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, February 22, 2014
Roos attempts to set many naive people on the liberal-left straight about the engineered protests presently occurring in Venezuela. The Empire's agents are not only adept at engineering elections, but they are becoming expert at engineering protests as we've seen in Libya, Egypt (to some extent), Syria, and currently in Ukraine. (See also this, this, and this.)
Turse introduces his thesis by a fascinating imaginary of our future around 2053 by projecting present day trends. In the process he illustrates the meaning of the quote attributed to Winston Churchill that “history is written by the victors.” Turse illustrates this with only the Vietnam War, but all wars and oppression of domestic opposition have been treated similarly.
Actually, nearly all information, entertainment, and educational material is written by the ruling class or the "victors". If you stop to think about it, the origins of all ruling classes can be traced to their ancestors' victorious inflictions of violence upon their adversaries who frequently were ordinary workers or peasants. So, in order to maintain their rule, ruling classes falsify all kinds of information to justify their rule and the existing unjust social/economic order that they have imposed on their subjects.
That is precisely why every person who aspires to be a fully free and independent human being must work at finding alternative sources of information that is reasonably accurate.
Here are more disaster stories related to the international pro-corporate agreements advertised in corporate media as "free-trade agreements" which have voided the gains made in each country by workers for more than a century. That, of course, has been their purpose. As billionaire Warren Buffett announced nearly eight years ago:
There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.Read the rare candid words printed in a major Wall Street news source written a little over two years ago.
Yes, folks, America really is under attack daily. We are fighting on the defense in an historic class warfare. Yes, the Rich Class really did start this war. And yes, they really are winning, big-time. And yes, they are addicted to winning at all costs, to get richer and richer just for the sake of getting richer and richer.
They have no conscience about the collateral damage done to the rest of Americans. They’ve lost their moral compass. In short, they will fight this war to the death, yours, theirs, even the death of America. Bet on it: Because more is never enough for America’s morally bankrupt Rich Class.The fact that such words appear in ruling class publications indicates to me that they hardly care about hiding their victories. They feel in absolute control of most of the world. The corporate news broadcasts that I've been viewing lately look like they were produced by a ministry of propaganda. Even while watching NBC's coverage of the Olympics I was bombarded with Putin as a Russian evil-doer commentary because he is getting in the way of Empire ambitions in Syria and Ukraine.
The NBC host noted how Ukrainian athletes at the games were showing their concern for their country's political unrest, and tied what was going on there to Vladimir Putin's Russia. Costas said the Sochi Olympics had gone off better than many people feared going in, "all of which is truly wonderful, but should not serve to obscure a harsher or more lasting truth. This is still a government which imprisons dissidents, is hostile to gay rights, sponsors and supports a vicious regime in Syria — and that's just a partial list." While the games' may burnish Putin's reputation in some eyes, "no amount of Olympic glory can mask these realities," he said. [from Huffington Post]Thus, I have the disturbing feeling that they have finally, and irrevocably, won the war. For some strange reason, I still feel compelled to fight back.
From the recent hysterical rants from members of our Über-class, you might wonder if they are going off the deep end. After reading this, you might very well decide that they are.
Wealthy American citizens have gone into survivalist mode, constructing luxury bunkers and panic rooms in their fancy apartments. The 1 percent doomsday preppers are requesting everything from secret passageways to pepper-spray sprinklers, in preparation for every conceivable disaster and attacker. .... Some of the stuff is in the realm of science fiction, like infrared cameras, biometric technologies and ballistics-proof suites.
Friday, February 21, 2014
After some criticisms I received from one of my readers residing in Thailand about my posting of Tony Cartalucci's last article entitled "Why Occupy Bangkok is Working and Occupy Wall Street Didn’t", I have done further research and found this article which provides a much more nuanced view of political conditions in that country.
I don't think that there is any doubt that Western agents are working in Thailand to pave the way for neoliberal "reforms" which will permit corporations to access their markets, plunder their resources, and exploit their labor regardless of consequences to the people of Thailand. The fact that elections established the current administration of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra does not by itself establish the legitimacy of her government, and the people who are currently battling on the streets of the major cities in protest of government policies are strong evidence of that fact.
