Category Archives: Neoliberalism

More Mandated Vaccinations Will Not Solve Economic Failure One Iota: May Even Make Things Worse

On September 9, 2021, President Joe Biden publicly issued sweeping statements and demands that make it clear that, whether they like or it, millions more people will have to get vaccinated or risk losing their livelihoods and security. His posture has been described by mainstream media as “aggressive.” Many alternative news and information sources describe Biden’s actions as righteous, arrogant, authoritarian, and incoherent. 1 Biden asserted that choice and freedoms are not the issue. He dismissed both in one breath. One’s right to consent to something was banished in three seconds. Many have also asserted that Biden does not have the legal authority to make and enforce such top-down mandates. Others claim that his White House speech on vaccinations is full of contradictions and disinformation.

Like Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and many other capital-centered ideologues and “leaders,” Biden keeps disinforming the polity with the worn-out dogma that economic recovery is largely dependent on getting everyone vaccinated. We are to believe that the broad and stubborn economic failure confronting everyone today is largely caused by the virus and that once the virus is “under control” through vaccines rush-produced by for-profit companies with a long record of malpractice, the economy will soar and flourish. A variety of mainstream news sources have been desperately reinforcing this disinformation for more than a year; they have no interest in economic science.

However, despite an enormous number of vaccinations issued worldwide, despite a large portion of humanity “taking the jab” already, the economy keeps declining and decaying; many serious economic distortions, problems, and uncertainties persist. Inflation, debt, inequality, homelessness, poverty, under-employment, and environmental destruction, for example, appear to be growing. More than one million people per month are still filing unemployment claims in the U.S. alone and job “creation” numbers are superficial and unimpressive. In addition, the U.S. labor force participation rate remains historically low and the number of long-term unemployed remains high. On top of all this, millions of employed workers are living pay-check to pay-check, which means that even full-time employment is no guarantee of security and prosperity. Various surveys also show that large majorities are not hopeful about the future and health of the economy.

It is no surprise that euphoric economic growth forecasts made just weeks or months ago by “leaders” and “experts” are already being revised downward—in some cases significantly. The ruling elite is always embracing magical thinking; they are not on good terms with reality.

It is also being said that large numbers of people will end up leaving their jobs—voluntarily or by being fired—rather than compromise their right to conscience and get vaccinated. This could mean even fewer workers taking available jobs and even more retailers, businesses, and services operating in dysfunctional, disruptive, and unreliable ways without employees. Thus, for example, many nurses, teachers, police officers, and other workers are choosing the right to conscience and unemployment over mandated vaccination. Thousands of businesses are already struggling to fill low-paying positions in the context of constantly-rising inflation and an uncertain future. The American Hospital Association said that Biden’s vaccination plan “may result in exacerbating the severe work force shortage problems that currently exist”. Not surprisingly, some organizations have already started to oppose Biden’s vaccination plan.

The economic depression confronting humanity at home and abroad will not be overcome by leaving major owners of capital in power while workers, the people who actually produce the wealth that society depends on, remain marginalized and disempowered. Economic collapse will not be reversed by funneling more socially-produced wealth to different monopolies and oligopolies, while leaving everyone else with less. Fostering policies, agendas, and arrangements that make the rich even richer is a recipe for deeper problems, not a promising path forward. To date, billions of vaccination shots at home and abroad have not stopped or slowed a range of serious economic problems.

Since the start of the never-ending “COVID Pandemic” more wealth has become concentrated in even fewer hands and more people have experienced more psychological, social, and economic problems. Inequality has soared over the past 18 months.

The current economic crisis started long before 2020 and is rooted in the same contradictions that produced big economic problems before 2020. Even if there were no covid virus mutations, the economy would still be declining because economic upheavals are endemic to the capitalist economic system. Depressions and recessions are not caused by external factors. To claim that the economic system is generally sound but runs into problems now and then because of exogenous forces is nothing more than a way to apologize for the outmoded economic system.

Without major changes, without vesting power in workers themselves, economic crises will keep recurring and deepening. The rich and their representatives have shown time and again that they are unable and unwilling to solve economic and health crises, let alone in a human-centered way.

  1. In December 2020 Biden publicly stated that the federal government should not or could not mandate vaccinations.
The post More Mandated Vaccinations Will Not Solve Economic Failure One Iota: May Even Make Things Worse first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Smashing The Heads of Farmers: A Global Struggle Against Tyranny

According to Reuters, more than 500,000 farmers attended a rally in the city of Muzaffarnagar in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on 5 September. Hundreds of thousands more turned out for other rallies in the state.

Rakesh Tikait, a prominent farmers’ leader, said this would breathe fresh life into the Indian farmers’ protest movement.

He added:

We will intensify our protest by going to every single city and town of Uttar Pradesh to convey the message that Modi’s government is anti-farmer.

Tikait is a leader of the protest movement and a spokesperson of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Indian Farmers’ Union).

Since November 2020, tens of thousands of farmers have been encamped on the outskirts of Delhi in protest against three new farm laws that will effectively hand over the agrifood sector to corporates and place India at the mercy of international commodity and financial markets for its food security.

Aside from the rallies in Uttar Pradesh, thousands more farmers recently gathered in Karnal in the state of Haryana to continue to pressurise the Modi-led government to repeal the laws. This particular protest was also in response to police violence during another demonstration, also in Karnal (200 km north of Delhi), during late August when farmers had been blocking a highway. The police Lathi-charged them and at least 10 people were injured and one person died from a heart attack a day later.

A video that appeared on social media showed Ayush Sinha, a top government official, encouraging officers to “smash the heads of farmers” if they broke through the barricades placed on the highway.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar criticised the choice of words but said that “strictness had to be maintained to ensure law and order”.

But that is not quite true. “Strictness” – outright brutality – must be imposed to placate the scavengers abroad who are circling overhead with India’s agrifood sector firmly in their sights. As much as the authorities try to distance themselves from such language – ‘smashing heads’ is precisely what India’s rulers and the billionaire owners of foreign agrifood corporations require.

The government has to demonstrate to global agricapital that it is being tough on farmers in order to maintain ‘market confidence’ and attract foreign direct investment in the sector (aka the takeover of the sector).

The farmers’ protest in India represents a struggle for the heart and soul of the country: a conflict between the local and the global. Large-scale international agribusiness, retailers, traders and e-commerce companies are trying to displace small- and medium-size indigenous producers and enterprises and restructure the entire agrifood sector in their own image.

By capitulating to the needs of foreign agrifood conglomerates – which is what the three agriculture laws represent – India will be compelled to eradicate its buffer food stocks. It would then bid for them with borrowed funds on the open market or with its foreign reserves.

This approach is symptomatic of what has been happening since the 1990s, when India was compelled to embrace neoliberal economics. The country has become increasingly dependent on inflows of foreign capital. Policies are being governed by the drive to attract and retain foreign investment and maintain ‘market confidence’ by ceding to the demands of international capital which rides roughshod over democratic principles and the needs of hundreds of millions of ordinary people.

The authorities know they must be seen to be acting tough on farmers, thereby demonstrating a steely resolve to foreign agribusiness and investors in general.

The Indian government’s willingness to cede control of its agrifood sector would appear to represent a victory for US foreign policy.

Economist Prof Michael Hudson stated in 2014:

American foreign policy has almost always been based on agricultural exports… It’s by agriculture and control of the food supply that American diplomacy has been able to control most of the Third World. The World Bank’s geopolitical lending strategy has been to turn countries into food deficit areas by convincing them to grow cash crops – plantation export crops – not to feed themselves with their own food crops.

On the back of India’s foreign exchange crisis in the 1990s, the IMF and World Bank wanted India to shift hundreds of millions out of agriculture. In return for up to more than $120 billion in loans at the time, India was directed to dismantle its state-owned seed supply system, reduce subsidies, run down public agriculture institutions and offer incentives for the growing of cash crops to earn foreign exchange.

The drive is to drastically dilute the role of the public sector in agriculture, reducing it to a facilitator of private capital and leading to the entrenchment of industrial farming and the replacement of small-scale farms.

Smashing protesters’ heads

A December 2020 photograph published by the Press Trust of India defines the Indian government’s approach to protesting farmers. It shows a security official in paramilitary garb raising a lathi. An elder from the Sikh farming community was about to feel its full force.

But “smashing the heads of farmers” is symbolic of how near-totalitarian ‘liberal democracies’ the world over now regard many within their own populations.

The right to protest and gather in public as well as the right of free speech has been suspended in Australia, which currently resembles a giant penal colony as officials pursue a nonsensical ‘zero-COVID’ policy. Across Europe and in the US and Israel, unnecessary and discriminatory ‘COVID passports’ are being rolled out to restrict freedom of movement and access to services. And those who protest against any of this are often confronted by a massive, intimidating police presence (or actual police violence) and media smear campaigns.

Again, governments must demonstrate resolve to their billionaire masters in Big Finance, the Gates and Rockefeller Foundations, the World Economic Forum and the entire gamut of forces in the military-financial industrial complex behind the ‘Great Reset’, ‘4th Industrial Revolution, ‘New Normal’ or whichever other benign-sounding term its political and media lackeys use to disguise the restructuring of capitalism and the brutal impacts on ordinary people.

This too, like the restructuring of Indian agriculture – which will affect India’s entire 1.3-billion-plus population – is also part of a US foreign policy agenda that serves the interests of the Anglo-US elite.

COVID has ensured that trillions of dollars have been handed over to elite interests, while lockdowns and restrictions have been imposed on ordinary people and small businesses. The winners have been the likes of Amazon, Big Pharma and the tech giants. The losers have been small enterprises and the bulk of the population, deprived of their right to work and the entire panoply of civil rights their ancestors struggled and often died for. If a masterplan is required to deliver a knockout blow to small enterprises for the benefit of global players, then this is it.

Professor Michel Cossudovsky of the Centre for Research on Globalization says:

The Global Money financial institutions are the ‘creditors’ of the real economy which is in crisis. The closure of the global economy has triggered a process of global indebtedness. Unprecedented in World history, a multi-trillion bonanza of dollar denominated debts is hitting simultaneously the national economies of 193 countries.

In August 2020, a report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) stated:

The COVID-19 crisis has 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 are in emerging and developing countries.

Among the most vulnerable are the 1.6 billion informal economy workers, representing half of the global workforce, who are working in sectors experiencing major job losses or have seen their incomes seriously affected by lockdowns. Most of the workers affected (1.25 billion) are in retail, accommodation and food services and manufacturing. And most of these are self-employed and in low-income jobs in the informal sector.

India was especially affected in this respect when the government imposed a lockdown. The policy ended up pushing 230 million into poverty and wrecked the lives and livelihoods of many. A May 2021 report prepared by the Centre for Sustainable Employment at Azim Premji University (APU) has highlighted how employment and income had not recovered to pre-pandemic levels even by late 2020.

The report, ‘State of Working India 2021 – One year of Covid-19’ highlights how almost half of formal salaried workers moved into the informal sector and that 230 million people fell below the national minimum wage poverty line.

Even before COVID, India was experiencing its longest economic slowdown since 1991 with weak employment generation, uneven development and a largely informal economy. A recent article by the Research Unit for Political Economy highlights the structural weaknesses of the economy and the often desperate plight of ordinary people.

To survive Modi’s lockdown, the poorest 25% of households borrowed 3.8 times their median income, as against 1.4 times for the top 25%. The study noted the implications for debt traps.

Six months later, it was also noted that food intake was still at lockdown levels for 20% of vulnerable households.

Meanwhile, the rich were well taken care of. According to Left Voice:

The Modi government has handled the pandemic by prioritising the profits of big business and protecting the fortunes of billionaires over protecting the lives and livelihoods of workers.

Michel Chossudovsky says that governments are now under the control of global creditors and that the post-Covid era will see massive austerity measures, including the cancellation of workers’ benefits and social safety nets. An unpayable multi-trillion dollar public debt is unfolding: the creditors of the state are Big Money, which calls the shots in a process that will lead to the privatisation of the state.

Between April and July 2020, the total wealth held by billionaires around the world has grown from $8 trillion to more than $10 trillion. Chossudovsky says a new generation of billionaire innovators looks set to play a critical role in repairing the damage by using the growing repertoire of emerging technologies. He adds that tomorrow’s innovators will digitise, refresh and revolutionise the economy: but, as he notes, let us be under no illusions these corrupt billionaires are impoverishers.

With this in mind, a recent piece on the US Right To Know website exposes the Gates-led agenda for the future of food based on the programming of biology to produce synthetic and genetically engineered substances. The thinking reflects the programming of computers in the information economy. Of course, Gates and his ilk have patented, or are patenting, the processes and products involved.

For example, Ginkgo Bioworks, a Gates-backed start-up that makes ‘custom organisms’, recently went public in a $17.5 billion deal. It uses ‘cell programming’ technology to genetically engineer flavours and scents into commercial strains of engineered yeast and bacteria to create ‘natural’ ingredients, including vitamins, amino acids, enzymes and flavours for ultra-processed foods.

