South African White Genocide and Why You Should Tie Your Shoes – Op Ed 2 (Late)

Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton calls to fast track visa extensions in response to South African White farmers who claim “We are being hunted,” and has offended South African officials, and brought wider international attention to an issue that’s obscure to most.

Recent South African farm land seizures has been the latest racial tension between white property owners and the poorer black South Africans, in a long history of racial transgressions. Property owners feel disenfranchised by the State, which comes at an especially vulnerable time as the shadow of Apartheid inequality looms overhead. White Farmers cite anecdotes of the murder and rape. These are examples of an alleged ‘white genocide,’ taking place in South Africa today.

Context is important, and while violent crime including murder and rape has historically been quite high in South Africa, there is no evidence for white genocide. The South African Institute for Security Studies says that white farmers did not appear to be targeted more than any other citizen – racial motivation for these crimes is falsely ascribed.

Leading up to the American Civil War, Southern behaviour paralleled that of the South African white farmers in at least a few ways. In each case they identify an ‘other’, and establish themselves as victims at the hands of this other, and falsely ascribe motif to further entrench the Us vs. Them dichotomy.

In the American case, the Northerners disallowed the spread of slave institutions beyond what were known as the Slave States. Despite the majority not having any stake in slave trade expansion, this hypocritical victimhood complex reframed the restrictions on slave expansion as an attack on all Southerners.

The confinement of slavery was stigmatized as an oppression of states’ rights, akin to attacking Southern families ‘at their firesides’, humiliating their honour and to bring ruin on them. Notice the parallels in the rhetoric from the Southern American slave advocate, and the South African farmers, who both invoke family as a point to defend. This very effectively generated popular support to push the expansionist agenda of slave holders, which precipitated the Civil War.

It also has been an effective strategy for South African Farmers. By building solidarity with a larger group through victimhood, Southern Farmers too receive much greater political support. Despite no evidence for targeted violence against whites, this allegation has brought international recognition to white South African Farmers.

Closer to the truth than ‘white genocide,’ is that violent crime indiscriminately plagues South Africa. Probably whites are not targeted disproportionately as there is a high degree of black on black crime to consider. The statistical gap creates uncertainty on racial characteristics of rural South African crime, and needs to be filled in order to fully discredit claims of white genocide.

The lack of data on this topic implies much about the claims for ‘white genocide’, when no clear picture of farm murder statistics by racial demographics exist. It is an assertion based on anecdotal evidence, much less a systematic issue.

For economic reasons, land owners who are the haves, surrounded by have-nots, will expectedly be targets of violent crime in a violent country like South Africa. Though lies will circle the globe before the truth has a chance to tie its shoes.

Katie Hopkins does not tie shoes. She announced in January that she will be visiting South Africa, alongside many other far right personalities, desperately staking a bid to be the first to record a documentary of this alleged genocide.

Such zeal from these outsiders is misplaced when considering the statistical facts available, or the lack there of – but will history repeat itself? It is no longer a question of whether these farmers could succeed in drawing wider popular support on the false pretense of racially motivated crime – we have seen how successfully a minority interest can co-opt wide support in history. Lies have already circled the world, so tie your shoes.

 

Sweeper: Nazi Occupied Multicultural Europe

The readings this week focused primarily on the European backlash against multiculturalism – a concept not new to Europe. Neo-Nazi parties have sprung up across the West, gaining support from fear and prejudice. The Immigration crisis is one such example, It has been used with efficacy by radical racist/xenophobic agendas.

A first responder mentions the polarized views on such issues – the dichotomy between being either all for, or against refugees – They caution to consider the middle ground may be more suitable. The class lecture mentioned the thousands of sexual assaults on New Year 2016, which coincided with the induction of refugees by Angela Merkel.

People draw these connections to single out the other – in this case Muslims. In history we see examples of sexual deviance and assault used to disenfranchise the other. The Nazis described the ‘degenerate’ other, and published lists of all crimes which Jews committed to further distinguish them.

By painting all refugees mono-chromatically, some Europeans neglect to realize that not all Muslims are the same. They apply punishment suited to a select few individuals to the whole demographic – This is not justice seeking.

While calculating the actions a state should take when confronted with a=the refugee crises, it is crucial for the State to consider principles of justice, and the human lives with which its actions deal. In this calculation there is no room for views that are not at least justice seeking.

In groups we further discussed the hypocrisy of the xenophobic attitudes expressed by people today towards Muslim refugees. The irony is that even families who have been established in Canada for decades, have at one time been immigrants. Their ancestors would have faced the same prejudice. Should it have been their own fathers immigrating, they would be hypocrites.

Wage Hike – The wrong way to do the right thing?

For many Canadians the wage hike comes as a much needed relief – It represents affordable housing, and for those of us who live paycheck to paycheck, every dollar counts. Why wasn’t this done sooner, and why would anyone oppose this?

While every dollar counts, others are counting the dollars. According to a July study by The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, 34 percent of Ontario’s smaller businesses would consider relocation or closure in response to the increase.

For these businesses, tight profit margins force expenditure cuts wherever possible. In their view, Ontario is becoming an unnecessary expense – a cross too heavy to bear.

However not all who oppose the wage hike, oppose wage hikes – many critics of Kathleen Wynne’s ‘full steam ahead’ approach, are misconstrued – they want progressive wages, not ones full of steam.

