Category Archives: Fascism

Fascist Kabuki

There is no question that most television is a waste of time. The people connected with it realize how bad programming is and go ahead with their shows as cynically as possible. Producers are turning out programs that literally make me sick. TV seems to re-infect itself each year, using the same approach to shows and making them worse each season.
— Richard Boone, Hanford Sentinel, 1960

…the intelligence empire’s efforts to manufacture the truth and mold public opinion are more vast and varied than ever before. One of its foremost assets? Hollywood.
— Nicholas Schou, The Atlantic, July 2016

Like Saddam’s WMD in 2002, the threat posed by the tightening credit of 2008 was made to seem infinite for being undefined, but this time the terrible menace just below the horizon was global, and the fabric of reality itself, now daily called “capitalism” in the world media heretofore shy of this term, was threatened with extinction: without any real reportage, newscasts disseminated narratemes from Hollywood disaster films presaging total obliteration of the familiar. Strife was promised in terrifying and titillating epic visions – of a period of riotous turbulence, of systems crashing and structures imploding, of reigning isms lying in ruin and our species’ hubris chastised, of hedonistic society abruptly repentant in the wake of cataclysm, of wastelands of Darwininan struggle, all lying just around an epochal bend – but first, with special vividness, of perilously inadequate economic plumbing, suggesting that if the “toxic assets” “clogging the system” were not cleared without delay, at any moment the world would be submerged in deep financial shit.
— Alphonse van Worden, The Protocols of the Learned Lacanian of Ljublitzia, June 2016

There is a huge amount of material on CIA involvement in Hollywood. This is not new, but it seems to have been compartmentalized by most Americans and shuttled off into the dark corners of their consciousness. Most people largely don’t want to know. And the reasons for this are complex. But before digging into that, it’s not only the CIA that shapes entertainment, it’s nearly all institutions of government and almost all corporations and media itself. Giant media conglomerates are in a sense hardly distinguishable from the CIA and Pentagon and State Department. Which is rather close to the classic definition of fascism.

The esteemed former University of Southern California law professor Erwin Chemerinsky agrees. In Operation­Hollywood, Chemerinsky asserts that “the Supreme Court has said that above all, the First Amendment means that the government cannot participate in viewpoint discrimination.” It “cannot favor some speech due to its viewpoint and disfavor another because of its viewpoint.” Moreover, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his 1995 decision Rosenberger ­v.­The ­University ­of­ Virginia that the government must abstain from “regulating speech when the specific motivating ideology or the opinion or perspective of the speaker is the rationale for the restriction.
— Tricia Jenkins, The CIA in Hollywood, March 2016

And yet this is what happens constantly.

…they have become very good at persuading the public that a good movie is the one that opened strongest last weekend, even if the critics hated it. The media helps them do it, by reporting on box office figures without discussing the ways that those figures are manipulated. The media are part of the gravy train anyway, because of the ad campaign revenue.”
— Paul Brynes, Sydney Herald, 2014

Now, again, the cooperation of the CIA and Pentagon is well known. Two films that won Oscars for best picture (Argo and Hurt Locker) were essentially pure CIA and Pentagon propaganda. And this to not even get into stuff like Zero Dark Thirty. But what is more pernicious is how, in turn, all public narratives have taken on the quality of a Hollywood movie. And today this is evident in the way the Covid lockdowns are being depicted. Watch the opening episodes of any of the Dick Wolf TV franchises this new season: Chicago Med, FBI: Most Wanted, etc., and you see blatant unquestioning support for the government narrative (FBI agent advises daughter to not leave the house without her mask). This exactly meets the definition of propaganda. Dissenting views are completely absent. In Chicago Med the pandemic is depicted as if it were bubonic plague. Public discourse on the pandemic reflects TV’s treatment.

In fact, dissent is usually portrayed as dangerous and unpatriotic. The looming question is, then, why do so many people attack dissenters when they know (because the information has been around and available for thirty years) the government (and Hollywood) lie…they lie all the time. In fact, they ONLY lie.

Now, recent polls suggest that half of Americans reject the idea of more lockdowns. That’s a lot of people. Yet very few of those people speak up, or post opinions on social media. And this is an interesting phenomenon. There is an enormous fear of being called ‘conspiracy theorist’ or ‘anti vaxxer’ or ‘Covid truther’ etc. There is a tacit assault on the truth itself embedded in this stigmatizing. A pathologization of the search for truth. And this seems something that has arisen out of the culture of social media.

One understands that if the law says wear a mask or be fined, then people will wear the mask. But there is no law (yet) in expressing a dissenting opinion. And this lynch mob mentality has, predictably, attracted the most virulent xenophobic and racist memes and opinions possible. Of course, major social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are perilously close to outright censorship now. One is labeled dangerous if one questions the narrative on the pandemic. Simply pointing out that the fatality rate is extremely low despite all the lurid headlines is cause for censorship on Facebook. Stating facts has become, quite literally, dangerous.

But there is another layer involved in the shaping of opinion. And perhaps it is better to describe this as the shaping of consciousness itself. And this is because it’s really not just opinion, it’s something both more expansive and much deeper. One aspect is the now glaring infantilizing of the public. Here is n interesting side bar.

And one aspect of this childishness is the aforementioned compartmentalization. Many of these people attacking dissenters well know the government lies. Ask them about WMDs or Yellow Cake in Niger, or mobile chemical weapons labs, or even the guns to Contras and US trained death squads in Central America. They know they were lied to. And yet they desperately cling to official narrative regards Covid.

Deception can be coercive. When it succeeds, it can give power to the deceiver.
— Sissela Bok, Lying; Moral Choice in Public and Private Life, September 1999

The public has little interest in the Pentagon Papers, in John Podesta’s leaked emails, or in why Gary Webb was murdered. The official narratives regarding the break-up of Yugoslavia, or the coup in Honduras, or the killing of Gaddafi — the official narratives to any of these have been debunked years ago, and yet the lies persist and continue to shape opinion. When the U.S. helped with the fascist coup in Bolivia, the story was on the front page of most news outlets. When the socialist party was re-elected the story was seen, literally, nowhere. Most people think the coup was a popular victory for the people of Bolivia. Same with Hugo Chavez and the narrative in Venezuela. (see the debunking of liberal icon John Oliver here.)

Now, two things to note here. One is that much of the pandemic suspension of rights was possible because of the Patriot Act. And, two, the rabid anti-communism that runs through U.S. history and U.S. educational institutions has left a residue that clings with particular tenacity to the white liberal class. The most ardent virtue signalling is found among the affluent liberals of urban America. And these are people with great visibility and are also the target demographic for advertisers.

The clumsily-titled Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (USA PATRIOT Act, or USAPA) introduced a plethora of legislative changes which significantly increased the surveillance and investigative powers of law enforcement agencies in the United States. The Act did not, however, provide for the system of checks and balances that traditionally safeguards civil liberties in the face of such legislation. Legislative proposals in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were introduced less than a week after the attacks. { } One of the most striking features of the USA PATRIOT Act is the lack of debate surrounding its introduction.
— Epic.Org, Electronic Information Privacy Center, May 2015

There isn’t even the spirit any more that was in Vietnam, of skepticism, and the sense that the patriotic thing to do is to tell the American people the truth and to try to be impartial and not to be the cat’s paw of the government. But when I say this on TV the reaction is overwhelming; there is tremendous hostility to the free press in this country.
— John MacArthur, Harpers, Censorship and the War on Terrorism

The government has simply abandoned the idea of referendum, or really, it was never considered (which Neil Clark wrote about here.)

The same hostility to free speech is found regards actual democracy. Now, this is not a majority opinion, I don’t think, but like the lockdown polls my guess would be about half. So who makes up this half of the U.S. that is hostile to stuff like free speech or democratic procedures? Again, my guess is the educated white liberal class. These are the people who exhibited an outsize hatred of Trump to the extent that anything he said was going to be opposed and this includes the pandemic. These are the people who beatified Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Who refuse any criticism of Obama, and who love FBI directors if they were against the Donald. Why? I have no real answers except that in the age of screen culture the waves of opinion form quickly and migrate often and rarely can be rationally explained. Something in cyber culture (more acute due to the lockdowns) encourages simplistic narratives of good and evil. And in times of acute precarity there seems a default setting of ‘trust’ regarding state institutions. This also all falls under infantilism.

There are psychological aspects to this beyond just the inherent influence of screen culture. And this is a subject that does not lend itself to simplistic discourse.

We see that the object is being treated in the same way as our own ego, so that when we are in love a considerable amount of narcissistic libido overflows on the object. It is even obvious, in many forms of love choice, that the object serves as a substitute for some unattained ego ideal of our own. We love it on account of the perfections which we have striven to reach for our own ego, and which we should now like to procure in this roundabout way as a means of satisfying our narcissism.
— Sigmund Freud, Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, 1921

Because there is no single Fuhrer figure in contemporary America, this libidinal attachment is diffused over a variety of figures. Why, for example, is Dr. Fauci so respected? Nothing in his dodgy career history explains this. Why are the countless dissenting doctors and respected researchers ignored? The only answer I have is that visibility on the screens of mass media amounts to a kind of Fuhrer stature. Like Max Headroom Fuhrers. There is an inherent authority in the close up, (Godard may have said that) and that is what TV and its extension to laptop and tablet screens achieves. The public is in thrall to figures of authority, even if entirely artificial. Or, rather, they are in thrall to ‘their’ screen images. The ones they identify with and feel they own. Politics is expressed much as shopping is expressed. The identification in the political sphere (and with history) is identical to how this public identifies with Hollywood’s protagonists.

Just as people do not believe deep down in their hearts that Jews are the devil, they do not fully believe in the leader. They do not really identify with him but act on this identification, represent their own enthusiasm, and thus participate in the leader’s performance. It is through this representation that they find a balance between their instinctual urges continually mobilized and the historical stage of enlightenment which they have attained and which can not be arbitrarily revoked. It is probably the distrust of the fiction of his own ‘group psychology’ that makes the fascist masses so merciless and unshakable.
— Theodor Adorno, Freudian Theory and the Pattern of Fascist Propaganda, 1951

This is an important observation of Adorno. The bad faith that resonates throughout the U.S. public discourse is an engine for resentment and rage. And everything has come to feel like a fiction. There is also a strange merging of several tributaries of social movements. One is the Green New Deal (and just read Cory Morningstar on this) and another is the Covid-19 pandemic, and the lockdowns, and then the Klaus Schwab (and Bill Gates and friends) so called Great Reset.

These are the privatised corporate movements that are passed off (on screens) as social reform. Now, the same can be said of Black Lives Matter but to a far less degree because that movement is far less unified. And Defunding the Police even more so, and this because much of that is driven by the formerly incarcerated. But the principle remains.

The Covid phenomenon, however, stands apart as the most drastic and grotesque manufacturing of crisis perhaps ever. Maybe in human history, actually. There is no crisis. The flu has similar numbers for fatalities and for infection. And now much state policy is attached to positive test results for a test nobody (even the manufacturers) really trusts. So who is driving this hysteria? Almost nobody can argue the lockdowns will cause more death, and more suffering. Already there are acute spikes in suicide, and drug overdose, as well as domestic abuse and depression and homelessness. The answer to who constitutes the engine behind this hysteria is likely the same people, by and large, who are driving the above mentioned attempts to rescue Capitalism. Or rather, to control the demolition of capitalism and the transition into a new feudalism.

World systems theorists like Wallerstein and Amin had been since the destruction of the USSR chronicling an unprecedented ruling class offensive to push forward a transformation out of an obsolescent form of competitive capitalism to the next shape of class rule; popular dissident economists and social theorists like Robin Blackburn, Michael Hudson, Naomi Klein, and Robert Brenner had simultaneously been tracking the increasing precariousness of the financialized post-Bretton Woods arrangements. Indeed Klein had recently published an enormous bestseller The Shock Doctrine which, for all its many flaws, provided a neologism for ruling class praxis that vividly conveyed its premeditated malice, violence and cunning, and which was well suited to advance conversations across social strata and diverse communities about the events unfolding in 2008.
— Alponse van Worden (Ibid.)

Van Worden’s critique is actually about Slavoj Zizek, and it is worth noting the malevolent influence of ersatz Marxists like Zizek (and Jacobin magazine and Bhaskar Sunkara, and these days even Counterpunch, sadly, and Chris Hedges, and many crypto LaRouchites, etc.) who are all now actively aligned with U.S. Imperialist interests. And all of whom have embraced a faux green ‘woke’ subject position that is merely more mystification and obscuring of genuine class analysis. For the real barometer for genuine opposition has become the ‘drama of the mask’. Where only recently it was the thermometer, the 1 degree or 2 degrees or whatever, that anchored most climate discourse, today there is the mask. There is ‘herd immunity’ (called mass murder by the folks at Counterpunch). There is the same guilt tripping, the same virtue signalling, and the same bad faith. And the bad faith is palpable, for when expressing ‘concern’ for victims of the pandemic, one can hear the echoes of the same concern many expressed for the victims of child abuse during the recovered memories trials, or of late, too, the overpopulation proponents — like Prince William and Bill Gates. They do not care about victims, they care about saving themselves — but that can only reach their conscious mind by first saving capitalism.

The current bad faith can also be linked to the collapse of the U.S.S.R. The emotional and psychic vacuum, even if largely unconscious for many, left by the fall of Soviet communism, was (and is) enormous. And out of this vacuum came the front edges of the new woke fascism.

Today, social conditions have produced uncritical acceptance of authority among large parts of the population. Among others, even those one might expect to criticise the status quo, we see only despair. The upsurge in interest in deterministic utopian or pessimistic thinking, influenced by the rapid technological change speaks volumes about the powerlessness felt even by those least susceptible to fascist propaganda.
— Max L. Feldman, Seductive Fascist Style, Verso blog, September 2019

And the style coordinates for concern invariably enclose rank sentimentalism. For as James Baldwin noted sentimentality is The Mask of Cruelty. This public bathos has multiplied across all areas of discussion, and it points back to just how harmful the erosion of education has been, and maybe in particular the loss of arts education. For the American public today is both tone deaf and stunningly deficient in aesthetic understanding. They have gone from bad taste to no taste.

Not that long ago, Hollywood was still capable of making meaningful movies.

Based on what little reliable information has been published about the CIA and Hollywood, the agency’s covert manipulation of the entertainment industry appears to have markedly decreased during the next two decades. In the 1970s, following the Watergate scandal and shocking congressional revelations about the CIA, a Hollywood backlash against the spy agency even took shape. A series of anti-authority thrillers, including classic conspiracy films like Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation and Alan Pakula’s The Parallax View (both released in 1974) and Sydney Pollack’s Three Days of the Condor (1975), depicted the national security state as a malevolent force, with Condor, starring Robert Redford as a CIA whistle-blower, taking specific aim at the agency as an institution capable of killing anyone who gets in its way, even its own agents.
— Nicholas Schou,  Spooked, 2016

The shift began in the late 70s. And it escalated profoundly in the 90s under Bill Clinton. For the Clintons saw the importance of Hollywood. A huge number of former Clinton interns are now Hollywood producers. (interesting aside, Clinton screened the 1998 Ed Zwick film The Siege in the White House — a story of terrorists attacking NYC leading to martial law).

Today, however, there are fewer people actually going to the cinema. People watch at home, on laptops and stream from a myriad of platforms. This is the Netflix era. Something else has changed, too. Hollywood has actually stopped being a source of entertainment. I mean it “is” still that, but it is more a sort of religious domain and something like a companion. This is an atomized and lonely society. Electronic devices are left on in many homes 24/7. It is the background white noise of daily life. There are TVs in most restaurants now. There are TVs in doctor’s offices and in all manner of waiting rooms. I saw wide screen monitors at the unemployment office. I saw them at the DMV. Life is chronicled on screens, and I suspect Jonathan Beller is right that our unconscious is now a film strip.

The new woke fascism is, however, much like all fascist movements. I sense too much is made of the technological revolution (sic). Even critics of the fourth industrial revolution are besotted by AI and the fantasies of mass surveillance and facial recognition and the like. The truth is, of course, it doesn’t really have to work, people only have to believe it does. But technology is now a form of mystification. The woke fascism is, like earlier forms, attached to ideas of not just obedience, but duty to obey. And in this sense Americans have always been prime targets for fascism. They see life as a struggle and a conquest. Today the duty to the state is camouflaged to a degree, the state has as a stand-in varieties of environmental constructs (Gaia, etc). The overpopulation eugenicists constantly reiterate their love of nature, of the “planet”. But this is a planet for ‘them’, not for you. And the fascist system is always, to a large extent, petit-bourgeois. So, into this Hollywood has increasingly created stories of technological heroism, and of duty to the authority of those who create and operate that technology. And to valorize the white middle class (Spielberg is the avatar for suburban heroic) As I have written before, Terminator 2 was the story of androids as better parents than humans.

What I am trying to point out is that the CIA is trying to circulate whitewashed images of itself through popular media. Further, it is trying to weave those images into the fabric of society in such a way that viewers see them as a “natural” reflection of the Agency, rather than one that is partially constructed and manipulated by the government.
— Tricia Jenkins (Ibid.)

And it is Trump who is, maybe, the ultimate expression of this decline into ‘no taste’. Trump can’t be understood. He speaks in gibberish. Biden is only very slightly better in terms of speaking English. His clear early stage dementia is maybe the perfect sound track for the Covid experiment. And yet, the petit-bourgeoisie applaud him (and Kamala Harris) as if an exorcism has been completed and the Virgin Spring is born.

And lest anyone have doubts about the underlying agenda(s) of the Covid lockdowns, and in particular Bill Gates… read Jacob Levich.

Here are just a few of Gates’ suggestions..(found in his op ed in the NY Times, and one in the New England Journal of Medicine) which I take from the Levich article…

Work closely with Western military forces, specifically NATO, in operations targeting the developing world. (Planning “should include military alliances such as NATO”; “in a severe epidemic, the military forces of many or all middle- and high-income countries might have to work together.”)

Suspend constitutional guarantees in sovereign nations affected by epidemics. (“Because democratic countries try to avoid abridging individuals’ rights to travel and free assembly, they might be too slow to restrict activities that help spread disease.”)

Create worldwide surveillance networks, presumably free of privacy protections, that would make information about people in developing countries instantly available to the imperial core.  (“Access to satellite photography and cell-phone data” would permit tracking “the movement of populations and individuals in the affected region.”)

The drama of the mask is one of transitioning into full tilt fascism. And instead of black shirts, we have black (and blue and rainbow) masks. But there are already police in most European countries, and in the U.S. (in places) enforcing lockdown restrictions and punishing those who literally and figuratively refuse the mask. Businesses are aligned with their new duty to the state. To the system. Those businesses that are still open, that is.

Homelessness is reaching proportions never even dreamed of even by dystopian Sci Fi writers. And with this is coming a new criminalizing of poverty. The poor were always resented in America, but now those who do the resenting are feeling emboldened by a new religious fervor. And the empire of screens is there to validate that fervor. A patriotic fervor for some, a new woke ‘concern’ for others. Put on the mask because you CARE about people. And nothing is too severe for those who refuse. There is an overwhelming self righteousness in American society today. The next stage will be mandatory vaccination. And with that we will have arrived at an existence of pure symbolism, disconnected from reality. It is fascist Kabuki, a political drama of stylized symbolic gestures and mime, all performed behind a mask.

The post Fascist Kabuki first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Active Shooter in the Brain

Oh, the act of deactivating, the process of disconnecting, the very process of uncluttering the brain — bye-bye Facebook — Emancipation!

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Some might say we are caught in a fun-house . . . or caught in a psych ward. I have more and more people in my sphere — work, friends, email world, Facebook world, family — who are not only showing signs of insanity, but also lobotomy, or massive electro-shock therapy (sic-sick). They actually buy into that Matrix shit, that we are part of a sophisticated code god, a program that creates the “reality” we are in. A Super Duper Mario Brothers Hollywood style. Really, and then the ancient astronauts and those aliens that had to help build Chichén Itzá and the great Pyramids of Gaza.

Conversations about this new normal sort of circle the drain, and in so many instance, the putrid politics of “never Trump” come spewing from the mouths of these people, unsolicited. And as a frame of reference, this “Trump is Gone Now — Hurray for Harris and Biden” (sigh of relief, smiles, giddy chortles) — I am back in the back of the back of the intellectual and political bus. You see, many of us know, through study, travel, experience, rebuff — that the system both Biden and Trump adore is the shooter in the brain. Active Shooter in the House. Active Shooter in the Books they Read (not many). Active Shooter in their Consumer Choices. Active Shooter in the Work Places. Active Shooter in the State Capitals. These Active Shooters are everywhere, and have been since the founding of the Active Shooter Society that is called United (hahaha) States (really?) of America (a map maker, man!).

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Just the way the Kingdom of Puritans and Kingdom of Capital laid the groundwork for this sick-in-the-head, sick-in-the-heart, sick-in-the-spirit, sick-in-the-body, sick-in-the-spirit, sick-in-the-commercial-culture has galvanized all those parts to the Active Shooter scenario and Active Shooter response to everything.

A Good Indian is a Dead Indian. There Will be Blood. Atonement for their Savagery. Beat the Dickens Out of their Native Soil/Soil/Spiritual Being. It’s that Collective Psychological Response to the Active Shooter White Patriarchal Rapist/Land Stealer/Murderer Government working out of the White House vis-à-vis all those houses of ill repute, from the CIA, to Pentagon, from NASA, to Every University, from the New York Times to Netflix, from Bank of America to BlackRock, from Jerusalem, to Geneva. Here a few other things these presidents said —

In 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt promoted putting “dangerous or undesirable aliens or citizens” in “concentration camps.” During World War II, Roosevelt signed an executive order that led hundreds of thousands of people of Japanese descent––including 80,000 U.S. citizens––to be incarcerated in concentration camps on the West Coast of the U.S. The U.S. was in a war against Japan at the time. It was also fighting Italy and Germany, but did not broadly incarcerate people in the U.S. of Italian and German descent.

  • In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower told Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren white Southerners “are not bad people. All they are concerned about is to see that their sweet little girls are not required to sit in school alongside some big overgrown Negroes” while discussing the desegregation of schools.
  • Johnson is often credited as one of the most consequential presidents with respect to civil rights, having signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. But for much of his political career, Johnson opposed civil rights legislation. According to a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography on Johnson, during the two decades he served in the U.S. Senate he would use the phrase “nigger bill.” Johnson also reportedly defended appointing Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court––the court’s first black justice in U.S. history––by stating, “Son, when I appoint a nigger to the court, I want everyone to know he’s a nigger.”
  • Recorded conversations of Nixon’s time in the Oval Office reveal extremely bigoted views of black people, among other groups. In one conversation, Nixon said, “We’re going to [put] more of these little Negro bastards on the welfare rolls at $2,400 a family—let people like [New York Sen.] Pat Moynihan … believe in all that crap. But I don’t believe in it. Work, work—throw ’em off the rolls. That’s the key.”
  • Nixon added, “I have the greatest affection for [blacks], but I know they’re not going to make it for 500 years. They aren’t. You know it, too. The Mexicans are a different cup of tea. They have a heritage. At the present time they steal, they’re dishonest, but they do have some concept of family life. They don’t live like a bunch of dogs, which the Negroes do live like.” On Jewish people, Nixon said, “The Jews are just a very aggressive and abrasive and obnoxious personality.”

And then, butter-for-brains Vice President Joe Biden, with more and more of his racist toes and feet in his mouth — “The way Trump deals with people based on the color of their skin, their national origin, where they’re from, is absolutely sickening,” Biden said. “No sitting president has ever done this, never, never, never. No Republican president has done this, this no Democratic president,” he continued. “We’ve had racists and they’ve existed, they’ve tried to get elected president but he’s the first one that has. And the way he pits people against one another is all designed to divide the country, divide people, not pull them together.”

Shall I say more about the absurdity of the presidential election/selection? I’d end up in the poor house if I gave a reader a penny for each racist thought-or-statement written by or yammered by USA politicos, media mavens, Holly-Dirters, authors, celebrities, Fortune 1000-ers, et al!

With the continual panic and lockdown mentality and genuflection to authority, this society pre-and post-Trump has been the bum’s rush for me and my ilk. When we put this society through the settler-colonial lens, we are lambasted on both sides of the political manure pile. “You know, the Indians were not all these noble savages. You know, they came here using the Land Bridge. You know, progress means adaptation.” These people have always believed in American exceptionalism, believed in the red and white and blue. Always believed those alabaster statues of Lincoln or Jefferson or even Martin Luther King. That Active Shooter in the House is what creates that Collective Stockholm Syndrome. It can be collective in rarified forms — the Stockholm Syndrome of Branch Davidians or MAGA or QAnon. The Stockholm Syndrome of Greta/350.org/David Attenborough. The Stockholm Syndrome of K-Street. Stockholm Syndrome of the Military Police State. Stockholm Syndrome of Techies and Bezos Types. That Syndrome is the result of the Active Shooter Mindset.

Siberian eatery is ideal spot for a Putin fan | Reuters

Until we end up here, in Lockdown, in a society where stores are boarded up. Streets are empty. Barricades of the mind and spirit erected from sea to shining sea. Incomes frozen. Assets Hacked. Lives Set Inside that Funhouse, or to use non-PC lingo, Madhouse. That Active Shooter rules of engagement also include not speaking out and not moving too quickly, or use anything in reach to subdue and escape, or to crawl and stop and hide. Lights out, doors locked, no sounds, no whispering, nothing, just crouch and hold still until, what? Whirling Blackhawks and Rumbling SWAT Armored Vehicles with Machine Gun Turrets?

The perceptions from the individual and collective Stockholm Syndrome, and the intellectual actions and inactions in this Active Shooter Lockdown Abide by All Leaders’ Laws/Regulations/Rules/ Fines/Admonishments/ Recommendations/Edicts/Penalties/Crimes/Offenses/Dictates, well, that certainly has constructed a very mean and very ostrich like society, and the see-hear-speak no evil and head in the sand and the lashing out and the hyper propaganda and the hyper-knee jerking, and, well, with it all facilitated by unsocial media, we are in the super minority if we dare question the question and the responses and the answers. We dare to go up against any of the narratives, and alas, we then become the pariah and the Scarlet-ed Letter “A” for Anarchist or Anachronistic or Abnormal or Ambiguous or Antagonistic or Adversarial or Asymptomatic or Argumentative or even the letter “A” for Anticlockwise.

“All forms of perception are “subjective” in the sense that they represent only those aspects and properties of the world that can be detected by an organism’s sensory transducers. Hence all perception is subjective in the sense of being partial. Moreover, once organisms reach a stage of cognitive complexity where they start to encode some sort of model of the surrounding world through their sensory contact with it, then the result is subjective in an even deeper sense. For what is represented will only comprise those aspects of the world that potentially matter to the organism (whether this is explicitly represented in the organism’s values, or implicit in the lifestyle that has been selected for it by evolution).”

— Peter Carruthers, from Human and Animal Minds: The Consciousness Questions Laid to Rest ( Oxford University Press, Jan 5, 2020;  p. 68)

Imagine that, the very act of just shutting it off, that Fuck You Book, that social ingratiation book, that rotting of the brain book. I was on it only because I had to set up an account for the nonprofit that was/is Gig Economizing me to work on their rather bombastic project of getting billionaires and millionaires and governments and philanthropies to put in “cash” transfers to poor people during, before and after (there will be no after) the Plan-demic Covid-19, SARS-CoV2, corona virus thing. Then, with the multitasking aplomb of wanting to take a break from this or that writing project, alas, I ended up messing with the Paul Haeder Facebook page, and then “befriending” a thousand or so, and then letting loose the philosophical and political tirades of our age. I did end up exposing folk to left of left stuff, to things that are pretty mainstream to me like Black Agenda Report, and groups like the Black Alliance for Peace. Discourse around why Trump or Trump-lite or Pence or GOP-lite, or DNC, or AOC or Biden-Obama-Hillary lite, and the hard stuff brewed by Empire of the Capitalists, that it’s all the same to revolutionaries or those with the Scarlet Letter “A” emblazoned on our t-shirts. Pure addictive and mind-blowing shit, this country is, and that is the unholy alliance of a country tis of me based on torture, raping, burning, immolating, murdering, beheading, pollution, animal slaughter, and air and soil and water destruction, all in the name of toilet paper for the masses, and kingdoms of jewels, banks, homes, mansions, castles for the Capitalists in Power. The ethanol brain rot of Capitalism a la North America.

I would throw out bombs on why Biden and Trump come from the same patriarchal DNA, how the Democratic Party Machine is as Bad and Corrupt as the Republican Party Machine. How the Machine is greased with Capital, and the Machine is not of, for, by, with, entwinned to the People, US, but for the banks. The techno-fascists, and brothers and sister of the Military Industrial Complex of Another and Another and Another Mother/Mothership.

United Snakes of America. United States of BlackRock. Un-united States of Capitalism, what have you, in variations on the theme, well, those stars on that other Banner, tell the story, and the story shifts with the logos, and those stores are indeed just banners, hiding the real sophisticated thugs of Transnational, Transhuman, Transcultural, Transhumane capital.

Corporate Logo Flags (US Flag) from Reclaim Democracy

In that abortion of Facebook just days ago, I find myself less distracted, though I have always worked as a writer, done my time in the world of nature, walks, paddles, bike riding, and now another gig for the 63-going-on-64-white (self-loathing, sort of)-communist-male-who-has-to-in-polite (mixed up)-company-call-himself-socialist. This one, well, full-time, with benefits, and back in the slog of things, working with adults with developmental and intellectual (and psychological and physical) disabilities. As a counselor, in this case all-around job-employment counselor, developers, what have you. Back to getting my expired certificates re-upped, and then all the vocational rehabilitation and department of human services and department of developmental disabilities courses and trainings. Deja vu, and well, in the beach life of the Central Oregon Coast, my spouse and I have to work, even though it feels fluttering around here that half the people are retired and enjoying high lifestyle, or at least solid retired middle class, and then, there are those who service this place, and many of them are struggling big time. In Oregon with the Nanny Governor and the schizophrenia of Red-Neck and Blue-Neck, the pain of businesses shuttering and main streets depopulating, well, this makes for a very hard time for the clientele I work with — how to get a job for someone who has to usually work 20 hours or less to keep the SSI under wraps. People who are not “normally” those we see in the workplace (the highest unemployment rate for any demographic is adults with developmental disabilities — think 83 percent). Getting creative in Plan-Demic times, well, I am up for the challenge, but alas, working that 40-hour a week schedule, and then doing my own thing as a journalist and novelist and such, well, I have to utilize as much brain-space and keyboard and mouse time as possible for MY work.

Facebook was a kick for a while, then for many of those nanoseconds (they do add up to minutes and then an hour is wasted on Fucker-Berg’s Mind Manipulation Tool, I was put on 24 hour and then three-day and then one week suspension. Expelled from posting and commenting. Then, to make matters even more hilarious (sad, too) those dyed in the wool exceptionalists, those with the Democratic Party diarrhea dreams dream, I just had to call it quits. They are the worse of the worse, the same as Christian MAGA and Conservative MAGA and Military MAGA and Retiree MAGA and Female MAGA, and the like. Total cognitive dissonance, and the Active Shooter mind-scape, well, that got the best of me (not really). Endless stupid dead-end posts and mini-discussions about why Trump is in and why Biden is bad, and, then, just coming from this angle as a communist, err, in Active Shooter land, a “socialist,” the arguments are back on the table about how great it is to have that first person of color in as VP-soon-to-be-Prez . . . (1928-’32, Charles Curtis, Herbert Hoover’s Vice President, was a member of the Kaw Nation).

Endless stupidity about the lesser of two evils, about the evils of two lessers, about how a Biden win will allow for pressure on the left side of things to move the party and the country leftier . . . . Right! Bankers, bombers, baggers, bottom-feeders, bombasts, buccaneers, bag men/women, broadcasters, botulism boys, and the like, already lined up for the Harris-Biden Kill Show. Active Shooters show. Then, the Trump All Encompassing Digital and Cable Network . . . . all the while the offense industrialists (elites in and out of the military industrial complex) will bilk the nation, the globe, the resources until a future is this below, the fighting orangutan’s, a la Homo Psychopithecus!

Alternate text

PETITION TARGETCambodian Ambassador to the United States Chum Sounry

The Phnom Penh Safari zoo in Cambodia showcases disturbing orangutan boxing matches, forcing innocent apes to fight each other in a boxing ring. The animals are also made to ride bikes, hula-hoop, and wear degrading outfits, as shown in numerous TripAdvisor photos.

Orangutans aren’t the only animals abused at this zoo: tigers jump through flaming hoops and cower in fear of trainers’ electric prods; crocodiles are hit with sticks and have their mouths taped shut for selfie opportunities; and elephants are controlled with bullhooks.

The animals appear neglected, too. The tigers are declawed and extremely thinaccording to EARS Asia. And the drinking water is filthy, according to a Khmer Times article that has since been deleted.

Animals do not exist for human amusement. They deserve natural habitats and loving caretakers, not cruel zoos where they’re forced to perform for park-goers.

The abuse must stop. Sign this petition urging Cambodian Ambassador to the United States Chum Sounry to call for an end to all cruel animal performances at the zoo and push for a thorough investigation into the animals’ treatment.

The abusive husband in this loveless marriage of capitalists ruling the roost, writing the narrative, spinning the malignant history, fears the loss of her/his master because that abusive system has turned him/her into a clinging hopey-dopey thing who believes all those decades of oppression will somehow be redefined to allow this shattered individual and collective to lose all self-esteem to the point that we are no longer capable of imagining a life without our parasitic master.

We are collectively servants of those masters who have for centuries plotted and prodded populations into fearing agency, revolution and radical transformation. We are that Disney-fied and Disney-fed collective, and those elites especially, yammering and yammering about the LGBTQA+ minority’s play (Lin-Manuel Miranda), “Hamilton,” being so wonderous and so emblematic of the good of this nation, well, not a one would question the slaver’s role in America — a slaver, new documents do show that not only was Alexander Hamilton a slave trader for his in-law family, the Schuyler’s, his own account books demonstrate that Hamilton bought, sold and personally owned slaves. But try and have that conversation about Miranda and the elite’s bullshit love of this bullshit play on Fuck-You-Book, or in person (of course, masked up and at least six feet of separation, please, and no more than 8 gathered in an open space, please or else!!!).

I would have expected a few of the people on Fuck-You-And-The-Horse-You-Rode-Into-Town-On BOOK, to nuance the Biden-Harris gig, the bullshit nature of GOP and DNC, and the trillions thrown at the sex addicts and money changers in the billionaire class, while mom and pop, sister and brother, downtrodden and almost-to-be-downtrodden, get shit from Pelosi and Mitch, but instead, the Collective Stockholm Syndrome of the liberal lite kind has just plummeted our 2021 into the new normal of following more anti-civil rights and anti-free speech and anti-freedom of movement laws backed by thousand-dollar fines, the fuzz with their assault rifles and, well, the GIANT Scarlet Letter A for, well, fill in the blank of anti- as prefix. You get expelled from Zoom Doom school, get cut from the team, get sacked, get ostracized, and get kicked to the curb if you dare question narratives of the ruling class. Dare to question this science (sic) versus that science. You know, that is the mob mentality of America, whether it is in the village square burning heretics, or on the greasy grass mowing down dancers and drummers. We are in a Little Bighorn, and the Big-Small-wannabe Eichmann’s are there, mostly, in places of “authority,” the elites, the nanny governors and their cadre of pencil neck followers, the compliant ones, the ones who follow order, those who say LGBTQA+, but are hope-dopey Stockholm Syndrome sufferers of the major kind, creating dictate after dictate.

You can’t even talk about small businesses closing. Can’t talk about the renter and mortgage class (sic) sticking it and sticking it and resticking it to the masses. Imagine this fucked up Corona World, where stupidity and no-deep questioning rule. Can you imagine scum bucket governors from red and blue states, yammering and yammering.

There is no plan for the resettling in and after Plan-demic. But there is that Fourth Industrial Revolution, the big plans by big tech, and the Google world and the economies of scale of the Amazon-kind variety and the satellites launched at sunset and the Elon Musks and the entire shit-show that is Forbes and Rockefeller and Council on Foreign Affairs, the Aspen Institute, the Federalist Society, the Family, the TED Talk crews, all of them, from QAnon to the Tweets, and everything in between, it is the world of the ACTIVE Shooter, and duck and cover, the name of one generation’s game, and now, the slave master will say, “All Money, All Movements, All Things” will and must be on a digital platform. Passports from Hell to Enter a New Hell. No Travel Unless Eyes Are Scanned and Vaccination Record Checked.

Somehow, that has been the pathway of the elites, from Holly-Dirt, to the schools, to the drone programs at two-bit community colleges, to the food purveyors. We have colonized each generation, and the baselines of old hopes — agency, real food, real relationships with people-land-planet, real debate, real learning, real arguing, real water, real air, real art, real feelings, real history, real enfranchisement, real conversations — that too has been put on Red Flag Active Shooter hold. Deep Sixed.

Conversations and philosophical constructions and deconstructions are put on hold as the majority of people in the United Snakes of BlackRock, well, they talk about “things” as bifurcated nonsense, politics, histrionics, heliographs, shit shows and PT Barnum One-Upping Scams of the Mind and of the Culture.

I love what John Steppling has to say in the front of his essay, The Mechanical Soul:

One of the reasons I keep writing about AI is that the entire construct of an artificial intelligence has become both a symbol and metaphor for contemporary thought, and, is part of this ongoing reshaping of human consciousness.

I admit I am surprised how many people believe in the entire project of AI. Clearly it holds something very appealing that people WANT to believe in. And a key element in this is the idea of predictability. And predicting means controlling. So, in one sense, there is nothing new in this desire to foretell the future.

Now the first problem when discussing “consciousness” is that finding a definition for that word is nearly impossible.

“Moreover, the explicit dualistic beliefs of children in Western cultures get less strong with age (Bering 2006). This suggests that dualism is the default setting of the folk-psychological system, which gets weakened by cultural input in scientific cultures—at least at the level of explicit verbal expression—rather than depending on such input (Riekki et al.2013;Willard & Norenzayan 2013; Forstmann & Burgmer 2015). Indeed, dualist intuitions are prevalent in both children and adults, even in cultures whose norms discourage overt attention to mental states, albeit becoming weaker as a function of exposure to Western education (Chudek et al.2018).” –Peter Carruthers (Human and Animal Minds)

With Facebook and Twitter and even consumption of the low art of Netflix and everything on the Internet, that is, almost all of it on the Web, we are losing the race for dualistic beliefs, of holding many counter-arguments in our brains, and even just considering counter-intuitive things. But, the news, the real news, should send shudders down any human’s spine — Bend, Oregon, on the frigid east side of the Cascade Range, is currently without a warming shelter, largely due to complaints by rich residents about a location. Early Tuesday morning, the body of Dave Melvin Savory, 57, a homeless double amputee, was found slumped against a dumpster outside a Rite Aid pharmacy.

Finally, of course, any real leftist would be cheering the defeat and dethroning of any ruler of the empire. Christ, just watching both sides of the sewer pond is what a revolutionary would hope for. Trump defeated and his slim-balls and himself slipping and sliding in their own shit, that is a good day to be a human being. And, the end of Biden and Harris and all the hit men he and she are hiring on for the Biden-Harris Empire Shit Show, that too will be a very good day for humanity.

Something About Heads on Pikes and All Chained up in the Docks? Banned on Facebook.

America’s Active Shooters!!!

One-time rival Senator Kamala Harris backs Joe Biden for president | amNewYork
Oh Say Can You See by the Dawn’s Early Covid Lockdown…
Pope Francis offers prayers for President Trump - The Dialog
… and Christian Bombs Bursting in Air while laughing all the way to the bank!

Final Note — Imagine this shit show America, and this blog, and the few things I wrote in it, enough to toss me to the curb. Big Brother and Big Sister, they are all watching. Just this recent new job, I was told by a person in the nonprofit involved in hiring me that “I Googled you . . . I had to really get beyond that to think, ‘there is more to this guy than all that.'” Hmm. Is this the proverbial digital straw that broke the human being’s back?

The post Active Shooter in the Brain first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Two Face America: 73 Million Trump Party Apparatchiks Guarantee Turmoil Over the Coming Years

It is happening here.

The soul of America is like the character Two Face in the Batman movie series.

One defeat of the Party of Trump and its 73 million apparatchiks is not enough. In Trump, the United States has bred its own dictator in waiting and he’s got an army of servile apostles willing to fight and die for him. Vigilance by his opponents has never been more important.

This Fuhrer dictatorship could produce only lackeys and profiteers of the most reactionary and aggressive part of German imperialist reaction. Its Germanic democracy reared the repulsive type of a human breed that was boundlessly servile to men of higher rank and just as boundlessly cruelly tyrannical towards men below it.

The Destruction of Reason, Georg Lukacs, 1952

Incumbent President Donald Trump now owns the Republican Party, lock, stock and barrel. With 73 million restless apparatchiks clearly beholden to the cult of Trump, will it be long before the Republican Party gets rebranded as the Trump National Party; or, perhaps, the MAGA Party (Make America Great Again)? Maybe Trump sells-off his faltering real estate empire and creates a media conglomerate—consisting of television, radio, and the Internet/WWW—that spews out divisive, fascist, ultraconservative fare 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Trump Media would absorb the National Review, New York Post and similar conservative publications/websites.

Sky’s the limit for Trump: His 73 million followers include an increasing number of Blacks and Latinos who appear to revere him for his apparent strength, tough talk and sense of honor.

According to Fortune Magazine, “As Trump once put it: ‘Real power is fear. It’s all about strength. Never show weakness. You’ve always got to be strong. Don’t be bullied. There is no choice.’”

Adolf Hitler Said That Too

Brutality is respected. The ordinary man in the street only respects brute force and ruthlessness. The people need to be kept in a salutary state of fear. They want to fear something. Why make a fuss over brutality and wax indignant over tortures? The masses want ti. They want something that will give them shudders of terror. Moralistic platitudes are essential for the masses. There could be no greater mistake for a politician than to be seen posing as the immoral superman. Of course I shall not make it a matter of principle whether or not to act immorally in the conventional sense. I do not abide, you see, by any principles whatever.

Adolf Hitler quoted in The Destruction of Reason by Georg Lukacs

We are all familiar with these wicked sentiments expressed by Trump and Hitler and assorted cult leaders, or should be. The history books are replete with tales of dastardly kings, princes and dictators who said nearly the same things and lived and ruled by such dictates. Democracy has been the aberration in politics, not dictatorship or kingship.

The Path to an American Hitler

The Destruction of Reason by Lukacs traces the development of irrationalism and fascism in Germany; specifically, the intellectual fertilizer that led to Hitler’s rise to power and National Socialism. His analysis reaches back to 1789 and includes commentary on Hegel, Kant, Nietzsche, Marx, Engels, and scores of other philosophical heavyweights.

In an epilogue to the book titled Post World War II Irrationalism, Lukacs argues that the USA achieved all that Hitler sought without all the baggage of National Socialism, psychopathic leaders and the industrialized murder of the Jewish people.  He kicks off the epilogue by quoting from Norman Mailer’s novel the Naked and the Dead, specifically the character of General Cummings:

As kinetic energy, a country is organization, coordinated effort, your epithet, fascism. Historically the purpose of this war is to translate America’s potential into kinetic energy. The concept of fascism, far sounder that communism, if you consider it, for it is grounded firmly in men’s actual natures, merely started in the wrong country, in a country that did not have enough intrinsic potential power to develop completely. In Germany with that basic frustration of limited physical means there were bound to be excesses. But the dreams, the concept was sound enough. For the past century the entire historical process has been working toward greater and greater consolidation of power.

Lukacs puts a fine point on the United States succeeding where Hitler could not:

In contrast to [Nazi] Germany, the USA had a constitution which was democratic from the start. The ruling class managed, particularly during the imperialist era, to have the democratic forms so effectively preserved that by democratically legal means, it achieved a dictatorship of monopoly capitalism at lest as firm as that which Hitler set up with tyrannical procedures. This smoothly functioning democracy, so called, was created by the Presidential prerogative, the Supreme Court’s authority in constitutional questions (and the monopoly capitalists always decided which were the constitutional questions), the finance monopoly over the press, radio, etc., electioneering costs, which successfully prevented really democratic parties from springing up besides the two parties of monopoly capitalism, and lastly the use of terrorist devices (the lynching system—targeting Blacks). And this democracy could in substance realize everything sought by Hitler without needing to break with democracy formally.

Lukacs also notes in passing that Hitler was a fan of American advertising and used what he learned from that field to ply his destructive trade in Germany and across Europe.

Lost Souls

Now we turn to Trita Parsi the Executive Vice President of the Quincy Institute discussing the tortured soul of America. The insight could not have been penned any better than this:

If Joe Biden was right and the 2020 presidential elections were a contest over the soul of America, then his victory is bittersweet. With almost half of the votes cast for Donald Trump, he is undeniably very much a part of the American soul…Trump is not an aberration, but a reflection of the ugliness that very much is, and always has been, a part of us. While the US may not yet be ready to grapple with this reality, the rest of the world can no longer afford to live in denial.  Around the world, many hoped that the lies we have told ourselves of our American innocence – the lies that form the bedrock of American Exceptionalism and neatly separate us from the desperate impulses that brought forward Trump – would prove true. They didn’t.

Almost eight million more Americans voted for Trump this past Tuesday than they did in 2016. They saw the divisions he fueled, the xenophobia he embraced, the children he caged, the white supremacists he refused to condemn, and the pandemic he bungled; and they weighed that against the tax cuts they won, the conservative Supreme Court judges he appointed, the climate chaos they can ignore, and the punishments he inflicted on the “liberal elites”. They decided they wanted four more years of Trump.

As the legendary American actress Betty Davis once said in character, “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”

The post Two Face America: 73 Million Trump Party Apparatchiks Guarantee Turmoil Over the Coming Years first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Countering Rightward Drift In The United States: This Struggle Is Long Term

This week, people are planning protests across the nation beginning the day after the election. Some, like Democratic Party-aligned groups and unions, will only demonstrate if President Trump loses and refuses to leave office. Trump will fail if he tries because the ruling class has clearly shifted its support to Biden. Professor Adrienne Pine explains this in her analysis of the opposition to Trump. Others such as issues-based groups, coalitions and community groups are planning to take the streets no matter what the outcome of the election is.

This is good news because a mass mobilization of left and progressive groups is needed to change the rightward direction in which the United States is headed. Michael J. Smith’s explanation of the “ratchet effect” describes the roles both Republicans and Democrats have played in moving our politics in that direction since 1968. In a nutshell, each time the Republicans moved to the right, the Democrats followed with the excuse that it’s necessary to win votes. This locks in the rightward motion, opening space for Republicans to move to the rightward again.

But Smith also writes, “the Democratic Party has assumed the role of ensuring that the countervailing pressure from the Left doesn’t happen. The party contains and neutralizes the Left, or what there is of it. Left voters are supposed to support the Democrat, come what may.” This is one of the reasons why the expression “the Democratic Party is the graveyard of social movements” exists. How do we counteract that?

SignsofJustice.com.

2020 vision on who we are

In a recent episode of Eleanor Goldfield’s series, Deception 2020, she and Eugene Puryear discuss why the trope of “this is the most important election ever” is recycled in every presidential election. It serves as a great distractor that puts the focus on personalities rather than the broader social context of where we are. It pits Republican and Democratic voters against each other while the ruling class plays both sides, putting the most money on the one that has the best chance of winning. The people hold their noses and vote for whomever they consider to be the lesser evil while the wealthy class knows their interests will be served no matter who wins.

The year 2020 has brought into clear focus that we are living in a failed state and can’t afford to be drawn into this distraction.  The number of new COVID-19 cases surpassed 100,000 in one day. The recession is likely to deepen into a prolonged depression due to Congress’ failure to provide supports for families and their businesses and farms. The climate crisis is raging. And structural racist violence goes on in all of its forms while the Pentagon continues its insatiable consumption of the federal budget leaving austerity for the rest of us

Instead of being caught up in this “political ping pong”, as Kevin Zeese would call it, we need to focus on these grave issues before us. I learned some lessons to avoid this ping pong during my involvement with the health reform process in 2009-10 when we were advocating for national improved Medicare for all while the Democrats were pushing their version of a healthcare bill that protected the profits of the health insurers, pharmaceutical companies and big businesses.

The lesson is best summarized using the acronym “ICU.” Think of it as what is needed, especially in a time of crisis. The “I” stands for independent. It is important not to tie our issue to the agenda of a political party but to maintain independence from them while we press for what we need, lest our struggle be co-opted. The “C” stands for clarity, meaning we must be clear about what we are demanding. Members of the corporate duopoly will always try to water our demands down with proposals that may sound positive but are less than what we need. Look at the Democrat’s Green New Deal as a current example that protects the dirty energy industries and is too little, too late. And the “U” stands for uncompromising. The ruling class will always tell us we are asking for too much but we can’t compromise on fundamentals such as health care, housing, education, financial security and an end to violence against us. These are universal basic needs that nobody should be denied.

With this 2020 vision, we can mobilize a broad movement that puts forth a bold agenda of what we need and fights for it, no matter who is elected. This is how we reverse the ratchet effect. We can look to Chile as a recent example of a people succeeding in their struggle to reverse the ravages of neoliberalism. Patricio Zamorano describes how a similar situation to what we face, great inequality and injustice, drove people to mobilize despite severe repression and win the right to remake their Constitution.

Jeff Bachner/New York Daily News.

Violence on the rise

One reality we must prepare for is the continued rise in right wing violence no matter who wins the election. If Trump wins and people continue to struggle to end the injustices we face, right wing extremists will be emboldened by a president who encourages them. If Biden wins, they will be angered at what they view as a threat to the gains they have made and may lash out.

In light of this, communities need to organize to be vigilant to what is happening around them and to be proactive in creating structures that provide safety and mutual aid, particularly for those who are most vulnerable.

We live in an era of great polarization. This is expected because it goes hand in hand with great inequality and it often precedes moments of social transformation. Think of it as heightening the contradictions and forcing a choice. Who are we and how do we want our society to be?

George Lakey puts the polarization into historical context. Almost one hundred years ago, when extreme polarization existed in Europe, some countries moved to fascist dictatorships while others moved to socialized democracies. The difference was how the people organized and mobilized. Lakey suggests a road map.

If people who consider themselves left or progressive fail to organize and mobilize, we may go the way of a fascist dictatorship no matter who wins this presidential election. If Trump wins, he may do what others have done by trying to further consolidate his power into an authoritarian state. If Biden wins, and he continues the neoliberal and repressive policies that have marked his 47 years in elected office, then the conditions will be created in 2024 or beyond for another Democratic Party loss and an opening for a right wing leader who is more effective than Trump at consolidating power.

Either way we must mobilize and protect our rights. While most of our organizing will take place outside the electoral system because that is where we have power, it will also be necessary to focus on preserving whatever democratic rights exist and strengthening them.

Common Cause NY.

Protecting and improving the election process

As flawed as the electoral process in the United States is, it is the system we currently have. Fair election and third party activists have been working to change it for decades. Now, as it is on so many issues, the major problems with that system – voter suppression, lack of transparency and the process for choosing a president – are more evident.

While the United States has never been a democracy, in fact a look at the founding of the country shows the ruling class who wrote the Constitution were afraid of it, the people believe in democracy. Focusing on democratic rights in this election will bring people together and build momentum to change the system.

Focusing on what President Trump says is a distraction. Recall that Trump was also saying that he would not commit to accepting the outcome in the lead up to the 2016 election. The Democrats and the groups aligned with them are amplifying fears to drive voter turn out, and it seems to be working. The latest Gallup Poll finds almost 70% of registered voters are enthusiastic about the election, which is an increase from the 50% who were enthusiastic in 2016 and similar to 2008 levels. This is highest among registered Democrats.

Five Thirty Eight predicts that due to the electoral process in a few states, for example Pennsylvania is not allowed to start counting mail-in ballots until Tuesday, and the way the states are looking right now, neither of the major party candidates could reach the required 270 electoral votes on election night. It could take a few days.

This is not cause for panic. Instead, let’s take a collective deep breath and watch for problems with the process in our states. Documenting these can be used to challenge and improve the process for the next round. Already, people have been challenging the election process with more than 300 lawsuits filed in 44 states.

There is a small chance that President Trump will be re-elected. If that happens, it will be critical to respect that result. To reject an outcome of the election process we have opens the door to a breakdown of that system and a vacuum that could threaten the hope of building more democratic structures.

Remember, no matter what happens on November 3, our struggle goes on. It is a long term struggle against deeply entrenched structures of racism, capitalism, colonialism and imperialism that will have successes and failures. Our best chance for a better future is to keep our eye on the world we hope to create and keep working toward that goal.

The post Countering Rightward Drift In The United States: This Struggle Is Long Term first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Calling this “our Democracy” is like Slaves referring to “our Plantation”

While Americans are re-programmed every four years for the most important desperately crucial national emergency election since the last one, which will assure that Wall Street, the Pentagon, Israel and billionaires maintain power and control over everything that matters, most eligible voters will choose neither of the ruling power’s candidates and in a sense exercise democratic values by refusing to act as majority puppets.

Meanwhile the people of Bolivia and Chile recently went to the polls and in dramatic contrast to America actually voted on substantial issues that could radically change their country’s futures. Bolivia chose returning to the socialist government that had been overthrown by a U.S. aided capitalist -fascist coup and Chile voted to dump its U.S. influenced fascist-capitalist constitution in favor of a new one to guarantee the rights of all and not just some of their people. However things turn out for them what they did comes far closer to what America needs and democracy can create but what we’ll get is the same system with possibly slightly different actions by the crew of our national model of the Titanic. Escape lifeboats will still be available only to the upper income groups while the rest of us can drown. Sorry, we’re in the “real” world and still being convinced that having a new CEO of a petroleum firm who is a transsexual of color or a bi-polar Semite or a Picasso person with seven eyes and eight breasts is more important than ending dependence on fossil fuels and demanding alternate power sources for the future of our nation and our planet.

With manufactured fears of this multi-billion dollar electoral market being sold as democracy but allegedly threatened by Russia, China, Iran, Cuba, Mexico, Disneyland, Lower Slobovia or other fictional scapegoats, the financial fiasco that grows more criminal and psychotic every day supposedly guarantees freedom to the homeless, the poor, the debtors, the millions without health care and the rest of us to whom everything nature’s corporate capitalism offers is available provided we’ve the market force to buy it. Those of us able to buy are a group getting smaller by the minute with plastic replacing money at a faster clip than ever with debt in the trillions and the only hope of paying it off being prayer, drugs or mass murder.

The bread and circuses of a past empire has its present version in the moral pornography of a rich nation with people living on the street, under highways and bridges and being stepped over by good folks on their way to rescue a dog or cat while massive political fund raising assures the richest minority maintains control of the entire political process. All of this is sanctified by the law of the land, a constitution written by the original 1% to assure that the other 99% would never threaten their power and control, only allowing supposed revolutionary amendments that allow a greater professional servant class and guarantee that the overwhelming majority continue to react to the spectacle of a variety show that passes for an electoral process, as people are convinced that the right to vote is the essence of democracy, with little or no consideration about what there is to vote for. With fears of fascism being charged every minute and attributing that threat to the rich if honest simpleton in the white house, there is also the veneration in the minds of the people that the act of voting is the be all, end all of fictional democracy.

Pssst: the popular depiction of the archfiend fascists of Nazism and Hitler leaves out the fact that they took power through the sacred democratic process of voting, and Germany was generally considered the foremost intellectual and artistic culture of the continent.  Past American dominance of the world was never dependent on our exceeding Canada and Mexico in thought and creativity except when it came to making and using weapons to slaughter millions while proclaiming love for mankind, democracy and other good stuff. The point being that fascism is an aspect of capitalism at an extremely critical crisis during which the most repressive among the ruling class take power and make life better for some and worse for others but in a fashion beyond the usual fake manner which calls attention to poverty, war and social degeneracy as aspects of awful “other” social formations. This is currently the expression of the alleged fascist putz in the white house while his alleged liberal foes engage in the most repressive reactionary politics in the usual guise of democracy in America: Our evil is lesser than their evil. Vote for polio or you’ll get cancer!

Before we were struck by the pandemic spread by market forces, more than half a million Americans were homeless. More than 8 million have since descended into poverty while the billionaire class has expanded its wealth to even more outrageous extremes than before. And while our national situation disintegrates under the moral assault on life and nature called the free market, no less than the World Bank warns of the titanic debt threatening the globe with the poorest countries already facing hardship beyond anything previously experienced in trying to approach paying off debts they owe to richer nations which often got rich by stealing their national wealth through colonialist oppression. The bank warns against global collapse unless the world does something about the fact that the richest 2 thousand people own more wealth than four and a half billion humans combined.

These are not among the issues brought before the American public this election season when Trump’s personal tax figures and sex life take precedence over the fact that his open adoration of Israel and Netanyahu exceeds that of the entire American congress which all but publicly buried its face in his crotch when he spoke to the assembled recipients of Israeli lobby wealth for their political campaigns. Trump openly says he doesn’t need the Israeli lobby’s money so his passion is accepted as sincere where as much of congress and past white house occupants gleefully accept the much needed millions to “democratically” treat the last colonial nation in the world as some divine aspect of humanity.

The outcome of the election may not be known for hours, days or weeks after its conclusion due to the conditions brought about by the pandemic alongside other breakdowns in our political economy. Speculations about whether the post office will sell our ballots to Russia or China or Trump’s family will use them to gain more credit at Amazon or that fascism or civil war will take place are beside the point. Feverish fears or realistic panic, the fact is that Wall Street, the Pentagon, Israel and Billionaires will remain in control of the nation and future acceptance of the lie that this represents democracy will not just make things worse, but much worse than ever before. This needs to be the last vote that accepts the lie of national democracy and must lead to the creation of a new national political party to represent the majority of Americans currently having our lives bargained at a corrupt market and equally corrupt political process over which we exercise no control.

Social conditions may become more dreadful in the short term after this hopefully last exercise of fake democracy. Whatever the lesser evil outcome of the ruling class owned and controlled exercise of the present moment, we need immediate action on the part of the people being bled physically, mentally and spiritually for fictional nonsense we are always fed, never more than during this latest outburst of truly fake democracy. We need the real thing and we need it fast. That struggle has already begun and it needs to take on much greater speed after November 3, 2020.

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Something Wicked This Way Comes: Anarchy Is Being Loosed Upon the Nation

Every day I ask myself the same question: How can this be happening in America? How can people like these be in charge of our country? If I didn’t see it with my own eyes, I’d think I was having a hallucination.

— Philip Roth, The Plot Against America, 2004, Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Things are falling apart.

How much longer we can sustain the fiction that we live in a constitutional republic, I cannot say, but anarchy is being loosed upon the nation.

We are witnessing the unraveling of the American dream one injustice at a time.

Day after day, the government’s crimes against the citizenry grow more egregious, more treacherous and more tragic. And day after day, the American people wake up a little more to the grim realization that they have become captives in a prison of their own making.

No longer a free people, we are now pushed and prodded and watched over by twitchy, hyper-sensitive, easily-spooked armed guards who care little for the rights, humanity or well-being of those in their care.

The death toll is mounting.

The carnage is heartbreaking.

The public’s faith in the government to do its job—which is to protect our freedoms—is deteriorating.

It doesn’t take a weatherman to realize when a storm is brewing: clouds gather, the wind begins to blow, and an almost-palpable tension builds.

It’s the same way with freedom.

The warning signs are everywhere.

“Things fall apart,” wrote W.B. Yeats in his dark, forbidding poem The Second Coming. “The centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned … Surely some revelation is at hand.”

The upcoming election and its aftermath will undoubtedly keep the citizenry divided and at each other’s throats, so busy fighting each other that they never manage to present a unified front against tyranny in any form. Yet the winner has already been decided. As American satirist H.L. Mencken predicted almost a century ago:

All the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

In other words, nothing will change.

You cannot have a republican form of government—nor a democratic one, for that matter—when the government views itself as superior to the citizenry, when it no longer operates for the benefit of the people, when the people are no longer able to peacefully reform their government, when government officials cease to act like public servants, when elected officials no longer represent the will of the people, when the government routinely violates the rights of the people and perpetrates more violence against the citizenry than the criminal class, when government spending is unaccountable and unaccounted for, when the judiciary act as courts of order rather than justice, and when the government is no longer bound by the laws of the Constitution.

For too long, the American people have obeyed the government’s dictates, no matter now unjust.

We have paid its taxes, penalties and fines, no matter how outrageous. We have tolerated its indignities, insults and abuses, no matter how egregious. We have turned a blind eye to its indiscretions and incompetence, no matter how imprudent. We have held our silence in the face of its lawlessness, licentiousness and corruption, no matter how illicit.

We have suffered. Oh. how we have suffered!

How much longer we will continue to suffer at the hands of a tyrannical police state depends on how much we’re willing to give up for the sake of freedom.

It may well be that Professor Morris Berman is correct: perhaps we are entering into the dark ages that signify the final phase of the American Empire. “It seems to me,” writes Berman, “that the people do get the government they deserve, and even beyond that, the government who they are, so to speak. In that regard, we might consider, as an extreme version of this… that Hitler was as much an expression of the German people at that point in time as he was a departure from them.”

For the moment, the American people seem content to sit back and watch the reality TV programming that passes for politics today. It’s the modern-day equivalent of bread and circuses, a carefully calibrated exercise in how to manipulate, polarize, propagandize and control a population.

As French philosopher Etienne de La Boétie observed half a millennium ago:

Plays, farces, spectacles, gladiators, strange beasts, medals, pictures, and other such opiates, these were for ancient peoples the bait toward slavery, the price of their liberty, the instruments of tyranny. By these practices and enticements the ancient dictators so successfully lulled their subjects under the yoke, that the stupefied peoples, fascinated by the pastimes and vain pleasures flashed before their eyes, learned subservience as naively, but not so creditably, as little children learn to read by looking at bright picture books.

The bait towards slavery. The price of liberty. The instruments of tyranny.

Yes, that sounds about right.

“We the people” have learned only too well how to be slaves. Worse, we have come to enjoy our voluntary servitude, which masquerades as citizenship.

This presidential election is yet another pacifier to lull us into complacency and blind us to the monsters in our midst.

I refuse to be pacified, patronized or placated.

Here’s my plan: rather than staying glued to my TV set, watching politicians and talking heads regurgitate the same soundbites over and over, I’m going to keep doing the hard work that needs to be done to keep freedom alive in this country.

That’s why, almost 40 years ago, I founded The Rutherford Institute: as a nonpartisan, apolitical organization committed to the principles enshrined in the Constitution and Bill of Rights that would work tirelessly to reshape the government from the bottom up into one that respects freedom, recognizes our worth as human beings, resists corruption, and abides by the rule of law.

It’s a thankless, never-ending job, but someone’s got to do it. And I can promise you that when I do eventually turn on the TV, John Carpenter—not Donald Trump or Joe Biden—will be my pick for escapist entertainment.

Carpenter’s films, known primarily for their horror themes, are infused with strong anti-authoritarian, overarching themes that speak to the filmmaker’s concerns about the unraveling of our society, particularly our government. Even among a pantheon of dystopian films such as Minority Report, Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Matrix, V for Vendetta, and Land of the Blind, Carpenter’s work stands out for its clarity of vision.

Carpenter sees the government working against its own citizens.

Yet while Carpenter is a skeptic and critic, there’s also a strange optimism that runs through his films. “A close view of Carpenter’s work reveals a romantic streak beneath the skepticism,” John Muir writes in his insightful book The Films of John Carpenter, “a belief down deep—far below the anti-establishment hatred—that a single committed and idealistic person can make a difference, even if society does not recognize that person as valuable or good.”

In fact, Carpenter’s central characters are always out of step with their times. Underneath their machismo, they still believe in the ideals of liberty and equal opportunity. Their beliefs place them in constant opposition with the law and the establishment, but they are nonetheless freedom fighters. When, for example, John Nada destroys the alien hypno-transmitter in They Live, he restores hope by delivering America a wake-up call for freedom.

This is the theme that runs throughout Carpenter’s films—the belief in American ideals and in people. “He believes that man can do better,” writes Muir, “and his heroes consistently prove that worthy goals (such as saving the Earth from malevolent shape-shifters) can be accomplished, but only through individuality.”

Thus, John Carpenter is more than a filmmaker. He is a cultural analyst and a keen observer of the unraveling of the American psyche. “I’m disgusted by what we’ve become in America,” said Carpenter. “I truly believe there is brain death in this country. Everything we see is designed to sell us something. The only thing they want to do is take our money.”

The following are my favorite Carpenter films.

Assault on Precinct 13 (1976): This is essentially a remake of Howard Hawks’ 1959 classic western Rio Bravo—much beloved by Carpenter. A street gang and assorted criminals surround and assault a police station. Paranoia abounds as the police are attacked from all sides and can see no way out. Indeed, Carpenter repeatedly has his characters comment, in disbelief, that “This can’t happen, not today!” or “We’re in the middle of a city … in a police station … someone will drive by eventually!” Or will they?

Halloween (1978): This low-budget horror masterpiece launched Carpenter’s career. Acclaimed as the most successful independent motion picture of all time, the story centers on a deranged youth who returns to his hometown to conduct a murderous rampage after fifteen years in an asylum. This film, which assumes that there is a form of evil so dark that it can’t be killed, deconstructs our technological existence while reminding us that in the end, we all may have to experience Orwell’s stamping boot on our faces forever.

The Fog (1980): This is a disturbing ghost story made in the mode of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963). Here the menace besieging a small town is not a pack of winged pests but rather a deadly fog bank that cloaks vengeful, faceless, evil spirits from which there may be no escape.

Escape from New York (1981): This is the ultimate urban nightmare. A ruined Manhattan of the future is an anarchic prison for America’s worst criminals. When the U.S. president is captured as a hostage, the government sends a disgraced, rebellious war hero into Manhattan in what seems to be an impossible rescue mission. In fact, this film sees fascism as the future of America.

The Thing (1982): Considered by many as one of Carpenter’s best films, this is a remake of the 1951 sci-fi classic of the same name. A team of scientists in a remote Antarctic outpost discover a buried spaceship with a ravenous, mutating alien that eventually creates a claustrophobic, paranoid environment within their compound. The social commentary is obvious as the horrible creature literally erupts and bursts out of human flesh. This film presupposes that increasingly we are all becoming dehumanized. Thus, in the end, we are all potential aliens.

Christine (1983): This film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel finds a young man with a classic automobile that is demonically possessed. The car, representing technology with a will and consciousness of its own, goes on a murderous rampage. Do we now face the same possibility with the predominance of artificial intelligence?

Starman (1984): An alien from an advanced civilization takes on the guise of a young widow’s recently deceased husband. The couple then takes off on a long drive to rendezvous with the alien spacecraft so he can return home. Surprisingly, as John Muir recognizes, this film is a Christ allegory with the alien visitor possessing extraordinary powers to heal the sick, resurrect the dead, and perform miracles. The question posed is whether the only hope for humanity is a visitor from another world.

They Live (1988): This film, which I explore in detail in my books, assumes the future has already arrived. John Nada is a homeless person who stumbles across a resistance movement and finds a pair of sunglasses that enables him to see the real world around him. What he discovers is a monochrome reality in a world controlled by ominous beings who bombard the citizens with subliminal messages such as “obey” and “conform.” Carpenter makes an effective political point about the underclass (everyone except those in power, that is): we, the prisoners of our devices, are too busy sucking up the entertainment trivia beamed into our brains and attacking each other to start an effective resistance movement. As the Bearded Man in They Live tells us:

The poor and the underclass are growing. Racial justice and human rights are non-existent. They have created a repressive society and we are their unwitting accomplices . . . They are dismantling the sleeping middle class. More and more people are becoming poor. We are their cattle. We are being bred for slavery.

In the Mouth of Madness (1995): A successful horror novelist’s fans become so engrossed in his stories that they slip into dementia and carry out the grisly acts depicted in his books. When this film was being conceived, politicians were criticizing horror movies for promoting violence. Carpenter parodied this argument while noting that evil grows when people lose “the ability to know the difference between reality and fantasy.” As we lose ourselves in ever-evolving technology, we are increasingly blurring that distinction. Does that mean evil will eventually overcome us all?

Madness. Delusion. Denial. Paranoia. Inhumanity. These are some of the monsters of our age.

In the cinematic world of John Carpenter, whenever freedom falls to tyranny, it is because the people allowed it to happen.

It works that way in the real world, too.

The lesson, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People: they—the tyrants, the bogeymen, the strongmen, the enemies of freedom—live, because “we the people” sleep.

Time to wake up, America, and break free of your chains.

Something wicked this way comes.

The post Something Wicked This Way Comes: Anarchy Is Being Loosed Upon the Nation first appeared on Dissident Voice.

“Dictatorship” and “Democracy” as Loaded Language: Anti-Communist Cold-War Propaganda

ORIENTATION

In my last article I showed how the word “totalitarian” was used as a loaded vice word to attack the Soviet Union after World War II and to red-bait communists around the world. The use of the word totalitarian began in the 1930s, but even before then in the 1920’s, the word “dictator” began to surface in order to explain another political response to the crisis in capitalism. We will study the use of this term from the 1920s to the end of World War II, although, of course, the word dictator is still used for propaganda purposes today against socialist governments.

If I were to ask 95% of the Yankee population, “Is Putin a dictator” almost all would say “yes”. If I were to ask “Is Maduro a dictator” I would get the same response. But if six months ago I were to ask “Is Trump a dictator” the answer would be mixed. This is because the CIA controlled political propaganda machine saves the word “dictator” for foreign countries, inevitably the head of socialist or communist states. But here in Yankeedom we don’t have dictators, not even Donald Trump.

Within the same time period, the 1920s, the word “democracy” was also manipulated to mean different things at different times but for the same anti-communist reasons. In the first half of this article I will discuss the propagandistic use of the word dictator and in the second half I will discuss the propagandistic use of democracy. For the section on dictatorship, I will be drawing mostly from Dictators, Democracy and Envisioning the Totalitarian Enemy 1920s-1950 by Benjamin Alpers. For the section on democracy I will be using mostly The Crisis in Democratic Theory by Edward Purcell Jr.

THE UNITED STATES FLIRTS WITH DICTATORSHIPS IN THE 1920S AND EARLY 1930S

In the 20s the U.S. press praised Mussolini for bringing political order to Italy. So relieved was the U.S. press at Mussolini’s seizure of power in 1922 that few journalists bothered to report his hostility to democracy or his radical left past. From Mussolini’s march on Rome in 1922 to mid-1930s, dictatorship was seen sympathetically on the left (Stalin’s dictatorship) as well as the right. The same praise was given to Stalin’s first 5-year plan. As Mussolini’s prestige rose in the U.S., Stalin was seen as accomplishing wonderful things by labor representatives, public health workers and engineers.

In a 1932 interview with Mussolini, the press packaged him as a model for the US as “what a real dictator would do”. Here is an excerpt from Barron’s editorial section: “Whether we are quite ready to admit it or not, sometimes openly and other times secretly, we have been longing to see the superman emerge… Of course, we all realize that dictatorships and even semi-dictatorships in peacetime are quite contrary to the spirit of American institutions and all that.”

Rather than rejecting the fear that “it can’t happen here” the sociologist Robert Lynd suggested that the capitalists secretly desired a dictatorship.

Dictatorship and the Great Depression 

The coming of the depression made dictatorships more attractive. Mussolini received a favorable reception by capitalists as a dictatorship seemed like an efficient way to deal with labor unions, economic depressions and a way to organize an economy along non-socialist lines. In the early years of the Great Depression, dictatorship was an important political fantasy. The image of a dictator was a great man, one who was able to lift himself to prominence despite humble beginnings.

Dictatorship was understood as a personality and not part of a political structure. The dictator was the ultimate “doer”. Liberals bent over backwards explaining why dictatorship did not make it the opposite of democracy. Dorothy Thompson argued that good dictators can save democracy; bad dictators can destroy it. In the middle of the 1930s, 33% of unemployed engineers agreed with the need for a dictator.

In 1932-33, the necessity for a dictator in the US spread to the movies, including two Hollywood films. In the documentary movie Mussolini Speaks, no reference is made to fascist brutality. The film celebrates Mussolini’s enormous control of the crowd. In its initial run at the New York Place Theatre, it received critical and popular success. In 1933, the New York Times gave it an enthusiastic review.

The film Gabriel over the White House advocated dictatorship in the US. In it, a dictator tells Congress it has turned its back on the people. The dictator solves the problems of unemployment and organized crime. The newspaper magnet, Randolph Hearst, collaborated with this film. It was a hit at the box office but encountered mixed reviews. The problem was that the film hit theaters just as the Yankee longing for dictators was coming to an end. Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia in 1935 ended Mussolini’s popularity in the US. During the social and economic crisis of the 30s, U.S. analysis had briefly hoped that dictatorship might offer a more efficient way to unify and organize capitalism. As the costs of dictatorship rose in the late 30s, sociologists and historians, instead of blaming capitalist chaotic economic relations for interest in dictators as forces of order, blamed the masses for the existence of their now demonized dictators.

Roosevelt, Hitler and the end of the romance with dictators

While there were a minority of conservative groups that greeted Hitler’s rise with an anti-communist sigh of relief, the arrival of Hitler to power in 1933 ended the flirtation with dictatorship as a virtue word. After 1935, business journals began to equate fascism and communism. By the 2nd half of the 30s, dictatorship became an evil word. In 1927 “dictator” had enough favorability to have a car named “dictator”. The name of the car was recalled after 1937. In the early 1930s dictators were seen as either heroic (Mussolini) or horrific (Hitler), but each was admired as a man who single-handedly tamed the unruly masses and restored honor to the nation. By the late 1930s dictators were thought of as one-sidedly negative. Dictatorship became a loaded vice word.  Dictators were subjected to pop psychological analysis or treated as buffoons, as in the movie of Charlie Chaplin or in the Three Stooges. In fact, Chaplin’s film on Hitler was the highest money-making film in the U.S. between 1933 and 1942.

In the United States the right-wing even accused Roosevelt of being a dictator throughout his term. There was a mocking phrase “Third Reich, Third International, Third Term” slogan for him.  Even in 1937, 37% feared Roosevelt was becoming a dictator. In 1938 the figure rose to 50%. So, in the 1920s and early 1930s, dictatorships were seen as a temporary solution to social problems; whereas in the late 1930s dictatorships appeared to be the cause of social problems and perpetuated by mass media and the masses.

The absence of fathers promotes desire for dictators (Roosevelt)

One theory had it that American family life was in trouble. The need for more than one income put women in the workforce and this undermined the role of the father. There had to be some authoritative figure to be looked up to. Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats provided this substitute. The dream of defeating Hitler through the patriarchal authority of Roosevelt backed by supportive women was present in a number of American films. In the novel, The President Vanishes, fascism comes to America, but it was overcome by a strong leader and the backing of a good woman.

Hollywood’s first attempt to deal with German politics was in the novel, Little Man, What Now? by Hans Fallada (1932). It contrasts the stable bonds of matrimony against chaotic political action. It presents dictators as produced by rifts in the social fabric. Improved family life offered the best opportunity to mend it. In Sinclair Lewis’s It can’t Happen Here a populist demagogue with fascist overtones, along with a core of “white-shirts”, win the election. Minutemen seized Congress and abolish political parties. A resistance formed, called “New Underground”, was led by a Yankee individualist who saves the day.

THE AUDIENCE ITSELF IS THE DRAMA: DICTATORSHIP, CROWDS AND MASSES 1936-1941

Up until now, dictatorship was focused in the individual dictator and had little to do with the masses. But by the late 1930s there was a shift from the personality of the dictator to a crowd-centered explanation of modern dictators. If in the early 30s Americans were fearful or hopeful of a single man asserting himself and ruling the country by his will, in the last half of the decade the personality of the dictator was dethroned as an explanation for the existence of dictators. It was the crowd or the masses that produced dictators.  In the early 1930s, dictatorships paid little attention to the political actual organization of the dictatorships except for a very few groups. By the late 1930s there was much more attention paid to the social situation dictatorships emerged out of.

Cynical Views of the Public

Dorothy Thompson suggested that public opinion, not any desire on the part of the president, was responsible for the danger posed to democracy. In the play by Archibald MacLeish, Fall of the City, with Orson Welles and Burgess Meredith, the message was that people invent their oppressors. Masses wish to believe in them; they wish to be free of their freedom. The leader is a projection of the masses wanting to be dominated. Dictatorships don’t end once the dictator has disappeared. What explains the dictator? In the early 1930s fascism was the tyranny of a minority. But by the late 1930s fascism was understood as the work of the crowd. In the early 1930s order was understood as a good thing, something that restored chaos. Order was understood in mechanical images such as the machines of Henry Ford and Fredrick Taylor. But by the 1930s, the order of a regimented crowd became a dangerous thing.  By the late 30s bad order existed because people desired regimentation, fanatical chanting and saluting in unison.

Just as the bomber squadron — powerful, ordered, cruel and devoid of autonomy — was the dominant representation of the dictatorial forces of Europeans in war, so the regimented crowd, standing or goose-stepping, became the prevailing image of European dictatorships in peace. The word “mob” had taken on new meaning with the rise of Al Capone. The FBI projected a view of Nazis and Communists that was similar to popular notions of organized crime: a vast secret network running a racket that was political as opposed to criminal. In real life, mobs are disorganized social bodies of individuals with no coordination. Fascist or communist crowds were hyper-coordinated and the opposite of mobs.

For extreme conservatives, the most obvious explanation for the rise of the regimented crowd was nationality. The American Legion’s response against communism was a call to cut European immigration quotas by 90%. In other words, Italians and Germans as ethnicities were believed to be more likely to produce crowd violence than the respectable English or Norwegians.

Crowds vs Masses

What did this new kind of crowd look like? In the 1930s, crowds were understood as a minority of the population, arising spontaneously, chaotic, but having a short-term lifetime. They had a diffused attention span and were not very efficient. Crowds in the early 30s were predominantly male and crowds had to be in the same place at the same time. Because of this, members of crowds could easily be dispersed, jailed or deported. However, once the individual left a crowd they returned to their normal behavior as individuals.

Modern communications technology, specifically the radio, allowed crowds to be called into existence even when people were not physically gathered together and when the speaker was at a great distance. This crowd was now a mass, focused and much more long-lasting. Further, an individual as a member of mass does not leave his mass mind when he leaves a crowd or turns off his radio. He maintains a crowd mind even when alone. Masses in the late 1930s constituted a majority of the population who voluntarily joined, were regimented, could move efficiently. Masses arose with the decline of all intermediate groups and voluntary associations. In the late 1930s masses were mostly male, but women were out and seen in public.

Sympathetic Views of the Public

Frank Capra found his own independent film production in 1939 which dealt with the regimentation of crowds. In both Mr. Deeds Goes to Town and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Capra makes the press responsible for creating public opinion. Capra was a conservative Republican, but it was not only conservatives who blamed mass media for the rise of mass men. In War of the Worlds, Orson Welles wants to spread democracy by exposing the hold mass media has on people. In Citizen Kane, Wells wants to turn the audience into investigators instead of relying on mass media.

Raymond Cantril studied the public reaction to War of the Worlds, but Cantril did not blame mass media. In his Invasion from Mars in 1938, it was not because of mass media that people were duped. It was their willingness to believe they were being invaded. Some people lacked the critical thinking ability to disbelieve what the radio was telling them. On a psychological level, formal education would discourage a willingness to believe. At the same time, the timing as to when they tuned into the broadcast was an important situational factor in explaining the masses’ reaction.

More importantly, Cantril concluded that social stress explains the rise of dictatorships. His conclusion was that economic hardship is the cause of the rise of dictatorships and makes people less rational. Unstable political and economic institutions are responsible for that and this results in the cultivation of ignorance, intolerance and abstention from democratic processes.DEMOCRACTIC THEORY

The Reality and the Fantasy of Democracy

A number of years ago, according to a UN conducted analysis of democratic processes, Yankees ranked 29th in the world. Something like 28% of the population does not vote and another 24% is ineligible to vote. The Yankee public is known around the world as not wanting to talk about politics.  When asked, roughly 2/3 of Americans say they want more than two parties. Yet, if you asked soldiers why they were fighting you would be told they are fighting for democracy. How can there be a democracy with only two parties from which to choose? If you ask the general public if they live in a democracy, they will say yes. How can this be? The answer is that the virtue-word “democracy” has been worked into the anti-communist propaganda machine whereas “totalitarian” and “dictatorship“ are used as vice words, which are counter to the virtue word “democracy”.

Traditional Jeffersonian Democracy

In the United States, the first theories of democracy, Jeffersonian, literally meant the rule of the people. Democratic processes supposedly took place in face-to-face town-hall meetings and discussions. The population was imagined to be intelligent and informed. Their decisions were based on conscious and rational thinking processes. Whatever the place of emotions, they were toned down. People were expected to know their self-interest and the way they made their political judgments were thought to be by weighing the pros and cons.

Skepticism of Democracy: Merriam, Lasswell, Wallas and Lippman

By the second decade of the 20th century, “the people” were not seen in such a favorable light. Charles Merriam and Harold Lasswell challenged the rationality of human nature and the practicality of a government where the people ruled. Both believed that politics should be the study of how small groups dominate. They thought that politics should be about the study of the influential minority. In the 1920s there was a great controversy over how to interpret the terrible scores of Yankee soldiers on IQ tests. The dominant schools of psychology such as Freud and the crowd psychology of Gustave Le Bon argued that people were driven by the irrational forces located in the unconscious. Graham Wallas and Walter Lippmann both argued that the ideal human society would be if a few intelligent leaders directed the majority. According to them, the public does not process political events as they happen objectively but though past experiences. Lippmann said in his book Public Opinion, that town-house democracy could no longer work. From the late 19th century, thanks to mass communication, people now have to rely on newspapers and political propaganda for their sources. For Lippmann, the best we can hope for is an elite democracy. He became even more right-wing as he aged, suggesting that people should not be taught to meddle in public affairs.

Lasswell suggested that deep hatreds within the families of Yankees were sublimated into public life. Individuals were thought to be a bad judge of their own self-interest. Free and open discussions obscured rather than clarified problems. Another indicator that the public was not trustworthy came from a study of Chicago politics in which it was found that half the public did not vote. As we saw in the first part of this article, Yankee elites flirted with dictatorship as their skepticism for democracy grew. It wasn’t until the rise of Hitler that they began to defend democracy ideologically, if only for propagandistic purposes.

Cowin and Eliot put a smiley face on public indifference. They argued that the reason people didn’t vote was because they were satisfied with the system! Some said the indifference of people to principles was a crucial factor in the success of popular government. Non-voting kept the public from being divided sharply into coalitions. Given the fickleness of public opinion, those who did vote ensured that no impassioned commitment (god forbid) would mobilize large numbers for a sustained confrontation. In other words, apathy is good because it keeps people from having ‘extreme” opinions. Besides, people are too busy to be bothered with politics.

It rarely occurred to any of these theorists that the reason that over half the people do not vote was that, at least for working class people, there was no one to vote for because both parties were controlled by the ruling class. Instead, they avoided this problem completely, by comparing it to the totalitarian system of the Nazis. John Dewey tried to make democracy akin to a scientific experiment which: a) denied absolute truths; b) remained intellectually flexible and critical; c) valued diversity, and; d) drew from competing subgroups as a base. Dewey tried to link democracy to science, not considering that masses of people do not apply scientific methodology to politics.  Dewey was setting the table for the political pluralism of the 1950s.

Schumpeter’s Competitive Elitism

In 1942 Joseph Schumpeter published Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, which became one of the foundation stones for the pluralism of Robert Dahl over a decade or so later. For Schumpeter, power configurations are stable and in the long run, they do not change. What is democratic is not the extent that people are involved but rather the centrality and stability of political leadership. The state was not an expression of the people’s will but an independent and well-trained administration. The political culture is fractured. People not only have different wants but different values and methods of achieving them. This is why democracy must be concentrated in the leadership. Schumpeter agreed with Le Bon’s theory of crowds, so he thought people were easily influenced by demagogic leaders, advertising, fads and fashions. Politics is dominated by party politics which have little to do with the public. Schumpeter argues that the intermediate groups, the voluntary groups so dear to de Tocqueville, really were not significant. In reality, there was no significant mediation between the state and the individual. At this point, you might think “what does this have to do with democracy?” Schumpeter says that elites have different interests and the voters have the power to vote in or vote out elites.

The Tough-minded and Tender-hearted Politics

Competitive elitism is the bad conscience of the pluralists of the 1950s. Competitive elitism is based on the realism of Max Weber. Pluralist political science was based on the softer sociology of Emile Durkheim. The relationship between competitive elitism and pluralism is like the relationship between Freud and most of his followers. Anna Freud, Adler and Ernest Jones tended to soften Freud and dress him up in his Sunday best. The same can be said about the political relationship between Hobbes and Locke. Hobbes is the hard-core pessimist, while Locke preserves some parts of Hobbes but softens him into a respectable liberalism. In other words, Schumpeter, Weber, Freud and Hobbes were pessimistic realists. The pluralists with the aid of Durkheim were the tender- hearted liberals like Locke and orthodox psychoanalysts.

Pluralism of V.O. Key, Dahl, Truman and Lindholm

On the surface it appears that competitive elitists are the opposite of pluralists. After all, unlike the competitive elitists, according to David Reisman, power in Yankeedom is situational and mercurial rather than consisting of stable power blocks. V. O. Key, Jr., one of the most influential political scientists of the post-war era, says there is a wide dispersion of power in his book Politics, Parties and Pressure Groups.  The belief that American society was pluralistic led to a revival in the 50s of the group theory of politics, drawing from Arthur Bentley’s 1908 book The Process of Government. Unlike the competitive elitists, Dahl argues that there are overlapping interest groups with equal access to power, because power is always changing. The pluralists think that the public can mobilize itself to be a force to be reckoned with. Competitive elitists think this is naïve.

This third relativist democratic theory was essentially a defensive doctrine. It emphasized civil liberties, but minimized the problems of social and economic inequality. Another pluralist, David Truman, in his The Governmental Process:  Political Interests and Public Opinion, assumed that the US had already  succeeded in its democratic goal. Social scientists were more concerned with problems of conserving what already existed. They devoted more and more research to the problem of stability rather than change. For pluralists, the nation states do not have independent power as they do with the competitive elitists, but they are mediators of public demands. The public does not have a fractured set of wants, methods and values. Rather Yankees are united by the constitutional rules of a supportive, rather than combative political culture.

The most influential and persuasive advocate of realistic democratic theory was Dahl’s book, Preface to Democratic Theory in 1956. According to Dahl, in American government, majorities rule through pressure groups which were the empirical basis of democracy. Dahl and Lindblom argued that economic problems depend not upon our choice among mythical grand alternatives like socialism or communism, but by a gradual tinkering method. Being rational meant that all ideologies were mythical and have to be abandoned. Pluralists supported the “end of ideology” belief of the 1950s. The very concept of a realistic democratic theory implied that reality, not an ideal, was the primary criterion of both theoretical validity and legitimate political action. It deprived democratic theory of its traditional critical function.

Since ideal and empirical theory were conceptually and unconsciously fused, reality became the standard for both systematic analysis and ideal behavior. Reality became the standard to evaluate ideals rather than ideals being the standard by which to judge reality. The pluralists admit that there is a passive citizenry, but there is also an active citizenry which is sufficient for political stability. Lastly, for the pluralists, intermediate associations of neighborhoods, religious groups, clubs, trade associations, political clubs mediate between the individual and the state.

What draws the pluralists into the orbit of competitive elitists is that each has completely given up on Jeffersonian democracy. They have also given up on the idea that the electoral process is itself undemocratic. There is no talk about having candidates that actually represent the lower classes or that the electoral college is a damper on the popular vote. The system is acceptable as it is. It’s just a matter of convincing people to believe in it.

Pluralism did not fare well in the 1960s because it could not explain racism, poverty and war. With no hesitancy, it assumed that Yankeedom already was the democratic ideal. Pluralism imagined that only absolute, authoritarianism, and rationalism could be ideological. They couldn’t imagine that pluralism, empiricism, and pragmatism could themselves be ideological. But books like The End of Ideology can itself be an ideology for liberal anti-communism.

DID CAPITALISM PRODUCE DEMOCRACY? ARE THESE WORDS INTERCHANGEABLE?

Capitalist rulers never seem to tire in reminding us that capitalism is responsible for creating democracy and that socialist societies are never democratic. What this ignores is the 20th century examples of capitalist political economies that prospered without democracy including Hitler’s Germany, South Korea, Taiwan after World War II and Saudi Arabia and Egypt.  Secondly, there is no necessary relationship between prosperity and capitalism. Most of the countries on the periphery of the world-system today (mostly Africa) are capitalist run in an authoritarian manner that have low Gross National Products.

But what about the origins of capitalism? Weren’t capitalists responsible for the beginnings of democracy?  The short answer is no. According to Rueschemeyer, Stephens and Stephens, in their book Capitalist Development and  Democracy, the bourgeoisie wrested its share of political participation from the royal autocracy and aristocratic oligarchy, but it rarely fought for further extension to the classes below them once its own place was secured. When the bourgeoisie was fighting for power against the king and the aristocrats it recruited the lower classes. But once in power themselves, they did not support lower class inclusion. Their contribution was to establish parliamentary bodies between the king and the people rather than to accept the rule of a king alone. Parliamentary bodies are not necessarily democratic. As Marx once called them, they are the “talking shops of the bourgeoisie”. Even by World War I only a handful of countries had become democratic: Switzerland, 1848; France, 1877; Norway 1898 and Denmark 1915.

Historically it was the urban and rural petty bourgeoisie — merchants, craftsman, farmers — who were responsible for the movement towards democracy. Further, it was the industrialization process that transformed society in such a way that it empowered subordinate classes to make it difficult to politically exclude them.  It was capitalist development that transformed the class structure, strengthening the working and middle classes and weakening the landed upper class. It was not the capitalist market that made political life more democratic. Rather it was the contradictions of capitalism.  It was the growth of the working class and its capacity for self-organization that pushed for a breakthrough to suffrage, at least for white males. It was the rising militancy of the unions and the threat of socialism that pressured capitalists to include workers in the voting process and institute a semblance of formal democracy.

LIBERAL CONSPIRACY: MODERNIZATION THEORY AS ANTI-COMMUNIST DEMOCRACY

Our strategy must be …both global, embracing, every part of the world, and total, with political, psychological, economic and military considerations integrated into one whole.

— International Development Advisory Board Partners in Progress, 1951 (David Rockefeller: Head of International Development Advisory Board)

While American pluralism was the norm for domestic democratic theory, students of comparative politics were making pluralistic democracy the norm for their analysis of nation-states throughout the world. As the US became involved in a Cold War, they wanted research to help them understand what Gabriel Almond called political development of nations, through what Almond called “political culture”.

The major book I will be using to take us through this section is Nils Gilman’s Mandarins of the Future: Modernization Theory in Cold War America. Almond’s comparative politics was a significant aspect of modernization theory, part of a vast integrated anti-communist project that began after World War II. In fact, the very creation of the MIT Center for International Studies was the result of top-secret anti-Communist propaganda project in the fall of 1950. As Gilman says, modernization theory represents the most explicit and systematic blueprint ever created by intellectual elites for reshaping societies throughout the world to counter Soviet communism. Arthur Schlesinger said modernization theory represented an American effort to persuade what were then called “Third World” countries to base their revolutions on Locke, rather than Marx.

Many of the key figures in modernization theory were children of missionaries like Lucian Pye and David Apter. Their sense of wanting to save the world (from communism) no doubt impacted their study of comparative politics.  Almond and Rostow claimed that communism was a form of psychopathology and Rostow called it a “disease”. Rostow is considered the most hawkish anti-communist of the modernization theorists. He decided at 16 his life purpose was to construct a theory of economics and history capable of countering Marx.  During the war he first worked for the OSS, a predecessor to the CIA.

In the hands of Lucian Pye and Walt Rostow, modernization theory would represent liberalism’s attempt to enter the world of political ideology, as an alternative to both fascism and communism. An added twist was to dissolve their liberal ideology and pretend that it was neither liberal nor ideological. They made believe they had no ideology. It’s just what was reasonable, a “vital center” of the political spectrum. This masking of liberalism became part of the End of Ideology orientation of Daniel Bell.

Modernization theorists were elitist, liberal anti-communists, not populist, right-wing McCarthyites. In practice this project was part of a containment policy against the Soviet Union. They set a dominant social scientific paradigm, and found sponsors like Rockefeller, Carnegie and Ford and other foundations to set up think tanks and eliminate rivals in various academic disciplines. Please see Table B for all the tentacles of this anti-communist project.

Rostow’s theory of modernization was a unilinear theory of social evolution going through five stages: 1) traditional societies; 2) preconditions for take-off; 3) take-off; 4) drive to maturity, and; 5) age of mass high consumption. All other disciplines in Table B went along with Rostow’s theory.

What all these interdisciplinary projects had in common was either assumptions or assertions that:

  1. All premodern societies — hunter-gatherers, simple horticulture, complex horticultural, herding, maritime societies and agricultural states — can be lumped into one category of “traditional societies”.
  2. All nation-states are internally.  There is no influence (such as colonialism) on traditional societies by modern societies. They are premodern because they are superstitious and lack initiative.
  3. All societies are inevitably moving towards industrial capitalist societies (though they never named it as capitalist). The use of the term “transition” suggests that there are no crises, no reversals, no other roads possible.
  4. All “mature” modern societies are industrial capitalist.
  5. Fascism was not an expression of modern society but premodern “residues”.
  6. Communism was not a candidate or a road to be taken as a stage. It was premodern.
  7. The United States and western Europe already achieved maturity and they were not going back.
  8. Capitalism and democracy were used interchangeably.
  9. Capitalism as an economic system is never named. It is replaced by euphemisms such as “markets” or “business” or loaded virtue words like the “free market” or “free enterprise” if they are feeling defensive.

CONCLUSION

In order to justify its existence as an industrial capitalist society, capitalists in western Europe and the United States need propaganda to censor or demonize alternatives to its rule. In the realm of language, its job is to narrow the frame of political and economic reference to two choices. For this purpose, it deploys key loaded language words for the purpose of working people up. On one side are the socialists and communists who are demonized with words such as totalitarian or dictatorial. On the other side are the loaded virtue words like democracy, the free market or free enterprise. In order to break away from the narrowing of the political focus we need to neutralize and define key terms which open up rather than narrow our political and economic choices. 

• First published in Planning Beyond Capitalism

The post “Dictatorship” and “Democracy” as Loaded Language: Anti-Communist Cold-War Propaganda first appeared on Dissident Voice.

What We Are Up Against: Fascism In The United States

Are you or do you know an emerging activist who needs support? Popular Resistance and the Kevin Zeese family are launching the Kevin Zeese Emerging Activists Fund with an online celebration on his birthday, this Wednesday, October 28, from 7:30 to 9:00 pm Eastern.  Learn more and buy tickets here.  We will begin accepting applications after October 28.

Last week, I wrote about what is needed in this moment and urged people to look more deeply, beyond the Biden-Trump spectacle, to understand where we are as a country and what we must do to change course. I cited the work of Gabriel Rockhill. Read his three recent articles in Counterpunch and the fourth in the series here at Black Agenda Report for an enhanced understanding of how we got here and what we are up against.

This week, I delve more deeply into the question of where we are and what Rockhill means when he writes that “…liberalism and fascism, contrary to what the dominant ideology maintains, are not opposites. They are partners in capitalist crime.” What it all points to is that the path away from fascism to a future that respects human rights and protects the planet requires a mass movement working to create systemic change.

Listen to my interview with Gabriel Rockhill on Clearing the FOG (available Monday) and aired on WBAI in New York City and WPFW in Washington, DC.

From History.com.

Liberalism and Fascism

Liberalism, meaning liberal democracy, and fascism, which can become authoritarian but this isn’t a requirement, are forms of governance that both exist and serve to protect capitalism. John Curl, in “For All the People,” explains that prior to the founding of the United States, a real democracy movement of collectives, cooperatives and communalism existed, established by the settlers out of necessity. Of course, indigenous peoples have used these democratic structures throughout time.

The settlers’ communal practices threatened the oligarchs, the major land and slave owners, because the people had real power that couldn’t be controlled by the colonial governments. Thus, the founding Constitution, which exists today, was written to prevent participatory democracy and to establish property rights, and later corporate rights, over human rights. In 1776, the capitalist state was born.

In a liberal democracy, a mostly western institution, elections are held and those who hold power are supposed to represent the interests of the people and protect their rights. Fascism can take different forms in different circumstances, but it uses violence, repression and control to maintain power. Both liberalism and fascism can and do exist at the same time for different populations in the same country.

Rockhill explains in the interview that liberal democracies give the illusion of protecting the rights of people, but they only do so as long as the people are compliant with the capitalist system. In reality, the system serves the interests of the few while exploiting the working class and poor and degrading the planet. This is what we refer to in the Popular Resistance School as the official policy, what we are told something does, versus the operative policy, what it actually does.

In theory, in liberal democracies, people can choose to participate in governance through elections where different perspectives are represented and compete for power. There are checks and balances, including the rule of law, that prevent the ruling class from trampling on the people’s rights. That sounds good.

In practice, in the United States, voter suppression, suppression of third parties and an unaccountable voting system prevent full participation in the process, create a limited choice for voters and have the potential to rig the outcome. The checks and balances and rule of law have been undermined over time as those in power write laws to legalize consolidation of power, theft from the people and assaults on civil rights.

For the past few decades, using executive orders and laws like the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, the power of the presidency has grown. Congress, through legislation such as the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act, allows mass surveillance of the population and restrictions on our rights to due process. Studies show that Congress represents the interests of the wealthy elites and polls find the approval rating for Congress is extremely low, currently at only 17%. This couldn’t be more evident when looking at Congress’ current failure to protect the health and economic security of the people during a time of multiple serious crises while the wealthy have amassed more riches.

Fascism uses state actors, law enforcement and the military, and non-state actors, vigilantes and civil society groups, to violently suppress people. This can be blatant violence such as is occurring against black and brown people and those who support their struggle or it can be the structural violence of gentrification, discrimination and incarceration. People who support fascism are propagandized to believe they are protecting their rights while they are actually protecting the interests of the wealthy class. Once fascism achieves state power, through the process of liberal democracy, it may turn to authoritarianism. Rockhill describes how Hitler and Mussolini both rose to power through the governance structure, not outside of it.

Fascism is used when liberal democracy fails. Fascist elements have existed throughout the history of the United States. Think of the slave patrols that preceded the institution of police and white supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and the American Legion. It has been used to suppress dissent whenever segments of the population rise up to demand their rights. It is no coincidence that the “War on Drugs” and mass incarceration followed the rise and successes of the civil rights movement. It is no coincidence that the attack on worker rights and unions followed the period when taxes on the rich were very high and the middle class was growing.

The middle and upper classes live in the illusion that they are served by liberal democracy while the poor and working class, especially for people of color, are controlled through fascist practices of detention, segregation, lack of rights and violence. Those fascist practices will be unleashed against the middle and upper classes too if they recognize the charade and rebel. Capitalism knows no limits. We are living in end-stage capitalism and a falling empire.

From Al Jazeera.

Building a culture of resistance

Once we understand who and what our opponents are, we can strategize and organize to defeat them. Our foes are not the personalities, Trump and Biden, but the systems and institutions they represent. No matter who is elected in November, the systems stay the same. We need to find ways to work outside those systems to create the world we want to see. This requires building a culture of resistance, a culture of non-cooperation. If we are successful in building popular power, the systems will change either through what is referred to as “victorious retreat,” which means the power holders acquiesce to the demands of the people, or through attrition where new institutions built by the people grow and replace the old systems as they fade away.

The current struggle is being defined as Trump versus Biden and many progressives are convincing themselves that a Biden presidency is a step on the path we are seeking. There are serious risks for the struggle no matter who wins.

President Trump is open about what he is doing in empowering the extreme right and having no regard for human life. He sharpens the contradictions by showing what he plans to do and often in response, the institutions that make up our government and the people push back, forcing him in some cases to back down.

As we experienced under an Obama-Biden presidency, and Biden has differentiated himself from Obama by declaring himself in opposition to the needs of the people while Obama at least gave the pretense of believing in human rights, the administration was effective at dividing and weakening opposition to it. It convinced people it was doing one thing while it actually did another.

An example that I am very familiar with is the health reform process in 2008-2010. There was majority support for National Improved Medicare for All by the public and super-majority support for it by Democratic voters. The administration, working with major labor unions, ‘progressive’ organizations and faith-based groups, created a distraction, which it called the ‘public option’ and convinced people that this was achievable and would lead to Medicare for All. This divided the movement for universal health care. Tens of millions of dollars were poured into this effort and towards the end of the process, we witnessed that even this tiny crumb was never intended to be in the final legislation.

The resulting “Affordable Care Act” forced people to purchase private health insurance or pay a fine. Government resources were spent to aggressively market and subsidize health insurance products, even hiring salespeople called “navigators.” In return, people received health insurance that did not guarantee they would receive the healthcare they needed or protect them from financial ruin. Health insurers found ways to work around the regulations and their profits, along with those of the pharmaceutical, private hospital and other medical industries, soared.

The unanswered question is whether a Biden-Harris administration will be as successful at hoodwinking and dividing progressives as they enact an agenda that will continue to cut social services, degrade worker rights, pollute the environment, foment wars and repress dissent.

The actual struggle is not Trump versus Biden but putting people and planet over profit. It is people power versus the power of wealthy elites and corporations. We can only win if we organize and mobilize. Failure to do so means we will certainly continue on the destructive path we are on. Victory requires political clarity, a bold vision of a different future and building a culture of resistance, which means both stopping harmful policies and practices and creating new systems to meet our needs. We must and we can make what seems impossible in this moment inevitable.

The post What We Are Up Against: Fascism In The United States first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Killing Unknown

It’s hard to talk about the myriad issues piled in our society in a cohesive way, and when we try, we often get the same response:  “What is your solution?”  People get frustrated and demand an instant solution to the structural problem they are very much a part of. The very insistence on a single, cure-for-all-answer betrays their unwillingness to see the structural and systematic nature of the problem. Meanwhile they allow themselves “solutions” which are concocted by those who have created the problems. Those “solutions” are bound to be strictly incremental and reformist, otherwise the self-serving nature of the overall trajectory becomes blatantly obvious.  Confrontation with the flaws of the “solutions” triggers an emotional response:  A clear indication that the criticism points to the obvious flaws of the system itself, which in turn resonates as a criticism against the self.  The emotional burst and the denial to recognize the system for what it is are indications of pathological adhesion to abusive power. This is the condition that forces many American people to prop up the capitalist hierarchy and continue to prove their allegiance to it.

The real solution must involve a structural change. The feudal hierarchy which structurally imposes extortion schemes of money and violence on people by domesticating their humanity, to be harvested over and over within the capitalist framework, is inhumane and destructive to our species.  Such an idea must not be brushed aside as untenable idealism if we are to live harmoniously with one another and with our environment.

Capitalist Cage

In the vastness of space and unimaginable span of geological time, our presence is small: smaller than a spec of dust on a whole planet.  As conscious beings, we have created narratives and theories to explain what it means to be in this mysterious sea of matter and time.  Such ideas are central to our social organization as well as how we relate ourselves to it.  They very much affect how we perceive things as individuals and as collectives.  Those ideas can take the shape of religion, history, ideology, tradition, myth and so on, constituting parts of the individual psyche as well as the collective psyche.

Those ideas are supposed to be promoted and perpetuated by the community members because they serve them by validating the given social order which serves their best interests. They are supposed to give us ways to reconcile with the unknown in collective manners, by which we find ways to accept the mystery of life with reverence and awe.

But do they?

As we are born into the social order, where those ideas are reinforced and physically manifest as social framework, we internalize those ideas, we become a part of the social mechanism and the ideas become “reality”.

But strictly speaking this “reality” is somewhat different from what is inherently real in a material sense.  What we perceive as “reality” is our interpretation of matter which has been shaped by the imperatives of the social order.

For example, in a capitalist society, a fact can deviate from material reality because an institution which specializes in the fact is influenced by the interests of the ruling class. For example, industrial waste material can be dumped as a harmless substance.  The effect of the lie increases progressively against the oppressed people since the profits are made with the expense of those who are exploited and subjugated by the lie.  People suffer from the erroneous information but to different degrees.  Those who suffer the most are subjected to the most strict measures, while those who exploit and subjugate can change the measures according to their needs while being well equipped to face material hardships.

Social institutions under capitalism always have the risk of failing since experts’ opinions are necessary to understand a complicated fact.  People with bigger platforms can simply dominate the fact because people don’t have the time and resources to examine the fact.  A louder opinion can simply get its way.  The economic hierarchy ensures that those who have dire interests in getting the fact right can not get it right.

Now, this mechanism also works vertically. Different institutions are affected differently by the false fact. A fact twisted by the special interests creates conflicts among institutions. This creates conflicts among the people.  However, the degree of the divisions gets narrower and narrower as it gets closer to the level of the ruling class, where the lie can create broader benefits to the already wealthy and powerful people as they have the ability to access all moneyed institutions in creating “reality” that serves them.  Dangerous policy, dangerous substance, dangerous practice and so on affect those who do not have the means to avoid them, while they can be part of enacting lucrative business schemes for the ruling class.  We are put against each other in artificially scarce material conditions where we compete and form hierarchy based on the imperatives imposed by the capitalist framework, instead of according to the material facts.

A few major things happen from the lie. First, the ruling class succeeds in profiting from the exploitation and subjugation and/or succeeds in preserving the capitalist hierarchy. Second, the lie creates divisions among the oppressed.  Third, the lie requires more lies to cover it up, depriving people’s ability to relate to themselves, to each other and to nature according to material reality.  The dynamic repeats itself in many ways, creating a false reality in which misinformation, disinformation and propaganda merge with facts as institutions are manipulated to serve the interests of the ruling class while the rest of the people are divided, confused and disempowered. The Founding Fathers of the US probably knew this mechanism very well when they installed “separation of powers” within the US government.  The separation would effectively institutionalize the mechanism, ensuring that the interests of the people are checked and balanced by the ruling class which can have access to all branches of the government.

Moneyed social institutions as well as some “dissidents” and “community activists” can function as a crucial part of the capitalist hierarchy, maintaining and perpetuating the system regardless of their intentions. First, those who neglect to reveal the aims of the ruling class by solely pointing out criminal acts and refusing to recognize the mechanism of exploitation distract the people from what is really happening.  Second, those who refuse to see the structural mechanism of exploitation within the capitalist hierarchy can end up protecting their own positions at the expense of the people at the bottom while serving the ruling class.  Third, those who fail to recognize the lies or actively repeat them help facts to be subordinated to the capitalist framework while destroying the credibility and integrity of the social institutions, leading to destabilization of social relations—making us more susceptible to lies and manipulations.  The paralyzed state can be utilized in further privatizing the institutions, resulting in more extensive domestication of humanity and nature.

These are only a few examples of how seemingly constructive social dynamics within the capitalist hierarchy can function to prop up the capitalist  hierarchy. The risk of people truly recognizing the nature of the capitalist hierarchy, armed with experts and unity, is real as we observe instances of socialist revolutions across the globe. Capitalist institutions carefully accommodate those people who do not pose fundamental threats to the capitalist framework in maintaining the social structure that serves them.

Parasitic Tendency of Capitalism

Some may wonder, if the system is so fascistic and draconian, why it would allow “dissidents” to play a role in the social structure at all.  It is because an authoritarian structure with commands, decrees, and rigid rules and their punitive consequences can not cultivate active social relations to prop itself up.  Human minds can not free the potential of creativity to do so under such conditions.  Just enough freedom to move within the cage is necessary for the capitalist hierarchy. Also, without allowing some degree of “freedom” within its framework, some people might establish communities with a true sense of freedom within the social structure, which can pose a threat to the system. For this reason, the illusion of safety and freedom are allowed within the capitalist framework.  Within this environment, people engage in creative activities, the exchange of ideas and products, and the rest of the daily routines.  These activities are guided by moneyed social institutions ensuring that the boundaries are set to perpetuate the capitalist framework.  Governmental organizations, media, culture organizations, NGOs and so on play significant roles in ensuring that the subject population are domesticated within the framework.

Those organizations’ roles center on a moment by moment maintenance of the capitalist hierarchy.  But they also curate acceptable “crises” within the structure in order to shift the direction of exploitation and subjugation in combatting unavoidable cyclical economic downturns (they are structurally unavoidable), and to continue deepening their colonization of humanity and nature.  A country defying the capitalist hegemony might be called “a deadly threat to humanity” before bombs rain on its people.  Population growth in certain countries might be termed “population bomb” before an assortment of colonial measures are implemented against them.  The issues that generate profits and help augment the capitalist framework are ignored, or normalized no matter how enormous they are—cancer epidemic, drug epidemic, mass incarceration and so on and so forth, until the momentum to fight them becomes useful in perpetuating the capitalist hierarchy.

However, despite the efforts by the ruling class to construct the invisible prison for all, our creative energy can occasionally escape the artificial boundaries set by the capitalist domination.  And some individuals could manage to garner the support of a broader population.  However, they would be smeared by media, be attacked by various social institutions, or even be killed by government agencies.  The element of fear is crucial in preventing our creative energy from going beyond the capitalist cage.

Fear of unknown must have been an essential perception of ours from the beginning of our species.  Our efforts in understanding ourselves and our surroundings stem from it. Our sense of reverence toward nature, spirituality and so on stems from its mystery and unimaginable depth.  The momentum to dominate by accumulation of wealth confronts fear of the unknown with its brute force.  When capitalists destroy a pristine forest filled with wild lives and their intricate system, they destroy and colonize the natural environment while stealing the fear of unknown. When capitalists destroy cultures and traditions and replace them with a capitalist market, they destroy what they can’t steal in order to play God of Money.

Cultivation of fear

A protection racket scheme works the best when the service provider appears to be capable of inflicting the very violence that you wish to avoid.  9/11 is an embodiment of such a shady marketing strategy.

We are told what happened. We are told to think accordingly.  But there are obvious inconsistencies— the failure of the Air Force to intercept the hijacked airplanes, suspicious lack of actions against the suspected hijackers prior to the attack by intelligence agencies, numerous testimonies indicating the presence of explosives in the 9/11 buildings, circumstantial evidence indicating that an event like 9/11 was necessary to embark on a series of colonial wars against the Middle East while curtailing the civil and legal rights of the people and so on.  The authority itself doesn’t deny those points, as if to say “what are you gonna do about it?”  And we are told “you are either with us, or against us”.

9/11 has become the go-to justification for colonialism, corporatism and militarism for the empire.  Countries that defy the western capitalist hegemony have been destroyed. People who defy it have been ridiculed, excluded, jailed or killed.

The obvious inconsistencies of the state policies simply turn into fear, which in turn strengthens the sale of the imperial protection racket. After all, the empire is armed with the sheer might of 800 military bases across the globe and numerous WMDs.

The absolute power of violence that defeats logic and humanity is the manifestation of wealth and power, which are the essence of the US empire:  a feudal hierarchy, inflicting countless structural extortions against its people 24/7.

There are many other examples of such events throughout the history of the US empire, which cultivate unspeakable fear among the people while giving the authority blank checks to impose repressive measures. The assassination of a prominent figure can be such an event.1 These and other events are always augmented by disclosures by intelligence agencies confirming that such events can actually take place.  These events continue to prevent the subject population from questioning their leap of faith into the destructive system—again, capitalism colonizes our fear of unknown as it establishes itself as God of Money.

Covid-19

It stands to reason that measures appropriate to the risk of the virus should be taken as legitimate medical precautions, just as occasional school closures during a flu season, basic sanitary precautions to avoid getting sick, the protection of vulnerable people, and so on can be considered necessary.  But an obvious restructuring of a society in ways which would inflict repressive measures of censorship, banning of free assembly, destruction of communities, restriction of human rights, and creation of lucrative business opportunities for the ruling class should raise serious questions.  Especially, as the “new virus” has turned out to be not so new 2 according to scientists, and it also turns out to be not so deadly.3

As we undergo Covid-19 lockdown measures, the rich and powerful are showered with bailouts, economic opportunities, political decisions to be “rescued”, making billions and billions, while the rest of us endure neoliberal restructuring—losing wages, losing workers’ rights, losing legal rights and losing human rights.4

The momentum for the Covid measures has been pushed through our society with the same momentum of a protection racket scheme. Just as 9/11 or JFK’s assassination have left numerous undeniable evidence indicating that the events are pivotal in forwarding economic projects, the Covid panic situates itself within the context of a web of financial interests.5 Misinformation and disinformation and crucial evidence indicating conflicts of interests on the part of large international institutions with strong corporate and military ties — the World Economic Forum, WHO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, various prominent NGOs, government agencies, and giant corporate entities—signal to the people that this requires unconditional compliance.  Under such circumstances, facts about the virus, inconsistencies, and the rest of the questions become fuel for doubt.  The doubt opens the door for the possibility that those who claim to protect you are, in fact, the perpetrators of the pain and suffering.  The people face a catastrophic crisis of their identity:  they face a major cognitive dissonance.  No amount of facts would convert their positions.  In fact, the more they know, the more they become afraid and adamant in sticking to the state-sanctioned Covid rituals.

Germaphobia

Obsessive compulsive behavior manifests to gain a sense of control.  It forces physically healthy individuals to engage in ritual cleansing of their body parts and their surroundings, so much so that their actions interfere with their daily lives.  The action is purely psychological and ritualistic.  Germaphobes are not rational, sanitary or healthy.  Just as dirty masks are worn over and over.  Just as people wear masks on streets, and immediately take them off as soon as they sit down to eat at an enclosed restaurant.

Logic and reason don’t matter for those who engage in rituals of cleansing in order to escape from facing the ultimate truth about the system and their own positions in it.   The ritual behaviors are stipulated by the system —social distancing, wearing masks, no assembly.  Obedience and complacency are enforced even if the measures might not be effective in reducing the risk of virus and the detrimental effects of the measures can surpass the supposed lethality of the virus 6  As their behaviors become habitual in the daily repetitions, the accompanying slogans sink into the psyche of the population. The fear of abuse and pain are pushed under their consciousness as they engage in the rituals. Images of black people getting shot by police officers, whistleblowers mercilessly thrown in prisons, and so on fade as they make sure that their masks are on their faces.

Capitalism preys on the most vulnerable people as the subject population upholds the deadly tendency to protect their own positions in it . Seemingly bright people suddenly acquire a mental block and fail to see the structural mechanism of economic extortion and exclusion as soon as the system turns to them and whispers “what can you do about it?”. Yet, the very presence of the capitalist hierarchy becomes visible as the population shamelessly goes along with flimsy official narratives:  “WMDs in Iraq is the biggest threat against humanity”, “inner-city minority kids are super predators who need to be brought to heel” , “the Russians are coming”, or “a deadly plague is here”. Why not? After all, people seem to believe that a country founded by slave owning colonizers with 800 military bases across the globe, which, killing, raping and stealing in a culture of domination, is actually a defender of freedom. The fear of the God of Money is in full motion.

Meanwhile, those who refuse to conform are excluded and shamed.  The dynamic is actively encouraged to stay within the corporate political framework, invigorating the illusion of “democracy” dominated by two US imperial political parties.  Narratives are prepared by the party establishments.  Positions are stipulated.  If you are for this selected issue or that issue, or if you are against them, you are drawn into the mudslinging match within a state-sanctioned ring of acceptable ideas.  This culminates in a ritual fight called the US Presidential election.  Seemingly smart people are cornered into cheering for a gladiator battle between two imperialists who will perpetuate the feudal hierarchy of money and violence.   Their scream urging you to vote in order to save the oppressed people is firmly in line with the colonial vestige of manifest destiny. They vote for the very government that kills people in “enemy countries”.  They vote for the very government that cages children and incarcerates immigrants.  They vote for the government that locks up people who haven’t committed crimes.  They vote for the government that kills people for the color of their skin. All those people they claim to save cannot vote.  They don’t have to vote because the saviors—American people—will vote to determine their fate.  US corporate politics provides some of the main rituals for the God of Money.

Even those dissidents, activists and so on, who are generally insightful and aware have also contracted this condition, attacking their fellow comrades for questioning the lethality of the virus, effectiveness of mask wearing, validity of various lockdown measures and so on for the reasons already described above. However, it should also be noted that those who subscribe to various sorts of fascist ideologies actively align themselves with the restrictive measures of the state as well.  For those people, the structural consequences of the capitalist hierarchy and its deceptions do not pose any problem.  The momentum of fascism is always useful in eliminating the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist momentum in times of “crisis”.

The mechanism of conformity and compliance is in place working with a full imperial force 24/7, creating an imperial gravity that lifts those who go along with the establishment, while putting weights on those who don’t. The people are forced to form groups gathered at various levels on the hierarchy, aimed to protect their own existences along with the structural layers of the caste order.  Their own values, beliefs and norms are formed to serve themselves but they are built within the capitalist framework.  They may oppose those who are above or below but ultimately their worst enemies are those who do not conform to the hierarchy itself.  Anti-capitalists and anti-imperialists are often eliminated by the authoritarian momentum within the social networks which must exist within each layer in order to float at the particular position—the imperial gravity permeates throughout the hierarchy at all times.

Pathological conditions have been cultivated among people to cope with the situation: addictive behaviors, obsessive compulsive behaviors, depression, anger, and suicidal ideation.  Mental health problems among minors are skyrocketing as well.  However, those are not the main concerns of the establishment.  Meanwhile, those who refuse to wear masks are openly called psychopaths, just as enslaved people who escaped were said to have a mental illness called drapetomania, or women who could not bear ruthless gender discrimination were said to have hysteria.

Meanwhile, the unconditional authoritarian hierarchy constantly turns minds under the spell of learned helplessness.  Some are wrapped up in acute cynicism refusing to consider any possible alternatives.  The pain of abuse and neglect force children to internalize abusiveness as a defense mechanism, forcing them to cultivate abusers in their psyche to overcome their traumas, turning them into good candidates for enforcers of pain within the capitalist hierarchy.  The God of Money destroys those who defy, while colonizing those who obey at psychological levels.

Organically grown communities that help to connect people harmoniously are forced into the framework of Covid measures to be divided, nullified and assimilated into the capitalist framework.  Covid measures alienate people by removing our tools of intimacy, communication, organizing, and etc., while digitizing them into commodifiable data. Those who can afford “the new normal” within their gated communities are blessed with the time to reflect, appreciate art and nature and embrace their fantasy world of a dystopic now, at the expense of the people who are domesticated within the strict measures of structural extortion regimes. Visits to the doctor become online chats based on profit incentives.  Education becomes digital indoctrination without the intricacy of sharing and depth of creative pursuit. Small businesses which can foster community values are replaced with global corporations with imperial values.  Oppressive measures continue to concentrate among those who are already oppressed.  The result of lacking healthcare, weakened immunity, and prevailing health issues manifest as justifications to entangle them with more lockdown measures and financialization of their sufferings.

Capitalism:  A Serial Arsonist by Night, A Brave Firefighter by Day.

The head of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, writes:

COVID-19 lockdowns may be gradually easing, but anxiety about the world’s social and economic prospects is only intensifying. There is good reason to worry: a sharp economic downturn has already begun, and we could be facing the worst depression since the 1930s. But, while this outcome is likely, it is not unavoidable. To achieve a better outcome, the world must act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions. Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed. In short, we need a “Great Reset” of capitalism.

Independent researcher Cory Morningstar writes:

Schwab refers to the COVID-19 crisis as a watershed moment for fourth industrial revolution technologies. And while people are distracted with masks and COVID-positive cases reported incessantly in order to sow anxiety and compliance, the global consolidation of power is happening in real time. In servitude to the power elite, World Economic Forum founder and CEO Klaus Schwab is advancing “a new global architecture”, upheld by a new “global governance”. May 18, 2018: the World Bank partners with the United Nations. June 13, 2019: the World Economic Forum partners with the United Nations. Oct 18, 2019: a high stimulation exercise, modeling a fictional coronavirus pandemic, was held by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, [5] in partnership with the in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Approximately five months later, on  March 11, 2020: the World Economic Forum partners with the World Health Organization (a UN body) launching the COVID Action Platform, a coalition of 200+ of the world’s most powerful corporations. (By May 6, 2020 this number had swelled to over 1,106.) On this same day, March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization classified COVID-19 as a pandemic.

On March 26, 2020, with  87% of the world’s student population affected by COVID-19 school closures, the Global Education Coalition was announced as a means to accelerate the transition to a global forth industrial revolution digitalized education fueled by emerging markets (SDGs). Founding partnersinclude Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. Other partners include BBC, McKinsey, IBM, the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy, and the Global Business Coalition for Education. [Global Business Coalition for Education Advisory Board Members and Founding Members] This is the global commodification of children, as data commodities, a new class asset. An emerging market, under the guise of SDGs (presided over by the World Economic Forum), built on child data surveillance and human capital assets. [April 15, 2019: From Billions to Trillions: Investing in the Next Generation]

Winter Oak straightforwardly describes Kaus Schwab’s world view as “fascistic” and describes how Covid-19 can help realize “his great fascist reset”:

21st century fascism has found different political forms through which to continue its core project of reshaping humanity to suit capitalism through blatantly authoritarian means.

This new fascism is today being advanced in the guise of global governance, biosecurity, the “New Normal”, the “New Deal for Nature” and the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The global capitalist ruling elite have certainly been doing their best to “take advantage of the shock inflicted by the panic”, assuring us all since the very earliest days of the outbreak that, for some unfathomable reason, nothing in our lives could ever be the same again.

Schwab and Malleret are, inevitably, enthusiastic in their use of the New Normal framing, despite their admission that the virus was only ever “mild”.

“It is our defining moment”, they crow. “Many things will change forever”. “A new world will emerge”. “The societal upheaval unleashed by COVID-19 will last for years, and possibly generations”. “Many of us are pondering when things will return to normal. The short response is: never”. (97)”

Historian Luciana Bohne writes on her facebook wall:

Ominous words from the World Bank (see beow). They say post-Covid, we’ll have a “different economy.” By “different” they mean “new businesses and sectors.” They mean “the older are being driven to bankruptcy or absorbed into monopolies.” They mean, “You are going to lose your jobs and not many of you will find them in the new sectors because you won’t have the skills.” They blame Covid, but the old economy–that they’re shutting down– well before Covid was in growth ZERO (Germany for example) and most Western-style economies were well below the minimum tolerable 3%. So, Covid didn’t kill it. They drove it to the edge, And now it’s being “restructured,” and “downsized” — it’s NEOLIBERALISM ON STEROIDS. If that is possible, and they think it is.

In order to reverse this serious setback [Covid] to development progress and poverty reduction, countries will need to prepare for a different economy post-COVID, by allowing capital, labor, skills, and innovation to move into new businesses and sectors. — World Bank, October 2020 Reported

In the past, we’ve seen the US government engage in destruction of communities by cornering people into destitute poverty, violence, drug epidemic, only to introduce “solutions” which gentrify, incarcerate, murder and steal. We’ve seen western governments engage in destabilization of countries by sanctions, economic embargo, propaganda campaigns and proxy wars, only to declare “so and so must go”, “so and so is killing his own people” and unleash its military might in protecting the western capitalist hegemony. The events surrounding Covid-19 illustrates a text book pattern of events within the capitalist framework in which a concerted momentum of fear, crisis and economic assaults are orchestrated in order to introduce favorable conditions for more exploitation and subjugation.

It must be strongly noted that the urgency of virus measures and their repressive aspects can augment violent strategies against “enemy” in and out of the empire, corporate green schemes against nature, commodification of digitized social relations and financialization of oppressed populations. The human costs as well as environmental costs of plunderings will be enormous. The schemes described by various independent journalists reflect how dangerous those imaginations of domination, which are devoid of material reality, can be.

The active initiatives to replace humanity and nature with an artificial-scape of algorithm, machines, and artificial intelligence are in line with the colonization of humanity and nature by capitalism.  Ultimately, digitization of social relations and currency allow the capitalist establishment to put strings on people’s behaviors just as the capitalist hierarchy controls people’s behavior with economic structural extortions (I highly recommend research by Alison McDowell on it below).   People’s paths are further atomized and divided without organic social interactions within a rigid framework to be controlled, moderated, and harvested as commodified data.  Here are some good materials on the topic and more. Please do look into each materials:  7

“Good Americans”

American people are deeply domesticated people with a grand sense of narcissism as “Americans”.  The country has inflicted so much pain and suffering against the world with its colonial policies and wars, yet American people generally perceive themselves as citizens of freedom.  Ironically, the more they are cornered into enduring the consequences of their own complacency, the more they cling to the fact that they are at least “Americans”.   Because, as it was described above, rejecting their countryhood is a rejection of themselves—the biggest fear of all for the proud Americans.

Such a core value bursts out in the open when we see white people screaming “I’m white!” as they get beaten up by police officers.  It’s not that they don’t know the nature of the stratified structure of the caste system when they insist on “diversity“ without dismantling the exploitive system of subjugation.  Most of them do know it and they do know their positions in it and they want to keep it that way.

That’s why so many people buy the idea that Russians are messing with their “democracy”.  It is not that they actually believe that Russians do stuff to them, but they sense the position of Russia in the imperial framework.  “How dare Russians get in the way of the United States of America!”.  How ironic is it that those who are going through the economic shock therapy now at the hands of those who inflicted an economic shock therapy against the Russian people after the destruction of USSR fail to see what is happening to themselves.  Needless to say, imperial gravity is global.  Some western proxy powers, on the other hand, are eager to comply and do extra miles in order to hold better positions in the imperial hierarchy.  Neoliberal restructuring of their economies, compliance for military strategic necessities, and demonization of “enemy countries” and so on can be more prominent in those countries than the US itself.

China and Covid-19

Now, I feel compelled to discuss briefly why I think China has acted so drastically to the virus situation since this has been raised over and over to either validate western actions on the virus or to demonize the Chinese government for taking such strict measures.

First of all, it should be noted that there are drastic differences between fully for profit measures implemented by the western countries and measures implemented by China which include considerations for job security, wage compensation, viable treatment options and so on.  The measures were effective in keeping the fatality at the very minimum.  A recent poll shows the level of of happiness among the Chinese people to be extremely high compared to that of western countries.

China has been cornered by the imperial forces to realize what it sees as a Marxist Leninist society with a long term plan.  There have been a few major lessens for China. First, industrialized western powers have attempted to colonize China multiple times.  This has necessitated that China have its own industrialization through centralized planning in order to provide for its population while avoiding being exploited and subjugated by the western capitalist framework.

In order to do so, China has established its Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence: mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence. Based on this idea of non-interference, China engages in economic activities with countries that do not share such principles—which include major imperialist powers and proxies.

As a result, China has indeed expanded its economic sphere, successfully pulling countless people out of poverty, while gaining its economic power against the imperial forces.  This has attracted criticism among those who see China as an anti-imperial force. “How come China is working with Israel, the US and so on in its economic projects?”, they would ask.  The answer to me is in its aim of economic development for its people as well as in its non interference policy.  As a sovereign country, China is deciding its own path by weighing a particular balance between pragmatism and moving toward its goal within the world in which imperial powers are dominant.

Now, there is another angle we must pay attention to.  The introduction of its market economy for China has been another necessity to avoid destruction of its economy, as well as its nationhood, by development of the black market as well as infiltration by the western colonial interests.  By allowing free market activities under the framework of the CPC, China ensures its emerging billionaires to follow Chinese agendas instead of the Western imperial framework.

This background helps us to understand China’s very active position in Covid-19 measures.  If indeed what the global economic powers term as the 4th industrial revolution is a determining factor for their future economic powers, not having a stake in it puts China in a secondary position to the Western imperial hegemony. The Covid situation needs to be seen in this dynamic of the economic struggle between the imperialist forces and the rest of the world since it is an introduction to the 4th industrial revolution in many regards.