Ginkgo plans to create up to 20,000 engineered ‘cell programs’ (it now has five) for food products and many other uses. It plans to charge customers to use its ‘biological platform’. Its customers are not consumers or farmers but the world’s largest chemical, food and pharmaceutical companies.

Gates pushes fake food by way of his greenwash agenda. If he really is interested in avoiding ‘climate catastrophe’, helping farmers or producing enough food, instead of cementing the power and the control of corporations over our food, he should be facilitating community-based and lead agroecological approaches.

But he will not because there is no scope for patents, external proprietary inputs, commodification and dependency on global corporations which Gates sees as the answer to all of humanity’s problems in his quest to bypass democratic processes and roll out his agenda.

India should take heed because this is the future of ‘food’. If the farmers fail to get the farm bills repealed, India will again become dependent on food imports or on foreign food manufacturers and lab-made ‘food’. Fake food will displace traditional diets and cultivation methods will be driven by drones, genetically engineered seeds and farms without farmers, devastating the livelihoods (and health) of hundreds of millions.

This is a vision of the future courtesy of Klaus Schwab’s (of the elitist World Economic Forum) dystopic transhumanism and the Rockefellers’ 2010 lockstep scenario: genetically engineered food and genetically engineered people controlled by a technocratic elite whose plans are implemented through tighter top-down government control and more authoritarian leadership.

Since March 2020, we have seen the structural adjustment of the global capitalist system and labour’s relationship to it and an attempted adjustment of people’s thinking via endless government and media propaganda.

Whether it involves India’s farmers or the frequent rallies and marches against restrictions and COVID passports across the world, there is a common enemy. And there is also a common goal: liberty.

The post Smashing The Heads of Farmers: A Global Struggle Against Tyranny first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Amazon: “Economic Terrorism” and the Destruction of Competition and Livelihoods

Global corporations are colonising India’s retail space through e-commerce and destroying small-scale physical retail and millions of livelihoods.

Walmart entered into India in 2016 with a US$3.3 billion take-over of the online retail start-up Jet.com. This was followed in 2018 with a US$16 billion take-over of India’s largest online retail platform, Flipkart. Today, Walmart and Amazon control almost two thirds of India’s digital retail sector.

Amazon and Walmart have a record of using predatory pricing, deep discounts and other unfair business practices to attract customers to their online platforms. A couple of years ago, those two companies generated sales of over US$3 billion in just six days during Diwali. India’s small retailers reacted by calling for a boycott of online shopping.

If you want to know the eventual fate of India’s local markets and small retailers, look no further than what US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in 2019. He stated that Amazon had “destroyed the retail industry across the United States.”

Amazon’s corporate practices

In the US, an investigation by the House Judiciary Committee concluded that Amazon exerts monopoly power over many small- and medium-size businesses. It called for breaking up the company and regulating its online marketplace to ensure that sellers are treated fairly.

Amazon has spied on sellers and appropriated data about their sales, costs and suppliers. It has then used this information to create its own competing versions of their products, often giving its versions superior placement in the search results on its platform.

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) published a revealing document on Amazon in June 2021 that discussed these issues. It also notes that Amazon has been caught using its venture capital fund to invest in start-ups only to steal their ideas and create rival products and services. Moreover, Amazon’s dominance allows it to function as a gatekeeper: retailers and brands must sell on its site to reach much of the online market and changes to Amazon’s search algorithms or selling terms can cause their sales to evaporate overnight.

Amazon also makes it hard for sellers to reduce their dependence on its platform by making their brand identity almost invisible to shoppers and preventing them from building relationships with their customers. The company strictly limits contact between sellers and customers.

According to the ILSR, Amazon compels sellers to buy its warehousing and shipping services, even though many would get a better deal from other providers, and it blocks independent businesses from offering lower prices on other sites. The company also routinely suspends sellers’ accounts and seizes inventories and cash balances.

The Joint Action Committee against Foreign Retail and E-commerce (JACAFRE) was formed to resist the entry of foreign corporations like Walmart and Amazon into India’s e-commerce market. Its members represent more than 100 national groups, including major trade, workers’ and farmers’ organisations.

JACAFRE issued a statement in 2018 on Walmart’s acquisition of Flipkart, arguing that it undermines India’s economic and digital sovereignty and the livelihoods of millions in India. The committee said the deal would lead to Walmart and Amazon dominating India’s e-retail sector. It would also allow them to own India’s key consumer and other economic data, making them the country’s digital overlords, joining the ranks of Google and Facebook.

In January 2021, JACAFRE published an open letter saying that the three new farm laws, passed by parliament in September 2020, centre on enabling and facilitating the unregulated corporatisation of agriculture value chains. This will effectively make farmers and small traders of agricultural produce become subservient to the interests of a few agrifood and e-commerce giants or will eradicate them completely.

Although there was strong resistance to Walmart entering India with its physical stores, online and offline worlds are now merged: e-commerce companies not only control data about consumption but also control data on production and logistics. Through this control, e-commerce platforms can shape much of the physical economy.

What we are witnessing is the deliberate eradication of markets in favour of monopolistic platforms.

Bezos not welcome

Amazon’s move into India encapsulates the unfair fight for space between local and global markets. There is a relative handful of multi-billionaires who own the corporations and platforms. And there are the interests of hundreds of millions of vendors and various small-scale enterprises who are regarded by these rich individuals as mere collateral damage to be displaced in their quest for ever greater profit.

Thanks to the helping hand of various COVID-related lockdowns which devastated small businesses, the wealth of the world’s billionaires increased by $3.9tn (trillion) between 18 March and 31 December 2020. In September 2020, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s executive chairman, could have paid all 876,000 Amazon employees a $105,000 bonus and still be as wealthy as he was before COVID. Jeff Bezos – his fortune constructed on unprincipled methods that have been well documented in recent years – increased his net wealth by $78.2bn during this period.

Bezos’s plan is clear: the plunder of India and the eradication of millions of small traders and retailers and neighbourhood mom and pop shops.

This is a man with few scruples. After returning from a brief flight to space in July, in a rocket built by his private space company, Bezos said during a news conference:

I also want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all of this.

In response, US congresswoman Nydia Velazquez wrote on Twitter:

While Jeff Bezos is all over the news for paying to go to space, let’s not forget the reality he has created here on Earth.

She added the hashtag #WealthTaxNow in reference to Amazon’s tax dodging, revealed in numerous reports, not least the May 2021 study ‘The Amazon Method: How to take advantage of the international state system to avoid paying tax’ by Richard Phillips, Senior Research Fellow, Jenaline Pyle, PhD Candidate, and Ronen Palan, Professor of International Political Economy, all based at the University of London.

Little wonder that when Bezos visited India in January 2020, he was hardly welcomed with open arms.

Bezos praised India on Twitter by posting:

“Dynamism. Energy. Democracy. #IndianCentury.”

The ruling party’s top man in the BJP foreign affairs department hit back with:

Please tell this to your employees in Washington DC. Otherwise, your charm offensive is likely to be waste of time and money.

A fitting response, albeit perplexing given the current administration’s proposed sanctioning of the foreign takeover of the economy, not least by the unscrupulous interests that will benefit from the recent farm legislation.

Bezos landed in India on the back of the country’s antitrust regulator initiating a formal investigation of Amazon and with small store owners demonstrating in the streets. The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) announced that members of its affiliate bodies across the country would stage sit-ins and public rallies in 300 cities in protest.

In a letter to PM Modi, prior to the visit of Bezos, the secretary of the CAIT, General Praveen Khandelwal, claimed that Amazon, like Walmart-owned Flipkart, was an “economic terrorist” due to its predatory pricing that “compelled the closure of thousands of small traders.”

In 2020, Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh (DVM) filed a complaint against Amazon and Flipkart alleging that they favoured certain sellers over others on their platforms by offering them discounted fees and preferential listing. The DVM lobbies to promote the interests of small traders. It also raised concerns about Amazon and Flipkart entering into tie-ups with mobile phone manufacturers to sell phones exclusively on their platforms.

It was argued by DVM that this was anti-competitive behaviour as smaller traders could not purchase and sell these devices. Concerns were also raised over the flash sales and deep discounts offered by e-commerce companies, which could not be matched by small traders.

The CAIT estimates that in 2019 upwards of 50,000 mobile phone retailers were forced out of business by large e-commerce firms.

Amazon’s internal documents, as revealed by Reuters, indicated that Amazon had an indirect ownership stake in a handful of sellers who made up most of the sales on its Indian platform. This is an issue because in India Amazon and Flipkart are legally allowed to function only as neutral platforms that facilitate transactions between third-party sellers and buyers for a fee.

Under investigation

The upshot is that India’s Supreme Court recently ruled that Amazon must face investigation by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for alleged anti-competitive business practices. The CCI said it would probe the deep discounts, preferential listings and exclusionary tactics that Amazon and Flipkart are alleged to have used to destroy competition.

However, there are powerful forces that have been sitting on their hands as these companies have been running amok.

In August 2021, the CAIT attacked the NITI Aayog (the influential policy commission think tank of the Government of India) for interfering in e-commerce rules proposed by the Consumer Affairs Ministry.

The CAIT said that the think tank clearly seems to be under the pressure and influence of the foreign e-commerce giants.

The president of CAIT, BC Bhartia, stated that it is deeply shocking to see such a callous and indifferent attitude of the NITI Aayog whch have remained a silent spectator for so many years when:

… the foreign e-commerce giants have circumvented every rule of the FDI policy and blatantly violated and destroyed the retail and e-commerce landscape of the country but have suddenly decided to open their mouth at a time when the proposed e-commerce rules will potentially end the malpractices of the e-commerce companies.

Of course, money talks and buys influence. In addition to tens of billions of US dollars invested in India by Walmart and Amazon, Facebook invested US$5.5 billion last year in Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Platforms (e-commerce retail). Google has also invested US$4.5 billion.

Since the early 1990s, when India opened up to neoliberal economics, the country has become increasingly dependent on inflows of foreign capital. Policies are being governed by the drive to attract and retain foreign investment and maintain ‘market confidence’ by ceding to the demands of international capital which ride roughshod over democratic principles and the needs of hundreds of millions of ordinary people. ‘Foreign direct investment’ has thus become the holy grail of the Modi-led administration and the NITI Aayog.

The CAIT has urged the Consumer Affairs Ministry to implement the draft consumer protection e-commerce rules at the earliest as they are in the best interest of the consumers as well as the traders of the country.

Meanwhile, the CCI will probably complete its investigation within two months.

The post Amazon: “Economic Terrorism” and the Destruction of Competition and Livelihoods first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Little Deaths . . . Finding Solace Inside One’s Heart

The consensus is in — no choice, no life, no job, no nothing, without a passport. That medical, DNA scan, the retina scan, all biological systems covered, that all-encompassing passport that lists every move, every moment, every job, every purchase, every fine, penalty, tax, rental, home, significant or insignificant emotional and economic and familial event, captured in a chip. Americans are spoiled, for sure, as are Europeans, and Canadians. That mostly encompasses the Great White Hopes of those respective “countries.” The rest of us, in these “first world” environs are struggling, even with debit and credit and La-La Land accoutrements ad infinitum.

These new times in the west are old times, bubbling up, really, from the early conquest days of razing Indian families, destroying and taking over and plowing through villages, lands, territories. Entire rooms at elite Ivy League universities and museums with drawers and boxes of Native American skulls, bones, skins, eyes, belongings, sacred objects. It is the way of the Egyptologists, and it is the way of the Crusades. Pillage, set villages on fire, and now, set states and countries on fire with fear and terror campaigns in order to exact total compliancy. Services, labor, debt, future payments, extracted from us, capitalism’s marks. Victims. Useless eaters-breeders-breathers-squatters.

Here, from David Rovics, musician and protestor, with some great stuff on Dissident Voice over the years, just coming back from Denmark (and other countries in his gig line). He embraces progressivism and the forced jabs. He is a good fellow, who interviewed me, and we talked about other things tied to the ugly side of leftists and their canceling culture, censorship, etc., but this conversation about jab/mask/remote lockup mandates has not happened yet. I still have room in my brain to listen to what he says, though he misses so many points here:

Despite the prevalence of disinformation platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube being as popular in Denmark as anywhere else that doesn’t have the good sense to ban them, the anti-vaccine movement and anti-lockdown movement in Denmark never grew to the proportions of such movements in the US, Germany, France and elsewhere. But unlike those aforementioned countries, in Denmark most people have a well-founded reason to trust the government on matters of public health and safety.

In Denmark, if anyone jaywalks, they’re usually either a foreigner or an antisocial type. The overwhelming majority of Danes would never do that. This is also true in Germany and some other countries. Americans and Brits and others visiting from abroad tend to make typically American and British individualistic, antisocial assumptions about this conformist behavior. They see a crowd of Germans or Danes standing at a crosswalk, waiting for the “walk” signal, even if there’s no traffic in any direction, and they see something scary, from Children of the Corn or some other horror movie, a bunch of zombies who can’t think for themselves, or are afraid of getting a ticket. (source — David Rovics)

That’s a whole other set of discussion points from this tour he had in Denmark about what democratic socialism is, what society is, how science and government should be trusted (really?). Jaywalking and shoot, tossing banana peels on the side of the road. How dare us lazy, supercilious and egotistical North Americans! Yankees!

The unfolding global hysteria is congealing into even more lovely by-products of Big Pharma as Dictatorship. It comes in many forms and offshoots, for sure. The main functions of Western society are broken — neoliberal and conservative values (sic) have gutted infrastructure, have thrown trillions of bucks-euros to the few, have propped up this society into a very effective kleptocracy, have imbued a dog eat dog set of beliefs into a slew of folks.

We are at the point where billionaires and their lackeys in high places set the narrative, tone, and write the legislation, laws and force zero delimits on corporations and government in this “we the people” system we supposedly “fought” for. There is collapse, after collapse, after collapse, and it is apparent in the lack of governance over decades, and the adventures of imperial overreach, too.

In daily lives, professional managerial class actors are hitting the middle/upper middle class stratum, economically, through the systems of pain, fines, fees, tolls, penalties, regressive taxation, permits and litigation that eat at us, the 80 percent, from the soul and the brain and the body. We are in a time of most people not being able to navigate “the system,” and that can be any system — school, medical, social security, DMV, courts, and any number of systems of oppression and subjugation. So it is a time of chaos, now Covid Chaos, moving into more Chaos.

Teachers should be a priority for Covid vaccines, unions and others say - POLITICO

“People are fed up,” says Winni Paul, a management consultant whose clients have included campuses and higher-education groups. “The graciousness, the compassion, the ‘we do it for the students, we do it for the work’ — that’s gone.”

And I am with a group of teachers from many states, who are now scrambling to figure out what to do with the forced jabs, the forced proof of jabs, the forced masking, all of that, and many will not submit to the experimental mRNA, many have looked into these DNA-alternating medical devices, and they feel alone, big time. Their AFT (American Federation of Teachers) union has caved, and they see in big cities and small, all venues requiring, soon, a passport, CDC-approved vaccination card.

Delta airlines is forcing non-vaccinated employees to pay an additional $200 a month premium, AKA fine for not being jabbed. Oh, that was yesterday (August 25), and that will not be the end of it. Fools like Thom Hartman advocate ER physicians having the right to refuse treatment to anyone coming in — motorcycle accident, heart attack, broken leg, stroke — who are not vaccinated.

This is the Brave New World already outlined by the eugenicists of the 1920s, of the Modest Proposal of Swift’s time, of the middle passage days of tossing overboard hundreds of sick shackled slaves in one one-way crossing. Multiply that by hundreds of ships, tossing human beings for the sharks, alive, shackled in chains. It is the genocidal policies of empires and their corporate thugs (overlords) in despoiling cultures, murdering millions, and enslaving regions for their rubber, silver, gold, lithium, any number of things the capitalists call loot and booty. Pirates compared to the thieves from history and today seem like Fred McFeely Rogers in comparison.

See the source image

Even a saint, Fauci, he is a titan of terror in his old man’s way — “over his 50-year career with the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to address the cause, to prevent or cure the exploding epidemics of allergies and chronic disease that Congress charged him with curtailing. The chronic disease pandemic is his enduring legacy. Those ailments now debilitate 54% of American children compared to 6% when he joined NIAD.” (source — RFK Jr.)

See the source image

In this group of teachers, daily there are emails announcing more and more statewide jab mandates, and the teachers that have to pay twice-a-week tests, if not jabbed, well, it is filling up those school districts; and many now in this group want out, since their email boxes are filling up. Teachers, youngish and not, with no money in the bank, really, and no place to go, since I predict all new rental agreements throughout the land (except in some Breaking Bad locales) will require proof of jab x, jab y, jab z, jab infinity.

The playing field shifts hourly, and while I have a literary reading manana, in Portland, for this hour, at least, the restaurant and community room demands all to be masked. There is no shot record demand, YET, but that’s on the horizon, since Oregon is the first state to reinstate mandatory outside masking policies. But the venue’s other locations, well, the rock and roll and progressives, they want to see vax cards or proof of SARS-CoV2 free tests. The Crystal Ballroom

It doesn’t matter how many millions of people worldwide are not happy with mRNA experimental chemicals forced into the bloodstream and across the blood-brain barrier;  not happy with the bioweaponry aspect of Operation Warp Speed; not happy with the therapeutics that have been disavowed and censored, which could have saved millions of lives, possibly. One size fits all, baby. This news aggregator and news maker site, well, it is almost scrubbed from all search engines:

These stories above and below are verboten in the minds of tens of millions, hundreds of millions Westerners — even though there are robust stories on other topics, besides Fauci, jabs and mRNA, and fascism in this places.

I am finding people fighting, for sure, against mandates. Hell, my one time with the doctor recently points to this: “While I did get the vaccination, I am against mandates. I am against forcing people against their will to get this. I am of the mind that people have the right to make up their own minds.” He’s older, maybe 70, is a DO, and I know the university where he adjunct taught and matriculated from, Touro University Nevada (TUN) (a private university in Henderson, Nevada. It is part of the Touro College and University System. Touro University Nevada is a branch campus of its sister campus Touro University California.)

My niece is there, in her second year, and my DO stated, his one word of advice for her is, Cash. “Tell her to write notes to family and friends, and state: ‘please send cash.’” The doctor likes me, and he’s a jokester. He told me reads a lot, and that he did work in Amazonian for years, “saving one life at a time.” He is looking at my recent stress test, and alas, getting a cardiologist on board to maybe do more investigation on some electrical anomalies when I got up to 160 beats per minute, that is another example of the failed capitalist system: there are none here on Highway 101 on the central coast, and getting one to see me could take weeks, out of the cities of Salem or Corvallis. This is the state of medicine, after decades of gutting taxation of the rich and the corporations (who are getting us sick) and years turning medicine into a bizarre insurance scam, where doctors spend more time on the computer screen than with the patient.

So, this next reset is all about pushing more and more people into fewer and fewer public spheres, pushing people away from outliers or those defiant and dissident like me and millions. It is about controlling the masses, setting forth sophisticated bandwagon forms of propaganda, and setting afire all forms of community gatherings and robust discussions of the millions of topics of the day.

With this teachers’ group, the messages are coming in:

  • Governor Pritzker just announced mandatory vax for all IL teachers
  • Here is Dr. Peter McCullough talking about the dangers of vaccines, among other things: Basically, the vaxxed are projecting all the havoc they themselves are wreaking even as “life is pretty much back to normal among the vaccinated,” as many are bragging onto the unvaxxed. Many op-eds in publications like WaPo and the NYT are filling their pages with doctors martyring themselves and declaring they won’t treat unvaxxed anymore (to cheers from bots and humans alike in the comments section) and normalizing ending friendships based on vaccination status. But they are the super spreaders. They are the ones making children and Grandma sick. This is scapegoating at its finest.
  • Some great work is being done by Mike Williams @ Sage of Quay. Also, great Common Law shows being done by Crrow777 Radio Alfonso Faggiola and Lena Pu.
  • Want to see a man stand up to the controllers? Check out Paul Unslaved . You can also gain a little insight from some of the good First Amendment auditors like Long Island Audit.
  • California AB455 – this bill, if passed, will mandate the C19 vaccine for all CA employees and for CA citizens to enter any establishment except church and grocery stores:
Doctor McCullough video.
  • Rally against this action set for September 8th
  • Some good news: a touching video of resistance to vaccine mandates in France (i cant verify the authenticity but hope it is real)
  • Lastly, ICYMI – Illinois’ Vax Verify – vaccination verification is tied to Experian – meaning residents will have to go through a one-time verification process through Experian to access their vaccination records. So stating the obvious – this is opening the door increasingly towards a social credit system.

Then this from one of the people on this list wanting the mandates and the draconian measures stopped:

Just a quick note: This Sunday will mark 58 years of me being active in the political sphere. Back in ’64, it was as a Goldwater volunteer. Some 6 years later, i switched sides, a consequence of the Vietnam War, the counterculture, ecological crisis,…  And became much more of an activist. I have no love whatsoever for the right.  But I’ve also seen the “left” act at critical points as a defender of the capitalist status quo, particularly as a consequence of the dominant tendency within the left to accept the state as if it were an institution acting on behalf of society as a whole, rather than the instrument of class power it has been since it emerged in history thousands of years ago. Both left and right (and “center”) are fully on board with the onrushing police state, while each proclaims itself to be defending the interests of humanity against the others. People need to look to themselves for solutions, and learn from historical movements, including anarchists and anti-statist socialists.

Connecting the dots is easy on one hand, but to get people to see this entire terror theater as planned is another can of GMO worms. Here, this is certainly a global, or EU, story worth a million lines of digital ink: Why do the experts on Science Advice for Policy by European Academies fight for higher pesticide exposure by Rosemary Mason

I heartily accept the motto,—”That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe,—”That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men and women are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.

— Henry David Thoreau, Resistance to Civil Government, 1849

Succinctly, Communist approaches to anti-statism center on the relationship between political rule and class struggle. Karl Marx defined the state as the institution used by the ruling class of a country to maintain the conditions of its rule. To this extent, the ultimate goal of communist society was theorized as both stateless and classless.

We are at 8 billion, and the planet is run by Blackstone and BlackRock and around 30 financial organizations, and around 140 corporations. The bottleneck is what the planned pandemic was all about — getting people to run away from sanity, common sense, and running into the various insane asylums. For anyone to question why some of us — who are way beyond just coming out from under the Capitalist-Media-Education rock — might doubt the purveyors of capital, scientism, control, policing, finance and corrupt drug companies, well, that is where I am now — “since the majority of people are in line for the jab, what’s your fucking lunatic problem?”

Here, Chris Williams, and, yes, on ecosocialism — hmm:

The distortions that go on under capitalism are so obscene it’s hard to wrap your head around it sometimes, on a micro level as well as a macro level. I was riding on the subway and I took a couple of trains and I was looking at the ads. The average American sees about 3,000 ads a day. One ad was for a credit card, and this is the slogan for the credit card—“Less plastic, more human—Discover it is human.” Discover is the card that they were advertising. In other words, you can actually be more human by having this type of credit card. Another ad, and this gets to the quality of life, that I pass by was about online delivery of food—how you can order online instead of having to phone somebody—and the ad read, “You’ve perfected the odds of getting to third base faster. Food delivery date night.” The obscenity and depravity of capitalism knows no depths to which it will not plumb.

This is something that Karl Marx talked about quite a bit. He was speaking at the anniversary of the People’s Paper in 1856, and I think this resonates far more with us now than it did even in his time.

On the one hand, there have started into life industrial and scientific forces, which no epoch of the former human history had ever suspected. On the other hand, there exist symptoms of decay, far surpassing the horrors recorded of the latter times of the Roman Empire.

That kind of sense of decay pervades our world as it is currently structured. He goes on:

In our days, everything seems pregnant with its contrary: Machinery, gifted with the wonderful power of shortening and fructifying human labor, we behold starving and overworking it; The newfangled sources of wealth, by some strange weird spell, are turned into sources of want; The victories of art seem bought by the loss of character.

At the same pace that mankind masters nature, man seems to become enslaved to other men or to his own infamy. Even the pure light of science seems unable to shine but on the dark background of ignorance. All our invention and progress seem to result in endowing material forces with intellectual life, and in stultifying human life into a material force.

John Bellamy Foster on ecosocialism:  “Ecological resistance in the twenty-first century has more and more been informed by the development of Marxian ecology and ecosocialism more generally. However, as ecosocialist analysis has grown, various divergent branches of thought have emerged, often in conflict with each other. Based on the conviction that clarity about capitalism’s relation to the environment is indispensable for the strategic understanding of present-day struggles, this talk will present some of the new research within Marxian ecology, bringing together the core issues of the expropriation of nature and the metabolic rift, and seeking to unite the ecosocialist movements of our time.”

Another set of notes from another teacher on this V is for Vendetta Vaccines email group — I’m calling it that as a joke:

  • I just attended a workshop for religious exemptions, and will forward the email for any of those who wish to attend. I am also happy to share insights and notes I took to help out anyone who wishes to take this route. However, I would like to share some notes and important information discussed in this workshop.
  • First, if you are part a union or teachers union, Collective Bargaining needs to take place. Many unions did not have a seat at the table and have sent cease and desist letters that could delay the mandates. Remember the unions represent both the majority and the minority of their union members and even if there is only 15 percent against the mandates, those individuals should be represented. It was recommended to call your Labor Relations Representative or Union Rep to see  if they have sent a cease and desist letter or are planning on it. Key word is the Collective Bargaining aspect of the unions and you may be able to ask them to do so.
  • Additionally, I think if you are able to file for a religious exemption it is a good way to buy time. The common law approach may be a good option for those who do not have an option. Realistically, for Californians we are a Right to Work state, and employers have the right to fire and hire at will.  With either method there is a possibility of job termination which has to be considered, and I do not know exactly how the outcome has been going for individuals who have filed religious vs. common law approaches. That said I do know there have been many religious exemptions accepted and there is an appeals process if denied. If you are on a timetable and need to be vaccinated by a date that is closely approaching, the religious exemption is probably more likely to be one way to hold onto employment a little longer.  My understanding of the common law approach is that it can be more time consuming because legal notices have times frames for notices, responses, and actions to take place and may not work with your deadline which again can lead to termination. Because California is an At Will Work state there may be risk to filing for any unemployment as well, so all these things should be considered before deciding which route to take.
  • I am not saying one option is better than the other, I am just presenting them as Option A or  Option B, because I think we all have differences in our personal situations. One may work better for you personally than the other. That said, we should also have our plan B  in place if neither work. Helping each other is essential and it will be good to share with one another what has worked and what hasn’t, and I do not want to argue either method, just help out in any way possible. Our differences in ideology are unimportant to me at this time. I believe there is a good portion of us, who are strong personalities, opinionated and intelligence — and these may be the wonderful unifying qualities that have brought us together at this critical time to fight for our humanity.

GoFundMe for a new novel, or old one, I am fixing up to get published!

Take up the White Man’s Burden, send for the best ye breed,
Go bind your sons to exile, to serve your captives need –
new-caught, sullen peoples, Half-devil and half-child…
Take up the White Man’s burden, the savage wars of peace.

— Rudyard Kipling (1899)

The post Little Deaths . . . Finding Solace Inside One’s Heart first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Eleven Theses on Socialist Revolution

How should we think about “socialist revolution” in the twenty-first century? I put the term in scare-quotes because it can be hard to believe anymore that a socialist, or economically democratic, civilization is even possible—much less inevitable, as Marx and Engels seem to have believed. Far from being on the verge of achieving something like socialism, humanity appears to be on the verge of consuming itself in the dual conflagrations of environmental collapse and, someday perhaps, nuclear war. The collective task of survival seems challenging enough; the task of overcoming capitalist exploitation and instituting a politico-economic regime of cooperation, community, and democracy appears completely hopeless, given the overwhelming crises and bleak horizons of the present.

Some leftists might reply that it is precisely only by achieving socialism that civilization can save itself from multidimensional collapse. This belief may be true, but if so, the prospects for a decent future have not improved, because the timeline for abolishing capitalism and the timeline by which we must “solve” global warming and ecological collapse do not remotely correspond. There is no prospect for a national, international, or global transition to socialism within the next several decades, decades that are pivotal for addressing ecological crises. In the United States, for example, it took Republican reactionaries almost a century of organizing starting in the 1940s to achieve the power they have now, and this was in a political economy in which they already had considerable power. It isn’t very likely that socialists, hardly a powerful group, will be able to overthrow capitalism on a shorter timeline. If anything, the international process of “revolution” will take much longer. Perhaps not as long as the transition from feudalism to capitalism, but certainly over a century.

It can seem, then, naïve and utopian even to consider the prospects for socialism when we’re confronted with the more urgent and immediate task of sheer survival. However guilty capitalism is of imposing on humanity its current predicament, the fact is that we can make progress in addressing the environmental crisis even in the framework of capitalism; for example, by accelerating the rollout of renewable and nuclear energy, dismantling the fossil fuel industry, regulating pesticides that are contributing to the decimation of insect populations, experimenting with geoengineering, and so on. These goals—and their corollaries, such as defeating centrist and conservative candidates for political office—should be the most urgent priority of left-wing activists for the foreseeable future. If organized human life comes to an end, nothing else matters much.

Nevertheless, we shouldn’t just forget about socialism for now, because it remains a distant goal, a fundamental value, and organizing for it—e.g., “raising the consciousness” of the working class—can improve lives in the short term as well. So it is incumbent on us to think about how we might achieve the distant goal, what strategies promise to be effective, what has gone wrong in the past, and what revisions to Marxist theory are necessary to make sense of past failures. We shouldn’t remain beholden to old slogans and formulations that were the product of very different circumstances than prevail today; we should be willing to rethink revolution from the ground up, so to speak.

I have addressed these matters in a book called Worker Cooperatives and Revolution, and more concisely in various articles and blog posts. Here, I’ll simply present an abbreviated series of “theses” on the subject of revolution that strike me as commonsensical, however heterodox some of them may seem. Their cumulative point is to reorient the Marxian conception of socialist revolution from that of a completely ruptural seizure and overthrow of capitalist states—whether grounded in electoral or insurrectionary measures—followed by a planned and unitary reconstruction of society (the “dictatorship of the proletariat”), to that of a very gradual process of economic and political transformation over many generations, in which the character of the economy changes together with that of the state. The long transition is not peaceful or smooth or blandly “reformist.” It is necessarily riven at all points by violent, quasi-insurrectionary clashes between the working class and the ruling class, between international popular movements seeking to carve out a new society and a capitalist elite seeking to prolong the current one. Given the accumulating popular pressure on a global scale, which among other things will succeed in electing ever more socialists to office, the capitalist state will, in spite of itself, participate to some extent in the construction of new economic relations that is the foundation of constructing a new society—even as the state in other respects continues to violently repress dissenting movements.

But the process of building a new economy will not be exclusively statist (despite the statism of mainstream Marxism going back to Marx himself). Transitions between modes of production take place on more than one plane and are not only “top-down.” In particular, as civilization descends deeper into crisis and government proves inadequate to the task of maintaining social order, the “solidarity economy,” supported by the state, will grow in prominence and functionality. A world of multiform catastrophe will see alternative economic arrangements spring up at all levels, and the strategies of “statist Marxism” will complement, or be complemented by, the “mutual aid” (cooperative, frequently small-scale, semi-interstitial) strategies of anarchism. These two broad traditions of the left, so often at each other’s throats, will finally, in effect, come together to build up a new society in the midst of a collapsing ancien régime. Crisis will, as always, provide opportunity.

1

Successful socialist revolution, meaning the creation of a society that eliminates differential ownership and control of economic resources and instead permits democratic popular control of the economy, has happened nowhere on a large scale or a “permanent” (“post-capitalist”) basis. Whether in Russia, China, Cuba, or elsewhere, the dream of socialism—still less of communism—has never been realized. According to Marxism, indeed, the very fact that these were isolated islands under siege by a capitalist world indicates that they signified something other than socialism, which is, naturally enough, supposed to follow capitalism and exist first and foremost in the “advanced” countries. The fact that these “socialist” experiments ultimately succumbed to capitalism is enough to show that, whatever progress they entailed for their respective populations, they were in some sense, in the long term, revolutionary abortions.

2

Marx was right that there is a kind of “logic” to historical development. Notwithstanding the postmodernist and empiricist shibboleths of contemporary historiography, history isn’t all contingency, particularity, individual agency, and alternative paths that were tragically not taken (because of poor leadership or whatever). Rather, institutional contexts determine that some things are possible or probable and others impossible. Revolutionary voluntarism, the elevation of political will above the painfully protracted, largely “unconscious” dialectical processes of resolution of structural contradictions and subsequent appearance of new, unforeseen conditions that are themselves “resolved” through the ordinary actions of millions of people, is a false (and un-Marxist) theory of social change. If the world didn’t go socialist in the twentieth century, it’s because it couldn’t have: structurally, in the heyday of corporate capitalism (monopoly capitalism, state capitalism, imperialism, whatever one calls it), socialism was impossible.

In short, on the broadest of historical scales, the “hidden meaning” of the past—to use a phrase beloved by Marx—is revealed by the present and future, as probabilities with which the past was pregnant become realities.

3

Marx therefore got the timeline of revolution radically wrong. He did not (and could not) foresee the power of nationalism, the welfare state, Keynesian stimulation of demand, the state’s stabilizing management of the crisis-prone economy, and the like. In fact, we might say that, falling victim to the characteristic over-optimism of Enlightenment thinkers, he mistook the birth pangs of industrial capitalism for its death throes. Only in the neoliberal era has the capitalist mode of production even finished its conquest of the world—which the “dialectical” logic of historical materialism suggests is a necessary precondition for socialism—displacing remaining peasantries from the land and privatizing “state-socialist” economies and state-owned resources. Given the distribution of power during and after the 1970s between the working class and the business class, together with the increasing mobility of capital (a function of the advancing productive forces, thus predictable from historical materialism), neoliberal assaults on postwar working-class gains were, in retrospect, entirely predictable.

4

Despite, or because of, its horrifying destructiveness, neoliberalism potentially can play the role of opening up long-term revolutionary possibilities (even as it presents fascist possibilities as well). Its function of exacerbating class polarization, immiserating the working class, eroding social democracy, ripping up the social fabric, degrading the natural environment, destabilizing the global economy, relatively homogenizing conditions between countries, hollowing out the corporatist nation-state and compromising the integrity of the very (anti-revolutionary) idea of “nationality,” facilitating a global consciousness through electronic media—a consciousness, in the end, of suffering and oppression—and attenuating the middle class (historically a pretty reliable bastion of conservatism): all this in the aggregate serves to stimulate mass protest on a scale that, eventually, the state will find unmanageable.

Fascist repression, it’s true, is very useful, but fascist regimes can hardly remain in power indefinitely in every country. Even just in the U.S., the governmental structure is too vast and federated, and civil society too thick and resilient, for genuine fascism ever to be fully consolidated everywhere, much less made permanent. Repression alone is not a viable solution for the ruling class.

5

Sooner or later, it will be found necessary to make substantive concessions to the masses (while never abandoning repression). Some writers argue that what these will amount to is a revitalization and expansion of social democracy, such a sustained expansion (under the pressure of popular movements) that eventually society will pass from social democracy straight into socialism. This argument, however, runs contrary to the spirit of Marxism, according to which society does not return to previous social formations after they have departed the stage of history. Fully fledged social democracy was appropriate to a time of industrial unionism and limited mobility of capital; it is hard to imagine that an era of unprecedented crisis and decaying nation-states will see humanity resuscitate, globally, a rather “stable” and nationalistic social form, even expanding it relative to its capacity when unions were incomparably stronger than today. While social democratic policies will surely persist and continue to be legislated, the intensifying dysfunction of the nation-state (a social form that is just as transient as others) will necessitate the granting of different kinds of concessions than centralized and expansive social democratic ones.

6

Here, we have to shift for a moment to considering the Marxist theory of revolution. Then we’ll see the significance of the concessions that states will likely be compelled to grant. There is a glaring flaw in Marx’s conceptualization (expressed, for example, in the famous Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy) according to which “an era of social revolution” begins when the dominant mode of production starts to fetter the use and development of the productive forces. The flaw is simply that the notion of “fettering” is semi-meaningless. Philosophers such as G. A. Cohen have grappled with this concept of fettering, but we don’t have to delve into the niceties of analytic philosophy in order to understand that the capitalist mode of production has always both fettered and developed the productive forces—fettered them in the context, for instance, of devastating depressions, disincentives to invest in public goods, artificial obstacles (like intellectual copyright laws) to the diffusion of knowledge, and, in general, a socially irrational distribution of resources; even as in other respects it still develops the productive forces, as with advances in information technology, biotechnology, renewable energy, and so on. In order to be truly meaningful, therefore, this concept of fettering needs revision.

7

The necessary revision is simple: we have to adopt a relative notion of fettering. Rather than an absolute conflict or a contradiction between productive forces and production relations, there is a conflict between two sets of production relations, one of which uses productive forces in a more socially rational and “un-fettering” way than the other. This revision makes the idea of fettering meaningful, even concretely observable. Capitalism, for example, was, in the final analysis, able to triumph over feudalism because it was infinitely better at developing productive forces, such that its agents could accumulate far greater resources (economic, scientific, technological, intellectual, cultural) than the agents of feudalism. The epoch of social revolution, properly speaking, lasted half a millennium, though it was punctuated by dramatic moments of condensed social and political revolution such as the French Revolution.

If the idea of fettering is to apply to a transition between capitalism and socialism, it can be made sense of only through a similar “relative” understanding, according to which a cooperative and democratic mode of production emerges over a prolonged period of time (hopefully not half a millennium) both interstitially and more visibly in the mainstream. As the old anarchic economy succumbs to crisis and stagnation, the emergent “democratic” economy—which does not yet exist today—does a better job of rationally and equitably distributing resources, thereby attracting ever more people to its practices and ideologies. It accumulates greater resources as the old economy continues to demonstrate its appalling injustice and dysfunction.

