Category Archives: Global Capitalism

Reality Privileged: Orwell/Huxley/McLuhan on Steroids

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here, McLuhan:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Brains Development - The Cavern

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

Biden mocks himself and roasts Trump

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reality. Here, from Farnam Street Articles!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carry on:

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

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

Reality for Us, the Unprivileged.

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

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

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

Listen to these monsters . . .

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

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

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

Localization and Local Futures: The Alternative to the Authoritarian New Normal    

World Localization Day’ will be celebrated on 20 June. Organised by the non-profit Local Futures, this annual coming together of people from across the world began in 2020 and focuses on the need to localise supply-chains and recover our connection with nature and community. The stated aim is to “galvanize the worldwide localization movement into a force for systemic change”.

Local Futures, founded by Helena Norberg-Hodge, urges us to imagine a very different world, one in which most of our food comes from nearby farmers who ensure food security year round and where the money we spend on everyday goods continues to recirculate in the local economy.

We are asked to imagine local businesses providing ample, meaningful employment opportunities, instead of our hard-earned cash being immediately siphoned off to some distant corporate headquarters.

Small farms would be key in this respect. They are integral to local markets and networks, short supply chains, food sovereignty, more diverse cropping systems and healthier diets. And they tend to serve the food requirements of communities rather than the interests of big business, institutional investors and shareholders half a world away.

If the COVID lockdowns and war in Ukraine tell us anything about our food system, it is that decentralised, regional and local community-owned food systems based on short(er) supply chains that can cope with future shocks are now needed more than ever.

The report Towards a Food Revolution: Food Hubs and Cooperatives in the US and Italy offers some pointers for creating sustainable support systems for small food producers and food distribution. Alternative, resilient food models and community supported agriculture are paramount.

Localization involves strengthening and rebuilding local economies and communities and restoring cultural and biological diversity. The ‘economics of happiness’ is central to this vision, rather than an endless quest for GDP growth and the alienation, conflict and misery this brings.

It is something we need to work towards because multi-billionaire globalists have a dystopian future mapped out for humanity which they want to impose on us all – and it is diametrically opposed to what is stated above.

The much-publicised ‘great reset’ is integral to this dystopia. It marks a shift away from ‘liberal democracy’ towards authoritarianism. At the same time, there is the relentless drive towards a distorted notion of a ‘green economy’, underpinned by the rhetoric of ‘sustainable consumption’ and ‘climate emergency’.

The great reset is really about capitalism’s end-game. Those promoting it realise the economic and social system must undergo a reset to a ‘new normal’, something that might no longer resemble ‘capitalism’.

End-game capitalism  

Capital can no longer maintain its profitability by exploiting labour alone. This much has been clear for some time. There is only so much surplus value to be extracted before the surplus is insufficient.

Historian Luciana Bohne notes that the shutting down of parts of the economy was already happening pre-COVID as there was insufficient growth, well below the minimum tolerable 3% level to maintain the viability of capitalism. This, despite a decades-long attack on workers and corporate tax cuts.

The system had been on life support for some time. Credit markets had been expanded and personal debt facilitated to maintain consumer demand as workers’ wages were squeezed. Financial products (derivatives, equities, debt, etc) and speculative capitalism were boosted, affording the rich a place to park their profits and make money off money. We have also seen the growth of unproductive rentier capitalism and stock buy backs and massive bail outs courtesy of taxpayers.

Moreover, in capitalism, there is also a tendency for the general rate of profit to fall over time. And this has certainly been the case according to writer Ted Reese, who notes it has trended downwards from an estimated 43% in the 1870s to 17% in the 2000s.

The 2008 financial crash was huge. But by late 2019, an even bigger meltdown was imminent. Many companies could not generate enough profit and falling turnover, squeezed margins, limited cashflows and highly leveraged balance sheets were prevalent. In effect, economic growth was already grinding to a halt prior to the massive stock market crash in February 2020.

Fabio Vighi, professor of critical theory, describes how, in late 2019, the Swiss Bank of International Settlements, BlackRock (the world’s most powerful investment fund), G7 central bankers, leading politicians and others worked behind closed doors to avert a massive impending financial meltdown.

The Fed soon began an emergency monetary programme, pumping hundreds of billions of dollars per week into financial markets. Not long after, COVID hit and lockdowns were imposed. The stock market did not collapse because lockdowns occurred. Vighi argues lockdowns were rolled out because financial markets were collapsing.

Closing down the global economy under the guise of fighting a pathogen that mainly posed a risk to the over 80s and the chronically ill seemed illogical to many, but lockdowns allowed the Fed to flood financial markets (COVID relief) with freshly printed money without causing hyperinflation. Vighi says that lockdowns curtailed economic activity, thereby removing demand for the newly printed money (credit) in the physical economy and preventing ‘contagion’.

Using lockdowns and restrictions, smaller enterprises were driven out of business and large sections of the pre-COVID economy were shut down. This amounted to a controlled demolition of parts of the economy while the likes of Amazon, Microsoft, Meta (Facebook) and the online payment sector – platforms which are dictating what the ‘new normal’ will look like – were clear winners in all of this.

The rising inflation that we currently witness is being blamed on the wholly avoidable conflict in Ukraine. Although this tells only part of the story, the conflict and sanctions seem to be hitting Europe severely: if you wanted to demolish your own economy or impoverish large sections of the population, this might be a good way to go about it.

However, the massive ‘going direct’ helicopter money given to the financial sector and global conglomerates under the guise of COVID relief was always going to have an impact once the global economy reopened.

Similar extraordinary monetary policy (lockdowns) cannot be ruled out in the future: perhaps on the pretext of another ‘virus’ but possibly based on the notion of curtailing human activity due to ‘climate emergency’. This is because raising interests rates to manage inflation could rapidly disrupt the debt-bloated financial system (an inflated Ponzi scheme) and implode the entire economy.

Permanent austerity   

But lockdowns, restrictions or creating mass unemployment and placing people on programmable digital currencies to micromanage spending and decrease inflationary pressures could help to manage the crisis. ‘Programmable’ means the government determining how much you can spend and what you can spend on.

How could governments legitimise such levels of control? By preaching about reduced consumption according to the creed of ‘sustainability’. This is how you would ‘own nothing and be happy’ if we are to believe this well-publicised slogan of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

But like neoliberal globalization in the 1980s – the great reset is being given a positive spin, something which supposedly symbolises a brave new techno-utopian future.

In the 1980s, to help legitimise the deregulated neoliberal globalisation agenda, government and media instigated an ideological onslaught, driving home the primacy of ‘free enterprise’, individual rights and responsibility and emphasising a shift away from the role of state, trade unions and the collective in society.

Today, we are seeing another ideological shift: individual rights (freedom to choose what is injected into your own body, for instance) are said to undermine the wider needs of society and – in a stark turnaround – individual freedom is now said to pose a threat to ‘national security’, ‘public health’ or ‘safety’.

A near-permanent state of ‘emergency’ due to public health threats, climate catastrophe or conflict (as with the situation in Ukraine) would conveniently place populations on an ongoing ‘war footing’. Notions of individual liberty and democratic principles would be usurped by placing the emphasis on the ‘public interest’ and protecting the population from ‘harm’. This would facilitate the march towards authoritarianism.

As in the 1980s, this messaging is being driven by economic impulses. Neoliberalism privatised, deregulated, exploited workers and optimised debt to the point whereby markets are now kept afloat by endless financial injections.

The WEF says the public will ‘rent’ everything they require: stripping the right of personal ownership under the guise of ‘sustainable consumption’ and ‘saving the planet’. Where the WEF is concerned, this is little more than code for permanent austerity to be imposed on the mass of the population.

Metaverse future 

At the start of this article, readers were asked to imagine a future based on a certain set of principles associated with localization. For one moment, imagine another. The one being promoted by the WEF, the high-level talking shop and lobby group for elite interests headed by that avowed globalist and transhumanist Klaus Schwab.

As you sit all day unemployed in your high-rise, your ‘food’ will be delivered via an online platform bought courtesy of your programmable universal basic income digital money. Food courtesy of Gates-promoted farms manned by driverless machines, monitored by drones and doused with chemicals to produce crops from patented GM seeds for industrial ‘biomatter’ to be engineered, processed and constituted into something resembling food.

