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Private Eye on Johnson’s Appointment of Neocon as Anti-Extremism Chief

A few weeks ago the Labour left staged an event on Zoom in which a series of Labour MPs and activists, including the head of the Stop the War Coalition, explained why socialists needed to be anti-war. They stated that after going quiet following the debacles of the Iraq invasion, Libya and elsewhere, the Neocons were being rehabilitated. There was therefore a real danger that the ideology behind those wars was returning, and Britain and America would embark on further imperialist, colonialist wars. And now, according to this fortnight’s Private Eye, for 16th – 29th April, 2021, Boris Johnson has appointed Robin Simcox, a Neocon, as head of the government’s Commission on Countering Extremism. Simcox is a member of the extreme right-wing Henry Jackson Society, firmly backing the wars in the Middle East. He also supported the rendition of terrorists to countries, where they would be tortured, as well as drone strikes and detention without trial. And when he was in another right-wing American think tank, the Heritage Foundation, he objected to White supremacist organisations also being included in the American government’s efforts to counter violent extremism.

The Eye’s article about his appointment, ‘Brave Neo World’, on page 14, runs

Robin Simcox, appointed as the new head of the government’s Commission on Countering Extremism (CCE), has neoconservative view that will themselves seem pretty extreme to many observers. He replaces Sara Khan, the first head of the CCE, which Theresa May set up in 2017 as “a statutory body to help fight hatred and extremism”.

Simcox was researcher at the neoconservative think tank the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), before leaving for the US to become “Margaret Thatcher fellow” at the conservative Heritage Foundation. He was also a regular contributor to Tory website ConservativeHome, writing there in 2011 that David Cameron was wrong to criticise neoconservatives “what has been happening in the Middle East is proving the neocons right” (ie that invasions could build democracies.

In a 2013 study for the HJS, Simcox argued: “Rendition, drones, detention without trial, preventative arrests and deportations are the realities of the ongoing struggle against today’s form of terrorism; they are not going to disappear, because they have proved extremely effective.” Rendition meant the US and UK handing terror suspects over to nations such as Libya or Egypt so they could be tortured for information. He complained that politicians “failed to adequately explain to the public” why these methods were needed and were “failing to explain that the complexities of dealing with modern-day terrorism meant that not all roads lead to a court of law”.

Simcox spent many years looking at Islamist terrorism, but at the Heritage Foundation he argued that making “white supremacy” the subject of a “countering violent extremism policy” was mostly driven by “political correctness” and could be “overreach”, regardless of the terrorist acts by white racists in the UK, US and elsewhere.

Simcox has been appointed interim lead commissioner of the CCE, possibly because bring him in as a temp means his recruitment wasn’t subject to the same competition and inspection as a permanent appointment.

Johnson has therefore appointed as head of the commission an extreme right-winger, who supports unprovoked attacks on countries like Iraq and Libya. The argument that these invasions were intended to liberate these nations from their dictators was a lie. It was purely for western geopolitical purposes, and particularly to remove obstacles to western political hegemony and dominance of the oil industry in the region. In the case of Iraq, what followed was the wholesale looting of the country. Its oil industry was acquired by American-Saudi oil interests, American and western multinationals stole its privatised state industries. The country’s economy was wrecked by the lowering of protectionist trade tariffs and unemployment shot up to 60 per cent. The country was riven with sectarian violence between Sunni and Shia, American mercenaries ran drugs and prostitution rings and shot ordinary Iraqis for kicks. The relatively secular, welfare states in Iraq and Libya, which gave their citizens free education and healthcare vanished. As did a relatively liberal social environment, in which women were to be regarded as equals and were free to pursue careers outside the home. And western intervention in the Middle East created an environment leading to the further, massive growth in Islamist extremism in al-Qaeda and then Daesh. And this has led to the return of slavery. This was Islamist sex-slavery under Daesh in the parts of Iraq under their jackboot, while Black Africans are being enslaved and sold by Islamists in slave markets that have reappeared in Libya.

Domestically, Simcox’s appointment is also ominous. He clearly doesn’t believe in human rights and the protection of the law. Just as he doesn’t believe in tackling White supremacist extremism, even though at one point there were more outrages committed by White racists than Islamists.

His appointment is part of continuing trend towards real Fascism, identified by Mike over at Vox Political, of which the Tories proposed curtailment of the freedom to demonstrate and protest in public is a major part. At the same time, it also appears to bear out the Labour left’s statement that the warmongers responsible for atrocities like Iraq and Libya are coming back. And I fear very much that they will start more wars.

The people warning against this and organising to defend real freedom of speech is the Labour left, whatever the Tories might say about ill-thought out legislation designed to outlaw ‘hate speech’. We need to support left politicos like Richard Burgon, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Diana Abbott and Apsana Begum. The last three ladies, along with former head of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti, held another Zoom event as part of the Arise festival of left Labour ideas, Our right to resist – the Tory attacks on our civil liberties & human rights, in March. We need to support the Stop the War Coalition, because I’m afraid the Tories and the Blairite right in the Labour party will start more wars.

Blair lied, people died. And Johnson lies as easily and as often as other people breathe. If not stopped, the Neocons will start more wars and more innocents will be massacred for the profit of big business.

How Can I Trust Keir Starmer to Protect the NHS When Blair Wanted to Privatise It?

