Friday, April 27, 2018

Preparing For When We Overthrow The Billionaire Class

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On this Tuesday, May 1st, I urge people to participate in the General Strike. Stock up on food so that you can go without buying anything for some time. Refuse to come to work if you can. Attach these actions to concrete demands by posting the policies we want enacted on social media, and hopefully by marching for them in the streets. Policies I’d suggest for this are breaking up the banks, amending Citizens United, and ending America’s illegal wars.
If this strike is big enough, it will disrupt the economic system so much that the ruling class trembles. Whatever size it is though, we’ll need to organize more and bigger strikes after it. Along with more protests against the war state and corporate power, more involvement in organizing groups, and more spreading of dissenting information in the online alternative media.
If we keep growing the popular movements that have appeared in the last few years, the establishment will be overwhelmed. Corporate power works the same as the communist, theocratic, and fascist ideologies that have made up other totalitarian regimes. With all of them, rulers have wrapped their tyranny in the guise of upholding a pseudo-noble ideology. What can redeem societies that have come under the hold of despots are those who acknowledge the injustice they’re seeing in front of them, whatever the ruling ideology says.
The ruling elite use the neoliberal worldview, an extension of Ayn Rand and Social Darwinism, to rationalize their plunder of the lower classes as a legitimate outcome of economic competition. The result, as a 2014 Russell Sage Foundation poll of those in the top 1% of the income scale found, is a general attitude of disregard for people outside their circle of power. Most millionaires and billionaires support cutting basic social services; most think that the minimum wage should not be raised to give all workers a living income; most don’t think the government should guarantee each person food, clothing and shelter.
As these elites go through lives of incredible luxury and power, they attack anyone who challenges them, and are suspicious of whatever represents broader forms of humanity. “Oligarchs look at regulations to protect the environment or the safety of workers as impediments to profit and abolish them,” writes Chris Hedges in The Deadly Rule of the Oligarchs. “Oligarchs move industries to Mexico or China to increase their wealth while impoverishing American workers and leaving U.S. cities in ruins. Oligarchs are philistines. They are deaf, dumb and blind to great works of art, reveling in tawdry spectacles, patriotic kitsch and mindless entertainment. They despise artists and intellectuals who promote virtues and self-criticism that conflict with the lust for power, celebrity and wealth.”
The paradise of the rich, as Victor Hugo said, is built on the hell of the poor. And as the rich increasingly separate those two realities around the world, with the “Green Zone” communities of the secure being bordered off from the “Red Zone” areas of the destitute, a dystopia of inequality is forming. We need to mobilize all opponents of corporate power, whether they’re progressives, libertarians, or conservatives, towards upsetting the forces of plutocracy.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Palestinians Will Free Themselves, And So Will We