8

This theoretical framework permits an answer to the old question that has bedeviled so many radicals: why have all attempts at socialist revolution failed? The answer is that they happened in conditions that guaranteed their eventual failure. There was a radical difference between, for example, October 1917 and the French Revolution: in the latter case, capitalist relations and ideologies had already spread over Western Europe and acquired enormous power and legitimacy. The French revolutionaries were beneficiaries of centuries of capitalist evolution—not, indeed, industrial capitalist, but mercantile, agrarian, financial, and petti-bourgeois. This long economic, social, cultural, and political evolution prepared the ground for the victories of 1789–1793. In 1917, on the other hand, there was no socialist economy whatsoever on which to erect a political superstructure (a superstructure that, in turn, would facilitate the further and more unobstructed development of the socialist economy). Even industrial capitalism was barely implanted in Russia, much less socialism. The meaning of 1917 was merely that a group of opportunistic political adventurers led by two near-geniuses (Lenin and Trotsky) took advantage of a desperate wartime situation and the desperation of the populace—much of which, as a result, supported these “adventurers”—to seize power and almost immediately suppress whatever limited democracy existed. The authoritarian, bureaucratic, and brutal regime that, partly in the context of civil war, resulted—and that ultimately led to Stalinism—was about as far from socialism as one can imagine.

It is one of the ironies of the twentieth century that the Bolsheviks both forgot and illustrate a central Marxian dictum: never trust the self-interpretations of historical actors. There is always an objective context and an objective, hidden historical meaning behind the actions of people like Robespierre, Napoleon, or Lenin, a meaning they have no access to because they are caught up in the whirl of events (and, to quote Hegel, the owl of Minerva flies only at dusk, after the events). The fact that Lenin and his comrades were convinced they were establishing socialism is of no more than psychological interest. It is unfortunate that many Marxists today continue to credulously believe them.

9

Said differently, the twentieth-century strategy of “Marxist” revolutionaries to seize the state (whether electorally or in an insurrection) and then carry out a social revolution—by means of a sweeping, “totalizing” political will—is highly un-Marxist. It is idealistic, voluntaristic, and unrealistic: history moves forward slowly, dialectically, “behind the backs” of historical actors, not straightforwardly or transparently through the all-conquering will of a few leaders or a single political party. The basic problem is that if you try to reconstruct society entirely from the top down, you have to contend with all the institutional legacies of capitalism. Relations of coercion and domination condition everything you do, and there is no way to break free of them by means of political or bureaucratic will. While the right state policies can be of enormous help in constructing an economically democratic society, in order for it to be genuinely democratic it cannot come into existence solely through the state. Marxism itself suggests that the state—largely a function of existing economic relations—cannot be socially creative in such a radical way. Instead, there has to be a ferment of creative energy at the grassroots (as there was during the long transition from feudalism to modern capitalism) that builds and builds over generations, laboriously inventing new kinds of institutions in a process that is both, or alternately, obstructed and facilitated by state policies (depending on whether reactionaries or liberals are in power, or, eventually, leftists).

Nearly all attempts at socialist revolution so far have been directed at a statist rupture with the past, and have therefore failed.1 There is no such thing as a genuine “rupture” in history: if you attempt it, you’ll find that you’re merely reproducing the old authoritarianism, the old hierarchies, the old bureaucratic inefficiencies and injustices, though in new forms.2 Rather, the final, culminating stage of the conquest of the state has to take place after a long period of economic gestation, so to speak (again, gestation that has been facilitated by incremental changes in state policies, as during the feudalism-to-capitalism transition), a gestation that serves as the material foundation for the final casting off of capitalist residues in the (by then) already-partially-transformed state.

10

This brings us back to the question of how capitalist elites will deal with the popular discontent that is certain to accumulate globally in the coming decades. Since the political economy that produced social democracy is passing from the scene, other sorts of concessions (in addition to repression) will be necessary. In our time of political reaction it is, admittedly, not very easy to imagine what these might be. But we can guess that, as national governments prove increasingly unable to cope with environmental and social crises, they will permit or even encourage the creation of new institutional forms at local, regional, and eventually national levels. Many of these institutions, such as cooperatives of every type (producer, consumer, housing, banking, etc.), will fall under the category of the solidarity economy, which is committed to the kind of mutual aid that has already been rather prominent in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. Capitalism’s loss of legitimacy will foster the conditions in which people seek more power in their workplaces, in many cases likely taking them over, aided by changes in state policies (such as the active promotion of a cooperative sector to provide employment in a stagnant economy) due in part to the presence of more socialists in government. Other innovations may include a proliferation of public banks, municipal enterprises (again, in part, to provide jobs at a time of raging structural and cyclical unemployment), and even universal basic income.

The subject of what types of “non-reformist reforms”—i.e., reforms that have the potential to serve as stepping-stones to a new economy—governments will be compelled, on pain of complete social collapse, to grant is much too complex to be explored in a brief article. Two points suffice here. First, the usual Marxist critiques of (worker) cooperatives and other ostensibly apolitical, interstitial “anti-capitalist” institutions—such as “mutual aid”—can be answered simply by countering that these are only one part of a very long and multidimensional project that takes place on explicitly political planes too. It is puzzling that so many radicals seem unaware that the transition to a new civilization is an incredibly complex, drawn-out process: for instance, over many generations, emergent institutions like cooperatives network with each other, support each other, accumulate and share resources in an attempt to become ever freer of the competitive, sociopathic logic of the capitalist economy. At the same time, all this grassroots or semi-grassroots activity contributes to building up a counter-hegemony, an anti-capitalist ethos in much of the population. And the resources that are accumulated through cooperative economic activity can be used to help fund political movements whose goal is to further transform the capitalist state and democratize the economy.

Second, the question naturally arises as to why the ruling class will tolerate, or at times even encourage, all this grassroots and statist “experimentation” with non-capitalist institutions. On one level, the answer is just that the history will unfold rather slowly (as history always does—a lesson too often forgotten by revolutionaries), such that at any given time it won’t appear as if some little policy here or there poses an existential threat to capitalism. It will seem that all that is being done is to try to stabilize society and defuse mass discontent by piecemeal reforms (often merely local or regional). Meanwhile, the severity of the worldwide crises—including, inevitably, economic depression, which destroys colossal amounts of wealth and thins the ranks of the obstinate elite—will weaken some of the resistance of the business class to even the more far-reaching policy changes. By the time it becomes clear that capitalism is really on the ropes, it will be too late: too many changes will already have occurred, across the world. Historical time cannot be rewound. The momentum of the global social revolution will, by that point, be unstoppable, not least because only non-capitalist (anti-privatizing, etc.) policies will have any success at addressing ecological and social disaster.

11

The argument that has been sketched here has a couple of implications and a single major presupposition. The presupposition is that civilization will not destroy itself before the historical logic of this long social revolution has had time to unfold. There is no question that the world is in for an extraordinary era of climatic chaos, but—if for a moment we can indulge in optimism—it might transpire that the ecological changes serve to accelerate the necessary reforms by stimulating protest on an absolutely overwhelming scale. Maybe, then, humanity would save itself in the very nick of time. If not, well, we’ll have a grim answer to the old question “Socialism or barbarism?”

One implication of the argument is that there is a kernel of truth in most ideological tendencies on the left, and radicals should therefore temper their squabbling. The old debates between, say, Marxists and anarchists are seen to be narrow, short-sighted, crabbed, doctrinaire, and premised on a false understanding of the timescales in question. If one expects revolution to happen over a couple of decades, then yes, the old sectarian disputes might acquire urgency and make some sense. But if one chooses to be a Marxist rather than a voluntarist, a realist rather than an idealist, one sees that global revolution will take a century or two, and there is temporal room for statist and non-statist strategies of all kinds.

A second implication, less practically important but of interest anyway, is that Marxists going back to the founder himself have misunderstood the prescriptions of historical materialism. There may well be something like a “dictatorship of the proletariat” someday, but, since idealism and voluntarism are false, it will (like the earlier “dictatorship of the bourgeoisie”) happen near the end of the revolutionary epoch, not at the beginning. It is impossible to predict what form the state will take by then, or how the final removal of bourgeois remnants from government will further transform it. What can be known is only that in order to politically oust the ruling class, the working class needs not just numbers but resources, which hitherto it has lacked on the necessary scale. With the gradual—but, of course, contested and violent—spread of a semi-socialist economy alongside (and interacting with) the decadent capitalist one, workers will be able to accumulate the requisite resources to effectually compete against the shrinking business class, electing left-wing representatives and progressively changing the character of the capitalist state.

Meanwhile, in the streets, people will be figuratively manning the barricades, decade after decade, across a world tortured by the greed of the wealthy and the suffering of the masses. All their struggles, surely, will not be in vain.

  1. Other reasons for their failure have been operative as well, notably imperialist interference with the revolutionary process. But the effectiveness of such interference has itself shown the inadequacy of an exclusively “ruptural” strategy—the attempt to create socialism by political fiat in a still-overwhelmingly-capitalist world—because core capitalist nations usually find it easy to squash the political revolution when it hasn’t been preceded by generations of socialist institution-building across the globe, including in the heart of the most advanced countries.
  2. To repeat, this is the lesson of Marxism itself. We are embedded in the past even when trying to idealistically leap out of it and leave it behind. Insofar as Marx sometimes wrote as if a proletarian dictatorship could virtually “start anew,” enacting whatever policies it wanted and planning a new society as though from a blueprint, he forgot the gist of his own thought.
The post Eleven Theses on Socialist Revolution first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Progressive Death of Progressivism

Emblematic of our times, the Berniecrat organization Our Revolution – never remotely revolutionary – has rebranded itself as “pragmatic progressive.” This innovation is based on the realization that progressive reforms will never be enacted unless they are fought for.  And, since they are not about to fight President Biden, then it is only programmatic to accept that these reforms won’t happen.

Our Revolution surrenders

Good bye, Medicare-for-All, now that Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and even Bernie Sanders have abandoned the cause. Never mind that a majority of the electorate still favors the proposal. But to get Medicare-for-All, progressives would have to stand up to the Democratic Party. And that would entail a fight and therefore is not pragmatic.

A major reason for the Democrat’s obstruction of Medicare-for-All is that the health insurance industry and big pharma bought them off plus the entrenchment of corporate interests more broadly in the party. However, another factor is at work. Access to healthcare free-at-the-point-of-service would make working people more secure. For the exploiting class, it is better to forego a small gain in profits as the tradeoff for keeping workers precarious and thus less demanding. The people who run the Democratic Party know which side of the class barricades they are on; unfortunately, some progressives do not.

Some of the dump-Trump veterans, who are now AWOL in the battle against the current leader of the imperialist camp, proclaim Joe Biden is the political incarnate of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Lost in the fog of war is the fact that, for over forty years, Biden has been among the architects of the neoliberal project associated with the Democratic Leadership Group to bury FDR’s New Deal.

The New Deal was an experiment in a mild form of social democracy, where the capitalist ruling class allowed a degree of social welfare state functions in return for labor peace. Ever since Carter, gaining steam with Reagan and Clinton, and continuing now with Biden, neoliberal reform has entailed privatization of education, health, and other state enterprises, economic austerity for working people, and deregulation and tax relief for the corporations, while augmenting the coercive apparatus of the state. In short, since the 1970s, neoliberalism has been the form of contemporary capitalism.

This is what democracy looks like

In the run-up to the US 2020 presidential election, some erstwhile progressives told us to hold our noses and get on the Biden bandwagon. Then, as they worked alongside the decadent Democrats, they became desensitized to the redolence of being in proximity to power. And now some counsel us to stand down to the powerful and join in attacking the official enemies of Washington.

However, some Berniecrats have resisted the succor of the Democrat’s big tent and are still fighting the good fight under the banner of the Movement for a People’s Party. They have had the temerity to picket Squad member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to hold her feet to the fire on her campaign promises.

This is what democracy looks like. Politicians can hardly be blamed for gravitating to the rewards of party orthodoxy, if their constituents fail to demand that they follow through on the platform that got them elected. But for demanding that politicians that talk progressive also walk progressive, those who speak truth to power are attacked by those who no longer consistently do so.

So, we often see the following progression. After shirking from criticizing the powerful, the next career move is to find legitimacy by criticizing those who do. For example, the Young Turks show accused anti-imperialist Grayzone reporter Aaron Mate falsely and without evidence of being “paid by the Russians.”

This is symptomatic of elements of progressivism who have become ever more comfortable with the Democrats as the only alternative to what they perceive as the greater evil of the Republicans. Since they now eschew criticizing those actually in power, they are relegated to attacking the genuine left. Rather than “battling Biden” as they promised after “dumping Trump,” some progressives have descended the slippery slope into providing left cover for the Democrats both on domestic and, as argued below, international fronts.

Covering for imperialism

The domestic capitulation of some self-identified progressives also translates into a deafening silence about opposing the imperialism of the Democratic Party. Shortly after the dawn of the new millennium, the US anti-war movement experienced a resurgence against Republican President George W. Bush’s Iraq war. But soon as Democrat Barack Obama took office, with Bush’s Secretary of Defense Gates still in charge, the anti-war movement collapsed and has been since largely quiescent.

More recently, imperialist ventures have been greeted with more than silence. There are now, unfortunately, full-throated echoes of the imperialist’s talking points by former anti-war activists and intellectuals.

Take the arguably once progressive NACLA (North American Congress on Latin America) in a recent article specifically calling for “taking off the cloak of silence.” NACLA reports on the “long-standing totalitarian Cuban government.” According to the author, an expert on “social and cultural entrepreneurship” (i.e., promotion of capitalism), the US blockade of Cuba “isn’t responsible for the island’s economic downfall. Instead that is a result of the powerful [Cuban government] elite’s iron grip and stockpiling.” Of course, if that were anywhere near the truth, the US would have no need for the blockade.

