All posts by C. J. Hopkins

Please Remember Not to Vote!

So, it’s three weeks before the US midterm elections, and it looks like we have got ourselves a horse race! That’s right, folks, once again, it’s time to start playing with those forecast maps on Real Clear Politics and FiveThirtyEight, and obsessively following the fluctuating poll numbers of congressional candidates you have never heard of competing in districts you couldn’t locate if someone held a gun to your head. You need to start doing this immediately, if not sooner, as the stakes in these midterms could not be higher. Nothing less than the continued existence of “American democracy” hangs in the balance, so the ruling classes need every last one of us to get out there and vote for somebody!

The fact that it only marginally matters who that somebody that you vote for is should not dissuade you from voting for somebody. Voting for somebody is your civic duty, and is no less important than rooting for a sports team, or maintaining a personal favorite color, or celebrity, or brand of hemorrhoid creme. Remember, if you don’t vote for somebody, somebody else is going to win, and we can’t afford to let that happen!

Now, your choices this year are particularly exciting, despite the fact that they are exactly the same as in every other US election since approximately the 1970s. Yes, that’s right, once again, it’s the Transgender Panethnic Communists of Color versus the Old White Cisnormal Capitalist Nazis, and what a spectacle it promises to be! The Old White Cisnormal Capitalist Nazis (hereinafter the “OWCCN”) currently control … well, pretty much everything (i.e., the House, the Senate, and executive branch), and so the Transgender Panethnic Communists of Color (hereinafter the “TPCoC”) are hungry, and are looking for some serious payback after getting their butts kicked in 2016. Rumor has it, the TPCoC are preparing to unleash a “Blue Tsunami” on vulnerable OWCCN incumbents, take control of the House of Representatives, and then not impeach the ass clown President they’ve been telling everyone for the last two years is both a traitorous Russian intelligence asset and the resurrection of Adolf Hitler.

And, if that isn’t exciting enough for you already, they’ve got all kinds of other life-and-death issues to emotionally pressure you into picking a team to fanatically root for on social media, and then getting out and voting for somebody. How blatantly to humiliate illegal immigrants, how affluent you have to be to obtain an abortion, how much interest banks can charge when you pay for your chemo with an Amazon card, and which pronouns law enforcement officers are required to use to refer to people whose homes they barge into and unintentionally murder, are just a few of the many “hot-button” questions requiring your democratic input.

Other questions, like whether to invade or just strategically bomb Iran or Syria, or some other non-ball-playing Middle East country, or pour billions more in military aid into Israel, or sell billions in weapons to Saudi Arabia, or foment a coup in Venezuela, or maintain almost eight hundred military outposts in over seventy foreign countries all around the world, are questions that do not require your input. The global capitalist ruling classes, the corporations they own and operate, their friends in the government and the intelligence agencies, and the corporate media will take care of all that. Same goes for those Wall Street banks, and the next looming global financial crisis, and those mass extinctions, and this wacky weather. The grown-ups with the fancy suits and haircuts are handling all that complicated stuff. You just worry about all those other issues, and get out there and vote for somebody!

Seriously, though, for those unfamiliar with the ins and outs of U.S. politics, our election cycle, and these midterm elections, and thus do not have the slightest idea what I’m even referring to, here’s what’s going on in a nutshell …

On November 6, 2018, Americans will be returning to the polls to exercise their inalienable right to choose between two corporate-financed, ruling class-vetted political stooges competing for the chance to pretend to represent them in the House of Representatives and the Senate, and in various gubernatorial, municipal, and somewhat lesser distinguished chambers. A selection of non-ruling-class-vetted candidates will also appear on a handful of ballots. Americans will be free to vote for such candidates, as long as they realize they are just wasting their time, and possibly damaging the “serious” candidates, which the corporate media will remind them they are doing at every available opportunity.

See, unlike in backward European countries, where some semblance of a parliament still exists, and there are actual campaign finance restrictions and limits on televised campaign advertising, in the United States, where everyone is free, voting for non-ruling-class-vetted candidates, in a midterm or any other election, is about as effective as voting for a sandwich … or for, you know, some narcissistic billionaire ass clown who swears he is going to “drain the swamp,” and build “a beautiful wall,” or whatever. The system is designed to guarantee that no matter which ruling class stooge you vote for, and even if you vote for a character like Trump just to stick it to the establishment for once, it makes no difference … or, OK, very little difference.

