America was founded on the culture of violence, that cannot be dissociated from racism. "A rare country that has been at war almost every year since the first day of its founding," says Chomsky in an exclusive interview with Edu Montesanti
U.S. fiercest wars historically start on the local society. Especially Indians and Blacks. Bloody wars that neither History books nor the media are used to telling the public. But they are previous to the foundation of the United States of America: the North American genocide dates back to the days of the Thirteen British Colonies.
According to the world-renowned analyst, anti-war activist, and political dissident Noam Chomsky, in an exclusive interview with this report, the so-called American exceptionalism is deep-rooted on national culture, which explains the violence and racism that exceed more and more in America.
"U.S. exceptionalism cannot fail to leave its impact on American culture," observes the American sociologist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and "the father of modern linguistics."
In the United States of America, the Poor and Blacks are the enemies to be fought. As for Indians, there are barely mentioned even as victims as there is almost nothing left of them in the "Land of Equal Men."
"Genocide of Native Americans, enslavement and brutalization of millions of people of African ancestry, exploitation of hundreds of millions of workers of all races and ethnicities, discrimination against women and non-whites of all genders notwithstanding, Americans have clung doggedly to the belief that our society is 'exceptional'," points out to this report the American historian Peter Kuznick.
"Americans have always prided themselves on being 'exceptional'," he says.
Exporting Discrimination and Violence to 'Vassal' States
Institutionalized discrimination and violence, a "policy" exported to U.S. "satellite" states especially its "backyard," that is, Latin America. Welcomed by the local elites. Historical Uncle Sam's puppets.
Such Washington regime crumb pickers, in exchange for U.S. vassal "policy" to the region, directly export drugs to the most addicted society in the world - Americans. The world's more profitable business, among other favors.
Jeanine Añez, Bolivia's current nightmare, a white and blond de facto president of a historical narco-State - in close partnership with the C.I.A. and D.E.A. - who has substituted the first indigenous president in the Bolivian history in a U.S.-funded coup last November just to throw the South American nation back into the trash, is the ultimate example of that. Where deep discrimination and violence are the Bolivian day order, again.
Not to mention Brazil's neo-Nazi beast Jair Bolsonaro.
An Old Movie Made in U.S.A.
From atrocity to atrocity, the U.S. culture of violence in the face of the shameful conniving silence of world "democratic authorities": the decadent heads of state of the great powers, and human rights organizations.
Lately, related to the brutal murder of the black citizen George Floyd by four white police officers in Minneapolis (Minnesota), on May 25, and the police repression against peaceful protesters that have engulfed the U.S. Structural racism, institutionalized violence, thunderous connivent silence. An old movie made in U.S.A.
"When all of humanity can look at this video and say, 'That's disgusting, that's unacceptable,' and yet somehow we have four officers in the video, who - three of whom sat there and either helped hold Mr. Floyd down or stood guard over the scene while it happened, that is an incredible insult to humanity," Melvin Carter, the mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota, told The New York Times.
"When you have four officers in the video all responsible for the taking of George Floyd's life, it points to a culture of normalized, a culture that's accepted," said Mayor Carter, whose father is a retired St. Paul police officer, rejecting the notion that Floyd's death was an isolated incident or the work of one rogue officer.
Kuznick observes that even before what he calls "the sickeningly callous police execution of George Floyd in broad daylight, in front of a crowd of frantic onlookers," American society was a tinderbox ready to explode.
"Well over 100,000 people had already died from Covid-19. More than 40 million had lost their jobs in recent weeks. Desperation and frustration were building. And then the events in Minneapolis lit the flame and Donald Trump, with his inane calls for violence and law and order, poured gasoline on the fire," regrets the head of Nuclear Studies at the American University in Washington D.C.
The pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus has been a catastrophe to African-Americans. Blacks are much more likely than whites to have no health insurance: 12.2% uninsured against 7.8% in 2018. Most of all because they have more of the chronic health problems that make people vulnerable to the disease.
A recent Health Affairs study has found that black patients were hospitalized at nearly three times the rate of white and Hispanic patients. In New York City alone, the coronavirus is killing black and Latino people at twice the rate that it is killing white people, according to data released by the city in April.
"One in five Americans interacts with law enforcement yearly. Of those encounters, one million result in use of force. And if you're Black, you are two-four times more likely to have force used than if you are White," says a Center for Policing Equity study.
Though Blacks constitute six percent of the U.S. adult population, they are approximately 35 percent of the prison population and Black male defendants in federal criminal cases receive much longer prison sentences than white men do, according to a 2014 University of Michigan Law School study titled Racial Disparity in Federal Criminal Sentences.
