Imagine you are in Richmond, VA, during the u.s. civil war. The former lawyer of one of the first plantations to fall to the Union is there telling the Confederate newspapers there about the depravity of the Union forces and all sorts of vile shit about the liberated slaves. You read this in the newspaper. Do you believe everything the newspaper printed that the lawyer said?
No, probably not. Why not? Because his material interests were deeply harmed by the civil war; because culturally he resents and to a large extent doesn’t even comprehend the viability of the world the Union is fighting for; and because he is telling the people who own the newspaper company–and the newspaper readers, who also do not want to see the disruption of the slave economy–things that they want to hear about how horribly things are going under the new order. The newspaper is eager to print lies to turn public opinion against their enemies. Right?
And the lawyer can probably even make some money going on tour speaking about the depravity of the new order. He can easily get rewarded financially and socially for saying what they want to hear, right?
So when people came to the united states from the socialist countries of the 20th century (SU 21-56, PRC 51-78), or come from countries that had anti-imperialist revolutions or in any other way defy u.s. imperialism, people should be a lot slower to buy their stories hook, line, and sinker. It’s especially frustrating coming from alleged revolutionary anticapitalists.
I’m not at all saying there wasn’t genuine suffering by people who didn’t deserve it in these countries. It happened–it happens in literally every revolution, even necessary and just ones. There are excesses and mistakes. Some of these stories are true–i am not trying to say they are all made up.
A lot of the so-called “oppression” people faced by people who left these countries was uncomfortable, but not a mortal threat. Someone with patriarchal ideas in the cultural revolution in China was likely to go through the uncomfortable process of being criticized by their whole community. That’s not pleasant, but it’s not life-threatening. And in fact having come out the other side of believing a lot of patriarchal, white supremacist, and general bourgeois bullshit here in the u.s., i am glad that people took the time to educate me even if it meant demeaning my anti-people views sometimes. But if someone doesn’t see it like this, they just think “i was oppressed for no reason!” Much of the so-called “oppression” these people faced was NOT DIFFERENT from what “men’s rights activists” claim feminists are doing to them: showing them the truth about their privilege up to this point, and sometimes being quite impatient when the fuckboys don’t want to acknowledge the truth of it.
And what’s more, if someone (or a family) not only had the financial means to get out of those countries and easily resettle in the imperialist West, but also had the cultural mindset to easily adapt to life here, they were probably already in a position of relative privilege where they came from. Which means the people we hear from in the West from these alleged hellholes are and will continue to be disproportionately exactly like that Confederate lawyer.
The imperialist West tilts the entire world toward itself, pulling in and recruiting anyone and everyone who is able to offer significant help with the imperialist Western project, no matter what country they were born in, whether directly or just by spreading plausible lies about their country of origin and why the u.s. needs to destroy/intervene there, or why people shouldn’t try to duplicate what happened there.