The reason for this is not a big mystery. When a seat in the Senate goes for ten million dollars and a seat in the House for over a million, and there are no real restrictions on campaign financing, and the corporate-owned media decide in advance which candidates will be given airtime, and considered “serious” by the mainstream pundits who work for the handful of corporations that own the vast majority of newspapers, television and radio stations, and internet platforms that control the flow of information to the American public … well, it would kind of be a little odd, wouldn’t it, if authentic anti-ruling-class candidates were allowed to enter and compete in that system?

Most Americans understand this, which is why nearly half of them do not vote. It’s humiliating enough to be forced to live, and attempt to support a family, and so on, in a savage, neoliberal marketplace with virtually no social cohesion whatsoever, and in which the only real operative value is money, without also having to debase themselves by participating in the simulation of democracy that the capitalist ruling classes need to maintain in order to pretend that they are not just social parasites with a lot of goons and guns.

Which brings me to the point of this essay. See, normally, I try like hell to avoid telling people what to do in my columns, but, after my last one, a number of readers wrote in asking for advice, so I’m going to make an exception, just this once.

Here’s my advice. You’re not going to like it.

Do not vote. For anyone. At all. Tell all your friends not to vote for anyone. Join the hundreds of millions of Americans who refuse to participate in the simulation of democracy. Take time off from work to vote, and then do not vote. Go see a movie, or have lunch with someone you haven’t seen in a while, or take a nice, long walk in the woods or something. Whatever you do, do not vote. Seriously. Please stop voting for these people. They’re not your friends. They mean you ill. They will shake your hand, kiss your baby, then sell you to the first pharmaceutical lobbyist, or military industrial lobbyist, or Israeli or Saudi Arabian lobbyist, that waltzes into their office with a check, or that threatens to turn their voters against them.

You probably think I’m kidding. I’m not. Do not vote in these midterm elections. Or in any other American elections. Not while the system remains as it is. If you really want to vote, move to Europe, where at least there are still parliamentary structures, and a decent variety of political parties, and some restrictions on campaign financing and advertising. All you’re doing when you vote in America is reifying a simulation of democracy, and so perpetuating the system as it is.

Oh, and while you’re at it, if you happen to work for any of those pharmaceutical companies, or any of those weapons manufacturers, or their suppliers, or for an investment bank, or a hedge fund, or private equity firm, or any other company, corporation, firm, consultancy, or department of government that is central to keeping the American political and economic system going as it is, quit your job and do something else. Seriously, go into the office today (or get up from your desk right now) and quit, and go find something else to do with the gift of your sentient life on this planet. I realize that might be a scary proposition, but that’s what it’s going to take to change things, a lot of people deciding they have had it and are not going to play the game anymore.

That’s pretty much all the advice I’ve got. Sorry … I told you you weren’t going to like it.

Who Doesn’t Love Identity Politics?

If there is one thing that still unites Americans across the ever more intellectually suffocating and bitterly polarized political spectrum our imaginations have been crammed into like rush hour commuters on the Tokyo Metro, it’s our undying love of identity politics.

Who doesn’t love identity politics? Liberals love identity politics. Conservatives love identity politics. Political parties love identity politics. Corporations love identity politics. Advertisers, anarchists, white supremacists, Wall Street bankers, Hollywood producers, Twitter celebrities, the media, academia … everybody loves identity politics.

Why do we love identity politics? We love them for many different reasons.

The ruling classes love identity politics because they keep the working classes focused on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and so on, and not on the fact that they (i.e., the working classes) are, essentially, glorified indentured servants, who will spend the majority of their sentient existences laboring to benefit a ruling elite that would gladly butcher their entire families and sell their livers to hepatitic Saudi princes if they could get away with it. Dividing the working classes up into sub-groups according to race, ethnicity, and so on, and then pitting these sub-groups against each other, is extremely important to the ruling classes, who are, let’s remember, a tiny minority of intelligent but physically vulnerable parasites controlling the lives of the vast majority of human beings on the planet Earth, primarily by keeping them ignorant and confused.

