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

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

From the dream to a nightmare

Click here to access article by Patrick Nielsen from Socialist Review (Britain). 

Many writers have been trying to explain why the Russian Revolution of 1917 ultimately failed to create a workers' run society, instead it devolved into rule by a bureaucratic class headed by a paranoid dictator. Bourgeois writers, of course, argue that it was fated to be this way.
The argument goes: “Look what happened in Russia. Doesn’t Stalin’s rise show how revolution, however well-intentioned people are, always ends in a despotic leader and tyrannical rule?” In other words, they argue that there is a straight line from the October Revolution to the Stalinist regime of more than a decade later. 
Nielsen injects his own explanation partly favoring the Bolsheviks' valid argument that a militant international worker's organization was required to thwart attempts by capitalists in all the advanced industrial countries who would have of necessity back numerous attempt to crush this worker's revolution. However, Nielsen resorts to the old capitalist argument that leadership is required to bring about success, and that Bolsheviks' failure was caused by a lack of leadership.
For a brief period it looked like the Russian workers would be joined by the European proletariat. However, one by one these struggles were beaten. What was lacking was not the Europe-wide crisis, nor the willingness of workers to fight, but revolutionary leadership armed with political clarity and organisational experience which could lead the mass of workers in the way that the Bolsheviks had done in Russia. It was a weakness the Bolsheviks recognised and laboured to overcome. Though they didn’t succeed, this doesn’t mean it was a struggle that was doomed from the start, as modern day critics from both right and left argue.
I think that we should recognize that "good guys" don't always win (even with good leadership), and instead recognize the reality that numerous conditions, like famine, disease epidemics, the horrific WWI causalities, backing of Russian counter-revolutionary armies by capitalist countries, and the invasions of numerous capitalist countries after the end of WWI, all took a tremendous toll on the Bolsheviks and resulted in the Stalinist faction taking control.

In the 1930s the Western capitalist countries supported the rise of fascist parties all over Europe which led to the rise of Nazi Germany and its long-held plans to conquer the Soviet Union. Because the Soviet bureaucratic central planning enabled the economy to grow at a great pace plus the Soviet citizens' awareness that the Nazi's racist-fascist victory would turn the Soviet Union into a colony of Germany and its citizens into slaves, the Soviet Union was able, with a little belated help from the West, to break the back of the German armies.

How does Trump survive? He pays off the ruling class

Click here to access article by Fred Goldstein from Workers World.

True to his essentially fascist character, Trump respects power and has aligned most of is policies to serve the interests of the real holders of power--the capitalist ruling class. In spite of Trump's cloddish behavior, the ruling class will milk this appeasing character trait for all its worth until the time is ripe to replace him.
As long as Trump is in the presidency, the bankers and bosses are going to get much of their way with respect to profits, business, money. Under the various Democratic and Republican administrations, they have been chipping away at public land and coastline, at bank regulations, at environmental regulations, etc. But now they are enjoying unusually expanded freedom to plunder the land and the sea. They are exulting in the cuts on corporate taxes, from 35 percent to 21 percent, and billions from other cuts. Whatever Trump’s shortcomings, they can overlook them for now, because the billionaires don’t want the gravy train to stop.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Daniel Ellsberg Story You Won’t See in ‘The Post’

Click here to access an interview with Daniel Ellsberg in a podcast with transcript that is posted on WhoWhatWhy.

Ellsberg addresses the vital need for an upgrade of the chaotic system in place that, based on his earlier experience, likely gives wide authority for many commanders to start a nuclear war. He also addresses all the overwhelming and devastating consequences of such a war for our species. It won't be entertaining like Star Trek and Star Wars. A most fascinating interview.

Monday, January 15, 2018

This is what too often passes as "alternative media" in the USA: "Fake News: WASHINGTON POST Evades Martin Luther King’s Communist Links"

by Ron Horn

I was fascinated by the article, posted in a self-proclaimed "alternative media", which attempts to tarnish the image and memory of one of our greatest leaders, Martin Luther King, Jr., with FBI surveillance reports of his links to Communists and his scandalous sexual behavior. 

With examples of alternative media postings like this, we don't need the Washington Post, NY Times, etc. Apparently the editor of The Unz Review wasn't satisfied with MLK's assassination, Ron Unz wants his memory smeared with Communist associates and sexual escapades--all this within a framework of attacking mainstream media!

Rosa Luxemburg – Reform or Revolution

Click here to access article by Alan Woods and Niklas Albin Svensson from In Defense of Marxism

In the early 20th century Luxemburg was another leader of the people against the ruling capitalist classes that ruled over the most powerful nations. As such, she also had to be eliminated by assassination by the criminal gang of capitalists. However, before she was assassinated, she wrote many articles and books which are still relevant today. Reform or Revolution (1899) is probably at the top of this list. 