Astute people must understand that Western agencies have developed the engineering of elections into almost a science. They know how to play on the fears and wishes of the vast majority to get their neoliberal candidates elected, and once in office they are rudely awakened to a different government than what they thought they voted for. People in the US are no less gullible having voted in George Bush and Barack Obama; and although Obama was packaged as a candidate of change, we have seen him pursue precisely the same policies, only using different rhetoric. Thus, people who are devoted to elections and see them as the purest form of "democracy" are easily led down the path to support the rule by global corporations, a neoliberal world order.
However, political frameworks can get in the way of seeing facts that don't fit neatly into them. This, I believe, is the case with Cartalucci's one dimensional view of events in Thailand. This article, I believe, offers a much more balanced understanding of what is currently happening there.
It seems that terrorism is in the eyes of the beholder. This Greek activist, who is on the run from Greek authorities for opposing their neoliberal crimes, points his finger at the real terrorists of Greek society. And, in the process sheds some light on how these neoliberal criminals accomplished their crimes, many of the methods might seem familiar to those of us in the US.
The unofficial propaganda ministry of the government, with the help of mainstream media, is struggling to convince us either by propaganda or suppression that any kind of resistance to the present unequal economic and political distribution is futile and doomed, since it will always be confronted with all the mechanisms, institutions and functions of the current totalitarian regime. They want a confused society, passive towards developments and perceptively decommissioned that will accept without protest the government’s extreme anti-popular policies. They construct an artificial climate of precarity so that memorandums and measures of new impoverishment can be applied unquestioningly.
This is an important piece because of what is missing from her view. I entirely agree with her views and feelings with regard to others as one enters in a class oriented occupational world. However, she dramatically ignores some stark realities of living in a class-structured society. I think she illustrates someone who as a result of her socialization now overlooks the deeply classist nature of our capitalist societies and the consequence for people who enter this social system with the hope of earning a decent income. Here in the US, we are taught that we are almost all middle class. Just yesterday I encountered such an obscuring of the class nature of our Western societies.
I am referring to the Guardian's piece entitled "If the 1% wants class warfare, maybe it's time to start fighting back". As is almost fashionable among liberal circles, she espressos concern about the growing fact of inequality in terms of income that is occurring all over the capitalist world. As a part of this concern she asks who the "jerks" are who defend this growing disparity and finds some easy clownish capitalist targets.
Well, it turns out there are two kinds. Call them the emotional alarmist and the pseudo-scientific apologist. Both variations were on display in the past week, in the form of zillionaire Tom Perkins and economist-to-the-zillionaires, former Romney adviser Greg Mankiw. Both Perkins and Mankiw are correct to be worried about how the widening income gap might inspire more class consciousness. They’re just wrong about which side is the underdog.But then she obscures the impact that classism has on people by arbitrarily defining class as merely a mathematical concept: middle class is defined as people receiving the middle 60% of income. This definition hides so much of the way class discrimination is experienced in our capitalist societies: we too often must suppress our feelings for each other in order to serve the interests of power and wealth of the ruling One Percent. To reinforce serving those interests, high value is placed on the acquisition of material things that money can buy--cars, clothes, owning homes in certain high status locations, etc. But more important than this is your occupation and formal education.
One of the first things that people always ask of a stranger is there occupation, and people will often go to great lengths to glamorize what they actually do by embellishing the name of the occupation. Basically, occupations are valued by the degree of independence that one has while carrying out the work. Small business owners, professionals, managers, and highly skilled technicians constitute what sociologists refer to as middle class. Such people enjoy a variety of perks (independence, flexible time, salaries, etc.) as an additional reward besides higher income that enables them to engage in conspicuous consumption, but they also generally receive more indoctrination in their education than do other workers to insure that they serve the ruling class. Capitalists who live mostly off their investments are regarded more on the basis of their wealthy lifestyles.
