In the Wake of the Outrage in San Bernardino

December 14, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


NO More Unjust War! NO Pogroms, Paranoia & Persecution!

The murders of 14 people at a holiday social event for environmental health inspectors in San Bernardino, California, and the injuries to 21 more, are a terrible outrage. The victims were men and women, with a wide range of backgrounds, interests, outlooks, and of many different nationalities, including people who immigrated to the U.S. from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. There can be no justification for targeting these people. Their deaths, whatever the motives behind the killing, are a vicious crime and a painful tragedy.

At the same time, the powers that be and their politicians and media have seized on this terrible incident to train people to see the world through a grotesquely warped lens: The killings in San Bernardino are being used to enlist people behind an agenda that will escalate the cycle of death and terror in the world. In the name of “safety,” people are being whipped up with xenophobia (irrational fear and hatred of “outsiders,” including people from other countries) aimed especially at Muslims, with paranoia, and with a program of repression and war that actually makes people here and around the world much less safe.

How People Are Being Trained to Think (or... NOT to Think)

Despite a blizzard of speculation and pronouncements by not just certified fascist liars like Donald Trump and Fox “News,” but the whole ruling class media machinery, right now the actual motives and connections of the people who carried out this murderous rampage cannot be determined by what has been revealed publicly. The suspects’ apartment was not secured by law enforcement authorities, but instead opened up to reporters who trampled the entire scene and corrupted evidence, while posting inflammatory photos and personal information like the driver’s license of a relative of the suspects. A deleted Facebook page that nobody can see, which was reportedly posted in a name other than that of either suspect, is being cited as “evidence” of motive. And routine activity related to the suspects’ Muslim faith is being portrayed as inherently suspicious, intensifying a climate where any Muslim person in this country feels—understandably—under siege.

Contrast this to how the murderous attack on the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado on November 27 has been treated by the media and prominent ruling class political figures. In the attack on Planned Parenthood, the suspected murderer has a public history of connections to Christian fundamentalists and attacks on abortion clinics. And he was reported by a cop to have said “no more baby parts” after his arrest—invoking a slanderous and inflammatory doctored video falsely portraying Planned Parenthood as selling baby parts. Yet the powers that be have been much quicker to draw much broader conclusions about the motives and connections involved in the San Bernardino killings, based on much less actual evidence.

Whatever the facts behind this crime turn out to be (if they are ever really brought to light), the media and major ruling class representatives are using the atmosphere they are creating in the wake of it to enlist people blindly behind vicious repression and persecution of Muslims. And all major ruling class forces are seizing on this incident to line people blindly behind the U.S. empire in the global clash between Jihad and the West. This is a conflict that is bringing death by drones, beheadings, torture, assassinations, invasions, and massacres to a wide swath of the world on a daily basis.

This global dynamic is best understood and explained in the following quote from Bob Avakian that speaks to “outmoded” strata—who represent systems that oppress humanity—in different forms:

What we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these “outmodeds,” you end up strengthening both.

While this is a very important formulation and is crucial to understanding much of the dynamics driving things in the world in this period, at the same time we do have to be clear about which of these “historically outmodeds” has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat to humanity: It is the “historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system,” and in particular the U.S. imperialists...

It is interesting, I recently heard about a comment that someone made relating to this, which I do think is correct and getting at something important. In relation to these “two historically outmodeds,” they made the point: “You could say that the Islamic fundamentalist forces in the world would be largely dormant if it weren’t for what the U.S. and its allies have done and are doing in the world—but you cannot say the opposite.” There is profound truth captured in that statement.

(From Bringing Forward Another Way, 2007)

Interests of the Ruling Class vs. the Interests of Humanity

Within all this, different sections of the U.S. ruling class and their political representatives are spinning this incident in their own interests and with conflicting agendas. But while there are sharp differences within the ruling class right now, they are over how―not whether or not―to maintain the U.S. empire of exploitation and oppression, and how to enforce their rule in the “homeland.” None of them even claim to represent the interests of humanity. Read more


Trump Is a Fascist: So Why Is He the Only Thing on TV?

Whether hyping him on right-wing talk radio, gushing over him on Fox, “grilling” him on CNN and MSNBC, or laughing with him on SNL, the whole spectrum of the ruling class media has given a fascist demagogue the stage to set the agenda for election 2016. He is doing well in the polls mainly because he is being pumped out in the way he is. Whatever combination of factors account for Trump being on TV all the time, the essential one is that the extreme fascist rhetoric and solutions he is spewing out speak to the needs of a system of global exploitation and oppression that confronts extreme challenges.

Read more

From a reader:

Gun Violence: As American as Apple Pie

Americans shoot each other far more than in any other “advanced” country. To really understand this, you can’t just look at the question of guns; you have to look more deeply at the character of the society that is shaping the people who are turning those guns on each other.

Read more

The U.S. in the Middle East, 1948-2015: Murder, Inc

In the period from 1948 to the present day, the US and its allies have been responsible for the deaths of millions of people in the Middle East and neighboring regions. Here are just a few examples...

Read more

Afghan villagers gather near a house destroyed in a U.S. raid, June 2012. Photo: AP

Download a PDF for this two-sided palm card here

Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.