Andre Vltchek: Where is the antidote?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Jerry Russell, Feb 2, 2018.

  1. Jerry Russell

    Jerry Russell Administrator Staff Member

    If one actually wants to achieve political influence, Sophia Burns has some ideas about what's necessary. Richard has already hinted at this sort of thing, with his discussions about the Sunday Assembly, as well as Pastafarian activism.

    What does get taken seriously?

    You have to deliver results. You have to prove that when you act on your ideas, your community’s life gets better. You have credibility only to the extent that when you organize a project, it gives people more power and a better conditions in a concrete, tangible, material way. If you put that off until after the revolution (or after your socialist candidate wins), your revolution will never arrive. No one will support you besides a few political hobbyists – and why should they?...

    Why do so many working-class people align with Protestant fundamentalism?

    Christian Right churches give them reasons to join. Their safety net often out-competes the government’s; they offer food and clothing and shelter, community, existential purpose, social support, help with childcare and elder care, and even mental health services (through pastoral counseling and 12-step groups). That’s how the Christian Right has gotten such a massive and well-organized base. Its network of parallel institutions allows it to wield disproportionate power. In Texas, for instance, the Christian Right dominates state politics – but only 31% of Texans are evangelical Protestants! There is power in a base of autonomous institutions.

    The revolutionary Left doesn’t offer much competition. Why not learn from the enemy? Radicals can prove through practice that they can build programs that not only improve people’s material conditions, but also operate according to participatory democracy (which Christian Right churches do not). If that alternative was there, how many more poor and working people might become radical? Most people don’t choose to become socialists because socialism isn’t offering them anything they need. It’s perfectly reasonable to reject an ideology that talks big but isn’t actually improving your life.

    If you want support, build something that works....

    Don’t believe it when people say that there could never be a mass revolutionary movement in the US. It won’t be easy to create one. The Left will be struggling every step of the way, since larger political conditions do make a difference. But so do conditions within the Left. The US Left may not succeed. But, if it adopts a strategy of institution-building through confrontation, construction, and deep organizing, then it will, at least, stand a chance.

    The only alternative is to keep failing.
  2. Jerry Russell

    Jerry Russell Administrator Staff Member

    I'm enjoying discovering Caitlin Johnstone's work. Although she doesn't call out Vltchek by name, I feel it's reasonable to take her position as a counterpoint to Vltchek. She isn't endorsing his concept of collective guilt, anyhow.

    The American people are victims. The bootstrap mentality which dominates so much of US culture preconditions an instinctive revulsion at that word, but it’s true. Vast amounts of money and resources have been funneled into the research and development of the science of propaganda and psyops for over a century, and this advanced arsenal of psychological weaponry has been pointed squarely at manipulating and controlling the way Americans think and vote for generations. They are the victims of this psychological abuse, and the oligarchs who are using it to rule them are the victimizers.

    I think this is an important distinction to get clear on. The plutocrats who own and manipulate the mainstream media must necessarily keep the American people from seeing what they’re up to and turning on them, so they must psychologically abuse them into sedation and compliance. They are abusing the people of the country in which they’ve set up base in order to implement their worldwide agendas.

    Have you ever tried to help a friend or family member get out of a cult? It’s not easy. In fact, most times it’s nearly impossible and it requires more love and patience than many of us have in the tank. Cults are held in place by a few key factors — to be a good cult leader, you have to isolate your members from normal society, frighten them regularly into a state of dissociation, hypnotize them while they’re in that state of dissociation with your commands, present yourself as their savior, and suck them dry of their resources while presenting enlightenment/heaven/salvation/the rapture/Trump’s impeachment/single payer healthcare as just around the corner.

    The corporatist propaganda machine does all of these things with alarming efficiency. So what we have here is not a stupidity problem, it’s a propaganda problem. It’s an abuse problem. It’s a cult problem. All the things you would expect to see in a cult victim, you see in today’s American. Stockholm syndrome is an especially sticky symptom.

    So how do you help someone you love out of a cult? Firstly, don’t help the cult leader by cutting off ties with them. The cult leader wants to isolate their victim. As frustrating as it might be to have to engage with someone constantly babbling chapter and verse from the MSNBC bible, you’re just isolating them more if you cease contact with them.