Now to get back to this author and her article, I believe she completely ignores the way higher education inculcates these class values; and most of all, the way employers evaluate employees according to their adoption of class-based values. An employee who wants to "get ahead" in the capitalist world will do much better if he/she adopts the views and values of the ruling class and dispenses with the humanistic views he/she might have held as a student or ordinary worker. This is so because much of what people do who have high income is to serve the interests of the capitalist class which often means harming the interests of ordinary people. You will not be able to do such work if you continue to affirm humanistic values. Such an employee will be weeded out early or stuck in low paying dead-end jobs.
I'm only posting this as an illustration of a popular trend often seen on websites: the posing of anti-capitalist critiques confined to its current stage of neoliberalism. The hidden underlying assumption is the dictum that there is really no alternative to capitalism, but criticizing neoliberalism is okay. Capitalist authorities have little problem with such critiques.
Such critiques serve an important function of diverting attention away from the system itself by focusing only on its latest stage of globalized development. Capitalist authorities are perfectly aware that efforts to return to a nationalistic stage of capitalism will be futile, thus they have little problem with such critics who are regarded little more than a minor nuisance that get in their way from time to time.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Al Jazeera was a very good source of information until in recent years the Qatari Monarch, who owns the media network, began to dislike the way news was reported. This bastion of freedom and staunch ally (sarcasm) of the Empire is now going after their journalists with a vengeance. If the Saudi Monarchy gets their hands on them, they will likely lose their heads--literally.
Of course, Qatar, like most nations of the Middle East (see the Gulf Cooperation Council), was created by British and French powers during the classic colonial period. Thus, these colonial nations with the cooperation of the US didn't hesitate to carve out the nation of Israel during the latter stages of classic colonialism (see the Balfour Declaration). After WWII US capitalists, ruling over the only industrialized nation left intact, decided to mount their own world empire using the leftovers of mainly the British, French, and Japanese.
Hence, it was natural for them to wage war against the independence minded Koreans by installing those Koreans who had collaborated with their Japanese overlords; and when that didn't work, actually installing former Japanese colonial administrators. (See The Origins of the Korean War, v.1 by Bruce Cumings.)
Likewise, the new US imperialists didn't hesitate to take over from the French who couldn't hang on to their colony in Indochina. The Indochinese also wanted their own independent country. Their leader Ho Chi Minh, who had spent a lot of time in the US and was educated in France, was inspired by Western ideals and wanted the same for his country. Even the original Proclamation of Independence of Vietnam was almost a copy of the US Declaration of Independence. However, he was rudely awakened to the fact that such constructions on paper meant little to these empire builders.
When military force wasn't feasible, the empire builders used the CIA and all their subversive strategies to install in many other nations government leaders who would take orders from Washington, Wall Street, and the IMF. And, today they are still using these methods as we are witnessing in Ukraine.
But, I digress. I guess the pointed I wanted to make was this. Much of the world was constructed through violence, and violence (or the threat of violence) is now the number one form of domination by our country over much of the world. That is precisely why we have around 1000 military bases all over the world. Qatar and the other GCC countries are some of the worst examples of illegitimate governments whose citizens must endure the most backward and barbaric forms of government in the latest neocolonial stage under the domination of the US Empire.
The driving force behind this domination is the addiction to wealth and power by a relatively few people whose system of capitalism is the means of delivery of these drugs. We must end their rule and their system by any means necessary--if we are to survive in a peaceful, sustainable world.
Meyssan lays out the deceptive games that the Empire directors have played, and are likely to play in the near future with regard to Syria.
While negotiating with one hand in Geneva, with the other Washington is preparing a new military operation against Syria. Whatever the sequence of events, it will be sure to advance its pawns one way or another. War comes at no cost to Washington. It is the Syrians who are dying. To save time, it submitted to the Conference participants a Statement tabled by the "opposition". Behind a conciliatory rhetoric, there are at least three traps that Thierry Meyssan breaks down for us.
While this former member of the Reagan administration never connects political events to the underlying system of capitalism notwithstanding his occasional references to a "neoconservative agenda", he does provide useful analyses of world political events. The "neoconservative agenda" merely refers to the natural stage in the evolution of capitalism to a global phenomenon.
Capitalists function very much like street gangs who strive to control communities in order to secure territories within which they can commit petty crimes. US Empire capitalists are one such gang that strives to control the entire world to secure it for their crimes in the form of banking scams, exploitation of labor and the environment, etc. (See "Mafia Principles and Western 'Values'" section in Marshall's "Empire Under Obama".)
