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John Simkin

Changes in Society: Anti-Americanism

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Over the last few months I have been accused several times of being anti-American. Nothing could be further from the truth. My views of the world have been shaped more by America than any other country. Most of my political heroes are American. For example, Jane Addams, Martin Luther King, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, John Jones, Ida Wells-Barnett, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, John Dewey, Florence Kelley, Eugene Debs, Robert La Follette, Robert Moses, John P. Altgeld, Albert and Lucy Parsons, Mary White Ovington, Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, Fred Shuttlesworth, Lincoln Steffens, Norman Thomas, Oswald Garrison Villard, Robert F. Wagner, Ralph Yarborough, etc.

As you have probably worked out, all the people above were campaigners for equal civil rights. Although the USA does not have a good record for providing equal civil rights, the country has produced a vast number of people willing to fight for these rights for others.

The accusation of being anti-American is often linked to people’s criticisms of George Bush’s foreign policy. This view of anti-Americanism has been encouraged by both Bush and Blair. This is typical of their crude political analysis of world events.

A joint survey carried out by newspapers in the UK, Canada, France, Spain, Russia, Japan, Australia, Mexico, Israel and South Korea has discovered that anti-Americanism is not a major problem.

One question was: “Overall, do you have a favourable or unfavourable opinion of the Americans.” This is the percentage that said they had a favourable opinion: Russia (86), Israel (81), Japan (74), Canada (73), France (72), Australia (72), South Korea (65), UK (62), Mexico (51) and Spain (47).

When asked the question: “Overall, do you have a favourable opinion of George W. Bush they got the following percentages: Israel (70), Russia (44), Australia (32), Canada (29), UK (26), Japan (26), South Korea (23), Mexico (23), France (21) and Spain (13).

What has been going on is shown in the next question. Was the US right or wrong in invading Iraq? The following percentage said yes: Israel (68), Russia (39), Canada (24), France (18), Japan (16), Spain (13), South Korea (11), Mexico (10).

This survey clearly shows what has been going on over the last three years. Luckily for the world, people do not crudely associate American foreign policy with the American people. They clearly dislike the policies of George Bush (in particular his decision to invade Iraq).

Of course Bush enjoys strong support in Israel. Ironically, he also appears to be liked in Russia - America's old enemy. However, Russia, unlike the rest of these countries polled, does not have a free media and opinion is very much under the control of the state.

In the UK a large percentage of the population are concerned by the growing influence Bush is having over our foreign policy. It now seems that Bush has persuaded Blair to agree to transfer British troops to areas where heavy casualties are being inflicted. This is obviously a response to Kerry’s charge that the US is suffering 90% of all casualties in Iraq. The main purpose of this move is to reduce this percentage. In other words, Blair is willing to sacrifice the lives of UK soldiers in order to help Bush’s election prospects. Another factor in this is to help Bush delay imposing the draft until after the election.

The other issue that has made world citizens angry with the American government is its policy on the environment. Actions taken by European countries are doomed to failure while America continues its policy of unrestricted pollution of the world’s environment.

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What has been going on is shown in the next question.          Was the US right or wrong in invading Iraq?          The following percentage said yes:

Israel (68), Russia (39), Canada (24), France (18), Japan (16), Spain (13), South Korea (11), Mexico (10).

Hi John,

As I was reading this post, I found this part to be a bit confusing [the bolded text above], in that there isn't a way for it to be 'answered' "yes" - if it's an either/or proposition, which part of the question was answered...the "right'"or the "wrong"?

(Perhaps I'm nit-picking the syntax of the questioners, but the premise of the question didn't seem logical to me: the US invasion of Iraq cannot BE both right and wrong...hence, the answer YES isn't telling ME anything, other than YES the US was right and YES the US was wrong, BUT perhaps that was the intent of the "questioners....?")

There is an old saying, perhaps you have heard it:

"If you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, baffle 'em with B.S."

I believe that what you've pointed out is perfectly valid - that those who disagree with Bush's policies are often dismissed as anti-American (besides, who's WHO to call a "Brit" anti-American, for cryin' out loud? They need to "step-off!"). :angry:

As a matter of fact, we are sick and tired of Bush's outright, bald-faced lies and his overestimation of his own level of personal intelligence. And this does not even take into consideration the FACT that "We, the People" did not ELECT him!

He was appointed and approved by the Supreme Court!

IMO, it was an internally "rigged election" and it is my belief that he is a "marionette" for those far darker and "unseen" forces that have been busy enacting their own agendas behind the scenes in Washington D.C. for DECADES.

Politically, his tenure as president has seemingly shown to have the most disastrous of consequences for the American people, US Foreign policy, and for the entire gamut of global interaction, from the subtle to the not-so-subtle international ramifications.

(...and I am the first to acknowledge that I am NOT the brightest bulb on the marquee, but if I can see it, how can others - aside from "us" - NOT see it?)

I believe, also, that the consequences of HIS hyper-aggressive actions will ring down the corridor of history - with decades of effort required on the part(s) of his successors to undo the damage to the "image of Americans" world wide.

