Sunday, February 28, 2021

The Ruling Class Wants Us To Accept War As Something That Will Never End

The ruling class of the U.S./NATO empire justifies the heinous actions of its military forces, the brutality of its internal police states, and the cruelty towards the poor of its neoliberal economic deprivation by claiming that everything it does is necessary to combat some grand evil. Whether this evil is Islam, or communism, or the very presence of opposition to Washington’s war narratives, the threat is portrayed as being so all-encompassing and enormous that it should solely occupy our political concerns.

This is the logic that President Biden just went off of when he bombed Syria while killing a proposal to raise the minimum wage even to the meager level of $15. This is the logic that’s behind the 21st century’s era of austerity and war, an era that the propagandists for imperialism and capitalism want us to accept as something which will remain present for the rest of our lives.

In a 2011 column defending the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan-which is still going on-the neoconservative demagogue Christopher Hitchens ridiculed the idea that Washington’s current wars should have an end, reasoning that “Human history seems to register many more years of conflict than of tranquillity. In one sense, then, it is fatuous to whine that war is endless. We do have certain permanent enemies — the totalitarian state; the nihilist/terrorist cell — with which ‘peace’ is neither possible nor desirable. Acknowledging this, and preparing for it, might give us some advantages in a war that seems destined to last as long as civilization is willing to defend itself.”

There’s the essence of the Big Lie that the arbiters of capital and war tell us, the great threat that they hang over our heads to shut down the proposals for a better system: without the perpetuation of war, the forces of evil will win, and an even worse world will come. Observing this in his essaySnowpiercer and Necrofuturism, Gary Canavan writes that “Necrocapitalist practices are thus reinforced on the level of ideology by a wonderful and terrible double-bind of perpetual threat: things must be this necrocapitalist because, if they were not, our society would be even more necropolitical and wretched than it is now. That is: necrocapitalism’s own horrors are perpetually taken as proof of necrocapitalism’s necessity, even its own self-prophlyactic. We ingest the poison to keep ourselves from becoming even sicker.”

The evidence to disprove this narrative is readily available. Just look at the hundreds of thousands of Covid-19 deaths that socialist China has avoided relative to the pandemic epicenter the United States. Just look at how China, through the anti-poverty measures of its workers democracy, has raised its standard of living in this last year while around 150 million in the capitalist world have recently slipped into extreme poverty. Look at how much China has reduced carbon emissions in comparison to the U.S., whose bloated military is the world’s single largest polluter.

The ruling class in the imperialist bloc can’t have the people become aware of these realities, can’t allow us a proper standard of comparison and see what our lives could be like. So they’re perpetually spewing liesabout China interning “millions” of Muslims, even while U.S. migrant concentration camps are currently being expanded. And they’re continuously tightening censorship against the anti-imperialist voices who dare challenge these lies, getting state-run information warfare teams to target alternative media and having tech companies suppress content deemed to be helping Washington’s rivals. This week, when Twitter removed dozens of accounts that it said “amplified narratives that were aligned with the Russian government,” it made clear the intentions of this censorship campaign by saying that these accounts were “undermining faith in the NATO alliance and its stability.”

In the age of the new cold war, this kind of unapologetic suppression of information which contradicts Washington’s narratives is normal. Since 2013, when the National Defense Authorization Act officially legalized the U.S. government targeting the U.S. population with covert propaganda, pro-war messages have been integrated into U.S. media outlets on a scale never seen before. The unprecedented campaign to censor the internet that we’ve seen since the outset of the Trump era, characterized by shadowy government counter-propaganda programs, Justice Department moves to force outlets from Washington’s rivals to register as foreign agencies, efforts to demonetize alternative media content creators, algorithm manipulations that sabotage disfavored news sources, and sweeping deletions of hundreds of social media accounts at a time, expanded upon this. The goal has been to harness the vast social influence scope of the online sphere towards assimilating the masses into the pro-imperialist cultural hegemony.