    People who have gotten out of cults often talk about someone who was non-judgemental about them as a person who remained close throughout the cult experience, and was there to help them get out when they were ready. Reminding them that their lived experience is nothing like the promised land they keep getting fed with things like “Hey, if it’s working for you, that’s cool with me” and “Yeah, but are they actually doing that? I know they talk about it a lot…” and “Hey that’s a weird thing they’re doing. Why are they doing that? That’s odd.”

    I guess the one thing to remember, and I’m sure we’ve all experienced this, is when we finally worked out that we’d been duped about what’s happening in the world, it wasn’t accompanied by a big parade with bunting and a piñata. It was a horrible quiet internal foot-fall of hot-faced humility as we came face to face with our own gullibility.

    The mass media has given a few elites the ability to effectively turn a false story that they themselves invented into an established fact so broadly accepted that anyone who doubts it can be painted in the exact same light as someone who doubts the roundness of the Earth. The illusion of unanimous agreement is so complete that blatant establishment psyops are placed on the same level as settled scientific fact, even though it’s made of little else but highly paid pundits making authoritative assertions in confident tones of voice day after day.

    Yes, it is a perfect scheme. But there also happens to be a name for it.

    In a lucid essay titled “Gaslighting: State Mind Control and Abusive Narcissism”, Vanessa Beeley writes the following:

    The psychological term “Gaslighting” comes from a 1944 Hollywood classic movie called Gaslight. Gaslighting describes the abuse employed by a narcissist to instil in their victim’s mind, an extreme anxiety and confusion to the extent where they no longer have faith in their own powers of logic, reason and judgement. These gaslighting techniques were adopted by central intelligence agencies in the US and Europe as part of their psychological warfare methods, used primarily during torture or interrogation.

    Anyone who has been in an abusive relationship is likely to be familiar with this textbook abuse tactic to some extent, because it is such a useful tool for crippling the better judgment and alarm bells we all have which are meant to help us avoid situations that are harmful to us. If someone with confidence in their own clear judgement feels certain that their significant other is cheating, for example, there is likely to be a confrontation and some clothes out on the front lawn. If your significant other can convince you that you are paranoid or crazy, however, you will doubt what you are seeing and accept the stories you’re being told by someone who appears to be a lot more grounded in reality than you are. ...

    The good news is that there is an easy remedy for this tactic. We need only to be thoroughly confident in our own judgment.

    History has testified unequivocally that extreme skepticism is the only rational response to have toward establishment narratives, especially when those narratives are beating the drums of war. The US war machine has an extensive history of using lies, false flags and propaganda to manufacture support for its bloodthirsty agendas, and the adage that truth is the first casualty of war holds up flawlessly in cases of both hot war and cold war. It is simply self-evident that there is no good reason to take these people at their word, and every reason not to.

    Your own educated best guess about what is going on in the world is infinitely superior to placing unquestioning faith in an establishment which has a vested interest in lying to you and a demonstrable history of doing so. Trust yourself and have full confidence that your conclusions, however imperfect, are always superior to those of known liars and manipulators.

    Never, ever let anyone bully and cajole you for being skeptical of mainstream narratives instead of believing the say-so of malignant deceivers. Trust yourself. You are not being crazy, you are behaving logically. Don’t let them gaslight you.
    Sadly, I'm not so sure that people who are grounded in fundamentalist religious world views, are going to come up with narratives that are any more accurate than the mainstream obfuscations. They may be different, but ultimately just as problematic.

  3. Richard Stanley

    Richard Stanley Administrator

    Your link above (and quote) is from yet another that did not learn the critical difference between Socialism and Communism. The latter a cynical co-optation of the former, but most on the right and left conflate them as one.

    As explained by Wolfgang Waldner:
  4. Richard Stanley

    Richard Stanley Administrator

    When reading the following long article, perhaps one might view religious fundamentalism as a form of original Gaslighting? The unnamed author explains why, contrary to Vltchek's assertions of inherent evil, we are the way we are. We are stuck with a huge mass of entitled neo-Chosen People who are coming unglued that their neo-Promised Land, funhouse isn't working so much for them anymore.

    These are the proudly ignorant 'superior' people that constantly have to be politically accommodated, because they are so easily stampeded, due to their most basic cultural input, the Bible.

    As the election of Donald Trump is being sorted out, a common theme keeps cropping up from all sides: “Democrats failed to understand white, working-class, fly-over America.”

