Every single prominent politician, conservative and liberal, Republican and Democrat, has denounced the mass murder committed by Dylann Roof. Almost all of them have called it a “hate crime,” but not a terrorist act.
That shows how the term terrorism, itself, is loaded with racial connotations. Only white people can be victims of terrorism, is the not-so-hidden message. And don’t forget, we are carrying out a “war on terrorism”, but no war on racism, no war on “hate crimes.”
The fact that his was an act of terrorism should cause us to think about terrorism in general. Psychologists have tried to study the makeup of terrorists; they seem to have concluded that one of the main requirements for a person to carry out terrorist actions is that they feel that they are part of a larger community. As one psychologist says, they have to feel “part of a collectivist cause.”
This applies to Roof, whose “collective cause” came through his links with the Conservative Citizens Council
(CCC). This group derives from the old White Citizens Councils, the more “respectable” wing of the KKK, and was formed to combat the Civil Rights movement. And “respectable” the CCC certainly is. Among those associated with it are 20 state legislators in Mississippi, a presiding judge on the Mississippi State Supreme Court, one national representative from Mississippi and the Mississippi governor, Haley
Almost all of these are Republicans, but not a single Democrat (including the “socialist” Bernie Sanders) has called them out on this. In other words, the liberals are helping cover up for their partners-in-crime, the conservatives. Why is that?
We can’t put it better than did Otis L. Griffin, a commentator in Facebook. He wrote in part:
“At least I am starting to see the one thing I have rarely seen in when it comes to people and their feelings on things: Honesty…As the economy continues to flounder on its way to collapse, we will see more and more of it…This is probably the only thing good that awaits us in this aspect: some f***ing truth for once…”
What Otis Griffin writes about Roof also applies globally. We see the rise of anti-immigrant groups throughout Western Europe, the Buddhist-led attacks on the Muslim minority in Myanmar, the growing attacks on people of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic. Maybe the most extreme example is the rise of the Islamic State – a fascist group if there ever was one. A person in Iraq explains the threat to that society as well as the rest of the Arab world:
“UNFORTUNATELY, I think we are in a moment of counterrevolution and sectarian conflict.
It is important to remember how we got here. If you take Iraq, for example, it, like the rest of the region, had an Arab Spring. There was an Iraqi Spring with non-sectarian protests and demonstrations. People even occupied their own Tahrir Square in Baghdad for a while.
But the Iraqi state acted very brutally to destroy this movement by dividing it–by
picking off certain elements, by pitting Shia against Sunnis–to the point where the protests were extinguished, the encampments were bulldozed and the activists were killed or imprisoned. From those ashes emerged the latest version of the Iraqi insurgency and ISIS.
So there was a real sense of hope, even in Iraq. But that has been extinguished for now. The states of the region worked every step of the way to try to destroy the uprisings. As a result, I think the scope for hope right now is low.”
He or she (they had to remain anonymous for their safety) also explained that the cause for the defeat was the lack of a clear political program and strategy.
We should draw the lesson here. While the major parts of the US capitalist establishment don’t want the racist pot to boil over, they also want to keep it at a low simmer, to always be ready in case of a real, huge crisis. And when (not “if”) that crisis comes, we will face racist terrorist crimes greater than that of Dylann Roof.