In this article he correctly identifies the various subversive ploys by the Empire to undermine Russian power and influence in the world. He also sees that corporate media cannot function in any manner like free and independent journalism which, of course, has never existed under class-structured societies. However, in his analysis there are the familiar "evil-doers" called neoconservatives who are responsible for this latest crisis.
That is very a very naive perception. This would become obvious if we could magically disappear the US capitalist led Empire. Then we would merely see the rise of Russian and Chinese capitalists trying to do the same. This is also obvious if you look at the history of capitalism through the lens of independent historians.
This blogger is a film buff who likes to post and recommend films on this website. This is one that I think is a real classic, a rare on-the-scene filming of an actual attempted revolution by Venezuelan capitalists in collaboration with US agents.
If the scenes of the attempted coup look anything like what has happened in countless other nations from Chile to Libya and currently in Ukraine, it is not accidental. One element in common with all such CIA engineered coups that I've noticed is the use of snipers to spread terror among the population as a prelude to the actual takeover.
Needless to say such productions as this film are verboten in the US. You can watch it here. I have my own DVD copy that I obtained from someone working in Venezuela.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
... “Occupy Bangkok” seeks to overthrow a regime propped up by Wall Street – that of billionaire despot Thaksin Shinawatra who for over a decade has served Western interests at great cost to the Southeast Asian nation of Thailand. Unlike Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Bangkok has been greatly successful. It has united unions, students, farmers, workers, business owners both big and small, against the corrosive influence of Thaksin Shinawatra and his Western backers.Isn't interesting that we hear so little about these protests and insurrections in Thailand in contrast to US media coverage of events in Ukraine?
In this piece the author touches on the issue of the corruption of higher education in the service of ruling class power. Although one often regards one important function of higher education as the promotion of critical thinking, it appears to me that this function has been transformed into one of indoctrination in service to capitalist empire builders.
Academics today are dealing with a thought industry. The university is no more a place where the inventiveness, creativity, and originality of thought is encouraged or rewarded except in the narrow rules and the establishment paradigms that one has little influence over. Just as the sciences are tied to the government and corporate sectors, the social sciences are also tied to business interest because universities are now run like businesses, just as the media are run like businesses.Surely there never was a time of unfettered free thought in our country. As long as class structured societies are allowed to exist, you will find that ruling classes always influence every sector of society.
I remember well student activists, like Mario Savio, who in 1964 viewed education at UC Berkeley as something like a factory churning out standardized products.
We were told the following: If President Kerr actually tried to get something more liberal out of the regents in his telephone conversation, why didn't he make some public statement to that effect? And the answer we received, from a well-meaning liberal, was the following: He said, 'Would you ever imagine the manager of a firm making a statement publicly in opposition to his board of directors?' That's the answer!
Well, I ask you to consider: If this is a firm, and if the board of regents are the board of directors; and if President Kerr in fact is the manager; then I'll tell you something. The faculty are a bunch of employees, and we're the raw material! But we're a bunch of raw materials that don't mean to be—have any process upon us. Don't mean to be made into any product. Don't mean… Don't mean to end up being bought by some clients of the University, be they the government, be they industry, be they organized labor, be they anyone! We're human beings!
There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part! You can't even passively take part! And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels…upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop! And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!So, I ask myself, are things really worse than they were 50 years ago? I think they are. It appears to me that many colleges and universities are more dependent upon the donations of ruling class foundations than ever before. Also, there seems to be serious efforts to eliminate the tenure system that previously provided many professors with a degree of security and independence.
Despite Russia’s recent efforts to broker a peaceful resolution of the Syrian chemical weapons crisis, as well as its good offices in helping resolve the Iranian nuclear conflict with Washington, the Obama administration is moving ahead with its highly provocative nuclear Ballistic Missile ‘Defense’ (BMD) deployments around Russia. What we are not being told by Western politicians is the fact that this action, far from peaceful, brings the world closer than ever to nuclear war by miscalculation.