The parties have been running their election broadcasts this week in the run up to the local, elected mayoral and other elections in May. I caught a bit of Labour’s the other night, and wasn’t impressed. The piece I glimpsed consisted of Starmer sitting in front of the camera, urging people to vote Labour to protect it from the Tories’ privatisation. And the Tories are privatising the NHS by stealth, all under the cover of bringing in best practice from the private sector. And the Lib Dems have been exactly the same. They were the Tories’ partners in David Cameron’s wretched coalition government, which carried on the privatisations. Nick Clegg did nothing to stop it. Indeed, he gave every assistance to the Tories and seemed to be fully behind the handing over hospitals and doctor’s surgeries to private enterprise to run. Just as the Liberals and SDP were way back in 1987, when the two allied parties had declared that it didn’t matter whether doctors and hospitals were public or private, provided that the treatment was free. Except that the Tory privatisation of the NHS will definitely not retain free treatment at the point of use, as provided by the terms of the NHS’ establishment. The Tories wish to turn the NHS into a fully private system funded by private medical insurance like the American health system.

There are Labour MPs who are fighting tooth and nail to protect the NHS. I’m thinking here of the people on the Labour left, such as Jeremy Corbyn, Richard Burgon, Diane Abbott, Rosina Allin-Khan. I also believe that others from the Labour right are doing so. At one meeting of my constituency party here in south Bristol, our local MP Karen Smyth said she joined the Labour party and became an MP because she was so appalled at what Cameron and co. were doing to the Health Service.

But I find Starmer’s claim that he will protect our NHS much less than credible. He’s an arch-Blairite, who has spent his tenure as leader so far in conjunction with the wretched NEC trying to purge the party of left-wingers and socialists. This has involved all the usual trumped-up, fake charges of anti-Semitism. And sometimes there’s no explanation given at all, like when the NEC barred three of leading Labour contenders for elected mayor of Liverpool. Worse than that, he has broken all of his leadership promises. He claimed that he would continue to uphold Labour’s manifesto promises of returning the utilities to state ownership, reversing the NHS’ privatisation and properly funding it, strengthening the welfare state and workers’ rights and restoring power to the unions. But in practice he hasn’t done any of that. It might put off all those rich donors he’s trying to attract. He has shown no real opposition to Johnson’s government, and what little he has shown has been glaringly opportunistic. So opportunistic, in fact, that right-wing windbag and broadcasting egomaniac, Julia Hartley-Brewer, asked him if there was anything in fact he stood for when he appeared on her wretched show on LBC radio.

And if this isn’t ominous enough, the fact remains that Tony Blair also went ahead with the right-wing programme of privatising the NHS. The polyclinics and health centres Blair set up were opened up to private management. He continued handing over doctors’ surgeries and hospitals to private healthcare firms. And the Community Care Groups, the groups of doctors which were supposed to manage local NHS doctors’ budgets, were granted the ability to buy in services from private sector companies, and raise money from the private sector. His Health Minister, Alan Milburn, wished the NHS to be reduced to a kitemark logo on services provided by private industry. And I fear Starmer will do exactly the same.

Brian Burden, one of the great commenters on this blog, posted this comment noting Starmer’s telling lack of opposition to another Tory appointment.

Hi, Beastrabban –

I refer you to p19 of the April 7 issue of Socialist Worker: Samantha Jones, formerly of Openrose Health, owned by US health insurance giant Centene Corporation, has recently been appointed a top adviser to Boris Johnson. Openrose took over scores of NHS GP surgeries earlier this year. Centene has faced a number of fraud and corruption law suits in USA. Socialist Worker believes that Johnson is moving towards the full privatisation of the NHS. Not a whisper from Starmer about any of this.

I wasn’t aware of this appointment, though I haven’t been paying much attention to the news recently. Not that I think it would be in the news. Ray Tallis and Jacky Davis have a whole chapter in their book, NHS – SOS to how the BBC has supported the privatisation of the Health Service. I’m not a fan of the former Socialist Workers’ Party, but I’ve no doubt they’re correct about this and are right to publicise it. And Starmer’s silence is telling.

I doubt very much that Starmer’s serious about protecting the NHS. And everyone else seems determined to privatise it with the exception of the much-reviled Labour left.

So forget the vile propaganda and smears against them and support the real people of principle who are standing up for this most precious of British institutions.

Ecuador, Socialism and the Destruction of Democracy in Latin America

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 08/04/2021 - 9:06pm in

Last night the Arise Festival, a series of events organised by the left-wing of the Labour party, staged a zoom talk about a possible socialist victory in the coming Ecuadorean elections, and the way the neoliberal right across the continent were trying to prevent left-wing parties and movements from forming governments. The speakers included Latin American journalists and activists as well as Brits. I regret that I was able to get no more than ten minutes of it. But what I did see was chilling.

The neolibs are clinging on to power, not through winning elections, but through using the legal system to ban and imprison their opponents on trumped up charges. In one country, the socialist party was banned from standing because the judges ruled they supported terrorism, all without any evidence or indeed any terrorism. The leading left-wing politico in Brazil, Lula, was falsely jailed on corruption charges, but has now been freed after spending 19 months in jail. And the president of one of the Latin American countries, Moreno, actually took power as a socialist but then, on obtaining office, declared that he was really a man of the right and started implementing right-wing policies.

I found this all particularly chilling as it could easily happen over here. The Tories are trying to scrap the protections Brits have under the European convention on human rights. The current wretched police and crime bill seeks to ban any protests or demonstrations they don’t like if they decide it’s going to cause a nuisance. I can see them using the judiciary to try to outlaw left-wing parties and falsely imprison politicians and activists, just as their counterparts are doing in Latin America. And Starmer is very definitely a neoliberal, but is trying to get into power by claiming he supports Corbyn’s left-wing programme.

