We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Cracking Capitalism vs. The State Option

Click here to access this interview with John Holloway by Amador Fernández-Savater posted in Guerrilla Translation (run by a cooperative based in Spain).

This is the best article I've found which offers the best explanation of Holloway's basic views regarding issues related to building an alternative to capitalism.
In 2002, John Holloway published a landmark book: Change the world without taking power. Inspired by the ‘¡Ya basta!’ [Enough is enough!] of the Zapatistas, by the movement that emerged in Argentina in 2001/2002 and by the anti-globalisation movement, Holloway sets out a hypothesis: it is not the idea of revolution or transformation of the world that has been refuted as a result of the disaster of authoritarian communism, but rather the idea of revolution as the taking of power, and of the party as the political tool par excellence.

He discerns another concept of social change is at work in these movements, and generally in every practice—however visible or invisible it may be—where a logic different from that of profit is followed: the logic of cracking capitalism. That is, to create, within the very society that is being rejected, spaces, moments, or areas of activity in which a different world is prefigured.
He counter-poses his ideas with the failed history of worker's taking control of the state.
If we’re not going to accept the annihilation of humanity, which, to me, seems to be on capitalism’s agenda as a real possibility, then the only alternative is to think that our movements are the birth of another world. We have to keep building cracks and finding ways of recognising them, strengthening them, expanding them, connecting them; seeking the confluence or, preferably, the commoning of the cracks.

If we think in terms of State and elections, we are straying away from that....
I think that this is correct simply because the "state" is a creation of capitalism. The state is to capitalism what kingdoms were to feudalism. Creators of a new societies must build their governing/coordinating institutions on an edifice of bottom-up authority. Federated communities? Who knows? Holloway doesn't know, and I don't know. That, in addition to weakening capitalist rule, is another task awaiting all revolutionaries and creators of a new world.

Rojava: only chance for a just peace in the Middle East?

Click here to access article by Jeff Miley and Johanna Riha from the University of Cambridge website. (Note: the article also contains a link to a one hour talk delivered by Miley at the University of Cambridge.)

The authors visited the Rojava region on a nine day trip in December of 2014 as a part of an academic delegation "to assess the strengths, challenges and vulnerabilities of the revolutionary project under way."
The revolutionary forces in Rojava are not fighting for an independent nation state, but advocating a system they call democratic confederalism: one of citizenry-led self-governance through the formation of neighborhood-level people’s councils, town councils, open assemblies, and cooperatives. These self-governing instruments allow for the participation of diverse political, ethnic, and religious groups, promoting consensus-led decision-making.

Oregon's signature solar energy project built on foundation of false hopes and falsehoods

Click here to access article by Ted Sickinger & Jeff Manning from The Oregonian (Portland, OR)

Here is an excellent example of a state government wanting to do the right thing: reducing its use of fossil fuels. They soon learned of the enormous difficulties of doing the right thing within a capitalist system. The project deteriorated into a nightmare of disasters characterized by fraudulent papers, fake companies, companies feeding illegitimately at the trough of state funds, and the exploitation of cheap prison labor. 

The moral of stories like this--and they are abundant--is that nothing gets done in a capitalist system, especially something as vital as fighting climate destabilization so that generations of humans that follow us can survive, unless a tiny segment of our population known as "owners" (capitalists) can make a lot of money from it.
Interviews and an examination of thousands of pages of documents show that state officials wrongly awarded millions in state tax credits, turning a blind eye to phony documents. The project also was dogged by an international trade war, a bitter corporate rivalry and a stunning twist that traded high-paid Oregon jobs for prison labor at 93 cents an hour.
By the way, this tiny segment has secured total control over every institution of our society. If we are serious about preventing not only climate destabilization but nuclear wars fought between capitalist gangs whose insatiable desire for more wealth and power will destroy us all, we must find a way to destroy the system. The sociopaths who are in control of the system cannot do their dirty work without it. So, it is the system that must be destroyed, and it is for us the healthy members of society that must find a way to do it so that future generations of humans can survive. We also face the task of replacing it with something that can insure peace and living in harmony with nature.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

ISIS 101 - What's really terrifying about this threat

Click here to access article by John Chuckman from Uncommon Thought Journal.

