A Page Out of the Communist Playbook: Pitting Family Members Against Each Other
By Ben Bartee - March 17, 2021

Recall the post-2016 election public millennial meltdowns in the streets as #StrongerTogether faithful struggled to process that their preferred candidate had just lost to a gameshow host.

The #Resistance was born.

I happened to be visiting a close family member, in the aftermath of that election late in 2016. This individual informed me in no uncertain terms that it was my fault.

Why and how? Because, this individual rationalized, I “listen to that idiot Alex Jones” – an accusation which, aside from being illogical, was also untrue. By that time, I hadn’t listened to Infowars, aside from snippets here or there, for several years.

I’ve never voted; I’ve never expressed support for Trump nor any other GOP candidate outside of Ron Paul.

Instead of looking elsewhere for blame – at their own party’s rigging of the primary to steal it from Bernie Sanders, at the rot that saw American manufacturing jobs in the Rust Belt and elsewhere off-shored by the millions due to NAFTA, forever wars, or any number of other reasons droves of formerly loyal DNC voters switched party allegiances – the DNC instead blamed some of the most powerless, disenfranchised voters in the country.

The real legacy of Clinton and the neoliberal establishment lost: A hollowed-out middle class, decaying infrastructure, hopelessness, and big pharma-induced heroin addiction.

The shocked corporate media – with its wildly inaccurate anti-Nostradamus predictions (Huffington Post declared a 98% chance of a Clinton landslide on election day) – immediately went into carpet-bombing mode to demonize the white working class that largely put Trump in office. The accusations of a “whitelash” as an explanation for the election turnout came in hot and heavy.

Source: Center for Politics

Per Vox:

” Somewhere between 6.7 million and 9.2 million Americans switched this way; given that the 2016 election was decided by 40,000 votes, it’s fair to say that Obama-Trump switchers were one of the key reasons that Hillary Clinton lost.”

No volume of empirical evidence, though, would suffice to change the corporate media’s relentless push to tar and feather an entire swathe of “flyover country” by branding them racist, sexist, transphobic, Islamophobic, etc.

In the aftermath of the 2016 election — which was largely framed as a one-off anomaly — failed prediction after prediction portended Trump’s impending political demise. Congressional Democrats unsuccessfully tried to impeach him – twice. They wove intricate, evidence-free conspiracy theories that the Kremlin had conspired with the Trump campaign to put him in office.

None of these attempts to overthrow an election, accusations of bigotry, or conspiracy theories ever hit paydirt.

These attacks, and others, failed time and time again to budge the MAGA voters. Seemingly no amount of derision, cajoling, appeals to social justice, or threats sufficed to achieve the desired mass rejection of Trump.

Driving the Wedge, CCP-Style

At which point, we return to the issue at hand: how best to break the will of the MAGA voter? And let there be no mistake: breaking the will of the insubordinate peasantry is the over-arching mission.

All other methods exhausted, the oligarchs turned to the tried-and-true communist tactic of pitting family member against family member to root out undesirable elements within the population.

Such tactic was arguably perfected by the CCP during the Cultural Revolution, a ten-year period from 1966-1976 infamous for unmitigated chaos and violence within the People’s Republic of China intended to shore up support for the CCP through fear.

1967 Cultural Revolution propaganda poster

In the framing of the CCP, the counter-revolutionary capitalists, landlords, Western-educated intelligentsia, and their secret admirers had conspired to rob the common Chinese people of enough food to eat. In reality, the devastating and cruel land reforms of the failed Great Leap Forward were to blame – but admitting culpability is not in the playbook of politicians, be they communist politburos or Democratic National Committees.

To kick things off, Mao Zedong declared war on the “Four Olds”: Old Ideas, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Customs. Pandemonium ensued.

With the sloganeered refrain that “to rebel is justified” – in the vein of the #Resistance – Mao Zedong employed the youth of the nation to root out the “capitalist” elements that had poisoned the great communist utopian vision.

To achieve this vision, the CCP mobilized “Red Guard” revolutionary paramilitary groups made up of students (including pre-adolescents) to target the capitalists and their sympathizers within society for punishment.

Mao gave the Red Guards carte blanche to ravage the countryside from Beijing to Tibet – and ravage they did. They targeted anyone wearing “bourgeois clothes,” tortured and often murdered party officials perceived to be insufficiently loyal to the “Great Helmsman” Mao, and even targeted their own parents for destruction:

“They were encouraged to denounce their parents, so as to ‘draw a line’ between them and the enemy.” 

In short, Chinese children in this era were unleashed to neutralize the “demons” and “monsters,” even family members:

“I warned her: ‘If you go against our dear Chairman Mao I will smash your dog head.'”

-CCP child soldier Zhang Hongbing speaking to his mother prior to facilitating her 1970 execution

The Modern Cultural Revolution

In 2021, outing their parents as conservative reactionaries on social media earns kids praise and credit for yasss Slay Queen bravery:

“I will never forgive you fully for putting this tyrant in office,” said Alex, a 21-year-old trans man on TikTok who told BuzzFeed News he stopped speaking to his father… “You, personally, with your voting have directly limited my rights and safety.”

A guilt-ravaged TikTok teen performatively cries about her racist parents for views and likes on social media – “‘I literally hate my family so much,’ Izabella said, eyes wet from crying.”

15-year-old Izebella struck TikTok gold: “In two days, her TikTok following went from roughly 50 to 17,000 people.”

You need not be a clinical psychologist to stitch together the allure of directing children to publicly target their own parents: if the social engineers can get a young mind to betray the ones who gave them life, that child becomes theirs — possibly in perpetuity.

Ben Bartee is a Bangkok-based American journalist with opposable thumbs. Contact him via his portfolio or on LinkedIn.

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