Monday, 18 January 2010

Aryan History X.

The Mythical Supermen.

There was a mythology prevalent in the United States in the 18th and 19th Centuries – the myth of specifically Anglo-Saxon origins. The myth had been developed in 15th Century England and was then picked up in America soon after colonisation. Though, it is fundamentally not too dissimilar to the myths and ideals of the National Socialists. The end result of such widely propagated myths include genocide and slavery. The myth was that there was an Aryan race, originating in what is today Iran, a unique and superior species to all over human beings. The characteristics of this race included: a round cranium, tall in stature, blond-hair, blue-eyes and a paper-white complexion. They were the embodiment of physical perfection, in the eyes of the people of that time and place. This noble race stood for freedom, the Aryan race were said to have been actively dedicated to justice and law. Today, it is easy to say that such mythical supermen are only real to the KKK, but the truth is rather more unsettling.

Once the Aryans had emerged in the East, they migrated to the West and eventually settled in the Black Forests of Germany where they became the Teutons – who were a “perfect race”. But as they had migrated, some of these Aryans had inter-married with the people in the East and produced the “degenerate race” of the Mediterranean. The Aryans, who were dedicated to the purity of their race, exterminated everyone and later became the Angles and the Saxons. The Angles and the Saxons moved onwards to ancient Britain, where they maintained their purity by exterminating inferior tribes they came across. The Anglo-Saxons later came to America in the form of the colonists, again committing genocide along the way. The implication being that indigenous British and American people are descendent of the "perfect race". Racism runs deep in Western civilisation, to an ideological extent by now, and America is no exception. Even the Founding Fathers" believed in this myth, Thomas Jefferson thought that the race had been “poisoned” by immigration to Britain in the centuries since the Anglo-Saxons came to Britain. For Benjamin Franklin, even Germans did not fit the criteria of the Aryan ideal, for they were too “swarthy” for his liking.

It was this myth which fuelled the extreme racism of the time. Which was a factor in the enslavement of Africans, the genocide of Native Americans and Mexicans. Since then, every influx of immigrants into the United States has been persecuted and scapegoated. When the first Irish people came to America – the "Land of Opportunity" – to escape poverty, famine and the tyrants of England, they were the immediate subject of persecution. Signs such as “No dogs or Irish” were hung in shops and restaurants for all too see. Eastern Europeans and the Jews fleeing pogrom were treated in similarly dehumanising ways. But it wasn’t until many Chinese people began to immigrate to the United States, that the methods of segregation were “developed” further by the government. In fact, the first “racial exclusion act” was passed against Chinese immigrants. Black people soon became the subject of these same methods of segregation, particularly after the abolition of slavery. Each of these perceived “races” also became the scapegoat for the problems in American society. Today, the new targets of scapegoating and persecution in the US are Mexican immigrants and Arabs. Though, the way in which groups are persecuted and scapegoated has changed greatly, thanks to the progress made over the last five decades. But it remains a real influence on the way Western politicians act.

The Race War.

It was this primitive myth which became a form of sophistry, favouring racial persecution, segregation, slavery and genocide, before becoming ideological. By which I mean, it became a set of ideas, beliefs, values - some of which function independent of conscious belief by individuals - and a way of interpreting the world. A dominant ideology can function regardless of the belief of mere individuals, because such an ideology is embedded in daily life. In times of segregation in the US, you would be bombarded constantly with signs designating who uses what. Even if you consciously disagree with separate water fountains, if you drink from them you are actively obeying the dominant ideology. This is because it is the intended way, by those who put up the signs "white" and "coloured", in which water fountains are used that is ideological. The only way to escape from this is to act on one's disbelief, the Montgomery Bus Boycott is an example of how to challenge ideology. This ideological racism was actualised further through war.

It was first actualised in this way as America was "expanded" - namely, the theft of half of Mexico and the mass-murder it entailed. Unfortunately, the American politicians wanted to move onwards to the homeland of the Aryan supermen, in what may have been Iran or India. So Hawaii and the Philippines were later conquered by the US, again the conquest was characterised by mass-murder. From there, it was intended, that they would go on to conquer China and the rest of the East, so that the rightful descendents of the Aryans could return to their "homeland" once they had circled the earth. In fact, Theodore Roosevelt designated the Japanese "honorary Aryans", because they were seen as the key to defeating the Chinese and in doing so he laid the basis for the Pacific battles of WWII. Arguably, this was also the ideological aim for American involvement in the war in the Korean peninsula. Luckily, the US government never accomplished this imperialist goal, as it would have probably required genocide to "succeed".

Of course, the way ideology functions today has changed much since those primitive bigoted days. Today, as Slavoj Zizek has pointed out, ideology can function through cynicism (though, not always). For instance, upon Barack Obama's victory it was immediately said by many that he won't bring change. To believe that political change is impossible, because politicians are compromisers and all government is corrupt, is to accept the status quo as it is. Obama has not accomplished change, but to simply state "He was never going to..." implies it doesn't matter because politicians aren't meant to deliver change. If we follow this logic to it's ultimate conclusion we find that voting is a meaningless gesture that we might as well not participate in. Effectively, this hands over the polity to people who aren't expected to bring change and aren't representative of the population. This remains so if one does not actively pursue the desired change.

It is interesting to think about American imperialism, and it's guise of jingoism, as an extension of racist ideology, especially as Iran and China are still discussed in terms of their potentially "threatening" military. Many fear a war with Iran and many cynics are resigned to the fact that the US want a war with Iran - "The government will invade Iran, like they invade Iraq, we have no say in the matter..." Though, this ideologico-political explanation of American racism and military aggression isn't the only dimension to take into account, there are also the politico-economic reasons. Nevertheless, it is revealing of the "We own the world" mindset of American politicians, let alone the self-proclaimed "masters of the universe" running the corporations who benefit most from war and exploitation. Time will tell if the "master-race" will return to their rightful homeland in Iran.

1 comment:

Lizza said...

Iran!!! Oh, the irony.