According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), black people in the U.S. are:
A 2019 Pew Research study found that:
All this, as U.S. police continue to fiercely quell protesters across the country: since Floyd's killing in police custody two months ago, peaceful protesters have been severely wounded, unjustifiably arrested, and killed. Also, an old authoritarian movement by American State forces.
In the interview with this report, Chomsky points out the "exceptionalism" as a U.S. society hallmark that created and aggravates such a vicious circle of racism and violence across the North-American country.
"Though free and progressive in many ways, American culture and society have not erased these deep stains, as is all too obvious in international behavior and domestic affairs," says the major figure in analytic philosophy in the world's history.
"This is not, of course, the way US history and society have been depicted in the educational system, media, and cultural institutions," states the Laureate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Arizona in Tucson city, where he lives with his Brazilian wife Valeria, thus contradicting the myth of the U.S. as a country founded on the principles of liberty and justice for all.
"Though there have been important moves towards recognition of reality, largely traceable to the civilizing impact of 1960s activism and its aftermath," adds Chomsky.
"The American people are taught that the U.S. is exceptional from the time they can first walk and talk," observes Kuznick.
"They learn it in their schools. They see it on television and in the movies. It goes unquestioned in American political discourse. It blinds them from seeing the world the way other citizens of planet Earth do," adds the historian, who co-authored with filmmaker Oliver Stone the book The Untold History of the United States, and co-leads the Covid-19 Global Solidarity Coalition.
Kuznick points out, too, to the desensitization towards other peoples that the notion of being "exceptional" cause in American society.
"The fact, for example, that the U.S. is bombing at least seven Muslim-majority countries barely causes a stir. The fact that the U.S. has an empire of approximately 800 overseas military bases whereas the rest of the world combined, friends and foes alike have fewer than 100 by the most expansive definition, is not questioned," regrets one of the world's most renowned historians.
The historian based in Bethesda, Maryland, traces to about 400 years back to explain the American "exceptionalism" origins:
"We first saw this with John Winthrop's sermon on board the Arbella in Massachusetts Bay in 1630, when he told the soon-to-be settlers that they would be like a 'city upon a hill', and their example would lead the Christian world to salvation."
The researcher at the American University observes that the American "exceptionalism" expresses itself in the notion that the United States is not only different than other nations: "It is better than other nations."
"Whereas other countries are motivated by greed, or territorial aggrandizement, or geopolitical domination, the U.S., they believe, is benevolent and altruistic and just wants to spread freedom and democracy," adds Kuznick, pointing out, too, that this view has prevailed for centuries "but it gained even more adherents during the Cold War and in the years since," concludes the researcher.
The American education, to Chomsky's mind, is a part of what is "destroying [U.S.] society in a lot of ways," he said in a 2013 interview with Truth Out's Daniel Falcone.
"Schools are designed to teach the test. You don't have to worry about students thinking for themselves, challenging, raising questions," observed the author of more than a hundred books. "A way of turning the population into a bunch of imbeciles."
In relation to the sufferings of the African-Americans, as well as the genocide of Native Americans, Chomsky also pointed out what he calls "Intentional ignorance" in order to avoid "inconvenient truths," in a 2015 interview granted to The New York Times' George Yancy.
Chomsky, in that interview with Yancy, pointed out that in 1629 the Massachusetts Bay Colony practiced the first case of "humanitarian intervention" in the world, declaring that conversion of the Indians to Christianity was "the principal end of this plantation."
Religion would be used, since then, as a tool to manipulate the public opinion, and a justification to export U.S. imperialism from the 19th century to date.
William Branham (1909-1965), a protestant theologist who inspired "Wartime President" George W.Bush - as he called himself -, was the idealist of U.S. imposition of its values all over the world "by the power of the sword," to save the planet from the evil with the American Way of Life. It is the base of U.S. "exceptionalism."
Ku Klux Klan is also based on religion - evangelical premises - to perform its "Christian terrorism" especially against Blacks.
In Chomsky's interview with this report, he points out that the American Revolution was a resource that the colonists found to fight the British, who had barred their invasion of "Indian country."
The British government was trying to establish an Indian barrier state in the portion of the reserve west of the Appalachian mountains, homelands of the many native nations.
"The colonists wanted to conquer and settle those territories, as did major land speculators like George Washington," says Chomsky.
"As soon as the British barrier was removed, the invasions began, pretty much wars of extermination as the leadership recognized," observes the analyst, adding that those wars persisted through the 19th century, and beyond.