China simply sees the medical measures against the virus as well as the 4th industrial revolution as a part of the economic phenomenon that needs to be under the guidance of the CPC.  This might be hard to swallow for those who recognize the grave danger of further digitizing our social relations under the corporate framework, as well as its financialization and its associated assortments of exploitation and subjugation.  This is understandable but such a judgment should not be made according to the western capitalist history and its contexts.

This point has been fully utilized by the western establishment in erroneously labeling China as leading online censorship and repressive measures associated with new technologies.  For one thing, regulations against western political infiltration can not be equated to “censorship” or “human rights abuse” when we look at the history of the western colonial destabilization schemes against subject countries.  The Chinese government gets more support from its own people than most western governments do for good reasons.  The income inequality as well as the poverty rate is lower in China than the US now.   Meanwhile, reality shows us that it has been the US police that kills three people on average everyday, and it is the US government interfering with human rights, imposing mass incarceration, violent police forces, institutional discrimination of various sorts, deprivation of social safety nets, and global surveillance and so on against the people.  Credit score, racial demography, and tools of oppression have been used to perpetuate exploitation and subjugation in the US for so long.

It just doesn’t make sense to target China when the US is clearly the leading force of exploitation globally, and China to the empire is the biggest obstacle in its path today.

And let’s say that the 4th Industrial Revolution is detrimental to the people in the west.  Would it make sense to demonize China and demand that it stop developing AI technology, online capabilities and so on? Isn’t it like destroying all nuclear weapons of Russia and China during the Cold War?

China has its own problems stemming from its introduction of the market economy, environmental issues and so on.  Although the structural issues have emerged from reactions against the imperial forces, needless to say, allowing imperial forces to “solve” them totally defeats the purpose.  Those problems are not the white man’s burden to be solved by the west. China has its own ways of solving them and it is simply not the business of the imperial west to decide the fate of the Chinese people.

Last but not the least, the imperial forces, including the pre-WW2 imperial Japan, have engaged in bio attacks against China, Korea, Cuba and so on.  The US military possesses numerous bioweapon facilities across the globe.8  The preparedness against such attacks is another determining factor in overcoming western imperialism as it is a deterrence against an imperial bio attack.  This matter is particularly urgent when the western media, government agencies, corporate entities, NGOs and other political, economic and military forces of the West have been orchestrating various destabilizing projects against China — Uyghur region 9, Hong Kong10  and blatant lies regarding the Tiananmen Square event11 to name a few.  The empire has been colonizing and co-opting those who defy, and when it fails, it has mercilessly destroyed them.

Understanding these dynamics between China as well as its allies and the Western capitalist hegemony should be a positive step toward our harmonious existence.

Lastly, I would like to sincerely express my gratitude to all of you who stand where imperial gravity is strong. Thank you.  Uncovering facts buried in the sea of capitalist propaganda and discerning dynamics rooted in our genuine circumstances and its historical context is important.  Because grasping the material reality is a key to remaining human when we are domesticated in the capitalist cage of lies and deceptions.

  1. TalkingStickTV.  Jim Douglass – MLK, JFK, RFK and the Unspeakable.
  2. Aylin Woodward.  Some T cells recognize the new coronavirus without having seen it before, Business Insider, August 6, 2020.
  3. Swiss Policy Research.  Studies on Covid-19 Lethality,  First published May 12, 2020; updated October 20, 2020.
  4. Nick Baker. In the Worst of Times, the Billionaire Elite Plunder Working Class America, Counterpunch, September 3, 2020.
  5. Cory Morningstar.  COVID-19 as a weapon.  The crushing of the disposable working class — by design, blog, April 13, 2020.
  6. The HighwireMask Whistleblowers Tell All; Patrick Corbett. “Covid-19: the war against the elderly in uncaring “care” homes“, UKColumn, May 2, 2020; Dennis Riches.  Fever, Famine and War… and SARS-Cov-2, Lit by Imagination, July 29, 2020;  Perspectives on the Pandemic/The (Undercover) Epicenter Nurse/Episode Nine, June 9, 2020; and Dr. Reiner Fuellmich. The Biggest Crime Against Humanity Ever Committed.
  7. Whitney Webb and Raul Diego.  All Roads Lead to Dark Winter, The Last American Vagabond,  April 1, 2020; Alison McDowell. Introduction to the Fourth Industrial Revolution & the Covid Economic Reset, Wrench in the Gears, July 24, 2020; and James Corbett. Covid 911: From Homeland Security to Biosecurity, The Corbett Report, Episode 383, September 11, 2020.
  8. Dilyana Gaytandzhieva.  The Pentagon Bio-weapons, April 29, 2018.
  9. Tony Cartalucci. The Biggest Lie About China’s Xinjiang “Internment Camps”, Land Destroyer Report, September 4, 2020.
  10. Laura Ru.  A web of Deceit: Amnesty International in Hong Kong, May 25, 2020.
  11. Max Parry. 30 years after Tiananmen Square, the U.S. is still trying to destabilize China, Dissident Voice, July 10, 2019.

The post Killing Unknown first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Assistance, Not the Resistance

As Amy Coney Barrett is expected to be confirmed today as the next Justice to the Supreme Court, one might expect to see more news coverage of the multiple ways Congressional Democrats have tried to block her confirmation. Given the massive groundswell of anguish and fury over her nomination to replace the legendary Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the corporate media and top Democrats, themselves, have seemed strangely silent, as if early on, they had already surrendered to the inevitable. Why this silence and why a lack of options, when progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have called for using “every tool at our disposal,” and when Congressional aides are circulating a memo on Capitol Hill outlining multiple tactics for stalling this confirmation?

For the past four years, the US news media has been dominated by Trump and his daily atrocities. Always on edge and on call, the US public has become captive to what sociopathic and outrageous act he will perform next… what racist, sexist, or fascist scandal will befall the nation with each passing day. These daily scandals come like clockwork, and while terrible for the country, they have made the corporate media very happy. Since ratings (and profits) rely on click-bait, scandal and spectacle, Trump has provided the media daily fodder since before the 2016 primaries, and news outlets have been more than happy to give him the lion’s share of the news coverage.

These crises and spectacles dominating our mediascape also serve a more covert political function in our broader politics. Trump is the perfect foil and a classic villain– easy to hate based on his sociopathic personality, his multiple crimes (for which he’s never punished), and his inflammatory, hateful rhetoric that keeps the media wheels spinning 24/7. While Trump and his terrible minions are always on the main stage, the corporatists of both parties are working behind the scenes in relative obscurity. What becomes hidden behind the curtain of Trump’s daily scandals is the fact that both parties are entrenched in oligarchy. And as our nation’s wealth consolidates at the top and our national politics move further and further to the right, the media spotlight is always on the villainous Trump, and not the ruling elite of both parties who are starving the masses. The fact the Democratic Party continually fails to be a real opposition party to oligarchy or fascism is hardly a profitable news topic, and so it falls off the radar into darkness.

Any objective political analysis of Congressional dynamics could readily conclude that Democratic complicity is just as dangerous as Trump, and perhaps even more so, since so few people are paying attention to it. And since the corporate media hardly covers the failings of the Democratic establishment, it’s left up to us, the independent media, to shine a light on these systemic failings.

Trump’s Rise to Political Power

Even before Trump was elected, top figures in the Democratic establishment assisted in his rise to power. In late May of 2015, in a phone call with Trump, former President Bill Clinton “encouraged Trump’s efforts to play a larger role in the Republican Party.” Trump announced his decision to run for president in June of 2015, only a couple weeks after this conversation.

Bill was not the only Clinton to help legitimize Donald Trump as a viable candidate. The Hillary campaign elevated Trump in the media even before he had announced his candidacy. In an infamous memo sent out on April 23, 2015, Assistant Campaign Manager Marissa Astor suggested, “We need to be elevating the Pied Piper candidates so that they are leaders of the pack and tell the press to them seriously.” The news media was more than happy to oblige with this request, as Donald Trump was given more than $2 billion worth of free media coverage during his run.

The Hillary campaign doubled down on this Pied Piper strategy in a meeting on July 29, 2015, when they discussed, “How do we maximize Trump and others?” It was their belief that Hillary matched up better against Trump than against other candidates and therefore, it would be to Democratic advantage to push Trump as a legitimate contender. There was little or no concern about what would happen if Trump actually won, and a far-right authoritarian became president. Their strategy of elevating Trump succeeded in helping him secure the Republican nomination, but their estimation that Hillary could defeat him failed, as Trump won with 304 electoral votes while losing the popular vote by almost three million votes.

The Electoral College

Winning the popular vote while losing the electoral college is not new for Democrats. Democrats have won the popular vote in six out of seven presidential elections from 1992 until today, and yet have secured the presidency only four times.

Even though a recent Gallup poll showed that 61 percent of the US public supports abolishing the electoral college, the Democrats have not made any serious, unified effort to reform the electoral college since 1979. Given the threat to actual democracy that the electoral college represents, the Democrats’ reluctance to tackle this issue is baffling, especially given that they’ve had the power to do so multiple times, such as Bill Clinton’s eight-year presidency or during Obama’s Democratic (filibuster proof) super-majority during his first term. One might think that after the catastrophic presidency of George W. Bush — who oversaw more than a million casualties in the Iraq invasion and whose “War on Terror” has cost the United States some $6.4 trillion and displaced some 37 million people — the Democrats might be interested in reforming or abolishing the electoral college. After all, Al Gore actually won the popular vote by some 500,000 votes in 2000, but Bush’s victory was facilitated by a 5-4 vote on the Supreme Court to halt the recount in Bush v. Gore.

The fight to abolish the electoral college has now moved to the states, where the National Popular Vote bill has to be passed in states totaling 270 electoral votes in order for it to take effect. This is a much slower, more cumbersome process that could have been avoided had it been taken up by Democrats when they were in power.

The Judiciary

While Democrats won the popular vote in six of seven last presidential elections, the GOP has stacked the judicial branch with judges during Republican tenure and has appointed 14 out of 18, soon to be 15 out of 19, Supreme Court seats, if Judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed.

On March 16, 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. This was almost nine months before the general election. Yet over this period, Republicans successfully blocked every effort to hold a hearing on Garland’s appointment. A key part of Mitch McConnell’s argument against holding hearings was the so-called Biden rule, which was based off a speech that then Senator Joe Biden gave in 1992, saying, “As a result, it is my view that if a Supreme Court Justice resigns tomorrow, or within the next several weeks, or resigns at the end of the summer, President Bush should consider following the practice of a majority of his predecessors and not — and not — name a nominee until after the November election is completed.” Even though their opposition left the court shorthanded, the Republicans presented a united front under McConnell and stonewalled the nomination.

Merrick Garland was by no means a progressive. He was a moderate who had bipartisan support from Republicans such as Orrin Hatch, Susan Collins, and John McCain, who all voted for him in 1997 when Clinton appointed him to the D.C. appeals court. McConnell’s choice to block the nomination was not about Garland’s ideology — it was about creating real political opposition for Obama. “One of my proudest moments was when I looked Barack Obama in the eye and I said, ‘Mr. President, you will not fill the Supreme Court vacancy,'” McConnell said.

Where was the Democratic opposition during these nine months? NPR describes the Democratic strategic thinking during this time: “So it was safer, in the judgments of spring and summer 2016, to let the Republicans look intransigent and unfair and hope somebody noticed. Perhaps the injustice to Garland would help Democrats win seats in supposedly blue states such as Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and even red ones such as Missouri and North Carolina.” Rather than putting up any kind of meaningful resistance, the Democrats acquiesced and allowed Mitch to have his way, gambling everything on a Clinton victory in 2016. The failure of the Democrats to win the electoral college would later result in Trump nominating Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and likely, Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Mitch McConnell’s use of the “nuclear option” to confirm Neil Gorsuch, changing the number of Senate votes needed to confirm a Supreme Court justice from 60 to 51, was first employed by Democrats in 2013 as a way to avoid Republican filibusters. While it seemed politically expedient at the time, it eroded the need for bipartisan consent and allowed a simple majority to wield more power. Even after McConnell invoked the nuclear option in 2017 to confirm Neil Gorsuch, three Democrats voted in favor of the confirmation of Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. The 51-vote majority would later be used to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, though one Democrat also voted to confirm him.

Democrats crossing over to confirm Trump-selected judges has been a pattern throughout the last four years. In October of 2017, the Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The vote was 55-43, with three Democrats voting to confirm. Not only have some Democrats been complicit in voting to confirm even the most right-wing of Trump’s judicial appointments, but Chuck Schumer actually cut a deal with Mitch McConnell to fast-track many of these confirmations. In late August of 2018, just before the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, Schumer made this deal with the devil that gave 11 Trump nominees immediate approval and fast-tracked eight more for a vote. One of the judges that was fast-tracked in August of 2018 was Charles Barnes Goodwin, to become U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Oklahoma. The vote passed 52-42 with six democrats voting to confirm. This vote is noteworthy because Charles Goodwin had received a “not qualified” rating from the American Bar Association.

During the Trump administration, more than 200 Federal judges have been appointed. “Of the 202 confirmations, 154 have been men, and 173 have been white.” Trump’s lifetime-serving, judicial appointees have been the youngest ever, with an average age of 48. This demographic “cemented the gross mismatch between the federal judiciary and the public.” According to Vice News, “Democrats vote to confirm Trump’s nominees roughly 39 percent of the time.”

The consistent ratcheting of the judicial branch to the extreme right has been underway for decades. As the US Supreme Court has become more and more a corporate-friendly, GOP partisan weapon fueled by dark money, we have seen catastrophic decisions that have dismantled basic democratic protections, like Citizens United in 2010, the gutting of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, and McCutcheon’s 2014 rejection of campaign finance limits. And with Amy Coney Barrett’s terrible record on labor rights, women’s and public healthcareLGBTQ and other civil rights, failing to effectively oppose an extremist, right-wing takeover of the US judicial system is a clear case of aiding and abetting fascism.

Emergency Border Security Funding Bill

In addition to their lack of opposition to judicial appointments, a majority of House Democrats have been passing legislation that supports Trump’s racist, xenophobic agenda. In May of 2019, the House passed H.R. 3401, a bill which gave $4.6 billion in emergency funding for border security. Included in this bill was $418 million for Immigrations Customs and Enforcement (ICE) operations and support. This is the same agency that has since then been revealed to have been forcing hysterectomies on detainees. Only 95 of 233 House Democrats voted against this bill and only eight of 45 in the Senate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged House Democrats to vote for the bill, saying, “In order to get resources to the children fastest, we will reluctantly pass the Senate bill.” These resources were earmarked for the very people who were separating and abusing the children at the detention centers.

Patriot Act

In November 2019, House Democrats passed an amendment to an appropriations bill that extended the Patriot Act by three months. Independent Congressman Justin Amash criticized this move, saying, “Democrats have highlighted Trump’s abuse of his executive powers, yet they’re teaming up to extend the administration’s authority to warrantlessly gather data on Americans.” Only ten House Democrats voted against this amendment. When the Patriot Act was once again set to expire in March 2020, the House came together to pass a further extension of these authoritative powers when they passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) reform bill, which included extending provisions of the USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 and the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 until 2023.

In May of 2020, an attempt was made to amend the USA Freedom Act Reauthorization Bill to prevent the government from being able to conduct secretive warrantless surveillance of web browser history. This amendment required 60 votes to pass, but it came up one vote short. Ten Senate Democrats voted against it. Rather than fighting to prevent the Trump administration from having more tools with which to spy on US citizens, the Democrats have come together repeatedly to extend these bills and give the Trump regime additional powers.

Military Budget (NDAA)

The Democrats have repeatedly approved National Defense Authorization Acts (NDAAs) during Trump’s presidency — all of which have included increases in military spending. In December 2019, after the FY 2020 NDAA passed the Democratic controlled House with a vote of 377-48, Trump tweeted “Wow! All of our priorities have made it into the final NDAA: Pay Raise for our Troops, Rebuilding our Military, Paid Parental Leave, Border Security, and Space Force! Congress – don’t delay this anymore! I will sign this historic defense legislation immediately!” Everything that Trump wanted included a $738 billion price tag. Also included in this bill was continued material assistance for Saudi Arabia, after a failed battle to draw the line against further arms sales to the murderous regime. The US and Saudi-backed war on Yemen has killed some 233,000, with 60 percent of the dead as children under five. Eighty percent of Yemen’s population now relies on humanitarian aid, and Amnesty International cites 16 million waking up hungry every day. Nancy Pelosi released a final statement on the NDAA: “Democrats will always stand unified in support of a strong national defense For The People that honors our values, protects our security and advances our leadership in the world.”

Israel

Democrats have routinely come together in support of right-wing dictators and fascist regimes around the world, including the terrorist state of Israel. When Donald Trump moved the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May of 2018, Chuck Schumer called the move “long overdue.”

In 2019, Democrats came together overwhelmingly to support an appropriations act that increased funding for Israel to $3.8 billion. The only House Democrat to oppose this bill was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Nancy Pelosi explained her stance on Israel in March of 2019, when she gave a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), saying, “Israel and America are connected now and forever. We will never allow anyone to make Israel a wedge issue.”

The influence of pro-Israel lobbyists such as AIPAC is so strong that Joe Biden intervened in crafting the wording of the non-binding 2020 Democratic platform to make sure that the word “occupation” was not used in reference to Israeli troops in Palestine. Internationally known as a war criminal for expanding Israel’s illegal and brutal military occupation of Palestine, US Democrats have been more than happy to go to bat for Benjamin Netanyahu and his corrupt criminal regime.

When we step back and look at the Democratic Party’s deep enabling tendencies of not only Trump and his authoritarian rule in the United States, but also Democrats’ consistent political support and material assistance for murderous regimes internationally, we are led to conclude that corporate-funded political parties (both Democratic and Republican) align themselves first and foremost with ruling-class, colonial interests, and against the interests of the working-class and the poor, both at home and abroad. A 2014 Princeton University study declared the United States to be an oligarchy because “Congress supports the lobbyists and economic elites over the will of the people.” Given the Democratic Party’s ever-increasing allegiance toward the oligarchical forces operating inside the US government, it must also be noted that the Democratic establishment is complicit with this same government’s slide toward fascism.

Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and a whole class of corporate Democrats are so politically and economically aligned with oligarchy that they would rather stage false political protests as media ops than mount any kind of actual political opposition that could stop Trump’s increasingly fascist movement. At the end of the day, in order to mount real resistance to Trump, top Democrats would have to be willing to threaten their own cozy political and economic status with the corporations that fund and run the government. And that’s just not something they’re willing to do.

The post The Assistance, Not the Resistance first appeared on Dissident Voice.