Reformist liberals have always posed threats to revolutionary organizations. We still have many such people among us today arguing that we should not take on the capitalist system because it reflects human nature (or any number of other reasons), but we should seek reforms of the system that people can live with. After devastating two world wars, a long dangerous Cold War, many mini-wars, tiny islands of wealth among oceans of poverty, the looming prospect of climate destabilization, her arguments in Reform and Revolution are as relevant today as they were over 100 years ago. 

What we learned about the climate system in 2017 that should send shivers down the spines of policy makers

Click here to access article by David Spratt from Climate Code Red (Australia).
Much of what happened in 2017 was predictable: news of climate extremes became, how can I put it … almost the norm. There was record-breaking heat on several continents, California’s biggest wildfire (extraordinarily in the middle of winter), an ex-tropical cyclone hitting Ireland (yes, Ireland) in October, and the unprecedented Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria that swept through the Atlantic in August. The US government agency, the NOAA, reported that there were 16 catastrophic billion-dollar weather/climate events in the USA during 2017.

And 2017 “marks the first time some of the (scientific) papers concluded that an event could not have occurred — like, at all — in a world where global warming did not exist. 

We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth

Click here to access article by Edward Curtin from his blog.

Curtin provides a fitting remembrance of MLK on this special day which is ignored by most American businesses. He begins his article with this profound insight:
As Martin Luther King’s birthday is celebrated with a national holiday, his death day disappears down the memory hole. Across the country – in response to the King Holiday and Service Act passed by Congress and signed by Bill Clinton in 1994 – people will be encouraged to make the day one of service. Such service does not include King’s commitment to protest a decadent system of racial and economic injustice or non-violently resist the U.S. warfare state that he called “the greatest purveyor of violence on earth.”

Government sponsored service is cultural neo-liberalism at its finest, the promotion of individualism at the expense of a mass movement for radical institutional change.

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous,” warned Dr. King, “than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
I think a MLK Day of Truth would be too much for most Americans, who have been raised on patriotic myths, to handle. It would mean that most Americans would be required to reconcile these myths with the reality that we live under a psychopathic criminal gang of liars, thieves, and murderers. So, let us not fantasize about days of truth, because there won't be any. Let us, that is, those of us who unflinchingly can face the truth, plan and organize to rid ourselves of this nightmarish capitalist scourge upon the planet and its humans.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

One Hundred Years Ago: The Bolsheviks Seized Power, but Could They Hold It?

Click here to access article by Michael Jabara Carley from Strategic Culture Foundation.

Canadian Professor Carley describes the conundrum posed by the new Soviet government to the allies in WWI. While Lenin and Trotsky tried to seek a general armistice among civilians across Europe, allied ruling class leaders were thrown into confusion about how to deal with the new Soviet government.
Lenin’s idea was to mobilise European public opinion against the war and provide propaganda for militants in the west who wanted to make their own October Revolutions. As Trotsky made clear, the Soviet government desired a general, not a separate peace, so soldiers in Europe could turn their bayonets against their own bourgeois elites.

At a meeting in Paris at the beginning of December (new style), the Entente powers could not agree on a collective reply to Trotsky’s call for an armistice on all fronts. Once anyone started to talk peace, the Italian foreign minister noted, French and Italian soldiers would refuse to take up arms again. Prime Minister David Lloyd George feared “a rot would set in” over continuing the war. The Bolsheviks were counting on just that. It was not an unrealistic calculation: even Allied leaders feared popular anti-war opposition. A general armistice was therefore out of the question. The Allies agreed to stop shipping supplies to Russia and to start generous funding of “pro-Allied propaganda” hoping an acceptable Russian government would replace the Soviets.

CIA and the Assassination of Leaders Overseas

Click here to access article by Vladimir Platov from New Eastern Outlook

Although I couldn't find any information about Platov, he clearly knows about what he writes. I already knew much of his history of US assassinations, but with Cornelius Rhoades I was stumped. I did a little research, and sure enough, Rhoades was as Platov described him. Of course, US media corporations, whose mission is to protect the US capitalist ruling class, omits much of this history; and when they do write about it, they downplay and obscure the significance of such incidents. Thus, it seems as though the vast majority of Americans continue to believe that we live in the "land of the free and the home of the brave", and our government (and especially its military) has a right to act as an "indispensable nation" to protect the human rights of people all over the world. The reality is that the USA functioned much like organized crime as they constructed their new empire out of the detritus of the old capitalist European ruling classes following the devastation of WWII.
The history of the US Central Intelligence Agency is replete with numerous examples of political assassinations, not only in the US, but also of leaders of countries Washington disagrees with. So today, the CIA has actively begun developing various methods for the deliberate elimination of the US’s newest political opponent, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, involving not only special forces in this task, but also the special services of countries that cooperate closely with the CIA.
The CIA, along with numerous other clandestine government agencies, was a key feature of the post-WWII launching of the US Empire. Such agencies, which were unaccountable to the public, were assigned to combat the influences of any movement or leaders that interfered with the sanctity of private property and the prerogatives of capitalists who "owned" and controlled economic property: mainly the US capitalist class and other capitalists who joined them in the plunder of wealth created by working people all over the world. Assassination of leaders was the ultimate weapon in the arsenal of weapons that was used. Other weapons were also used: disinformation spread by media corporations, infiltrating their agents into working class organizations to sow discord and distrust, false-flag operations designed to cast blame on working class organizations, paying criminal gangs to beat up workers, etc. (See this, this, this, this, and this.)

