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, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up
Saturday, October 28, 2017
I agree with the main points that historian Pauwels makes about events leading up to, and including, WWII. It's true that all the ruling classes of Western capitalist countries were divided about the fascist regimes of Germany and Italy. This was initially manifested in their neutral stance regarding the earlier Spanish Civil War in which the elected left-oriented government of Spain was largely destroyed by the military interference of the fascist powers while other capitalist countries stood by in formal neutrality.
In the US, which he mainly focuses on, the pro-fascist forces hid behind the label "isolationists" to provide them with some modicum of legitimacy. There were genuine isolationists who did not want to get sucked into another war on the European continent, but this did not describe the fascist inclined segment of the US ruling class. Another major bonus offered by the Nazis to the Western ruling capitalist classes, they had already planned to move eastward into the Soviet Union and crush the Bolshevik government.
Another indication of the split in all the Western capitalist classes, are the easy victories achieved by the Nazis in Europe. After rolling through the low countries, Hitlers armies in a matter of days conquered France. It was not primarily because of the superiority of the German armies, it was largely because of this split among the European ruling classes. Thus French generals easily found a welcoming home in the French Vichy regime, a Nazi puppet government.
The only disagreement I have with Pauwels is that President Franklin Roosevelt and a substantial part of the US and British ruling class eventually saw that the Nazis were a threat to both the British Empire and the Americans. The British were especially desperate while FDR, a dedicated anglophile, wanted to come the Empire's rescue, but he faced a determined and hostile pro-fascist segment of the US ruling class that wanted the Soviet Union to be crushed. He did all he could to help Britain, and there are some historians who think he deliberately maneuvered the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor so that we could enter the war. After the Soviets put up such a fierce resistance to the invading Germans in the summer of 1941, it became clear to the Allied ruling classes, especially the British much to their disgust, that they had to support the Soviets. It also became clear to a number of "isolationists" that the US could emerge from this war as the dominant power in the world.
This writer obviously wrote the article 10 years ago, but it is especially relevant on the 100th anniversary of this great event. First, let me address a few remarks about the larger organization with which this website is associated, the International Marxist Tendency.
There are a number of names and projects associated with the International Marxist Tendency which is as stated an international organization to advance the study of Marxism with a particular focus on Leon Trotsky, and it appears to me to be based largely in Britain. Their main website is In Defense of Marxism, their main writers and speakers are Alan Woods and Ted Grant (deceased). I have read several of their books and have been impressed with their accuracy in presenting historical materials related to Marxism and to the Russian Revolution.
The organization should not be confused with the US Trotskyist organization called the International Committee of the Fourth International which is based in Detroit, Michigan, USA. The latter's website is World Socialist Web Site. I do not favor either one over the other. Both do very good work in presenting a Marxist perspective on world events.
The tremendous impact of the Russian October Revolution was due to one irrefutable fact: the working class, for the first time in history, had captured state power and used it to overthrow the existing order and transform society and existing social relations. Nobody will ever be able to erase this powerful fact from the memory of humanity. The October Revolution was not artificially engineered by a clandestine terrorist organization as many historical revisionists have attempted to claim; on the contrary, it was one of the most popular revolutions in history. The working class whole-heartedly supported it, as was shown by the courageous behavior of the Petrograd sailors and soldiers, that is, workers and peasants in uniform.
The system was, from the get-go, designed to benefit a ruthless few and to the detriment of the many.Human history has existed since the beginning of civilization about 10,000 years ago out of much longer period of human existence some 150,000 plus years. This history has seen one ruling class after another committing monstrous crimes against the rest of humanity for their self-serving purposes. Now under capitalism with the threats increasing to the point that they are now threatening the very existence of humans, we on the left simply must find our voices and speak truth to the monsters of evil.
Thus we discover, the reason capitalism’s elite invest so much time, effort, and money rigging the game, from the political structure to mass media. It is the reason one could never have an honest dialog with the beneficiaries of the system. Where would be the profit for them in risking their litany of lies being countered and their false mythos exposed as the life-negating fraud that it is? Honesty and openness were not among the factors that enabled the capitalist elite to ascend to a position of dominance.
