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

Friday, May 12, 2017

Marx on Life After Capitalism

Click here to access a 55 minute interview with Peter Hudis conducted by Sasha Lilley on the program Against the Grain broadcast by KPFA, a listener sponsored radio station in Berkeley, California. 

Rather than reproducing the rather confusing introduction to this interview with Hudis provided by KPFA, I will provide a more revealing introduction given by Jason Schulman in his review of Hudis's recent book Marx’s Concept of the Alternative to Capitalism from Logos.
Hudis makes plain from the beginning of Marx’s Concept that he will not be visualizing the technical details of socialist society, nor does he pretend that Marx ever offered a comprehensive blueprint for such. His aim is modest: “to see what implicit or explicit indications [Marx’s work] contains about a future, non-alienating society.” Hudis makes it clear that—contrary to those who would enlist Marx’s support for an imagined “market socialism”—that value, or the computation of wealth in monetary terms, is seen by Marx as specific to capitalism and as incompatible with a classless society. The retention of value-production would render “socialist” society unable to overcome capitalism’s “inversion of subject and predicate, in which the products as well as the actions of people take on the form of an autonomous power that determine and constrain the will of the subjects that engender them.” ....

Marx famously criticized other anti-capitalists of his day, most notably anarchist forefather Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, for their failure to acknowledge the centrality of alienated labor to capitalism, and Hudis stresses the importance of alienated labor in explaining the oppressive and defective nature of the official Communisms of the 20th century, which he claims merely changed wage- and property-relations in order to produce a “state capitalism” wherein a ruling class imposed forced labor on workers.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Syria is the dam against more bloody chaos

Click here to access article by Jonathan Cook from his blog.
Today, Israel’s vision of the region is shared by other key actors, including Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, and Turkey. The current arena for destabilisation, as I warned, is Syria. But if successful, the Balkanisation process will undoubtedly move on and intensify against Lebanon and Iran.
All of these actors have their own geopolitical interests in destabilizing and fragmenting Syria, and the US Empire stands behind them urging them on and funding proxy terrorist armies. This effort to destabilize Syria appears likely to be a pivotable event in the Empire's grand design to control the entire world, not merely the Middle East as Cook implies. But not only for that reason, the transnational capitalist classes that control this Empire have thus far invested so much effort in terms of wealth and grossly deceptive propaganda into this project in combination with numerous other aggressive moves by their NATO army in Europe, against North Korea, the South China Sea, etc., that they will not give up without an enormous struggle. Russia, China, and host of other nations also see Syria as a contest that must not be lost without posing an unacceptable threat to their own security. This situation could very easily end up in a nuclear conflagration. We live in very dangerous times.

To aware activists this presents a challenge to engage in activities to undermine the weakest component of this imperial plan--the Empire's grossly deceptive propaganda war on their own populations. So far they have engaged in mostly individual efforts; but because time is rapidly running out, they must organize and consolidate their efforts so that they can be much more effective in the battle against the disinformation and propaganda that agents of the Empire are using to neutralize their home populations while pursuing dangerously aggressive efforts in multiple areas of the world.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Dr. Edward Rhymes interviews Eva Bartlett regarding Syria

Click here to access the audio interview from Rhymes Media Group. Here is all the bio I could find about Edward Rhymes.

Already I'm departing from my decision to post only essential articles, etc. on my website. I confess I'm a hopelessly addicted fan of Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett. This is one of the best interviews of her that I've listened to so far. Listen to this 50:36m interview to see if you agree with me that she is one of most sincere journalists around. If you agree, I urge you to subscribe to her email service so that you won't miss any of her activities.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

War and Empire: the American Way of Life

Click here to access article by Paul Atwood from CounterPunch

The title of this article is also the title of Atwood's book which is being translated in Farsi for the Iranian audience. As such it is primarily intended for the latter, but it also offers an excellent overview of the imperialist history of the United States as propelled by capitalist interests of wealth and power, and specifically the launching of the US imperial project after WWII with emphasis on the consequences for Iran. The article, and presumably the book, emphasizes the power of US institutions of indoctrination (education, corporate media, and entertainment (especially Hollywood) to deceive ordinary Americans into believing that government policies and actions were always benevolent or "in the interests of national security" if they provided media coverage at all.

I confess I haven't read the book or even heard of it. I believe that is another piece of evidence to illustrate the latter phenomenon: the book simply was ignored by all corporate media and received scant coverage in alternative media. I notice that I did post one article by Atwood back in 2012, and in my commentary I criticized him for his lack of references to capitalism and instead using circumlocutions to refer to capitalism's role in shaping US policies and actions. This is certainly not the case in this article I posted today. Although his book was mentioned in the 2012 article, I had assumed that he used the same style in that book as he did in the article.

I was very happy to see that he is no longer using circumlocutions to hide the fact of capitalism. It has been one of the purposes of my website, which I started in late 2009, to eliminate such practices by authors on the left. In 2009 I was appalled by this practice and other similar practices which tended to obscure political reality particularly in relation to the post war project of global domination that was planned and carried out to a great extent by the capitalist ruling class in the US and their partners-in-crime abroad in the Empire.

The End of the Age of Protest

Click here to access article by Jeffrey St. Clair from CounterPunch

I am directing in this post to only the first part down to where he writes "The time for protests is over." In this first part he argues that we are now in the era of action, by which he explains consists of the following:
Action is standing arm-in-arm before water cannons and government snipers on the frozen plains of North Dakota. Action is hanging from a fragile perch 150-feet up in Douglas-fir tree in an ancient forest grove slated for clearcutting, through howling winter storms. Action is chaining yourself to a fracking rig in rural Pennsylvania or camping out in the blast zone at a Mountain Top Removal site in the hills of West Virginia. Action is intervening when police in storm trooper gear are savagely beating a defenseless woman on the streets of Portland. Action is jumping into the Pacific Ocean with a knife in your teeth to cut the vast trawler nets ensnaring white-sided dolphins and humpback whales. Action is stopping bad shit from going down, or trying to.
His (gay?) partner, Alexander Cockburn (deceased in 2012) and St. Clair lived near Arcata, California where he gave a talk which was a version of this article. From this I infer that St. Claire still lives in nearby Petrolia, CA where he shared a residence with his late friend Alex Cockburn. As you may know, Cockburn and later St. Clair joined him as editors of CounterPunch for many years. As co-editors they earned a reputation of being rather radical in their views. Cockburn's nuclear family were well educated and descendants of quite wealthy and highly educated people on the left

However I always felt that the two editors were always a bit too liberal for my taste in politics, and wondered if these two iconoclasts were more dilettantes than serious critics on the left. This piece doesn't alter this perception.

It seems to me that it is not only that I sees protests as futile, but also "actions" such as St. Clair writes about. I think it is time (maybe even past time) to think about revolution, and I intend to do just that in the remaining time I still have before returning to nature. Hopefully I might even influence other people to do just that like I have influenced people to write about "capitalism" instead of using euphemisms or circumlocutions as substitutes. (See my commentary here and the comments section for this post.)