Lessons From Russia

By Abigail Edith Ellery

For more than two years we have witnessed an evolutionary arms race in the world of conspiracy theory. Though it had already begun well before May of 2017, this race was accelerated by Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

While Trump’s minions jumped at the chance to claim evidence for the so called Deep State and its mission to undermine the president, Liberals took the idea of Russian collusion to illogical conclusions, many going so far as to accuse anyone who questioned the veracity or wisdom of the probe of being Russian operatives.

Robert Mueller

Besides vindicating Trump in the eyes of his supporters, who seem to miss the nuance between “innocent” and “not guilty,” the probe also did the president another great favor by effectively relegating every other major news story to a secondary position.

Illegal detention of asylum seekers and the separation of families, worsening apartheid in Israel, escalating threats against Venezuela, and increasingly severe effects of climate change which have begun to devastate even our meteorologically privileged continent, all became a backdrop to the Red Scare of the 21st Century.

But the greatest danger in the obsession with the Russian probe is not the latent xenophobia inherent to many liberal reactions to it, or the confirmed biases of conspiracy theorists, or its contribution to shock doctrine; it is in the misguided idea that the probe could have served as some sort of magic bullet.

We cannot say we take the rise of fascism in the US seriously if we treat Donald Trump as the cause while failing to acknowledge the many material conditions that allowed his rise to power. We cannot afford to ignore the increasing precariousness of and alienation from labor conditions that provide the right with a means of scapegoating minorities and the Left, and we cannot afford to ignore the methods that the ruling class uses to insulate itself from economic instability. We cannot call the cops on this problem.

Donald Trump is only one leaf on a dense vine that must be pulled up by the roots, and only our hands – the People’s hands – will do the pulling.

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