Willful and belligerent ignorance comprises the brick and mortar of the capitalist system’s mental architecture; the structure stands on a foundation of lies.
To live is to live off death — but, in the case of Late Stage Capitalist humankind, the monster imperative has shifted into runaway, has become a self-resonating feedback loop of destructive impulses.
Friday, October 27, 2017
I am posting a disproportionate number of article regarding Kurds because of what I believe has led to confusion about their progressive nature from articles mainly written by David Graeber and the people who formerly controlled the Reflections on a Revolution website. I believe that this author is another well informed person about Kurdish issues in Syria and nearby countries.
Every major Kurdish political group in the region has longstanding ties to Israel. It’s all linked to major ethnic violence against Arabs, Turkmens, Aramaeans, and Assyrians. From the PKK in Turkey to the PYD and YPG in Syria, PJAK in Iran to the most notorious of them all, the Barzani-Talabani mafia regime (KRG/Peshmerga) in northern Iraq.Later in the article she asks in an apparent moment of exasperation (but doesn't answer):
Why are the so-called Kurdish “freedom fighters” willing to get in bed with any and every group that has an interest in destabilizing Syria, Iraq, and Iran? The provocative manner in which the SDF has teamed up with terrorist organizations during the war in Syria is a glaring contradiction to the “revolutionary” public relations image that they have fought hard to establish in recent years. [my link]I have asked (to myself) the same question many times.
Both Donald Trump and Eduardo Porter would have us believe the U.S. trade deficit is a serious problem—and that, if it can brought back into balance, jobs for American workers will be restored.Ruccio offers evidence to indicate the falsity of the above argument. Instead it is clear that that the operations of capitalism have inevitably accumulated wealth and power to the ruling class of capitalists. The latter have by "hook or by crook" forced workers around the world to create the technology that, in turn, makes possible all kinds of computerized machinery, robots, and artificial intelligence to take over control of production from workers.
So, is it any wonder that the vast majority of workers are experiencing, and look forward to, more unemployment, underemployment, and inequality? Hence workers have created an advanced technology, which under the rules of capitalism, is owned and thus controlled by a ruling class of capitalists for their exclusive benefit and to the impoverishment of workers. What is so sad--actually tragic--about this is that such labor saving technology could be used to free workers for more time to engage in educating themselves, assuming governing posts, and otherwise enriching their lives and the lives of everyone in societies that can coexist within a healthy ecosystem.
Surprise! Surprise! "Read all about it! Trump reneges on releasing documents about the assassination of President John Kennedy!"
I sincerely hope that you weren't one of those surprised. There is a mountain of evidence out there to indicate that John along with his brother Bobby, and many other figures such as Martin Luther King, were assassinated by agents of the ruling class under the direction of their secret services like the CIA, FBI, etc. Thus the ruling class directorate cannot, and must refuse to, release documents that expose their criminal activities in spite of the fact that the event happened over 50 years ago. Such documents will never be released unless ruling class agencies which guard this information are somehow eliminated, and a new social system that insures a government of, by, and for the people finally replaces the present class-based system of capitalism.
Lendman summarizes this event, which highlights the most prominent features of the US's continuing version of "friendly fascism", by writing:
Saying he [Trump] had “no choice” revealed his impotence, obeying what he’s told to do, going along with higher powers, dark forces running things, the way America is governed – a plutocracy-run police state, a fantasy democracy, one in name only to hide how rule in Washington operates, for the nation’s privileged class exclusively.You may be interested in David Talbot's take on this event and his observations about political affairs in general in the USA. Talbot as an incorrigible liberal by looking to a rejuvenation of the Democratic Party to rescue us from imperialism, militarism, and gross inequality. Nevertheless he is well informed about the deterioration of political conditions in the US, and some of his observations are of interest. In the following audio interview (with transcript) posted on Who, What, Why, he argues that an increasing fragmentation of the ruling class's Deep State is occurring, and offers some other interesting observations related to the release of the documents.
