Category Archives: identity politics

Adding More Dust onto a Threadbare Empire

Barbara Lee: I’m very terrified with regard to what we see taking place. And the signs are there. When you talk about shutting down the media, putting out their alternative facts, banning dissent and opposition, criticizing people who are exercising their First Amendment rights; trying to get people to believe, really, the distortions that they’re putting out there. That, to me, is very scary. It’s very dangerous. And you see also the corporate and military consolidation of the public sector. You see efforts to privatize schools. When you just look at the nominees, you see very few people with experience in the public sector. And so when you have the corporate sector merging with the military sectors, and when you have cabinet officials who have historically said they want to dismantle the cabinets and the agencies that they’re running, that I’m very terrified that we are beginning to see an erosion of our democratic values and an erosion of the public sector.

Hellraiser' cartoonist wants to offend, help others criticize government | CBC News

The new normal is of course abnormal, antithetical to being a human being, or at least a being that is Homo Sapiens before say, errr, the industrial revolution, or in the new parlance, before the Fourth  Industrial Revolution, or before the internet of all things . . . .

Schooling was bad, for decades, for sure, but redeemable in some sense. Things like educational systems are fixable, or they were before the Zoom Doom decade has begun to unfold. Face to face discourse was always discordant, yet the only way for some sort of consensus or arbitrated whole, but now, with Zoom Doom, etc., and especially now that many western (whites) people want to isolate, stay at home glued to this evil screen, as if glued to some sordid 6-hour daily soap opera, really  want to do things on line, do things sheltered, well, the new species of Western (white) Adam and Eve is, well, not the people I want in my trench if the revolution ever happens . . . .

Which will not unfold, this “revolution,” if this generation and the next one is bred to take a $1000 a month UBI, takes the pink and blue pills/vaccines, and continues to listen to the putridity that is commercialism-retail-PR-spin mixed in with the noise of the day, the propaganda of them all – 2,700 billionaires pointing their antennae in all the right directions for more and more control, overlording and alas gouging the economic and socio-economic and political power from the super majority, us.

So many people I talk with, gentrified with a bit of a retirement, or at-home income, plus the house paid off, more or less, and fairly good health, they are blaming the victims, blaming the poor, blaming the kids who got the wrong degrees and who are now in debt.

The divide and conquer is subtle with democratic voters, and overt with MAGA mutts.

This is the scam of capitalism – the people who have “made it” have done so on the backs of people, and many in capitalism make money on people who are struggling, who are lower income, who are not part of the 20 percent. Divide and conquer. Classify us. Put us on a spectrum. On a scale. Rate us. Give us a score, some detailed credit report, educational report, health report, activity report. Google and the other gulag thinkers, they have the tools to put us all on dashboards, even as I type out this screed, the data and the nanoseconds of my moves will be recorded.

Making money on fines, penalties, arrests, convictions, probation, and then all those middle-middle-middlemen making money on turning this financial screw or flipping this toggle or that investing switch to exact more and more economic pain, more and more generalized anxiety disorder pain. You can’t just do things without added-on layer after layer of people and systems taking a penny here, a dime there, a dollar over there, and a 20 percent or more cut there and there.

The reality is this country is threadbare, and county governments do not have the resources for that D-minus nationwide infrastructure that needs tending to. Counties and states do not have the money for sustaining public health, safety and well-being. We are in a system of money that banks have “loaned” communities putting them into bankruptcy. The loan sharks are large and sophisticated, repo experts of the highest order, foreclosure kings on a grand scale.

Imagine the concept of no clinics in communities, no diabetes clinics, public school nurses and counselors doled out like rare truffles (like one nurse per five schools, one counselor per 400 kids!). Imagine now in Oregon, the current college enrollment is down 20 percent. Think. Where does that go, where do we make up the work people have at community colleges? How do those worthy students move forward? Fulfillment centers? Two college degrees and working in a warehouse at $15 an hour (if you are lucky to be in a few states with that minimum wage) and praying for a universal basic/bumbling income?

And that discourse of a UBI is insane, no? No talk about public ownership of utilities, pharmaceuticals, medicine, hospitals, clinics, state banks, guaranteed housing, food security, and public transportation that can only be imagined by Phillip K. Dick. And I am not talking flying taxis, but clean trollies and constant schedules. Imagine, the end of the car for many people – that internal combustion disease maker, the thing that sits 90 percent of the time in a driveway or parking space. Imagine.

Nope. It’s the transfer of $1,200 a month basic income to the rich and the richest. A basic income in super predatory capitalism. Imagine. That is the paradigm. Sort of the same insanity of a Bill McKibben or Liz Warren saying a cleaner military – one running on biodiesel and one that recycles missile parts, on that repurposes medical waste and builds global bases at a net zero waste LEED Platinum level. Solar panel-wind turbine air force drone bases. All ships and carriers running on forever fuel, nuclear energy. Imagine that insanity. From the greenies.

The democrats and republicans are vicious, are psychopaths, and Americans on both sides of that manure pile who believe this is an exceptionalist society will believe anything to hold up their version of reality. They will wrap themselves up in the red, white and blue in varying ways. Voting is their emancipation from actually doing and acting.

Listen to this freak of a man, Trump, and watch the media just flatten down. Think about how impotent ” rel=”noopener nofollow ” target=”_blank”>mainline media is:

AMY GOODMAN: So, by April 2017, just three months into his presidency, Trump launched a Tomahawk missile attack on Syria in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack on civilians. Jeremy, you say in your series, “Like Pavlov’s dogs, the bipartisan war machine responded accordingly.” Let’s go to some of the media coverage of Trump’s attack on Syria. This is MSNBC anchor Brian Williams referring to a Pentagon video of U.S. missiles fired at Syria as “beautiful” three times in 30 seconds.

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Go into greater detail. We see these beautiful pictures at night from the decks of these two U.S. Navy vessels in the eastern Mediterranean. I am tempted to quote the great Leonard Cohen: “I’m guided by the beauty of our weapons.” And they are beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments making what is for them a brief flight over to this airfield. What did they hit?

AMY GOODMAN: That was MSNBC’s Brian Williams. And this is CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.

FAREED ZAKARIA: I think Donald Trump became president of the United States. I think this was actually a big moment, because candidate Trump had said that he would never get involved in the Syrian civil war. He told President Obama, “You cannot do this without the authorization of Congress.” He seemed unconcerned with global norms. President Trump recognized that the president of the United States does have to act to enforce international norms, does have to have this broader moral and political purpose.

And yet, this country is waxing poetic about the “clear skies over our cities,” and how the lockdown has “given me space to think, to reflect, to evolve,” and “we are really getting closer to our roots” THANKS to Covid-19.

Dangerous-dangerous thinking. This is it, though … as more and more people (sic) who can work from home (not real work) accept permanent correspondence school-work-medicine-business. No big questioning of the motivations of the tech world, the billionaires, the pigs of AI and Surveillance. No bigger demands for this shit-hole country. No demands for holding all corporations accountable. No pitchforks and tar and feathers for the politicians, the cops, the multimillionaires, the billionaires and their evil seeds.

It is a passive culture, a giant joystick, operation, a couch potato citizenry. The Covid-19 plan-demic fit the narrative so-so well.

It is now rubber-necking to the tenth power. Almost everyone in the United Snakes of BlackRock and then those fleas on the tail of that US dog, Canada, UK, and Australia, is generally looking like a giant cast in a Jerry Springer outtake. The celebrity culture, the thugs of politics, the billionaire lizard class, the entire mauling media, the incompetence of the general population who self-identify as MAGA deplorables and/or middling liberals who believe in Manifest Destiny and Exceptionalism with a little bit of LGBTQA spin, it is the seeding of more and more weeks, months and years of stupidity. To mask or not to mask, to listen to this group of scientists, or that swath of virologists, that is the question.

No deep discussion about how broken the system(s) was/were way back when, and then this rewritten history covering up the bulldozing through the Regan years and up to now. Gutting rights, gutting checks and balances for Wall Street, Banking, Real Estate, oligarchs, polluters, thieves in suits, and the thuggery of cops and troops. Shock and awe, with this crappy media and amusing ourselves not to death but to neutering and spaying glee.

Imagine over 200 rural hospitals shut down just since 2006. Imagine simple compound fracture medical bill of $80,000. Just imagine, brand new aircraft carriers and supersonic jets, football stadiums filled with shiny bullets, and entire shipping ports filled with drones and bombs. This country has no checks and balances to demand human and township/city/state assistance during fires, hurricanes, floods and flu pandemics. No safety nets, no massive shut downs of the perpetrators of fire, poison, imprisonment, shock and awe on the streets by the murdering cops.

Then, we argue how much the thieves are hiding, ripping us off for, and on and on, the broken system.

Some of the most despicable people now are on mainstream media and in the odd-ball media, and the academicians are scurrying like the careerists they are, and then the homegrown extremists, the pussy Trump (not a man’s man or a woman’s man), the murder incorporated men and women on the thin blue line, and on and on. We make those old “banana republic” epithets against our brethren south of the border seem tame. We are a thug nation, a new gilded age society of 18-carrat 5,000 square foot bathrooms for the Botox, and a 1988 Chevy van for the fulfillment worker families parked in an alley.

It all seems like a giant mental anguish experiment.

Mr. Fish Toon- Trump's Yoda - Democratic Underground

The news-news-news is a constant drone of national and international frayed stories, and in the eye of the storm, we have community after community in the USA broken, breaking apart, sliding and of course it never was meant to be a system that is for, by, with, because of the people.

This all brings me to the deplorables, the across-the-street neighbors, whose boys decided my 12 by 14 inch sign that states we believe in a woman’s right to choose and black lives matter, etc., should not only be stolen, but that my car’s window bashed in because of that sign.

Yeah, two deputy sheriff calls, two citations, and then two separate no trespassing citations, and then more and more of my time spent on tracking these cases. So many moments of my mental state thrown into the criminal injustice system. How many phone calls from county courts folk and victims rights folk telling me in their 20 or 30 or 40 years they have never seen such a backlog, a cluster fuck.

Oregon’s lockdown measures, and now property crimes – this putrid 39-year-old boy-man, all 6’5” of him, caught by a neighbor throwing a 10 pound paving stone in my car window and then prancing around the street with hands up and juking as if he just made a dunk.

Then my spouse and I start digging into this “family,” this upstanding MAGA family, and lo and behold, the mother has been evicted from two homes, and she and her current husband filed for bankruptcy in CA more than five times. The perpetrator of the criminal mischievous also has a fine white boy, blued eye semi-man rap sheet – DUIs in CA, and felony charges for, err, animal abuse, AKA cock fighting. This guy’s CA record shows he failed to appear, failed to do court-mandate classes in animal abuse. Charges dropped.

As you peel back layer after layer in America – the blond mother, prancing around the neighborhood telling anyone who will listen how upstanding she and her breed are – the dirty laundry comes flying in your face.

So these anti-Chinese, pro-MAGA mutts, they have some ridiculous business of beach footwear (whatever that is) and they stamp a sea turtle on them, and on their web site, they say “from every purchase we support the sea turtles.” Imagine that, no sea turtle environmental group listed, and alas, these anti-Chinese/China MAGA get those loafers and flipflops from, well, you guessed it – China.

The court systems are super blogged. The property crimes are going unpunished. Cases are being tossed out. Retraining orders are not being followed up on. And this is just one small slice of the angle in America where things are falling apart. Under lockdown. Before lockdown. Beyond lockdown.

Too much on the American mindset’s bandwidth. Again, the mess of crap that comes into Facebook, on Twitter, on those hate channels, on MSNBC, Fox, et al. The paraded queens of stupidity, and the kings of crime, every minute of the day, dragging any attention span left in the American collective intellect/consciousness, pulled out.

This is America. I have former colleagues who are retired, who have their little house on the gentrified hill in this or that town. They believe in this shit-hole country. They think Trump is aberration. They think that all he’s done will go on in perpetuity (lifetime appointments of judges). They believe in this shit-hole system, just putting a few new lipstick shades on the predatory-parasitic-disaster pig that is capitalism left of center, center or right.

POSTS — Lifesigns

You get a chunk of cement thrown into your car window, and you are thrown into the morass that is/was/will be the dead pool of America. All systems no-go. All entertainment zones displaying all those sacrifice zones. All those Netflix documentaries, all those mini-series, all those years and years of drama and soap operas. It’s here, the lobotomy, the collective lobotomy.

A nation of 160 million and counting developing one or more  chronic diseases. One out of five (easily) with recurring depression. A middle manager class and intellectual class stuck in the inertia of cynicism. The gilded age that pushes more and more people into poverty and learned helplessness. This is the country of proud to be stupid . . . proud to be overweight, diabetic, hypertensive and yet, “lock them up . . . give ‘em a good beating . . . shoot them on Pennsylvania Avenue . . . give them a good dump into the east bay with a sack of cement.”

This wimp of a human (bully of that species), Trump, and his suits and ties that are warped (every single GOP before, during and after his death) and who  hold up the violence and extrajudicial beatings and murders this un-man Trump and his un-man Stephen Miller and his Sessions and Barr, putrid puffer fish in Florsheims, demand, we are there, man.

Chris Hedges: We’ve personalized the problem in Trump without realizing that Trump is the product of a failed democracy. Trump is what rises up from the bowels of a decayed and degenerate system. And you can get rid of Trump, but you’re not going to get rid of what the sociologist Émile Durkheim called that “anomie” that propels societies to engage in deeply self-destructive behavior.

Trump 2020 - Mr. Fish

Thanks to Mr. Fish and his incredible mind and drawings/art! Watch his documentary — https://www.mrfishmovie.com/

The post Adding More Dust onto a Threadbare Empire first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Hysteria of Identity Politics is Devolving Into Violence

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.
— Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Colonel Charles Yancey, January 6th, 1816

As the tech monopolies, the military industrial complex, the medical industrial complex, and other powerful corporate entities accumulate unprecedented wealth rivaling that which is wielded by many countries, the cult of identity politics has likewise become increasingly formidable. Indeed, this metastasizing Tower of Babel is fomenting an erasure of collective memory, as the multicultural sacking of the working class enters a new and increasingly violent phase, pitting worker against worker, and facilitating the oligarchy’s grasp on total absolute power.

Logic and morality are relative terms and are tied to a particular cultural identity. Engulfed as they presently are by a whirlwind of anarchy, they cease to exist. Denied American letters, British literature, and classics of Western Civilization, it is increasingly difficult for American youth to understand these cataclysmic socio-economic problems. Raised on a diet of woke novels and memoirs written over the past thirty years, they are inculcated with a mindless hatred of “white supremacy” and taught to loathe the very books that form the basis of our cultural heritage. This anti-humanities curriculum relentlessly destroys class consciousness, and fails to pass on to the younger generation the history of the abolitionists, the great labor leaders and anti-war activists, the civil rights leaders (black and white); as well as presidents who were actually principled, progressive-minded, and articulate.

The multicultural curriculum and identity studies have usurped the position formerly held by the humanities, which have been retained as a prestigious course of study for the sons and daughters of the elite and a few fortunate middle class students. Faux leftists have been deceived into thinking that the nihilistic pedagogy of anti-whiteness is anchored in teaching history from a leftist perspective. Yet this is clearly fallacious, as the multicultural curriculum and identity studies, which have acquired an extraordinary stranglehold on both the public schools and academia, are fomenting illiteratization and unprecedented forms of sectarianism.

The witch hunts of Feminisis and Russiagate have their roots in McCarthyism, the persecution of socialists and anti-war activists under Woodrow Wilson, and the Salem witch trials of the late 17th century. The dismantling of the New Deal cannot be understood without an understanding of the Gilded Age, the Great Depression, and the policies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The dismantling of habeas corpus cannot be understood without an understanding of civics; while the 1960s offer many valuable lessons, one of which is that racism can only be vanquished through integration. Indeed, political literacy cannot survive without an ability to place current events in their appropriate historical context, particularly when this lack of knowledge is paired with the oligarchy’s anti-journalism apparatus.

The multicultural curriculum also fails to educate the younger generation in the history of US foreign policy. To the disciples of identity politics Obama and Hillary are demigods. Their murderous foreign policies, so well-documented, pale in comparison with a sex scandal, an alleged racial incident, or an imaginary noose. Indispensable works of American literature, from “Bartleby, the Scrivener,” to For Whom the Bell Tolls, to Johnny Got His Gun, to It Can’t Happen Here, to John Brown’s Body, to Sister Carrie, to Adventures of Huckleberry Finn have been expunged from the curriculum. That these literary works are, in fact, radical (in the truest sense of the word) means nothing to the neoliberals. They were authored by “dead white men” — that is all we need to know.

