Wednesday, March 31, 2021

U.S. Imperial Decline Accelerates As Saudis Drift Towards Defeat In Yemen

In 2004, right after the U.S. imperialists celebrated their moment of conquest in Iraq, an anonymous Bush aide expressed to a reporter their feeling of invincibility as an agent of Washington’s endless project for global subjugation and plunder: “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

These words were entirely too bold. Because as big as empires are, they’re not immune to getting destabilized, especially not with the vast set of contradictions which they come with. After two decades of instigating reactive conflicts, then suffering increasing blowback from its overly confident sense of exceptionalism, Washington is experiencing a string of geopolitical losses. Not just of the kinds where U.S. allies sour over Washington’s belligerent actions, or where rival superpowers gain prominence amid the rise of the multi-polar world, but where the peoples the empire tries to subjugate successfully fight back.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have turned the tide in the country’s war, making the defeat of the U.S.-led Saudi coalition imminent. This is in spite of six years of relentless bombings, destruction of Yemeni civilian homes and infrastructure, and genocidal blockade of food and medical supplies on the part of the imperialists. As well as Israeli maneuvers towards establishing a permanent military presence in Yemen where Zionist settler-colonialism gets extended to parts of the country, facilitated by Israel’s throwing support behind separatist militants in Southern Yemen with an eye on Balkanization. All of these attempts to undermine the Yemeni nation for plunder and colonization have been met with a resistance which can’t be overcome.

“We are not afraid of Americans, and our nation is standing firmly in the face of threats and aggression,” said Mohammed Ali al-Houthi at a January rally in defiance of Washington’s recent acts of economic warfare against the Yemeni people. As Trump’s inhumane sanctions and designation of the Houthis as a terrorist organization galvanized even more support for the Houthis around the beginning of this year, Ahmed Abdulkareem of MintPressnews wrote:

Experts warn that the U.S. designation could not only sabotage the peace in the war-torn country but could seriously imperil the U.S.’s diplomatic credibility and its prospects to play any mediating role in future negotiation talks to end the war or the release of foreign captives, including Americans held on charges of spying or participating in the war. Any realistic settlement would also have to include the Houthis, no matter how irritating that may be to Washington and its Gulf allies.

Since Biden hastily undid the Houthi classification, the Saudi coalition has tried bargaining with the rebels in order to cut U.S. imperialism’s losses in the country. The Saudis have offered the Houthis a “peace deal” which is obviously phony, given that the Saudis continue to intensify their bombings against the Yemenis. It’s all part of a quiet effort by the imperialists to retreat from the conflict in a way which minimizes the losses that Washington and its arms dealers are in the process of experiencing amid the Saudi coalition’s failure.

When the Saudi coalition is done with its current retreat, Yemen still won’t be completely free from the empire’s grip. The Saudis still hold the coasts, which it will be able to use to continue blocking resources from the Yemenis. But the campaigns that the Saudis are bound to lose will be costly for the imperialist bloc. If Yemen becomes too hard of a territory for the Saudis to extract resources like oil from, its already tenuous weapons deals with the U.S. military-industrial complex will be imperiled, in which case both the Saudi royal family and the war profiteers will lose out. Raul Diego of MintPressnews wrote last week about Washington’s response to this dilemma:

In light of the Houthis’ bolstered position in the conflict, Biden’s decision to remove them from the list of global terrorist organizations, while overtly maintaining continued U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s “security” needs could very well be a signal that Washington has tacitly admitted that their proxy war in Yemen is not yielding the desired results. Meanwhile, in a joint statement, last week as preparations for Friday’s major attack on Marib were in the offing, Western governments attempted to make a show of strength in the press in lieu of actual results on the battlefield.

Doesn’t this sound familiar? The creation of new realities to cover up the losses that U.S. imperialism is actually experiencing? In both Yemen and Bolivia, the source of this shrinkage of geopolitical leverage that the empire finds itself in is the will to fight back from the people who Washington seeks to subjugate. Last year, Bolivia’s proletarian movement proved itself to be too strong for Washington to be able to sustain a coup within the country. The indigenous protesters, who were prepared for guerrilla warfare, forced the U.S.-installed regime to set new elections under threat of an eventual government overthrow otherwise. Bolivia’s Movement for Socialism (MAS) was swiftly put back into power, and the country is again free from imperial control.

