Thursday, August 30, 2018

It’s Time To Unleash A World-Shaking Amount Of Revolutionary Action

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On Monday, the day of the September 3rd general strike, we’ll need to disrupt the system by not going to work and by refusing to buy anything. After that, we’ll need to keep organizing strikes and protests-not just the ones that happen on May Day and Labor Day, but a relentless series of uprisings that put more and more strain on the corporate oligarchy as time goes on. This has already been happening in the last year with the worldwide teacher strikes, which have won some reforms. But this part of the movement for social change has to become much more intense as the next months and years go by.

The world’s poor and working classes are a social tinderbox, with mass unrest being inevitable at this point. Neoliberal austerity has been imposed in many countries for the last forty years, the Great Recession is still going on, and America has been pummeled by the ever-expanding imperialist wars of the last two decades. Ruling class ideas have been discredited, and there are now hundreds of millions of people who would take action if they had the opportunity. But in a civilization where all of mainstream politics is oriented towards serving the powerful, most of them don’t have the information or resources that they need to take this action.
We can empower these people by doing what revolutionary movements have always done to pull a population out of political apathy. These tactics mainly involve building the organizations for revolt, spreading dissenting information, and creating mass protest events, which make a lot of people aware that there’s hope.
And the internet has given us unprecedented abilities to accomplish these things; the Arab Spring uprisings, for instance, couldn’t have been nearly as successful as they were without social media. The ruling class knows this, though, and that’s why governments and corporations are now censoring online speech on unprecedented levels.
This is how the world’s growing social movements tie in with the online censorship that we’re seeing right now. While apathy is still widespread, the oppressed people of the world are now a lot more active than they were just a few years ago, and the elites are trying to reverse this trend. The elite’s war against dissent is only going to get more intense as this power standoff goes on, and the recent militarizations of police show that this backlash from the establishment has already gotten violent.
What makes me willing to continue with this struggle is the fact that there are so many people who refuse to let their world be ruined by war, ecocide, and corporate tyranny. As CounterPunch columnist Chris Wright recently wrote: “Reading the daily headlines, it’s easy to forget that the corollary of a civilization in precipitous decline is a world of creative ferment, a new world struggling to be born. If you could have a God’s-eye view of all the creative resistance rending the fabric of political oppression from the U.S. to Indonesia to Colombia, you would surely be persuaded that all hope is not lost.”
So keep taking action, and keep encouraging others to do the same. If enough people join this fight, a tipping point will be reached.

Monday, August 27, 2018

How Real-Life Doublethink Works

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The crime of establishment propaganda is that it exploits the most beautiful aspects of human nature. Our brains are powerful enough to comprehend fictional storytelling, which is something that no other known species is able to do. But the mental abilities that let us create enormous imaginary worlds are the same tools that propagandists use to deceive us.