This is all extremely frightening. So I stand in solidarity with the Latin American democratic left and urge everyone to reject the Tories’ assault on our traditional freedoms over here.

Money Is Made Up And We Can Change The Rules Whenever We Want

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/03/2021 - 10:59pm in

Have you ever noticed how online capitalism cultists who condescendingly tell socialists they “just don’t understand economics” are always unable to lucidly defend their own understanding of economics?

If you’ve never pressed such a character to clearly and concisely explain what it is you “don’t understand” using their own words, I highly recommend that you try it, because it’s one of the funniest things in the world. If you keep interrogating them about each aspect of their belief system, demanding that they explain exactly what it is they know and how they know it, they will invariably end up getting frustrated and telling you to listen to this or that economist if they don’t rage quit on you altogether first.

It’s really fascinating how consistent this experience is; talk to other online leftists about it and if they’ve ever really engaged the argument they’ll have had the same experience. Someone who truly understands something will be able to clearly and concisely tell you in their own words what they know and how they know it, and someone who strides in talking down to you about how you “don’t understand economics” is certainly claiming to know something, but when you really plunk them down and interrogate their understanding you will always find it to have been a lot of empty bluster. They don’t understand their own position, they’ve just listened to a bunch of capitalists explaining their position to them in an assertive tone and assumed it must be unassailably correct.

This happens because in our profit-driven society, capitalism cultists are unaccustomed to having to defend their positions rigorously. They tend to gravitate toward tightly insulated echo chambers where their beliefs are not challenged with any degree of depth, and our systems completely support them in this. Richard D Wolff has said that in the entire time he was obtaining his PhD in economics through Harvard, Stanford and Yale, he was never assigned a single word of analysis written by Karl Marx to read as part of his education. Echo chambers rule our world.

Rigorous debate is permitted as to what precise flavor of capitalism would best suit this civilization, but the question of whether capitalism should remain the driving force behind our behavior as a species at all is largely verboten in mainstream discourse. This is why those who have been most heavily indoctrinated into the faith think of money and economics in much the same way we think about forces of nature and the laws of physics. The idea that money must continue to function in more or less the way it’s been functioning since our birth is taken as some sort of unbreakable principle that’s been inscribed upon the fabric of reality, and not just a bunch of made-up concepts invented by human beings.

But that’s exactly what they are: money and economics are conceptual constructs invented by people. They have no solid existence of their own; they exist only inside the human imagination. They are only as true as we agree to pretend they are. Money is a collective belief system we all agree to participate in, and we are free to collectively alter how it operates in any way at any time.

When I talk about the fact that money has no real value outside of mental narrative, I often get people mistaking this for a conversation about fiat currency as opposed to something more tangible like gold-backed currency, but that’s not what I’m pointing to here. It’s true that currency backed by bureaucratic fiat has more of its existence in the narrative world than currency backed by some non-conceptual physical resource, but it’s also true that even if we were using actual gold coins as currency, those coins would only have as much value as people collectively agree they have. If no one agreed that gold is worth anything (or silver or cryptocurrencies or whatever), then as far as trade goes it would be worthless.

What I’m getting at here is that together as a collective we have complete improvisational freedom with money and value. If enough of us decided tomorrow that peach pits are the new form of currency, then that would immediately be the case, solely because we collectively decided to re-write the rules in that way. All the imaginary numbers in the bank accounts of the billionaires would immediately be worthless, and presumably the new plutocratic class would be the peach farmers.

What this means is that there is no actual legitimacy for claims that instituting any form of socialism or communism would be some kind of theft from those who have wealth. It would not. Because the rules of money and how it operates are a collective belief system that is being actively maintained by the belief of the collective, we are free to collectively cease believing those beliefs and replace them with a system which we collectively agree would serve us better.

That’s what’s so funny about the rugged individualism which upholds capitalism while decrying collectivist models: capitalism is collectivism. It’s a collective improvisation being performed by the collective, at the consent of the collective. It only exists because we collectively participate in it. If the collective wants to switch to another form of collectivism that doesn’t let people starve and die for not having enough imaginary numbers in their bank accounts, the collective is free to change the rules of its collective improvisation.

Wealth only exists where it exists and how it exists because we’ve all agreed to pretend that’s the case, and we are free to collectively cease pretending this at any time. If enough of us decide to cease pretending that Jeff Bezos’ money is worth anything, we are within our sovereign right to do so. We didn’t steal anything from Jeff Bezos, we just changed the rules of the game we’ve all agreed to play. We decided we don’t believe the conceptual constructs which make Bezos immensely wealthy, and that we believe different ones instead.

The super rich are acutely aware that the only thing holding their respective kingdoms together is our collective belief in the story that wealth works a certain way and exists in certain places, which is why they continue feeding us these stories in the form of propaganda. They can’t have us awakening to the realization that we are free to completely rewrite the rules of money, and they certainly can’t have us awakening to the realization that we are also free to rewrite the rules of power.

Power, like money, also only exists in the way it exists because we collectively agree to pretend that that’s the case. We could collectively decide tomorrow that nobody takes orders from any part of our official government anymore, and our government would immediately lose all of its power. This is why so much energy goes into keeping us propagandized into belief in official narratives: narrative is the only thing keeping this empire afloat.