As is also the case in Yemen, the imperialists still have ways of causing damage within Bolivia. There’s evidence that the U.S. still has mercenaries hiding in the country ready to spring, and lately the U.S. media and imperialist NGOs have been restarting their efforts to vilify the MAS. This renewed campaign to manufacture consent for regime change within the country indicates an eventual new coup attempt. But as with Yemen, the people are no doubt going to fight for autonomy over their homeland by any means necessary.

Mao wrote that “When we say imperialism is ferocious’, we mean that its nature will never change, that the imperialists will never lay down their butcher knives, that they will never become Buddhas, till their doom.” This is going to be shown in the coming years in places like Yemen and Bolivia, where the imperialists will keep waging warfare-whether through propaganda, blockades, or redoubled efforts at military invasion-with the hope of retaking the liberated lands. And in Yemen, Washington’s Saudi and Israeli proxies will likely retain control of strategic parts of Yemen for the foreseeable future, which will give the imperialists some leverage. This is the strategy the imperialists have taken in Syria, where Washington uses its Kurdish proxies to occupy and steal oil from the country’s northeastern section despite Assad’s overall victory in the war.

The process of liberating the world from empire will be a long one that can’t be completed in one sweep, but that’s all the more necessary to work on.

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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, March 30, 2021

Overcoming Our Fears Of The Fight To Come

This is an excerpt from “Comrade Desmore,” the novel I’m writing.

Jack had been hearing the most chilling news stories he’d ever encountered. Children in migrant detention centers were being forced into filthy and overcrowded conditions, ones which had caused at least seven of them to die from disease since the start of this year. Jack had read accounts of children as young as seven having to be the sole caretakers of infants they’d just met, with the garments of the babies soaked in snot and tears; of teenage mothers wearing clothes stained in breast milk; of toddlers without diapers soiling their pants while children were held in standing-room conditions for days or weeks. Thousands of the older children had also been saying that they were sexually assaulted while in U.S. custody, and that they had been deprived of food or forced to stay in the cold.

Today Trump had tweeted: “If Illegal Immigrants are unhappy with the conditions in the quickly built or refitted detentions centers, just tell them not to come. All problems solved!”

While Jack sparred with Chris and Ricky in Mike’s field, thoughts of these facts continuously passed through his mind, along with images of the similar events taking place around the globe. He had visions of the Palestinian children who were being mutilated by Israeli cluster munitions and barrel bombs; of the tribal children in Brazil who were having to flee from the shotgun-wielding gold panners that Bolsonaro was sending into the few remaining non-colonized parts of the Amazon; of the Yemeni children who were being starved because of the Saudi blockade that Washington was enabling; of those who grew up in Syria, Libya, and Iraq prior to when the empire tore their nations apart throughout these last two decades; of the eight-year-old Muslim girl in Kashmir who had been raped and murdered last year while Washington’s fasctst partner India occupied the home of her people; of the Syrian children who had been driven from their homes by U.S.-funded terrorists, then used as propaganda images for Washington’s regime change war; of the children in Honduras had had to flee north with their families since the U.S.-installed dictatorship made their home too violent and impoverished to remain livable.

“You were right when you explained your reasons for starting these fights,” Jack said to Chris while he blocked an attempt to punch him in the mouth. The more they had sparred, the easier it had become for them to converse during the training sessions. “There’s a threat that’s coming for us, a threat that’s already there for millions of kids who aren’t as lucky as we’ve been so far.”

“This is just the first part of the warm-up,” said Chris, blocking a counter-punch from Jack. “There’s so much more you’ll need to prepare for.”

“What more do I need to do?” said Jack while he pulled back around for another strike. “I’ve been through so much already.”

Chris didn’t answer, and Jack suddenly felt foolish for saying this. What he had experienced so far was nothing compared to what the children he was thinking of had endured, to what he would likely have already endured if he were to be born here a few decades later. The task he had taken on involved new levels of pain that never stopped revealing themselves, and that were magnified if a person was especially neurotic. He studied this pain because he knew that even if he chose to remain asleep to the encroaching horrors, one day he would encounter them in the form of a nasty surprise. The horrors were coming for him all the same.

