Category Archives: the left

National Security State Censoring of Anti-Imperialist Voices

The US rulers use many tools to disrupt and disorganize the anti-war and anti-imperialist left. Three discussed here include: (1) corporate control of the news media gives them free reign to spread disinformation and fake news against foreign and domestic targets; (2) they use government and corporate foundation resources to fund and promote a compatible left to counter the anti-imperialist left; and (3) the rulers use their control of social media and internet to censor those voices.

Since 2016 their censorship of websites, Facebook pages, Twitter, and Paypal accounts has escalated alarmingly. They target those who counter the narratives the government and big business media feed us, whether it be US intervention and attempted overthrow of other governments, Covid, or stories of Russian interference.

With the Ukraine war, the US government and corporate media immense propaganda power has been directed against Russia and intensified on an overwhelming scale.

As the US empire began the Cold War soon after the end of World War II, with the rise of McCarthyism (which predated Joe McCarthy), news manipulation and suppression often fell under the control of the CIA’s Operation Mockingbird. The corporate media followed CIA directions in representing the interests of the US rulers. The CIA secretly funded and managed a wide range of front groups and individuals to counter what the US rulers considered its enemies. It encouraged those on the left who opposed actually existing socialism, seeking to foster splits in the left to undermine the communist and build the non-communist left.

Significant liberal and left figures who worked with the CIA included Gloria Steinem, key feminist leader, Herbert Marcuse, considered a Marxist intellectual, Walter Reuther, president of the United Auto Workers Union (1946-1970), David Dubinsky, president of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (1932-1966). The CIA collaborated with Baynard Rustin, Socialist Party leader and close associate of Martin Luther King, with Norman Thomas and Michael Harrington, who became the fathers of the third campist (“neither Washington nor Moscow”) Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). Likewise, Carl Gershman, a founder of Social Democrats, USA, and later founding director (1983-2021) of the CIA front National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

Through  the Congress for Cultural Freedom, the CIA underwrote the publishing of leftist critics, such as Leszek Kolakowski and Milovan Djilas’ book The New Class. The CIA aided the “Western Marxism” of the Frankfurt School, which included Theodore Adorno and Max Horkheimer, former director of New School of Social Research, also subsidized by the Rockefeller Foundation.

Corporate foundations, such as the Rockefeller, Ford, Open Society, and Tides foundations, among many others, funneled CIA money to progressive causes. The Cultural Cold War (pp. 134-5) noted that from 1963-66, nearly half the grants by 164 foundations in the field of international activities involved CIA money. The Ford Foundation continues as one of the main financers of progressive groups in the US; for instance, both Open Society and Ford foundations have heavily funded Black Lives Matter.

The CIA is regarded as a ruthless organization overthrowing democratic governments that US corporations considered a threat to their profits. While true, overlooked is “gentler” CIA work: underwriting and encouraging a compatible left, one which looks to forces in the Democratic Party for political leadership. This third camp left provides an alternative to an anti-imperialist or a communist left, and yet appears progressive enough to lure radicalizing youth, activists and intelligentsia. This cunning CIA strategy has fostered confusion, dissension, and divisions among these sections of the population.

These secret US government and CIA operations have been detailed in The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America, Finks: How the C.I.A. Tricked the World’s Best Writers, The Cultural Cold War, and AFL-CIO’s Secret War against Developing Country Workers: Solidarity or Sabotage?

In 1977 Carl Bernstein revealed CIA interconnections with the big business media. More than 400 journalists collaborated with the CIA, with the consent of their media bosses. Working in a propaganda alliance with the CIA included: CBS, ABC, NBC, Time, Newsweek, New York Times, Associated Press, Reuters, United Press International, Miami Herald, Saturday Evening Post and New York Herald Tribune. The New York Times still sends stories to US government for pre-publication approval, while CNN and others now employ national security state figures as “analysts.”

Reuters, BBC, and Bellingcat operate similarly, participating in covert British government funded disinformation programs to “weaken” Russia. This involves collaboration with the Counter Disinformation & Media Development section of the British Foreign Office.

The CIA pays journalists in Germany, France, Britain, Australia and New Zealand to plant fake news. Udo Ulfkotte, a former editor at Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of the largest German newspapers, showed how the CIA controls German media in Presstitutes: Embedded in the Pay of the CIA. Ulfkotte said the CIA had him plant fake stories in his paper, such as Libyan President Gaddafi building poison gas factories in 2011.

The CIA was closely involved with the long defunct National Students Association and with the trade union leadership. The AFL-CIO’s American Institute of Free Labor Development, received funding from USAID, the State Department, and NED to undermine militant union movements overseas and help foment murderous coups, as against President Allende of Chile (1973) and Brazil (1964), as well as defended the rule of their masters at home. This continues with the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center, which receives $30 million a year from NED.

The CIA created publishing houses, such as Praeger Press, and used other companies such as John Wiley Publishing Company, Scribner’s, Ballantine Books, and Putnam to publish its books. It set up several political and literary journals such as Partisan Review. This CIA publishing amounted to over one thousand books, mostly geared to a liberal-left audience, seeking to bolster a third camp left, and undermine solidarity with the once powerful world communist movement.

That mission largely accomplished years ago, today the national security state works to undermine the anti-imperialist left and build up a left inclined towards the “lesser evil” Democratic Party.

Recent US Government and Media Thought Control Measures

CIA use of corporate media to undermine perceived threats to the national security state escalated with Obama signing NDAA 2017, which lifted formalistic restrictions on security state agencies feeding fake news directly to the US population. The Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act in the NDAA, which went into effect in the early stages of Russiagate, created a central government propaganda organ:

to counter active measures by the Russian Federation to exert covert influence over peoples and governments (with the role of the Russian Federation hidden or not acknowledged publicly) through front groups, covert broadcasting, media manipulation, disinformation or forgeries, funding agents of influence, incitement, offensive counterintelligence, assassinations, or terrorist acts. The committee shall expose falsehoods, agents of influence, corruption, human rights abuses, terrorism, and assassinations carried out by the security services or political elites of the Russian Federation or their proxies.

Glen Ford observed:

Every category listed [above], except assassinations and terror, is actually a code word for political speech that can, and will, be used to target those engaged in ‘undermining faith in American democracy’ — such as Black Agenda Report and other left publications defamed as ‘fake news’ outlets by the Washington Post [article on PropOrNot].

This Disinformation and Propaganda Act created the innocuously named Global Engagement Center, operated by the State Department, Pentagon, USAID, the Broadcasting Board of Governors [renamed US Agency for Global Media], the Director of National Intelligence, and other spy agencies. This Center oversees production of fake news supporting US imperial interests, focused primarily against Russia and China (such as Uyghur genocide and Russiagate), but also against Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and others. Verifiable reports exposing US regime change operations and disinformation are often outright censored or labeled pro-Russian or pro-Chinese propaganda.

The Global Engagement Center finances journalists, NGOs, think tanks, and media outlets on board with campaigns to vilify non-corporate media reporting as spreaders of foreign government disinformation. This may shed light on the origins of smears that opponents of the US regime change against Syria or in Ukraine are Putinists, Assadists, tankies, Stalinists, part of a red-brown alliance.

National security state propaganda against Russia surged after it aided Syria in thwarting the US-Saudi war against the Assad government. It reached levels of hysteria with the fabricated Russiagate stories designed to sabotage the 2016 Trump presidential campaign. Seymour Hersh disclosed that the widely covered news of Russian hacking of DNC computers in 2016 was CIA disinformation. Hersh confirmed from FBI sources that Hillary Clinton’s emails were taken by Seth Rich and offered to Wikileaks for money, and that the fake news story of Russian hacking was initiated by CIA head John Brennan. However, exposures of the Clinton-neocon-national security state Russiagate fake news were themselves written off as disinformation concocted by pro-Russian operators.

An example of Global Engagement Center work may be a recent smear against anti-imperialists as agents of Russia appeared in The Daily Beast. It targets Lee Camp, Max Blumenthal, Ben Norton, and others: “propaganda peddlers rake in cash and followers at the expense of the truth and oppressed people in Ukraine, Xinjiang, and Syria” because of their accurate reporting that goes against the US propaganda line.

Other articles may indicate this government Disinformation Center use of the third camp left in the tradition of Operation Mongoose. George Monbiot’s article in The Guardian fit the billing:

We must confront Russian propaganda – even when it comes from those we respect – The grim truth is that for years, a small part of the ‘anti-imperialist’ left has been recycling Vladimir Putin’s falsehoods.

Louis Proyect crusaded for Syria regime change, and against those opposing the US war on the country as being part of a “red-brown alliance.” Proyect often relied on British Foreign Office funded Bellingcat for his articles, writing, “The Bellingcat website is perhaps the only place where you can find fact-based reporting on chemical attacks in Syria.” Proyect defended “Syrian revolution” “socialist” Anand Gopal, of the International Security Program at the New America Foundation, funded by the State Department and corporate foundations, and run by Anne-Marie Slaughter, former State Department official.

Democracy Now, which also repeatedly relied on Anand Gopal as a news source, has long received foundation money, and we see the self-censoring effect this has on its former excellent anti-war journalism degenerating into compatible leftism.

Another product of this government-corporate aid for this Democratic Party “lesser evil” left may be NACLA’s articles smearing the Nicaraguan government. NACLA Board Chair Program Director is Thomas Kruse of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. In 2018, NACLA, New York DSA, and Haymarket Books hosted anti-Sandinista youth activists while on a tour paid for by right-wing Freedom House.

In These Times, which receives hundreds of thousands in foundation money, ran similar articles smearing socialist Cuba. It claimed Cuba was “the Western Hemisphere’s most undemocratic government” – not Bolsonaro’s Brazil, Chile with its police who blinded pro-democracy protesters, not Colombia’s death squad supporting government, nor Honduras’ former coup regime, or Haiti’s hated rulers.

Haymarket Books, which produces many third camp left books, receives Democratic Party aligned think tank and nonprofit money via the pass through Center for Economic Research and Social Change. The Grayzone reported that the DSA, Jacobin Magazine, and Haymarket sponsored Socialism conference featured NED and State Department funded regime-change activists.

Jacobin editor Bhaskar Sunkara is former vice-chair of the Democratic Party’s reform oriented DSA. In 2017 the Jacobin Foundation received a $100,000 grant from the Annenberg Foundation, set up by billionaire publisher and Nixon administration U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain Walter Annenberg.

This milieu includes New York’s Left Forum, and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, underwritten by the German government.

Bob Feldman revealed corporate financing for the Institute of Policy Studies, The Nation, In These Times, NACLA, Middle East Research & Information Project (MERIP), Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), Progressive, Mother Jones, AlterNet, Institute for Public Accuracy, among others.

The US Chamber of Commerce discovered that foundations gave $106 million to workers centers between 2013-2016, and concluded that the worker center movement was “a creature of the progressive foundations that encouraged and supported it.”

These are but a few examples of US ruling class financing of anti anti-imperialist leftists, an effective means to channel and organize the left milieu into an opposition that poses no real threat to their control.

An essential characteristic of this milieu is looking to the Democratic Party as a lesser evil ally.

Alexander Cockburn  pointed out the dangers of this financing back in 2010:

The financial clout of the “non-profit” foundations, tax-exempt bodies formed by rich people to dispense their wealth according to political taste… Much of the “progressive sector” in America owes its financial survival – salaries, office accommodation etc — to the annual disbursements of these foundations which cease abruptly at the first manifestation of radical heterodoxy. In the other words, most of the progressive sector is an extrusion of the dominant corporate world, just as are the academies, similarly dependent on corporate endowments.”

Right after Trump’s surprise 2016 election win, the Washington Post cranked up the anti-Russia McCarthyism by introducing PropOrNot. ProporNot’s catalog of supposed Putin-controlled outlets sought to resurrect the witchhunts of the Red Scare era,  when 6.6 million people were investigated just between 1947-1952. The PropOrNot blacklist includes some of the most alternative and anti-war news sites on the web, including Anti-war.com, Black Agenda Report, Truthdig, Naked Capitalism, Consortium News, Truthout, Lew Rockwell.com, Global Research, Unz.com, Zero Hedge, and many others.

PropOrNot asserted 200 websites were “Russian propaganda outlets.” No evidence was offered. PropOrNot refused to reveal who they were or their funding. Alan Mcleod recently uncovered: “A scan of PropOrNot’s website showed that it was controlled by The Interpreter, a magazine of which [Michael] Weiss is editor-in-chief…[a] senior fellow of NATO think tank The Atlantic Council.” The Atlantic Council itself is financed by the US government and Middle Eastern dictatorships, weapons manufacturers Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin, Wall Street banks such as Goldman Sachs; and petrochemical giants like BP and Chevron. Mcleod concluded, “Thus, claims of a huge [foreign] state propaganda campaign were themselves state propaganda.”

Soon after PropOrNot, the German Marshall Fund, largely financed by the US government, concocted Hamilton 68: A New Tool to Track Russian Disinformation on Twitter. This identifies supposed “accounts that are involved in promoting Russian influence and disinformation goals.” Daniel McAdams of Ron Paul Liberty Report noted, “They are using US and other government money in an effort to eliminate any news organization or individual who deviates from the official neocon foreign policy line on Russia, Syria, Ukraine, etc.”

This year, the Department of Homeland Security presented a new censorship and disinformation organ, allegedly to combat pro-Russian fake news, the Disinformation Governance Board. As the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act and PropOrNot showed, what challenges US national security state narratives is often labeled Russian disinformation. Glenn Greenwald forewarned, “The purpose of empowering the Department of Homeland Security to decree what is and is not “disinformation” is to bestow all government assertions with a pretense of authoritative expertise and official sanction and, conversely, to officially decree dissent from government claims to be false and deceitful.”

The national security state, which lied about Russiagate, lied about National Security Agency’s 24/7 spying on the US population, lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, plans to decide what is true and false, and enforce that on big business and alternative media outlets.

Thus, the CIA’s secret Operation Mongoose, devoted to encouraging hostility to actually existing socialism among the left, has morphed into official, public US government McCarthyite agencies directed at shutting down or smearing outlets and activism opposing the US empire and its wars.

What Corporate Social Media instruments are targeting which anti-war outlets?

This joint US government corporate media censorship has become an increasingly open attack. Paypal has allied itself with the Zionist Anti-Defamation League to “fight extremism and hate through the financial industry and across at-risk communities… with policymakers and law enforcement.”

Twitter has shut down many political accounts, even possessed the power to suppress the President of the United States’ account. In 2020, Twitter deleted 170,000 accounts “spreading geopolitical narratives favorable to the Communist Party of China,” and in 2021, it deleted hundreds of accounts for “undermining faith in the NATO alliance and its stability.” The company has hired a number of FBI officers for this censorship work. Twitter executive for Middle East is British Army ‘psyops’ soldier Gordon MacMillan of the 77th Brigade, which uses social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to conduct “information warfare.”

Google and Youtube executives team up with government spy agencies to censor anti-imperialist voices. Google’s “Project Owl,” designed to eradicate “fake news,” employed “algorithmic updates to surface more authoritative [compatible] content” and downgrade “offensive” [anti-imperialist] material. As a result, traffic dropped off to websites such as Mint Press News, Alternet, Global Research, Consortium News, liberal-left Common Dreams and Truthout.

Wikipedia censors articles on its website, as Ben Norton notes:

The CIA, FBI, New York Police Department, Vatican, and fossil fuel colossus BP, to name just a few, have all been caught directly editing Wikipedia articles.

A minor player,  NewsGuard, “partners” with the State Department and Pentagon to tag websites that deviate from the establishment line.

Facebook relies on PropOrNot’s Atlantic Council to combat reporting contrary to the US government line. Facebook later announced it would further fight “fake news” by partnering with two propaganda organizations sponsored by the US government: the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI). The NDI was chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, while Senator John McCain was the longtime IRI chair.

Just as The Mighty Wurlitzer, The Cultural Cold War, and Bernstein’s The CIA and the Media showed with the big business print media, we are witnessing an integration of social media companies into the national security state.

Who have been censored by this corporate media and social media integration with the national security state? 

Like with any censored book list, national security state targets provide a Who’s Who of what we should be reading and watching: The Grayzone, TeleSur,  Venezuelanalysis, Lee Camp, By Any Means Necessary, Caleb Maupin, Syria Solidarity Movement, Consortium News, Mint Press News, Abby Martin, Chris Hedges, CGTN and other Chinese media, George Galloway, Pepe Escobar, Scott Ritter, ASB Military News, RT America, Strategic Culture Foundation, One World Press, SouthFront, Gonzalo Lira, Oriental Review, Revolutionary Black Network, Sputnik News, Ron Paul’s Liberty Report.  Youtube warns us of watching Oliver Stone’s Ukraine on Fire. Journalists who have collaborated with a Russian media outlet are now dubbed “affiliated with the Russian government.”

The FBI directly shut down American Herald Tribune and Iran’s Press TV. RT and Sputnik are already shut down in Europe. PropOrNot listing of 200 media sites catalogs for us what the national security state doesn’t want us to read, listen to, know, or think.

Since the beginning of the first Cold War, there has been a continuous CIA-national security state operation to neutralize, marginalize, and create disunity among its opponents, often with the collaboration of the left that consider the Democratic Party a lesser evil. This strategy includes extensive foundation financing of leftist outlets and NGOs in order to tame them.

Therefore, it is mistaken to fault the US left for its weakness. The CIA and the foundations have been key players in covertly manipulating opposition to US imperial rule, in part by strengthening the left soft on the Democrats to undermine any working class or anti-US empire challenge. To date, this national security state mission has also shown considerable success.

The problems of building a working class left-wing partly results from the US rulers’ decades long campaign to disrupt the movement. This involves not just imprisoning and killing activists, such as Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, or the Black Panthers, but also big business media marketing disinformation as news, their funding of a compatible left, and the present social media and internet censorship of anti-imperialist voices. Rebuilding an anti-war and working class left wing requires us to directly address and navigate through this maze ruling class sabotage has created.

The post National Security State Censoring of Anti-Imperialist Voices first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Keir Starmer has returned western imperialism to the core of Labour policy

The local authority election results earlier this month in the UK were as bleak as expected for Boris Johnson’s government, with the electorate ready to punish the ruling party both for its glaring corruption and rocketing high-street prices.

A few weeks earlier, the police fined Johnson – the first of several such penalties he is expected to receive – for attending a series of parties that broke the very lockdown rules his own government set. And the election took place as news broke that the UK would soon face recession and the highest inflation rate for decades.

In the circumstances, one might have assumed the opposition Labour Party under Keir Starmer would romp home, riding a wave of popular anger. But in reality, Starmer’s party fared little better than Johnson’s. Outside London, Labour was described as “treading water” across much of England.

Starmer is now two years into his leadership and has yet to make a significant mark politically. Labour staff are cheered that in opinion polls the party is finally ahead – if marginally – of Johnson’s Tories. Nonetheless, the public remains adamant that Starmer does not look like a prime minister in waiting.

That may be in large part because he rarely tries to land a blow against a government publicly floundering in its own corruption.

When Johnson came close to being brought down at the start of the year, as the so-called “partygate scandal” erupted with full force, it was not through Labour’s efforts. It was because of relentless leaks presumed to be from Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s former adviser turned nemesis.

Starmer has been equally incapable of cashing in on the current mutinous rumblings against Johnson from within his own Tory ranks.

Self-inflicted wounds

Starmer’s ineffectualness seems entirely self-inflicted.

In part, that is because his ambitions are so low. He has been crafting policies to look more like a Tory-lite party that focuses on “the flag, veterans [and] dressing smartly”, as an internal Labour review recommended last year.

But equally significantly, he has made it obvious he sees his first duty not to battle for control of the national political terrain against Johnson’s government, but to expend his energies on waging what is becoming a permanent internal war on sections of his own party.

That has required gutting Labour of large parts of the membership that were attracted by his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, a democratic socialist who spent his career emphasising the politics of anti-racism and anti-imperialism.

To distance himself from Corbyn, Starmer has insisted on the polar opposites. He has been allying ever more closely with Israel, just as a new consensus has emerged in the human rights community that Israel is a racist, apartheid state.

And he has demanded unquestioning loyalty to Nato, just as the western military alliance pours weapons into Ukraine, in what looks to be rapidly becoming a cynical proxy war, dissuading both sides from seeking a peace agreement and contributing to a surge in the stock price of the West’s military industries.

Broken promises

Starmer’s direction of travel flies in the face of promises he made during the 2020 leadership election that he would heal the internal divisions that beset his predecessor’s tenure.

Corbyn, who was the choice of the party’s largely left-wing members in 2015, immediately found himself in a head-on collision with the dominant faction of right-wing MPs in the Labour parliamentary caucus as well as the permanent staff at head office.

Once leader, Starmer lost no time in stripping Corbyn of his position as a Labour MP. He cited as justification Corbyn’s refusal to accept evidence-free allegations of antisemitism against the party under his leadership that had been loudly amplified by an openly hostile media.

Corbyn had suffered from a years-long campaign, led by pro-Israel lobby groups and the media, suggesting his criticisms of Israel for oppressing the Palestinian people were tantamount to hatred of Jews. A new definition of antisemitism focusing on Israel was imposed on the party to breathe life into such allegations.

But the damage was caused not just by Labour’s enemies. Corbyn was actively undermined from within. A leaked internal report highlighted emails demonstrating that party staff had constantly plotted against him and even worked to throw the 2017 election, when Corbyn was just a few thousand votes short of winning.

With Brexit thrown into the mix at the 2019 election – stoking a strong nativist mood in the UK – Corbyn suffered a decisive defeat at Johnson’s hands.

But as leader, Starmer did not use the leaked report as an opportunity to reinforce party democracy, as many members expected. In fact, he reinstated some of the central protagonists exposed in the report, even apparently contemplating one of them for the position of Labour general secretary.

He also brought in advisers closely associated with former leader Tony Blair, who turned Labour decisively rightwards through the late 1990s and launched with the US an illegal war on Iraq in 2003.

Instead, Starmer went after the left-wing membership, finding any pretext – and any means, however draconian – to finish the job begun by the saboteurs.

He has rarely taken a break from hounding the left-wing membership, even if a permanent turf war has detracted from the more pressing need to concentrate on the Tory government’s obvious failings.

Flooded with arms

Starmer’s flame-war against the left has become so extreme that, as some critics have pointed out, both Pope Francis and Amnesty International would face expulsion from Starmer’s Labour Party were they members.

The pope is among a growing number of observers expressing doubts about the ever-more explicit intervention by the US and its Nato allies in Ukraine that seems designed to drag out the war, and raise the death toll, rather than advance peace talks.

In fact, recent views expressed by officials in Washington risk giving credence to the original claims made by Russian President Vladimir Putin justifying his illegal invasion of Ukraine in late February.

Before that invasion, Moscow officials had characterised Nato’s aggressive expansion across Eastern Europe following the fall of the Soviet Union, and its cosying up to Ukraine, as an “existential threat”. Russia even warned that it might use nuclear weapons if they were seen as necessary for its defence.

The Kremlin’s reasons for concern cannot be entirely discounted. Two Minsk peace accords intended to defuse a bloody eight-year civil war between Ukrainian ultra-nationalists and ethnic Russian communities in eastern Ukraine, on Russia’s border, have gone nowhere.

Instead, Ukraine’s government pushed for closer integration into Nato to the point where Putin warned of retaliation if Nato stationed missiles, potentially armed with nuclear warheads, on Russia’s doorstep. They would be able to strike Moscow in minutes, undermining the premise of mutually assured destruction that long served as the basis of a Cold War detente.

In response to Russia’s invasion, Nato has flooded Ukraine with weapons while the US has been moving to transfer a whopping $40bn in military aid to Kyiv – all while deprioritising pressure on Moscow and Kyiv to revisit the Minsk accords.

Nato weapons were initially supplied on the basis that they would help Ukraine defend itself from Russia. But that principle appears to have been quickly jettisoned by Washington.

Last month, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin declared that the aim was instead to “see Russia weakened” – a position echoed by Nato former Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The New York Times has reported that Washington is involved in a “classified” intelligence operation to help Ukraine kill senior Russian generals.

US officials now barely conceal the fact that they view Ukraine as a proxy war – one that sounds increasingly like the scenario Putin laid out when justifying his invasion as pre-emptive: that Washington intends to sap Russia of its military strength, push Nato’s weapons and potentially its troops right up against Russia’s borders, and batter Moscow economically through sanctions and an insistence that Europe forgo Russian gas.

The existential threat Putin feared has become explicit US policy, it seems.

Fealty to Nato

These are the reasons the pope speculated last week that, while Russia’s actions could not be justified, the “barking of Nato at the door of Russia” might, in practice, have “facilitated” the invasion. He also questioned the supply of weapons to Ukraine in the context of profiteering from the war: “Wars are fought for this: to test the arms we have made.”

Pope Francis, bound by formal Vatican rules of political neutrality, has to be cautious in what he says. And yet Starmer has deemed similar observations made by activists in the Labour party as grounds for expulsion.

The Labour leader has clashed head-on with the Stop the War Coalition, which Corbyn helped found in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. The group played a central role in mobilising opposition to Britain’s participation, under Blair, in the 2003 illegal invasion of Iraq.

Stop the War, which is seen as close to the Labour left, has long been sceptical of Nato, a creature of the Cold War that proved impervious to the collapse of the Soviet Union and has gradually taken on the appearance of a permanent lobby for the West’s military industries.

Stop the War has spoken out against both Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and the decades-long expansion by Nato across Eastern Europe that Moscow cites as justification for its war of aggression. Starmer, however, has scorned that position as what he calls “false equivalence”.

In a commentary published in the Guardian newspaper, he denied that Stop the War were “benign voices for peace” or “progressive”. He termed Nato “a defensive alliance that has never provoked conflict”, foreclosing the very debate anti-war activists – and Pope Francis – seek to begin.

Starmer also threatened 11 Labour MPs with losing the whip – like Corbyn – if they did not immediately remove their names from a Stop the War statement that called for stepping up moves towards a diplomatic solution. More recently, he has warned MPs that they will face unspecified action from the party if they do not voice “unshakeable support for Nato”.

Starmer has demanded “a post 9/11” style surge in arms expenditure in response to the war in Ukraine, insisting that Nato must be “strengthened”.

He has shut down the Twitter account of Labour’s youth wing for its criticisms of Nato.

In late March he proscribed three small leftist groups – Labour Left Alliance, Socialist Labour Network, and the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty – adding them to four other left-wing groups that he banned last year. Stop the War could soon be next.

Starmer’s relentless attacks on anti-war activism in Labour fly in the face of his 10 pledges, the platform that helped him to get elected. They included a commitment – reminiscent of Pope Francis – to “put human rights at the heart of foreign policy. Review all UK arms sales and make us a force for international peace and justice”.

But once elected, Starmer has effectively erased any space for an anti-war movement in mainstream British politics, one that wishes to question whether Nato is still a genuinely defensive alliance or closer to a lobby serving western arms industries that prosper from permanent war.

In effect, Starmer has demanded that the left out-compete the Tory government for fealty to Nato’s militarism. The war in Ukraine has become the pretext to force underground not only anti-imperialist politics but even Vatican-style calls for diplomacy.

Apartheid forever

But Starmer is imposing on Labour members an even more specific loyalty test rooted in Britain’s imperial role: support for Israel as a state that oppresses Palestinians.

Starmer’s decision to distance himself and Labour as far as possible from Corbyn’s support for Palestinian rights initially seemed to be tactical, premised on a desire to avoid the antisemitism smears that plagued his predecessor.

But that view has become progressively harder to sustain.

Starmer has turned a deaf ear to a motion passed last year by Labour delegates calling for UK sanctions against Israel as an apartheid state. References to it have even been erased from the party’s YouTube channel. Similarly, he refused last month to countenance Israel’s recent designation as an apartheid state by Amnesty and a raft of other human rights groups.

Last November, Starmer delivered a fawningly pro-Israel speech alongside Israel’s ultra-nationalist ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, in which he repeatedly conflated criticism of Israel with antisemitism.

He has singled out anti-Zionist Jewish members of Labour – more so than non-Jewish members – apparently because they are the most confident and voluble critics of Israel in the party.

And now, in the run-up to this month’s local elections, he has flaunted his party’s renewal of ties with the Israeli Labor party, which severed relations during Corbyn’s tenure.

Senior officials from the Israeli party joined him and his deputy, Angela Rayner, in what was described as a “charm offensive”, as they pounded London streets campaigning for the local elections. It was hard not to interpret this as a slap in the face to swaths of the Labour membership.

The Israeli Labor party founded Israel by engineering a mass ethnic cleansing campaign, as documents unearthed by Israeli historians have confirmed, that saw hundreds of thousands of Palestinians expelled from their homeland.

Israel’s Labor party has continued to play a key role both in entrenching illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied territories to displace Palestinians, and in formulating legal distinctions between Jewish and Palestinian citizenship that have cemented the new consensus among groups such as Amnesty International that Israel qualifies as an apartheid state.

The Israeli Labor party is part of the current settler-led government that secured court approval last week to evict many hundreds of Palestinians from eight historic Palestinian villages near Hebron – while allowing settlers to remain close by – on the pretext that the land is needed for a firing zone.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper concluded of the ruling: “Occupation is temporary by definition; apartheid is liable to persist forever. The High Court approved it.”

Labour’s ugly face

The ugly new face of Labour politics under Starmer is becoming ever harder to conceal. Under cover of rooting out the remnants of Corbynism, Starmer is not only proving himself an outright authoritarian, intent on crushing the last vestiges of democratic socialism in Labour.

He is also reviving the worst legacies of a Labour tradition that cheerleads western imperialism and cosies up to racist states – as long as they are allies of Washington and ready to buy British arms.

Starmer’s war on the Labour left is not – as widely assumed – a pragmatic response to the Corbyn years, designed to distance the party from policies that exposed it to the relentless campaign of antisemitism smears that undermined Corbyn.

Rather, Starmer is continuing and widening that very campaign of smears. He has picked up the baton on behalf of those Labour officials who, the leaked internal report showed, preferred to sabotage the Labour Party if it meant stopping the left from gaining power.

His task is not just to ensnare those who wish to show solidarity with the Palestinians after decades of oppression supported by the West. It is to crush all activism against western imperialism and the state of permanent war it has helped to engineer.

Britain now has no visible political home for the kind of anti-war movements that once brought millions out onto Britain’s streets in an effort to halt the war on Iraq. And for that, the British establishment and their war industries have Sir Keir Starmer to thank.

First published in Middle East Eye

The post Keir Starmer has returned western imperialism to the core of Labour policy first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Subtleties of Anti-Russia Leftist Rhetoric

While the so-called liberal and conservative corporate mainstream media – all stenographers for the intelligence agencies – pour forth the most blatant propaganda about Russia and Ukraine that is so conspicuous that it is comedic if it weren’t so dangerous, the self-depicted cognoscenti also ingest subtler messages, often from the alternative media.

A woman I know, and who knows my sociological analyses of propaganda, contacted me to tell me there was an excellent article about the war in Ukraine at The Intercept, an on-line publication funded by billionaire Pierre Omidyar I have long considered a leading example of much deceptive reporting wherein truth is mixed with falsehoods to convey a “liberal” narrative that fundamentally supports the ruling elites while seeming to oppose them.  This, of course, is nothing new since it’s been the modus operandi of all corporate media in their own ideological and disingenuous ways, such as The New York Times, CBS, the Washington Post, the New York Daily News, Fox News, CNN, NBC, etc. for a very long time.

Nevertheless, out of respect for her judgment and knowing how deeply she feels for all suffering people, I read the article.  Written by Alice Speri, its title sounded ambiguous – “The Left in Europe Confronts NATO’s Resurgence After Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine” – until I saw the subtitle that begins with these words: “Russia’s brutal invasion complicates…”  But I read on.  By the fourth paragraph, it became clear where this article was going.  Speri writes that “In Ukraine, by contrast [with Iraq], it was Russia that had staged an illegal, unprovoked invasion, and U.S.-led support to Ukraine was understood by many as crucial to stave off even worse atrocities than those the Russian military had already committed.” [my emphasis]

While ostensibly about European anti-war and anti-NATO activists caught on the horns of a dilemma, the piece goes on to assert that although US/NATO was guilty of wrongful expansion over many years, Russia has been an aggressor in Ukraine and Georgia and is guilty of terrible war crimes, etc.

There is not a word about the U.S. engineered coup in 2014, the CIA and Pentagon backed mercenaries in Ukraine, or its support for the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion and Ukraine’s years of attacks on the Donbass where many thousands have been killed.  It is assumed these actions are not criminal or provocative.  And there is this:

The uncertain response of Europe’s peace activists is both a reflection of a brutal, unprovoked invasion that stunned the world and of an anti-war movement that has grown smaller and more marginalized over the years. The left in both Europe and the U.S. have struggled to respond to a wave of support for Ukraine that is at cross purposes with a decades long effort to untangle Europe from a U.S.-led military alliance. [my emphasis]

In other words, the article, couched in anti-war rhetoric, was anti-Russia propaganda.  When I told my friend my analysis, she refused to discuss it and got angry with me, as if I therefore were a proponent of war  I have found this is a common response.

This got me thinking again about why people so often miss the untruths lying within articles that are in many parts truthful and accurate.  I notice this constantly.  They are like little seeds slipped in as if no one will notice; they work their magic nearly unconsciously.  Few do notice them, for they are often imperceptible.  But they have their effects and are cumulative and are far more powerful over time than blatant statements that will turn people off, especially those who think propaganda doesn’t work on them.  This is the power of successful propaganda, whether purposeful  or not.  It particularly works well on “intellectual” and highly schooled people.

For example, in a recent printed  interview, Noam Chomsky, after being introduced as a modern day Galileo, Newton, and Descartes rolled into one, talks about propaganda, its history, Edward Bernays, Walter Lippman, etc.  What he says is historically accurate and informative for anyone not knowing this history.  He speaks wisely of U.S. media propaganda concerning its unprovoked war against Iraq and he accurately calls the war in Ukraine “provoked.”  And then, concerning the war in Ukraine, he drops this startling statement:

I don’t think there are ‘significant lies’ in war reporting. The U.S. media are generally doing a highly creditable job in reporting Russian crimes in Ukraine. That’s valuable, just as it’s valuable that international investigations are underway in preparation for possible war crimes trials.

In the blink of an eye, Chomsky says something so incredibly untrue that unless one thinks of him as a modern day Galileo, which many do, it may pass as true and you will smoothly move on to the next paragraph.  Yet it is a statement so false as to be laughable.  The media propaganda concerning events in Ukraine has been so blatantly false and ridiculous that a careful reader will stop suddenly and think: Did he just say that?

So now Chomsky views the media, such as The New York Times and its ilk, that he has correctly castigated for propagandizing for the U.S. in Iraq and East Timor, to use two examples, is doing “a highly creditable job in reporting Russian crimes in Ukraine,” as if suddenly they were no longer spokespeople for the CIA and U.S. disinformation.  And he says this when we are in the midst of the greatest propaganda blitz since WW I, with its censorship, Disinformation Governance Board, de-platforming of dissidents, etc., that border on a parody of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. 

Even slicker is his casual assertion that the media are doing a good job reporting Russia’s war crimes after he earlier has said this about propaganda:

So it continues. Particularly in the more free societies, where means of state violence have been constrained by popular activism, it is of great importance to devise methods of manufacturing consent, and to ensure that they are internalized, becoming as invisible as the air we breathe, particularly in articulate educated circles. Imposing war-myths is a regular feature of these enterprises.

This is simply masterful.  Explain what propaganda is at its best and how you oppose it and then drop a soupçon of it into your analysis.  And while he is at it, Chomsky makes sure to praise Chris Hedges, one of his followers, who has himself recently wrote an article – The Age of Self-Delusion – that also contains valid points appealing to those sick of wars, but which also contains the following words:

Putin’s revanchism is matched by our own.

The disorganization, ineptitude, and low morale of the Russian army conscripts, along with the repeated intelligence failures by the Russian high command, apparently convinced Russia would roll over Ukraine in a few days, exposes the lie that Russia is a global menace.

‘The Russian bear has effectively defanged itself,’ historian Andrew Bacevich writes.

But this is not a truth the war makers impart to the public. Russia must be inflated to become a global menace, despite nine weeks of humiliating military failures. [my emphasis]

Russia’s revanchism?  Where?  Revanchism?  What lost territory has the U.S. ever waged war to recover?  Iraq, Syria, Cuba, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, etc.?  The U.S.’s history is a history not of revanchism but of imperial conquest, of seizing or controlling territory, while Russia’s war in Ukraine is clearly an act of self-defense after years of U.S./NATO/Ukraine provocations and threats, which Hedges recognizes.  “Nine weeks of humiliating military failures”? – when they control a large section of eastern and southern Ukraine, including the Donbass.  But his false message is subtly woven, like Chomsky’s, into sentences that are true.

“But this is not a truth the war makers impart to the public.”  No, it is exactly what the media spokespeople for the war makers – i.e. The New York Times (Hedges former employer, which he never fails to mention and for whom he covered the Clinton administration’s savage destruction of Yugoslavia), CNN, Fox News, The Washington Post, the New York Post, etc. impart to the public every day for their masters.  Headlines that read how Russia, while allegedly committing daily war crimes, is failing in its war aims and that the mythic hero Zelensky is leading Ukrainians to victory.  Words to the effect that “The Russian bear has effectively defanged itself” presented as fact.

Yes, they do inflate the Russian monster myth, only to then puncture it with the myth of David defeating Goliath.

But being in the business of mind games (too much consistency leads to clarity and gives the game away), one can expect them to scramble their messages on an ongoing basis to serve the U.S. agenda in Ukraine and further NATO expansion in the undeclared war with Russia, for which the Ukrainian people will be sacrificed.

Orwell called it “doublethink”:

Doublethink lies at the very heart of Ingsoc, since the essential act of the Party is to use conscious deception while retaining the firmness of purpose that goes with complete honesty.To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality one denies – all this is indispensably necessary….with the lie always one step ahead of the truth.

Revealing while concealing and interjecting inoculating shots of untruths that will only get cursory attention from their readers, the writers mentioned here and others have great appeal for the left intelligentsia.  For people who basically worship those they have imbued with infallibility and genius, it is very hard to read all sentences carefully and smell a skunk.  The subterfuge is often very adroit and appeals to readers’ sense of outrage at what happened in the past – e.g. the George W. Bush administration’s lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Chomsky, of course, is the leader of the pack, and his followers are legion, including Hedges.  For decades they have been either avoiding or supporting the official versions of the assassinations of JFK and RFK, the attacks of September 11, 2001 that led directly to the war on terror and so many wars of aggression,and the recent Covid-19 propaganda with its devastating lockdowns and crackdowns on civil liberties.  They are far from historical amnesiacs, of course, but obviously consider these foundational events of no importance, for otherwise they would have addressed them.  If you expect them to explain, you will be waiting a long time.

In a recent article – How the organized Left got Covid wrong, learned to love lockdowns and lost its mind: an autopsy – Christian Parenti writes this about Chomsky:

Almost the entire left intelligentsia has remained psychically stuck in March 2020. Its members have applauded the new biosecurity repression and calumniated as liars, grifters, and fascists any and all who dissented. Typically, they did so without even engaging evidence and while shirking public debate. Among the most visible in this has been Noam Chomsky, the self-described anarcho-syndicalist who called for the unvaccinated to “remove themselves from society,” and suggested that they should be allowed to go hungry if they refuse to submit.

Parenti’s critique of the left’s response (not just Chomsky’s and Hedges’) to Covid also applies to those foundational events mentioned above, which raises deeper questions about the CIA’s and NSA’s penetration  of the media in general, a subject beyond the scope of this analysis.

For those, like the liberal woman who referred me to The Intercept article, who would no doubt say of what I have written here: Why are you picking on leftists? my reply is quite simple.

The right-wing and the neocons are obvious in their pernicious agendas; nothing is really hidden; therefore they can and should be opposed. But many leftists serve two masters and are far subtler. Ostensibly on the side of regular people and opposed to imperialism and the predations of the elites at home and abroad, they are often tricksters of beguiling rhetoric that their followers miss. Rhetoric that indirectly fuels the wars they say they oppose.

Smelling skunks is not as obvious as it might seem.  Being nocturnal, they come forth when most are sleeping.

The post The Subtleties of Anti-Russia Leftist Rhetoric first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The West Has Fallen Into Darkness

When reason hath to deal with force, yet so
Most reason is that reason overcome.

— Paradise Lost (6.125-126)

As the Western elites continue to pour weapons into Ukraine to the delight of the armaments industry and the closet Nazis of Natostan, the cult of neoliberalism, which put the Banderite regime in power during the Obama years, reaches new depths of degradation with each passing day. Both at home and abroad, the schizophrenic rift between the language of neoliberalism and the actual policies that these creatures support continues to widen. The increasingly delusional trajectory of the queen of cults is propelling us into a new dark age where literacy, reason, the rule of law, and even the survival of our species are in danger.

Subconsciously, neoliberals believe that they are carrying on in the tradition of the Enlightenment, the abolitionists, the New Dealers, the civil rights activists, and the anti-war activists that marched against the Vietnam War and the bombings of Laos and Cambodia. In actuality, what they offer today is lawlessness, unfettered capitalism, biofascism, deunionization, war, sectarianism; and the multicultural curriculum, a cousin of Banderite education, as both are predicated on the anti-humanities. It is this sophomoric hubris of neoliberals, the macabre fantasy that they are sensible, rational, and moral beings while the heathens represent intolerance, ignorance, and bigotry, which blinds them to the barbarism of their deeds. Like the lost souls in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, neoliberals believe they are firmly grounded in reality, when they are enslaved to venal public health agencies and a mass media brainwashing apparatus which have entrapped them in a world of deception and lies — a world of shadows.

While Ukrainian civilization is inextricably linked with Russian history and culture, Banderite education is anchored in Russophobia, its antithesis. Having extirpated all things Russian from their lives, Ukrainian state ideology has become synonymous with hating Russians. No less rooted in self-cannibalization, the multicultural society has become synonymous with a hostility towards the American canon and all things Western. Both are depraved, totalitarian, anti-intellectual and anti-democratic dogmas. As Orwell wrote in 1984, “The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth.” Beware the anti-humanities, for they are the handmaidens of totalitarianism.

Indeed, identity politics and Banderite indoctrination have spawned tens of millions of illiterate, nihilistic, and atomized individuals that are devoid of a legitimate culture, cannot place current events in their appropriate historical context, are inculcated with loathing for an imaginary enemy, and can easily be manipulated by oligarchic forces. Nazi and Zionist indoctrination achieved similar results. Notably, the Russophobia in the West increasingly resembles the Russophobia in Ukraine prior to the Maidan putsch (see here and here).

The idea that neoliberalism is anchored in “anti-racism” is nonsensical, as not a day goes by without more dumbing down of children of color, mindless hate-filled rants against Russians and white people (excluding Nazis in Eastern Europe and the ones with lots of money); while the anti-white jihad ideology imbues the younger generation with a desire to launch a crusade against all things “racist.” This encompasses everything from Shakespeare to Mozart, to the principle of bodily autonomy, to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, to disposable white workers themselves. This is the most dangerous form of bigotry – sectarian hatreds that are knowingly and willfully cultivated in an education system charged with the task of molding impressionable young minds.

When not smashing unions to the wall, burning books, dismantling informed consent, and fomenting ghettoization, neoliberals can be found spending trillions of dollars dropping bombs on people and supporting death squads. Indeed, the sociopathy of American humanitarian interventionism is glaringly on display with regards to the Biden administration’s support for the Banderite regime.

Like Pavlov’s dogs, neocons and neolibs alike clamor for hellfire to be unleashed on whoever is the latest to be vilified: anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists, Serbs, Russians, the Taliban, the Iraqis. Entire societies are deemed to be somehow synonymous with their alleged dictators. While faux leftists have imaginary conversations about Russiagate, children in Mariupol are acquiring a real-world understanding of the horrors that have been inflicted on their society as a result of the US-backed Maidan coup. Yet we must follow these virtuous crusaders, who applaud their government for giving billions of dollars in weapons (or complain that it is insufficient, for the most fanatical) to a Banderite regime which permits fascists to get on television and openly call for genocide in the Donbass. Meanwhile, a vast swath of American society lacks adequate health insurance, adequate employment, education, the rule of law; and increasingly, even a society. As many a wise babushka can explain, before the specter of Ukrainian nationalism once more reared its ugly visage, western and eastern Ukrainians lived in peace with one another. Undoubtedly they would still, were it not for Washington providing the Banderite entity with enormous amounts of diplomatic aid, arms, military training, and assistance in executing psyops.

The idea currently being bandied about by a number of presstitutes and congressmen, that we could nonchalantly waltz into a third world war, as it would likely be confined to the use of conventional weapons, is indicative of a society that has lost the ability to engage in rational fact-based discussions. If there is a third world war, it will be nuclear. The Kremlin is not going to allow a repeat of Operation Barbarossa, and senior Kremlin officials have explicitly stated that they are not going to permit another war to be fought on Russian soil. This deranged thinking is yet further evidence of a society that has, over the past thirty years, been transformed into a diabolical cesspit of lies, propaganda, and deceit.

Some have speculated that there is a cabal in Washington pushing for a third world war, wagering that Europe and Russia would be destroyed, but that the US would somehow escape the carnage unscathed as transpired after the first two world wars, and that the American ruling establishment would then be able to create a new financial system which would cancel American debt and reverse the looming threat of de-dollarization. Should things degenerate to the point where the Russian military is targeting London, Paris, and Brussels is it not likely that major American cities would also be targeted?

While neoliberals wallow in the pathologies of cult dogma, the Russians are acutely aware of the following facts: the Banderite coup was orchestrated by Washington; battalions and death squads comprised of neo-Nazis and ultranationalists have been armed, funded, and trained by the West; and that Western presstitutes have fallen head over heels in love with Russophobia and are providing the Banderite regime with assistance in carrying out false flag operations. Furthermore, they are aware of the fact that Washington is providing the Banderite entity with information regarding Russian troop movements, a very delicate and dangerous tightrope indeed. In “Russia Formally Warns US to Stop Arming Ukraine,” Dave DeCamp comments on this ominous line that NATO is walking:

On top of arming the Ukrainians, the US is also providing them with intelligence for attacks on Russian forces. The huge amount of support raises questions about at what point Russia would consider the US a co-belligerent in the war.

Principles which were once deemed inviolable such as freedom of speech, the presumption of innocence, habeas corpus, the informed consent ethic, privacy, a healthy fear of nuclear war, integration, and even the notion that a democratic society must have an informed and educated population, are being swept away. The result is lawlessness, despotism, and savagery. Uncontrolled immigration, the anti-humanities, and offshoring, which together with medical mandates neoliberals look to as magical elixirs with which to solve every domestic problem, have commodified human beings and turned workers into interchangeable parts that lack any sense of ethics, class consciousness, a shared history, and can easily be manipulated and controlled. The Weimarization of America is well underway, and all things sacred are in danger of being lost.

The neoliberal notion of “tolerance” has become a euphemism for extremism, biofascism, book burning, and illegal wars of aggression. Witch hunts against heretics have become normalized, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to have rational discussions about incredibly serious political and socio-economic problems. The idea that the multicultural curriculum and identity studies “fight racism” when they constitute its quintessence is no less divorced from reality than the notion that a democracy can survive without the First Amendment, the Nuremberg Code, or any respect for international law. The lack of any empathy or remorse in the face of countless lives destroyed as a result of “humanitarian interventions” in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Ukraine, and Yugoslavia is coming home to roost.

“Education” has become a euphemism for fomenting sectarian hatreds and increasingly specialized job training. Revealingly, Americans with the most advanced degrees are often the most inclined to believe in the infallibility of the legacy media and the public health agencies. With a diseased society that teaches young people to kowtow at the altar of materialism and careerism while blindly following “the experts,” self-imposed ignorance is increasingly necessary to “get ahead.” Except in unusual circumstances, physicians speaking out against the Branch Covidian coup d’état will lose their jobs. The same fate would undoubtedly befall a mainstream journalist attempting to educate their readers about the gruesome realities of US foreign policy, or a professor criticizing identity politics and the scourge of tribalism.

The Guardian’s squeamishness over London cyclists being too white and male coupled with their fondness for Ukrainian nationalists – real racists – who have wiped entire Donbass villages off the face of the earth and committed crimes against humanity, is emblematic of the unhinged, devious, and wicked nature of neoliberal cult ideology.

American universities – automaton training facilities which churn out millions of aspiring Karl Brandts, Adolf Eichmanns, and Albert Speers each year – have created a conscienceless technocratic class on the carcass of what was once a sound middle class. As any number of reporters that covered the Nuremberg trials undoubtedly discerned, hyper-careerism and hyper-specialization foment amorality, and like vultures hover menacingly whereon the anti-humanities feed. Even the original Nazi doctors would have dismissed the idea of giving an experimental vaccine series to every German in Europe as utter lunacy. Yet to millions of shameless faux leftists these policies are necessary for “the greater good,” and predicated on “the science.”

That talking heads are permitted (or perhaps even encouraged by shadowy intelligence agencies) to call for people like Tucker Carlson and Tulsi Gabbard to be arrested for questioning the official Ukraine narrative is inextricably linked with the growing illiteratization and the fact that classes in civics have been expunged from the curriculum. This growing pathologization of dissent poses extremely serious risks to the First Amendment, as liberals are increasingly slandering their critics as mentally ill, evidence that biofascism’s war on informed consent poses a grave threat to our survival as a rule of law state. Should Democratic Party devotees attempt to commit (or section, as the British say) people such as Carlson and Gabbard, what legal mechanisms will prevent this from happening now that the informed consent ethic has been all but totally destroyed?

The authoritarianism of neoliberals is directly proportional to their growing disconnection from reality; and the more delirious the faithful become, the more they believe they are the paragon of reason.

James Howard Kunstler correctly points out on his blog that, in addition to the mass media, social media has played a significant role in fomenting this epidemic of demented ideation:

All this coerced insanity has been nurtured by social media’s sly mechanisms for bending narrative into propaganda: their beloved algorithms, all fine-tuned to destroy anything that touches on truth. The result is a country so marinated in falsehood that it can’t construct a coherent consensus of reality, and can’t take coherent actions to avert its own collapse.

It is remarkable that the New Deal, the public education system, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, any semblance of integration, a free press, the Nuremberg Code, and efforts to demilitarize and establish a single-payer health care system were obliterated in the name of “fighting racism,” “fighting sexism,” “fighting white supremacy,” and “fighting misogyny.” These words have become akin to dog commands, except unlike humans canines do not burn books, exploit slave labor, give weapons and military training to death squads, torture, or drop bombs on people.

Indie conservatives typically understand the dangers of identity politics and the Branch Covidians, yet often lack an adequate understanding of US foreign policy and the threat to democracy posed by unfettered capitalism. Before most leftists were enveloped by a pall of madness, that was their job.

Assuming we aren’t incinerated in a nuclear conflagration, how will reason and checks and balances be restored in a country run by toddlers, book burners, unscrupulous careerists, and homicidal maniacs? Irregardless of whether we witness the triumph of anti-white jihad, a Confederate white supremacist revival, or a takeover by the Christian Right (unlikely in this environment, as they are no fan of forced vaccination) the left’s self-evisceration threatens our existence as a civilized society and is slowly opening the harrowing portal of perdition.

Should the pendulum swing back to the traditional far-right and neoliberals dethroned, what laws will be in place to protect those who have been deposed and dispossessed? As neoliberal cultists are no longer living in the reality-based world, and are seemingly incapable of acknowledging the consequences of their actions, the path towards the spires of reason and solidarity will be difficult to forge in the long and arduous days that lie ahead.

The post The West Has Fallen Into Darkness first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Deconstructing Preemption, De-Nazification, Right to Protect . . . In the Eyes of Empire of Lies (and Hate)

Interesting Teach-in, well, discussion, with the speakers below. You will hear Scott Ritter divert from some of these speakers saying that the actions by Russia in Ukraine are legal, ethical and necessary.

Here is Ritter, just interviewed, Strategic Culture. Note that Ritter is called a traitor (for looking at the Russian military and political angles) and a Putin Stooge (this is it for Western Woke Culture) and he’s been banned on Twitter for a day, and then back up, and the seesaw of social media continues (more McCarthy: The New Democratic Opperative). You do not have to agree with militarism, but here we are, so the Western Woke Fascist Media and the Mendacious Political Class want nothing to do with, well, military minds looking at Russia (Ritter studied Russia big-time, and studied their military big time, both Soviet Union and Russia). He also is married to a Georgian. But again, this is it for the Western Intellect (sic).

Like we can’t watch Graham Phillips work, without being called, well, Russian Stooges. The Mainlining Mendacious Media calls him a Russian Sympathizer. Imagine that. For years,, he’s been a sympathizer (he is British, speaks Russian and goes to the actual places with camera in hand. Look at the one on Ossetia, the breakaway republic of Georgia. It is delightful (note the dinner he is served by the typical family):

Here, from, “The Ukrainian Conflict Is a U.S./NATO Proxy War, but One Which Russia Is Poised to Win Decisively – Scott Ritter” by Finian Cunningham, April 9, 2022

Question: Do you think that Russia has a just cause in launching its “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24?

Scott Ritter: I believe Russia has articulated a cognizable claim of preemptive collective self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter. The threat posed by NATO expansion, and Ukraine’s eight-year bombardment of the civilians of the Donbass fall under this umbrella.

Question: Do you think Russia has legitimate concerns about the Pentagon sponsoring biological weapons programs in laboratories in Ukraine?

Scott Ritter: The Pentagon denies any biological weapons program, but admits biological research programs on Ukrainian soil. Documents captured by Russia have allegedly uncovered the existence of programs the components of which could be construed as having offensive biological warfare applications. The U.S. should be required to explain the purpose of these programs.

Question: What do you make of allegations in Western media that Russian troops committed war crimes in Bucha and other Ukrainian cities? It is claimed that Russian forces summarily executed civilians.

Scott Ritter: All claims of war crimes must be thoroughly investigated, including Ukrainian allegations that Russia killed Ukrainian civilians in Bucha. However, the data available about the Bucha incident does not sustain the Ukrainian claims, and as such, the media should refrain from echoing these claims as fact until a proper investigation of the evidence is conducted, either by the media, or unbiased authorities.

While one may be able to mount a legal challenge to Russia’s contention that its joint operation with Russia’s newly recognized independent nations of Lugansk and Donetsk constitutes a “regional security or self-defense organization” as regards “anticipatory collective self-defense actions” under Article 51, there can be no doubt as to the legitimacy of Russia’s contention that the Russian-speaking population of the Donbass had been subjected to a brutal eight-year-long bombardment that had killed thousands of people.

Moreover, Russia claims to have documentary proof that the Ukrainian Army was preparing for a massive military incursion into the Donbass which was pre-empted by the Russian-led “special military operation.” [OSCE figures show an increase of government shelling of the area in the days before Russia moved in.]

Finally, Russia has articulated claims about Ukraine’s intent regarding nuclear weapons, and in particular efforts to manufacture a so-called “dirty bomb”, which have yet to be proven or disproven. [Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a reference to seeking a nuclear weapon in February at the Munich Security Conference.]

The bottom line is that Russia has set forth a cognizable claim under the doctrine of anticipatory collective self defense, devised originally by the U.S. and NATO, as it applies to Article 51 which is predicated on fact, not fiction.  (Ritter, Russia, Ukraine & the Law of War: Crime of Aggression)


[Nuremberg Trials. 1st row: Hermann Göring, Rudolf Heß, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Wilhelm Keitel. 2nd row: Karl Dönitz, Erich Raeder, Baldur von Schirach, Fritz Sauckel. (Office of the U.S. Chief of Counsel for the Prosecution of Axis Criminality/Still Picture Records LICON, Special Media Archives Services Division (NWCS-S)]

All the speakers, except maybe excluding John Kiriakou, have great points to make: Andrei Martyanov, expert on Russian military affairs, author The Real Revolution in Military Affairs; Chris Kaspar de Ploeg, author Ukraine in the Crossfire; James Carden, Adviser U.S.-Russia bilateral commission during the Obama administration & Ex. Editor of The American Committee for East-West accord; Scott Ritter, former U.S. Marine Intelligence officer, UN Arms Inspector, exposed WMD lie in U.S. push to invade Iraq; John Kiriakou, CIA whistleblower and Radio Sputnik host; Ron Ridenour, peace activist, author The Russian Peace Threat; Gerald Horne, historian, author, Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston; Jeremy Kuzmarov, CAM Managing Editor and author of The Russians Are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce.

Imagine, the provocations.

The US government invoked self-defense as a legal justification for its invasion of Panama. Several scholars and observers have opined that the invasion was illegal under international law.

Watch, Panama Deception here: C-Span!

Oh, those Freedom Fighters, the back-shooting, civilian-killing, village-burning Contras:

Appendix A: Background on United States Funding of the Contras

In examining the allegations in the Mercury News and elsewhere, it is important to understand the timing of funding of the Contras by the United States. The following dates explain the periods during which the United States government provided funding to the Contras or cut off such funding.

  • Anastasio Somoza Debayle was the leader of Nicaragua from 1967 until July 1979, when he was overthrown by the Sandinistas. When President Ronald Reagan took office in January 1981, he promptly canceled the final $15 million payment of a $75 million aid package to Nicaragua, reversing the Carter administration’s policy towards Nicaragua. On November 17, 1981, President Reagan signed National Security Directive 17, authorizing provision of covert support to anti-Sandinista forces. On December 1, 1981, Reagan signed a document intending to conceal the November 17 authorization of anti-Sandinista operations. The document characterized the United States’ goal in Nicaragua as that of interdicting the flow of arms from Nicaragua to El Salvador, where leftist guerrillas were receiving aid from Sandinista forces.
  • In late 1982, Edward P. Boland, Chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, introduced an amendment to the Fiscal Year 1983 Defense Appropriations bill that prohibited the CIA, the principal conduit of covert American support for the Contras, from spending funds “for the purpose of overthrowing the government of Nicaragua.” However, the CIA could continue to support the Contras if it claimed that the purpose was something other than to overthrow the government. In December 1983, a compromise was reached and Congress passed a funding cap for fiscal year 1984 of $24 million for aid to the Contras, an amount significantly lower than what the Reagan administration wanted, with the possibility that the Administration could seek supplemental funds later.
  • This funding was insufficient to support the Administration’s “Contra program” and the decision was made to approach other countries for monetary support. In April 1984, Robert McFarlane convinced Saudi Arabia to contribute $1 million per month to the Contras through a secret bank account set up by Lt. Col. Oliver North.
  • In October 1984, the second Boland amendment took effect. It prohibited any military or paramilitary support for the Contras from October 3, 1984, through December 19, 1985. As a result, the CIA and Department of Defense (DOD) began withdrawing personnel from Central America. During this time, however, the National Security Council continued to provide support to the Contras.
  • In August 1985, Congress approved $25 million in humanitarian aid to the Contras, with the proviso that the State Department, and not the CIA or the DOD, administer the aid. President Reagan created the Nicaraguan Humanitarian Assistance Office (NHAO) to supply the humanitarian aid. In September 1985, Oliver North began using the Salvadoran air base at Ilopango for Contra resupply efforts.
  • On October 5, 1986, a plane loaded with supplies for the Contras, financed by private benefactors, was shot down by Nicaraguan soldiers. On board were weapons and other lethal supplies and three Americans. One American, Eugene Hasenfus, claimed while in custody that he worked for the CIA. The Reagan Administration denied any knowledge of the private resupply efforts.
  • On October 17, 1986, Congress approved $100 million in funds for the Contras. In 1987, after the discovery of private resupply efforts orchestrated by the National Security Council and Oliver North, Congress ceased all but “non-lethal” aid in 1987. The war between the Sandinistas and the Contras ended with a cease-fire in 1990.
  • Although the Contras were often referred to as one group, several distinct factions made up the Contras.
  • In August 1980, Colonel Enrique Bermudez, a former Colonel in Somoza’s National Guard, united other former National Guard officers and anti-Sandinista civilians to form the Fuerza Democratica Nicaraguense (FDN). This group was known as the Northern Front because it was based in Honduras. In February 1983, Adolfo Calero became the head of the FDN.
  • In April 1982, Eden Pastora split from the Sandinista regime and organized the Democratic Revolutionary Alliance (ARDE) and the Sandinista Revolutionary Front (FRS), which declared war on the Sandinista regime. Pastora’s group was based in Costa Rica and along the southern border of Nicaragua, and therefore became known as the Southern Front. Pastora refused to work with Bermudez, claiming that Bermudez, as a member of the former Somoza regime, was politically tainted. The CIA decided to support the FDN and generally declined to support the ARDE.

Again, let’s think about what is actually happening in Ukraine, and where the country is, and what the Russians in that country are facing, and, gulp, where is Ukraine? Thousands of miles away, like Panama and Nicaragua are from USA?

Here, a Dutch journalist:

Sonja at the place of the rocket attack in Donetsk, the ATM machine. [Photo Courtesy of Sonja Van den Ende]

Read her work:

As the war in Ukraine rages on, I visited the republics of Donetsk and Luhansk as an embedded reporter with the Russian army.

Both of the republics are the trigger of the current conflict.

Russian President Vladimir Putin declared their independence on February 24, 2022, something a lot of people were waiting for since the CIA backed coup in Ukraine of February 2014. That coup had resulted in the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and new laws forcing the Ukrainian language on Russian-speaking residents. Luhansk and Donetsk consequently voted on their independence and Ukraine attacked them, precipitating the war.

European support for the so-called Maidan coup was considerable: the Dutch MP Hans van Baalen from the ruling Dutch VVD party (Mark Rutte), for example, was at the protests that helped trigger the coup, as was the former Prime Minister of Belgium Guy Verhofstadt. Both were seen cheering on the crowds, surrounded by right-extremists on the stage, shouting “democracy.”

So what is preemptive defense? Right to Protect? What is big ugly history of Nazi’s in Poland and Ukraine? What is that all about, uh, Americanum?

At least 32 countries have sent direct military aid to Ukraine this year! US and NATO Allies Arm Neo-Nazi Units in Ukraine as Foreign Policy Elites Yearn for Afghan-style Insurgency

So, plans by ZioLensky for Dirty Bombs from the wasteland of Chernobyl, not a provocation?

How many were immolated in Waco? Why? Mount Carmel Center became engulfed in flames. The fire resulted in the deaths of 76 Branch Davidians, including 25 children, two pregnant women, and David Koresh himself.

Oh, the impatience of the USA, FBI, ATF, Attorney General, Bill Clinton, the lot of them.

Or, dropping bombs on Philly, to kill, well, black people:

How many died, and what happened to the city block? Bombs dropped on our own people, again! Police dropped a bomb on a West Philly house in 1985. The fire caused by the explosion killed 11 people, an atrocity that Philadelphia still grapples with today.

 

Oh, the irony.

Black Lives Do Not Matter, here, or in Ukraine. Below, representation of those lives killed by cops, of all races, in one year. Many of these in a year, 60 percent, did not involve a person with a gun, and a huge number, 40 percent, involved people going throug mental health crises.

More than one thousand people are killed by police every year in America

Oh, being black in Ukraine:

[Foreign students trying to reach the Ukrainian border said they were thrown off trains, not allowed on buses, and made to wait hours in the cold before crossing over.]

Yes, the first casualty of war is truth, and with the USA as the Empire of Lies and Hate, the casualty is now a larger framework of a Zombie Nation of virtue signalers and those who want the fake news to be real, please!

So far as I know, this is the first war in modern history with no objective, principled coverage in mainstream media of day-to-day events and their context. None. It is morn-to-night propaganda, disinformation and lies of omission — most of it fashioned by the Nazi-infested Zelensky regime in Kiev and repeated uncritically as fact.

There is one thing worse than this degenerate state of affairs. It is the extent to which the media’s malpractice is perfectly fine to most Americans. Tell us what to think and believe no matter if it is true, they say, and we will think and believe it. Show us some pictures, for images are all.

There are larger implications to consider here. Critical as it is that we understand this conflict, Ukraine is a mirror in which we see ourselves as we have become. For more Americans than I wish were so, reality forms only in images. These Americans are no longer occupants of their own lives. Risking a paradox, what they take to be reality is detached from reality.

This majority — and it is almost certainly a majority — has no thoughts or views except those first verified through the machinery of manufactured images and “facts.” Television screens, the pages of purportedly authoritative newspapers, the air waves of government-funded radio stations — NPR, the BBC — serve to certify realities that do not have to be real, truths that do not have to be true.

Before proceeding to Bucha, the outrage of the moment, I must reproduce a quotation from that propaganda-is-O.K. piece The Times published in its March 3 editions. It is from a Twitter user who was distressed that it became public that the Ghost of Kiev turned out to be a ghost and the Snake Island heroes didn’t do much by way of holding the fort.

‘Why can’t we just let people believe some things?’ this thoughtful man or woman wanted to know. What is wrong, in other words, if thinking and believing nice things that aren’t true makes people feel better? (Patrick LawrenceSpecial to Consortium News)

Daniel Boorstin’s The Image: A Guide to Pseudo- Events in America, has been cited by yours truly several times. It is a completely amazing work, sixty years ahead of its time, and it is almost completely ignored!.

boorstin daniel - the image - AbeBooks

I describe the world of our making, how we have used our wealth, our literacy, our technology, and our progress to create the thicket of unreality which stands between us and the facts of life. …. The reporter’s task is to find a way to weave these threads of unreality into a fabric the reader will not recognize as entirely unreal. (Boorstin)

The post Deconstructing Preemption, De-Nazification, Right to Protect . . . In the Eyes of Empire of Lies (and Hate) first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Why the Left has to Seize Power

Under bourgeois democracy, there prevails a specific kind of interrelationship between political society and civil society, between the moment of force and the moment of consent. Governmental apparatuses are tasked with penetrating the masses from without, in order to impose capitalist ideologies on them and organize people in the forced, artificial unity of intermediate bodies. The consent thus obtained is itself over-determined by coercion. As Antonio Gramsci writes in §47 of Notebook 1: “Government by consent of the governed, but an organized consent, not the vague and generic kind which is declared at the time of elections: the State has and demands consent, but it also “educates” this consent through political and trade-union associations which, however, are private organisms, left to the private initiative of the ruling class.”

While the ruling class does shape and maintain consent in civil society, the latter also possesses a relative autonomy from political society. This derives from the internal mechanisms of the bourgeoisie’s hegemonic project: to gain consent, the ruling class has to interact with the many demands arising from the class conflicts that are constitutive of capitalist society. In this process, the collective structures of civil society are given a bivalent character. On the one hand, they serve as the instruments through which the elite exercises consensual power. On the other hand, insofar that the bourgeoisie has to maintain a power equilibrium through the extension of concessions to subalterns, the organisms of civil society also function as the principal vehicle for the actions of these oppressed. The specific composition of this duality can change depending on the course of class struggle.

In the words of Michele Filippini, while the two-pronged function of civil society institutions remains invariant, “the prevalence of the one over the other in their everyday course of action, or rather, the political capacity to subordinate one interest to another through hegemonic action” is subject to the dynamics of resistance. That is why these structures can be “‘made to operate’ both as organic mechanisms rebalancing the power system and as an independent expression of subaltern, potentially revolutionary demands.”  However, the relative autonomy of civil society does not mean that socialist activism can be reduced to a gradual process of winning cultural influence in one sphere of society after another. Politics cannot be reduced to pedagogy. The differences between Mensheviks and Bolsheviks can help illustrate this point.

Alan Shandro writes: “[their] contrasting approaches to the struggle for hegemony yielded opposing readings of the soviets: both Mensheviks and Bolsheviks knew them as organizing committees for a general strike, but where the former conceived of them as the site of a kind of proletarian model parliament, Lenin attributed to them the potential of embodying an alliance of workers and peasants and assuming state power. Thus in 1905, where the Bolsheviks sought to organize insurrection through the soviets, the Mensheviks supposed that a focus on insurrection would undermine the process of working-class self-education”. In other words, Bolsheviks gave a concrete character to proletarian education by considering it as part of the contestations involved in the bourgeois-democratic revolution, which could either result in the destruction of Tsarism or a transition dominated by a landlord-bourgeois coalition.

