By Andre Damon in the USA:
Imperialism, the “war on terror” and anti-Muslim hysteria
9 December 2015
On Monday, Donald Trump, the billionaire candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” following the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California. This is only the latest in a series of increasingly fascistic and violent demands from the Republican frontrunner.
Although he went farther than other members of the US political establishment, Trump’s call was in line with remarks by other politicians, including Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who called for a ban on Muslim, but not Christian, refugees from Syria last month, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who said he had ordered state police to place mosques under surveillance.
David Bowers, the Democratic Party mayor of Roanoke, Virginia, last month approvingly invoked America’s history of interning Japanese Americans in concentration camps during the Second World War. “It appears that the threat of harm to America from ISIS now is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then,” Bowers declared.
The resurgence of such reactionary political demands in the United States is mirrored in the other imperialist countries. In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron has branded opponents of the authorization of war in Syria as “terrorist sympathizers.” In France, Marine Le Pen‘s neo-fascist National Front (FN) received the largest share of the vote in this week’s regional elections, amidst the effective abrogation of democratic rights by the government of President François Hollande and the promotion of a climate of fear and hysteria in the wake of the November 13 attacks in Paris.
Throughout Europe, there has been a deliberate whipping up of anti-Muslim chauvinism in response to the refugee crisis, as all the major powers seek to justify their plans for the expansion of war in Syria.
In the US, the statements by Trump have been met with self-righteous indignation by politicians and media figures, who claim they are shocked by his statements. Who are they kidding? The blathering of this fascistic imbecile expresses only in more concentrated form the perpetual hysteria one hears every day in the media. The difference between Trump and someone like CNN’s Wolf Blitzer is just a matter of degree. He is the product of a diseased political environment.
The unleashing of the forces of extreme reaction is, in fact, an organic expression of the nature of imperialism itself. As Lenin stressed, imperialism is “reaction all down the line.” Writing in the midst of World War I, he wrote, “The difference between the democratic-republican and the reactionary-monarchist imperialist bourgeoisie is obliterated precisely because they are both rotting alive.” The putrefaction of contemporary capitalist society—based on parasitism, financial swindling, war and looting—is once again spewing up political filth in the form of racist demagogy.
The whole experience of the 20th century has demonstrated the fact that imperialist war is always accompanied by attacks on democratic rights and the whipping up of xenophobia. American involvement in World War I, nominally undertaken by Woodrow Wilson to make the world safe for democracy, brought with it the lynching of workers and the imprisonment of socialist leaders including Eugene V. Debs, followed by the anti-socialist Palmer Raids.
The period leading up to and during World War II brought with it unspeakable horrors, including the rise of fascism and the Nazi Party’s “final solution,” which led to the murder of 11 million people and the extermination of a large section of European Jewry. In the United States, the administration of Franklin Roosevelt oversaw the internment of Japanese Americans and the imprisonment of leading members of the Trotskyist movement under the Smith Act.
The period of the Korean War was the heyday of McCarthyite witch-hunts of socialists in the trade unions and entertainment industry. The French colonial war in Algeria brought the country to the brink of civil war, including the massacre of peaceful demonstrators and the invocation of a state of emergency. During the Vietnam War, the FBI in the US massively infiltrated political organizations and oversaw assassinations of oppositional figures, including leading members of the Black Panthers.
During every imperialist war, the ruling class seeks to cultivate the most backward and racist sentiments. The “war on terror,” which has led to the deaths of at least a million Muslims, is no different, creating an environment in which racist hysteria is relentlessly promoted in the media.
The political impotence of what counts for contemporary liberalism, as well as the various pseudo-left organizations, is a result of the fact that they are deeply implicated in promoting and justifying war and militarism.
There is not widespread or deep-rooted popular support for the conceptions advocated by Trump and the political establishment as a whole, despite the constant barrage of media propaganda. But the organized expression of anti-imperialist and democratic sentiments depends on the independent political mobilization of the working class on the basis of a program directed at the source of war and political reaction: the capitalist system.
Donald Trump, you are now doing Isis’s propaganda for them: here.
In an action aimed at whipping up hysteria over terrorism and against immigrants and Muslims, the US House of Representatives voted by an overwhelming margin, 407-19, to approve legislation that would impose new restrictions and screening on visitors to the United States who had travelled to Iraq, Iran, Sudan or Syria in the last five years: here.