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This last month’s explosion of Israeli violence against Palestinians shows a telling historical pattern in colonialist states: when a colonialist state feels uncertain for its future, it resorts to more brutal attacks on the target groups. The resistance to South African Apartheid provoked violence, like the Sharpeville Massacre of 1960-just like how resistance to all tyrannies are met with increasingly brutal attempts to put them down. Histories like these, though, tend to go in the direction of positive social change, something that both the Palestinians and we have to remember.
“Ultimately, the people of Palestine will liberate themselves,” concludes Lana Habash’s commentary on the recent Israeli massacre of unarmed Palestinians in Gaza, “but those in the international community who are horrified by recent events in Gaza, can still do their part. If you reject white supremacy and you care about black and brown lives, then you must also reject the legitimacy of Israel, as a colonial settler state. Support boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel. Stop the 3 billion dollars a year that the US government gives to Israel (soon to be 3.8 billion). Support the right of Palestinian people to reclaim all their land.”
As Americans, our struggle against oppression isn’t as serious as the holocaust that Palestinians are effectively undergoing, but we need to take comparable actions: boycotting corporations like Amazon, which is part of the empire of the dangerous plutocrat Jeff Bezos. Stopping the United States’ military expenditures by refusing the war tax; organizing to support the rights of Muslims, undocumented immigrants, blacks, and others who are being targeted.
Like the American political establishment, the Israeli government is under threat as more and more people take actions like these. As Israel has committed recent atrocities like the jailing of Ahed Tamimi, the cutting off of the water supply in Gaza, and this month’s shootings of peaceful Palestinian demonstrators, many people around the world, including in Israel itself, have become outraged at Israel’s decades-old paradigm of corruption and brutality.
The glorifications of Israel, anti-Palestinian racism, and Orwellian denials of human rights abuses can’t stop people from seeing what’s going on. Neither can the propaganda for corporate capitalism and globalization, which has dissolved amid the complete discrediting of these ideologies. So like Israel, the American corporate state is lashing out. Increased police militarization; the revival of McCarthyism in media; heavy anti-“fake news” censorship measures, epitomized with the recent codifying of Facebook’s policies to shut down dissent.
The Israeli and U.S. governments are naturally working together in their campaigns to silence opposition, like when the senate considered a (failed) bill to criminalize the boycott of Israel last year. And like how the Israeli government is currently colluding with the CIA-partnered Facebook leadership to delete accounts of vocal Palestinians. Israel is also recruiting paid online trolls from around the world-a standard internet era psyop tactic known as astroturfing-to police opposition to Israel’s practices even on the level of online threads. The militarized, despotic governments of Israel and America will do all they can to get rid of the growing popular resistance to them.
As we keep building our social movements, we need to create solidarity with the Palestinians, like we need to have solidarity with all oppressed people around the globe. The Palestinian people’s decision over these last several decades to keep existing, and to keep resisting their bondage, is finally showing signs of being worthwhile. We should take example from their story as we try to overcome corporate power.

Monday, April 23, 2018

The War Propaganda Machine Has Never Been This Vulnerable

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As journalists like Sarah Abdallah, Seymour Hersh, and Jimmy Dore have spoken up against the transparent lies the western empire is telling about Syria, they’ve come under intense attack. The BBC has slandered the “online activists pushing conspiracy theories” about Syria. The Times of the UK has put out the large headline“Apologists for Assad working in universities,” in an attempt to discredit any academic who doesn’t follow the government’s line. A general media sensation has developed around “Assad apologists,” following the same pattern as the “Saddam apologists” of fifteen years ago.

We know that the CIA has an operation for covertly spreading propaganda within foreign and domestic media, and that most media is owned by just a few large corporate conglomerates. And we know that these attacks have to largely be happening at the direct orders of the deep state, as it decides how it will respond to this threat to its propaganda power. What’s unique about this attack is that in past cases, the war propaganda machine hasn’t felt the need to attack these “online activists” very much.
When the empire carried out a similar Syria WMD deception last April, those who spoke out were attacked, but not as thoroughly as they are now. Tulsi Gabbard underwent character assassination for questioning the narrative that Assad had committed a chemical attack, but lower-profile people generally went ignored.
There were no factually inaccurate pieces in The Guardian which pointed to Russian trolls as the source of doubt over the establishment’s claims. Dore and other online journalists opposed the war narrative, but they didn’t get named in similarly fallacious CNN articles as punishment.
This is because unlike a year ago, these figures are too influential to be ignored, so they have to be attacked. It’s also because the U.S.-centralized power establishment no doubt thinks that getting a consensus for the Syria and Russia war narratives is crucial. People like Dore and Abdallah are the main thing that stands in the way of this, so they must be attacked with full force.
Writes Caitlin Johnstone about how bizarre this sudden media obsession with online journalists looks: “Are we really meant to think it’s normal for all these mass media corporations to suddenly start ferociously attacking anyone who expresses skepticism about the military agendas of western forces that have an extensive and well-documented history of using lies, propaganda and false flags to manufacture support for military agendas? Are we really meant to believe that Syria, a nation for which the US and UK have been plotting regime change for many years, is just now in sore need of humanitarian regime change? And that anyone who says otherwise just loves Bashar al-Assad, Vladimir Putin and dead babies?”
This is a David and Goliath situation. The establishment has shown us this with its tactfully foolish overkill attack. Keep working to expose the war machine’s deceptions while it’s in this vulnerable position. Because if the war machine is defeated, so might also be the oil empire, corporate capitalist economic system, and white supremacist power structure that war helps sustain.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

How We’ll Defeat The Deep State

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The deep state is a unique threat to democracy. It’s immune to populist movements, since its members hold power from posts higher than any elected office. Though most Americans are vaguely aware of it, it can easily make itself invisible, using the vast media branches at its command to distract the public. “Left vs right,” wroteCaitlin Johnstone last year, “is nonsensical as long as there’s a deep state in America...What’s the point in debating left vs. right in a country that does not have a single viable pro-human political party?”

The deep state’s formidableness shouldn’t stop us from organizing towards peace, sustainability, and equality. In fact, a vast upwelling of action on the local level is what’s needed to overwhelm the centralized oppressive force. As we build this movement, our end goals will need to include the following policies, which my personal research has found are vital towards defeating the deep state.
Abolish the CIA, FBI, and NSA
These centers are unconstitutional and incurably corrupt. The CIA’s dangers are most apparent, with it being behind a saga of drug-running, bloody coups, torture, and psyops. Like the CIA, the FBI and NSA are virtually unaccountable to congress, with them together constituting the largest surveillance/police state in history. The idea to disband these institutions and replace them with an ethical intelligence gathering center, as CIA expert Steve Kangas has advocated, makes even more sense when we see how politically powerful they’ve become.
The security state has become a fourth branch of government since 9/11, and it’s now more powerful than the executive branch. We can tell this from the unprecedented control the CIA has had over policy since Trump took office: historic rates of drone attacks and bombings; an expanded war on whistleblowers; a succession of brutal neoconservative cabinet appointees.
And when Trump has deviated from the deep state’s agenda, they’ve used the baseless charge of Trump being a “Russian agent” to pressure him towards their will. They’ve done this with a chilling system of centralized media coordination that runs through the CIA, which was established when a ban on domestic CIA media psyops was repealed in 2013. “In the age of legal, weaponized propaganda directed at the American people,” writes Mintpress’ Whittney Webb, “false narratives have become so commonplace in the mainstream and even alternative media that these falsehoods have essentially become normalized, leading to the era of ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts.’”
Warfare, the tool that these hidden rulers have used to gain this power, is the next thing we need to eliminate.
Get rid of the military-industrial complex
Like how the countries with universal health care have made it illegal for any company to profit from illness, we need to make it illegal for any company to profit from war. The establishment narrative about the military-industrial complex now having little influence is dishonest. Defense contractors from Halliburton and other companies have made around $140 billion from the Iraq War, while the class of war profiteers in contractors like Raytheon are quietly getting rich from the operations in Syria. It’s been like this roughly for the last eight decades, and there’s no telling how long it will go on.
When we destroy the war machine, we’ll be cutting off the deep state’s life source, and in more ways than financially. The purpose of making war continuous in the modern age, as 1984 illustrated, is to sustain totalitarianism. War destroys resources that would otherwise be used for educating the proletarians, while creating an atmosphere where obeying the state seems vital for countering an ever-looming enemy. To both get rid of the private military-industrial complex, and to stop the government from waging war for its own purposes, we need to make war itself illegal.
Hold the deep state to justice
Actually, war is already illegal. Under the Paris Peace Pact of 1928, it is illegal for a country to attack another country without provocation, an act that’s defined as a crime against peace. If the leaders of the United States and its allies were held accountable to this law, the world would enter into an unprecedented age of peace.
This means prosecuting presidents Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton, and many of their cabinet for repeatedly committing this type of war crime-the crime of aggression, which the Nazi officers who invaded multiple countries were convicted of at Nuremberg. Add this onto the lies to congress, unconstitutional spying programs, and unprosecuted corruption that these and other officials have engaged in, and a major overhaul of the criminals in government can take place.
These all seem like impossible goals, as the deep state continues to fortify its influence and militarize society. But if we keep mobilizing, to the extent that we carry out a series of nationwide strikes and demonstrations, the power structure will be forced to yield. This struggle compares to the fight to break down the Berlin Wall, whose final strategy for victory was assessed by Michael Moore in the film Where To Invade Next as: “Hammer, Chisel, Down. Rinse and repeat.”

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

How The Democratic Establishment Throttles Opposition To War

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In modern America, the liberal elite serve as ideological gatekeepers for the depraved agenda of imperialism. They put positive labels on the indefensible acts of the war state, like “liberal interventionism” and “pragmatism.” They voice theoretical opposition to war while helping in, and expanding on, the wars that Republicans openly engage in. At the moment of a war runup, they always back the official narrative about the target country, giving the narrative supposed credence. The consequences of America’s wars are blocked from view by mainstream “left-leaning” media as much as by right-leaning mainstream media.

The plutocracy can’t have it any other way. If the Democratic Party were to challenge corporate and military power, the dualistic party system that’s used to marginalize dissent would be shattered. This is why the party’s leadership is now sabotaging the campaigns of the 2018 Berniecrat candidates, and clearly planning to rig the 2020 Democratic primary against the anti-establishment candidate. Bernie Sanders’ opposition to the empire’s worst excesses, not even nearly as radical as what the hardcore socialists want, is enough to appall the establishment.
The Democratic Party’s tactics for shutting down the antiwar movement are well on display right now amid the ongoing Syria and Russia war escalations. The Trump administration’s illegal and inflammatory strike on Damascus last week was endorsed by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, with just a few senate Democrats strongly opposing it. Anyone who’s pointed out the glaring inconsistencies in the claim that Assad had committed a chemical attack beforehand is attacked as a “far right” conspiracy theorist, or as a Russian agent.
This is how wars are always carried through; the liberal party’s complicity makes the war bipartisan, forcing dissenters out of the conversation. It was done throughout Obama’s war’s with slightly different maneuverings, and it’s being done throughout Trump’s wars just as effectively.
This underlies the fact that for the last couple years, Democrats have been pushing for war escalations like these. It’s been supposedly left-leaning news outlets like MSNBC that have used the still unsubstantiated “Russiagate” scandal to attack Trump from the right, responding with charges of Trump being a Russian agent each time he hasn’t went along with the new cold war agenda. It’s the Democrats’ last presidential nominee who advocated for a no-fly zone in Syria and planned to escalate Syrian involvement, with many Democratic leaders supporting similar policies towards Syria. These Syria strikes, as Norman Solomon has assessed, are “a salute to ‘Russiagate’ enthusiasts, whether they like it or not.”
This war campaign surrounding Syria and Russia has been uniquely dangerous, both because of the multiple ways it could trigger World War III and because it’s involved an intense authoritarianism. In one of the most alarming examples of this, during February the liberal pundit John Stoehr put out an article titled “It’s Time for Democrats to Wave the Flag.” Its message was that Democrats must present themselves as protectors against Russia to attract voters. The absurdity of this plan makes it easy to laugh at. But the open Cold War nationalism that expressions like it represent shows the Orwellian future that the deep state wants to take the country into.
In the last year or so, we have seen major attempts to normalize a war mentality within liberal America: rehabilitations of George W. Bush’s image in corporate media; recruitments of former intelligence heads into networks like MSNBC; a 2018 Democratic candidate slate that includes 57 ex-intelligence or military officials. Militarism, fear of foreign threats, and obedience to established institutions are being drilled into the American people like never before. We need to counter the war state before it either totally dismantles liberty, or leads us into an apocalyptic worldwide conflict.

Monday, April 16, 2018

The War State Is Lashing Out Because It Knows It Won’t Last Much Longer

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If there’s any comfort in the expanding war campaigns, increasing repression, and Orwellian propaganda that the U.S. political establishment is engaging in, it’s that the establishment is reacting to its impending demise. The recent Pentagon training video which appears to prepare troops for a massive social breakdown by 2030 shows what the ruling elite are anticipating. And last week’s attack on Syria was another example of the extremes the war state is going to during its period of collapse.
This is nothing new. Declining empires always resort to irrational and ever-expanding war campaigns to try to regain their former power. As the U.S. rapidly shrinks in influence, it’s fulfilling this behavior by wildly expanding its military campaigns in eight countries, threatening to invade Iran and North Korea, and starting a new cold war which involves China and Russia. An ever-expanding military budget is part of the effort to compensate. As is the obsession with strengthening security through active shooter drills, police militarization, and authoritarian propaganda.
“This is how military empires fall and fail: by spreading themselves too thin and spending themselves to death,” wrote John Whitehead this year. “It happened in Rome. It’s happening again. Not content to merely police the globe, in recent decades, America has gradually transformed its homeland into a battlefield with militarized police and weapons better suited to a war zone. Since taking office, President Trump—much like his predecessors—has marched in lockstep with the military. Now Trump wants $716 billion to expand America’s military empire abroad and billions more to hire cops, build more prisons and wage more profit-driven war on-drugs/war-on-terrorism/war-on-crime programs that eat away at the Fourth Amendment while failing to make the country any safer.”
This underlying weakness in the system is our main hope for defeating the war state, since I don’t think the United States is going to get a major antiwar movement. The lack of a draft has made it so that mainly the poorest of people-the ones who have to resort to joining the military-feel the full consequences of war. This has left most other people detached from the horrors that the U.S. government perpetuates around the world, and has neutralized the opposition to war.
But the war state is collapsing on its own, and we can help speed up its collapse. This can be done by using the war state’s growing dysfunctionality to destroy the people’s faith in it. The political establishment is now trying to shift the blame for its instability onto scapegoats, like Russia and other foreign or imagined entities. But if we keep the public aware that neoliberalism, militarism, the Democratic and Republican parties, and media propaganda are to blame for our crises, an uprising could happen.
It could happen because even in North Korea, one of the most repressive states on earth, something comparable is happening. Amid North Korea’s economic strains, more and more people aren’t privately honoring Kim Jong Un, making for almost open dissent. As this happens much more visibly in the United States, with spreading strikes, growing populist movements, and a rise in awareness of the deep state, the establishment is getting desperate to stop this all from heading towards revolution.
“The mass media propaganda machine is very busy,” observed Caitlin Johnstone last month. “It’s got wars to manufacture consent for, it’s got Russia to lie about, it’s got a CIA-packed midterm election to sell as healthy democracy, it’s got end-stage ecocidal neoliberalism to disguise as freedom and sanity, and it’s got a corporatist oligarchy to dress up as a constitutional representative republic.” Keep organizing. Keep informing. Keep chipping at the power structure’s foundations. I believe we’re very late in the lifetime of this two-hundred-year-old war empire.

Friday, April 13, 2018

How We’ll Defeat Tyranny

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Corporate power is shaking right now. After a month of rapidly growing teacher strikes around the world, Arizona’s governor has announced that he’ll raise teacher pay by twenty percent over the next two years. Some of the teachers have been insulted by their own legislatures in response. The kleptocrat billionaire education secretary Betsy DeVos has tried to pit students against them. But by threatening to destabilize the corporate state that’s outrageously neglected and sabotaged public schools over the last several decades, the system is being forced to give into their demands.
We all need to do our own version of this strike, or else the system will consume us. In a recent Pentagon training video titled “Megacities: Urban Future, the Emerging Complexity,” the deep state revealed that it plans to establish martial law by 2030. In response to the social, economic, and environmental crises that are expected to emerge in the coming years, says the video, troops will be sent in to restore order.
Constitutional rights aren’t mentioned in the Pentagon’s presentation. Neither are the horrendous assaults on the population that such a project would entail, possibly since the military will want to keep its troops obedient when they’re ordered to attack their fellow Americans. All that matters to the ruling elite is keeping their control, even as the systems they’ve built prove to be unsustainable. The end result, as John C. Whitehead writes about the Pentagon video’s implications, will be dystopian:
“The chilling five-minute training video, obtained by The Intercept through a FOIA request and made available online, paints an ominous picture of the future—a future the military is preparing for—bedeviled by ‘criminal networks,’ ‘substandard infrastructure,’ ‘religious and ethnic tensions,’ ‘impoverishment, slums,’ ‘open landfills, over-burdened sewers,’ a ‘growing mass of unemployed,’ and an urban landscape in which the prosperous economic elite must be protected from the impoverishment of the have nots.”
This is the future we’re being subtly and slowly conditioned to accept, through the active shooter drills, war propaganda, militarized police, public military demonstrations, and surveillance which increasingly pervade society. And it’s the complete opposite of the future we’ll really need in order to survive.
We need to decentralize power. We need to demilitarize society. We need to totally dismantle corporate power. In my view, we’ll need to replace the current system with an eco-socialist society, one where decisions are made mainly on local levels. But we’ll be able to choose what kind of world to create after we get rid of this current global oligarchy, which is choking out humanity’s potential. And we can do this by refusing to take part in the system.
If we stage massive, repeated general strikes with, the ruling class will be forced to respond to them. Studies of past revolutions have shown that it only takes 3.5% of a population to overthrow a government, with nonviolent uprisings being the most effective. These strikes will have to involve millions of people, they’ll have to be made with clear policy demands towards dismantling military and corporate power, and they’ll have to be organized soon. But organizing them is entirely possible.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

How We Can Stop War In Syria

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The latest Syrian war justification makes even less sense than the last one. The one from a year ago, which claimed Assad had attacked Khan Sheikhoun with chemical weapons, was cast into doubt by the very UN report that had tried to prove it; James Mattis has admitted there’s no proof that Assad was behind that attack; the Syrian and Russian governments, as well as the consistently credible Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, say that the incident was in fact an unintentional chemical spillover that happened when a Syrian aircraft bombed an ammunition depot.

Yet when Mattis made that crucial statement about the incident in February, corporate media headlines almost entirely ignored it, instead emphasizing that Mattis “warns of a coming Syrian chemical attack.” Then later that month, Russia charged that the U.S. was training its Al-Nusra partners to stage “false flag” chemical provocations which would be blamed on Assad. It’s still possible that Russia’s claim wasn’t true. But the events of the last week have only made it seem more plausible.
Upon the Syria chemical explosion on April 7, the State Department reportedAssad’s guilt within hours. No investigation had been made. The case was immediately solved. The U.S., the U.S.’ NATO allies, and the media of all these countries would now promote this baseless charge, with the sheer ubiquity of agreement on it among authorities making it seem impossible to question. This made things surreal for those who saw the glaring holes in the story.
Government sources told Reuters on April 9th that they “had not yet conclusively determined whether the attack was carried out by President Bashar al-Assad's Syrian government forces." And it isn’t just a matter of time before they do find evidence. Assad had almost won the war before the incident, with his main strategic worry clearly being how he would get rid of the military onslaught from the West. Attacking a crowd of Assad’s own people-especially a civilian crowd largely made up of children-would have done nothing to benefit Assad. And Assad has known this for a long time, as evidenced by Syria’s having totally removed its chemical weapons as of 2016.
But no amount of facts will make a difference in what the U.S. decides to do next. The American empire, as the Pentagon’s own data has shown, is quickly declining, and the U.S. political establishment is trying to regain geopolitical dominance by engaging in war with total abandon. This has been made clear in the empire’s careless escalations with Russia, which the fate of the Syria conflict ties in with.
So the American people need to stop their government from careening us into a third world war. Saying that all attempts at this are futile is an excuse for inaction. It’s our responsibility to take every action we can to stop this war. And these actions include refusing to pay war taxes; sowing resistance among armed service members; putting daily pressure on representatives to oppose these war escalations; spreading online counter-propaganda against the establishment’s Syria and Russia narratives; and taking part in antiwar demonstrations, which are planned for several major U.S. cities on April 14-15.
When the president carries out another Syria strike, it’s likely amid the current propaganda assault that most Americans will support the strike. But most Americans still haven’t given their permission for a broader Syria escalation, something the deep state is evidently doing all it can to change. In the next few weeks, if we can convince Americans to not be pushed towards war, we’ll be able to avert irreversible disaster.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Capitalism Is Teetering On The Edge Of Its Demise

