Category Archives: Economy/Economics

Cuban Spies Disguised as Doctors

The European Union now excludes travelers from the COVID-ridden U.S., but welcomes those from the virtually COVID-free Cuba. Cuba, the country that sends doctors and infectious disease specialists around the world to fight the pandemic, the country the U.S. has held in contempt for 60 years, villified with every epithet and sanctioned and embargoed and blockaded to within an inch of its life.

In a catharsis of propaganda, the U.S. tries to convince the world that Cuban doctors are victims of human trafficking, or else they are all spies, or perhaps both. Rosa Miriam Elizalde likened it to a vision of Cuba as the Red Planet, sending spies to take over the Earth, like the invasion in H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds as told by Orson Welles in his (in)famous radio play.

Spies. Yes, they just might be spies. What perfect disguises: doctors, nurses, epidemiologists, medical technicians. And what if they could come to the U.S.?

Perhaps they will secretly take over our health care system, make sure we are all carefully looked after, and teach us to treat epidemics like they are epidemics, as if everyone must be protected because everyone is at risk. You know, like in Cuba.

And while they are at it, perhaps they might send us more spies disguised as economists to surreptitiously teach us how to give everyone a home, a job, education, money to live on and time for recreation.  You know, like in Cuba.

Maybe they will send us still more spies, disguised as actors, artists, photographers, musicians, who will teach us…well, they won’t necessarily have to teach us too much about art (though that would be nice), but they will show us how to do it all collectively, cooperatively, without the corporate veto that corrupts, defunds, starves, and destroys so much art and the ones who make it.

And then maybe Cuba will send yet more spies, disguised as school teachers and literacy experts, to teach us exactly how to go about educating everyone without exception, to the best of their abilities and inclinations, to make every school as good as every other school, and to show us how to treat our teachers like the precious mentors they are. Like in Cuba.

Oh, Cuba, please send us all the spies you can spare. For we are suffering from a severe lack of spies. And we are dying because of it.

Tearing Down the Idols of Colonialism: Why Tunisia, Africa Must Demand French Apology  

The visit by newly-elected Tunisian President Kais Saied to France on June 22 was intended to discuss bilateral relations, trade, etc. But it was also a missed opportunity, where Tunisia could have formally demanded an apology from France for the decades of French colonialism, which has shattered the social and political fabric of this North African Arab nation since the late 19th century.

A heated debate at the Tunisian parliament, prior to Saied’s trip highlighted the significance of the issue to Tunisians, who are still reeling under the process of socio-economic and political transitions following the popular uprising in 2011.

Sadly, the Tunisian parliament rejected a motion forwarded by the centrist Karama coalition calling for a French apology, despite a fifteen hours’ long debate.

“We are not animated by any bitterness or hatred, but such apologies will heal the wounds of the past,” Seifeddine Makhlouf, head of Al-Karama, said during the debate. Makhlouf is under no moral obligation to explain his motives. A French apology to Tunisia, and many other African countries that have endured French colonialism for hundreds of years, is long overdue.

Ravaged by a relentless economic crisis, and still largely dependent on France as a foremost trade partner, Tunisia fears the consequences of such a just demand, which, if officially made, will also include a call for compensation as a result of nearly 75 years of exploitation and the subsequent collective trauma suffered by several generations.

A particular statement made by Osama Khelifi of the Qalb Tounes party delineates the unfortunate reality that continues to govern the thinking of Tunisia’s political elites. “We are not going to feed Tunisians with such notions,” he said.

Inconsequential to Khelifi, and others among the parties that rejected the motion, is that coming to terms with the past is a prerequisite for any nation that wishes to start anew. What would be the point of revolutions and revolutionary discourses if Tunisian politicians insist on merely trying to get along with a status quo that is imposed on them by outside forces?

While Saied was paying his diplomatic dues to Paris, statues were tumbling down across the Western world; some of former slave owners, others of racist ideologues and pioneers of colonialism.

On June 7, the statue of Edward Colston, a 17th century slave trader, was taken down in the English town of Bristol. This was only one of many other monuments that were destroyed or defaced throughout the United States and Europe.

However, across the English Channel, the French government remained obstinate in its refusal to take down any similar statues, as if insisting on its refusal to revisit – let alone take responsibility – for its sinister past, especially the bloody and tragic events that shattered the African continent.

Statues are built to honor individuals for their great contributions in any society. They are also erected as a reminder to future generations that they must emulate these presumably great individuals. France, however, remains the exception.

Unsurprisingly, French government officials are engaging in nonsensical arguments as to why such statues, as that of Jean-Baptiste Colbert — a white aristocrat who, during the 17th century reign of King Louis XIV, established the horrific ‘Black Code’, the rules according to which black slaves were to be treated in the colonies – should remain intact.

Macron himself has made it clear that “the Republic  … won’t remove any statues.”

The collective rethink underway in various Western societies, which have greatly benefited from the exploitation of Africa, was ignited by the brutal murder of George Floyd at the hands of American police officers in Minneapolis.

Spontaneous popular movements, led mostly by the youth, connected the dots between racism, slavery, and colonialism, taking to the streets in their millions to demand a complete overhaul of the status quo.

Yet, France’s political elites continue to embrace French exceptionalism, arguing that, unlike the American experience with race and slavery, French law was never, at any point in the past, purposely racist.

In truth, past arrogance — ‘mission civilisatrice’ — continues to define France’s attitudes towards the present. This is why the French colonial experience was particularly keen on composing a clever discourse to account for its exploitation of Africa and other regions in the world.

In this skewed rationale, France’s invasion of Algeria in 1830 was dubbed as something else entirely. Algeria was now an integral part of France, they argued. Other countries, like Tunisia and Morocco, were made protectorates, ruled indirectly through corrupt local authorities. The rest of France’s African colonies were ravaged mercilessly by greedy French administrators.

Unlike other European experiences, the French colonial connection to Africa did not disintegrate in recent decades. Instead, it took on different forms, known by the now disparaging term ‘Françafrique’.

The expression ‘Françafrique’ was introduced in 1955 to describe the ‘special relations’ between France and the newly-independent African countries, now bound with what France called ‘cooperation agreements’. It was rightly understood that France was entering a new phase of colonialism in Africa: neo-colonialism.

Despite former French president, François Hollande, pledging to eradicate the term ‘Françafrique’ and its practical meaning, little has changed between France and its former African colonies.

Indeed, France can be found in every aspect of life, whether political, military, economic or even cultural, in many African countries. In the cases of Mali and Libya, the French intervention takes on an even more crude manifestation: domineering and violent.

To appreciate French neo-colonialism in Africa, consider this: fourteen African countries are still economically bound to France through the use of special currency, the CFA franc, designed specifically by France to manage the trade and economies of its former colonies. This jarring example of French neo-colonialism in Africa is consistent with France’s colonial and racist past.

Whether France chooses to come to terms with its past is entirely a French affair. It is, however, the responsibility of Tunisia – and the whole of Africa – to confront France and other colonial and neo-colonial regimes, not merely by demanding apologies and compensation, but insisting on a complete change of the present, unequal relations as well.

“In the colonial context the settler only ends his work of breaking in the native when the latter admits loudly and intelligibly the supremacy of the white man’s values,” wrote Frantz Fanon in ‘The Wretched of the Earth’.

The opposite must also be true. Tunisia, and many African countries, must demand a French apology. By doing so, they declare ‘loudly and intelligibly’ that they are finally free from the ‘white man’s (selfish and racist) values,’ and that they truly see themselves as equal. 

Neoliberal Psychological Realism: from Barbie Dolls to Hook-up Sex  

Orientation

In this two-part article, I trace facets of neoliberal psychology over a 50 years period, from 1970 to present. The first facet of neoliberal psychology is the “realist” phase in which capitalists strip the individual of as many of our social, qualitative (as opposed to quantitative) relations as well as our historical and cross-cultural identities so that everything can be reduced to an economic, quantitative, measurable, calculating short-term cost-benefit analysis. Every activity is saleable and reduced to a price. This psychology will be expressed as it applies to developmental psychology, toys, sexuality, thinking processes and attention span. This will be the subject of Part I.

The second facet of neoliberal psychology is its romantic dimension. At the same time that neoliberal realist psychology was stripping the individual of his social and historical identity, some middle and upper middle-class individuals fled into what I call “romantic” neoliberalism which included humanistic, emotional expressive psychology popular throughout the 1970’s. Beginning in the mid to late 1970s and going through at least the rest of the 20th century was a kind of new age spirituality. This will be the subject of Part II.

Taken together, there are three kinds of self under neoliberal psychology:

Entrepreneurial self: realist psychology — Alexander Rustow

Expressive self: romantic psychology — Maslow, Rogers, Perls

Mystical self: romantic psychology — Jung, Eliade, Campbell

Romantic, emotional and spiritualist selves are two different answers to the experience of feeling trapped by modern social conditions and realist psychology. Its reaction is either for the individual to:

  1. detach from society and rebel emotionally; or;
  2. reject the associative, social contract relations of modern life, not by denying our social identity as the romantics do, but to dissolve into pre-modern social life as in the Middle Ages and pre-Christian paganism.

Exploitation, alienation and mystification in bourgeoise psychology

In my two-part argument, What is Socialist Psychology? I argued that bourgeois psychology strips the human species of its social and historical identity and treats this isolated, alienated individual as ground zero of human psychology. Then it tacks on the social and historical dimensions as after-effects, as derivatives which weakly interact with this self-subsisting individual. On the other hand, in order to understand neoliberal psychology in a socialist, macro-cultural way, the dynamic between society and the individual under capitalism needs to start from work relations in terms of exploitation of the workers’ surplus value by the capitalists.  In addition, there is alienation of the workers:

  • in the commodities produced;
  • in the work process itself;
  • from other workers on the job;
  • from power settings where work processes are decided; and,
  • from themselves.

In addition, the mystification of relations between capitalist and worker is such that workers develop what Marx called “false consciousness,” believing their conditions are not exploitative, alienating or mystifying. Because bourgeois psychology excludes any of these powerful concepts, it cannot successfully explain the unhappiness of people in capitalist society in any kind of systematic manner.

While the oppression of people may ultimately depend on state violence, it is far more cost-effective if one can convince people that this system of oppression is natural and unchangeable. Propaganda works best as an ideology that denies, minimizes and misrepresents realty. As it turns out, exploitation, alienation, mystification and ideology are necessary ingredients in the ruling classes’ recipe for controlling workers.

The power of ideology

Paraphrasing Carl Ratner in his book Neoliberal Psychology, ideology includes at least the five following techniques:

  • Deny the truth of oppressive features of society;
  • Fabricate positive features of society;
  • Acknowledge certain injurious effects of oppression with the qualification that they are necessary evils that ultimately lead to improvement and fulfillment;
  • Acknowledge certain injurious effects of oppressions while attributing them to extraneous factors—mistakes, human frailty, or psycho-biological factors that ignore the real causes of problems in political economy; and,
  • Present alternatives to the status quo and make them appear an oppressive, evil, extreme, unnecessary and unfeasible.

The whole point is on focusing upon rare, extreme, or sensational cases so as to narrow attention to individual causes of bizarre events. Focus is on individuals, not structures.

Origins of neoliberalism as a political economy

Carl Ratner argues that neoliberalism’s predominate ideological construct is called “entrepreneurialism”. This is the latest incarnation of individualism which began in the United States in the early 19th century. This term was invented by Alexander Rustow and other members of a neoliberal group called the Freiburg Circles in the 1930s. This was a right-wing reaction of economics of the Austrian school and its intellectuals in reaction to the Keynesian policies of FDR. In 1947 they met in Switzerland to found a Neoliberal society. It was convened by Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and Gary Becker. They were all anti-communists.

The main theoretical architect of neoliberalism in the late 1950’s was James Buchanan. He led the neoliberal charge to destroy the institutions of the “matriarchal” state such as pensions, public education, unemployment and food stamps because it fostered underproductivity of the lower classes.

By the late 1970’s, economist David Kotz says that capitalist classes of the core capitalist countries responded to the reforms of the New Deal by abandoning the capital-labor compromise which developed in the early 1950’s and attacking the trade unions. They lifted the state regulations governing capitalists and their bankers. The expansion of finance capital through credit increased the gap between industrial capital and finance capital, much of which produced no goods or services.