Enjoy and be happy eating your fake food, stripped of satisfying productive endeavour and genuine self-fulfilment. But really, it will not be a problem. You can sit all day and exist virtually in Zuckerberg’s fantasy metaverse. Property-less and happy in your open prison of mass unemployment, state dependency, track and chip health passports and financial exclusion via programmable currency.

A world also in which bodily integrity no longer exists courtesy of a mandatory vaccination agenda linked to emerging digital-biopharmaceutical technologies. The proposed World Health Organization pandemic treaty marks a worrying step in this direction.

This ‘new normal’ would be tyrannical, but the ‘old normal’ – which still thrives – was not something to be celebrated. Global inequality is severe and environmental devastation and human dislocation has been increasing. Dependency and dispossession remain at the core of the system, both on an individual level and at local, regional and national levels. New normal or old normal, these problems will persist and become worse.

Green imperialism  

The ‘green economy’ being heavily promoted is based on the commodification of nature, through privatization, marketization and monetary valuation. Banks and corporations will set the agenda – dressed in the garb of ‘stakeholder capitalism’, a euphemism for governments facilitating the needs of powerful global interests. The fear is that the proposed system will weaken environmental protection laws and regulations to facilitate private capital.

The banking sector will engage in ‘green profiling’ and issue ‘green bonds’ and global corporations will be able to ‘offset’ (greenwash) their environment-degrading activities by, for example, protecting or planting a forest elsewhere (on indigenous people’s land) or perhaps even investing in (imposing) industrial agriculture which grows herbicide-resistant GMO commodity crop monocultures that are misleadingly portrayed as ‘climate friendly’. Imperialism wrapped in green.

Relying on the same thinking and the same interests that led the world to where it is now does not seem like a great idea. This type of ‘green’ is first and foremost a multi-trillion market opportunity for lining pockets and part of a strategy that may well be used to secure compliance required for the ‘new normal’.

The future needs to be rooted in the principles of localization. For this, we need look no further than the economics and the social relations that underpin tribal societies (for example, India’s indigenous peoples). The knowledge and value systems of indigenous peoples promote long-term genuine sustainability by living within the boundaries of nature and emphasise equality, communality and sharing rather than separation, domination and competition.

Self-sufficiency, solidarity, localization and cooperation is the antidote to globalism and the top-down tyranny of programmable digital currencies and unaccountable, monopolistic AI-driven platforms which aim to monitor and dictate every aspect of life.

The post Localization and Local Futures: The Alternative to the Authoritarian New Normal     first appeared on Dissident Voice.

How Different Classes in Russia Feel About Yankeedom, China and Europe: More Letters from Russia

Dear Barbara,

I hope that my email finds you and Bruce in good health and doing fine.

I will try to answer your interesting questions, please note that my answers are from my personal point of view, it is built on daily observations, readings, talking to different people, and even watching tv now and then, with no pretenses whatsoever.

How would you characterize the class structure in Russia in terms of upper class, upper-middle class, middle class, and working class?

The super-rich and oligarchs: This thin social layer is an entity by itself, it owns assets and shares in the big companies, banks and financial institutions. There is an uneasy peace between them and the government that regularly gathers them and “politely” reminds them of their social responsibilities and where their riches came from. They are at the present untouchable due to the fact that some of them are on boards of companies belonging to the state or near persons holding high positions in the government. That is when the political situation becomes corruptible.

The upper-middle class include the upper echelons of the government bureaucracy, the top management of companies, banks and financial institutions and people holding valuable assets (immovable and moveable). There is very little upward movement, the danger of moving downwards exists.

The middle class: mostly concentrated in the cities, professionals, engineers, teachers, doctors, small lawyers, office workers, shop owners, and small businessmen.  This is a relatively new class for Russia. Dynamic with porous boundaries, the danger of slipping to its lower level is higher than making a leap into its higher level or to the upper-middle class.

The working class is the most interesting and complex class. The classic working class person is in the military industrial complex, metallurgy, auto industry, oil and gas, power generation, and all types of transportation.  The upper classes make a point of a pretense of treating them well which includes salaries, perks and bonuses. Construction is a big part of the economy. Skilled workers are mainly Russians or citizens of the Russian Federation. There is a big part of the low skill jobs that are done by migrants from republics of what once was the Soviet Union. Their numbers are significant, including, janitors and, delivery workers.  They mostly do not integrate and hold on to their religion (mostly Muslim). Some of them are involved in misdemeanors and crimes, which are blown up and generalized to a whole nation or region. This is a sharp weapon in the hands of the authorities, pitting the migrants against locals. There is much more to be said but I will leave it for other occasions.

How do the different classes feel about “The Oligarchs” (billionaires in Russia) – do they think they deserve what they have?

I am afraid that my reply to this question is going to be a short one because there are no ambiguities or subtleties. Once again in my opinion it is not just a matter of class but a nearly unanimous negative attitude, especially from the working and middle classes and even from some of the upper classes. The Communists and left are just itching to nationalize some industries or at least have a better tax law. Fortunately, the majority of the people see the oligarchs as acquiring their fortunes like in Gustave Myers book History of Great American Fortunes as not having earned it.

What’s the range of differences in how the Russian people see the American people?

The range is narrow, and it does not depend on class.  Rather, it depends on age and the change in subtle things like music, art, and clothing.  I think that the average Russian attitude is negative, this is especially true for people older than 25 years. It is also a reaction to the US and western policies in demonizing and humiliating the Russian people. A western person a priori thinks that he is superior, and this not only on official state levels but in the mentality of the ordinary person. It is ubiquitous in art, literature, and Hollywood. From Harry Truman to Joe Biden nothing much has changed.

The Russian reaction was predictable, I am now mentioning daily stuff – not high politics or economics. It all started by making fun of the Americans and their ignorance about the history and geography of Russia, as well as their traditions and literature. Allow me to tell you one of the more famous stories of a well-known comedian (Mikhail Zadornov) who passed away not so long ago.

A Russian is traveling to the US to visit his friend, at the customs when they open his suitcase, they find a bunch of small branches (around 50 cm) tied together. The inspectors immediately are very suspicious. The Russian tries to explain that these branches are for the Sauna where they dip them in water and lightly hit each other (this is the Russian way and Sauna for some is like a religion, they can talk endlessly about which trees should be chosen for the best smell). The inspector’s eyes become like saucers. “This guy is not only a narcotic maniac, he is also sadomasochistic.”

I am not being flippant. I just want to show that ignorance and prejudice from nuclear policy to sauna lead us to making stupid decisions.

At the present the majority of the Russians, as a reaction to all the Russophobia, sanctions against any kind of activity, from industry and science to art and sport have really stiffened their stance against Americans. There is a set of people, belonging to the TV, cinema as well as some economists, and sports celebrities who are pro-western, which is not exactly pro American.  Anyway, many of them have left Russia after the beginning of the conflict with Ukraine. I should point out that in a real capitalistic society, a filmmaker or a painter is on his own in making his life. In Russia the majority receive help from the government on a regular basis. It is especially galling to the Russian taxpayer, who thinks his money is being wasted on someone who curses his country.

The Russians reacted coolly to the departure of US brands of fast food and clothes. This left many Americans wondering. Russia is not what it was in the 1990s. This is a different time. Russians now bring up their children not to eat fast food and drink soda pop (not always successfully), just like any sane parent in the US would do.

How do the different classes in Russia feel about China?

I do not think it is just a matter of classes. Defining how the Russians feel about China should be according to a number of factors that would include class. At the present there are two more or less evident trends. The first trend is supported by the state, the left, Communists and some of the nationalists who support strong ties with China on many levels. The Russians want to be sure that the Chinese have their backs through the Chinese Silk Road project and the Russian oil and gas supply to China. The liberals and pro-westerners try to find fault in any Chinese initiative.

However, all that being said, there is the human, psychological factor that broadly affects a significant number of Russians. There are cases when it is definitive and that is race. Many Russians, as most Europeans, cannot easily rid themselves of their racism that appeared after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. They see themselves as superior and have been taken in by the western propaganda. The ignorance and prejudice regarding Russia about China is colossal in dimension.  Culture and humanitarian sciences are Eurocentric. The Yellow Peril of the early 20th century is alive and well. Anti-Chinese propagandists love to bring up the border conflict that took place in 1969 between the Soviet Union and China.

