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, April 20, 2013

Secrecy, cover-ups, and crafted perceptions: False Flags – Introduction [Part 1 of 12]

Click here to access article by Barrie Zwicker from Truth and Shadows.

How timely of Canadian Craig McKee to decide to run this series just before the tragedy in Boston. Americans desperately need this sort of lesson on a device used by ruling classes throughout history to manipulate their populations into collaborating with their criminal acts. I'm not saying that the recent event in Boston was some sort of false flag or FBI contrived operaton--it's much to soon to make a judgement--but we must always be on guard to prevent such events from manipulating us into supporting ruling class activities which we otherwise would not support. We must heed the advice of other critical thinkers such as Russ Baker by asking serious questions about mainstream media coverage. We simply must grow out of the childish habit of depending on One Percent media organs to report accurately on events.

Whether the Boston bombing was a false flag type operation or not, it's in our interests to understand a major weapon used by ruling classes throughout history to manipulate people.
Everyone has seen a False Flag Operation, but few have recognized one. The classic example is 9/11, seen by millions on TV but not recognized for what it really was – a treasonous inside job.

Two Acts of Terror, Only One Investigation

Click here to access article by Dave Lindorff from CounterPunch.

The writer is very correct in pointing out a different kind of terrorism: that which derives from a tiny ruling class, the One Percent, that is addicted to profits over the safety of its citizens. And, relying on their government agencies to police their operations is like the proverbial fox guarding the hen-house. Just look at their record.

The One Percent's banking regulatory agencies totally failed to prevent the devastating (for the 99 Percent) recent economic collapse. Then afterwards, their Department of Justice have failed to prosecute any banksters for wrongdoing. Their Congress failed to stop the banksters from robbing our treasury to bail out their banks. Their food related agencies both at the state and federal level do very little to insure our food safety. Corporations are allowed to tamper with our food using the latest biotechnology without even allowing citizens to know which foods are affected. There is currently a huge problem with leaking storage tanks filled with dangerous nuclear wastes in various sites across our country, and there is no place to store it safely. Such sites are disasters waiting to happen. (For example, see this.)

However, there is one major problem with his article--it advocates the usual futile liberal remedy:
Until we Americans wake up and insist that our elected officials and the regulatory bureaucrats they appoint, actually act in the public interest and not in the interest of the moneyed corporate elite (booting out those that betray us), we will increasingly all pay the price as plants blow up or leak toxic gas, as oil and gas companies wantonly pollute our water tables with carcinogenic toxins, and as nuclear power plants dump isotopes into our environment, all in the interest of profits. [my emphasis]

New Report, “Cooking the Books,” Highlights State Department’s Keystone XL Miscalculations

Click here to access article by Caroline Selle from DeSmogBlog.
A new report from Oil Change International, provides new evidence that, if built, the Keystone XL pipeline will have a devastating impact on the global climate.
(Note: The indirect link to the PDF document is faulty at the time of this posting on my website. Here is a correct link.)

If we depend upon the One Percent's government to curtail the use of carbon-emitting fossil fuels, we are essentially collaborating with the One Percent in their addiction. I think there is a name for this--codependency.

The only real solution presents us with an extremely daunting challenge--change the system that requires never-ending growth, and thereby remove this system from the tiny group of people, the One Percent, that are addicted to it and that provide them with the power to make all the decisions regarding climate stability and wars, and essentially everything else. There is no other or easy way out of our dilemma. The sooner we face this, the better our chances are of surviving the climate crisis, avoiding future wars, and other disasters.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Two Faces of Class Struggle: The Motor Force for Historical Regression or Advance

Click here to access article by James Petras posted at The 4th Media.

Ruling classes emerged among humans since the agrarian stage of development which enabled settlements to produce surplus wealth. This constitutes only about 2% of human history. The conditions of humans before this development required total collaboration or cooperation among all members to sustain human life. It appears that the earliest forms of class rule were established from raids against neighboring settlements out of which slaves were secured to serve a warrior class such as we have read about in early Green city-states. From there it is easy to see the evolution into class societies where a ruling class used various methods to exploit their own members. 

Thus, the class struggle has ensued ever since, but the struggle has been mostly hidden for obvious reasons. Ruling classes always found it useful to distract and obscure the organization of class rule from their subordinate classes through their use of various ideological instruments, religion being one used most extensively throughout recorded history. In more modern times we have seen the development of additional and very sophisticated means of ruling class indoctrination through institutions of education, media, and even entertainment. 

In my opinion, the greatest single contribution of Marxism has been the study and elucidation of the class struggle despite overwhelming opposition from class rulers. Petras continues this effort to explore the class struggle by shinning his very bright intellectual spotlight on its largely hidden operation across the globe during the latest phase of capitalism (neoliberalism).
One of the most important and yet most neglected determinants of the outcomes of the economic crisis and resultant deepening of social inequalities and immiseration is the ‘class struggle’. In one of his most pithy metaphors, Karl Marx referred to class struggle as ‘the motor force of history’.
In this essay we will analyze the central role of class struggle, its impact and reflection in economic decisions and, most especially, the different methods and forms, according to the particular classes engaged in class struggle. (His emphasis)

Lies, Damned Lies & Sadistics: The IMF’s Role as Bankster Henchman

Click here to access article by Don Quijones from Raging Bull-Shit
The tragic reality is that the IMF’s ideologically-driven program of structural reforms and iron-clad conditionalities has left in its wake a vast trail of economic destruction, political instability, poverty, hunger and sickness. Once a country gets caught in its vice-like grip..., economic decay is all but guaranteed, as Greece, Portugal and Ireland are now learning.

Israeli False-Flaggers Flown in for Boston Shoot-Out?

Click here to access article by Kevin Barrett from Veterans Today

We can't be too careful in critically examining any incidents of supposed "terrorism" about which we have been lied to so many times in the past. By just asking the simple question--who benefits? The answer is clear: the national security state, the military-industrial complex, and the ruling class (and Israel) that oversees and benefits from the operations of both. The writer is careful to introduce his material as a "hypothesis", and proceeds to test it on the basis of disturbing similar events and Mossad's participation in the past.
At this point it’s just a hypothesis. But suspicions were aroused two days ago, when Israeli Police Chief Yohanan Danino announced that his officers had flown to Boston to “meet with Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and other authorities” to participate in the investigation of the Boston bombing.   As RT reported, Danino dispatched police officers to participate in discussions that “will center on the Boston Marathon bombings and deepening professional cooperation between the law enforcement agencies of both countries.”
Also, I've seen reports similar to this in which a close friend or relative couldn't believe that the suspects had anything to do with the tragedy. See this and this.

I am curious as to the massive media coverage of the search for the remaining teenage suspect in Boston in contrast to a dearth of information about the huge tragedy in Waco, Texas.

Will we ever reach true equality?

Click here to access article by George Lakey from Waging Nonviolence.

I could really identify with the discriminatory experiences depicted by this author. I have witnessed them in a variety of settings including, and most irritatingly, in progressive groups. Few people are conscious of it; and because of that fact, it often goes unchallenged in many activist groups. Its hidden influence retards any construction of a new counter-culture in which egalitarian forms of relationships can develop. 

As suggested by this insightful author, ranking people is a cultural phenomenon. (He comes close to stating that its human nature.) We are constantly encouraged by the dominant capitalist culture to compete with each other. Although the author focuses much more on group cultures, the broader capitalist culture has an extreme emphasis on competitiveness (especially for the 99 Percent) and the ranking of people in general. This culture is diametrically opposed to an inclusive, egalitarian type of society that progressive people usually say they want.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The truth about extreme global inequality

Click here to access article by Jason Hickel from the Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt

This article is loaded with little known or understood facts about the extreme distribution of wealth throughout not only the US, but even a much worse distribution throughout the world. And, this extreme picture is continuing to grow worse at an accelerating rate under neoliberal policies. 

In my opinion, it is a result of a natural process inherent in the system of capitalism which provides individuals with extraordinary rights of property, and thus wealth, and with wealth comes power. People who function best in this system are sociopaths, people who are weak in their allegiance to communal or social values. Then when such people combine their wealth and power in the form of corporations, they direct this powerful engine against the very societies that sustained them and permitted their institutions. They even have the temerity to justify this by declaring, as one hero of their system stated, that "there is no such thing as society, there are individual men and women and their families."

Unfortunately, like most liberals the author can only imagine a solution which evolves tinkering with the rules of the system. This would be like treating an advanced stage of cancer with aspirin.

