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News & analysis from Proletarian Internationalist Notes—news, reviews and analysis from a global perspective
Americans use the travel ban issue to support war
April 9, 2017 | Phuong Anh N.
The worthless fake or phony so-called “Left” of the United $tates continues to engage in anti-Russia, anti-Syria warmongering as a supposed way of opposing Trump. They do so even after it has become clear that certain rhetoric leads to blowing up buildings and people in the Third World.
Their supposed strategy for opposing “fascism” was fucked-up even before the cruise missiles landed. The fact of the matter is that many just prioritized health care and economic issues in a way that led to war.
Many of them didn’t really care about war and peace in the first place. Why would they care about it now? That is, except to try to win some votes/subscribers from certain market segments by including some skepticism and hedging about the Syria strike or alleged chemical attack.
Others with CIA-influenced ideas of “anti-capitalism,” “anti-imperialism,” “anarchism” or “people’s war” in the Third World have had difficulties opposing U.S. imperialism for years. They were prone to welcoming U.S. incursions or supporting coups and insurgencies when they benefited the hegemonic citadel of decadence, imperialism, and polytheism. (No offense to anarchists or Maoists who actually oppose U.S. imperialism is intended.) With so-called radicals failing to set a strong standard, the undisguised liberal embrace of war on a mass scale was predictable.
Some liberals have gone so far as to criticize Trump for communicating with the Russians before launching the attack on Friday. Whether the intention is to oppose imperialist Amerikan-Russian cooperation, or just oppose Russia and Trump as an alleged Putin stooge, that particular criticism and many others are fraught with danger. Whether they know it or not, many, including many so-called leftists, have made various statements contributing to Russia- and Syria-related jingoism and warmongering, and Amerikan chauvinism.
On one of the most prominent Amerikan “progressive” news sites that publishes frequently, there is some verbal opposition to the brazen attack that took many by surprise, but free college education in New York has been the top story for many hours now at the time of this writing. The reader may recall that Bernie Sanders supports free college and was quick to repeat Commander-in-Chief Trump’s justifications for the Shayrat Airbase strike and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s accusation of Russian complicity/incompetence, and that Sanders generally supported chemical weapons allegations against Syria despite expressing skepticism about the strike.
Yes, there are protests going on in the United States, but the world needs to understand these protesters are in the minority, a tiny one. There is some surprise, even disappointment, with what some U.S. Democratic leaders are saying, but the number of Amerikans seriously opposing any war, on the street or elsewhere, is that small. In addition to fake journalism obviously disseminating U.S. government justifications in various ways, there is more ass-covering of different kinds than real opposition.
So-called news outlets have been reduced to flattering Amerikans for what the outlets themselves admit are merely hundreds of even just dozens of protesters in some big cities. When you have to cobble together a movement from handfuls of protesters in huge metropolitan areas, you know something is wrong.
With mobile devices and social media much more prevalent than they were a decade ago, hundreds of people who actually want to protest something can get together quickly. Or at least tweet their expressions of disagreement. Some may just vote, but many people susceptible to pro-war criticism of jingoistic militarist Trump may vote for people who are even more hawkish than Trump. Midterm elections in the United States are more than a year and a half away anyway.
Even today, more than five years after an Amerikan vigilante murdered Trayvon Martin, the anti-war movement in the United States isn’t anywhere near the size and intensity of Black Lives Matter – which has been influential and involved both new media and street protests, and ensuing struggle in various areas of society and culture.
Neither is the U.S. anti-war movement comparable to the Occupy movement in the United $nakes of AmeriKKKa, whose economic and political demands and reactionary “We are the 99%” slogan contributed to the rise of populism and pro-war phony “socialism.” Regardless of the reasons for the small size and weak strength of the anti-war movement, and the effectiveness of in-person protests versus social media, it is urgent that the world’s countries take decisive action to oppose U.S. attacks and threats.
