Category Archives: vaccines

Squelching dissent on both sides of the Atlantic

The current repression of dissent in Germany is startlingly similar to that in North America. In 2019 as the virus started to spread, the government ordered drastic measures against it. Several distinguished doctors and professors, including an MD who was a former member of parliament, asked the government for evidence and explanations justifying these measures. When they were ignored, they called a rally and gave speeches again asking the government for answers. The government ignored this too, but their press launched a smear campaign labeling these people as unscientific and incompetent. When several current members of parliament spoke out against the mandates, they were defamed and isolated.

The government forced the mandates through, and as the effects of these turned out to be more damaging than the virus, large-scale protests broke out. Politicians warned of the danger to our democracy from right-wing fanatics whom they claimed had taken over the protests. To defend democracy by disrupting the rallies, groups of Antifa tried to drown out speakers by shouting, “Halt die Fresse!” – “Shut your mouth!” Of course, the real danger to democracy comes from trying to silence or exclude anyone, right or left.

Establishment media refused to publish reports of severe side effects from the vaccines. A government statistician who gave evidence that the mandates and vaccines were ineffective and harmful was removed from duty, as were police officers who took part in peaceful rallies. Professors who spoke at demonstrations were shunned by their colleagues and passed over for promotion. Doctors who certified that their patients didn’t need to wear masks were suspended from practice. Some careers were destroyed, many damaged.

People were stunned by the savagery of the response to their demand for more public input into virus policies. They discussed possible reasons for the government’s attack. Conspiracy theories began to circulate, some of them quite wild.

The government broadened its attack. The press was full of interviews with psychiatrists discussing the dangerous psycho-pathology of conspiracy theorists. Wherever vaguely possible, parallels were drawn to Nazi Germany. Aged Holocaust victims were interviewed about their trauma caused by such people. One victim, though, Vera Sharav, made a video saying the government was behaving like the Nazis, but her statement was ignored by the mainstream and appeared only in the alternative media.

Rationality disappeared from public discourse. A seething polarization began to spread. The government recognized a growing threat of losing its hold on the people.

It cut back on testing. The “pandemic” faded. Russia invaded the Ukraine. A new enemy replaced the “killer virus” as a focus for fear.

The government’s campaign of forced lockdowns, masks, vaccines, and repression has unnecessarily and massively damaged millions of people, far more than what the virus has done. But on the positive side it has also turned millions of people against the government, a prerequisite for real change. The next step is ours.

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COVID Brain Fade at the Australian Elections

It’s the last week of an election between the uninspiring and the unspeakable.  Australia’s conservative incumbents – the unspeakable ones – are even desperate enough to concede to a lack of popularity.  Dislike us, but for heaven’s sake, vote us in.  The times are wretched, the cost of living is rising, and we are going to look after you in the spiral.  The opposition, in contrast, is being stingy on detail and sparing on scope.  Memories of 2019 continue to traumatise the Australian Labor Party.

Scouring the election platforms, statements, and town hall debates, is a glaring absence of one particular field of policy.  Virtually no candidate or major political party is mentioning that troubling issue of COVID-19 and the global pandemic.  That was the dark past, and, like released jailbirds, voters find themselves preoccupied with other matters.

Sporadically, mention is made about the Morrison government’s tardy ordering and supply of COVID-19 vaccines – at least in the initial phase.  At that time, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, rather infamously, dismissed the slow rollout.  This wasn’t, he opined, a race.

In his first campaign video, Morrison burnished his own credentials as a warrior against COVID-19, having been responsible for saving thousands of lives.  (The States and Territories, all far more engaged in the matter than Morrison ever was, are ignored.) But the primary message was that of,  “A choice between an economic recovery that is leading the world, and a Labor opposition that would weaken it, and risk it.”

Despite Australia’s enviable record, the emergence of the furiously transmissible Omicron variant and a death toll this year surpassing the combined figures of 2020 and 2021, have seen a departure from previous policy.  As Raina MacIntyre of the Kirby Institute remarked in January, Australia “swung from one extreme in pandemic control to the other – having great control of COVID, to now having the world’s highest rise in daily cases.”