For instance, to believe these things you need to simultaneously accept two versions of the truth:
-In 2016, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons found that Syria had gotten rid of its chemical weapons. Yet Assad has committed two chemical attacks since then, and he apparently still has enough chemical weapons to be supposedly preparing for another one.
-Mainstream news organizations regularly publish secrets that have been leaked from individuals and organizations. Yet Julian Assange, whose actions haven’t differed from this basic journalistic practice, is guilty of espionage.
-It’s accepted history that the Spanish-American War, the Vietnam War, and the Persian Gulf War were started through U.S.-initiated false flags, and there are admitted instances of false flags being carried out by the American, German, Japanese, Indonesian, Algerian, Egyptian, Colombian, Macedonian, Italian, British, Ukrainian, Turkish, Russian, and Israeli governments throughout the last century. Yet any claims of false flags can be confidently dismissed.
-According to the CIA’s own documents, only around 2% of the people killed by American drones have been on the “kill list.” Yet it’s completely reasonable to believe that our “advanced weaponry” only kills terrorists.
-In 2012, even the pro-imperialist Barack Obama mocked the idea that Russia is a threat, and declared that “the Cold War has been over for twenty years.” Yet anti-Russia pundits are now right when they tell us that we were actually at war with Russia this whole time.
-The story surrounding the Skripal poisoning has repeatedly changed, and Boris Johnson has even been caught lying about the facts of the case to strengthen the claim that Russia was behind it. Yet as the Western media’s account still says, Russia was unquestionably the culprit.
-Americans have seen the 2000 election get stolen through George W. Bush’s ballot tally manipulations and voter suppression efforts, and WikiLeaks readers have seen the proof of DNC officials coordinating to rig the primary against Sanders through biased debate questions and manipulations of media coverage. Yet we’d be right to agree with the famous statement from Obama that “There is no serious person out there who would suggest[...]you could even rig America’s elections.”
-The Nazi officers at the Nuremberg trials were convicted of the crime against peace, which is the United Nations’ name for the act of invading a country without provocation. Yet while every president since World War II besides Carter has done the same thing, they’re not guilty of that crime.
I always see people call these kinds of views a form of cognitive dissonance, which is the phenomenon where our brains block out information that goes against what we want to believe. But I think cognitive dissonance would be easier to recognize if we called it by its more infamous name, which is the term “doublethink” from George Orwell’s 1984.
And this term has always applied to how society functions. When you look at how political language and thought usually work, you get the sense that Orwell based his imaginings of doublethink off of the contradictory beliefs that he saw appear all the time in politics and other settings. Life is full of moments where we lie to ourselves, and politics almost always involves a leader who urges people to cling to their shared beliefs for the sake of the team. Orwell only changed this situation in his novel by having his characters give self-deception a name, and by having them fool themselves consciously.
The fact that we’re capable of doublethink doesn’t make us stupid. The mental dynamics behind it are what give us our uniquely human qualities. The sad thing is that government and media propagandists are now using these amazing parts of us to make us consent to endless war, the destruction of the biosphere, and the rule of a dystopian corporate oligarchy.
What if we stopped letting them manipulate us? What if we all ignored the pressures to conform to the “official narrative,” and looked at the world with an openness to new information? If we made this leap, we’d have a future where human beings could make discoveries, create art, and tell stories, while being free from the prison that we’re currently in.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Debunking Three Of The Biggest Lies The Media Has Recently Told

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Recently, alternative media gained a major victory. After the corporate outlets have refused to cover almost any of the ongoing U.S./Saudi lead genocide in Yemen, many of these outlets have lately started giving the atrocities meaningful coverage. This change is no doubt a response to the extensive coverage that alternative news sites like Truthdig and Mintpress News have been giving to Yemen, which has exposed the complicity of the mainstream media.

