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Nelson Mandela, rightwingers and racism

December 6, 2013 - Harry Eagar
The lefties at RightWingWatch commemorate the death of Nelson Mandela by reviewing the pro-apartheid records of some prominent American rightwingers, including Ronald Reagan, Jerry Falwell, Sen. Jeff Flake, Pat Robertson and others. RWW couches the political stance in terms of anticommunism, which is misleading.

The opposition to black political rights was based on race, justified by anticommunism. The white government flooded the South with propaganda depicting South Africa as the last bastion against communism in southern Africa. Probably white agents worked in other sections, but as far as I know, without the success they had in the South, where before the main feature began at the movies we were treated to lengthy propaganda films depicting the South African air force bravely shadowing fishing trawlers that were described as Russian spy ships.

I cannot say how this was received by the audience. I thought it was as comical and sinister as most rightwing anticommunism as I had learned it from the days of Joe McCarthy. I never heard anyone walk out of the theater saying anything about it. That was not the case in more politically active venues. My Bircher uncles were loud in their denunciation of South African blacks and communism. In newspaper columns and on the stump and in Congress (as RWW relates), praise for apartheid was loud.

It only got louder after South Africa's whitepower regime weakened in the face of international liberal support for democracy for blacks and browns, leaving only Southern Rhodesia as a white-ruled prison camp in Africa. The hysteria from the right -- in those days I was a constituent of the vile racist Jesse Helms so I heard a lot of this -- was ever greater in the interest of saving Rhodesia from communism and majority rule.

The reason alleged was our steel industry's dependence on chromium, which came from only two places -- Rhodesia and the USSR. Unfortunately, while working to save Rhodesia's chrome for Pittsburgh, the rightwingers neglected to save the steel industry for the United States. In fact, they advocated policies that chased steel to other countries.

The one constant in all this political stupidity was black skin. That is why when I hear the same people making the same arguments aimed at a man with black skin in the White House, I believe that the motivation is primarily racist, secondarily whatever non-racist cover story thy are peddling today.

UPDATE: From the invaluable aggregators at Little Green Footballs, two posts that you should read about rightwing racism.

As I noted in a comment to Clovis in the "Thankful for the Second Amendment" post, racist cultures take some curious forms. Today's rightwing racists have learned not to be publicly proud of themselves. Theodore Bilbo is not in style. But they are just as deeply racist for all that they have learned new manners, as the links will prove. (For readers of RtO on The Maui News website, this refers to a discussion on RtO's mirror site, The two RtOs are similar but the mirror site is somewhat less genteel.)

And, while it may not be the most apposite time to bring it up, the racist love for apartheid in the name of anticommunism (still alive today as the Breitbart comments prove) is as clear an example as any you could ask for of how stupid rightwing anticommunists were and are. All any thug had to do was scream "Communism!" and they fell in love with him.

SECOND UPDATE: Then there's this. I don't know that Rick Santorum is racist; not like most in his movement, so far as I have seen. But he is dense. If you're ever kidnapped by Mexican highwaymen who are exposing you to radioactive cobalt-60, try to get Rick Santorum between you and it. You'll be saved. He's better than lead.

THIRD UPDATE: And another example, this one found by a college friend and posted on Facebook, this one with an extra helping of Jew-hatred.


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