Talking about a revolution with John Holloway

Click here to access article by Jerome Roos from Reflections on a Revolution

The author interviews a prominent revolutionary thinker to clarify his thinking on appropriate action in today's world. Roos attempts to draw out of Holloway what he means by some of his core beliefs such as this:
We have to think...in terms of our own forms of organization. States don’t make much sense. So we have to think in terms of something from below, creating our own forms of organization and interaction.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Lady's not for mourning: Margaret Thatcher and the neoliberal counter-revolution

Click here to access article by Neil Faulkner from CounterFire (Britain).

There is much to be learned from this historian regarding the emergence of neoliberalism under the Thatcher administration in Britain.  Such lessons are important for all activists regardless of their national affiliation. We must think globally like our antagonists in the One Percent if we are to successfully engage them in this class war. Britain has played an important role in the development of the existing Empire which at its core is an Anglo-American Empire.

You will learn about the City of London and the post-war growth of the financial industry in this district of London by providing a haven for unregulated capitalism, the adoption of the Eurodollar as its vehicle, the attack on coal-mining unions as a pivotal battle in this class war, the Big Bang, the People's Assembly (June 22nd), etc. (For more information on the latter, see this, this, and this.)

The neoliberal phase of British capitalism, in my mind, was not a counter-revolution to welfare-state capitalism also known as "social democracy". The latter was only a temporary adjustment to the devastating conditions facing the British following WWII. Their ruling class was forced to grant immediate concessions to working people in order to hold on to their reign and beloved system. But, as the country recovered, this ruling class regained their power and confidence and by the late 1970s were ready to launch their next attack in the never-ending (until we end it!) capitalist class war in the form of neoliberalism. 

Currently we see the ecstatic celebration of Thatcher's life in the media of the One Percent because her British regime spearheaded the development of this phase of capitalism. Regardless of the boldness and arrogance that the One Percents currently display, they have reasons to worry.
And here is the problem for them. Our side is often down, but never out. As long as there is exploitation, oppression, and violence, there is class struggle. We can be weakened, but we never go away. And in time, the resistance always recovers.

Meet the Two Men Behind Promontory Financial Group, Architect of a Growing Foreclosure Settlement Scandal

Click here to access article by Pam Martens from Wall Street on Parade.

While reading this, you will also be meeting two men who are members of the One Percent. This will give you some insights on who the real people are who manage our country and the consent of the 99 Percent. 

The author appears to be naively optimistic about a Senate investigation, media probes, etc. Such an investigation would be like placing hopes on an investigation conducted by a public relations department of a corporation "investigating" their own CEO for corporate wrongdoing. Although they, the One Percent, are getting bolder in their actions--no doubt because of the multiple crises they have caused and, at least temporarily, have gotten away with--what you are witnessing here is essentially business as usual carried on by their class.

Lil Wayne's Lyrical Fascism

Click here to access article by Henry A. Giroux from TruthOut
Lil Wayne's racist and sexist song is just one example of the morally dead zone that too many individuals, institutions, intellectuals and politicians occupy in a land of massive inequality in wealth and power, says Giroux.
This editor's introduction and Giroux's article, although morally correct, they lack incisive political insight because both frame the issues from a safe liberal perspective. Liberals are now comfortable using the term "neoliberalism", but to them it is seen as some sort of aberration of capitalism, not as a phase in its natural development. By framing the issues as an aberration of the system--hence subject to "reform", they stay safely within the limits of discourse permitted by capitalist authorities. 

Still, I recommend reading this because it illustrates how our overlords use popular culture against us by distorting our history and our historical heroes. There will always be naive or sociopathic artists who are willing to sell their souls for a buck, and the author does us all a favor by exposing the true history of Emmett Till. 

Greece protests nationwide under media blackout

Click here to access article from IndyBay.

This only illustrates a common practice by agents of the One Percent's media empire. Managing the news is a critically important function to maintain their rule. It's as important as battleships and drones, as police state surveillance of activists, as all their means of indoctrination in education, and entertainment. That is precisely why in this class war that we must establish and support as much as we can our own alternative sources of media such as Indymedia and other outlets that can be used to critically examine our own history and current political affairs.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

When False Flags Don't Fly

Click here to access the 7:34m video and transcript by James Corbett from his website. 