This is the latest time that the oligarchic propaganda machine has lost control over how people see the world. And we can continue this trend by exposing the other glaring deceptions that have recently come from our major media outlets. Not just the lies of omission that they’ve made, as the Yemen media blackout exemplifies, but the directly false statements that have been put out on a mass scale to the American people in recent years. The most revealing of these false claims go as follows.
“Russia hacked the DNC”
The claims behind “Russiagate” are almost all either dubious or false, and they’ve been picked apart in articles like this one and this one. But here I’ll dissect a particularly revealing falsehood about Russia that our media has told, which is the claim that the DNC was hacked two years ago by the Russian government.
This claim was brought back into regular media attention last month, when Robert Mueller put out indictments which at first glance proved Russia’s role in the DNC leaks. Yet Mueller’s claims include glaring factual contradictions and unsupported statements; they cite Guccifer 2.0 as the supposed Russian hacker behind the DNC’s infiltration, yet it was found months ago that reports about Guccifer 2.0 were deliberately manipulated in reports to make their data traces look Russian in origin; the report doesn’t include evidence for why the GRU officers that it implicates in this supposed hacking job are tied to the activities mentioned in Mueller’s statements; and on the instances of go of misleading statement within the document.
When a resource with these kinds of flaws is what’s used to try to support the claim that Russia hacked the DNC, it’s unsurprising that the claim itself is flimsy. The public evidence that intelligence agencies have presented for Russia’s involvement in the leak is not sufficient; Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity has run tests showing that the DNC’s software may not have even been compatible with a transatlantic hack; and as Edward Snowden has pointed out, the NSA would have picked up evidence for the DNC hack if the hack had happened.
Our media’s presenting this story as fact has been a shameful act of misinformation. And it ties in with another key piece of propaganda, which is:
“Assange is working for Russia”
First, I should again point out that Assange has not been shown to have broken any laws. His sexual assault charge has been dismissed, and has been disproven by details which directly contradict the claims behind it. And to say he’s guilty of espionage is to say the same about news outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post, which also engage in the regular journalistic practice of publishing leaked secrets. So since Assange is denounced by the people in power as a criminal, we know that Assange is the target of yet another effort to punish those who defy power.
When you recognize this, the baseless claims about Assange being a Russian agent make perfect sense. And yes, this claim is a lie as far as the evidence tells us. President Obama stated in a press conference two years ago that the U.S. hasn’t found information that links WikiLeaks with Russia. Nothing has come out since then to contradict Obama’s assessment. And Assange’s actions have even served to dispel the possibility that he’s working for Putin, with WikiLeaks having put outdocuments last year which show the Russian government’s secret spying practices.
Even so, could you accuse Assange of using WikiLeaks to try to influence politics towards Putin’s interests? All evidence also goes against this idea. WikiLeaks did not try to hack into the DNC or the Podesta server, because WikiLeaks doesn’t ever do any hacking; it only publishes information from independent whistleblowers. There’s also no proof that WikiLeaks published these leaks at politically strategic times, nor that they refused to publish leaks about Trump.
This is because the Podesta emails were published right after the release of Trump’s Access Hollywood tape entirely by coincidence, because WikiLeaks had planned the timing of the emails’ publication before the tape was unexpectedly released. And WikiLeaks’ lack of material about Trump hasn’t been for lack of trying; as was famously reported last year, Assange communicated with Donald Trump Jr. before the election in an attempt to gain and leak Trump’s tax returns. Assange has since continued to seek out publishing Trump’s tax records, and has called for Trump to release them.
But none of this matters to the deep state figures who continue to seek Assange’s persecution; Mueller’s latest indictment, without compelling evidence, has implicated WikiLeaks as a Russian asset. This has set things up for Assange to be prosecuted as a supposed enemy actor.
As New York Times lawyer David McGraw recently assessed, prosecuting Assange would create a legal precedent that allows for all journalists who publish leaks to also be targeted by the state. And this loss for the free press couldn’t come at a worse time.
“Assad has gassed his own people”
The two latest Syria false flags have required some impressive cognitive dissonance-or doublethink as Orwell would call it-to be created by the war propaganda machine. In 2016, Americans saw a report from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical weapons which showed that Syria had given up all of its chemical weapons. Western government and media figures have dealt with this logical contradiction either by baselessly speculating that Assad still has some chemical weapons, or by ignoring the issue and letting people’s memories be revised.
And numerous other holes in the “gas attack” narrative appear as we look at it objectively. James Mattis admitted in February that the U.S. doesn’t have evidence that Assad committed a chemical attack last year. And the details surrounding that incident have all indicated that Assad wasn’t to blame; namely, the United Nations report from last that’s been used to try to incriminate Assad is highly inconsistentwith eyewitness reports of the event.
The situation has been similar for the supposed gas attack this April, with numerous people from the site of the attack having reported and testified that no chemicals were involved. Add this to the fact that Assad has actually never used his chemical weapons and that U.S.-backed jihadists have repeatedly staged gas attacks, and the outrageous extent of the lies we’ve been told about Syria becomes clear. As does the danger of Washington’s aggressive agenda towards Syria, which could escalate into a U.S./Russia war.
But the empire doesn’t want people to notice these things, so it’s now using censorshipdisinformation, and outright repression to stifle the voices that challenge its propaganda. The persecution of Assange is central to this war on dissent, as is the anti-Russia campaign that’s used to justify it.
All of the narratives I’ve talked about are linked with each other, because they all serve to advance the agenda of the global oligarchs. We only have to expose the deceptions, and the manipulators who run society will lose their power.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Carrying On With Our Lives As The Government Fills Concentration Camps

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As we go through our daily lives, our government is carrying out an operatiothat’s comparable to the Japanese internment camps from World War II and the early persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany. It’s built off of the abuses of immigrants and reactionary anti-immigrant policies that happened under Obama and other past presidents, and it’s being done after the precedents of segregation, slavery, and the genocide of Native Americans.

Right after Trump and his cabinet came into office last year, immigration officers became empowered to act more aggressively against their targets. Restrictions on who ICE could go after were removed, with ICE now able to go after everyone living in the U.S. who isn’t documented. Following along with Steve Bannon’s famous statement about how legal immigration is the real “problem,” the White House has since begun revoking citizenship for thousands of naturalized immigrants.
All throughout this time, behavior from ICE has been escalating to abnormal and openly hostile aggressions, with people being targeted while engaging in routine immigration check-ins, detained for minor immigration violations that happened decades ago, and forced to give up all their belongings at ICE’s orders.
In March of this year, the Trump White House started issuing a weekly list of crimes allegedly committed by illegal immigrants. This action was clearly meant to inflate the threat of crime from undocumented people, as evidenced by how these lists have included those who’ve only been charged with crimes. In April, the White House used this and the other precedents it had created to enact the “zero tolerance” border policy, which changed the act of illegally crossing the border from a misdemeanor to a crime.

This law-created by known racist Stephen Miller-has allowed for all parents who illegally come across the border to be separated from their children. Trump’s order in June to supposedly end the separation of families was vague and inadequate, and it was no doubt only a temporary retreat in the White House’s continuing war on immigrants. Given that the officials behind this project have shown that their goal is to target certain ethnic groups, it’s fair to call theimmigrant detention centers concentration camps.
As operations are still underway to massively expand these centers, and as hundreds of children remain separated from their parents, we’re being made to accept all of this as normal. The Trump White House is pushing through these policies in the same way that authoritarian takeovers are usually carried out, with changes being gradually made so that the public won’t notice until it’s too late. And the political establishment doesn’t care about stopping it, as evidenced by the complicity of the Democratic Party in this campaign and by the recent media blackout of the Trump White House’s ongoing attacks on the undocumented.
So most people are simply going on with their lives while this transformation happens. Sometimes, though, you see a news story about people in your community who are being targeted; last month, a story came out about Claudia Portillo, a mother in my Northern California hometown who was recently detained by the border police without cause for seven months while her four daughters struggled to keep their lives together. Portillo says that she had a mental breakdown while she was in the center, with the isolation from her children and the stress of her environment taking a severe emotional toll.
This disturbed me, but it was easy to return to my daily life and not take many
particular actions in the fight for immigration justice. Everyone always has things going on in their own lives that need attention, especially in the current time of an ongoing economic recession. This is why most others have also opted for having little or no involvement with the issue.
Meanwhile, a fascist movement is underway in America. Portillo’s daughters say that other high school kids have directed hate comments towards them during their mother’s detention-one example of how racial bullying by children has been increasing since the 2016 election. Hate crimes have also gone up in the last two years, while membership for hate groups has increased by around five percent at the same time. Many of Trump’s supporters seem to see themselves as the unofficial militant enforcers for the White House’s agenda, with pro-Trump militia groups repeatedly carrying out armed demonstrations and threatening violence if Trump is impeached.
While Trump’s mainstream opponents fixate on Russia and engage with the constant Twitter distractions the president puts out, ominous and very real changes are being made to the country. The Trump White House has declined to put white supremacist groups in the targets of its new anti-terrorism program, defunded tools for fighting those groups, jailed a black activist without cause under the new FBI label of “black identity extremist,” and gotten the Supreme Court to approve a partial version of its Muslim-directed travel ban.

Additionally, the Trump administration’s Jeff Sessions has escalated the drug war by eliminating the forensic sciences department, and by officially urging prosecutors to execute marijuana dealers. Sessions has also undone restrictions on having police seize property from people who’ve been accused of crimes.
These attacks on civil liberties have been fortified by an increased militarization of society, with Trump having allowed more army equipment to go towards local police departments last year and recently increased the annual military budget to $717 billion. All of this, along with the president’s repeated public encouragements for the police to use more violence, show how Trump and his aides plan to respond to popular resistance as the next years go by.
I haven’t put together this screed so that I can make anyone feel bad for not having always been politically active. Taking time away from the brutal realities of the world is important for people’s happiness, so it’s understandable that many aren’t focusing on those realities. But when people are confronted with the injustices that go on outside their personal lives, they often feel the need to take action. And that’s the kind of reaction I’m hoping to provoke from whoever reads this.

Friday, August 17, 2018

The Revolution Needs To Go Way Beyond What Bernie Sanders Proposes

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While the wave of victories for Bernie Sanders-backed candidates that’s now happening around the country is a positive event, we can’t be satisfied with the agenda these leaders are offering if we want to have true economic justice. This is because to end systemic inequality, we need to end capitalism. And this is not something that Sanders or most other prominent progressives are aiming to do.