There are many reasons for people to be angry in America: obscene economic inequality, a destroyed public education system, a jettisoning of due process and the rule of law, horrendous unemployment, a disintegration of the cultural fabric, a health care system run by organized crime syndicates, trillions of dollars wasted on barbaric foreign wars, and a demise of press freedom. And yet the neoliberal youth brigades are indifferent to these horrors. For they have been programmed to think exclusively along lines of race and gender.

As the Jessica Krug scandal illustrates, people are frequently rewarded for being able to portray themselves as having an authentic woke status, as evidenced by her being able to lecture impressionable college students about “racism,” “the patriarchy,” and the need to “dismantle whiteness,” while passing herself off as an imaginary “person of color.”

The relentless vilification of whiteness (and of our national identity generally), coupled with the fear of witch-hunts, has debased common sense to the point where a tech company can sack American workers, replace them with guest workers from China and India, and this can be hailed as “a victory for diversity.” No less inane, permitting international students to obtain undergraduate and graduate degrees, when their command of English is confined to the specialized jargon of their field, and they are explicitly being trained to be guest workers and neoliberal automatons, is extolled as “respecting cultural differences;” while allowing unlimited numbers of immigrant youth to overwhelm the New York City public schools to the point where the entire system collapses, is indicative of “tolerance.” There is an inextricable connection between this irrational thinking and the growing problem of mob violence.

The heirs to the civil rights movement and the New Deal have been transformed into an army of the deranged, disconnected from both logic and reason. The lie that whites are always the oppressor and people of color always the oppressed has muddled the minds of neoliberals to the point where they have lost all touch with reality. This is glaringly on display with regard to the Muslim grooming gangs that have raped thousands of underage British girls. Brendan O’Neill, Joanna WilliamsSarah Champion, and others have attempted to draw attention to this issue, their words often falling on deaf ears. The girls were poor and white. Consequently, they don’t matter. In the upside-down world of identity politics, the anti-racists are the racists, the anti-fascists are the fascists, the native has become the foreigner (they “lost their culture”), and the foreigner has become the native (an insurmountable barrier to assimilation).

The neoliberal jihadis of Antifa and Black Lives Matter (BLM), who have no understanding of history and are incapable of a progressive vision, are increasingly resorting to violence. This is being condoned by the mass media, with CNN’s Chris Cuomo even going so far as to say “Please, show me where it says protesters are supposed to be polite and peaceful.” In the ideology of identity politics, Western Civilization and the white heterosexual male have outlived their usefulness (members of the ruling establishment and elite preparatory schools excepted). What they plan on replacing this with will be predicated on a hostility to all things Western (including the Constitution and the Bill of Rights), unfettered capitalism, and extreme forms of intolerance.

The word “racist” is being used as the word “hostile” was once used to describe Native Americans, and is meant to dehumanize the accused to the point where no redemption is possible. In fact, the multicultural society is giving the plutocracy the population they have longed dreamed of: illiterate, atomized, deeply segregated, frothing at the mouth against integration and all things intellectual; along with a polyglot rabble that has burned its own canon, thereby embracing its own enslavement.

This faux left has been transformed into a fifth column and charged with the task of spreading anarchy, chaos, and destabilization, ushering in an age where liberty of thought and solidarity are in grave danger. The death cult acolyte, while trapped in a cage of delusion, is deceived into thinking they are free. How can there be a progressive working class movement when the working class has ceased to exist?

As Paul Joseph Watson has posited, there is something reminiscent of Mao’s Red Guards in the way in which the neoliberal mobs are increasingly resorting to publicly shaming people. Disturbing videos have emerged of white people being pressured to kneel and apologize for their “white privilege,” and it is conceivable that these scenes may become increasingly common, even imposed under the threat of violence. What we appear to be witnessing is a cultural revolution, yet with unfettered capitalism instead of communism. It should come as no surprise that as the language of identity politics grows increasingly hysterical, this has led to faux leftists issuing apologetics for the normalization of violence. Writing for Spiked, Frank Furedi elaborates:

Until recently, cancel culture and institutionally backed acts of intolerance were confined to campuses. In such an environment, there was little need for the explicit use of force, because university administrators were happy to take responsibility for policing speech and attitudes. Yet the acceptance of cancel culture always contained the implication that force could be used against the cancelled target.

Campus Reform asked students at George Washington University whether they felt that violence and looting were acceptable in the quest for multicultural purity and “racial justice.” Overwhelmingly, they answered in the affirmative. In the 1960s, college students could often be found protesting the Vietnam War and the bombings of Laos and Cambodia, while supporting the civil rights movement. Today, they are more likely to be found spewing invective, and even physically threatening, anyone that dares challenge identity politics dogma. When conservative journalist Kaitlin Bennett attempted to do some reporting at the University of Central Florida, she and her bodyguards were set upon by a furious horde of multiculturalists.

A pack of unhinged neoliberals also crowded threateningly around Senator Rand Paul and his wife in the heart of Washington DC, and they may very well have been seriously harmed were it not for police protection. As violence and looting tore apart Kenosha, WI, CNN described this as “Fiery But Mostly Peaceful Protests,” even as small business owners were violently assaulted for the sin of being white. And after 5-year-old Cannon Hinnant was murdered in North Carolina by a young black man, black nationalists wasted no time in celebrating the murder as a legitimate response to “white privilege,” comments that would never be allowed on social media should the races be reversed. This sectarian hatred is the legacy of the liberal class.

In what could be termed incitement to violence, Democrat Maxine Waters has riled up the mob, telling her supporters that they should harass and “push back” on any Republicans (i.e. “racists”) should they encounter them in the street. Former CNN host Reza Aslan has tweeted that “If they even TRY to replace RBG [Ruth Bader Ginsburg] we burn the entire f—ing thing down.” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has made similar threatening statements.

The Portland attacker that brutally kicked driver Adam Haner in the head, rendering him unconscious, expressed bewilderment that he was wanted by the authorities, posting on social media, “Might go to jail for a racist tonight when all i [sic] did was fight him.…” Evidently he received the same education as that of the black teenagers who murdered a random 59-year-old white man at the Great Frederick Fair in Maryland, and then danced in glee around his lifeless body, as if they had just murdered a brutal slave owner in the antebellum South. They, too, are the spawn of a media and an education system that relentlessly fan the flames of internecine strife, racial bigotry, and barbarism.

Just as the American oligarchy has pitted Iraqi against Iraqi, Afghan against Afghan, Yugoslav against Yugoslav, Ukrainian against Ukrainian, and Libyan against Libyan, they are now pitting their own people against one another. Writing for The Unz Review, Mike Whitney writes that “BLM is not the friend of working people, in fact, it is funded by their sworn enemies. They are the foot-soldiers in the War on the Deplorables.” Addressing the origins of BLM, Lawrence Porter and Nancy Hanover write in “Black Lives Matter cashes in on black capitalism:”

From the beginning, the “mothers of the movement” Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi—who collectively adopted the famous hashtag—specifically opposed uniting blacks, whites and immigrants against the brutal class-war policies of the capitalist state. Instead, the group did its best to confine anti-police violence protests within the framework of the capitalist system and push a racialist and pro-capitalist agenda.

After a man with a Patriot Prayer hat was murdered in Portland, which has been wracked by months of violence and looting, an identity politics inquisitor justified the killing, saying to a crowd that “Our community held its own and took out the trash.” Condoning the murder of a man because he stands outside the ideological boundaries of identity politics dogma underscores the growing sociopathy of the liberal class. Perhaps this pitiable creature took a class at Portland Community College where she learned about how whiteness was the root of all evil and should be abolished. Or perhaps she read the article by Rudy Martinez in The University Star, titled “Your DNA Is an Abomination,” where the author wrote that “Ontologically speaking, white death will mean liberation for all.”

Liberals regard themselves as fervent anti-racists and a close ally of the black community, while simultaneously supporting all the policies which cause vast numbers of black children to be denied an education. Upon graduation these young people, so cruelly betrayed by the system, go out into the world, only to find that the majority of the manual labor jobs have either been offshored or given to undocumented workers — policies also supported by the liberal class. Furthermore, liberals support extreme forms of segregation, which go hand in hand with multiculturalism, and which are intertwined with a multi-tier system of policing. (White Americans are also killed by law enforcement, although this rarely makes the news). Like the multicultural society, “the left,” in both the US and UK, is largely a chimera. As the capital-labor struggle is enshrouded by the culture wars, we are left with the preposterous spectacle of watching Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter face off behind the barricades.

Trump has said a number of blasphemous things that have infuriated the establishment. Recently in North Carolina he told supporters that “Joe Biden devoted his career to offshoring new jobs, throwing open your borders, and dragging us into endless foreign wars and surrendering our children’s future to countries like China.” He has also pursued détente with Russia and repeatedly mocked “the fake news media,” likewise heretical things for any American politician, let alone a president, to do.

Therefore it is conceivable that these violent activities have been coordinated, either by the intelligence services, or by powerful oligarchs, and that this could be indicative of a domestic color revolution — a kind of multicultural Maidan. We know, for instance, that many companies are supporting BLM. The influential Ford Foundation has announced that they will be giving $100 million to BLM, to be paid in installments over the next six years. Paul Craig Roberts writes in “America’s Color Revolution” that “As far as the CIA is concerned, Trump is no different from Hugo Chavez, Nicolas Maduro, Charles de Gaulle, Manuel Zelaya, Evo Morales, Viktor Yanukovych, and a large number of others.” Kamala Harris has stated that the violence will continue until Trump has been removed. Indeed, the elites have fomented racial tensions, whipped up the mob, and can now abandon the cities they have destroyed, even to the point of moving abroad should Martha’s Vineyard and the Hamptons go up in flames, as Tucker Carlson pointed out on his September 10th show.

Even some of the most distinguished Anglo-American leftists have been deceived into thinking that the multicultural society is a revolutionary society, and yet unrestricted immigration, the multicultural curriculum, and identity politics do what they were designed to do: obliterate the middle class, the public education system, the rule of law, and any semblance of a collective memory or national cohesion. The cult of identity politics constitutes a war, both on the working class, and on the sum of human knowledge accumulated in the history of Western Civilization; and this has hurled the frenzied masses into a fathomless abyss of paranoia, unreason, amnesia and zealotry. In actuality, the multicultural society represents not a triumph of the working class, but a triumph over it; as the dispossessed unleash brutalities upon one another, and a triumphant oligarchy assumes the mantle of a new slavocracy.

The more tribalism rips apart the cultural fabric of society, the more working conditions continue to deteriorate. So debased is the state of labor in the US that even doctors are looking for ways to leave their profession. Eugene Debs understood that there must always be resistance to tyranny and deplorable working conditions. Speaking to the court after he was indicted for being a leader of the Pullman Strike in 1894, he said:

It seems to me that if it were not for resistance to degrading conditions, the tendency of our whole civilization would be downward; after a while we would reach the point where there would be no resistance, and slavery would come.

Up until Bill Clinton, the liberal class often served as a bulwark to protect the people from slavery, unfettered capitalism, and totalitarianism. These battlements are in ruins, felled by their own creator. The ancient ramparts have been breached, a noble mind torn asunder, as the primeval stallion rears up beyond the zone of anarchy and unlocks the gates of hell.

Millions of Trump supporters have lost everything to offshoring and deindustrialization, and are tired of being told that they have no other identity than that of rednecks and ignorant bigots. As “Marxism” has come to be defined as burning books by white people, replacing free labor with slave labor, and tearing down statues of the country’s founders, they are more likely to be found at the local firing range than reading a copy of The Communist Manifesto. Yeats’s warning that “the falcon cannot hear the falconer” rings more prophetically than ever before.

The post The Hysteria of Identity Politics is Devolving Into Violence first appeared on Dissident Voice.

As American Society Crashes and Burns, the Cult of Neoliberalism Marches on

The right to have a slave implies the right in some one to make the slave; that right must be equal and mutual, and this would resolve society into a state of perpetual war.

— William Seward, from the “Freedom in the New Territories” speech, March 11, 1850

Long after they have set fire to the values of the New Deal and the civil rights movement, neoliberals continue to regard themselves as a bulwark protecting civilization from barbarism. In reality, they have betrayed all the values that the New Dealers and the civil rights leaders courageously and nobly fought for. Indeed, a class that once espoused unions, public education, the Constitution, integration, and freedom of the press, while standing in unequivocal opposition to imperialism and McCarthyism, has been transformed into a cult which speaks in the trappings of a progressive-sounding language, yet which has come to be allied with the forces of reaction on each and every one of these issues.

The mass media has successfully convinced a vast swath of the population that Obama and Hillary stand in brave opposition to racism and sexism, while Trump personifies Racism and The Patriarchy. This inane view of politics, coupled with the fact that the education system has raised an entire generation on nothing but woke novels and immigrant memoirs that pathologize whiteness, has resulted in a crisis where Western Civilization and the values of the Enlightenment are in grave danger. The videos showing Hillary supporters sobbing as their beloved Class-A war criminal was defeated in the 2016 election signifies this dangerous rift with reality.

Let us posit that a cult is a social structure that embodies the following characteristics:

* A rejection of logic and reason

* A fanatical devotion to an irrational belief system

* A profound anti-intellectualism

* A rejection of history and objective truth

* A relentless vilification of those who are outside of the cult, especially those who attempt to challenge the cult’s dogma

* An Orwellian manipulation of language

That neoliberalism possesses each of these characteristics is irrefutable; while all who attempt to question this creed are branded as “racists,” “fascists,” “Nazis,” “bigots,” “sexists,” or “conspiracy theorists”; i.e., mentally ill. Moreover, faux leftists continue to exhibit a blind faith in the holy texts of neoliberalism; and no matter how many times The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The New Yorker lie and dissemble, they refuse to read these publications with even the faintest trace of skepticism.

A critical tenet of neoliberalism is that it “fights racism,” when, in fact, the opposite is the case, as evidenced by the fact that multiculturalism and identity politics relentlessly foment and exacerbate segregation, ghettoization, and tribalism. And despite the fact that the two parties have been doing essentially the exact same things since (at the very least) the inauguration of Bill Clinton, the cult of neoliberalism remains anchored in an uncompromising belief in the two-party system. The idea that it is “progressive” to dispense with the national identities of the West since they epitomize “racism,” is yet another putrefying pillar of neoliberal ideology. Following this line of thinking, Americans can get along just fine with vocational communities and tribal identities that break down along lines of ethnicity, language, religion and sexual orientation.

A belief that the multicultural society is a meritocracy where everyone gets the job and income that they deserve; an insistence that “the left” should no longer concern itself with improving the lives of workers, students, patients, and prisoners but with “fighting racism,” are likewise foundational tenets of identity politics doctrine. In actuality, the fragmentation unleashed by the multicultural curriculum, identity studies, the multilingual media, and bilingual education create the very racism, sexism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia that faux-leftists claim to combat, undermining their very raison d’être. In a curious historical irony, neoliberals have even backed the restoration of McCarthyite witch hunts, thereby facilitating attacks on those who remain outside, or in defiance of, this peculiar dogma.

The multicultural curriculum has been specifically engineered to deny black, Latino, and poor immigrant youth an education in American letters, British literature, and classics of Western Civilization. This underscores the sinister and bigoted intentions of liberal academic administrators. Jettisoning these books from public schools which are dominated by students of color has led to staggering amounts of illiteracy, from which sectarianism has arrived to insatiably and inexorably fill the void. Perhaps unsurprisingly, proponents of the anti-working class have birthed an anti-humanities curriculum.

Multiculturalism subverts class consciousness without which there can be no political literacy, no understanding of history, and no progress. The anarchy, chaos, and atomization of the multicultural society (an oxymoron), turns workers into amoral automatons and interchangeable parts, while facilitating plutocratic pillage and authoritarianism, which its architects know full well.

In many ways, the demonization of Trump serves to deflect attention away from the fact that it is the ideology of neoliberalism which has betrayed the legacies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) and Martin Luther King, turning the country into a failed state. Black nationalism and white nationalism are, in fact, two sides of the same coin. It is not possible to have one and not have the other. Indeed, anti-white bigots are no more interested in the restoration of unions, the Constitution, integration, good public education, demilitarization, and freedom of the press than their white nationalist counterparts. If these critical checks and balances are not restored, and the health care system remains privatized, our democracy will be lost. The political prosecutions of Julian Assange, John Kiriakou, Chelsea Manning, Reality Winner, Daniel Hale, Barrett Brown, and Jeremy Hammond mean nothing to these zealots, as the accused are white, and the reinstatement of habeas corpus is not a part of their agenda.

A country can have different ethnicities, religions, and languages, but it cannot survive competing and mutually hostile curricula, as a nation-state must have a cohesive canon and a common historical narrative in order to sustain itself. As things presently stand, we have one curriculum which portrays white people as the devil incarnate; the other, a conservative curriculum, portrays Americans as the Indispensable Nation, and inculcates its charges with an ideology anchored in jingoism and Manifest Destiny. Both courses of study denigrate American literature, and refuse to educate their students in the history of European and American imperialism. These two curricula are on a collision course, and it would be unwise to dismiss the possibility of serious sectarian violence.

