By: Lee Stranahan
As the smoke clears and the ashes cool in Ferguson, it’s important to remember that the catastrophe there wasn’t a spontaneous protest in response to a Grand Jury’s decision.
Ferguson shows the destructive consequences of Marxist ideological theory and its application in practice.
Let’s examine those ideas that drove the devastation and how those ideas were implemented in Ferguson. In this article, I’ll discuss the central idea that’s behind the rise of the unrest in Ferguson: Marx’s view of the world as a struggle between the oppressor and the oppressed. In an upcoming article, I’ll look at the very specific ways that that ideology was implemented by the Obama administration in Ferguson .
What Is Oppressor-Oppressed?
The oppressor-oppressed distinction that lies at the heart of Ferguson is a very simple idea that’s only actually a couple of hundred years old.
The idea was first introduced by the philosopher G.W.F. Hegel but really began to sweep through modern political thought with the publication of the Communist Manifesto in 1848. Karl Marx introduces the oppressor-oppressed concept immediately in Chapter I:
The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.
Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another…
If ideas spread like viruses, the oppressor-oppressed distinction is the Ebola of political theories…except it’s been much deadlier. The oppressor-oppressed distinction became the lens that neo-liberal thinking would come to see the entire world through.
Marxism may have failed politically in nation after nation but it lives today though cultural influence in the arts and education. The 1960s radicals revived the oppressor-oppressed concept as they took to the streets and hijacked the civil rights movement. Once you start listening for the various ways oppressor-oppressed is presented, you hear it every day almost anyplace where politics are being discussed, from shouts of white male privilege to college programs teaching ‘anti-oppression training to the way businessmen are presented in TV, movies or on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
Understanding how this theory is playing out in Ferguson is important because it’s actually a key component in the broader issue of racial politics today. I believe that the oppressor-oppressed mindset creates the “perpetual victimhood” mentality that many conservatives notice in liberals.
Understanding oppressor-oppressed also helps explain why an Islamic “civil rights” group like CAIR is involved in Ferguson. The entire Israeli-Palestinian conflict is most often seen by the Palestinian activists and their neo-liberal allies as an example of oppressor-oppressed. As Hillary Clinton said as Secretary of State:
So, yes, there is more that the Israelis need to do to really demonstrate that they do understand the pain of an oppressed people …
Oppressor-oppressed Brainwashing In Ferguson
Claiming that the oppressor-oppressed concept is one of the driving forces in Ferguson obviously doesn’t mean that the protestors on the ground in Ferguson are actively thinking about Hegel and Marx. Most of the protesters aren’t intellectuals or revolutionaries and certainly there are many protestors who are simply fed up with what they see as unfair treatment by the police.
Modern neo-liberals intentionally use protests as a way of both creating shock troops for violent direct actions and also indoctrinating those protestors to see themselves and their struggle as part of the grand sweep of Marxist oppressor-oppressed battles.
So while most of the protestors may not be thinking about the Michael Brown shooting in Marxist terms, the people pushing things behind the scenes certainly do.
One of the pushers has been Lisa Fithian, an experienced white anarchist neo-liberal organizer who has been doing protestor training in Ferguson. Fithian is a longtime, experienced street organizer that was featured in the film Occupy Unmasked for her role as “Professor Occupy,” as she was called by Mother Jones. She’s a professional demonstrator who’s worked for the labor unions in places like Michigan and Illinois.
Where Fithian goes, chaos follows so it’s not at all shocking that Fithian has trained over 600 ‘activists’ in Ferguson. Her trainings are a combination of how to cause maximum trouble for the police while staying just within the bounds of the law and the underlying theory of why the demonstrators are fighting the oppressor. By defining the authorities as the oppressor she gives the oppressed the moral go-ahead to fight them by any means necessary.