These manipulation efforts have been defined by a lack of transparency and accountability on the part of the institutions carrying them out. Since the 2016 Countering Disinformation and Foreign Propaganda Act created a state-run information warfare outlet called the Global Engagement Center, officials have refused to say whether this entity has been targeting Americans. Amid the Trump-era media proliferations of neoconservative militarism and anti-Russian paranoia, the NATO-tied think that the Atlantic Council began a partnership with Facebook to censor material which conflicted with these narratives the council was seeking to normalize. Under FBI orders, last year Facebook and Google removed the American Herald Tribune for publishing material critical of U.S. foreign policy, one part of the intelligence community’s open war on anti-imperialist journalism.

The technocrats behind this war against dissent have made their intentions clear: to snuff out information which could fuel revolutionary mobilization against the paradigm of austerity and war. In a January 2017 report on Russia, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence portrayed Russian state-run media as a threat specifically because it had expressed views such as “the US two-party system does not represent the views of at least one-third of the population and is a ‘sham.,” and because it represented “the United States as a ‘surveillance state’ and allege widespread infringements of civil liberties, police brutality, and drone use.”

This clear desire to shield the population from ideas which go against capitalism and empire was reflected by a 2018 statement from Richard Stengel, who was recently the head of the Joe Biden transition team for the U.S. Agency for Global Media: “I’m not against propaganda. Every country does it, and they have to do it to their own population. And I don’t necessarily think it’s that awful.”

What kinds of propaganda do the Biden White House evidently believe are necessary to impose upon the U.S. population? Propaganda which, in one way or another, reinforces the poisonous lie that Hitchens put forth about endless war being the practical cost of civilization. In the last several months alone, we’ve seen revelations of a massive covert campaign funded by the U.K. Foreign Commonwealth Office to manufacture consent for regime change in Syria, of a conspiracy between Reuters, the BBC, and Bellingcat to participate in a U.K.-funded campaign towards anti-Russian disinformation, and of Twitter’s Latin America coordinator being a right-wing operative amid a purge against accounts which supported Mexico’s progressive president.

The coordinations between think tanks, intelligence agencies, media outlets, and tech companies are constant, all for the purpose of steering the masses away from figuring out the deceptions behind the Big Lie.

The hope is that as the capitalist world slips ever-deeper into economic, health, and climatic crisis, the masses won’t be sufficiently mobilized to resist the drastic neoliberal shock doctrine tactics which will continue to be applied. They want us to remain socially fragmented, unaware of the geopolitical and socioeconomic realities behind why our conditions are like this, and disengaged from potential revolutionary socialist organizing. We have to build up pockets of resistance to the militarized corporate tyranny that’s determined to retain a grip over our lives.

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If you appreciate my work, I hope you become a one-time or regular donor to my Patreon account. Like most of us, I’m feeling the economic pinch during late-stage capitalism, and I need money to keep fighting for a new system that works for all of us. Go to my Patreon here.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Climate Crisis Is Speeding Up The Process Towards A New Wave Of Socialist Revolutions

Unless you’re wealthy, and have the luxury survivalism plans that the rich are figuring out, you must come to terms with the fact that the climate crisis will most likely drive you into hardship in the coming decades. This is because as these polar vortex-induced extreme weather events have shown, the climate crisis is the great equalizer among the poor and the more well-off working class people. Everyone in the midst of the destruction besides the rich are experiencing electricity outages or far worse. And as predicted by a 2019 Pentagon report which statedthat the majority of the U.S. electrical grid is unprepared to withstand the natural disasters global warming will bring in the next two decades, the same will soon become the case throughout most of the rest of the country.

There are degrees to this suffering; whereas some have food reserves available, others are having to seek out discarded food in the dumpsters of supermarkets (provoking the bourgeois police to block access to these dumpsters in their cruel and arbitrary mission to protect private property). But the injustice of the system is getting exposed by these events at every level, with recent opportunistic price gouging amid the storms resulting in many Texans getting hit with thousands of dollars in electricity bills. The effect is that of growing conditions for mass radicalization in the class war. America’s ever-expanding population of unemployed and underemployed people, excluded from all social mobility and prevented even from dumpster diving by the capitalist police state, have no option other than to rise up.

