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 LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, September 9, 2017

My take on today's activist politics from a class perspective

by Ron Horn for this website. (Edited for greater clarity on 9/21/2017.)

Often you will see in left-wing blogs highly educated people like Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges offering criticism of  anti-fascist violent clashes with rather openly fascist demonstrators. I believe their criticisms are muddled because they, like many other highly educated people of the upper-middle class, are mostly ambivalent about any significant clashes with ruling class authorities. They fear losing the privileges and wealth they have gained from many years of their active participation in ruling class institutions. In reading a recent article by Hedges, I was impressed with his progress in understanding political-economic issues, however his long years of indoctrination in capitalist views and values handicaps him from offering positive advice to young activists who want to fight fascism. He can only offer such harmless activities against the system as projects like Cooperation Jackson. With this essay I will attempt to suggest other activities that are far more promising. First, we must have an understanding of basic economic and political concepts related to capitalism such as liberalism and fascism.

Capitalism is a comprehensive social-economic system that integrates every institution in service to capitalism's core beliefs: the private ownership of the economy with the concomitant power to rule over society. Many of today's capitalist societies have been shaped by their history to present a facade of democratic rights and freedoms (see my commentary here) to such an extent that they regard their rule as "democratic" and sell many of their policies to ordinary people as promoting democracy and humanitarian concerns. In other words, they must use deception to promote their self-serving rule and to portray their rule as legitimate.

Liberalism is another concept that has been shaped by history. Of course the etymology of liberalism is freedom from restrictions. The early capitalist class was bound by charters issued by the monarchs which severely limited their enterprises. Thus when they came to power they declared their rule as "liberalism" which has become the classic use of the term meaning capitalist ideology or capitalism. Nowadays the meaning has evolved into freedom from arbitrary rule, freedom from restrictions on civil rights, tolerance for different opinions and lifestyles, and a belief in the possibility that capitalism can be reformed or adapted to meet society's needs. As you can see, its meaning is highly ambiguous and depends mainly on the context in which it is used. For this reason, I don't like using the word by itself without some clarifying remark.

Fascism is a confusing word for most people. The classic definition is used to describe Mussolini's rule in Italy in the 1920s and 1930s which featured the rule of the state which directly served the interests of corporations under a dictatorship in which the rule of law was only superficially respected, and maintained by a police state to suppress any significant opposition. (Be clear that capitalist classes and their governments always favor corporations which they created as engines to generate so much of their wealth and power.) With this definition it is easy to see that there is no definite boundary between fascist rule and capitalist rule because the latter always contains elements of the former. Pure fascist rule is capitalist rule shorn of the facade of what is known throughout the world (excluding the US) as bourgeois democracy--a mostly fake form of democracy. However nowadays the term "fascism" is often used casually and pejoratively to mean extreme authoritarian rule such as in a police state, but without any reference to a capitalist ruling class. Such a meaning is flawed. I believe that the classic definition is the most useful, and I always use the term in that sense.

As you can see, these terms are very confusing and deliberately so because the capitalist ruling class rules largely by deception and they want concepts confusing and ambiguous to undermine any real understanding of their rule. This is because the system of capitalism serves the interests of a relatively tiny capitalist class who "own" the economy under the rules and laws of the system, and this, of course, dramatically conflicts with their propaganda about their rule as representing "democracy". 

The vast majority of people are workers who under capitalism are reduced to merely rented workers (some people regard them as simply wage slaves) who have no control over their work or the value they create. The history of capitalism has revealed its tendency to promote the concentration of wealth (and power) in fewer and fewer hands. Since the Anglo-American ruling classes representing the bourgeois democratic nations were victorious over the fascist capitalists (Axis powers) in WWII, the evolving US-led Empire has favored the use of deception to maintain their rule and the operations of their corporations within their own countries. However when deception through their propaganda and organs of indoctrination fail, these capitalist ruling classes always turn to their enforcement agencies (police and military) to suppress any significant resistance to their rule. When this occurs as a usual practice, that type of rule is correctly identified as fascism.

