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The Hawks Who Want War With Iran Are Working Overtime

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 16/04/2021 - 2:01am in

WASHINGTON (Jacobin) Just as talks between the United States and Iran were taking place last week in Vienna, a cyberattack was carried out on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility. Reports are that the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, was behind the attack that blacked out the facility just one day after Tehran launched new advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges, and as US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was in Israel speaking about the United States’ “enduring and ironclad” commitment to the Jewish state.

This is the latest in a series of Israeli attacks on Iran designed to scuttle negotiations. Last summer, a number of explosions attributed to Israel broke out across Iran, including a fire at the Natanz site. These took place while US elections were in full swing and Biden was promising that if elected, he would return the United States to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal (formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) that Trump withdrew from in 2018. In November 2020, Israeli operatives assassinated Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran’s top nuclear scientist in the city of Absard outside Tehran. Had Iran responded, the United States might have been dragged into an all-out war.

Israeli officials have also directly lobbied the US Congress to quash the deal. In 2015, Netanyahu traveled to Washington, DC in 2015 to address a joint session of Congress in an attempt to uncut Obama’s original negotiations. This time, Mossad chief Yossi Cohen will be traveling to Washington to meet with top White House and US intelligence officials, and he hopes with Biden directly, to convince the administration that Iran has been concealing details about its nuclear program and therefore can’t be trusted. This is indeed ironic coming from a country that, unlike Iran, actually has nuclear weapons and refuses to disclose any information about its program.

Like Israel, the powerful US lobby American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is trying to convince Biden not to go back into the JCPOA. Last month, they organized bipartisan letters in the House and Senate, urging the Biden administration to insist on an expanded deal that included missiles, human rights, and Iran’s activities in the region. Since Tehran has been clear that an expanded or amended deal is a nonstarter, such “advice” was an attempt to quash talks.

The neoconservative think tank Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), which worked inside the Trump administration during and after Trump pulled out of the JCPOA, has been relentlessly pushing for war with Iran. After the United States recklessly assassinated Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani, FDD CEO Mark Dubowitz gloated, tweeting that the death of Soleimani was “more consequential than the killing of [Osama] #BinLaden”; and on April 11, the same day as the Natanz blackout, former CIA officer and FDD fellow Reuel Marc Gerecht, speaking on CNN, voiced disappointment that Trump hadn’t taken the United States and Iran into an all-out war.

Another group against a deal with Iran is Christians United for Israel (CUFI), one of the most powerful pro-Israel voices in the United States. In March 2021, CUFI urged the Senate not to confirm Colin Kahl for a top policy position at the Pentagon, claiming, “Kahl is a serial Iran appeaser” who “helped advance the disastrous Iran nuclear accord.” In response to the blackout at Natanz, they cheered Netanyahu, tweeting “‘Battling Iran is a colossal mission,’ Netanyahu says following blackout at Iranian nuclear plant.”

The People’s Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, which the United States had previously designated as a terrorist organization and is known for assassinations and bombings it has carried out, is virulently opposed to US-Iran diplomacy. In March 2021, a number of US Senators attended a virtual event organized by the MEK-aligned Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC) calling for continued US sanctions and “bringing down the regime.” Senator Bob Menendez, the powerful chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was among several Democrats in attendance.

The opponents of the Iran deal are trying to keep in place the draconian wall of sanctions that the Trump administration imposed precisely to make it more difficult for a future US administration to rejoin the JCPOA. But these sanctions are causing immense suffering for ordinary Iranians, including runaway inflation and skyrocketing food and medicine prices. According to the UN, they contributed to the government’s “inadequate and opaque” response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has hit Iran particularly hard.

While “successful” in inflicting harm on the Iranian people, the sanctions have failed to broaden the terms of the talks, led the nation to increase its uranium enrichment, negatively impacted the human rights situation, and put the United States and Iran on the brink of an all-out war on multiple occasions.

That’s why so many people in Iran, and those who care about them, have been encouraged by this new round of diplomatic engagement. But Israel, AIPAC, CUFI, FDD, MEK, Menendez, and the like are probably instead hoping that Iran carries out the revenge that Iranian officials have called for in response to the Natanz blackout. But as the saboteurs of diplomacy hope for a violent escalation, let’s keep in mind — and hope Iran agrees — that the best revenge would be a revived JCPOA.

Feature photo | Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day, April 7, 2021. Heidi Levine | Pool via AP

Ariel Gold is the national codirector and senior Middle East policy analyst with CODEPINK for Peace.

Medea Benjamin is cofounder of CODEPINK for Peace and author of several books, including Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The post The Hawks Who Want War With Iran Are Working Overtime appeared first on MintPress News.

Meditations On US Forces Firing A Howitzer Into The Empty Desert “Just To Say We’re Here”

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 13/04/2021 - 11:31pm in

I saw a line in a recent New Yorker article about America’s endless wars, and it’s been been rattling around in my head ever since:

“In Syria, McKenzie visited the Green Village, a community of decrepit apartment blocks near a bombed-out oil facility that served as the operational headquarters for the final push to erase the caliphate, in 2019. These days, the only military action there is from U.S. forces firing a 155-millimetre howitzer twice a week into the surrounding desert, at no specific target, ‘just to say we’re here,’ one officer told me.”

U.S. forces firing a 155-millimetre howitzer twice a week into the surrounding desert, at no specific target, “just to say we’re here.”

Tell me that’s not the sexiest line you have ever read in your entire life. The poetical beauty! The ennui! The oh-so-relatable existential ache! Oh God, I need a cigarette.