In her book Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, Jane Mayer discusses history of the Koch brothers neoliberal political-economy empire. Mayer explains that their unpopular policies had been used to fund alternative, private, secretive, organizations that influenced academic institutions, think tanks, courts, legislatures and the presidency.

In spite of all this, Keynesian New Deal economics worked well throughout the 1950s to the mid- 60s. As Ratner says:

What likely troubled the capitalist class most was the fall of the rate of profit after 1966. In the 1970s, US capitalism suffered a legitimacy crisis as the economy was mired in high inflation, unemployment and slower growth. The capitalist class mobilized politically in the 1970s. The laws regulating corporate political donations were changed. Neoliberal capitalism gave rise to some 25 years of relatively stable economic conditions after 1980. (Neoliberal Psychology, p. 53)

Thirteen reasons why neoliberalism is an ideology and not a practice

Neoliberalism claims to want to make society more productive by stripping off every layer of social life that is not strictly economic and reducing it to the micro-social relations of individuals competing in a market. Thus, for neoliberals every interaction is a transaction. A transaction is a short-term economic exchange where inputs and outputs are quantitatively measured with no state or social mediation. As Margaret Thatcher once said, “there is no society, only individuals”. But, in fact, this is an ideology because it contradicts what neoliberals actually do when it relates to their own social class. Here are some examples:

  • The neoliberal conference in 1947 was funded by corporate capitalism, not neoliberal individualists.
  • The Bank of England funded Hayek’s salary at the University of Chicago as well as the lectures Milton Friedman delivered.
  • Neoliberals form organizations in healthcare, education, legislatures, the justice system, space exploration, transportation and science. In other words, they conspired with each other, they didn’t compete.
  • They have established think tanks to control social policy. They didn’t let ideas of how the economy should be run as a “free marketplace of ideas”.
  • They started the American Legislative Exchange Council to integrate politicians with capitalists so that capitalists could write laws that politicians introduce into state and federal legislatures with lock-step uniformity.
  • At the very moment that neoliberals were writing their individualistic concoctions of capitalism — after World War II — capitalism had entered its monopolistic stage of the concentration of capital and property.
  • According to Ratner, entrepreneurs in the US compose only 9% of the population. “A few consultants and professionals (architects) have small businesses that fit that image.” (Neoliberal Psychology, p. 118).
  • Neoliberals surround themselves with collective institutions – The Chamber of Commerce, American Legislative Exchange Council and the Business Roundtable.
  • The rise of the bank conglomerates and financialization completely contradicts its individualist ideology.
  • Neoliberals undermine their own ideology with their imperialist foreign policy and militant interventions in foreign countries and overthrow democratically elected governments which do not submit to American economic and political demands. This is documented all over the world by Naomi Klein in The Shock Doctrine.
  • James Buchanan, who received his PHD from Friedman’s Department, was heavily funded by the Koch brothers;

Neoliberal cannibalization of the infrastructure

In practice, for the last 40 years neoliberalism has eaten away at the programs established by New Deal liberalism and this has been documented extensively. Since I want to address the psychological consequences of neoliberalism, I will be brief. Table A shows the effect of neoliberalism in six areas; hospitals, family life, workplaces, education, the capitalist state and financialization of life. There is a refusal to invest in the long-term consequences of the physical infrastructure (buildings, methods of harnessing energy) or the physical or mental health of workers. There is a stripping away of unquantified time such as hospital visits, break time, paid lunch, time at work. There is the destabilization of work schedules, decline in living stands and the narrowing of education to specialized knowledge to be able to do a job. In order to propagandize people to convince them that these conditions are normal, there is the marketization of language. This includes calling hospital patients “customers” or therapy patients “clients” or calling uber drivers “entrepreneurs”.  Therapists tell their clients to “invest” in a relationship. Small business owners are told to “leverage” their strategizes or “brand” their new organization; I am told that the teachers’ organization that holds my pension is conducting “wealth management’ for my “brokered” account.

Neoliberal narrowing cognition of the working-class

It is very important for neoliberalism to presents all classes as relatively equal, when in reality it needs low-wage workers to stay in their place and not think too expansively. Thanks to the work of Basil Bernstein on socio-linguistic codes, we have very clear distinctions between the way working-class students reason as opposed to how the upper-middle class students reason. We can imply this from their different uses of language. What Bernstein found is that upper middle-class students use universalistic meanings for words that can go beyond their jobs. Working-class students use particular meanings that are limited to their work. Unlike the upper-middle class, working-class students use simple and unfinished sentences where their full thought processes are likely to be cut off. Working-class students’ vocabulary is more limited and is more descriptive than analytic. In Piaget’s work, this translates as upper-middle-class teenagers thinking in a formal operational way while working class folks use concrete operations.

Anyone familiar with Piaget’s stages of cognitive development would expect that upper middle-class adults would cultivate a more abstract form of thinking because this kind of thinking is necessary for lawyers, doctors, architects or engineers. If you are a bus driver or train operator, thinking more abstractly is less required to do your job. But if working-class and upper-middle class students are in school, how would these differences come to be? The short answer is the difference between going to charter schools or underfunded public schools as opposed going to private schools. Assuming there is a relationship between IQ scores and cognitive development, Ratner says there is a deterioration of verbal IQ scores among working class students between the ages of 8 to 11 and between eleven and fifteen years of age. In other words, the IQ scores were closer among students before the age of 8. However, after eight years of poor education working-class cognitive ability deteriorates.

Capitalist marketing invades developmental psychology

On the surface it may seem that developmental psychology has been in the realm of psychologists, educators and the children or adolescents they meet with in labs, field studies or in interviews. It came as a surprise to me to find that clothing manufacturers and advertisers were hard at work in the 1920’s and 1930’s to convince parents that they knew more about children than either psychologists or educators. Ratner points out:

New emotions in parents and children were cultivated in the 1920’s and 30’s by clothing manufacturers and marketers in order to induce them to consume quantities of expensive clothing.

Clothing merchants cultivated a distinctive new form of material love and material cognition of children. Merchants wrote quantities of articles and advertisements in trade journals and popular magazines expressing the following psychological themes (p. 159):

Some examples of this are:

  • Mothers should express love for their children effusively
  • Children have an insatiable need for love
  • Children’s needs are great and must be satisfied quickly
  • Children like new stimulations. They are dissatisfied (bored) with stable, familiar conditions
  • Children are entitled to things
  • The good life is defined as having more material possessions
  • Children’s appearance is very important to their success and action
  • Children know themselves and are capable of making choices to make themselves happy
  • Parents do not really understand children’s needs and development and should not interfere
  • Children are impulsive, hedonistic and egotistical
  • Children identify themselves with material objects
  • Children are unique and require objects that bring out their uniqueness
  • Children want to grow up quickly
  • Mothers are insecure about rapidly changing social norms

For the good life to be defined as an increase in material possessions, it serves capitalists to convince parents that they must express their love effusively through the accumulation of ever-new playthings for their children. How convenient it is for children’s appearance to be crucial to their identity and development and for children is identified with material options. Parents need to stop being old fuddy-duddies, for the times they are ‘a-changing.

These clothing manufacturers and advertisers propagandized children’s emotions to be intense, impulsive and insistent and could only be satisfied by a whole industry of children’s clothing, toys and now a cornucopia of electronic gadgets. Children’s supposed independence and uniqueness had capitalist motives. As it turns out, the developmental category of “toddler” was not the invention of psychologists or educators but was originated by capitalists in the service of selling clothing products to parents.

The Tyranny of Sleekness

Barbie dolls

If you are a woman, surely you remember Barbie dolls. In fact, according to Carl Ratner, 99% of three to ten-year-old girls owned them. One of the major characteristics of Barbie is her waistline, which is 39% smaller than the waistline, not of the average woman, but of anorexic women. But what does that have to do with the lives of 3-11-year-old girls? Who cares what Barbie’s waistline is? Well, apparently young girls do. By the time they are eight, a whopping 40% percent wish they were thinner. By the time they are eleven, 79% wish they were thinner. According to neoliberal ideology, socialization is fairly superficial with each girl free to choose their personal meanings. But this research shows that girls’ “free choices” conform to commercial pressures in a very predicable way.

But what does neoliberal capitalism gain by women striving to be thin? In terms of selling products, if women were happy with their body shape, they would buy the clothing that went with that shape and that would be the end of it. There would be no striving, dieting and dieting programs. However, if your model is a Barbie doll and you are over 12 years old, you are in trouble. Whether you are a teenager, young or middle adult female, no matter what you do you, whether you have children or not, you will not be able to maintain the waistline of an average twelve-year-old, or even an anorexic 12-year-old. But what you will be guaranteed to do is spend plenty of money on clothes, dieting, and exercising. You will be strung along the line for the rest of your life. There is a reason that Macy’s advertisements have 12-year-old girls dressed to the teeth to look twice their age.

Fast food

According to Ratner, of all the commodities that are bought and used, there is no commodity that can be bought and consumed as frequently as eating. One may like to buy new shoes, but unless you are Imelda Marcos, there is a limit to how many shoes you buy, and the same is true for clothing, cell phones and the like. However, no other commodity can be bought and consumed as frequently as food. You can eat food continuously for 16 hours a day; at work, with friends, driving a car, watching TV or being on the internet. However, what kind of food will it benefit capitalists that you buy? Hint, it is not the good quality food which takes a long time to digest and after which the person eating feels sated.

It is the cheap food which is digested quickly and is extremely stimulating. While providing instant gratification, unlike healthy food, there is no real satiation. It just stimulates new cravings. Most importantly from the capitalist viewpoint, fast food guarantees weight gain. Who might suffer most from weight gain? All the women who want to have waistlines like Barbie. So, the capitalists have women coming and going. First, they are exploited in that they invest in diets, gyms, training programs to aspire to possess 12-year-old bodies. Then women are exploited in consuming the fast food and then these “overweight” conditions are reproduced because they have gained weight that makes them even further away from Barbie.

Lean products express neoliberalism

As Ratner insightfully points out, the ideological fanaticism about thin female bodies (white women, mostly) is not just about the shape of women, but the shape of all products under neoliberal capitalism such as thin, light consumer products including cell phones, flat panel TV screens, and lap top computers. It is also reflected in architecture that emphasizes sleek lines and sharp angles. Sleekness represents capital on the move. Neoliberal capitalists don’t want to invest in anything that is stable or takes time to grow. Like thin people, neoliberal capital is agile and changes direction quickly:

  • The investor is nimble in shifting capital to finance and does not get weighed down in infrastructure and its inevitable depreciation.
  • The employer is nimble in anticipating demands and delivering products “just in time.”
  • The employer is nimble in hiring and firing employees and keeping its labor supply to match sales, no more and no less.
  • The manager is nimble in shifting work to low wage areas and shifting supply chains to lower cost areas.

Sleekness cannot tolerate waiting, training, saving, persevering, planning or considering things for the long-haul.

Neoliberal feminism: hook-up sex – no deposit, no return

It is tempting to think that casual sex is a male preoccupation and that most women, regardless of class, do not want casual sex. But as Carl Ratner points out, “hook up” sex in college is something actively pursued by upper middle-class women. These women make a cost-benefit analysis of who they want to have sex with.

They see building their resumes, not finding boyfriends, as their main job. They do not want to deal with the complexities of managing a relationship through school. One claimed that having one-night stands made her a true feminist. From a macro-psychological standpoint, a contracting capitalist economy increases competition for work and its impersonal economic relations make romantic entanglements slow and sticky. Therefore, these upper-middle class students have adapted. Furthermore, to increase the chances of a successful uninvolved adventure, these women rely on each other to determine if their choice is a good match. Her girlfriends help her decide.

Normal signs of affection such as eye contact, holding hands or cuddling are avoided. If students were good friends, if they have sex, they are to act like acquaintances. If they were acquaintances initially, they should act like strangers. If they were strangers before they engaged in sex, they should not acknowledge each other’s existence at all.

These hook-ups are not a retreat or an escape from the world of political economy, but an expression of it. How?

  • Young women avoid personal intimacy and dependency just as people at work avoid personal loyalty or dependence.
  • Young women plan to have sex with anonymous partners who are similar to anonymous strangers who exchange products on the market.
  • Just as the job market is uncertain in terms of fluctuating work time, salaries, work sites and workers, so sex adventures are rotated, unplanned and insecure.
  • The commodification of one’s body and identity in the sexual world is a micro cousin to the macro world of selling one’s labor to the highest bidder.
  • The accumulation of impersonal sexual conquests matches the accumulation of commodities when shopping.
  • The termination of a hook-up after sex, as Ratner says, parallels the management of the termination of workers:

Terse strategies are prepared and implemented by personnel staff for summarily informing workers to some brief counselling resources if necessary, and then often calling guards to physically escort workers off the premises. (p. 171)

Ratner summarizes beautifully the macro cultural perspective on sexual hook-ups:

It makes people more adaptable to neoliberal activities required at work, school, in shopping and medical encounters. Neoliberal sex makes it easy to transition from the bedroom to the workplace. Hook-up sex makes lovers better employees, managers or students.

The concrete neoliberal consequences of macro cultural psychology are that individuals are agents of neoliberalism, just as Milton Friedman was.  Hook-up participants are neoliberal revolutionaries. (p. 173)

These Neoliberal feminists tear down the ramparts of traditional sexuality, just as Friedman and Neoliberal economics tore down the ramparts of the New Deal state structures.

Mindfulness as spiritual libertarianism: transition to romantic neoliberalism

The image that might come to mind upon hearing the term “mindfulness,” at least to many middle or upper-middle class people, is of a solitary individual, probably a Buddhist, in a meditative posture with their eyes closed and happily detached from the outside world.

But the reality of mindfulness, at least the strand of it that was started in the United States under the leadership of Kabat-Zinn, has a contradictory relationship to Buddhism. In his book McMindfulness, Ronald Purser points out that mindfulness is a four-billion-dollar industry and more than 100,000 books have the word “mindfulness” in them or a variation of that term in their titles. When I first heard of the term mindfulness twenty years ago, I thought about it as a Buddhist approach to therapy. There are mindful therapies such as “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy” that fit this category, but in the hands of Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness has been used in work settings, school settings, in politics, even in the military and at the World Economic Forums.

Purser compares Kabat-Zinn to Deepak Chopra in terms of being a spiritual salesman. One of Kabat-Zinn’s books, Full Catastrophe Living, has sold over 400,000 copies and has gone through fifteen editions. He founded a stress reduction clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School as far back as 1979 – perfect timing with the neoliberal elections of Thatcher in Britain and Reagan in the US. Why associate Kabat-Zinn with neoliberalism?  Why would “McMindfulness” as Purser calls it, be considered right-wing or entrepreneurial? After all, Buddhists don’t usually appear to be right-wing people.

McMindfulness’ spiritual individualism historically

The upper classes in the United States by the middle of the 18th century were disgruntled with traditional western religions. A century later, the Transcendentalists – Emerson and Thoreau – focus on direct experience which had Eastern influences. For Emerson, the significance of Asian religions consists of assimilation of the present into the here and now. Thoreau read the Bhagavad-Gita at Walden Pond and drew on its ideas. By the end of the 19th century the libraries of upper-class Bostonians were filled with books not only on mysticism and Eastern religions, but also on the occult.

But, as usual, something dramatic happened when Buddhism got transported to the United States. Buddhism was stripped of its social context and became privatized spirituality, a spiritual individualism. In the 20th century D.T. Suzuki’s revisionist version of Zen made Buddhist meditation individualist enough to suit the Beats in the 1950’s.

Defining McMindfulness

For Purser, “McMindfulness” is a Western colonialization of Buddhism which says the causes of suffering are disproportionally inside us. The underlying cause of dissatisfaction is our chattering mind. By failing to pay attention to what actually happens in each moment, we get lost in regrets about the past and fears for the future. All we need to do is close our eyes and pay attention to our breath. We might think that mindfulness would have something to do with critical thinking, but in mindfulness, critical thinking is not welcomed. On the contrary, it is pathologized. Other distractions to mindfulness include “doing”, which is seen as a distraction, as well as long-lasting emotions like anger.

But suppose you are angry about racism and police brutality that happened two days ago?  Just “release”, go back to deep breathing and focus on the present. This sequestering of mindfulness from emotion, action and socio-political situations is central to the creation of a neoliberal psychology. To those who persist in suspecting that mindfulness leads to socio-political passivity, Purser says we are offered “trickle down” social change. According to Kabat-Zinn, people will naturally become social change agents as an automatic consequence of mastering mindfulness. However, there is no research that supports this.

Mindfulness is presented as a context-free technology which is simply imported from the East and applied to the West.  But the mindfulness movement does have a context; namely, the late 1970’s when neoliberal economics was just starting.

Ruth Whippman points out that the positive psychology movement has been funded by some of the most right-wing conservative organizations. The John Temple Foundation founded by an evangelical Christian billionaire… The Foundation has doled out millions of dollars in grants and prizes to positive psychology professors (McMindfulness, p. 32)

After the 2008 crash, corporate capitalists got the fever for mindfulness and passed it down to their employees who were encouraged to do more with less. These employees were “rebranded” as entrepreneurs of the self, using mindfulness to take full responsibility for their performance. In other words, work harder, faster and be mindful along the way.

Is Mindfulness Buddhist or not? Manipulation of Buddhism

Though a follower of Theravada Buddhism himself, Kabat-Zinn left all mention of Buddhism out and replaced it with bio-medical terminology at his clinic and when he was attempting to receive public funding. When trying to sell Mindfulness to corporations, Buddhism is denied. But in New Age settings, with people hungry for awakenings that are spiritual, talk about “dharma” is suddenly present.

Coming attractions

But is there any resistance to neoliberal realism psychology? Is it all gloom and doom? After all, the era just before the rise of the entrepreneurial self in the 1980’s we had the human potential movement of the 1960’s and into the early 1980’s. What was the relationship between neoliberal realist psychology and the humanistic psychology of Maslow, Rogers and Perls? Furthermore, the early 1980’s also saw the rise of Carl Jung’s spiritual psychology along with the mythological work of Joseph Campbell. Both Jung and Campbell seem the exact opposite to neoliberal realist psychology. Are they opposites? Is there overlap? How do we understand the relationship? Answers to these questions and more will be found in Part II of this article.• First published at Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism

The Stock Market Produces Nothing

On June 2, 2020, Jan Dehn of Ashmore Investment Management Limited remarked:

If central banks were to allow asset prices to reflect the actual underlying fundamentals – record levels of debt, record low productivity growth, record unemployment, record populism – the resulting crashes in financial markets would be so large that most Western economies would be plunged into deep and lasting depressions.1

Putting aside the fact that many countries and regions are already in a deep and lasting economic depression that started long ago, the stock market is once again rising thanks to massive non-stop infusions of digital dollars from the private institutions of the rich like the Federal Reserve. Central banks in other parts of the world are also printing colossal sums of money around the clock. However, no jobs or social programs are being printed.

Like the banks, the stock market produces nothing. Neither creates value. Both are driven by anti-consciousness and both are a drain on the socialized economy.

While the stock market reflects the contradictions inherent to the capitalist economic system and is not an entity unto itself completely detached from the production of goods and services, stocks themselves are not the economy. Stocks are largely property titles to claims to anticipated wealth. An increase in the price of stocks, for example, does not necessarily represent an increase in real wealth. In short, there exists a mediated relationship between the stock market and the actual production of real value.

Today, stock values have become very far removed from the value of real assets and material goods and services. The idea of “bubbles” reflects this growing disconnect between the economy and the stock market. In 2008, for example, most could not even explain what “derivatives” were because they were so convoluted and so far removed from reality. It was next to impossible to determine which claims of wealth (real and fictitious) belonged to whom because toxic financial instruments were essentially made-up and resold over and over again.

In reality, much of the stock market relies on fictitious capital—value beyond what can be realized in the form of commodities. It is capital above and beyond actual capital. Fictitious capital is parasitic and can arise from printing money, lending between banks, compound interest, credit, speculation, fractional banking, fake toxic financial instruments, and more. Fictitious capital spontaneously duplicates and triplicates real capital. It is not real value produced by real workers in the sphere of production. Workers do not produce fictitious capital. Speculation, for example, represents a projected legal claim to value that may or may not materialize in the future. It is a gamble. It is akin to trading in promises and risks, without actual existing funds. Not surprisingly, risk-taking and recklessness have reached new heights under the current surreal circumstances.

The “free-market” under conditions of imperialism causes many individuals and organizations to become blind to reality and the laws of motion of economic development. Many get lost in a radically-detached subjective reality where anything goes (so-called “animal spirits” take over). The market appears as a land of infinite unicorns and rainbows. Material reality dissolves. After all, the private Federal Reserve has repeatedly signaled to the mega-rich that they have nothing to worry about: the super-rich will be taken care of under all circumstances. Since they are “too big to fail and too big to jail,” digital dollars will keep flowing to them perpetually. This eliminates risk for a tiny few.

Keeping in mind the important principle that what is not produced cannot be distributed, the stock market mainly re-divides and re-distributes already-produced value. It represents the parasitism and decay within the economy. It is an arena in which the richest and most powerful capture the wealth seized not only by weaker and smaller owners of capital, but also the pensions and other funds that belong to workers and the public. “Might makes right” prevails throughout the obsolete “dog-eat-dog” capitalist economic system.

The notion that “money begets money” (“capitalization”) is a capital-centered prejudice that fosters the illusion that production does not matter and workers are irrelevant; workers supposedly have nothing to do with the production of social wealth. Money just arises magically. But the fairy tale that “money begets money” is a main reason why the stock market always becomes “over-valued” and eventually crashes. Asset valuations and speculation may extend well beyond the stratosphere, but ultimately they are governed by the laws of motion of economic development and must return to Earth. The chickens always come home to roost, as the saying goes. The “good times” never last. Anxiety and insecurity are always around the corner. Unplanned and anarchic economic activity cannot escape frequent catastrophic reckonings.

Such crashes and the havoc they wreak are inevitable in an economic system based on the private ownership of competing parts of the economy. The generalized anarchy of production in society negates conscious human control and planning of the economy and inevitably leads to disharmony between production and consumption, resulting in regular upheavals and chaos. Sustained prosperity, peace, and stability for all are impossible under such outmoded conditions and further reveal the need for new relations of production. A new direction and motivation for the economy are sorely needed.

The economy, properly speaking, is the relations people enter into with each other in the course of producing value. Every society has to produce and reproduce their means of existence. Any society that fails to do so, even for a few months, will experience serious problems.

Capital is the dominant unequal social relation in modern society. Workers and owners of capital enter into a relation with each other that legally permits owners of capital to seize the added-value stemming from the labor-time of workers. The claims of workers and owners of capital over this added-value clash frequently, and today this unequal social relation is in deep crisis and needs to give way to a new relation in which the working class controls what it alone produces.

To be clear, value comes only from the labor-time of workers producing goods and services in material space-time. Only the work-time of the working class can impart value to commodities. Without workers, there would be no social wealth. In this sense, owners of capital are historically superfluous, a drain on society and the economy. They are not needed. They play no positive role. They are not interested in nation-building and have not solved any problems. Owners of capital are blocking social progress by preventing the rise of new relations of production that are in harmony with the socialized nature of production.

All the chicanery, parasitism, and schemes of the imperialist oligarchs, including the stock market, will only intensify economic and social problems. Inequality, unemployment, and poverty will continue to worsen as private central banks print more money and stock markets climb.

The law of the falling rate of profit is coercive and inescapable. Under capitalism, the amount of capital invested in production eventually necessarily exceeds the profit returned. And eventually a point is reached where there is no incentive to invest, thereby establishing the conditions for crisis. Efforts to counter this law are temporary and ineffective in the long run; such efforts cannot avert crises altogether. Attempts to avert this law lead only to more tragedies for the people. The law of the falling rate of profit is a main reason why, over the past few decades, owners of capital have reduced investments in real production and shifted towards financial parasitism. According to some, the rate of profit in the U.S. has been steadily declining for 70 years.

In the coming months, the domino effects of the current world-wide economic fiasco will become even more painful and visible. The consequences of the global economic collapse will be unfolding for some time. More social unrest is bound to arise at home and abroad. And to be sure, finding a vaccine for Covid-19 will not end the depression or its torturous consequences. The obsolete capitalist economic system has been in decline for decades.

Nonetheless, while multiple overwhelming crises are unfolding simultaneously, this is not the time to drown in pessimism and hopelessness. That won’t help.

Taking up the hard and drawn-out work of developing independent thinking and politics is critical at this juncture. There are openings to do this. The social unrest unfolding worldwide provides an opening to advance ideas, thinking, perspectives, and measures that advance the general interests of society and its members. For instance, people everywhere are raising demands for accountability for state violence in its many forms. They are also rejecting past symbols of oppression. A new form of consciousness is unfolding and its direction and content are up for grabs. When far more people start to say things like “nothing surprises me anymore,” it is clear there are significant contradictions in motion.

Growing social unrest is intensifying the need to reject the ideas, views, agendas, arrangements, and fear-mongering of the rich and the democrats and republicans who govern on their behalf. Conditions are compelling more people to take nothing for granted and to investigate things and phenomena for themselves. There is a heightened sense of skepticism about information from mainstream sources. In the current rapidly-changing context, one must persistently engage in a conscious act of finding out and not automatically believe the rich and their political and media representatives. The mainstream media and the cartel political parties work tirelessly to impose ideas, agendas, and arrangements on people that deprive them of their own outlook, motivation, drive, and path forward.

Women, students, youth, workers, and senor citizens must take up serious investigation and analysis of what is unfolding and connect the dots. Action with no analysis won’t work. Nor will blindly repeating what the mainstream media or social media says. That just increases confusion and incoherence. Resorting to knee-jerk reactions, one-liners, or clever idioms will not do either. The need for analysis and coherence is more critical than ever.

Old ideas and old ways of thinking are not going to be useful moving forward. People must establish their own reference points and their own perspective on how to move society forward. A new direction, aim, motivation, and organization of society and the economy are needed and possible.

People everywhere want real decision-making power over their lives, society, and economy. This power is key to unleashing the human factor essential to building the new and guaranteeing the rights of all.

  1. Jan Dehn. June 2, 2020. “When market valuations become too high to fall“, June 2, 2020.

The Global Reset: Unplugged

Imagine, you are living in a world that you are told is a democracy – and you may even believe it – but, in fact, your life and fate is in the hands of a few ultra-rich, ultra-powerful and ultra-inhuman oligarchs. They may be called Deep State, Illuminati, or simply the Beast, or anything else obscure or untraceable, it doesn’t matter. They are less than the 0.0001%.

For lack of a better expression, let’s call them for now “obscure individuals”. These obscure individuals who pretend running our world have never been elected. We don’t need to name them. You will figure out who they are, and why they are famous, and some of them totally invisible. They have created structures, or organisms without any legal format. They are fully out of international legality. They are a forefront for the Beast. Maybe there are several competing Beasts. But they have the same objective: A New or One World Order (NWO, or OWO).

These obscure individuals are running, for example, The World Economic Forum (WEF – representing Big Industry, Big Finance and Big Fame), the Group of 7 – G7, the Group of 20 – G20 (the leaders of the economically” strongest” nations). There are also some lesser entities, called the Bilderberg Society, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the Chatham House and more. The members of all of them are overlapping. Even this expanded forefront combined represents less than 0.001%. They all have superimposed themselves over sovereign national elected and constitutional governments, and over THE multinational world body, the United Nations, the UN.

In fact, they have coopted the UN to do their bidding. UN Director Generals, as well as the DGs of the multiple UN-suborganizations, are chosen – mostly by the US, with the consenting nod of their European vassals – according to the candidate’s political and psychological profile. If his or her ‘performance’ as head of the UN or head of one of the UN sub-organizations fails, his or her days are counted. Coopted or created by the Beast(s) are also the European Union, the Bretton Woods Organizations, World Bank and IMF, as well as the World Trade Organization (WTO), and – make no mistake – the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. It has no teeth. Just to make sure the law is always on the side of the lawless.

In addition to the key international financial institutions, WB and IMF, there are the so-called regional development banks and similar financial institutions, keeping the countries of their respective regions in check. In the end it’s financial or debt-economy that controls everything. Western neoliberal banditry has created a system, where political disobedience can be punished by economic oppression or outright theft of national assets in international territories. The system’s common denominator is the (still) omnipresent US-dollar.

The supremacy of these obscure unelected individuals becomes ever more exposed. We, the People, consider it “normal” that they call the shots, not what we call – or once were proud of calling, our sovereign nations and sovereignly elected governments. They have become a herd of obedient sheep. The Beast has gradually and quietly taken over. We haven’t noticed. It’s the salami tactic: You cut off slice by tiny slice and when the salami is gone, you realize that you have nothing left, that your freedom, your civil and human rights are gone. By then it’s too late. Case in point is the US Patriot Act. It was prepared way before 9/11. Once 9/11 “happened”, the Patriot Legislation was whizzed through Congress in no time – for the people’s future protection – people called for it for fear – and – bingo, the Patriot Act took about 90% of the American population’s freedom and civil rights away. For good.

We have become enslaved to the Beast. The Beast calls the shots on boom or bust of our economies, on who should be shackled by debt, when and where a pandemic should break out, and on the conditions of surviving the pandemic, for example, social confinement. And to top it all off, the instruments the Beast uses, very cleverly, are a tiny-tiny invisible enemy, called a virus, and a huge but also invisible monster, called FEAR. That keeps us off the street, off reunions with our friends, and off our social entertainment, theatre, sports, or a picnic in the park.

Soon the Beast will decide who will live and who will die, literally – if we let it. This may be not far away. Another wave of pandemic and people may beg, yell and scream for a vaccine, for their death knell, and for the super bonanza of Big Pharma and towards the objectives of the eugenicists blatantly roaming the world – . There is still time to collectively say NO. Collectively and solidarily.

Take the latest case of blatant imposture. Conveniently, after the first wave of Covid-19 had passed, at least in the Global North, where the major world decisions are made, in early June 2020, the unelected WEF Chairman, Klaus Schwab, announced “The Great Reset”. Taking advantage of the economic collapse – the crisis shock, as in “The Shock Doctrine” – Mr. Schwab, one of the Beast’s frontrunners, announces openly what the WEF will discuss and decide for the world-to-come in their next Davos Forum in January 2021. For more details see here.

Will, We, The People, accept the agenda of the unelected WEF?

It will opportunely focus on the protection of what’s left of Mother Earth; obviously at the center will be man-made CO2-based “Global Warming”. The instrument for that protection of nature and humankind will be the UN Agenda 2030 – which equals the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). It will focus on how to rebuild the willfully destroyed global economy, while respecting the (“green”) principles of the 17 SDGs.

Mind you, it’s all connected. There are no coincidences. The infamous Agenda 2021 which coincides with and complements the so-called (UN) Agenda 2030, will be duly inaugurated by the WEF’s official declaration of The Great Reset, in January 2021. Similarly, the implementation of the agenda of The Great Reset began in January 2020, by the launch of the corona pandemic – planned for decades with the latest visible events being the 2010 Rockefeller Report with its “Lockstep Scenario”, and Event 201, of 18 October in NYC which computer-simulated a corona pandemic, leaving within 18 months 65 million deaths and an economy in ruin, programmed just a few weeks before the launch of the actual corona pandemic. See COVID-19, We Are Now Living the “Lock Step Scenario“; and Global Capitalism, “World Government” and the Corona Crisis; and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.: Moderna’s Clinical Trial Results for its Groundbreaking Covid 19 Vaccine could not be much worse“.

The racial riots, initiated by the movement Black Lives Matter, funded by Soros & Co., following the brutal assassination of the Afro-American George Floyd by a gang of Minneapolis police, and spreading like brush-fire in no time to more than 160 cities, first in the US, then in Europe – are not only connected to the Beast’s agenda, but they were a convenient deviation from the human catastrophe left behind by Covid-19. See  The “Corona Hoax”, The Proliferation of Racial Riots: Towards a Military Lockdown?

The Beast’s nefarious plan to implement what’s really behind the UN Agenda 2030 is the little heard-of Agenda ID2020. See The Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic: The Real Danger is “Agenda ID2020“. It has been created and funded by the vaccination guru Bill Gates, and so has GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations), the association of Big Pharma – involved in creating the corona vaccines, and which funds along with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) a major proportion of WHO’s budget.

The Great Reset, as announced by WEF’s Klaus Schwab, is supposedly implemented by Agenda ID2020. It is more than meets the eye. Agenda ID2020 is even anchored in the SDGs, as SDG 16.9 “by 2030 provide legal [digital] identity for all, including free birth registration”. This fits perfectly into the overall goal of SDG 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”

Following the official path of the UN Agenda 2030 of achieving the SDGs, the ‘implementing’ Agenda ID2020 – which is currently being tested on school children in Bangladesh – will provide digitized IDs possibly in the form of nano-chips implanted along with compulsory vaccination programs, will promote digitization of money and the rolling out of 5G – which would be needed to upload and monitor personal data on the nano chips and to control the populace. Agenda ID2020 will most likely also include ‘programs’ – through vaccination? – of significantly reducing world population. Eugenics is an important component in the control of future world population under a NOW/OWO – see also Georgia Guidestones, mysteriously built in 1980.

The ruling elite used the lockdown as an instrument to carry out this agenda. Its implementation would naturally face massive protests, organized and funded along the same lines as were the BLM protests and demonstrations. They may not be peaceful – and may not be planned as being peaceful. Because to control the population in the US and in Europe, where most of the civil unrest would be expected, a total militarization of the people is required. This is well under preparation.

In his essay “The Big Plantation” John Steppling reports from a NYT article that a “minimum of  93,763 machine guns, 180,718 magazine cartridges, hundreds of silencers and an unknown number of grenade launchers have been provided to state and local police departments in the US since 2006. This is in addition to at least 533 planes and helicopters, and 432 MRAPs — 9-foot high, 30-ton Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicles with gun turrets and more than 44,900 pieces of night vision equipment, regularly used in nighttime raids in Afghanistan and Iraq.” He adds that this militarization is part of a broader trend. Since the late 1990s, about 89 percent of police departments in the United States serving populations of 50,000 people or more had a PPU (Police Paramilitary Unit), almost double of what existed in the mid-1980s. He refers to these militarized police as the new Gestapo.

Even before Covid, about 15% to 20% of the population was on or below the poverty line in the United States. The post-covid lockdown economic annihilation will at least double that percentage – and commensurately increase the risk for civil turbulence and clashes with authorities – further enhancing the reasoning for a militarized police force.

None of these scenarios will, of course, be presented to the public by the WEF in January 2021. These are decisions taken behind closed doors by the key actors for the Beast. However, this grandiose plan of the Great Reset does not have to happen. There is at least half the world population and some of the most powerful countries, economically and militarily – like China and Russia – opposed to it. “Reset” maybe yes, but not in these western terms. In fact, a reset of kinds is already happening with China about to roll out a new People’s Bank of China backed blockchain-based cryptocurrency, the crypto RMB, or yuan. This is not only a hard currency based on a solid economy, it is also supported by gold.

While President Trump keeps trashing China for unfair trade, for improperly managing the covid pandemic, for stealing property rights – China bashing no end – that China depends on the US and that the US will cut trading ties with China – or cut ties altogether, China is calling Trump’s bluff. China is quietly reorienting herself towards the ASEAN countries plus Japan (yes, Japan!) and South Korea, where trade already today accounts for about 15% of all China’s trade and is expected to double in the next five years.

True, China’s exports did decline by about 3% in April 2020 as a result of the covid-lockdown, but US exports decreased by almost 8% in the same period. It is clear that the vast majority of US industries could not survive without Chinese supply chains. The western dependence on Chinese medical supplies is particularly strong. Let alone Chinese dependence by US consumers. In 2019, US total consumption, about 70% of GDP, amounted to $13.3 trillion, of which a fair amount is directly imported from China or dependent on ingredients from China.

The WEF-masters are confronted with a real dilemma. Their plan depends very much on the dollar supremacy which would continue to allow dishing out sanctions and confiscating assets from those countries opposing US rule; a dollar-hegemony which would allow imposing the components of The Great Reset scheme as described above.

At present, the dollar is fiat money, debt-money created from thin air. It has no backing whatsoever. Therefore, its worth as a reserve currency is increasingly decaying, especially vis-à-vis the new crypto-yuan from China. In order to compete with the Chinese yuan, the US Government would have to move away from its monetary Ponzi-scheme, by separating itself from the 1913 Federal Reserve Act and print her own US-economy- and possibly gold-backed (crypto) money – not fiat FED-money, as is the case today. That would mean cutting the more than 100-year old ties to the Rothschild and Co. clan-owned FED, and creating a real peoples-owned central bank. Not impossible, but highly improbable. Here, two Beasts might clash, as world power is at stake.

Meanwhile, China, with her philosophy of endless creation, would continue forging ahead unstoppably with her mammoth socioeconomic development plan of the 21st Century, the Belt and Road Initiative, connecting and bridging the world with infrastructure for land and maritime transport, with joint research and industrial projects, cultural exchanges – and not least, multinational trade with “win-win” characteristics, equality for all partners – towards a multi-polar world, towards a world with a common future for mankind.

Today already more than 120 countries are associated with BRI – and the field is wide open for others to join – and to defy, unmask and unplug The Great Reset of the West.

Was It Only “Fear Itself?”:  FDR and Today

Movement politics is how the people flex their power, while electoral politics under the corporate duopoly is the domain of the moneyed classes.

— Glen Ford, Black Agenda  Report

While it’s myth that after the stock market crash of 1929, brokers pitched themselves off of tall buildings in Lower Manhattan (None did. A real buzz killer), there was an uptick in suicides among moguls by less dramatic means for a few years. Today, amidst the cascading bad economic news, investors seemingly have only two worries. First, that further waves of COVID-19 infections and deaths might sidetrack the economy’s  reopening and affect profits. The second is that procrastinators might be left behind — FOMO, the  Fear of Missing Out —as the market continues to rise. One thing that they’re not losing any sleep over is that working class consciousness is rising to the radical level of the 1930s when capitalism faced genuine peril.

In 2020, as in the 1930s, the economy is tanking, unemployment is at Great Depression levels with another 1.5 million workers having filed for  unemployment last week, Federal regulations (600+) having been dismantled, CEO compensation now at 287 times that of workers and of the 11 Fed financial bailouts, 10 went to Wall Street banks. Further, at the inception of the Covid-19 outbreak, over 70 percent of Americans were already living on the financial edge, with lifetime savings depleted, and home foreclosures multiplying. Now, many of the jobs losses are terminal, millions of stores remain shut down across the country, angry protesters throng the streets,  and an exceedingly grim future awaits most of the citizens.

Again, as in 1933, the Federal government is taking bold action. But instead of FDR’s New Deal, this time the decisive action entails a a $4.5 trillion bailout of emergency corporate lending, some pittance payments to workers, and ominous threats about the dire consequences of not returning to their jobs. What accounts for the difference in the government’s response then and now? I suggest that both responses were self-serving actions by the ruling elite and it’s to our peril not to understand that fact.

As I’ve noted previously, big tech companies have proven virtually immune to what’s happening in the economy inhabited by the rest of us.  The tech-heavy NASDAQ recently surpassed 10,000 before retreating and Amazon, Alphabet (Google) and Facebook are soaring. Apple and Microsoft recently became the first to reach $1.5 trillion market caps.  According to investment strategists,  the Fed’s maintaining low interest and inflation rates has been the magic elixir  for these  big tech companies.

Robert Armstrong, writing in The Financial Times (quoted in NYT, 6/11/2020) notes, in a strikingly nonchalant  manner,  that all of this is only more “evidence of an inherent and structural tension between the owning class and the working class.”  In the United States, where a small percentage owns most of the wealth, they reap the gains from a resurgent stock market. Thus, as Armstrong continues, “Covid-19 has put working-and-middle-class people under severe strain, while the asset-owning class have felt relatively little pain.”

The Great Depression’s Legacy: FDR’s Efforts to Save Capitalism

After the Great Crash of 1929, a broad spectrum of prominent American writers, artists, poets, playwrights, and painters offered enthusiastic support for socialist ideas. Concurrently, ordinary citizens were questioning the precepts of capitalism and the traditional U.S. political system. Breadlines, shantytowns and hunger marches were growing along with the growing appeal of left-wing class politics and labor radicalism. Unaffiliated groups were organizing self-help cooperatives and racially integrated Unemployed Councils, organized by Communists, were springing up. Protests blocking evictions were occurring in major cities, often involving violent confrontation with the police. From 1930-1932, over 700 actions by the unemployed were reported to the Communist party’s newspaper, the Daily Worker. (Note: The CP ultimately followed directives from the CP International in joining the “Popular Front” and supporting the New Deal.)

In an article titled, “How FDR Saved Capitalism,” the late, neoconservative political scientist and sociologist Seymour Martin Lipset lavished effusive praise on President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s conscious effort to blunt widespread anticapitalist sentiments and undercut the appeal of left-wing radicals.1  At the time, left parties and associated movements emerged in Wisconsin, New York, California, Minnesota, Washington,Nebraska, Oregon, and North Dakota. In Minnesota, Governor Floyd Olson (Farmer-Labor Party) pioneered unemployment insurance, anti-foreclosure laws, public works programs, a pro-worker labor code and public pensions. In one speech he said, “I hope the present system of government goes right to hell” and proposed abolishing capitalism and establishing government control “over all means of production.”2

FDR rejected radical politics but the New Deal was deeply influenced by the president’s keen awareness of needing to propose policies that would ween discontented workers away from demanding deep structural changes.The president employed three basic tactics: First, he was masterful in lifting and incorporating left demands into his rhetoric. Second, he sought to co-opt some leaders by extending patronage to non-Democratic Party state and local officials. Part of this involved setting aside references to the Democratic Party, per se, and frequently mentioning farmers, women, labor, minorities and liberals.  Finally, as part of his expedient and temporary tilt toward the left, FDR was not above disingenuously threatening that to save capitalism from itself it might be necessary to “equalize the distribution of wealth” and “throw to the wolves the forty-six men reputed to have incomes in excess of one million dollars.”

This was all presaged in his FDR’s first presidential inaugural address in 1933. Ira Katznelson, author of Fear Itself, a book celebrated by mainstream reviewers, wrote “A climate of universal fear deeply affected political understandings and concerns. Nothing was sure.”3. In the fifth sentence of his  inaugural speech on March 4,1933, President Roosevelt uttered the famous phrase: “Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” He then proceeded to blame the depression on “unscrupulous money changers” who lacked any vision. The president blamed “callous and selfish bankers and businessmen who persisted in engaging  in the “evils of the old order.”

While offering to work with legislators, FDR made clear that if Congress failed to act there would be a need for a “temporary departure from the normal balance of public procedure.” The president would seek “broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.” Robert Morley, a law professor at Columbia, had created the original “Brain Trust” to advise Roosevelt during the 1932 presidential campaign. He was also  responsible for writing FDR’s inaugural address although the latter never acknowledged it. Later, Morley said that because of the speech, “Capitalism was saved in eight days.” Hyperbole aside, the critical point is that Katznelson and many other liberal historians agree that saving capitalism was a major objective of the New Deal and that some form of “liberal democracy” was the preferred means of accomplishing that end.

W.E.B. DuBois had hoped the incipient New Deal would be the opening, the first step toward socialism. However, by 1938, Roosevelt, perhaps concluding the threat had past, slowed his reforms and even proposed a traditional balanced budget. Tellingly, when the Recession of 1937-38 resulted in Republicans defeating several third party incumbents, FDR responded, “We have on the positive side eliminated Phil La Follete and the Farmer-Labor people in the Northwest as a standing Third Party threat.”

I trust that others, far better versed in the New Deal period will comment and  I’ll only suggest a line of inquiry that needs fleshing out: Unlike  today’s predator class, who’ve little to worry about, their counterparts in the 1930s had more to fear than “fear itself” — and acted accordingly. That is, “…the spectre that haunted the New Deal years … was the fear of the dominant class of a renewed populist  alliance —  this time strengthened by a more combative and a more mature industrial proletariat than had existed in the 1890s.4  Liberal historian Arthur Schlesinger wrote of the moment, “It was now a matter of seeing whether a representative democracy could conquer economic collapse. It was a matter of staving off violence — even some thought — revolution.5

Many people now understand that spending on World World II was what “saved capitalism” but I suspect the myth that benevolent motives dominated New Deal thinking is still believed by many. Shedding further light on this matter should prove useful in clarifying and responding to both the diversions and opportunities awaiting us in the near future.

What about today?  Not “A few bad police apples,” but a Rotten Capitalist Tree

If polls are to be believed, a majority of the public agrees with the core positions put forth by Black LIves Matter and support the protests against police brutality. I’ve been encouraged by the fact that hundreds of thousands of young, white Millennials have been in the streets, often outnumbering black participants. For example, between 60-65 percent of the demonstrators in New York and Washington were white youth under age 34.

We are at a propitious moment and the critical question is whether the momentum of the protests will transition to a wider and deeper critique that extends beyond the police. We can be certain that efforts are forthcoming to co-opt BLM supporters with cosmetic, liberal palliatives and to divert protests into the cul-de-sac of identity politics, the most insidiously effective weapon in corporatocracy’s toolbox. Resisting these maneuvers will require a politically astute, creative, and sustained response.

Can we go further and explicitly explain that the police under capitalism can never be reformed to take the side of Black, Brown and working class people? All available evidence suggests that from their inception, the foremost function of the police has been to safeguard the capitalist private property of those who own and rule the country. As Chris Hedges recently pointed out, “The crisis we face is not, as the ruling elites want us to believe, limited to police violence. It is a class and generational revolt. It will not be solved by new police reforms. The problem is an economic and political system that has by design created a nation of serfs  and obscenely rich masters.”6

A new mass political formation of people prepared to engage in widespread civil disobedience and face arrest, remains our only hope for secular salvation and much depends upon how we creatively reimagine making our case. It’s a daunting challenge and not the first time we’ve needed to take inspiration from Antonio Gramsci’s invocation: pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will.

  1. Unless otherwise specified, quotes in the next three paragraph are from Seymour Martin Lipset and Gary Marks, “How FDR Saved Capitalism,” HOOVER DIGEST, January 1, 2001. It’s fitting that the article  is associated with the  Hoover Institute. Housed at Stanford University, it’s named for Herbert Hoover and its mission is to promote private enterprise in the United States. Candoleeza Rice will assume its directorship on September 1, 2020. Stanford University, was founded by the railroad Robber Baron Leland Stanford who amassed his fortune by exploiting Chinese labor. Seymour Martin Lipset  (1922-2006), a prominent American sociologist and political scientist, was a neoconservative, noted for championing the idea of American exceptionalism. I’m chagrined to acknowledge  that Lipset was once President of the American Political Science Association.
  2. Ira Katznelson, Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origin of Our Times. (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2013), p.720. Next quotes also from Katznelson.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Dylan Riley, “Southern Questions,” New Left Review, January/February, 2014,  p. 159.
  5. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. The Coming of the New Deal: 1933-1935. (New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Harcourt, 1958), p. 3.
  6. Chris Hedges, “Gaslighted By the Ruling Class,” June 15, 2020, p. 3. Also, Carmin Maffea, “The Fight to Abolish the Police is the Fight to Abolish Capitalism, LeftVoice, June 10, 2020.

Was It Only “Fear Itself?”:  FDR and Today

Movement politics is how the people flex their power, while electoral politics under the corporate duopoly is the domain of the moneyed classes.

— Glen Ford, Black Agenda  Report

While it’s myth that after the stock market crash of 1929, brokers pitched themselves off of tall buildings in Lower Manhattan (None did. A real buzz killer), there was an uptick in suicides among moguls by less dramatic means for a few years. Today, amidst the cascading bad economic news, investors seemingly have only two worries. First, that further waves of COVID-19 infections and deaths might sidetrack the economy’s  reopening and affect profits. The second is that procrastinators might be left behind — FOMO, the  Fear of Missing Out —as the market continues to rise. One thing that they’re not losing any sleep over is that working class consciousness is rising to the radical level of the 1930s when capitalism faced genuine peril.