Although the ruling classes of the Empire have constructed the framework of a police state, mostly they depend heavily on deception through their control of information by their giant media corporations supplemented by propaganda laced entertainment furnished by Hollywood corporations and their educational system. Such deceptive propaganda is also supported by the operations of 17 of highly secret (from us) "intelligence" (often subversive) agencies, and NGOs with nice sounding names (examples: National Endowment for Democracy, Center for American Progress, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Open Society Foundation) that advocate, and sometimes carry-out, policies that promote capitalist enterprises or governments which support their interests of profit and power. 

The rich capitalist class even support progressive organizations and individuals to act as "gatekeepers" (def.) for their interests. In this ruse such organizations and individuals pose as advocates of progressive actions, but in the end they carefully guide activists away from any effective activities. With these definitions clarified and the capitalist ruling class methods used to quash dissent in mind, I want to proceed to describe today's other political realities. 

There are signs everywhere that our ruling class of capitalists are increasingly relying on the classic methods of fascism to suppress resistance to their rule. However they are also using and improving upon every other method that every ruling class has used to suppress resistance like divide and rule, bribery, disinformation and propaganda, and outright assassinations; and they have added new ones such as co-optation and PSYOPs. In more recent decades Empire agents have also been perfecting the use of well-funded subversive organizations hiding behind NGO organizations (with bland sounding names) that function in targeted nations by hiring local dissidents to foment conflicts and strife. Added to these soft methods are more aggressive methods they developed to a high degree since its first application in Afghanistan and Nicaragua in the early 1980s: the use of gut-wrenching fear in the form of terrorism to induce compliance among targeted populations.

This new method was first applied domestically on September 11, 2001. As you can see it worked with astounding success by permitting the US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. Since then our ruling masters have applied this method successfully again here and elsewhere in the world (Ukraine and Libya) to overthrow governments which stood in the way of the Empire's global interests, and less successfully in Egypt, Syria (largely because of the interference of Russian, Iranian, and Hezbollah forces), Georgia, Chechnya, and western China. (If you have doubts, listen to this podcast interview with Sibel Edmonds, a former FBI employee and whistleblower, wherein she gives a summary of such operations (in addition to the Paris shooting incident in 2013) which she refers to as "Gladio B". See also this.)

As you can see, the Empire's ruling class has a number of weapons in their arsenal to manage and control dissent and to shape consent to their policies which always promotes more wealth and power in the world for them. If activists are to become effective in this country to not only oppose the application of these methods but to end them by creating a new social system, they must become aware of this sophisticated arsenal; and this awareness must inform their strategies and tactics. Otherwise many people will be hurt without any positive effect, and nobody wants that.

Personally I think the best path to this education is through a positive project like the one I have advanced in the series "A Revolutionary Model". Instead of merely reacting to fascist activities like speakers and demonstrations that are likely organized in collaboration with the ruling class's subversive agents to foment conflicts, activists would engage in activities to advance the truth about the real world. Activists would also be educating themselves, the wider public, and at the same time, learn how to really deal effectively with the many efforts by ruling class agents to sabotage their activities. The exposure of the US-led Empire's criminal activities domestically and throughout the world is where they are most vulnerable; and by revealing these acts, we can destroy their credibility. This could lead to even greater conflicts, not with mostly created fascist provocateurs, but with the many real fascist forces within the US.

The point I wish to make is that activists should not let themselves be manipulated by simply reacting to fascist machinations, but to work actively to end the rule of capitalists and to establish a truly egalitarian society that functions of, by, and for the people. People would inevitably get hurt, but their injuries and even deaths would not be in vain. Such a future is well worth fighting for.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

International Law? The Americans Don’t Give A Damn

Click here to access article by the Canadian international criminal lawyer Christopher Black from New Eastern Outlook

One feature of fascist capitalism is the ignoring of the rule of law. Black explains how the US is now ignoring international rules of law in their recent activities related to the seizure of Russian consulates.
The United States of America has sunk to a new low in diplomacy and civilized relations between nation states with its demand that Russia close its consular missions in San Francisco, Washington and New York, quickly followed by its order that the consular staff leave the premises while the FBI conducted a search of the premises and staffers personal apartments. To order the closure of a mission, or to order the withdrawal of a member of diplomatic staff, is within its right but a search of consular property is not. It is a flagrant violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961. 