The Russian Far East regions have a special relationship with China. There are some that welcome trade and financial possibilities while others are afraid that they would swamp their region and take it over. The Chinese buy unprocessed Russian timber from Siberia, and some of the local producers are eager to do this because they get paid in US dollars. The government frowns upon this, and a lot of commotion is raised. Despite their racism, the upper-class businessman is still eager to do business with China. The average man is wary and cautious. It is only the incomprehensible, myopic, bone-headed American foreign policy that is driving Russians to overcome their racism and have more sympathy for the Chinese.

How do the different classes feel about the European continent around the natural gas issue?

Soviet gas reached Germany in 1973 and each side signed a contract for 20 years, after lengthy negotiations. The German side noted that in spite of the different ideologies, all the procedures were very business-like. Since then, the Soviet, and afterwards the Russian supply of gas continued more or less smoothly to Germany and most European countries as well. Countries that have natural resources to sell as a policy diversify their routes of outlet. Just by taking a look at any modern map of gas or pipelines of nearly every producing country one can notice that. Therefore, Russia’s Nord Stream gas pipelines were logical and legitimate, especially if your pipeline passes through territory that is unstable.

The prevailing opinion about Europeans and gas supply has been formed by the fact that Europe has blocked Russian assets that are counted in hundreds of billion dollars, besides stopping the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. The Russians took a step from their side, dividing the countries that they were supplying with gas into “friendly” and “unfriendly”. The friendly would continue to pay in US dollars or euros while the unfriendly that had blocked Russian assets would pay in Russian rubles. Although the contracts were in US dollars, Russia decided that blocking their assets was a force majeure clause, and they therefore took this step to defend their interests. It is not so much a class issue as it is an issue that affects nearly the whole nation. The majority of the Russians are fed up with Europe, with the gas issue and all the holier-than-thou attitude of nations filled up to their elbows in the blood of the people of the Third World as well.

With affection and respect

HCE

First published at Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism

The post How Different Classes in Russia Feel About Yankeedom, China and Europe: More Letters from Russia first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Tectonic Shifts in the World Economy: A World Systems Perspective

Orientation 

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

A Brief History of Modern Capitalism

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

Five Types of Capitalism   

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

Destructive Forms of Capitalism

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

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

What is World Systems Theory?

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

Economic Zones Within the World-system

Overview of the core, periphery                                                 

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

Core and periphery

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

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

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

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

Semi-periphery                                                 

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

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

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

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

Where did world systems theory come from?

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

Modernization theory

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

Dependency theory of Andre Gunder Frank

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

Karl Polyani

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

Interstate System

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

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

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

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

Who Will Be the Next World-Economy Hegemon?

Situation in Ukraine

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

The weakness of Europe

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

Collapse of the core zones?

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

2022-2030 the reign of the semi-periphery?

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

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

The new hegemon China and the world-system in 2030  

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

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

The prospects for a world state?

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

What about world ecology?                                                                              

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

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

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

This meant that workers would either:

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

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

How Reliable is World-systems Theory?

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

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

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

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

• First published in Socialist Planning Beyond Socialism

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

Revenge of the Putin-Nazis!

And they’re back! It’s like one of those 1960s Hammer Film Productions horror-movie series with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee … Return of the Putin-Nazis! Revenge of the Putin-Nazis! Return of the Revenge of the Bride of the Putin-Nazis! And this time they are not horsing around with stealing elections from Hillary Clinton with anti-masturbation Facebook ads. They are going straight for “Democracy’s” jugular!

Yes, that’s right, folks, Vladimir Putin, leader of the Putin-Nazis and official “Evil Dictator of the Day,” has launched a Kamikazi attack on the United Forces of Goodness (and Freedom) to provoke us into losing our temper and waging a global thermonuclear war that will wipe out the entire human species and most other forms of life on earth!

I’m referring, of course, to Putin’s inexplicable and totally unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, a totally peaceful, Nazi-free country which was just sitting there minding its non-Nazi business, singing Kumbaya, and so on, and not in any way collaborating with or being cynically used by GloboCap to menace and eventually destabilize Russia so that the GloboCap boys can get back in there and resume the Caligulan orgy of “privatization” they enjoyed throughout the 1990’s.

No, clearly, Putin has just lost his mind, and has no strategic objective whatsoever (other than the total extermination of humanity), and is just running around the Kremlin shouting “DROP THE BOMBS! EXTERMINATE THE BRUTES!” all crazy-eyed and with his face painted green like Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now … because what other explanation is there?

Or … OK, sure, there are other explanations, but they’re all just “Russian disinformation” and “Putin-Nazi propaganda” disseminated by “Putin-apologizing, Trump-loving, discord-sowing racists,” “transphobic, anti-vax conspiracy theorists,” “Covid-denying domestic extremists,” and other traitorous blasphemers and heretics, who are being paid by Putin to infect us with doubt, historical knowledge, and critical thinking, because they hate us for our freedom … or whatever.

Let’s take a quick look at some of that “Russian disinformation” and “propaganda,” purely to inoculate ourselves against it. We need to be familiar with it, so we can switch off our minds and shout thought-terminating clichés and official platitudes at it whenever we encounter it on the Internet. It might be a little uncomfortable to do this, but just think of it as a Russian-propaganda “vaccine,” like an ideological mRNA fact-check booster (guaranteed to be “safe and effective”)!

OK, the first thing we need to look at, and dismiss, and deny, and pretend we never learned about, is this nonsense about “Ukrainian Nazis.” Just because Ukraine is full of neo-Nazis, and recent members of its government were neo-Nazis, and its military has neo-Nazi units (e.g., the notorious Azov Battalion), and it has a national holiday celebrating a Nazi, and government officials hang his portrait in their offices, and the military and neo-Nazi militias have been terrorizing and murdering ethnic Russians since the USA and the Forces of Goodness supported and stage-managed a “revolution” (i.e., a coup) back in 2014 with the assistance of a lot of neo-Nazis … that doesn’t mean Ukraine has a “Nazi problem.” After all, its current president is Jewish!

If a traitor mentions the Ukrainian Nazis, switch your mind off as quickly as you can and hit them with that thought-terminating cliché … “THE PRESIDENT OF THE UKRAINE IS JEWISH!” Or “EVERY COUNTRY HAS NAZIS!” That’s another good one!

The other thing we need to look at, and dismiss, and never think about again, is the role the United Forces of Goodness played in orchestrating this mess, starting with how members of the US government stage-managed that coup in 2014, and how they funded and worked with known neo-Nazis — not secret, dog-whistling, half-assed Nazis, but big fat, Jew-hating, Sieg-heiling Nazis — to foment and eventually execute it. All that, of course, is just “Russian propaganda,” despite the fact that it has been thoroughly documented, not just by the usual “conspiracy theory outlets,” but by official mouthpieces of the Forces of Goodness, like the BBC, The Nation, and even The Guardian.

If some Putin-Nazi traitor mentions these facts (or sends you links to the numerous articles documenting the 2014 coup), again, switch your mind off immediately and shout “ANCIENT HISTORY! ANCIENT HISTORY!” and then shoot yourself up with a massive “booster” of fact-checked Truth from the Forces-of-Goodness media. I recommend The Guardian and The New York Times, but if you want to go directly to the source, just follow Illia Ponomarenko of the Kyiv Independent on Twitter. I’m sure that Illia and his neo-Nazi Azov-Battalion “brothers in arms” will cleanse you of all that “disinformation” and “Putin-Nazi propaganda.”

OK, that’s enough “inoculation” for now. We don’t want to expose ourselves to too much of that stuff, or we’re liable to end up supporting the wrong Nazis.

Fortunately, the United Forces of Goodness (and Freedom) are censoring most of it anyway, and instead are feeding us sentimental stories, like the one about “the Ghost of Kyiv,” the completely fictional Ukrainian fighter pilot who shot down the entire Putin-Nazi Air Force while delivering pithy one-liners like Bruce Willis in the Die Hard films!

As The New York Times explained, fake stories like that, or the one about the Snake Island martyrs who told the Russians to “go fuck themselves,” and then were genocided by a Putin-Nazi kill squad, but then turned up alive a few days later, are not disinformation, and even if they are, it doesn’t matter, because they’re good for morale!