An estimated 400 million acres of farmland in the United States will likely change hands over the coming two decades as older farmers retire, even as new evidence indicates this land is being strongly pursued by private equity investors.The implications for this accelerating trend should be of concern to everyone in the 99 Percent.
“When non-operators own farms, they tend to source out the oversight to management companies, leading in part to horrific conditions around labour and how we treat the land,” Anuradha Mittal, the executive director of the Oakland Institute, a U.S. watchdog group focusing on global large-scale land acquisitions, told IPS.
“They also reprioritise what commodities are grown on that land, based on what can yield the highest return. This is no longer necessarily about food at all, but rather is a way to reap financial profits. Unfortunately, that’s far removed from the central role that land ultimately plays in terms of climate change, growing hunger and the stability of the global economy.”
...under capitalism, jobs created in one area often means jobs eliminated elsewhere. Much more employment in public transport can mean much less in auto manufacturing, for example. That’s why, Neale argues, the transition requires an integrated plan based on public ownership of the industries involved, with a “bedrock guarantee … that anyone who loses a high carbon job is guaranteed proper, lengthy retraining and a new job at the same wages or better.”However, the PDF report referred to in this introduction is, in my opinion, too informed by European social democratic politics which emphasizes working within the existing capitalist version of "democracy" to accomplish environmental sustainability as well as social justice.
Crucially, we can persuade many people that action over climate change does not mean sacrifice. It does not mean that ordinary people give up their standard of living. Instead, it means more jobs and better lives for most people. If unions can recast the debate about climate change in this way, we will make it possible to mobilise far more people than now.
Unions can also hope to influence more socially minded governments who can promote our ideas at government level and push for these proposals to be discussed at European sectoral social dialogue level.
Actually stopping climate chaos before the horrors arrive will not be easy. Energy reaches down into every part of the economy and society. Powerful corporations and governments are opposed to actions beyond the limits of Austerity Europe. Our task will not be easy. In the end, it will require political and industrial action. But the measures we propose are a start. In the process, we will recruit to unions and build our strength and confidence. That is good. But it is not why we campaign on climate change. We fight for our future, because we are humans, and live on Earth.
This posting is a little late in relation to US media coverage which occurred at the start of the Olympics. Still, in a rather brief and cursory way, it introduces the larger issue of how the US ruling class uses media to shape public opinion to further its interests of profit and power. Because shaping of public opinion is a primary weapon in the arsenal of the empire builders who are creating so much havoc throughout the world, we need to critically examine all the evidence and analysis of it whenever and wherever it raises its subversive head.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
This is a very important editorial because it touches on some very important trends relating to the direction of the US Empire. In this piece the links he provides are very important and must be accessed to lend substance to his views. For example, the link to Asst. Sec. of State Nuland speaking to the US-Ukraine Foundation provides additional context to the leaked secret conversation with the US Ambassador to Ukraine. Notice at its beginning the posters contain the large Chevron logo on the right poster-board and on the left you can dimly make out "Exxon-Mobil", indicating that both global corporations are major sponsors of the forum.
Update: the latest news from Kiev, Ukraine does not look good.
Escobar's link to The Nation piece by Stephen Cohen covers well the almost monolithic anti-Russian coverage found in US media.
I have noticed this same propaganda-loaded news trend in US media coverage over the past decade, and it seems to be getting steadily worse--or is this just my imagination?
Just last night I viewed NBC's nightly news coverage which opened with the program's host, Brian Williams, intensely and breathlessly hammering away at the human rights crimes committed by the North Korean (DPRK) government going into considerable detail about horrifying incidents which reminded me of the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. The report was triggered by a UN Human Rights commission report on the DPRK. Looking into the commission members, I discovered they were made up of members from Empire friendly countries: Poland, Australia, Serbia, and Indonesia.
No matter how extreme the weather, and how awful the hardships endured by ordinary people in the floods, the culpability of corporate-driven industrial 'civilisation', its inherent ecological unsustainability, and the urgent need for radical changes, must not be addressed in any meaningful way.Cromwell brings to our attention the extreme efforts of capitalist media to ignore the increasing incidence of extreme weather phenomena and their relationship to climate destabilization. Of course, capitalism, which requires growth and is driven by private accumulation of wealth, is the cause of climate destabilization; and, thus, its role must be ignored as much as possible. This ignoring of the relationship comes after decades of denying the relationship which is now so overwhelmingly supported by scientific evidence. Capitalism also is causing economic destabilization and this must also be denied and ignored.
