Anyone who disagrees with me is a Russian bot - continuing a political conspiracy

Written by on February 14, 2019

The democratic presidential candidates for 2020 Kamala Harris and Cory Booker have been criticised for a number of issues this week, whether this was over personal issues or political ones. The response, however, was not one that in any way furthered the discussion of policy, rather it was simply to dismiss those that were criticising them, particularly the #ADOS movement as ‘Russian bots.’

The scapegoating of Russia and the ‘non-personing’ of critics is nothing new in American politics and has in fact been a constant since the 2016 election. The Clinton campaign was quite open in declaring that anyone who didn’t want Clinton to be president was ‘sexist’, that anyone that was against illegal immigration was a ‘racist’, the smears and dehumanising language abounded and has proliferated across the media in the months since. A two year long investigation into ‘Russian collusion’ was closed by the senate committee recently, declaring that there was no evidence of collusion between the successful Trump campaign and Russia. Given that one of Clinton’s campaign promises was to agitate Russia with a ‘no-fly- zone over Syria, which many thought would lead to war, is it any surprise that this attempt at bringing back cold-war thinking has emerged once again?

The democrat party has had a number of issues over recent weeks, with a number of racism accusations being made against it’s members, for use of ‘black-face’. That coupled with sexual assault allegations made against a number of democrats and the publication of the ‘Green New Deal’, which if implemented looks certain to be absolute chaos, in the few measures that were even workable on any kind of meaningful level. It has not been a good time for the Democrat party, especially considering that they are competing to see who will be chosen to challenge Trump for the presidency.

If we have learned anything about Trump it is that he will continue what he has set out to do, while belittling his opposition as much as possible. The most memorable things said in the debates for the 2016 election were all said by Trump and played over and over again in the media. Nearly all were barbs aimed at his opposition and all were very effective. When faced with this prospect you would think that any candidate would want to be in the strongest possible position when going into the campaign.

The way to do this is not to openly state that people who are criticising you are ‘bots’. But then we have never seen the Harris and Booker style of politics in full so let’s see what happens. I cant imagine that the spectre of Russia being used in politics will be very popular after the almost constant discussion of the investigation via the media, always promising some huge revelation that never comes. The American people are bored of this now and this is not a tactic that will go down well in future elections, unless there is something huge unearthed by the ongoing investigation.

The #ADOS group – American Descendants of Slaves – have made a number of criticisms, which are believed to have arisen from the condemnation of the ‘crime bill’ in 2016, and Clinton’s support for it, which has been harmful to the black community. More recently there has been a lot of controversy to comments made by Harris concerning her use of cannabis as a student. In a recent interview the candidate stated that she used to listen to music as she smoked ‘usually snoop and tupac’. There are different controversies at work here, with neither of the rappers having released an album until years after she had graduated there are some that point to this as an act of blatant dishonesty. More pressingly, and importantly, however is the fact that this is a person that is admitting to illegal action while at the same time being part of a political apparatus that keeps that practice illegal. ‘One rule for me, another for thee’ is a phrase that can be seen a great deal surrounding this issue.

For years, identifying as a black American “descendant” of slaves or ADOS has been a way for black Americans to advocate for the specific needs and interests of those brought to the United States via the transatlantic slave trade, as distinct from the interests of more recent African and Caribbean immigrants.

Some critics using the ADOS hashtag have focused on Harris’s race, pointing to her Indian and Jamaican heritage as a possible explanation for why, as a prosecutor, she supported policies that disproportionately harmed black Americans. The ADOS movement does have some nativist elements. But it is also true that much of the commentary surrounding Harris appears to relate less to her racial background than her public record.

The creators of the movement are very real and have organised a number of protests about the claim that they and their supporters are ‘bots.’ Antonio Moore and Yvette Carnell believe that these claims are attempts by the politicians to destroy a grassroots movement that is speaking out on matters important to the black community. They liken the claims to those made during the cold war and attempts to delegitimise leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. This is similar to the response to claims made during the 2016 campaign that ‘nearly all Bernie supporters were young white men’ this led to the hashtag #BernieMadeMeWhite spreading across twitter.

As opposed to the behaviour we see from across the political divide, whereby more right wing people (that is to say right of whoever they are talking about) are branded racists, sexists, Nazis etc. and dismissed, people who attack from the same portion of the political spectrum are de-personned and ignored as such. It is deemed impossible that these people would hold differing opinions so they can’t possibly be real. The patronising attitude is not only derogatory and evil, but it is in fact the same tactic that was used by the very Nazis, who’s ghosts they now use to silence their other detractors.


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