Friday, January 12, 2018

Recommended articles for 1/12/2018

  • Face Facts: A West That Never was by R. S. Ahthion, a blogger and author from Britain. Ahthion reports on some very "inconvenient facts" (a paraphrase of Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth) overlooked by Western media corporations which have been established by capitalists to support capitalism.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

In Almost All Western Colonies No Alternative Views Allowed, Victims Blame Themselves

Click here to access article by Andre Vltchek from New Eastern Outlook.

World traveler and passionate humanist Vltchek reports on what life is really like in many areas of the world that are not reported in any Western media. Thus, to many Westerners the plight of many of the world's people, which is due to the plundering system of capitalism led by the US Empire, go unrecognized and unknown because of the censorship of Western media corporations.
The West is manufacturing simplistic, uniformed and one-sided ‘pseudo reality’ for all of its colonies and client states. It is one-type-fits-all sort of ‘pseudo reality’, intended to sustain collaborators and their regimes and to make the voices of people who are tormented, completely irrelevant. In fact, those who are robbed of everything are not supposed to even realize that they are being bled.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Empire’s “Lefty Intellectuals” Call for Regime Change. The Role of “Progressives” and the Antiwar Movement

Click here to access article by Michel Chossudovsky from Global Research (based in Canada). (Edited for greater clarity at 8:42 AM Seattle time on 1/12/2018.)

The genius of the current ruling capitalist classes, especially the US class since WWII, has been so successfully demonstrated with their record of co-opting dissident organizations and people, the use of deceptive propaganda to hide their crimes of war, and the comprehensive control of the culture through their control of every institution of indoctrination. You might call this "full spectrum dominance" of the minds of citizens. In this article Chossudovsky only focuses on one part of this domination by looking at the co-opting of many prominent intellectual dissidents such as Noam Chomsky and Tariq Ali. His insight demonstrates the truth of what people, such as Upton Sinclair, have known for many years: "It's difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it".

By co-opting prominent intellectuals, he essentially argues that the ruling class directors have killed the anti-war movement. That this movement has been killed is an obvious fact, but I don't think that it was caused only by this effort. Again, I would like to stress the comprehensive nature of the capitalist ruling class control of ideas and beliefs. As I have argued in the past, the ongoing promotion of futuristic wars as featured in films and TV (Star Trek, Star Wars, etc), entertaining comedic effect of TV series like Mash for which the setting was the Korean War, the profusion of computer games about physical conflict and war: all have had their influence of crushing the anti-war movement that arose prior to 9/11. The latter false-flag event has had a decisive influence on the promotion of war among the general population in the US and other capitalist countries aligned with the US Empire. And this is only a partial list of influences.

Nevertheless, this article is an important contribution to our understanding of one part of this cultural "full spectrum dominance". He concludes by stating the obvious:
An antiwar movement funded by major corporate foundations is the cause rather than the solution. A coherent antiwar movement cannot be funded by warmongers.

What is required is the development of a broad based grassroots network which seeks to disable patterns of authority and decision-making pertaining to war.

This network would be established at all levels in society, towns and villages, work places, parishes. Trade unions, farmers organizations, professional associations, business associations, student unions, veterans associations, church groups would be called upon to integrate the antiwar organizational structure. Of crucial importance, this movement should extend into the Armed Forces as a means to breaking the legitimacy of war among service men and women.

The first task would be to disable war propaganda through an effective campaign against media disinformation.
What is vitally needed are concrete proposals and discussion of these proposals, and I don't see this happening. For example, I have proposed a scheme to organize a grass roots independent media organization that I felt has real potential for an ultimate revolutionary movement to overthrow the rule of our oppressors--the capitalist class. Subsequently, I have seen no evidence that this proposal gained any traction among anybody. After all, isn't it obvious that we need "an effective campaign against media disinformation"? And I am convinced that such a movement would inevitably end up being a revolutionary movement to free us from capitalist rule. Although I have seen some collaboration among alternative media outlets, mostly they continue to compete with each other for funding and support of dissidents. 

This is another manifestation of the success of capitalist indoctrination: the overwhelming influence of individualist ethics of capitalism on dissidents and alternative media people against the social ethics of socialism, a class-free rule of, by, and for the people. The comprehensive nature of this indoctrination and 24/7 propaganda have effectively defeated such an obvious proposal. Thus, I fear that Americans and others are being led like sheep into the slaughterhouse of some type of Domesday scenario.