Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Of Hutarees and Naxalites

Imagine if instead of a couple of run-down trailers, the Hutarees had managed to control a large swath of the United States including significant parts of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Kenucky, and West Virginia?

Imagine if they were able to impose their own totalitarian government, forcing people to accept their ideology and even to join their militia, all the while collecting "taxes", and murdering at will anyone who stood in their way? Sadly, this is what it is like in India, where the "Naxalites", a group no less violent in its intentions and no less regressive in its ideology than the Hutarees, has imposed a reign of terror for 20 years throughout the mid-section of India, which is often now referred to as the Red Corridor.

Today there is much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth about right-wing political violence in America. And not without good reason. The "Militia" movement, which had lain dormant (and/or gone pro, taking jobs with Blackwater, etc, in Iraq, etc) during the Bush years, began dusting off old copies of The Turner Diaries as soon as word started getting around that a Black guy might become president. The Hutarees are merely the most recent and most telegenic examples of this phenomenon.

But at the same time that American liberals are, if you will pardon the expression, up in arms over such things as death threats and racial epithets directed at Democratic Congresspersons, and even more so over the Hutarees and other "Patriotic" terrorist wannabes, where is the outrage over Arundhati Roy and her love-affair with the Naxalites?

Roy has just completed a self-promotion tour of the US, during which she talked very openly about her sympathy for the Naxalites, India's Pol-Pots-in-waiting. She defended their preference for murdering their political opponents rather than standing in elections by constantly insisting that India doesn't "really" have democracy, therefore the self-appointed champions of the "oppressed" are justified in picking up the gun and shooting anyone who won't comply with their demands.

But Roy's terrorist apologetics are cut from precisely the same cloth as the proclamations of America's own right-wing gun-thugs. The Hutarees and Minutemen and Oathkeepers, ad nauseum, all claim to be fighting against oppression and for liberty. In fact, in terms of ideology (at least on paper), much of the American far-right is arguably less noxious than the Stalin and Mao loving Naxalites!

Rejecting political violence should be a matter of principle, not political expedience. If the Hutarees were Maoists instead of Christians, would that make any difference to anyone? Well, it probably would have led to them being shut down a long time ago, rather than getting as close as they did to their planned rampage of murder of mayhem.