This is going to happen to millions upon millions more people in the core of the empire. “Across the United States, some 162 million people — nearly one in two — will most likely experience a decline in the quality of their environment, namely more heat and less water,” environmental reporter Abrahm Lustgarten wrote last year. “For 93 million of them, the changes could be particularly severe, and by 2070, our analysis suggests, if carbon emissions rise at extreme levels, at least four million Americans could find themselves living at the fringe, in places decidedly outside the ideal niche for human life. The cost of resisting the new climate reality is mounting. Florida officials have already acknowledged that defending some roadways against the sea will be unaffordable. And the nation’s federal flood-insurance program is for the first time requiring that some of its payouts be used to retreat from climate threats across the country. It will soon prove too expensive to maintain the status quo. Then what?”

Then, as Professor Jem Bendell wrote in his 2018 paper Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy, most of us will be faced with the kinds of horrors that the United States has inflicted upon Libyans, Yemenis, and the other victims of imperialist war: “When we contemplate this possibility of ‘societal collapse’, it can seem abstract. The previous paragraphs may seem, subconsciously at least, to be describing a situation to feel sorry about as we witness scenes on TV or online. But when I say starvation, destruction, migration, disease and war, I mean in your own life. With the power down, soon you wouldn’t have water coming out of your tap. You will depend on your neighbours for food and some warmth. You will become malnourished. You won’t know whether to stay or go. You will fear being violently killed before starving to death.”

In the places where these kinds of conditions have already arisen, the masses are getting provoked into waging resistance against the system in spite of all threats of violent state repression. In Haiti, the geography makes it so that 96% of the country’s people live in areas particularly vulnerable to natural disasters, while the very poorest among these people live in coastal areas and flooded zones. This is exacerbating the severe effects on Haiti’s impoverished population that have been created by the economic crisis the country has been experiencing amid the pandemic. So tens of thousands of Haitians are now defying police repression to protest the rule of the country’s dictator, whose presidential term has been illegitimately extended with the backing of the Biden administration.

An equivalent class revolt is happening in Ecuador, where the masses who’ve carried an anti-IMF candidate to victory in this month’s first election round are prepared to massively mobilize should the country’s ruling class try to carry out a neoliberal coup. The austerity that Ecuador’s masses have been suffering under due to recent imperialist IMF assaults ties in with the climatic crises that the country is experiencing. The country’s deforestation, shortages of water, and breakdowns of nationwide river health are addingto the stress which compels a critical mass of Ecuadorians to not back down from the class struggle.

These kinds of uprisings in reaction to worsening conditions are happening in much of the rest of the Third World, with Honduras being another example; due to the dictatorship that Washington has installed within the country, the underclass there is very much faced with the kinds of conditions Bendell warns us about, with many being people forced to migrate due to the environment of horrific violence and scarcity that’s emerged. In this last year, Covid-19 has made life in Honduras even worse, contributing to the recent protests which have sprung up in reaction to a police murder of a student.

In heavily neoliberalism-impacted imperialist countries like France, the U.S., and Greece, protest movements have also been breaking out. As these explosions of dissension expand, the specter of a third wave of revolutions is going to keep coming closer to being realized.

According to Marxist commentator Saikat Bhattacharya, the first wave of revolutions stretched from the first anti-colonial revolutions of the 18th century to the Paris Commune, the second wave stretched from the Bolshevik revolution to the Sandinista revolution, and the third one is to emerge when neoliberalism’s contradictions drive many of the world’s poor people towards a new breaking point. In an article from 2019, Bhattacharya explained what will need to fall apart within the global capitalist structure for such a shift to occur:

