Harmful Fantasies

Harmful Fantasies

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December 29, 2012

The Mohawk Nation News Agenda 21 news item reposted at Censored News today seems to have gone viral. As an example of conspiracism, it can nevertheless be instructive.

As it happens, a friend recently sent me this video link, asking me what the Agenda 21 hysteria is all about. I asked her if she remembered when the property rights groups in the mid-1990s hosted guest speakers at grange halls in Washington state to incite rebellion against the Growth Management Act. I told her that the people promoting this conspiracy are out of the same mold.

They are largely, though not exclusively, recruited from the Christian Right (notice the Eagle Forum banner in the video) that already has a running agenda against public education and social agencies. Their funding comes from right-wing foundations that fund the anti-abortion and right-to-bear-arms movements, as well as oppose civil rights, environmental protection, occupational safety, Social Security and Medicare in the US.
In Washington state in the 1990s, they were mobilized by Wise Use movement agent provocateurs, organized and  funded by the Washington Association of Realtors and the Building Industry Association. Their conspiracy theories are founded in part on anti-Semitism; notice the not so subtle but still coded message in the video placing emphasis on the not really human Mr. Reuben?
Their political illiteracy and illogic builds on the foundation of persecution fundamental to the Christian right. They are then primed to view any corruption like the bank bailouts by Congress or favoritism toward monopolies on Wall Street by UN agencies like the IMF and World Bank through the lens of Jewish banker conspiracies, when it’s really just good old-fashioned cronyism.I told my friend for starters, she might want to read Paul de Armond’s 1996 article A Not So Distant Mirror. If she wanted to delve further, I said she can always check out my 2003 polemic memoir Blind Spots.

Putting the Far Right Into Perspective can get pretty involved, but suffice to say, these guys are right in there. Unfortunately, right-wing conspiracy theories can also infect left-wing and Indigenous networks. Part of our job as activist scholars is to inoculate audiences susceptible to these harmful fantasies.

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