And that’s exactly why we haven’t changed things already: we are being ceaselessly manipulated into keeping our minds jacked in to the matrix in which money and power exist in their current iterations. But we do have the ability to unplug ourselves, and if enough of us do this, we can change the world into something unrecognizably sane and healthy.

And we had better hurry up and do so. As I’ve said previously, what I mean when I say “capitalism” is the current system dominating our world today wherein human behavior is driven as a whole by the pursuit of capital. The current system of profit-seeking and competition as the primary determining factor of what humans are doing on this planet.

Profit-chasing as the driving factor in human behavior is what got us into the ecological mess we are in right now. As long as it remains profitable to destroy the environment and human behavior is driven by profit, then humans will continue destroying the environment. Inevitably. This will have to happen.

So for purposes of this conversation it’s actually irrelevant whether capitalism enthusiasts believe the current system is “real capitalism” or not, whether you believe the markets are “free” or not, or whether or not you prefer Austrian over Keynesian models of economic theory. Since we’re talking about any system where profit-chasing and competition drives human behavior at mass scale, we are necessarily talking about whatever pet definition of capitalism you happen to prefer.

We’re going to have to move to something drastically new if we’re to survive the existential crises on our horizon as a species, both environmental and the steadily growing risk of nuclear war caused by capitalist imperialism. It will necessarily have to look like something that’s never been tried before, because any deviation from our trajectory toward self-destruction will necessarily need to include a deviation from all the old behavior patterns which got us here.

For this reason, all the mindless bleating capitalism cultists do claiming “socialism has never worked” is completely irrelevant: nothing we’ve done has worked, that’s why we’re in the mess we’re in now. Something radically unprecedented is needed, so it necessarily cannot look anything like the capitalist order which has brought us to the brink of armageddon.

But we absolutely do have the freedom to create such a radically unprecedented world. There’s nothing solid stopping us, just the fairy tales of a few sociopathic manipulators being funneled into our minds. The door’s not locked. It’s not even closed. There’s just a screen blaring “DON’T LOOK AT THAT DOOR” at us all day long. We are perfectly free to stand up together, and walk outside.

_________________________________

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my new book Poems For Rebels (you can also download a PDF for five bucks) or my old book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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War Is A Rich Man’s Game: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 16/03/2021 - 12:44pm in

War is always powerful people making up fake reasons for poor people to kill each other.

Capitalism is working great if you ignore how it’s about to destroy our ecosystem and kill everything.

Socialism is the collective’s best self-defense against sociopaths.

In the old days the rulers would kill those who criticized the dominant power structure. Now they just make sure such people never ascend to prominent platforms or positions of influence.

And, if that fails, they kill them.

Most of what gets called journalism today is really just advertising. Advertising imperialism, capitalism, status quo politics, status quo mindsets. All this fuss about journalists leaving for Substack and stuff is really just outrage over people leaving the advertising industry.

Imperialists see the American people as nothing more than local fauna who need to be kept from interfering in the business of the empire. That’s why keeping Americans poor and ignorant has so much institutional support; it keeps the local fauna away from the gears of the machine.

Supporters of western imperialism are always wrong because the western empire is always wrong. The western empire is always wrong because imperialism itself is immoral and requires the perpetration of great evils to maintain. It’s really a lot simpler than people make it seem.

The only way to justify support for western interventionist foreign policy is to believe that western interventionism is ever actually humanitarian in nature. The only way to believe western interventionism is ever humanitarian in nature is to be an intellectual infant.

Don’t buy into the narrative that Democrats are resisting leftward movement in order to appease Republicans. It’s so much worse than that: they’re not appeasing Republicans, they’re appeasing their own donors.

One hundred percent of the people who claim the Democratic Party has moved “too far left” think “left” means having pink hair and yelling about gender pronouns.

I don’t “equate” the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. I don’t equate Sauron and Saruman either; they are two separate and distinct characters. But they damn sure work together.

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All this ridiculous mass media gushing about the Biden administration’s pathetic, paltry relief package would make the propagandists of the world’s worst dictatorships blush.

People keep saying “It’s better than nothing” about Biden’s pathetic relief package. A roll of nickels would have been better than nothing, that’s not an argument. If I steal a hundred dollars from you and then give you back a dollar, “It’s better than nothing” is not a valid defense of my abusive actions. People are suffering under an abusive system that’s wholly controlled by Democrats. End the abuse.

You can tell how predatory a civilization is by how many other civilizations around the world speak its language.

The thing we don’t say enough about World War 1 is that it was completely meaningless and accomplished nothing beneficial and happened for no legitimate reason at all. The thing we don’t say enough about World War 2 is that it was essentially just a continuation of World War 1.

In a right-wing imperialist civilization that is nowhere remotely close to realizing a leftist revolution, putting a large amount of energy into arguing about who has the best brand of leftism is vapid intellectual masturbation.

Dear rich people, please choose one:

A) End poverty by paying your workers more.

B) End poverty by paying more taxes.

C) Buy the political/media class and use it to keep your wealth and power.

To decide to “put down roots” is a privilege denied to us by the ambitions of landlords and the predatory class. No wonder so few people feel invested in what happens to the country beneath their feet. We are but itinerant workers without soil to plant trees.

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Keep in mind when you declare that all humans are predators who are only motivated by competition, you aren’t telling us what we are, but you are telling us what you are. I hate competing but I love helping so I know you’re wrong about me, but you must be right about yourself.

Wikipedia is one of the most aggressively narrative managed parts of the internet, to the point where you can now look at it as essentially the oligarchic empire’s Official Doctrine of Everything.

Joseph Campbell says there is no way you can use the word “reality” without quotation marks around it. In our society the same is also true of the words “democracy”, “liberal”, “freedom”, and “news media”.

The more your oppressors wear you down, the harder it is for you to work up enough energy and entitlement to say no to them. The privileged are not subject to such pressures, and are therefore able to maintain robust boundaries, while the rest of us are too tired to say no.

Users and abusers understand this principle as well. Exploitative bosses, abusive partners, overbearing family members, they understand that they can wear you down in myriad ways leaving you too tired to say no to their demands just as well as the imperialists understand it.

The competition model does not work. People competing with each other for jobs and money, nations competing with each other for dominance and resources. It simply is not conducive to the thriving of our species or our planet, as evidenced by our current predicament.

It’s just such a waste of energy. The competition model ensures that the near-entirety of innovation and effort gets lost in the inertia of pushing against our competitors, with only crumbs remaining for thriving. We’d completely eliminate that inertia with a collaboration model, and from there we could use all that free energy to create a beautiful world.

______________________

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my new book Poems For Rebels (you can also download a PDF for five bucks) or my old book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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Mainstream Journalism Doesn’t Exist: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/03/2021 - 2:25pm in

Journalists should be exposing inconvenient truths about powerful people in their own nation and its allies. Instead the people we call “journalists” criticize enemy nations, smear political dissidents, demand increasing amounts of censorship, and advance narratives that are convenient for the powerful.

The “war on terror” is a false pretext for interventionism in the Middle East and the “war on drugs” is a false pretext for interventionism in Latin America.

Lula being free and eligible to run again in Brazil is a very big deal with huge implications for US imperialism. This isn’t like some fake leftist getting into the Democratic Party or whatever, this is a real thing that will have real consequences in a nation with huge geostrategic significance to the US empire. The empire invested many years staging a coup in one of the largest nations on earth, and it’s not just going to let it be reversed without a fuss. I’m bit nervous about what will happen.

The Monroe Doctrine is literally just the US saying “Latin America is our Africa. You guys get those brown people over there, these are our brown people over here.”

I love how pundits talk about the Monroe Doctrine like it’s a real thing that has actual legitimacy. “Well we can’t have Russia and China interfering in Venezuela, that’s just the Monroe Doctrine.” No, how about you fuck all the way off from any country not named the United States of America.

We could be collaborating with each other and with our ecosystem to create a beautiful, awesome, healthy world. Instead we’re all competing with each other working meaningless jobs creating pieces of landfill which serve no purpose besides turning millionaires into billionaires.

The overwhelming majority of human effort goes into competing against other humans. We do have the ability to take all that lost energy and re-route it toward collaborating with each other toward health and thriving. There is no real reason we can’t do this. There are no hard obstacles preventing us from moving away from our failed competition-based model to a collaboration-based model. All that’s stopping us is plutocratic propaganda and our collective belief in it. We do have the ability to drop that belief and move toward sanity.

Leftist thinkers who predicted that the inevitable decline in material conditions caused by capitalism would necessarily lead to its downfall failed to foresee just how powerfully effective capitalist propaganda would get at preventing revolution, and the US conclusively proves this. It’s like predicting that an abuser’s abuse will necessarily lead to the victim leaving; that’s simply not the case if the abuser is adept at manipulation, as many abusers are. The science of modern propaganda has been in research and development for over a century. It is very potent.

Across nearly all sectors of thought, people consistently underestimate how easy human beings are to psychologically manipulate. The only sectors which are exempt from this rule are those which make manipulation their business: advertising, politics, and propaganda.

The left simply doesn’t have the numbers to advance socialist and anti-imperialist agendas in the western world. We don’t have the numbers because mass-scale plutocratic propaganda actively works to keep us from having the numbers. Until we address this head-on, meaningful changes are impossible.

It’s amazing how often leftists ignore this massive, glaring problem of not having enough numbers to accomplish anything real. You have to address it. You must find those numbers somewhere. Deteriorating material conditions aren’t doing the job for us; we need to do it ourselves.

I mean the Green Party presidential candidate got 0.2 percent of the vote in the US last year. The Socialist Equality Party presidential candidate got 317 votes, total. Three hundred and seventeen, in the entire United States. That’s not even an average-sized Italian wedding. I don’t care what your reasons are, you can’t just keep trucking along like those numbers aren’t a huge problem. Something needs to be done, and that something begins with directly tackling the problem of plutocratic propaganda.

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Taking back the wealth that the plutocrats have stolen isn’t just valuable because it can be used to help the needful: it’s a defensive measure as well. Take their money and they can’t use it to buy politicians, buy up news outlets, fund think tanks, and propagandize the masses. The collective is entitled to confiscate any weapon that someone is using to harm the collective. If you’re using a rifle to fire upon a crowd, they’re entitled to disarm you for their collective safety. If you’re using your billions of dollars to exploit and manipulate, they’re entitled to disarm you for their collective safety.

Very upsetting how whoever’s the next high profile western anti-imperialist turned out to be a sinister Kremlin agent and/or evil anti-semite.

We are told that capitalism is responsible for accelerating progress, but capitalism’s version of “progress” is destroying the ecosystem, and is clearly progressing far too fast: the development of artificial intelligence without a thorough examination of the risks, medicines being released that haven’t been fully tested, etc.

A socialist who only criticizes the GOP is called a liberal.