Another one from the Marxist web site. It took me a long time to figure
this out. This is just an example of how careful you have to be to believe
everything you read. This article’s comment on President Obama in the
original article was not the truth!! I am disappointed in you Petril41!
To anyone reading these blogs posted by petrel41, I suggest you research
Hi lrfalstad, whenever possible I provide links to the (many, various) sources which I use, and clicking on hyperlinks does not have to take a long time 🙂
As my FAQ page says:
“There are many quotes in your blog. Usually longer quotes in italics, short quotes with : here, with hyperlink in the “here”, after them. Do you agree with all items which you quote?
Not necessarily. If I quote something, it just means that I think that it is interesting. The authors of the quoted stuff are responsible for the contents; not me.”
This goes for the World Socialist Web Site like for any of the other sources which I quote. I am not a member of the International Committee of the Fourth International or of any other political organisation.
However, sometimes the World Socialist Web Site are the only source I can find which mentions, eg, the case of the killing of Syrian children and other civilians (unrelated to the history of Marxism). They based that item on the McClatchy news agency; but I had not found it anywhere else. Which says something on the corporate media.
I thought this news was important enough to quote in spite of my disagreement with some other World Socialist Web Site items.
Let us imagine I would only quote from sources where I would not only agree with the article quoted (which, as my FAQ page says, certainly is not always the case) but would agree with all their other items as well.
That would mean that I would have to stop quoting Al Jazeera; owned by the dictatorial government of Qatar. I would have to stop quoting the New York Times, which, besides some interesting stuff, published the warmongering ‘Iraqi WMD’ lies of Judith Miller in the ‘Plamegate’ scandal. I would stop quoting British dailies The Guardian and The Independent, which both contain warmongering stuff. I would not have linked to Dutch right wing daily De Telegraaf in the case of the theft of paintings in a Dutch museum, as De Telegraaf are also warmongers. CNN, the BBC and many others also have pro-war stuff. Yet I do quote them sometimes. It means that I would stop quoting from British paper The Daily Mail. They contain venomous xenophobia. But they also had stuff about dishonesty in the official investigation of the death of Michael Brown in Missouri which I could not find elsewhere; so I did quote it.
So, you see …
If a statement you post on your blog is not true (“as a generalization”), whatever that means, then you should not post it at all. It would be easier for me to believe things you post if I know you have checked them for truthfulness. This disturbs me because then, I have to do my own “fact checking”, which, I feel is the person who posts the article’s job. Just because the World Socialist web site was the only site who had thisn article does not necessarily make the article true! Why did you not post the original McClatchy article rather than the one from the World Socialist site? There ;must be other places you can check for the “facts”. I certainly am not suggesting you don’t post an article because you don’t agree with it! I read differing opinions. However, when I disagree, I say so. And, in doing so I am bringing out the “truthfulness” factor of an article as well. I am just suggesting you check for the truth before you post. It is better to post one that is truthful than more that are not.
Hi, I will reply on the ‘generalisation’ issue in my later reply on ‘liberal hawks’.
First, the issue of true vs. not true.
You take issue with one paragraph in the quoted article. A paragraph which I think generalizes too much and differentiates too little; though not being 100% untrue. However, the main outline, the other paragraphs are about the connection between racism (like Donald Trump’s), war and attacks on civil liberties; mutually reinforcing each other. Not only in the USA: internationally. That is an important issue indeed, this connection.
Now, some examples of ‘true’ vs. ‘untrue’.
If someone writes that Donald Trump was born in 1800, then I can briefly, simply comment that is not true.
If Donald Trump says he has seen footage of US Muslims dancing joyfully after the 9/11 attacks, then I can briefly comment that noone knows where that supposed footage is.
However, if someone writes ‘Donald Trump is a fascist’, things are more complex, and a one line comment won’t be enough. It is an opinion on a complex political issue, which cannot be proved or disproved simply.
Let me give an example: Should I not quote an article on my blog which has many interesting points (though I may not agree with all of them) because it may have one paragraph saying ‘Donald Trump is a fascist’ (The Andre Damon article says so in its first paragraph)?
If someone declares himself to be a fascist, then one can simply say calling that person a fascist is true.
However, ask Trump whether he is a fascist, and he will say No.
Ask other bigwig Republicans whether Trump is a fascist, and they will say No, we have some differences with Trump, but he is not a fascist (maybe adding: but Obama is …)
Of course, a thorough study of Trump’s policies may find out that Trump, in spite of denials, is a fascist. But I think the word ‘fascist’ should not be bandied about as an insult, as an equivalent of ‘asshole’, ‘criminal’, ‘bad guy’ or whatever. It should have as precise a meaning as possible.
