This is, I think, an important discussion. Here is the article in question:
And here is the comment I posted (I reproduce it here as I don’t know if it will be posted there):
Why does it have to be either/or? Are you not guilty of the same vice as those whom you seek to expose?
In the White working class home I grew up in in the 60s the idea that the US had trained death squads roaming the globe killing heads of state was dismissed as shear lunacy. The idea that agents of the state were targeting Black civil rights leaders for entrapment, false imprisonment, and death was taken as a sure sign that the exponents of these conspiracy theories were absolutely nuts. My family and neighbors were not in denial, not in the sense that deep down they knew it was true but couldn’t bring themselves to accept it. On the contrary, they just didn’t believe such outrageous allegations.
They were wrong, weren’t they?
The then private discussions held in Versailles after WW1 by European capital leave no doubt as to why they had agreed to an armistice, and what it was that concerned them. The socialist revolutions in Russia, Hungary, and Germany had to be checked and reversed. (Woodrow Wilson: “We are in a race against socialism, and the whole world is on fire.”) It was there that fascism was conceived. We have this literally in their own handwriting–a conspiracy fact! The various factions assembled at Versailles may not have called themselves the Illuminati, but they certainly were the ruling bourgeois elite. So what’s the difference?
In your pamphlet (which, incidentally, is quite good) you dismiss the idea that AIDS was designed to kill Africans. There is a book entitled “AIDS, a Crime Beyond Belief,” written by a Dr. Scott, who was the long-term editor of the Canadian counterpart to the Journal of the American Medical Association. It might make you change your mind.
There is an article entitled “33 ConspiracyTheories that Turned out to be True,” on the web which you and your students might find interesting. And here’s a very good discussion of the topic of conspiracy theories and the hegemony of capital:
I think it is an absolutely false dichotomy to contrast conspiracy theory to class power, and you do a disservice to your students when you insist that they view these concepts dialectically. Rather, in my view, you should encourage them to critically evaluate every theory they encounter, and to, as Mao put it, seek truth from facts. Teaching them to dismiss conspiracies as a category is as bad as blindly accepting them. Capitalism cannot survive without coercion. And the effective use of force requires a plan (i.e. colluding/conspiring). You should encourage your students to examine everything carefully, and if they conclude that a conspiracy did in fact occur, to figure out what motives the conspirators had.
And you should do the same.