Monday, August 31, 2015

Trump says such kind, gentle things. Is that so?

That's me bottom right Baghdad 1971**
By Richard Mellor GED*
Afscme Local 444, retired

I’m just on a bit of a rant here again after watching the news. I commented last week on the “Migrant” crisis in Europe.  We’ve all seen the pictures of Syrian’s, babes in arms, crawling underneath barbed wire fencing trying to get in to Hungary from Serbia. 

On the CBS national news tonight the subject came up again as European leaders are planning on meeting to discuss what to do about the worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War Two. A Syrian named Mohammad was interviewed as the reporter explained that these migrants were fleeing “poverty and conflict in the Middle East and Africa.”

I have to stress again that this is not news in the sense that we are brought information about events and with that information we can perhaps draw conclusions about what is happening in the world and how we can or should respond. It’s just the opposite.  We learn nothing about the causes of things at all.  We are simply passive listeners or viewers of the results of decisions that we play no active part in making. It is pure propaganda.

In all the reports on the European migrants, the term “imperialist aggression” is certainly never used and the failed and brutal attack on Iraq by US imperialism and it’s stooges gets no mention either.  But the war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa is a direct result of imperialist aggression.  I traveled by train from Istanbul through Turkey, Syria and down to Baghdad back in 1971. I stayed there a bit and then took the bus to Basra.  I was never harmed or attacked despite almost everyone I met being Muslim, so obviously Islam is not the problem. There were not hundreds of thousands of Syrian’s or Iraqi’s trying to get in to Europe at the time either. I walked around in Baghdad and people were living their lives in a normal way. Women were in government and many of them walked around without face coverings of any sort. It was the most secular of the regimes in the region and women were in the government.

An Iraqi exile I met in London once told me that as long as you weren’t involved in politics, you were OK.  He was angry at the western governments and the US/CIA in particular for financing and propping up the Saddam Hussein regime.  Any effort to topple him, he said, meant the reformers were coming up against his friends in Washington. The US propaganda about invading Iraq and freeing the country for democracy holds no water with these people.

I generally refer to those immigrants from Central America that face all sorts of hardship and death trying to get in to the US as “economic refugees” and I think this is a more accurate term that should also apply to those entering Europe from the Middle East; they're not simply "migrants".  Mexicans and other Central Americans don’t risk their lives heading north because they don’t like home. They are forced to survive, and if we want to understand the origins of this migration and the source of the crisis in their countries we have to understand history.  Like the mass media’s reporting on the European situation, the true history of US and European imperialism’s role in this part of the world is not part of the nightly news when the issue of immigration comes up. We are not reminded day in day out that NAFTA, a government policy that decimated US towns as production was moved to Mexico where human beings are cheaper and unions weaker, drove millions of Mexican subsistence farmers off their land forcing them to head north for work.

And if we want to understand how come there’s so many Irish Americans although Ireland is a very small country, we have to study the history of British colonialism there.

The new Pope apologized for the Catholic Church’s role in the plunder of this “New World” but didn’t go in to too much detail or as far as to offer to return all that gold. They'll have a long wait as Vatican Inc. doesn't move too fast.

The reason the issue of class is so buried in US mass culture is that it is a very dangerous road to hoe for the class that governs, that rules society and makes the important decisions that affect our daily lives. By accepting there are classes in society we are also led to understand that these classes are based on something more than just a set of abstract ideas, that one class has more wealth and that means more social power as money is social power in capitalist society. 

We begin to understand that one class owns the auto and transportation companies, the agricultural and food production business and the communication companies and of course, the mass media.  In other words, they own the means of production.  We begin to see more clearly that the political parties that dominate represent class interests. That the politicians we are asked to vote for who roll up their sleeves and head out in to the communities every four years have nothing in common with us. We see as workers that we do not own these things and never will.

Recognizing that a certain class of people own the means of manufacturing the commodities we need to live our lives, leads us to understand that they also own the means of manufacturing and distributing the dominate ideas in society, the universities and education system and the mass media.  They do not want us to understand why social events occur.  It is not just global events, they don’t teach working class history, the history of their own working classes. The ruling class of every nation and era teaches the history of that class and its rise to power and all ruling classes, the slaveowners of antiquity, the feudal aristocracies of Europe or Asia, teach that the system they govern is the apex of human civilization.  There is this romanticized version of history from the ruling class’s point of view.

Here in the US especially, the issue of race is used to obscure the fact that classes exist at all. The working class here is called the middle class. It is as if there is only the rich, the poor and the middle class, there are no workers.  The news report mentioned above, reported on the killing in Texas of a trooper. The assailant came from behind and executed him, apparently without provocation. The killer was black and the cop white and a police official has implied that the Black Lives Matter movement is partially responsible for creating a mood that encourages this sort of response.

The report showed a clip of a peaceful rally of what the reporter referred to as, “all races”. What does this mean?  How many “races” are there?   In the US, white is a race, something I was unaware of before I came here. As I have said before, I was asked my race when I entered the country and I said, “English”. I was corrected and discovered I was “white”. Anyway, does this mean that the world’s races are: Black, White, Yellow, Red, Brown, off white, coffee colored, the olive skinned race: and I can’t think of another one? I’m confused now.

Perhaps the local news here might help me. Oh, here’s a good one.  It appears that Trump has a bit of a competitor for the Republican candidate for president of the US.  He’s a guy named Carson, a black guy or African American for people who prefer that term. It seems his popularity has surged in the polls and I just saw a clip of a campaign meeting of his supporters in Iowa.

Here’s why one woman is supporting his candidacy, “Carson says the same things as Trump but he’s a kinder gentler guy.”   

In his interview with the runner up for imbecile of the decade award, Sarah Palin, Trump said that there are “millions” of people coming across our southern, borders, a statement that has no truth in reality.

Yes, Trump says a lot of kind, gentle things.

* I see a lot of people who blog or write putting their qualifications after their names like, Ph.D, MA  BA and stuff like that. I have never wanted to boast about my qualifications as I always want people to look at me as just an ordinary guy but I worked so hard for my GED when I came to the US that I should be proud of it.

**  We stayed at this man's house as he rented a room to us. I have no idea whether he was Sunni or Shia or anything like that, a Dolm(taxi) us took us there from Baghdad station. The Iraqi's were good to us.  I often wonder if he is still alive. The photo was taken on the roof of his house.

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