The Narrative of Fear and Insecurity

Click here to access article by David Malone from his website Golem XIV.

The contents of this article prompts two clarifying comments from me. First, FDR expressed his warning about "fear" on the eve (1933) of his presidency when the ruling class of the rich, known as capitalists, were extremely fearful of the reaction of their workers to the developing Great Depression which started in 1929. They were fearful that the workers might follow the Soviet example and overthrow their rule. In spite of considerable opposition largely from fascist-oriented American capitalists, FDR prevailed and saved the system from either going to fascist capitalism, as had happened in Germany, Italy, Japan, or having their liberal capitalist system destroyed by workers.

Second, I'd like to clarify that people such as Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Blair/Brown, and Margaret Thatcher are not the creators of ruling class strategies, but the gofers (def. 1) of the ruling class directorship otherwise known as the "Deep State" that functions in secret behind a curtain of illusion that dresses up their government as representing "democracy". Rich and powerful capitalists of the Deep State that hide in secret "think tanks" like the Council on Foreign Relations are the real creators of policies such as the proliferation of debt.

With these clarifications in mind, I think that Malone does an excellent job of explaining how the debt strategy has worked in recent decades as a very effective method of social control for our ruling masters. (This debt strategy has also worked to control entire countries as John Perkins has so graphically explained.)
People [our capitalist masters] knew [discovered] that in the good times Debt kept poor people quiet. Like any drug it could take away the fears and worries of being poor. For as long as their high lasted they would feel better, happier and politically calmer.  Debt drugged the poor into happy passivity. Why should they listen to those who argued for the old, hard, political struggles, when the politics of debt was so seductive and easy? People [our capitalist masters] encouraged you to have debt. They fell over themselves to give you as much as you wanted. More in fact. Much more.  More than you needed. More than you could every really pay back. But who cared? This was true for the poor but also for the entire system of banks and traders and funds that made the system work. [my editing]

The political lesson learned, was that when the bad times came, far from being useless or harmful, debt worked new wonders.  In the bad times debt created fear.

[Russian Revolution series, part 3 of ?] One Hundred Years Ago: the Kornilov-Kerensky Putsch

Click here to access article by Michael Jabara Carley from Strategic Culture Foundation.
(9/13/2017 note: I am posting a series of articles on the Russian Revolution, but not necessarily all by Carley. Although Carley wrote a first article entitled "One Hundred Years Ago: the Triumph of the February Revolution 1917", I am not including this in the series. Sorry for the confusion.)

This is a third article in a series which I will post about the Russian Revolution of 1917. Please read my introduction to the series if you have not already done so. 
In August 1917, Russia was at war with the German-led Central Powers and at war with itself. A great revolution had been launched in February/March 1917 by workers and soldiers in the Russian capital of Petrograd. That revolution had spread quickly across the country. Soviets (or popular councils) of workers’, soldiers’ and peasants’ deputies were established from Petrograd to Vladivostok. A Provisional Government was established under the watchful eyes of Soviet authorities. Red Petrograd became the heart of the Russian revolutionary movement. Paradoxically, neither the leadership of the Provisional Government nor even of the Petrograd Soviet was interested in harnessing and developing the energies of the revolutionary masses. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Chilling Survey Reveals Majority of Americans Willing To Preemptively Nuke Other Nations

Click here to access article by Darius Shahtahmasebi from Anti-Media
What it [the research] ultimately shows is that Americans want to fight (and instigate) wars but no longer want to expend their own people commissioning such conflicts. Polls have also demonstrated that the majority of Americans approve of the use of drone warfare against suspected terrorists, another example of Americans approving of killing people without realistically endangering personnel.
Contrary to this conclusion arrived at by the author of this article, I believe that the research results show the power of the US ruling class to instill hatred of their enemies in the minds of ordinary Americans. I know from my own experience that the ongoing portrayal of the Japanese as beasts by US media enabled the American populace to accept the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The same applies to Iran. (I was awakened to this discovery when a sibling expressed such hatred toward Iran and praised the virtues of Saudi Arabia.) 