The answer to this type of journalism is obvious: the establishment of alternative media that exposes the relationship, and affirms the need for a transformation of the economy into one that is compatible with a healthy biosphere and meets the needs of all members of societies.
Another dubious first for America: We now employ as many private security guards as high school teachers — over one million of them, or nearly double their number in 1980.
And that’s just a small fraction of what we call “guard labor.” In addition to private security guards, that means police officers, members of the armed forces, prison and court officials, civilian employees of the military, and those producing weapons: a total of 5.2 million workers in 2011. That is a far larger number than we have of teachers at all levels.
What is happening in America today is both unprecedented in our history....Much of the rest of the article is devoted to efforts to diminish the significance of this dramatic correlation between inequality and guard-police services.
Monday, February 17, 2014
This very moving essay contains so much inspiration and wisdom, more so than I have seen for quite some time. Here is only one gem among many (because the quote is taken out of its natural context, to preserve the meaning I placed the first sentence after the other sentences in the paragraph.):
Because this present regime, this ‘New World Order’, which is actually not new at all, is doing all it can to reverse natural development, to lock us all back in the gloom and doom of some outdated religious-style dogmatism. We are forced; we are being conditioned to believe in capitalism, in a Western style of ‘multi-party democracy’, in the superiority of Western concepts. That is why truly free thought has lately been directly and brutally targeted in the West, and in the other oppressed parts of the world.
This is another illustration of a liberal take on the long-standing huge US aid to Israel amounting to nearly a quarter-trillion dollars.
The arming and bankrolling of a wealthy nation committing ethnic cleansing has something to offend conservatives, progressives, and just about every other political grouping in America. After all, how often in foreign policy does strategic self-interest align so neatly with human rights and common decency?As usual, here we another lengthy hand-wringing about the immorality of such aid, but the benign intentions of the US (while avoiding any reference to the ruling capitalist class) remain intact. One might conclude from this article that such considerations as "human rights and common decency" and "a just and lasting settlement between Israel and Palestine" might have something to do with shaping Empire policies and serving the interests of our ruling class. Could it be that our leaders are just stupid?
Intelligent people can and do disagree about a one-state versus a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. People of goodwill disagree about the global BDS campaign. But it is hard to imagine what kind of progress can ever be made toward a just and lasting settlement between Israel and Palestine until Washington quits arming one side to the teeth.
The arming and bankrolling of a wealthy nation committing ethnic cleansing has something to offend conservatives, progressives, and just about every other political grouping in America. After all, how often in foreign policy does strategic self-interest align so neatly with human rights and common decency?
Intelligent people can and do disagree about a one-state versus a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. People of goodwill disagree about the global BDS campaign. But it is hard to imagine what kind of progress can ever be made toward a just and lasting settlement between Israel and Palestine until Washington quits arming one side to the teeth.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, take on added meaning and should be watched carefully by all political activists on the left. (See also this)
While reports are coming in that Zapatistas are once again being attacked by agents of the Mexican capitalist state, it is a good idea to learn what Zapatistas have to offer the rest of mankind living under the boot of capitalist rule. Wedes, an activist from New York, has listed seven lessons he learned on his visit to their independent territory in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. The lessons reveal an authentic version of democracy that contrasts starkly with the fake version imposed on us by capitalist ruling classes.
One corollary of the concept of consent of the governed is that good governance is not imposed by force but grown bottom-up by debate and convincing people. This idea has nearly been lost in many of our so-called “democratic” communities.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
As indicated in the article, this piece has been republished from the magazine The Nation which in at least the last decade has represented archetypical political liberal views on the problems facing ordinary people, the 99 Percent. The Nation along with other left-liberal media outlets have a record of being used indirectly by the CIA to promote ruling class propaganda. Using this method the CIA and other ruling class organizations funnel money to foundations who, in turn, use the money to fund these left/liberal media. Such money constrains the way such media directors treat subjects that are regarded as threatening to ruling capitalist class interests.