I think power in this country now is fragmenting because of all the pressures and all the tensions that have been building up in our society, and I don’t think you can talk about a one deep state at this point, the hidden power in America. I think it’s very fragmented. Things are coming apart in this country every day.
This view of the Kurdish people makes a lot of sense to me given that I've followed events their since articles started appearing in various alternative sites about the progressive nature of the Syrian Kurds. I congratulate Andrei Raevsky, also known as The Saker, for posting this and many other insightful articles on his website.
I have time and again argued that Kurds are very poorly understood both outside as well as inside the community itself. There are some facts about the Kurds that need to be addressed. 1- The Kurdish language is divided into several dialects that are not mutually intelligible. 2- All Kurds do not share the same religion, while many are Sunni Muslim, a sizeable minority are Shias, Yezidi, Alevi, Christians and even Jews. 3- All Kurds do not share the same ideology and dream of statehood. There are many Kurdish parties that seek different goals, depending on ideology, geographical location and history. The third point is very much relevant here (I will touch briefly on the first two points as well). So far, Kurds have been presented in the West (and by themselves) as an ideologically homogenous people who seek the same goal in all four countries that they dwell in.
...Kurds have been very passionate about their ideologies, so much that they have engaged in several civil wars and internal conflicts over political differences.
Thursday, October 26, 2017
For those of you who want to catch up on all things political in the Ukraine, I think The Saker's views are probably the most informed that one can find on the World Wide Web.
Have you heard what the latest big news out of the Ukraine is? No? There is a mini-Maidan under way and Ukrainian nationalists seem to hope that Poroshenko will be kicked out before the end of the week. You did not know? Well, that is the real big news, the fact that you did not hear about this.In our present era of fake news and censorship, you can't expect to hear news about Ukraine's political deterioration on CNN or read about it in the Washington Post.
I suggest a much better, more accurate title for this post: "Two billion minds are being hijacked by capitalists using digital technology". With a little reflection, it is so obvious that technology is neutral. It's like a tool, it can be used for a variety of purposes. Unfortunately in our social-economic system of capitalism, technology is being used to enrich the One Percent--and mostly at our expense.
Products designed around engagement-based business models hook people for as long as possible. Each interaction teaches these products how to glue us more perfectly to our screens, steering us toward their goals while vanishing ours away....It's clear that people at this website are very well-meaning, but also are trapped in a mindset by many years of indoctrination to believe that capitalism is our natural environment, like water is to fish. They believe that we simply must accept it and naively believe that we can make technology serve social goals within a system which was designed to serve only an inevitably shrinking, and now tiny, class of people (capitalists) in societies consisting of billions of people.
You might also be interested in this 3:48m video as an amusing illustration:
Jeff Bezos is already in heaven. Late stage capitalism has concentrated wealth like never before in history, so that Bezos and seven guys like him are as rich as the poorest half of the rest of humankind. The Lords of Capital have no vision of a “modern prosperous society” – in American, Chinese or any other terms. They are concerned only with eliminating every threat to their wealth and power. That is the extent of their vision. [my emphasis]
China -- or rather, the global movement towards connectivity and peaceful relations at which China is at the center -- will inevitably overwhelm Bezos’ world, unless the process can be halted by war.
That’s why, if you are anti-war, you must be anti-capitalist.
Private prisons are a billion-dollar industry which exploit prisoners who are predominately Black and non-white Latinx people for profit. These prisons are run by private companies and have been on the rise since the mid-1980s, especially following the crack epidemic during the Ronald Reagan administration. Over half of U.S. states today depend on for-profit prisons holding approximately 90,000 inmates each year.
Racial profiling perpetuates white supremacy and the subordination of non-white people. For instance, oppressed nationalities living in marginalized communities have been receptors of police misconduct and a heavy police presence in their neighborhoods.
The link gives you access to brief videos, photos, and articles which, in turn, provides more links to other related material. The material's emphasis is on the revolution's influence on Latin America. Did you know that "Lenin" is a popular first name in Ecuador?
To mark the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, teleSUR reflects on the values and achievements of the revolution and what it means to today's revolutionaries.
