Thursday, 4 September 2008

Culture wars: how we are divided

Rulers have always maintained their power over society by dividing the ruled. Racism, for example, has proved a useful tool for those who dominate society to exploit the people beneath them. Some people think that racism is a 'natural' phenomenon - that its normal to dislike or fear people who are different to themselves. But racism has been deliberately manufactured, and used by imperialists and capitalists.

In the early days of the British Empire in India the leading colonists admired Indian culture and even adopted its dress and practices. Warren Hastings, the first Governor General, was one of these. But Hastings was deemed to be fraternising too much with the Indians. He was recalled to Britain and impeached. After that, racism against the Indian population was fostered by the British. The same racist measures were used during the slave trade. Much easier to enslave people and expropriate the wealth of their countries if you can see them as being inferior.

Of course the same could be said of sexism and the fostering of prejudice against the poor. But in the USA since the late sixties capitalists have been manufacturing a new kind of division - culture wars. Why is America so obsessed by gay marriage, abortion and issues like 'family values'? Because the capitalist controlled media push these divisive issues in order to distract people from the real issues.

In this sense McCain's choice of Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin was a smart move. Not only will it bring in the religious right's support but it threatens more than ever to move the election away from things that really matter such as Iraq, the fostering of a new cold war, controlling Wall Street, the economy and employment.

It will be interesting to see how Obama and the Democrats react to this. He should focus on the economy and real issues. But will he be able to turn the debate away from Palin and on to the real issues. If he fails to do so he may just fail to elected.

No comments: