Category Archives: Capitalism

Reality Privileged: Orwell/Huxley/McLuhan on Steroids

You can go through life with a thousand epigrams or deep quotes that you might come back to over two, four, six decades. Then, the disrupters pop up, those techno fascists, the tinkers and culture blasters.

These sociopaths who get the limelight then become part of a new set of epigrams, but not grand ones, but totally emblematic of a new normal of Triple Speak, Capitalism Porn, and the Stiff Arm to the Coders and their Masters.

It’s sad, really. Here, quality ones of very different and varied origins:

  • Timothy 6:10 “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”
  • Pierre Joseph-Proudhon: “Property is Theft.”
  • Karl Marx: “Private property has made us so stupid and one-sided that an object is only ours when we have it – when it exists for us as capital.”
  • “It’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.”
    ― Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?
  • “It is capitalism, not Marxism, that trades in futures.”
    ― Terry Eagleton, Why Marx Was Right

We don’t think you fight fire with fire best; we think you fight fire with water best. We’re going to fight racism not with racism, but we’re going to fight with solidarity. We say we’re not going to fight capitalism with black capitalism, but we’re going to fight it with socialism. We’re stood up and said we’re not going to fight reactionary pigs and reactionary state’s attorneys like this and reactionary state’s attorneys like Hanrahan with any other reactions on our part. We’re going to fight their reactons with all of us people getting together and having an international proletarian revolution.
― Fred Hampton (source: “Fred Hampton Speech Transcript on Revolution and Racism” ) 

“Only from a capitalist viewpoint being productive is a moral virtue, if not a moral imperative. From the viewpoint of the working class, being productive simply means being exploited.”
― Silvia Federici, Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle

One might wake up after two decades of capitalist slumber and feel like Rip Van Winkle while observing how deep the slide into those circles of capitalist hell we have all ended up. Exhumed from the grave all the felons, high and midddling, and then see that the world is still valorizing . . . Kissinger, Albright, Bush, Trump, Biden, Obama, et al. Shocks to the system every nano second. Capitalism with a gun, with a drug, with a bank.

Here, McLuhan:

Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit from taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don’t really have any rights left. Leasing our eyes and ears and nerves to commercial interests is like handing over the common speech to a private corporation, or like giving the earth’s atmosphere to a company as a monopoly. (Marshall McLuhan rocketed from an unknown academic to rockstar with the publication of Understanding Media: The Extensions of Manin 1964.)

Concentrated power — information age, and now, it’s even so much worse, 60 years later.

Get these people’s aims and goals. These are the powerful, work with the powerful, are armies unto themselves, and they take no prisoners. We are all Luddites if we resist their machinations, their totalitarianism in skinny jeans, on the spectrum, vegan and all.

I’ll let the guy’s words flow here, longish. Monsters, really:

Marc Andreessen (“The Internet King on why the Internet is a force for good, on media conformity, the inevitable triumph of the WEIRD, Crypto, ‘Retards,’ etc. — Source) breaks down Reality Privilege:

Your question is a great example of what I call Reality Privilege. This is a paraphrase of a concept articulated by Beau Cronin: “Consider the possibility that a visceral defense of the physical, and an accompanying dismissal of the virtual as inferior or escapist, is a result of superuser privileges.” A small percent of people live in a real-world environment that is rich, even overflowing, with glorious substance, beautiful settings, plentiful stimulation, and many fascinating people to talk to, and to work with, and to date. These are also *all* of the people who get to ask probing questions like yours. Everyone else, the vast majority of humanity, lacks Reality Privilege—their online world is, or will be, immeasurably richer and more fulfilling than most of the physical and social environment around them in the quote-unquote real world.

The Reality Privileged, of course, call this conclusion dystopian, and demand that we prioritize improvements in reality over improvements in virtuality. To which I say: reality has had 5,000 years to get good, and is clearly still woefully lacking for most people; I don’t think we should wait another 5,000 years to see if it eventually closes the gap. We should build—and we are building—online worlds that make life and work and love wonderful for everyone, no matter what level of reality deprivation they find themselves in.

Here’s a thought experiment for the counterfactual. Suppose we had all just spent the last 15 months of COVID lockdowns *without* the Internet, without the virtual world. As bad as the lockdowns have been for people’s well-being—and they’ve been bad—how much worse would they have been without the Internet? I think the answer is clear: profoundly, terribly worse. (Of course, pandemic lockdowns are not the norm—for that, we’ll have to wait for the climate lockdowns.)

Is this an easy target? Am I just poking fun at culture, the new masters of the metaverse? Are we speaking two very “man who fell to earth” languages? Or, is this fellow above, misanthrope on a very pathetic scale? We know he’s got hundreds of millions, and he is the guru, and governments and the Titans of Media all have his ear.

Oh, I have old people whispering how they feel for today’s kids, how they feel for the young adults who are stuck in this bubble inside a bubble. I hear them while they have grand machinations of flipping a home into a bank account and some smaller home. Too expensive in Pacific Northwest or California? Then, sell sell sell, and end up in Appalachia. Lewisburg. Get a home and two acres for $250K, and bank the rest, and be damned, the rest of the world.

Me-myself-I, that’s the reptilian brain angle these Titans of the Screen/Black Mirror in the Hand have going for them (not a great term, really, repitilian, but you get the picture — food, sex, water, fight or flight, flash, rest, run, jump, gobble, hump).

Indonesia cancels Komodo island closure, saying tourists are no threat to dragons | Indonesia | The Guardian

Get these stats, mom and pop, uncle and aunt, cuz:

In Chain Reactions, he writes about how stunning the scale of the internet has become; every minute on the internet:

  • Netflix users stream 404,444 hours of video
  • Instagram users post 347,222 stories
  • YouTube users upload 500 hours of video
  • Consumers spend $1,000,000 online
  • LinkedIn users apply for 69,444 jobs
  • TikTok is installed 2,704 times
  • Venmo users send $239,196 worth of payments
  • Spotify adds 28 tracks to its music library
  • Amazon ships 6,659 packages
  • WhatsApp users send 41,666,667 messages
  • And 1,388,889 people make video and voice calls

Every minute. American adults spend over 11 hours interacting with digital media every day. Daily media consumption on mobile has grown 6x from 45 minutes in 2011 to 4 hours and 12 minutes in 2021.

The Brains Development - The Cavern

The “entire world is a stage” is played out minute by minute, in Ukraine by the Zionist Comic Nazi-loving Jew (not-not), or the charades of Biden and the gang (media). Now? Every man, woman, child is an island — connected to the WWW — unto him-her-them SELF:

Biden mocks himself and roasts Trump

This is it, while the crocodile tears are spewing for the poor Ukrainians, and the trillion$ soon for guns, nukes, these idiots try a Jon Leibowitz Stewart thing: White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner on Saturday night. The dinner was shunned by Trump and canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But then, they all are misanthropes, and again, the optics, man, the optics of the USA decaying while Biden shits his pants: “I’m really excited to be here with the only group of Americans with a lower approval rating than I have,” Biden joked to the Washington, DC crowd, referring to his own sub-40% polling and to surveys showing just 36% of Americans trust the mass media.

This is insane, of course, on many levels. It is the inside joke, and the giant overt joke. This is the spokesperson for the free world, and these are the minutes they spend in their spare time. All puppets, all wind-up dolls, and the media, they are the lever pullers. Behind the media? Oh, man, you don’t need a recap on who the monster men (a few women, too) are?

Okay, now down the other rabbit hole: Go to Alison McDowell’s work (Wrench in the Gears (dot) com) recently in Salt Lake City, following the LDS/Mormons capitalization of transhumanism, blockchain, social impact investing, cyber everything, internet of bodies, brains, babies. Slide show/stack here, Ignorance is Bliss?

Check out 36 videos looking into this dispicable system of mind-matter-money control: Transhumanism, CIA Enslavement, Faith and Technology, Digital Education. YouTube.

I have those discussions now, with former students, who want to know from me, what I think of Zoom Doom Rooms, or where I think education, both K12 and higher (sic), is going. Of course, the language we use is not always in synch, since I think the systems of education were flawed from the beginning, and that capitalism and fascism as it is delineated by GloboCap, set people up to accept lies, and the systems of oppression are about getting people to learn how to lie to themselves.

I’ve noticed a fascinating phenomenon in my thirty years of teaching: schools and schooling are increasingly irrelevant to the great enterprises of the planet. No one believes anymore that scientists are trained in science classes or politicians in civics classes or poets in English classes. The truth is that schools don’t really teach anything except how to obey orders. This is a great mystery to me because thousands of humane, caring people work in schools as teachers and aides and administrators, but the abstract logic of the institution overwhelms their individual contributions. Although teachers do care and do work very, very hard, the institution is psychopathic — it has no conscience. It rings a bell and the young man in the middle of writing a poem must close his notebook and move to a different cell where he must memorize that humans and monkeys derive from a common ancestor.
― John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling

I talked recently with a teacher who knew me, and wondered where I was, in the substitute teacher stable. I informed her that this county, the school district, has banned me for pushing high school students to think about their own lives tied to stories like Of Mice and Men and Animal Farm, two books the teacher of record was having me, the substitute of record, work with. Amazing, I was frog marched out of the classroom and school, and there was zero recourse, no audience to be gained, and alas, I couldn’t defend myself: this is how one system of oppression works.

This fourth grade teacher went on and on about how oppressive it is to be that elementary grade teacher in this district, and how the higher ups, the school board, they have scorn for the teachers, the paraeducators, the staff.

Hell, I was teaching a community education class, and it took me more than a month and a half to be paid by the community college. This is the new normal, but not so new. This is the mentality whichruns the world. And, more and more people want to be their own boss, but their options are limited — really, a cinnamon roll shop, beads, candles, more deep fried oysters?

Capitalism is lovely, so creative, open, available for smart small and tiny entrepeneurs. Wrong!

Disdain, just like the fellow announcing that Reality Privilege is dead. The world of games, the world of on-line shopping, dating, hunting, driving, hiking, that is it for the world from here on in. Get on the phone, six hours a day, at least. Plug in.

Zoom Zelensky from Britain or Poland. Watch Sean Penn or Pelosi fly into some staged area, then, long-live the ZioLenksy Nazi, and then, more dialing for dollars. Stage left, masks on, start themusic, do the edits, cut cut cut, and then let the lies fly.

Reality. Here, from Farnam Street Articles!

“The effects of technology do not occur at the level of opinions or concepts,” wrote McLuhan. Rather they “alter patterns of perception steadily and without any resistance.”

In Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, McLuhan proffered,

“A new medium is never an addition to an old one, nor does it leave the old one in peace. It never ceases to oppress the older media until it finds new shapes and positions for them.”

We see this today as newspapers transition to a digital world and how the medium—the internet—remakes the papers to fit its own standards. Not only have newspapers moved from physical to virtual but now they are hyperlinked, chunked, and embedded within noise. If he were alive (and healthy) McLuhan would argue these changes impact the way we understand the content.

McLuhan foresaw how all mass media would eventually be used for commercialization and consumerism:

 “Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit by taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don’t really have any rights left.”

Carry on:

CM 170: Nicholas Carr on What the Internet Does to Our Brains

And, finally, reality is reality, all those down-home chemicals, cancers, catastrophies. A new outfit with the Environmental Working Group, The New Lede.   PFAS, Monsanto, other pesticides, all covered by investigative journalists. You can attempt to “virtual reality” away the reality world. These are freaks!  However, a hero like Carey Gillam has spent more than 25 years reporting on corporate America. She is the managing editor at The New Lede. Watch her over at RFK Jr’s site!

Reality for Us, the Unprivileged.

For a visitor to this rural part of eastern Nebraska, the crisp air, blue skies and stretch of seemingly endless farm fields appear as unspoiled landscape. For the people who live here, however, there is no denying that they are immersed in an environmental catastrophe researchers fear may impact the area for generations to come.

The signs of a silent poisoning are everywhere: A farmhouse has been abandoned by its owners after their young children experienced health problems; a pond once filled with fish and frogs is now barren of all life; university researchers are collecting blood and urine from residents to analyze them for contaminants; and a local family now drinks water only from plastic bottles because tests show chemical contamination of their drinking well.  — Source, Carey Gillam

No matter how many hours you might be connected to a gamefied world, virtual and augemented, the chemicals will still bore their toxins into your cells until no amount of AI-VR-AR can save you!

Listen to these monsters . . .

And then, four hours learning about this global brain mentality. Good work by Wrench In the Gears:

And how many people are willing to go down these blockchain, decentralized technologies, social impact and reality priviledge and digital ID and crypo-funding? The Church of LDS is into Transhumanism. Keep your eye close on these folk, synthetic biology eugenics freaks.

The post Reality Privileged: Orwell/Huxley/McLuhan on Steroids first appeared on Dissident Voice.

May Day is International ‘Thank a Worker’ Day

“As far as I’m concerned, those people don’t exist.”

— Arizona Republican Governor Jack Williams, telling farm workers they’d be arrested if they were to strike and boycott during harvest seasons (May 1972).

For Migrant Workers, Still the Harvest and the Shame - The Atlantic

May Day harkens back to celebrations of spring, a renewal and fertility. In Rome, I witnessed one such event: the festival of Floralia, where people wear colorful clothes and were pelted with beans and flowers (fertility symbols).

Floralia - Celebrating the Goddess of Spring — Celebrate Pagan Holidays

I was in Edinburgh and celebrated their May Day around a bonfire: The Celts welcomed spring during Beltane by lighting bonfires or the ‘fire of Belt.’ My partner and I even danced around a Maypole and watched the crowning of a May Queen.

However, my most meaningful celebrations for May Day tie into my family’s union roots. This day is about workers’ rights, which should be embedded in everyone’s blood in this country, post-COVID and with the growing gap between those who have and those who do not.

I’ve worked with Portland warehouse workers as their case manager, and many of them I met were either in mini-vans or broken down RVs. These are workers toiling 10 or 12-hour shifts. Some had two jobs just to make ends meet, sleeping in vehicles.

Going back 170 years, the eight-hour work day movement fanned across the world, aiming to reduce the working day from 10 to eight hours. In 1886, the first congress of the American Federation of Labor called for a general strike on May 1 to demand an eight-hour day, which culminated in what is known today as the Haymarket Riot.

On May 3, 1886, one person was killed and several others injured as police intervened to protect strikebreakers and intimidate strikers during a union action at the Chicago McCormick Harvesting Machine Company. It was part of a national campaign to secure an eight-hour workday. Then, a day later, anarchist labor leaders called a mass meeting in Haymarket Square to protest police brutality.

It was a peaceful gathering, even by Chicago Mayor Carter Harrison’s observation. But after Harrison and most of the demonstrators departed, a large group of police arrived and demanded that the crowd disperse. A bomb was thrown by an individual — never positively identified — and police responded with random gunfire. Seven police officers were killed and 60 others wounded before the violence ended; civilian casualties have been estimated at four to eight dead and 30 to 40 injured.

See the source image

Employers regained control of workers, and 10 or more hour workdays became the norm again.