To save you time, the answer to the question implied in the title is this which he discloses in the concluding paragraph:
The truly terrifying aspect of ISIS and other forces fighting with it in Syria is that the United States and Israel have approved and supported such wanton destruction in so beautiful and formerly-peaceful a place as Syria. Millions of lives destroyed and countless historic places damaged as though they were all nothing more than a few pieces moved on a geopolitical chessboard. I think it fair to describe that as the work of psychopaths.
Of course, what is really valuable in this piece is Chuckman's devastating attack on the Empire's story broadcast 24/7 from their corporate media about ISIS. (Although I am very critical of the lack of links to documentation.) Only a complete idiot or a person who goes about their daily lives passively consuming information from corporate media and concerned only about their lives and that of their family and friends would believe such fairy tales. But it is the creation of the latter type of citizen that is the secret of the Empire's success. It is one of their key strategies in pursuing their criminal aims.

Remember a quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln? "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time." Well, the capitalist directors of the Empire have discovered a more accurate variation of this theme. They firmly believe that it is sufficient to fool most of the people all of the time. And the evidence so far suggests that they are right. 

However there are caveats to this principle: you must keep your hoi polloi reasonably well taken care of in their daily lives or else you must scare the hell out of them with messages about terrorists, criminals, and perverts lurking everywhere to harm them so that they will look to the directors' authorities for protection and guidance. They obviously have chosen the latter option. Equipped with their corporate media megaphones, the directors don't concern themselves with the work of independent journalists, analysts, and bloggers who expose their fairy tales in the micro-media of alternative websites. That way they also enjoy the added bonus of proclaiming that they permit free speech.

Putin and Iran Do a ‘Game Changer’

Click here to access article by William Engdahl from New Eastern Outlook.

According to Mark Twain "history never repeats itself but it does rhyme".  Well, that is proving to be true of the 21st century which is a rhyme of the 20th when the capitalist empires of Britain (allied with the US) competed with Germany (allied with Japan and Italy) for world dominance. Here in the 21st century Russia, China, and other countries refuse to take orders from the US Empire. So, look forward to another century of wars--far more devastating with nuclear weapons now in existence. 

This astute geopolitical analyst reports on Russian and Iranian preparations.
The dynamics of Russian foreign policy since the USA has forced a de facto declaration of war via financial and economic sanctions against Russia is impressive to put it mildly. Whether it will suffice to break the economic siege of Washington and open the way for a genuine global economic alternative to the bankrupt US Dollar System is not yet clear. What is clear is that Vladimir Putin and the faction of industrial barons who have decided to back him are not cowering in fear.

Cop Throws Elderly Man Down, Slaps Him in the Face, For Trying to Use a Restroom

Click here to access article by Cassandra Rules from The Free Thought Project.

I just discovered this website which from my 15 minute inspection appears to offer excellent filmed evidence by ordinary citizens of police brutality. Because the website also reports on a few incidents of police good conduct, I think one can safely conclude that the website administrators are objective in their coverage. 

This is only one incident among many that I noticed on the website. There are numerous others depicting far worse scenes of police brutality and murders by police directed against the most vulnerable citizens. Check it out.

There have always been some such incidents like this since the establishment of police forces simply because policing agencies like all institutions were created and/or shaped to serve a ruling capitalist class. However, the increasing reports of such incidents and the use of force against peaceful demonstrators of recent years suggests an epidemic of police violence toward vulnerable and protesting citizens that usually goes unpunished, and is dramatic evidence of a definite trend toward a police state. Apparently our masters in the One Percent have no answer for the increasing precarity of ordinary citizens, and thus are relying more on police violence to intimidate resisting citizens into passivity. However, people are fighting back by videotaping such incidents and showing this evidence to all the world.

Sometimes you can’t win: More cold and snow thanks to global warming

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from Systemic Disorder.

