Note: This is a transcript of the presentations and final comments of Graham Campbell and Clay Claiborne on black liberation and Putin’s imperialist invasion of Ukraine. It is preceded by an introduction which describes who they are. Below this transcript is a link to the video of the full meeting.
Clay Claiborne lives in Los Angeles. He is the author of the blog site claysbeach.blogspot.com, which incidentally is banned by Facebook. He is also the director of Vietnam: American Holocaust as well as Linux Beach Productions. He was one of the early users of Twitter, putting it to good use in exposing Assad and explaining the Arab Spring. He has exposed much of the pro-Putin “left”, including Code Pink, and he often makes the link between racism and that wing of the left. Clay describes his politics as being a communist and still a Marxist-Leninist after all these years, although he does have some issues with Lenin.
Graham Campbell is a longstanding revolutionary socialist Pan African with a background in trade unionism, anti-racism and Trotskyism as well as in the Scottish independence movement. When the Scottish Socialist Party collapsed and split in 2006 - he briefly joined the British SWP and was one of the rebels who tried to oppose the sexism and rape apologism of this deeply hierarchical organisation. He was a founding member of rs21 (revolutionary socialism in the 21st century) but after Brexit in 2016. He eventually ended up joining SNP Socialists - the left wing think tank with the governing social democratic pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP).
As a socialist within a broader party he has been successfully elected to the SNP National Executive Committee as the first Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME Convener) since 2019 and he is a member of the Glasgow city council.
Note; Graham played a video of the song “Radio Africa” at the beginning of his presentation. Latin Quarter - Radio Africa (Official Video)
Graham Campbell: Okay, folks, so I think you will see that my reasoning for that song being so important, because it encapsulates the 1980s understanding of what was going on at the time. It was the terms of the trade. And as he pointed out, you know, when the hands on the purse strings are white, meaning Western, there was no way that Africa could escape the bonds of slavery that neocolonialism represents. That was true in 1987, when that was done, even more. So now, if it was true then the movements he was talking about, the one party state in Zimbabwe was arising, then the frontline states were starting to cave in, because of the pressure of apartheid South Africa. The lion he talks about in the first verse is apartheid South Africa. So he's making that point that the movements against those so we can buy the terms of the trade that imperialism sets, those countries in their Neo colonial flag independence.
Looking forward now. Right. Where are we? Well, in that U.N. vote in March last year, 24 African countries abstained in the motion that was prompted by the massacre in Bucha in Ukraine, very clear massacre by Russian troops occupying a town near the Capitol Kyiv. No question about it, absolute proof of it on the ground investigation on the way and yet 24 African countries chose to abstain amongst them. Some of the countries we're talking about, but also that nine African countries voted against and you see that the countries are countries like Eritrea dictatorships like Eritrea, Zambia, Zimbabwe and so on. But surprisingly of these Ethiopia was there, that's a very pro western country. And yet, because of the recent conflict in Tigre,where the two [unclear] effectively tried to restore their dominance of the Ethiopian state. The Ethiopian Eritrean conflict and the Somalia Horn of Africa region is a classic example. It's mentioned in this song, there are more tanks than food in the Agaden desert. This is a country near a shared border between two of the poorest countries in the world. In the 70s and 80s. We're going to war with tanks across a plane where more than a million people had starved to death and yet, Moscow was supplying both sides at one time. As they switched sides. We are the Derg took power in in Ethiopia, over Haile Selassie, his kingdom. And then of course, you know, they swapped from supporting Siyad Barre to supporting the Derg and suddenly Moscow's efforts are there.
Now, why is Moscow there? Moscow wasn't there for benevolent reasons. Normally, people have this folk memory of, of Moscow being the repository for you know, liberation to get their armory, you know, indeed, that's represented, you see that in the flag of Mozambique. If you look closely at the Mozambique flag and the seal in the top left hand corner, it's got an AK 47 in it. So what's iconic is the AK 47 as the Moscow contribution to the armory of African liberation. That's the memory people have today in Jamaica, that's where I come from, and, you know, people still remember Mugabe fondly as a leader of national liberation of equal standing to Mandela. Nobody seems to remember his massacre of the working class. He massacred the agricultural economies. He massacred the farm workers, not just the white plateau plantations, but actually massacre of democracy and workers rights in his country over the last 20 years. As neo colonial rule has failed to deliver the liberation that Africans fought for, which was land to the people, rights to the workers. So this mythology of national liberation, which is still being used as a sort of anti colonial trope, you can understand why African leaders today do not want to be told what to do by the Western donors.