James Madison was acutely aware of the vital importance of having a literate population. As he wrote in a letter to W.T. Barry, on August 4, 1822:

A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

John F. Kennedy reiterated this fundamental truth when he stated at Vanderbilt’s 90th Anniversary Convocation Address on May 18th, 1963, that “Only an educated and informed people will be a free people.”

Faux leftists continue to be fanatical supporters of illegal immigration and the importation of guest workers, and refuse to acknowledge the many problems this has wrought, particularly with regard to deunionization and the depression of wages, ghettoization, catastrophic overcrowding in public schools and hospitals; and the fact that mass immigration foments destabilization, which in turn facilitates the ruling establishment’s dismantling of due process and the rule of law.

Are liberals truly “fighting racism” by allowing so many destitute Americans to wallow unaided in a hell of mass incarceration, mass illiteracy, mass unemployment, and appalling unmet health care needs, while simultaneously clamoring for more cheap labor to be brought in from abroad? There are also large numbers of Americans with advanced degrees that struggle to find jobs, and yet are forced to compete with a seemingly endless arrival of foreign workers that are hired to fill these very positions. Can a society survive if it incessantly denies educational opportunities and job opportunities to millions of its young people while replacing them with indentured servants and more compliant foreign workers?

The taboo placed on criticizing these policies has made it virtually impossible to discuss extremely serious domestic problems with any degree of intellectual honesty. And while liberals have long forgotten that the egregious economic inequality of the Gilded Age was inextricably linked with open borders, the ruling establishment has never forgotten that this has always been capital’s most effective and devastatingly powerful weapon.

With regard to the nonsensical term “cultural Marxism:” Marx himself understood that mass immigration was used by the ruling elites of the US and UK to drive down wages and pit workers against one another. Furthermore, he would have understood that identity politics atomizes the working class, shattering it into a dizzying array of competing and antagonistic camps. Far from having anything to do with Marxism, the true meaning of “cultural Marxism” is unfettered capitalism. Indeed, when “the free market” is at its most unbridled, checks and balances are no longer sustainable.

For liberals and socialists it has long been anathema to suggest that bigotry can be anything other than a one-way street, yet upon closer examination this argument reveals itself to be mere casuistry. In the ‘60s, “fighting racism” was synonymous with fighting segregation. Today, “fighting racism” has devolved into calls for more “diversity”; i.e., less white people. In the neoliberal cult, the word “racist” has literally come to mean “evil white people,” which has in turn given birth to the idea that only whites can commit “hate crimes.” As towns, cities, and institutions that are predominantly white are denounced as “racist,” it is clear that the goal of multiculturalism is to make whites into a minority throughout the country, burn books by white people, and tear down statues of white people. Is this not what is meant by the growing calls to end “white privilege” and “white power?” This can only lead to a perpetual state of acrimony between the cult of neoliberalism and the rest of American society. The ahistorical and knavish notion of “white privilege” is contradicted by the fact that there has never been a time in the history of the country when there weren’t significant numbers of poor white people. Furthermore, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that while the white middle class is being systematically dismantled, the white oligarchs are richer than ever. (Another mysterious feature of “white privilege” is that roughly 70% of all suicides in the US are committed by white males).

Liberals once fought segregation, ghettoization, and tribalism – now they fight for these things – a turn of history evidently lost on them. Irregardless of whether the multiculturalists succeed, or the political pendulum swings back to a traditional far-right element such as the Christian Right, the road to despotism has been paved by the liberal class. Martin Luther King’s dream, that Americans would one day “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” has met its inversion in identity politics. Hundreds of thousands of white Union soldiers died so that over three million black slaves could be free. Were they also “racist?”

It is clear that the minions of multiculturalism have no more understanding of the historical significance of these events than the squirrels of Central Park. Nevertheless, it is also conceivable that the oligarchy understands this totalitarianization all too well, and that these events are part of a deliberate strategy to destroy the working class.

The fiendish nature of identity politics is underscored by the fact that statues of Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant, and Hans Christian Heg have been toppled, while a statue of Matthias Baldwin has been defaced. While none of these individuals fought for the Confederacy (paradoxically, they held quite radical views), they all have one thing in common: they were white. That the marauders do not differentiate between Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, and Robert E. Lee, on the one hand; and Jefferson, Grant, and Heg on the other, underscores the fact that this is a wicked movement hell-bent on the destruction of our civilization. (In this same vein, the book burners do not distinguish between The Scarlet Letter, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Mein Kampf). Moreover, it is from precisely this very anarchic environment that a Mussolini, Pinochet, or Franco could seize power — and save the country from “the left.”

Speaking at the unveiling of the Freedmen’s Monument (also known as the Emancipation Memorial) in Washington, DC, on April 14, 1876, which was paid for by freedmen, and which woke barbarians are champing at the bit to destroy, Frederick Douglass said of Lincoln:

Fellow-citizens, I end, as I began, with congratulations. We have done a good work for our race to-day. In doing honor to the memory of our friend and liberator, we have been doing highest honors to ourselves and those who come after us; we have been fastening ourselves to a name and fame imperishable and immortal; we have also been defending ourselves from a blighting scandal. When now it shall be said that the colored man is soulless, that he has no appreciation of benefits or benefactors; when the foul reproach of ingratitude is hurled at us, and it is attempted to scourge us beyond the range of human brotherhood, we may calmly point to the monument we have this day erected to the memory of Abraham Lincoln.

The multiculturalists are now denouncing this memorial as “a monument to white supremacy.”

Were it not for Lincoln and Grant, it is highly probable that the Confederacy would have successfully seceded. Heg was slain at Chickamauga, and gave his life fighting against the Slave Power. The iconic statue of Theodore Roosevelt in front of the Museum of Natural History, which I once gazed up to in wonder as a young boy, is also slated to come down. That Roosevelt was a complex individual who fought for things both progressive and reactionary means nothing to these philistines. Even Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ exquisite Shaw Memorial, which took 14 years for the artist to complete, and which honors the all-black Massachusetts Fifty-Fourth Regiment, has not escaped the wrath of the mob.

The rise in racial diversity and diversity of sexual orientation has coincided with an unprecedented demise in diversity of thought. As historian James Oakes said in an interview with the World Socialist Web Site on November 18th, 2019:

There was a time, a long, long time ago, when a “diverse history faculty” meant that you had an economic historian, a political historian, a social historian, a historian of the American Revolution, of the Civil War, and so on. And now a diverse history faculty means a women’s historian, a gay historian, a Chinese-American historian, a Latino historian. So it’s a completely different kind of diversity.

More dangerous than racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia, are those who use these words in intellectually dishonest and disingenuous ways. This is exemplified by the vitriol heaped on those who maintain that all public school students should be required to read American letters, British literature, and classics of Western Civilization. Denying these books to students of color isn’t “fighting racism;” but conversely, its quintessence. (Note how the euphemisms “respecting cultural differences” and “protecting diversity” serve to glorify segregation). Once these students are inculcated with the pernicious sophism that all white authors are racist they become unteachable. It is as though they have been injected with an anti-literacy vaccine.

There is little difference between students at an elite preparatory school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and the sons and daughters of the Ancien Régime. Likewise, there is little difference between the polyglot rabble that are warehoused in the New York City public schools and the children of medieval serfs. The only difference is that the multicultural serfs are so dehumanized that they have been taught to despise the very books that they so desperately need, and without which they are destined to become second-class citizens.

International students who hail from high schools where English is not the language of instruction should devote their time in the US to earning bachelor’s degrees in American or British literature. Alternatively, they are destined to learn nothing more than the English language jargon of their field; an arrangement deemed advantageous, both for the for-profit universities, as well as to their future exploiters. The idea that it is “anti-racist” to sell an international student a graduate or undergraduate degree when they struggle to read John Steinbeck’s The Pearl, or write an essay with a single grammatically correct sentence, is indicative of what Gad Saad has called “an idea pathogen.” Again, this begs the question: who is the real racist here?

Arguing that foreign-born students should, at the very least, always be less than ten percent of any student body K-12, and that they should not be allowed to arrive after the sixth or seventh grade, is nothing more than basic common sense. This would help protect not only the integrity of the public schools, but also foreign-born students themselves, who frequently fail to become literate and articulate in English, either because they arrive too late, or because they are educated in schools where ghettoization has relegated academic standards to the lowest possible level. What are immigrant children to integrate into when they are literally hanging from the chandeliers?

In Britain, faith-based schools continue to have a deleterious impact on native and foreigner alike, as this greatly exacerbates the problem of parallel communities. How can a Muslim child growing up in Luton become a literate British citizen if his education is predicated entirely on Islamic texts? Those who raise this issue are invariably met with accusations of “racism,” “xenophobia,” and “Islamophobia” — or most preposterous of all — “hate speech.” The first casualties of any cult are logic and liberty of thought.

The American canon has always been dominated by the so-called “dead white men.” Getting rid of these books cannot be done without destroying the entire society. (Do I have the right to go to Pakistan and complain that their education system is dominated by “dead brown men?”) The poor academic performance of many Americans of color is rooted in the fact that they have the black or Latino nationalist in one ear and the white neoliberal in the other, two Iagos essentially spewing the same venom: don’t have anything to do with white teachers, white students, or books written by white people. Indeed, all the great black writers and orators in the history of the country: Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, Martin Luther King, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Langston Hughes, to name a few, would never have accomplished anything intellectually without having attained a solid foundation in classics of Western Civilization. Did Martin Luther King martyr himself so that black children could read Amy Tan, Edwidge Danticat, The House on Mango Street and be railroaded into African American studies departments?

Here is Du Bois from The Souls of Black Folk:

I sit with Shakespeare, and he winces not. Across the color line I move arm and arm with Balzac and Dumas, where smiling men and welcoming women glide in gilded halls. From out of the caves of evening that swing between the strong-limbed Earth and the tracery of stars, I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will, and they come all graciously with no scorn nor condescension. So, wed with Truth, I dwell above the veil.

Above all, an education system must maintain and safeguard a particular national identity, as manifested by its unique humanities curriculum. Once this sacrosanct mission has been abandoned, education deteriorates into a collection of soulless vocational institutes that become technocratic factories for illiteratization. No multicultural curriculum can exist, because it is not possible to make children literate and articulate in hundreds of different languages. Notwithstanding neoliberal protestations, the multicultural curriculum is a psychopathic, nihilistic, and deeply reactionary curriculum. Nevertheless, it does what it was designed to do: foment tribalism and ignorance, while deflecting anger away from the oligarchy’s destruction of the country and towards white people.

As Frederick Douglass said in his “Our Composite Nationality” speech on December 7, 1869:

Mankind are not held together by lies. Trust is the foundation of society. Where there is no truth, there can be no trust, and where there is no trust, there can be no society.

If white power is wrong, black power must also be wrong. If misogyny is to be denounced, misandry must also be denounced. It is unconscionable for the cult of neoliberalism to continue to indoctrinate American youth with extremist ideologies.

In the cult of neoliberalism white nationalism is everywhere, yet anti-white bigotry — even when it is at its most spiteful and vicious – is nowhere to be found. Black nationalism is romanticized, as it “fights racism;” while misandry is extolled, as it “fights sexism.” Identity studies and the multicultural curriculum (where classes are taught by demagogues and not by academics), have fomented unprecedented forms of sectarianism, and fueled the free market jihadis of black nationalism, Latino nationalism, and Feminisis, along with other anti-intellectual and anti-Western hordes which are tearing apart the cultural fabric of society. The absence of a legitimate progressive alternative to endless wars, austerity, book burning, the medical industrial complex, and mass incarceration, where one may choose only between a white right and a colored right, has straitjacketed us into a paralysis of analysis. Irregardless of who is victorious, there can only be one winner: the kleptocracy.

The Yellow Vest movement, presently crippled by the Covid-19 pandemic, is a traditional working class movement which seeks to protect social services, unions, and middle class jobs, and whose supporters understand that endless ranting and raving about race and gender is divisive and self-destructive, as this can only enhance the power of a rampaging bourgeoisie increasingly hostile to democracy. They also understand that the triumph of identity politics would constitute the triumph of alienation over camaraderie and solidarity.

Ultimately, multiculturalism is rooted in the idea that our national identity is illegitimate, a form of self-flagellation that is increasingly popular in Europe, notably Sweden. This humiliates and dehumanizes Americans of all ethnicities, and degrades and sullies the credibility of the left, while emboldening traditional reactionary ideologies.

Theodore Roosevelt was acutely aware of the dangers of tribalism. Speaking to the Knights of Columbus at Carnegie Hall on October 12, 1915, he warned:

The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic.

If the multicultural cancer continues to metastasize unchecked our civilization will disintegrate, leaving the younger generation with nothing but a desolate wasteland enveloped by amnesia, where those who cry “extremist” are the real extremists, and where the citadel of reason lies in ruins, as Old Abe’s “mystic chords of memory” fade into a broken hourglass forever.

Ever hubristic and increasingly deranged, the cult of neoliberalism continues to maintain that the multicultural society constitutes a revolutionary movement comprised of integrationists, whose disciples are the heirs to the civil rights movement and the New Deal, when these crusades are diametrically opposed to one another. That the acolytes of identity politics fail to see this is lamentable. Yet cults require only emotions and blind obedience — not cognition. As Paul Craig Roberts writes in “Education Is Offensive and Racist and so is America:” “The elite have worked long and hard to acquire a divided population that cannot unite against them. They have succeeded.”

As American Society Crashes and Burns, the Cult of Neoliberalism Marches on

The right to have a slave implies the right in some one to make the slave; that right must be equal and mutual, and this would resolve society into a state of perpetual war.

— William Seward, from the “Freedom in the New Territories” speech, March 11, 1850

Long after they have set fire to the values of the New Deal and the civil rights movement, neoliberals continue to regard themselves as a bulwark protecting civilization from barbarism. In reality, they have betrayed all the values that the New Dealers and the civil rights leaders courageously and nobly fought for. Indeed, a class that once espoused unions, public education, the Constitution, integration, and freedom of the press, while standing in unequivocal opposition to imperialism and McCarthyism, has been transformed into a cult which speaks in the trappings of a progressive-sounding language, yet which has come to be allied with the forces of reaction on each and every one of these issues.

The mass media has successfully convinced a vast swath of the population that Obama and Hillary stand in brave opposition to racism and sexism, while Trump personifies Racism and The Patriarchy. This inane view of politics, coupled with the fact that the education system has raised an entire generation on nothing but woke novels and immigrant memoirs that pathologize whiteness, has resulted in a crisis where Western Civilization and the values of the Enlightenment are in grave danger. The videos showing Hillary supporters sobbing as their beloved Class-A war criminal was defeated in the 2016 election signifies this dangerous rift with reality.

Let us posit that a cult is a social structure that embodies the following characteristics:

* A rejection of logic and reason

* A fanatical devotion to an irrational belief system

* A profound anti-intellectualism

* A rejection of history and objective truth

* A relentless vilification of those who are outside of the cult, especially those who attempt to challenge the cult’s dogma

* An Orwellian manipulation of language

That neoliberalism possesses each of these characteristics is irrefutable; while all who attempt to question this creed are branded as “racists,” “fascists,” “Nazis,” “bigots,” “sexists,” or “conspiracy theorists”; i.e., mentally ill. Moreover, faux leftists continue to exhibit a blind faith in the holy texts of neoliberalism; and no matter how many times The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The New Yorker lie and dissemble, they refuse to read these publications with even the faintest trace of skepticism.

A critical tenet of neoliberalism is that it “fights racism,” when, in fact, the opposite is the case, as evidenced by the fact that multiculturalism and identity politics relentlessly foment and exacerbate segregation, ghettoization, and tribalism. And despite the fact that the two parties have been doing essentially the exact same things since (at the very least) the inauguration of Bill Clinton, the cult of neoliberalism remains anchored in an uncompromising belief in the two-party system. The idea that it is “progressive” to dispense with the national identities of the West since they epitomize “racism,” is yet another putrefying pillar of neoliberal ideology. Following this line of thinking, Americans can get along just fine with vocational communities and tribal identities that break down along lines of ethnicity, language, religion and sexual orientation.

A belief that the multicultural society is a meritocracy where everyone gets the job and income that they deserve; an insistence that “the left” should no longer concern itself with improving the lives of workers, students, patients, and prisoners but with “fighting racism,” are likewise foundational tenets of identity politics doctrine. In actuality, the fragmentation unleashed by the multicultural curriculum, identity studies, the multilingual media, and bilingual education create the very racism, sexism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia that faux-leftists claim to combat, undermining their very raison d’être. In a curious historical irony, neoliberals have even backed the restoration of McCarthyite witch hunts, thereby facilitating attacks on those who remain outside, or in defiance of, this peculiar dogma.

