Class Warfare Blog

December 9, 2016

The Russian Slur Returns!

When I was young, the most common slur used to brand those one disdained was to call them a communist. (You dirty commie!) Now it seems we are again using Russia as a pejorative.

The most overt such case occurred last month when the Washington Post gave a glowing front-page shout out to an anonymous online blacklist of hundreds of American websites, from marginal conspiracy sites to flagship libertarian and progressive publications. That anonymous website argued that all of them should be investigated by the federal government and potentially prosecuted under the Espionage Act as Russian spies, for wittingly or unwittingly spreading Russian propaganda.

Once again, the Russians/Commies are the bad guys.

Interestingly, as I learn more of history, our tendency to use Russia as a whipping boy has a long history. Take, for example, the aftermath of World War II. Without heroic efforts on the part of communist Russia, half the world would be speaking German now. Russia suffered horrifically from the German invasion. Tens of millions of Russians died from combat-related events and tens of millions more died from deprivation. President Roosevelt and Josef Stalin had an agreement that the U.S. would help Russia recover after the war. But then Roosevelt up and dies and then Truman is President. (Truman replaced Wallace as VP because Wallace was too progressive for the likes of the conservative wing of the Democratic Party. Remember the Dixiecrats and all them other conservative Dems?) Truman blew off Roosevelt’s promise and told Russia to go fend for itself even though we ponied up big time to rebuild Europe. The reason? Russia was spying on us because we had the atomic bomb. They felt that if the U.S. were the only country to have “the Bomb” then it would become a de facto global dictator (as we had “the Big Stick”). Plus our refusal to honor our promise of post-war help proved our untrustworthiness. But, guess what? The Russians weren’t the only country spying on us for atomic secrets. They were just one of many. (Also remember that communism and socialism were considered “threats to democracy” and were anathema to all conservatives then (as now). And, I have to wonder if any of that would have played out had Wallace succeeded Roosevelt.)

By and large the post-war “red Scare” was trumped up from real and imagined material and turned Russia from an ally into an enemy.

And now we are doing it again. Most of the anti-Russian propaganda currently being stated is just that, propaganda. And, it turns out that the website WaPo heralded, as mentioned above, apparently has links to the CIA and Ukrainian fascists. Plus the website author admits he just made up the list of “treasonous, fake news” websites. Sheesh!

Don’t we ever learn?

Fear is now the most common tool used to sway electorates. Real fears, such as the fear of the effects of Climate Change are pooh-poohed because the plutocrats do not want that particular fear motivating folks. And when no real source of useful fear can be had, made-up fears are entirely adequate. (The Mexican rapists are coming, the rapists are coming! The Russians are trying to fix our elections!) So, Republican attempts to fix our elections are swept under the rug, but the Russians, the Russians … !

I just realized that this blog is probably going to be added to the list of treasonous websites! Oh well, in for a penny….

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11 Comments »

  1. There’s a very good article in CA today which touches on this very issue: https://www.currentaffairs.org/2016/12/the-necessity-of-credibility

    Comment by The Pink Agendist, née Mr. Merveilleux — December 9, 2016 @ 9:48 am | Reply

  2. You fools! You’re falling into New Zealand’s trap! They are true enemy, manipulating you all.

    Comment by john zande — December 9, 2016 @ 10:51 am | Reply

    • Kiwi terrorism! It’s true, I tell you!

      On Fri, Dec 9, 2016 at 10:51 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

      >

      Comment by Steve Ruis — December 9, 2016 @ 12:11 pm | Reply

  3. I agree that had either Roosevelt lived for another year or two or Wallace had been his VP on the ticket, our relationship with Russia would be vastly different than it has been

    Comment by lbwoodgate — December 9, 2016 @ 8:21 pm | Reply

    • Well, that settles it then. If two old farts like us can agree, who could disagree?