Also one must factor in the ruling class's induced passivity and acceptance of authority into one's interpretation of the results. What the 1974 classic Milgram study demonstrated is that in a society taught to induce blind obedience to authority figures, people can be rather easily encouraged by authorities to apply apparently very painful electric shocks to others in conditions where they will suffer no adverse consequences themselves and will please authorities in their presence. Thus ruling classes can create conditions to induce ordinary people to commit horrific acts by teaching them to hate their enemies using all kinds of fake information and officially sanctioning such acts.

Americans, like the Germans and Japanese, are intrinsically no different than anyone else when allowances are made for their idiosyncratic experiences and their history of being untouched by the experience of war on their continent since the Civil War of 1860. What they do share with millions across the globe is living in nations that are ruled by self-serving ruling classes that are overwhelmingly capitalist. The system itself, fueled by the quest for profit and power, encourages war for access to cheap resources and labor. The solution, which this research and others like it supports, is not to denigrate Americans but to end the rule of tiny classes of people, and in today's world that means the end of capitalist rule and the creation of social systems that can support harmony among people and with nature.

Monday, September 4, 2017

We Told You So: Google Is NSA

Click here to access article by Phil Butler from New Eastern Outlook.

The age of Big Brother has now arrived (a little late) with Google's efforts to filter out information that might conflict with information and opinions supplied by media corporations. 
Google wants to be Big Brother’s eyeballs on you. All us Internet gurus knew this since before the NSA was found out spying on everybody. But now the Mountain View [city in California where Google's headquarters is located] boys are more determined than ever to filter your information, and to obliterate any semblance of truth reaching people.

If I had led into an article with that paragraph even five years ago, I’d have been instantly labeled a “conspiracy theorist” or worse.

The Secret History of FEMA

Click here to access article by Garrett M. Graff from Wired

The author reveals the extensive history of an organization that has many iterations of evolution, but its priority beginning in the 1970s, which was largely kept secret, was to protect the nation's officials (and likely members of the capitalist ruling class involved in the Deep State).
Created in April 1979, FEMA brought together more than 100 programs from across the government; publicly, the agency would be known for coordinating the government’s response to natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes. But few in the public understood that much of FEMA’s resources went instead to its primary mission—coordinating the nation’s post-apocalypse efforts—and that the majority of its funding and a third of its workforce was actually hidden in the nation’s classified black budget. The agency’s real focus and its real budget was known to only 20 members of Congress.

Indeed, FEMA was hobbled from the start, limited by weak central leadership, full of political patrons, and pulled in multiple directions by its disparate priorities—some public, some secret.
FEMA truck stuck  in Houston, TX on August 30, 2017.
This checkered history resulted in what today is a largely ineffective agency to deal with the increasing occurrence of environmental disasters. Since the 1970s the agency when it began to expand its operations to disaster recovery, what FEMA has demonstrated to me is that providing recovery services for the people after a disaster is a low priority for our masters in the ruling class.
This confusions [sic] and lack of focus all came home to roost in August 2005 as Hurricane Katrina churned through the Gulf of Mexico toward New Orleans. The federal government’s response to the hurricane—combined with mistakes at the local and state government level—was an epic disaster in its own right. It triggered the strongest indictment of governmental incompetence of the 21st century. FEMA Director Michael Brown, a one-time horse breeder who lacked any emergency management experience, became a national punchline.

In the end, the only arm of the federal government with the resources, logistics, and manpower necessary to help on a massive scale—the US military—had to step in.

Photos from a Week in the DPRK

Click here to access article by Eva Bartlett from her website In Gaza.

