Reactionary propaganda relies on hypocrisy and manipulative delusions, as well as white-washing and bold-faced lies. These qualities are easily observed whenever any controversial issue is brought up, especially the issue of systemic racism. There has been no shortage of right-wing temper-tantrums in the past few years. I mean, the reactionaries have been doing this for centuries, but the recent and ongoing anti-racist movements has really got the anti-rational traditionalists in an uproar.
Simply listing all of the heinous acts of white-supremacist violence and racist police murders that have been going on would be a disservice to the victims of these crimes, as I will not be able to go into each terrible incident with any depth in a single post. Even just listing the victims’ names would make this the longest blog post I have ever written. Besides, despite what the bourgeois media says, these are not just isolated incidents, but are products of an entire system built around racialism and white supremacy, which are, themselves, products of exploitative capitalism, which is our society’s religion, figuratively speaking.
To put it simply, the nature of the reactionary is to react. To react to progress, to the rebellious masses, to the people’s fight for liberation. The reactionary works to keep the people “in their place”, to ensure the continued stability of the status quo, which is, in this case, capitalist oppression and the racist ideologies and standards it has created. The reactionary will stop at nothing to demonize the oppressed masses and portray the oppressors’ and the ideology of the oppressors as something glorious and traditionally noble.
As the masses are rising up and demanding an end to oppression, the reactionaries have been doing all they can to drown out the people’s cries by shouting about imaginary dangers and the “struggles” of the oppressors.
And, not surprisingly, the reactionaries don’t need to work very hard to get their voice out there. Their voice has always been heard, since their obedience to the corporate system means that the media will do all the white-washing and racist apologetics for them. They don’t even have to ask.
After Dylann Roof committed a massacre at an African-American church in South Carolina, the media did what they always do when having to cover an act of white-supremacist terrorism. They downplayed the obvious racism of the act(even though Roof admitted that he was racially motivated to carry out this terrible and violent act of terrorism). They portrayed the massacre as some kind of isolated incident, committed by someone who was “mentally ill”. Instead of calling out racism, they decided that this would be a good time to further stigmatize mental illness. According to them, white supremacy isn’t a problem, the mentally ill and “loners” are. Never mind the fact that those suffering from mental illnesses are more likely to be victims of violent crimes than perpetrators–this fact does not fit into the media’s rhetoric, since they would rather stigmatize the mentally ill than ever talk about the very real issue of systemic racism and racist violence.
We have been told that Dylann was a “good kid”, who “made a mistake”. The murder of 9 people has been swept under the rug in order to focus more on trying to emphasize that white supremacy isn’t a “real” problem. We were shown pictures of Roof as a smiling toddler, but the pictures of him pointing a gun at the camera or burning the American flag got little to no air-time. Contrast this to the coverage of Michael Brown’s murder, when, after Brown was wrongfully executed by a racist cop, the media dug as deeply as it could to find absolutely anything Michael Brown supposedly did “wrong” in his entire life. A white mass-murderer gets the media’s sympathy. A black victim of racist violence gets the media’s scorn.
I am saying all of this so as to point out how the reactionaries are not as “oppressed” or as “misrepresented” as they claim to be, quite the contrary. But this post isn’t about media coverage. That’s another topic for another day.
I don’t think I need to fill any of you in on the recent controversy surrounding the official use of the Confederate flag and the many Confederate memorials scattered all throughout the American south. There have been a variety of reactions to this controversy, ranging anywhere from diehard support for Confederate symbolism, to militant opposition to its use, to those who are trying so hard to be edgy that they say “none of it matters”. The last of these stances objectively fall into the same position as the first, since, by doing nothing, they are allowing(and thereby supporting) the continued use of racist, genocidal, and oppressive symbols.