      ;o)

      On Fri, Dec 9, 2016 at 8:21 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

      >

      Comment by Steve Ruis — December 9, 2016 @ 9:27 pm | Reply

  4. A couple of comments: first, even considering the fact that Soviet Union had made by far the largest contribution in defeating the Nazi Germany, it was unlikely that Soviet Union would have remained an ally to the US and Western Europe no matter how much financial help they would have received – and by the way, via the Lend Lease program, Soviet Union had received over $100 billion worth in today’s money in arms, machinery, and other supplies. The problem was that Soviet Union had a stated goal of organizing a worldwide workers revolution, and while it may not have been a top priority for the USSR leaders, they had gladly sponsored communist organizations in other countries. You may think that I’m just repeating the American propaganda against Russia – but I’m not. This was a part of the internal Soviet propaganda aimed at the people of the Soviet Union – that workers of the world will unite and will throw out greedy capitalists and politicians out of their offices. And it’s hard to make that case when you’re officially allied with those greedy capitalists and politicians, which is why the Soviet Union had not been allied with the US before the WWII. The fact that the Americans sent an expeditionary force to participate in the Russian civil war against the fledgling Soviet Union did not help either. But, on the other hand, the USSR had been negotiating with Germany to join the Axis in 1939-1940 and had divided the Eastern Europe with Germany following the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. The American-Russian alliance existed only as long Germany proved to be a greater threat for both countries, and once Germany was defeated, the alliance no longer had a good raison d’etre
    And second, which is in a way a continuation of the first, just as the US needs Russia to be a big scary bogeyman to exploit the fear, Russia has been using the US for the same purpose. Because who else Russia is going to see as a credible threat other than the one remaining superpower? And the anti-American propaganda in Russia is much more powerful than anti-Russian propaganda here, partly because most Russian media is controlled by Kremlin, and because there is just so much more problems in Russia that America could be blamed for.
    So while I would like to see better relationship between Russia and the US (and I agreed with Trump when he brought it up in a debate), I just don’t see the premise for it happening in the near future. Maybe if China becomes a bigger and a more realistic threat to both Russia and the US, the two countries could be allied again – but I don’t think this is something we should hope for.

    Comment by List of X — December 10, 2016 @ 12:37 am | Reply

    • Didn’t read anything I could disagree with. The fact that Russia had anti-American propaganda is not the point as we have no control over their actions only our own. If someone you know is telling lies about you, do you respond by telling lies about them? Yes, that is one response, but hardly the only one. And, yes, I was simplifying a complex situation, to the point of over simplifying it, but also the parallels between then and now are still fairly strong. BTW that $100 billion dollars was war material and food during the war, no? And that stopped after the war, despite the promise. The Russians used a scorched earth defense which means much of the USSR’s prime agricultural land was burned to provide no support to the invading Germans, which means Russia lost several years of production from its “bread basket,” and as I understand it many people starved after the war.

      That Russia had the goal of organizing a worldwide workers revolution, is also not so relevant as they hadn’t been working on that goal for the previous five years and didn’t have the resources to do much about it for quite some time. We, on the other hand, have the goal of “bringing democracy to the world” which is a shill for “bringing capitalistic democracy to the world” because there is no profit to bringing socialistic democracy to the world, and we have acted and continue to act on that goal.

      And, while Russian oligarchs control their media, our oligarchs control ours (less overtly, but it is still true). We are becoming just like them. Whether the goal for individuals is power or wealth (another form of power, ask the Koch brothers) ordinary people like you and me were taking out place in the sun … and then there was an eclipse, to be followed by a long, long night and we will not see much of the sun again for quite some time.

      Comment by Steve Ruis — December 10, 2016 @ 7:48 am | Reply

  5. Yes, and “The Ruskies Are Coming” is now the poor loser battle cry of the neoliberals and the Obama administration. Pathetic.

    Comment by Zachary Marcus — December 10, 2016 @ 12:05 pm | Reply

    • Agreed! It is not that Russia is spying on us, we are spying on them, too. But making enemies to be able to wield fear to control one’s own population is despicable.

      Happy holidays to you and yours, Zach.

      On Sat, Dec 10, 2016 at 12:05 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

      >

      Comment by Steve Ruis — December 10, 2016 @ 12:32 pm | Reply

      • And to you and yours, Steve!

        Comment by Zachary Marcus — December 10, 2016 @ 12:38 pm | Reply

      • The ‘great white father’ in Washington, now the ‘great black father’ in Washington, has always needed an ‘indian’ to label as the ‘bad guy’ … to avoid scrutiny of unbridled American capitalism/imperialism … full circle to the Russians.

        Comment by Zachary Marcus — December 10, 2016 @ 12:48 pm | Reply


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