I mean it just hits on so many different levels. Could you ask for a better snapshot of life within the soulless US war machine than a small cast of Beckettian soldiers, waiting around near a bombed-out oil facility for a Godot who never arrives, firing heavy artillery rounds into the desert twice a week for no reason whatsoever? You just want to hang it in an ornate wooden frame with the caption “YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK, LADIES AND GENTS” and then shove it so far up Tom Cotton’s personal anatomy that it takes an entire emergency room team to extract it.

And isn’t it such a wonderfully concrete, in-your-face iteration of the meaningless struggle so many of us are going through in this decaying fustercluck of end-stage metastatic global capitalism? Firing a 155-millimetre howitzer twice a week into the surrounding desert at no specific target “just to say we’re here” is simply the military’s version of working at a desk forty hours a week doing essentially nothing other than making the boss and the shareholders a tiny bit richer than they already were. Working to pay the bills so you can afford the car you drive to work and the food and shelter which sustains your ability to work is no less pointless and absurd than what those soldiers were doing in the Green Village in 2019.

If you think about it, aren’t we all in our own way firing a 155-millimetre howitzer twice a week into the surrounding desert at no specific target “just to say we’re here”? Lost and despondent in the wilderness, boxing with shadows, firing giant guns at imaginary enemies, watching our expensive artillery shells disappear into the emptiness and wondering why it hurts to live? Screaming a loud, violent noise into the abyss just to show we exist, and then seeing the abyss roll its eyes like an annoyed teenager and return its attention to its iPhone?

We are such silly, confused little ape mutants. We could be using these giant brains we just evolved to create a chill, harmonious world where everyone has enough and we work in collaboration with each other and our ecosystem, where creativity has space to flourish and art gushes from our heads like the air we exhale. Instead we’re coasting to armageddon under the thumb of an empire that pours its wealth and resources into an endlessly expanding worldwide military campaign while impoverishing its people at home and keeping them in line with an increasingly violent and militarized police force.

We could have paradise on earth; there’s not one single valid reason why we cannot. Instead we’re letting governments controlled by a few idiotic sociopaths wave nuclear weapons at one another in the name of an imaginary god called unipolarity. Instead we’re letting ourselves be pressed into an absurd competition-based model where we must step on our neighbor’s head just to keep our own above water while destroying the environment we depend on for survival. Instead we’re firing a 155-millimetre howitzer twice a week into the surrounding desert, at no specific target, “just to say we’re here.”

This world is so silly. So beautifully, insanely, bittersweet cup of extinction noodles silly. We hurdle on a spinning rock we do not understand, through a universe we do not understand, made of particles we do not understand, and we behold one another in a field of consciousness we do not understand, and we shrug.

God I love us. I love us so much.

I really hope we make it.

___________________________

New book: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix.

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 books. 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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“CHINA BAD”, And Other Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 12/04/2021 - 10:21pm in

The planet is ruled by a tyrannical oligarchy which uses governments as weapons to destroy disobedient nations while churning out news stories about how those nations needed to be destroyed because they were tyrannical and undemocratic.

The British royal family are murderous imperialists living on stolen wealth and dressing up like ridiculous Dungeons & Dragons characters and they deserve nothing but scorn, mockery and rejection throughout the entire world.

Saying Trump wanted to end the wars but the military industrial complex wouldn’t let him is the same as saying nothing.

When Bernie Sanders promoted the idea of shrinking the insanely bloated US military budget by a paltry ten percent, he was met with a solid steel wall of opposition. When presidents want to increase that budget, they are told “Yes sir, anything you say sir, we’ve got the papers all drawn up already.”

A political establishment which thinks it’s crazy and extremist to reduce a massive military budget by ten percent, and that it’s sane and moderate to increase it, is a crazy and extremist political establishment.

It’s crazy how I still get people telling me I write too much about US aggressions against China even as the Biden administration is openly admitting that it is increasing America’s insanely bloated military budget in order to deal with China.

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My American husband had a layover in Beijing years ago and was surprised to see so many perfectly happy people, laughing and clowning around like anyone else. He hadn’t even realized he’d been propagandized into expecting joyless conformity until he noticed his own surprise.

The west has been propagandized about China for a long, long time. The propaganda initiatives being launched right now are so successful because they’ve got many decades of earlier propaganda acting as a primer. It’s so pervasive you don’t even know it’s been there all along.

China is “just as bad” as the nation that’s constantly bombing and destroying other countries? Sure, why not. All things are the same as all other things. Turning left is the same as turning right. Drinking water is the same as drinking bleach. That’s how we all live our lives.

I will criticize the escalating US aggressions against China. I will not include a “BUT CHINA ALSO BAD BAD BAD” disclaimer when I do this. If this bothers you, it’s because propaganda has conditioned you to expect any criticism of US warmongering to use mitigated language.

There is no shortage of westerners saying “CHINA BAD BAD BAD” if you want to read that. If you need to hear about how China is bad, go turn on a fucking television or something.

When the empire wants to topple a government their first step is to psychologically uncouple it from the nation and its people by consistently using labels that make it look like an alien, occupying force to the public. “The CCP”, “the Assad regime”, instead of just that country’s government.

This is why you now hear so many indoctrinated automatons constantly bleating the mantra “I don’t hate the Chinese people, I hate the CCP!” They’ve been trained to uncouple the nation’s people from its government, despite the overwhelming support they have for their government.

This is all the alien-sounding word “regime” exists to do: to uncouple a government from its nation and its people in the eyes of the world. And the mainstream press is happy to do this, because the mainstream press is propaganda.

Propaganda is damaging not just because of the destructive and oppressive agendas it advances, but in and of itself. How can we address important issues while being blasted in the face all day with distracting nonsense about Russia and China? Stop meddling in our minds, assholes.