Scenes of chaos ensued.  The vulnerable had to queue for hours as testing centres were overwhelmed.  A number of such centres were also closed, often without good reason.  The Commonwealth and State governments tinkered with definitions on eligibility regarding testing, all the time refusing to expand capacity.  MacIntyre was distinctly unimpressed.  “There was no planning for expedited third-dose boosters, expanded testing capacity, rapid antigen tests, hospital in the home, opening of schools or even guidance for people to protect their household when one person becomes infected.”

None of this has made a difference in the political platform, nor, it seems, in voter interest. The COVID brain fade has well and truly set in.  According to data generated by the ABC’s Vote Compass, a mere 1 per cent of Australians consider COVID the most important issue in this election.  Vulnerable members of society are being seen as “collateral” to the overall scheme.  Living with the virus has also meant suffering and even perishing from it.

The only party making much of COVID-19, and not from the perspective of praising vaccines and sound pandemic management, is the United Australia Party. Bankrolled by the quixotic mining magnate Clive Palmer, millions have been spent on media campaigns that have seen no discernible shift in the polls.

By default, health officials and experts have become crying Cassandras and the concerned oracles.  Virologist Stuart Turville has observed, with exasperation, that the federal election campaign has been afflicted by “a case of COVID Fight Club.  Don’t talk about it.”  Future policies on the subject are virtually absent. “What will happen if we don’t get our third or fourth dose?” wonders Turville.  “Will we see the death rate creep up from 40, to 60, to 80 before we start to talk about this again?”

Another figure of some woe and worry is Burnet Institute director, Brendan Crabb, who claims that politicians and governments have resolutely kept their “heads in the sand”.  There was a dangerous sense of “COVID now”.  Continuing high rates of transmission was “bad for business”.  The longer health impacts were also being neglected.  “How many of the 350,000 plus active cases in Australia right now will have chronic impacts?  Overseas data suggests 20 per cent of them.”

Epidemiologist Nancy Baxter, based at the University of Melbourne, is another who can always be relied upon to deter any emerging complacency.  “We’re at a point,” she gravely states, “where COVID is now one of the major killers of Australians, and probably by the end of the year is going to be one of the top three.”  She adds further lashings of doom.  “And with increasing case numbers, new sub-variants [will be] coming in.  This may drive it even further, which would have a bigger impact.”

If the current mood prevails till May 21, we can expect little purchase from such attitudes at the ballot box.  Fiscal responsibility, the consumer price index, climate change and the China bogeyman, are likely to feature ahead of the most disruptive pandemic in a century.

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A Campaign Against Critical Thinking

The tools of psychology are dangerous in the hands of the wrong men. Modern educational methods can be applied in therapy to streamline man’s brain and change his opinions so that his thinking conforms with certain ideological systems.

— Joost A. M. Meerloo, The Rape Of The Mind, 1956.

Since the declaration of the Covid-19 Pandemic in March, 2020, the phenomenon of “mass formation psychosis”, essentially hypnosis at population level, has become a major subject for discussion, due largely to interviews of psychiatrist Mattias Desmet. Becoming aware of it, one begins to recognize the effects of the cultivation of anxiety and mental confusion, of the steady diet of terrifying data, of constantly changing and conflicting information, of enforced compliance to shifting policies demanding physical and visual isolation.

Joost Meerloo, in Rape Of The Mind, described totalitarian methods throughout the ages used to force obedience. Modern society, with its refined techniques in marketing and mass communication, he wrote, “tends to robotize and automatize man.” Where competing interpretations of reality are censored, what is constantly repeated “fixes patterns of thought”, which patterns assume realities of their own. “He who dictates and formulates the words and phrases we use, he who is master of the press [and TV], is master of the mind.”

Countering totalitarian technique calls for critical thinking, a pattern of thought hesitant to accept information immediately at face value. Critical thinkers look for inconsistencies within narratives. It’s said that critical thinking can’t be taught, because accumulated life experience is a factor in its ultimate development, if it ever develops at all in a lifetime. On the other hand, critical thinking is open to cultivation, and presumably its cultivation is a feature of liberal education.