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The behavior of the markets in the last three months have confirmed the many predictions that a gargantuan economic crash is coming. The Dow has been alternately swinging up and down several hundred points, while hovering well below the level it was at during its peak this year. This stock market-and the finances in general-are estimated to be at their most inflated state since before the Great Depression. So there’s no telling how big this next crash will be, other than that it will be worse than 2008.
A new housing bubble has appeared as real estate prices are near where they were before the last crash; stock and bond prices are higher than they were before that crash; the manipulations of the big banks and the Federal Reserve have resulted in an unprecedented mountain of debt, making for what James Howard Kunstler describes as the “great period of America lying to itself.” And similar problems existin the the Chinese banking system, as well as in European institutions like Deutsche Bank.
What will happen in this crash is an unparalleled crisis for capitalism. After half a century of attacks on workers’ rights, austerity, regressive taxation, corporate trade deals, and expanded corporate control, the poor and working classes of the world are ready to rise up. All they seem to need is a major disruption that makes action feel like their first priority.
The efforts to counter the oligarchy during the last financial crisis showed us a smaller version of what’s coming. Resistance to the banks’ attempts at taking more control after the 2008 crash was widespread around the world, with enormous protests taking place against the bailouts and austerity policies. These may have been largely ineffective, but they helped exacerbate the chaos that Wall Street was under during that time. The banks, as Naomi Klein has observed, were “on their knees,” with bank nationalization being a possibility during the peak of the crisis.
These efforts failed, wrote Klein last year in her book No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need, partly because they didn’t articulate a clear vision for what would come after the corporations were defeated. “In the West there is little popular memory of any other kind of economic system,” goes one passage. “There are specific cultures and communities-most notably Indigenous communities-that have vigilantly kept alive memories of other ways to live, not based on ownership of the land and endless extraction of profit. But most of us who are outside those traditions find ourselves fully within capitalism’s matrix-so while we demand slight improvements to our current conditions, imagining something else entirely is more difficult.”
When the factors of social unrest converge for a major protest movement, this movement will need to clearly offer a vision of a socialist future. We aren’t just here to “reform” capitalism. We’re here to transform our economic system in a way that completely takes away corporate and military power. Remember to push this message as we move into this project, which could start very soon.
May Day is a key date for those who hope to ignite this kind of movement. It’s been marginalized as an exclusively “communist” holiday, and then separated into a new September Labor Day holiday, for a reason. It’s dangerous to give the poor a yearly reminder that they’re capable of taking action, so this year we need to confirm the capitalist class’ fears.
On Tuesday, May 1st, we’ll need to refuse to go to work or to buy products. To the extent that each of us can manage this, we’ll hopefully carry the general strike into that entire week. And if it doesn’t have impact, we’ll keep striking, in bigger and bigger numbers, as the economy continues to teeter. Already the teacher strikes are intimidating the government, and they’re still spreading around the world. If enough people join these teachers, the power of the ruling class will come more and more into question.

Friday, April 6, 2018

The Silencing Of Assange Won’t Stop The Revolution

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In the last month, as the U.S.-centralized power establishment has all but removed the threat from Julian Assange by cutting off his internet, the world outside Assange’s prison has remained a threat to that establishment. The lower and working classes of the world haven’t disappeared, and neither has the misery they’ve experienced under corporate capitalism. Those who commit themselves to resisting injustice and exposing the truth haven’t gone away. And Assange is just one of millions of them.
On April 3rd, 1968, the day before Martin Luther King Jr. was killed by the U.S. government, he gave a speech that concluded: “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land.” Assange and King have comparable stories, having both defied tyranny and exposed the truth whatever the sacrifices. This makes these words applicable to Assange’s situation, and to ours.
And yes, Assange has made sacrifices. If he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy, he’ll beimmediately detained, so he’s been forced to live in a slightly better alternative prison for seven years. This has severely hurt his health. He’s now partially blind, since human eyes need regular exposure to long distances to function properly. Interviewers have described him as coughing frequently, more evidence that his confinement is slowly killing him.
“The British government is breaking the law,” John Pilger has commented on this shameful event. “They participated in a 16 month-long investigation by the United Nations which came out with its report. They [the British] went along with it. They didn’t like the result, so they didn’t comply with it. It’s like walking out of a court when you don’t like the verdict…that’s what they’ve done.”
This man’s persecution by the U.S. intelligence establishment proves him right, like the FBI’s persecution of King proved King right. The story of political martyrdom is happening again with Assange’s experience. And we owe it to Assange to continue his cause.
We need to refuse the establishment’s attempts to assimilate us. We need to recognize gaslighting, the tactic the establishment uses to convince dissenters that their concerns are imagined. We need to recognize the myriad psyop methods the deep state’s propaganda centers use, including slogans, non sequiturs, forced associations, and astroturfing. We need to escape the trappings of war propaganda, which are currently being used to instigate a perilous new cold war with Russia.
Because when enough of us can’t be controlled through propaganda, the global oligarchy will be in trouble. There will be many millions of people working to free themselves, and political prisoners like Assange, from the corporate, military, and technological control centers. Assange’s actions have made this scenario much more likely. Now we need to finish what he’s tried to do.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Purge Against Dissenters Has Begun