Unipolar hegemony never existed until three decades ago, but whenever you talk about the need to end the US empire’s iron-fisted domination of our entire planet people go “But who would take its place?”, as though there’s always been a unipolar hegemon. Like there has to be one.

There is nothing inscribed upon the fabric of reality that declares there needs to be a planetary unipolar dominator, and there’s no real evidence that China or Russia are trying to become one. All evidence says they want a multipolar world, which was the norm until 30 years ago.

There’s no real reason we need to be subjected to governments flirting with nuclear war in the name of unipolar hegemony. There’s no legitimate reason we can’t all just get along and collaborate with each other toward a better world. Our current world order is not sane.

Internet porn is making men worse at sex. At least before Pornhub men had some humility about how bad they might be and there was a chance they might listen, learn and be led. Now they are bad but full of hubris about what they think they know, and very defensive about it.

Hint: if your partner says she doesn’t mind not having clit orgasms, it’s not because she doesn’t like clit orgasms. You’re inept and you’re scary when you feel inadequate so it’s just easier to let it go. Confronting her with this will just scare her more. Get humble and learn.

Most modern mainstream media jobs pay dick, and you don’t get to do real journalism, only propaganda narrative management. All you get is a cool-sounding “I’m a journalist!” that you can tell other people. The narrative managers now get paid in narrative. There’s some beautiful karma in that.

__________________________

New book: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix.

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 books. 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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Media Concern Trolling About Afghanistan Withdrawal Again

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 11/04/2021 - 10:10pm in

Media Concern Trolling About Afghanistan Withdrawal Again

“Concerns mount that US withdrawal from Afghanistan could risk progress on women’s rights,” blares a new headline from CNN.

“Concerns are mounting from bipartisan US lawmakers and Afghan women’s rights activists that the hard-won gains for women and civil society in Afghanistan could be lost if the United States makes a precipitous withdrawal from the country,” CNN tells us.

What follows is yet another concern-trolling empire blog about why US troops need to stay in Afghanistan, joining recent others geared toward the same end like this CNN report about how the US military will open itself up to “costly litigation” if it withdraws now because it signed defense industry contracts into 2023, and this one by The New York Times about a US intelligence report urgently warning that a withdrawal from Afghanistan could lead to the nation being controlled by the people who live there.

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This latest article by CNN features an extensive series of quotes by Annie Pforzheimer of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank regurgitating the tired old mantra that a withdrawal from Afghanistan needs to be “conditions-based”, to ensure that no women will be mistreated if the US ends its twenty-year military occupation of the country.

CSIS, for the record, is funded by war profiteering corporations like Northrop Grumman and Boeing, as well as fossil fuel companies like Chevron, ExxonMobil and Saudi Aramco. It is also funded by plutocrats. It is also funded directly by the United States government and its allies. This article is precisely the sort of narrative management initiative that such think tanks exist for, and the fact that it’s considered normal journalistic practice to quote sources with such blatant ulterior motives as objective experts shows that western news media is propaganda.

When think tankers like Pforzheimer babble about a “conditions-based withdrawal” from Afghanistan, they are lying about what the requisite “conditions” would actually be. A complete and total withdrawal will have nothing to do with whether women are guaranteed to be treated nicely. It will have nothing to do with whether defense contractors will sue the US government or whether the Taliban will be able to retake control of the nation. A complete and total withdrawal from Afghanistan will happen when Afghanistan ceases to be a vital geostrategic point of control, which effectively means the US will maintain some sort of foothold in Afghanistan for as long as China, Russia and Iran remain sovereign nations.

A US puppet regime in Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran. If that somehow happens one day, the empire will have no further use for Afghanistan. Those are the real “conditions”.

https://medium.com/media/95618ebce5a1f719a2cf71364cd8357a/href

The US empire does not care about women. The US empire routinely kills women and creates lawless environments where rape and sexual slavery are commonplace with its military interventionism. What this hand-wringing about women’s rights in Afghanistan has actually accomplished is a convenient justification for further military occupation, a destructive industry of shady NGOs, and functionally not much else.

But this argument wouldn’t even make sense if it was sincere. The only way to argue with logical coherence that the US should militarily occupy a nation to uphold liberal values is to also argue that the US should invade and occupy all other nations in the world with illiberal cultural values and force them all to change at gunpoint. Unless you uphold this argument with logical consistency in this way (and almost nobody does this because that would be insane), it looks like you’re simply making up arguments to justify invading and occupying geostrategically crucial regions with great military and resource value. And, of course, this is exactly what you are doing.

So much empire propaganda is just concern trolling at mass scale. Oh my it sure is concerning how they’re abusing that poor oppressed population in that nation whose government we just so happen to want to topple. Sure we’d have to butcher mountains of human beings and destabilize entire vast regions in order to rescue them, but that’s a sacrifice we’d be willing to make. We are humanitarians, after all.

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“Concern” is the propaganda carrier for the most violent of interventions. If imperialism was a virus, “concern” would be the benign-looking shape it took so the body didn’t set off an immune response. “Concern” is the most Karen of manipulations.

Still it says a lot that they need to tug at our humanitarian heart strings like that in order to advance their empire-building agendas these days. It used to be stuff like “They’re savages and they need to learn about Jesus,” or even just “Your King has decreed that those people shouldn’t get to control the land they live on anymore.”

We’ve evolved as a society to the point where at least now they need to appeal to our better demons. Where they need to hide their disgusting agendas behind noble-looking ones.

Let’s keep evolving, please. Maybe our collective consciousness can expand so far that they won’t be able to get away with any of their psychopathic murderousness at all.

