Russia has long involved itself in America’s racial affairs, often appearing to take the side of African-Americans. In 1931, when the NAACP was hesitant to get involved for fear of political repercussions. It was the Communist Party of Russia through its International Labor Defense organization (ILD) that took up the cause of the Scottsboro Boys who were falsely accused of raping two white women. The Russians didn’t do this for love of American black people but to appeal for membership and attract black people to the Communist cause. They had an ulterior motive and it has always been thus.
The Russians worked hard to recruit influential black voices and many flirted with Communism including Richard Wright, Paul Robeson, Langston Hughes, Ralph Ellison and Chester Himes. The promise of equality offered by Communism stood out starkly against Jim Crow. Most of the aforementioned influencers became disillusioned with the reality of Communism. Ellison’s “Invisible Man” was about his disappointment with Communism. McCarthyism and the Cold War greatly affected Communism’s popularity and memberships declined. By the 1970’s, activist Angela Davis was a member but there never was a strong relationship with the Black Panther Party. In the years since, there has always been an attraction for some but it appeared that a mass influx of black Americans to Communism was never meant to be.
Fast forward to the 2016 Presidential Election and Russian interference. Much of their social media efforts centered on causing disruption in American society. They attempted to stir up black people, highlighting incidents of police injustice and racial inequality. They also stirred up white people, appealing to their nationalism and prejudices. They flooded the Internet with memes and news articles both real and fake. Much of the disruption they were able to cause was from repeating the truth. No need to lie when the truth is sufficient. One of the largest purported Black Lives Matter twitter accounts was in fact Russian trolls,. This being America, there was plenty of source material to work with, alongside the lies.
Coming into the 2018 Mid-term Elections and in preparation for the 2020 Presidential Election, Russia is still busy trying to interfere in our elections and attempting to find weakness in our form of government and society itself. They will take all sides of any issue, their goal being disruption, not problem solving.
When on social media, there is a tendency to retweet, share, and like much of what we see that we agree with. I encourage everyone to be a bit more discerning as to the sources of information and motives behind it. Russian generated news may sound good, in some cases even be true, but they don’t mean Americans any good. Especially the black ones.
Note: The last two images in this post and the featured photo came from Russian troll sites.