International communication aspects of ‘Trumpism’

HENDERSON, NV - OCTOBER 05: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Henderson Pavilion on October 5, 2016 in Henderson, Nevada. Trump is campaigning ahead of the second presidential debate coming up on October 9 with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

By Dr Tafataona Mahoso

THE Sunday Mail of January 21 2018 published an opinion piece titled ‘Stop whining about Donald Trump’.
The intro to the piece read as follows: “When lemons are thrown at you, you squeeze them as much as you can and make lemonade.
Throwing tantrums will not take them away or turn them into oranges.”
The writer then used the example of former South African President Nelson Mandela to justify her homily about lemons, saying further that: “Remember the US Congress only agreed to remove Nelson Mandela from its terrorist list in June 2008, long after he had ceased to be even President of South Africa. If Madiba had decided to spend his entire life moaning about his placement on the list, he would have only enjoyed five years of real freedom as he was to die in 2013.”
The Sunday Mail, however, admitted that Trump’s outburst vilifying Haiti, El Salvador and Africa is the escalation of systematic attacks he has issued against other groups and peoples ever since he assumed the US Presidency.
This admission directly contradicts the thrust of the article which presents Trump’s racist slurs as benign, reckless and not warranting analysis.
l First, the Trump phenomenon is neither metaphorical nor anecdotal.
It is historical.
The scandal of ‘Trumpism’ is not even about Trump. It is about a movement which has shown its ascendancy in US history at various times with serious global consequences during the Nixon era, the Reagan era, the Bush-Blair era, and now in the Trump era.
l Second, Trump is a media person, a communicator who aims to shock left radicals, white liberals and people from what used to be called the Third World.
l Third, this kind of communication is meant to incite and inspire all ‘Reaganites’, ‘Trumpkins’ and other white supremacists of the world against those being attacked.
The messages and outlets carrying these signals and attacks have been characterised by many scholars.
One is Professor Gorge Gerbner in his paper called Violence in and by the media:
“They serve as projective devices that isolate acts and people from meaningful contexts and set them up to be stigmatised.
Stigma is a mark of disgrace that evokes disgraceful behaviour.
Labelling some people as barbarians makes it easier (for racists and imperialists) to treat them as barbarians would (treat them), classifying some people as criminals permits dealing with them in ways otherwise criminal; it makes it legitimate to attack and kill them.
Stigmatisation and demonisation isolate their targets and set them up to be victimised.”
The most important feature of US policy on southern Africa was not the placing of Mandela on the US terrorist list as The Sunday Mail writer suggests.
It was the condemnation of all of southern Africa’s liberation movements as communist terrorist movements, as enemies of both Christianity and capitalism, which condemnation baptised white racist settler-regimes as Christian allies of the ‘free world’ and of capitalism and the Christian faith.
These mere labels had far-reaching, even catastrophic, consequences for our people.
We hear now that evangelical ‘Christians’ in the US remain staunch supporters of Trump.
‘Trumpism’ has a long history.
What appeared to be a far-fetched position of the white South African regime in 1951 was reaffirmed by the Nixon administration of the US in US National Security Memorandum 39 of 1969, otherwise known as the Kissinger Study of Southern Africa, which concluded, among other things, that:
“The whites (in Rhodesia, Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa) are here to stay and the only way that constructive change can come about is through them.
There is no hope for the blacks to gain the political rights they seek through violence, which will only lead to chaos and increased opportunities for the communists.”
Just as now, in 1969 the US Government, its ambassadors and advisors also doubted the determination of the African people of this region (including Zimbabweans) to define their interests and objectives and to pursue the same to the end.
Moreover, the 1969 Kissinger Study did not see the African people as the drivers of change.
It therefore concluded that:
“Military realities rule out black victory at any stage. Moreover, there are reasons to question the depth and permanence of black resolve.”
In this context, the Chimoio Massacre was justified, not only because the Rhodesians were fighting ‘communism’ but also because US policy under Nixon and Reagan especially did not view Zimbabweans as justified to wage war to liberate themselves.
In the words of former US Ambassador Elliot Skinner, who was also the Franz Boaz Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University in 1979:
“Our (Western) tragedy is that, whether we like it or not, the US has inherited the role of ‘metropole’ (or mother country) of all the whites in southern Africa.