My May Day March participation includes Tucson, El Paso, Mexico City, Spokane, Seattle, Portland. I’ve marched with day laborers in Oregon demanding higher hourly pay, and I’ve marched with nuns, priests and other clergy in El Paso demanding worker rights for immigrant farm workers.

May Day for me is about that American sacred right to protest, right to free speech, and the right to gather and call out the powerful, the elite, the bosses.

Of course, I was always aware of heavy police presence, always aware of the negative mainstream media coverage.

May Day protests turn violent in downtown Seattle

Today, as Starbucks and Amazon workers are voting for unionization, many Americans are oblivious to the degradation of the workplace and the lack of real opportunities for young people to find gainful, sustainable and worthy employment.

Young and old — many with college degrees, and many with huge student loan debts — are finding a collective voice in setting up unions in order to demand fair wages, safe work environments and an end to the boss lording over their lives.

When I was an organizer for the Service Employees International Union, Local 925-Seattle, my work was around adjunct faculty. I had been a freeway flyer. I worked in Washington, Texas and Oregon as a part-time faculty. Low wages, countless hours of unpaid work (I was an English faculty so essays and tons of other writing assignments I took home for weekend reading/commenting/grading blitzes), no benefits and no guarantee of work semester to semester resonated with me.

I always saw myself as a worker, not as some professor or multiple college degreed highfalutin elite. Part of my work was with students of migrant farm worker parents, as well as organizing service workers — CNAs and others laboring as caregivers.

We Fought and We Won for Seniors, People with Disabilities, and their Caregivers | by SEIU Local 2015 | Medium

Many of my union brothers and sisters were from Somalia, Eritrea and Mexico. Working for pay on 24-hour shifts, these amazing immigrants were both first and last line of defense for aging and dying-in-place clients.

I talked to one terminal white woman, Gloria, who was in a foster care facility at the tune of $4,600 a month. She told me that her main caregiver, Mehret from Eritrea, not only bathed, fed and took her to doctor’s appointments, but Mehret celebrated Gloria’s birthday with her own Eritrean family, and even had Gloria come to her extended family’s gatherings.

“I will die with Mehret by my side. My own children haven’t seen me in a year. They pay for this care, but have no interest in an old cranky dying mother. Mehret is my only friend, my only family.”

Mehret got $12 an hour, and she had to pass dozens of classes to keep up her credentials. Many of Mehret’s family members were harassed by Seattle police and other law enforcement agencies for “driving while black.”

We need more labor history, more media coverage of workers, and more Americans pushing for the 8-8-8 day: eight hours of work, eight hours with family/community, eight hours of sleep.

If you haven’t already read the book, then check out Dr. Rupa Marya and Raj Patel’s Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice.

It’s all about how Americans are working themselves to death. Literally. Unions can stop that. Happy May 1!

++Note: Appeared first in Newport News Times, April 29, 2022!++

And a side note — try and catch Johnny Depp (yes, that fool) in the movie, Minimata, about Chisso factory and the mercury poisoning of Japanese, young and old and fetuses.

See the source image

At the end of the flick, you get a short run down of the industrial “accidents” that killed thousand immediately and then many others through time.

Fifty years after American photographer W. Eugene Smith first arrived in the Japanese port town of Minamata, the fight for recognition and compensation still continues, for scores of people poisoned by mercury dumped into the bay by a local factory.

Aileen Mioko Smith, Eugene’s Japanese-American wife and collaborator, hopes that the September screening of the film Minamata will once again shine a light on the case, which was one of the worst industrial pollution disasters in Japanese history.

Nearly half a century later, victims of the mercury poisoning are still trying to obtain full restitution from the national government, although 2,265 people, 1,784 of whom died, have been formally recognized as victims of the disease. In 2004, Chisso also paid compensation totalling $86 million (€70.7 million).

“There are 10 ongoing lawsuits against the prefectural government in Kumamoto and the national government,” said Smith. “These are people who were toddlers 50 years ago when they were exposed to this pollution. They have gone through the lower courts and some of these cases are now before the Supreme Court, but I do not think we will have a final decision before the end of this year.”

“The government has always refused to carry out a full epidemiological study of the impact of the poisoning, and that can only be because they do not want to know,” Smith added. “So these are people who have lived with this their whole lives, and they are still fighting.” (Source)

Here we go, more disasters of capitalism. Who pays the price? Workers, and those living around or near those facilities, or sometimes, those living and working thousands of miles away:

Bhopal memorial for those killed and disabled by the 1984 toxic gas release. (Credit: Luca Frediani)

Bhopal

An abandoned school in Pripyat, Ukraine

Chernobyl

Dark clouds of smoke and fire emerge as oil burns during a controlled fire in the Gulf of Mexico. (Credit: Public Domain)

BP Oil Spill, Gulf of Mexico

weather, london

1952 London Great Fog

A dust storm approaches Stratford, Texas in April, 1935. (Credt: NOAA/MCT/MCT/Getty Images)

Dust Bowl 1920s-’30s, USA

For more on the “films” depicting corporate wrong-doing, go to the book, Corporate Wrongdoing on Film: The ‘Public Be Damned’ by Kenneth Dowler, Daniel Antonowicz

Fukushima, anyone?

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster – Jennifer Straka

And the workers helping release those millions of gallons of radioactive water? How will they be treated? Consequences? And us, the global citizen? Did we vote on this?

In April, the Japanese government announced its formal decision that the treated water stored at the Fukushima Daiichi site will be discharged into the sea. Japan intends to start releasing the treated water around the Spring of 2023, and the entire operation could last for decades.

The post May Day is International ‘Thank a Worker’ Day first appeared on Dissident Voice.

You Know You Live in a Monopoly Capitalist Culture When…

I encountered a relatively new piece of graffiti art in my neighborhood (above) and — as I shot the photo — thought to myself: You know you live in a monopoly capitalist culture when living human beings are regularly compared to pieces of green paper we agree (for now) to be worth something.

Thanks to more than a century of conditioning, our personal dreams have been co-opted and replaced with the American Dream of wealth, material possessions, sexual conquests, being on TV, etc. The American Dream myth tells us we can and will accomplish all this on our own. It’s the fable of individualized success: If you outwork and outthink and out-hustle the competition, this is truly the land of opportunity. Anything is possible and if you succeed, it’s because you worked harder and better and deserved it more.

This myth is conveniently helpful for praising success but mighty damaging in explaining failure. If you don’t attain your goals (or at least the goals forced upon you), the blame is on you and you alone. It’s your fault that you’re not living up to the standards set by fashion magazines, TV commercials, and social media.

“Our lives prior to that war were, to a great extent, pre-industrial,” wrote author Murray Bookchin. “We still had the extended family, communities, neighborhoods, and small retail stores, usually of the Mom & Pop variety. We were not thoroughly absorbed into capitalism in our daily lives so you had a capitalist economy but not a capitalist society. This was undone by the war [WWII] as capitalism permeated every aspect of our daily lives. The family, the culture, and the neighborhood have been integrated into the market. People have become atomized and our very language has been corrupted.”

We no longer pass time… we spend it. We no longer fall in love… we invest in relationships. Everything we care about has been turned into a commodity.

Did you ever notice how animated people get when you ask them what they’d do if they ever won the lottery? They can suddenly articulate dreams and wants and desires in a hopeful, confident way. It’s as if someone has given them a shot of adrenaline — a new lease on life (if you will). Wouldn’t it be neat if we could all get excited and optimistic about our lives and our future without the promise of some unattainable monetary prize?

P.S. Whenever I write something like this, a few folks respond by “accusing” me of praising communism or socialism. I’ll save you the (waste of) time and answer you now: Are you limited to the choices imposed upon you by the powers that shouldn’t be or can you use your infinite mind to imagine infinite other possibilities?

The post You Know You Live in a Monopoly Capitalist Culture When… first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Do We Have a Failure to Communicate!

Ted Rall gets it right here: The Left Must Continue to Avoid the Ukraine Trap

“Find a way to be against the war in Ukraine, please.” That was the subject line of one of my recent hate emails. “If you look through Mr. Rall’s cartoons for the past month, there isn’t a single one condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” an anonymous online commenter chided. “There’s plenty of ones based around whataboutism condemning us for condemning them but not a single one that just comes right out and says what Russia is doing now is wrong.”

The Right — in the U.S. that includes Republicans, Democrats and corporate media — has set a clever trap for the anti-war Left. The rhetoric in this essay’s first paragraph is an example. If the Left were to support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Right would portray us as Russia-loving hypocrites who only oppose wars when the United States starts them. If the Left backed Ukraine, they’d be joining an unholy alliance with a government installed in a CIA-backed coup that pointlessly provoked Russia by asking to join NATO and is so tolerant of neo-Nazism that it allows soldiers wearing Nazi insignia in its military and seems to be trying to set some sort of record for building statues to World War II Nazi collaborators and antisemites. Plus, they’d be helping the Right distract people from the murderous sins of American imperialism, which are ongoing.

So, again, the offensive weapons industry, from the grenade to the guzzling B-1 bomber, from the pant zipper to the propelled hand-held rockets, from the Meals Ready to Eat to the Missiles from the Drones’ Mouth, all of those shell casings and depleted uranium bullet heads, all of that, including Burger Kings for Troops to the Experimental Anthrax Vaccines, all of that, and all the paper-mouse pushers, all the middlewomen and middlemen, all the folks in this military everything industrial complex, that is what the Russian Right to Stop Extremists/Murderers/ Nazis in Ukraine is all about. USA/UK/EU can take out wedding parties, but Russia can’t take out Nazi’s.

So, we have Angela Davis (throw away your blackness black panther card) and Chomsky and Sean Penn and every manner of woke and wise idiot calling Putin a dictator, a thug, an authoritarian leader. Oh, the authoritarian BlackRock and Raytheon and Biden Administration and USA Lobbying Network, and on and on, so, again, tenured professors with book contracts and speaking (paid big bucks) engagements, forget about them.

This is the American Way — Making Money on/off of WAR. The Racket that General Butler talked about is so so more complicated than his experiences in the 1890s through 1940s. These times are filled with buckets of DNA we might think have zero to do with war, but are so attached to the inbreeding of the war machines that every nanosecond of business and every transaction in this society is all tied to WAR. Like embedded energy and life cycle analysis, the military complex, if we really did the true cost of war/warring, the one or six trillion dollars that Brown University comes up with would be factored up by 10 or more.

The 2022 spending bill, which passed both chambers with gleeful bipartisan support last week, included billions of dollars for ships and planes that the Pentagon didn’t ask for, a common occurrence in Congress. Then, here it is — just one angle. Congress authorized $27 billion for Navy ships, including $4 billion for several vessels the Navy didn’t ask for, and $900 million for additional Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets the Navy had hoped to phase out. The bill also provides billions to purchase 20 more Lockheed Martin C-130J transport planes than the Pentagon requested.

And, the details are in the sausage making, from scarred land for corn, to the poisons to grow the corn, to the ponds of pig blood and guts, to the butchering of antibiotic-filled and toxin-laden pigs, to the transportation of poisoned meat, to sausage warehouses, to all of the packaging and happy meal advertisements, and then, of course, the cost of clogged arteries and obesity and colon cancers, all of that, well, figure in a similar cost analysis for every Hellfire missile produced for the profits of the offensive weapons Mafia.

Since the start of the new year, Lockheed Martin’s stock has soared nearly 25 percent, while Raytheon, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman each saw their stock prices rise by around 12 percent.

In a January earnings call, Lockheed Martin CEO James Taiclet said that the “renewed great power competition” would lead to inflated defense budgets and additional sales. On the same day, Raytheon Technologies CEO Greg Hayes told investors that the company expected to see “opportunities for international sales” amid the Russian threat.

“The tensions in Eastern Europe, the tensions in the South China Sea, all of those things are putting pressure on some of the defense spending over there,” Hayes said. “So I fully expect we’re going to see some benefit from it.”

The defense lobbyist also predicted a major gain for U.S. defense firms thanks to increased European defense spending.

“As much as many countries have their own defense industrial base, they don’t make everything they need themselves. So they are going to rely on us in many cases for missiles, for aircraft, for ground vehicles,” they said. (source)

These are sociopaths. Read it again and again if you are dense. “…. thanks to increased EU spending . . . .” Or, “. . . . fully expect we’re going to see … benefit from it (wars) . . . ” These are golf course dealing misanthropes. Their kids go to Yale, and they have two or four homes around the country. They attend $500 a ticket Hamilton galas. They are the Titans of Terror.

Alas, the offensive weapons-equipment-PSYOPS-marketing-financing INDUSTRY is the gift (poison, PTSD, maiming, mauling, murdering) that keeps on giving. The sacking of our own personal and collective agency, that is, where is the fight for our poor, for our huddled masses, for our general anxiety disordered citizens? Where are those bandaids and nurses staffing those free drop-in clinics? Where are those hefty checks for clean water systems, R & R-ing lead pipes? Where are those insulating old homes programs? Where are those funds for aging in place programs? Where are the deals for the poor and struggling to get into national parks free? Where are those used tires for aging cars that take mother and daughter to their fast-food/child care/adult care jobs? Where are those food vouchers even the French are handing out? Where is all that help, uh?

Over decades of brainwashing and history scrubbing and agnotology and consumerism and propaganda and plain bad PK12 education. After years of mediocre college degrees, and after throwing money at computer engineers, the AI Hole in the Autism Wall Gang, and after so much celebrity pimping, the American public will pull out a yellow and blue hanky and smear their crocodile tears for a billionaire lying comic ZioLenskyy and wax nostalgic for those Nazi-loving Ukrainians, but never a word for fellow human beings in, well, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Russia.

We wonder about Word Press — a non-profit (sic) that takes $100 a year just for this little shit show? Will the site be hacked, cut, or disengaged because of Russia’s flag above and the UkiNazi image below?

 

Oh, the stories over at Grayzone or Consortium News or Mint Press or Covert Action Magazine, or . . . .

‘Gods of War’: How the US weaponized Ukraine against Russia TJ COLES

And the evil is the shutdown of discourse. True evil. Makes Mossad and CIA and Stasi and KGB look like Keystone Cops:

And, so, Zelenskyy wants hundreds and hundreds of billions in weapons and aid and for his padded luxurious life. Yep, a failure to communicate — the US of A! But there is still some sanity — Black Agenda Report:

Left Voices are Censored

Censorship is supposed to happen in other places, not in the U.S. But big tech, in alliance with the state, is silencing Black and other left voices in the media. The war in Ukraine is bringing this process into high relief and making a mockery of claims of freedom of expression. Jacqueline Luqman, co-host of the Sputnik program, By Any Means Necessary , explains.

The U.S. Crisis Plays Out in Ukraine

Joe Biden travelled to Europe for NATO and G7 meetings one month after Russian troops entered Ukraine. Biden predictably condemned Russia but also suggested he was seeking regime change against Vladimir Putin. Dr. Gerald Horne , author and historian who currently holds the John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston, analyses US policy in Ukraine.

The end game is lies, all the spin, the tens of thousands of outlets, the social media monsters, all of the PSYOPS, all the roots of Edward Bernays, Milton Friedman, Madmen, the entire suite of propaganda tools. A failure to communicate is now an avalanche of lies, as in the Empire of Lies. Russia loses that war — information 5.0 USA style, is Russia 1.0. Honesty is a crutch.