If another crisis hits the US economy which is highly likely, the US financial market will be even less important in driving the global demand. Socialist model of Chinese Globalisation 2.0 will start to dominate. Strategists say that China can already defeat the USA in the Indo-Pacific theatre and by 2025, the Chinese navy will be strong enough to flush out the US navy from the Indo-Pacific region. It is then that US soft powers will start to evaporate and many countries across the globe will fall into crisis…The global flow of capital will also fall further after the coming crisis (already falling since 2008 crisis) making it impossible for many countries to finance current account deficit. Thus many economies will be in tatters. Among them, the USA, Russia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia may see a rise of revolutionary politics. While in the USA, the main problem for socialists is to divert resources from Wall Street and Pentagon to infrastructure and household, in Russia it is self-reliance of the economy and destroying the power of the oligarchs that should be taken care of.

Now that these predictions have largely fulfilled themselves, where will the third wave begin? Ecuador will likely be the next place to break away from imperial control, but at least in the short term, this breakaway will only be able to go so far as the country getting a new president who defies the IMF. Until the socialist guerrillas within the country win, the country’s capitalist state will still be in place, and it therefore won’t achieve the same level of self-determination which Marxist-Leninist nations like Cuba have achieved. The struggle to defeat imperialism is a multi-layered one, filled with obstacles that often force the liberation fighters into compromise. Even in Cuba, some of the land is still under the control of the imperialists, with Washington maintaining a military detention camp and a lone McDonald’s restaurant around Guantanamo Bay.

But throughout this struggle, the contradictions in the systems of capitalism, imperialism, and colonialism inevitably produce destabilizing factors which can create openings for liberation movements to win more ground. And the climate crisis is going to be the biggest of these wild cards yet, intersecting with the destructive consequences of neoliberal austerity, imperialist militarism, cold war escalations, and brutal state repression to drive the world’s masses to their breaking point.

Already, India has been seeing a rise of revolutionary politics, with a quarter of a billion Indians having gone on strike in these last few months while red hammer and sickle flags have predominantly appeared in the marching crowds. What if a proletarian revolution happens in India in the next couple decades? Or in the other non-imperialist countries mentioned so far? Will austerity, privatization, and wage cuts really be able to keep sustaining the profits of the imperialist bourgeoisie after such a diminishing of capitalist market hegemony?

We’ll see for how long imperialism can keep turning inwards, how much it can keep compensating for the market losses that it’s already brought upon itself. When the catastrophe that Jem Bendell describes comes into being for us in the core of the empire, a decisive stage in the class struggle will occur; either the capitalist class will manage to hold onto control over the destabilized territories through widespread military occupation, or the revolutionary socialists will manage to take these territories away from the control of the empire. Should we revolutionary socialists be properly prepared for this decisive moment of crisis, and should the latter outcome be realized, a tipping point will come in the fight for global economic leverage between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.

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If you appreciate my work, I hope you become a one-time or regular donor to my Patreon account. Like most of us, I’m feeling the economic pinch during late-stage capitalism, and I need money to keep fighting for a new system that works for all of us. Go to my Patreon here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The Settler-Colonial States Are Sealing Their Own Demise

Today’s colonial powers, with their high-tech instruments of violence and coercion, appear to have created the perfect system for maintaining their rule. Israel has built a model of policing the Palestinians so thorough, complete with heavy movement restrictions and frequent persecution of political dissidents, that its workings can best be compared to quantum mechanics. The U.S. is expanding on its unparalleled digital surveillance and police state by installing cameras along its borders which intensively monitor everyone surrounding them. Australia is imprisoning asylum seekers in horrifyingly inhumane offshore detention centers, one part in the trend towards concentration camps that’s occurring throughout the wider imperialist sphere.

Yet all of these extreme acts of brutality and repression reflect the peril that imperialism and colonialism find themselves in. The concentration camps have been built because of the refugee crisis that recent imperialist wars, neo-colonial violence in the Global South, and capitalism-exacerbated climatic changes are producing. The intensifying colonial instruments of surveillance and repression exist because of the heightening of global class and anti-colonial conflict. This effort to fortify the imperialist power structure is born out of fear that the structure’s contradictions will cause it to implode.

