds changed, but that the "peculiar and malevolent element within the conduct of this US policy" that Mr. Van Auken sees is a product of the widespread racism that is part and parcel of the white American experience.

It seems to me that in its rush to defend those who voted for Bush, particularly in the so-called 'Red States', WSWS ignores that those who voted for Bush did so based on his appeals to their bigotry and xenophobia. To claim that these voters were simply confused and mislead or voted for Bush in the absence of a real alternative, is to say that these folks do not have a mind of their own. This is to say that rather than being led this way, they can be led that way. Of course, the point is that either way they are to be led and that for the most part they are not active agents themselves. Historically we know this not to be the case as their great great grandparents, great grandparents and grandparents personally engaged in genocidal acts (i. e. The Trail of Tears, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Rosewood, NYC Draft Riots) against Native and African American peoples in this land. What we are witnessing in Iraq is little more than a play that has been going on for some time.

No, those who voted for Bush did so willingly and cognizant of what they were getting. To claim otherwise is to ignore a long history of white near unanimity on issues of race and to deny people their freedom to choose. Moreover, by claiming ignorance as an excuse for these folks it also implies that they should be somehow absolved for the actions of the man they help put in office as well as the consequences of their own bigotry. Recall that ignorance is exactly what ordinary Germans claimed when directly confronted with the crimes of the Nazi regime following W. W. II. Can ignorance be rationally claimed with crimes of such magnitude? Has it never occurred to WSWS, or much of the liberal Left for that matter, that perhaps the likes of Bush et al rather than being just a few bad apples at the top of the cart are really representative of what is inside the whole cart (or at least, arguably, half of the cart)? White folks have been benefiting from the 'wages of whiteness' for a long time now and for many, particularly in the so called Red States who apparently only benefit mostly from a psychological standpoint, this will continue. Rather than rationalizing and absolving the behavior of these people, many of whom may be irredeemable; it makes more sense to accept that they made exactly the choice they wanted and that we need to instead work with those who can be moved however few in number. It is clear to the rest of the world, even if not to some of us, that rather than being a captive audience, at least half of the American population is down with Bush's program. They are not simply dupes, even if they are not too bright. They are willing partners in the destruction of other peoples lands, the robbing of their resources and in genocide.

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