Wednesday, June 25, 2008

TONIGHT ON THE TERRORDOME: Michael Parenti on Slavery, Imperialism and Racial Supremacy
















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The slave holocaust and imperialism were two the greatest crimes of history, both of which were inflicted by the Euro-American empire on the civilisations of Africa. Over the course of three centuries, enslavement depopulated the continent of close to 50 million people, according to historian G. Stavrianos in his book Global Rift.

When that horror finally ended,
Europe began part 2: military occupation and colonization to exploit the vast natural and mineral resources of the richest continent on the planet. The Germans committed genocide against the Herero nation of Namibia, killing three-quarters of them.

In Congo alone, the Belgians murdered between 8 and 10 million people to extract rubber, and in the course of their slaughters formed miniature mountains of human hands from their amputated victims. As wars for independence proceeded and achieved state power, European and American governments guaranteed instability by fomenting coups and commissioning assassinations, as with the White House-ordered murder of Patrice Lumumba, Congo’s first prime minister.

To this day, that country suffers under the weight of centuries of exploitation, a civil war inspired by planetary scramble for Congo’s resources, including the world’s largest supply of coltan, a mineral used in almost all DVD players, cell phones and computers. That civil war has killed more than 5 million people.

So how is it that so much blood can be spilled for coltan, for rubber, for diamonds and more? The profit is obvious. What is sometimes less obvious is whose blood is being spilled. To address that, tonight we’ll hear from Michael Parenti, a tireless activist-academic whose work focuses on the abuse and exploitation of the many for the profits of the few.

Michael Parenti has taught at many colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. He is a celebrated lecturer whose humour and anecdotes have delighted audiences across the world, in person and via broadcast. Over 250 of his articles have appeared in scholarly journals, political periodicals and popular magazines and newspapers. Michael Parenti is author of seventeen books on the power of media, political elites and the wealthy. His writings have been translated into 17 languages including Bangla, Chinese, Greek, Korean, Farsi, Polish, Serbian, and Turkish. His books include:

The Terrorism Trap, September 11 and Beyond

Democracy for the Few

To Kill a Nation, The Attack on Yugoslavia

and the Pulitzer-nominated The Assassination of Julius Caesar: A People’s History of Ancient Rome.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Michael Parenti is a fascist and/or a fool, pure and simple, as is anyone who supports Milosevic. No matter what wrongs USA has done and it has done some bad things, nothing justifies support of genocidal maniacs. I would agree with this statement: "Far from being pacifists who support human rights, the far-left reveals itself to be vicious, hateful, and willing to take the word of a convicted genocidal maniac over the international community to suit their prejudices."
Funny thing though, Milosevic bent over backward in order to get support of America and the West and was very pro Western. Go figure.
If Stalin and Mao were alive I'm sure Parenti would be a big supporter.

Kudos to all the decent left, like News and Letters, and a few others, who stand up against dictators and killers even though they are supposedly "anti-American".

Minister Faust said...

If you slander a man as a fascist, you should at least have the courage to leave your own name, Anonymous.

Fascism, of course, is a militaristic, expansionist, racist form of capitalist dictatorship; the state, in alliance with corporate elites, command the population through the redirection of popular discontent, usually via scapegoating of an internal or external ethnic, religious or political foe sold to the population as subhuman and a threat to their way of life. To suggest Parenti advocates any of the above, especially since he, as a Marxist, opposes capitalism (capitalism being an indispensible component of fascism; the title National "Socialist" was as much a co-optation as the word "Democratic" was in the name of East Germany) simply ignores Parenti's numerous speeches, articles and books.

Regarding claims that Parenti is a supporter or an apologist for Stalin, see http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=104&topic_id=1122180&mesg_id=1122864

For a fascinating discussion of Western apologism for feudal theocracy in Tibet, see http://www.michaelparenti.org/Tibet.html, which includes restrained criticism of expansionist Maoism, but real criticism nonetheless.

Regarding Parenti's views on Yugoslavia's dismemberment and Milosevic, see http://www.michaelparenti.org/Milosevic.html.

Minister Faust

Anonymous said...