"And along the way, the US conquered half of Mexico. It goes on from there with hardly a break. Laments about Washington's 'endless wars' in this millennium are somewhat misleading."
'Slavery by Another Name'
Peter Kuznick traces back to the British Colonies in America to explain racism, and the resulting violence against Black, "since the first slaves were brought to America."
"One can even trace the American slave trade back further to Columbus and the origins of the brutal European conquest of the Americas."
Noam Chomsky reminds the US instituted the most vicious system of slavery in human history. "It was, crucially, race-based slavery, unlike most others, so the mark of slavery persists."
The 1787 U.S. Declaration of Independence's message of equality "among men (...), with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," are set of dead letters that has been used as a radical ideological denial of its racial structures. One of several American myths. In this case, a "Free America (sand) base. A fact that is clearly seen through racist police violence - racism inherent in the institution of U.S. policing.
A bitter irony related to the Declaration is that it directly protected slavery, prohibiting the abolition of the slave trade before 1808.
"Formally, slavery ended after the civil war, and indeed Blacks had a decade of freedom, which they used very effectively," the Professor of Linguistics points out, to just reminds that the short period of black hope in America soon "ended with a North-South compact in 1877, which allowed the former slave states to do as they wished."
Chomsky tells this report that what the American elites did, was introduce "slavery by another name."
"The device was to criminalize black life. The incarcerated black population became a wonderful workforce for agribusiness and the industrial revolution in the South - no worries about discipline, wages, workers' rights. The chain gangs are a familiar symbol."
"That lasted pretty much until World War II, along with severe discrimination in the North. Then followed a period of formal freedom," tells Chomsky. In the post-World War II, the world needed free labor for the war industry, which favored Blacks.
But that freedom was very limited according to the analyst. "For example, Federal Housing and support for higher education were denied to Blacks."
Chomsky adds: "By 1980, with Reagan, a new program of criminalization began, reaching to the present."
According to a 2018 US Census Bureau study, revised June 2020, the 2018 real median income of non-Hispanic White households was $70,642, as Black households reached $41,361 (page 4).
As the poverty rate for non-Hispanic Whites, the study concluded, was 8.1 percent in 2018, the poverty rate for Blacks was 20.8 percent in 2018 (page 20).
A 2019 Pew Research Center study found more than eight in 10 black adults say the legacy of slavery still affects black Americans' position today. Half say it is unlikely America will ever see true racial equality.
War on Poverty
Discrimination against black people is strongly fed by the ruling classes, in order to use the social "surplus", through the mass of unemployed people, as a cheap workforce.
That is nothing more than the perverse logic of the capitalist system developed, especially, from the Industrial Revolution that that peaked in the first half of the 19th century.
In the collective imagination it is the well-known "social sanitation," a public cleaning in order to separate useful people from the exceeding ones, something inherent to capitalism is justified on those considered "second-class citizens." (In many Latin American countries, such as Bolivia and Brazil, "animals").
It is worth noting, too, that the capitalist system, especially its empires, needs enemies to justify hardline policies and war, inside the respective nations and abroad.
Criminalizing poverty is the soul of the business, of course. Poverty whose icon is Blacks themselves. Indians, icons of an uncivilized world.
The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, and crimes such as in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2003 and the outnumbered killing of innocents in Afghanistan by the U.S. military, among many others in history are undoubtedly a byproduct of US self-thought "exceptionalism."
As well as are natural consequences of the American "exceptional" race the Manifest Destiny, which paves the way for wars of "extermination" as its most prominent figures recognized, notably its architect John Quincy Adams (Chomsky, "Worship of Markets" Is Threatening Human Civilization, Truth Out's C.J. Polychroniou, 2019); and the Monroe Doctrine, a declaration of hegemony and a right of unilateral intervention over the Americas according to Chomsky, followed by President Theodore Roosevelt's Big Stick "policy" which has allowed the U.S. to militarily invade Latin American countries 47 times between 1846 and 2000, from the invasion of Mexico to the intervention in Colombia.
"The United States is a rare country that has been at war almost every year since the first day of its founding," points out to this report Noam Chomsky to this report, "arguably the most important intellectual alive today," according to The New York Times.
Given the domestic violence stimulated by the media allied to "hawks" of both parties under the American bipartisan dictatorship, high-echelon politicians' terrifying truculence and authoritarian foreign policy practices imposing their interests through the unlimited use of force all over the world, a natural consequence is that the American police and society, in general, could not be anything different than the world more and more dramatically watches: endless shootings and a historical, institutionalized genocide against non-white people inside the "Land of Free".