In 2020, as in the 1930s, the economy is tanking, unemployment is at Great Depression levels with another 1.5 million workers having filed for  unemployment last week, Federal regulations (600+) having been dismantled, CEO compensation now at 287 times that of workers and of the 11 Fed financial bailouts, 10 went to Wall Street banks. Further, at the inception of the Covid-19 outbreak, over 70 percent of Americans were already living on the financial edge, with lifetime savings depleted, and home foreclosures multiplying. Now, many of the jobs losses are terminal, millions of stores remain shut down across the country, angry protesters throng the streets,  and an exceedingly grim future awaits most of the citizens.

Again, as in 1933, the Federal government is taking bold action. But instead of FDR’s New Deal, this time the decisive action entails a a $4.5 trillion bailout of emergency corporate lending, some pittance payments to workers, and ominous threats about the dire consequences of not returning to their jobs. What accounts for the difference in the government’s response then and now? I suggest that both responses were self-serving actions by the ruling elite and it’s to our peril not to understand that fact.

As I’ve noted previously, big tech companies have proven virtually immune to what’s happening in the economy inhabited by the rest of us.  The tech-heavy NASDAQ recently surpassed 10,000 before retreating and Amazon, Alphabet (Google) and Facebook are soaring. Apple and Microsoft recently became the first to reach $1.5 trillion market caps.  According to investment strategists,  the Fed’s maintaining low interest and inflation rates has been the magic elixir  for these  big tech companies.

Robert Armstrong, writing in The Financial Times (quoted in NYT, 6/11/2020) notes, in a strikingly nonchalant  manner,  that all of this is only more “evidence of an inherent and structural tension between the owning class and the working class.”  In the United States, where a small percentage owns most of the wealth, they reap the gains from a resurgent stock market. Thus, as Armstrong continues, “Covid-19 has put working-and-middle-class people under severe strain, while the asset-owning class have felt relatively little pain.”

The Great Depression’s Legacy: FDR’s Efforts to Save Capitalism

After the Great Crash of 1929, a broad spectrum of prominent American writers, artists, poets, playwrights, and painters offered enthusiastic support for socialist ideas. Concurrently, ordinary citizens were questioning the precepts of capitalism and the traditional U.S. political system. Breadlines, shantytowns and hunger marches were growing along with the growing appeal of left-wing class politics and labor radicalism. Unaffiliated groups were organizing self-help cooperatives and racially integrated Unemployed Councils, organized by Communists, were springing up. Protests blocking evictions were occurring in major cities, often involving violent confrontation with the police. From 1930-1932, over 700 actions by the unemployed were reported to the Communist party’s newspaper, the Daily Worker. (Note: The CP ultimately followed directives from the CP International in joining the “Popular Front” and supporting the New Deal.)

In an article titled, “How FDR Saved Capitalism,” the late, neoconservative political scientist and sociologist Seymour Martin Lipset lavished effusive praise on President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s conscious effort to blunt widespread anticapitalist sentiments and undercut the appeal of left-wing radicals.1  At the time, left parties and associated movements emerged in Wisconsin, New York, California, Minnesota, Washington,Nebraska, Oregon, and North Dakota. In Minnesota, Governor Floyd Olson (Farmer-Labor Party) pioneered unemployment insurance, anti-foreclosure laws, public works programs, a pro-worker labor code and public pensions. In one speech he said, “I hope the present system of government goes right to hell” and proposed abolishing capitalism and establishing government control “over all means of production.”2

FDR rejected radical politics but the New Deal was deeply influenced by the president’s keen awareness of needing to propose policies that would ween discontented workers away from demanding deep structural changes.The president employed three basic tactics: First, he was masterful in lifting and incorporating left demands into his rhetoric. Second, he sought to co-opt some leaders by extending patronage to non-Democratic Party state and local officials. Part of this involved setting aside references to the Democratic Party, per se, and frequently mentioning farmers, women, labor, minorities and liberals.  Finally, as part of his expedient and temporary tilt toward the left, FDR was not above disingenuously threatening that to save capitalism from itself it might be necessary to “equalize the distribution of wealth” and “throw to the wolves the forty-six men reputed to have incomes in excess of one million dollars.”

This was all presaged in his FDR’s first presidential inaugural address in 1933. Ira Katznelson, author of Fear Itself, a book celebrated by mainstream reviewers, wrote “A climate of universal fear deeply affected political understandings and concerns. Nothing was sure.”3. In the fifth sentence of his  inaugural speech on March 4,1933, President Roosevelt uttered the famous phrase: “Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” He then proceeded to blame the depression on “unscrupulous money changers” who lacked any vision. The president blamed “callous and selfish bankers and businessmen who persisted in engaging  in the “evils of the old order.”

While offering to work with legislators, FDR made clear that if Congress failed to act there would be a need for a “temporary departure from the normal balance of public procedure.” The president would seek “broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.” Robert Morley, a law professor at Columbia, had created the original “Brain Trust” to advise Roosevelt during the 1932 presidential campaign. He was also  responsible for writing FDR’s inaugural address although the latter never acknowledged it. Later, Morley said that because of the speech, “Capitalism was saved in eight days.” Hyperbole aside, the critical point is that Katznelson and many other liberal historians agree that saving capitalism was a major objective of the New Deal and that some form of “liberal democracy” was the preferred means of accomplishing that end.

W.E.B. DuBois had hoped the incipient New Deal would be the opening, the first step toward socialism. However, by 1938, Roosevelt, perhaps concluding the threat had past, slowed his reforms and even proposed a traditional balanced budget. Tellingly, when the Recession of 1937-38 resulted in Republicans defeating several third party incumbents, FDR responded, “We have on the positive side eliminated Phil La Follete and the Farmer-Labor people in the Northwest as a standing Third Party threat.”

I trust that others, far better versed in the New Deal period will comment and  I’ll only suggest a line of inquiry that needs fleshing out: Unlike  today’s predator class, who’ve little to worry about, their counterparts in the 1930s had more to fear than “fear itself” — and acted accordingly. That is, “…the spectre that haunted the New Deal years … was the fear of the dominant class of a renewed populist  alliance —  this time strengthened by a more combative and a more mature industrial proletariat than had existed in the 1890s.4  Liberal historian Arthur Schlesinger wrote of the moment, “It was now a matter of seeing whether a representative democracy could conquer economic collapse. It was a matter of staving off violence — even some thought — revolution.5

Many people now understand that spending on World World II was what “saved capitalism” but I suspect the myth that benevolent motives dominated New Deal thinking is still believed by many. Shedding further light on this matter should prove useful in clarifying and responding to both the diversions and opportunities awaiting us in the near future.

What about today?  Not “A few bad police apples,” but a Rotten Capitalist Tree

If polls are to be believed, a majority of the public agrees with the core positions put forth by Black LIves Matter and support the protests against police brutality. I’ve been encouraged by the fact that hundreds of thousands of young, white Millennials have been in the streets, often outnumbering black participants. For example, between 60-65 percent of the demonstrators in New York and Washington were white youth under age 34.

We are at a propitious moment and the critical question is whether the momentum of the protests will transition to a wider and deeper critique that extends beyond the police. We can be certain that efforts are forthcoming to co-opt BLM supporters with cosmetic, liberal palliatives and to divert protests into the cul-de-sac of identity politics, the most insidiously effective weapon in corporatocracy’s toolbox. Resisting these maneuvers will require a politically astute, creative, and sustained response.

Can we go further and explicitly explain that the police under capitalism can never be reformed to take the side of Black, Brown and working class people? All available evidence suggests that from their inception, the foremost function of the police has been to safeguard the capitalist private property of those who own and rule the country. As Chris Hedges recently pointed out, “The crisis we face is not, as the ruling elites want us to believe, limited to police violence. It is a class and generational revolt. It will not be solved by new police reforms. The problem is an economic and political system that has by design created a nation of serfs  and obscenely rich masters.”6

A new mass political formation of people prepared to engage in widespread civil disobedience and face arrest, remains our only hope for secular salvation and much depends upon how we creatively reimagine making our case. It’s a daunting challenge and not the first time we’ve needed to take inspiration from Antonio Gramsci’s invocation: pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will.

  1. Unless otherwise specified, quotes in the next three paragraph are from Seymour Martin Lipset and Gary Marks, “How FDR Saved Capitalism,” HOOVER DIGEST, January 1, 2001. It’s fitting that the article  is associated with the  Hoover Institute. Housed at Stanford University, it’s named for Herbert Hoover and its mission is to promote private enterprise in the United States. Candoleeza Rice will assume its directorship on September 1, 2020. Stanford University, was founded by the railroad Robber Baron Leland Stanford who amassed his fortune by exploiting Chinese labor. Seymour Martin Lipset  (1922-2006), a prominent American sociologist and political scientist, was a neoconservative, noted for championing the idea of American exceptionalism. I’m chagrined to acknowledge  that Lipset was once President of the American Political Science Association.
  2. Ira Katznelson, Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origin of Our Times. (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2013), p.720. Next quotes also from Katznelson.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Dylan Riley, “Southern Questions,” New Left Review, January/February, 2014,  p. 159.
  5. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. The Coming of the New Deal: 1933-1935. (New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Harcourt, 1958), p. 3.
  6. Chris Hedges, “Gaslighted By the Ruling Class,” June 15, 2020, p. 3. Also, Carmin Maffea, “The Fight to Abolish the Police is the Fight to Abolish Capitalism, LeftVoice, June 10, 2020.

Stunning Economic Implosion

The inability of the outdated capitalist economic system to provide for the needs of the people and to sustain itself has been exposed repeatedly throughout history.

However, 2020 is revealing just how grave and profound the failures and dangers of this exhausted system of advanced commodity production are. Even mainstream news sources cannot prettify the numbers.

On May 15, 2020 the Financial Times reported that, “U.S. industrial production contracted by the most in more than a century.”1 Retail sales also fell by the most on record. In addition, the month of May saw the most large U.S. bankruptcy filings in 11 years.2

Further, while capacity utilization reached an all time high of 89 percent in 1967, it hit a record low of 65 percent in April 2020.3 Nearly a 25 percent drop in 53 years. Capacity utilization is an important economic measure that refers to the extent to which a capitalist firm uses its productive capacity. In other words, many enterprises are not operating anywhere near 100% capacity.

Pending home sales have also fallen dramatically in the recent period. In a recent Press Release titled “Pending Home Sales Slump 21.8% in April,” the National Association of Realtors (NAR) stated that, “Every major region experienced a drop in month-over-month contract activity and a decline in year-over-year pending home sales transactions.”4 The NAR explains that:

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings, fell 21.8% to 69.0 in April. Year-over-year, contract signings shrank 33.8%. An index of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001.

On top of these grim figures:

The ratio of workers to total population fell 8.7 percentage points, the largest drop ever recorded, to 51.3%, the lowest level on record. The all-important labor-force participation rate, which measures the number of people working or actively looking for work, fell to 60.2%, the lowest rate in 47 years.5

From these and other tragic developments it is clear that the existing economic system is unable to develop in a smooth, balanced, stable, and self-reliant manner that brings security, peace, and prosperity to society and its members. It is obvious that the “free market” routinely wreaks havoc on the economy, society, and people.

It is absurd that today humanity lives in an advanced mass industrial society that uses the most advanced scientific-technical knowledge, is able to meet the needs of all ten times over, yet still fails to provide for billions worldwide.

The economy must be controlled by those who actually produce the wealth of society, not those who live off the labor of others and drain the economy of needed investments.

People should reject disinformation about the economy promoted constantly by the financial oligarchy. The aim of this disinformation is to hide the real context of what is going on so as to divert, confuse, and undermine people and their struggles for a better future. The problems and crises inherent to the capitalist economic system are not going to go away with some policy changes or new regulations. A new direction, motivation, and organization of the economy is required. Without a new pro-social direction and aim for the economy the rich will continue to get richer and problems will keep multiplying.

  1. Peter Wells. Plunge in US industrial and retail activity in April laid bare, Financial Times, May 15, 2020.
  2. Gary Gordon. “Irrational Stock Prices Meet Exuberant Investors“, Seeking Alpha, June 3, 2020.
  3. Trading Economics. “United States Capacity Utilization”, 1967-2020 Data.
  4. National Association of Realtors.  Pending home sales slump 21.8% in April, May 28, 2020.
  5. Jon Healey.  “Commentary: Unemployment rate may be even worse than it looks,” Akron Beacon Journal. May 12, 2020.