The political parties love identity politics because they allow them to conceal the fact that they are bought and paid for by these ruling classes, which, in our day and age, means corporations and a handful of obscenely wealthy oligarchs who would gut you and your kids like trout and sell your organs to the highest bidder if they thought they could possibly get away with it. The political parties employ identity politics to maintain the simulation of democracy that prevents Americans (many of whom are armed) from coming together, forming a mob, dismantling this simulation of democracy, and then attempting to establish an actual democracy, of, by, and for the people, which is, basically, the ruling classes’ worst nightmare. The best way to avoid this scenario is to keep the working classes ignorant and confused, and at each other’s throats over things like pronouns, white privilege, gender appropriate bathrooms, and the complexion and genitalia of the virtually interchangeable puppets the ruling classes allow them to vote for.

The corporate media, academia, Hollywood, and the other components of the culture industry are similarly invested in keeping the vast majority of people ignorant and confused. The folks who populate this culture industry, in addition to predicating their sense of self-worth on their superiority to the unwashed masses, enjoy spending time with the ruling classes, and reaping the many benefits of serving them … and, while most of them wouldn’t personally disembowel your kids and sell their organs to some dope-addled Saudi trillionaire scion, they would look the other way while the ruling classes did, and then invent some sort of convoluted rationalization of why it was necessary, in order to preserve democracy and freedom (or was some sort of innocent but unfortunate “blunder,” which will never, ever, happen again).

The fake Left loves identity politics because they allow them to pretend to be “revolutionary” and spout all manner of “militant” gibberish while posing absolutely zero threat to the ruling classes they claim to be fighting. Publishing fake Left “samizdats” (your donations to which are tax-deductible), sanctimoniously denouncing racism on Twitter, milking whatever identity politics scandal is making headlines that day, and otherwise sounding like a slightly edgier version of National Public Radio, are all popular elements of the fake Left repertoire.

Marching along permitted parade routes, assembling in designated “free speech areas,” and listening to speeches by fake Left celebrities and assorted Democratic Party luminaries, are also well-loved fake Left activities. For those who feel the need to be even more militant, pressuring universities to cancel events where potentially “violent” and “oppressive” speech acts (or physical gestures) might occur, toppling offensive historical monuments, ratting out people to social media censors, or masking up and beating the crap out of “street Nazis” are among the available options. All of these activities, by herding potential troublemakers into fake Left ghettos and wasting their time, both on- and off-line, help to ensure that the ruling classes, their political puppets, the corporate media, Hollywood, and the rest of the culture industry can keep most people ignorant and confused.

Oh, and racists, hardcore white supremacists, anti-Semites, and other far-Right wing nuts … my God, do they love identity politics! Identity politics are their entire worldview (or Weltanschauung, for you Nazi fetishists). Virtually every social, political, economic, and ontological phenomenon can be explained by reducing it to race, ethnicity, religion, or some other simplistic criterion, according to these “alt-Right” geniuses. And to render everything even more simplistic, each and every one of their simplistic theories can be subsumed into a meta-simplistic theory, which amounts to (did you guess it?) a conspiracy of Jews.

According to this meta-theory, this conspiracy of Jews (which is headquartered in Israel, but maintains offices in Los Angeles and New York, from which it controls the corporate media, Hollywood, and the entire financial sector) is responsible for … well, anything they can think of. September 11 attacks? Conspiracy of Jews. Financial crisis? Jews, naturally. Black on Black crime? Jews again! Immigration? Globalization? Gun control laws? Abortion? Drugs? Media bias? Who else could be behind it all but Jews?!

See, the thing is, there is no essential difference between your identity politics-brainwashed liberal and your Swastika-tattooed white supremacist. Both are looking at the world through the lens of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or some other type of “identity.” They are looking through this “identity” lens (whichever one it happens to be) because either they have been conditioned to do so (most likely from the time they were children) or they have made a conscious choice to do so (after recognizing, and affirming or rejecting, whatever conditioning they received as children).

Quantum physicists, Sufi fakirs, and certain other esoterics understand what most of us don’t, namely, that there is no such thing as “the Truth,” or “Reality,” apart from our perception of it. The world, or “reality,” or whatever you want to call it, is more than happy to transform itself into any imaginable shape and form, based on the lens you are looking at it through. It’s like a trickster in that regard. Look at “reality” through a racist lens, and everything will make sense according to that logic. Look at it through a social justice lens, or a Judeo-Christian lens, or a Muslim lens, or a scientific or a Scientologist lens, or a historical materialist or capitalist lens (it really makes no difference at all) … and abracadabra! A new world is born!