In a world that is rapidly dying and at increasing risk of nuclear war there is no functional difference between a liberal incrementalist and a progressive who favors advancing change by slowly taking over the Democratic Party over the course of the next century.

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How many of people’s mental health diagnoses are really just them not coping well with capitalism?

If you’re a father to boys and you’re not having regular conversations with them about what consent is, what rape is and how important it is to not rape people, you are a big part of the problem. If you currently don’t know how to have these conversations in ways that are age-appropriate and informative then look it up, ask for directions, listen and learn. You are your kid’s only hope that he doesn’t cause irreparable damage to others. You need to take this seriously.

Oh, your dad never did this for you? Well color me shocked. It shows. Your son will not have the same excuse of ignorance. The world is getting brighter with far less places for rapey behavior to hide. He needs your help to navigate this.

______________________________

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my new book Poems For Rebels (you can also download a PDF for five bucks) or my old book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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The Left Will Never Achieve Its Goals Until It Prioritizes Countering Establishment Propaganda

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 06/03/2021 - 2:20pm in

A new Gallup poll finds that Americans’ opinion of Russia and China have plummeted to historic lows this year, with 79 percent of the population now reporting an unfavorable view of China and 77 percent reporting an unfavorable view of Russia.

The hate predictably falls along partisan lines, with Republicans showing more disfavor toward China and Democrats reserving more of theirs for Russia, but there is plenty of overlap. China is only seen positively by 10 percent of Republicans compared to 27 percent of Democrats, while only sixteen percent of Dem voters view Russia in a positive light compared to 25 percent of Republicans. Unfavorable opinions of both nations dominate across the board no matter how you slice it.

In a recent Mintpress News article titled “After Years of Propaganda, American Views of Russia and China Hit Historic Lows”, Alan MacLeod points the finger at the obvious culprit in this shift in public opinion:

Last year, American military planners advised that the U.S. should step up its campaign of psychological warfare against Beijing, including sponsoring authors and artists to create anti-China propaganda. The Pentagon’s budget request for 2021 makes clear that the United States is retooling for a potential intercontinental war with China or Russia. It asks for $705 billion to “shift focus from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a greater emphasis on the types of weapons that could be used to confront nuclear giants like Russia and China,” noting that it requires “more advanced high-end weapon systems, which provide increased standoff, enhanced lethality and autonomous targeting for employment against near-peer threats in a more contested environment.”

Russia, meanwhile, has been the focus of Democratic Party ire since their defeat in the 2016 election. Prominent Democrats have accused Vladimir Putin of being behind the rise of Bernie Sanders, paying Afghans to kill American soldiers, and of helping spark the January 6 insurrection on the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. RussiaGate — the belief that Moscow managed to hack the 2016 election, swinging the result for Trump — has hardened liberal attitudes towards the country and drastically increased suspicion and fear of Russians. This was crystallized by former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s comments on NBC’s Meet The Press, where he claimed that Russians are “typically, almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor.” As with China, the U.S. government has attempted to score diplomatic points, taking up the case of imprisoned politician Alexey Navalny.

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And, I mean, of course. Of course this is the case. There is no rational reason for anyone to hold particularly negative views of either of those countries based on actual facts in evidence, and there is certainly no rational reason to perceive them as a threat. The idea that China or Russia pose a threat to you is so self-evidently ridiculous, so transparently absurd, that the only way to make you believe it would be to propagandize you. And if you do believe it, that’s exactly what has happened.

You can expand this principle to include the entirety of US foreign policy on the global stage today. No ordinary American benefits from the US having troops in Syria, sanctioning Venezuelans to death, supporting Saudi Arabia while it rapes Yemen, circling the planet with military bases and working to destroy any nation which refuses to bow to its dictates. The only way to get Americans to consent to any of these agendas is to propagandize them into doing so.

Indeed, you can also expand this principle to include our entire financial/economic/political system as a whole. Ordinary people would not accept as normal a system in which they have to toil long hours just to feed themselves while parasitic middlemen hoard all the profits and use their immense wealth to shape the political paradigm. The only way to get them to accept this exploitative, oppressive and intrinsically unjust system as normal would be to propagandize them.

And that’s precisely what is happening. That’s the only reason our world is ordered in the way that it is.

Propaganda is the single most overlooked and under-emphasized aspect of our society, bar none. It’s so pervasive that most of us don’t even notice it, like that old joke about the two fish who are asked “How’s the water?” and then turn to each other and say “What’s water?”

https://medium.com/media/2dfcb162aa2d55715a554d6e22b5c9f8/href

Vast fortunes are poured into buying up media outlets, paying media bribes in the form of advertising, funding think tanks, manipulating online algorithms, buying the loyalty of influential politicians, and other forms of narrative control. Immense resources are dumped year after year after year into manipulating the way the majority of people think, act, and vote, and yet hardly anyone ever talks about this extremely important fact.

Seriously, think about that for a second. How often do you hear your average citizens discussing the fact that billionaires own the mass media which is consistently used to manufacture consent for the agendas of the plutocratic class, compared to how often you’ll hear them talking about, say, the next presidential election? Even among the well-read and relatively aware people you know, how often do you hear them discussing the fact that public perception is being continually manipulated against the interests of the public? Probably not too frequently compared to other issues.

Even among leftists (by which I mean anti-imperialist socialists) this is a severely under-discussed issue, when it should be the most discussed, because leftist agendas will necessarily be incapable of advancing as long as the majority of the working class are being manipulated at mass scale into consenting to the agendas of plutocrats and warmongers. All socialists and anti-imperialists worth their salt are at least somewhat aware of the fact that the mass media are propaganda operations, but directly discussing this absolutely foundational problem occupies only a very small slice of overall leftist discourse. This will necessarily have to change if there is to be any meaningful leftward movement in our society.