We’ve studied this system of propaganda, and it is sophisticated, way before Goebbels, but still, he is the master 2.0. Israel is a killer of a liar. Britain. USA.

Russia’s approach to the Ukraine question is remarkably different from the West’s. As far as Russia is concerned Ukraine is not a pawn on the chessboard but rather a member of the family with whom communication has become impossible due to protracted foreign interference and influence operations. According to Andrei Ilnitsky, an advisor to the Russian Ministry of Defence, Ukraine is the territory where the Russian world lost one of the strategic battles in the cognitive war. Having lost the battle, Russia feels all the more obliged to win the war — a war to undo the damage to a country that historically has always been part of the Russian world and to prevent the same damage at home. It is rather telling that what US-NATO call an “information war” is referred to as “mental’naya voina”, that is cognitive war, by this prominent Russian strategist. Being mainly on the receiving end of information/influence operations, Russia has been studying their deleterious effects. (source)

Marketing 101 is now hyperspace marketing, and the tools of bots, AI, algorithms, etc., they are like neutron info bombs.

  1.  Bandwagon propaganda
  2.  Card Stacking propaganda
  3.  Plain Folk Propaganda
  4.  Testimonial Propaganda
  5.  Glittering Generality Propaganda
  6.  Name Calling Propaganda
  7.  Transfer Propaganda
  8.  Ad nauseam propaganda
  9.  Stereotyping propaganda
  10.  Appeal to prejudice propaganda
  11.  Appeal to fear propaganda

So therefore, this relentless manipulation of people’s emotions and coginitive disassociation and associative thinking has unleashed a dangerous whirlwind of mass insanity.

The most dangerous purveyor of it:

US Propaganda 100 Years ago and how the Media was influenced (3) | by Melmac Politics | Medium

 

The New Age of Propaganda: Understanding Influence Operations in the Digital Age

World Economic Forum Blasted for 'Insane Pro-CRT Propaganda' Video - Miami Standard

Putin's digital aggression is backfiring in Ukraine - The Hill Times

The post Do We Have a Failure to Communicate! first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Tectonic Shifts in the World Economy: A World Systems Perspective

Orientation 

One of the main problems with Western media (other than their non-stop anti-Russian propaganda), is the narrow and parochial manner in which they conceive world events. Like realists and liberals of international relations theory, they analyze world events two countries at a time, for example, the U.S. vs Russia. They appear to have little conception of interdependence, like Russia, China, and Iran as a single block. Or the U.S., England, and Israel as another block. No state can make any moves without considering the causes and consequences of their actions for their interdependent states. Secondly, these talking heads fail miserably in understanding that conflicts between states are inseparable from the evolution of global capitalism which, in many respects, is stronger than any state. Thirdly, their “analysis” fails to consider that the world capitalist system has evolved over the last 500 years, as I will soon present. We will see that what is going on in Ukraine is part of a much larger tectonic struggle between Eastern China, Russia, and Iran to create a multipolar world while being desperately opposed by a declining West, headed by the United States and its minions.

A Brief History of Modern Capitalism

According to world systems theory, the global capitalist system has gone through four phases. In each phase, there was a dominant hegemon. First, there was the merchant capital of Italy that lasted from 1450-1640. This was followed by the great Dutch seafaring age from 1610-1740. Next, there was the British industrial system from 1776 to World War I. Lastly, the Yankee system which lasted from 1870 to 1970. Note that over these 500 years the pace of change quickened. In the Italian phase, the city states of Venice and Genoa rose and fell over 220 years. By the time we get to the United States, the time of rise and decline is 100 years. All this has been laid out by Giovanni Arrighi in The Long 20th century. In Adam Smith in Beijing, Arrighi also lays out the reasons he is convinced that China will be the leading hegemon in the next phase of capitalism.

Five Types of Capitalism   

Historically there have been five types of capitalism. The first is merchant capital in which profits are made by trade, selling cheap and buying dear. This is what Venice and Genoa did, as did Dutch seafarers on a grander scale. Next, is agricultural capitalism, including the slave system of the United States, Britain, and parts of the Caribbean, South America, and Africa. Then, the British invented the industrial capitalism system in which profit was made by investing the infrastructure of society: railroads, factories, and surplus labor from the wage labor system. Lastly, especially in the 20th century, we have two other forms of capitalism. In addition to being an industrial power after World War II, the United States used its industrial power to invest in the military arms industry and relied on finance capital (stocks and bonds).

Destructive Forms of Capitalism

In the later stage of all four systems, making money from commodities or technologies becomes problematic because it becomes unpredictable what people will buy. For example, after the Depression from 1929-1941, the United States got out of the depression by investing in the military. This was so successful that after World War II, capitalists began investing in the military even during peacetime (Melman, After Capitalism). It provided a much more predictable profit as long as countries continued to go to war. This encourages arming your own country or supplying the whole world, which is what the United States does today. There is also finance capital, where banks invest in stocks, bonds and financial instruments rather than infrastructure (as industrial capitalists did). For the past 50 years military and finance capital are primarily where the ruling class in Yankeedom has made its profits.

In the early phases of capitalism, in all four cycles, commodities were produced which required money as mediation, but the purpose was to produce more commodities and technologies. In the decaying part of the cycle, capitalists would rather invest in finance capital than industrial capital because of the quick turn-around in profits. Investing in building bridges, repairing roads, or building schools will surely benefit capitalists in the long run. Smooth supply chains for capitalist profit and a sound education in high school and college would ensure that workers not only know how to do their jobs but that they would be creative-thinkers and innovators. Capitalists these days don’t want to invest in these things, and this is why the infrastructure in Yankeedom is falling apart and the Yankee population cannot compete with students from other countries with better educational systems.

What is World Systems Theory?

World systems theory is a macro-sociological theory of long-term social change which includes economic theory and world history. It is provocative in at least three ways. One, its basic unit of analysis is the entire world-system of capitalism rather than nation-states. Second, it argues that the so-called socialist societies were not really socialist, but rather state-capitalist. Third, global capitalism organizes itself into a transnational division of labor which ignores the boundaries of nation-states. World-systems theory has been used by historians, international relations theorists, and international political economists to explain the rise and fall of nation-states, the increase and decrease in stratification patterns, as well as rise and decline of imperialism. Christopher Chase-Dunn and Terry Boswell have specialized in understanding social movements and the timing and placing of revolutions from a world-systems perspective.

Economic Zones Within the World-system

Overview of the core, periphery                                                 

World-systems are divided into three zones: the core, the semi-peripheral, and the peripheral countries. Economically and politically, core countries dominate other countries without being dominated. Semi-periphery countries are dominated by the core, and, in turn, dominate the periphery. The periphery are dominated by both. Part of the wealth of core countries comes from their exploitation of the peripheral countries’ land and labor through colonization.

Core and periphery

The core countries control most of the wealth in the world capitalist system. Workers are highly specialized, high technology is used. It has an industrial-electronic base. They extract raw materials from the peripheral countries and sell peripheral countries finished products. Core countries have the most highly specialized workers and a relatively small agricultural base, whereas peripheral countries have strong agricultural or horticultural bases and have a semi-skilled urban working class. The peripheral countries have relatively unspecialized labor whose work is labor-intensive with low wages. Much of the work done in peripheral countries is commercial agriculture—the production of coffee, sugar, and cotton.

The core countries are the home of the transnational corporations who control the world. Additionally, the core countries control the major banking institutions that provide international loans, such as the IMF and the World Bank. Finally, the core countries have the most powerful militaries. Paradoxically, when core countries are at their peak, their militaries are not very active. They only become more active as a core country goes into decline, as in the United States. Core countries typically have the most highly trained workers. In their heyday, core countries have strong centralized states that provide for pensions, unemployment, and road construction. In their weak stage, states withdraw these benefits and invest in their military to protect their assets abroad as their own territory falls apart. Core countries have large tax bases and, at their best, support infrastructural development.

The periphery nations own very little of the world’s means of production. In the case of African states or tribes, they have great amounts of natural resources, including diamonds and minerals, but these are extracted by the core countries. Furthermore, core states are usually able to purchase raw materials and cheap labor from non-core states at low prices and yet demand higher prices for their exports to non-core states. Core states have access to cheap skilled professional labor through migration (brain drain) from semi-peripheral states . Peripheral countries don’t have a solid tax base because their states have to contend with rival ethnic and tribal forces who are hardly convinced that taxes are good for them and their sub-national identities.

Peripheral countries often do not have a diversified economic base and are forced by the world market to produce one product. A good example of this is Venezuela and its oil. Peripheral countries have relatively steeper stratification patterns because there are no middle classes for the wealth to spread across. A tiny landed elite at the top sells off most of the land to transnational corporations. The state tends to be both weak and strong. States in the periphery have difficulty forming and sustaining their own national economic policy because foreign corporations want to come and go as they please. On the other hand, if a nationalist or a socialist rise to power, the state will be very strong and dictatorial. This is because they are constantly at war with transnational corporations who seek to overthrow them. Since transnational corporations often do this through oppositional parties, those in power are extremely suspicious of oppositional parties. Hence their label as “authoritarian”. In contemporary world systems, peripheries are found in parts of Latin America and in the most extreme form in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Semi-periphery                                                 

The semi-periphery contains countries that as a result of national liberation movements and class struggles have risen out of the periphery and have some characteristics of the core. They can also be composed of formerly core countries that have declined. For example, Spain and Portugal were once core countries in Early Modern Europe. Semi-peripheral countries often take over industries the core no longer wants such as second-generation computers, appliances, or transportation systems. Semi-peripheral states enter the world systems with some degree of autonomy rather than simply a subordinate country. These industries are not strong enough to compete with core countries in “free trade”. Therefore, they tend to apply protectionist policies towards their industry. They tend to export more to peripheral states and import more from core states in trade. In the 21st century, states like Brazil, Argentina, Russia, India, Israel, China, South Korea and South Africa (BRICS) are usually considered semi peripheral.

As I said above, the world capitalist system has changed four times in the last 500 years and each time not only have the configurations of the core countries changed but so have the semi peripheral countries in the world systems. For at least half of capitalist world systems, there were some countries that were outside the periphery, including the United States. Semi-peripheral countries are not fully industrialized countries, but they have scientists and engineers which can lead to some wealth.

Which countries are in the core periphery and semi periphery countries today?

The core countries in the world today are the United States, Germany, Japan, and the Scandinavian social democratic countries of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland. Minor core countries are England, France, Italy, and Spain. Eastern European countries are in the semi-periphery. South of the border, there are four semi-periphery countries: Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. More powerful up and coming semi-peripheral states include Saudi Arabia, Israel, Russia, China, and India. Most of Africa is in the periphery of the world systems with the exception of South Africa (semi-periphery).

Where did world systems theory come from?

Immanuel Wallerstein was a sociologist who specialized in African studies, so he had first-hand knowledge of the reality of exploitation by colonists. He was influenced by the work of Ferdinand Braudel who wrote a great three-volume history of capitalism. Wallerstein was also influenced by Marx and Engels, but he thought their history of capitalism was too Eurocentric. He emphasized that the core countries did not just exploit their own workers, but they have made great profits through the systematic exploitation of the peripheral countries for hundreds of years.

Modernization theory

World systems theory was in part a reaction against the anti-communist, modernization theory of international politics that prevailed after World War II into the 1960’s. Please see the table below which compares world systems theory to modernization theory.

Dependency theory of Andre Gunder Frank

Around the same time as world systems theory developed, Andre Gunder Frank developed what came to be called “dependency theory”. This theory also challenged modernization theory’s assumption that countries that were called “traditional societies” were improved by contact with the core countries. He claimed that they were systematically exploited by the core countries, made worse than they were before they had any contact with them. As long ago as 1998, Gunder Frank predicted the rise of China. See his book ReORIENT: Global Economy in the Asian Age.

Karl Polyani

Other influences on the world-systems theory come from a scholar of comparative economic systems, Karl Polyani. His major contribution is to show that there was no capitalism in tribal or agricultural civilizations and that the “self-subsisting” economy of capitalism was a relatively recent development. Wallerstein reframed this in world systems terms, with the tribal as “mini-systems”, agricultural civilization as “empires” and the capitalist system as “world economies”. Nikolai Kondratiev introduced patterns he saw in the capitalist world economy that centered around cycles of crisis and wars within very specific time periods.

Interstate System

As I said earlier, in international relations theory, realist and neo-conservative theory and neoliberal theories of the state treat each state as if they were separate units. Applied to today, that would formulate world conflict as a battle between, say, the United States and Russia. Neo-conservative and neoliberal theory treat any alliance between states as secondary epiphenomenon that can be dissolved without too much trouble. Secondly, both these theories operate as if interstate politics are relatively autonomous from economics. To the extent to which these theories mention capitalism, it is the domestic economy of nation-states. Each tries to hide the international nature of capitalism and the extent to which transnational corporations can, and do, override national interests. The ideology of the interstate system is sovereign equality, but this is practically overridden as states are treated as neither sovereign nor equal, especially in Africa.

World systems theory sees states differently. For one thing, nation-states are not like Hobbes atoms which crash against each other in a war of all against all. The Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, fresh after the Thirty Years’ War, was an attempt to move beyond dynastic empires to nation-states. In core capitalist countries there were never single nation states. The Treaty created a system of nation-states which had rules of engagement, treaties, do’s and don’ts.

Today, between the core, periphery, and semi-periphery countries lies a system of interconnected state relationships. This interstate system arose either as a concomitant process or as a consequence of the development of the capitalist world-system over the course of the “long” 16th century as states began to recognize each other’s sovereignty.

Between these economic zones there were no enforceable rules about how nation-states should act, outside of not impeding the flow of capital between zones. Political domestic elites, international elites, and corporations competed and cooperated with each other, the results of which no one intended. Unsuccessful attempts have been made by the League of Nations and later the United Nations to create an international state. However, nation-states have been unwilling to give up their weapons. Therefore, the international anarchy of capitalist production is still unchecked. The function of the state is to regulate the flow of capital, labor, and commodities across borders and to enforce the structure of market rates. Not only do strong states impose their will on weak states. Strong states also impose limitations on other strong states, as we are seeing with US sanctions against Russia.

Who Will Be the Next World-Economy Hegemon?

Situation in Ukraine

Everything about Ukraine needs to be understood as the desperate clawing of a Yankee empire terrified of being left behind. The U.S. has so far convinced Europe to stay away from Russia and China, but it has nothing to offer. As Gary Olsen said, the Europeans may slowly make deals with Russia and China because they have some sense of where the future lies. So, Western hydra-headed totalitarian media all speak with the same voice: RUSSIA, RUSSIA, EVIL RUSSIA. EVIL PUTIN. Putin certainly had nerve wanting a national economy with its own economic policy. God forbid! But the time is up for Yankeedom and no terrorist police, no military drones, no Republicrats, and no stock exchange jingling with the trappings of divine honor can stop it.