People who were around when the Afghanistan and Iraq wars started know the numbers this week are absolutely pitiful given all of the extreme rhetoric against multiple countries recently and U.S. diplomats’ public pronouncements discrediting and disgracing diplomacy. Things are in motion. Now the workweek is about to start for many Amerikans. Protests next weekend are unlikely to be much larger. Saying the Syria strike was a fait accompli doesn’t explain this, because many view the strike as proof of more to come. Of course, it is clear that various liberals and so-called leftists have some problem or another with Russia or Syria that makes their attitude toward war & peace suspect in the first place. That is if they aren’t openly supporting war.
Anti-war protest leaders should be concerned about false morale-boosting statements both celebrating and obscuring their lack of success. Such cheerleading belongs at the stadium – where the number of players on the field may be fixed – not in supposedly progressive media. If people don’t think comparatively, even the little bubbles they are flattering will burst as a result of their flattery.
On the matter of Trump’s Muslim travel ban, this writer is all for open borders. But that’s not what the travel ban issue is about. Most critics of the travel ban don’t support open borders. Many who have problems with mass deportation don’t support relaxing immigration restrictions/limits in general. Or they don’t oppose the criminalization of unauthorized border-crossers, a criminalization that Obama supported. Some of them welcomed Mideast war refugees and blatantly supported U.S. Mideast involvement in the same breath. It’s hard to see how some people playing stupid did not notice that. This writer told readers about the sinister implications of warmongers’ use of the travel ban issue to oppose Trump. Then, the Tomahawks came as some predicted they would.
Syrian people died. They died. But hundreds of thousands of U.S. liberals heard that reactionary clown Bill Maher telling them on “Real Time” that the real victim of racism was Barack Obama, who sought congressional cosigning of Syria strikes in 2013 and was denied by many Republicans.(1) Neglecting to discuss the Democrats and liberals supporting the travel ban, Maher also accused travel ban supporters of hypocrisy for opposing abortion rights and then wanting to abandon the babies in Syria. The context included a joke about Republicans having no “brains” fuck out (as in “fuck the brains out of”), and cynical lines about cruise missile launch pornography. Maher suggested war was inevitable. When violence and domination are thought to be inevitable and irresistible, it is no wonder when some talk sexually or excitedly about it, even satirically. It has to do with the eroticization of power in a very conspicuous way.
Not in the comedy category, but on the same day, long-time Syria hawk Hillary Clinton suggested a long-term “strategic” approach “to end Syria’s civil war.”(2) Weeks after yours truly wrote, “Many Amerikan opponents of the travel ban are openly supporting wars against Muslim countries in the same breath,” Clinton said this to thunderous applause in the room full of Amerikan females in Texas: “And I also hope that they will recognize that we cannot in one breath speak of protecting Syrian babies and, in the next, close America’s doors to them.” Nevermind that the number Obama let in was only a miniscule fraction of infant Syrian refugees.
Among other remarks, Clinton lauded the Women’s March months ago that had virtually no anti-war content. Also, Clinton called on the Trump administration to act like it is really “serious about empowering women” minutes after talking about infant victims in Syria. This was at an event with a focus on electing pro-choice females, and of course Syria warmonger Clinton emself was a female out of power formally. Clinton explicitly connected the pro-choice movement and so-called female empowerment to warmongering without any attempt at concealment. Abortion rights supporters themselves should be concerned about how this undermines the cause.
At another, more-international pseudo-feminist event, in New York, and right before the Syria strike, Clinton suggested doing more than Trump has done so far.(3) “And I really believe that we should have, and still should, take out his airfields and prevent him from being able to use them to bomb innocent people and drop sarin gas on them.” It was Clinton leading the way. The United States’ UN ambassador and other warmongers, one of whom talked about “Islamic fascism” (a reactionary myth uniting conservatives, liberals, and phony “leftists”) participated at the same conference.(4) This is what a fucked-up idea of sisterhood and intersectionality looks like: supporting warmongering in the United Snakes and thinking Third World females are in particular need of being saved with U.S. air strikes and sea-to-ground missiles. It would be better if there were hillbilly white-female-only meetings that didn’t support war instead of these reactionary international conferences and other events that address world affairs only to support aggressive military ventures.
