The meme of mocking “tankies” for thinking the CIA is powerful sucks

It’s callous to dismiss the legitimate death and destruction wrought by the CIA to make some type of point on twitter

Christian Patterson
2019-11-18
Underground Mall

I saw this image on twitter and it really pissed me off:

The sheer idea that someone has to be a “tankie” to realize the immense, inconceivable amount of political power the CIA has exerted on the world is insane. I read all the time about the CIA, and I know I still only know a fraction of what they’ve done. Not to mention the audacity of reducing people who oppose the CIA and recognize it’s propaganda to “tankies”. Are you going to call Venezuelans tankies? Iraqis? Iranians? Guatemalans? Indonesians? I could literally go on forever. Are they all tankies? Disgusting Americentric worldview.

The vast, unknowable CIA

Just to get this out of the way: I also don’t think it’s accurate to reduce reactionary, anti-left uprisings, like the one in Bolivia, to purely being something the CIA created out of thin air. But no one thinks that, and it’s a pedantic strawman.

When most people say “it’s a CIA-backed coup”, it could be any other three-letter American state apparatus too. I’m sure the NSA and even FBI were well aware of the coup-in-progress. I wouldn’t be surprised if NSA is involved in the massive, anti-Morales bot storm on twitter. I’m sure privately owned capitalist organizations were very well-aware, and likely aided the coup.

The truth is, we don’t know what political organs have influenced the coup, and how much. What we do know is American political capital had an invested interest in Morales falling, and the coup had some level of structural aid, or else it couldn’t have seized power so quickly and easily.

That’s also not to say the domestic, right-wing, anti-indigenous Bolivians who instigated the coup don’t have their own political power, and interests, and arguably had the biggest impact on the coup. It’s just their political and economic interests align with American capitalist interest, and can be latched onto and exploited.

Any type of pro-capitalist, shadow organizations could have been involved in the coup in Bolivia, and any organization that exists like that, launders its business through the CIA and CIA shell organizations. At the very least, the CIA was aware and contributed to these efforts.

By the nature of the CIA and parapolitics, we can’t know what three-letter organizations, or capitalists, or corporations, are involved in covert American ops internationally. Even for past CIA interventions that are disclosed, we don’t really know how they went down specifically.

Hopefully, that clears up any confusion, and answers any pedantic “well actually”s out there. But if not, I will try to take it more at face value.

Not all protests are created equally

I’m not sure where the impulse to deny the power of the CIA from nominal American leftists comes from. The only thing I can come up with is they want to believe all protests in their nature are good.

They want to believe Hong Kong and Bolivian protests are proletarian in character, and therefore don’t involve the CIA. But the simple truth is, there are right-wing protests and left-wing.

Just because the anti-Morales movement, and movements like it, are reactionary movements, that doesn’t necessarily mean the CIA is involved. But they’re serving the goals and interests of the CIA. For example, my guess with the Bolivian coup is that, CIA and their collaborators are constantly plotting seeds all over to undermine the left. The coup started organically, then was stoked by bad actors, and then the CIA swooped in to finish the job and clean up a bit.

And even if the CIA aren’t involved in mass movements like the Hong Kong and Bolivian protests, it kind of doesn’t matter: they are definitely right-wing protests. The Bolivian protests quickly turned into a coup, and it succeeded, which, moving forward, will greatly cripple the Left movement in South America.

The weird thing is, it’s usually anarchists who pull out this line. If not them, then disingenuous liberals who were taught the word “tankie” by their anarchist buddies.

I don’t know enough about anarchism to say why this is. I thought I knew a bit about anarchism, but I’d assume anarchists oppose the CIA more than anyone. Guess not!

Again, the only conclusion I can come up with is that they want to believe all protests are created equally, and should all be supported. By suggesting a protest is supported by the CIA, it’s saying it’s a bad protest.

Another corollary element could be, anarchists oppose the state, so by saying the protests are supported by the CIA, it’s saying the Morales government is good and the protesters are bad.

The truth is, Morales might not meet my “leftist standards” for a utopian world, if I’m being particularly nitpicky and ultraleft. But that doesn’t matter. He is widely supported by the workers, especially indigenous, of Bolivia. Those were his constituents, and he had way more support in the popular vote than any recent American president.

The coup obviously benefits the right-wing of Bolivia and harms the global left-wing. Criticisms of Morales from the Bolivian left are obviously valid, but any intra-left critique goes out the window when a fascist coup takes place. US Empire won and there’s no way to spin that away.

How are we supposed to trust self identified Bolivian leftists, who usually live in the US or Europe, criticizing Morales when they know full well their gov is being replaced by a far-right one?

Meaning of tankie throught time
1968-2014: people who supported Soviet invasion of Prague
2015: Stalinists
2016: any Marxist
2017: any leftist who was reservations about Bernie Sanders
2018: anyone left of Elizabeth Warren
2019: anyone who thinks the CIA is politically powerful

And one last thing: the statement I’m responding to is “tankies think everything bad is CIA”. You may notice I talked about the CIA part, not the tankie part.

That’s because Anarchists use tankie to mean Marxist-Leninists, but they throw it around at anyone, all the time, so it became meaningless. Once it became meaningless, liberals latched on and made it even more meaningless, by using it on literally anyone left of the democratic party. It’s a meme who has received a death sentence. And I think it would behoove any leftist to cut tankie out of their vocabulary, no matter how much you hate MLs, because it’s currently being weaponized against the left as a whole.

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