There is merit to this point – the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis found that a more gradual wage increase over a 5 year period would put fewer jobs at risk. Mitigating job risk should not be overlooked – The Bank of Canada estimates as many as 60,000 employment losses from the wage increase.

A 5 year gradual implementation would have afforded the economy time to adapt. Rather, it now faces an unprecedented single wage increase. Was this wage increase rolled out too fast?

Absolutely, but it was baffling to me why Kathleen Wynne, our Premier since 2013, would neglect the opportunity to get an early head start on a more gradual implementation.

According to Mike Crawley in a CBC article, Wynne previously supported inflation based nudging of the minimum wage – she saw it as “a really good process …. That actually depoliticizes the increases to the minimum wage.”

In those days a “predictable and sustainable” increase of the minimum wage were very important to her – what changed?

Well the wage increase did not come too early, nor did it come too late – It came just on time. On January 1st, the minimum wage became 14 dollars an hour, and is promised to raise to 15 by next year. An amazing coincidence – The minimum wage hike comes right before an election. Evidence suggests a gradual hike would have been less turbulent for the economy – but that would have been inconvenient for Kathleen Wynne.

She compromised the implementation of a 15 dollar minimum wage – A wage that many of her most ardent critics do not necessarily disagree with. She did it for political expediency, and while the Progressive Conservatives are hampered by scandal, it is the perfect time to capitalize on the jewel of her campaign.

 

German Women in Hitler’s Furies

In her book Hitler’s Furies, Wendy Lower explores the role of women in the Nazi movement. She depicts a lost generation of girls, raised in the tumultuous wake of the First World War. In a country humiliated by Versailles, the people looked for direction, and hope for a better future. Nazism became the fast answer. To women, it in theory offered the empowering honour of being Hitler’s most important citizens, where traditional roles of motherhood and duty to the nation were glorified. Individualistic movements like feminism that contradicted Nazi ideals were targeted, leaving German women to define themselves by the party.

The image of the traditional nazi woman depicted in propaganda was unrealistic – German birthrates dropped, and single, career driven women, who were overworked and underpaid, became omnipresent in German administration, as men were called to battle – indeed these women were indispensable to the atrocities of the regime. Lower
Some of the worst female perpetrators were women without official roles to assist with genocide. These women were voluntary killers, free of any obligation to commit crimes, they would seek to do violence, extra of what was expected – Others were coopted by fear, and the futility in resistance.

Nazism had achieved the obedience of a country. Were these women just complacent in the acts of the regime? To what extent did German women embody the values of the Nazi State? Or to what degree were they active extensions of Hitler’s will?

First Response: Italian Fascism

 

Italian history is no stranger to success and wealth. Its old empire subjugated 5 million square kilometers. Conquest of Sicily brought free bread to Rome. Silver from Spain would pay for its monuments, lavish games, and its armies – which would march Eastward to secure Alexander’s legacy. Juxtaposed to Italy’s former intoxicating power is the shambled form of its state in the early 20th century. Italians are confronted with the humiliation by Versailles, and were challenged to feed the population.

In Fascist Modernities, Ruth Ben-Ghiat describes the horrific occupation of Ethiopia. It was to become the food source to Italy, an experiment for a fascist social revolution, and a new Italian lebensraum. It was essential to expand propaganda control, and to maintain the image of the omnibenevolent state, omnipotent state. Italian Propaganda depicted Ethiopia’s occupation idealistically. But what was neglected is the story of genocide against the Ethiopians, and laws which determined Italian women ought to be publicly whipped, and transferred to concentration camps, should they dare lay with the native population. In this, the fascist tries to construct a new Italian nationhood. This was essential to Mussolini – point 7 of The Doctrine of Fascism states “Anti-individualistic, the Fascist idea is embodied in the State.” Fascism needed to define Italians as separate, and superior. Defining Italians in opposition to Ethiopians and others would encourage self-reliance.

in the Reading by Ben-Ghiat, he notes that limitations to creative freedom within the confines of Italian censorship severely hampered artistic creative expression. This impediment would severely limit not only the diversity but also the quality of Italian art, from books to movies. Art became the forceful expression of the state, and not of the artist’s creativity.

Keeping in mind the intense and effective use of propagandized movies in Italian fascist history, to what degree has Hollywood propagandized its movies? (talk about examples)

 

Sweeper: Race as the New Religion

During the class discussion we turned to the question of why the medieval era is held as the epitome of the white nationalist sentiment. We proposed the answer that the medieval era appealed to notions of purity for some white supremacists. A perceived pseudo-history, where Europe is ethnically homogeneous, appeals to the white nationalist sentiment. Globalism has been portrayed as the enemy of white racial purity, as the harbinger of immigration and diversity, and the medieval age to them, represents a time before it.

It was interesting to explore the notion that race and the idea of having race did not really exist prior to colonization. In the medieval era, religion served to be the great divider – people did not identify strictly with race, but they did have a conception of being Christian. The idea of Christian vs. Jewish and Muslim has very close ties to the racial rivalry dynamics today. In some sense we have seen social division evolve from being predominantly religious based, to now include racial divisions. The white nationalist fantasy of a homogeneous medieval age is unfounded when one considers the immense territory of the Christian world.

We asked why the white nationalists chose to epitomize Medieval Europe and not for example the classical age and Rome. One theory could be the immense diversity within the Roman world – its inclusion of Persia, Libya, and Egypt, for example. These facts fly in the face of the white supremacist sentiment.