Fred LaSor: America’s red guards
Watching young people rioting and looting in the streets of America this month is reminiscent of the major political upheaval that rocked China from 1966 to 1976: the so-called Cultural Revolution.
With the blessing of party chairman Mao Tse Tung, that nation’s young people hounded the very people and institutions responsible for Mao’s rise to power.
Student shock troops — “Red Guards” — shamed and harassed intellectuals, business leaders and university professors. Elites were removed from office, publicly humiliated, and forced to move to the countryside where they performed manual labor and participated in self-denunciation sessions during which they admitted the sins of their former lifestyle.
Ideological purity was valued over expertise, symbols of the old China were defaced or destroyed (as we are seeing in America) and at least 1.5 million Chinese were killed (death toll from starvation was much higher) while industrial production fell by more than 10% and agriculture was similarly damaged.
Cambodia’s “revolution” in 1975 was even more brutal, resulting in death for nearly 1 million people so Pol Pot could re-make society. That movement — immortalized in the film “The Killing Fields” — left the country a basket case for years to come.
We in America are now facing our own Cultural Revolution, led by the so-called anti-fascist group “Antifa” and another faction calling itself Black Lives Matter. One founder of BLM publicly announced her goal is less about black lives and more about ousting President Trump before the 2020 election, something she has been working on since before his inauguration.
Antifa and Black Lives Matter call themselves revolutionary movements but use terrorist tactics to accomplish their goals. Watch videos of black-masked men breaking windows and starting fires in Seattle or Berkeley, or pulling down statues in Washington, D.C., or San Francisco, and you don’t see revolutionaries building a sustainable political movement like the people memorialized by the statues. You see people destroying and looting. They are not modern-day Hamiltons and Jeffersons; they are destructive partisans (mostly left-wing and decidedly anti-Trump) with a flawed understanding of American history and an even worse appreciation of how a republic evolves and prospers. And they are also reportedly puppets of shadowy figures who are pulling their strings and funding them.
The black-masked Antifa cadre using hammers to break windows in up-scale department stores are followed quickly by men carting off pricey sneakers and large-screen TVs, or women stepping over the broken glass with armfuls of designer clothes. The looters identify as victims while the organizers hustle gullible politicians. Seeing Speaker Pelosi and other congressmen kneeling in the House of Representatives like China’s elite in 1966 is the saddest spectacle to have come out of the current troubles — the greatest hustle yet. Has she no shame? Or self-awareness? And don’t they know that if Antifa comes to power, all of them will be lined up against the wall and shot? That is the nature of tyrannies, of which this is a classic example. Ask Cubans how “revolutions” progress.
Defunding the police would only make it easier for petty tyrants to wreak their evil designs and will not save a single black life. And that is the greatest travesty of our social unrest: the hundreds of blacks murdered annually in the inner city is only a statistic. Our Cultural Revolution does not care about them.
As was the case in China, the street theater feels like chaos, but there is planning and financing behind it. Private security was employed in the Seattle encampment and witnesses report bricks being trucked in as weapons and organizers being paid in cash. They all deserve to be rounded up and charged for their crimes.
Fred LaSor lived in Asia during China’s Cultural Revolution. He now lives in the Carson Valley.