_____________________

New book: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix.

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 books. 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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Reducing US Military Spending Always Meets With Resistance; Increasing It Never Does

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 10/04/2021 - 12:48pm in

Last year Senator Bernie Sanders led a public push to reduce the insanely bloated US military budget by a paltry ten percent. His push splatted headfirst against a bipartisan solid steel wall which shut him down definitively.

Sanders’ bill was killed in the Senate by a vote of 23 to 77, with half of Senate Democrats stepping up to help Republicans stomp it dead. It’s companion bill in the House of Representatives was killed by a margin of 93 to 324, with a majority of House Democrats (92 to 139) voting nay.

Contrast those numbers with those who voted to approve Trump’s $741 billion military budget this past December. The House voted to approve the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) budget by a margin of 335 to 78, 195 of those yes votes coming from the Democratic side of the aisle. The Senate passed that same budget by 84 to 13. This was a substantial increase from the previous year’s budget, a trend which has remained unbroken for years.

From Macrotrends:

  • U.S. military spending/defense budget for 2019 was $731.75B, a 7.22% increase from 2018.
  • U.S. military spending/defense budget for 2018 was $682.49B, a 5.53% increase from 2017.
  • U.S. military spending/defense budget for 2017 was $646.75B, a 1.08% increase from 2016.
  • U.S. military spending/defense budget for 2016 was $639.86B, a 0.95% increase from 2015.

And those are just the official numbers going directly to the official “defense” budget. As a Nation article titled “America’s Defense Budget Is Bigger Than You Think” explained in 2019, once you add up the full costs of US wars, preparations for wars, and the impact of those wars, the annual budget is actually already well in excess of a trillion dollars.

And now, under the “harm reduction” candidate Joe Biden, it’s about to get even bigger.

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“President Biden is requesting a $753 billion defense budget for next fiscal year, with $715 billion of that going to the Pentagon,” reads a new report from The Hill, which notes that the White House said the Defense Department budget “prioritizes the need to counter the threat from China as the department’s top challenge.”

The Public Citizen advocacy group has criticized the move in a statement, saying “The Pentagon budget — which jumped more than $130 billion during the Trump presidency — is replete with spending on overpriced weapons that don’t work, rip-off deals for private contractors, gigantic investments in pointless or outdated weapons systems, and waste and mismanagement so severe the agency cannot pass an audit. It is, indeed, a tribute to the power of the military-industrial complex.”

“There are hundreds of billions of dollars to be saved by appropriate cuts to the Pentagon budget,” Public Citizen adds. “What is most important for the FY22 budget is that it be smaller than FY21, in order to signal that we are finally moving in the right direction and shifting resources from the Pentagon to investments in people.”

We may be absolutely certain that the Biden administration will get the spending increase it seeks, because that’s how it always works. When there’s a push for a ten percent reduction to a military budget which already exceeds that of the next ten countries combined, the move is dismissed as crazy and extremist. Whenever there’s a push to increase that obscene military budget, it’s “Why yes Mister President, anything you wish Mister President, we’ve got the papers all drawn up already for you Mister President.” It slides right in with no inertia whatsoever, like it’s been lubricated with Astroglide.

A political establishment which thinks it’s crazy and extremist to reduce a morbidly obese military budget by ten percent is a crazy and extremist political establishment. A political establishment which thinks it’s sane and moderate to increase a morbidly obese military budget is a crazy and extremist political establishment.

The plutocratic media exist to normalize the inexcusable act of robbing from the citizenry to murder people overseas in unceasing acts of military interventionism to benefit war profiteers and secure unipolar planetary hegemony, to make it seem like this is not such a big deal and mollify the public’s righteous indignation at this atrocity. But it is a big deal. It’s a very, very big deal.

We cannot progress to a healthy world as long as we’re being successfully propagandized into accepting endless slaughter and theft as normal and acceptable. We continue to allow ourselves to be led by murderous psychopaths at our own peril.

_____________________

New book: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix.

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 books. 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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Dead Generations

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 09/04/2021 - 3:42am in


What brought Mya Thwe Thwe Khaing, Wai Yan Tun, and Thet Naing Win into the streets? To read most of the coverage of the coup, you’d think they’d found themselves on one side of an old story: liberal democracy imperiled by authoritarianism. Yet Myanmar’s working classes had seethed under the previous National League for Democracy (NLD) government’s concessions to global capital; during five years of NLD rule, strike wave after strike wave convulsed Yangon’s industrial zones. It would be a mistake to read today’s resistance simply as an attempt to restore bourgeois democracy. Even so, it was the old story my dad turned to, which says that time should flow easily beyond authoritarian pasts. As February turned into March, and March into April—and as blood began to run freely, far too freely, in the cities and towns of Myanmar—I found myself wondering about scars past and present, about how they form and how they are carried. I found myself wondering what the old story can accommodate, and what it cannot.

The Empire Has A Dark Vision For Our World: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 09/04/2021 - 1:04am in

The ultimate goal of the US-centralized empire is to have such control over the world’s economic and financial systems that conventional warfare becomes obsolete, because they’ll be able to fully strangle any population which disobeys its dictates by cutting them off from money.

It’s a warped and perverse version of what we think of when we utter the phrase world peace; their version of “world peace” is a world where overt warfare is unnecessary because all disobedient populations can simply be quietly strangled to death via economic violence. The infrastructure for which is of course still guarded by a massively expensive military spread all around the globe.

The same power structures which enacted the rape of Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia etc are not going to carry us into a peaceful and harmonious world. They do not have the neurological wiring to do that, even if they wanted to. Their vision for our world is dark.