Facts Vs. Fake

Do you know who coined the curse, “conspiracy theory” or accusation, “you are conspiracy theorist!”?  It was nobody less than the CIA in the 1950s, to silence those who saw through the lie of the Cold War against the Soviet Union. This was a complete lie by US war strategists to install fear in the population in general and in Europeans in particular and to boost the American Military Industrial complex and presenting a constant threat to the communist Soviet Union.

A complementary phrase developed in the last years is “fake news” — people who are saying well-founded truths are being accused of spreading “false news” and that by the very media that spread the real false news and lies in the first place. A dystopian world indeed, and most of the public doesn’t capture it.

Another denigrating term that made it lately into the vocabulary of the mainstream, is “populist”. It refers to people or ideas from the left, the middle, or the right as soon as they don’t stick to the going narrative. By Webster definition, a populist is someone who represents the people’s views, a majority view, actually.  It’s a very democratic term because a true leader should represent the people’s views. But media manipulation has made “populism” something of “lesser intellect”, and, of course, nobody wants to be of “lesser intellect”. Hence, it’s become a derogatory term. That’s how the media and psychologically-worked propaganda can alter what people would call “my common sense”.

The fear factor is always a crucial element in dividing people and corralling them into chambers of fear which allows anything outside to happen – building up armament, faking an arms race  when there was none. The Soviet Union came out of WWII – where they lost between 25 and 30 million people to save Europe and the world from fascism.

But western history books have it that it was the United States and her European allies, who foremost defeated Hitler. This false news is continuingly being propagated, last by the recent WWII Victory Celebration on 9 May 2020 without any consideration of the key role of the Soviet Union — today’s Russia – in defeating the Hitler Nazis.

After this enormous sacrifice, the Soviet Union had no intention nor the resources to build up an army to defeat the west as was being propagated by the US and then being aped by Europe, hence justifying 40 years of a Cold War, based on FEAR. The Cold War destroyed the natural relationship (trade, diplomatic, cultural) between Europe and today’s Russia.

Today, however, anybody who dares to remind the western media, politicians and friends of the real conqueror of Hitler, namely the Soviet Union is a “conspiracy theorist” or someone who spreads “false news”.

The Corona Crisis

The latest example of conspiracy galore is the corona crisis. What is playing out in front of our eyes, a worldwide lockdown of everything, followed almost by every government of this globe with similar severity, quarantine, confinement at home for almost everyone under the “pretext” of protecting you, the people, from an invisible enemy – a corona virus. And every government KNOWS it is a disaster for their national and world economy.  It is social suicide. Yet they go along — with the orders of whom?

As most of us who look for our own sources of information outside the mainstream dominated, government dictated or supported lies, data collection and statistics on COVID infections, as well as death rates, are vastly inflated and willingly falsified, to increase the fear factor and prolong the all destructive lockdown.  This horrendous cheat is not just actively practiced in the US, but also in Europe. A point in case is Italy.

Another example is Switzerland. The official Swiss Federal Office of Statistics (BAS, for German “Bundesamt für Statistik”), keeps records of all deaths in the country per week. In the first 18 weeks of 2020 (ending 3 May 2020), there were actually less deaths reported than in the first 18 weeks of 2015 – 25,400 (2020) vs. 26,596 (2015). How is that possible if the official corona-death toll in Switzerland is 1,642, as of 24 May 2020. In other words, pretty much the same number of people die every year with or without corona.

Since Switzerland has the 8th highest Covid death-rate in absolute terms in Europe, similar total death figures may most likely be found in other European countries and the US; i.e. ,virtually unchanged in the first 18 weeks of 2019 and 2020.

Unless solid proof is presented, like by the Italian Member of Parliament and a number of medical doctors, virologists and microbiologists from Italy and other European countries, as well as the US, anybody who refers to the fakeness and unreliability of the statistic is called a conspiracy theorist — a liar. And in some countries people who tell the truth are even liable to fines and legal pursuit. These threats and conspiracy accusations should shut us up. But they don’t and won’t. We want the truth to come out and be known to the entire world.

The World Economic Crisis

We already now realize the damage of unheard proportions. In the first four months of this so-called, WHO-denominated pandemic, we see a global disaster of proportions far exceeding those of 1929-33 and 2008-09. Never in recorded human history has so much misery been created.

Bankruptcies abound, the stock market plunged so far by more than 30% (with some ups and down – called “quick profit taking” by the rich and powerful on the back of the small investors). However, US billionaires increased their wealth during the first 4 months in 2020 by US$ 406 billion, according to CNBC of 1 May 2020

The universal Covid-lockdown has also caused a meltdown of productive assets, which now become easy prey to be bought by large corporations – unemployment soaring to heights never experienced before by modern humanity, currently at about 45 million Americans out of a job. This does not account for those having given up looking for a job or claiming unemployment.

According to Fox Business News, up to 40% may never get back to work. The FED predicts unemployment may reach 50% by the end of the year (in the worst 1929 recession period unemployment attained 25%). These are only US statistics. The situation in more chaotic Europe may be even worse.

The International Labor Office (ILO) announced that within months worldwide unemployment may hit 1.6 billion people, half the globe’s work force. Many of these people, especially in the Global South, have already been at the verge of poverty or under the poverty line, living from day to day, with no savings. Now they are condemned to begging – and many, maybe hundreds of millions, to die from famine, according to the World Food Program (WFP). Many if not most of them have no access to health services, no shelter, or any other form of social safety nets, because the COVID-caused economic collapse has wiped out even flimsy social safety structures poor countries may have set up.

Misery no end. And this is only the tiny tip of the iceberg. The worst is still to come  when in a few weeks or months a clearer picture of what industries will live or die will emerge and more people will be relegated to economic paupers.

The Real Conspiracy

Taking a few steps back – it is clear, it is no coincidence that the entire world is stricken by the same virus and virtually at the same time. That does not happen naturally – but can happen, as it did, when the virus is artificially implanted in every country – and that at the same time. So, there is a diabolical plan behind this so-called corona-crisis which does not even have to be a crisis, if we look at real disease and death rates not the inflated, fear-inspiring ones (see above, cases Italy and Switzerland).

So, who is behind this all? Well, without naming names and leaving that guessing up to you, there are several reports and events that have “predicted” such a pandemic. One of the most prominent ones, is the 2010 Rockefeller report – that described in surprising detail what is happening now, and calls it the “Lock Step” scenario. According to the report it should get worse and the current pandemic might be followed by a stronger wave later this year or in 2021. Strangely, the IMF’s economic projections for a “post-Covid economy, foresees 3 scenarios, two of which consider another outbreak in the second half of 2020, or in 2021.

Event 201 on 18 October 2019 in NYC, simulating among other atrocities a corona pandemic that would leave 65 million dead within 18 months . This was the final stroke before the planned outbreak. Let’s just say that the evil masterminds behind this monstrous crisis are a few very rich, power-thirsty psychopaths and their families and cronies. They are planning a One World Government, also called the New World Order, or the One World Order that has been under preparation since the latter part of the last century. It requires total control over the population and a sizable population reduction.

That’s where the eugenics come in. Many of the Rockefeller club, the “Bilderberg Society” members have been advocating population reduction for decades, including Bill Gates. He even bragged about it when in a 2010 TED talk in Southern California, “Innovating to Zero”, he said, “if we do a real god job vaccinating, we may reduce world population by 10% to 15%.” He wants to eliminate poverty, literally.

However, talking about it, and connecting the dots of what we are living today is being labeled as Conspiracy Theory.

Why are Bill Gates’ new corona vaccines possibly killer vaccines?  Here is how it works. The Gates Foundation first created the pharmaceutical company “Moderna” in Seattle, Washington State, not far from his Microsoft empire, basically to produce tailor-made vaccines for the Gates Foundation. Then the foundation gave US$ 20 million to Moderna for the development of a COVID vaccine. A few days ago, Moncef  Slaoas resigned from Moderna’s Board to become White House Director of Operation Warp Speed, a plan to fast-track a COVID vaccine. Nobody seems to bother about the flagrant conflict of interest – let alone the health risk that poses. See Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on the subject.

But it gets even better. The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), a little-known agency that is hardly in the news, had, according to Whitney Webb (Last American Vagabond) knowledge of the pandemic outbreak at least since last November, possibly earlier.

This means that President Trump knew about it, but didn’t do anything about it, rather let it happen. His blaming China today for mishandling the corona crisis is a sheer lie and a propaganda bluff to denigrate China’s reputation and her rising economy and solid currency, the yuan – which may soon take over from the dollar as a key world reserve currency.

DARPA is also financially supported by the Bill Gates Foundation. They have been working on new vaccine technologies for several years. The COVID-19 outbreak brought this research work to prominence. DARPA is closely collaborating with Bill Gates in applying this new technology to the vaccine, Bill Gates wants to develop and impose on the world population.

According to Whitney Webb, DARPA and its partner agencies are planning to

produce DNA and RNA vaccines, classes of vaccine that has never been approved for human use in the U.S. and involve injecting foreign genetic material into the human body. Notably, it is this very class of vaccine, now being produced by DARPA-partnered companies, that billionaire and global health “philanthropist” Bill Gates recently asserted has him “most excited”, relative to other Covid-19 vaccine candidates.

This is not conspiracy theory; this is real conspiracy. This sounds more like the Third Reich’s medical trials. The perpetrators were condemned at Nuremberg. In our dystopian world, nobody will be punished, even if thousands or maybe hundreds of thousands will die from the Gates WHO-supported rush with an untested vaccine. Though, it would match the eugenics agenda.

The so called (by WHO) COVID-19 “is the biggest scam ever perpetrated on the human race.” It is a multi-generational lie that has become a ‘false normal’, says Dr. Sherry Tenpenny, founder of the Tenpenny Integrative Medical Center. And as a piece of reference enhancing her reputation, she has 20 years of vaccine research experience and her articles are translated in 12 languages. She also appears frequently on radio and TV to educate parents.

“By putting vaccines into our bodies, we are inserting foreign matter, toxins, into our cells, like mercury and aluminum.” In legal terms vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe”. Through pharma lobbying, in 1986 Congress has passed the National Childhood Vaccine Children Act, a law whereby pharmaceutical companies cannot be sued for any damage their vaccines cause, including death. The United States Supreme Court rules in favor of protecting vaccine makers from State Law Suits (5 May 2020).

Vaccines have enormous side effects, especially in small children, causing various lasting diseases, like peanut allergies, asthma, eczema and – yes – autism.

Particularly harmful vaccines are western-made MMR (measles), polio and DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough). Russian made vaccines have different compositions and have helped prevent millions from polio and other debilitating, crippling or killing diseases. Since 2002, when revenues from vaccines for US pharma companies amounted to about US$ 8 billion, revenues and profits have skyrocketed to more than 60 billion per year by 2020. Every new vaccine is worth about a billion dollars. Learn more here:

Anybody who speaks out against vaccination, irrespective of the evidence given, is labeled a conspiracy theorist by the media, and often by the pharma-coopted medical society.

People start understanding that Bill Gates and his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) call the shots on public health around the world, especially on vaccination – and now on vaccination against the corona virus. The sinister new vaccines to be developed by Bill Gates in tandem with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of NIAID (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases), one of 27 agencies of the National Institute of Health (NIH), and supported by CDC and WHO – and in cooperation with DARPA – are described above. All Gates promoted vaccines are made by western pharma-corporations.

You should know that the Bill Gates Foundation also generously funds NIAID, NIH and CDC. Both CDC and NIH own several hundred if not thousands of vaccine patents. So, they have a vested interest in promoting vaccination, no matter how much harm they may cause to the population.

But this cannot be questioned, let alone criticized – else you will be denigrated as a conspiracy theorist. In fact, western Governments hire psychologists, sociologists and medical doctors to give interviews and talk to the media on conspiracy theories in a last-ditch effort to dissuade people from thinking and from believing the truth, if it is presented by non-mainstream media, or simply if it doesn’t correspond to the going political narrative. And many still fall for the lie, but ever more people are becoming suspicious and stick to their own investigated information  and demonstrate and protest, often with civil disobedience, against harsh government measure of police — and often military — crackdowns.