The weakness of Europe

 So, if Yankeedom is in decline (and even Brzezinski admitted this) who are the new contenders? Up until maybe five years ago, I thought Germany might be, with its industrial base and its strong working class. But in the last five years German standards of living have declined. It seems that the EU is in the midst of cracking up. There is no leadership with the departure of Angela Merkel. Macron is on the way out in France. All the other countries in Europe, including Italy, are under water with debt. England is the puppy dog of the United States and hasn’t been a global power in over 100 years. Germany, Spain, Italy, and Greece could be helped enormously by allaying themselves with Russia and China, but at this point most Europeans have been bullied and complicit in myopically siding with a collapsing United States. There is a good chance the US will drag most of Europe down with them.

Collapse of the core zones?

As we have seen, according to world systems theory, the history of capitalism has had three zones: core, periphery, and semi-periphery. The countries that have inhabited the three zones have changed along with the dominant hegemon over the last 500 years, and we are now in unprecedented territory. There is a good chance that the entire batch of formerly core states, the United States, Britain, France, and the west will collapse and that the core capitalist system will be without a hegemon (with the possible exception of the Scandinavian countries). China seems to be about ten years away from assuming that position.

2022-2030 the reign of the semi-periphery?

So, is it fair to say there is a huge tectonic shift where most of the core countries will collapse and the world system will have no core for maybe 20 years? It seems clear that the new hegemon is going to be China. Arrighi and Gunder Frank both thought this. But China is still a semi-periphery country and it might take 10-15 years to enter the core. Meanwhile its allies, Russia and Iran, are also semi-periphery countries. In South America, Argentina had the foresight to sign on the Chinese Belt Road Initiative. Brazil and Chile are still uncommitted to China and occupy a semi-peripheral status. The big country in Asia is India. It is very important to the Yankees not to lose control of India, and they have all the reason in the world to beat war drums in an attempt to demonize China. If a right winger such as Modi can refuse to side against Russia in the current events in Ukraine, will a more moderate or social democratic president of India have the vision to see the future lies in aligning with China? I wouldn’t count on it given the behavior of green-social democrat leadership in Germany.

The only European countries who seem to have made their way through 40 years of Neoliberal austerity, the collapse of Yugoslavia, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the rise of fascist parties in Europe are the Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland. There is no reason why they could not maintain core status, though China would be the leading power.

The new hegemon China and the world-system in 2030  

I can imagine the world-system in 2030 could consist of China and the Scandinavian countries in the core, with Russia, Iran, and maybe Brazil, Argentina and Chile on the semi-periphery along with possibly India. I don’t know where to place the US and Europe. Since they are drunk with finance capital, it is unfair to put them in the semi-periphery, which is usually involved in productive scientific endeavors. Yet they are more productive than the peripheral countries. Africa could be the last battleground between the decadent Yankee and European imperialists who live on as neo-colonial crypto-imperialists attempting to either sell arms to Africans or directly set up regimes and enslave Africans to work the mines.

If China is able to develop African productive forces with the Belt Road Initiative, it might be an incentive to calm down the ethnic warfare there. It would be a wonderful thing if the African states could finally control the enormous wealth of their country. We cannot expect too much from China. The best they could do would be to invest in cultivating scientists and engineers to build up Africa as a fully industrialized continent. To me, what matters about China is not arguing whether or not it is really socialist, but that it is doing what Marx liked best about capitalism: developing the productive forces.

The prospects for a world state?

We cannot expect the Yankee state to decline peacefully and not start World War III. Is it possible to have a global capitalist realignment without starting World War III? As Chris Chase-Dunn has advocated for decades, we need a world state that has the capability to enforce a ban on interstate warfare. That is not likely now. The only attempts at this: the League of Nations and the United Nations happened after the misery of two world wars. Both attempts at world state have failed because nation-states would not agree to give up their weapons.

What about world ecology?                                                                              

But as world systems theorist Chris Chase Dunn points out, a Chinese-centered world still inherits the increasing ecological destruction that has been an inherent part of the world system since the industrial revolution and now the global pandemic. This includes extreme weather (hot and cold), pollution of land and oceans with plastics and the products of industrialization like carbon, flooding from global warming, and desertification of lands due to droughts and monocropping.

What about Marx’s dream of shrinking the ratio between freedom and necessity in the light of ecological disaster?

For Marx and Engels, the dream of socialism was based on abundance. Unfortunately, because socialism first took place in what Wallerstein would call peripheral or semi-peripheral countries, socialism has come to be associated with poverty. An implication that could be drawn under socialism is that people should expect to be poor and share the poverty equally. That is the opposite of how Marx and Engels saw things. They hoped that socialism would first break out in the west in an industrialized country, with an organized working-class party taking the lead. They hoped that the revolution of overthrowing capitalism would preserve its material abundance, technology, and scientific achievements, not tear them to the ground. They wanted to develop the forces of production that capitalism unleashed while abolishing the political economy of private property over means of production. As socialism developed, the collective creativity of workers would shrink the ratio between necessary work and freedom. What does this mean?

This meant that workers would either:

  1. a) work less and produce the same amount
  2. b) work the same amount but produce more
  3. c) work more and produce much more

In other words, workers would have an increase in the number of choices of what to do with their free time because of an increase in the technology and collective creativity to produce more with less. My question is, given the irreversible ecological situation we are in, is it still realistic to expect socialism will continue to be based on abundance? I can imagine that the way China is going, in that part of the world it may still be possible. I also suspect that in the Scandinavian countries it might be possible. The problem is that global pandemics, extreme weather, flooding, desertification, and pollution cannot easily, if at all, be contained within countries that are capitalist or socialist.

How Reliable is World-systems Theory?

I will limit criticisms of world systems theory to those of a political and economic nature. One common criticism is the struggle to do empirical research with a unit of analysis being the entire world system. This is not to say world systems theorists do not do empirical work, because they do. It is more a matter of how to derive meaningful relationships between variables at such a complex level of abstraction. Statistics for individual nation states are easier to manage, although nation-states are not autonomous actors.

Another criticism is that the successes of existing socialist states are in danger of being given the short shrift. Like many in the West, the first line of criticism by world systems theorists of socialist countries is that they are one-party dictatorships. While this may be true, there is good reason why communist parties in power are nervous about the prospect of oppositional parties being used by foreign capitalists to overthrow them. In addition, socialist countries have better records than capitalist countries on the periphery in the fields of literacy (reading and writing), low-cost housing, healthcare, and free education. Please see Michael Parenti, Black Shirts and Reds for more on this.

The third major criticism comes from orthodox Marxist, Robert Brenner. Brenner claims that the emphasis by world systems theorists on the relationship between economic zones comes at a cost to understanding the class structure within and between nation-states. I think world systems theorists are well aware of class relationships, but they choose to focus on the capitalist relationships between states. Lastly, Theda Skocpol argues that world systems theory understates the power of the state in international affairs. The state is not just the creature of transnational capital. States engage in military competition which long s capitalism. State structures compete with each other.

On a positive note, as I said earlier, Christopher Chase-Dunn has done some creative work with Terry Boswell in tracking the timing and location of rebellions and revolutions in the 500 years of the world systems in Spirals of Capitalism and Socialism. In addition, he wrote a very groundbreaking book with Tom Hall Rise and Demise, which challenges Wallerstein by suggesting that there were precapitalist world systems that go all the way back to hunter-gatherers. Also see my book with him, Social Change: Globalization from the Stone Age to the Present.

• First published in Socialist Planning Beyond Socialism

The post Tectonic Shifts in the World Economy: A World Systems Perspective first appeared on Dissident Voice.

War Crimes, Mental Molestation and Language Rape

The incredible market for human slaughter called war existed thousands of years ago but it was a corner grocery store compared to the multi-trillion dollar moral sewer that represents modern mass murder. Part of what enables imperial and even lesser powers to slaughter at will is a rule book drawn up long ago when there might have been a possibility to just have military personnel chopping one another to bits while leaving the general populace out of the bloodletting. That certainly ended before the 20th century but what has transpired since then and up to the present is, to cite a couple of over-used therefore recognizable labels, a genocidal holocaust that has burned, bombed, shot, stabbed, smothered and shattered bodies, reducing humans to unrecognizable bloody pulp by the hundreds of millions.

The hideous reality of war and its public relations and adverting departments that allegedly inform us about it has people accepting its horror as some sort of natural occurrence like sunset, tides, weather, rather than seeing it as caused by ruling powers battling over their wealth struggles which reduce humanity to commit mass murder under the pretense of it being the natural order of things. Further, rules have been drawn by upper class educated folks with doctoral degrees legalizing mass murder who teach us just what is the proper way to bash in skulls, burn people to death and rape and murder in a supposedly civilized way.

The alleged morality of humans accepting one form of insanely hysterical murder as long as it adheres to a guidebook on the proper form of slaughter should make us all grateful there is no judgmental, vindictive old testament deity or we’d all have been destroyed after the second world war let alone after our profitable feasts of death since then when we’ve murdered even more.

This closely guarded secret that humanity suffers in wars but only when rationalizations of bloody filth called “war crimes” are committed is currently being used and abused in a form of language, thought and moral degeneracy that may finally end when human consciousness, especially American, rejects the degenerate advertising and public relations blitz posing as reporting to blame Russians for what is called by language perverts their “war crime” against the Ukrainian government. Said government is a product of a U.S. financed insurrection that dumped an elected president who favored Russia for a western political pimp favoring market forces, which include some modern Nazis.

While he has become a celebrity among morals free political employees of ruling power by informing everyone to send him weapons so that there can be more bloodshed of the loving, violence free western kind, the western world has increased military spending to record breaking figures. Our rulers, media employee shepherds, see to it that our population is reduced to sheep as much of the world is angrier than ever at the machinations of the warfare business though you’d never know it if all you had was the western media called a free press. They create mentally brutalized souls into paying hundreds of dollars for taco-pizza-burgers and calling it free food.

While Ukrainians have been dying by the thousands for the past eight years, subject to a US/NATO financed and controlled assault, Americans and the west have known absolutely nothing of what was going on and not until Russian retaliation have we heard repeated use of words like brutal, savage, slaughter and worse, to condemn what under normal American circumstances would be called a form of legal police action to purify the world and see to it that peace, love and tranquility would prevail as we slaughtered. Maybe after everyone was dead?

A nation that leads all others in conducting wars against weaker countries and murdering hundreds of thousands, at the least, and millions, at the worst, is not only bellowing murderous nonsense but manipulating good, well meaning people into swallowing editorial garbage that has some decent folks almost ready to pawn their pets to send money to suffering Ukrainians. Even worse, some perverted by venomous outpourings of what would be called vicious hate speech if conducted by anyone else, are ready to accept the potential of nuclear war in order to stop the horrible slaughter which mostly exists between the ears and comes out of the mouths of our thought police working overtime for our ruling powers.

A recent story headlined a murderous, bloody, brutal assault by Russians, which had killed two people at the time the story was filed. Sadly but horrendously over-stated in a nation which kills 4-5 Americans every hour in our private transport system of undeclared road wars to get us to work, shop, school, and conduct other freedom loving democratic economic action. This while the sanctions against Russia are causing serious economic pain the world over, including to Americans, while military spending and the mass murder business that is the backbone of our incredibly gross national product is growing faster and more dangerously and fossil fuel interests profit more than ever as environmental destruction proceeds at a more menacing pace.

This assault on reason, combined with the rape of language and the reduction of public consciousness to the level of a nation of insects, is really only an update of what has been going on for more than 100 years concerning Russia. The assault on that nation began in 1917 when the Russian revolution threatened capitalism, its global center then as now in the United States. America immediately invaded along with a group of its future lapdogs which eventually became NATO after the Second World War. The idea of a return to humanity’s roots by building a society based on communal cooperation rather than competitive actions which created wonderful benefits for some but only by reducing others to dreadful lives was too much for fanatics of the fundamentalist church of capital.

Our primitive communistic survival in the days before we destroyed hunter-gatherer people meant that when the hunt was successful, everyone ate meat and when it wasn’t, everyone ate what was gathered. This was thousands of years before vegan diets and anti-meat worship among good people who comfortably house 136 million pets in a nation where more than 500,000 humans are without shelter. The pet business was good for more than 104 billion in 2020, a mass of economic clout but still chump change compared to the 778 billion for war, which involves 750 American bases in 80 foreign countries for something calling itself “defense”. This protected folks like George Floyd from the brutal, savage, bloodthirsty fiend Putin, but was totally helpless to defend him from a few Americans with badges.

A communist ideal which held that a thousand people and a thousand loaves of bread should mean a loaf of bread for everyone sickened rich capitalists who insisted that some should get ten loaves each and the rest be damned, which is the gross foundation dressed in economic jargon that would make a house of prostitution a citadel of love. Capital said that just as sex workers made a decent living by using their private parts to make private profits for their pimps, workers of all kinds could live comfortably if they just did their jobs and didn’t ask any questions. Their media saw to it that unquestioners became everyday people.

The social seeds planted by people like Marx and Engels in the 19th century came to fruition early in the 20th in Russia, and the vicious assault on that nation began, then as now, from its headquarters in America. After 70 years of continuous physical and mental assault finally helped cause a breakdown of the Soviet Union and a return to capitalism, that was still not enough and the U.S. and its imperial lackeys kept up the war and its present experience which threatens the worst outcome for humanity. This will hopefully not only bring China and Russia closer but the people of the USA and global humanity together to transcend the danger by helping to end the degeneracy of warfare and create peace via the end of an imperial crusade to further enrich billionaires and their upper class servants while increasing mass poverty and the environmental threat to us all.

With daily by the minute assaults on consciousness reducing other wise good people to hateful idiocy demanding death for the savage Putin and evil Russians, there is glee among the perverted political economic leadership of the war business. They number a tiny group with power supposedly democratic while they brainwash people into believing autocracy – a term most hardly understand – is in charge everywhere but where it exists; in what we have been taught to believe is the free world. Benign (?) America billionaires become malevolently evil (ominous background music) Russian oligarchs, according to our mind shapers who neglect to point out they keep their wealth in the same banks – mostly American or at least using American dollars – to perform as charming space travelers or deranged killers, depending on national origin.

This perverse market freedom continues to mean imperial abuse by one nation, ours, while taxpayers absorb a debt of 30 trillion dollars paying for the empire which is bringing us all closer to a point at which we will have little time left as a human race. We need to begin acting like one very soon. That means far more than waving a Ukrainian flag and sending paychecks to the pimps of war, but no longer accepting their crimes against nature and beginning to act like what we are: a human race badly in need of global democracy to stop all wars, not just those we are told are the wrong way to butcher humans, and begin life. That calls for the end of the post World War II domination of the American empire and this present horror is hopefully a sign that it will be so. We need to turn off the anti-social media that insure further private profit and ultimate public loss and turn on humanity’s original instinct for cooperation. And hurry.

The post War Crimes, Mental Molestation and Language Rape first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Bringing our Socialist Baby to Life: History of Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism

Part I – Pre-History of Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism

Waking Up

In 2001 Barbara had her awakening to the disasters that capitalism caused. This started as part of the 9/11 events, beginning after the response to the supposed attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. It became immediately clear the US would respond to the attacks with military action against whatever country seemed most vulnerable and had access or proximity to resources, in this case oil. The attacks were supposedly coordinated by al-Qaeda, a radical Islamic group founded by Osama bin Laden and headquartered in Afghanistan. We firmly believed, with documented evidence, that the US attacked Iraq instead even though Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with the attacks. The US wanted control of Iraq because of their large reserves of oil. In fact, they were the second largest oil exporting state at that time.