This freakish weather we've experienced this winter across America is the result of the excessive burning of fossil fuels which are necessary to drive the engines of capitalism. It is becoming clearer every year that we are witnessing the destabilization of our climate. Do you think we should just get accustomed to this situation or get rid of the cause?
If global warming is not simply warmer weather, but rather increasingly crazy weather, then this winter has given us ample evidence. An irony of global warming for eastern North America is it seems to be the one place that is getting colder and snowier winters thanks to global warming.  

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Another US “Success Story”: The Creation and Abandonment of Kosovo

Click here to access article by Thomas S. Harrington from Common Dreams. 
16 years after the 1998-99 War,  impoverished Kosovo still lacks basic water, electricity and waste management.
Referring to the US creation of Kosovo, Harrington writes:
...it was part of the US plan to make sure that the then newly unshackled countries of Eastern and Southeastern Europe would essentially be beholden to it, and not their EU neighbors.

Once this dependence was established, as it was in Kosovo, Bulgaria, Poland (which did not need much coaxing) and the Baltic Republics, the US could, as Rumsfeld famously let slip in 2003, play the new Europe off against the old Europe and, in this way, neuter any ability the Old Continent might have to act as a check upon US prerogatives.

The program has worked like a charm. How do we know?

Downton Abbey economics

Click here to access article by David F. Ruccio from Real-World Economics Review Blog.

This brief article brings into focus the key feature of the capitalist system that provides our masters in the ruling class with so much wealth while leaving us with so little that we have to scramble to survive. 
Those at the very top today have figured out what those who lived upstairs in Downton Abbey knew almost a century ago: it’s amazing how much wealth you can come to own when everyone else creates it but ends up owning very little of it.
Because Vanity Fair magazine caters to the rich and powerful, they often run "cultural" articles that appeal to our masters in the One Percent. A year ago I noticed that they were giving extensive coverage to PBS's TV program "Downton Abbey". Obviously there has been something about this program that has turned into something like an obsession for our masters. After some reflection I began to understand how key features of this series appealed to them. In my rather satirical commentary posted about a year ago, I wrote this: 
From watching TV the rich apparently have rediscovered  the delights of having people serve their every personal need just like in the days of yore. This is good news for us [job seekers]. They now want to emulate the characters on their favorite TV program, Downton Abbey, by hiring people who will attend to their many personal needs in a suitably obsequious manner. Of course, this highly romanticized TV version of aristocratic life has very little to do with reality. Then domestic helpers were treated little better than slaves and sexual abuse was rampant, but the lords of the manor in these British TV programs featured on PBS are always extremely virtuous. It's clear that Downton Abbey serves the fantasies of the current ruling class who want to view themselves as virtuous as well as powerful.

Monday, March 2, 2015

12 US top political figures murdered like Boris Nemtsov

Click here to access article by Sage Eurasian from Oriental Review.

This selection of 12, after the murder of John Kennedy, only represents the more infamous examples of grossly suspicious cases involving assassinations of people who posed problems for capitalist class power in the US. (They left out Robert Kennedy.)
The list makes clear the ongoing menace of murder of any US prosecutor or national judge or politician who does not serve US ruling political families. Especially note the recent, media-hidden shooting murder of US Federal (national) Judge Roll after ruling against the US regime, along with the ‘suiciding’ deaths of two US Federal Prosecutors Ross and Colbert … ‘hits’ which keep even the US Supreme Court and all US prosecutors in terror and behaving submissively. 

The Dark Influence of British-Controlled Tax Havens and City Of London Plc

Click here to access article by Don Quijones from Raging Bull-Shit.

This outstanding blogger alerts us to another excellent film about a subject which has been so under-reported and obscured by mainstream media for centuries: how the City of London functions to preserve trillions of dollars that capitalists have stolen from workers of the world and the world's environment.  

This is no oversight on their part. It is the way capitalists rule--by obscuring reality, secrecy, and simply lying. These are the methods that ruling classes have always used, but they have been perfected by Western capitalists. Such practices have had a major contribution to the success of a system that rewards a tiny segment of a population with huge material rewards and, most of all, power to access even more wealth and more power.