If Parenti is anti-fascist then why does he support Milosevic. He is not only an apologist, but a hard line supporter of Milosevic.
On this issue he is in total agreement with far right extremists such as Pat Buchanan or Peter Worthington.
His views on Milosevic and Yugoslavia is filled with so many lies straight out of Milsevic`s propaganda,
that one wonders whether he has actually even glanced at any of the other reports from the region.
Here is an article by the Marxist and Humanist News and Letters about Parenti http://www.newsandletters.org/Issues/2001/June/1.06_parenti.htm
and here is another article about
the far-lefts support for a mass murderer because he is viewed as
anti-American http://www.newsandletters.org/Issues/2001/Nov/war_nov2001.htm

Susan Sontag and David Reiff are two left wing writers who know
the truth about Milosevic. Even if I agreed with everything else Parenti talks about,
which I don`t, and even if Parenti was correct on a (very) few issues which he probably is,
I still wouldn`t support him or promote him because he is a supporter of fascist regime.
Parenti seems to live under the delusion that Milosevic is a
old style Yugoslavian Communist like Tito, when in reality the
opposite is true. Milosevic is no more a Communist or a lefty
than Pol Pot.

I have read the the article about
Tibet by Parenti and it confirms a
lot of my suspicions about him.
He spends at least 90% of the article denouncing and demonizing
the Tibetan Lamist society, which of course
wasn`t anywhere near perfect, unlike every other society in the
world at that time which, I assume, was "perfect".
And so the wise Parenti concludes that it wasn`t too bad that
Chinese took over and brought all the wonderful things like
equality, infrastructure, and (Marxist) education. To me that sounds like
the typically racist 18th and 19th century European views
towards the non-White world. But Parenti does in the end condem the
Chinese because now they have become evil capitalists.
Sorry but that doesn`t fly.
As is typical of Parenti, he tries to downplay the Chinese killing
of Tibetans to the largest extend possible, just as he does the crimes
of Serb extremist in the former Yugoslavia. How is this truly different
from Holocaust revisionism.

Parenti is a typical regressive far-left extremist, who has more in
common with the far-right than with any truly progressive movement.

Minister Faust said...

Once again, you make ad hominem attacks and refuse to leave your name, which is, to say the least, inappropriate.

You've given no information to support your claim that Parenti is a "hard line supporter" (or even a supporter) of Milosevic. Parenti's article attacks the demonisation of Milosevic. You're confounding discussion with advocacy.

I've read the article you cited which briefly discussed Parenti. Like your initial post, the article says very little about Parenti himself, and ignores the meat of his historiographical arguments and media criticism.

I'm not a Parenti "supporter" or "promoter" whatever those are supposed to be. My radio programme and blog host discussions by interesting, thought-provoking people.

As you did before, you continue to confound fascism with other forms of authoritarian rule. We must oppose all forms of authoritarianism. We must also analyse political and economic systems accurately so we are better able to change them.

You have not given a single instance where Parenti was incorrect about Tibet; you've merely said he's wrong. Parenti's article seeks to explode the myth of utopian myth, a task well-worth engaging. Unlike your implication, Parenti never describes any society as perfect.

Your connection between certain leftist views of Chinese communist aggression and European imperialism are insightful and necessary, although incorrect in regard to Parenti. Far too many people excused the butchery of the genocidal Maoist regime (70 million people--worse than the Japanese the Maoists expelled). Yet Parenti does not glorify the Maoists; he merely demonstrates where popular thinking about Tibet is false.

Regarding Serbian crimes... Western media would have us think of the Serbs in the way they'd usually have us think of Muslims--as bloodthirsty savages. I interviewed Scott Taylor, a former military man who publishes *Esprit de corps* magazine. He's an anti-imperialist, but not a leftist as far as I can tell; he certainly opposes the destruction of Muslims, but is no apologist for Muslim crimes. He told me that in Bosnia, Muslim gunners intentionally targetted a Muslim village so as to create victims whose blood could be smeared on the Serbs, and thus engage NATO support. Had it come from anyone else, I would have suspected anti-Muslim bias, but Taylor's criticism of the US-led sanctions on Iraq were unequivocal.