The notion that the real hero on the world stage is the government that’s waging nonstop disastrous wars and circling the planet with hundreds of military bases is an idea so complex and esoteric that the only people who can understand it are Ivy League university graduates.

Everything the western world believes about itself and its values is invalidated by its treatment of Julian Assange.

The civilizations with the most individualistic values are often guilty of the very worst collective crimes. The worst evils in our world right now are being perpetrated by the most individualistic societies, with the blame for wars, exploitation and ecocide being offloaded onto the collective even though it was all engineered by very few individuals within an individualist value system.

The saying “Socialism for the rich and rugged individualism the poor” is a dynamic you see play out not just with money, but with immorality as well. None of the world’s worst people are in prison; they inflict the evils and then offload their culpability onto the collective.

Believing America’s problems are caused solely by Republicans is like believing a homicide was perpetrated solely by the murder weapon.

The empire-building of the US-centralized power alliance is the single most destructive force on this earth. Anyone who is choosing this point in history to pour their energy into nuance policing anti-imperialists, as was recently done in this doofy Nation article the other day, is facilitating that destructiveness.

We are so very, very, very far from health on this front. When you’ve got mountains of bullshit to move, the person handing you a teaspoon and telling you to be exceedingly careful with how you move it is helping to keep the bullshit in place. When you’re this far from the mark you need to be making huge movements, not tiny, surgical ones.

Most people get that the US is imperialist per the conventional definition: projecting power beyond its borders etc. Not enough people get that it’s also functionally a literal empire per definition: the hub of a group of nations ruled by a single power structure. It’s imperialist, and it’s also imperial, meaning an actual empire.

It might prove more useful for anti-imperialists to begin emphasizing the term “empire building” over “imperialism” if they want to avoid the “Herpa derpa China and Russia are imperialist too” red herrings. Yes those nations project power beyond their borders to some extent, but only one nation is the center of a hegemonic globe-spanning power structure enforced by hundreds of military bases around the planet.

So when I talk about “the US empire”, I’m not being hyperbolic or exaggerating to make a point. I’m talking about the thing that it is, in the only context in which you can explain the major international conflicts today: empire building.

Empire building is what you’re seeing when coups are staged and regime change wars launched to bring a nation into alignment with the US-centralized power structure. It’s literally adding a new member state to the empire. It keeps its name and its flag, but it becomes the property of the empire.

In old empires, powerful countries invaded weaker ones, taking ownership of the territory. In the new empire, the borders and names remain officially the same, but control is handed over in treaties, alliances, trade agreements, power-shifting coups, secret deals, etc.

International alliances are often thought of as matters of secondary importance, as just something governments do when possible to make themselves a bit safer, wealthier, etc. Actually, uniting nations into one power structure is the goal, and it’s what these “alliances” are really for.

When people ask why I talk about “America” instead of “Australia”, it makes as much sense to me as saying you should focus on California instead of America. It’s a member state of the same empire, forcefully absorbed and digested into the imperial blob via coup. I just focus on the empire’s head.

“China isn’t even a true communist country, Caitlin.”

I don’t care. I do not fucking care. My opposition to western escalations against a nuclear-armed nation have nothing whatsoever to do with communism. If you only oppose warmongering against communist nations, you’re a douche.

The way imperialists try to wedge and split people based on ideology is so fucking obnoxious. War is bad. Cold war is bad. Economic warfare is bad. Stop babbling about ideology. Not supporting mass murder has nothing to do with ideology.

People sometimes tell me I need to use my “platform” to advance this or that cause that is important to them, or in a different way than I do. For the record I have no platform. I don’t even have connections; in fact I actively avoid cultivating them. I have followers, and there are some outlets which periodically choose of their own initiative to re-publish my writings for free.

I write directly to the people, and the people decide how much that’s worth. The only reason anyone knows who I am is because regular people enjoy and share my work. You can do what I’m doing too; just don’t pester me to do it for you. If you don’t like how I write or what I write about, you’ve got ten typing fingers and access to all the same free blogging sites I use. Write it yourself. You have all the exact same tools I’ve got.

And I really do mean that; I wish there were a lot more people doing this. The world needs more indie media. If you see too few people doing it the way you think it should be done, please do jump in and help out with indie content creation. We need all the help we can get.

When you ask good spiritual teachers to show you the truth they will always point you back at yourself, insistantly and uncompromisingly. When you ask phony spiritual teachers to show you the truth they’ll find various (often clever and subtle) ways to point at themselves.

It’s a battle between truth and ego, for us as individuals and for humanity as a whole. It’s no coincidence that we’re currently ruled by psychopaths and sociopaths, disorders which sit on the extreme end of the narcissism spectrum. Humanity’s problems are literally ego run amok.

______________________

New book: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix.

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 books. 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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Opposing US Imperialism Shouldn’t Depend On Ideology: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 05/04/2021 - 10:23pm in

The empire doesn’t get enough credit for propagandizing us into arguing with each other about whether our expensive new multifront cold war should prioritize escalations against Russia or China, instead of whether that cold war should occur at all. Truly a masterful manipulation.

Opposing US imperialism shouldn’t be about ideology. It shouldn’t matter if you’re a communist or an anarchist or libertarian or whatever; murder is murder, and the US is the most murderous regime in the world. Principled people oppose its murderousness regardless of ideology.

It’s offensive how often people assume your opposition to US imperialism has something to do with the government it happens to be targeting today. When they’re ramping up against China you’re a commie, when it’s Russia you’re a Trumper. No, I just oppose the worst actions of the worst government on earth.