And that’s the important thing, after all. If we’re ever going to defeat these Putin-Nazis, and the imaginary apocalyptic plague, and Trump, and terrorism, and domestic extremism, and climate change, and racism, and whatever, we need to keep the Western masses whipped up into a perpetual state of utterly mindless, hate-drunk hysteria like an eternal episode of the Two Minutes Hate from Orwell’s 1984.

It doesn’t really matter who the masses are being told to hate this week … the Russians, the Unvaccinated, the Terrorists, the Populists, the Assad-Apologists, the Conspiracy Theorists, the Anti-Vaxxers, the Disinformationists … or whoever. In the end, there is only one enemy, the enemy of the United Forces of Goodness, the enemy of the unaccountable, supranational global-capitalist empire (or “GloboCap” as I like to call it).

This multiplicitous, Goldstein-like enemy of GloboCap is an internal enemy. GloboCap has no external enemies. It dominates the entire planet. It is one big global-capitalist world. It has been for the last 30 years or so. Most of us can’t quite get our heads around that bit of reality yet, so we still see the world as a competition between sovereign nation states, like the USA and Russia. It is not. Yes, there are still nation states, and they compete with each other (like corporations compete for advantage within the system they comprise), but the fundamental conflict of our age is a global counter-insurgency op.

What we’ve been experiencing for the last 30 years, over and over, in many different forms, is a globally hegemonic power system carrying out a “Clear and Hold” operation. GloboCap has been gradually destabilizing, restructuring, and privatizing the post-Cold-War world, first, in Eastern Europe and the Greater Middle East, and, more recently, here at home in the Western nations. For those not familiar with the term “Clear and Hold” …

“Clear and hold is a counter-insurgency strategy in which military personnel clear an area of guerrillas or other insurgents, and then keep the area clear of insurgents while winning the support of the populace for the government and its policies.”

Take a minute and think about that. Think about the last two years. Think about the last 30 years. Seriously, just as an exercise, imagine GloboCap as an occupying army and the entire world as the territory it is occupying. Imagine GloboCap establishing control, targeting and neutralizing a variety of insurgencies … any insurgency, regardless of its nature, any and all resistance to its occupation, or lack of support for its “government and policies.” It does not matter who the insurgents are … diehard communists, Islamic fundamentalists, nationalists, populists … it makes no difference. The occupation couldn’t care less what they believe in or why they’re resisting. The objective of the op is to control the territory and get the populace on board with the new “reality.”

Welcome to the new reality … a “reality” in which “history has stopped [and] nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” Yes, I know you are sick of me quoting Orwell, but, given the circumstances, I cannot help it. Just reflect on how seamlessly GloboCap segued from the Apocalyptic Pandemic narrative back to the Putin-Nazi narrative, which had seamlessly replaced the War on Terror narrative in the Summer of 2016, and how instantly the New Normals switched from hating “the Unvaccinated” to hating the Russians, and then scold me again for quoting Orwell.

Look, I hate to disappoint Edward Norton and millions of other fanatical liberals, but the USA is not going to war with Russia, or not intentionally in any event. Russia has ballistic missiles with thermonuclear warheads on them. This isn’t a rerun of World War II. And it isn’t World War III, or the Cold War redux. That is not what is happening in the Ukraine.

What is happening in Ukraine is, Russia is not playing ball. For some reason, it does not want to be destabilized, and restructured, and privatized by GloboCap. It is acting like a sovereign nation state … which it is, and isn’t, which paradoxical fact GloboCap is trying to impress on Russia, just as countries throughout the global-capitalist empire impressed it on us for the past two years, as Trudeau impressed it on those protesters in Ottawa when he cancelled their rights and went full-fascist.

What is happening is, Russia is rebelling against GloboCap, and, unlike the other rebellious parties that GloboCap has been dealing with recently, Russia has thermonuclear weapons.

I’m not trying to tell you who to root for. Root for GloboCap if you want. I’m just urging you, before you fly over to “Kyiv” and join the fight against the Putin-Nazis, or make a jackass of yourself on the Internet shrieking for nuclear Armageddon, or fire-bomb your local Russian restaurant, or beat the crap out of some Russian-looking person, to maybe take a moment or two and try to understand what is actually going on, and who the major players actually are, and where GloboCap’s efforts to “clear and hold” the entire planet are inexorably taking us.

I know, that’s a lot to ask these days, but I can’t help thinking about all those nukes, and the fallibility of human beings, and yes, all the non-Nazi Ukrainians who are going to needlessly suffer and die while we watch the action on TV, and root for our favorite characters to win, and so on … as if it were a fucking movie.

The post Revenge of the Putin-Nazis! first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Economic Restructuring, Democratic Deficit and Locking Down Liberty  

Remember how the notion of freedom was spun by the ideologues of neoliberalism for decades prior to COVID? The freedom to consume. The freedom to make money. The freedom to be plunged into poverty and debt.       

Platitudes about ‘individual responsibility’ and ‘standing on your own two feet’. A relentless ideological attack on the state and collective responsibility. The doctrine of ‘no such thing as society’ Thatcherism. Ideologically, at least, the individual and ‘the market’ were paramount. But in reality, of course, there was no genuine rolling back of the state: its machinery was used differently to facilitate the needs of global capital while attacking the labour movement. 

In all this ‘freedom’, there was never much talk in the mainstream political and media narrative about the plight of the poor or workers who felt the brutal effects of the brave new world of neoliberal capitalism. 

Never sufficient analysis about offshoring manufacturing and service-sector jobs to cheap labour economies to boost profits. This was merely presented as efficiency and job creation for poorer countries, as if the owners of industry were on some kind of humanitarian mission. 

But it was only ever the old colonialist mentality passed off in new clothing. 

Today, this mentality manifests by subjecting poorer nations to IMF-World Bank ‘structural adjustment’ directives and beating them into being ‘business friendly’ and compliant with the needs of global (Western) capital. Spin it any way you like, whether ‘foreign direct investment’ or ‘liberalising’ the economy, it amounts to richer countries merely using or loaning back money to the poorer countries (with strings) that they stole from them over the centuries. 

Courtesy of lop-sided trade deals, the WTO and the international financial institutions, we see a model of ‘development’ characterised by indebtedness, displaced populations resulting from ‘infrastructure projects’ (to facilitate the needs of capital) and a deliberate running down of indigenous models of agriculture. 

There was not much talk about ‘freedom’ in relation to the subsequent state-corporate economic brutality experienced by society’s most marginalised, highlighted, for instance, by Arundhati Roy in The Ghosts of Capitalism – the ‘invisible’ and shoved-aside victims of a rampant neoliberalism, with a good dose of state-backed violence always on hand to secure compliance.

Their ‘freedom’ never amounted to much in the first place. 

Economic structural violence waged against people, economies and ecosystems courtesy of elite interests bent on monopolising energy, money, food, land and violence across the globe. 

Yet the system now purports to care about the well-being of those it persistently regards as ‘collateral damage’ and ‘economic fodder’. A system that by its very nature concentrates money, control and power at the top of the pyramid. 

Consider that prior to COVID, Pfizer was “the least trusted company in the least trusted industrial sector in the United States”, according to Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice. 

But we are supposed to have faith in Pfizer and disregard its lengthy corporate rap sheet and its unscrupulous profiteering practices regarding its COVID vaccine rollout across the globe. We are supposed to trust its products and its vaccine data that it is trying so hard, with help from the US Food and Drug Administration, to keep from the public. 

At the same time, to facilitate uptake of Pfizer’s injections, we hear a lot about ‘collective responsibility’. A much-maligned concept in a dog-eat-dog neoliberal regime. Joe Biden, Justin Trudeau and others spin vaccine sceptics’ talk of ‘freedom of choice’ regarding what is allowed to be injected into their own bodies as selfish and the domain of right-wing women haters and fascists. 

The right to protest, to free speech, to associate and so forth were (and often continue to be) suspended as people were locked down waiting for ‘the vaccine’ thanks to a virus that mainly targets those over 80 and those with compromised immune systems due to existing (serious) morbidities. 

We have seen all manner of state interference in the private lives of citizens over the past two years. 

Political leaders like Macron, Trudeau, Biden, Merkel and Arden – the frontline managers and facilitators of private capital – have seemingly become so concerned about the public’s welfare that their freedoms and rights must be trampled on by the state. 

