The absurd claim that Russians have orchestrated US racial strife is designed to nullify black outrage and discredit those who fight oppression.
By all accounts, the Russiagate faux scandal and the hysteria it spawned should be dead. The tale of intrigue which claimed that the Donald Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government has been disproven. After two years of investigating, Robert Mueller was unable to indict a single American on the charge of collusion. The indictment of Russians said to be intelligence agents is worthless, an allegation that will never be proven in court. The Democrats’ insistence on calling Mueller to testify before two House committees was a disaster which made them all look foolish and which should have put the nail in the coffin.
So why is NBC news reporting that the Russian government is influencing black Americans? The New York Times blames the rise of racist, right-wing parties in Europe not on racist sentiment, but on a Russian plot. Kamala Harris spins tales of Russians using black people to undermine a mythical American democracy.
It seems that Russophobia won’t be allowed to die. It is too valuable to the war-making duopoly, opportunistic politicians and the corporate media who give them all cover. Now that the investigation is over, they must keep the stoking the flames and black people have been chosen as their tools.
The bottom line of all these stories is denial. There is denial that black people have any reasons to be angry, which is a denial of our history. Of course, it follows that there is denial of white racist reaction, too. NBC news says that videos showing racist treatment of black people “go viral” only because of “Russian linked” Twitter accounts. They don’t say what makes an account Russian-linked or how they can prove the allegation. More importantly they deny that images of oppression have any impact on the lives of millions of people. Watching a gentrifying white woman claim that she was “sexually assaulted by a nine-year old” black child is enough to make all but the lowest Uncle Tom very angry.
In the absence of empowerment, social media becomes the vehicle for redress. Obviously, the immediacy of the internet makes it quite easy for videos to spread quickly. Claiming that foreign individuals or a government are responsible makes the outrage null and void, erases the racism that black people face and also the determination to make the oppression known.
Of course, racism is not confined to the United States. Europeans’ image of tolerance is tested when a tipping point of brown or black faces begin to appear. Like other nations, Sweden has experienced a rise in right wing, anti-immigrant political parties after the arrival of many newcomers from the global south.
All over Europe the story is the same. People who were once considered generous and welcoming pull up the ladder when non-whites appear in large numbers. The issue is self-identified whiteness. But the New York Times claims that Russians are responsible for the rise in Swedish racism. How very convenient.
These nonsensical stories have many purposes. They are a form of propaganda which has a goal of getting public support for U.S. foreign policy. If enough people are convinced that Russians are evil, they will be silent when their government withdraws from nuclear missile treaties. Even people who claim to resist Trump will condone sanctions or even military attacks against any country declared an enemy.
Russiagate continues to excuse the Democrats for the 2016 debacle of their own making. Propaganda works. Three years of repetition has done its job and most Americans will believe anything they are told about the Russian government or Russians as people.
Hopefully, black people are smarter than their countrymen and women and won’t be swayed by the effort to say that their experiences don’t exist. On the other hand, we are no less susceptible to propaganda. Many of us have already succumbed and given up our traditional left-wing stance on many issues. The desire to be rid of Trump has made this particular con game all the more powerful. The orange menace is a useful tool, as well.
Not that the rulers really want to oppose him. They just want to galvanize opinion in favor of their sick scheming. Politicians like Kamala Harris are worst of all. Her record as a prosecutor makes her presidential candidacy a non-starter for many black people. The woman who made fun of the demand for more education and fewer jails is now hoisted on her own petard. She is left with trying to get votes from white Democrats who are in the thrall of Russia hatred. What better way to do that than to beat a dead horse that absolves them of blame and puts her on the side of America’s oligarchy.
Russiagate is a real life horror movie. The corpse is reanimated again and again. The low point of Mueller’s testimony was his baseless claim that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election. “They’re doing it as we sit here. And they expect to do it during the next campaign.”
The only certainty is that the chicanery will not stop. Like the wars carried out by the U.S., the libels will be endless. They will in fact get worse as the presidential campaign season approaches. All manner of lies will be told and those claiming that Russia is responsible for racism will be among the worst.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.