In Britain Blairite (arguably, ‘liberal hawkish’) politician Hilary Benn called ISIS ‘fascist’ to justify war. While obviously ISIS model their murderous practices not on Hitler’s Third Reich, but on CIA, Pentagon, and British Conservative government allies Saudi Arabia. They hate women; they hate LGBTQ people. They hate all Muslims of other tendencies, etc. But they cannot, and don’t, base themselves on the so-called ‘supremacy of the Aryan race’ like Hitler and Mussolini did.
The paragraph about ‘liberal hawks’ is about a not so simple issue as well.
I will reply later on it.
WOW! When I wrote a reply to your post, I did not expect such a long explanation to a simple question. I will abide by what I said before. My point of concern was that the post looked like it came from a USA publication and in doing a further search I found the World Socialist Web site. I just didn’t understand why you used this particular website to state your views. I still don’t.
Your “true vs “untrue” examples were unnecessary. There is no need for you to explain to me how to determine what is true or untrue.
I have no idea why you “drifted” into who ISIS models their murderous practices after, Hitlers Third Reich, who ISIS hates, etc, etc. The only explanation I could think of is you started to describe a “liberal hawk”: “Britain Blairite and “took a turn” into something totally unrelated to the initial subject.that, unquestionably, disturbs you greatly. I am not doubting your analysis of ISIS. In fact, I agree with what you say about these terrorists. In fact, I do not disagree with what you say about the state of affairs in the world! There is so much hate being spread and so many people being persecuted for their race or religion. Your many posts are full of them. As an American citizen, I am “sensitive” about what people from other countries think about us. As I said before, right now we have a Republican party that is the antithesis of everything our country stands for. Consequently, I have plenty of posts to write and plenty of things to do to make sure they are not re-elected next year! I do not have the time to cover the world as you do. I thank you for that.
I believe we are both concerned about the same issues of humanity. I feel there is nothing more to discuss or explain to one another. I wish you well and hope you continue your good work.
Hi, though the World Socialist Web Site is international, it is based in the USA, and Andre Damon, author of the article, is US American. So, arguably, it is a US American publication.
I wanted to explain that deciding whether something is true sometimes is simple, sometimes not so simple. Eg, in his first paragraph, Andre Damon called Donald Trump ‘increasingly fascistic’. I agree that Trump is moving in that direction. But, is he already a 100% fascist? That might be true. That might be untrue. I am not sure about that yet.
The word ‘fascist’ should be used precisely, not as a term of abuse (like when far right US Republicans use it against Obama; or Hilary Benn uses it to promote Britain bombing Syria).
I agree when you write ‘I believe we are both concerned about the same issues of humanity.’ I hope your blog will help to diminish the influence of far-right Republicans in the USA.
I promised I would explain the ‘liberal hawk issue’. But a one line soundbite is not enough to explain that, so it will come later 🙂
o.k. It is not necessary for you to explain the “liberal hawk” issue to me. As I said, I just don’t have the time to get into a long discussion. Thank you for your effort. and I wish you all the best.
Hi, I think I will make a blog post on the ‘liberal hawk’ issue for readers of this blog in general.
When the author writes “The political impotence of what counts for
contemporary liberalism, as well as the various pseudo-left organizations,
is a result of the fact that they are deeply implicated in promoting and
justifying war and militarism. , it is another “assumption” based on
I agree that statement is not true as a generalisation.
However, unfortunately there are quite some ‘liberal hawks’; eg, Judith Miller of the New York Times, with her warmongering ‘Iraqi WMD’ lies in the Plamegate scandal.
Also, there is, eg, Gilbert Achcar. Referring to himself as being leftist, Marxist and Trotskyist. Still, a supporter of the 2011 war on Libya which brought so many disasters.
This blog post (not quoted from the World Socialist Web Site, but by me) is about him, and others:
petrel, you do go back many years to define a “liberal hawk”. The problem with your “example” is, in the U.S., liberals were not for the invasion of Iraq and were very vocal about that. In fact, I, as well as many others wrote to the NY Times to question the “truthfulness” of Miller’s articles.
The fact you brought Gilbert Achcar into this conversation as a “leftist” rather than as a Marxist and Trotskyist tells me you have no idea of what a U.S. liberal is! There is no relation between a U.S. “liberal” with a Marxist or a Trotskyist! Nor do you have any understanding at all when you call a U.S. liberal a “hawk”!.