If you only oppose imperialist warmongering against capitalist countries because you are a capitalist, then guess what? You’re a dick. Same if you only oppose imperialist warmongering against communist countries because you’re a communist. It’s not okay to murder anyone, asshole.

A government that is currently bombing other countries is worse than a government that isn’t. For fuck’s sake. For FUCK’S SAKE. How is this not extremely obvious to everyone??

So much propaganda has gone into manipulating westerners into believing that dropping explosives on human beings is fine and normal. People fail to recognize the horror solely because they’ve been propagandized in such a way that they don’t think too hard about what bombs are.

If people just had a really conscious understanding of what bombs do to human anatomy, how it’s impossible to prevent civilian deaths in bombings, and how bombs are actually being used in our world today, that alone would kill all public belief in the US empire’s moral authority.

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It’s stupid how often imperialists bleat the terms “whataboutism” and “false equivalency” in defense of US imperialism when the US empire is far worse than any government it targets. Yes, the US is not equivalent to empire-targeted nations; it’s far, far more violent and brutish.

“I oppose all governments, not just the US government.”

If your opposition does not account for and reflect the fact that the US government is orders of magnitude more violent and destructive than any other government, you support the US government.

The US empire is indisputably far more violent, thuggish and destructive than any of the governments it targets, and the aggressions of empire-targeted governments are usually a response to US imperialist aggression. Commentary on international dynamics should reflect this fact.

“Why do you only criticize the US and its allies? There are other bad governments you know.”

“Why do you only focus on the fact that your house is on fire? There are other problems with your house besides fire you know. Like, the decorating is bad. And the paint is chipping.”

You couldn’t ask for a better illustration of the way our minds are dominated by narrative than the fact that most politically minded Americans sincerely believe there’s been a major change in their country since January. Only the narratives changed, but they think reality did.

Childish idealists say we should move away from the systems that are killing our planet and pushing us toward nuclear war. Smart realists say we should keep destroying our ecosystem for as long as it’s profitable and when it’s gone we’ll just fly up to space and frolic among the stars.

The so-called liberal world order is a planetary status quo of nonstop murderous imperialism, exploitative neoliberalism and ecocidal capitalism running underneath a propaganda soundtrack babbling endlessly about how everything is fine and it’s going to get better any minute now.

In liberal free democracies you’re allowed to think, speak and vote however you want, but they train you how to think, speak and vote from birth, and they keep on training you until the day you die.

How to be a millionaire media pundit:

  • Never have any idea what the fuck you are talking about.
  • Be consistently wrong about everything.
  • Never admit when you’ve been proven wrong.
  • Only tell the truth when it serves power.
  • Never feature leftist or anti-imperialist guests.

Believing that mainstream perspectives are mainstream because they are better is as silly as believing mainstream music or movies are mainstream because they are better.

The credibility of US government agencies was so damaged by Iraq that all interventionist agendas since have relied on consent manufacturing from much more diverse sources; foreign governments, “independent” NGOs, “independent” narrative management firms like Bellingcat, etc.

At this point the labels “Russian bot”, “CCP propagandist”, “Assadist”, “conspiracy theorist”, “tankie” and “genocide/atrocity denier” all mean the same thing: “This person is disputing key imperialist narratives and the narrative management team would like you to ignore them”.

If you think the anti-China hysteria is bad now, wait til the propaganda campaign really gets going. It hasn’t even started yet. It’s going to get so much worse.

Condemning anti-Asian hate without condemning anti-China imperialist propaganda is supporting anti-Asian hate.

It sure was nice of China to start doing a bunch of evil things right when the US empire began ramping up its escalations against Beijing to prevent the upending of the unipolar world order.

Right wingers freaking out about China live in such tightly insulated echo chambers that most of them don’t even realize they’re parroting the CNN/Biden line.

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The idea of land ownership wigs me out. Oh, you own it? Who said? God? Get the fuck outta here Doug, you don’t own shit.

You have a piece of paper whose fragile legality rests on the pillaging of pirates stealing land by force only a few hundred years ago, and now you reckon you can throw me out of my home because I can’t send you enough game points to your little bank app there? How about no.

So many secretly yearn for a direct experience of the divine while adamantly refusing to consider the possibility that they are already currently having one.

Spirituality, inner work, awareness of abusive dynamics, class consciousness, peace activism and revolution are all the same thing. They’re all an expansion of awareness into parts of humanity that have been lacking in consciousness, whether they’re in yourself or in the world.

It’s all about making the unseen seen, whether that be internal dynamics within yourself which cause suffering or large-scale dynamics out in the world which cause suffering. Clear seeing and dysfunction cannot coexist, whether you’re talking about war, racism or substance abuse.

Bringing consciousness to your inner childhood trauma is the same as bringing consciousness to the reality of imperialist propaganda. Bringing consciousness to your true nature is the same as bringing consciousness to economic injustice. It’s all the same expansion of awareness.

Nobody owns this. Nobody has mastered this. No one person on earth sees all dynamics in themselves and all dynamics in the world. We’re all endarkened in some ways, trying to make things more enlightened in more ways. We’re all part of a collective expansion of consciousness.

We’re all part of this movement from unseeing to seeing, whether we realize it or not. We’re either working to bring things into the light of truth, or we’re fighting to keep things hidden, or a little from both columns A and B depending on what we’ve got going on. Choose seeing.

____________________________

New book: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix.

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 books. 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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Tankie, Conspiracy Theorist, And Other Pejorative Tools Of Narrative Control

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 04/04/2021 - 10:25pm in

Bloomberg pundit Noah Smith had a very revealing interaction on Twitter the other day that I’ve been meaning to write about ever since.