They call out against Bill Gates and WHO, a corrupted organization that receives half to three quarters of its annual budget from private donors, mostly the pharma industry, Bill Gates, but also telecom-industries (that’s why WHO has been silent on the potentially nefarious effects of 5G). Bill Gates is the biggest single donor of WHO. Conflict of interest is never discussed in the media. Those who know the truth and don’t hesitate calling it out are silenced by being called conspirators, liars by the media and, of course, by much of the medical community. In fact, Bill Gates literally calls the shots on matters of public health that affects the entire world.

People – be aware!

Also speaking out against vaccines and the lab-produced viruses from which eventually vaccines are derived is Dr. Judy Mikovits, a long-time NIAID micro-biologist, who has been severely punished by Dr. Fauci for defending her research results which Fauci wanted to hide. Her book, Plague of Corruption is currently Amazon’s number one Bestseller. That, in itself, tells a story of a public awakening.

Referring to her and her numerous interviews, peer-reviewed scientific articles and her book, is called a conspiracy because even her own outspokenness is called conspiracy, all in an effort to shut up critics of the current system, of the current new-normal that will soon require universal vaccination (Bill Gates with a sly smile wants to vaccinate 7 billion people in the next ten years). Will it be compulsory? Against most countries Constitutional and Democratic Rights? We don’t know. Seven billion is a slight exaggeration, because Russia and China will certainly not vaccinate their people with vaccines produced under Bill Gates funding and supervision.

But even if it is not compulsory, there may be so many “legal” hindrances put in place by western governments that most people eventually will roll over and accept the possibly killer vaccine that Bill Gates and his association of pharmaceuticals (GAVI) supported by WHO, will impose on humanity.

For example, you may not be able to receive or renew your driver’s license, going to concerts, to the movies, to sports events, to fly – and so on. That’s all been talked about and is part of the 2010 Rockefeller Report’s ”Lock Step” scenario  in which we are currently hopelessly navigating – under lockdown and with social distancing’ – so nobody can get together and possibly organize a plot against these draconian inhuman measures.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., JFK’s, nephew, founder of “Children’s Health Defense” an NGO advocacy organization has this to say:

Bill Gates is the world’s largest vaccine producer and the single largest donor to WHO and the CDC Foundation. Those agencies are now marketing arms for his vaccine empire.

In January 2019, Gates had WHO declare “vaccine hesitancy” the top “global health threat” (with Ebola, cancer, war, and drug-resistant pathogens), signaling a worldwide Pharma Gold Rush to mandate vaccines to all people.

Gates maxed-out in donations to Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff’s Political Action Committee (PAC). In February 2019, Schiff wrote to Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Pinterest, demanding they censor “vaccine misinformation, “a term meaning all skepticism toward government and industry pronouncements about vaccine safety or efficacy––whether true or not. “Vaccines are both effective and safe,” Schiff wrote. “There is no evidence to suggest that vaccines cause life-threatening or disabling disease.”

This was misinformation. A year earlier, Schiff pushed a bill to hike the Vaccine Court admin budget to $11,200,000 to reduce vaccine injury backlogs. The court had already paid out $4 billion for vaccine deaths and disabilities.

Facebook and Pinterest said that they will rely on Gates’s WHO and CDC to say which on-line statements are “misinformation or hoaxes.” Facebook and Google hired “FactChecker” (Politifact) to censor vaccine misinformation. The Gates Foundation is “FactChecker’s” largest funder.

In his article, “Fact Checker, a Propaganda Device,” investigative journalist Jeremy Hammond concludes:

Facebook is guilty of misinforming its users about vaccine safety… They have no problem with lies about vaccine safety and effectiveness, as long as it’s intended to persuade parents to vaccinate their children.

On May 4, 2017, FactChecker declared as false, Del Bigtree’s statement, “Vaccines include aluminum and mercury, which are neurotoxins, and vaccines cause encephalopathy.”

FactChecker explained, “Current data show vaccines are safe and do not cause toxicity or encephalopathy.” [However], manufacturer’s inserts reveal that many vaccines contain aluminum and mercury, and cause encephalopathy. Finally, massive gifts to NPR & PBS buy Gates biased vaccine coverage.

This statement is from public media Highwire.

I’m (Robert Kennedy) not anti-vaccine. I’m against dangerous, shoddily tested, zero liability vaccines with toxic ingredients. If someone came up with a thoroughly tested vaccine that was completely safe and efficient, one that performed as promised, one that made people healthier rather than sicker, I’d be for it. – Indeed, only an idiot would oppose it.

But under no condition, would I support mandatory vaccination. Government has no right to force citizens to take unwanted medicines or to submit to involuntary medical interventions.

And he adds:

Google is a vaccine company. It has a $760 million partnership with Glaxo-the world’s largest vaccine maker and similar deals with Sanofi and Merck to mine your medical information. Googles mother company, Alphabet, has 4 vaccines developers working on flu, and other, vaccines.

Google and Youtube are removing videos from highly experienced doctors, epidemiologists, biologists and virologists – censuring is also the new normal – but they are promoting a billionaire software developer and a 16 year old climate change “expert” about viruses and vaccines — what does that say for the media, for the governments that support and finance the media.

The Strategy behind shouting Conspiracy – Conspiracy Theorist

There is a lot of psychology behind the strategy – leading people to a state of cognitive dissonance, of believing a narrative they know is a fiction, meaning, you know there is something not quite right, but you don’t’ dare questioning it. Why? Because of being called a conspiracy theorist. And why does that matter? Because it is a demeaning term, robbing the accused of his credibility (well thought-out by the CIA in the 1950s). Somebody stamped as a conspiracy theorist, believing in conspiracy theories, in fake news, makes you a lesser person in your friends’ eyes. So, they may avoid you, and if you stick to your opinion, you may gradually move into isolation. Being isolated, no friends, is fear-provoking. So, better believe the official narrative.

The silver lining around this dark cloud is ever more visible and ever brighter.

Be self-assured. Don’t cave in. Stick to your own research, to your fact-based opinion, regardless of being insulted as a conspiracy theorist. Stand up for what you believe and do it with passion. Other people also have doubts, and when they see people defending their beliefs with passion, they may join you. And so, a critical mass grows. And the conspiracy theory strategy rapidly loses power and fades away. Fading is already visible throughout European and US cities, where tens of thousands take to the streets, defending their civil and human and Constitutional Rights.

These are encouraging signs. Hope never fades until “we shall overcome.”

Collaborators And Resisters

Question: In a society grown dictatorial and oppressive would your good friend X collaborate or resist? If you were to resist, would X support your rights or side with the apparent source of power? If asked by authorities to scrutinize neighbors, would X do so? Would X yield naturally to arbitrary requests or invasive questioning, or would a strong sense of personal identity tend to question authoritarian entitlement? How quickly might X, whom you’ve known only under the conditions of a materially rich and smoothly-running society, turn on you if society were to unravel and X’s interests were suddenly at stake?

“Judge not”, we’re taught, but “taking the measure” of others is not a bad idea, particularly as the Covid Lockdown has provided new insight into the personalities of friends, colleagues, even family members. “Crisis reveals character” it is said, and the Lockdown hit with a suddenness and totality that has brought to the surface character traits not before seen in many of even the most familiar of associates. If one is by nature suspicious of state power and its history of deception and abuse, the spectacle of humanity being so easily herded is disturbing and psychologically isolating in a sense beyond mere home confinement.

One needn’t look far before it’s clear that the government has, over time, lied with alarming consistency. It lied about the sinking of the Maine, the Lusitania, Pearl Harbor, the Gulf of Tonkin, multiple political assassinations, 9/11, babies left to die on cold floors, WMDs and much more. These weren’t mistakes but carefully manufactured deceptions. Nevertheless, the most recent invention, concerning a flu claimed to be so virulent as to require the shutdown of the economy, has been accepted by what appears to be a gullible horde questioning nothing. In fact, early official Covid-19 information was a blizzard of lies designed to count deaths from any cause as Covid-19 deaths. Even so, the most recent CDC data reveal amazingly low mortality, making Covid-19 not radically different from other annual flu events. Trust in government and media continues to fall ever lower, so why were they so quickly believed in this case? Is it strictly because of the death fear factor, or has the picture of Americans as rugged, critical-thinking lovers of liberty just faded away with high-tech and consumerism? Was our bloated description of ourselves just wind after all?

Wordsmithing to control perception has been subtle and devious. “Self-isolation”, the result of official directive, gives mass house arrest an impression of personal choice. Forced indoors, we are said to be “sheltering”. “Social distancing” mandating a 6-foot minimum that has no scientific basis whatever, uses “social” to describe enforced separation. Some are suggesting it’s perhaps acceptable to have normal physical contact within a “bubble” —  aka a “quaranteam” — of a trusted very few. A once solid mass of freely interacting humanity has been quickly — and apparently willingly — fractured into isolated particles and sent indoors where highly-paid televised news readers craft a uniform reality for mass consumption. The many credible voices from the scientific community countering official information are carefully blocked from mainstream outlets that, by now, are owned by only four massive corporate entities. In governmentally-sanctioned outdoor and shopping situations, even the ability to read nuances of facial expression in our fellow humans is diminished by the obligatory mask.

Meanwhile, as in the past with certain political assassinations and 9/11, the “conspiracy theorist” epithet is again being widely applied. Whenever doubts arose regarding governmental story lines — JFK, MLK, 9/11— collaborators were quick to explain the psychological failings of “conspiracy theorists”, as if all such theories must be equally invalid. And so it is with the Covid Lockdown. Here, Huffpost begins by citing such a conspiracy theory: “Bill Gates is plotting to vaccinate the entire population.” The author then cites a psychologist: “People are drawn to conspiracy theories during periods of crisis and uncertainty, and this is certainly one of those times.” But no!, it is known that Bill Gates wants to vaccinate the world, because Gates has stated so on camera as well as by way of his foundation’s financing of organizations dedicated to “global vaccine projects”.

In 1961, President Kennedy told us of an insidious enemy with his revelation that “we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy”. While he did not identify individuals involved in the conspiracy, he did elaborate on the immensity of their power. As time has passed, insight into the goal of the conspiracy was made clear by David Rockefeller in his 2002 autobiography Memoirs in a chapter titled “Proud Internationalist”:

Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – one world, if you will. If that is the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.

Crises create opportunities for carrying out policies that would otherwise meet with resistance. Given that the unprecedented crisis of the manufactured Covid Lockdown has concentrated public attention with such laser-like focus that all other issues pale, one must conclude that actions toward the one world government desired by the “monolithic and ruthless” conspirators about which Kennedy warned, are being put into place “under the public’s radar”. If anything resembling democracy is to survive, and if the mass of humanity is to avoid being reduced to an ant-like colony of workers serving a minority of elites, these one-worlders must be resisted by any means necessary. This will quickly divide society into those who resist as opposed to those who either collaborate by choice (e.g., the great majority of legislators and purveyors of “news”, Wall Street financiers, hedge fund managers, K-Street lobbyists, et al.) or by simply going along. In the face of the despotic, passivity is collaboration. If one recognizes tyranny and does not act to resist it, one is a collaborator.

Now, as the Covid Lockdown has reduced, as planned, more millions to poverty or impending poverty, collaborators are being sought with offers that the unemployed would grab simply in the interest of survival. It’s the principle of making people so desperate that they can easily be brought to heel. The Rockefeller Foundation’s planned Pandemic Control Council would create a “Pandemic Response Corps” of 100,000 to 300,000 individuals at $40,000 per for a “National Covid-19 Testing Action Plan.” As the locked-down economy begins to open up, you see, the need for “contact tracers” will continue to grow, because “rebounds” are expected. Strong communication skills are desirable for contact tracers, as they need to gather information on individuals and convey quarantine guidelines. As being a part of this surveillance system is being billed as a cool new career choice, Congress is considering House Bill 6666, the Trace Act, that seeks to provide $100 billion for contact tracing. Yes, indeed, things are moving forward so quickly it almost takes your breath away. 

While Americans of late have remained relatively inactive, French descendants of the revolutionaries who put the guillotine to good use in 1789 have been on the bloody front line against globalist elites — not that it was considered newsworthy in the U.S. Wearing their signature Yellow Vests, they continue to fight in the streets against heavily armed gendarmes. Meanwhile, the U.S. power bloc, not certain when, exactly, resistance might erupt into violent revolt on American turf, has preemptively transformed the nation’s police forces into hundreds of municipal and regional armies complete with swat teams and high-tech military equipment. Haven’t you noticed?