Indeed, you'll remember that Antony Blinken went there last year, as the US Fockers, Foreign Secretary visited a lot of these countries that abstained, he went there and of course, they told him in no uncertain terms, you're not telling us what to do, quite rightly so. But they said that to Sergey Lavrov and he was visiting Well, no. Sergey Lavrov went to Uganda and praised Musaveni as to how brilliant he was in in being neutral on the question of Ukraine. Of course, you know, this is a country in the state which has been so heavily aided by by by Western aid, particularly from Western European countries, particularly from America. Most of its schools and hospitals wouldn't operate without those donations because the government is so kleptomaniac and corrupt and has been there for 36 years. And of course fixed the last election, stopped the the entertainer Bobby Wine who was a popular singer who won the election a couple of years back, but they made sure he didn't. He was jailed, and his movement was suppressed rather like Putin. Actually, Navalny, exactly the same tactics used to wipe out the opposition. You see this all over Africa, these dictators who use elections as a way to stay in power, there's no wonder they have something in common.
Note: Graham started his presentation by playing the song “Hearing bad news from Africa”. Here are the lyrics of that song:
Hearing only bad news From radio Africa I'm hearing only bad news From radio Africa They've still got trouble With a monster in the south Heads buried deep In that lion's mouth Like a jaw snapped shut It keeps them apart If that jaw got broke it Would be a start I'm hearing only bad news From radio Africa I'm hearing only sad news From radio Africa The West still complains About the foreign aid They'd do better to change Ihe terms of trade It's more tanks than food In the Ogaden It looks like Moscow Got it wrong again I'm hearing only bad news From radio Africa I'm hearing only sad news From radio Africa I'm hearing only bad news From radio Africa I'm hearing only sad news Mozambique and Mugabe Still got Frelimo I hear them say But exchange means (exchange means) Recession means (recession means) It all means harder to take Tanzania should be moving up a gear Instead they've got to step on the brake (I'm hearing only bad news) So many movements have come this far (I'm hearing only bad news) But lending means….
[Unfortunately, the rest of these lyrics did not get saved.]
So what we're dealing here with is Africa being torn between interim periods, rivalries, and some of them are choosing sides. Some of them are choosing the oppressive, anti democratic. You know, just as colonialist as the other side. You know, China wants the resources of Africa and so does Russia, it's militia. And there's a logical thing with imperialism. When you start exporting your capital, you start building roads, and you start lending money to African dictatorships, and then suddenly, they then have to pay back those generous loans that you gave them. I'm talking about China, to countries like Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya. You see it all over Sub Saharan Africa. Inevitably, that imperialist money is going to be followed by the desire for military backing off those resources. China is trying to get military bases in fact, Antony Blinken visited I think it was Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, particularly Equatorial Guinea, they were very keen that Equatorial Guinea should not give China a harbor so that they've got one an the Atlantic, you know, access to the Atlantic. So that's very key. Djibouti is there as a big base for the West as well. Other African countries are part of China's expansionism because China wants to defend its interests, like any other imperialist power, Russia as a subordinate country to that process. (unclear) only contribution really is the Wagner mercenaries. You see this in the way that Mali voted in that. Mali is a country in which the French authorities were desperately trying to help that regime stop the Islamists of ISIS, and weren't getting great success, but at least they were there. They recovered Timbuktu and all the other major towns there. But they will sit on seminars unceremoniously booted out of Mali last year and replaced by Wagner mercenaries, and Marli's new dictatorship. Again, another military dictatorship, has switched sides and suddenly been offered $100 million, I think it is by Putin in food aid in and this is the thing. It's this competitive bidding for the attentions of Africa.
I suppose we have to sort of look at the votes as well as the 24 abstaining countries who didn't take Ukraine's side but didn't vote against. Amongst them were South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, in fact, all the major African countries, the major economies, and one wonders why those countries would abstain on such a thing when they have such a close historical relationship with Anglophone America and Britain. And I suppose the obvious thing is that advocacy is itself in many ways quite non aligned. The non aligned policies dates from the 60s and 70s, where, you know, African countries led by the great Julius Nyerere in Tanzania. Tanzania, tried to chart a path where we're not dependent on either camp in the Cold War. That didn't work. And unfortunately, the camps we're now faced with are equally rapacious, imperialist powers, but some are led by semi fascist dictators. And in one case, actual fascist dictatorship and some are democracies. And we both have a choice between this. I think there's clearly a path and Africa has a price too exact from each side, it takes in these things, you could understand why it does.
Amongst I should also remember that most of the Caribbean nations, although they're pro American, they're part of the American sphere of influence. Most of them also abstained in that vote, not because they were pro Russian. I think they genuinely wanted to be anti war in the sense of de escalate the conflict. That I think there's clearly an issue that Africans don't see that they have a side in this but Africa as a continent is more important now economically to the global economy than it ever was. It's got all the core materials and minerals for technologies such as cobalt manganese, you know, all these valuable resources that the Congo civil war that everybody hasn't noticed that's been going on for 30 years. 5 million people and counting died. Rape used as a weapon of war that's been an ongoing conflict, which the Rwandan regime, which is very pro Western, has been involved in. Looting the neighboring country, and for some reason how it's possible that Rwanda is one of the world's leading exporters of cobalt, and of manganese. These precious metals, which are not actually in their soil, they're in the Congo soil. But somehow Rwanda is the one that's selling them abroad. Now, that's only possible because the West backs Rwanda, and it gets those minerals and resources that go into your mobile phones and technology. And the Congolese people are none the wiser or better off for it. And right now, that war is right there, near Goma, BM 23. military operation, that guerrilla movement is basically Rwanda. That's what it is. The Congo has a unique conflict with many people, about six different African states, with their armies. They're backed by Russia, China or America, to loot the resources of the the Democratic Republic of Congo. That country did vote for (unclear) resolution, by the way, because of its own experience of being invaded by its neighbors.
