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Monday, February 12, 2018

The untied States of America: what are the events in Charlottesville

Riots in the American city of Charlottesville has provoked a fierce debate around the historical heritage of the United States. America still preserved many monuments to the military leaders of the Confederacy, many of which were cruel slave owners. And while some wanted to get rid of the reminder of the dark days, while others believe that the memory of the past must be preserved, whatever it was. It turned out that the civil war in the United States is far from over: now it is in the minds and hearts of the people. Caught in the crossfire in this conflict was the President of Donald trump: his ambiguous position regarding the events in Charlottesville was the reason for another scandal with his participation.

photo: AP
The monument to the Confederate General Lee in Charlottesville wrapped in black.

Good with his fists

Few people would dare to question the fact that the Confederate States of America lost the civil war to northerners. Much more controversy in the US, call prominent leaders of the South and what they fought for. Most historians agree that the South fought for the preservation of the slave system, the basis of the wealth of a few planters. However, common in the United States and that the Confederacy fought for his own independent way, and slavery itself was not (planters allegedly protected people from the African continent).

But the mainstream still wins. Monuments to the heroes of the Confederacy progressively dismantled, often under cover of night to avoid the discontent of the citizens. Do not forget that the Americans mostly associate themselves not with the country as a whole, and with his native state. And the history of their native lands want to be proud of.

Therefore, to protect the monument to the commander of the Confederate army Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville on August 12 came several thousand people. Among them were not only the ordinary supporters of historic preservation, but also neo-Nazis, and members of the ku Klux Klan. In the US, not banned Nazi symbols. Are not available and the punishment for inciting ethnic and religious hatred. So technically the participants in the planned March had every right to Express their opinion. But if the law in the United States on this subject is silent, vigilant citizens sometimes more than compensate for this: anti-fascists of Virginia armed with bats, sticks, wearing helmets, have built shields and went to subdue the admirers of General Lee.

But the neo-Nazis went even further. One of them drove a car into a crowd of opponents. The incident claimed the life of a young woman, another 19 people were hospitalized. If there were justification for those who were protesting against the planned demolition of the monument to Robert E. Lee, after that incident, they all lost value. Public opinion sided with the victims of anti-fascists.

Who is to blame and what to do

The position of the President trump about events in Charlottesville was pleasant not to all. He accused both sides in inciting violence. “On one side was a group of people that were bad. But the group on the other side was very cruel. No one wants to say it. I say this right now,” he said. “There can be no two opinions about the fanatics retorted Arnold Schwarzenegger, one of the active opponents of the President. And there can be no two opinions about hate. And if you decide to March under the flag that symbolizes the murder of millions of people — there can’t be two opinions”.

The reluctance of the tramp to stand on anybody’s side in this conflict can be understood. The words of the former leader of the ku Klux Klan David Duke in his address to the President, that “white Americans” brought him to power. Among the defenders of the monument to General Lee, most certainly belonged to the voters trump. The President apparently prefers to work on his / her target audience, considering that the country as a whole still will never support.

However, the Republicans tarnished reputation to nothing and they are struggling to avoid associations with the far right. So they strongly condemned the defenders of the monument to General Lee. “This issue should not be a moral ambiguity,” — said the speaker of the house of representatives Paul Ryan. “White nationalists are 100% to blame in fomenting unrest in Charlottesville, supported it Senator Marco Rubio, — we cannot allow this evil to rise”.

“This scandal will turn to trump another call Democrats to the impeachment of the President, blocking by Congress of its initiatives, distrust and fear from society and the displacement of the head of the White house in the sphere of foreign policy, — said in an interview with “MK” research fellow, Center for North American studies, IMEMO ran Alexander Borisov. — But no special effects are not expected. This is another hyped scandal trump. Symbols of the Confederacy were destroyed during the Obama presidency. Trump in this particular case just did not react in time or not sufficiently rapidly, in the view of his opponents.”

The memory of the monuments

If earlier on the activities of various nationalist groups, the ku Klux Klan and supporters of the theory of the superiority of the white race in America, few people paid attention to the events in Charlottesville have placed them in the centre of public debate. Authorities in the cities bothered by the fact that monuments to heroes of the Confederacy become a gathering place similar audience, and generally devoted to the personalities mixed. Almost all of them were slave owners, many quite violent, as Lee, who practiced torture as punishment and separated families of slaves.

Immediately after the clashes in Virginia Jim gray, mayor of Lexington, Kentucky, said that he, too, plans to demolish two monuments to the military leaders-confederates in the city of generals John hunt Morgan and John Cabello to Breckinridge. Under the distribution were even a monument of Vladimir Lenin and the French Marshal Henri Philippe Petain. Imported from Eastern Europe the statue of the leader of the October revolution, the work of Bulgarian sculpture installed in Seattle on private property. However, like other “symbols of hatred”, the city authorities wanted her removed. A plaque in memory of Petain stands on new York’s Broadway. She appeared after the First world war in recognition of the military achievements of the French Marshal. However, during the Second world war, Petain tarnished his reputation by collaborating with the German occupiers.

As for the dismantling of monuments to the heroes of the Confederacy, which suddenly turned into a symbol of hatred and racism in the United States still has not developed a unified opinion. Somewhere, in Baltimore, they are under the cover of night removed from the streets. And somewhere, in Birmingham, Alabama, they just shut down the boards. The fact that some States have laws under which to get rid of the remembrance of Confederation prohibited.

If a clear condemnation of nationalists gathered in Charlottesville, trump eventually managed to get it to support the demolition of the statues, he flatly refused. “It is sad to see how the history and culture of our great country torn as the dismantling of our beautiful statues and monuments… you can’t change history, but you can learn it, — said the President. — Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson — who’s next? Washington, Jefferson? So stupid!”

“The campaign for the demolition of monuments to Confederate — it is purely a political action. Nationalism in the USA is a sensitive issue because of the eternal conflict between white and black. So this is a very convenient psychological flywheel, which can spin and knock trump with his course,” adds Alexander Borisov.

The ghosts of the past

Disservice to had Trump and members of the ku Klux Klan, who participated in the clashes in Charlottesville. After the President has accused both sides in the event of unrest, the former leader of the nationalist organization David Duke thanked him for his balanced assessment of what happened. It is unlikely that the approval of a group with such a dark past can be considered a reputational asset.

Although today the ku Klux Klan is a not such a daunting and powerful organization as before. Now it’s fragmented power, a collection of many small clans, which are based, as a rule, in the American heartland. They still practice the mystical rites with the use of white hoods and burning crosses. But these days, members of the clans already do not aim to terrorize African Americans and prefer to focus on charity. Pitching itself as a conservative Christian societies, they collect donations to help veterans, orphans and the poor. However, their ideology is still based on the idea of superiority of the white race and has much in common with Nazism.

After the riots in Charlottesville sites of the ku Klux Klan and other nationalist organizations began to close. Many Internet companies have refused to renew the license of nationalist websites, groups in social networks were blocked.

“The American democratic system is always swinging like a swing, — says Alexander Borisov. — If the previous President was African American and many blacks during his reign, was granted various privileges, it could not affect the attitudes of the white middle and lower working classes, who are the electorate trump. Therefore, it is clear that when Obama is gone, the swing has swung in the other direction. American society for a very long time been subjected to inverse segregation. White Americans are actually infringed. When people live 8-10 years on such rules, then they naturally start to want some changes. Thus, we cannot say that the rise of the nationalists occurred solely because of trump.”


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