I'd suggest you retire the blanket condemnation of Parenti. Parenti's correct about far, far too much for you to disregard the entire body of his work. Defending such a position is simply not a good use of your efforts. You're welcome to challenge him on his views about Milosevic or Stalin, but it's easier and more meaningful to engage in such discussion by assuming Parenti suffers from a blind spot (not my assumption), rather than as the "Holocaust revisionism" you accuse him of (and really, such claims are bombastic, inaccurate and dishonourable). Let's keep the debate clean.

For that matter, why not just write to Parenti?

And for crying out loud, sign your name.

San said...

Scott Taylor is pro-Serb, as he talks about nothing else but their propaganda when it comes to the Balkans.
He mentions the crimes done by Croats against Serbs in Croatia which are true, but fails to mention the much much greater crimes committed by Serbian fascists against Croats,
and even more so against Bosnians Muslims. All neutral observers say that Serb forces are responsible for over 80% of war crimes, Croats for about 15%, and Muslims for less than
5% of war crimes committed in Bosnia. The ratio of populations is Muslim 46%, Serb, 32%, Croat 17%, and Other 5%. Taylor retells the same old lies as Lewis MacKenzie and Peter Worthington,
both being a far right extremists in my opinion.

I sincerely hope you don't believe someone like Taylor who doesn't have shred of evidence to back up his claims. I've spoken to a real peace keeper who was in Bosnia and he confirms the fact that what
happened there were mass crimes against Muslims. As far as I can tell Taylor is a supporter of US and Canadian invasion of Afghanistan and the mess they created there. If you want to read a book by another Canadian peace keeper in Bosnia I would suggest Empty Casing by Fred Doucette. As Doucette says, he never
stood over a Serb mass grave, but has seen plenty of Muslim ones. A great CBC reporter Carol Off has also written about the Balkans in her book The Lion, the Fox and the Eagle, and she also
wrote a book about Canadian peace keepers who witnessed the Medak massacre of Serbs by Croat extremists so you can`t claim she is anti-Serb.
You say "Had it come from anyone else, I would have suspected anti-Muslim bias", but your initial assumption is correct, Taylor is either anti-Bosnian Muslim or pro-Serb, because
he repeated the same absurd lie told by war criminals like Karadzic that Muslims were killing their own to get NATO to intervene. NATO intervention in Bosnia did not even
accomplish much and America in the end stopped Bosnian army from liberating all of the country.

You should know that there are plenty of critics of US sanctions on Iraq that do not shovel Serbian propaganda.
There is Mr. Gwynne Dyer (http://miramichileader.canadaeast.com/article/337999), Eric Margolis (http://www.ericmargolis.com/archives/2005/11/attention_all_a.php , he condemns the sanctions in Iraq,
while praising USA action to save the Balkan Muslims), the News and Letters publication (http://www.newsandletters.org/literature.htm#Pamphlets), and I'm sure many others including the previously
mentioned Susan Sontag and David Reiff, and let's not forget Bono either.
In fact, there some make the argument that the west was pro-Serb and anti-Bosnian, opposite of Parenti. There is much more evidence for that theory however, considering Western powers
were fine with watching slaughter and ethnic cleanings and not doing anything about it.
I personally don`t think West was either pro or anti Serb or Bosnian, but I suspect John Major, and
Mitterand, and some other Western leaders weren't too sad to see a destruction of an indigenous Muslim people in Europe.

Serbs were never demonized in the Western media.
The majority of western media reported Serb war crimes, and from that Serb apologists claimed that was evidence of bias. If that
is bias then reality is biased. I have never seen a right wing or left wing TV or Radio host in USA rant and rave against Serbs
or any anti-Serb hate crimes in USA. To compare that to the very real demonizing and slandering of Muslims in the US and Western media is absurd.
In fact, most of the right wing in USA support the Serbs, and like the far-left they sneer at liberal defenders of the Balkan Muslims. On the issue
of Balkans, the far-right Muslim haters and the far-left are sadly in total agreement. All the US Senators in the Serbian caucus are
Republicans, including the far-right Inhofe. Western countries have bent over backward to bring Serbia into the fold, but it refuses to hand
over two major war criminals, Karadzic and Mladic, and their electorate seems to like voting for far-right parties, some connected with
war criminals.