This fact about the Sanders movement has been not just acknowledged by its leaders, but used as a way to appeal to people who are hesitant about socialism; a democratic socialist is not a socialist or a communist, states a popular Occupy Democrats meme, but is a capitalist who “seeks to restrain the self-destructive excesses of capitalism.”
This line of thinking made sense to me, until I looked into these details about what capitalism and socialism mean:
-Capitalism is defined as a system where trade and industry are controlled by private entities for profit. In my view, the injustice of this system is shown by intuitive logic. When society is controlled by profit, this means that a dominant class will use the system to gain more resources than they would have been able to
gain through their labor alone. Capitalism is when the wealth that the workers create is disproportionately siphoned to those running the businesses.
-“Reformed” capitalism still lets this dynamic exist. And it lets the restraints that are occasionally put onto capitalism disappear over time; the postwar American period of regulated capitalism was replaced by our current unrestrained version of capitalism because as long as capitalism existed, the ruling class had ways to expand its control. We don’t need to make the dominant class less powerful as the democratic socialists propose. We need to completely get rid of the class system.
-There is a way to accomplish this, and it’s as simple as making the means of production, distribution, and exchange owned by the community as a whole. There are varying ideas about how this should be done, but it’s the only way to get rid of poverty and exploitation. It’s no wonder why this system has been demonized, marginalized, and underhandedly sabotaged for the last several centuries by the people in power; as the historian Thomas Macaulay said, “If the law of gravity were unfavorable to any substantial financial interest, there would soon be no lack
of arguments against it.”
This isn’t to say that Sanders hasn’t improved the political situation overall. But if we want to end class oppression, we’ll need to force a genuine socialist agenda into the mainstream. To do this, we’ll need to build a socialist movement from outside the co-opting influence of the Democratic Party, and use that movement to push forth our goals.
A good place to start is by building socialist organizations. The Democratic Socialists of America are a good ally, but there are more radical options; the Socialist Equality Party has candidates to vote for in 2018, and there are signs that it’s growing. (This is just one of the many socialist organizations that can be joined.) As we grow this movement, we need to advance our agenda the same way that past socialists have.
This is by relentlessly pressuring the more moderate strains towards making the dismantling of capitalism complete. In 1850, Marx and Engels warned in their address to the Communist League that Germany’s democratic party didn’t aim to defeat capitalism, but to save it through social reforms. Their solution was to keep the workers mobilized for as long as possible, while always proposing policies that were more radical than what the democratic party had to offer. Through this dynamic, they hoped, equality would be achieved.
We can apply this approach by always pushing forward goals more radical than what the mainstream progressives represent. When they propose breaking up the banks, we propose nationalizing the banks; when they propose imposing a maximum wage, we propose capping income so much that class hierarchy can’t exist. And so on, until systemic inequality is made a thing of the past.
Polls are showing that support for socialism continues to grow. Around the world, record economic inequality and an ongoing recession are making workers and young people around the world radicalized. There’s an opportunity right now for an upending of the class system, and we need to take it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Neocons Still Won’t Take Responsibility For The Destruction Of Syria

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The U.S. empire has been trying to change who rules Syria since 1956, when the CIA staged an “anti-communist” coup called Operation Straggle. According to General Wesley Clark, in 2002 the U.S. began secretly planning to overthrow Syria’s government after several such attempts throughout the last five decades. Since at least as far back as 2005, the U.S. began financing and training anti-government forces in Syria, which Obama mobilized in 2011 to catastrophic effect.

To believe the neocon narrative about Syria is to believe that a global refugee crisis and a seven-year-long war have stemmed from Syrian labor protests that broke out in 2011. The facts don’t back this story up, and it makes much more intuitive sense to blame Western intervention for what’s happened.

Despite the neoliberal policies of Assad’s Baath party, which has lead to worker rebellions, Assad hasn’t been the one behind Syria’s destabilization. Assad has not “attacked his own people,” and he hasn’t been behind the famous bombings of Syrian hospitals. Nor has he committed a single chemical attack throughout his rule. The West has consistently worked to shift the blame for violence onto Assad. And Assad’s supposed gas attacks have all been either hoaxes or false flags carried out by the Syrian rebels, who continue to have a chemical weapons supply of their own.
If this sounds like a stretch, it follows in the line of how the U.S. empire has operated for the last century or so. The Spanish-American War was started through a U.S.-initiated false flag, with the USS Maine having been “attacked” by Spain so that America could start a war over the sugar trade. Vietnam started
similarly, and so did the Persian Gulf War and the Iraq War. The 2003 US Special Forces Foreign Internal Defense Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces even advisesthe use of false flags. The U.S. empire’s desire to replace the disobedient Assad with a leader that they can control has motivated America's involvement in Syria, along with the deceptions that this regime change war has entailed.
The U.S. and Israel have armed and trained al-Qaeda forces to commit terrorist
attacks against Syria, a fact that the West has clumsily covered by calling these forces “moderate rebels.” The U.S. has bombed Syrian and Russian soldiers in Syria, a recent incident that almost escalated the conflict into a U.S.-Russia hot war. American forces have crossed the Euphrates river against Assad’s wishes, a clear violation of sovereignty that constitutes an invasion. The West has used its jihadist forces to seize brutal control of Aleppo, while portraying the Syrian Arab Army as malevolent for trying to win back the “liberated” city. Under Trump, the  U.S. has struck Syria under the guise of punishing Assad for chemical attacks, which would be a war crime even if Assad had actually ever used chemical weapons.
Yet Western imperialists still won’t acknowledge their role in the catastrophe, and are sticking to the story that Assad caused the war by attacking the innocent rebel forces. This is the view of Syria that’s promoted by the mainstream media and by prominent neoconservatives, and that’s even shared by the pro-intervention leftists who seek to overthrow Assad’s government.
As the Syrian war slowly concludes, we can’t let its history be revised. Spread the truth about what’s happened; it’s how we can help inspire a massive, sustained mobilization against the forces of empire.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Rise Of Censorship Signals An Ominous Turn In History