Given that, the online search technique now advocated by the Center for an Informed Public came as a surprise for anyone used to seeing critical thinking as a positive trait. The SIFT method, so called, which boasts about the speed with which one can make quick judgments of online material — as briefly as within 30-seconds — would seem to be a recipe for superficiality that brings to mind claims that society is being “dumbed down”. The professed target of SIFT is the evil of “misinformation” — that Pandemic-era charge that is oddly vague beyond its failure to hue to an official, but conflict-riddled, story. SIFT is based on a four-step system suggesting that one often makes better decisions with less information rather than with more.

The New York Times showcased SIFT with an opinion piece subtitled “Critical thinking, as we’re taught to do it, isn’t helping in the fight against misinformation”. One is prompted to “stop overthinking”, because “the goal of disinformation is to capture attention, and critical thinking is deep attention”, this causing people to fall prey to bad actors such as conspiracy theorists who can “warp your perspective”. An example of the SIFT method uses Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., long a target of the NY Times, which paper, remarkably, will not review Kennedy’s The Real Anthony Fauci, nor will it even post a paid ad for the book.

In the example, Kennedy’s name is Googled — “Look how fast this is” — to a sentence on a Wikipedia page identifying Kennedy as anti-vaccine and a conspiracy theorist. Two other sources, a fact checker and the NIH, indicate Kennedy’s views as “outside the consensus”. Not being in accord with majority thinking indicates bias, “And that’s good enough to know we should probably just move on.”

In 2016, there appeared a website, PropOrNot, claiming that Russia was manipulating US opinion online. What stands out is that examples by PropOrNot of information sources that “produce large amounts of propaganda content” are substantially a recitation of excellent sites for crucial information shunned by monopoly media, and for sources of incisive, in-depth analysis and commentary (take a look!), e.g. Corbett Report, Activist Post, Global Research, Paul Craig Roberts, and the like.

What makes PropOrNot momentous, in this case, is that the Washington Post, in an article “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say” included PropOrNot, describing it as “a nonpartisan collection of researchers with foreign policy, military and technology backgrounds”. Nonpartisan? Hardly! For America’s number 2 “Newspaper of Record”, famously a CIA mouthpiece, to give credence to PropOrNot was an assault against foremost sources challenging official narrative.

Another Washington Post piece invites readers to take a confusing quiz to determine “Will you fall into the conspiracy theory rabbit hole?.” Example: Reader is to choose, from 4 items, the only one declared to be backed by evidence. However, a careful search of the items (GMO food dangers; LSD experiments; AIDS spread; Coronavirus creation) reveals that every one has at least some details open to question. The quiz, in effect, implies that certain questionable issues are “case closed,” when they truly are not. Items covered in the quiz (e.g., election fraud, JFK assassination, false flags, Russian collusion, Rothschilds, Deep State, climate change, et al.) are seemingly matched so as to delegitimize certain avenues of exploration.

In The Rape Of The Mind, in a chapter titled “Mental Contagion And Mass Delusion,” Meerloo writes: “The lie I tell ten times becomes a half truth to me. And as I continue to tell my half truth to others, it becomes my cherished delusion.” Since the Pandemic was declared, the official framework of falsehoods has become truth for much of humanity. Yet some saw through the deception early on. How come?

Igor Chudov, a former student of behavioral economist Richard Thaler, believes those who recognized the fraud are critical thinkers (Chudov has broken with Thaler who is now a central figure in the project to maximize “vaccine uptake” in society1 ). Chudov, cites the famous Asch conformity experiments that reveal how easily people are seduced by majority opinion. He is interested in critical thinkers, and at his Substack site he invites those who saw through the Pandemic deception to explain their experience.

A key revelation of the Asch experiments was the importance of dissenting voices in countering projects directed toward mass conformity. The dissenter is a reminder that prevailing consensus might be absolutely wrong. This is why departure from the official pharmaceutical/governmental Covid Pandemic story line is attacked as “misinformation” with such viciousness and is pilloried in mainstream media (mass conformity having become a principle MSM aim). From the standpoint of the engineers of the Pandemic narrative, with its goal of injecting humanity with RNA technology, critical thinking is a direct threat, and it is being undercut by every means available.

  1. Thaler joined with Cass Sunstein to produce the book Nudge, which deals with techniques to influence public decision making. In 2008, Sunstein authored Conspiracy Theories, in which he advocates for “cognitive infiltration”, the sending of governmental agents into communities of dissenting citizens in order to foster thinking desired by government. Sunstein was thereafter (2009-2012) made Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama Administration. Thaler and Sunstein use their influence in the interest of overcoming “vaccine hesitancy.”
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Localization and Local Futures: The Alternative to the Authoritarian New Normal    

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End-game capitalism  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Permanent austerity   

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Metaverse future 

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

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

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

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

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

Green imperialism  

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

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

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

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

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

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

California Schemin’: Will COVID censorship of healthcare professionals become law?

California Assembly Bill #2098 was introduced on February 14, 2022. If passed, the bill would “designate the dissemination or promotion of misinformation or disinformation related to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, or ‘COVID-19,’ as unprofessional conduct.”

Translation: It’s corporate-sponsored censorship aimed at taking away power from health professionals who see through the COVID bullshit.

Section 1 of the bill declares the following:

(a) The global spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, or COVID-19, has claimed the lives of over 5,000,000 people worldwide, including nearly 75,000 Californians.

(b) Data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that unvaccinated individuals are at a risk of dying from COVID-19 that is 11 times greater than those who are fully vaccinated.

(c) The safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines have been confirmed through evaluation by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the vaccines continue to undergo intensive safety monitoring by the CDC.

(d) The spread of misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19 vaccines has weakened public confidence and placed lives at serious risk.

(e) Major news outlets have reported that some of the most dangerous propagators of inaccurate information regarding the COVID-19 vaccines are licensed health care professionals.

FYI: Every entry above is patently and demonstrably false.

Since the bill does not even define what “misinformation or disinformation” is, it’s obviously designed solely to squash debate and dissent. Of course, such authoritarianism is first being floated in a #woke state like California. But do not imagine — for one minute — that this is not coming to a State House near you.

If you allow yourselves to be distracted by war propaganda or celebrity gossip, you’re making it so, so easy for the powers-that-shouldn’t-be to implement their nefarious plans. Even if you won’t fight back for yourself, how about standing up for future generations who may never know what freedom and autonomy mean?

Three suggestions for starters:

  • Take the real time needed to educate yourself
  • Relentlessly share what you learn
  • Never comply with tyranny
The post California Schemin’: Will COVID censorship of healthcare professionals become law? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

“Artistic Freedom,” Censorship, Counter-Revolution, and Cuba

If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.

— Malcolm X (December 13, 1964 at the Audubon Ballroom, New York City)

A Shameful Petition

A shameful “petition” has been issued, under the auspices of PEN-International and Human Rights Watch (HRW).  See here.

The document purports to be a defense of beleaguered Cuban artists and creative performers against a government that “fears and condemns” artists. Under the cover of lies and half-truths trumpeting supposed “repression” and “censorship” in socialist and revolutionary Cuba, the campaign effort — with such well-endowed and well-established sponsors — has managed to gather some 300 prominent artists and performers, including some outstanding figures such as Isabel Allende, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Meryl Streep. All the more pity!

The “petition” is shameful because it consciously omits any reference to the US government’s economic war of asphyxiation against the Cuban state and government. Because it consciously ignores the longstanding subversive programs sponsored by the US government that includes extensive efforts to recruit agents and operatives on the ground, including a tiny layer of creative artists willing to play their supine, illegal part in the ongoing US economic and political war to bring down the Cuban Revolution…constant for over six decades now. Denouncing the unchanged US policy of counter-revolution and “regime change” in Cuba — with its ongoing ugly, brutal, and bloody history — is the only acceptable framework to have any serious, honest, and objective assessment of how the Cuban government and society defends itself from that war.

