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3 Jun, 2020 04:46

US mass protests represent ‘challenge to state power,’ but not result of foreign meddling, black historian Gerald Horne tells RT

US mass protests represent ‘challenge to state power,’ but not result of foreign meddling, black historian Gerald Horne tells RT

The “unprecedented” challenge to government power erupting across the US over police violence is driven by a homegrown movement, not foreign intervention, African-American historian Gerald Horne told RT.

Though the wave of protests somewhat mirrors the aftermath of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination in 1968 – when demonstrations broke out “from the east coast to the west coast” – the “direct confrontation with state power” seen over the last week is without precedent in American history, said Horne, professor of African American Studies at the University of Houston.

“It is not only the White House that’s been under siege. The statehouse in the state of Ohio, in Columbus, has similarly been under siege,” he said. “The police precinct in Minneapolis, in the neighborhood where the killing of George Floyd took place, was burned to the ground.”

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The sudden outpouring of rage has prompted some US officials – among them former National Security adviser Susan Rice – to blame the unrest squarely on Moscow, now the standard scapegoat for many in the US political establishment. But foreign boogie men cannot explain the protests sweeping the country.

“It’s ridiculous… but I’m afraid to say it’s reflective of the Cold War thinking that has yet to disappear, even though the Soviet Union disappeared in 1991,” Horne said of the attempt to cast blame on the Russians, adding that the same accusation was hurled at protesters of past decades.

Recall that it was not so long ago when we were campaigning and crusading against US apartheid – otherwise known as Jim Crow – racists always used to say we were content until ‘outside agitators’ dispatched by Moscow came to stir us up.

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While US President Donald Trump’s response to the turmoil has been “horrible” – calling on governors to “dominate” the streets with security forces – Horne said a Joe Biden administration would be unlikely to do better, given that the former VP is “in many ways… the architect of this criminal justice system that has led to this catastrophe of black men in particular being imprisoned.”

“I’m sure his advisers are whispering in his ear, giving him speeches... but many of us remain skeptical of Mr Biden,” he said, but added: “I must say, any replacement of Mr Trump would be an improvement, even replacing him with a talking horse would be an improvement.”

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