The multicultural curriculum has been specifically engineered to deny black, Latino, and poor immigrant youth an education in American letters, British literature, and classics of Western Civilization. This underscores the sinister and bigoted intentions of liberal academic administrators. Jettisoning these books from public schools which are dominated by students of color has led to staggering amounts of illiteracy, from which sectarianism has arrived to insatiably and inexorably fill the void. Perhaps unsurprisingly, proponents of the anti-working class have birthed an anti-humanities curriculum.

Multiculturalism subverts class consciousness without which there can be no political literacy, no understanding of history, and no progress. The anarchy, chaos, and atomization of the multicultural society (an oxymoron), turns workers into amoral automatons and interchangeable parts, while facilitating plutocratic pillage and authoritarianism, which its architects know full well.

In many ways, the demonization of Trump serves to deflect attention away from the fact that it is the ideology of neoliberalism which has betrayed the legacies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) and Martin Luther King, turning the country into a failed state. Black nationalism and white nationalism are, in fact, two sides of the same coin. It is not possible to have one and not have the other. Indeed, anti-white bigots are no more interested in the restoration of unions, the Constitution, integration, good public education, demilitarization, and freedom of the press than their white nationalist counterparts. If these critical checks and balances are not restored, and the health care system remains privatized, our democracy will be lost. The political prosecutions of Julian Assange, John Kiriakou, Chelsea Manning, Reality Winner, Daniel Hale, Barrett Brown, and Jeremy Hammond mean nothing to these zealots, as the accused are white, and the reinstatement of habeas corpus is not a part of their agenda.

A country can have different ethnicities, religions, and languages, but it cannot survive competing and mutually hostile curricula, as a nation-state must have a cohesive canon and a common historical narrative in order to sustain itself. As things presently stand, we have one curriculum which portrays white people as the devil incarnate; the other, a conservative curriculum, portrays Americans as the Indispensable Nation, and inculcates its charges with an ideology anchored in jingoism and Manifest Destiny. Both courses of study denigrate American literature, and refuse to educate their students in the history of European and American imperialism. These two curricula are on a collision course, and it would be unwise to dismiss the possibility of serious sectarian violence.

James Madison was acutely aware of the vital importance of having a literate population. As he wrote in a letter to W.T. Barry, on August 4, 1822:

A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

John F. Kennedy reiterated this fundamental truth when he stated at Vanderbilt’s 90th Anniversary Convocation Address on May 18th, 1963, that “Only an educated and informed people will be a free people.”

Faux leftists continue to be fanatical supporters of illegal immigration and the importation of guest workers, and refuse to acknowledge the many problems this has wrought, particularly with regard to deunionization and the depression of wages, ghettoization, catastrophic overcrowding in public schools and hospitals; and the fact that mass immigration foments destabilization, which in turn facilitates the ruling establishment’s dismantling of due process and the rule of law.

Are liberals truly “fighting racism” by allowing so many destitute Americans to wallow unaided in a hell of mass incarceration, mass illiteracy, mass unemployment, and appalling unmet health care needs, while simultaneously clamoring for more cheap labor to be brought in from abroad? There are also large numbers of Americans with advanced degrees that struggle to find jobs, and yet are forced to compete with a seemingly endless arrival of foreign workers that are hired to fill these very positions. Can a society survive if it incessantly denies educational opportunities and job opportunities to millions of its young people while replacing them with indentured servants and more compliant foreign workers?

The taboo placed on criticizing these policies has made it virtually impossible to discuss extremely serious domestic problems with any degree of intellectual honesty. And while liberals have long forgotten that the egregious economic inequality of the Gilded Age was inextricably linked with open borders, the ruling establishment has never forgotten that this has always been capital’s most effective and devastatingly powerful weapon.

With regard to the nonsensical term “cultural Marxism:” Marx himself understood that mass immigration was used by the ruling elites of the US and UK to drive down wages and pit workers against one another. Furthermore, he would have understood that identity politics atomizes the working class, shattering it into a dizzying array of competing and antagonistic camps. Far from having anything to do with Marxism, the true meaning of “cultural Marxism” is unfettered capitalism. Indeed, when “the free market” is at its most unbridled, checks and balances are no longer sustainable.

For liberals and socialists it has long been anathema to suggest that bigotry can be anything other than a one-way street, yet upon closer examination this argument reveals itself to be mere casuistry. In the ‘60s, “fighting racism” was synonymous with fighting segregation. Today, “fighting racism” has devolved into calls for more “diversity”; i.e., less white people. In the neoliberal cult, the word “racist” has literally come to mean “evil white people,” which has in turn given birth to the idea that only whites can commit “hate crimes.” As towns, cities, and institutions that are predominantly white are denounced as “racist,” it is clear that the goal of multiculturalism is to make whites into a minority throughout the country, burn books by white people, and tear down statues of white people. Is this not what is meant by the growing calls to end “white privilege” and “white power?” This can only lead to a perpetual state of acrimony between the cult of neoliberalism and the rest of American society. The ahistorical and knavish notion of “white privilege” is contradicted by the fact that there has never been a time in the history of the country when there weren’t significant numbers of poor white people. Furthermore, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that while the white middle class is being systematically dismantled, the white oligarchs are richer than ever. (Another mysterious feature of “white privilege” is that roughly 70% of all suicides in the US are committed by white males).

Liberals once fought segregation, ghettoization, and tribalism – now they fight for these things – a turn of history evidently lost on them. Irregardless of whether the multiculturalists succeed, or the political pendulum swings back to a traditional far-right element such as the Christian Right, the road to despotism has been paved by the liberal class. Martin Luther King’s dream, that Americans would one day “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” has met its inversion in identity politics. Hundreds of thousands of white Union soldiers died so that over three million black slaves could be free. Were they also “racist?”

It is clear that the minions of multiculturalism have no more understanding of the historical significance of these events than the squirrels of Central Park. Nevertheless, it is also conceivable that the oligarchy understands this totalitarianization all too well, and that these events are part of a deliberate strategy to destroy the working class.

The fiendish nature of identity politics is underscored by the fact that statues of Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant, and Hans Christian Heg have been toppled, while a statue of Matthias Baldwin has been defaced. While none of these individuals fought for the Confederacy (paradoxically, they held quite radical views), they all have one thing in common: they were white. That the marauders do not differentiate between Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, and Robert E. Lee, on the one hand; and Jefferson, Grant, and Heg on the other, underscores the fact that this is a wicked movement hell-bent on the destruction of our civilization. (In this same vein, the book burners do not distinguish between The Scarlet Letter, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Mein Kampf). Moreover, it is from precisely this very anarchic environment that a Mussolini, Pinochet, or Franco could seize power — and save the country from “the left.”

Speaking at the unveiling of the Freedmen’s Monument (also known as the Emancipation Memorial) in Washington, DC, on April 14, 1876, which was paid for by freedmen, and which woke barbarians are champing at the bit to destroy, Frederick Douglass said of Lincoln:

Fellow-citizens, I end, as I began, with congratulations. We have done a good work for our race to-day. In doing honor to the memory of our friend and liberator, we have been doing highest honors to ourselves and those who come after us; we have been fastening ourselves to a name and fame imperishable and immortal; we have also been defending ourselves from a blighting scandal. When now it shall be said that the colored man is soulless, that he has no appreciation of benefits or benefactors; when the foul reproach of ingratitude is hurled at us, and it is attempted to scourge us beyond the range of human brotherhood, we may calmly point to the monument we have this day erected to the memory of Abraham Lincoln.

The multiculturalists are now denouncing this memorial as “a monument to white supremacy.”

Were it not for Lincoln and Grant, it is highly probable that the Confederacy would have successfully seceded. Heg was slain at Chickamauga, and gave his life fighting against the Slave Power. The iconic statue of Theodore Roosevelt in front of the Museum of Natural History, which I once gazed up to in wonder as a young boy, is also slated to come down. That Roosevelt was a complex individual who fought for things both progressive and reactionary means nothing to these philistines. Even Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ exquisite Shaw Memorial, which took 14 years for the artist to complete, and which honors the all-black Massachusetts Fifty-Fourth Regiment, has not escaped the wrath of the mob.

The rise in racial diversity and diversity of sexual orientation has coincided with an unprecedented demise in diversity of thought. As historian James Oakes said in an interview with the World Socialist Web Site on November 18th, 2019:

There was a time, a long, long time ago, when a “diverse history faculty” meant that you had an economic historian, a political historian, a social historian, a historian of the American Revolution, of the Civil War, and so on. And now a diverse history faculty means a women’s historian, a gay historian, a Chinese-American historian, a Latino historian. So it’s a completely different kind of diversity.

More dangerous than racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia, are those who use these words in intellectually dishonest and disingenuous ways. This is exemplified by the vitriol heaped on those who maintain that all public school students should be required to read American letters, British literature, and classics of Western Civilization. Denying these books to students of color isn’t “fighting racism;” but conversely, its quintessence. (Note how the euphemisms “respecting cultural differences” and “protecting diversity” serve to glorify segregation). Once these students are inculcated with the pernicious sophism that all white authors are racist they become unteachable. It is as though they have been injected with an anti-literacy vaccine.

There is little difference between students at an elite preparatory school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and the sons and daughters of the Ancien Régime. Likewise, there is little difference between the polyglot rabble that are warehoused in the New York City public schools and the children of medieval serfs. The only difference is that the multicultural serfs are so dehumanized that they have been taught to despise the very books that they so desperately need, and without which they are destined to become second-class citizens.

International students who hail from high schools where English is not the language of instruction should devote their time in the US to earning bachelor’s degrees in American or British literature. Alternatively, they are destined to learn nothing more than the English language jargon of their field; an arrangement deemed advantageous, both for the for-profit universities, as well as to their future exploiters. The idea that it is “anti-racist” to sell an international student a graduate or undergraduate degree when they struggle to read John Steinbeck’s The Pearl, or write an essay with a single grammatically correct sentence, is indicative of what Gad Saad has called “an idea pathogen.” Again, this begs the question: who is the real racist here?

Arguing that foreign-born students should, at the very least, always be less than ten percent of any student body K-12, and that they should not be allowed to arrive after the sixth or seventh grade, is nothing more than basic common sense. This would help protect not only the integrity of the public schools, but also foreign-born students themselves, who frequently fail to become literate and articulate in English, either because they arrive too late, or because they are educated in schools where ghettoization has relegated academic standards to the lowest possible level. What are immigrant children to integrate into when they are literally hanging from the chandeliers?

In Britain, faith-based schools continue to have a deleterious impact on native and foreigner alike, as this greatly exacerbates the problem of parallel communities. How can a Muslim child growing up in Luton become a literate British citizen if his education is predicated entirely on Islamic texts? Those who raise this issue are invariably met with accusations of “racism,” “xenophobia,” and “Islamophobia” — or most preposterous of all — “hate speech.” The first casualties of any cult are logic and liberty of thought.

The American canon has always been dominated by the so-called “dead white men.” Getting rid of these books cannot be done without destroying the entire society. (Do I have the right to go to Pakistan and complain that their education system is dominated by “dead brown men?”) The poor academic performance of many Americans of color is rooted in the fact that they have the black or Latino nationalist in one ear and the white neoliberal in the other, two Iagos essentially spewing the same venom: don’t have anything to do with white teachers, white students, or books written by white people. Indeed, all the great black writers and orators in the history of the country: Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, Martin Luther King, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Langston Hughes, to name a few, would never have accomplished anything intellectually without having attained a solid foundation in classics of Western Civilization. Did Martin Luther King martyr himself so that black children could read Amy Tan, Edwidge Danticat, The House on Mango Street and be railroaded into African American studies departments?

Here is Du Bois from The Souls of Black Folk:

I sit with Shakespeare, and he winces not. Across the color line I move arm and arm with Balzac and Dumas, where smiling men and welcoming women glide in gilded halls. From out of the caves of evening that swing between the strong-limbed Earth and the tracery of stars, I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will, and they come all graciously with no scorn nor condescension. So, wed with Truth, I dwell above the veil.

Above all, an education system must maintain and safeguard a particular national identity, as manifested by its unique humanities curriculum. Once this sacrosanct mission has been abandoned, education deteriorates into a collection of soulless vocational institutes that become technocratic factories for illiteratization. No multicultural curriculum can exist, because it is not possible to make children literate and articulate in hundreds of different languages. Notwithstanding neoliberal protestations, the multicultural curriculum is a psychopathic, nihilistic, and deeply reactionary curriculum. Nevertheless, it does what it was designed to do: foment tribalism and ignorance, while deflecting anger away from the oligarchy’s destruction of the country and towards white people.

As Frederick Douglass said in his “Our Composite Nationality” speech on December 7, 1869:

Mankind are not held together by lies. Trust is the foundation of society. Where there is no truth, there can be no trust, and where there is no trust, there can be no society.

If white power is wrong, black power must also be wrong. If misogyny is to be denounced, misandry must also be denounced. It is unconscionable for the cult of neoliberalism to continue to indoctrinate American youth with extremist ideologies.

In the cult of neoliberalism white nationalism is everywhere, yet anti-white bigotry — even when it is at its most spiteful and vicious – is nowhere to be found. Black nationalism is romanticized, as it “fights racism;” while misandry is extolled, as it “fights sexism.” Identity studies and the multicultural curriculum (where classes are taught by demagogues and not by academics), have fomented unprecedented forms of sectarianism, and fueled the free market jihadis of black nationalism, Latino nationalism, and Feminisis, along with other anti-intellectual and anti-Western hordes which are tearing apart the cultural fabric of society. The absence of a legitimate progressive alternative to endless wars, austerity, book burning, the medical industrial complex, and mass incarceration, where one may choose only between a white right and a colored right, has straitjacketed us into a paralysis of analysis. Irregardless of who is victorious, there can only be one winner: the kleptocracy.

The Yellow Vest movement, presently crippled by the Covid-19 pandemic, is a traditional working class movement which seeks to protect social services, unions, and middle class jobs, and whose supporters understand that endless ranting and raving about race and gender is divisive and self-destructive, as this can only enhance the power of a rampaging bourgeoisie increasingly hostile to democracy. They also understand that the triumph of identity politics would constitute the triumph of alienation over camaraderie and solidarity.

Ultimately, multiculturalism is rooted in the idea that our national identity is illegitimate, a form of self-flagellation that is increasingly popular in Europe, notably Sweden. This humiliates and dehumanizes Americans of all ethnicities, and degrades and sullies the credibility of the left, while emboldening traditional reactionary ideologies.

Theodore Roosevelt was acutely aware of the dangers of tribalism. Speaking to the Knights of Columbus at Carnegie Hall on October 12, 1915, he warned:

The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic.

If the multicultural cancer continues to metastasize unchecked our civilization will disintegrate, leaving the younger generation with nothing but a desolate wasteland enveloped by amnesia, where those who cry “extremist” are the real extremists, and where the citadel of reason lies in ruins, as Old Abe’s “mystic chords of memory” fade into a broken hourglass forever.

Ever hubristic and increasingly deranged, the cult of neoliberalism continues to maintain that the multicultural society constitutes a revolutionary movement comprised of integrationists, whose disciples are the heirs to the civil rights movement and the New Deal, when these crusades are diametrically opposed to one another. That the acolytes of identity politics fail to see this is lamentable. Yet cults require only emotions and blind obedience — not cognition. As Paul Craig Roberts writes in “Education Is Offensive and Racist and so is America:” “The elite have worked long and hard to acquire a divided population that cannot unite against them. They have succeeded.”

Writers’ Open Letter Against “Cancel Culture” is About Stifling Free Speech, Not Protecting It

Updated below

An open letter published by Harper’s magazine, and signed by dozens of prominent writers and public figures, has focused attention on the apparent dangers of what has been termed a new “cancel culture”.

The letter brings together an unlikely alliance of genuine leftists, such as Noam Chomsky and Matt Karp, centrists such as J K Rowling and Ian Buruma, and neoconservatives such as David Frum and Bari Weiss, all speaking out in defence of free speech.

Although the letter doesn’t explicitly use the term “cancel culture”, it is clearly what is meant in the complaint about a “stifling” cultural climate that is resulting in “ideological conformity” and weakening “norms of open debate and toleration of differences”.

It is easy to agree with the letter’s generalised argument for tolerance and free and fair debate, but the reality is that many of those who signed are utter hypocrites, who have shown precisely zero commitment to free speech, either in their words or in their deeds.

Further, the intent of many of them in signing the letter is the very reverse of their professed goal: they want to stifle free speech, not protect it.

To understand what is really going on with this letter, we first need to scrutinise the motives, rather than the substance, of the letter.

A new ‘illiberalism’

“Cancel culture” started as the shaming, often on social media, of people who were seen to have said offensive things. But of late, cancel culture has on occasion become more tangible, as the letter notes, with individuals fired or denied the chance to speak at a public venue or to publish their work.