It is also not merely attributable to my own attitude of not giving him any credit for his TERM (note, please, the usage of the singular!)in office: it is NOT that I am unwilling to give him credit for doing anything positive - but, if anyone can tell me what THAT may BE, I'd sure like to know!

My view of this "Reign of (the new) Mad 'King George' " is that he needs to be "deposed" - he's drunk with power, and he's been effectively manipulated by his 'handlers', in that he is a politically ignorant, intra-culturally retarded little man - all he's done is stir up the "pot" and make a fine mess of things around the world - "father and son, incorporated" - working hand-in-hand with the Military-Industrial Corporate Giants and powerful lobbies which have vested interests in the financial profit to be wrung from the continuation of this little skirmish in Iraq.

Is it time for the Second American Revolution? 100% of ME says YES! :ph34r:

{As a footnote, I, too, admire greatly the persons you listed in your post - might I add Ms. Rosa Parks and, even though these two are not Americans: Dr. Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Ghandi?}

JD (An American in...)

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Make no mistake, the fear and despair evoked across the globe by the US election result are shared by many millions of US citizens. Indeed, their grief, their frustration, has a peculiar intensity - because there's no loathing like the loathing within families. The 55 million Kerry voters who went to the polls primarily motivated by a burning desire to dump Bush are no more reconciled to his rule this morning than they were a few days ago.

Bush will claim a mandate, but there's no reason we should accept the claim. The result confirms that this is a wartime leader who does not speak for, or enjoy, the confidence of half the population.

There will be those in Europe who will seize on this result to urge us to reconcile ourselves to the superpower and its peculiar ways. And it will be claimed that a refusal to do so is tantamount to "anti-Americanism". This charge has been fouling the atmosphere since 9/11. It is alleged that the left or Europe is blindly hostile to America and Americans. As a US passport-holder long resident in London, I know that this charge is baloney.

Anti-Americanism has become a catch-all charge levied against anyone who engages in a radical critique of America's global power, its sway over the lives of billions who had no vote in Tuesday's election. People rebel against US hegemony for the same reasons they rebelled against the dominance of earlier imperial powers, not out of a distaste for the culture of the rulers but out of an objection to undemocratic, unaccountable, self-serving rule by remote elites of whatever culture.

A disbelief in the prerogatives or the beneficence of the American empire is not anti-American. Nor is it anti-American to be alarmed by features of US political culture, an alarm shared by many millions of Americans.

Bush supporters should be wary of crowing too soon. This election result will do nothing to placate those Americans who cry out for health care, a living wage, and decent public services. It will not reverse the leftwing tide in Latin America. And it will do nothing to curb resistance in Iraq. As casualties mount, there is bound to be increasingly militant opposition to White House war policies among a widening spectrum of US citizens, including serving GIs.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/...1342994,00.html

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I think Noam Chomsky is a classic example of someone who is supposed to be anti-American, pro Castro, pro Nazi, pro everything evil..... if you have never read his books or listened to any of his lectures.

This man stood up just after 9/11 and pointed out that this kind of crap happens to people all over the world either at the hands of the american millitary or by violence sponsored and condoned by America. The only real shoking thing about it is that it happened on American soil which until this point was considered untouchable. American commits the attrocities, it does not have attrocities commited against it!

And so when Mr Chomsky pointed out that far more people have died in equally horrendous circumstances in Turkey etc (with American military aid) he was accused of supporting terrorism, when all he was doing was suggest that if we want to stop terrorism we should stop committing terrorist acts.

His is an incredable voice of calm and reason in a sea of panic and fear of Islam and anything foreign and different and yet he is accused of being Anti-American, Anti freedom, pro terrorist, leftist, fascist etc etc because if you sling enough mud some is bound to stick and then people may just not listen to him.

If being American mean being someone who believes in truth, decency and freedom then perhaps Mr Chomsky is one of the only true Americans brave enough to have their voice heard.

Rowena

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Rowena, we do indeed live in an age when the rather powerful and frankly weird "defenders of our liberties" see any expression of those liberties as an abuse.

The twisted logic of Bush and Blair supporters would appear to be 'We believe in free speech but we musn't allow people to use free speech to say things we don't want to hear.' This is no less a fundamentalist position than those adopted by our "enemies". It is all to do with "correct expression" and nothing to do with "free expression".

Western values of free speech, tolerance and pluralism, if they are to mean anything, must be taken to be unconditional.

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The House Committee on Unamerican Activities was originally proposed as a way of combatting Nazism but was in fact used against Communism. The FBI in particular exaggerated the threat of the small US CP whilst declaring that there was "no such thing as the Mafia".

I think there is anti-American prejudice in this country. I think that Bush is really not helping. I have been getting emails all day from Americans who find the election outcome embarrasing to say the least.

To attribute opposition to cold-blooded murder of civilians (and that is what is happening in Fallujah as I write this) to "anti-Americanism" is simply disingenuous. To attribute opposition to the gambling corporations to "anti-Americanism" is equally so. Plenty of Americans share our disquiet on this issue.

Spending some time listening to "Democracy Now" radio/TV station (available on the web here)says to me that the heirs of the people John listed are alive and well in the US today.

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