Why India must beware of the international protest movement born in the USA

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By Côme Carpentier de Gourdon

Image Courtesy – Getty images

The ideologically incoherent and violent protests in the US must not find foothold in India.

Keywords: US Politics | BLM Antifa Protests | Ideological inconsistency | Chaos and Disorder | Multi-national corporations | Political Correctness

In articles published in India and Switzerland in April, I wrote that the COVID-19 pandemic and the related economic crisis would trigger widespread popular revolts that had been brewing for a long time in many parts of the world. This easy prediction has come true and the confusion it has generated has bred divisions within almost all institutions, political parties and religious denominations, at least in the Americas and in Europe. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) driven anti-racist uprisings in the United States involve the more or less self-defined Left, as well as most ethnic minorities and are opportunistically exploited by the Democratic Party as a weapon against Donald Trump and his Republican and Libertarian supporters.

As for the Muslim communities in the USA and in European countries also affected by the unrest, they tend to side with the people of colour and see the uprisings as an opportunity to demand a greater place for Islam and its followers in western societies as part of an agenda quite at variance with the ‘woke’ project.

Conservative factions in the major churches and among Israelites have generally condemned this riotous ‘tumultus rusticorum’ which has anarchistic overtones while self-described religious progressives – Catholic, Protestant and Jewish – support it as a long-overdue, necessary and inevitable revolt against the basic injustice and unfairness of American capitalism which the late Indian futurologist J C Kapur described as ‘armament protected consumerism’ manifested in the brutality of its militarized police.  As for the Muslim communities in the USA and in European countries also affected by the unrest, they tend to side with the people of colour and see the uprisings as an opportunity to demand a greater place for Islam and its followers in western societies as part of an agenda quite at variance with the ‘woke’ project. Other dissenters, often culturally conservative, suspect a conspiracy against the freedom of the common people hatched within the exclusive ruling elite of the super-rich and are rising against various designs sponsored by the oligarchy such as the introduction of the allegedly toxic 5G technology, universal compulsory vaccinations and even general ‘tagging’ of all people with electronic chips. There is hence little unanimity among those who in various ways identify with the resistance to the rampant ‘New World Order’.

The rebellion, selectively and not so covertly backed by the giant corporations of the digital age (Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook) whose technologies have facilitated its global spread, poses a fundamental challenge to western nations whose polities share a heritage of colonial conquest and overseas economic exploitation.

The rebellion, selectively and not so covertly backed by the giant corporations of the digital age (Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook) whose technologies have facilitated its global spread, poses a fundamental challenge to western nations whose polities share a heritage of colonial conquest and overseas economic exploitation. They are being pressured, often in violent ways to denounce many of their past and present policies, to abolish many of their traditions and to banish many of their founding figures and national heroes, as diverse as Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill, Christopher Columbus, Gladstone,  and Leopold II of Belgium. Tomorrow Washington, Napoleon, De Gaulle and Voltaire among many may also be eradicated from public space and declared enemies of the people by the thought police of the Woke Inquisition and even Gandhi is not spared, on account of his having expressed in his formative years some unfortunate opinions, then quite common, about Blacks.

The threat posed by popular revolutions remains the same since at least four centuries. In the name of defeating Evil and bringing justice, whether in England under the Stuarts, in Bourbon-ruled France, in Tzarist Russia or in more recent theatres, they carry out wholesale destruction, overturn necessary institutions and generally end in oppressive dictatorships required to restore order out of the shambles they leave behind. 

The current movement in America is no exception to the rule. If it unfolds into a full-fledged insurrection triggering a new civil war the extremists will lead it, as they usually do after throwing out, converting or otherwise eliminating the moderates. Many of the currently voiced ideas and plans – such as getting rid of the police, purging political dissenters from the public arena and the workforce, creating people’s communes, making massive compensatory payments to hitherto oppressed minorities and mandating strict quotas in every sector of activity to ensure equal representations for all genders and minorities, including artificial ones (LGBTQX), AKA both negative and positive discrimination  –  sound generous but they are indeed inapplicably utopian, ignore merit and are bound to generate abuses and distortions worse than the ones they are intended to correct. As vague as their political goals may be, they only point to controversial examples of ‘new’ Latin American revolutionary anti-racist socialism such as Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua as their theoretical models. 

The effect of splitting society into hundreds of tiny inward-looking minorities, which only have in common claims of victim-hood, and then forming a rainbow coalition that stretches all the way from fundamentalist Muslims to militant homosexuals and transgenders is innately unviable and self-destructive.