So it's interesting that some major African countries did vote with Ukraine. But I think we have a complicated situation in which the fight for African liberation requires Africa to really do two things: one unifying under its own steam. There needs to be an African Union with its own currency, its own single market, and a Democratic structure for citizens to participate in the way, something similar to what the European Union is. But Africa's struggle to create a system like that, that they came close to the beginnings of an African currency at the beginning of 2021, it's been sort of obviously interrupted by COVID. If you look at what the African Parliament does, it's a very weak institution compared to controlling the dictators, mostly who are in the countries running the governmental side of it. But it's clear that that's where Africa is going towards a more integrated and more independent economy. The question is, what prices it pays and Ukraine why, unfortunately, is part of the collateral in political terms of, of how these competitions between imperialist powers for influence over Africa go right now.
So in terms of where do we stand, what should should we be doing? I think clearly for Pan Africanists the world over,we must not be apologists for dictatorships, we must not be apologists for not recognizing the African people themselves who want democracy and freedom, who's shown it on the streets, who have had themselves shot off the streets of Uganda, Code d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, all of these countries where they've risen up against these African elderly dictatorship, I mean, we've all seen in years here, but you know, there's no reason why people in their 80s and 90s should be running countries. But when people you know... Africa is a country where the majority of the population is under 30, as a whole continent, where many countries where the young people are even up to 70% of the population, that's not reflected in the leadership of these nations. And similarly, women in this environment, all over the continent. Very few countries where women are heads of state or prime minister, lead anything. Africa will still be held back. Africans, the world over will be disrespected by the lack of coherence of our governance, and indeed, the lack of coherence of our government's foreign policy.
So if you understand where South Africa puts itself, it's rather ironic that this country of all countries should be in an alliance with China, Russia, Brazil and India in the way that it is when it's an economic weekly [weakling?] in comparison. It's simply... it's clear home market is Southern Africa and integrating that Southern Africa. South African companies are all over and dominating the region over there strictly around minerals mining resources to so it in its own right, South Africa is that sort of minor sub imperialist power in that region. Nigeria is a very interesting country because it's a country I have family in [the] 200 million people. It ought to be a very wealthy country but isn't. Look at Mozambique, right now. Mozambique is the connection to Ukraine. by the way. Mozambique has BP there = British Petroleum. And just last year in November, they'd signed a deal to ship 3.4 million tons of LNG, liquefied natural gas, which is part of Europe's strategy to wean itself off Russia's dependence on Russian gas and that's part of Mozambique is now part of that European effort. Likewise, other countries have supplied the attempt to get oil and gas from dictatorships like Equatorial Guinea, again, part of the strategy for Europe to seal itself off from the impact of Putin's attempt to use gas and oil As a blackmail weapon.
Let me finally say this as a socialist in Europe, I've always been anti NATO, anti nuclear. Scotland is a country that does not want nuclear weapons on its soil. And if NATO is unable to have nuclear weapons 30 miles from where I'm sitting here in Glasgow, then there would be no nuclear submarines in the North Sea, because there's no way in England and Wales that these nuclear submarines could be based. But I have to say that lots of the people in this country are shifting their views on the question of NATO and whether Scotland needs to be part of that alliance. Personally, I'm still not in favor of NATO. But I don't see NATO as the aggressor in this conflict. Russia is the aggressor. Russia is the imperialist power that has invaded their neighbor, that has caused genocide, that is actually trying to threaten the security of all of the countries in Eastern Europe and recover Its reactionary empire. We understand we as Africans of all people should understand what reactionary empires are. Even French ones, British or Portuguese ones. As well, we should understand fully what that means and what we should be instinctively for the right of self determination against an invading militarist, genocidal neighbor. And the moral vacuum of leadership you see in Africa is prevalent in the way that you see them voting.
The final thing I'd say is Ukraine and wheat and Russia wheat. Russia, of course, is looting Ukraine's [wheat] to export it, while the Ukrainians of course, a large part of food aid around the world, particularly in the Horn of Africa, was dependent on Ukraine's exports and out of Ukraine heroically is still exporting that, with the assistance of Turkey, thankfully, to get from Odessa, out to the rest of the world, but Russia is actually stealing the grain from the bits that they have occupied, and now handing it to countries like Mali. And if that's not colonialism and imperialism. It's awful. So we have to understand what we're fighting against. And also remember what we're fighting for. For us, Pan Africanists, Africa, and Africans need to be sovereign and self governing and determining they have to have agency and their agency be recognized in the same way. We should recognize the agency of Syrians and Ukrainians. We must not see this conflict solely in terms of how the imperialist powers line up. We must start with the agency, the revolutionary agency of the people themselves.