Those who demand freedom and have questioned the mainstream COVID narrative have been labelled ‘anti-vaxxers’, ‘granny killers’, irresponsible and as prioritising their own selfish needs over those of the collective. 

Even those who claim to be of the ‘left’ have become part of the ideological apparatus of the state: joining in the chorus and defending tyranny as well as Big Pharma’s rushed-to-market injections and its right to your body and right to make billions in the process. 

Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine brought in $37bn in 2021. Nick Dearden calculates the NHS has paid a mark-up of at least £2bn – six times the cost of the pay rise the UK government agreed to give nurses last year. 

Moreover, Dearden argues companies like Pfizer behave more like hedge funds, buying up and controlling other firms and intellectual property, rather than traditional medical research companies. 

He says: 

The truth is, they aren’t the sole inventors of the vaccine. That was the work of public money, university research and a much smaller company, Germany’s BioNTech. As one former US government official complained, the fact we call it the ‘Pfizer’ vaccine is ‘the biggest marketing coup in the history of American pharmaceuticals’.

Even though many on the ‘left’ have campaigned against the brutality of capitalism over the years, they bought into the fear propaganda from the start without question, helping to pave the way for pharma’s distorted profits, the destruction of small businesses and the loss of countless livelihoods due to lockdowns. 

Many stood by in silence and watched the mega rich accrue enormous profits. Research by Oxfam has shown that the wealth of the world’s billionaires increased by $3.9tn between March and December 2020. The world’s 10 richest billionaires collectively saw their wealth increase by $540bn over this period. In September 2020, Jeff Bezos could have paid all 876,000 Amazon employees a $105,000 bonus and still be as wealthy as he was before COVID. 

While lockdowns and restrictions were imposed on ordinary people and small businesses, the winners were the likes of Amazon, Big Pharma and the tech giants. The losers were small enterprises and the bulk of the population, deprived of their right to work and an entire panoply of civil rights. 

A report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) stated that COVID-19 policies had severely disrupted economies and labour markets in all world regions, with estimated losses of working hours equivalent to nearly 400 million full-time jobs in the second quarter of 2020, most of which were in emerging and developing countries. 

Among the most vulnerable were the 1.6 billion informal economy workers, representing half of the global workforce, who were working in sectors experiencing major job losses or had seen their incomes seriously affected by lockdowns. Most of these were self-employed and in low-income jobs in the informal sector. 

For policies that were supposedly brought in to protect health, there has also been immense damage resulting in lengthy non-COVID healthcare waiting lists for all manner of life-threatening diseases and conditions. 

A more logical approach to protecting public health would have involved the promotion of a targeted strategy based on risk along with early intervention treatments as set out in the Great Barrington Declaration. But this was not even up for debate. Censorship and smears were the norm. 

Locking the global population in their homes, or in places like India compelling millions to walk huge distances or travel in crowded conditions to return to the countryside, until a vaccine was made available smacks of incompetence or worse – a predetermined agenda. 

Writing in the Contemporary Voice of Dalit journal (31 October 2021), researchers Krishna Ram and Shivani Yadav note the effects of COVID policies in India: 

The economic tumult caused by the pandemic over the past two years has the potential to double the nation’s poverty… Our calculations show that around 150–199 million additional people will fall under poverty in 2021–2022; a majority of which are from rural areas, owing to the immiserate nature of the rural economy. Further disaggregation reveals that the SC/ST [Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes], casual labour and the self-employed are the most impacted groups.

It is clear who was influencing the lockdown-COVID public health policy. In a report by Yohan Tengra of the Awaken India Movement, it is described how the Gates Foundation and Big Pharma have infiltrated and co-opted key public health institutions at the national level in India, not least the COVID-19 National Task Force. 

Tengra says the report has exposed: 

… not just the names of those who are sitting in this task force but also how they are financially connected to the pharmaceutical industry and vaccine mafia. This task force has been responsible for the aggressive push to lockdown, mandatory mask requirements, forced testing of asymptomatics, dropping ivermectin and hcq from the national protocol, suppressing vaccine adverse events and a lot more!

It was fitting that an MP recently asked in Canada’s parliament just who does the government serve: Klaus Schawb and the World Economic Forum (WEF) or Canadian citizens? 

A pertinent question. But any enquiry should also look to include the wider digital-financial-industrial complex which has used COVID as cover for bailing out financial markets and restructuring capitalism and trying to manage the long-term falling rate of profit. 

These issues are at the heart of the ‘Great Reset’ or ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ that Klauss Schwab and others talk of. Concepts that – like neoliberal globalisation in the 1980s – are given a positive spin and which supposedly symbolise a brave new techno-utopian future. 

The WEF, Big Finance, Big Tech, the Gates Foundation and Big Pharma have been heavily promoting the COVID-Great Reset agenda from the start. This has to date resulted in the reinvigoration of an ailing pharma sector with a multi-billion-dollar windfall, the eradication of smaller firms and jobs, cementing the dominance of the online retail giants, global chains and the digital payments sector and the injection of much-needed liquidity into what were by late 2019/early 2020 collapsing financial markets. 

In the 1980s, to help legitimise the deregulated neoliberal agenda, government and media instigated an ideological onslaught, pressing home the notion of individual rights and responsibility and emphasising a shift away from the state, trade unions and the public sector. This reflected economic changes underpinned by notions of the primacy of the market and individual consumer choice.  

But there is now a new ideological shift. We hear claims of a ‘democratic deficit’, whereby individual rights are said to be undermining the wider needs of society. The message is that individual freedom is posing a threat to ‘national security’, ‘public health’ and ‘safety’.” As a result, there must be clampdowns on the right to travel, associate and protest and on freedom of speech.  

As stated by journalist Iain Davis in a recent article, a commitment to the ‘public interest’, ‘safety’ and protecting the population from ‘harm’ will replace freedom and democracy. Technocracy: The Operating System For The New International Rules-Based Order (unlimitedhangout.com) 

As in the 1980s, this messaging is being driven by economic factors. Neoliberalism has privatised, deregulated, exploited workers and optimised debt to the limit. We have collapsing markets kept afloat by endless financial injections and an overall declining rate of profit with firms suffocating under mountains of debt. 

AI and advanced automation of production, distribution and service provision (3D manufacturing, drone technology, driverless vehicles, lab grown food, farmerless farms, robotics, etc) are also on the horizon. 

A mass labour force – and therefore mass education, mass welfare, mass healthcare provision and entire systems that were in place to reproduce labour for capitalist economic activity – might in the near future no longer be required. Labour’s relationship to capital is being transformed. So, if labour is the condition for the existence of the working class, why bother with the working class?  

COVID has accelerated economic restructuring and the shift towards an authoritarian form of capitalism that is ultimately to be based on a Chinese-style social credit system to ensure the population complies with its coming servitude.  

Former WEF-sponsored ‘young global leaders’ like Trudeau, Macron, Merkel and Arden rose to the political helm of various countries after having been suitably groomed. They will continue to fulfill their roles by managing dissent through mass surveillance and clamping down on civil rights as the effects of inflation (induced by the liquidity injected into the system), joblessness and post-COVID austerity measures kick in. 

They will, of course, still facilitate freedom: the freedom of the billionaire class to continue to plunder across the globe. And the freedom for citizens to submit. 

 

The post Economic Restructuring, Democratic Deficit and Locking Down Liberty   first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Women’s History Month is About the Human Race

It’s a no-brainer.  Every day should be women’s appreciation day. Sure, we have these Hallmark milestones in the country – Black History Month, Native American Culture Month and now, March, Women’s History Month.

See the source image

[Death toll in Bangladesh garment factory fire rises – CBS News November 25, 2012 ]

My own roots are embedded with strong independent women mentors. For my Scottish grandmother, she came over to Canada as a teen and worked all her life as a cook, nanny, hospital nutritionist. She played the stock market on low wages and set up her only child with some decent funds.

My mother was a single mother with my half-sister. She went from Vancouver — where her husband was a playboy with a gambling problem who had the “mafia” after him — to Flagstaff, then to Hermosa Beach, and then she married my father. Mona, my mom, was the central force of several military wives groups in places like Paris, France, Munich, Germany and Tucson.

My aunt Edna came from England to Massachusetts with two other women from the old country. They opened up an ice-cream shop in Northampton, and then eventually got deep into the restaurant field setting up a high end eatery called The Whale Inn.