Sadly, most of us never reach the stage in our personal (spiritual?) development where we are able to make a conscious choice about which lens we want to view the world through. Mostly, we stick with the lens we were originally issued by our families and societies. Then we spend the rest of our fleeting lives desperately insisting that our perspective is “the Truth,” and that other perspectives are either “lies” or “errors.” The fact that we do this is unsurprising, as the ruling classes (of whatever society we happened to be born and socialized into) are intensely invested in issuing everyone a “Weltanschauung lens” that corresponds to whatever narrative they are telling themselves about why they deserve to be the ruling classes and we deserve to exist to serve them, fight their wars, pay interest on their loans, not to mention rent to live on the Earth, which they have claimed as their own and divided up amongst themselves to exploit and ruin, which they justify with “laws” they invented, which they enforce with armies, police, and prisons, which they teach us as children to believe is “just the way life is” … but I digress.

So, who doesn’t love identity politics? Well, I don’t love identity politics. But then I tend to view political events in the context of enormous, complex systems operating beyond the level of the individuals and other entities such systems comprise. Thus I’ve kind of been keeping an eye on the restructuring of the planet by global capitalism that started in the early 1990s, following the collapse of the U.S.S.R., when global capitalism (not the U.S.A.) became the first globally hegemonic system in the history of aspiring hegemonic systems.

Now, this system (i.e., capitalism, not the U.S.A), being globally hegemonic, has no external enemies, so what it’s been doing since it became hegemonic is aggressively destabilizing and restructuring the planet according to its systemic needs (most notably in the Middle East, but also throughout the rest of the world), both militarily and ideologically. Along the way, it has encountered some internal resistance, first, from the Islamic “terrorists,” more recently, from the so-called “nationalists” and “populists,” none of whom seem terribly thrilled about being destabilized, restructured, privatized, and debt-enslaved by global capitalism, not to mention relinquishing what remains of their national sovereignty, and their cultures, and so on.

I’ve been writing about this for over two years, so I am not going to rehash it all in detail here (this essay is already rather long). The short version is, what we are currently experiencing (i.e., Brexit, Trump, Italy, Hungary, et cetera, the whole “populist” or “nationalist” phenomenon) is resistance (an insurgency, if you will) to hegemonic global capitalism, which is, essentially, a values-decoding machine, which eliminates “traditional” (i.e., despotic) values (e.g., religious, cultural, familial, societal, aesthetic, and other such non-market values) and replaces them with a single value, exchange value, rendering everything a commodity.

The fact that I happen to be opposed to some of those “traditional” values (i.e., racism, anti-Semitism, oppression of women, homosexuals, and so on) does not change my perception of the historical moment, or the sociopolitical, sociocultural, and economic forces shaping that moment. God help me, I believe it might be more useful to attempt to understand those forces than to go around pointing and shrieking at anyone who doesn’t conform to my personal views like the pod people in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

But that’s the lens I choose to look through. Maybe I’ve got it all assbackwards. Maybe what is really going on is that Russia “influenced” everyone into voting for Brexit and Donald Trump, and hypnotized them all with those Facebook ads into hating women, people of color, transsexuals, and the Jews, of course, and all that other “populist” stuff, because the Russians hate us for our freedom, and are hell-bent on destroying democracy and establishing some kind of neo-fascist, misogynist, pseudo-Atwoodian dystopia. Or, I don’t know, maybe the other side is right, and it really is all a conspiracy of Jews … transsexual, immigrant Jews of color, who want to force us all to have late-term abortions and circumcise our kids, or something.

I wish I could help you sort all that out, but I’m just a lowly political satirist, and not an expert on identity politics or anything. I’m afraid you’ll have to pick a lens through which to interpret “reality” yourself. But then, you already have, haven’t you … or are you still looking through the one that was issued to you?