The letter denounces this supposedly new type of “illiberalism”:

We uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters. But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought. …

Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; … The result has been to steadily narrow the boundaries of what can be said without the threat of reprisal. We are already paying the price in greater risk aversion among writers, artists, and journalists who fear for their livelihoods if they depart from the consensus, or even lack sufficient zeal in agreement.

Tricky identity politics

The array of signatures is actually more troubling than reassuring. If we lived in a more just world, some of those signing – like Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W Bush, and Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former US State Department official – would be facing a reckoning before a Hague war crimes tribunal for their roles in promoting “interventions” in Iraq and Libya respectively, not being held up as champions of free speech.

That is one clue that these various individuals have signed the letter for very different reasons.

Chomsky signed because he has been a lifelong and consistent defender of the right to free speech, even for those with appalling opinions such as Holocaust denial.

Frum, who coined the term “axis of evil” that rationalised the invasion of Iraq, and Weiss, a New York Times columnist, signed because they have found their lives getting tougher. True, it is easy for them to dominate platforms in the corporate media while advocating for criminal wars abroad, and they have paid no career price when their analyses and predictions have turned out to be so much dangerous hokum. But they are now feeling the backlash on university campuses and social media.

Meanwhile, centrists like Buruma and Rowling have discovered that it is getting ever harder to navigate the tricky terrain of identity politics without tripping up. The reputational damage can have serious consequences.

Buruma famously lost his job as editor of the New York Review of Books two years ago after he published and defended an article that violated the new spirit of the #MeToo movement. And Rowling made the mistake of thinking her followers would be as fascinated by her traditional views on transgender issues as they are by her Harry Potter books.

‘Fake news, Russian trolls’

But the fact that all of these writers and intellectuals agree that there is a price to be paid in the new, more culturally sensitive climate does not mean that they are all equally interested in protecting the right to be controversial or outspoken.

Chomsky, importantly, is defending free speech for all, because he correctly understands that the powerful are only too keen to find justifications to silence those who challenge their power. Elites protect free speech only in so far as it serves their interests in dominating the public space.

If those on the progressive left do not defend the speech rights of everyone, even their political opponents, then any restrictions will soon be turned against them. The establishment will always tolerate the hate speech of a Trump or a Bolsonaro over the justice speech of a Sanders or a Corbyn.

By contrast, most of the rest of those who signed – the rightwingers and the centrists – are interested in free speech for themselves and those like them. They care about protecting free speech only in so far as it allows them to continue dominating the public space with their views – something they were only too used to until a few years ago, before social media started to level the playing field a little.

The centre and the right have been fighting back ever since with claims that anyone who seriously challenges the neoliberal status quo at home and the neoconservative one abroad is promoting “fake news” or is a “Russian troll”. This updating of the charge of being “un-American” embodies cancel culture at its very worst.

Social media accountability

In other words, apart from in the case of a few progressives, the letter is simply special pleading – for a return to the status quo. And for that reason, as we shall see, Chomsky might have been better advised not to add his name, however much he agrees with the letter’s vague, ostensibly pro-free speech sentiments.

What is striking about a significant proportion of those who signed is their self-identification as ardent supporters of Israel. And as Israel’s critics know only too well, advocates for Israel have been at the forefront of the cancel culture – from long before the term was even coined.

For decades, pro-Israel activists have sought to silence anyone seen to be seriously critiquing this small, highly militarised state, sponsored by the colonial powers, that was implanted in a region rich with a natural resource, oil, needed to lubricate the global economy, and at a terrible cost to its native, Palestinian population.

Nothing should encourage us to believe that zealous defenders of Israel among those signing the letter have now seen the error of their ways. Their newfound concern for free speech is simply evidence that they have begun to suffer from the very same cancel culture they have always promoted in relation to Israel.

They have lost control of the “cancel culture” because of two recent developments: a rapid growth in identity politics among liberals and leftists, and a new popular demand for “accountability” spawned by the rise of social media.

Cancelling Israel’s critics

In fact, despite their professions of concern, the evidence suggests that some of those signing the letter have been intensifying their own contribution to cancel culture in relation to Israel, rather than contesting it.

That is hardly surprising. The need to counter criticism of Israel has grown more pressing as Israel has more obviously become a pariah state. Israel has refused to countenance peace talks with the Palestinians and it has intensified its efforts to realise long-harboured plans to annex swaths of the West Bank in violation of international law.

Rather than allow “robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters” on Israel, Israel’s supporters have preferred the tactics of those identified in the letter as enemies of free speech: “swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought”.

Just ask Jeremy Corbyn, the former leader of the Labour party who was reviled, along with his supporters, as an antisemite – one of the worst smears imaginable – by several people on the Harper’s list, including Rowling and Weiss. Such claims were promoted even though his critics could produce no actual evidence of an antisemitism problem in the Labour party.

Similarly, think of the treatment of Palestinian solidarity activists who support a boycott of Israel (BDS), modelled on the one that helped push South Africa’s leaders into renouncing apartheid. BDS activists too have been smeared as antisemites – and Weiss again has been a prime offender.

The incidents highlighted in the Harper’s letter in which individuals have supposedly been cancelled is trivial compared to the cancelling of a major political party and of a movement that stands in solidarity with a people who have been oppressed for decades.

And yet how many of these free speech warriors have come forward to denounce the fact that leftists – including many Jewish anti-Zionists – have been pilloried as antisemites to prevent them from engaging in debates about Israel’s behaviour and its abuses of Palestinian rights?

How many of them have decried the imposition of a new definition of antisemitism, by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, that has been rapidly gaining ground in western countries?

That definition is designed to silence a large section of the left by prioritising the safety of Israel from being criticised before the safety of Jews from being vilified and attacked – something that even the lawyer who authored the definition has come to regret.

Why has none of this “cancel culture” provoked an open letter to Harper’s from these champions of free speech?

Double-edge sword

The truth is that many of those who signed the letter are defending not free speech but their right to continue dominating the public square – and their right to do so without being held accountable.

Bari Weiss, before she landed a job at the Wall Street Journal and then the New York Times, spent her student years trying to get Muslim professors fired from her university – cancelling them – because of their criticism of Israel. And she explicitly did so under the banner of “academic freedom”, claiming pro-Israel students felt intimidated in the classroom.

The New York Civil Liberties Union concluded that it was Weiss, not the professors, who was the real threat to academic freedom. This was not some youthful indiscretion. In a book last year Weiss cited her efforts to rid Columbia university of these professors as a formative experience on which she still draws.

Weiss and many of the others listed under the letter are angry that the rhetorical tools they used for so long to stifle the free speech of others have now been turned against them. Those who lived for so long by the sword of identity politics – on Israel, for example – are worried that their reputations may die by that very same sword – on issues of race, sex and gender.

Narcissistic concern

To understand how the cancel culture is central to the worldview of many of these writers and intellectuals, and how blind they are to their own complicity in that culture, consider the case of Jonathan Freedland, a columnist with the supposedly liberal-left British newspaper the Guardian. Although Freedland is not among those signing the letter, he is very much aligned with the centrists among them.

Freedland, we should note, led the cancel culture against the Labour party referenced above. He was one of the key figures in Britain’s Jewish community who breathed life into the antisemitism smears against Corbyn and his supporters.

But note the brief clip below. In it, Freedland’s voice can be heard cracking as he explains how he has been a victim of the cancel culture himself: he confesses that he has suffered verbal and emotional abuse at the hands of Israel’s most extreme apologists – those who are even more unapologetically pro-Israel than he is.

He reports that he has been called a “kapo”, the term for Jewish collaborators in the Nazi concentration camps, and a “sonderkommando”, the Jews who disposed of the bodies of fellow Jews killed in the gas chambers. He admits such abuse “burrows under your skin” and “hurts tremendously”.

And yet, despite the personal pain he has experienced of being unfairly accused, of being cancelled by a section of his own community, Freedland has been at the forefront of the campaign to tar critics of Israel, including anti-Zionist Jews, as antisemites on the flimsiest of evidence.

He is entirely oblivious to the ugly nature of the cancel culture – unless it applies to himself. His concern is purely narcissistic. And so it is with the majority of those who signed the letter.

Conducting a monologue

The letter’s main conceit is the pretence that “illiberalism” is a new phenomenon, that free speech is under threat, and that the cancel culture only arrived at the moment it was given a name.

That is simply nonsense. Anyone over the age of 35 can easily remember a time when newspapers and websites did not have a talk-back section, when blogs were few in number and rarely read, and when there was no social media on which to challenge or hold to account “the great and the good”.

Writers and columnists like those who signed the letter were then able to conduct a monologue in which they revealed their opinions to the rest of us as if they were Moses bringing down the tablets from the mountaintop.

In those days, no one noticed the cancel culture – or was allowed to remark on it. And that was because only those who held approved opinions were ever given a media platform from which to present those opinions.

Before the digital revolution, if you dissented from the narrow consensus imposed by the billionaire owners of the corporate media, all you could do was print your own primitive newsletter and send it by post to the handful of people who had heard of you.

That was the real cancel culture. And the proof is in the fact that many of those formerly obscure writers quickly found they could amass tens of thousands of followers – with no help from the traditional corporate media – when they had access to blogs and social media.

Silencing the left

Which brings us to the most troubling aspect of the open letter in Harper’s. Under cover of calls for tolerance, given credibility by Chomsky’s name, a proportion of those signing actually want to restrict the free speech of one section of the population – the part influenced by Chomsky.

They are not against the big cancel culture from which they have benefited for so long. They are against the small cancel culture – the new more chaotic, and more democratic, media environment we currently enjoy – in which they are for the first time being held to account for their views, on a range of issues including Israel.

Just as Weiss tried to get professors fired under the claim of academic freedom, many of these writers and public figures are using the banner of free speech to discredit speech they don’t like, speech that exposes the hollowness of their own positions.

Their criticisms of “cancel culture” are really about prioritising “responsible” speech, defined as speech shared by centrists and the right that shores up the status quo. They want a return to a time when the progressive left – those who seek to disrupt a manufactured consensus, who challenge the presumed verities of neoliberal and neoconservative orthodoxy – had no real voice.

The new attacks on “cancel culture” echo the attacks on Bernie Sanders’ supporters, who were framed as “Bernie Bros” – the evidence-free implication that he attracted a rabble of aggressive, women-hating men who tried to bully others into silence on social media.

Just as this claim was used to discredit Sanders’ policies, so the centre and the right now want to discredit the left more generally by implying that, without curbs, they too will bully everyone else into silence and submission through their “cancel culture”.

If this conclusion sounds unconvincing, consider that President Donald Trump could easily have added his name to the letter alongside Chomsky’s. Trump used his recent Independence Day speech at Mount Rushmore to make similar points to the Harper’s letter. He at least was explicit in equating “cancel culture” with what he called “far-left fascism”:

One of [the left’s] political weapons is “Cancel Culture” — driving people from their jobs, shaming dissenters, and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees. This is the very definition of totalitarianism … This attack on our liberty, our magnificent liberty, must be stopped, and it will be stopped very quickly.

Trump, in all his vulgarity, makes plain what the Harper’s letter, in all its cultural finery, obscures. That attacks on the new “cancel culture” are simply another front – alongside supposed concerns about “fake news” and “Russian trolls” – in the establishment’s efforts to limit speech by the left.

Attention redirected

This is not to deny that there is fake news on social media or that there are trolls, some of them even Russian. Rather, it is to point out that our attention is being redirected, and our concerns manipulated by a political agenda.

Despite the way it has been presented in the corporate media, fake news on social media has been mostly a problem of the right. And the worst examples of fake news – and the most influential – are found not on social media at all, but on the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

What genuinely fake news on Facebook has ever rivalled the lies justifying the invasion of Iraq in 2003 that were knowingly peddled by a political elite and their stenographers in the corporate media. Those lies led directly to more than a million Iraqi deaths, turned millions more into refugees, destroyed an entire country, and fuelled a new type of nihilistic Islamic extremism whose effects we are still feeling.

Most of the worst lies from the current period – those that have obscured or justified US interference in Syria and Venezuela, or rationalised war crimes against Iran, or approved the continuing imprisonment of Julian Assange for exposing war crimes – can only be understood by turning our backs on the corporate media and looking to experts who can rarely find a platform outside of social media.

I say this as someone who has concerns about the fashionable focus on identity politics rather than class politics. I say it also as someone who rejects all forms of cancel culture – whether it is the old-style, “liberal” cancel culture that imposes on us a narrow “consensus” politics (the Overton window), or the new “leftwing” cancel culture that too often prefers to focus on easy cultural targets like Rowling than the structural corruption of western political systems.

But those who are impressed by the letter simply because Chomsky’s name is attached should beware. Just as “fake news” has provided the pretext for Google and social media platforms to change their algorithms to vanish leftwingers from searches and threads, just as “antisemitism” has been redefined to demonise the left, so too the supposed threat of “cancel culture” will be exploited to silence the left.

Protecting Bari Weiss and J K Rowling from a baying leftwing “mob” – a mob that that claims a right to challenge their views on Israel or trans issues – will become the new rallying cry from the establishment for action against “irresponsible” or “intimidating” speech.

Progressive leftists who join these calls out of irritation with the current focus on identity politics, or because they fear being labelled an antisemite, or because they mistakenly assume that the issue really is about free speech, will quickly find that they are the main targets.

In defending free speech, they will end up being the very ones who are silenced.

UPDATE:

You don’t criticise Chomsky however respectfully – at least not from a left perspective – without expecting a whirlwind of opposition from those who believe he can never do any wrong.

But one issue that keeps being raised on my social media feeds in his defence is just plain wrong-headed, so I want to quickly address it. Here’s one of my followers expressing the point succinctly:

The sentiments in the letter stand or fall on their own merits, not on the characters or histories of some of the signatories, nor their future plans.

The problem, as I’m sure Chomsky would explain in any other context, is that this letter fails not just because of the other people who signed it but on its merit too. And that’s because, as I explain above, it ignores the most oppressive and most established forms of cancel culture, as Chomsky should have been the first to notice.

Highlighting the small cancel culture, while ignoring the much larger, establishment-backed cancel culture, distorts our understanding of what is at stake and who wields power.

Chomsky unwittingly just helped a group of mostly establishment stooges skew our perceptions of the problem so that we side with them against ourselves. There’s no way that can be a good thing.

The Battle of Seattle was Fought by the Pro-war “Left” in Northern Syria

The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant. — Maximilien Robespierre

The ongoing series of protests, riots and unrest following the death of George Floyd culminated in the establishment of a self-declared “autonomous zone” by activists in Seattle, Washington, after police abandoned a local precinct in the city’s Capitol Hill district. Lasting just three weeks until law enforcement retook the six block territory from occupants on July 1st, the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) — initially called the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) — was a short-lived experiment which unfortunately exhibited all the contradictions of the so-called Left that have become characteristic in the United States today. Although it is undeniable that American police have a brutality and racism problem (having been trained by Israel), within weeks it was clear that what began as spontaneous protests were hijacked for an establishment agenda. Meanwhile, the ill-fated demise of the Seattle commune should be understood as symptomatic of a larger problem within the U.S. left as a whole.

One of the most influential figures of the French Revolution, Maximilien Robespierre, who died 226 years ago this month, famously said that “the secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant.” The insurrectionary Paris Commune was established after the storming of the Bastille fortress on July 14, 1789. Unfortunately, this protest movement could not be any less educational and the siege of the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct was certainly no Bastille Day. Many have speculated as to why Mayor Jenny Durkan and the SPD seemingly allowed the protesters to occupy the neighborhood, while they enjoyed direct support from local politicians such as Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant of the Trotskyite Socialist Alternative organization who fancies herself the first “socialist” to win an election in the city since Anna Louise Strong in 1916. However, the more meaningful question is what has this movement accomplished besides recoiling the U.S. working class further away from progressive politics?

The biggest misconception across the political spectrum, especially on the Right, is that this leaderless and haphazard movement is somehow “Marxist.” Karl Marx, whose entire worldview was based on a material and scientific understanding of history, focused on the class system and would be spinning in his grave knowing what a mess identity politics has made in his name. In contrast, the ‘wokist’ cult at the center of these marches ignores both science and class with no political vision beyond destruction, vindictiveness, and the stifling of free speech. This is why the U.S. political establishment, which has been completely unable to implement the most elementary measures in providing healthcare and securing employment to Americans during the pandemic, is quite happy to jump on board a narrative that pits divisions of the working class against each other based on race while wealth trickles up to the 1%.