John Reimann: Okay, well, thank you very much, Graham. And next, we will have Clay Claiborne.
Clay Claiborne: I just got back from San Antonio. And I went there for two purposes. It was a family gathering kind of thing. My stepsister, Rene Claiborne, who was married to my brother two years younger than me. She passed recently and there was a memorial for her on Friday. It was also the birthday for her mother who was celebrating her 100th birthday. So anyway, it occurred to me that one of the kind of downsides of living to be 100 might be that you end up doing something no parent ever wants to do. And that is to bury your own child. You that child dies at still at a relatively young age, from the point of view of 100 years old, and this woman is still up and about and active. She needs a walker when she gets around. And she's in good health relatively. So that is a blessing. Anyway, San Antonio, is also the home of Rackspace hosting. And for almost six years I worked at Rackspace hosting as a Linux systems administrator. And here's the funny thing. For those six six years, at least for those six years, the last four years I used Zoom almost every day for video conferencing. So the present problems having using zoom in the browser, as opposed to the app, I gotta sort that out is new to me and I just haven't had time to sort it out. But that's neither here nor there to get on with this, because I'm not going to kind of make any changes or share anything here.
I've had a long history of AI in it. And on the subject of racism and how it pervades our society.
For a long time, I had a gripe, which some of the technical terminology used in the IQ world.
Are you familiar with the challenge of whitelist and blacklist as it applies to [unclear] firewall rules? Has anybody ever heard those terms? Do I need to explain them? Okay. If you work in I.T He was a Linux systems administrator in network security, and he does things. You do a lot with firewalls? Are people familiar with what firewalls are? Yes, yes. Okay. You have two kinds of firewall rules. One is called whitelisting. And the other is called blacklisting. Anybody want to venture a guess, at how those two things are defined? And I'll give you a clue that diametrically defined anybody what was allowed a blacklist isn't? Yeah, exactly. blacklist, is a list of IP addresses, domain names, or other characteristics that you want the firewall to deny access to. whitelist is a list of similar characteristics, IP names, domain names, URLs, etc. that you want the firewall to allow access to, even if it normally blocks access to it for other reasons. So I used to be " why you gotta be named like that. Why do you gotta drag racism into the question like this?" Yes, you have to have those two sets of rules. That makes sense. And yes, I had to deal with that coming out with you every day in my job.
And it used to irritate me. Until one day, I had an epiphany. I realized that wasn't where the problem lied at all.
That it was entirely right and proper. That the name of the list of rules, addresses that you wanted to not access to was named the blacklist. And the name of the list of roles or domains that you want to allow access to was named white lists. That is because the association of white with good and black with bad white with positive black with negative white with security. Black was dangerous, it's intrinsic to human beings as a species. We're [not] nocturnal, we live on planet earth we get our sustenance from the sun. The sunlight that reaches us is white. White is not really a color in the sense of red, blue and green, yellow, purple, etc. which are represent individual, say, domains on the electromagnetic spectrum. Why is the combination of all those frequencies within, if you understand it and the physics within that domain and the electromagnetic spectrum, this screens you are looking at right now are made up of red, green and blue pixels. There are no white pixels in it. And what you see is white on that screen, but I see as white is the combination of all those is what sunlight looks like, when it's reflected by something defrags minutes, that's why snow is white. That's why seafoam is white. That's why sugar. If it's pure, that's why that's why a lot of crystalline substance in a pure form are white. the prom never was associated with white with good, and Black was bad, with white with positive and Black was negative for our species. Now for another species that is nocturnal. They might associate safety and security with night. But our species has always been one to retreat to our trees, to our domains to our cave, to our areas of safety at night so we can sleep in safety and carry out our day activities and what Karl Marx called the natural death. Now the problem comes in I call it the problem of the two definitions of white and I just gave you one that's the color definition. And that's been around since human beings invented language and started defining colors and which one of the first basic things we did with language essentially seeing colors. Which not every animal can say. But it's one of the advantages we have in sight.
If you look up, white, in the dictionary, you'll see these two definitions there one having to do with color, and the other having to do with race having to do with the white race having to do with white people. That it turns out is a relatively recent vintage that showed up in Oxford English Dictionary. Around 1590 The first uses white ever found anywhere was in a play done in in I think it wasn't 1613 where the playwright had a man in black face playing an African king look out all over the audience. And of course this was in London, say "I see all you white people out there" 1613 your earliest reference and that was kind of normally and normally early on. We have to go up to 1650, 1660 and colonial Virginia to start seeing stock being used And 1660 it first use it in law. I think I actually have my notes in front of me but I won't bother to refer to them now.
They're available and a lot of my writings on on this subject. Interestingly enough, though, the first use as a law, were in laws against intermarriage between Africans not yet called black, but called African, and white or Englishmen before white, the Englishman were referred to as English or Christians, you know, or Europeans or the various European nationalities that they were. But white was a category and it was a move that was simultaneous with setting up of African slavery in the colonies. Because before that, they were trying to enslave everybody, basically, to the whole system of indentured servitude.