He noticed that his mother had come into the field, walking past Ricky and Mike while they sparred alongside himself and Chris. No car was in the driveway besides Ricky’s, so she must have jogged here.

“I’ve come to start training with you,” she said, still slightly panting. “I’ve learned a lot of martial arts techniques in the last few months, and you need to learn them too. But first I want to tell a story.”

“A couple years ago, after Trump’s team had done their initial rollbacks of the protections for immigrants, a mother from right around where we live was taken into a detention center. They locked her up after a routine immigration check-in in San Francisco. Until she was allowed to return seven months later, her children would have to survive in poverty, their wi-fi getting shut off and their food options getting limited to tortillas and eggs. And while this was happening to her daughters, the mother got driven to a mental breakdown. For two full weeks, she was unable to get out of bed or communicate. She would say that ‘that place changed me.’ That no matter how strong of a person she considered herself, there she couldn’t be strong.”

“I read about that story too,” said Chris. “This mom was a refugee, right? I think from El Salvador.”

“Linda nodded, then looked around the clearing as if she were checking for some imagined threat. Turning to Jack, she said, “I have limits as much as that mom does. I have a psyche and body that can be broken. But the sacrifice of these things would mean nothing compared to what this sacrifice could help create.”

“How am I supposed to believe this cost is worth it when there’s no way to see what the payoff will look like?” said Jack. “From what I can tell, everywhere looks the same: more and more poor people, more and more people having to flee, more and more wars, more and more pollution. Then there’s the government that’s so ready to crush us if we try to fight back. Dad has told me that when they’re done building the surveillance state, it will go way past looking at our texts. There will be towers along the borders and the ports that can track anyone over a seven-mile radius, and streets blanketed with cameras.”

“Those things are only what you’ve seen so far,” said Ricky, walking over along with Mike. “In other places, civilization is progressing towards a beautiful future. In Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, and the other countries that have broken free from imperial control, poverty keeps getting smaller and a post-carbon society keeps getting closer. This is the case even in China, despite the bleak picture Americans are shown of that place. Did you know that China is years ahead of its carbon reductions goals? Or that it’s just a couple years from eliminating extreme poverty? These things shouldn’t be discounted, no matter how much the imperialists try to convince us otherwise.”

Ricky’s words made everything Jack had learned in these last two years meld together. Images flashed through his mind of vast slums, and refugees fleeing wars, and hurricanes, and drought, and Ukrainian militia members with Nazi insignias marching to enact terror. Then he thought of the liberation fighters who had won in China, Vietnam, north Korea, Cuba, and elsewhere. Russia was painful to think of, since its revolution had been destroyed. But after hearing and seeing all of these things, it seemed inevitable that this loss would one day be undone.

“Cracks in the dictatorship,” said Jack.

“Big cracks,” said Ricky. “The system they’ve built is more vulnerable than they want you to think. So remember Mao’s advice: don’t fear hardship, and don’t fear death.”

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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.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Mass Surveillance, Our Militarized Border, & America’s Looming Potential For Civil War

Above: from the National Immigrant Justice Center

In the last several years, U.S. Customs & Border Protection has been embarking on a project so overkill that it makes you wonder just what its ultimate purpose is. This is the project to install surveillance towers along the U.S.-Mexico border. Which renders not just migrants, but everyone in the communities surrounding these towers, under constant monitoring whenever they’re outdoors within a 7.5 mile radius of the spying devices.

In 2019, Will Parrish of The Intercept wrote about the experiences of one resident of the indigenous reservation within the periphery of the towers: “Nellie Jo David says the constant surveillance has profoundly disrupted the cultural fabric of the Tohono O’odham people, alongside other federal government intrusions like the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range, built adjacent to the reservation in the 1940s. ‘The towers are just one more target on our culture and way of life,’ David says. ‘We can’t really have the same ceremonies if there are going to be eyes on us, coming from an operational control room with likely a white male agent looking into what it is to be O’odham.’”

In the short term, the objective of this blanket of total surveillance is simply to fortify the colonial apartheid occupation which these Natives have lived under since the United States came, in addition to the project’s surface-level objective of stopping the movement of other indigenous peoples from south of the border. These are certainly the intentions made clear by Elbit, the Israeli technology company that’s constructing these towers; the very same monitoring tactics that the Zionist occupiers use to keep Palestinians in line and restrict their movements are being brought into the core of the empire. And these tactics are just another addition to the oppression the Natives along the border have been living under for generations.

But as I see the implosion of the U.S. economy, the explosion of revolt from this country’s colonized peoples in the form of Black Lives Matter, and the ways that global warming and U.S. geopolitical decline threaten to destabilize our society, the thought comes that these types of measures are being carried out because of fear. Fear that if the most thoroughly repressive surveillance and police state isn’t put in place, the U.S. will be defeated by an uprising from the people it subjugates in these next few decades.

It’s an open secret at this point that this is one of the scenarios the U.S. military is preparing to try to prevent. A 2016 U.S. Army War College report describes near-future outcomes where growing unemployment, natural disasters, and growing slum populations necessitate for the army to be sent into parts of the U.S. so Washington can retain control over all of the territories it now holds. The report warns of “class conflict” and “a risk of insecurity among the urban poor,” which could lead to “a surplus of unemployed males with little to do but join gangs or engage in crime as a source of income. Joining extremist or terrorist organizations might also appear attractive as a way out. At the very least, in the event of some kind of conflict, these young men would provide a pool of potential recruits for those opposing the United States. In short, slums would be an inordinately difficult battlefield.”

This anxiety about the difficulty the U.S. would face in fighting off a lower class rebellion within the slum environments that U.S. capitalism has created is echoed in a separate Army study from 2016, which stated that the “U.S. Army is incapable of operating within the megacity.” The War College report makes it explicit that it’s envisioning a hypothetical class-motivated near future U.S. civil war, listing Los Angeles, Baltimore, and San Francisco as potential locations for the army to invade in the coming decades. And according to these assessments, there would be ample opportunities for class and anti-colonial liberation guerrilla forces to stake out territories and evade defeat by the military.

Another risk factor for the U.S. military in such a domestic rebellion scenario will be how public sentiment could very easily shift away from Washington’s favor. If the U.S. brings home tactics from its forever wars like carpet bombings, drone strikes, and use of depleted uranium, the population is going to react with horror and rage. The rebels seeking a breakaway from the U.S. will have a much easier time convincing their surrounding communities that America’s government is effectively a terrorist organization, and that its occupation over this land must end.

One way the military plans to avoid these pitfalls is through drastic moves towards cutting off the flow of information in and around the hypothetical army occupation zones. The War College report implies that internet and cell phone access could be shut down within the most sensitive areas, where it would be most narratively damaging to the U.S. for evidence of the military’s atrocities to leak out. Plans for crafting compelling narratives which portray the military as heroic are of course also part of this. But for now, Washington’s approaches towards preventing a successful anti-colonial proletarian revolt are pre-emptive.

The network of total outdoor surveillance devices-whose builders ultimately aim to expand to the country’s ports, harbors, and northern border-is one way the U.S. national security state is trying to stay one step ahead of the potential revolutionaries. The state has found a way to monitor the movements of the hypothetical future rebels within many miles of the numerous surveillance towers that will be installed along the country’s edges in the coming decades. And who’s to say these kinds of towers won’t also be put into the urban areas where domestic class conflict is expected to break out. Added onto the NSA’s unparalleled digital surveillance state, and to the streets blanketed with cameras which the high-tech sector plans to create in partnership with the intelligence community, this network will serve as an omnipresent eye on anyone daring to defy the state.

This is the U.S. empire’s design for maintaining control over its core territory in the face of its geopolitical decline abroad, and in the face of the 21st century’s economic and environmental unravelings. The U.S. colonial occupiers and their partnered tech industrialists aim to police the population so tightly that a rebellion can’t occur. This strategy applies not just to the expansion of the surveillance state and the militarization of the police forces, but to the counterrevolutionary propaganda which the U.S. masses are being bombarded with. To try to discredit the historically proven revolutionary model of Marxism-Leninism, the CIA is inculcating Americans with the baseless idea that China is committing “genocide” against the Uyghurs through mass detentions and abusive surveillance. Ironically, the U.S. is doing these exact things to its indigenous victims of state violence.

If we build institutions that can bring the masses towards anti-colonialism and revolutionary socialism, the system’s contradictions will be too great for the state to solve through surveillance and repression. The tyranny we see being constructed is a reaction to this century’s great potential for revolution to sweep the core of global imperialism.

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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.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Rising Fascism, The Post-Truth World, And Our Slow-Motion Apocalypse

Recently, a resident of Brazil made a post on Reddit’s r/collapse titled “Brazil as an example of post truth age,” where they articulated (in a message that I’ve edited for clarity) the following grim thoughts:

In Brazil, we are facing the collapse of our health system, past known as one of the best in free healthcare systems in the world. In only two years, with the rise of Bolsonaro to the presidency, we were able to scrap our relevancy in the world, and now we are being considered a threat because of the many Covid-19 variants here. Well, that said, I am here to argue that all of this happened for only one reason: misinformation, intentionally or not. Still 30% of our population finds Bolsonaro’s governance excellent or good. A lot of people won’t be taking the vaccines because of chips inside or crazy things like transmission of AIDS or mutation (as said by Bolsonaro: if you become an alligator, the problem is yours).

The growing number of all sorts of negationism (vaccines, roundness of earth) and conspiracy theories (global communist alliance) is impacting my life on a personal level. I am worried not only about being trapped in a country that will probably reelect Bolsonaro and close my doors to any country (even for visiting), but that for me is only the beginning of something bigger all around the world: Trump was not reelected, but not by much. And the next one appears to be in the corner already.

This is what’s coming about from a late-stage capitalism which refuses to reckon with the environmental catastrophe and ever-rising inequality crisis it’s produced. In its decay, the system is giving way to reactionary factions which seek to destroy the very concept of truth. And the victims are those who continue to die from the pandemic that this reactionary political culture is exacerbating, those who are being displaced by the refugee crises that imperialism is producing, and those who are being been pushed into extreme poverty.

In Brazil, the Covid-19 death rate has become its highest ever by far during just the last few weeks, with more younger Brazilians recently dying from the virus amid the proliferation of one of the variants the poster was referencing. It’s because of the worldwide presence of Brazil’s cruel neoliberal austerity paradigm that the global Covid-19 death count is now just a couple hundred thousand victims away from reaching three million. In addition to Brazil, the U.S., India, and the U.K. are among the top five countries with the most pandemic deaths, with all of these countries sharing the characteristic of having plunged deeply into the darkness of neoliberal free market fundamentalism.

When a society lacks an adequate social safety net, underpays its workers, and leaves its healthcare system up to corporations, it’s not going to be prepared for a crisis like Covid-19. Its poor and working people are going to be largely plunged into homelessness and forced to keep working amid the infection threat, making it impossible for much of the population to shelter from the virus. And the healthcare system will either lack the resources to handle the influx of illness, or exclude many sick people for being too poor. The U.S., with its unique status of being the only industrialized country without a universal healthcare system, best embodies these traits. This is why the U.S. has had far more deaths even than Brazil, with well over half a million Americans now dead from the virus. Brazil’s nearly-third-of-a-million pandemic deaths are no doubt the consequence of Bolsonaro’s drastic embrace of these kinds of austerity policies.

In this situation where the system’s dysfunction is killing off alarming proportions of the population, pro-capitalist cultural hegemony can only be preserved through denialism and conspiracy theories. The virus must be portrayed as a hoax, or as greatly inflated. Manufactured enemies must be blamed, such as the People’s Republic of China or Agenda 21. Racial and religious hatred must be stoked up. Inconvenient facts must be concealed.

This is how the fossil fuel industry has orchestrated the climate denial movement, wherein right-wing politicians have created a pseudo-populist rhetorical playbook which vilifies science as a Marxist conspiracy. Bolsonaro has used arguments along these lines to defend his administration’s vast exacerbation of the Amazon fires and (by extension) the global warming feedback loop, falsely claiming that the rainforest is “practically untouched” and that the environmental concerns come from a “lying and sensationalist media.” Last month, Republican U.S. politicians and pundits did the equivalent with the Texas blackouts, turning the situation on its head by blaming the outages on green energy even though failures in natural gas and coal were the primary factors. This fact didn’t stop the Texas Agriculture Commissioner from writing on Facebook, “To heck with green energy or climate change. They are overhyped and scientifically challenged. This tragic failure to prepare is killing people.”

