Iran Review – Lebanese political researcher Ali Mourad tells the Tehran Times that the anti-racism protests across the United States show that “American Exceptionalism” has come to an end.
Following the suffocation of George Floyd, a black African-American, at the hands of a white policeman on May 25 in Minneapolis, anti-racism protests have engulfed the United States.
Mourad also says, “We are witnessing an apparent ‘conflict of ideologies and identities’ in American society.”
Following is the text of the interview:
- What are the messages of the recent protests in America against racial discrimination?
Answer: Of what we’ve seen up till now in those protests we can note that the Black struggle against systematic racism in the United States has risen back again, with new means of expression and a broad base of solidarity worldwide, which is more comprehensive than the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. It tells us also that it’s a declaration of the end of the so-called “American Exceptionalism” or what was also named as the “American Melting Pot.” We are witnessing an apparent “Conflict of Ideologies and Identities” in American society.
- Do you think that the Trump administration bears the responsibility for what happened against George Floyd, who was suffocated under the knee of a white police officer, or should we accuse the political structure in America, which is built based on racism?
A: Since he entered the White House, Trump is indeed responsible for inciting the violent actions against people of color in America, looking forward to tightening the loyalty of the electoral base that delivered him into power in 2016. However, I believe he’s not the only one or his party to blame for the Black community grievances. What the African Americans experienced and still inside the United States dates back to 400 years ago. The so-called “Founding Fathers” of the U.S. who wrote the “Declaration of Independence” were racists and owned slaves. Even the third president (Jefferson) writes: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that their Creator endows them with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”. However, he had 600 slaves. He even started raping his slave “Sally Hemings” when she was 14 years old and had six children from her whom he refused to accept them as his children officially. It’s always been a racial system that governed in the United States. Right after Abraham Lincoln freed Blacks they were used to reconstruct the country after the civil war ended, later on, the Blacks were enrolled in the U.S. army so they could fight America’s battles in WWI and WWII and other conflicts. Even today, the majority of U.S. prisoners are black, and they are used under forced labor to manufacture the weapons of major U.S. arms companies.
- Do you think that Trump is trying to militarize response to civil unrest for economic and geopolitical considerations which may enhance the prospects of a civil war in the future?
A: I think Trump wants nothing but re-elected again, so he’s reading from Richard Nixon’s book. The latter used the “Law & Order” speech to win the votes of the white population in the southern states, who were upset with the massive protests of the black community in spring 1968 after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. By then, the Republicans had what they called “The Southern Strategy” that aimed to flip the white conservative political views in the southern states from Democrats to Republicans, by adopting a militarist fear-mongering speech from the black community so they would attract them. It worked for the Republicans, and since the early 1970s, all Republican presidential candidates used the same strategy, and Trump is using it today. So yes, Trump is somehow trying to make use of the protests by showing that it’s a rebellion of the blacks against the system “that is owned and run by the white people.”
- What is the secret behind some Arab countries’ silence on recent events in the U.S. and the Saudi media attack on all those who support the protests and criticize Trump’s racism?
A: Most of the Arab regimes are very careful when it comes to Trump. They don’t want to upset him because they fear his reaction. As for Saudi Arabia, you can easily realize how nervous Riyadh was during those protests. In general, Saudi doesn’t believe in the right to protest, what if it was a protest against the protector of MBS? So yes, the Saudi media was doing the job that no U.S. media outlet dares to do, trying to alienate the protests and even accuse the protestors of being run by outsiders! MBS (Muhammad Bin Salman) and some other heads of Arab sheikhdoms believe their destiny is linked with Trump’s, that’s why they’re defending him.
- How do the American protests affect the upcoming presidential elections?
A: It’s still early to evaluate the outcomes of the protests, but I think what matters to the un-politically affiliated “silent majority” is the economy, more than the racial issue. That’s America, and it will always be so. Between 1970 and 2020, African Americans conducted tens of significant protests and uprisings all over America, but little was achieved concerning gaining their full civil and economic rights. Trump is acting in a way that’s clear he doesn’t care if he lost the vote of the little margin the voters of color. He is trying to focus on his “successful” economic performance to gain some points for his polls.
- The U.S. is using methods of violence against domestic protests, a practice it has repeatedly used in its imperial adventures abroad. How does it show the brutality of capitalism against suppressed people?
A: There is news that some major U.S. arms companies are about to sell police departments and law enforcement military tools and weapons, so that be used against U.S. citizens. Trump is pushing forward, so this happens when he says, “I’ll support and fund the law enforcement.” I think it’s a moment where we realize the deep quagmire America is facing: Washington is not capable anymore of starting a new war that they guarantee a victory in it after their defeat in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, etc. And since arms companies need to sell their products, it seems Washington has no problem to pour those weapons inside the country. With the U.S. 2nd amendment being guarded by white supremacy and arms companies’ lobbyists, America would be heading towards a second civil war in the future so that the capitalist corporate industrial complex gains more money. They did it to the oppressed people all over the world; now, they might be doing it against the minorities or even themselves inside America. That’s what you call: “Greed Capitalist Ideology.”