I'd really like to purchase the film, but it appears that the best way to access it (for me in the US) is online through Vimeo

Probably the best article I've posted before on this mystery zone in London is from Vanity Fair.

Crunch Time for the Global Corporatocracy

Click here to access article by Don Quijones from Wolf Street.

This blogger sheds more light on another scheme that the capitalists are using to bypass any restrictions posed by nations on access to their wealth--the so-called "free-trade" agreements. Again, we see how they are using secrecy to keep the hoi polloi from finding out what they are doing.  
...the only way for the uninitiated to learn about some – but far from all – of the potential repercussions of today’s trade agreements is through leaked documents. The current negotiations for a US-EU trade deal (TTIP) are so clandestine that the few Members of the European Parliament that are granted access can only view the plans in their original documentation, in a secure location, with the threat of espionage charges hanging over them if they are caught making copies or sharing the details with the public.

Free trade and Mexico’s junk food epidemic

Click here to access article from Grain.

This article reports on an excellent example of the devastation that "free-trade" treaties can have on a nation's health in addition to their economies. Major international food corporations like Coca-cola, PepsiCo, and Nestlé are making huge profits from neoliberal trade treaties like NAFTA.

Free trade agreements like NAFTA have shifted Mexican diets away from fresh fruit and vegetables towards heavily processed and refined foods, with catastrophic effects on the health and development of children.

Mainstream media has become a shocking exhibit of intellectual bigotry and thought coercion

Click here to access article by Ethan A. Huff from Natural News.
Everywhere you look, media pundits, industry-backed doctors, politicians and public health authorities are blaming the unvaccinated for spreading disease to the vaccinated. These mouthpieces are constantly regurgitating lies on television and in print about vaccines only being effective if everybody gets them, for instance, or diseases that were once eradicated by vaccines making a resurgence because some people choose not to vaccinate. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Capitalism and Women

Click here to access article by Abdullah Ocalan from the official website of the PKK (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan)

Because Ocalan is a major intellectual in this fascinating Kurdkish movement and political party, I thought I would post a sample of his writing. From Wikipedia we learn the following:
Abdullah Öcalan (...; born 4 April 1948), ... is one of the founding members of the militant organization the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in 1978 in Turkey, which is listed as a terrorist organization internationally by some states and organizations, including NATO, the United States and the European Union.

Öcalan was arrested in 1999 by the CIA and Turkish security forces in Nairobi and taken to Turkey, where he was sentenced to death under Article 125 of the Turkish Penal Code, which concerns the formation of armed gangs. The sentence was commuted to aggravated life imprisonment when Turkey abolished the death penalty in support of its bid to be admitted to membership in the European Union. From 1999 until 2009, he was the sole prisoner on the İmralı island, in the Sea of Marmara. Öcalan has acknowledged the violent nature of the PKK, but says that the period of armed warfare was defunct and a political solution to the Kurdish question should be developed. The conflict between Turkey and the PKK has resulted in over 40,000 deaths, including PKK members, the Turkish military, and civilians, both Kurdish and Turkish.

From prison, Öcalan has published several books, the most recent in 2012.
I don't know if he writes in another language and such articles are translations or if he wrote this in English, in any case I find the language a bit awkward in several places. Still, I think this article offers us a good introduction to his thinking about capitalism, women's key place in society, and his political understanding of history and present day political issues. I don't know much about the influences that have shaped his political philosophy, but we learned yesterday from my posting of an article from Reflections of a Revolution that Murray Bookchin has shaped some of his ideas. 

Here is how he begins this essay:
A realistic definition of capitalism should not present it as a constant created and characterised by unicentral thought and action. It is, in essence, the actions of opportunist individuals and groups who established themselves into openings and cracks within society as the potential for surplus product developed; these actions became systematised as they nibbled away the social surplus.