These are the cultural characteristics of an imperialist order in decline: obfuscation, blame-shifting, and scapegoating. All for the sake of the ultimate goal: to maintain the flow of capital while capitalism turns towards genocide as a solution to its mounting crises. While the world has been ravaged by a pandemic, climatic disasters, and extreme poverty which has increased by the tens of millions during the last year, the super-rich have redistributed at least $1.3 trillion up towards themselves since Covid-19 began wreaking havoc. They’ve been profiting off of the destruction of the Covid era’s recent economic destruction, desperate demand for pharmaceuticals, wars, and refugee crises. This is what it looks like when the system is eating itself, when it has to feast off of its own remaining fat instead of benefiting from growth. All that’s left for capitalism and empire is ongoing contraction, with austerity, privatization, regressive taxes, and wage cuts being how to keep up profits for the elites amid these perpetually diminishing returns.

The rich hope to escape the apocalyptic consequences of this system by retreating to fortified luxury doomsday shelters, while leaving the rest of us behind. In which case an uprising can only be avoided through either killing off the vast impoverished population, or putting the masses under brutal military dictatorship. Is it any wonder why Bolsonaro admires Brazil’s past military regime? Or that he’s filled the country’s governmental positions with as many military officials as he can while working with U.S. Southern Command to militarize the country? Bolsonaro’s Brazil, which was made possible by a 2016 U.S. anti-leftist coup and by covert CIA disinformation in Brazil’s 2018 election, is a launching pad for the class war in the region that Washington aims to preemptively wage. Already, U.S. imperialism has been incrementally bringing back the paradigm of dictatorship in Latin America, with Honduras and now Haiti being ruled over by U.S.-backed dictators. If the Biden White House succeeds in another right-wing coup during Brazil’s election next year, the country will be brought much closer towards this dictatorial stage.

As journalist Soraya Misleh observed in 2019, Bolsonaroism is an export not just of Washington, but of Israel, with assistance in colonial genocide being the latter’s main contribution to Bolsonaro’s presidency: “State governments continue today in the same direction: they acquire Israeli military technologies that serve repression, the criminalization of activists and social movements and, above all, the genocide of the poor, indigenous and black population of Brazil. These technologies are tested on Palestinians on a daily basis. This is what was seen in the massive bombing of Gaza in 2008–2009, in 2012, in 2014. This is what we see now, in the air strikes and in the weekly offensives to the narrow Gaza Strip.”

In fascist Brazil, as well as in fascist India (whose genocidal BJP government is also propped up by Washington), the excesses, ruling class decadence, and cultural delusions of the Euro/American/Israeli bloc are being integrated. These two great Western neo-colonies have been infused not just with the U.S. empire’s hellish neoliberal policy paradigm and propensity towards military buildup against Washington’s rivals, but with the popular reality-denial required for capitalism to be rationalized in this age of crisis.

This is the mentality that allows demagogues to lie constantly in their endless quest to preserve pro-imperialist cultural hegemony, and have the masses readily believe every one of these lies. For Bolsonaro, the lies often consist of statements like “the Amazon is practically untouched.” For India’s Prime Minister Modi, the lies often consist of statements like “India is much better placed than other countries in fighting Covid-19.” And as Chris Hedges speaks to in his piece Why Israel Lies, Israel’s lie of “Israel is only defending itself against the Palestinians” represents these other examples of widespread deception:

The Big Lie, as the father of American public relations, Edward Bernays, wrote, is limited only by the propagandist’s capacity to fathom and harness the undercurrents of individual and mass psychology. And since most supporters of Israel do not have a desire to know the truth, a truth that would force them to examine their own racism and self-delusions about Zionist and Western moral superiority, like packs of famished dogs they lap up the lies fed to them by the Israeli government. The Big Lie always finds fertile soil in what Bernays called the “logic-proof compartment of dogmatic adherence.” All effective propaganda, Bernays wrote, targets and builds upon these irrational “psychological habits.” This is the world Franz Kafka envisioned, a world where the irrational becomes rational. It is one where, as Gustave Le Bon noted in “The Crowd: A Study of the Public Mind,” those who supply the masses with the illusions they crave become their master, and “whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim.”

