Race & Murder/a view from elsewhere

Charles Brown CharlesB at CNCL.ci.detroit.mi.us
Wed Apr 28 10:13:50 PDT 1999

>>> "rc-am" <rcollins at netlink.com.au> 04/28/99 12:39AM >>>
Chaz wrote:

In other words, the extreme cases are an opportunity to point to the mainstream problem. That is the proper way to characterize incidents such as Littleton, and that is my protest about the playingdown of the racism. ____

I've not been following the Littleton shootings and commentaries on them, so my comments don't go to that event specifically. but I can be fairly confident in saying that here in Australia, overt acts of racist violence and speech, including the overt appearance of racist organisations such as One Nation and National Action, are separated quite deftly from the issues of more a banal racism, but no less vicious and destructive for all that. in fact, the organisation of opposition to One Nation as the almost exclusive focus of left activity on the issue of racism in Australia has not only let other racist organisations off the hook, but has allowed the parties who share key planks with One Nation to appear as anti-racist when in plain fact they are not - they are simply more respectable and do not wear swastikas. they do however pose a more sustained and entrenched danger.


Chas: In the U.S. the coexistence of extreme and moderate racism is not new. The continuum from the KKK/Nazis to liberal racism is centuries old. Veterans of the struggle against this whole range of racism here just oppose the whole range. We have not found by our experience that the exposure of fascistic racists diverts mass attention from more moderate or banal racism enough that the denunciation of the former should be muted; and contrariwise, the criticism of fascistic racism strikes a blow at all racism. For example, Russ Bellant has written a book _The Old Nazis and the New Right_ demonstrating many old European Nazis and fascists are in the U.S. Republican Party. Reagan kicked off one of his Presidential campaigns with the KKK. Gingrich's Contract on America tracks David Duke's program. Reagan visited the Nazi graves at Bitburg.


I can understand why the media is happy to generate such a focus: it is spectacular, it allows the audience to think itself as civilised, etc. and I can also understand why the left organisations here prefer the spectacular to the banal as well: it allows them to organise recruit-fests on the back of media focus. I can also understand why parties such as the democrats who have very similar policies to ON on immigration were quite happy to position themselves as the 'alternative to ON' in time for election preference deals from the major parties.

what I cannot understand is why anyone who insists they take seriously the struggle against racism would similarly claim that focussing on the spectacularly horrendous will make it easier to focus on the daily horrors, without any evidence that this has ever been the case before. if it has, I'd be glad to be proved wrong, but this has never been so here, in my experience. (((((((((((((((

Chas.: Experience here is different than yours. First of all the monopoly media here does NOT focus on the spectacular , fascistic extremes. It tries to cover them up to. For example, a few years ago, Black churches were being burned. The media persisted in skepticism that this spectacular case was racist. Right now the media is DOWNPLAYING the racist aspect of the Littleton massacre. That was the original issue I raised on this thread. The opposite of what you are saying about the Australian press. See ? The media is NOT focussing on the spectacular racism and fascism of Littleton ,but rather putting forth the "They REALLY hated jocks; racism was secondary" thesis. What has just occurred to me is the legal but for test. But for hating jocks , would they have done this ? Was hating jocks a but for cause of the massacre murder aspect. Probably not. There are millions of "geeks" (as they call themselves) who hate jocks but don't do this kind of thing. But for the Hitler/Nazi fetish would they have done this? Was the Hitler/Nazi fetish a but for or necessary cause of the massacre murder dimension ? Probably. Mass murder just goes with Nazism.


I think you are right to say "One way to get rid of the extremists is to irradicate the lesser levels of racism from the mainstream." it doesn't follow that a focus on extreme events brings us any closer to this, tho it has been the case that such a focus has had the opposite effect: it makes mainstream racism look good.


Chas: I am not sure where you are getting this FOCUS on the extreme events. We take 'em as they come, extreme and mundane. I struggle against the day to day racism with as much focus as the spectacular events. For example, I am "focussed" on the struggle to save affirmative action at the Univ. of Mich right now. That is not a struggle against fascistic racists ,but liberal/conservative racists.

To an extent we have to respond to a Littleton, otherwise the media will completely coverup the racism, saying ridiculous things like it is all anti-jockism. (((((((((((((((

btw, Chaz, do you think anti-immigration is a racist position?


Chas.: In general I would say very much so. For example, we had the contrast between the U.S. turning away Black Haitian immigrants fleeing oppression and drowning in flimsy boats and the U.S. welcoming with open arms White immigrants from the European Socialist countries. The biggest racism is against Mexican immigrants especially in the southwest. The immigration quotas are against Africans and for Europeans. Recently the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed total disregard of the due process rights of many Arab immigrants, based on racist and national chauvinist discrimination. I'd say the U.S. immigration policy is riddled with racism

Charles Brown

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list