And the first Africans brought to this to Virginia, and 1619. As slaves, they were captured as slaves, but they were set into this indentured servitude system. And actually something of a pre racist America were among these first Africans to come here. Some of them, themselves, became slave owners or owners of indentured servants. They became plantation owners themselves. And when the first racist attacks came, when the first changes came, they were defended by their neighbors, but the changes were inevitable because capitalism was dominant capitalism needed to work for us. The indentured servitude thing wasn't working for them. Even though most indentured servitude servants didn't last two years, those didn't make it five or seven years and got the land a lot themselves became farmers and (unclear), capitalists competing with the capitalists and plantation owners anyway. So long story around that, why that wasn't working for. And they just determined that African slavery was going to be the labor force that used in this inception was the inception of white supremacy. And then make this work for the day gathered all the Europeans around a color line, a creative and a fraudulently, I think this is important to understand, fraudulently took the label white for that cohort of people that they brought together. And the first laws that used white as a label were laws designed to stop Europeans English from intermarrying with Africans because that was going on, and they knew they had to break that up.
And their first attempts at that had some problems. They put a tax on. They put a tax on African wives or African women. Even though they were married, that didn't apply to English women, but not just with all African men were marrying English women to save on taxes, it was designed to stop English men from African women, because they would be taxed more heavily. And eventually, they completely outlawed any intermarriage. And those were the first laws. those are the first times they used it and then they used it forever, forever, often to 1705 with the Virginia slave codes. And in that fairly short period, and that around a half a century period, white supremacy was established, and the whole concept of white in the language and white as a race and white as a people and the association of goodness and innocent and all those virtues that had been rightly applied to white since the dawn of language were fraudulently taken by a race to apply to themselves. I say finally, because obviously, white people aren't white. Like in color white, when George Washington or whoever said, you know, "don't shoot until you see the whites of the eyes", nobody came back and said, "well, they are white. So how are we going to see the whites of their eyes?" Because they're not white. And why should I stand out the whites of their eyes are the same as they are for black people. But Asians, for Native people, for human being deadly, we're just like, all of us, our blood is red. And only what separates us and not white and black, but the level of melatonin in our skin.
Okay, let me get how I associate just with Ukraine. First when the white race was formed, I'm sure many of you know that a lot of work has already been done around this. It turned out and the actual purposeful creation of the white race during this colonial period in Virginia. And everywhere else. Okay.So let me get to my key points how this relates to Ukraine, there was a whole period dealt with setting up the right, the white race initially was not just a question of, "here are your privileges." And you know, during the white race, there was quite a bit of, there was a certain amount of violence involved. And quite a bit of caution. In fact, my analysis of the first laws, they use the word white in them. Well, they forced the various Europeans to give up their individual identity as Englishmen or French men or Germans, or whatever the various national heritage is, and adopt the definition of white. Because if you weren't on land, you had to be white. That is (what) you had to call yourself. First you had to have European heritage and light skin. Then you had a welcome to the club, but you also had to join the club. And, to a greater or lesser degree, give up your, your former national identity to join this white club. So that has always been a part of racism.
The dominant race has not necessarily been like a voluntarily thing. We look at the oppression that is applied to the oppressed races or the oppressed groups and the black groups. But the domination, the creation of that white group can also be a power play. That was seen in the original part. It was seen, for instance, in Chicago in 1990. In the race riots. Were was the Italian versus the African Americans. And there was a growing Polish community that at that time initially had been excluded from the white race that inspired the European in light skin color and all that they weren't considered white before this. But during the course of these riots, the Italians decided that they needed to pose as allies. And again, many things to cook because the Poles are like "this is this is a fight between the African and African Americans and the white people. And we're neighbors." And so the Italians even dressed up in blackface and attacked the Poles to convince them that they needed to join with the Italians in fighting the Africans, the the black people in Chicago. And so that's a more recent example.
Now I want to give you two examples. One going on under Hitler, and one going on now is my examples And that's what I call a phenomenon call a whiter shade of white. And I have for Hitler's really virulent form of white supremacy. Nazism held that not just white people are superior. But among white people, the Aryan people were the most superior. And the Aryan people should rule over all of the white people, and then through them all other people in our world, but they would be at the top of the heap and racially defined should be at the top of the heap. And so his (Hitler's) initial, military and political forays were to unite the Aryan people. To reclaim, the German people, either place them under his rule. That's as the first attempt to expand this conquest to the rest of Europe, and Russia and beyond.