The rest of the imperialism-controlled world is becoming ever more like Israel: a society that’s perpetually at war with a demonized enemy, and that refuses to face the truth lest the horror of its reality become acknowledged. This is the kind of truth that was recently articulated by another Brazilian on r/communism, whose post (which I’ve also edited) is titled “Fascist Brazil may be a threat to people outside Latin America in 2021”:

I am from Brazil, and I would like to make a warning to everyone outside Latin America that don’t know what is happening. Brazil is going through a REALLY hard time, fascism has already taken our entire government and nothing is being done, literally nothing…The pandemic is going at full power now, and we should expect at least 5 thousand deaths a day in the next few weeks. If things don’t change, we will easily get to 10 thousand deaths a day in a matter of a few months. The government denies that the situation is critical, and they say that it’s “comfortable.” well… it’s not…

Fascists kill communists, and I am a communist living in a fascist country with a fascist police. 60% of the population don’t have any idea of what is slowly happening inside here, mainly because of fake news created by the executive power. So you may know what can happen with me and other comrades if things don’t change in the next few years….we are slowly developing super strains of COVID-19 due to people living their lives like nothing is happening, this means that we have a small chance of creating a strain that is immune to the vaccines and restarting things all over the world again…Also, we are one of the largest powers in the world. If things go south here, things go south all around the world. Capitalist “democracy” in Brazil is really unstable. Please comrades, the rest of the world has to know what is happening here. It’s madness, and I am afraid for our future.

Until socialist revolutions sweep the rest of the globe, these dispatches from scared people living under the world’s fascist regimes will be some of our only sources for truth. Otherwise, society will continue to be filled with the lies the system produces in response to its own rot.

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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.

Friday, March 26, 2021

The Dark Future That Our Pro-Capitalist Cultural Hegemony Is Leading Us Towards

There’s a ridiculously transparent rhetorical tactic that bourgeois propagandists have lately been using when capitalism’s contradictions come to light: claim that the system we now live under, with its exploding inequality and destruction of the natural world, isn’t capitalism as it’s meant to work but rather a perversion of the real capitalism. If we just make some modifications, they say, “crony capitalism” will end and the world’s trends towards dystopia will be reversed.

This line of argument is being pushed on us in sometimes very strange ways. For instance, this January the popular infotainment YouTuber Johnny Harris pointed to how our current socioeconomic system is creating inequality and environmental degradation, then laughed off the notion of getting rid of capitalism as a solution to these crises. He claimed that the root of these crises comes from a specific type of capitalism called “shareholder capitalism,” and that our crises can be solved simply by switching to what he called “stakeholder capitalism.” He cited WalMart as an example of a company that’s implementing the “stakeholder capitalism” model, then indirectly explained this bizarre praise for a notoriously exploitative multinational corporation by revealing that his video was produced in partnership with the World Economic Forum.

The video wasn’t even packaged in a way that suggested it would be an economic polemic. It was titled “How China Became So Powerful,” showing that the oligarchic technocrats who’ve co-opted Harris seek to integrate their propaganda into the public discourse under any guise they can find.

Another example of the “we don’t need to get rid of capitalism, only tweak it” rhetoric appeared in an episode from this month of Real Time with Bill Maher, where advertising theorist Scott Galloway took the argument’s absurdity even further than Harris did by claiming that “What young people are seeing today is not capitalism.” He then delivered an impassioned but deeply strange monologue where he said that the real capitalism is “full-body contact violence at a corporate level so we can create prosperity and progress.”