The “Heritage Not Hate” folks like to claim that the Confederate flag, and the Confederacy itself, did not represent racism, slavery, genocide, or any other form of oppression. Such people are profoundly ignorant in regards to the heritage they uphold as virtuous. Several of the Confederate states specifically mentioned both their desire to continue using the system of chattel slavery and their belief in white supremacy in their declarations of secession. And that rag the heritage-not-hate people always fly was never the official flag of the Confederacy, but was actually the battleflag for the armies of Tennessee, and was only later popularized by racial-segregationists and the Ku Klux Klan.
When faced with these facts, the “heritage” supporters basically cover their ears and scream “I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!”. They fear the undeniability of the Confederate flag absolutely being a symbol of slavery, genocide, and racial hatred. Their “heritage” is pure hate.
After being backed into a corner, they try to strip the symbol of any meaning at all, even their precious “heritage”. They’ll say, “It’s just a piece of cloth, don’t get so offended.” And here’s where things get interesting.
In the midst of the seemingly daily acts of racist violence, some Black Lives Matter activists have taken to stomping on the American flag as a way to protest the system that seeks to keep them poor and oppressed. This act has sparked absolute outrage from the reactionaries. From the very same reactionaries that want us to “stop being so offended” by the slavery-promoting Confederate flag. This is quite odd, since anyone with the tiniest bit of knowledge regarding the Civil War should know that the Confederate flag and the flag of the United States represented two opposing sides in a war in which more Americans were killed than in any other war in this country’s history. If the Confederate flag is just a piece of cloth that shouldn’t offend anyone, then why are all of the people saying this so pissed about another piece of cloth being stomped?
Also, to go back to the case of Dylann Roof, why are the reactionaries shrugging off his terrible, violent actions, while getting so angry at black people “harming” the American flag? It seems they have forgotten about this picture of Roof:
And here’s one of him showing off his heritage:
So, reactionaries, which is it? Do you think flags and symbols have no meaning, or do they? Because you can’t claim the Confederate flag is “harmless” and claim that the United States flag represents something sacred. You can’t defend a white racist who burned the US flag, and then turn around and condemn a black anti-racist for walking on one. You can’t support the flag of the Confederacy and the flag of the US.
Well, you can do those things, but doing so only makes your racism, hypocrisy, and flat-out stupidity that much more evident.
The strangest part isn’t the denial of racism having anything to do with the Confederacy(racists are notoriously ignorant, so such a belief is to be expected), but the pro-USA patriotism being somehow connected to pro-Confederate leanings. For shit’s sake, the Confederacy treated United States POWs like animals. The Andersonville prison in Georgia could easily be called one of the first death-camps ever built on American soil, and it was used for the torture, starvation, and murder of American soldiers by Confederate forces. To re-emphasize my point, you can’t be both an “American patriot” and a supporter of Confederate symbols and imagery. For not only was the Confederacy racist and genocidal, it was anti-US and thirsty for the blood of American soldiers.
Not to imply that I am a “patriot”, though. I’m just pointing out the hypocrisy and stupidity of the reactionary “racist-but-not-racist”, pro-Confederate crowd. I am saying that even the pro-Confederate crowd, in their condemnations against black activists who(rightfully) despise the flag that represents their oppressors, must admit that these symbols do, in fact, hold meaning. And the meaning behind the Confederate flag is 100% oppressive, racist, pro-slavery, and genocidal. So stop telling us to “stop being offended” while you sob every time the United States flag touches the ground.
This issue absolutely is important. It is about finally removing symbols of the worst forms of oppression, exploitation, and racism from our past. It is about tearing down relics that represent some of the bloodiest and most horrifying parts of our oppression-riddled history. It is about officially rejecting the crimes of the past, as opposed to praising or trying to justify these crimes.
You tell us to not be offended, when you, the reactionaries and racists, are the ones foaming at the mouth about our rejecting your fucked up “heritage”. We are not being “too sensitive”, we are doing what is necessary to move forward. You, on the other hand, are shedding your sweet Dixie tears and fighting tooth and nail to protect what you want us consider to be a “simple piece of cloth”. Get over it. The world will move on with or without you.