The exact extent to which Maher and Clinton themselves are liberal is irrelevant. They reflect U.S. liberals’ ideas and also influence them. Clinton could blatantly warmonger against Syria and extol vocally or silently pro-war pseudo-feminist marchers within the same speech because there was absolutely no contradiction between those utterances. None. Clinton got a standing ovation, and Syrians got blasted. U.S. females and their boyfriends get “choice,” and Syrians get fucked. Complete with war porn shown on national TV.
Did Trump have any reason to worry about resistance from U.S. pseudo-feminists and liberals in deciding whether to openly strike a Syrian base? Sadly, the answer is no. Trump could see what they were complaining about, and that it didn’t include war except maybe tangentially in terms of some relatively small budget changes.
Clinton repeatedly used the word “resist” in Texas, but there is no point in so-called resistance in the United States that is pro-war. There is no anti-fascism that is pro-war in the United States at this time. The day may come again when that isn’t the case in other First World countries, because of a need to defeat the United States as a fascist country. The United States needs to be opposed now anyway, whether it is fascist yet or not.
This writer understands that some people have urgent travel issues or priorities related to local interests. I really do. But they cannot expect others to be comfortable with abuse of the travel ban issue for pro-war purposes, or use of pro-war rhetoric as a supposed way of opposing Trump.
Booing Nikki Haley because of the travel ban and then agreeing with Haley’s warmongering is unacceptable. Syrians don’t need such “support.” Amerikans were arguing about the travel ban in court literally within hours of the Syria strike, and the travel ban is still up in the air, but so are U.S. satellites, drones, and other aircraft. The United States has been violating Syrian sovereignty and attacking Syria for years, but missiles openly targeted at Syrian government facilities may be flying overhead again soon. Raising the travel ban issue has become a distraction and even a way to support additional attacks. Whether Amerikans opposed the travel ban as a requirement for supporting war, or supported war as a condition of opposing the travel ban, at this point it hardly makes a difference.
This shouldn’t be complicated or hard to understand. However, there are many Amerikans whose idea of opposing patriarchy, racism, xenophobia or white nationalism somehow involves undermining an anti-Amerikan struggle that needs to happen, or killing Arabs and threatening Koreans who are already suffering. The coconuts, oreos and bananas involved in supporting war, while claiming to oppose racism and white nationalism and supremacy, are contributing to weakening Chican@ and New Afrikan liberation movements and other liberation movements both inside and outside U.S. borders.
Antiwar leaders need to come to grips with the fact that Obama’s presidency – eight years of both Democratic presidency and war – significantly changed dynamics. They needed to understand this yesterday, even years ago. Democrats ended up leading warmongering and, most obviously, anti-Russia jingoism. Conservatives were in a position of having to oppose some war as a way of opposing Obama. Yes, many did so for purely political reasons and a Republican is the president now, but the devastating consequences of the Obama presidency are still being felt and showing in anti-war movement difficulties.
The problem goes beyond some Republicans and liberal leaders. U.S. antiwar activists and non-Amerikan forces must make adjustments and stop being influenced by false promises of a resurgent liberal anti-war movement. It is too late for the opportunism some are engaging in, with a focus on building Democratic political campaigns, and it was wrong to begin with. ◊
• “Liberal Democrats are complicit in the Syria strike,” 2017 April. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2017-04-09-news-2017-April-Syria-air-base-strike.md
• “There is still no massive U.S. anti-war movement, thanks to Democrats,” 2017 March. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2017-03-20-news-US-antiwar-movement-Democrats-Korea-Russia.md
• “Pro-choice is pro-war at this time: Sterilize all men!” https://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/gender/choicewarmongers.html
1. “Monologue: A Few of Republicans’ Favorite Things | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO),” 2017 April 7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpDDpv52X5A
2. “Clinton on Trump’s Syria strike: Don’t talk about protecting Syrian babies and then close US doors to them,” 2017 April 7. http://www.businessinsider.com/hillary-clinton-trump-syrian-refugees-2017-4
“Hillary Clinton Speaks at Annie’s List, Texas Lunch | April 7, 2017,” 2017 April 7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqFGFT6VBu8
3. “Hillary Clinton speaks out on Syria,” 2017 April 6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1w2anwT-o8