The Russian experience explains that civil society is intimately tied with relations of force. It can’t be understood as a “battle of ideas” in which the working class has to merely present its own ideology to bring about a revolution. On the contrary, civil society has to be considered as an unequal terrain of ideological war, constituted by the ruling class with the help of various hegemonic apparatuses. Consent, in other words, in an effect of the materiality of state institutions. The structural presence of these material apparatuses is ignored by those socialists who vainly search for an external vantage point from which they can launch a struggle for the educational emancipation of the proletariat. In contrast, Lenin – to use Shandro’s words – “conceived the “self-knowledge of the working class” …as inherently bound up with a theoretical-practical understanding of every class and stratum in society; he situated the hegemonic political project, correspondingly, in the context of a strategic matrix of struggle around state power. The independent activity of the working class is expressed by impressing its interests upon the course of class struggles.”

Since civil society is an extension of the state – conditioned by the exigencies of the mode of production – it can’t be considered as an unproblematic area of socialist struggle. Instead, we need to comprehend how the private ensembles of civil society are internally linked to the politically confined system of the modern state; a viewpoint that overlooks these linkages will eventually come up against the limits of the bourgeois state. These limits are established by the many institutional complexes possessed by the state. In §83 of Notebook 7, Gramsci notes: “Public opinion is the political content of the public’s political will that can be dissentient; therefore, there is a struggle for the monopoly of the organs of public opinion – newspapers, political parties, parliament – so that only one force will mold public opinion and hence the political will of the nation, while reducing the dissenters to individual and disconnected specks of dust.”

A viable socialist perspective has to recognize the fact that unless the state is taken over by the proletariat, elements of resistance and mass movements in civil society will remain embryos, susceptible to fragmentation and dispersion. So, while the consciousness of the subaltern is contradictory, split by the diverse rhythms of the opposing class projects found in civil society, the coherence and submissiveness of the subject is ultimately guaranteed by the juridical-political practices of the state. The Left, instead of trying to escape from this reality of state power, has to sap it through a concrete movement of contradictions that identifies the vulnerabilities of the state. As Peter D. Thomas argues:

It is…not a question of subtracting the deformations of the existing political society in order to reveal a hard core of ‘politics’ in the Real, be it in social antagonism, civil society or an indeterminate place beyond it.  On the contrary, in so far as the hypostatized forms of the bourgeois political really do determine the conceptual space in which politics in this social formation can occur…it is much more a case of determining the particular forms of practice, even and especially in their conditions of subalternity to or interpellation by the existing political society, that are capable of rupturing its material constitution from within.

To sum up, if full-fledged consent is to be gained for the socialist project, the proletariat must occupy and transform the political society. In one of his articles for the Italian socialist weekly “The New Order”, Gramsci said that a revolution ceases being an “empty bladder of demagogic rhetoric…when it embodies itself in a type of State, when it becomes an organized system of power…the guarantee of permanence and of the success of every social activity”. But this focus on the seizure of power should not reach excessive proportions. Otherwise, the Left will lose sight of the need to engage in pedagogical work on the terrains of civic, social and cultural life. Therefore, the struggle for the control of political society has to be combined with the cultural struggle in civil society.

The post Why the Left has to Seize Power first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Naive Documentary (-ies) Makers Barely Scratch the Surface!

W.E.B. DuBois: ‘To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships.’

This documentary (see below, first one linked) is not news, and then, of course, it’s Trump in office blather, too. As if UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Portugal are havens for social and people and environmental justice.

How Poor People Survive in the USA — vapid.

The documentarian is done, really, through the auspices of Euro trash context, POV, narrative framing. Contrarily, you have to be in the mix, in the middle, from the chambers of power, schools, colleges, social work, to real journalism, and into the mess personally, with daily fear of losing the job and seeing savings go go go. That is the slippage in the death spiral of USA. 

This is a Reservation/Rez Society. Boarding School Society. Celebrity Cults. Internment Camp FEMA Village (Soon). This entire unfolding of history the past 70 years has been this big time military propaganda operation embedding into all systems. Confusion creator. Mystical hatred or subservience  while praying for that blue-eyed, blond hippie Jesus. Dirt poor, and loving Trump. College student loans over $100K,  and loving AOC and Biden.

The enemy for me, and I’d say for 80 percent of USA, is that grouping — colonized Eichmann’s, the upper classes, the dream hoarders, the intelligence/knowledge workers, the higher ups in education-medicine-incarceration-pharma-medicine-energy-banking-data collecting-surveillance-real estate-Chamber of Commerce-AI-science-ag-retail-logistics-transportation, and then, MIC, congressional military complex. Join the mercenary forces, and lucky you, get your teeth pulled and a GI Bill.

Bullshit.

Ahh, my old platform to rail against the system — LA Progressive! Terminal Velocity no More! Or here! Paul Haeder. 

I’ve asked why the stuff I send and publish elsewhere is no longer getting up on LA Progressive. No answer! Again, this documentary is broken (above), but that is documentary making, most times — focused, rarified, gatekeeping on steroids, with people on the projects not deep systems thinkers, and a willingness to leave out a lot.

Stan Brock memorial remembers founder of Remote Area Medical, Wild Kingdom  star

Missing:

  1. Tens of millions on the edge of the cliff of eviction, foreclosure, endless bad jobs, in the car or van, bunking up with family or friends, while working for middle managers who do not care, and the upper management and the billionaires and millionaires.
  2. Inflammation — Capitalism is a complete, holistic, top-down disease, creating inflammation in the veins, brain, organs, belly. But worse — cuts the thinking process, deforms the mutual aid ethos, destroys collective action, kills the ability to squat and reappropriate wealth, land, whatever.
  3. The rat race of those with a roof over their heads that continue to fuel prescriptions, Disneyland la-la-land thinking, buy-buy-buy, watching sports-stars-musicians, I got mine, you better fight to get yours
  4. This country, USA, is the rotting roots and DNA of Europe, of that narrator above. These are not real people, and they are so sculpted in news speak, in priviledge.
  5. This documentary doesn’t get to the fabric of colonization of cities, schools, the bullshit of privatization, and this wacky religious and wacky elitist country of Indian Removal, Enslavement then and now, and Nomadlands.
  6. Americans are children, and that is thanks to the Media, the Boss, foolish k-6 education, and, well, we are here now, 355 million, and this is pre-covid crazies. Now? Complete imprisonment!

Oh, hell, the list is a thousand points long: Stan Brock, Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom. This is one fellow, and great heart, but in a world of Space Suits, Billionaires and Yachts, Lies Casted in Media-Banking-Digitalization, well, one guy. “He founded Remote Area Medical in 1985 to give people in need essential health care. Since then, RAM has provided free dental, vision and basic health care to more than 740,000 people.”

 

Here, the documentary on RAM above, description: During the U.S. debate about healthcare reform, the media reporters and news crews and filmmakers failed to put a human face on what it means to not have access to healthcare. Remote Area Medical fills that gap; it is a film about people, not policy. Focusing on a single three-day clinic held in the Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee, Remote Area Medical affords us an insider’s perspective on the ebb and flow of the event, from the tense 3:30 a.m. ticket distribution that determines who gets seen to the routine check-ups that take dramatic turns for the worse, to the risky means to which some patients resort for pain relief. We meet a doctor who also drives an 18-wheeler, a denture maker who moonlights as a jeweler, and the organization’s founder, Stan Brock, who first imagined Remote Area Medical while living as a cowboy in the Amazon rainforest, hundreds of miles from the nearest doctor. But it is the extraordinary stories of the patients, desperate for medical attention, that create a lasting impression about the state of modern health care in America.

This can’t be ramped up, taken to the ultimate level? It’s socialism, brothers and sisters, the only way forward. Forget the hate that the right and the middle of the road have against socialism. They will ply the words of “one world government.” Or, the “government controlling us.” They will talk about Universal Basic Income. They will say it is brainwashing, and communism, and, well, that socialism means all rights are taken, managed, given to and taken away by some master groups of dictators. So we are dead in the water with capitalism by any means necessary: predatory, parasitic, casino, dog-eat-dog, shock therapy, zombie, trickle down nothingness.

That is, you know, vaccine passport, no. But, there is no Forced Healthcare for All. No, Massive Take Over the Empty Lots and Buildings for Massive Rehousing. No guerrilla farming everywhere. Nothing. Because, well, Capitalism is All about “We are all champions. We are all the New Eve and Adam. You can rest assured that the masters will NOT take care of you, but at least you have the stars and bars, god almighty, baby-land.”

This exceptionalism is what has detroyed many in the 80 percent. Many. They will work and think and do things against their own well-being. When you are a lost dog in this country, a limping stray, a hungry desperate pooch, well, you will jump to the master, run for the beasts of slapping, kicking, yelling, and hitting. Under the table, curled up, belly and organs exposed as its tail is between the legs.

Heartbroken Senior Dog Cowering At A Shelter Just Wants To Be Loved
Inflamed — Moreover, they point out how modern medicine has often missed these necessary connections—to our global detriment. What is needed is “deep medicine,” which, according to the authors, “requires new cosmologies, ones that can braid our lives with the planet and the web of life around us.”
 
Rupa Marya and Raj Patel spoke to YES! about the ravages of colonialist capitalism, the failures of modern medicine to treat them, and, most importantly, how a “deep medicine” approach can heal us all.
 
*This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
 
Sonali Kolhatkar: Is the title of the book, Inflamed, a metaphor for what is happening to our planet and its living systems?
 
Rupa Marya: It’s not at all a metaphor. It’s a description of what’s happening inside of our bodies and around us on the planet and our societies. The inflammatory response is the body’s ancient evolutionarily conserved pathway to restoring its optimal working condition when it’s been thrown off by danger or damage or the threat of damage. (Source, Yes Magazine)
 
No jobs, no good jobs, decayed systems, penalties, bad credit, criminal offenses, drugs, booze, and bodies torn at a very young age with multiple chronic diseases, many many diseases.
 
https://youtu.be/YrEwPp2bG48
 
This is the system that the beautiful people in the sciences, in technology, in the Reset Star Chamber, all of those hoarding money and the opportunities have set loose, and these fascists want these people — us, we the people — on UBI, held as data pools — body snatchers, mind snatchers, attention snatchers, activity snatchers, all part of mining people, putting us, them, the 80 percent, in the cloud, in algorithms, in data banks, all mashed up for social impact — do as we say, follow what we command, eat-drink-think like we say, and you will get the tokens, man, the money, the slice of a 200-square-foot-per-person habitat. No pets allowed.
The post Naive Documentary (-ies) Makers Barely Scratch the Surface! first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Left-wing Victory in Chile

The 2021 presidential election in Chile has resulted in the victory of the Left candidate Gabriel Boric. With nearly 56% of the vote, he has won by a margin of more than 10 percentage points – most presidents had hitherto secured only four or five point leads. In absolute terms, this is a record majority, with some 4.6 million votes cast for Boric, putting him almost 1 million votes ahead of the pro-Pinochet candidate, Juan Antonio Kast, who obtained 44%. These electoral outcomes were marked by political polarization.

Ideological Divisions

Coming from the Punta Arenas region, Boric is the son of parents of Croatian and Catalan heritage. While pursuing a law degree in Santiago, he threw himself into the “Chilean Winter” – the big student demonstrations of 2011 – becoming the leader of the University of Chile Student Federation (FECH). Initially a member of the Autonomous Left, he later joined the socialist formation called Social Convergence, which became a part of the coalition named Broad Front. The Broad Front is driven by a sincere commitment to social and environmental rights.

In the 2021 election campaign, Boric – now an experienced member of the Chamber of Deputies – stitched the Apruebo Dignidad (Approve Dignity) platform, whose composition has changed with the different stages of the election. In the first round, the coalition included the Broad Front and the electoral pact Chile Digno, constituted by the Communist Party, ecologists, feminists and the Christian left. In the second round, however, Boric widened this coalition, incorporating the Socialists, the center-left Party for Democracy, the Christian Democrats, and a few other centrist organizations.

Boric presented the Chilean citizenry with a clear plan, detailed in a 227-page document drawn up after consultations with some 33,000 people from all over the country. Inter alia, the programme focuses on: 1) creation of a universal health system; 2) construction of a national public pension system; 3) revitalization of public education; 4) taxation of the rich; 5) an increase in the share of copper revenues against multinational corporations; 6) regulation of the real estate sector and the building of 260,000 homes; and 7) inclusive education which respects sexual diversity.

Kast has come to represent the antithesis of Boric. His father, Michael, was a Nazi soldier who fled to Chile, while his eldest brother, Miguel, was a Chicago Boy who worked for the dictator General Augusto Pinochet, serving as the head of ODEPLAN (National Planning Office) during the 1970s, then as the Minister for Labor in 1980, and finally as President of the Central Bank in 1982. Kast entered politics in 1996, first as a city council member in Buin, then as a representative to the Chamber of Deputies for four consecutive terms.

He was a prominent leader of Independent Democratic Union (UDI), founded in 1983 by the Pinochet adviser Jaime Guzman. In 2016, he left the party in search of greener pastures, working with the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) – an organization founded by the American lawyer Alan Sears – to bring together a global summit of the most reactionary, hardline right-wing politicians. In 2019, he launched the Republican Party – a party which has no program, only “guiding principles.” Most of these are absurd. Consider, for instance, the following: the party “believes in the Good and the Truth as objective realities.”