I think we see a similar phenomenon with Putin. And it bears up under the scrutiny of his right, he sees the Eastern Slavs as the people that are whiter than white. White as a shade of white you might say, and should rule over everyone else. So forth and so on. His first moves are to unite our eastern Slavs where he will call ancient Rus people under his leadership. But that is not the limit of his interest in conquests. And that is why even though the Ukrainian war was seen to be a question, white on white violence is seted and grounded in this history in view of white supremacy, and is part of a long tradition of white supremacy, and is rarely talked about and very little studied, and that is violence against white people to make them stay in the white race, or to consolidate that white race was not entirely done by voluntary methods. And what we see right now, in Ukraine, is Putin attempting to consolidate his rule over the East. What the Ugoslav people, the Rus people first by any means necessary? And in this case, obviously, very violent. So that is, I think, the fundamental connection between white supremacy and what's happening in Ukraine right now, at first glance, it might not seem to be as we will view a war against a European country against an African country because to enter your war.
But whereas the First World War was more an inner imperialist war, certainly the Second World War had aspects of that. Yeah, also had the Nazi the fascists, the white supremacist aspect of that, which is where all that comes from. And the important thing to understand about that is white supremacy developed simultaneous simultaneously with the creation of the white race, and with the economic foundation of slavery, which was the economic foundation or the founding of United States, not just in the South with the cotton trade, but everything attached to that the manufacturing in the North - the shipping in the North, the banks in New York, everything that had that foundation of slavery that provided the material basis for powerful ideology. A well rounded ideology that has spun off many derivatives since then. Do not stand as equal because they are derivatives and not independent from it in any way.
Let me just make a few concluding point. In conclusion this is my thesis: Putin is representative of a version of Great White show, Russian chauvinism, which is in itself a derivative of white supremacy that envisions the Rus people, the Slavs, as the superior race destined to rule the world, or very least a large part of it. They see that first test is uniting all of us people under Putin's leadership. This is in preparation for greater conquest in Europe and beyond. The ready-made excuse for these military incursions and annexation is the protection of the Russian diaspora. That's in the cases where the very interesting web of different national identities, language and or state organizations, these must be eradicated so that people can be absorbed into the greater Rus people has a genocidal nature such campaigns saying from this perspective, the Russian Ukrainian war may be seen, namely a struggle of white people, white on white violence, but it definitely has racist motivations. We've been through this movie before the last time was in the 1930s when Hitler and the Nazis took initial steps to unite our German people, the area, his master release before embarking on a course of violent world conquest. That would be my summation.
Summary statements from Clay and Graham
Clay Claiborne: I think the point of my presentation is that, when you present yourself as white, already, you present yourself in a superior. It's inherent in that label, and it can't be separated from that label. You know, white supremacy is really part and parcel of a certain people labeling themselves white, and you can't separate it from that.
I'll kind of just leave it at that because that's a core thing that I'm trying to get across. There's this tie between the definition of a certain group of people as white historically and white supremacy get as immutable. A revocable base and our primal understanding of the world before the concept of race even came about before we were even human. When we were just primates, when we were just day time dwelling mammals, daylight meant something, darkness meant something else. Those are inherent qualities in our being. So when a certain group but people fraudulently, because they are not white - you see a white cat, a white cow, a white horse. And you know why we call that a white cat, a white horse? You see a person who calls himself white? You say what the hell? How did that come about? And when did that come about? Well, we know it came about with the advent of African slavery, it came about a good I will say 20 to 25 years before the literature started referring to Africans as black evil. And it was a deliberate thing done to oppress a certain people and to divide the working class. And it cannot be separated from that. So when you present yourself as white and call for unity, be aware of the problem that's inherent in that. That'll be my summation.
Graham Campbell: Thank you, John. Firstly, thank you, Clay, and comrades for the excellent contributions and interesting and thought provoking interventions. I'm going to start by agreeing with Greg that, in fact, yes, these are social constructs. But one obvious point about a social contract, like for example, the Scottish National Movement and what Scotland is. The key point in a national movement like mine is whether it's defined ethnocentricaly, or by citizenship and identification with rights. And very, very deliberately, the Scottish Nationalism has been defined non ethnocentric. And as a London born African Caribbean person who lives in its largest city, I am representing as an elected representative from political parties left of center social democratic and decidedly not ethnocentric. Now, global globally, nationalism in quotes is generally understood as ethnocentric, racially, exceptionalist, and all of that stuff. And that's an identity that's profoundly rejected within the body politic that I exist in.
Graham Campbell: And what's interesting when I compare that Scottish experience, which has welcomed refugees, and that point that I think it was Bradley brought up earlier about European migrants accepting migrants from the Syrian, Afghan indeed, the Congolese Kosovo and all the other wars that we've had in Europe. They've been welcomed, by the most part within Scottish and British society, as they have been in Germany, France, and in most of the big European countries. And particularly, it was interesting in 2015, when the Syrian conflict was on, when the borders was suddenly opened by Europe, Britain's always had a sort of fortress iseland to keep refugees out. And but despite those hefty measures, and if you can date this from Since Tony Blair, and Thatcher's time, every year of my life, that whichever government's been in power, has introduced new asylum legislation or border legislation to restrict so called illegal immigration. And every year, it's failed miserably, because actually, the wars that happen, overwhelming supersede those those attempts to to hold the barriers up.