I went there on vacations, recalling the stories of Liz Taylor and one of her husbands having a marriage reception there.

I absorbed stories of my German great grandmother Elfrieda who, as a midwife in North Dakota and Minnesota, delivered hundreds of babies. Another relative, an aunt, survived the allied bombing of Dresden with her five children. She helped an entire neighborhood live by scurrying them into an abandoned warehouse cellar she had used for potatoes and cauliflower.

The first women’s day in the USA – February 28, 1909 — occurred a year after the Manhattan garment workers’ strikes when 15,000 women marched for better wages and working conditions. Most of them were teenage girls who worked 12-hour days. Then, in 1911, in one factory, Triangle Shirtwaist Company (where female employees were paid $15 a week in sweatshop conditions: low level lighting, in tight conditions at sewing machines) 145 female workers were killed in a fire. This pushed lawmakers to finally pass legislation meant to protect factory workers through stringent safety measures.

See the source image

[Triangle Factory Fire Photograph by Granger]

Fast-forward to today: I’m teaching a memoir writing class at OCCC-Waldport with mostly women in attendance. Memoirs are different than autobiographies, and this publishing arena is now greatly populated by women memoirists. All three “textbooks” I use in the class were written by women. Additionally, Mary Karr’s The Liars Club, and Cheryl Strayed’s, Wild, are two memoirs we reference.

Time and time again, memoir writing classes I’ve facilitated in Texas, Washington and here have been predominately attended by women who for all intents and purposes are the keepers of the family history.

Throughout my career as educator and journalist, I have seen more and more women take the lead in many fields. One magazine article I published focused on the graduating class at Washington State University’s veterinarian sciences program. All those DVM graduates were women.

The dean of the school stated there is an active recruiting campaign to get “more men into the field.” Imagine that, women undertaking vet sciences, which in 1950 was almost exclusively a male-dominated field.

The reasons for the shift in gender representation are complicated, but one truism stands: Veterinarian sciences is largely a pet field, one where communication with pet owners is vital. It is a field where the patient is actually the human. From field, to barn, to yard, to house, to bed – that’s the shift in the veterinarian field, as illustrated by our dogs and cats.

It begs the question: Are men as empathetic and responsive to the patient’s owner’s psychological and spiritual needs as women?

One of my areas of study, marine sciences, has seen a break in the male domination to sometimes a 50-50 representation of women in some grad programs.

But there are still rough waters: In 2019, on World Oceans Day, the theme was “gender and the ocean.” According to Robin Nelson, a biological anthropologist at Santa Clara:

We frame science as this idea that folks with the best ideas, folks who are willing to work hard, are those who are going to succeed. But absent safeguards protecting vulnerable scientists, she said, those folks who could be super talented, wonderful scientists get pushed out of our fields.

Peter Girguis, an oceanographer at Harvard University, echoes this:

In the absence of gender equality, we’re doing mediocre science.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed “Women’s History Week” in March to coincide with International Women’s Day. Seven years later, Congress declared all of March to be “Women’s History Month.”

There are problems with “a month,” as Kimberly A. Hamlin, an associate professor of history at Miami University in Ohio and author of Free Thinker: Sex, Suffrage, and the Extraordinary Life of Helen Hamilton Gardener, states:

But Women’s History Month unintentionally reinforces the prevailing idea that when women do something, it is called ‘women’s history,’ and when men do something it is called ‘history.’ Women’s History Month also allows state school boards and curricular committees to feel as though they are including women without doing enough to update textbooks and state standards, ultimately undermining the very goals that reformers and historians aimed to achieve with the designation.

I clearly remember when I was the only “guy” in the women’s literature class I took at the University of Arizona where I eventually received a BA and BS. I learned so much about women in history, not just female writers.

We are talking 102 years ago when the 19th amendment granted some women the right to vote (a number of other laws prohibited Native American women, Black women, Asian American women, and Latinx women from voting, among others).

In that lit class, I learned a bit of historical misstatement: What was deemed the first expedition to sail around the globe on a voyage to study and sample the world’s oceans occurred in 1872. Of the 243 people on board the Challenger, not one was a woman.

However, it wasn’t the first. Nearly a century before the Challenger voyage, a woman — Jeanne Baret — sailed around the world on a scientific expedition of her own. She disguised herself as a male assistant on a 1766 voyage led by a French explorer to document plants and ecosystems in distant countries. Baret is the first woman on record to have circumnavigated the globe.

7 Countries With Horrific Sweatshop Situations”

+–+

To continue with the piece above, which will be in the local rag, out here in Lincoln Co, Oregon (Central Coast — Newport News Times), I have to put in some work of a feminist and radical, Linda Ford:

Elizabeth McAlister, in jail since April, remains steadfast, modest and unassuming. She hesitates to give interviews. She did write after her arrest about why she resists the Empire’s weapons: ‘We came to Kings Bay Submarine Base animated by the absurd conviction that we could make some impact on slowing if not ending, the mad rush to the devastation of our magnificent planet.’

Such sentiments, such absurd convictions, that anyone can interfere in the Empire’s global destruction, have to be punished. Such female dissenters have to be jailed and silenced. There should be no more silence surrounding America’s women politicals. Whether considered terrorist threats because, like Aafia Siddiqui, they are part of a group deemed an enemy race; or considered terrorist threats because, like Elizabeth McAlister, they resist and expose America’s global domination—such women will be made political prisoners of the Empire.

— “Women Politicals of the American Empire” by Linda Ford (DV)

“In The Eye of the Beholder: USA History of Imprisoning Women Politicals” (DV) Part One of review and discussion of Linda G. Ford’s Women Politicals in America: Jailed Dissenters from Mother Jones to Lynne Stewart

and

“Long Live the Armed Struggle!” (DV) Part Two of book review, and … The Revolution Will Not Be Televised or plugged onto Twitter, or in the Streets with Your Placards, or Sending in ‘Save the Whale’ Postcards

I was born a protester … My mother had to go to the school a lot and talk to the principal.

— Dorli Rainey (In conversation with author Paul Haeder)

I am being jailed because I have advocated change for equality, justice, and peace. … I stand where thousands of abolitionists, escaped slaves, workers and political activists have stood for demanding justice, for refusing to either quietly bear the biting lash of domination or to stand by silently as others bear the same lash.

— Marilyn Buck, at her 1990 sentencing (epigram in Linda Ford’s book, Women Politicals in America: Jailed Dissenters from Mother Jones to Lynne Stewart)

*Quote from, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. In Spokane, WA, 19 years old. She went to lumber camps in Montana and Washington, speaking at IWW meetings. She stated she fell in love with her country.

+–+

This is not a blanket endorsement of all women, all of those of the female persuasion not having baby blood on their hands. In capitalism, the male dominated death machine is easily transferred to the other sex.

Women in Defense

[ Women in Defense, a career development and networking organization affiliated with the National Defense Industrial Association, a leading industry group. ]

Offensive-polluting-skin peeling-depleted uranium fed-bunker busting-napalm spreading-TNT concussions Industries, described by the misnomer as Defense Industries (Edward Bernays would be smiling), they have garnered the woke label with their CEOs in pant suits and skirts: Definitely do not ask these women over to babysit — that is, if the baby is not blue-eyed, blond, white or of the red-white-and-blue variety.

As of Jan. 1, the CEOs of four of the nation’s five biggest defense contractors — Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and the defense arm of Boeing — are now women. And across the negotiating table, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer and the chief overseer of the nation’s nuclear stockpile now join other women in some of the most influential national security posts, such as the nation’s top arms control negotiator and the secretary of the Air Force. (How Women Took Over the Killing Machine, AKA, MIC!) 

It’s a watershed for what has always been a male-dominated bastion, the culmination of decades of women entering science and engineering fields and knocking down barriers as government agencies and the private sector increasingly weigh merit over machismo.

And, as Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson told POLITICO, it’s also the result of “quieting that little voice in your head that doubts whether you can do that next job or take on that special assignment.”

But turn yourself blue trying to convince the Norte Americanos that war is bad, that when Nazi’s get supported by the USA in places like, err, Ukraine, that THAT in itself is really that region’s issue, and that missiles and guidance systems and bioweapons and cluster bombs, the lot of it, guided by these hailed women above, well, they do the bloody work the same, whether the CEO is male or female. Though, I have to say, all this macho stuff pushed down the Marvel Comic Book bred Norte Americanos, for decades, you know, the Charlie’s Angels jujutsu and now the Black Double Oh Seven, it has done the job of convincing redneck women that their role in this game is to, well, kill babies descriminately and indescriminately.