Would you say that these Serbs are also innocent victims of American imperialism (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5C1lNFQhXEQ).
For all their bad habits, you would never see such a sorry display by Bosnians or Albanians.
People in that video are the same kinds of racists that killed, raped, and tortured Muslim men, women, and children in Bosnia and Kosova, and I
shocked that anyone would make excuses for them. The evidence of Serb crimes in the Balkans is overwhelming
(here is one photo by Ron Haviv http://photoarts.com/haviv/bosnia/dying.html), please read a book or an article by few of the many journalists who covered those wars.

In short what happened in the Balkans in the 90s is: After seeing that nationalism was a way to gain power Milosevic decided to use it to take control of
Yugoslavia. Slovenia, then Croatia, then Bosnia had every constitutional right to secede from Yugoslavia and did it because they didn't want to be in
a country run by Serb nationalists where they would be treated as second class citizens at best. After Croatia and Bosnia split, Milosevic decided to arm
the worst elements in the Serb society and to spread the worst kind of anti-Muslim propaganda in order to get them to hate their former neighbours.
This worked all to well as Serbs chose fascists leaders in both Croatia and Serbia and then engaged in worst brutalities in Europe since WWII, including
setting up concentration camps, rape, torture, and mass murders of people in many areas of Serb controlled Bosnia. Croatia later joined Serbia in an alliance
to split Bosnia, and Croats did similar things to Muslims in their area. That is why after the war there were no mosques in Serb or Croat sections of Bosnia,
whereas none of the churches in Muslim areas were even touched. No organized or mass killings or ethnic cleansing or mass rapes were done by the Muslim side,
whereas Serb side did all of those things in an organized and systematic way as is proved by countless amount of evidence, and to a smaller extent Croat side in south
and central Bosnia. If Serbs took over all of Bosnia there would be no living Muslims there or any trace of their cultural heritage, and the Bosnian nation would have been destroyed,
and would have only existed in exile.

As for Parenti I don`t know what else I can say about him that I haven`t said before. None of my attacks are ad hominem and I`m sorry you view them this way.
He is not discussing Milosevic, he is actively defending him to such
absurd levels that many Serbs would probably laugh at him, considering it was the Serbs who
threw him out. To back up this claim I present that fact that Parenti was the chair of the US International Committee to Defend Slobodan
Milosevic (http://www.icdsm.info/more/Parenti2L.htm ,
http://www.iacenter.org/bosnia/yugo-milos_903.htm). This fact alone is enough to disqualify him from being considered a champion of justice and humanity.
If Milosevic was pro-Western (which he was) and ally of the West(which he wasn't but tried hard to be)
I`m sure Parenti would be a harsh critic of him. I think Parenti is wrong on far more issues that he is right.
There are many far-right extremists who are also anti-imperialists but I would never
support them because of their evil views on so many other issues.

I`ll leave you with a good quote about Parenti by Kirk Johnson

"All he can do is take empty, baseless potshots at an imagined capitalist edifice of his own imagining. His descent into ultra-nationalist apology is complete;
his surrender to the dark shadows of conspiracy, ethnic collectivism, and paranoia is total. He is a parody of a genuine radical who has written a groveling paean to
21st-Century tribalism and anti-modernist racialism disguised as progressive social criticism. What a wasted labor this book [To Kill A Nation] is. What a disgrace."

We may not agree on much and that is OK, but at least let us agree to some common ground. I, and I assume you also, would condemn any and every abuse and murder of civilians no matter
by whom it is done. I would add to this: If one side is the aggressor and one side is the victim then I will condemn the aggressor as such. Period. And if one side commits an
overwhelming number of crimes then I will overwhelmingly condemn that side, no matter whether that side is Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Black, White, anti-American,
pro-American, capitalist, communist, socialist, progressive, regressive, or anything else. Period.

That is why I condemn the Serb side in the Balkan wars, they were
the aggressors and committed the overwhelming number of crimes.

My name is not very relevant but if you would like an identifier then San is good, because I don't like to use my real name on the Internet.
After all this is a blog, and I don`t believe Minister Faust is your real name, but it is an interesting one nonetheless. I`m glad to see
that you are not a promoter or supporter of Parenti, but you could also have an interesting and though provoking guest in David Duke, but
I don't think you would have him on. I think you are a decent fellow but you just shouldn't believe someone on every issue if you agree with
them on one issue.



Regards,

San

You can contact me at san [dot] canada [at] gmail [dot] com if you like.