Subversion Studies 3

Americans are teaching Americans how to destroy America.

Jordan Davidson writes at The Federalist:

Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia is offering a course titled How to Overthrow the State.

A course description on the university website describes the “Writing Seminar” as a way to “place each student at the head of a popular revolutionary movement aiming to overthrow a sitting government and forge a better society”. 

“How will you attain power? How will you communicate with the masses? How do you plan on improving the lives of the people? How will you deal with the past?” the course description asks.

Class material will primarily focus on Marxist and revolutionary figures such as Frantz Fanon, Che Guevara, and Mahatma Gandhi to “explore examples of revolutionary thought and action from across the Global South”.

The Global South?

The “Global South” is not the south of the globe. Here’s what it is, in the pompous jargon and coinages of contemporary academia:

What/Where is the Global South?

By Anne Garland Mahler, University of Virginia

The Global South as a critical concept has three primary definitions. First, it has traditionally been used within intergovernmental development organizations –– primarily those that originated in the Non-Aligned Movement­ ­–– to refer to economically disadvantaged nation-states and as a post-cold war alternative to “Third World”. However, in recent years and within a variety of fields, the Global South is employed in a post-national sense to address spaces and peoples negatively impacted by contemporary capitalist globalization.

In this second definition, the Global South captures a deterritorialized geography of capitalism’s externalities and means to account for subjugated peoples within the borders of wealthier countries, such that there are economic Souths in the geographic North and Norths in the geographic South. While this usage relies on a longer tradition of analysis of the North’s geographic Souths­ ­–– wherein the South represents an internal periphery and subaltern relational position –– the epithet “global” is used to unhinge the South from a one-to-one relation to geography.

It is through this deterritorial conceptualization that a third meaning is attributed to the Global South in which it refers to the resistant imaginary of a transnational political subject that results from a shared experience of subjugation under contemporary global capitalism. This subject is forged when the world’s “Souths” recognize one another and view their conditions as shared. The use of the Global South to refer to a political subjectivity draws from the rhetoric of the so-called Third World Project, or the non-aligned and radical internationalist discourses [endless tedious pro-USSR harangues by West European and American Marxist intellectuals –ed] of the cold war. In this sense, the Global South may productively be considered a direct response to the category of postcoloniality in that it captures both a political collectivity and ideological formulation that arises from lateral solidarities among the world’s multiple Souths and moves beyond the analysis of the operation of power through colonial difference towards networked theories of power within contemporary global capitalism.

Critical scholarship that falls under the rubric of Global South Studies is invested in the analysis of the formation of a Global South subjectivity, the study of power and racialization within global capitalism in ways that transcend the nation-state as the unit of comparative analysis, and in tracing both contemporary South-South relations –– or relations among subaltern groups across national, linguistic, racial, and ethnic lines –– as well as the histories of those relations in prior forms of South-South exchange.

In clearer terms: “South” is a Leftist political term having nothing to do with geography. It has to do with world Communist revolution, and “critical race theory”: the substitution of Third World peoples, and vagrants, felons, lunatics and “persons of color” aka “the oppressed” in the First World (“the North” in Leftist jargon), for Marx’s proletariat as the “revolutionary class”.

To return to Jordan Davidson and the training in subversion at Washington and Lee University:

Students in the class are expected to “engage these texts by participating in a variety of writing exercises, such as producing a Manifesto, drafting a white paper that critically analyzes a particular issue, and writing a persuasive essay on rewriting history and confronting memory“.

Confronting memory? To make it obedient? To erase it?

The class is taught by an assistant professor of history at the university.

Washington and Lee University has recently welcomed other woke controversies on campus. In July, university faculty voted to remove the name of Robert E. Lee from the name of the university. One professor, however, wanted to take it a step further and proposed that the university also consider removing George Washington’s name as well.

Of course. What took them so long?

Hints at what students of Subversion will learn from the models being held up to them at Someone and Someone (Fanon and Guevara? Rosenberg and Hiss? Sanders and Warren?) University:

Frantz Fanon advised (notably in his book The Wretched of the Earth) that every black person should kill a white person, because not only would that deplete the white population of the world, it would also avenge colonialism, and soothe the hurt feelings of the avenger.

Che Guevara enjoyed watching executions, and carrying them out himself, particularly of children. Humberto Fontova writes:

As commander of the La Cabana execution yard, Che often shattered the skull of the condemned man (or boy) by firing the coup de grace himself. When other duties tore him away from his beloved execution yard, he consoled himself by viewing the slaughter. Che’s second-story office in La Cabana had a section of wall torn out so he could watch his darling firing squads at work. …The one genuine accomplishment in Che Guevara’s life was the mass-murder of defenseless men and boys. Under his own gun dozens died. Under his orders thousands crumpled.

Well, maybe none of that will ruffle the sensitive moral feathers of an assistant professor of history teaching Subversion Studies at an American university.

But when he gets to Mahatma Gandhi, he could be struck with harder blows:

Gandhi was for segregation and white supremacy.

This is from (left-biased) nprKQED:

In 1903, when Gandhi was in South Africa, he wrote that white people there should be “the predominating race”. 

He also said black people “are troublesome, very dirty and live like animals”.

There’s no way around it: Gandhi was a racist early in his life, says his biographer Ramachandra Guha.

And not only in his early life, but well into his middle age.

From The Telegraph:

Gandhi was adamant that “respectable Indians” should not be obliged to use the same facilities as “raw Kaffirs”. [“Kaffir” was the rudest, most contemptuous word for Blacks in South Africa – ed.) He petitioned the authorities in the port city of Durban … to end the indignity of making Indians use the same entrance to the post office as blacks, and counted it a victory when three doors were introduced: one for Europeans, one for Asiatics and one for Natives.

However, Frantz Fanon did contribute his mite to the weakening of the Western conscience and so to the decline of France; Che Guevara did help Fidel Castro overthrow the sitting government of Cuba and “forge a better society” – better at least for murder on an industrial scale; and the Mahatma is revered as an avatar of peaceful change – even though the real history of the end of empire in India was far from peaceful and the British decision to withdraw owed nothing to him.

We wonder whether, when teaching how to “rewrite history and confront memory”, the assistant professor of history will also respectfully bring in these examples of revolutionary thought and action:-

Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot?

Robespierre, Marat, Saint-Just?

Saul Alinsky, Barack Obama, Angela Davis, Bill Ayers?

Black Lives Matter, Antifa?

George Soros?

Or are they all too Northern, even those whose skins are not villainously pale?