'Gangster in the White House'
While the mostly peaceful protests across America following the murder of Floyd, strongly repressed by police officers and the military under an infuriated Donald Trump, have been the most meaningful since the 1968 popular unrest after Martin Luther King Jr. assassination, they raise two fundamental questions in this U.S. historical period:
How could the current popular pressure really transform the American culture of violence and racism;
And, in the short run, can the protests weaken President Trump especially to the coming presidential elections in November, a self-declared racist, and an exceeding elitist president who dares to act unlimited above law?
According to Chomsky in a recent interview with Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman, "sociopath" President Trump behaves like an autocrat and dictator.
"Gangster in the White House," spoke out to Amy the analyst who has become "one of the 10 most quoted sources in the humanities - along with Shakespeare and the Bible" according to The Guardian.
Gangster-in-chief that has fueled the flames of national fire that followed Floyd's assassination.
Winds of Change?
"The winds are blowing; the great change is going to come" (John Lewis)
"No justice, no peace" and "We need justice, we need love" mostly peaceful protesters have been shouted on the streets across the United States since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis.
Eric Wood told the BBC: "I'm here because I really couldn't afford not to be here. Racism has long been a part of the US."
Crystal Ballinger, 46, said she felt hopeful about the movement this time. "I feel something different about this protest... I'm hopeful that the message of solidarity and equality is getting out."
While Donald Trump and Fox News choir about what they see as "a left conspiracy." To be harshly repressed, which has actually happened. The U.S. president and the far-right American TV net are justifying repression especially on the leftist Antifa movement's practices of violence.
Questioned by this report whether he believes that the current protests are really about police violence against African Americans, the C.I.A. whistleblower John Kiriakou firmly believes so.
"The police do not view black lives as worth as much as whites. The police use illegal, fascist tactics and kill black people all the time with impunity. It has to stop," observes the whistleblower, largely awarded in the U.S. for brave activism as an intelligence officer for transparency, justice, and democracy.
Asked about Antifa, Kiriakou says that he does not think there is any such thing as Antifa. "It's just a group of individuals with no leadership, not structure, and no ideology. It's the right that has turned it into a big deal."
Directly involved in the conversation with this report, Kuznick agrees with Kiriakou. "Trump and the right-wingers have concocted Antifa to raise fears of anarchy in order to justify repression. What has been occurring here [protests] is remarkably positive. People cannot be fooled by right-wing media."
"Donald Trump, as an unrepentant bigot and would-be tough guy, has done everything he can to sow divisions in society along racial lines and to exploit this current crisis to help his reelection chances," says the worldwide renowned American historian.
Asked if the current uprising throughout the U.S. is going to weaken Donald Trump to November presidential election, Chomsky says that he hopes so, but it is not obvious:
"He may in fact use the current protests over the police murder of George Floyd to his advantage, playing the law-and-order card that is second nature to brutal authoritarians," says the intellectual.
"He retains the support of his primary constituency, extreme wealth and corporate power, whom he has served loyally. Also the support of a huge voting bloc of Evangelical Christians, along with relatively affluent rural and suburban whites, white supremacists, and some other sectors whom he has handled with the brilliance of a skilled confidence man - stabbing them in the back with his legislative programs while presenting himself as their loving savior."
Kuznick firmly believes that the protests are very promising, especially because America is now witnessing more white activism than we've seen in decades:
"One of the things I like most about it is the large number of whites who are participating. That reminds me of the best days of the Civil Rights Movement, which was very much an interracial movement."
Chomsky agrees to Kuznick, especially comparing the current uprisings to Los Angeles protests in 1992 after Rodney King, a black citizen, had been beaten by white police officers:
"The reaction this time is very different. That reflects the growing awareness of the racist pathology among at least parts of the population. We actually see some small seeds of the solution in the reaction to the brutal Floyd murder," says the world's most famous anti-war activist."
"There is a long way to go, but the core challenge is to continue and escalate this process - while fending off the inevitable efforts of Trump and his associates to restore an even harsher version of what came before," concludes Noam Chomsky.
A long way toward paying the big U.S. debt with black people. After all, there cannot exist democracy in a country that does not face racism, police violence, and a biased Judicial system.
And beyond the racial issue, there are at stake the too very serious social and economic problems of the U.S. Problems that the American bipartisan dictatorship has historically refused to face.
Photo: Por Vasanth Rajkumar - Obra do próprio, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=90977292