From Trump to Biden

Failure to denounce the blockade, strips the “petition” of any moral high ground or credibility. The “petition” is, in fact, part and parcel of the bipartisan Washington campaign to defeat and destroy the still-resonant example of the Cuban Revolution. The “petition” has nothing to do with “artistic expression,” civil liberties, censorship, or political space in Cuba. It is, in fact, US sanctions and hostility that restricts people-to-people exchanges that could bring to US cities and communities the beauty, creativity, variety, and freedom of the entire Cuban musical, dance, painting, graphic arts, film scenes. And to see with one’s own eyes the cultural explosion that was unleashed and has been sustained in Cuba since the triumph of the Revolution, despite US aggression.

Havana Festival in New York City

Danza Contemporanea de Cuba at Joyce Theater in Manhattan

Creole Choir of Cuba at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2011

Washington’s extraterritorial embargo, the blockade, was steadily escalated under the Donald Trump White House from 2016-2020 and deepened still further under the Joseph Biden Administration. All in defiance of repeated overwhelming votes in the United Nations General Assembly against the blockade, which underline how politically isolated and hated US anti-Cuba policy is.

Underlining its cruelty, this escalation was implemented during the world COVID-19 pandemic! While Cuba has done outstanding work in developing its own highly efficacious vaccines alongside its amazing medical solidarity and internationalism, Washington’s economic war and anti-Cuba political bellicosity has not abated!

The crisis-ridden US Empire is defying the world, the Americas, and even US majority public opinion as it continues its economic and political war against Cuba! And the specter of US military aggression is always lurking. Indeed from contingency plans to create the conditions for action is the very purpose of the “regime-change” subversive projects hatched in the bowels of US government agencies.

The counter-revolutionary networks that Washington openly budgets for subversion with tens of millions of direct cash payments (plus untold many millions more in covert funding) became activated following the generally spontaneous neighborhood street actions on July 11 that involved hundreds, maybe even many hundreds. These protests took place in cities and neighborhoods particularly hard hit, under the generally very difficult conditions of shortages and other great daily stresses from the US economic blockade — on top of sharp covid spikes and lockdowns — by electricity blackouts in the intense summer heat. Under these immediate conditions (that the Cuban government immediately and effectively addressed on the ground), these counter-revolutionary networks coordinated with their US government masters to create the kind of chaos and breakdown, through illegal acts of violence, of public order that would be a pretext to call for direct US military intervention (at least in the fantasies of Washington spooks, handlers, and policymakers.). In the days following the July 11 events, some US politicians like the Mayor of Miami, openly called for direct US military intervention, which was also advocated in the pro-intervention signs and slogans in the sizable demonstrations of Cuban-Americans in Miami and Washington, DC (where thousands were bused in) in that period.

The Human Rights Industry

Over many years, organizations based in the dominant capitalist powers in the US, UK, and EU, and purporting to be based on an independent, “apolitical” defense of “human rights” — as they define it — have more and more constituted themselves as brands and virtual industry, funded decisively by large donors, and which increasingly sees its business model as conforming to the “human rights” priorities of Washington, the UK, and EU governments.

This does not mean that these outfits don’t often supply accurate facts, publicize just causes or individuals, or that they always lie, or that they, or the US State Department, if it suits them, cannot from time-to-time even issue formal statements criticizing close US allies such as Saudi Arabia, Colombia, and Israel.

But for Human Rights Watch in particular, anyone who follows their Latin American orientations and utterances can have no doubt that for HRW it’s real emotional and political investment and political focus has been Cuba and the anti-imperialist governments of Venezuela and Bolivia and other governments in the Americas that encroach on the unfettered prerogatives of domestic and foreign capital, and that are in conflict with Washington. With these human rights brands, at best, we see a narrow definition of human rights in terms of civil liberties and various forms of parliamentary elections (dominated by capital and unelected national and international ruling class bodies), drenched in unacceptable double-standards, and which does not include, or render secondary, the social rights of humans, including land reform, universal medical care and education, and elevating the conditions and status of women.