It began with Smith sharing a screenshot of an article by journalist Yasha Levine which condemns US imperialist escalations against China and ties them to the sudden spike in anti-Asian hate crimes we’ve been seeing. Smith shared his screenshot with the caption, “I hold by my prediction that the American Left is going to split into A) social democrats, and B) foreign-policy-obsessed pseudo-tankies.”

“How do we stop the B group from driving the narrative?” one of Smith’s followers asked him.

“Well, first we teach everyone the word ‘tankie’!” Smith replied, with a Substack article he authored explaining that any leftist who opposes western imperialist agendas against China should be branded with that label and dismissed.

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Which is just so refreshing in its honesty, really. It’s been obvious for ages that such pejoratives are being used by imperialists to control the narrative in a way that benefits ruling power structures, but it’s not often you’ll have a mainstream narrative manager come right out and say that this is exactly what they are trying to do.

Smith’s admission that he is training his audience to bleat the word “tankie” at any leftist who is “obsessed” with a tiny trivial matter like US foreign policy in order to control the dominant foreign policy narrative is born out by the rest of his Twitter activity, which sees him repeating that word constantly and weaponizing it against anyone who expresses skepticism of the empire’s official foreign policy narratives.

“Tankie” used to be a term which referred specifically to British communists who supported the Soviet Union, but under the facilitation of narrative managers like Smith it’s enjoying a mainstream resurrection in which it is commonly weaponized against anyone to the left of Bernie Sanders who opposes US imperialist agendas. I wrote against imperialism for years without anyone ever applying that pejorative to me, but now it comes up on a near-daily basis. I haven’t changed the basics of my beliefs or my approach to anti-imperialism, but the widespread use of “tankie” as a pejorative against people like me most certainly has changed.

It joins the ranks of famous weaponized pejoratives like “Russian bot”, “CCP propagandist”, “Assadist”, and the one size fits all perennial favorite “conspiracy theorist” in labels which can be applied to ensure the dismissal of anyone who voices skepticism of narratives that are being promoted by known liars to facilitate the agendas of murderous psychopaths. Another new crowd favorite is “genocide denier”, a label that gets applied to anyone who points out the glaring plot holes in the imperial Uyghur narrative which narrative managers are overjoyed about being able to use because it lets them equate skepticism of a geostrategically significant US narrative with Nazism.

What these pejoratives accomplish, as Noah Smith is well aware, is the ability to inoculate the mainstream herd from the wrongthink of anyone to whom that label has been applied. That way they never have to engage the argument or the evidence that gets laid out contradicting the official imperial line; as long as they can convince enough people to accept their pejorative as legitimate, they have a magical phrase they can utter to dispel any anti-imperialist argument which appears anywhere in the information ecosystem.

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This is a major part of an imperial narrative manager’s job these days: smearing anti-imperialists and critical thinkers as untrustworthy. The debate is never to be engaged and counter-arguments are never to be made; why engage in a debate you will probably lose when you can simply explain to everyone why nobody should listen to the other side?

A perfect example of this would be the recent smear piece the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) put out on The Grayzone with the title “Strange bedfellows on Xinjiang: The CCP, fringe media and US social media platforms”.

As explained in a thread by Grayzone’s Aaron Maté, the government-funded and arms industry-funded think tank ASPI makes no effort in its report to dispute or debunk any of the reporting that The Grayzone has been putting out on China or on anything else. Rather, they simply work to associate the outlet with the Chinese government by citing incidents in which Chinese officials shared Grayzone articles on social media. By fallaciously associating The Grayzone with the Chinese government, narrative managers now have a weapon which enables them to dismiss the outlet as “CCP propaganda”.

As anyone who has been active in anti-imperialist online discourse knows, this is an extremely common tactic which narrative managers and their indoctrinated herd use to dismiss questions, criticisms and evidence which is inconvenient to the US-centralized imperial war machine. Try countering their claims with a well-sourced article full of robust argumentation and solid evidence, and they’ll dismiss you with a “Ha ha, THAT outlet? That outlet is propaganda!” Because it came from an anti-imperialist outlet like The Grayzone or Consortium News instead of an outlet which never fails to support US military agendas like The New York Times.

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But it’s a completely ridiculous tactic if you think about it. All they’re really saying is “You can’t use that anti-imperialist outlet to substantiate your anti-imperialist position! You can only use the pro-US outlets which have helped deceive westerners into backing every US war!” It’s also logically fallacious; attacking the source instead of the argument is what people do when they can’t attack the argument.

Citing an empire-targeted government sharing an anti-imperialist article as evidence that that government is tied to that outlet in some way is an equally absurd argument; obviously governments are going to cite evidence and arguments which favor them, and the imperialist western media isn’t going to be publishing such evidence or arguments. The fact that western anti-imperialists and nations like Russia and China both oppose western imperialism doesn’t mean western anti-imperialists work for Russ or China, it means those groups all oppose western imperialism for their own reasons. Since western imperialism is the most murderous and oppressive force on this planet, it’s to be expected that multiple different groups will oppose it.

Pay attention to the way imperial narrative managers try to use smears and pejoratives to file away anti-imperialists into a “don’t listen to the things this person says” box, and help others pay attention to it too. This is no more legitimate an argument than the Wizard of Oz yelling “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain,” and it should be treated with no more respect than that.

_____________________

New book: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix.

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 books. 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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Opposing All Governments Equally Is Supporting The Most Powerful Government

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 31/03/2021 - 11:04pm in

The US-centralized empire is waging nonstop wars that have killed millions of human beings just since the turn of this century, and people will still say things like “We’ve really got to do something about Cuba.”