As soon as the news came of the World Trade Towers being hit, Bruce said that something was fishy. From that time forward Barbara’s political life began. Watching the news was surreal and terrifying. Over and over again, images of the towers collapsing were televised. Talk of war began almost immediately, with George “W” Bush putting the blame on Iraq – with absolutely no proof. What was even more alarming was watching how people reacted to it. So many of them jumped on the bandwagon of war.

Making signs

Shortly after the attack Bruce – who had been a socialist for 30 years – talked Barbara into going to her first demonstration. Together we made signs to bring with us – “No War on Iraq”, “War is not the Answer”. Making the signs was so much fun. We got old cardboard cartons from the grocery stores along with some long lightweight sticks from lumber stores to hold them up. We brainstormed ideas for what to write. Bruce’s signs always had much more content than Barbara’s. Barbara went for the fewer words, the better.

First demonstration

The gathering, or demonstration, was held in Palo Alto, CA, just outside the Stanford University Campus. We had to park our car some distance from the crowd, and Barbara felt self-conscious carrying our signs. A radical political science faculty member, Joel Benin, who was pro-Palestinian, gave an impassioned speech. It was so sane, so true. People around us began chanting and we joined with them – NO WAR – NO WAR. This wasn’t a big demonstration, only a couple of hundred people, but everyone was in agreement that we could see where this drive to war was going, and we wanted to try to stop it. Barbara didn’t fully grasp the full implications of where the US was headed or what would be her involvement in the fight to stop it. Ultimately, that was the beginning of her journey to socialism.

Barbara has already written about much of this in My Journey to Socialism, some of which we’ve quoted here, which began after these attacks. Bruce was so happy to see her waking up.

Attending anti-war demonstrations

We went to anti-war demonstrations in San Francisco and Oakland, chanting “No Blood for Oil”. Many of the demonstrations and meetings were organized by San Francisco ANSWER, an anti-war group formed in San Francisco shortly after 9/11. On March 20, 2003, we marched with tens of thousands of people to protest the war on Iraq that Bush started that very day. We shut down the city. Aside from ANSWER, there seemed to be no large, unified movement to take action against the existing paradigm of US imperialism and capitalism. That is, there was no large movement until the Occupy Wall Street Movement in 2011 which was designed to protest income inequality and the use of influence of money in politics by occupying public spaces.

2004 – 2011 Looking for a Foothold

During this time period, we were searching for the best place for us to fit in and work towards changing the existing capitalist system. We had a book club together, just the two of us. We read and discussed The Best Democracy Money Can Buy by Gregg Palast, Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins, The powers That Be, and Who Rules America, both by G. William Domhoff. We met every other week on the weekends for 2 hours. This helped to develop Barbara’s understanding of capitalism.

In 2008 the economic crash hit almost everyone.  We each lost ¼ of our savings in our IRA accounts, even though we had our money invested in socially responsible companies. Since this was money we hoped to use to supplement Social Security, this was a very personal wake-up call, not just for us, but for many. Were we witnessing the collapse of capitalism, and its effects on ordinary people?

In 2009 we attended a KPFA townhall meeting. KPFA was our local radio station, representing a mix of New Deal liberals and Social Democrats. They featured people like Amy Goodman, Sasha Lilly, C.S. Soong, and Bonnie Faulkner. At that meeting Bruce spoke about why KPFA is supporting the Democratic Party. When the meeting was over, he was approached by a labor organizer who wanted to start an organization to try to coordinate the public education unions. We stayed with this group for about a year, attending meetings about once a month, but nothing ever came of it, so we left.

Part II – 2011 – 2012 – Turning Point – Occupy

Excitement of General Assemblies:

We were happy to see Occupy San Francisco and Occupy Oakland blossom in October of 2011 which lasted until the spring of 2012. We initially attended assemblies at the amphitheater in Frank Ogawa Plaza, right on the doorstep of Oakland City Hall. In San Francisco they were near the Ferry Building and at the bottom of the financial district.

The General Assembly (GA) meetings in both San Francisco and Oakland were electrifying. There were some extremely skilled facilitators. The GAs met every day and discussed how to regulate the public space that they had occupied and integrate the homeless community, which turned out to be a very difficult task. In San Francisco there were people who rode on a ferry that would stop by and watch the meetings. This was a good way to draw people in. Some of the members of the organizing committee of Occupy led tours around the Occupy camp to combat the propaganda against it.

Shutting Down the Port of Oakland

November 2, 2011, Occupy Oakland coordinated to shut down West Coast ports to make a statement that we would not go back to “business as usual”. The shutdown was a way of protesting the treatment of longshoremen and truck drivers, who were forced to work as independent contractors. They were then fired by port owners EGT and Goldman Sachs for wearing union t-shirts. We marched with 200,000 others from Oscar Grant Plaza to the ports. While the ILWU did not openly support the blockade, the rank and file and many former labor leaders did. Clarence Thomas, secretary/treasurer of the ILWU, was fully committed to this blockade, as he had been for many past blockades. We’ll never forget the power of the first speech we heard from him which began – “I’m Clarence Thomas – the REAL Clarence Thomas”. Jack Heyman, also with the ILWU, was another powerful and persuasive speaker.

The Challenges of the Working Committees

We joined some of the committees, but we noticed there was a real gap in ages in the members. The overwhelming majority of people were in their 20s, with the exception of the Committee for Solidarity with Labor. There were virtually no people in their 30s and 40s and only a handful of people like us in our 50s and 60s. We were both working full time and tried to join committees that would work with our schedules, but the organizers kept changing the days and times of the meetings. It seemed like, at best, most of the Occupy participants worked part-time or might have been upper middle-class people whose schedules were more flexible. The committees were not very solid.

People would float in and out. Any group could start a committee – even conservative committees like those who wanted to work with merchants were allowed. Committees were dissolved without letting the Occupy leadership know so you could join a committee and discover that it no longer existed. We found many of the meetings off-track and with members who didn’t have the basic social skills like asking a person “How are you? How are things going?” They lacked skills for building solidarity with strangers like tracking things a person may have told them and following up with a question like “what’s happening with that project you were working on?” They are skills like showing up to meetings on time and remembering to tell others if a meeting is cancelled. The Occupy movement was the best and the worst of anarchism.

Monday Night Occupy Meetings in the Women’s Building

When the police drove Occupy in SF and Oakland away from Oscar Grant Plaza in Oakland and the area outside the Federal Reserve building in SF the Occupy organizers decided to meet indoors. Speakers were arranged every Monday night to talk on various political and economic topics. On average, 50-75 people attended. We noticed how the cliquishness of Occupy in the public are continued into the events in the Women’s Building in SF. Bruce told Barbara that when he was meeting with the organizers of an economic forum that Barbara was standing by herself. Nobody introduced themselves or tried to introduce themselves. These folks were calling themselves socialists and yet they lacked the most elementary friendliness to others who were on the same page. We decided it was then that we felt we needed to stop trying to join other organizations and start our own.

Part III – History of Socialist PBC

2012 – 2014 Building Political Documents and Our Website

We began to develop our own organizational documents, including a manifesto, mission statement, our attitude towards politics, and developed a political practice. At first that seemed like a lot of work to Barbara, and she also wondered how we would get people to join us. We had many meetings, just the two of us, to hash out the development of our perspective. Our main purpose was to provide a forum for exposing capitalism and spread the word to the public.

In spite of this challenging work, the creation of this site was so much fun. The first area we wanted to cover included telling people who we are and what we’re about. It included our mission statement – which was to become one of many eddies for:

  • “Exposing the predatory, incompetent, and irrational practices of capitalists to direct human social life.
  • Engage in collective political actions that throw a monkey-wrench into and slow down or disrupt the profit-making mechanisms of the system.
  • Weave and expand the fabric of a growing body of workplaces under worker self-management.”

Barbara switched from full-time to part-time work, allowing her more time to work on developing our book clubs that were focused on educating people about the reality of capitalism and the havoc it’s wrecked in the world. From 2012-2014 we tried to do outreach by having in-person book groups.

In April 2014 our first step was to create a website, Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism. Through our Occupy contacts we found a wonderful tech guy named Jeremy who, with our input, created the website that we still have today. Our baby was gestating. It was scary for Barbara to learn how to manage a website. While she had considerable work experience using numerous platforms, managing a website is a whole other ballgame. At a ridiculously low cost, Jeremy built our WordPress site. He patiently showed Barbara the basics and was the best tech teacher we have been able to find since then. He never spoke to her in tech-speak. Sadly, he has disappeared from our lives, even though we’ve tried hard to reach him. Since then, we have struggled to find someone to help us with our site, as well as with social media.

In November 2014 we wrote our first post – titled The Collapse of Capitalism. In it you will see that our economic situation has only gotten worse since then. In addition to all the things we listed, we’re now dealing with the economic fallout of Covid, hyper-inflation, and a rush to war with Russia.

We added a slider at the top of our page that, in addition to The Collapse of Capitalism, included the Personal Impact of Crisis. In that section we asked the question “What caused the crisis?” We gave 4 reasons for this. We then proposed “Making adjustments within the system” asking 6 questions of readers. Finally, we asked the question “Are there alternatives”?

The next section was titled Alternatives to Capitalism. We gave examples of workers’ self-management, workers’ control, and worker cooperatives – all of which currently exist and often are more successful than capitalist businesses.

The next section was titled History of Workers’ Councils so readers could see this is not just an unrealistic pipe dream. There is a 150-year history of worker self-management.

Finally, we included a section titled Local Workplace Democracy that allowed readers to learn about some of the local cooperatives in the US.

On our site we included sections on Our Manifesto, Our Process Politics, Our Mission Statement, Calendar of Radical Events, Submission Guidelines, Films, Books, Our Mythological Story, Our Allies, and Getting Involved.

2014 – 2016 Richard Wolff – Democracy at Work

Around the same time, Richard Wolff, the Marxist political economist, began to give public talks about the crisis in capitalism and workplace democracy as an alternative. In one of our book clubs, we began reading his book, Capitalism Hits the Fan. We attended one of several talks by Wolff and met our soon-to-be comrade, K.J. Noh, who was petitioning for some local cause. We asked him to join our book group and he did, adding an international perspective from his own personal experience of growing up in South Korea. We also discovered he was an extraordinary writer. We cited some of his publications on our site. One of the best was “The Economic Myths of Santa Claus“, published in CounterPunch on Christmas day, 2014.

After a year in our book clubs, which drew between 4 and 6 people, K.J. said to us that the book clubs really were not the way to go in this day and age. He said we needed an electronic presence. He recommended 3 newsletters we could write for and said our focus must be international in order to keep his interest. We followed his suggestions, and our website and FB page likes grew.

We also became involved with Richard Wolff’s Democracy at Work project in 2014. This was an organization developed by Richard Wolff that had chapters in numerous cities and states to support and teach people about the theory and viability of worker cooperatives to combat capitalism by democratizing our workplaces. People were either encouraged to study cooperatives, provide educational forums for cooperatives, or even start a cooperative.

Why We Left Democracy at Work

We discovered that Democracy at Work was very loose in its structure. People like us who were long-time socialists were mixed in with people who neither cared nor knew nothing about socialism, and simply wanted to start a small business. Many of the groups throughout the country were uneven in terms of their commitments and we were disappointed that Rick did not take a firmer stand in directing what we were doing. In fact, the management of these groups was left to someone else, and Rick had very little engagement with the groups.

2016-2022 Coming into Our Own

Social Media Ups and Downs – FB and Twitter

Since Jeremy set up our website, we have had consistent problems finding someone to help us. Jeremy was so good at explaining things clearly, teaching us how to create posts and perspectives, add to our pages and change our images. Since that time – in 2014, Barbara has mostly figured stuff out on her own and has become our house techie. WordPress is not a user-friendly platform and learning how to manage it is not obvious or intuitive. We need a professional, who we’ve only recently found, who can help us navigate that.

Someone who earlier helped us enormously was Sameer, who lived close to us in Oakland. He was also great at explaining things in non-tech speak. However, he’s moved on to bigger and more lucrative projects. We’ve since discovered that it’s very hard for technical experts to be able to communicate to non-experts in an understandable way what they’re trying to do – or trying to teach us to do.

Sameer introduced us to Susan Tenby in 2016 – who was able to help us with our social media. She taught us how to make our Facebook and Twitter pages more visible and appealing. We are so lucky to have found Susan. We were a small, community organization trying to get our message out. When we started working with Susan our visibility was very low. Susan did a comprehensive audit of where our social media stood when we started working with her and helped us track its rapid change. We were not getting a whole lot of attention on our website or through our social media. She gave us a crash course on how to turn that around and in a very short period of time our visibility skyrocketed. Each session with her was packed with techniques and ideas we never would have known about.  She’s also terrific at adapting to each individual’s learning style.

Susan also introduced us to Colleen Nagel, an SEO expert and digital marketing. These terms were completely unfamiliar to us. SEO means Search Engine Optimization and is the process used to optimize a website’s technical configuration, content relevance and link popularity so its pages can become easily searchable, more relevant, and popular, and as a consequence, search engines rank them better. In other words, it’s the process of making a website better for search engines, like Google. We began to understand how to make more sense of our analytics, although we’re still struggling to figure out WHY our followers like some of our posts and tweets better than others.

Where we needed help was in translating the analytics into verbal meaning. The deeper step, after understanding what these numbers mean, was to understand the causal dynamics which produce an increase or decrease in viewers and attention span. The next step was to develop a plan for increasing the number of followers after we were able to analyze what’s actually happened up to then. We never felt that we got that help

All of this cost money, of which we didn’t have a lot. We have never asked for donations or “supporters” for our site. Barbara’s income at that time consisted of a small retirement fund, Social Security, and a modest IRA. Bruce worked as an adjunct faculty member. As he’s written in his article “Capitalist Economic Violence Against Road Scholars: Now You’re Hired, Now You’re Not” his income was never completely stable and, of course, they paid adjuncts at a much lower rate than they paid faculty. In fact, today there are adjuncts who are living in their cars because they can’t afford to pay rent. We simply couldn’t afford to pay what Colleen was charging.

We then moved on to 2 more people whose entire focus was to install SEO optics. While we got some help from this, we found that both of them explained things in tech-speak and were not easy to communicate with.

Finally, we tried working with Liz and her sister. Liz was an editor of one of Bruce’s books and claimed to have some technical skills. But she didn’t have a Mac like we do and was not good at explaining things so that wasn’t much help. Her sister did have a Mac and was good at explaining things but worked full time, had small kids and was erratic in her response time.

Flying High

Between 2014 and 2016 we worked hard on learning how to get our message out through Facebook and Twitter. We learned how to “boost” our articles, Facebook’s language for paying them to promote it. We were able to select what type of audience we were trying to reach and where they were likely to be geographically. As we started to boost articles either we or one of our comrades had written, we began getting a lot more attention on Facebook. Our Facebook boosted posts for our articles ranged from 5,000 to 10,000 readers. A couple of them reached 20,000. Between 2016 and 2019 we were getting about 1,000 page likes a year, reaching thousands of people each week. At that point we had gained a total of 3,400 page likes.