Putin-Nazi Paranoia

They’re out there. Trump-loving, Assad-apologist, Putin-Nazi sleeper agents, posing as regular normal Americans. They could be anyone. They could be your neighbors, the guys in the copy room, your Uber drivers, even some of your Twitter followers. They’re sitting there, right now, glued to their televisions, waiting for Jewish Nazi law clerks to perform a series of secret hand signs, blinks, hiccups, sneezes, coughs, and almost undetectable, low-frequency flatulence that will signal the launch of the “Attack on America.” It could come at any moment now.

Zina Bash is definitely one of them. Don’t let her Mexican-Jewish ancestry, or the fact that her grandparents were Holocaust survivors, fool you into thinking otherwise. She made that “OK” sign at the Kavanaugh hearings, which, all right, apparently wasn’t the cue for the millions of American Putin-Nazis to rip off their rubbery masks of normality and storm into the streets in their polo shirts singing Tomorrow Belongs to Me … but it was some kind of secret Nazi code.

Certainly, Alex Jones is one of them. Why else would patriotic global corporations like Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube suddenly ban him from all their platforms after allowing him to spew his bile there for years? It’s probably only a matter of time until Google’s “algorithms” unperson him entirely (at which point I’ll receive instructions to delete any reference to him in this essay, or risk being further deranked myself. I will, of course, comply immediately, as no one despises Alex Jones more than I, even though, oddly, I’ve never watched him. Thank God for that, as who knows how my mind could have been permanently warped by whatever Nazi content he’s been forcing less fortunate Americans to consume!)

And then, God help us, there’s Jeremy Corbyn and his genocidal communist Nazi Death Cult! If he isn’t one of them, no one is. If you haven’t been following the British media, the story is, basically, that Jeremy Corbyn is a terrorist-loving, anti-Semitic, conspiracy theorizing, racist traitor to everything the British ruling classes stand for, and has transformed the UK Labour Party into a homicidal mob of Jew-hating brownshirts. Gangs of slavering Corbyn-Nazis are roving the lanes of Kensington and Knightsbridge accusing Jews of lacking irony and saying mean things about the State of Israel. British Jews have been advised to flee the country or to shelter in place until the tabloids, The Guardian, the ruling classes, and Tony Blair can hound this Hitlerian devil out of office, which, the way things are going, should be any day now.

Meanwhile, the British soldier on under the imminent threat of Putin-Nazi Novichok perfume assassin hit squads, which Putin could send at any moment directly from Moscow to Gatwick Airport to incompetently attempt to murder their targets by spraying the deadliest nerve agent in existence onto the doorknobs of their suburban homes and then stroll around getting filmed by every CCTV camera in Britain. As far as I know, the British tabloids haven’t yet published surveillance photos of Corbyn welcoming the Skripal assassins at Gatwick with a wreath, or a bottle of Stolichnaya (and wearing his Russian-stooge hat, of course), but I won’t be terribly shocked when they do.

And the Putin-Nazis are not just on the march in the United States and Great Britain. They’re coming out of the woodwork in Europe! As I’m sure you’re aware, here in Germany, in a city called Chemnitz in the Free State of Saxony, which has never had any kind of Nazi problems (except for the fact that the entire region has been infested with neo-Nazis for decades and is generally known here as Neo-Nazi Central), thousands of just regular foreigner-hating “Volk” joined a few hundred neo-Nazis in marching around with German flags, barking xenophobic slogans, heiling Hitler, harassing assorted “non-German-looking” human beings, and various other forms of “protest.” Such unprecedented eruptions of Nazism occur on a regular basis in Saxony, albeit on a smaller scale, so it was rather awkward for the corporate media to link the events in Chemnitz to Trump, but nevertheless they managed to sneak a few references to his “emboldenment” in. The best they could do to tie in to Putin was to publish a lot of photos of skinheads hanging around that humongous statue of Marx in the center of Chemnitz’s central square, because, you know, Putin, Trump, Marx, Stalin, Assad, Saddam, Gaddafi … whoever, they’re all just different brands of Hitler!