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
I was perusing interesting articles this morning, as I usually do, when I began reading an article by John Feffer posted in Mint Press News and re-posted in The Greanville Post, both websites of which I support as sources of very perceptive articles on current issues. However, I was seriously dismayed and discouraged by reading Feffer's article. Thus I have refused to give its title and posting it, as I usually do, as an article because I don't want to give it any prominence.
Feffer's thinking in this article illustrates a number of shortcomings of educated people today in the US and probably in the rest of Western capitalist countries as well. Such thinking is the product of a capitalist oriented education that serves to exclude any social-economic class analysis about social and political issues. I view the way subjects are taught such as history, sociology, so-called political science, and even psychology as a necessary form of indoctrination under capitalist rule. This exclusion of any significant class analysis, of course, is another type of censorship so necessary to hide the ongoing criminal sins (exploitation, gross inequality, devastating wars, assaults on the environment, etc) perpetrated by capitalist ruling classes over the last few centuries. I see many signs of this thinking in Feffer's article. Let me explain.
The first sign of this false thinking was revealed in his conflating the issues of ethnocentrism of Kurdish independence along with the movements for independence in Catalonia and Scotland. They are vastly different. A Kurdish state, and other such states, would promote a rule by ethnic groups to the disadvantage of other ethnicities. This is a favorite technique used by all empires: it's called divide and conquer. It has been famously applied by the British Empire to divide up India after granting them independence into Hindu and Muslim states, India and Pakistan. This form of state is represented by Israel to the exclusion of Arab Palestinians as second class citizens at best. The US and its "coalition partners" used this in Iraq to divide the country into Shia versus Sunnis versus Kurds. You may not remember how this was started; but soon after Iraq was conquered, mysterious bombings of Shia and Sunni mosques and death squads started happening. Reports soon started leaking out that British agents were caught by Iraqi authorities dressing up in Arab costumes and carrying explosives.
Another source of Feffer's thinking is about the origins of states. It's true when he says that "Contrary to various founding myths, the nation didn’t exist from time immemorial. It had to be conjured into existence — and for a reason." And he follows with what he erroneously thinks was a reason. "The nineteenth century witnessed the first great modern shattering as people weaponized the new concept of “nation” and companion notions of ethnic solidarity and popular sovereignty in their struggles against empires." Yes, "people" decided to fight against empires so they created states to do this! Balderdash! It was capitalist classes that formed states after they overthrew feudal empires consisting of monarchs and aristocrats.
Then he illustrates more confusion about the significance of the Cold War and its end with the "shattering" of "ideological structures" and the rise of more so-called "independent states". He continues on with a description of recent events which are not explained by his "shattering" thesis. He only refers very tangentially and vaguely to classes in references to the right, middle, and left when he writes:
Given the polarizing impact of economic and technological globalization, it’s no surprise that the politics of the middle has either disappeared or, because of a weak left, drifted further to the right. Donald Trump is the supreme expression of this stunning loss of faith in centrist politicians as well as such pillars of the institutional center as the mainstream media.In an effort to appear to be profound, his analysis explains nothing. It only adds to the confused thinking that so many Americans are infected with about so many issues.
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
This piece provides an excellent antidote to the Russiagate virus that is being spread throughout mainstream media. You will learn how US agencies functioned to rig elections particularly in Russia and border nations. You will also learn more about the obvious rigging of recent elections here in the USA. It is sad to realize that this trickle of information is easily overwhelmed by the rivers of disinformation produced and distributed by media corporations. Ferris concludes his article by writing:
...no matter what Clinton apologises for, she will never admit that one of the reasons for her defeat was that her own supporters had seen how she won the nomination. Long before it was mathematically certain, the press insisted she would be the candidate, and she had only got to that position by excluding registered voters in various states who supported Bernie Sanders. This may be OK in Third World countries the US sponsors, but not the US itself. However obnoxious Trump was to many, Hillary’s vote rigging made her the devil they knew only too well.This is precisely the reason why, as I've argued several times, the ruling class uses such crude methods to misinform people, to manage the opinions of people, and to manage elections. They have gotten away with such deceptions for so long that their deceptive practices are becoming absurd, even laughable--to informed people. But for most people, who are struggling just to survive, don't have the time to see through their manipulative games, and consequently they turn conveniently to the "experts" in the ubiquitous corporate media to explain what is happening.