This takes place in the context of President Biden doubling down on a regime-change offensive, reversing campaign promises to reverse Trump’s illegal sanctions on Cuba. Washington now believes Cuba is close to falling due to the deprivation caused by the ever-tightening US blockade exacerbated by the COVID pandemic.

Further, NACLA tells us that the view of Cuba as a “model for many anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movements” is not only wrong but that the Cuban’s attempt at socialism is based on “an economic model that is inherently ineffective.” Unfortunately, that verdict has a perverse element of truth. As long as the US can impose suffocating unilateral coercive measures on Cuba and other small nations striving for an alternative to neoliberalism, the socialist model will not be allowed to succeed.

Socialism is supposed to satisfy people’s needs, while capitalism is inherently a system that creates unlimited perceived needs without the means for their fulfillment. That is, under capitalism, a system driven by individual greed, one cannot ever accumulate too much. The carrot on a stick, perpetually dangled out of reach, is the essence of what the author of the NACLA article proudly calls “entrepreneurship.”

But what happens when – as the NACLA article admonishes – the nation striving for socialism can no longer “cover the basic necessities to make daily life worth living”? Apparently, solidarity with the Cubans against attacks by the world’s superpower is not paramount for some self-identified progressives who issued a recent petition to the Cuban government.

Their Change.org petition, quoting Rosa Luxemburg on freedom from a repressive state, demanded the release of Frank García Hernández arrested by the Cuban government on July 11. However, the Mr. García had already been released the following day, while the petition was still being circulated.

Whatever the intentions of the individual signatories of the petition, its actual impact had nothing to do with freeing someone who was already free and everything to do with providing a left cover for imperialism. Had the signatories been genuinely concerned with what they perceived as an overreaction by the Cubans to a manifestly existential security threat to their revolution, they should have also addressed the petition to the White House and demanded the ending or at least easing of that security threat. Some of these same individuals have also signed petitions against Nicaragua, Syria, and other official enemies of the US.

Struggling on two fronts

Meanwhile, the neoliberal order is becoming more and more exposed, with billionaires increasing their net worth astronomically while working people face a yet to be contained pandemic with inadequate healthcare, unemployment, and austerity. This is fuel for the populist right-wing, which could be the shock troops of a fascist movement. But we are not there yet.

The legitimate concern about fascism, when associated exclusively with Trump and his followers, has been used by some self-identified progressives as an excuse to embrace the Democrats. The struggle against “neofascist” Trumpism has been coopted into a surrender into the main party now in charge of the imperialist state and increasingly distinguishing itself as the leading proponent of war.

The January 6th riot by Trump supporters at the Capital Building was conflated by Democrats into a coup attempt of new kind where the perpetrators, instead of taking state power, took selfies and went home. Some of the villains of January 6th, Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, turned out to be friendly with the FBI and possible agents with get-out-of-jail-free passes.

It would be cold comfort for progressives to discover that they have triumphed against the crude fascism of working-class guys with tattoos only to find that the friendly fascism of Saint Robert Mueller’s national security state has prevailed. Progressives, who have their canons aimed at Mar-a-Lago, may be leaving their backs exposed to those who now hold state power in Washington.

The ensuing clamor after January 6 from would-be progressives to expand the already enormous police powers of the state against protesters is an example of the dictum that you should be careful about what you wish for. The state coercive apparatus – police, military, homeland security, FBI, CIA, NSA, etc. – has been and will be used against the left.

The genuinely progressive solution is not to support one or the other neoliberal party, which are collectively the perpetrators of the current calamity, but to struggle against the conditions that foster a right-wing insurgency. That is, resist both right-wing populism and the established ruling class, with the main emphasis on those in power.

The post The Progressive Death of Progressivism first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Crisis in Tunisia

On July 25, 2021, Tunisian President Kais Saied dismissed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, froze the parliament, suspended the legal immunity of parliament members and took control of the general prosecutor’s office. He warned against any armed response to his actions: “Whoever shoots a bullet, the armed forces will respond with bullets.” In the hours after Saied’s announcement, huge crowds gathered in his support in Tunis and other cities, while the military blocked off the parliament and state television station.

The popularity of Saied’s decisions stems from the legitimate anger of Tunisians against their country’s parliament, which has become very unpopular. When the president sacked the health minister after a botched handling of vaccine walk-in centres and ordered the army to take control of the pandemic response, popular protests took place against the government, culminating in the present-day power shifts. These conjunctural changes are embedded in a structural framework which has permanently characterized Tunisia after 2011.

Neoliberalism

On December 17, 2010, Mohamed Bouazizi – a Tunisian street vendor – set himself on fire following yet another instance of harassment and humiliation at the hands of local police and municipal officials.  Within hours of his self-immolation, protests began erupting across the town, rapidly gathering pace and spreading outwards to other urban centres. Bouazizi’s death was long and agonizing; when he finally died on January 4, 2011, the conflagration sparked by his act roared into the national capital. In a matter of days, dictator Ben Ali was forced into exile.

Tunisia’s people did not only oppose the political authoritarianism of the Ali administration, but also the neoliberal policies under his rule which created massive inequality, unemployment and widespread misery. The ruling elites completely ignored the latter dimension, choosing to impose further neoliberalism in the aftermath of the revolution. Tunisia’s current ruling party, the Islamist Ennahda, garnered votes as it had been outlawed under the Ali regime. Many people perceived it as revolutionary.

However, governments led by Ennahda implemented free market reforms in return for loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Fuel subsidy cuts, price rises and the dismantlement of public sector hiring synchronized with the enrichment of the bourgeoisie. Now, 10 years after the revolution, the rate of unemployment in Tunisia is nearly 18%. Max Ajl, Bassam Haddad, and Zeinab Abul-Magd note:

The state has absorbed the political effects of mass immiseration, distributing subsidies to popular classes to absorb social unease. Its primary role has been to contain the discontent by the carrot of subsidies and the stick of state violence while serving as a mechanism for increasing integration of Tunisia into the international division of labor: by increasing subjugation to the global law of value through currency devaluation, deepening trade agreements with the EU [European Union], and opening agriculture for foreign investment…Unrest has intensified. The government has become almost entirely a mechanism for ever-continuing accumulation.

Caesarism

Tunisian society – like any other society – is a totality structured in dominance. Among the various structural instances, one instance will have the dominant role: contradictions at other levels will find themselves displaced to this instance (thereby averting a revolutionary rupture) or many contradictions may become condensed in this instance (producing the possibility of a revolutionary rupture). The dominant instance will vary according to the social formation, but in all cases its role is determined – in the last instance – by the economy. In other words, the economy often exercises its effects indirectly by determining the specific efficacy of other instances.

Saied’s victory in the October 2019 presidential election displaced the economic limits of Tunisia’s post-revolutionary system to the level of politics. Disillusioned with the dysfunctional rules of status quo, Tunisians elected someone who sought to portray himself as an anti-politician. Running as an independent and nicknamed “Robocop” for his stern, monotonous character, Saied promised to crack down on corruption among the political class. His anti-corruption discourse steadily morphed into a wide-ranging narrative of anti-systemic populism; a desire for greater power soon made itself felt.

In April 2021, Saied declared, “The president is the supreme commander of the military and civilian armed forces. Let this matter be clear to all Tunisians”. A month later, Middle East Eye revealed the existence of a secret document, in which the president’s advisers invited him to carry out a “constitutional coup”. Thus, from the beginning, Saied’s presidency had the character of what Antonio Gramsci called “Caesarism” – a phenomenon in which an individual breaks the stasis in a socio-economic system by operating as an equilibrating factor between classes, demagogically representing the interests of the subaltern masses. Gramsci elaborates:

[T]he content is the crisis of the ruling class’s hegemony, which occurs either because the ruling class has failed in some major political undertaking for which it has requested, or forcibly extracted, the consent of the broad masses (war, for example), or because huge masses (especially of peasants and petit-bourgeois intellectuals) have passed suddenly from a state of political passivity to a certain activity, and put forward demands which taken together, albeit not organically formulated, add up to a revolution…The traditional ruling class, which has numerous trained cadres, changes men and programmes and, with greater speed than is achieved by the subordinate classes, reabsorbs the control that was slipping from its grasp. Perhaps it may make sacrifices, and expose itself to an uncertain future by demagogic promises; but it retains power, reinforces it for the time being, and uses it to crush its adversary and disperse his leading cadres, who cannot be very numerous or highly trained … When the crisis does not find this organic solution, but that of the charismatic leader, it means that a static equilibrium exists (whose factors may be disparate, but in which the decisive one is the immaturity of the progressive forces); it means that no group, neither the conservatives nor the progressives, has the strength for victory, and that even the conservative group needs a master.

In Tunisia, the hegemonic capacities of the post-2011 historical bloc gradually weakened as a neoliberal orientation came to be eagerly embraced by both Islamist and secularist political forces. The sporadic and inorganic nature of popular movements proved incapable in radically superseding this moribund conjuncture. Hence, Tunisians were gifted with Saied, who overcame the impasse by unleashing the Caesarist logic of delegation to a strongman. His ideological project has ended up with the current events, wherein Tunisians have been demobilized through a reconfiguration of the political arena. What should be the attitude of progressive sectors toward these transformations?

The leftist Workers’ Party of Tunisia (PCT) released a statement on July 26, 2021, condemning Saied’s moves and calling them a violation of the constitution. While acknowledging that the government has led the country into a deep economic crisis, PCT stated that Saied’s actions are not a solution to the problems facing the people as they threaten the country’s young democracy and have “launched a path towards re-establishing the system of absolute autocracy again.” The party has asserted that the way out of the crisis is “the work of the Tunisian people to establish a popular democracy based on the civil state, the power in the hands of the people, with sovereignty over the country’s capacities, resources and independent political decisions, and social justice and equality among all men and women.”

The post The Crisis in Tunisia first appeared on Dissident Voice.

France Neoliberal Macron: Vanguard of a Covid Global Corporate Dictatorship?

Citoyen Chouette Archive

Liberte-Egalite-Fraternite: under Macron’s pass sanitaire guillotine?

For the few of us who are students of history, and its aficionado travelers, meaning those who muse and wonder at times about how significant figures of the past would view our often dire predicament, it is rather obvious that, for example, the founding fathers of the French Revolution such as Danton, Mirabeau, St Just, and Robespierre would be shocked and angry by what has recently happened to their Republic. Even France’s last great statesman General de Gaulle, if alive today, would have likely been deeply enraged by the state of affairs in a country he loved and fought for with his heart and soul.

In the era of President Emmanuel Macron, who is merely a cynical actor, figurehead, and France’s public relation person-in-chief passing for a statesman, but who truly is a loyal servant of global corporatism, our revolution’s founders, as well as the subsequent republics’ principles, like the one of the Fifth Republic of de Gaulle, have been insulted, slapped in the face, and assaulted by some sort of insidious and limp dictatorship, under the cover of a health crisis. A complex authoritarian strategy using the pretense of shielding French citizens, often against their will, in this new lucrative conceptual war.

Citoyen Chouette Archive

This war on a virus is even more advantageous than the previous conceptual one: the war on terror. In General Macron’s war, syringes are the weapons delivery system of choice, needles like billions of little worker bees at the ready to jab you for an invitation to control freedom, and a moderate slice of happiness: the joy once you have obtained the French COVID pass Sanitaire to go to museums, movie theaters, inside restaurants, and avoid wearing masks outdoors.

French citizens should be aware that the very motto of our dear Republic, Liberte-Egalite-Fraternite is under the assault of king Ubu Macron and could, without a strong popular resistance, be decapitated by the cold blade of Macron’s virtual guillotine. In a form of dictatorial grab of power for the benefit of big biotech and big pharmaceutical companies. Macron’s pernicious pass sanitaire, just approved by France Assemblee Nationale, is a power grab by global corporate imperialism. Of course, all of it done with a wink, a tan and a smile! All of it done for the greater good of ungrateful “Gaullois refractaire” French citizens, in the continuity of the pesky Gilets Jaunes. Science lover poseur Macron, an enlightened modern day Julius Caesar, is bent on defeating obscurantism armed only with syringes to deliver his brand of salvation through vaccines. Those who have been in the forefront of the street protest in France to resist this hybrid neoliberal dictatorship personified by Macron are the still active Gilets Jaunes.

Photo Credit by Marco Verch

From war on terror to war on virus: maximum profit for big tech and pharma

Forget about the good old so-called war-on-terror, fading slightly since its start in September 2001 but still a nice little threat in the background, big enough to keep the military-industrial complex flush with cash. A new conceptual global war was needed: the global war on COVID virus came at the right time. This one is even more promising, as it potentially concern the entire world population or 7.5 billion people. The COVID war has also been an easy sell for the general population, as it can be viewed as a war of necessity with humans “all in it together.” It can also provide an astronomical stream of revenue by making vaccination mandatory. In terms of profit from pandemics, vaccine companies have not been the only beneficiaries of this COVID gold rush.