Bartlett is one of world's outstanding humanitarian journalists. Last month she, a Canadian, visited the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) and captured with photos the social life of the country. Unfortunately our understanding of other countries is too often limited by our media corporations which serve the interests of power and profit of the tiny, very rich, capitalist class who rule over the US and much of the world. With these photos and commentary Bartlett portrays another view of the DPRK that our masters don't want us to see. She also provides us with other resources to learn about the true history of a country that the American military almost disappeared from the earth.
From August 24-31, I visited the DPRK (North Korea) as part of a very small delegation interested in hearing from North Koreans themselves about their lives, the US sanctions and incessant war manouevres, their history and more. A sample of photos and videos, with more to follow soon.
Please bear in mind that this country is among the most vilified on earth–along with Syria and formerly (now-destroyed) Libya, to name a few. Western media does not speak of North Korea’s people, nor of the amazing infrastructure, free housing and medical care, impressive agriculture and green energy, and the many things the people of the DPRK have done so well which I’ll elaborate on over the coming days.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Will special counsel Mueller examine the DNC server, source of the great Russiagate caper?

Click here to access article by George Parry from The Inquirer, the online version of the Philadelphia Inquirer. (Thanks to Christopher in northwest Oregon for alerting me to this revealing article.) (Clarifying remarks added at 3:10 PM Seattle time.)

Parry explains the origins of the "Russiagate" caper which was revealed by "...an exacting forensic examination of the available evidence by the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), an organization of former CIA, FBI, National Security Agency, and military intelligence officers, technical experts, and analysts." According to Wikipedia the group consists of mostly retired people from the spy agencies. Thus they have a great deal of independence from the ruling class, and their views can be taken much more seriously than agency officials. 

It's obvious that there are sections of the ruling class that are not going along with this elaborate myth being propagated by media corporations under the control of the dominant section of the ruling capitalist class. (I sometimes enjoy seeing members of the ruling class fighting amongst themselves--as long as we don't take their many lies seriously.)
Thus was laid the cornerstone of the Trump-Russia-collusion conspiracy theory.

Since then, the mainstream media have created a climate of hysteria in which this unsubstantiated theory has been conjured into accepted truth. This has resulted in investigations by Congress and a special counsel into President Trump, his family, and his campaign staff for supposed collusion with the Russians.

But in their frenzied coverage, the media have downplayed the very odd behavior of the DNC, the putative target of the alleged hack.
Many questions remain that will likely never be investigated and answered in this ongoing campaign of disinformation derogatorily referred to as "Russiagate".

[Russian Revolution series, part 2 of ?] One Hundred Years Ago: the Russian Revolution and the July Crisis, 1917

Click here to access article by Michael Jabara Carley from Strategic Culture Foundation.
(9/13/2017 note: I am posting a series of articles on the Russian Revolution, but not necessarily all by Carley. Although Carley wrote a first article entitled "One Hundred Years Ago: the Triumph of the February Revolution 1917", I am not including this in the series. Sorry for the confusion.)

This is a second article in a series which I will post about the Russian Revolution of 1917. Please read my introduction to the series if you have not already done so.
The Russian Revolution of 1917 did not occur all at once, but over a period of eight months and four political crises. The abdication of Tsar Nicholas II and the collapse of the tsarist government were provoked by a spontaneous eruption of popular anger in the capital city of Petrograd. The collapse was both anticipated and not. French and British diplomats had warned that the tsarist government was on its last legs, but revolutionaries like Vladimir Lenin, in exile in Switzerland, were caught off guard, and hurried to return home.

Revolutionaries of all stripes, including Bolsheviks, Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries (SRs), rushed to organise Soviets (literally "councils"), tumultuous democratic assemblies of soldiers, workers and peasants, but they were reluctant to take all governmental power into their own hands.

Journalist fired for exposing how CIA ran weapons to terrorists ...

Click here to access a 6:24m interview with Dilyana Gaytandzhieva, a Bulgarian journalist, by an RT host. This post is a followup to the explosive story that I posted Tuesday from Zero Hedge regarding this incident. 
Bulgarian investigative journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva says she was fired after reporting about how the Central Intelligence Agency ran weapons to Al-Nusra terrorists through Azerbaijan. Gaytandzhieva was let go for refusing to reveal her sources, she tells RT’s Anya Parampil.
This is more smoking gun evidence to the collusion of our government (CIA) with the governments of Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and many European countries to provide weapons and other military support to the various terrorist armies in Syria. There has also been other sources that have reported on these Bulgarian weapons: from Syria itself where weapons manufactured in Bulgaria were captured from ISIS and their affiliates, from Wikileaks intercepted emails, etc. See this and this.