Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Virginia To Take Down Robert E. Lee Statue

This statue is located about a block from my residence. There is a row of Confederate monuments that line the avenue where the Lee statue is located, and which have predictably been vandalized and tagged with graffiti in recent days.

Kyle generally strikes me as a reasonable leftist. But he misses quite a few points in this that are rarely pointed out, but should be.

I would argue that virtually all US Presidents, with rare exceptions, have engaged in actions just as pernicious as the leaders of the Confederacy. Virtually all US leaders during the 18th, 19th, and early 20th century were involved in the oppression of blacks and Native Americans on the North American continent or invading and/or annexing parts of Central and South America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands. Where does anyone think that the Western continental states, Alaska, or Hawaii came from? How did the US acquire Puerto Rico and Guam?

Even many US leaders that are considered icons by many mainstream “progressives,” and others further to the left, were tyrants in their own right. Wilson suppressed the labor movement, embroiled the US in WW1, and wasn’t the most liberal guy on race either. Franklin Roosevelt placed Japanese-Americans in prison camps. Harry Truman incinerated hundreds of thousands of people with atomic weapons. Lyndon Johnson was responsible for the Vietnam War, and Nixon and Henry the K were partially responsible for bringing Pol Pot to power in Cambodia. Ronald Reagan funded the slaughter of hundreds of thousands in Central America.

Yet none of this provokes remotely the same level of ire as the legacy of the Confederacy. Why? Because the Confederates were losers, and their defeat marked the victory and consolidation of the Jacobin republic which became an expansionist empire. Historically, the US evolved from a collection of English colonies to a federation of largely independent territories, to a centralized expansionist Napoleonic republic, to the present world empire. The defeat of the Confederacy was a primary building block in the development of the empire. Without it, there would be no empire today. The current version of the American civil religion simply masks all of this with a humanitarian-sounding, Christian-like redemption narrative.

In my perfect world, the USA would not exist, and instead, we might have the AAC (Alliance of Anarchist Confederations) or something like that. Meanwhile, individuals and voluntary groups could have intentional communities representing whatever historical, cinematic, religious, artistic, dietary, literary, sexual, etc. type theme they wished, including “reactionary” ones, or reflecting whatever kind of American and/or Confederate history fetishism they were into.

The two largest airports in my area are the Reagan Airport and the Dulles (the guy behind the Iranian and Guatemalan coups in the 1950s) Airport in Washington, D.C. and I would much prefer that these were called the Emma Goldman Aiport or the Abbie Hoffman Airport. But is this something that should be the central focal point of a movement or even a secondary focal point? Particularly, when its primary effect is to incite different tribes against each other as part of the ruling class’ divide and conquer strategy. That’s more or less the set of circumstances that led to Rwanda in 1994. Not a good plan.

 

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