Twitter was much slower to get off the ground. We began to understand the importance of hashtags and which hashtags were more likely to get attention. We also came to see the importance of liking, commenting on and retweeting the tweets of people who were following us. Our followers have increased steadily since we’ve been doing this. However, we still lag behind the attention we were getting on Facebook, and we would like to understand why.

Facebook Attempts to Clip Our Wings

In early 2020 Facebook stopped allowing us to boost our articles. The reason they gave was that since we are posting “political content” we must be registered as a political organization with the IRS. As you can imagine, we did not want to do that. When Facebook first started doing this, we were able to mount arguments that not all of our articles were, in fact, political. Well, of course they were, but not “political” in the way they were framing it. After a while, they simply stopped allowing us to boost them at all, no matter what our argument was. About the same time, we noticed that our typical daily reach (how many people saw the article) was shrinking dramatically. Whereas our daily reach used to be in the thousands, they are now in the hundreds. The same thing has happened with our engagements (how many people actually look at our post or click on a link we’ve provided) Our total page likes have gone from an average of 30 a month to less than 10. That’s because the only people who see our posts are the ones who have already liked our page! Our reach now is about one third of what it used to be. We have read that the same dramatic drop happened to World Socialist Website, The Greanville Post, and many other socialist sites.

Our Work Schedules for PBC

Since the very beginning, we each put in a minimum of 15 hours a week, often more, including Saturdays and Sundays. We have 2-hour weekly meetings to discuss what we’ve done during the week and what we want to do for the coming week. We give ourselves “homework”, then report in on the results of that homework at our weekly meetings. We jokingly call these meetings, our “Central Committee” meetings.

We write almost all of our own articles. After editing them and finding images for them we publish them and then also send them to other websites for publication. We have tried to find other comrades to write articles for publication for us also. We wanted to be able to include authors on our site beyond just the two of us. While we did, in fact, get a few people to write for us, it often required a lot of work on our part to help them frame their work. Of course, we did all editing the articles. We publish an average of one article every three weeks.

For our daily posts, every morning Bruce searches for an article online from a number of trusted sources, that usually focuses on the decay of capitalism. We also want very much to spread the word of the success of worker-owned cooperatives to the public. This lets them see that there is a way to work other than for “the man” and create a new society. He writes a post about the article, finds an image to go with it, and then sends it to Barbara. Barbara edits his post, puts it up on our site and shares it to FB and Twitter. We then share that article to our Facebook groups.

We have been doing all of this every day, every week, every month since we began our electronic outreach. This is a joy for us. We call Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism “our baby”. She’s now almost 10 years old and stable. She will be thriving when we can get the technical and social media support we need. When people ask us if we’re retired, we start laughing. Barbara always says she’s working harder than she ever did, she just doesn’t get paid for it! There are few things we would rather spend our time on than Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism.

Thank you for reading our history, and please consider joining us by reading and sharing our articles and posts. Together we are strong. Together we can change the world.

The post Bringing our Socialist Baby to Life: History of Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism first appeared on Dissident Voice.

New Report Exposes Brutal Persecution of Adivasi Women Defending Their Land

Adivasi activist Hidme Markam has been thrown into jail for resisting the takeover of her people’s land for mining. © Survival WARNING: Contains images some may find disturbing

A devastating new report from Survival International – launched on International Women’s Day, March 8 – exposes how Adivasi (Indigenous) women in India are being brutally persecuted for defending their lands against a massive corporate and governmental mining rush.

Amongst its key findings:

– This mining rush, including plans to increase coal production to one billion tonnes a year, is massively concentrated in six central states that are home to 57 million Adivasi people, who rely on their land for their livelihoods and sacred sites.

– Adivasi women are playing a central role in resisting this destruction of their land by mining, and are being beaten, arrested, raped, imprisoned and killed because of it. Their attackers almost always act with impunity.

– Government agencies, police and the security forces are intimately involved in these attempts to terrorise Adivasi women.

– Draconian anti-terrorism laws are used to silence dissent, and any who resist are falsely labelled as members of the Maoist armed insurgency. Since Narendra Modi came to power, the number of women charged with “sedition” has nearly trebled.

Adivasi (Indigenous) people of Hasdeo Forest protest against coal mining plans that would destroy their forest. Fattepur Village, Chhattisgarh. © Vijay Ramamurthy The report highlights several Adivasi women who have become victims of state repression:

Hidme Markam: At an International Women’s Day event in Chhattisgarh in 2021, Adivasi activist Hidme Markam was bundled into a vehicle and taken into custody, where she remains. Her arrest was punishment for her active, public stance on resisting the mining of a site sacred to her Koya Adivasi people. She had previously said: “Villagers who protest against the government handing over these lands to corporations are being jailed. We have lost faith in the government but will continue to fight to save our sacred lands and our forests.”

– Kuni Sikaka: a Dongria Kondh woman targeted for her role in defending her people’s sacred mountain, Kuni Sikaka was arrested and paraded in front of local media as a “surrendered insurgent.”

– Soni Sori: Adivasi activist and leader Soni Sori has been incarcerated, tortured, sexually abused and faced barrages of defamation and harassment for galvanising Adivasi women to resist the violation of their lands, rights and bodies. Soni was a teacher and activist when she was arrested as an ‘insurgent’ and imprisoned, enduring horrific torture and sexual violence in prison. On her eventual release, Soni was attacked by men who rubbed caustic paste on her face, burning and scarring her. Soni continues to fight for an end to the violation of Adivasi rights and lives.

– Madkam Hidme: Security forces dragged Madkam Hidme into the forest in front of her distraught mother. Her body was returned, beaten and wrapped in plastic, a few days later. The police claim she was ‘encountered’ in the forest, and released a photo of her in crisply ironed, spotless black overalls with a gun at her side – killed, they said, after a “fierce gun battle.”

Madkam Lakshmi holds a photo that the police released of her daughter, Hidme. The police claim she was killed in a gun battle. Lakshmi saw them drag her daughter, dressed in a sari, out of their house. © The Bunt Line Dayamani Barla, an Adivasi leader from Jharkhand is quoted in the report: “Modi’s government is violating our constitutional rights and is trying to sell every inch of our lands, mountains and rivers. Adivasi people – not only in Jharkhand but right across India – are not safe and neither are their lands and territories. Every inch of our lands is being given to the corporates.”

Dr. Jo Woodman of Survival International said today: “Across central India tens of thousands of Adivasi people are defying the corporate takeover of their lands with incredible bravery. Women are at the forefront of this resistance, and are being abused, imprisoned and killed for their courage on a truly horrific scale.

“The repression they face isn’t crushing their spirit – on the contrary, resistance is growing. But there’s an urgent need for support from around the world to join Adivasi people in opposition to this illegal and immoral assault on their lands and lives.”

The post New Report Exposes Brutal Persecution of Adivasi Women Defending Their Land first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Malcolm X Hit 2022 on the Head

I have people worried that as white writers they will be hit with “cultural appropriation” if they write a novel with characters who are not of their own race. You know the deal — writing about barrios, or ghettos or even a mix of people in a big city, people outside the lily white background of the author.

We know that is balderdash, to put it lightly. The cultural appropriation fear came up in a memoir writing class I teach. Memoirs, which are about people remembering a time in their lives with significance, tied to themes. They are about the person, and then, through their looking glass and through deep analysis, about how they experience the world. A memoir is what the person, the author, is remembering. So, for instance, I grew up all over the place, but say, when I was three or four, we were in the Azores. Of course, I have a right to write about my Portuguese “nanny” (babysitter). Or anything I learn/learned about Portugal.

Wrestling with my Mexican-American friends in high school in Tucson? Doing a sweat with my Apache friends up on the White River Apache Reservation? All the time I was in Central America, or in Mexico? These are off limits to me because I am Irish-German? Bull-shit!

The issue was broached by a student who was watching that Uncle Tom, Oprah, who had on her show the author of American Dirt. She wrote a novel about — Mexicans coming across the border. She’s white, and she got all the hype, a seven-figure advance, and she said her husband, too, was an undocumented immigrant, but the problem is that fellow is Irish. Lots and lots of hype, publicity, and $$. She was even a headliner for an annual Spokane literary festival, Get Lit, set for April 2020. I was also going to be there as small potatoes writer reading, but both she was cancelled, through her agent and publisher, and the event got hit with the Covid paranoia.

There’s no use in getting into the debate about how she may have done some “brown facing,” or the fact that minority and marginalized and BIPOC writers in the USA get short shafted when it comes to literary notice, literary contracts, big promo’s and the big bucks. I explained to my students that to have a panel of people who have studied cultural appropriation, who know the ins and outs of the bizarre debate about teaching history about blacks, women, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, and such, and how they can debunk these anti-“critical race theory” racists, to have them there, talking, and then giving the students a chance to query and discuss, that is the only way to deal with the actual issue of cultural appropriation.

Here, the background:

Oprah Winfrey will soon host a conversation about “American Dirt,” a novel mired in controversy that’s also the latest selection for her book club.

It’s too little too late. Winfrey should rescind her support now.

In nearly 25 years, only once has the entertainment mogul yanked a coveted book club endorsement. That came in 2006, after James Frey’s memoir about his addiction and recovery, “A Million Little Pieces,” turned out to be far more fiction than fact.

“American Dirt” needs to be the second.

For months, Jeanine Cummins’s novel about a Mexican mother and her young son heading to the border to escape a drug cartel has been widely criticized in Latinx circles for perpetuating what writer and translator David Bowles calls a “pastiche of stereotypes and melodramatic tropes of the sort one might expect from an author who did not grow up within Mexican culture.”

Cummins has long identified as white. In interviews, she now mentions her Puerto Rican grandmother, and some headlines call her “a white Latina.” She says she deeply researched the book, including spending time in Mexico.

Yet this isn’t about how Cummins self-identifies. It’s about a novel fostering stereotypes, and what happens when communities of color get shut out from telling their own stories.

After a publishing industry bidding war, Cummins received a seven-figure advance, and the movie rights have been sold. Her novel received glowing blurbs from Stephen King and John Grisham. She got a major credibility boost from acclaimed Latinx authors Sandra Cisneros, who called the book “masterful,” and Julia Alvarez, who said it’s “a dazzling accomplishment.” All appear on the book’s back cover.

In the ensuing debate, neither Cisneros nor Alvarez have stepped forward to defend a book to which they lent their names and, especially, their reputations. —  Renée Graham Globe Columnist,Updated January 28, 2020

I get where this entire thing comes down to (bad writing, white woman with no real ground-living/ground-truthing). And without shooting myself in the foot, me being a white guy who happens to know where I have been, for whom the people I have been with, what those close relationships I have fostered — with people way outside my demographic — have taught me about them and myself. I get how I stick out like a sore thumb when dealing with academic types, with university types, with those in MFA writing programs. I have been cancelled and delegitimzed my entire life. My stories and my characters in stories are my characters. Having to tell me that I have only the right to write about my own people and gender (heterosexual white as is my family/blood) is absurd. But I get the reactions to this white privilege in publishing, but I also hate what the MFA Writing Programs have done to writers and writing the past 30 years. I hate the barbaric thinking on both sides of this debate. And Oprah? I am an anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist, and I wonder what Malcolm X might think of the current affairs of this rot-gut country? Billionaire? Oprah? The make or break literary arbiter?

The fact is just two days ago, we get the Oregon news around the education outcomes of Black students in Multnomah County.

Part of why Portland’s Black and Latino students are so vastly underrepresented in advanced courses, parents of color say, is that many teachers, counselors and other educators assume those students aren’t smart or skilled enough to handle the challenge.

Low expectations and a lack of structural support for Black and Latino students also continue to lead to persistently low graduation and college-going rates for those groups, an analysis by The Oregonian/OregonLive has found.

That is true even though the district’s top leaders pledged nearly 2 ½ years ago that they would dramatically boost Black and Latino student achievement by this year.

Despite making up about 7% of the overall student population, Black students represent about 1% of those who took advanced courses this school year and last, district figures show.

And even though Latinos make up about 16% or 17% of district enrollment, they represent about 8% of those taking advanced courses. (“Left Behind: Low expectations, lackluster education for high school students of color in Portland span decades” — Oregonian)

This is 2022, not 1964 when Malcolm X did his The Ballot or the Bullet speech.

I am not embarrassed or ashamed of the white crackers in this country, whether they are dirt poor crackers or rich as kings crackers. Racists, sexists, ageists, they all are a bunch of privileged fools. But they hate. Most people I know of never ever go into a cracker bar with a bunch of Harleys outside. I do. And the shit coming out of these people’s racist mouths is consistent with their country’s history of killing and killing. So embarrassed? Why? These people are the natural (sic) outgrowth of who they are (their roots, lineages);  where they came from (forefatherrs the superstitious colonizers); and how they have developed (on the muscle and brawn and graves of slaves and First Nations). Bad-bad folks. Yes, there are deplorables in the mix, just not the way that white racist Hillary was thinking about! So, this is a story from 2022. Imagine that, Kansas:

In 1922, a Kansas mayor was brutalized by the Klan. Today's rhetoric sounds chillingly familiar. - Kansas Reflector

Just a few days ago:

A Kansas principal was allegedly forced to apologize to high school staff after showing them a video about white privilege, KMUW reports.

The incident started in January when Principal Tim Hamblin reportedly showed Derby High School staff a 2011 video focused on the perspectives of Dr. Joy DeGruy. DeGruy, who is a Black author, spoke about her personal experiences with racism and white privilege.

The story was about her being forced to present identification to a grocery store cashier, while her sister-in-law, who has a fair complexion, did not have to do such a thing. The relative ended up calling out the store manager and staff for racism.

“She used her white privilege to educate and make right a situation that was wrong,” DeGruy says in the footage. “That’s what you can do every single day.” (source)

I’ve been in meetings and conferences with DeGruy. An amazing person. Is it just Kansas? The putz apologizes? This is one sick country — and the sickness is deep:

What would Malcolm X think or say? About this shit in this day and age?

What would Malcolm X think about this government overreach, the Klanadians and lockdowns? How would Malcolm C see these white Klanadians — really, who they are —  as compared to who the Americans are? The same side of the same coin? Beware of Trudeau and beware of most of the truckers. Vaccination status and crossing the US-Canada border and mandates are not the ONLY issues for which they have axes to grind. Go a little deep with Canadians, about the theft/rape of the land, about the ravaging of First Nations’ land and culture, about really their country’s thuggish ways, from RCMP, the RCAF, well, you might just find yourself at the wrong end of the grill on that big Volvo 18-wheeler. How in god’s name do any Canadians run around with Trump flags? The tail and the dog and the pile of you know what — Canada-USA-UK!

From Workers World: “This movement has become, in a few days, a symbol for all those who are more and more shocked by everything that is happening in our society, but who — and this should not be underestimated — are also more and more attracted to right-wing and even extreme right-wing movements.