Throughout the last decade especially, Israel has been exporting its advanced methods of colonial oppression to the rest of the imperialist sphere through training police and selling surveillance technologies. Israeli surveillance tech companies have sold cyber security equipment to repressive governments in Colombia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, South Sudan, the UAE, and Uzbekistan among others. But this campaign to replicate Israel’s methods of dictatorship against the Palestinians within broader class conflicts has been especially pronounced in the United States, the core of global imperialism.

The U.S. national security state has been Israelified, with quasi-Israeli military police having gotten directly involved in the police suppression of protest movements within the country throughout the last decade. The Israeli Defense Force has also been training U.S. police, resulting in even more anti-black American police violence. At the same time, the Israeli security company Elbit has been building surveillance towers for U.S. border enforcement, to the effect that a spokesperson for the Palestinian coalition Stop the Wall has described as: “Walls are not only a question of blocking people from moving, but they are also serving as borders or frontiers between where you enter the surveillance state. The idea is that at the very moment you step near the border, Elbit will catch you. Something similar happens in Palestine.”

These trends towards expanding Israel’s form of colonial war to other places where the colonial contradiction is present are an omen for the stability of settler-colonialism and empire. Because when the wider colonial sphere starts approaching policing, immigration enforcement, and national security with the same kind of paranoia that Israel does, it’s clear that an escalation in the system’s contradictions is taking place. These contradictions are threatening to the system’s survival not just because of the brewing potential for revolt from the oppressed populations, but because of the ways the system can tear itself apart from within. As explained by the summary of Gregg Carlstrom’s 2017 book How Long Will Israel Survive? The Threat From Within:

There was once a national consensus in Israeli society: despite a left-right political split, its people were broadly secular and liberal. Over the past decade, the country has fractured into tribes with little shared understanding of what it means to be a Zionist — let alone an Israeli — and contesting the very notion of a ‘Jewish and democratic’ state. While this shift has profound implications for Israel’s relationship with the broadly liberal Jewish diaspora, the greatest consequences will be felt at home. Israel’s tribes increasingly lead separate lives; even the army, once a great melting-pot, is now a political and cultural battleground. Tamir Pardo, former head of Mossad, has warned of the risk of civil war…will the Middle East’s strongest power survive its own internal contradictions?

Sound familiar in regards to the situation in the U.S. right now? The Pentagon has purged hundreds of Trump-loyal military personnel amid fears that they’ll join in on a future, more effective version of the Capitol Hill riots. Following the election last year that Trump claimed was rigged against him, over 1 in 3 Americans came to believe that a “deep state” was working to undermine the president, tying in with a prevailing desire within the GOP to negate the democratic process by disregarding the election’s results. In their analyses from this last decade, U.S. military analysts have already gone past simply warning about civil war, taking it as a given that the army will need to be sent into major U.S. cities sometime soon to quell breakdowns of the social order.

Faced with these mirrored threats from within, the settler-colonial states are turning to a technocratic censorship and repressive paradigm as the solution that they hope will preserve their cracking social cohesion. Israel and its global allies have been tightening suppressionagainst the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement while working to smear all who speak out against Israel’s atrocities as anti-Semites. Hasbara, the foreign propaganda wing of the Zionist state, has begun marketing its agenda as friendly to Arabs despite Israel’s extreme anti-Arab racism, the absurdity of which was pointed out today by columnist Agha Hussain:

Top-heavy are Israel’s newly-formalised Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) partners, from their domestic and foreign policy-making machinery to the distribution of wealth and financial power within their jurisdictions to their media…Little other than a top-heavy approach can adequately shove this new Hasbara down the throats of those unfortunate enough to be incapable of avoiding it. The GCC will face no awkwardness in propelling the new ‘Arab-friendly’ Israeli-GCC Hasbara in their own fiefdoms, since unapologetic authoritarianism is the norm in those countries…To collude with Zionists is one thing, but to set about internalising their discourse, propaganda and culture is something altogether different — and very bizarre indeed.