Why did she think she could get away with it? Because the US has made rigging votes in other countries a standard official practice. Getting the result which suits the US is more important than how it is done. As a political insider and former Secretary of State, Clinton would know the fine details of such schemes as well as anyone.
However it is evident that the Empire media agents are worried about people having access to alternative websites that they don't control and which furnish news and information that puts the lies to corporate media reports. The evidence is Google's (including YouTube), Twitter, and Facebook's attempts to censor alternative websites such as World Socialist Web Site and Global Research.
Monday, October 23, 2017
EPIC introduces the study by the Pew Research Center with this statement:
The Pew Research Center released a report on how to address the spread of digital misinformation in the coming decade. The report's respondents were evenly divided on whether technological advances in the coming decade will fix the problem of misinformation, or only compound it. EPIC President Marc Rotenberg told Pew, "The problem with online news is structural: There are too few gatekeepers, and the internet business model does not sustain quality journalism. The reason is simply that advertising revenue has been untethered from news production." The prevalence of "fake news" was one of the most significant issues in the 2016 presidential election. EPIC's Democracy and Cybersecurity Project seeks to restore integrity in democratic elections. EPIC is also pursuing details of the Russian election interference in FOIA cases against the FBI, the Office of Director in National Intelligence, and the IRS. This week several senators introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen disclosure requirements for online political ads.Actually I don't want you to read the lengthy report from the Pew Research Center, unless, of course, you want to. It is predictable as corporate media feeding us anti-Russian stories. I did a little research on the background of the Pews who set up this foundation which is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts. I found the following:
Although today The Pew Charitable Trusts is non-partisan and non-ideological, Joseph Pew and his heirs were politically conservative. The modern day organization works to encourage responsive government and support scientific research on a wide range of issues, including global ocean governance, correction reform, and antibiotic resistance.Then I turned my attention to EPIC which carried this post. I've long been suspicious about the efforts of EPIC in protecting internet users privacy, but this post really accelerated my suspicions. Thus, I decided to investigate EPIC. Wikipedia and others were not at all helpful. But I found what I was looking for at SourceWatch, a project of The Center for Media and Democracy. (This is an excellent resource to get funding information on many non-profit, mostly fake "do-gooder" organizations). I found that it is funded by the following foundations and charities.
Early priorities of the Pew Memorial Trust included cancer research, the American Red Cross, and a pioneering project to assist historically black colleges. Later beneficiaries included conservative organizations such as the John Birch Society, the American Liberty League, and the American Enterprise Institute, as well as environmental organizations such as the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Oceana, and mainstream think tanks like the Brookings Institution.
Major grants to support the work of EPIC have been received from: Arca Foundation, Bauman Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, Counterpane Systems, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Earthlink, Ford Foundation, Fund for Constitutional Government, HKH Foundation, W.K. Kellog Foundation, Irving Kohn Foundation, Albert List Foundation, Lutz Foundation Trust, Markle Foundation, Metromail Cy Pres Fund, Norman Foundation, Omidyar Network, Open Society Institute, Quixote Foundation, Red Hat Center, Rockefeller Family Fund, Rose Foundation, Glushko-Samuelson Foundation, Scherman Foundation, Simons Foundation, Sun Hill Foundation, Sun Microsystems, Trio Foundation of St. Louis, Working Assets, Zero Knowledge SystemsMany of these funders have been involved in what has become known as color revolutions which have been directed by agents of the Empire to destabilize governments such as in Ukraine which now has Nazis installed in the new regime. The Ford Foundation and the CIA were involved in the destabilization of the Sukarno's Indonesian government that resulted in the massacres of 500,000 Indonesian people. So don't trust EPIC to protect you privacy information. This well publicized interest of theirs is only a cover for their more dubious projects.