Corbett gives us many reasons why we should remain skeptical of the official versions of the recent tragedy in Boston during the Marathon. By reviewing the extensive history behind false flag attacks and consideration of who always benefits from such dramatic events, this geopolitical analyst will surely arouse your skepticism.

See also this, this, and this

Provocative Documentary by Woody Harrelson

Click here to access article by Stuart Jeanne Bramhall from her blog The Most Revolutionary Act.

This political refugee is now living and working in New Zealand after fleeing from FBI harassment when she was living in Seattle. Here she offers a review of this documentary which I highly recommend after only watching the first 16 minutes of it. The YouTube version is posted in her article and also the documentary can be purchased online.
In my opinion, it has powerful take home lessons for Americans across the political spectrum. Largely because it addresses what I view as the two main obstacles to political change in the US 1) the immense power private banks enjoy via their control over the money supply and 2) the enormous power the corporate media exerts over public information.

Europe’s Stark Choice: Resignation or Revolution

Click here to access article by Don Quijones from Raging Bull-Shit (Spain).
...the system is already buckling under the combined weight of unsustainable debt, unpayable pension schemes and a derivatives market whose total value dwarfs global GDP by magnitudes that exceed all human logic.

The question is, once it does collapse, who’s going to pick up the pieces and rebuild a new, more sustainable system in its ashes? Will it be us, the people, or will it be the same bankers, central bankers and heavily compromised political half-wits that got us here in the first place? Will we bravely stake our claim to a new future, or resign ourselves, in fear and despair, to the global bankers’ totalitarian nirvana?
Yes, indeed, these are fundamental questions facing us in the 99 Percent throughout the world: basically the choice is between resignation or revolution!

Obama Approves Raising Permissible Levels of Nuclear Radiation in Drinking Water

Click here to access article by Helen Caldicott from Global Research
Issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, the radiation guides (called Protective Action Guides or PAGs) allow cleanup many times more lax than anything EPA has ever before accepted. These guides govern evacuations, shelter-in-place orders, food restrictions and other actions following a wide range of “radiological emergencies.”
The government employees of the ruling One Percent (Obama and EPA staff) no doubt expect more incidents of radiation exposure, the most likely source of which will likely occur from the inadequate and dangerous condition of the existing storage sites of radioactive waste. In my own neighborhood, reports have slowly been appearing in mainstream media about leaking 40 year old containers (likely leaking into the Columbia river) and other hazards at the Hanford nuclear site (central Washington state) which contains probably the most radioactive waste in the world. This site is a disaster waiting to happen.

The history of the Environmental Protection Agency, like most government regulatory agencies staffed by people from the industries they are supposed to regulate, has functioned largely to protect the nuclear industries from public outrage and law suits as recently documented in Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats by Kristen Iversen.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fresh From the Archives: Less Law, More Order in Spain

Click here to access article by Don Quijones from Raging Bull-shit (Spain).

What the author describes about non-violent popular resistance in Spain applies equally well to conditions in the US. The days of non-violent resistance tactics are over--not because I say so, but because this is the blunt message that has been brutally sent by the assault troops of the Empire. The days when police would carry off such resistors to vans and to jail are over. The enforcers of the One Percent have been ordered to mete out their violent-justice on the spot by beating protestors or spraying them in the face with chemicals.

The Propaganda System That Has Helped Create a Permanent Overclass Is Over a Century in the Making

Click here to access article by Andrew Gavin Marshall from his blog.

Although my academic background was in sociology (BA), by reading this article I still managed to learn a lot about its role in the ideological engineering of the masses. 

I entered the field of sociology as a very naive student with idealistic notions of the pursuit of truth which I assumed universities provided. I initially performed my studies very well and was rewarded by my professors. But, eventually when I began to use some Marxist intellectual tools to critique the writings of the "godfathers" of established sociology, I suddenly met with a very negative reception by the same professors. This academic process of screening out those who refuse to be indoctrinated has been well covered by Jeff Schmidt in his book Disciplined Minds.

Ironically this experience really accelerated my informal education. I began to see the strong ideological component of it and began to study this phenomenon further, but independently. In the course of my independent studies, I began to realize that US institutions of high learning were used effectively to indoctrinate people whom the One Percent ("owners" of the economy) needed in order to manage their economic enterprises and to work in other important institutions without questioning the purposes of their work, the policies of the One Percent, or any significant aspect of the organization of society imposed by the "owners" of the economy on the 99 Percent.