You will never see HRW praise the massive conquests of revolutionary and socialist Cuba in wiping out illiteracy, for its state-of-the-world health care system and medical internationalism, its blows against racism and in the elevation of women’s emancipation, not to speak of its decisive military intervention in southern Africa in the 1970s and 1980s that defended Angolan independence, secured Namibia independence, and expedited the defeat of apartheid South Africa.

The PEN-HRW petition consciously omits any mention, let alone even lip-service opposition, to the criminal and hated US economic war. At least Amnesty International, an elder states-person and innovator within what I call “The Human Rights Industry” — and more honest and objective historically in my opinion – and which occasionally has strongly criticized actions of the Cuban government and called for the release of those they have called “political prisoners” in the past, has also sincerely, with some vigor, condemned the US economic war and sanctions. They also recognized the flaws in Washington’s unjust frame-up and incarceration of the Cuban Five revolutionaries on a covert mission fighting US-based terrorist provocations and assaults against the island and the passage of the blockading Torricelli and Helms-Burton legislation in the 1990s during a severe economic contraction following the collapse of the Soviet Union.  The Cuban Five heroes were brutalized, framed-up, and railroaded into prison.

Empty Platitudes

The “petition” exudes empty platitudes about “art” (“Art is powerful. Regardless of discipline, art allows us to reveal truths about our society and ourselves, promote dialogue, express our cultural identity, and bear witness to inhumanity. Artists can rally our communities and serve as a beacon of light amid darkness. It is because of the power of art that many governments, including the Cuban government, fear and condemn artists.”) But art, per se, has no position as “art” on the burning social and political questions of the day, class and national liberation struggles

I would further state that the “category” of “artist” or “intellectual”, per se, does not stand above the burning historical and political issues and controversies of the day, which polarize society as a whole, including artists and intellectuals who take various contentious positions (or no position at all). Naturally these social and political issues and controversies often inspire and inform their artistic creations, for better or for worse.

Individual artists also engage in politics and class struggles, wars for liberation and wars for oppression – on all sides. To say the “Cuban government” “fears and condemns” artists is a gratuitous slander against the Cuban socialist revolution that unleashed tremendous artistic creativity in music, film, dance, painting, and every other field that is in great demand in the world and in the US also. The social and cultural dynamics of the Cuban Revolution that was wiping out illiteracy, smashing Jim Crow-Cuban style segregation, throwing out the US Mafia, and elevating the status of women made this possible. And was ruthlessly and bloodily opposed by the US government in real time then…and now.

This 2-part essay aims to reject and refute this well-endowed anti-Cuba campaign which conforms to, and tail-ends politically, the ongoing bipartisan “regime change” efforts of the US government to destroy the Cuban Revolution and its example. For some time now, these same themes of “artistic freedom” and “censorship” have animated stepped-up US government and big-business media and social media anti-Cuba efforts. Let no one be so naïve as to think that the organizers behind the PEN-HRW “petition” do not have threads tying them to current and former US policymakers in the decades-long US economic and political war against Cuba.

US Subversion Thwarted

But the problem for the partisans of US anti-Cuba policy is that the Cuban Revolution still, maybe more than ever in the pandemic era, resonates strongly among the oppressed and exploited overwhelming majority of humanity, including artists and intellectuals who place themselves on the side of the oppressed and working people, as opposed to the artists and intellectuals signing this shameful petition who choose to cowardly echo the campaigns of the US government and its paid clients and agents on the ground in Cuba.