“These trucker convoys, which fail to raise the key work issues of truck drivers in both countries, are being well financed by U.S. reactionary movements and getting tremendous business media attention. Meanwhile, Big Media is barely acknowledging the enormous U.S. worker resurgence underway and growing — the strike wave this past fall, massive education and health worker organizing, the unionization struggle spreading like wildfire through Starbucks, the drive to unionize Amazon, one of the biggest high tech exploiters in the world. Working-class activists can take heart from these developments and more.”

+–+

Here, from . . . .  Kanyenkehaka (Mohawk) is from the Tehanakarineh family of the Bear Clan. His home is in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, but he currently resides at the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory (near Hamilton, Ontario). He is an Onkwehon:we (Indigenous) man and belongs to the Kayenkehaka Nation, not the Canadian or English nation. His people have kept their ways and traditions, and despite generations of mistreatment at the hands of the Canadian government, they remain a separate, allied Nation with their own rights and responsibilities to creation.

For all of you who don’t have a clue what I’m talking about, maybe you’re new to this country. They didn’t teach you that Indigenous people own these lands. They’ll tell you that it’s theirs. It’s Canada’s wonderful free place. It was only free because they stole things. I’m talking to all the brown people in the cities that didn’t want to go and support the truckers because they thought they were racist. Well, the Liberal Government’s racist and so is the Conservative Government. The entire government of Canada is racist. And the RCMP are racist. Let’s face the facts the RCMP are just as much a culprit in the in the theft of the indigenous children that got sent to residential schools, because they were the collectors.

Here, the Latinx calling out “American Dirt”: Myriam Gurba,

Pendeja, You Ain’t Steinbeck: My Bronca with Fake-Ass Social Justice Literature

When I tell gringos that my Mexican grandfather worked as a publicist, the news silences them.

Shocked facial expressions follow suit.

Their heads look ready to explode and I can tell they’re thinking, “In Mexico, there are PUBLICISTS?!”

I wryly grin at these fulanos and let my smile speak on my behalf. It answers, “Yes, bitch, in México, there are things to publicize such as our own fucking opinions about YOU.”

I follow in the cocky footsteps of my grandfather, Ricardo Serrano Ríos, “decano de los publicistas de Jalisco[1],” and not only do I have opinions, I bark them como itzcuintli. También soy chismosa and if you don’t have the gift of Spanglish, allow me to translate. “Chisme” means gossip. It’s my preferred art form, one I began practicing soon after my period first stained my calzones, and what’s literature, and literary criticism, if not painstakingly aestheticized chisme?

Tengo chisme. Are you ready?

A self-professed gabacha, Jeanine Cummins, wrote a book that sucks. Big time.

Her obra de caca belongs to the great American tradition of doing the following:

  1. Appropriating genius works by people of color
  2. Slapping a coat of mayonesa on them to make palatable to taste buds estados-unidenses and
  3. Repackaging them for mass racially “colorblind” consumption.

Rather than look us in the eye, many gabachos prefer to look down their noses at us. Rather than face that we are their moral and intellectual equals, they happily pity us. Pity is what inspires their sweet tooth for Mexican pain, a craving many of them hide. This denial motivates their spending habits, resulting in a preference for trauma porn that wears a social justice fig leaf. To satisfy this demand, Cummins tossed together American Dirt, a “road thriller” that wears an I’m-giving-a-voice-to-the-voiceless-masses merkin.

I learned about Dirt when an editor at a feminist magazine invited me to review it.

I accepted her offer, Dirt arrived in my mailbox, and I tossed it in my suitcase. At my tía’s house in Guadalajara, I opened the book.

Before giving me a chance to turn to chapter one, a publisher’s letter made me wince.

“The first time Jeanine and I ever talked on the phone,” the publisher gushed, “she said migrants at the Mexican border were being portrayed as a ‘faceless brown mass.’ She said she wanted to give these people a face.”

The phrase “these people” pissed me off so bad my blood became carbonated.

I looked up, at a mirror hanging on my tía’s wall.

It reflected my face.

In order to choke down Dirt, I developed a survival strategy. It required that I give myself over to the project of zealously hate-reading the book, filling its margins with phrases like “Pendeja, please.” That’s a Spanglish analogue for “Bitch, please.”

Back in Alta California, I sat at my kitchen table and penned my review. I submitted it. Waited.

After a few days, an editor responded. She wrote that though my takedown of Dirt was “spectacular,” I lacked the fame to pen something so “negative.” She offered to reconsider if I changed my wording, if I wrote “something redeeming.”

In the end, though, it’s Black History Month. Anyone with any worth should listen to Malcolm X’s talk, “The Ballot or the Bullet.” Goddamn it, listen.

I’m not a politician, not even a student of politics; in fact, I’m not a student of much of anything. I’m not a Democrat. I’m not a Republican, and I don’t even consider myself an American. If you and I were Americans, there’d be no problem. Those Honkies that just got off the boat, they’re already Americans; Polacks are already Americans; the Italian refugees are already Americans. Everything that came out of Europe, every blue-eyed thing, is already an American. And as long as you and I have been over here, we aren’t Americans yet.

Well, I am one who doesn’t believe in deluding myself. I’m not going to sit at your table and watch you eat, with nothing on my plate, and call myself a diner. Sitting at the table doesn’t make you a diner, unless you eat some of what’s on that plate. Being here in America doesn’t make you an American. Being born here in America doesn’t make you an American. Why, if birth made you American, you wouldn’t need any legislation; you wouldn’t need any amendments to the Constitution; you wouldn’t be faced with civil-rights filibustering in Washington, D.C., right now. They don’t have to pass civil-rights legislation to make a Polack an American.

No, I’m not an American. I’m one of the 22 million black people who are the victims of Americanism. One of the 22 million black people who are the victims of democracy, nothing but disguised hypocrisy. So, I’m not standing here speaking to you as an American, or a patriot, or a flag-saluter, or a flag-waver — no, not I. I’m speaking as a victim of this American system. And I see America through the eyes of the victim. I don’t see any American dream; I see an American nightmare.

These 22 million victims are waking up. Their eyes are coming open. They’re beginning to see what they used to only look at. They’re becoming politically mature. They are realizing that there are new political trends from coast to coast. As they see these new political trends, it’s possible for them to see that every time there’s an election the races are so close that they have to have a recount. They had to recount in Massachusetts to see who was going to be governor, it was so close. It was the same way in Rhode Island, in Minnesota, and in many other parts of the country. And the same with Kennedy and Nixon when they ran for president. It was so close they had to count all over again. Well, what does this mean? It means that when white people are evenly divided, and black people have a bloc of votes of their own, it is left up to them to determine who’s going to sit in the White House and who’s going to be in the dog house. (transcript here)

Ahh, some Mexican writers have called this latest book on today’s Mexico, one of the best. Written by, well, Theroux, the old white guy!

Theroux then goes deep into the hinterland, on the back roads of Chiapas and Oaxaca, to uncover the rich, layered world behind today’s brutal headlines.

He meets with the legendary Subcomandante Marcos, leader of the Zapatista movement dedicated to defending the rights of Mexico’s indigenous people. ON THE PLAIN OF SNAKES: A Mexican Journey is replete with adventures, history, discursions on literature about Mexico, stunning descriptions and, running through it all, a deep humanity and respect for the ordinary Mexicans who are his main subject.

Paul Theroux has been called “The world’s most perceptive travel writer”. He is the author of many highly acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Great Railway BazaarThe Mosquito Coast and Riding the Iron Rooster. We spoke with him last about his book Deep South.

Interview here of Paul Theroux: Source/Podcast.

What would Malcolm X say?

So, what I’m trying to impress upon you, in essence, is this: You and I in America are faced not with a segregationist conspiracy, we’re faced with a government conspiracy. Everyone who’s filibustering is a senator — that’s the government. Everyone who’s finagling in Washington, D.C., is a congressman — that’s the government. You don’t have anybody putting blocks in your path but people who are a part of the government. The same government that you go abroad to fight for and die for is the government that is in a conspiracy to deprive you of your voting rights, deprive you of your economic opportunities, deprive you of decent housing, deprive you of decent education. You don’t need to go to the employer alone, it is the government itself, the government of America, that is responsible for the oppression and exploitation and degradation of black people in this country. And you should drop it in their lap. This government has failed the Negro. This so-called democracy has failed the Negro. And all these white liberals have definitely failed the Negro.

See/read the initial Black History Month piece by yours truly: “To the Victor Go the Spoils“,  DV, February 5th, 2022

The post Malcolm X Hit 2022 on the Head first appeared on Dissident Voice.

There will be blood, and, yes, we do need stinkin’ badges

This is a little soft-shoe pissed off blathering from me, so apologies up front. No big news on the Ukraine Invasion front, or the Gates Owning All the Farms front, or the Climate-Wall Street-Chronic Illness front. Nothing related to the MICIMATT (Military-Industrial-Congressional-MEDIA-Academia-Think-Tank) front. Just plain old burnt toast and spilled milk from a radical who has to still be in the job market at the tender age of 65.

Never in my imagination, just five years ago even, would I have figured I’d be here, that is, stuck in the USA, blessed to be in a relationship (it’s good, but again, people in my life do need me somewhat sane to handle varying degrees of their own trauma), and pigeon-holed as a malcontent who is also unemployable.

The fact that people in the fields I venture into are less than middling, and the fact that lives hang in the balance tied to vax mandates, and forced boosters, and proof of mRNA life (I hear people, through the fog of the propaganda madmen, that mRNA a la Pfizer and Moderna, is better than the J & J, Janssen, which is not the same vax, but is now being discontinued. Imagine, J & J was a single dose experimental jab, but the Mengele actors in the CDC and Big Pharma move the goal posts daily so J & J single dose, has to be seconded to be a full-vax record —  after a five month lapse between the two. However, the J & J is cancelled, no more manufacturing, so anyone trying to stay away from mRNA now, after their one shot of J & J has to submit to a completely different platform for this SARS-CoV2 mass experimentation game).

These are experimental. The blasphemy is, a, forced vaccinations on everyone, no discussion about the alternatives, or the safety; then, forcing these on youth, age six months; then, the lack of choice of all the vaxxes around the world, including China’s and Cuba’s; then, complete liability for death and injury for the big Pharma thugs; then, of course, we, the taxpayer foot the bill for R & D, for the salaries of these thieves, and then we buy the vials, and when they are contaminated, or when they expire, we end up watching 30 million doses down the drain, and then we, the taxpayer, foot the bill for the replacements. Money and more money, that is the planne pandemic.

Pre-Planned Demic — forced vaccinations for college students, and then, how many for kids going to kindergarten, K12, have to be vaxxxed? Then, the HPV, and I have written about that here —

“My Fate as a Social Worker Sealed by a Vaccine named Gardasil”

Death by a Thousand Cuts: When the Cures of Big Pharma are Worse than the Diseases”

I got screwed, blued and tatooed by the powers that be. Big Pharma, Planned Parenthood and the nonprofit industrial complex. Try that out for size!

So, what is in the discontinued Johnson & Johnson (J&J)/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine?

Ingredients:

The J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine contains a piece of a modified virus that is not the virus that causes COVID-19. This modified virus is called the vector virus. The vector virus cannot reproduce itself, so it cannot cause COVID-19. This vector virus gives instructions to cells in the body to create an immune response. This response helps protect you from getting sick with COVID-19 in the future. After the body produces an immune response, it gets rid of all of the vaccine ingredients just as it would discard any information that cells no longer need. This process is a part of normal body functioning.

Full list of ingredients: The J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine contains the following ingredients:

A harmless version of a virus unrelated to the COVID-19 virus: Recombinant, replication-incompetent Ad26 vector, encoding a stabilized variant of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) protein. Provides instructions the body uses to build a harmless piece of a protein from the virus that causes COVID-19. This protein causes an immune response that helps protect the body from getting sick with COVID-19 in the future.

Sugars, salts, acid, and acid stabilizer:

  • Polysorbate-80
  • 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin
  • Trisodium citrate dihydrate
  • Sodium chloride (basic table salt)
  • Citric acid monohydrate (closely related to lemon juice)
  • Ethanol (a type of alcohol)

These work together to help keep the vaccine molecules stable while the vaccine is manufactured, shipped, and stored until it is ready to be given to a vaccine recipient.

See the source image

Alas, I teach a class at the community college here, OCCC. One student asked first day of class who was vaccinated and boosted. I massaged that into, “Well, we have to wear masks, per college requirements, but there is not vax mandate. Best we not ask people personal questions about their health issues and decisions.”

My marching orders were that if I asked once and then twice for a student to mask, and if they refused, the course would be cancelled.

That is the absurdity of this entire dress rehersal for bigger and more systematic totalitarian methods of control. The mob, the bandwagon, the transfer of Fauci’s credentials to infer credibility. Pissing matches now on which vax and booster you get.

I do not know if many DV readers get the totality of this Western Mentality for Ordering People Around at work, school, in public, everywhere. Again, pre-SARS-CoV2, and conccurently — people I have gotten jobs for are working 14 hour shifts, in sub-freezing warehouses, moving frozen goods/foods along frozen floors with forklifts sliding all over the place. Imagine, coming home and still five hours after the shift frozen fingers and core temperature still not normal. Forced drug screening, forced background checks, forced credit checks, checks on prior evictions, driving record checks, physicals, all medications listed, reference checks, in-case-of-emergency references, and more, including being paid every two weeks, on a fucking Visa card.

Toil, weathering, mean as cuss bosses and supervisors, repetitive deadening work. No talking on the job. Keep those headphones and ear buds off. I’ve challenged the honchos driving up in Mercedes and Teslas how the hell do they look at themselves in the mirror at night or in the morning without seeing a monster of exploitation. Big jacked up $60,000 pickups while my clients have to take rotten and rotting public buses, many lines of which stop a mile or two away from the facility.

Work, baby, the great resignation, sure. But, here we are now — who owns us? How do we put that roof over our heads and that john in the corner and kitchen next to the bed?

America’s Largest Landlord Just Got Bigger: Blackstone Buys 17,000 Houses For $6 Billion” by Tyler Durden

Wall Street won’t rest until it become the biggest – and perhaps only – landlord in the US.

At least that’s the impression one gets by observing the behavior of the two Wall Street “black” giants, Blackrock and Blackstone. As a reminder, the WSJ sparked widespread outrage recently when it exposed what most industry insiders had known for a long time, namely that Blackrock (and other institutional investors) have been ravenously gobbling up US real estate. Now it’s Blackstone’s turn.

On Tuesday, the WSJ reported that Blackstone – which already is not only America’s largest landlord but also the world’s largest real estate company with a $325 billion portfolio – has agreed to buy single-family rental company Home Partners of America for $6 billion, betting the demand for suburban housing will stay hot even as the pandemic eases. Home Partners owns more than 17,000 houses in the United States; the company buys, rents out and eventually offers its tenants a chance to buy them. Now all those functions will be done by the largest US private equity firm.

 

And so, I, like millions, are at the whim of the followers, the sheeple, for sure, and we play their game, and STILL, we can’t be in their sandboxes. All those state and city and county and even nonprofit jobs tied to state, city, county contracts (grants) I apply for caveat the application in big bold notations — Upon hire, the candidate must submit proof of full Covid-19 vaccination. That means, of course, those agencies have the power to go straight to CDC/STATE records of the shot sheet. Not a paper copy of the CDC shot record, but the proof has had to be recorded into the data field; i.e. computer.