The U.S. has already internalized Zionism in these ways to a very thorough extent, with the Israelification of the U.S. national security state going along with the strengthening of a close relationship between U.S. media outlets and Israel. The U.S. campaign to take away people’s freedom to boycott Israel, which Biden’s administration has backed by endorsing the definition of anti-Semitism to include active opposition to the Zionist state, is also part of this fusion campaign between the two settler states. As Hasbara has facilitated this propaganda expansion of the colonial war against Palestine, the U.S. empire has applied Hasbara-style information warfare tactics to discourse around its own political issues.

Starting with the outset of the Trump era, Silicon Valley has been heavily manipulating search engine algorithms to reduce traffic for sites which discuss class struggle, and social media companies have been censoring anti-imperialist journalists and outlets with obsessive frequency. Via the Global Engagement Center, a government entity created after the 2016 election which whose purpose is to counter “disinformation and foreign propaganda,” the state appears to be covertly working to target alternative media sources. ICE, with its detentions of activists and journalists into its notoriously inhumane facilities, has served to raise these political persecution tactics to truly dictatorial levels; these detentions have violated the U.S. settler state’s own constitution. And the militarized U.S. police state has been cracking down on journalists in ways similar to how the IDF shootsGaza reporters, with incidents of police violence against journalists during last year’s Black Lives Matter protests having been widespread.

Which again reflects the control mechanisms of Zionism, with Hussain writing that “the Zionist addiction to censorship, while a far more complex and advanced affair, is in essence very comparable to Gulf monarchs jailing whosoever they please and for whatever reason they please.”

These attacks on freedom of expression are justified by the empire’s ruling institutions as necessary to overcome an ever-growing myriad of threats against the state, both abroad and within U.S. borders. The U.S. political and media class have been blaming the Capitol Hill riots on “Russian interference,” putting forth schemes to ban Chinese investment in Hollywood, and implicating Iran in a wide-reaching plot with Washington’s other rivals to undermine social cohesion in the U.S. and the broader Euro-American sphere. The pro-imperialist biases behind these claims show through in a recent academic study that’s being promoted by the U.S. media, which accuses Iran and Russia of falsely painting the Syrian White Helmets as terrorists even though they’ve shown themselves to be exactly that: “When it comes to the war in Syria, Iranian trolls, owing to their shared support of Bashar Assad’s regime and opposition to the USA-led coalition, agreed with their Russian counterparts in framing the Nobel Prize-nominated White Helmets group as terrorists.”

Underneath this propaganda smokescreen, the contradictions of imperialism are moving the oppressor nations towards their defeat. As much as the empire’s narrative managers try to distract us with fearmongering about foreign “subversion,” the global class and anti-colonial struggles continue to move forward. Ecuador is undergoing a citizens revolution where the masses who’ve been suffering under IMF-imposed austerity have become on the verge of electing a presidential candidate who will free their country from the neoliberal paradigm. Haitians are defying U.S.-backed repression to protest the extension in the term of their neo-colonial dictator. The legitimacy of the U.S. state keeps getting undermined, with footage of police shooting to death a defenseless Black Lives Matter protester having just gotten revealed to the public.

Such cracks in the foundations of empire are going to keep getting more prevalent. The contradictions of imperialism which Stalin articulated-the decline of proletarian living standards even in the imperial core, the mutually weakening conflicts that appear between the different imperialist powers, the provocation of the world’s colonized nations towards waging rebellion against the imperialists-can only get more pronounced as economic collapse, health crises, environmental catastrophe, and neoliberal assaults on the lower classes intensify. If global communists work to build up our movement, this will result in the dismantling of the settler-colonial states and a new wave of socialist revolutions around the globe.

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If you appreciate my work, I hope you become a one-time or regular donor to my Patreon account. Like most of us, I’m feeling the economic pinch during late-stage capitalism, and I need money to keep fighting for a new system that works for all of us. Go to my Patreon here.