Because they are baby killers!

Yet, feminists should not view this ​rise” of women as a win. Feminism, as the most recent wave of imperial-feminist articles shows, is increasingly being co-opted to promote and sell the U.S. military-industrial complex: a profoundly violent institution that will never bring liberation to women — whether they are within its own ranks or in the countries bearing the greatest brunt of its brutality. As Noura Erakat, a human rights attorney and assistant professor at George Mason University, put it in an interview with In These Times, women’s inclusion in U.S. military institutions ​makes the system subjugating us stronger and more difficult to fight. Our historical exclusion makes it [appear] desirable to achieve [inclusion] but that’s a lack of imagination. Our historical exclusion should push us to imagine a better system and another world that’s possible.” — (“Against the Feminist-Washing of US Militarism“)

Here, the real heroes, a la women:

Social leaders in Guatemala

[Global Witness report points out that women who act as social leaders are the main victims of murder for carrying out their work. / Photo: Global Witness NGO ]

Finally, put a dress on this person. A little bit of eyeliner. High heels. Hmm, replace one criminal, a male, with a female criminal, and we still have criminalty:

Exclusive: The Pentagon’s Massive Accounting Fraud Exposed
How US military spending keeps rising even as the Pentagon flunks its audit.”

“Holding U.S. Treasurys? Beware: Uncle Sam Can’t Account For $21 Trillion.

Lindorff-Pentagon-Juhasz_img

Or not:

Meet the first female 3-star general in the US military]

Meet the first female 3-star general in the US military - We Are The Mighty

 

The post Women’s History Month is About the Human Race first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Malcolm X Hit 2022 on the Head

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

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

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

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

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

Here, the background:

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

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

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

“American Dirt” needs to be the second.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just a few days ago:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

+–+

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

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

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

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

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

Shocked facial expressions follow suit.

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

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

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

Tengo chisme. Are you ready?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It reflected my face.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview here of Paul Theroux: Source/Podcast.

What would Malcolm X say?

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

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

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

The Last Days of the Covidian Cult

This isn’t going to be pretty, folks. The downfall of a death cult rarely is. There is going to be wailing and gnashing of teeth, incoherent fanatical jabbering, mass deleting of embarrassing tweets. There’s going to be a veritable tsunami of desperate rationalizing, strenuous denying, shameless blame-shifting, and other forms of ass-covering, as suddenly former Covidian Cult members make a last-minute break for the jungle before the fully-vaxxed-and-boosted “Safe and Effective Kool-Aid” servers get to them.

Yes, that’s right, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, the official Covid narrative is finally falling apart, or is being hastily disassembled, or historically revised, right before our eyes. The “experts” and “authorities” are finally acknowledging that the “Covid deaths” and “hospitalization” statistics are artificially inflated and totally unreliable (which they have been from the very beginning), and they are admitting that their miracle “vaccines” don’t work (unless you change the definition of the word “vaccine”), and that they have killed a few people, or maybe more than a few people, and that lockdowns were probably “a serious mistake.”

I am not going to bother with further citations. You can surf the Internet as well as I can. The point is, the “Apocalyptic Pandemic” PSYOP has reached its expiration date. After almost two years of mass hysteria over a virus that causes mild-to-moderate common-cold or flu-like symptoms (or absolutely no symptoms whatsoever) in about 95% of the infected and the overall infection fatality rate of which is approximately 0.1% to 0.5%, people’s nerves are shot. We are all exhausted. Even the Covidian cultists are exhausted. And they are starting to abandon the cult en masse.

It was always mostly just a matter of time. As Klaus Schwab said, “the pandemic represent[ed] a rare but narrow window of opportunity to reflect, reimagine, and reset our world.”

It isn’t over, but that window is closing, and our world has not been “reimagined” and “reset,” not irrevocably, not just yet. Clearly, GloboCap underestimated the potential resistance to the Great Reset, and the time it would take to crush that resistance. And now the clock is running down, and the resistance isn’t crushed … on the contrary, it is growing. And there is nothing GloboCap can do to stop it, other than go openly totalitarian, which it can’t, as that would be suicidal. As I noted in a recent column:

New Normal totalitarianism — and any global-capitalist form of totalitarianism — cannot display itself as totalitarianism, or even authoritarianism. It cannot acknowledge its political nature. In order to exist, it must not exist. Above all, it must erase its violence (the violence that all politics ultimately comes down to) and appear to us as an essentially beneficent response to a legitimate ‘global health crisis’ …

The simulated “global health crisis” is, for all intents and purposes, over. Which means that GloboCap has screwed the pooch. The thing is, if you intend to keep the masses whipped up into a mindless frenzy of anus-puckering paranoia over an “apocalyptic global pandemic,” at some point, you have to produce an actual apocalyptic global pandemic. Faked statistics and propaganda will carry you for a while, but eventually people are going to need to experience something at least resembling an actual devastating worldwide plague, in reality, not just on their phones and TVs.

Also, GloboCap seriously overplayed their hand with the miracle “vaccines.” Covidian cultists really believed that the “vaccines” would protect them from infection. Epidemiology experts like Rachel Maddow assured them that they would:

Now we know that the vaccines work well enough that the virus stops with every vaccinated person,” Maddow said on her show the evening of March 29, 2021. “A vaccinated person gets exposed to the virus, the virus does not infect them, the virus cannot then use that person to go anywhere else,” she added with a shrug. “It cannot use a vaccinated person as a host to go get more people.

And now they are all sick with … well, a cold, basically, or are “asymptomatically infected,” or whatever. And they are looking at a future in which they will have to submit to “vaccinations” and “boosters” every three or four months to keep their “compliance certificates” current, in order to be allowed to hold a job, attend a school, or eat at a restaurant, which, OK, hardcore cultists are fine with, but there are millions of people who have been complying, not because they are delusional fanatics who would wrap their children’s heads in cellophane if Anthony Fauci ordered them to, but purely out of “solidarity,” or convenience, or herd instinct, or … you know, cowardice.

Many of these people (i.e., the non-fanatics) are starting to suspect that maybe what we “tin-foil-hat-wearing, Covid-denying, anti-vax, conspiracy-theorist extremists” have been telling them for the past 22 months might not be as crazy as they originally thought. They are back-pedaling, rationalizing, revising history, and just making up all kinds of self-serving bullshit, like how we are now in “a post-vaccine world,” or how “the Science has changed,” or how “Omicron is different,” in order to avoid being forced to admit that they’re the victims of a GloboCap PSYOP and the worldwide mass hysteria it has generated.

Which … fine, let them tell themselves whatever they need to for the sake of their vanity, or their reputations as investigative journalists, celebrity leftists, or Twitter revolutionaries. If you think these “recovering” Covidian Cult members are ever going to publicly acknowledge all the damage they have done to society, and to people and their families, since March 2020, much less apologize for all the abuse they heaped onto those of us who have been reporting the facts … well, they’re not. They are going to spin, equivocate, rationalize, and lie through their teeth, whatever it takes to convince themselves and their audience that, when the shit hit the fan, they didn’t click heels and go full “Good German.”

Give these people hell if you need to. I feel just as angry and betrayed as you do. But let’s not lose sight of the ultimate stakes here. Yes, the official narrative is finally crumbling, and the Covidian Cult is starting to implode, but that does not mean that this fight is over. GloboCap and their puppets in government are not going to cancel the whole “New Normal” program, pretend the last two years never happened, and gracefully retreat to their lavish bunkers in New Zealand and their mega-yachts.

Totalitarian movements and death cults do not typically go down gracefully. They usually go down in a gratuitous orgy of wanton, nihilistic violence as the cult or movement desperately attempts to maintain its hold over its wavering members and defend itself from encroaching reality. And that is where we are at the moment … or where we are going to be very shortly.

Cities, states, and countries around the world are pushing ahead with implementing the New Normal biosecurity society, despite the fact that there is no longer any plausible justification for it. Austria is going ahead with forced “vaccination.” Germany is preparing to do the same. France is rolling out a national segregation system to punish “the Unvaccinated.” Greece is fining “unvaccinated” pensioners. Australia is operating “quarantine camps.” Scotland. Italy. Spain. The Netherlands. New York City. San Francisco. Toronto. The list goes on, and on, and on.