The CHOP/CHAZ occupants reportedly established a reverse hierarchical social structure where whites self-flagellated by performing quasi-religious rituals of atonement for the sins of slavery. There was also a diversity quota of “centering” certain individuals based on their ethnic background, gender and sexual orientation to cede leadership roles at the co-op, with white participants coerced into overcoming their “fragility” (or sensitivity in discussing racism). Concurrent with the protests, corporate consultant and University of Washington professor Robin DiAngelo’s intellectually fraudulent book White Fragility shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list and is a perfect example of how such identity politics fails in dealing with social issues. Collective punishment is never a suitable guiding principle in addressing social problems, nor is using a conception akin to the religious idea of original sin where “white privilege” is the root cause of racism. There were even mini-reparations demanded of repenting white protesters reminiscent of the collection plate passed around by worshippers in a church. This sort of bizarre and self-indulgent identity politics is much like what was widely mocked in a viral video of a Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) convention collapsing into infighting last year.

What began as protests against police brutality were not only derailed into efforts to set-up communes in major cities but a nationwide debate on statues, after the wave of demonstrations and rioting across the country led to the Taliban-style destruction of historical monuments perceived as glorifying racism. As a result, the toxic political atmosphere which surrounded the events in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 was reignited. While the calls for the removal of Confederate statues erected during the Reconstruction era is long overdue, more debatable is the removal of those honoring slave-owning Founding Fathers such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson which were toppled in Portland, Oregon. This was followed by a statue of Union General Ulysses S. Grant being knocked over in San Francisco and calls to remove the Lincoln Memorial in D.C., two men who victoriously led the North in the Civil War. Regrettably, the prioritization of such iconoclastic gestures has not only defanged the protests but diverted them from bringing real change to social inequities in the immediate future.

This is not the first time we have witnessed this phenomena. Last year, a more troublesome example were the calls to remove a historic mural at George Washington High School in San Francisco that were capitulated to by the city school board. The thirteen panel mural, Life of Washington, painted in 1936 by Russian-American artist Victor Arnautoff was commissioned as part of the Federal Art Project, a New Deal program funded by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) which employed visual artists to create public works during the Great Depression. One controversial panel depicts George Washington pointing to a group of armed colonizers standing over the corpse of a Native American, while another fresco portrays two colonizers surveying land as slaves toil in a field. It would seem obvious to anyone that the mural is not only explicitly anti-racist but representative of an important period in U.S. history where art was a force for social change and progressive politics was at the center of American life. Arnautoff was a Russian immigrant who was an assistant to Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, while the WPA and its art program were dominated by communists such as the two men. Still, no matter the context or intent — the unflinching depiction of American history was deemed “offensive to certain communities” because students were “triggered” by the harsh realities illustrated.

This might seem unrelated, but the same illogic is behind the vigilantism of the statue removals. While the Arnautoff mural is clearly anti-racist and certain monuments may glorify slavery, the distinction is indecipherable to the social justice sect which needs its “safe space” from the uncomfortable truths of American history. The differentiation between a left-wing WPA mural opposing racism and colonial statue commending it is illegible to them. The entire purpose behind the Arnautoff mural is to make one uncomfortable because its subject matter is something no one should ever be at ease with. Yet its undeniable educational and artistic value did not prevent the San Francisco school board from voting to paint over it, while articles were published in the New York Times and even The Nation magazine applauding their decision. What on earth is happening to the left when it is censoring anti-racist art in the name of fighting racism?

The whole point of education at a high school is to teach students to analyze and interpret subjects like art and history, not just emotionally react to them. When the very fabric of culture and society like a historic mural or statue can be torn down simply because people are upset by them, the next plausible step is book burning. San Francisco High School completely failed to educate its students when they decided upon the most backwards way of interpreting the mural, just as the protesters tearing down these statues did not use their faculties to understand them in a historical context. Genocide and slavery are indeed the foundations of the U.S., but we should learn from our tragic history to grasp the equivalent injustices happening today. Simply eradicating murals and statues that remind us of it, whether they oppose or elevate them, is totally ineffectual.

While some activists have expressed concern that the protests have deviated from their original purpose, the right has fixated on the presence among the marches of “Antifa” which Trump wants to designate as a “terrorist organization”, a reckless idea given the completely decentralized nature of the group. The original Antifa movement in the 1930s had been part of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) in its effort to form a popular front against fascism, but the dilettantes in the modern incarnation are closely associated with black bloc anarchism and other amateurish orientations. Two decades ago, Seattle was the site of the 1999 protests against the World Trade Organization (WTO), often referred to as the ‘Battle of Seattle’, which saw 40,000 march against globalization. Some may recall this was where the black bloc first became notorious for injecting vandalism and senseless violence into peaceful demonstrations and were widely thought to have been infiltrated by law enforcement. In 2016, the current embodiment of Antifa first came to attention during protests on college campuses against speaking appearances by far right media personalities during the U.S. presidential election, including at the University of California at Berkeley which had ironically been the site of the Free Speech Movement in the 1960s.

Following Trump’s election, the stage was set in Charlottesville during the Unite the Right rally and counter-protests over the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in August 2017 for “Antifa” to be crowned as heroes shadowboxing the historical ghost of fascism. When the likes of the New York Times is suddenly promoting the black bloc, that’s your first clue something else is afoot. In order to prevent the emergence of a truly progressive movement in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s defeat, a false narrative was concocted by the political establishment about the significance of Trump’s victory, which we were told was the result of alleged Russian meddling and the racism of “deplorable” Trump voters. Instantly, any critique of the system which produced Trump disappeared and the establishment wing of the Democratic Party was able to neutralize the Bernie Sanders-led opposition in its ranks.

As a result, the vast majority of the left became convinced by the interpretation that Trump’s election was purely the outcome of a resurgence of “fascism”, thus making Trump the singular, most immediate danger — while U.S. imperialism and endless war continue unopposed, including the support for actual fascists in Ukraine. It should be understood that what Trump and the wave of pro-Zionist, Islamophobic right-wing populists in the EU represent is something qualitatively different. Still, anyone on the left who dares oppose U.S. imperialism today is risking being branded a ‘red-brown’ collaborator. The Democratic Party, which spearheaded the Orwellian idea of “humanitarian interventionism” used to justify the wholesale destruction of uncooperative nations by the American war machine in recent decades, has since tricked the majority of the left into unwittingly backing U.S. imperialism to unseat “dictators.” Even when the Left today ostensibly opposes war, it is often forced to qualify its objections by repeating the same talking points about countries attacked by Washington used to justify it.

The U.S. foray in the Syrian war is a perfect example. Trump’s idea to designate Antifa as a terrorist group would be especially ironic considering that many American leftists who self-identify using the “Antifa” black and red standard have thrown their support behind the creation of another infamous “autonomous zone” in Northeast Syria established by mostly-Kurdish militias known as Rojava — with the help of none other than the U.S. military. There is even a self-proclaimed International Freedom Battalion of American and European volunteers fighting to defend the enclave that purports to be in the tradition of the International Brigades which defended the Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War. These “Antifa” conscripts fight alongside the YPG (People’s Protection Units), a Kurdish-majority militia which has been rebranded by the Pentagon as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). These leftists are apparently in serious need of a history lesson, considering it was the Soviet Union alone which intervened to defend the Spanish Republic from fascism, not the United States. From Washington’s perspective, CHOP/CHAZ should be considered blowback from this policy.

The U.S. creation of the SDF has not been without controversy, as the YPG is widely regarded as the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Turkey which Washington’s NATO ally regards as a terrorist organization. While the Kurds and their Western volunteers may believe they are creating an anarchist utopia, in reality they are infantryman for the Zionist plan to balkanize Syria and prevent Damascus from accessing it own resources. So it makes perfect sense that they would try to replicate what they learned in Afrin in an American city using Rojava as a model. When Trump tried to follow through on his anti-interventionist pledges as a candidate and pull U.S. troops out of Syria, it sparked outrage from the pro-war “left” which glorifies Rojava as a ‘libertarian socialist’ and ‘direct democracy’ experiment, even though non-Kurds such as Arabs and Assyrian Christians face ethnic cleansing at hands of Kurdish nationalists in their efforts to create an ethno-state.

The ideological inspiration for the Rojava federation is the Jewish-American Zionist anarchist philosopher Murray Bookchin who was especially influential to PKK founder Abdullah Öcalan. Unbeknownst to many, Bookchin was also a noted Zionist — but this is not as unlikely a paradox as it may seem. After all, Israel itself was initially established with the settlement of communes and the Zionist form of “autonomous zones” known as kibbutz (“gathering” in Hebrew). Even prior to WWII, European Zionists and early kibbutniks came to Mandatory Palestine as illegal immigrants and began living in their communes while fusing Jewish nationalism and their own conception of socialism, an amalgamation not unlike what the Kurds are practicing in Syria today. One other highly influential thinker in the anarchist community who purports to be a ‘libertarian socialist’, Noam Chomsky, was himself part of the Zionist kibbutz movement in his youth. This explains why Chomsky would call for a continuation of the U.S. occupation of northern Syria on the basis of “protecting the Kurds“, who are trying to repeat the formula used to found Israel to create a Syrian Kurdistan as another U.S. protectorate in the Middle East.

It is no coincidence that in the manifesto listing the demands of the sit-in in Seattle, nowhere to be found is the defunding of the Pentagon — the primary supplier through the 1033 Program of the militarized police violence being protested. The same cognitively dissonant left calling to “defund the police”, which will almost certainly be used as a pretext to privatize them, completely ignores endless U.S. wars abroad and opposed efforts by the Trump administration to scale back expansionism in Syria. The focus on the tearing down of statues from America’s colonial ‘past’ has also coincided with Israel’s preparations in colonizing what remains of Palestinian territory with the annexation of the West Bank — where are the mass protests to stop that? If Black Lives Matter dared focus on AIPAC, it would be shut down very quickly. In 2016, when BLM endorsed the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign to boycott Israel, their previously enjoyed benefits suddenly were in jeopardy and was revealed to be the direct result of sabotage by the Zionist lobby.

In the last several decades, there has been a retreat of class conscious forces in U.S. political life, especially after the fall of the Soviet Union. The degenerate form of the left that exists today is an unfortunate result of the academization of social issues and the influence of the Frankfurt School critical theorists whose bourgeoisification of Marxism reduced it to a lens by which to critique culture and the arts while removing its class politics. The politically correct obsession with the policing of language by the postmodern cult of identity politics is excluding the working class from the conversation and counteracting its revolutionary potential. The CIA fronts in the Open Society, Ford, and Kellogg Foundations of the non-profit industrial complex have successfully corralled the protests while no substantial change has been made to the real ills in U.S. society where the 1% has made trillions during the pandemic and subsequent economic depression. While the masses are busy tipping over statues and monuments in a crusade to purify history, the ruling class is laughing all the way to the bank.

Parallels between Minneapolis and Jerusalem are More than Skin Deep

It is hard to ignore the striking parallels between the recent scenes of police brutality in cities across the United States and decades of violence from Israel’s security forces against Palestinians.

A video that went viral late last month of a Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, killing a black man, George Floyd, by pressing a knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes has triggered a fortnight of mass protests across the US – and beyond.

The footage was the latest disturbing visual evidence of a US police culture that appears to treat Black Americans as an enemy – and a reminder that rogue police officers are all too rarely punished.

Floyd’s lynching by Chauvin as three other officers either looked on, or participated, has echoes of troubling scenes familiar from the occupied territories. Videos of Israeli soldiers, police and armed settlers beating, shooting and abusing Palestinian men, women and children have long been a staple of social media.

The dehumanisation that enabled Floyd’s murder has been regularly on view in the occupied Palestinian territories. In early 2018 Israeli snipers began using Palestinians, including children, nurses, journalists and the disabled, as little more than target practice during weekly protests at a perimeter fence around Gaza imprisoning them.

Widespread impunity

And just as in the US, the use of violence by Israeli police and soldiers against Palestinians rarely leads to prosecutions, let alone convictions.

A few days after Floyd’s killing, an autistic Palestinian man, Iyad Hallaq – who had a mental age of six, according to his family – was shot seven times by police in Jerusalem. None of the officers has been arrested.

Faced with embarrassing international attention in the wake of Floyd’s murder, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a rare statement on the killing of a Palestinian by the security services. He called Hallaq’s murder “a tragedy” and promised an investigation.

The two killings, days apart, have underscored why the slogans “Black Lives Matter” and “Palestinian Lives Matter” sit naturally alongside each other, whether at protests or in social media posts.

There are differences between the two cases, of course. Nowadays Black Americans have citizenship, most can vote (if they can reach a polling station), laws are no longer explicitly racist, and they have access to the same courts – if not always the same justice – as the white population.

That is not the situation for most Palestinians under Israeli rule. They live under occupation by a foreign army, arbitrary military orders govern their lives, and they have very limited access to any kind of meaningful legal redress.

And there is another obvious difference. Floyd’s murder has shocked many white Americans into joining the protests. Hallaq’s murder, by contrast, has been ignored by the vast majority of Israelis, apparently accepted once again as the price of maintaining the occupation.

Treated like an enemy

Nonetheless, comparisons between the two racist policing cultures are worth highlighting. Both spring from a worldview shaped by settler-colonial societies founded on dispossession, segregation and exploitation.

Israel still largely views Palestinians as an enemy that needs to be either expelled or made to submit. Black Americans, meanwhile, live with the legacy of a racist white culture that until not so long ago justified slavery and apartheid.

Palestinians and Black Americans have long had their dignity looted; their lives too often are considered cheap.

Sadly, most Israeli Jews are in deep denial about the racist ideology that underpins their major institutions, including the security services. Tiny numbers protest in solidarity with Palestinians, and those that do are widely seen by the rest of the Israeli public as traitors.

Many white Americans, on the other hand, have been shocked to see how quickly US police forces – faced with widespread protests – have resorted to aggressive crowd-control methods of the kind only too familiar to Palestinians.

Those methods include the declaration of curfews and closed areas in major cities; the deployment of sniper squads against civilians; the use of riot teams wearing unmarked uniforms or balaclavas; arrests of, and physical assaults on, journalists who are clearly identifiable; and the indiscriminate use of tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets to wound protesters and terrify them off the streets.

It does not end there.

President Donald Trump has described demonstrators as “terrorists”, echoing Israel’s characterisation of all Palestinian protest, and threatened to send in the US army, which would replicate even more precisely the situation faced by Palestinians.

Like Palestinians, the US black community – and now the protesters – have been recording examples of their abuse on their phones and posting the videos on social media to highlight the deceptions of police statements and media reporting of what has been taking place.

Tested on Palestinians

None of these parallels should surprise us. For years US police forces, along with many others around the world, have been queueing at Israel’s door to learn from its decades of experience in crushing Palestinian resistance.

Israel has capitalised on the need among western states, in a world of depleting resources and the long-term contraction of the global economy, to prepare for future internal uprisings by a growing underclass.

With readymade laboratories in the occupied Palestinian territories, Israel has long been able to develop and field-test on captive Palestinians new methods of surveillance and subordination. As the largest underclass in the US, urban black communities were always likely to find themselves on the front line as US police forces adopted a more militarised approach to policing.

These changes finally struck home during the protests that erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 after a black man, Michael Brown, was killed by police. Dressed in military-style fatigues and body armour, and backed by armoured personnel carriers, local police looked more like they were entering a war zone than there to “serve and protect”.

Trained in Israel

It was then that human rights groups and others started to highlight the extent to which US police forces were being influenced by Israel’s methods of subjugating Palestinians. Many forces had been trained in Israel or involved in exchange programmes.

Israel’s notorious paramilitary Border Police, in particular, has become a model for other countries. It was the Border Police that shot dead Hallaq in Jerusalem shortly after Floyd was killed in Minneapolis.

The Border Police carry out the hybrid functions of a police force and an army, operating against Palestinians in the occupied territories and inside Israel, where a large Palestinian minority live with a very degraded citizenship.

The institutional premise of the Border Police is that all Palestinians, including those who are formally Israeli citizens, should be dealt with as an enemy. It is at the heart of a racist Israeli policing culture identified 17 years ago by the Or Report, the country’s only serious review of its police forces.

The Border Police increasingly look like the model US police forces are emulating in cities with large black populations.

Many dozens of Minneapolis police officers were trained by Israeli experts in “counter-terrorism” and “restraint” techniques at a conference in Chicago in 2012.

Derek Chauvin’s chokehold, using his knee to press down on Floyd’s neck, is an “immobilisation” procedure familiar to Palestinians. Troublingly, Chauvin was training two rookie officers at the time he killed Floyd, passing on the department’s institutional knowledge to the next generation of officers.

Monopoly of violence

These similarities should be expected. States inevitably borrow and learn from each other on matters most important to them, such as repressing internal dissent. The job of a state is to ensure it maintains a monopoly of violence inside its territory.

It is the reason why the Israeli scholar Jeff Halper warned several years ago in his book War Against the People that Israel had been pivotal in developing what he called a “global pacification” industry. The hard walls between the military and the police have crumbled, creating what he termed “warrior cops”.