The lack of a coherent vision is filled by Kast’s unyielding fealty to Pinochetist arrangements and solutions. He has promised to lower corporate taxes; abolish the Women’s ministry; eliminate funding for the museum in memory of the victims of the dictatorship; withdraw Chile from the International Commission of Human Rights and close down the National Institute of Human Rights; exit the United Nations; erect barriers at the border with Bolivia and Peru to stop illegal immigration; stop the activities of the prestigious Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO); and establish an organization tasked with identifying and arresting “radicalized troublemakers”.

In the first round of the presidential elections, which drew 47% of the electorate to the polls, Kast won a majority with 1.96 million votes (28% of votes cast). Boric came close second, with 1.8 million votes. Cognizant of the low turnout in the first round, the Apruebo Dignidad campaign doubled down on its organizational efforts, pushing the national turnout to 55% and gaining a wide advantage in working class districts. While wealthy districts saw on average a 4 points-increase in votes, poor urban districts reached a 10-point increase. Overall, there were 1.25 million more votes cast in the second round.

Voter participation would have been greater had it not been for the actions of transport minister Gloria Hutt Hesse who – in the hope of undercutting Boric’s electoral base – prevented public transport services from reaching the poor barrios. On Election Day, people had to wait for two or even three hours for buses to polling centers. However, such efforts failed to destroy the determination and hope of the poor Chilean. In Santiago – where voter suppression tactics were most widely deployed – Kast won in only the three richest communes.

The Santiago pattern is symbolic of Kast’s general support base. Unable to turn the working class to the Right, he has used vitriolic rhetoric to grow in the north and center-south of the country – areas affected by rising migration and by the oppression of the Mapuche community. Kast’s ultraconservative rhetoric has also performed well in small cities, rural areas, and among certain segments of those over 50 years old – groups that tend to be hostile to the diffusion of progressive cultural ideas, such as feminism or the rights of sexual minorities.

Debates on the Future Path

For many on both sides of the political spectrum, Chile’s socialist triumph over an openly fascist figure is devoid of anti-imperialist radicalism. This an upshot of Boric’s unjustified criticism of the left-wing administrations in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba. Jorge Castaneda Gutman, a former Mexican Foreign Minister, has rehearsed his old notion of “two distinct political ‘lefts’: a moderate, democratic, globalized, modern left, and an anachronistic, statist, nationalist, and authoritarian left.” While the former is exemplified by Michele Bachelet in Chile, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil, and the center-left Broad Front government in Uruguay, the latter is exemplified by Hugo Chavez-Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, and the Castros in Cuba.

According to Castaneda, “Boric might not govern like a typical Latin American left-wing populist. Instead, he might operate more like a European social democrat”. This good-bad binary is paradoxically reproduced by the anti-imperialist journalist Ben Norton: “The ‘Pink Tide is coming back in Latin America’ narrative is too simplistic. What we’re seeing is two poles: a revolutionary anti-imperialist left (Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia) and a social-democratic left (Argentina, Mexico, now Chile) that’s weak on US neocolonialism.” This type of dichotomous thinking hardens the variances within the Latin American Left, elevating them to a stark choice between “reform” or “revolution”, or a knee-jerk difference between “good” and “bad” leftism. In response to these framings, Tom Chodor argues that the two Lefts need to be “understood dialectically, in terms of the potentials for radical transformations that arise out of their interaction.”

In other words, while Chile may be more comfortable with the readjustment of relations with the US rather the rejection of imperial power, this process itself creates a range of potentials that might develop in ways suitable to the more radical politics on display in other countries. “One can only speak in terms of potentials in this regard”, adds Chodor, “because the current phase of the struggle over hegemonic rule is only just beginning in Latin America, and its final outcome cannot possibly be known. Nevertheless, the very existence of this struggle, and the consciousness of alternative futures it has raised among millions of previously excluded peoples…cannot be ignored in any comprehensive analysis of…the Latin American region”.

It is this kind of dialectical analysis which allows him to formulate “the pink tide” as “a contested phenomenon, an object of social struggles in a process Gramsci would recognize as a ‘war of position’. Within this war of position, different social forces put forward alternative political, economic and social projects – ‘historical blocs’ – that seek to respond to the organic crisis of neoliberalism”. Thus, we need to look at the inner spirals of Chile’s presidential elections, the evolving tensions of class sinews which impart an undecided character to the ultimate texture of the new government. No easy predictions can be made since Chile has entered a radically different era, one in which major decisions will be made not by a politically unhindered ruling elite presiding over a passive population but by multiple social forces who have just regained their agency. Thus, in the current conjuncture, we need to show solidarity with the Chilean project so that it can find its way through the open-ended dynamics of history.

The post Left-wing Victory in Chile first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The left’s contempt for bodily autonomy during the pandemic is a gift to the right

When did parts of the left get so contemptuous of the principle of “bodily autonomy”? Answer: Just about the time they started fetishising vaccines as the only route out of the current pandemic.

Only two years ago most people understood “bodily autonomy” to be a fundamental, unquestionable human right. Now it is being treated as some kind of perverse libertarian luxury, as proof that the “deplorables” have been watching too much Tucker Carlson or that they have come to idealise the worst excesses of neoliberalism’s emphasis on the rights of the individual over the social good.

This is dangerous nonsense, as should be obvious if we step back and imagine what our world might look like had the principle of “bodily autonomy” not been established through centuries of struggle, just as were the right to vote and the right to health care.

Because without the principle of bodily autonomy, we might still be dragging virgins up high staircases so that they could be sacrificed to placate the sun gods. Without the principle of bodily autonomy, we might still be treating black people like animals – chattel to be used and exploited so that a white landowning class could grow rich from their enforced labours. Without the principle of bodily autonomy, we might still have doctors experimenting on those who are “inferior” – Jews, Romanies, Communists, gays – so that “superior races” could benefit from the “research”. Without the principle of bodily autonomy, we might still have the right of men to rape their wives as one of the unwritten marital vows.

Many of these battles and others were won far more recently than most of us care to remember. I am old enough to recall listening in the car on the way to school to “serious” debates on BBC Radio 4 about whether it was justifiable for the courts to presume a husband’s right to rape his wife.

Arguments about whose bodily autonomy has primacy – a woman’s or the foetus she is carrying – are at the heart of ongoing and inflammatory abortion debates in the United States. And protection of bodily autonomy was the main reason why anyone with an ounce of moral fibre opposed the US torture regime that became normalised in the war on brown people known as the “war on terror”.

Bad faith

There is good reason why, in western societies, vaccination uptake is lowest among ethnic minorities. The clues are embedded in the three preceding paragraphs. Powerful nation-states, run by white elites for the benefit of white elites, have been trampling on the bodily autonomy of black and brown people for centuries – sometimes because those elites were indifferent to the harm they were causing, and sometimes because they professed to be helping these “inferior” peoples, such as in the “war on terror’s” promotion of neoliberal “democracy” as the grounds for invading countries whose oil we coveted.

The pretexts change but the bad faith is the same.

Based on their long histories of suffering at the hands of western, colonial states, black and brown communities have every reason to continue assuming bad faith. It is not solidarity, or protecting them, to ignore or trivialise their concerns and their alienation from state institutions. It is ugly arrogance. Contempt for their concerns will not make those concerns evaporate. It will reinforce them.

But, of course, there is also something arrogant about treating the concerns of ethnic minorities as exceptional, patronising them by according them some kind of special dispensation, as though they need indulging on the principle of bodily autonomy when the rest of us are mature enough to discard it.

The fact is each generation comes to understand that the priorities of its ancestors were misplaced. Each generation has a powerful elite, or a majority whose consent has been manufactured, that luxuriate in the false certainty that bodily autonomy can be safely sacrificed for a higher principle. Half a century ago the proponents of marital rape argued for protecting tradition and patriarchal values because they were supposedly the glue holding society together. With 50 years’ hindsight, we may see the current debates about vaccine mandates – and the completely unscientific corollary that the unvaccinated are unclean and plague carriers – in much the same light.

The swelling political consensus on vaccine mandates intentionally ignores the enormous spread of the virus after two years of pandemic and the consequent natural immunity of large sections of the population, irrespective of vaccination status. This same consensus obfuscates the fact that natural immunity is most likely to prove longer-lasting and more effective against any variants of Covid that continue to emerge. And the consensus distracts from the inconvenient fact that the short-lived efficacy of the current vaccines means everyone is potentially “unclean” and a plague carrier, as the new variant Omicron is underscoring only too clearly.

No solidarity

The truth is that where each of us stands on the political divide over bodily autonomy says less about how much we prioritise human rights, or the social good, or solidarity with the weak and powerless, and much more about other, far less objectively rational matters, such as:

  • how fearful we are personally about the effects of Covid on ourselves or our loved ones;
  • whether we think the plutocrats that run our societies have prioritised the social good over the desire for quick, profit-making technological fixes, and the appearance of strong leadership and decisive action;
  • how sure we are that science is taking precedence over the interests of pharmaceutical corporations whose profits are booming as our societies grow older and sicker, and whether we think these corporations have captured our regulatory authorities, including the World Health Organisation;
  • whether we think it helpful or dangerous to scapegoat an unvaccinated minority, blaming it for straining health services or for the failure to eradicate a virus that is, in reality, never going away;
  • and, especially in the left’s case, how reassured we are that non-western, official “enemy” governments, such as Cuba, China, Russia and Iran, have thrown most of their eggs into the vaccine basket too – and usually as enthusiastically as western societies.

It is possible, however, that the way our technological, materialist world has evolved, ruled by competitive elites in nation states vying for power, means there was always likely to be a single, global conception of how to end the pandemic: through a quick-fix, magic bullet of either a vaccine or a drug. The fact that nation states – the “good” and “bad” alike – are unlikely to think outside this particular box does not mean it is the only box available, or that this box must be the one all citizens are coerced into.

Basic human rights do not apply only in the good times. They can’t just be set aside in difficult times like a pandemic because those rights are a nuisance, or because some people refuse to do what we think is best for them. Those rights are fundamental to what it means to live in a free and open society. If we get rid of bodily autonomy while we deal with this virus, that principle will have to be fought for all over again – and in the context of hi-tech, surveillance states that are undoubtedly more powerful than any we have known before.

Coerced vaccination

It is wrong, however, to focus exclusively on bodily autonomy. The undermining of the right to bodily autonomy is slipping into an equally alarming undermining of the right to cognitive autonomy. In fact, these two kinds of autonomy cannot be readily disentangled. Because anyone who believes that people must be required to take a vaccine will soon be arguing that no one should be allowed to hear information that might make them more resistant to vaccination.

There is an essential problem about maintaining an open and honest debate during a time of pandemic, which anyone who is thinking critically about Covid and our responses to it must grapple with every time they put finger to keyboard. The discourse playing-field is far from level.

Those who demand vaccine mandates, and wish to jettison the principle of bodily autonomy as a “medical” inconvenience, can give full-throated voice to their arguments in the secure knowledge that only a few, isolated contrarians may occasionally dare to challenge them.

But when those who value the principle of bodily autonomy or who blanch at the idea of coerced vaccination wish to make their case, they must hold back. They must argue with one arm tied behind their backs – and not just because they are likely to be mobbed, particularly by the left, for trying to widen the range of arguments under consideration in what are essentially political and ethical debates masquerading as scientific ones.

Those questioning the manufactured consensus – a consensus that intentionally scapegoats the unvaccinated as disease carriers, a consensus that has once again upended social solidarity among the 99 per cent, a consensus that has been weaponised to shield the elites from proper scrutiny for their profiteering from the pandemic – must measure every word they say against the effect it may have on those listening.

Personal calculations

I place a high value on autonomy, of both the cognitive and physical varieties. I am against the state deciding for me what I and you are allowed to think and say, and I am against the state deciding what goes into my and your body without our consent (though I also recognise that I have little choice but to breathe polluted air, drink polluted water, and eat chemically altered food, all of which have damaged my and your immune systems and made us more susceptible to viruses like Covid).

But at the same time, unlike the vaccine mandate mob, I never forget that I am responsible for my words and that they have consequences, and potentially dangerous ones. There are a significant proportion of people who almost certainly need to be vaccinated, and probably regularly, to avoid being seriously harmed by exposure to the virus. Any responsible writer needs to weigh the effect of their words. I do not wish to be responsible for making one person who would benefit from a vaccine more hesitant to take it. I am particularly wary of playing God during a pandemic.

However, my reluctance to pontificate on a subject on which I have no expertise – vaccine safety – does not confer a licence on others to command the debate on other subjects about which they appear to know very little, such as medical and political ethics.

The fact is, however much some people would be best advised to take the vaccine, there is a recognised risk involved, even if we are not supposed to mention it. The long-term safety of the vaccines is unknown and cannot be known for several more years – and possibly for much longer, given the refusal of the drug regulators to release vaccine data for many more decades.

The vaccine technology is novel and its effects on the complex physiology of the human body and the individual vagaries of each of our immune systems will not be fully apparent for a long time. The decision to take a new type of vaccine in these circumstances is a calculation that each individual must weigh carefully for themselves, based on a body they know better than anyone else.

Pretending that there is no calculation – that everyone is the same, that the vaccines will react in the same manner on every person – is belied by the fact that the vaccines have had to be given emergency approval, and that there have been harsh disagreements even among experts about whether the calculation in favour of vaccination makes sense for everyone, especially for children. That calculation is further complicated by the fact that a significant section of the population now have a natural immunity to the whole virus and not just vaccine-induced immunity to the spike protein.

But stuffing everyone into a one-size-fits-all solution is exactly what bureaucratic, technocratic states are there to do. It is what they know best. To the state, you are I and just a figure on a pandemic spread-sheet. To think otherwise is childish delusion. Those who refuse to think of themselves as simply a spread-sheet digit – those who insist on their right to bodily and cognitive autonomy – should not be treated as narcissists for doing so or as a threat to public health, especially when the immunity provided by the vaccines is so short-lived, the vaccines themselves are highly leaky, and there is little understanding yet of the differences, or even potential conflicts, between natural and vaccine-induced immunity.