(Note: I very much regret posting an article entitled "Who Has Your Back?" in August of this year.)
I encourage you to trust people like the Australian journalist John Pilger who talks about corporate media and their management and censorship of broadcast news and other media to suit the interests of capitalist ruling classes. (I thank the people at 21st Century Wire for the reproduction of Pilger's remarks.)
The following [12:07m] segment is from the ‘Media and War’ Conference held at Goldsmith’s College, University of London, 17 November 2012. Watch:
The basic question of the conference was: does contemporary macroeconomics, in the wake of the Second Great Depression, require a few reforms or does it need a wholesale revolution? Blanchard lined up in the reform camp, with Summers calling for a revolution—with the added spice of Adam Posen referring to himself as Trotsky to Summers’s Lenin.Although from the description it would suggest that the economics conference would have take a debating form. But such was not the case. The headline for this piece is economist Ruccio's way of reacting to a conference which ended up avoiding the serious issues of growing inequality in current capitalism. As such I think the conference is another illustration of upper-middle class academics who are much more concerned about following the capitalist party line and securing their careers than in solving serious issues with contemporary capitalism. I also suspect this is partly because the problems are insolvable within capitalism.
The militarist diatribe by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, a retired Marine general, at a White House press briefing last week laid bare an open secret of American politics: behind the façade of democratic rule, the United States increasingly resembles a military dictatorship.Here is another astute author that interprets Trump's stacking of the government with military generals as a military takeover. Although I argued against a similar interpretation yesterday regarding the post entitled "'Above All' - The Junta Expands Its Claim To Power" by the politically astute Bernhard, again I argue that the Deep State (major financial figures and industrial capitalists along with assorted very loyal people (to capitalism) from academia, military, and media) will rule the US as they have always done mostly directly since the late 19th century. But they may very well choose to back a military-loaded regime headed by Trump (or whoever) that rules increasingly more with an iron-fist so characteristic of fascism. Damon is right when he writes that substantially nothing much will change except the delusional spell that has most Americans believing that they live in some kind of democracy.
Sunday, October 22, 2017
Because I have limited time today, here is some thoughts off-the-top-of-my-head (def.) to this article.
I think that Bernhard is reacting to a surface phenomenon. It is rather easy to see that Trump has included many military figures in his cabinet and other government posts and mistake this for military takeover of government. I rather think that it reflects Trump's mindset: he is authoritarian because of the nature of being successful at business enterprise, and he is racist given his socialization in the US. Thus, he likes soldiers because they have been trained to follow and give orders. He also has demonstrated his racism by pursuing blindly and in a most visceral fashion everything that was associated with the Obama administration: opening up to relations with Cuba, the Iranian nuclear accord, and the Affordable Care Act. Otherwise it appears so far that he is leaving most all other foreign policy matters to his military men, and pursuing domestic issues to serve his class (example: lowering taxes for the rich).
His allowing the generals to determine military policies, of course, is dangerous because the generals have been trained to make war and to devise strategies to defeat any opponents of the US and its empire. They have not been trained or socialized as people who understand the many political complexities of any given situation; and they have not been educated in the real history of humanity, rather they have been subject to intensive indoctrination to capitalist views and values. The latter also makes them very comfortable for Trump to relate to.
I feel that Bernard underestimates the staying power of the capitalist Deep State: those who have since the late 19th century have accumulated vast quantities of wealth, and have ever since then, promoted the use of this wealth by first taking over the control of the currency in 1913 with the Federal Reserve Act, by taking control over every social and political institution (especially those engaged indoctrination and propaganda), and have organized a vast network of secret agencies (even organized crime syndicates) to commit illegal acts and to spy on ordinary Americans who might be inclined to carry their dissent to defiant acts of resistance.
Bernhard's thesis that a military junta has taken control of the US under the Trump administration depends largely on a piece published in The New Yorker, a ruling class magazine that inspires a following of the upper classes (from the upper-middle class to the capitalist class). However, I think that this piece functions only as a part of the ruling class campaign to get rid of Trump, and to prepare American "opinion leaders" for the removal of Trump from the White House.