RGBS’s Film of the Week: Murder, Spies and Voting Lies

Click here to access the series of seven videos via YouTube that together make up the film posted on Raging Bull-Shit.
This week’s film of the week is an incredible documentary that tells the story of a computer programmer who was contacted by a private company with ties to convicted chinese spies, to write a program that could be used to rig US state elections in 2000 and 2004. Among other things, it raises serious questions about both of George W Bush’s presidential election victories and serves as a very stark reminder of the vulnerabilities of using electronic voting systems. 

Looming Warming Spurt Could Reshape Climate Debate

Click here to access article by John Upton from Climate Central.
Humanity is about to experience a historically unprecedented spike in temperatures.

That’s the ominous conclusion of a vast and growing body of research that links sweeping Pacific Ocean cycles with rates of warming at the planet’s surface — warming rates that could affect how communities and nations respond to threats posed by climate change.

Papers in two leading journals this week reaffirmed that the warming effects of a substantial chunk of our greenhouse gas pollution have been avoided on land for the last 15 to 20 years because of a phase in a decades-long cycle of ocean winds and currents. 

Coming Soon to a Theater near You [in March]: ‘Merchants of Doubt’

Click here if you wish to access the introduction and promotional video directly from Yale Climate Connections.
Kenner [the film director] lifts the curtain on a secretive group of highly charismatic, silver- tongued pundits-for-hire who present themselves in the media as scientific authorities – yet have the contrary aim of spreading maximum confusion about well-studied public threats ranging from toxic chemicals to pharmaceuticals to climate change. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

False Flag in Moscow!

Click here to access article by The Saker from his website.
Boris Nemtsov has been shot dead in Moscow.  He was one of the most charismatic leaders of the “liberal” or “democratic” “non-system” opposition in Russia (please understand that in the Russian context “liberal” and “democratic” means pro-US or even CIA-run, while “non-system” means too small to even get a single deputy in the Duma).  He was shot just a few days before the announced demonstration of the very same “liberal” or “democratic” “non-system” opposition scheduled for March 1st.
Then this blogger followed up this post with another interesting one that includes a short video featuring President Putin entitled "Nemtsov murder: Putin warned about exactly this type of “false flag” two years ago". 

See also "Who Killed Boris Nemtsov?" from Veterans Today.

Russia: US-Backed Opposition Leader Gunned Down in Moscow

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from New Eastern Outlook. 
Martyrdom on demand: if not of use alive, perhaps of use dead? US-backed opposition groups in Russia have so far failed utterly to produce results. Their transparent subservience to Washington coupled with their distasteful brand of politics has left a rather unpleasant taste in the mouth of most Russians. Each attempt to spread the “virus” of color revolution to Moscow, as US Senator John McCain called it, has failed – and each attempt has fallen progressively flatter.

.... Nemtsov had led US-backed opposition protests for years. In 2012, he was caught literally walking into the US Embassy in Moscow to meet with then newly appointed US Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul who had serve on the board of directors of Freedom House and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

The significance of this cannot be overstated.

Bookchin: living legacy of an American revolutionary

Click here to access article which provides a transcript of an interview conducted by Federico Venturini and posted on Reflections on a Revolution.
Editor’s note: Below you will find an interview with Debbie Bookchin, daughter of the late Murray Bookchin, who passed away in 2006. Bookchin spent his life in revolutionary leftist circles, joining a communist youth organization at the age of nine and becoming a Trotskyist in his late thirties, before switching to anarchist thought and finally ending up identifying himself as a ‘communalist’ after developing the ideas of ‘libertarian municipalism’.

Bookchin was (and remains) as influential as he was controversial. His radical critiques of deep ecology and ‘lifestyle anarchism’ stirred up a number of heated debates that continue to this day. Now that his revolutionary ideas have been picked up by the Kurdish liberation movement, who are using Bookchin’s works to build a democratic, gender-equal and ecologically sustainable society in the heart of the Middle East, we are seeing a renewed interest in the life and thoughts of this great political thinker.  

How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Click here to access article by Christian Schwagerl from The Independent.