Perpetual emergency

Nonetheless, parts of the left are acting as if none of this is true, or even debatable. Instead they are proudly joining the mob, leading the self-righteous clamour to assert control not only over the bodies of others but over their minds too. This left angrily rejects all debate as a threat to the official “medical” consensus. They insist on conformity of opinion and then claim it as science, in denial of the fact that science is by its nature disputatious and evolves constantly. They cheer on censorship – by profit-driven social media corporations – even when it is recognised experts who are being silenced.

Their subtext is that any contrary opinion is a threat to the social order, and will fuel vaccine hesitancy. The demand is that we all become worshippers at the altars of Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca, at the risk otherwise of being denounced as heretics, as “anti-vaxxers”. No middle ground can be allowed in this era of perpetual emergency.

This is not just disturbing ethically. It is disastrous politically. The state is already massively powerful against each of us as individuals. We have collective power only in so far as we show solidarity with each other. If the left conspires with the state against those who are weak, against black and brown communities whose main experiences of state institutions have been abusive, against the “deplorables”, we divide ourselves and make the weakest parts of our society even weaker.

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn understood this when he was one of the few on the left to publicly resist the recent move by the UK government to legislate vaccine mandates. He rightly argued that the correct path is persuasion, not coercion.

But this kind of mix of reason and compassion is being drowned out on parts of the left. They justify violations of bodily and cognitive autonomy on the grounds that we are living in exceptional times, during a pandemic. They complacently argue that such violations will be temporary, required only until the virus is eradicated – even though the virus is now endemic and with us for good. They silently assent to the corporate media being given even greater censorship powers as the price we must pay to deal with vaccine hesitancy, on the assumption that we can reclaim the right to dissent later.

But these losses, in circumstances in which our rights and freedoms are already under unprecedented assault, will not be easily restored. Once social media can erase you or me from the public square for stating real-world facts that are politically and commercially inconvenient – such as Twitter’s ban on anyone pointing out that the vaccinated can spread the virus too – there will be no going back.

Political instincts

There is a further reason, however, why the left is being deeply foolish in turning on the unvaccinated and treating the principles of bodily and cognitive autonomy with such contempt. Because this approach  sends a message to black and brown communities, and to the “deplorables”, that the left is elitist, that its talk of solidarity is hollow, and that it is only the right, not the left, that is willing to fight to protect the most intimate freedoms we enjoy – over our bodies and minds.

Every time the left shouts down those who are hesitant about taking a Covid vaccine; every time it echoes the authoritarianism of those who demand mandates, chiefly for low-paid workers; every time it refuses to engage with – or even allow – counter-arguments, it abandons the political battlefield to the right.

Through its behaviour, the shrill left confirms the right’s claims that the political instincts of the left are Stalinist, that the left will always back the might of an all-powerful state against the concerns of ordinary people, that the left sees only the faceless masses, who need to be herded towards bureaucratically convenient solutions, rather than individuals who need to be listened to as they grapple with their own particular dilemmas and beliefs.

The fact is that you can favour vaccines, you can be vaccinated yourself, you can even desire that everyone regularly takes a Covid vaccine, and still think that bodily and cognitive autonomy are vitally important principles – principles to be valued even more than vaccines. You can be a cheerleader for vaccination and still march against vaccine mandates.

Some on the left behave as if these are entirely incompatible positions, or as if they are proof of hypocrisy and bad faith. But what this kind of left is really exposing is their own inability to think in politically complex ways, their own difficulty remembering that principles are more important than quick-fixes, however frightening the circumstances, and that the debates about how we organise our societies are inherently political, much more so than technocratic or “medical”.

The right understands that there is a political calculus in handling the pandemic that cannot be discarded except at a grave political cost. Part of the left has a much weaker grasp of this point. Its censoriousness, its arrogance, its hectoring tone – all given cover by claims to be following a “science” that keeps changing – are predictably alienating those the left claims to represent.

The left needs to start insisting again on the critical importance of bodily and cognitive autonomy – and to stop shooting itself in the foot.

The post The left’s contempt for bodily autonomy during the pandemic is a gift to the right first appeared on Dissident Voice.

What’s Left? In Defence of Glenn Greenwald

The press is so powerful in its image-making role, it can make the criminal look like he’s the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal. This is the press, an irresponsible press. It will make the criminal look like he’s the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal. If you aren’t careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.

If you aren’t careful, because I’ve seen some of you caught in that bag, you run away hating yourself and loving the man — while you’re catching hell from the man. You let the man maneuver you into thinking that it’s wrong to fight him when he’s fighting you. He’s fighting you in the morning, fighting you in the noon, fighting you at night and fighting you all in between, and you still think it’s wrong to fight him back. Why? The press. The newspapers make you look wrong.

— Malcolm X, Speech at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem (13 December 1964), later published in Malcolm X Speaks: Selected Speeches and Statements (1965), edited by George Breitman, p. 93.

Caitlin Johnstone asserts that “The most significant political moment in the US since 9/11 and its aftermath was when liberal institutions decided that Trump’s 2016 election wasn’t a failure of status quo politics but a failure of information control.”  Since Trump’s election, information control contributes to why people critical of the democrats are called Trump sympathizers.  Journalist Paul Street, if not the tip of the iceberg of this tendency, speaks for many.  In these dark times, we must pull our forces together to overcome the challenges we face, and not obstruct political dialogue and struggle.

Street’s CounterPunch article,”Glenn Greenwald is Not Your Misunderstood Left Comrade“, obstructs political dialogue and struggle. He gave no substantive rebuttal to a Greenwald article, which declared “grotesque” the sight of masked servants and unmasked elite at the  New York Met Gala.  In a classic ad hominem attack, since Street couldn’t summon up an intelligent response, he just hurled insults. Sadly, this is what currently passes for political debate.

Where is our political compass?  Street says: “Glenn Greenwald is not a man of ‘the Left’ (or whatever’s left of ‘the Left’).”  What does “Left” mean, post-Trump?  Street asserts that “Greenwald broke on through to the wrong side during the Trump years, so clouded by his understandable contempt for liberal and Democratic hypocrisy, corporatism, and imperialism as to become a willing accomplice of the white nationalist right.”  Greenwald’s tireless and meticulous debunking of Russiagate cast him as a Trump sympathizer to people like Street.  Remarkably, many on “the Left,” still believe Russia did it, though the recent indictment of Hilary Clinton’s lawyer  and arrest of the principal source of the bogus Steele dossier, should put any such notion to rest.

Street quickly discounts Greenwald’s reason for leaving The Intercept, saying “he was too good to be edited – …a piece that tried to advance Trump campaign propaganda against Joe Biden on the eve of the 2020 presidential election.”  Street is critical that Greenwald is “all over the Hunter Biden-New York Post-deep state laptop story,”  but after  New Proof Emerges of the Biden Family Emails: a Definitive Account of the CIA/Media/BigTech Fraud, even CNN recognized the bombshell.

The World Socialist Website, in sync with Street’s “analysis,” calls Greenwald a “sly fascism-denier” who Street says “has creepily thrown in with the white nationalist right.” Why? In his always impeccably documented piece,  FBI Using the Same Fear Tactic From the First War on Terror: Orchestrating its Own Terrorism Plots, Greenwald discussed the plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Whitmer.  He concludes that “there was no way to avoid suspicions about the FBI’s crucial role in a plot like this absent extreme ignorance about the bureau’s behavior over the last two decades or an intentional desire to sow fear about right-wing extremists attacking Democratic Party officials one month before the 2020 presidential election.”

Greenwald was one of the few who smelled a rat in the Michigan kidnapping story.  After serious investigative journalism, he found the rat.  “In sum, the FBI devised this plot, was the primary organizer of it, funded it, purposely directed their targets to pose for incriminating pictures that they then released to the press, and then heaped praise on themselves for stopping what they themselves had created. The Wall Street Journal’s headline declares, In Michigan Plot to Kidnap Governor, Informants Were Key, yet January 6 is declared an attempted coup.”

In spite of such headlines from the WSJ, Street says Greenwald “downplays the seriousness of the fascist-putschist Capitol Riot of January 6, 2021.” This doesn’t sound like downplaying to me: “Of course the FBI was infiltrating the groups they claim were behind these attacks…Yet the suggestion that FBI informants may have played some role in the planning of the January 6 riot was instantly depicted as something akin to, say, 9/11 truth theories or questions about the CIA’s role in JFK’s assassination.”

Street claims Greenwald has a “curious alignment with the white-nationalist neofascist Donald Trump and the January 6th marauders in their purported struggle with ‘the deep state.’”  Marauders or the FBI?  Does he not believe in a Deep State?

Greenwald’s article “Questions About the FBI’s Role in 1/6 Are Mocked Because the FBI Shapes Liberal Corporate Media” is subtitled “The FBI has been manufacturing and directing terror plots and criminal rings for decades. But now, reverence for security state agencies reigns.”  In a widely praised TED Talk, Trevor Aaronson states, “There’s an organization responsible for more terrorism plots in the United States than al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab and ISIS combined: The FBI.”  Then why are Street, World Socialist Website, Counterpunch and many others well-versed in COINTELPRO tactics, now swallowing FBI words whole and calling people Trump fascists for raising the issue of FBI involvement in January 6?

Street says Greenwald “defends Trump and other Amerikaner neofascists against the ‘censorship’ of their supposed free speech right to spew sexist, nativist, and white power hatred on Twitter and Facebook.”  An article I wrote about the new reality police revealed that Media Alliance, a San Francisco organization founded in 1976 to be mainstream media watchdogs, circulated a petition after January 6 which says:  “Facebook should create a circuit breaker to help prevent dangerous disinformation and incitements to violence from ever reaching a mass audience…”

That good minds sincerely believe Silicon Valley executives should be the Gods of truth in today’s world makes Orwell look cheerily optimistic.  Yet shockingly, many people agree with the unprecedented censorship of a former president.  Nixon, even after his impeachment and resignation, was never gagged as Trump is.  As a former constitutional lawyer, Greenwald addressed concerns of Silicon Valley censorship in “Congress Escalates Pressure on Tech Giants to Censor More, Threatening the First Amendment.”  He believes House Democrats are getting closer to the constitutional line, if they have not already crossed it.

Greenwald recently wrote several pieces on COVID, one announcing that he was eagerly vaccinated.  However, his questions about the cost-benefit analysis that is missing from the covid debate and his support of the position taken by NBA star Jonathan Isaac have Street condemn him for “failing to mention the horrific, anti-science, covid-fueling and pandemo-fascist anti-masking and anti-vax practices, policies, and politics of the Amerikaner Party of Trump (the Republicans)….”  Very articulate and factual.

As opposed to a report from the National Vaccine Information Center, Forced Vaccination Was Always the End Game, which cites that breakthrough COVID infections, hospitalizations and deaths in fully vaccinated people are on the rise, individuals who have recovered from the infection have stronger natural immunity than those who have been vaccinated, and officials at the World Health Organization now say that the SARS-COV-2 virus is mutating like influenza and is likely to become prevalent in every county – no matter how high the vaccination rate.

Unfortunately, in spite of such growing data, Greenwald’s piece supporting NBA’s Isaac is subtitled:  It is virtually a religious belief in the dominant liberal culture that people who do not want the COVID vaccine are stupid, ignorant, immoral and dangerous.

Greenwald’s “The ACLU, Prior to COVID, Denounced Mandates and Coercive Measures to Fight Pandemics” excerpts from a 2008 report of “the actual ACLU prior to its Trump-era transformation” which had one primary purpose: to denounce as dangerous and unnecessary attempts by the state to mandate, coerce, and control in the name of protecting the public from pandemics.

The report cites lessons from history: American history contains vivid reminders that grafting the values of law enforcement and national security onto public health is both ineffective and dangerous. Too often, fears aroused by disease and epidemics have justified abuses of state power. Highly discriminatory and forcible vaccination and quarantine measures adopted in response to outbreaks of the plague and smallpox over the past century have consistently accelerated rather than slowed the spread of disease, while fomenting public distrust and, in some cases, riots.

Greenwald legitimately questioned the ACLU’s about-face from the report to its current position: “Far from compromising them, vaccine mandates actually further civil liberties,” its Twitter account announced.  Street supports the ACLU’s current position.

Many people ask Why Does Glenn Greenwald Keep Appearing on Tucker Carlson’s Show?  The question I keep asking, but get no answer, is why Greenwald, Tulsi Gabbard, Aaron Maté, Matt Taibbi, Max Blumenthal and Jimmy Dore can only appear on Fox?  Why are they not on “liberal” MSNBC or CNN, let alone Democracy Now?  The dominant, ubiquitous paradigm that cannot be challenged is – don’t go after the democrats.

Greenwald, as Julian Assange, is condemned by liberals only post-Trump.  The liberal visceral hatred of Trump has trumped rational discourse. If there was true rational discourse, Assange would not be suffering in Belmarsh Prison as a consequence of his cardinal sin – publishing emails harmful to democrats.

Following the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict, Greenwald again went out on a limb, which a revolutionary comrade called a “rant,” but his message is only what Caitlin Johnstone asserted:  “If your opinion about a legal case would be different if the political ideologies of those involved were reversed and all other facts and evidence remained the same, then it’s probably best not to pretend your position on the case has anything to do with facts or evidence.”  But Greenwald is again in the crosshairs of “progressives.”

I agree with Street that he and Greenwald are not “on the same side.”  If Street, and countless others like him, engaged in true political debate and struggle rather than calling people “facetious,” “stupid” and “snotty,” we might be closer to the revolution Street says he hungers for.

The post What’s Left? In Defence of Glenn Greenwald first appeared on Dissident Voice.