This is not a role we welcomed, but it is one we cannot avoid – we are the ones who have led the discussions about the future of these countries (Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa).”
Professor Gerald Horne in his study From the Barrel of A Gun: The US and the War Against Zimbabwe, 1965-1980, calls this white ‘mother country’ role a ‘synthetic pan-European solidarity’ which former UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson called the ‘kith-and-kin’ bond.
It is the US which, through its Cold War posture, provided the over-arching synthetic ideology which made it possible to protect all white settlers from Kisangani to Cape Town under the banner of white racist supremacy, anti-communism and anti-socialism.
When Ian Smith’s foreign minister P. K. F. V. Van der Byl wrote his last appeal to the Western white empire to save white Rhodesia from the freedom fighters of the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) and from the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) on January 12 1979, he couched his appeal in terms of a struggle between the ‘Christian faith’ and ‘communism’.
Van der Byl wrote:
“The attacks which are presently being mounted on Rhodesia, a Christian nation, are by terrorists trained and supplied by anti-Christian communists.
Determined to root out and destroy Christianity whenever it is found, these terrorists have targeted many of their attacks on innocent missionaries and their families in Rhodesia.
The future of Christianity in Rhodesia will be influenced by the actions of the US
Government in supporting the majority rule Government of Rhodesia.
It will be tragic if the greatest Christian nation on earth (that is the US) turned its back on its Christian brethren in Rhodesia.”
The overall ideological and political umbrella provided to white regimes by the US Government and its white allies meant white Rhodesian war crimes would be swept under the carpet and white hate language to demonise the African freedom fighters would be put on reserve and be dusted up for use by foreign-sponsored parties and agents during the land revolution and even now.
When George W. Bush was declared winner of the US Presidential election in 2000, a white farmer in Odzi deliberately crushed a war veteran called Mapensauswa with his vehicle as a way of celebrating Bush’s election and anticipating that the Government of Zimbabwe would be overthrown by white powers in order to return white settler-farmers to farms now being occupied by war veterans.
The Western press prides itself as a committed defender of human rights.
This can be shown to be false not only by looking at media manipulation during the election campaigns of US President-elect Trump and his campaign rival Hillary Clinton.
Our readers may remember the white North American televangelist-cum politician, Reverend Pat Robertson, who, in 2005, declared that it would be a good thing if Venezuela President Hugo Chavez were to be eliminated.
Later, we were also informed that US President George W. Bush had also confessed that God told him to invade Iraq and so he did.
These two whitemen and those cheering Trump represent a huge counter-revolutionary movement which has swept not just politics and economics but also the media.
Before Rev Robertson, there was, in the 1970s, another white racist preacher and media personality called Dr Carl McIntyre whose support for the Rhodesian and South African apartheid regimes could be heard on more than 600 radio stations across the US for 30 minutes every day for six days a week.
The US hosted one of the biggest lobbies supporting white supremacy in all of southern Africa in the 1960s and 1970s.
In conclusion, the policy of US President Nixon towards southern Africa inspired white South Africa to invade Angola in 1976 with the help of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
US President Reagan’s policy of ‘constructive engagement’ with the apartheid regime of South Africa prolonged South Africa’s illegal occupation of Namibia and its war against Angola and therefore delayed Namibia’s independence.
It also incited and encouraged white racists in South Africa, with South African President P. W. Botha openly saying to his Cabinet on August 8 1985:
“We do not pretend like other whites that we like blacks.
Nevertheless it is comforting (for apartheid) to know that behind the scenes, Europe, America, Canada, Australia – and all others are behind us in spite of what they say. For diplomatic relations, we all know what language should be used where.
To prove my point comrades, does anyone of you know of a white country without an investment in South Africa (under apartheid)?”
This defiant racist language is not about lemons or terrorist lists.
It is about white racist evil as well as real life and death issues such as Chimonio, Nyadzonia, Kasinga, Sharpeville and genocide.
Our readers should read the 1989 Commonwealth Report titled ‘Apartheid terrorism: A Report for the Commonwealth Committee of Foreign Ministers on Sothern Africa’ by Phyllis Johnson and David Martin.
The terror and destruction documented in that book was inspired and condoned by US administrations under Trump’s predecessors: Nixon and Reagan.
‘Trumpism’ represents a movement going back to Nixon, Reagan and George W. Bush.


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