Until fighting the empire’s propaganda engine becomes the agenda the left focuses the bulk of its energy on, none of its other agendas will ever come to pass. People will never rise up and revolt as long as they are being successfully propagandized not to. They won’t even vote for anyone with sufficient numbers if their words diverge too sharply from the consensus worldview they’ve been manipulated into espousing as true. It doesn’t seem to matter how badly the people’s material conditions deteriorate, because they can always be manipulated into blaming someone else and consenting to the status quo anyway.

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How do we do this? We just do it. We begin focusing our efforts, for the first time ever, on drawing public attention to the fact that the mass media have been deceiving them. For the first time ever, we begin in sufficient numbers to prioritize above all else the disruption of public trust in the plutocratic media and the imperial narrative management scams which keep everyone from clearly seeing what’s wrong with the world. We seize control of the narrative.

This has never been tried before. Whenever I bring up prioritizing a grassroots media rebellion I’ll get a few leftists telling me “We’re already doing that!” No you’re not. You’ve never come anywhere close. At no time in the information age has killing trust in imperial propaganda been the foremost priority of western leftists. At no time has it ever been our collective priority to use our newfound ability to network and share information to weaken public trust in the mass media and tell the public the truth about economic injustice and the kleptocratic depravity that is western imperialism. Our energy has been spread all over a variety of issues which have nothing to do with this far more crucial one.

Information has never been more democratized, and trust in the mass media has never been more low. The opportunity to expand awareness of what’s really happening in our world has never been riper; all we need to do is seize on this opportunity and wake the working class out of its propaganda-induced coma before the window on that possibility closes on us forever.

_________________________

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my new book Poems For Rebels (you can also download a PDF for five bucks) or my old book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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Rosa Luxemburg and the ‘Young Socialist’ of Ceylon (Sri Lanka)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 06/03/2021 - 9:37am in

Any renewal of the socialist project in the 21st century must assimilate Rosa Luxemburg's insights on democracy and freedom as both means and end.

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The post Rosa Luxemburg and the ‘Young Socialist’ of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) appeared first on New Politics.

No, It Is Not Anti-Semitic To Question Whether Jews Are An Ethnic Minority

Ever keen to bash the Beep, the Torygraph printed another story yesterday accusing the Corporation of anti-Semitism. Benjamin Cohen, the CEO of Pink News, had been invited on to Politics Live to debate whether Jews should be included as an ethnic minority in the national census. Coming out of the show, Cohen tweeted how offended he was by the question, and that he was the only Jewish person facing a panel of four gentiles. He was absolutely sure that Jews should be treated as an ethnic minority, and asked rhetorically if the Beeb would have asked that question of a Black or Asian guests.

Actually, it’s a very good question whether Jews are an ethnic minority, and colour is a part of the issue. Before the rise of biological racism, Jews were largely persecuted in Christian Europe because of their religion. The persecution generally ceased if they converted. Before the outbreak of Nazism and the horrors of the Third Reich, the majority of Jews in Europe did not wish to be seen as a separate people from those the countries in which they lived. The British Jewish establishment opposed the Balfour Declaration because they believed that Jews were ‘Englishmen of the Jewish religion’. The British government’s support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine, they feared, would lead to Jews being viewed as foreigners, whose ultimately loyalty was to the new state, rather than loyal British citizens.

Even now there is a healthy debate within Judaism about whether it is a ethnic group, a religion or a descent group. Not all Jews are happy with being considered an ethnic minority. The comedian, opera director and broadcaster, Dr Jonathan Miller, is one of them. One of the team of satirists in Beyond the Fringe, along with Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Alan Bennett, Miller was once introduced as a Jew on a programme covering the jolly funsters. Miller responded by stating that he was a ‘Jewish’. He had not interest in being an ethnic minority.

Jews also differ from the other groups regarded as ethnic minorities in terms of race, and socio-economic status. Traditional, indigenous European Jews are White, as the founder of modern scientific racial classification, Ludwig Blumenbach, maintained. Some of them, like Tracy-Anne Oberman, are more ‘Aryan’ in appearance than the Nazi scumbags, who abuse them. Which shows how wrong scientifically Nazism is, as well as evil. Where there has been anti-Semitic abuse and violence, it has been generally directed against Orthodox Jews, no doubt because of their characteristic dress and appearance.

The British Jewish community is also largely more prosperous than other ethnic groups. The mighty Tony Greenstein has cited sociological studies that have shown that 60 per cent of British Jews are upper middle class. Furthermore, while there is still anti-Semitic persecution and hostility, Jews don’t suffer from the same level of prejudice as Blacks and Asians. Tony again has quoted statistics showing that 77 per cent of Brits have positive views of Jews. Those that don’t generally regard them as no better or worse than anyone else. The number of people with negative views of Jews has risen from 5 to 7 per cent, but they’re far outweighed by the mass of the Brits who don’t share their opinions. This is no doubt one of the reasons the NF decided to stop goose stepping about in Nazi uniforms in the 1970s. When National Action turned up in Liverpool a couple of years ago screaming their hatred, the good peeps of that fair city, including socialists and trade unionists, chased them out of town. Literally. They had to retreat to the train station to await the next train out of there.