I was going to cross that bridge if and when I got any sense of being offered a job, but, alas, there are not job offers for schmucks like me. That is, of course, the lamentation here. But as always, I attempt to make my little Paul’s World tie into a larger frame, some universal set of lessons.

  • age
  • gender
  • politics
  • over-educated
  • too many different jobs over time
  • moving too many times
  • too confident
  • too willing to discussion many aspects of the job in the Q & A
  • too much on the internet, easily searchable vis Google
  • blacklisted through checking off, “no, it is not okay to contact previous employer”
  • more

There are so many reasons why “they” don’t hire folks like “me.” Strike up the ageism and sexism band, for sure. I am 65, a male, and the jobs I am attempting to get are in the social services/education/editing/writing arena.

Educational navigator, state and county jobs, even city jobs. The writing is on the wall, in a rural county, and, when I do get interviews, it’s four to six women on Zoom. I’ve had 12 people in a room for one job interview I actually drove 40 miles to attend in person. I was asked to apply by the ED. Very good back and forth, and they liked me, thought I was smart, a fit, but not a perfect fit. The rejection letter from the Executive Director was all complimentary. But, again, here I am, on the job market. Many times an interview is couched with “we are a tight-knit family, a very close team so how do you think you’d be part of that?”

I’ve had to ask several time, at the end of interviews when they ask me if I have questions, what ways do the people on the team work with people like me, an obvious outsider, to be part of a team that they call family? Really, what makes it easy for a male with education to fit into a tight knit team, which from the outside seems like a clique?

I am a great interview, and I am able to put on many faces,  in addition to bringing up interesting connections to my long work experience and my education to each respective job I’ve applied for.

And, that small-knit female group is not wanting to have an outsider, someone who doesn’t look like them. These people, to be blunt, are seated inside a nanny mentality, and drawn into paperwork world while following procedures to the letter. They are not giving and creative souls, not in any real sense. Also, they seem to be pretty one-dimensional. I get through the screening, then the interview, then the email a week or weeks later, which is a form letter, that states in mealy mouthed terms, I was rejected:

PAUL — Thank you for interviewing for the position of Permanency Workers (Social Services Specialist 1) Newport . Although you have not been selected for the position, we enjoyed learning about your background and experience in greater detail.

Again, thank you for your time and interest. We encourage you to apply for other opportunities in the future.

Thank you.”

Yep, my mother told me I should have continued at the U of Arizona and got the medical degree. Even a law degree. That was way back when, at 19 years of age and having the gift of gab, the gift of testing to a high level, above 89 or 90. Gifts . . . now, at 65, feeling, well, embarassed that, a, I have to look for work with no retirement, in this shit hole country, and in any shit hole state (you name it). Democratic or Republican governor, the scum rises to the top. With so much scum below them. And, b, I am pissed off and in this predictament. And, c, that I even feel this way — useless, a throw-away, disposable, nothing (I don’t feel these for many minutes in a day, but still, feeling this shit is like hot lead down one’s gullet).

One of the questions from the above committee of three was around “Many people perceive the CPS (child protective services) has having a lot of power. Rightly or wrongly, how would you deal with this perception?”

Well, of course, I know a few things or two about CPS and foster care and removing children from families. And, I thought I could give the CPS a bit of perspective, AND, while the gender police want to top load professions that are traditionally not full of women with women, you would think those female-filled social services centers would want a few wise males in their ranks.

That’s just hopeful thinking. Well, here, from an old article, Atlantic, from a CPS worker:

It seems there is always some sort of story in the media regarding one form of child abuse or neglect or another. Recently, I came across two such stories, one about a working mother who allowed her 9-year-old daughter to play unsupervised at a playground near her work and was subsequently arrested and her daughter put into foster care; and another, actually, about the mass shut-off of water services in an underprivileged Detroit neighborhood which brought up the fact that many don’t complain about the issue due to fears of having their children immediately removed from their homes as lack of water service is, allegedly, grounds for this in the city. These stories always hit home for me. Besides being a parent, I previously worked for Children’s Protective Services in Ohio.

Opinions usually fell into one of two predictable camps: as a CPS worker you were either accused of doing too little to protect the children involved, or of being too invasive, at best another mindless bureaucrat and at worst a power-happy sadist that got off on telling others how to raise their kids. In truth, both are often correct. I’ve seen them personally. And it’s a problem. Most workers, however, fall somewhere along the wide spectrum in between, and where they fall will be influenced more by their local inter-and-intra-agency culture than any statute.

Thinking of the mother of the 9-year-old, I realize I am not privy to the details of the case. I understand there is a lot I don’t know. Things like, does this mom have a history of abusing or neglecting this child or other children? Did the child have any special needs that made her especially vulnerable to being unsupervised? Did the child have any other signs of abuse like severe bruising or physical injuries, or of neglect such as obvious malnutrition or chronic head lice, or any other incalculable number of things? These would no doubt make a huge impact on my opinion of the situation, but as it stands what I read is this: a 9-year-old girl was left with a cellular phone at a playground near her mother’s workplace with adequate shade and access to water. Upon learning that her mother was not present, an adult called the police. So far, I vilify neither the caller for calling nor the police for responding. It is what happens next that I strongly question.

Apparently, the best answer to this case was to remove the child from her mother’s custody, put her in foster care, and arrest the mother. I’ll be blunt: this is insane.

Well, of course, I handled ALL the questions well, but then, the rejection. All those rejections. All those terrible people lifted through the prostitution called politics of bureaucracies. There are so many mean, dog-eat-dog, I-got-mine-too-bad-you-don’t-got-yours fucking Americanos. Yankee or Stars and Bars, most are cut from the same shit-hole Mayflower cloth. There are some mean folks I have met in Child Protective Services. In Portland, in Seattle, in Spokane, in El Paso!

This is the shape of things to come, for many of us, who are self-avowed radicals, willing to say and write and publish things that are definitely outside the bold lines of the center fold of American meanness. American group think. American belonging in the bandwagon. Infantalized. Disneyfied. Now, get stuck in a rural arena, with few opportunities, and this is the weekly routine —

  • change up the resume
  • write a new cover letter
  • do an on-line application
  • sometimes complete these timed tests, many of which are psycho personality tests — sick stuff
  • attest at the end of the application, before hitting submit, that all stuff is truthful, and that they, the prospective employer, has the right to go back into all manner of work and legal and living history

And it is almost impossible during this process, and while consuming corporate, commercial, un-News news, to not get jaded, cynical, pissed off and, well, dejected. Since all the stories are about the beautiful people, the celebrities, all the crap around thespian stars and sports stars. All the felonies committed by politicians, corporate heads, even those in positions of state-county-city government.

There are so many undeserving folk in positions of big and minimal power. Yep, we know that. And to hear any manner of these people who get quoted or get the limelight for me is to hear monsters who have zero idea how the 80 percent live.

Nepotism, favoritism, cancelling, xenophobia, bandwagoning, credentialism, and other -isms rule the day. Then, to see folks circling their wagons interviewing me only because they may be checking off something on their diversity list — “get a white old male in the mix to look like we are diversity mavens” — to have at least three people in the pool. I have had my application stopped because not enought applicants hit the pool. Imagine that.

Then, there’s this blasphemy — more and more staffing firms, the bane of humanity, controlling the hiring process. That culprit, Indeed, has gotten into staffing. LinkedIn? All of them, rotten to the core, and many jobs are now conduited through those chosen people’s job screening-prepping-hiring headhunter systems that are all relying upon algorithms and Salesforce techniques:

Contracting is Worker Exploitation — (source). I have written about this in the past. Broken records abound:

Staffing agencies perpetuate this ugly cycle because they make a hefty profit exploiting contractors. Staffing agency recruiters will lie about the length of the contract and specific requirements, they’ll alter resumes without your knowledge, and make little to no effort to find another assignment once a contract ends. Some of these staffing agencies are so unprofessional, they’ve sent me emails meant for other people they’re trying to recruit. Staffing agencies are the worst. They don’t disclose how much they charge a company for a contractor’s services to maximize their profits. For example, for one of my recent contracting gigs, the company paid the staffing agency $60 an hour. I received $40 an hour while the staffing agency received $20 an hour for every hour of my work. The staffing agency received $800 a week for doing practically nothing, while I did all the work. These are the risks of contracting work, but it doesn’t make it right or ethical.

+–+

“This Is One of the Most Important Legal Battles for Labor in Decades” (In These Times)

Over the last few decades, a growing number of American workers have effectively lost many of their labor rights because of the way their bosses structure the employment relationship. These workers are contractors who are hired by one company but work for another: the Hyatt Hotel housekeepers who actually work for Hospitality Staffing Solutions, the Microsoft tech workers who actually work for a temp agency called Lionbridge Technologies, and the Amazon warehouse workers who actually work for Integrity Staffing Solutions. These workers often perform the same work at the same place as other workers, frequently on a permanent basis.

But because their employers have entered into complicated contracts with each other, these workers have been unable to exercise their labor rights. If the workers can only bargain with the staffing company and not the lead company where they actually work, they are negotiating with the party that often has no power to change the terms of their employment. For that reason, workers have fought for a more inclusive definition under the National Labor Relations Act of what constitutes an employer — and when two employers are joint employers.

Here, in my neck of the woods, the Lincoln County School District, again, sell outs at the top, and the bizarre superintendent and her VPs and thug principals in league with her meglamania, the District gives shit about workers:

Educational Staffing Solutions (New Jersey, Tennessee) is a staffing firm specializing in placing highly qualified staff in daily, long-term, and permanent K-12 school district positions, including paraprofessionals, substitute teachers, and other support staff. The company innovates education staffing to provide dynamic solutions to schools and professional opportunities to passionate educators. ESS provides its employees with the ability to work for schools across the country and competitive training, flexible work schedules, and professional development. The company’s partner schools receive personalized solutions, hands-on management, technology, and program reporting and analytics. ESS was founded in 2000, and its headquarter is located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, United States. The firm’s expert professionals serve more than 3 million students with a pool of 60,000 substitute and permanent employees throughout the United States. ESS provides healthcare benefits and other perks to its employees.

So these schools, public schools, have sold out their food services to profiteers (Sodexo, et al), given up cleaning to the janitorial profiteers (Sodexo; Bon Apetite), contracted out the buses (Student First, et al), and their hiring of staff, teachers, administrators, too, sold out to the profit gougers. Staffing firms and those all-American welfare cheats who look, sound, smell like, well, good people. This is what the average person has to confront.

A national labor phenomenon known as “The Great Resignation,” or “The Big Quit,” began to take hold in January 2021 and has since grown. Millions of workers in the United States have turned the turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic into opportunities to rethink their professions and reframe their lives.

The trend is especially pronounced in the accommodation and food services sector, which experienced more than 5 percent worker attrition each month from June to October of last year.

Online, people flooded a Reddit forum called “r/antiwork” for commiseration and solidarity; by year’s end, the page had reached 1.5 million members. In the streets, thousands of unionized workers in manufacturinghealth care, and higher education went on strike last fall for fair pay and protections. (source)

So, with two master’s degrees, and three dozen years teaching, and some of that including substituting K12 in Washington and Texas, I have to face jobs where $14.89 an hour, no benefits, on-call, at will, are the options. But add to this paltry pay: a substitute teacher needs to pay a fee to get a substitute certification, which is $350 in Oregon. I even had to take a civics test, here in Oregon, a test that was so fucking easy that, well, another fee to pay in order to get a shitty $14.89 an hour.

Here, some of my work with students, K12:

Professor Pablo and Fourth Grade Enlightenment in Lincoln City

And, then, being banned from teaching, another story, here at DV —

Take Down this Blog, or Else!” — No job interview, no job offer, targeting by city, county, state honchos, watched by the pigs, shadowed by all the sub humans

You will not hear VP Harris or Jill Biden talking about this blasphemy, or Henry Giroux or Chris Hedges writing about this stuff. Believe you me, this is below them, to be blunt. I am part of a legion of older folk caught in several levels or circles of THEIR hell: the arbitrators, the people in high and mid office, making some of the worst decisions ever. We are at the whim of lock-step fearful folk. We are at the beck and call of the most uncreative people on earth. I have seen the antithesis of education, of journalism, of social work, of college teaching in my many decades of wandering the planet as a writer who should have gone the route of med school or law.

I’m sixty-five and really part of the growing throw-away contingency of millions in this Western Culture who are just the flesh and blood (and data mines) in a pipeline for more rich and super rich and almost rich people to take their pound of flesh — fees, penalties, late charges, triple taxation, tickets, surcharges, foreclosures, evictions, repossessions, code infractions, add-ons.

Oh, cry for me, United Snakes of America. Evictions, uh? They — the landlords, the BlackRocks, the BlackStones, the Banks and the Insurance and the Real Estate monsters, they are the Stinkin’ Badges!

February/March 2022

 

I’ve written about this before, so again, broken DVD/record:

Never forget who we are:

In 2019, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren blasted Blackstone for “shamelessly” profiting from the U.S. foreclosure crisis, arguing that Wall Street’s investment in single-family homes was a “huge loss for America’s renters.” (source)

Never mind, though, old Elizabeth states she is through and through a capitalist. Haha, rhetoric, yakking, and not a fucking thing is done. Huge loss for America’s renters? This is life and death, again, these people at the top are clueless, intentionally, or just because they do not know what it is to be us.

See the source image

But then, forgetting is in the water:

See the source image

And, you can’t get Whoopied when you got no millions:

See the source image

Unemployment, on the dole, on the fiddle, under the table, riff-raff, deplorable, welfare king, trash, undesirable, vermin, dreg of society, scum, outcast — terms thrown at me and my people. Hell, just look at the Chosen People’s movie channels — all those narratives, those Hulu and Netflix and Amazon series and movie crap,  how they depict (they never really depict real struggle) us commoners, those of us who still have a few good years left to be “contributors,” but for many reasons, will never get the third, fourth, tenth chance. Watch closely how they depict the working class. Take notes. We are dregs, man. Broken, mean, thieves, fornicators, dumb, and deplorables.

Remote Area Medical? Shit, we are an underperforming country, intentional, vis-a-vis the corporate whores, the lot of them:

Scale this shit up. Dental clinics, care homes, medical clinics. Free, of course. Reroute that Biden-Trump-Bush-Obama-Clinton war money to what we need: Stan Brock, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom:

A debate over healthcare has been raging nationwide, but what’s been lost in the discussion are the American citizens who live day after day, year after year without solutions for their most basic needs. Remote Area Medical documents the annual three-day “pop-up” medical clinic organized by the non-profit Remote Area Medical (RAM) in Bristol, Tennessee’s NASCAR speedway. Instead of a film about policy, Remote Area Medical is a film about people, about a proud Appalachian community banding together to try and provide some relief for friends and neighbors who are simply out of options.

Fucking amazing Stan Brock — they don’t make people like him anymore!

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Stan Brock presented a popular wildlife show on US television in the Sixties

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