Information about the pervasive uses of class-based ideological manipulation and control, for obvious reasons, has always been difficult to obtain. Marshall, in this piece, offers a valuable contribution toward our understanding of the subject so that we can effectively counter the efforts of the One Percent to manipulate us to serve their interests instead of our interests. Intellectuals like Marshall, who must function outside the One Percent's institutions of higher learning, cannot continue to do this by themselves. Thus, we simply must support them with funding because they are one of us and fighting for us in this class war.

The Orwellian Paradigm

Click here to access article by Faisal Moghul from AntiWar.
Almost thirty years ago, cultural critic Neil Postman argued in Amusing Ourselves to Death that television’s gradual replacement of the printing press has created a dumbed-down culture driven by mindless entertainment. In this context, Postman claimed that Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World correctly foresaw our dystopian future, as opposed to George Orwell’s 1984.
Contrary to Postman’s critique, however, the principles of Newspeak and doublethink dominate modern political discourse. Their widespread use is a testament to Orwell’s profound insight into how language can be manipulated to restrict human thought.
As I see it, both were right: the ruling One Percent serve us in the 99 Percent a dumbed-down culture, and they brainwash us with ideas that promote mindless consumption and obedience to authority.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The 6th Subversive Festival, "The Utopia of Democracy", Zagreb, May 4-18, 2013

Click here to access article from the Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt.

I'm posting this announcement of a two week conference because there appears to be some solid "subversive" guests participating who will explore answers to some fundamental and critical questions:
What is actually un-democratic in systems that call themselves democracies, and how does one build a true democracy ? Is democracy an unattainable or an achievable utopia ? Is this utopian inspiration a prerequisite for any emancipatory struggle ?

Fresh student protests in Chile

Click here to access article from Eagainst (Greece).

Here we see the graphic depiction of the continuing protests by Chilean students of the privatization of education that has been well underway in Chile for a number of years. It is a legacy of the neoliberal Pinochet regime installed by the Empire after their assassination of the elected socialist President Salvador Allende in 1973.

The Somaliazation of Syria

Click here to access article by Giorgio Cafiero from Foreign Policy in Focus

First, let me make clear that the use of the term "Somaliazation" is synonymous with "Salvadorization" or the "Salvidor option". European writers tend to prefer the former term. Both mean the Empire's deliberate cultivation of conflict within countries targeted either for takeover or complete destabilization so that any of their influence or power, which is seen as contrary to the interests of the Empire, can be made negligible.  See this, this, this, and this for further explanation of this strategy.

Although this geopolitical analyst sees the enduring conflict in Syria as frustrating to Empire agents, I think that they, especially the Zionist elements, are quite satisfied to see Syria descend into chaos.

The strategy of choice employed in the Middle East by Empire agents is to encourage inter-sect or inter religious violence as we see happening now in Egypt

This reminds me of evidence that surfaced--despite attempts to suppress them in the media--of the efforts to incite violence between Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq soon after the successful invasion of Iraq by the US. In 2005 British agents dressed up as Arabs were discovered equipped with all kinds of explosive devices. As a result of their efforts, we see ongoing incidents of inter-sect violence and chaos in Iraq since then.

Another important update on Syrian events is provided by "Bernhard" who writes at Moon Over Alabama. Bernhard also found an unusual confession of US general policy on Africa posted on a leading US newspaper of record.

China’s Rise: Strength and Fragility

Click here to access this book review by Sean Ledwith from CounterFire (Britain). 

He concludes his review with this statement:
Au Loong Yu’s book is the best one currently available on modern China and the first one that socialists should turn to for insight when workers in that country inevitably resume their resistance in the future.

Millions face starvation as world warms, say scientists

Click here to access article by John Vidal from The Guardian

I know that Western media love to provide sensational headlines behind which lies very little context or substance, but the glaring omission of any mention of the relationship of global warming with the use of fossil fuels contained in this article illustrates, once again, capitalist media censorship in action.

In the article they make reference to the US government report, US National Climate Assessment draft report (I suspect this link will disappear at some point) upon which their entire article is based, does, indeed, make the connection. In the very first sentence of the "Executive Summary" the authors state the following:
Global climate is changing, and this is apparent across the U.S. in a wide range of observations. The climate change of the past 50 years is due primarily to human activities, predominantly the burning of fossil fuels.