The danger, according to Halper, is that in the long run, as the police become more militarised, we are all likely to find ourselves being treated like Palestinians. Which is why a further comparison between the US strategy towards the black community and Israel’s towards Palestinians needs highlighting.

The two countries are not just sharing tactics and policing methods against protests once they break out. They have also jointly developed longer-term strategies in the hope of dismantling the ability of the black and Palestinian communities they oppress to organise effectively and forge solidarity with other groups.

Loss of historic direction

If one lesson is clear, it is that oppression can best be challenged through organised resistance by a mass movement with clear demands and a coherent vision of a better future.

In the past that depended on charismatic leaders with a fully developed and well-articulated ideology capable of inspiring and mobilising followers. It also relied on networks of solidarity between oppressed groups around the world sharing their wisdom and experience.

The Palestinians were once led by figures who commanded national support and respect, from Yasser Arafat to George Habash and Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. The struggle they led was capable of galvanising supporters around the world.

These leaders were not necessarily united. There were debates over whether Israeli settler colonialism would best be undermined through secular struggle or religious fortitude, through finding allies among the oppressor nation or defeating it using its own violent methods.

These debates and disagreements educated the wider Palestinian public, clarified the stakes for them, and provided a sense of a historic direction and purpose. And these leaders became figureheads for international solidarity and revolutionary fervour.

That has all long since disappeared. Israel pursued a relentless policy of jailing and assassinating Palestinian leaders. In Arafat’s case, he was confined by Israeli tanks to a compound in Ramallah before he was poisoned to death in highly suspicious circumstances. Ever since, Palestinian society has found itself orphaned, adrift, divided and disorganised.

International solidarity has been largely sidelined too. The publics of Arab states, already preoccupied with their own struggles, appear increasingly tired of the divided and seemingly hopeless Palestinian cause. And in a sign of our times, western solidarity today is invested chiefly in a boycott movement, which has had to wage its fight on the enemy’s battlefield of consumption and finance.

From confrontation to solace

The black community in the US has undergone parallel processes, even if it is harder to indict quite so directly the US security services for the loss decades ago of a black national leadership. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and the Black Panther movement were hounded by the US security services. They were jailed or felled by assassins, despite their very different approaches to the civil rights struggle.

Today, none are around to make inspiring speeches and mobilise the wider public – either black or white Americans – to take action on the national stage.

Denied a vigorous national leadership, the organised black community at times appeared to have retreated into the safer but more confining space of the churches – at least until the latest protests. A politics of solace appeared to have replaced the politics of confrontation.

A focus on identity

These changes cannot be attributed solely to the loss of national leaders. In recent decades the global political context has been transformed too. After the fall of the Soviet Union 30 years ago, the US not only became the world’s sole superpower but it crushed the physical and ideological space in which political opposition could flourish.

Class analysis and revolutionary ideologies – a politics of justice – were shunted off the streets and increasingly into the margins of academia.

Instead, western political activists were encouraged to dedicate their energies not to anti-imperialism and class struggle but to a much narrower identity politics. Political activism became a competition between social groups for attention and privilege.

As with Palestinian solidarity activism, identity politics in the US has waged its battles on the terrain of a consumption-obsessed society. Hashtags and virtue-signalling on social media have often appeared to serve as a stand-in for social protest and activism.

A moment of transition

The question posed by the current US protests is whether this timid, individualised, acquisitive kind of politics is starting to seem inadequate. The US protesters are still largely leaderless, their struggle in danger of being atomised, their demands implicit and largely shapeless – it is clearer what the protesters don’t want than what they do.

That reflects a current mood in which the challenges facing us all – from permanent economic crisis and the new threat of pandemics to impending climate catastrophe – appear too big, too momentous to make sense of. We are caught in a moment of transition, it seems, destined for a new era – good or bad – we cannot discern clearly yet.

In August, millions are expected to head to Washington in a march to echo the one led by Martin Luther King in 1963. The heavy burden of this historic moment is expected to be carried on the ageing shoulders of the Rev Al Sharpton.

That symbolism may be fitting. It is more than 50 years since western states were last gripped with revolutionary fervour. But the hunger for change that reached its climax in 1968 – for an end to imperialism, endless war and rampant inequality – was never sated.

Oppressed communities around the globe are still hungry for a fairer world. In Palestine and elsewhere, those who suffer brutality, misery, exploitation and indignity still need a champion. They look to Minneapolis and the struggle it launched for a seed of hope.

• First published in Middle East Eye

The Minneapolis Putsch

Well, it looks like the Resistance’s long-anticipated “Second Civil War” has finally begun … more or less exactly on cue. Rioting has broken out across the nation. People are looting and burning stores and attacking each other in the streets. Robocops are beating, tear-gassing, and shooting people with non-lethal projectiles. State National Guards have been deployed, curfews imposed, “emergencies” declared. Secret Servicemen are fighting back angry hordes attempting to storm the White House. Trump is tweeting from an “underground bunker.” Opportunist social media pundits on both sides of the political spectrum are whipping people up into white-eyed frenzies. Americans are at each other’s throats, divided by identity politics, consumed by rage, hatred, and fear.

Things couldn’t be going better for the Resistance if they had scripted it themselves.

Actually, they did kind of script it themselves. Not the murder of poor George Floyd, of course. Racist police have been murdering Black people for as long as there have been racist police. No, the Resistance didn’t manufacture racism. They just spent the majority of the last four years creating and promoting an official narrative which casts most Americans as “white supremacists” who literally elected Hitler president, and who want to turn the country into a racist dictatorship.

According to this official narrative, which has been relentlessly disseminated by the corporate media, the neoliberal intelligentsia, the culture industry, and countless hysterical, Trump-hating loonies, the Russians put Donald Trump in office with those DNC emails they never hacked and some division-sowing Facebook ads that supposedly hypnotized Black Americans into refusing to come out and vote for Clinton. Putin purportedly ordered this personally, as part of his plot to “destroy democracy.” The plan was always for President Hitler to embolden his white-supremacist followers into launching the “RaHoWa,” or the “Boogaloo,” after which Trump would declare martial law, dissolve the legislature, and pronounce himself Führer. Then they would start rounding up and murdering the Jews, and the Blacks, and Mexicans, and other minorities, according to this twisted liberal fantasy.

I’ve been covering the roll-out and dissemination of this official narrative since 2016, and have documented much of it in my essays, so I won’t reiterate all that here. Let’s just say, I’m not exaggerating, much. After four years of more or less constant conditioning, millions of Americans believe this fairy tale, despite the fact that there is absolutely zero evidence whatsoever to support it. Which is not exactly a mystery or anything. It would be rather surprising if they didn’t believe it. We’re talking about the most formidable official propaganda machine in the history of official propaganda machines.

And now the propaganda is paying off. The protesting and rioting that typically follows the murder of an unarmed Black person by the cops has mushroomed into “an international uprising” cheered on by the corporate media, corporations, and the liberal establishment, who don’t normally tend to support such uprisings, but they’ve all had a sudden change of heart, or spiritual or political awakening, and are down for some serious property damage, and looting, and preventative self-defense, if that’s what it takes to bring about justice, and to restore America to the peaceful, prosperous, non-white-supremacist paradise it was until the Russians put Donald Trump in office.

In any event, the Resistance media have now dropped their breathless coverage of the non-existent Corona-Holocaust to breathlessly cover the “revolution.” The American police, who just last week were national heroes for risking their lives to beat up, arrest, and generally intimidate mask-less “lockdown violators” are now the fascist foot soldiers of the Trumpian Reich. The Nike corporation produced a commercial urging people to smash the windows of their Nike stores and steal their sneakers. Liberal journalists took to Twitter, calling on rioters to “burn that shit down!” … until the rioters reached their gated community and started burning down their local Starbucks. Hollywood celebrities are masking up and going full-black bloc, and doing legal support. Chelsea Clinton is teaching children about David and the Racist Goliath. John Cusack’s bicycle was attacked by the pigs. I haven’t checked on Rob Reiner yet, but I assume he is assembling Molotov cocktails in the basement of a Resistance safe house somewhere in Hollywood Hills.

Look, I’m not saying the neoliberal Resistance orchestrated or staged these riots, or “denying the agency” of the folks in the streets. Whatever else is happening out there, a lot of very angry Black people are taking their frustration out on the cops, and on anyone and anything else that represents racism and injustice to them.

This happens in America from time to time. America is still a racist society. Most African-Americans are descended from slaves. Legal racial discrimination was not abolished until the 1960s, which isn’t that long ago in historical terms. I was born in the segregated American South, with the segregated schools, and all the rest of it. I don’t remember it — I was born in 1961 — but I do remember the years right after it. The South didn’t magically change overnight in July of 1964. Nor did the North’s variety of racism, which, yes, is subtler, but no less racist.

So I have no illusions about racism in America. But I’m not really talking about racism in America. I’m talking about how racism in America has been cynically instrumentalized, not by the Russians, but by the so-called Resistance, in order to delegitimize Trump and, more importantly, everyone who voted for him, as a bunch of white supremacists and racists.

Fomenting racial division has been the Resistance’s strategy from the beginning. A quote attributed to Joseph Goebbels, “accuse the other side of that which you are guilty,” is particularly apropos in this case. From the moment Trump won the Republican nomination, the corporate media and the rest of the Resistance have been telling us the man is literally Hitler, and that his plan is to foment racial hatred among his “white supremacist base,” and eventually stage some “Reichstag” event, declare martial law and pronounce himself dictator. They’ve been telling us this story over and over, on television, in the liberal press, on social media, in books, movies, and everywhere else they could possibly tell it.

So, before you go out and join the “uprising,” take a look at the headlines today, turn on CNN or MSNBC, and think about that for just a minute. I don’t mean to spoil the party, but they’ve preparing you for this for the last four years.

Not you, Black folks. I’m not talking to you. I wouldn’t presume to tell you what to do. I’m talking to white folks like myself, who are cheering on the rioting and looting, and are coming out to “help” you with it, but who will be back home in their gated communities when the ashes have cooled, and the corporate media are gone, and the cops return to “police” your neighborhoods.

OK, and this is where I have to restate (for the benefit of my partisan readers) that I’m not a fan of Donald Trump, and that I think he’s a narcissistic ass clown, and a glorified con man, and … blah blah blah, because so many people have been so polarized by insane propaganda and mass hysteria that they can’t even read or think anymore, and so just scan whatever articles they encounter to see whose “side” the author is on and then mindlessly celebrate or excoriate it.

If you’re doing that, let me help you out … whichever side you’re on, I’m not on it.

I realize that’s extremely difficult for a lot of folks to comprehend these days, which is part of the point I’ve been trying to make. I’ll try again, as plainly as I can.

America is still a racist country, but America is no more racist today than it was when Barack Obama was president. A lot of American police are brutal, but no more brutal than when Obama was president. America didn’t radically change the day Donald Trump was sworn into office. All that has changed is the official narrative. And it will change back as soon as Trump is gone and the ruling classes have no further use for it.

And that will be the end of the War on Populism, and we will switch back to the War on Terror, or maybe the Brave New Pathologized Normal … or whatever Orwellian official narrative the folks at GloboCap have in store for us.

The Smearing of Ken Loach and Jeremy Corbyn is the Face of our New Toxic Politics

Ken Loach, one of Britain’s most acclaimed film directors, has spent more than a half a century dramatising the plight of the poor and the vulnerable. His films have often depicted the casual indifference or active hostility of the state as it exercises unaccountable power over ordinary people.

Last month Loach found himself plunged into the heart of a pitiless drama that could have come straight from one of his own films. This veteran chronicler of society’s ills was forced to stand down as a judge in a school anti-racism competition, falsely accused of racism himself and with no means of redress.

Voice of the powerless

There should be little doubt about Loach’s credentials both as an anti-racist and a trenchant supporter of the powerless and the maligned.

In his films he has turned his unflinching gaze on some of the ugliest episodes of British state repression and brutality in Ireland, as well as historical struggles against fascism in other parts of the globe, from Spain to Nicaragua.

But his critical attention has concentrated chiefly on Britain’s shameful treatment of its own poor, its minorities and its refugees. In his recent film I, Daniel Blake he examined the callousness of state bureaucracies in implementing austerity policies, while this year’s release Sorry We Missed You focused on the precarious lives of a zero-hours workforce compelled to choose between the need to work and responsibility to family.

Inevitably, these scathing studies of British social and political dysfunction – exposed even more starkly by the current coronavirus pandemic – mean Loach is much less feted at home than he is in the rest of the world, where his films are regularly honoured with awards.

Which may explain why the extraordinary accusations against him of racism – or more specifically antisemitism – have not been more widely denounced as malicious.

Campaign of vilification

From the moment it was announced in February that Loach and Michael Rosen, a renowned, left-wing children’s poet, were to judge an anti-racism art competition for schools, the pair faced a relentless and high-profile campaign of vilification. But given the fact that Rosen is Jewish, Loach took the brunt of the attack.

The organisation behind the award, Show Racism the Red Card, which initially refused to capitulate to the bullying, quickly faced threats to its charitable status as well as its work eradicating racism from football.

In a statement, Loach’s production company, Sixteen Films, said Show Racism the Red Card had been the “subject of an aggressive campaign to persuade trade unions, government departments, football clubs and politicians to cease funding or otherwise supporting the charity and its work”.

“Pressure behind the scenes” was exerted from the government and from football clubs, which began threatening to sever ties with the charity.

More than 200 prominent figures in sport, academia and the arts came to Loach’s defence, noted Sixteen Films, but the charity’s “very existence” was soon at stake. Faced with this unremitting onslaught, Loach agreed to step down on March 18.

This had been no ordinary protest, but one organised with ruthless efficiency that quickly gained a highly sympathetic hearing in the corridors of power.

US-style Israel lobby

Leading the campaign against Loach and Rosen were the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Labour Movement – two groups that many on the left are already familiar with.

They previously worked from within and without the Labour party to help undermine Jeremy Corbyn, its elected leader. Corbyn stepped down this month to be replaced by Keir Starmer, his former Brexit minister, after losing a general election in December to the ruling Conservative party.

Long-running and covert efforts by the Jewish Labour Movement to unseat Corbyn were exposed two years ago in an undercover investigation filmed by Al-Jazeera.

The JLM is a small, highly partisan pro-Israel lobby group affiliated to the Labour party, while the Board of Deputies falsely claims to represent Britain’s Jewish community, when, in fact, it serves as a lobby for the most conservative elements of it.

Echoing their latest campaign, against Loach, the two groups regularly accused Corbyn of antisemitism, and of presiding over what they termed an “institutionally antisemitic” Labour party. Despite attracting much uncritical media attention for their claims, neither organisation produced any evidence beyond the anecdotal.

The reason for these vilification campaigns has been barely concealed. Loach and Corbyn have shared a long history as passionate defenders of Palestinian rights, at a time when Israel is intensifying efforts to extinguish any hope of the Palestinians ever gaining statehood or a right to self-determination.

In recent years, the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Labour Movement have adopted the tactics of a US-style lobby determined to scrub criticism of Israel from the public sphere. Not coincidentally, the worse Israel’s abuse of the Palestinians has grown, the harder these groups have made it to talk about justice for Palestinians.

Starmer, Corbyn’s successor, went out of his way to placate the lobby during last month’s Labour leadership election campaign, happily conflating criticism of Israel with antisemitism to avoid a similar confrontation. His victory was welcomed by both the Board and the JLM.

Character assassination

But Ken Loach’s treatment shows that the weaponisation of antisemitism is far from over, and will continue to be used against prominent critics of Israel. It is a sword hanging over future Labour leaders, forcing them to root out party members who persist in highlighting either Israel’s intensifying abuse of the Palestinians or the nefarious role of pro-Israel lobby groups like the Board and the JLM.

The basis for the accusations against Loach were flimsy at best – rooted in a circular logic that has become the norm of late when judging supposed examples of antisemitism.

Loach’s offence, according to the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Labour Movement, was the fact that he has denied – in line with all the data – that Labour is institutionally antisemitic.

The demand for evidence to support claims made by these two bodies that Labour has an antisemitism crisis is now itself treated as proof of antisemitism, transforming it into the equivalent of Holocaust denial.

But when Show Racism the Red Card initially stood their ground against the smears, the Board and Jewish Labour Movement produced a follow-up allegation. The anti-racism charity appeared to use this as a pretext for extracting itself from the mounting trouble associated with supporting Loach.

The new claim against Loach consisted not so much of character assassination as of character assassination by tenuous association.

The Board and Jewish Labour Movement raised the unremarkable fact that a year ago Loach responded to an email from a member of the GMB union who had been expelled.

Peter Gregson sought Loach’s professional assessment of a video in which he accused the union of victimising him over his opposition to a new advisory definition of antisemitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which openly conflates antisemitism with criticism of Israel.

The IHRA definition was foisted on the Labour party two years ago by the same groups – the Jewish Labour Movement and the Board of Deputies – in large part as a way to isolate Corbyn. There was a great deal of opposition from rank and file members.