So the irony is, of course, in Britain, is that while that we have an Asian Prime Minister, first ever non white Prime Minister, why not the first time? Well, you could you could argue that Disraeli was the first ethnic Prime Minister in Britain. But there's a man whose family would be kept out by the laws that he's currently implementing. But yet he is not able to stop the flow. Because the problem we haven't written this and we don't have a legal way of getting here. When you when you press them on, or how do you stop the boats crossing the Channel, there is no legal safe route, that people who are from Afghanistan, Iraq and all the other countries like Syria, who are currently camping out at Calais. are able to join their families who've got refugee status in Britain. In other words, people who are totally entitled to apply for safe passage to Britain because they have family connections are unable to come because there's no legal way to get here.
But clearly Ukraine war, and suddenly, in Scotland alone, 120,000 Ukrainians have legally come where a safe route has been found. Most of the ones that I've met have come over from Warsaw or from Paris, because the British government made legal safe arrangements to travel. This is the racism here. justifiably, they have made provision for Ukrainians to come to seek refuge. And they have had mass popular support. Many people have opened their homes up about 100,000 to accommodate in, in people's homes in Scotland. You know, just people, ordinary people just welcoming. They, unfortunately did not do that for Afghans, Syrians, Africans and everybody else who needed to flee war and persecution. And that indicates that people in Europe obviously identify racially and nationally with the plight of Ukrainian Europeans, partly because the Ukrainians of course, portrayed themselves as Europeans, people fighting for Western values, Western civilization, all that nonsense. That may be true, they genuinely believe I've had that conversation with Ukrainian students on Friday night at Glasgow University. For Ukrainian students, so they genuinely believe they're defending democratic values.
And to a large extent they are, they are at the front line of the fight against authoritarian genocidal racist dictatorship. And let's be clear about this. When people say to you, "oh, well, what about the racism?" The whataboutery, as we call it? What about the racism of Europe? What about the racism of just about everybody else, including my own country, but let's ignore the racism that's leading to the actual deaths, massacre, murder and fleeing of the population of Ukraine. These people who are peaceniks in this and I include your your pink folks [Code Pink] over in the states who want simply to stop the war without stopping the injustice that's happening. [they] are basically asking those Ukrainians to submit to occupation, to become Russians by force to have their Russian education and propaganda, Putin's education curriculum, rammed down their children's throats, they're meant to be forcibly conscripted into the Russian and DPR LNR Armed Forces as they currently are being or being deported into Russia, something like 200,000 missing from Ukraine, inside Russia, many of them deported, Stalin style, to cities far, far, far, far away from Ukraine. Those people are essentially kidnapped people, the Crimean Tatars have been deported again from their home territory for about the fourth time the last 100 years. Putin is really following Stalin here not Peter the Great.
So this is the kind of racist genocidal illness which of course is complicated by the racism we have internally within our society. Traditional structural racism which, you know, Clay is quite right, has its historical origins in the slave codes of Barbados and the British West Indian Islands, which they codified the racial discrimination against African people being chattel. And that's where you Americans unfortunately get it from because of course, I as a Scot, and Caribbean person here, we have to claim our responsibility for giving you that racial code and those racial institutional structures and that they these exist in international politics.
But I've also had to cope with the nonsense about Russia fighting Nazis. Of course, Ukraine is led by a Jewish president, a number of his top 10 team of candidates in his elections. And servants of the people when they won the elections in 2019. Is in fact this Zhan Beleniu], who's a Ukrainian wrestler, who was one of his top 10 listed peoples and as a black wrestler, who is half Urwandan and was one of the top people and Servants of the People's electoral list. This is supposed to be a fascist state, well, the Russian regime which is led by actual fascist people like Strelkov, and so on, crossed the border of Russia National Unity, a long standing fascist organization, their people at the heart of the Nova Russiya, you know, ideology, and they're the people who invaded Ukraine in 2014, from the east.
So I've been to Russia twice myself. And from the early days of Putin's regime, the anti semitism that was growing the authoritarianism, the attack on democratically elected officers. He abolished the democratically elected governors, he appointed governors. And after that point, he implemented a labor code which smashed labor and trade union rights in that when they were resisting the oligarchy or privatization. What he was trying to crush in Ukraine was the good example of a population which made three political revolutions against oligarchy, and against corruption and an anti democratic attempts to create a Putin style dictatorship. Of course, he didn't want an example like that living and breathing next door to Russia in case the Russian people themselves got that bright idea and of course, many of them did. They tried to express that through the Navalny movement and of course, What did he do? He crushed them off the streets, I have to say, having protested on the streets of Moscow myself, I haven't suffered quite to that degree. But the fact that you had any kind of demonstration, the police, his first assumption was that you weren't allowed to do it. That was in 2002.
So of course, in the years since then, it's become pretty much impossible to do what I did in 2002, which is come up to demonstration with railway workers and do that. So that's the kind of regime within anybody who is an apologist for that regime is an apologist for people having the Civil Rights removed, having their existence even denied to having the Ukrainian people wiped out as people, and also for working class people to be suppressed and held in a dictatorship forevermore.