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The corporate online censorshipgovernmental efforts to police information, and black propaganda that we’ve recently seen are just the start of the establishment’s campaign to destroy free speech. We can get a hint of the future that these events are leading towards by reading these words from the article We Need a NATO for Infowar, published on May 3rd this year by the Atlantic Council’s Elisabeth Braw:

While combating propaganda sounds dirty, it’s crucial defense. By pinning the Novichok nerve agent on Sweden or the Czech Republic, or blaming the UK for the nerve gas attack in Syria, the Kremlin sows confusion among our populations and makes us lose trust in our institutions. What if Russia suddenly announced that its Baltic Fleet had dispatched an armada towards Britain? Would most people greet the news with steely resolve in the knowledge that their governments would know what to do, or would constant Kremlin-influenced reports about the incompetence of British institutions make them conclude that any resistance was pointless?
Anyone who cares about state control should be alarmed by this paragraph. While offering a supposed way to keep us informed, Braw makes two false implications here; the first being that Russia poisoned the Skripals, an idea that the events in the Skripal case have discredited, and the second being that Assad committed a chemical attack this April, which all evidence goes against. Braw’s strange warning about an unprovoked Russian invasion of the West further shows that this article’s purpose is to scare readers into supporting the agenda of the U.S.-NATO empire.
In response to this theoretical threat from Russia, Braw writes, we need to create a “Communications NATO” whose job is to aggressively put pro-Western propaganda into people’s lives. This would logically be the end point of what the global oligarchs are building with their war on dissent: a vast system of messaging and censorship that buries any information which conflicts with ruling class ideas.
A setup like this is already appearing. We’re seeing it in things like YouTube’s attaching provocative warnings to videos from foreign media, like the State Department’s attempts to systematically police information with an agency called the Global Engagement Center, and like Facebook’s algorithmic promotion of “trustworthy” outlets like The New York Times. The elite’s goal to thoroughly stamp out independent media was revealed last week, when Senator Chris Murphy tweetedin response to tech companies’ censorship of InfoWars that “These companies must do more than take down one website.”
This campaign is being branded as an effort to “defend democracy.” But a glance at it tells us that it’s deeply totalitarian. Does society become more liberal when public figures who disagree with the political establishment are regularly accused of being Russian agents? Or when a four-person, NATO-funded special committee is advising Facebook on which content to flag as “propaganda?” Or when the FBI has set up a task force this year to monitor social media?
Like the other totalitarian takeovers in history, this chipping away of free
discourse is both all-encompassing and easy to miss for ordinary people. It’s happening in small chunks, with the media either ignoring the censorship policies or reporting them as efforts to fight “fake news.” If you haven’t regularly read sites like the World Socialist Website and Counterpunch in the last year, you probably haven’t heard about this issue. And Defense One is a site that’s mainly read by the powerful class that it’s meant for, with most people being unaware when figures like Braw draw out their plans for censorship. The purge of dissenting voices is going on largely without the public’s knowledge, and the end goal seems to be to
make even a complete removal of dissent look trivial in most people’s eyes.
We’ve reached a point where the ruling institutions want to cut off all the information that makes people question how their governments are acting. This is essentially what Braw’s statements above convey, and it equates to this line of reasoning from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451: “If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the government is inefficient, top-heavy, and tax-mad, better it be all those than that the people worry over it.”
Right now capitalism is collapsing in on itself, the American empire is expanding its bombing and drone warfare while escalating with the other nuclear superpowers, and we’re in the early stages of an ecological breakdown. Do you want to let our institutions keep us happy, or do you want to face these harsh realities so that we can join the fight for a better world?