Citoyen Chouette Archive

Big tech companies have racked up billions of dollars at a furious pace since March 2020 and the various restrictive measures of lock-downs and curfews. The likes of Amazon, Zoom and streaming media have handsomely benefited from the imposed partial move to a virtual world. As matter of fact, worldwide stock markets have become junkies to this trend: addicted to the war on COVID benefits.

Needless to say, this vast stream of income is also potentially endless because of the virus mutation into different variants. One loses track of this Greek alphabet catalogue. It was Alpha first or the English variant, then Beta or the Brazilian one, more contagious than the rhythm of Samba, and now it is the Delta variant originally called Indian mutation. As the virus mutates, as they all do, it could potentially take us all the way to Omega, the last letter of the Greek alphabet. The side effect of the Delta variant’s rapid spread has been to allow Macron, and soon many others, head-of-states or figureheads, to tighten back the screw on fundamental liberties.

Rule by decree, states of emergency, arbitrary measures, absurd,or not, are a form of abuse of power that neoliberals like Macron are really enjoying. It is an insidious form of dictatorship under a benevolent disguise of the enlightened rulers forcing their citizenry’s behavior. In France a law is about to pass, in parliament, to make vaccine for healthcare workers across board mandatory. If they do not comply by September 15, 2021, they will be fired. In the case of France, this should be viewed as a prelude to mandatory vaccination for the entire population.

Photo Credit by Roger Jones.

Killing personal freedom and liberties

In France, government controlled mainstream media critiques rightly calling the Macron administration’s sweeping COVID policies a “dictature sanitaire” or healthcare dictatorship have been labeled conspiracy theorists. This is pure disinformation, as what defines a dictatorship, semantically speaking, is a government, elected or not, forcing policies on its citizens. It is done under the premise that it is an action for the benefit of the common good, but nonetheless it is the exercise of authoritarian power on a population.

Through the COVID-19 pandemics, governments have learned that, if fear and paranoia were prevalent enough, and they run a lot of polls in their respective population, any dictatorial measures could be implemented without risking much social turmoil. A great majority of people did, and would likely comply again to other lock-downs, wearing masks outdoors, curfews, but without much protest. Now the final frontier is mandatory vaccination from 12 years-old on, which will give you some sort of health passport. If approved. this pass would give people the right to live almost free. This new type of passport, given to you as a reward to your obedience, will give you access to a mythical promised land often called by Macron “the return of the happy days!”

Photo Credit by Marco Verch

COVID fear mongering: subterfuge to hide climate collapse threat

There is no doubt, for any rational minds, that contesting the reality of the COVID pandemic is pure conspiracy theory. More than that, it is full blown lunacy! There are two radical anti-vaxers thought processes here: firstly, deny the existence of the pandemic entirely; secondly, which might be even more disturbing, an unshakable belief that the virus was man made, and released on purpose by the like of Fauci, Bill Gates, and a hand full of mad scientists. And, of course, here’s the icing on the cake: they’re all acting on behalf of a cabal of globalist pedophiles. These are the kinds of conspiracy theories that currently get you banned on social media.

As much as they are colorfully insane, this type of COVID-19 conspiracy theory denials are not, in essence, any worse than climate change crisis denial. The difference being that your average run of the mill climate change denier won’t get banned on social media. The nature of the capitalist global corporatism system, where neoliberals like Macron are leading figures, is not to create a crisis from scratch, which is either an impossible or very challenging task, but instead to take advantage of crisis either to further general policy goals, or in most cases benefit punctually from them like an opportunistic predator. This predatory aspect is after all the very nature of capitalism.

Photo Credit by Jeanne Menjoulet

Besides the numerous advantages that Macron, his political colleagues and their patrons from the billionaire class have found in the COVID crisis, as explained above, not only huge financial gains for pharmaceutical companies, but also for tech companies involved in this sort of forced quantum leap to the virtual world. In brief, this has been a chance to brutally shock the global economy. Not to make it more equal or sustainable, but quite exactly the opposite: COVID has been an opportunity to concentrate wealth even more in fewer hands with a net result of more social inequality.

Because in today’s press one story is always used to hide another, the pandemic has been also a blessed opportunity to hide, not the proverbial 800-pound gorilla in the room, but instead the 10,000-ton Godzilla wrecking the planet: Godzilla, in this case, being the growing certainty of an upcoming global climate collapse.

Photo Credit by Jeanne Menjoulet

Of the “Liberte-Egalite-Fraternite motto of the French revolution, all the great values have been trampled and gutted. With lock-downs, curfews, mandatory masks and vaccine, Liberte is now gone. In the era of Macron, a former investment banker, nobody can talk about Egalite in a country which is on its way to become almost as unequal as the United States; and last but not least, how could anyone see any Fraternite left? The community sense of brotherhood died quite some time ago in France. There is no brotherhood left, no deep sense of connection within the nation, we are not “all in this together”.

In reality, there is only all of us, common men and women worldwide, against the billionaire class that controls the levers of the global corporate imperialist machines, with their political servant facilitators acting as heads of state. The specific names within the political class are of little significance since they represent the identical interests. It’s a bit like the names given to the COVID variants. The Delta variant, portrayed as the top threat right now, started more modestly as India’s mutation. Who knows, perhaps in some billionaire class circles, Emmanuel Macron is just called factor X, LV or MANU.

Citoyen Chouette Archive

The post France Neoliberal Macron: Vanguard of a Covid Global Corporate Dictatorship? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Shit Hitting the Fan as a World goes More Looney

I can’t think of anything that harms nature more than cutting down trees and burning them, said William Moomaw, professor emeritus of international environmental policy at Tufts University

Oh, the number of top 10 or top 20 stories flooding the cloud servers delivered to us promptly, nanosecond speed, over the fuck-you Three-Face-Book, or on your email server, on the Dumber Dumbed Down Smart (sic) Phone, and, of course, on the telly. Imagine, instantaneous fake news, falsified un-News, the entire suite of topics New York Times covers, LA Times feeds, and on and on.

Delivered instantaneously, and yet, water is getting shut off, electricity is being turned off, roads are buckling, and that old time religion — privatizing everything until all shit breaks loose — determined to give USA a D-minus in infrastructure. Rebar in bridges, dikes, buildings, and the like, going the way of rust, baby. Reinforced concrete, crumbling, and the entire wasteland that is Auto Nation USA, all of that endless trucking back and forth, like a fucking spider web from space, it is what we have in this broke-back country.

I’ve talked with old folks (80 years plus) and with city and county “politicians.” I’ve talked to numerous people who just can’t get that reality out of their craw — so–soch — ehh-cism! The end of humanity is, well, on the horizon. Thanks to that Socialism Derangement Syndrome (SDS). It is built into the systems in the USA, and the DNA of USA-USA-USA, well, over generations of murdering Indians, slaves, and that checkerboard of people in countries from sea to oil slick sea, it has turned most of USA into a whack — job: under-educated, under curious about the world around them, dumb as dirt, compliant, cancelling ideas/discourse/thinking/pushback/socialism on all ends of the right-left divide. The wounds in this serial murdering society can’t be cauterized.

There has to be immediate amputation of the gangrenous rot coming from all 50 states. The rot of consumerism/retailism/financialization/indebtedness is spread like a million species of bacteria and viruses and other diseases that are indeed resistant to any medicine-goop-treatment.

There are so many deplorables, that term that Hillary hacked up, she being one of millions in the deplorable camp of neoliberalism. Deplorables who would gut you for stumbling into them on a sidewalk. Deplorables who are armed to the tooth who would shoot anyone stumbling into their backyard.

Think about it. People at a bloody concussion fest, UFC, chanting USA-USA-USA with this subhuman and his other subhuman followers traipsing into the stadium with their potbellies and juggling jowls as they take a load off their sagging asses in their multi-millionaire seats.

Read the junk here: NYPost.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-6.png

There is no deep outrage with this sort of optics that runs the USA prime time attention span. No outrage here, that the sweetness of all those sodas have yet more and more of a price, in that shit-hole Florida, run by those shit-hole Diaspora from all over, especially the East Coast, Trump and Company no less. Read the ProPublica interactive story below, linked!

It is environmental racism, and alas, this stinking country can’t keep the water on, can’t feed the farms with irrigation, can’t give out stinking fans to dying folk in this heat wave. Imagine, all those toys, those trillions to the DoD, and those men and women in uniform, also called the Armed Forces, where are they? No triage or MASH tents or massive pouring out of USA tax dollars to mitigate and solve the unfolding problems wrought by Capitalism on Crack. Story after story. Burning cane fields, yep, that’s good for the air. And this story was the same in 2001 when I went from El Paso to Spokane: massive fires lit by wheat farmers to burn stubble. Oh, the irony of Capitalism on Crack. Good old time stupidity. But stupidity and compliant people, well, that combo makes them trillions.

Read, ProPublica — Black Snow!

The burns release smoke containing pollutants harmful to people and the environment.

Then these Nordics, these putrid white saviors in Europe touting their carbon neutral smoke and mirrors fake science. Again, tearing down forests, in this case, North Carolina, brought to us by CNN.

Northampton has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state — which almost doubled during the Covid-19 pandemic — and nearly 22% of its residents are living in poverty.

“If the wood products industry and biomass were a way of growing strong rural economies in the southeastern region, these rural communities should be some of the wealthiest on the planet,” said Smith. “We are in the world’s largest wood producing region. But you don’t see any evidence in these rural communities of thriving rural economies. The opposite is actually true.”

Enviva currently employs 98 people at their Northampton facility and pay roughly 37% more than the average wage in the county, the company told CNN in a statement, adding that they strive to hire locally if workers have the right qualifications.

Imagine, the scams, and, in the end, these communities, again, pay the price of environmental racism:

Pretty, unh? Would love to have this in your backyard, right?

/

The EU, which aims to be climate-neutral by 2050, is set to revise its Renewable Energy Directive this summer and is expected to update sustainability criteria for biomass. Critics hope they will restrict biomass imports from overseas, exclude whole, living trees as “waste product” and properly account for carbon emissions from cutting and burning wood.

But a draft document that surfaced this past spring does not suggest substantial changes are coming for Europe’s directive.

/

I live in a state where the Democratic weak kneed governor got stiff knees and shut down everything, and this is the reality of stupidity around the planned pandemic. The lack of rural and inner city clinics, and just a lack of a massive movement to treat people with the common cold, gut diseases, the flu, and the bioweaponized SARS-Cov2, that’s what the Kate Brown, self-described bi-sexual, is all about. And, the reality is, this privatized medicine (sic) needs ending. Imagine, ending CEO and CFO and stockholder dividends. Oh, it would be easy to turn hospitals into cooperatives, employee owned outfits. On a sliding scale, before single payer health care.

But the reality that the shenanigans of the hospitals have killed thousands. Not because of the batty virus, but because of delays, and no treatment. Now? Oregonian, read it.

The emergency department at Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center seen from outside at night.

After 18 years as a nurse, much of it in the emergency department, Jeremy Lail considered himself a battle-tested veteran.

But last week, he asked his bosses at Providence Portland Medical Center if he could go on leave. Lail said he’s overwhelmed by the horde of patients seeking treatment at his ER and unnerved at the erratic, angry nature of many of those patients.

“I dreaded going to work,” he said. “I found myself thinking, is this the day someone is going to pull a gun and shoot me? We’re seeing how society can devolve right now. I’ve been dealing with a lot of anxiety and depression.”

For months, hospital workers have wanted nothing more than for the pandemic to end and life to return to some semblance of normalcy. But the much-deserved respite has yet to begin. Instead, a combination of understaffing and a tidal wave of seriously ill patients who have deferred health care for months has made life in the ER as bad or worse than the height of the pandemic.

It’s a recipe for disaster that is unfolding at hospitals across the country: Blend emotionally exhausted caregivers with emotionally disturbed patients, throw in a wave of street violence and the departure of some of the most experienced workers on the wards due to fatigue and burnout, and voila, America has its latest health care crisis.

Many employees argue there is another key ingredient added by the hospitals that makes the end result particularly toxic: A penny-pinching mentality that allows the understaffing to develop in the first place.

Oh, now we can see god in the science of trillions wasted on artificial (sic) suns (sic). You have this sickness, about limitless and green energy sources. Makes no sense, really, when billions are on the brink of starvation, polluted slow and fast deaths. Imagine that, no solutions NOW for farming collapses, fisheries collapses, broke-back poverty and chronic illnesses, and just endless droughts. Nope. We have all these resources and mental lifetimes in the tens of millions working on this?

These stories never-ever look at things from an ethical point of view. From a life cycle analysis view. From the view of the hoards of us, useless breathers-eaters-breeders. This news coming out of Europe or China or Israel or USA, well, no one looks at the reality of how land is desiccating and desertifying. All those satellites for 6 G internet of nanotechnology. None of the real humans are the tables of power looking at, well, all these issues tied to environmental racism, structural violence, reparations, land theft, and the like.

