Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cynthia McKinney: "Not afraid of white supremacists -- no difference between left and right -- willing to reach across traditional barriers"

Cynthia McKinney, who in recent years has worked increasingly with the racist far-right, has said in an interview with Chris Hedges that
“It is time for us to stop talking about right and left. The old political paradigm that serves the interests of the people who put us in this predicament will not be the paradigm that gets us out of this. I am a child of the South. Janet Napolitano tells me I need to be afraid of people who are labeled white supremacists but I was raised around white supremacists. I am not afraid of white supremacists...  I am willing to reach across traditional barriers that have been skillfully constructed by people who benefit from the way the system is organized."

I've written extensively about McKinney's connections to far-right racists (most recently here). McKinney has grown increasingly bold in making common cause with figures of the far-right, largely around opposition to Israel and promotion of conspiracy theories (read here). I believe that this is the first time that she has commented about such connections in an interview, albeit in vague terms to those unaware of her right-wing ties.

From reading his column, I doubt that Hedges is aware of McKinney's work with the far-right. He takes McKinney's statement to mean only that that the greatest threat Americans face comes not from "extremists", but from the government and "elites", a belief which is a focus of Hedges' current work. He sees McKinney using white supremacists merely as a point of reference for this relative threat, not attempting to justify actually working with them. Similarly, McKinney's renunciation of the distinction between left and right comes across in the column as arguing that our representatives are equally bad regardless of whether they're left or right.  As for Hedges' view of McKinney's willingness to work across ideological lines, he has no comment.  He lets the comment stand for itself as a sort of search for common ground across ideological lines.  

I wonder how Hedges would feel about McKinney's statements if he knew that she has been happy to work with a number of supremacists in recent years, and that she shows every sign of believing that the distinction between left and right (including far-right) is unimportant? I suspect that, if he knew just how literally McKinney was speaking, he might have had a much different impression of her comments.

[CORRECTION (4/2/10): I've been in touch with Hedges since this was originally posted and he says he was aware of some of McKinney's work with far-right racists..  He also says that he supports working with far-right and racist groups and individuals when working against a more powerful enemy. I intend to write more about this soon.] 

Read Hedges' column here: Is America ‘Yearning for Fascism?

Read my articles on McKinney here.

The Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report has an article on McKinney's ties to racists here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"I wonder how Hedges would feel about McKinney's statements if he knew that she has been happy to work with a number of supremacists in recent years, and that she shows every sign of believing that the distinction between left and right (including far-right) is unimportant?"

Considering that he co-authored a book on Iraq with the daughter of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader, he probably wouldn't lose too much sleep over it.

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