Resisting new definition

Pro-Israel lobby group liked this new definition – seven of its 11 examples of antisemitism relate to Israel, not Jews – because it made it impossible for Corbyn and his supporters to critique Israel without running the gauntlet of claims they were antisemitic for doing so.

Loach was among the many Corbyn supporters who tried to resist the imposition of the IHRA definition. So it was hardly surprising, given Gregson’s claims and the parallels of his story to many others Loach has been documenting for decades, that the film maker replied, offering his critical opinion of the video.

Only later was Loach told that there were separate concerns raised about Gregson’s behaviour, including an allegation that he had fallen out with a Jewish member of the union. Loach distanced himself from Gregson and backed the GMB’s decision.

That should have been an end to it. Loach is a public figure who sees it as part of his role to engage with ordinary people in need of help – anything less, given his political views, would make him a hypocrite. But he is not omniscient. He cannot know the backstory of every individual who crosses his path. He cannot vet every person before he sends an email.

It would be foolish, however, to take the professions of concern about Loach from the Board and the Jewish Labour Movement at face value. In fact, their opposition to him relates to a much more fundamental rift about what can and cannot be said about Israel, one in which the IHRA definition serves as the key battleground.

Toxic discourse

Their attacks highlight an increasingly, and intentionally, toxic discourse surrounding antisemitism that now dominates British public life. Through the recent publication of its so-called 10 pledges, the Board of Deputies has required all future Labour leaders to accept this same toxic discourse or face Corbyn’s fate.

It is no coincidence that Loach’s case has such strong echoes of Corbyn’s own public hounding.

Both are rare public figures who have dedicated their time and energies over many decades to standing up for the weak against the strong, defending those least able to defend themselves.

Both are survivors of a fading generation of political activists and intellectuals who continue to champion the tradition of unabashed class struggle, based on universal rights, rather than the more fashionable, but highly divisive, politics of identity and culture wars.

Loach and Corbyn are the remnants of a British post-war left whose inspirations were very different from those of the political centre and the right – and from the influences on many of today’s young.

Fight against fascism

At home, they were inspired by the anti-fascist struggles of their parents in the 1930s against Oswald Moseley’s Brown Shirts, such as at the Battle of Cable Street. And in their youth they were emboldened by the class solidarity that built a National Health Service from the late 1940s onwards, one that for the first time provided health care equally for all in the UK.

Abroad, they were galvanised by the popular, globe-spannning fight against the institutional racism of apartheid in South Africa, a struggle that gradually eroded western governments’ support for the white regime. And they were at the forefront of the last great mass political mobilisation, against the official deceptions that justified the US-UK war of aggression against Iraq in 2003.

But like most of this dying left they are haunted by their generation’s biggest failure in international solidarity. Their protests did not end the many decades of colonial oppression suffered by the Palestinian people and sponsored by the same western states that once stood by apartheid South Africa.

The parallels between these two western-backed, settler-colonial projects, much obscured by British politicians and the media, are stark and troubling for them.

Purge of class politics

Loach and Corbyn’s demonisation as antisemites – and parallel efforts across the Atlantic to silence Bernie Sanders (made more complicated by his Jewishness) – are evidence of a final public purge by the western political and media establishments of this kind of old-school class consciousness.

Activists like Loach and Corbyn want a historical reckoning for the west’s colonial meddling in other parts of the world, including the catastrophic legacy from which so-called “immigrants” are fleeing to this day.

It was the west that pillaged foreign soils for centuries, then armed the dictators supposedly bringing independence to these former colonies, and now invade or attack these same societies in bogus “humanitarian interventions”.

Similarly, the internationalist, class-based struggle of Loach and Corbyn rejects a politics of identity that, rather than recognising the west’s long history of crimes committed against women, minorities and refugees, channels the energies of the marginalised into a competition for who may be allowed to sit at the top table with a white elite.

It is precisely this kind of false consciousness that leads to the cheering on of women as they head up the military-industrial complex, or the excitement at a black man becoming US president only to use his power to set new records in extrajudicial killings abroad and the repression of political dissent at home.

Loach and Corbyn’s grassroots activism is the antithesis of a modern politics in which corporations use their huge wealth to lobby and buy politicians, who in turn use their spin-doctors to control the public discourse through a highly partisan and sympathetic corporate media.

Hollow concern

The Board of Deputies and the Jewish Labour Movement are very much embedded in this latter type of politics, exploiting a political identity to win a place at the top table and then use it to lobby for their chosen cause of Israel.

If this seems unfair, remember that while the Board and the Jewish Labour Movement have been hammering on about a supposed antisemitism crisis on the left defined chiefly in terms of its hostility to Israel, the right and far-right have been getting a free pass to stoke ever greater levels of white nationalism and racism against minorities.

These two organisations have not only averted their gaze from the rise of the nationalist right – which is now embedded inside the British government – but have rallied to its side.

In particular, the Board’s leaders – as well as the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who publicly reviled Corbyn as an antisemite days before last year’s general election – have barely bothered to hide their support for the Conservative government and prime minister Boris Johnson.

Their professions of concern about racism and their attacks on the charitable status of Show Racism the Red Card ring all the more hollow, given their own records of supporting racism.

Both have repeatedly backed Israel in its violations of human rights and attacks on Palestinians, including Israel’s deployment of snipers to shoot men, women and children protesting against more than a decade of suffocating Gaza with a blockade.

The two organisations have remained studiously silent on Israel’s racist policy of allowing football teams from illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank to play in its football league in violation of FIFA’s rules.

And they have supported the charitable status of the Jewish National Fund in the UK, even as it finances racist settler projects and forestation programmes that are intended to displace Palestinians from their land.

Their hypocrisy has been boundless.

Truth turned on its head

The fact that the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Labour Movement have been able to exercise such clout against Loach on allegations for which there is no evidence indicates how enthusiastically the Israel lobby has been integrated into the British establishment and serves its purposes.

Israel is a key pillar of an informal western military alliance keen to project its power into the oil-rich Middle East. Israel exports its oppressive technology and surveillance systems, refined in ruling over the Palestinians, to western states hungry for more sophisticated systems of control. And Israel has helped tear up the international rulebook in entrenching its occupation, as well as blazing a trail in legitimising torture and extrajudicial executions – now mainstays of US foreign policy.

Israel’s pivotal place in this matrix of power is rarely discussed because western establishments have no interest in having their bad faith and double standards exposed.

The Board and the Jewish Labour Movement are helping to police and enforce that silence about Israel, a key western ally. In truly Orwellian style, they are turning the charge of racism on its head – using it against our most prominent and most resolute anti-racists.

And better still for western establishments, figures like Loach and Corbyn – veterans of class struggle, who have spent decades immersed in the fight to build a better society – are now being battered into oblivion on the anvil of identity politics.

Should this perversion of our democratic discourse be allowed to continue, our societies will be doomed to become even uglier, more divisive and divided places.

Open Letter to the “Sandernistas”: Bernie Caves Again 2020

History Repeats Itself, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce

I wrote this article almost four years ago right after the Democratic primaries in 2016. I am reposting it because it demonstrates how, while history changes, the machinations of the Democratic Party are the same, or in this case, worse. What is not relevant in this article is that there are no gender identity politics as there were with Hillary. What is new about Bernie dropping out today is that:

  1. Bernie has conceded four months before the Democratic convention;
  2. Capitalism has gotten worse in the U.S. because of a combination of the trade wars with China, more bad debt pile-ups and now the coronavirus.
  3. In spite of these worsening conditions the Democratic Party has chosen a far weaker candidate than Hillary to run – Joe Biden.

These conditions must make it even more exasperating for the Sandernistas when Bernie does not step up to the plate and disappoints his followers by again caving into the DNC.

Read below what I wrote in June, 2016

*****

Even more power to ya, Sandernistas!

As someone who has been a radical socialist for 45 years, I can’t tell you how happy I am to see so many people under 30 in my college classes and on the streets who declare themselves socialists.

Secondly, I respect how critical your presence has been during this political campaign by showing up at Trump rallies, despite being in the vast minority: arguing, screaming and in some cases fighting with his supporters.

Thirdly, I respect you for fighting at the Democratic primaries in Nevada, causing a ruckus. I am delighted you saw through the mass media’s attempt to keep you away from the polls on the day of the California primary and came out to vote anyway. I admire your willingness to stand in lines and vote and deal with both real official incompetence and planned “irregularities” in vote counting, voting machines that don’t work, as well as many obstacles put in your path. About a month ago I read a political report from the United Nations comparing democratic processes across nations. It stated that the US voting process was ranked 29th in the world in democratic processes. Not so hot for a declining empire that fancies itself the home of democracy. By world democratic standards, future elections in the US should be monitored by representatives of countries that have proven themselves to be ranked in the top ten.

Lastly I am so proud of you for co-creating a political revolution. I have rarely voted in my life because electoral politics is part of a capitalist machine. The two or three times I have voted I’ve been embarrassed about it. During most election cycles I cannot wait for them to end because the air waves are filled with professional windbags, embalmed, hair-dyed, Botox-injected, toupee-wearing mummies and stuffed pheasants jingling with the trappings of Divine Honors. But these last six months have been more exciting for me because of all the rotten centrist candidates: the nobles, the barons, the dukes, the earls and the duchesses have had their royal ball ruined by you and by the Trumpsters. You may not like the Trumpsters and you might not like their motives, but because of their rallies they have driven even worse plutocrats to the margins.  Jeb Bush, fancying himself as being installed as Bush III to the presidency, must have been quite insulted when the Trumpsters blew him, Ted Cruz and the rest of the Republican lizards to the political periphery.

But now you are at a crossroads. After six months of a political revolution the Democratic power elite has heaved its harried, painted, disheveled, roughed-up Queen in a buckboard to the top of a small mountain with its media mafioso, lobbyists, police and military escorts declaring herself to be Queen. Now comes the heavy-duty propaganda.

Here comes Hyper-Identity Politics

– Identity politics softball

The Democratic plutocrats are not worried about winning over the upper middle class women who will take any woman who had been crowned and claim her as a feminist. My partner was invited to appear on a panel today on a supposedly “radical” radio station titled “Feminism is Not a Dirty Word”. On this station they had a rabid supporter of Hillary Clinton and I thought we would share the words from her website. This is only the beginning of what you’re going to be listening to for the next 5 months:

I guess you could call me a sentimental sap. My eyes welled as I sat riveted by the television image of Hillary Clinton claiming the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday night as the primary contests results rolled in—the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major party in the United States of America. OK, so maybe even a sob happened.

Call me a sentimental sap, but forgive my tears. A woman has just won the presidential nomination of one of our two major political parties. An accomplished woman. A woman who can throw a rhetorical punch. A woman who’s made tough choices. And for the sake of all of the women who come after her, that’s a righteously good thing. We’ve been waiting a long time.

— Adele M. Stan, The American Prospect

This is a warmed over version of what was trotted out as a victory for African Americans in 2004 when Obama was elected. Obama went on to be the most intelligent sounding Republican in many year – a surveillance-crazed, drone-flying, protectionist, war-mongering monster. But he did it with more grace, charm and optimism than any of the usual bible thumping conservatives. And – after all – he is good at basketball.

Let’s face our nightmares. Hillary on stage being crowned and kissed by the first African American president and the First African American Lady, Michelle Obama. Together they stand waving to adoring crowds. We get to watch racial identity politics standing together with gender identity politics. The fact that both have been selected by the one percent in the Council of Foreign Relations doesn’t matter. Class dismissed. The audience goes wild, tears in their eyes. Diversity wins again. We don’t need the Trumpsters to tell us “Make America Great Again”. We have it right here in our beloved Democratic Party. Except the gender and identify political elites do it in a civilized way. They don’t threaten to build walls and kick ass.

What does Bernie Do?

But the worst is yet to come. Bernie Sanders, your hero, is trotted onto the stage. Obama, Michelle and even Hillary embrace him politely. All praise his fire, his bringing “important issues to the table”. They thank him for attracting so many young people like y’all to the Democratic Party. Then it is Bernie’s turn. What will he say? He will thank everyone, and especially you. You fought the good fight. But now it is time to fold up your little tents and join the bigger tent of Hillary and fight against the evil Trump. Some of you will buy this propaganda and believe that the Democratic Party can “find its soul” and be reborn with a born-again Bernie along with all your youthful energy. Many of you will be intimated by hardball identity politics, which I’ll discuss shortly, and give in. If you think this might be the case for you, you can stop reading.

– Identity politics hardball

This is also a delicate political moment since most of you are white, you are in the audiences everywhere and on the stage will be the kings and queens of identity politics: rich, trim, well-spoken and in control of the microphone with the mass media at its beck and call.  As white, male Sandernistas you will be hammered with insinuations that you are a sexist for not voting for Hillary and a racist for not listening to the wise African American heads of state who are much older and smarter than you. White Sandernista women will be told they have betrayed feminism by not supporting Hillary. Black men for Bernie will be chastised for not listening to Obama and other black leaders who have made their nests in the middle rungs of the Democratic Party. For black women it will be insinuated that you don’t know enough not to have the nerve to hesitate, or even turn your back and walk away when such a well-spoken, fit African American lady like Michelle invites you into the Democratic tent. For those of you who are Mexican immigrants you will be ordered to get into Hillary’s tent quickly, because she is the only one standing between you, Trump, the howling Trumpsters and the wall.

Dire straits for radical Sandernistas

For those of you who will not come into Hillary’s tent, you will be in great pain. Bernie is telling you, “you have lost fair and square and you should shake hands and be friends with the illustrious Democratic notables, especially Barbara Boxer, who graciously gave you the finger in Nevada.” And since you are so good at waiting in line at polling booths, if you get into a neat line and be quiet, the great feminist leader Gloria Steinem might sign autographs for you. Many of you will feel angry and betrayed and not know where to turn. You are at a crossroads.

The red (and black) flag is still flying

Since the heyday of the 1960’s, before most of you were born, the real socialist left in the United States has been torn apart by factions. Social Democrats, various types of Marxist Leninists, council communists and anarchists have fought bitterly against each other before, during and after revolutions, in some cases for over 150 years, over the kind of socialism we wanted to bring to the world.  All these groups have also been infiltrated and almost destroyed by the Secret Service.  Since the 1970’s, many of us hung on, isolated, dispirited, and in some cases broken. Some got religion, some became New Age junkies, some were reduced to paranoid conspiracy addicts and others simply gave up. Many of us, however, have never given up. We have hung on as writers, artists, and theatre producers. Others joined unions and stayed in them, continuing to believe that the unions were still the best breeding grounds for socialism. Some, like me, have worked as college teachers, smuggling in socialist ideas under the radar of official course syllabi, and sometimes in private conversations or even open discussions.

Almost five years ago the anarchist inspired Occupy movement gave hope to many of us. At its high point in 2011 the Occupy movement blockaded downtown public space in 150 cities and shut down some of the busiest ports on the West Coast. This, combined with the economic crash of 2008, made things suddenly uncomfortable for the increasingly maniacally, speculating and very nervous capitalist class.

Many of us were amazed to discover, thanks to the catalyst of Bernie Sanders, that more than half of the people your age have declared themselves interested in socialism. But Bernie has taken you as far as he wants to go. You can either find your way yourselves or you can join us.

Many of us have been around long enough politically to understand how the Democratic Party works and have anticipated how they want to use you and trick you into following them. At the Democratic National Convention, the Democratic Party will show its true capitalist colors. We have other hopes and plans for you. We also know that you represent the possibility of a real socialist movement, which can only happen outside the Democratic Party. As socialists we haven’t seen this opportunity in the United States in 45 years. We are going to insist you deal with us.

In June and July of this year there will be socialist conferences. There is one happening at the same time as the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. The day will be a traumatic ride for you: demonstrating in the streets, fighting on the floor of the Democratic Convention and then losing. Yet alongside this bitter disappointment, we long-term socialists are hoping to win you over. We are not easy to get along with. Many of us are angry just from the wear-and-tear of putting up with a declining capitalist system for 45 years. Others do not have good social skills. In fact, I can say I’ve never met so many unsociable socialists as exist in this country. Yet some of us have a great deal of organizational skills. We think strategically and tactically. We are largely self-educated, sometimes fanatical, but we have a great deal of heart, though many are too crabby to show it. We have a great deal of persistence and don’t give up easily. Like you, many of us will come to this convention, paying for it with money out of our own pockets because we have hope that together we can form a national political movement

If you join with us, expect the meetings to be chaotic, slow moving, accusatory and long. Social Democrats, Leninists, council communists and anarchists are like brothers and sisters in a family. We have so much in common but the differences are real and bitter. As your parents, you will see we are not afraid to fight in front of you. Be patient. We are trying. Come make history with us in the next six months. Not the history of queens. But real history, socialist history, 21st century socialism. We are waiting for you.