This piece, I will argue, could be, or is a particularly insidious, subversive piece; and as such serves the counterrevolutionary interests of the capitalist ruling class.
We are seeing, in addition to severe economic problems, climate crises in the form of extreme weather appearing everywhere in the world. Therefore, the propaganda organs of the ruling class are working overtime to contain opposition to a system which is causing both. I believe this piece provides an excellent example of propaganda used by their highly trained propaganda experts to contain this growing consciousness of climate destabilization and economic issues and their relationship to the capitalist system. To do this in media reporting, they first must attain credibility and then divert people in directions which do not threaten their beloved system. This article, I believe, does both.
To obtain credibility, a pro-capitalist author often references popular figures on the left, and generally seeks to demonstrate that the author understands activist formulation of problems and their protests. Here we see early on a reference to David Graeber who has been so frequently identified (mostly by himself) with the Occupy Movement. The author then references other local action groups and leaders who are working on community organizing projects that are mostly connected to the New Economy Coalition. Here he refers to one such leader of an organization that seems to offer a model of what activist organizations should emulate:
...she told her Power Shift listeners, that the kind of work going on in the “new economy” or “solidarity economy” movement—with things like cooperatives and worker-owned businesses, community-development financial institutions, community land trusts, local agriculture and community-owned renewable energy, as well as efforts to reconceive corporations and redefine economic growth—is challenging the dominant and unsustainable corporate capitalist system. And not simply rejecting that system, she emphasizes, but “creating new economic institutions that are democratic and participatory, decentralized to appropriate scale so that decisions are made at the most local level that makes sense and, rather than only prioritizing one thing—the maximization of profit—prioritizing people, place and planet.”"Challenging the...capitalist system" by "efforts to reconceive corporations"--never transforming the system into a new one from the existing one in which a few people can literally "own" the economy--is as far as this article goes. The emphasis is on local community projects mentioned earlier in the quote. If such activist projects start there as a first step in raising people's consciousness, then they could serve revolutionary ends to transform capitalism into one that serves all of the people--but this is never stated.
And, once again, we see the obligatory "non-violence" theme ("non-violent" actions are mentioned three times) is included as one of three essential elements in their program. You see, the Empire's capitalist class places the means of violence central to their rule, and that is precisely why they command by far the largest military in the world, militarized police forces, and the largest prison system in the world. And, of course, they fear violence being used against them.
The first is resistance: saying “no” to a corrupt, oppressive, extractive system, whether through legislation and litigation, at one end of the spectrum, and nonviolent direct action or mass protests at the other. The second is “replacement”: creating the alternatives, which can itself be a form of resistance, as Rachel noted. And the third essential piece is resilience.Because of a lack of information on these organizations, I do not wish to impugn their activities or the motives of their leaders, only the way their actions are reported in liberal media such as The Nation. (However, organizations that are extolled by liberal media should raise some questions about them.) This type of reporting about activist organizations serves to divert attention away from system change onto reformist measures and non-violent community organizing, activities which capitalist control agents can manage and contain.
Spritzler makes a very interesting contribution to revolutionary thought. He proposes a method to overcome the main obstacle of organizing people:
What makes people feel so hopeless? They feel all alone; they believe that only a very small, and hence hopelessly weak, minority of people want an egalitarian revolution. They feel this way because the ruling class devotes more effort to making them feel this way than anything else. With its control of the mass media and the "alternative press" as well as virtually all of the major organizations that purport to represent ordinary people (such as political parties, unions and religious bodies), the ruling class makes people who have egalitarian revolutionary aspirations feel all alone. At the institutions where we work, at the places where we play or watch sports, or pray or socialize or go to be entertained, expressing egalitarian revolutionary aspirations is taboo. The mirrors we hold up, to see what our fellow Americans think, are the television and theater screens we watch and the pages of the newspapers and magazines we read, and these mirrors lie! They tell us that nobody expresses revolutionary egalitarian aspirations, and if you do other people will think you're weird or crazy.
No other blogger so dramatically illustrates the demise of civilization--if we continue with "business as usual"--as this fellow does with his graphics.