Black Lives Matter is the internal enemy while China is considered the most dangerous foe to U.S. hegemony.
“Anti-China and anti-Black racism are intimately connected.”
The following remarks were given at Stand Up to Racism’s International Conference on October 17th entitled “Black Lives Matter Vs Trump: A Decisive Moment in the International Anti-Racist Movement.”
The instability of Trump’s presidency and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement have upset the U.S. power structure. White supremacist groups such as the Proud Boys and the Boogaloo Movement have increased in number and visibility to protect the right of white America to the historic spoils of stolen land and stolen labor. These groups have found their Great White Hope in Donald Trump and his many appeals to keep them safe from Black Americans, immigrants, and oppressed nations all over the world. Equally troubling has been massive counterinsurgency campaign to smother the movement against racism in its crib.
The U.S. crusade against Black Lives Matter is enabled by the very forces supposedly monitoring white nationalist groups and organizations in the United States. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been praised for protecting Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer from a white terrorist plot. Yet the FBI was a leading force in the repression of Black Freedom fighters such as Marcus Garvey and Claudia Jones as well as Black Freedom organizations such as the Black Panther Party. Beginning in 2014, the FBI monitored activists in Ferguson and would later target them as “Black Identity Extremists.” Fertile ground was thus laid for a surge in white nationalism embodied by Donald Trump.
The enablers of white nationalism are numerous within the halls of power. Police officers are top recruits of white nationalist organizations. The U.S. military has stoked Trump’s anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant racism by destabilizing the planet with endless war. Trump is a member of the same class of corporate thieves that called Black Americans “mud people” as they were sold “ghetto loans” in the lead up to the economic collapse in 2008. Trump’s “shithole country” comment was made possible by the West’s continued neocolonial plunder of Africa.
Racism is a necessary precondition for keeping the U.S. at the top of a global capitalist order built on centuries of colonialism, slavery, and genocide. Activists from around the world expressed solidarity with Black Lives Matter for this reason. The keyword here is global. Racism is a global ideology and a global system of oppression. A massive wave of anti-China sentiment has swept across the U.S. and its allies to expose both the global character of racism and the dire need for international solidarity.
Anti-China and anti-Asian racism are nothing new. The brutal U.S. invasion of the Philippines, the U.S.’ internment of Japanese residents during World War II, and the genocidal wars in Korea and Vietnam all possessed racist justifications. Anti-China racism intensified in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic as the U.S. and its allies moved swiftly to blame their ills on China.
Trump has repeatedly called COVID-19 the “China virus” to cover up his role in the deaths of over 200,000 people. Sanctions have been leveled against Chinese officials and tech companies. Chinese college students have been targeted as potential communist insurgents and forced to transfer from school or return to China. The U.S. military’s “Pivot to Asia” has accelerated under Trump. His administration is now trying to rally Japan, India, and other countries in the region to join the military encirclement of China. These are just some of the policies that have soured U.S.-China relations and threatened the safety of Chinese and Asian American communities living in the United States.
“Racism is a global ideology and a global system of oppression.”
Anti-China and anti-Black racism are intimately connected. The same U.S. political and economic elite waging a multifaceted assault on Black Lives Matter has blamed China for everything from the pandemic to the global economic crisis. Black Lives Matter is the internal enemy while China is considered the most dangerous foe to U.S. hegemony. A similar dynamic occurred during the first Cold War. The U.S. desperately wanted to hide its Jim Crow terrorism from international eyes yet relied upon white supremacist organizations such as the John Birch Society to demonize the Black Freedom movement as a Soviet plot.
Racism is just as antithetical to human progress now as it was then. Police accountability is antagonistic to the interests of the wealthy who see the police as their loyal protectors. China’s enormous economy and global leadership on the problems of poverty, climate change, and COVID-19 threatens the interests of a society dependent upon military force to maintain superpower status.
“Say Their Name” has become an increasingly popular means of reinforcing the humanity of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the many Black Americans killed by the police each year in the United States. Let Black Lives Matter be the first step in building a global movement that says racism’s name and fights it with solidarity. Racism lies at the roots of two of the biggest questions confronting humanity: whether to support Black Lives Matter and oppose U.S.-led escalations toward China that have deepened anti-China antipathy. The answer appears easy, but the path forward is difficult. Full solidarity must be given to Black Lives Matter. Anti-China racism must be rejected without hesitation. How we express and act on these principles should be the only thing up for debate.
Danny Haiphong is co-coordinator of the Black Alliance for Peace Supporter Network and organizer with No Cold War. He and Roberto Sirvent are co-authors of the book entitled American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News–From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror (Skyhorse Publishing). His articles are re-published widely as well as on Patreon at at patreon.com/dannyhaiphong. He is also the co-host with BAR Editor Margaret Kimberley of the Youtube show BAR Presents: The Left Lens and can be reached on Twitter @spiritofho, and email at firstname.lastname@example.org .