In the U.S. liberals do not want wars, they are for bringing the refugees to our country and taking care of them, women’s rights, equality in all things, etc.. Unfortunately, many of the mainstream media/press are only giving one picture of the U.S. and it is not a true picture of our country. This is called “tabloid journalism”, which, of course, whether right or wrong for our country, gets the most attention! The media are focusing on the politics of the Republican party which is the total opposite of a liberal. In particular, the media are focusing on one Republican running for president, Donald Trump. Trump has made horrible and outrageous remarks and the media replay those remarks 24/7! The President of the U.S and the majority of Americans are very angry about these remarks as well as his bigotry and lies. He is a Republican and this is what the Republican party stands for in the U.S. This party’s agenda does not represent the U.S. people. The “followers” of Trump are in the minority… uneducated bigots themselves. It is also the Republican party that pushes war.The Republican party is run by the elite and corporations. Republicans are against bringing refugees into our country, against religious freedom, equality, etc. Republicans are for every thing Liberals are against! I suggest you read liberal websites in the U.S. to find what they stand for. You cannot base your opinions on a Marxist website or have only a “European view” of what our country is about. You are not getting the “total picture”. Here is a link to an article you should find more “enlightening” about the Republican party in the U.S.:
Hi, I have RSS and Twitter links to many US liberal sites; and I do know about the right-wing views now dominant in the Republican party (different to when they were founded, in the time of President Lincoln). Views of Donald Trump, with other presidential candidates often just one step behind Trump.
See the blog posts at
I will reply on the ‘liberal hawk’ issue too, but later, as there is much to say about it.
I see you read the article I sent on Republicans (yes, different to the times of Abraham Lincoln!). Also, I understand you are informed on the views of Donald Trump and other presidential candidates. That’s good to know.
Thank you, and best wishes for you and your blog 🙂
Did you see this? It’s important.
Republican Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has called for a ban on Muslims from entering the United States. It is un-American, discriminatory and inflammatory.
Frankly, I’m disgusted.
Yesterday, Congressman Keith Ellison, a good friend of mine (who also happens to be Muslim American), reached out to you about this hateful rhetoric. I am forwarding his message because I believe he must be heard.
This is a time when we, as Democrats, as Americans and as human beings, must take a firm stance against hatred. So I’m asking you to stand with us and denounce Donald Trump’s bigoted plan.
Ben Ray Luján
— Original Message —
Was I shocked when Donald Trump called for a ban on Muslims entering America?
As the first Muslim American to serve in Congress, I’ve been watching the prejudice against members of my faith build and build.
The reality is that Trump’s hatred did not occur in a vacuum. It’s part of a pattern of hate that Republican leaders have spewed all year.
We need to show that Democrats refuse to stand by and let this discrimination continue.
That’s why I’m asking you to take a stand: Denounce the Republicans’ anti-Muslim bigotry right away.
Donald Trump needs to take another look at our Constitution.
His proposal goes against the most basic freedoms of the First Amendment. And that freedom is what makes America great.
Please join me and denounce him immediately.
Congressman Keith Ellison
petrel – of course I have seen and read this! Congressman Ellison is writing the same thing I was trying to explain to you in my latest reply about the Republican party in the U.S. Liberals are not Republican. They are Democrats or Independents. And, yes I agree with and support Congressman
Hi, historically the issue of Democrats-Republicans and liberals-conservatives is rather complex in the USA. In the nineteenth century quite some Republicans (President Lincoln, even more so Congressman Thaddeus Stevens
) were described as ‘liberal’, even as ‘radical’. They were anti-slavery and pro-civil rights for freed slaves. While Democrats were pro-slavery, and later, still in the 1960s in southern states, pro-Jim Crow segregation.
John Vliet Lindsay (November 24, 1921 – December 19, 2000), mayor of New York City, was descibed as a liberal Republican.
In recent decades, there has been a sharp shift to the right in the Republican party; started by Richard Nixon.
There is no need to “educate” me on the history of my country. Again, I wish you well.
Sorry, no offense intended 🙂 Being a history graduate myself I thought 🙂
Also, when I comment, I know that not just the person to which I reply will read it, but many others as well. And I would not be surprised if worldwide, only a small minority of people know about Thaddeus Stevens, and even in the USA, only a minority.
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