Seriously, though, all comedy aside … I have to hand it to David Brock, or Jennifer Palmieri, or whoever it was that came up with the Putin-Nazi narrative. OK, granted, the Putin part hasn’t quite worked, except on die-hard Obama disciples, Hillary-worshippers, and other bull-goose loonies, but the Nazi stuff is going gangbusters … and not just with the liberal public (because that has always been an easy sell), but also with the more leftist left. It has taken a while, but we’ve arrived at the stage where even “hardcore anti-capitalist leftists” are dedicating most of their time and energy to calling Donald Trump a fascist, and likening him to Hitler, and so on, over and over, and over again, in increasingly exasperated tones. Why, in Marx’s name, these leftists want to know, won’t other leftists join the chorus of voices screaming, “TRUMP IS A FASCIST!” in all caps on a daily basis? How could these other leftists not see that this is not the time to attack the corporate media, the “intelligence community,” global corporations, or anyone other than DONALD TRUMP, who is LITERALLY ADOLF FUCKING HITLER?

Anthony DiMaggio’s recent essay in CounterPunch is a prime example of the effect the Putin-Nazi paranoia is having on leftists. According to DiMaggio, Donald Trump, by tweeting mean things about Attorney General Sessions and bombastically threatening The New York Times, is no longer just a normal fascist. He is now officially a “full-on fascist,” or a “real world fascist,” or a super duper fascist! DiMaggio doesn’t have any qualms about the deep state, or rather, the steady state, sabotaging an elected president (or at least pretending to be doing do so in print), because, well, you know, “the stakes are far higher” than mere democracy, what with Hitler in the White House. William Kristol would agree wholeheartedly.

But calling Trump a fascist again is just an overture for DiMaggio’s main theme, which is that it’s time to unite the left against the growing Putin-Nazi threat. See, the problem is not just the Putin-Nazis. It is also the fellow Putin-Nazi travellers, and the Assadists, and the Red-Brown infiltrators! Yes, you know who we are, do you not? Glenn Greenwald is our leader, naturally, but Caitlin Johnstone is second-in-command. We refer to her in our secret meetings as “Caity, Queen of the Putin-Nazis.” DiMaggio links to a helpful list of other traitorous Strasserist spies compiled by the crackpot Louis Proyect, folks like Norman Finkelstein, Mike Whitney, Diana Johnstone, Patrick Cockburn, Tom Engelhardt, and Michael Hudson, whose essays have been published in The Unz Review, which also publishes a lot of “alt-right,” racist, and anti-Semitic essays. (Full disclosure: Proyect contacted me, demanding to know how I can allow my work to appear on a Nazi website like Unz, but I ignored him, as I assumed he was just trolling me, again, but it appears he was fishing for incriminating comments for his groundbreaking piece of investigative journalism. In any event, I seem to have escaped inclusion on his Red-Brown blacklist. For the record, I’m with Norman Finkelstein. I don’t stop anyone from reposting my essays, no matter what I think of their other contributors. I wouldn’t even stop The New York Times from publishing my stuff, though, of course, they never would, and they publish actual mass murdering war criminals.)

Anyway, according to Anthony DiMaggio, “leftists who focus on the propagandistic nature of the corporate media, while shilling for the far right and failing to condemn right-wing fascism, provide comfort to the reactionary right’s efforts to suppress journalistic freedom.” Well, Jesus, I wouldn’t want to do anything like that. I hope DiMaggio will follow up with a breakdown of exactly how many times I need to call Donald Trump a fascist before I am allowed to criticize the propagandistic nature of the corporate media, or the global capitalist ruling classes, or any type of “full-on fascism” that doesn’t neatly fit into his simplistic category … like the type that seeks to impose a regime of anus-puckering ideological conformity on those it determines are members of its camp, and that gets off punishing deviations from its norms.

Look, the truth is, I don’t like Donald Trump. I haven’t liked him for about thirty years. I have no problem whatsoever with leftists like DiMaggio calling him names until they’re blue in the face if that makes them happy. What I do find troubling is the growing atmosphere of neo-McCarthyite paranoia which has been gradually spreading into leftist quarters, and the witch-hunting, and the Putin-Nazi-baiting, and the compiling and distributing of pseudo-blacklists, and the cheering on of global corporations as they ideologically sterilize the Internet. We get enough of that from the corporate media. So how about we lighten up on the paranoia, let the global capitalist ruling classes finish destroying Donald Trump, and maybe think about what the left has to offer as an alternative to the global-corporate, post-“fascist,” neo-feudal future. While it might not feel like it at the moment, it’s coming … we’ll be there before you know it.