These counter-revolutionary layers in Cuba are a small minority who have no social or political base on the island. Their base is in Washington, DC and a layer in the highly polarized Cuban-American community. They have been politically routed in Cuba, not by “repression” but by the counter-mobilizations of the Cuban working class and people in the streets as well as the by the measures taken by the Cuban government to address genuine grievances under the impact of US asphyxiation policies. These counter-mobilizations registered that the vast majority of Cubans defend the Cuban Revolution and understand that the US blockade is the main problem and obstacle to Cuban prosperity and economic development, whatever their critical and contentious views on the economic crisis, government bureaucracy, boosting food production, housing availability, currency reform, the Family Code, same-sex marriage, domestic violence, “race” and racism, as well as universal pride at the amazing accomplishments of Cuban science and medicine in producing 5 vaccines to fight COVID-19 and fully vaccinating over 85% of the Cuban population.

These tightened extraterritorial policies and sanctions under Trump and Biden consciously aimed at creating great economic stresses and shortages at the same time Cuba faced a spike up in covid infections, hospitalizations, and deaths in Summer 2021. Since then Cuba had an incredible turnaround and stands out internationally for its results in combating COVID-19 with its domestically designed and produced vaccines and sharply reduced numbers, hospitalizations, and deaths. (As this is being written, Cuba is on full alert for the full impact of the omicron variant which is leading to sharp rises in infections to approaching 3,000 a day, but so far no spike in hospitalizations and death.

It is absurd to suggest that in conditions of siege by the US capitalist superpower (a state with a military budget of $786 billion and a history of using sanctions, violence, assassination, terrorism, and biological warfare against Cuba, an island of 11.3 million), the revolutionary socialist Cuban government and the Cuban people as a whole is somehow morally obligated to promote the work of artists who are politically aligning themselves with the US government at the very time that government is waging an economic war of asphyxiation against Cuba, under the conditions of a world pandemic!) and against, by any objective standard, the large majority of the Cuban population.

It is not only stunning, not only outrageous, but, in my humble opinion, it is downright obscene for any self-respecting artist to align themself with a statement that does not even mention US asphyxiation policies while blasting the actions of the Cuban state and government in defending national sovereignty from easily documented ongoing US subversive efforts. That doesn’t even mention the conditions of economic scarcity, shortages, and stresses from the conditions of the US extraterritorial embargo and sanctions. This obliterates any moral high ground in addressing any valid questions of democratic and political space in general in Cuba and within the rich, flourishing, and multi-dimensional Cuban creative arts scene – music, dance, film, graphic design, fine arts, painting, theater, poetry, literature – in particular.

Despite the continuity of policy between Trump and Biden, bipartisan Washington has repeatedly failed to politically destabilize the Cuban workers state there are going to be unintended political consequences for US anti-Cuba policy, especially across the Americas, in Mexico and Central America, in the Caribbean, and on the South American continent.

Among these unintended consequences is the actual strengthening of the revolutionary government of President Miguel Diaz-Canel and the mass organizations (the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution; the Confederation of Cuban Workers; the Federation of Cuban Women, as well as mass organizations of family farmers, students, and all organized layers and sectors of the Cuban people as a whole) that are the grass roots and mobilized and organized mass base of Cuba’s participatory socialist democracy. What is consolidating today in Cuba is an upsurge of patriotic unity against US aggression. This provides time and space for revolutionary Cuba to resist and advance going into 2022.

As far as the Biden Administration, bipartisan Washington with its agencies, spooks, and their academic and big-business media/social media echo chambers, will just have to come to grips with the dashing of their hopes and illusions in 2021 from the July 11 events through the debacle of November 15 inside Cuba.

This includes, of course, the pro-blockade, pro-US intervention component of the Cuban-American community that wants to think that they are in the driver’s seat. Other voices in the community, inspired by the Bridges of Loves/Puentes de Amor Caravans Against the Blockade, are emerging as voice of Cuban families.

The highly orchestrated July 11 protests in Cuba led to a willful misreading of what the events actually represented on-the-ground in Cuba. This directly led to the debacle of November 15 when the planned activation of Washington’s various networks of agents, clients, and supplicants self-aborted. Instead, what was brought out was mass counter-mobilizations among Cuban working people. These showed what the actual relationship of forces inside Cuba is, despite the stresses and hardships from the US economic and political war.

The post “Artistic Freedom,” Censorship, Counter-Revolution, and Cuba first appeared on Dissident Voice.