Because, these stories will go the way of the stories to dare valorize Palestinians, or debunk the lies of the murderous Jewish Israeli Regime of More Than Just Apartheid:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is _vU_2gLzwM6vgNyqRXFLDxFK4Aj4La7B7UXcD9JLUU_S5b5ui4hINIgXAFLKgutHFZg0ugP3_yWM0nxTfqsev9Ke781zcf5SgfXOGCVnB6tD03fuetoBCImBSWN_YxJERrswIM3flxuh5OMGsM_FuhSL6Xfi-nknn3WIWM4XMA=s0-d-e1-ft

Another casualty of Israel’s war on truth: ‘Canadian Journalists for Free Expression’ fired a staffer for publishing a routine letter that criticized Israel for killing journalists…

By Kevin Metcalf

In May, Israel bombarded Gaza for 11 days, killing 256 Palestinians, including 66 children.

In the midst of this attack, hundreds of journalists in Canada signed an open letter calling for fairer coverage of Israel and Palestine. CBC then barred reporters who signed the letter from covering the region, claiming that doing so made them appear biased.

I was one of those who signed the open letter, because I believe the media should report fairly. I also expected there’d be a backlash to the letter within newsrooms, especially at the CBC, due to my own experiences: Years before this letter was released, I was fired from my media job for writing about Israel’s killing of protesters and journalists.

With help from the state broadcaster, over the course of a few weeks in 2018 my career was destroyed and my life’s work was completely uprooted. I now work as a landscaper for a living. (Source)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Protest-re-journalists-killed-1024x683.jpeg

If my fellow writers haven’t already experienced this, well, not just criticizing Israel or the Jewish mentality of many Jews who are as racist as any Steven Miller or Donal et al Trump LLC.

Try having conversations with people in workplaces about bioweaponized SARS-Cov2. Any discussion about therapies that would have saved hundreds of thousands from oxygen-depleted, intubation death. Cancelled big time. I am an educator, so, that one is out the window to dare question masks and lockdowns. Dare question USA from a truly communist lens? Question Trump? Cancelled. Question Biden? Cancelled. Question the rapaciousness and profit motives of medicine and pharmacy and virology? Cancelled. Question how some or key points of the company you work for? Cancelled. It’s a sickness this society, so, again, the “Israel Policies Are Monstrous and Murderous” critique gets you cancelled.

Read this science story. Of course, anything tied to all the chronic illnesses, or we call them intellectual-developmental-psychiatric disabilities, is good to see how things can be mitigated (of course, the idea for both left and right elites is to say, “Hmm, useless eater, well, abort-abort.”). But this sort of story below is another form of colonizing. There are millions of people working on learning how the forever chemicals, all the hormone disrupters, all those additives-chemicals-pollutants-particulates-drugs-GMOs-et al, can cause a storm of epigenetic issues down the line, and, yes, autism spectrum disorder is just one area of massive numbers of younger and younger people developing DD-ID-PD disorders. A magnitude of 100.

You will not see these scientists looking for the genetic cause looking at all the synergistic causes of depleted sperm, wombs of wild chemical storms, none of that, of course. Nope. They are getting paid to look deep at all the causes of Autism-Autism like disorders.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Roundup.jpg

An increase in the incidence of Type 2 diabetes, obesity and autism has been reported in Scotland. Similar increases have been seen globally. The herbicide glyphosate was introduced in 1974 and its use is accelerating. The manufacturers claim it to be safe, but none of the Regulatory Agencies are monitoring glyphosate levels in groundwater.

By courtesy of independent researchers around the world we present evidence that glyphosate interferes with many metabolic processes in plants, animals and humans, and glyphosate residues have been found in all three. Glyphosate is an endocrine-disruptor (as are many herbicides) it damages DNA and it is a driver of mutations that lead to cancer. We present graphs from the US which correlate glyphosate application and the percentage of GE soy and corn crops to the incidence and prevalence of various diseases in those on a Western diet. The Pearson’s correlation coefficients are very strong and highly significant for obesity, diabetes, autism, thyroid cancer, liver cancer, deaths from Parkinson’s, Senile Dementia and Alzheimer’s, inflammatory bowel disease and acute kidney failure. We present Cancer Research UK graphs of upward trends in cancer incidences between 1975 and 2009, which are in line with the US graphs.

Other consequences are gastrointestinal disorders, heart disease, depression, infertility, birth defect s and other cancers. The data for the amount of non-agricultural use of glyphosate in the UK appear to be confidential. Parts of South Wales, in former mining areas, Japanese knotweed and Himalayan Balsam abound. The local Council does not hold glyphosate records. Instead it contracts out to a commercial organisation to supply industry approved vegetation management techniques. A quote from the contractor: “The glyphosate we use called round up has a hazard free label.” The level of glyphosate in a river draining from areas of Japanese knotweed was 190 parts per trillion (ppt) and local tap water was 30 ppt. These were of the order of concentrations found in a study in 2013 which showed that breast cancer cell proliferation is accelerated by glyphosate in extremely low concentrations: “potential biological levels at part per trillion (ppt) to part per billion (ppb).”

It’s short. Fifty-six pages. Read it! GLYPHOSATE: DESTRUCTOR OF HUMAN HEALTH AND BIODIVERSITY

Versus: Researchers discover new genetic driver of autism and other developmental disorders

Oh, this is big, no? The Nile? Egypt and Ethiopia? You think this water story is not the issue of our times? Oh, that Artificial Sun will save us. Think water wars all over the planet:

A dispute over the Nile, the world’s longest river, is coming to a head. At stake are the lives and livelihoods of millions of people who depend on its water.

Egypt is objecting to efforts by Ethiopia to start operating a $4.8 billion dam on a major tributary of the Nile, a hydroelectric project that it hopes will power a social and economic transformation of the country, without a binding agreement that preserves Cairo’s rights to the waters.

Egypt has said Ethiopia’s move to resume filling a reservoir behind the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam threatens the Nile region’s peace and security.

Then, well, we get to the Zoom Doom story, the post planned pandemic story. Apple, of course, should be shut down, taken over, and the entire honchos put on that Epstein Island. Or Musk’s. Take your pick of billionaire islands. But this is the new abnormal. Working in your underwear, latte chilled, all those airplane and spider plants, and the puppy underfoot and four-pound beef-lovers pizza at the ready. These people who are threatening to leave Apple, well, I guarantee you they are dream hoarders, Hillary-Kamala lites. Believers in social distancing for life, masks on everywhere, and these are the ones who are ramming digital and cloud and satellite surveillance and AI and robotized tech up our asses.

The state of news (sic):

Apple stood its ground last week in the face of employee protest against its new requirement that they work from home only two days a week. Both the policy–which came directly from CEO Tim Cook–and Apple’s comments about it betray a striking lack of emotional intelligence. That’s a bad idea in today’s tight labor market. The approach is one no small company or startup can afford to take.

Our story begins about a month ago, when Apple announced its new return-to-the-office policy in light of widespread vaccinations and falling Covid-19 infections. In an internal email, Cook announced that, beginning in early September, employees would be required to work in the office at least three days a week. Specifically, those days would be Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, with the option to work remotely on Wednesdays and Fridays.

The Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California.

The headline says it all about this cancel culture stupidity, using “emotional intelligence as a cudgel: Apple’s Remote Work Policy Is a Complete Failure of Emotional Intelligence: Don’t try this at your company

Finally, the top 10 or whatever stories, prompted by my friend, Joe the Farmer from Merced:

How long will it be before we start seeing adds for front end Protest Protector guard bars for F-150’s, Chevy Silverado’s and the Amerikaner favorite, Dodge Ram? What good fascist could possibly pass up the opportunity to keep protesters blood and body parts from damaging their radiators and having expensive body shop repair bills? I’m sure some enterprising asshole is already marketing “Protest Protectors” as I write this. Only in Amerika. The land of opportunity.

He was reacting to a Counterpunch story, pulling this quote from it below. But Paul Street needed to research the term, Amerikaner — “A round cakelike pastry of flour, butter, and lemon juice, with a sugar glaze, most often plain white, but sometimes chocolate or half-white/half-chocolate.”

Need a new dessert to make for parties and birthdays? Try our recipe for German-style cookie cakes! You can decorate them in sohttps://foodal.com/recipes/desserts/german-amerikaner-cookie-cakes/

Talk about “fascism with American characteristics”!

“In the wake of last year’s Black Lives Matter protests,” VOX’s Cameron Peters noted last April, “Republican lawmakers are advancing a number of new anti-protest measures at the state level – including multiple bills that specifically make it easier for drivers to run down protesters… If the recent spate of anti-protest measures in Florida, Iowa, and Oklahoma is disturbing on its face, however, context does little to make it better. There is a specific history in the US of the far right using cars as weapons, and it’s not hard to see how bills like the one that is now law in Oklahoma might only make things worse…The most notable example is from August 2017: Heather Heyer, 32, was struck and killed and at least 19 others were injured when neo-Nazi James Alex Fields Jr. rammed a crowd of counter protesters in Charlottesville. Fields has since been sentenced to life in prison…But it’s more than that single incident. According to Ari Weil, the deputy research director for the Chicago Project on Security and Threats, there were at least 72 incidents of cars driving into protesters over a relatively short span in 2020, from May 27 through July 7… Examples aren’t hard to find. There’s even a Wikipedia page specifically dedicated to ‘vehicle-ramming incidents during George Floyd protests.’ And as Weil explained in an interview with Vox’s Alex Ward last year, ‘there’s an online environment that for years has been celebrating and encouraging these types of horrendous attacks’. (emphasis added).  From Iowa Nice to Iowa Nazi: a Report from the Friendly Fascist Heartland

These are examples in USA and UK of how we help the sick, tired, overworked, the useless eaters, useless breeders, useless breathers, useless resters: “OH, JOE — The White European and White United Snakes of America and Klanada, they are all worthless scum, and we are useless breathers, useless eaters, useless breeders, useless one and all, unless there are fines/levies/penalties/tickets/violations/tolls/taxes/triple taxations/surcharges/fees-to gouge the poor and lower classes to death in their operating systems.”

Portland Roadways — Giant Piles of Boulders

New York Post — Cop rolls bike over protester’s head during Breonna Taylor demonstration

The post Shit Hitting the Fan as a World goes More Looney first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Charter Schools: Oversight and Accountability Versus Validity and Legitimacy

One view of change when it comes to charter schools is that charter schools are awful for various reasons, especially when it comes to funding arrangements, and that what is needed is better oversight, regulation, and accountability of privately-operated charter schools so that they stop “bilking the system” and stop harming public schools that educate the majority of students.

More accountability and oversight are certainly better than no accountability and oversight, but the charter school sector has operated with neither for 30 years.

The key question is: do charter schools have any valid or legitimate claim to public funds, resources, and facilities in the first place? With or without oversight, should charter schools be receiving a single public penny at all? What right do charter schools have to public wealth produced by workers?

The only way to settle these questions is to deeply appreciate the critical difference between public and private and then ascertain whether charter schools are public schools or not. It is well-known, for example, that simply declaring something is public 50 times a day does not automatically and spontaneously make it public.

The public/private question has been answered by a long list of charter school investigators: charter schools are not public schools, they are not even run by elected individuals and cannot levy taxes like public schools. Charter schools differ from public schools in many critical ways and function like privatized, marketized, corporatized entities. Unlike public schools, charter schools are not political subdivisions of the state; many operate openly as for-profit schools and many more are “managed” by for-profit corporations. Charter schools and public schools differ on organizational, legal, philosophical, and operational grounds. They are simply not the same. Thus, for example, charter schools are heavily driven by “free market” ideology. Charter school promoters see education as a commodity, not a social responsibility, and they treat parents and students as consumers and shoppers, not humans and citizens with rights that must be guaranteed in practice by government. A fend-for-yourself ethos pervades the crisis-prone charter school sector. It is no surprise that more than 3,000 charter schools have closed in just three decades. Chaos, anarchy, instability, and corruption are rampant in the highly segregated charter school sector.

If deregulated charter schools wish to exist, they can exist, but they must not have access to any public funds, resources, and facilities that legitimately belong to public schools. They have no valid claim to public wealth. At no time should a private entity be able to seize public resources that belong to the public sector. Such a setup distorts the economy and undermines education. Accountability and oversight will not fix that.

The millionaires and billionaires behind charter schools are not interested in accountability, transparency, or oversight; they are determined to engage in more neoliberal restructuring of the state so as to maximize profit as fast as possible in the context of a continually failing economy. Charter schools are pay-the-rich schemes that have nothing to do with improving schools or achievement. They are promoted under the veneer of high ideals but cannot be prettified. Charter schools are a form of state-organized corruption to pay the rich. If the tens of billions of public dollars and public facilities seized annually from public schools by charter schools were returned to public schools then students, teachers, and society would be much better off.

The post Charter Schools: Oversight and Accountability Versus Validity and Legitimacy first appeared on Dissident Voice.