This is the essence of the arguments that the bourgeoisie intelligentsia is putting forth to make the case for the system’s preservation: utterly incoherent psychobabble where the arguer tries to straddle between appearing to advocate for the interests of the proletariat, and explaining why the bourgeoisie should keep their position. Like has always been the case for the efforts to foster unity between the exploited and exploiting classes, the case these intellectuals are making relies on illiteracy about economics and history. Maher showed this by replying to Galloway with the statement: “communism, we tried it. It wasn’t that long ago, just too long ago if you have that idea in your head ‘well, I wasn’t alive for it, so I shouldn’t know about it.’ Well, maybe you should, because we did try it, and I would say communism is worse than crony capitalism.”

There’s a dark undertone to this campaign to steer the masses away from class consciousness, one that’s hinted at by how these proponents of the “but it wasn’t real capitalism!” argument always couch their incoherent economic arguments with imperialist demagoguery. In the last couple of months, Harris has also been putting out videos like “The Man Putin Fears The Most,” where he praises the Russian fascist Alexei Navalny as a courageous fighter of corruption. The racist nationalism that Navalny represents, and the U.S. empire’s moves to stir up a color revolution within Russia to manufacture perceived support for this agenda, are pushed aside by Harris to further this covert Western intervention project.

These kinds of endorsements of imperialist destabilization agendas have also been frequently engaged in by Maher, who said that America should “fight back” against Russia during 2017’s Russiagate hysteria and recently claimed that China has “bought Africa.” The proxy wars in Ukraine and Syria that Washington is carrying out, as well as Washington’s ever-expanding occupation of Africa via AFRICOM in order to counter China on the continent, are omitted from this rhetoric in favor of lowbrow American chauvinism and xenophobia.

When people like Johnny Harris and Bill Maher define our cultural dialogue, the masses are stuck in a state of enforced ignorance, where they keep passively accepting the ever-more destructive machinations of global capital. While these bourgeois intellectual gatekeepers dissuade their audience from trying to coherently challenge the system, the imperialists and multinational corporations continue to drive the world towards humanitarian crisis. Global Covid-19 deaths are risingagain, especially in highly neoliberalized victims of imperialist exploitation like Brazil. The recent hurricanes in Central America, exacerbated by global warming, have created hundreds of thousands of refugees who are now being subjected to the ever-larger U.S. migrant deportation and concentration camp system. As the Biden administration seeks to tighten neoliberal policies across Latin America, many of the right-wing regimes Washington backs to carry out these measures are slipping into dictatorship, with Ecuador being in danger of a military coup and Haiti’s illegitimate leader shooting protesters.

What will the ruling class do to us in the core of the empire when the worst of the global imperialist-created catastrophes appear at home? When large parts of California become unlivable due to heatwaves and fires, much of the American population is forced to migrate amid natural disasters, and the national power grid breaks under the strain of climatic catastrophe? They’ll do to us what they’ve already done in varying degrees to the Iraqis, the Libyans, the Syrians, the Gazans, the Yemenis, and the Ukrainians: use military occupations, bombings, and economic strangulation to pacify the population for the designs the empire aims to carry out. The U.S. military has already stated that when economic and environmental factors drive large parts of the country to instability, the army will be sent in to try to maintain order.

In the long term, the only solution that U.S. imperialism can find to the infrastructure deterioration, growing unemployment, falling wages, sea level rise, water shortages, deadly heatwaves, and food distribution network collapses within its own borders is to bring the endless wars home. We’re just as disposable to the empire as the victims of Washington’s recent wars in Africa and southwest Asia, or as the impoverished Latin American refugees who’ve been driven to flee their homes by neo-colonial regimes. We’re just not yet being targeted on the same level that these populations are.

Walmart adopting “stakeholder capitalism” isn’t going to save us from this fate. Neither is “full body contact violence at a corporate level.” The jargon that the bourgeois intellectual class spews at us is meaningless in the face of what’s coming, in the face of the crises we’re already experiencing. As late-stage capitalism accelerates towards barbarism, only rich people like Bill Maher will be safe. And they’ll cheer on the military’s planned war crimes within U.S. borders with the same enthusiasm that Maher expressed while praising Obama’s 2011 campaign to invade and destabilize Libya: “of course, we should bomb first, because we have the know-how how to kick butt. That’s what America does very well.”

When you see the kind of future that our pro-capitalist cultural hegemony is leading us towards, communism-even Maher’s ridiculously grim caricature of communism-doesn’t look so bad.

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