This Berliner uses the new scientific concept of "Anthropocene age", to argue for a radically different orientation toward nature.
In the Anthropocene, there is no longer an "inside" and an "outside", no alien, antagonistic nature with which humans are faced. The environment becomes the "invironment", something with which humans are existentially interwoven. This is why it is far from sufficient to create "nature reserves" on a small percentage of the Earth’s land surface. Instead, we have to consider whether civilisation itself can act and perform within nature, with technologies that don’t act as parasites and destroy, but enrich the living world.

In such a world we can no longer speak of "nature" and "culture" as two separate spheres. 
In other words, we humans are in the very web of life on planet Earth, and we must now integrate our existence with the Earth's ecosystems in such a way as to preserve our place in it. However after constructing this radical vision, he argues that we need only to make adaptations to our economy and technology to integrate ourselves with nature! How reassuring (to capitalists) to know that capitalism which is based on exploitation of workers and the environment can be "adapted" to this new reality! And the remainder of the article continues this train of thought by declaring that these adjustments are already happening in his hometown of Berlin. 

This is a classic example of how liberal media handle the growing acknowledgement by the ruling class that a dramatic conflict exists for capitalism in the form of climate destabilization. It serves to reassure people that everything is under control--just trust the authorities.

If instead of being reassured and you want to face the hard truths of the insolubility of capitalism and survival, I advise you to watch the film "The Crisis of Civilization" by Nafeez Ahmed which I posted last September.

Friday, February 27, 2015

What’s Behind Ukraine’s Secret Weapons Deal with UAE

Click here to access article by Eric Zuesse from RINF Alternative News. 

This is another in the endless stream of bad news. Based on a report issued by a US media corporation, the Empire through its vassals in the Middle East is preparing to strengthen their Ukraine puppet's military in order to launch another war against eastern Ukraine. This is another major piece of evidence that the latest ceasefire was only agreed to by the Kiev regime because they were losing the war. Fascists like the Ukraine puppets, who came to power with the violent overthrow of the elected government, only believe in domination and control of societies through violence or the threat of violence. 

The directors of the Empire are engaging in a very high risk strategy to draw Russia into the conflict (their propaganda already claim this) in a plan to effect a change of regime in Russia into one that takes orders from the Empire. Russia and its people will never come under the domination of anyone. So, the stage is set for one disaster after another as the Empire directors pursue this mad policy.

I recommend also an article from World Socialist Web Site entitled "Pentagon provocation on Russia’s border".

Keystone XL: The Opportunism that Infests Environmentalist Activism, for the Benefit of Capital

Click here to access article from The Wrong Kind of Green.

A fact sheet regarding well-funded "activist" organizations, big donors, the irrelevance of stopping one pipeline, etc., all leads to this conclusion: 
The second simple (and final) truth is—it’s the system. That no one wants to acknowledge this – doesn’t change the fact that it’s true. We kill capitalism—or capitalism kills us. It’s really that simple.

How Net Neutrality Came Back from the Dead

Click here to access article by Sam Gustin from Motherboard.

Let us celebrate a rare victory. But, I believe the vote on the FCC regulatory body was close (3 to 2); thus this may only be a temporary victory. 
...on Thursday, Wheeler—the former cable and wireless industry lobbyist—completed an astonishing year-long turn-around, and did what many had thought unthinkable. Under Title II authority, the FCC established its strongest-ever net neutrality protections, handing open internet activists (and their public interest allies) a once-in-a-generation victory.

Wheeler’s evolution from high-powered industry lobbyist to internet folk hero is one of the most unlikely tales in the history of modern regulatory policy.

Mossad contradicted Netanyahu on Iran nuclear programme

Click here to access article by Will Jordan and Rahul Radhakrishnan from Al Jazeera.
Less than a month after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's 2012 warning to the UN General Assembly that Iran was 70 percent of the way to completing its "plans to build a nuclear weapon", Israel's intelligence service believed that Iran was "not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons".

A secret cable obtained by Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit reveals that Mossad sent a top-secret cable to South Africa on October 22, 2012, that laid out a "bottom line" assessment of Iran's nuclear work.