Remarks by journalist and political analyst Caleb T. Maupin at the Third International New Horizon Conference in Tehran on October 29, 2015.
It is not enough to be against racism, or to say you are against racism. Token anti-racist statements are everywhere in US society. Though Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot down and killed for his brave and dedicated work, after his death he has been reduced to a harmless patriotic icon. Even though the FBI worked to destroy him, schoolchildren across the US are taught that King’s life is proof that the United States is “the greatest nation on earth.”
The truth, and most people here are already aware, is that the United States is not a nation. The US is a country and within its borders are both oppressed and oppressor nations. African Americans, brought to the country as slaves, constitute an oppressed nation within US borders.
A lot of people in the United States say they are revolutionaries these days. Figures like Bernie Sanders show that radical-sounding words have become rather trendy. I say that you are not a revolutionary unless you recognize that Black people constitute a nation, and as a nation, have the right to self-determination, to choose separation or integration for themselves.
Trouble in “The Real America”
Every time I come to this part of the world, I meet so many young people who have a completely delusional portrait of the United States. What young Iranians see on satellite television — this portrait of the United States as a kind of rich paradise — this image is not real. If you watch US media, 90 percent of the time you are seeing southern California or New York City. The United States is far bigger than that.
In the heartland of the United States, what Sarah Palin demagogically called “the real America,” there are millions of young people who are very unhappy. The US economy has been wrecked by deindustrialization. The steel mills, auto plants, and good-paying industrial jobs have been eliminated. The public sector jobs in teaching, libraries, and post offices have also been eliminated. Millions of young Americans are stuck in low-wage, short-term service-sector jobs, making a mere fraction of what their parents had in the much heralded “American middle class.”
Young Americans watch the same garbage propaganda as is broadcast into Iran. They see how Kim Kardashian, the Real Housewives of New Jersey, and other wealthy people on American television live, and they contrast it to their own lives. The rates of suicide, mental illness, and drug addiction among young Americans are rising. They have been told all their lives that “you are worthless unless you are rich,” and they now look into the future, realizing that they are likely to spend their lives far poorer than previous generations.
US society, born in racism, slavery, and the slaughter of indigenous people, is now entering a deep political and economic crisis. What’s true is not always obvious — but in some cases it is. The US, in which there is another mass shooting every time you turn around, is not a healthy, moral society. It is not a model that any country should aspire to be like.
The Unfinished Revolution
The most hopeful period in the history of the United States was the direct aftermath of the Civil War. The Civil War was really the Second American Revolution. Abraham Lincoln led a beautiful coalition. It included Christian abolitionists, labor unionists, industrial capitalists, and most importantly, the enslaved African people.
When the war broke out, slaves throughout the south stopped working, in what constituted a mass general strike. Harriet Tubman became the first woman to lead US soldiers into battle, and she organized guerrilla bands, freeing slaves along the Combahee River in South Carolina.
The slaveocracy, aligned with the British Empire, was also supported by the Wall Street financial elite. They saw cotton exports from slave plantations as a way to make profits. But Wall Street, the British Empire, and the slave-owning aristocracy was defeated. They were defeated by an amazing alliance.
The Republican Party of the 1860s, far different than today, was a revolutionary party. It took its name from the French Revolution. It represented the small farmers, the African Americans, and the labor unions. For a brief period after the war, there was even talk of redistributing the land of slave owners.
Calling themselves the “Populists,” the small farmers and free Blacks called for public control of railroads and guaranteed education for all, along with the overthrow of those they called “the monopolists”: the wealthy bankers that had so much power.
The progressive coalition that came out of the Civil War was broken apart by Wall Street. What did they use to destroy this progressive, anti-capitalist mass movement? Racism.
The Ku Klux Klan began to use terrorist tactics, very similar to those currently used by the Israeli settlers, to violently force free Blacks out of the political process. US troops were pulled out of the south and handed it back to the racists.
The Low-Wage Police State
Since that time, the white people of the United States have made a deal with Satan. As the big bankers have plundered the world, and used bombs, sanctions, and cruise missiles to beat down those who would assert their independence, we went along with it, we waved the flag. We were loyal and obedient, and in exchange we got houses, cars, and TV sets. We were taught to identify with Wall Street, and look down on the people of the world — and the Black and Brown people within the United States.
But the devil does not keep his promises. The “middle class” — the bribe given to white Americans to buy their obedience — is being gradually eliminated. The standard of living in the United States is rapidly dropping. The civil liberties so often bragged about by US leaders are being stripped away. The US is rapidly transitioning to a low-wage police state.
The US economy has become centered on destruction. Prisons for profit, police on every corner, empty foreclosed homes, gentrification, rampant military aggression — war, war, war across the world.
As we face the ruins of US society, now it is time for white people to change the way we see ourselves. The satanic cabal of wealthy billionaires that has committed so many crimes around the world is our enemy. We must become friends with the people of Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, China, Palestine, and Yemen.
A new revolutionary coalition must be forged. An alliance of those within US borders who reject the rule of the globalist bankers can function as the US division of the emerging worldwide axis of resistance.
Every day the US government provides $18 million to the Israelis, as they escalate their genocidal crimes and provocations. A mass people’s movement could demand that this money instead be spent on providing healthcare, jobs, and education to the next generation of people in the United States.
Thousands of US troops are stationed in military bases throughout this region. A mass peoples’ movement could demand that these troops be brought home, and put to work restoring the crumbling roads and bridges throughout the United States.
The Task of Revolutionaries in the United States
The United States is currently facing very hard times, but as has often been said, “hard times are fighting times.” The moment is approaching when a real people’s movement against the racist Wall Street financial elites — their wars, their racism, their police state, and their global system of usury and poverty — can broadly expand within US society.
Such a people’s movement will require solid unity of diverse political forces, concrete practical demands, and a clear vision of an entirely new society in North America.
Often in the United States, we are told that people who fight for their independence around the world are terrorists. If you want to know what terrorism is really about, go see the next Hollywood superhero movie. In this most American genre of films, we see a young white man who thinks the police aren’t doing enough, so he puts on a cap and mask, and engages in isolated acts of violence. This is the Ku Klux Klan.
When Supreme Leader Khamenei says that ISIS and the police of the United States are the same, he is pointing to the fact that they utilized isolated acts of very publicized brutal violence in order to terrify a population. The Israeli settlers are doing the same thing.
Revolutionaries are not terrorists. They don’t seek to terrify people and make them feel powerless. Great revolutionary leaders like Imam Khomeni, Malcolm X, and Eugene Debs are great not because of isolated acts they do themselves, but because they empower other people, pushing them ahead to achieve things they never even thought they were capable of doing.
We are entering a period of great potential for those in the US who are willing to fight for justice and equality. This conference is part of strategizing and building for the important struggles ahead.