The effect of splitting society into hundreds of tiny inward-looking minorities, which only have in common claims of victim-hood, and then forming a rainbow coalition that stretches all the way from fundamentalist Muslims to militant homosexuals and transgenders is innately unviable and self-destructive but it causes immense damage to society, especially to its poorer and more vulnerable segments as many ‘classic’ leftist activists and intellectuals have convincingly argued through articles and videos.

Pragmatic action for economic and social justice, universal quality education and economic betterment of the underprivileged are being replaced by campaigns to enforce arithmetic ethnic and gender equality and majority’s repentance and penitence, vindicating vandalism and mob-rule.

Pragmatic action for economic and social justice, universal quality education and economic betterment of the underprivileged are being replaced by campaigns to enforce arithmetic ethnic and gender equality and majority’s repentance and penitence, vindicating vandalism and mob-rule. As various critics have warned, the reforms being advocated in the name of political correctness are largely cosmetic but nonetheless toxic as they would result in the posting of psychologists and sociological ombudsmen within educational, professional and political organizations entrusted with the task of detecting and sanctioning ‘inappropriate’ language and behaviour according to the woke standards of acceptability which predictably penalize the less educated and most unsophisticated elements.

In a climate of frustration and resentment generated by the nearly universal confinement, lockdown and social distancing of the last months, the outrage generated by the globally broadcast murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police was likely to be explosive. 

Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Clearly defined, limited and realistic objectives were set by both those leaders who emphasized an overarching moral imperative at the core of their actions.

Some wish to arouse turmoil in India too by equating the condition of religious and deprived minorities here to the plight of blacks and immigrants from poorer countries in the West. However, in America and Western Europe at least it is increasingly difficult to tell apart the peaceful street protests from the violent clashes and looting incidents that often accompany them; hence the BLM/Antifa action cannot be seen as another wave of reformist agitation in line with the methods advocated by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Clearly defined, limited and realistic objectives were set by both those leaders who emphasized an overarching moral imperative at the core of their actions. They thereby won over many of those in power who would have otherwise opposed them. In contrast, the protesters rallied around the symbolic image of George Floyd, with no common understandable and achievable project, bring together against them those who are wary of disorder, lawlessness and violence. They could thus hand out to Donald Trump the gift of reelection if he is seen by a majority as the champion, howbeit unlikely, of order and stability. 

As of now, in reaction to the wave of unrest spreading across the nation, white supremacist militias and KKK affiliates have begun to prepare for a fight and the conservative mobilization even includes some African-Americans and other minorities. On the opposing side the BLM supporters and other potential insurgents are often white and come from the liberal middle class.

This is a perfect storm, given the enormous number of the unemployed, rising economic inequality, the collapse of the consumer and manufacturing markets, the widespread suspicion that the COVID-19 crisis has been manipulated by ruling elites in their own interests and the accelerating decline and growing heterogeneity of western societies. 

In those circumstances, many facts on the grounds are conveniently ignored for the sake of ideological consistency. It has been repeatedly pointed out that some of the urban communities most affected by crime and poverty in the USA are governed by black officials and neglected or exploited by the Afro-American legislators who are supposed to represent and assist them. The problem cannot be solved by promoting more members of the black community to positions of power if they are corrupt and self-serving, in the long-standing tradition of the Democratic Party which, despite its rhetoric about racial justice has done very little to implement reforms and clean up a venal and opaque political system.

In its international dimension the current upheaval, supported by most of the mainstream press and major ‘liberal’ power centres such as the Gates Foundation, will affect India negatively if it endures and rises in intensity. 

In the vocabulary of the radically ‘politically correct’ insurgents the BJP-led Government is automatically defined as fascistic, patriarchal and regressive without any nuance. George Soros, one of the billionaire promoters of the current turmoil specifically designated the current Indian government as a target of his destabilizing operations, second only to the Trump administration. When leftist and left-influenced governments in Europe and the Americas (including the USA if Joseph Biden is elected) decide, out of expediency or compulsion to strike deals with the rising revolutionary movements which they have generally supported so far India will be hard-pressed to resist western foreign pressure and propaganda welcomed by an influential section of the native elite.

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  • An excellent analysis by the writer. It puts into perspective the underlying dangers and threat of the BLM/Antifa movement and it’s implications for India. We in India should take the article in all its seriousness and formulate policies accordingly.

Côme Carpentier de Gourdon

Côme Carpentier de Gourdon

Côme Carpentier de Gourdon is currently a consultant with India Foundation and is also the Convener of the Editorial Board of the WORLD AFFAIRS JOURNAL. He is an associate of the International Institute for Social and Economic Studies (IISES), Vienna, Austria. Côme Carpentier is an author of various books and several articles, essays and papers

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