That's what they're for. They're not for peace. They're for dictatorship. And we should call them out, morally and politically for what that stand means. There is no way that the Ukrainians can defend themselves without weapons, and without pursuing the war till Putin's forces are gone from their territory. Anything less is frankly, meaningless and would be laughed at, even if it wasn't so sad, because essentially, how can you say your for their rights, but without them being able to exercise their rights in practice?
Now, sadly, the International socialists working class forces do not have a military armed force at their disposal. They don't have tanks, planes, bombs, all the things, you need to missiles to defend yourself from a military invasion of a superpower. If we are serious about supporting Ukraine, you have to be in favor of their victory. And this is a difficult thing for us specifically. As an activist, I was there as an activist against the Iraq War and everything that stood for, you know. Clearly, I'm opposed to imperialist expansion, frankly, I'm opposed to NATO imperialist expansion. But NATO is not to blame for this conflict; Russia, Putin is to blame for this conflict. And we should put the blame where it lies in terms of the understanding of race, class and immigration. Yes, that we can expose the facts as activists and things we've done in Glasgow that we made sure in the first Ukraine demos last year, that refugees from Afghanistan from Africa were on the platform, with Ukrainians showing their solidarity, but making that point about racism, and the way that the unequal treatment.
But the point is that you can have that debate because the government showed that they could create legal safe corridors for refugees from Ukraine, if they can do that for white Europeans, they can do that for everybody else. And that's the way for us to tackle that question. They should do it for Ukrainians, they should do it for Syrians, they should have done it for all the other peoples who needed that respite from persecution and dictatorship. But in the end, the answer has to be the defeat of dictatorship. We are in the early stages of as opposed to a war between the democracies and the authoritarian regimes. And you know, I don't think you can really be neutral on that. You ever for an authoritarian form of state capitalism, a la, China and Russia, etcetera, becoming the dominant power in the world, or with all of its flaws, you know, that you fight for democracy and freedom from where we are able to fight from it from? I think Ukrainians have deep illusions in the progressive nature of Europe and of NATO, and you can understand why, but the fact that countries like Sweden are pushing having been neutral and now they are pushing to join NATO indicates that they see the threat from Russian imperialism was much more serious than maybe we've seen it before. It's shifting views. And, you know, it makes it a much harder task to argue against NATO's nuclear arm. That doesn't mean that we should not back the Ukrainians we still have a duty to back right up against imperialist genocidal maniac, imperialist state.
Clay Claiborne: Okay. Yes, a couple of responses to grant. If you have information, the size of formation or the White Race, even law or literature, or social phenomenon, the places that in the Caribbeans, before Virginia, in that period between 1850 1817 is 1705. I would be very, very interested in seeing In that, because not withstanding the role that the Spanish and the Portuguese played, you know, and the English also, in terms of instituting African slavery and utilizing African slavery, in Mexico, in the Caribbean, in other areas, as I understand the actual formation of the white race, as such, took place specifically in Virginia, and specifically in a certain period, which can be identified. And first uses of the term white, as applied to people in dictionaries, in law, in literature can also be identified to establish that, and I think it's important to do, because with regard to what existed before I say, Well, what existed in 1619. And Virginia in that period, was not white supremacy, as we class as we know it. Now, white supremacy, as it developed in that four form, in that same area, in the next 800 years, or even the next ad is for even more specifically, in the period between 1650 and 1705. Because that is the form of white supremacy, that has become dominant throughout the world, and spawn all kinds of other things. And yes, it's very much related to class and capitalism, because that is also the period where capitalism first developed and developed lockstep on this planet with white supremacy.
The other thing I want to say in regards to how immigrants from or refugees from Ukraine have been treated as refugees from Africa. And in the Middle East. It's true that racism played a role in that. And Ukraine getting preferred treatment. But we should not suddenly like the fact that that's not the only reason why there are two sides to that first place. There was a war in Europe. And people are fleeing directly across the border, from a warzone, as opposed to a few borders removed. And that's a fact that it has nothing to do with race or nationality. That's just a fact of geography. And so that shouldn't be discounted. The other thing is, in my eyes Ukraine's haven't received all that much preferred treatment that should be bragged about, Yes, initially, they got a lot of attention in the first month or so. And that's when people complain most violently, they were getting preferred treatment. But since then, it's hard to see that much in terms of preferred treatment, particularly in the United States, what Biden say, less than 100,000 - 80,000 -provided they have family members here already. I thought that was pitiful, not something to brag about. You know, yes, it's worse with people come in, across from Mexico, right? Being treated right now like that, or from, you know, from Haiti or from Africa. But all across the board, we're not doing what we should be doing, we certainly aren't doing it to mention one other thing for the people, the earthquake in Turkey and Syria. Right now my mind is hot, it's really with them. And the fact that people are dying, even while we're meeting, and a lot more can be done to dig them out, or Rob, what in the world is doing. So I'll end with that.