I don’t know what is going to happen. I’m not an oracle. I’m just a satirist. But we are getting dangerously close to the point where GloboCap will need to go full-blown fascist if they want to finish what they started. If that happens, things are going to get very ugly. I know, things are already ugly, but I’m talking a whole different kind of ugly. Think Jonestown, or Hitler’s final days in the bunker, or the last few months of the Manson Family.

That is what happens to totalitarian movements and death cults once the spell is broken and their official narratives fall apart. When they go down, they try to take the whole world with them. I don’t know about you, but I’m hoping we can avoid that. From what I have heard and read, it isn’t much fun.

The post The Last Days of the Covidian Cult first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Year of the New Normal Fascist

Nazis on holiday

And so, as 2021 goose-steps toward its fanatical finish, it is time for my traditional year-end wrap-up. It’s “The Year of the Ox” in the Chinese zodiac, but I’m christening it “The Year of the New Normal Fascist.”

And what a phenomenally fascist year it has been!

I’m not talking amateur fascism. I am talking professional Class-A fascism. Government and corporate sanctified fascism. Bug-eyed, spittle-flecked, hate-drunk fascism. I’m talking mobs of New Normal fascists shrieking hatred and threats at “the Unvaccinated” as they are dragged off “Vaccinated Only” trains, painting Nazi-era messages on their windows of their stores, leaders of government fomenting mass hatred, TV commentators literally quoting sadistic Nazi SS doctors, leftists going full-fascist on Facebook, concentration camps, Goebbelsian propaganda, censorship of dissent … the whole nine yards.

Here in Europe, things are particularly fascist. One by one, New Normal countries are rolling out social-segregation systems, ordering “lockdowns” of “the Unvaccinated,” and otherwise persecuting those who refuse to conform to official New Normal ideology. Austria has made “vaccinations” mandatory. Germany is about to follow suit. “Covid passes” have been approved in the UK. Greece is fining “Unvaccinated” pensioners by reducing the amount of their state-pension payments. Swedes are “chipping” themselves. And so on.

In New Normal Germany, “the Unvaccinated” are under de facto house arrest. We are banned from society. We are banned from traveling. We are banned from protesting. Our writings are censored. We’re demonized and dehumanized by the New Normal government, the state and corporate media, and the New Normal masses on a daily basis. New Normal goon squads roam the streets, brutalizing pensioners, raiding barber shops, checking “papers,” measuring social distances, literally, as in with measuring sticks. The Gestapo even arrested Santa Claus for not wearing a mask at a Christmas market. In the schools, fascist New Normal teachers ritually humiliate “Unvaccinated” children, forcing them to stand in front of the class and justify their “Unvaccinated” status, while the “Vaccinated” children and their parents are applauded, like some New Normal version of the Hitler Youth. When New Normal Germany’s new Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, announced that, “for my government there are no more red lines as far as doing what needs to be done,” apparently he wasn’t joking. It’s only a matter of time until he orders New Normal Propaganda Minister Karl Lauterbach to make his big Sportpalast speech, where he will ask the New Normals if they want “total war” … and I think you know the rest of this story.

But this isn’t just a story about New Normal Germany, or New Normal Europe, or New Normal Australia. And it isn’t just a story about mass hysteria, or an “overreaction” to a corona virus. The “New Normal” is a global GloboCap co-production, a multi-trillion-dollar co-production, which has been in development for quite some time, and this year has gone exactly to script.

Given all the drama over the past 12 months, it’s easy to forget that the year began with the occupation of Washington DC by thousands of US (i.e., GloboCap) forces in the wake of the “Terrorist Assault on the Capitol” (a/k/a the “January 6 Insurrection,” or the “Attempted Coup,” or some such nonsense) carried out by a few hundred totally unarmed Donald Trump supporters, who were allegedly intent on “overthrowing the government” and “destroying Democracy” with … well, their bare hands.

This was the long-awaited “Return to Normal” spectacle that had been in the pipeline for the previous four years, the public humiliation of the Unauthorized President (and the “populists” who put him in office) and the GloboCap show of force that followed. Here’s how I described it back in January:

“In other words, GloboCap is teaching us a lesson. I don’t know how much clearer they could make it. They just installed a new puppet president, who can’t even simulate mental acuity, in a locked-down, military-guarded ceremony which no one was allowed to attend, except for a few members of the ruling classes. They got some epigone of Albert Speer to convert the Mall (where the public normally gathers) into a ‘field of flags,’ symbolizing ‘unity.’ They even did the Nazi Lichtdom thing. To hammer the point home, they got Lady Gaga to dress up as a Hunger Games character with a ‘Mockingjay’ brooch and sing the National Anthem. They broadcast this spectacle to the entire world.”

As I assume is obvious to everyone by now, the “Return to Normal” was a “Return to the New Normal,” which the global-capitalist ruling establishment was already imposing on the entire world. The message couldn’t possibly be clearer. As Arnold Schwarzenegger succinctly put it, the message is, “screw your freedom.” The message is, shut up and toe the fucking line. The message is, show me your fucking papers. Use the fucking pronouns. Eat the fucking bugs. Get the fucking “vaccinations.” Do not fucking ask us “how many.” The answer is, “as many as we fucking tell you.”

The message is, there will be no more unauthorized presidents, no more leaving the European Union, no more “populist” rebellions against the global hegemony of global-capitalism and its soul-crushing, valueless “woke” ideology. GloboCap is done playing grab-ass. They announced that back in March of 2020. They informed us in unmistakable terms that our lives were about to change, forever. They branded and advertised this change as “the New Normal,” in case we were … you know, cognitively challenged. They did not hide it. They wanted us to understand exactly what was coming, a global-capitalist version of totalitarianism, in which we will all be happy little fascist “consumers” showing each other our “compliance certificates” in order to be allowed to live our lives.

I don’t need to review the entire year in detail. You remember the highlights … the roll-out of the “safe and effective” miracle “vaccines” that don’t keep you from catching or spreading the virus, and which have killed and injured thousands of people, but which you now have to get every three or four months to be allowed to work or go to a restaurant; the roll-out of the global social-segregation/digital compliance-certificate system that makes absolutely no medical sense, but which the “vaccines” were designed to force us into; The Criminalization of Dissent; The Manufacturing of “Reality”; The Propaganda War; The Covidian Cult; the launch of The Great New Normal Purge; the whole Pathologized Totalitarianism package.

I’d like to end on an optimistic note, because, Jesus, this fascism business is depressing. So I’ll just mention that, as you have probably noticed, more and more people are now “waking up,” or relocating their intestinal fortitude, and finally speaking out against “vaccine” mandates, and “vaccination passes,” and social segregation, and all the rest of the fascist New Normal program. I intend to encourage this “awakening” vociferously. I hope that those — and you know who you are — who have been reporting the facts and opposing the New Normal, and have been ridiculed, demonized, gaslighted, censored, slandered, threatened, and otherwise abused, on a daily basis for 21 months, as our more “prominent” colleagues — and you know who you are — sat by in silence, or took part in the Hate Fest, will join me in applauding and welcoming these “prominent” colleagues to the fight … finally.

Oh, and, if you’re one of those “prominent” colleagues and you start beating your chest and sounding off like you’ve just rediscovered investigative journalism and are now leading the charge against the New Normal for your YouTube viewers or your Substack readers, please understand if we get a little cranky. Speaking for myself, yes, it’s been a bit stressful, doing your job and taking the shit for you out here in the trenches for the past 21 months. Not to mention how it has virtually killed my comedy … and I’m supposed to be a political satirist.

But there I go, getting all “angry” again … whatever. As the doctor said, “buy the ticket, take the ride.” And it’s the season of joy, love, and forgiveness, and publicly crucifying dissidents, and paranoia, and mass hysteria, and persecuting “Unvaccinated” relatives, and, OK, I might have had one too many. Happy holidays to one and all, except, of course, to the New Normal fascists, especially the ones that are torturing the children. God, forgive me, but I hope they fucking choke.

AP Photo/Oded Balilty

The post The Year of the New Normal Fascist first appeared on Dissident Voice.