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Last month, Chelsea Manning went on Democracy Now to discuss her experience in captivity under the U.S. government. Some of her remarks went:
“You know, it was—I thought I was done. I thought, ‘OK, like I can go home now.’ But I don’t feel like it’s this—I mean, in this environment, in this place, this time that we’re in is what I feared when I—because I saw, you know, and I realized it’s expanded more and more, that it’s not just the military, it’s not just the intelligence community. It’s not—it’s police. It’s the justice system. It’s immigration. Like all these systems are overlapping, and they’re suffocating people, deliberately and methodically, over decades. And this has been a continuing—you know, like people have been building this whirling death machine of power for decades now.”
What Manning had gone through before she’d come to this conclusion was torture from the state. Her crime had been exposing the crimes of the government, an act that’s only illegal when the law has been perverted to serve authority. Her penalty was 23 hours a day in solitary confinement-something the Geneva Conventions defines as illegal-for 11 straight months. She attempted suicide twice during the ordeal.
“It’s just a big cage, a big metal cage,” Manning also said in the interview. “And I was staying there. And it was—you know, I lost the sense of who I was. I lost a sense of time. I lost a sense of location.” I suspect it was this breaking down of her psyche, this total exertion of power over her by the government, that had made her contemplate how extreme our society’s despotism is becoming. And, as her words above imply, how the rest of the population is also not safe from the kind of repression the government has subjected her to.
In George Orwell’s 1984, the Party works to methodically break prisoners’ psyches through physical and mental torture so that they’ll be made to love Big Brother. The similarities between this and Manning’s story should make people see the
dangers of staying complicit with our society’s creeping authoritarianism. 
I say this because there are many who feel safe with what’s happening. The widespread public hatred for Manning, along with her fellow heroes Assange and Snowden, have chillingly shown this. Those who are comfortable with supporting the government’s war on whistleblowers, like those comfortable with the war against Muslims and Blacks, have fallen for a classic strategy of tyrants. This strategy is to cut off liberty bit by bit, while making the broader population feel falsely secure from the growing purge.
Don’t be fooled. The corporate, military, police, and technological control systems are capable of totalitarian control, and they’ll go after more and more people as dissent becomes less and less tolerated. Around 80,000 American prisoners are currently in solitary confinement. 2.2 million Americans are in prison, a 500% increase from forty years ago. Police are more militarized than they’ve ever been before. The NSA has set up the most expensive and intrusive surveillance system in history. The president, under an order signed by Obama, can send in the military as a domestic police force. Corporations dominate the government. We are at the mercy of the death machine, and it’s now making its move.
Police violence is increasing, with 277 killed by U.S. police so far in 2018. The war on drugs is being escalated, and President Trump is covertly turning America’s police against the citizenry. Under guise of fighting a greatly exaggerated “Russian influence” threat, corporations and governments are massively censoring media outlets the state deems to be “subversive.” Austerity and warfare have been intensified in the last year as the Trump White House’s cabal of corporate executives, military heads, and intelligence insiders dismantle the remains of democratic institutions. 
The escalation of ICE attacks on Hispanics, the intensification of hate crimes, and Trump’s Muslim travel ban (now in effect in a partial form) show how America is becoming an ethnic nationalist state. With every attack on liberty, the death machine gets more powerful, and tyranny subtly gets more normalized in the public’s mind. 
The Ecuadorian government’s depriving Julian Assange of his online connections with the outside world starts the final purge of dissenters. By ignoring this violationof Assange’s right to free speech, and by continuing to demonize him as a Russian agent, mainstream liberals have shown which side they stand on this purge. We have no allies within the political establishment-the death machine is ready to put the fist down onto us, and there’s no telling who Assange will be followed by. We’ll either choose to break out of the establishment’s propaganda narratives, or we’ll be forced into following along with them.