The US-centralized empire is circling the planet with hundreds of military bases, working to destroy any nation which disobeys its dictates and brandishing armageddon weapons at its enemies like a drunken hillbilly with a shotgun, and people are still like “Something must be done about China’s intellectual property theft!”

Among the violent and destructive governments in our world, one towers high above all the others in a league entirely of its own. Add in the malign behavior of its allies, who effectively function as arms of the same single empire on foreign policy, and the gap between it and the next-worst offender grows even greater. And yet, somehow, many people act as though this power structure should not face a unique level of criticism and scrutiny.

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A lot of propaganda-addled empire loyalists bleat the terms “whataboutism” and “false equivalency” at anyone who responds to criticisms of nations like Russia or China by pointing out the terrible things the US does and continues to do, implying that America is far better than those other nations and that even bringing them into the same conversation is absurd. And they are correct, it is absurd, but for the exact opposite reason they think: the US is far, far worse.

There is no other power structure that is anywhere near as violent, thuggish and authoritarian as the one that is currently using its military and economic might to murder, starve, bully and cajole the rest of humanity into submission and obedience to its interests. No one else comes anywhere remotely close. Any analysis of international dynamics which fails to place this fact front and center in its understanding is necessarily a flawed, power-serving analysis.

It’s not just the brainwashed human livestock of the mainstream who fail to take this reality into account, but also many self-styled “anarchists” and other ideologues who fancy themselves to be up-punching critics of power. The mantra “I oppose all governments equally” will often see such types enthusiastically supporting the downfall of US-targeted governments like Syria and China, simply because those governments are more authoritarian than they’d like. Because it’s not informed by a reality-based weighting of world power dynamics as they actually exist, their “anti-authoritarianism” sees them supporting the most tyrannical agendas of the most tyrannical power structure on earth.

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You’ll hear them called “anarcho-imperialists” or “anarcho-neocons” by anti-imperialists; people whose internet anarchism leads them to actively facilitate western propaganda initiatives against targeted governments because those governments are not pure and utopian enough for the delicate sensibilities in their blond dreadlock-adorned heads. They’ll pay lip service to opposing the US government too, but “opposing all governments” without that opposition reflecting the fact that one government is orders of magnitude worse than any other is supporting that very government.

The fallacy of “I oppose all governments equally” is best summarized by the Anatole France quote, “In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.” All things are not equal, and treating all governments as though they are the same will always serve the interests of the most powerful government.

It’s like those American libertarians who say “I oppose all forms of welfare, including corporate welfare!” Well guess what mate? Put your shoulder against that value system and shove, and then watch whose welfare ends up getting cut. I’ll give you a hint: it won’t be the rich guys.

Force always flows most freely when it’s being directed against those who power opposes, next most freely when it’s directed against those to whom power is indifferent, and least freely when it’s directed against the most powerful themselves. It’s always far easier to flow with power than against it; that’s why the richest people are always those who collaborate with existing power structures. Firing your energy at “all governments equally” will see that energy picked up and ran with wherever it opposes the governments the largest power structure doesn’t like.

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As journalist Maitreya Bhakal recently put it:

“Neither Washington nor Beijing”, is essentially (and secretly) a pro-Washington, anti-Beijing position. Equating both sides always helps the more evil side. Just because both US and China are wrong, doesn’t mean both are equally wrong.

The problem is the nation that is infinitely less wrong than the other, is criticized infinitely more. Criticism should be proportional to the crime. This is why those who push for “equality before law” in China — ignore it while comparing China to US.

It’s basically like saying “Neither Hitler nor Obama”: Imagine how pleased Hitler would be at being equated with Obama — no matter the latter’s crimes. Those who call for nuance when opposing “whataboutism” fail to apply nuance when comparing US and China. Thus, the effect (and in many cases, the purpose) of Bothsidesism is to not only to make the more evil side look less evil, but also to justify the more evil side’s evil atrocities against the less evil side.

People often tell me “You don’t oppose imperialism, you only criticize US imperialism!” And to them I always reply, well, show me the other government that’s circling the planet with hundreds of military bases, waging nonstop wars and orchestrating the destruction of any nation which disobeys it. I’ll criticize that one too.

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I make no bones about the fact that I prefer to focus my criticisms on the most powerful and destructive power structure in the world. It’s not weird and suspicious to do this, it’s weird and suspicious that more people don’t do it. It is the sane and normal thing to do, and the fact that this isn’t the default assumption says so much about how extensively our society is wound around the convenience of the powerful.

Not only is focusing your opposition on the most powerful and destructive government the most rational use of your energy, it’s also impossible to circulate criticisms of US-targeted nations without facilitating and participating in the US propaganda campaigns against those governments. I guarantee you that if I changed my tune and suddenly began authoring articles decrying the treatment of Alexei Navalny and the Uyghurs in Xinjiang province, those articles would go more viral than anything I have ever written, because they flow in the direction of existing imperialist propaganda campaigns. I would be responsible for the consequences of my doing this.

And there would be consequences. Before they launch missiles, they launch narratives. Before they drop bombs, they drop propaganda. The path to every bullet in every war is paved with mass-scale narrative manipulation, and when we choose to participate in that paving we are just as culpable for the death and destruction that ensues as the guys who drop the actual bombs. The devastating effects of war against nations like Syria or Iran and the potentially world-ending consequences of cold war aggressions against Russia and China rest on the shoulders of those who helped circulate the narratives which facilitated them.

So be real with yourself about what you’re putting out there, and be responsible about it. Be mindful of whether you’re helping to advance an agenda with a lot of energy behind it from the most powerful forces on earth, because those are the agendas that will be enacted. Don’t let your “anarchism” turn you into a goddamn stormtrooper for the empire.

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