While the persecution of the Jews has been particularly vicious, it’s reasonable to compare it to the persecution of dissident Christian groups in Europe. Such as the Manichaean heretics in the Middle Ages, and Protestants in Roman Catholic countries. In Britain before Roman Catholic emancipation and the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, Catholicism was banned. It had to go underground in Ireland, and worship was carried out at secret locations in the countryside. British Protestant nonconformists, such as Quakers, Baptists and Methodists, were barred from serving on juries or in local and national government. By law their chapels had to be built five miles away from towns. You can also compare the British Jewish community’s current prosperity with the Quakers. The actual membership of the Society of Friends was small, but they became influential and prosperous businessmen because of their exacting standards of commercial conduct. You could trust them. A book I read a few years ago on the history of the Jewish people, written by an Anglican clergyman, made the same claim about them. The Jewish laws governing food purity meant that, if you bought a wheaten loaf from a Jew, that’s exactly what you got. Instead of being full of cheats determined to defraud gentiles, Jewish businessmen could be trusted. As for the traditional Jewish prohibition against marrying outside the religion, there are also Christian sects, such as the Exclusive Brethren and Particular Baptists, who also reject marriage with those outside the sect.

In short, Jews are integrated and accepted into British society to a far greater extent than Blacks and Asians, who are obviously different because of their colouring, dress and religion. Muslims are particularly subject to suspicion and abuse following 9/11, and are, with Blacks, generally poorer and more marginalised than the rest of British society.

I suspect the issue here isn’t so much about the question of whether Jews constitute an ethnic group in themselves, but over the benefits membership of an ethnic minority confers. Ethnic minorities are specifically protected by law against persecution, and in the case of Blacks and Asians may be assisted by affirmative action programmes. Even though Jews don’t suffer the level of violence and prejudice that Blacks and Asians do, they are still regarded as particularly vulnerable. As a result, they enjoy a degree of protection far greater than other ethnic minorities. For example, there’s the Community Security Trust, a paramilitary vigilante set up to protect Jews, synagogues, Jewish cemeteries and other Jewish sites and monuments from attack. The group is supposedly trained in self-defence by members of the Israeli security services. This is, as far as I know, unique. I am not aware of any other ethnic group or religion being permitted their own private police force. Far from it. When the Islamofascists in London launched their Muslim Patrols harassing non-Muslims outside their mosques, they were rightly pounced upon by the authorities and arrested. But the CST is allowed to continue, stewarding Zionist and pro-Israel rallies despite reacting violently to counterdemonstrators. At several of these rallies, Muslim and Jews marching together in protest against Israel were forcibly separated and beaten. The victims included elderly Jewish women and rabbis.

The Zionist Jewish establishment were also able to exploit the general high regard and acceptance of Jews in British society by mobilising it to smear Jeremy Corbyn and his followers as anti-Semites. This is part of the general ultra-Zionist campaign to suppress criticism of Israel and its monstrous persecution of the Palestinians. Mass rallies and protests were arranged, and the lies and mendacious denunciations repeated in the national news and press.

Other ethnic groups have not nearly received such sympathy and support. For example, while the Labour party actively complied in the witch-hunt against suspected anti-Semites in the party, it has been extremely reluctant to investigate and punish those responsible for the racist bullying of Black and Asian MPs and activists. Probably because the racist bullies were the Blairite plotters and saboteurs, who collaborated with the anti-Semitism smear campaign as part of their own attempts to oust Corbyn. The affirmative action programme designed to assist Blacks and Asians achieve the same level of prosperity and acceptance as Whites are still extremely controversial. And rather than support allegations of racism by members of those ethnic groups, the reaction of the right-wing press has largely been to denounce them.

It therefore seems to me to be a good question whether Jews should be treated as an ethnic group, rather than simply a religion practised or not by some Brits, not so very different from various traditional Christian sects, which were also persecuted by which are now accepted as integral parts of British culture. I think that the determination by Jews like Cohen to retain their demarcation as an ethnic minority is doubtless partly motivated by a quite understandable fear of the return of the biological racism which led to the monstrous horrors of the Holocaust.

But I also wonder how much also comes from Zionist ideology. The IHRA definition of Zionism claims that it is anti-Semitic to deny Jews their national aspirations. Jews are a nation, and so it is supposedly anti-Semitic to deny them the right to their own state, Israel. But these national aspirations become highly questionable if Jews are not seen as a nation or ethnic group, but as a religion. Zionism becomes spiritual, not political. Jerusalem and Israel become the spiritual centres of the Jewish faith, just as Christians regard them as the spiritual centres of their religion. But this does not necessarily translate to a desire to return to the Promised Land. Some Jewish denominations removed the traditional Passover toast, ‘Next year in Jerusalem’. Many other Jews simply repeated it as part of the revered ritual celebrating their deliverance from Pharaoh’s persecution in Egypt without actually meaning it.

All this makes me wonder whether the Torygraph’s article isn’t really about whether British Jews really constitute a separate ethnic group or not, but whether it’s was just a way of exploiting the anti-Semitism witch hunt to attack the Beeb, a favourite Tory target, on the one hand, while subtly trying to reinforce support for Israel on the other.

Open Letter to Editors of Jacobin and Monthly Review

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 03/03/2021 - 10:29am in

Scholars and activists respond to the spirited attacks by Jacobin and Monthly Review on Yaku Pérez, the indigenous candidate in Ecuador's presidential election.

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The post Open Letter to Editors of Jacobin and Monthly Review appeared first on New Politics.

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