    Trump supporters are saying this. Progressive pundits are saying this. Talking heads across all forms of the media are saying this. Even some Democratic leaders are saying this. It doesn’t matter how many people say it, it is complete BS. It is an intellectual/linguistic sleight of hand meant to draw attention away from the real problem. The real problem isn’t East Coast elites who don’t understand or care about rural America. The real problem is that rural Americans don’t understand the causes of their own situations and fears and they have shown no interest in finding out. They don’t want to know why they feel the way they do or why they are struggling because they don’t want to admit it is in large part because of the choices they’ve made and the horrible things they’ve allowed themselves to believe.

    I grew up in rural Christian white America. You’d be hard-pressed to find an area of the country with a higher percentage of Christians or whites. I spent most of the first 24 years of my life deeply embedded in this culture. I religiously (pun intended) attended their Christian services. I worked off and on on their rural farms. I dated their calico-skirted daughters. I camped, hunted and fished with their sons. I listened to their political rants at the local diner and truck stop. I winced at their racist/bigoted jokes and epithets that were said more out of ignorance than animosity. I have watched the town I grew up in go from a robust economy with well-kept homes and infrastructure to a struggling economy with shuttered businesses, dilapidated homes and a broken-down infrastructure over the past 30 years. The problem isn’t that I don’t understand these people. The problem is they don’t understand themselves or the reasons for their anger and frustration.

    In deep-red America, the white Christian god is king, figuratively and literally. Religious fundamentalism has shaped most of their belief systems. Systems built on a fundamentalist framework are not conducive to introspection, questioning, learning, or change. When you have a belief system built on fundamentalism, it isn’t open to outside criticism, especially by anyone not a member of your tribe and in a position of power. The problem isn’t that coastal elites don’t understand rural Americans. The problem is that rural America doesn’t understand itself and will never listen to anyone outside its bubble. It doesn’t matter how “understanding” you are, how well you listen, what language you use…if you are viewed as an outsider, your views will be automatically discounted. I’ve had hundreds of discussions with rural white Americans and whenever I present them any information that contradicts their entrenched beliefs, no matter how sound, how unquestionable, how obvious, they will not even entertain the possibility that it might be true. Their refusal is a result of the nature of their fundamentalist belief system and the fact that I’m the enemy because I’m an educated liberal. ...

    Near the end of article is a long laundry list of problem beliefs these people hold.

    Here are the honest truths that rural Christian white Americans don’t want to accept; until they accept these truths, nothing is going to change:
    • Their economic situation is largely the result of voting for supply-side economic policies that have been the largest redistribution of wealth from the bottom/middle to the top in U.S. history.
    • Immigrants haven’t taken their jobs. If all immigrants, legal or otherwise, were removed from the U.S., our economy would come to a screeching halt and food prices would soar.
    • Immigrants are not responsible for companies moving their plants overseas. The almost exclusively white business owners are responsible, because they care more about their shareholders (who are also mostly white) than about American workers.
    • No one is coming for their guns. All that has been proposed during the entire Obama administration is having better background checks.
    • Gay people getting married is not a threat to their freedom to believe in whatever white god they want to. No one is going to make their church marry gays, have a gay pastor or accept gays for membership.
    • Women having access to birth control doesn’t affect their lives either, especially women they complain about being teenage single mothers.
    • Blacks are not “lazy moochers living off their hard-earned tax dollars” any more than many of their fellow rural neighbors. People in need are people in need. People who can’t find jobs because of their circumstances, a changing economy or outsourcing overseas belong to all races.
    • They get a tremendous amount of help from the government they complain does nothing for them. From the roads and utility grids they use to farm subsidies, crop insurance and commodities protections, they benefit greatly from government assistance. The Farm Bill is one of the largest financial expenditures by the U.S. government. Without government assistance, their lives would be considerably worse.
    • They get the largest share of Food Stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.
    • They complain about globalization, yet line up like everyone else to get the latest Apple products. They have no problem buying foreign-made guns, scopes and hunting equipment. They don’t think twice about driving trucks whose engines were made in Canada, tires made in Japan, radios made in Korea, and computer parts made in Malaysia.
    • They use illicit drugs as much as any other group. But when other people do it is a “moral failing” and they should be severely punished, legally. When they do it, it is a “health crisis” that needs sympathy and attention.
    • When jobs dry up for whatever reason, they refuse to relocate but lecture the poor in places like Flint for staying in failing towns.
    • They are quick to judge minorities for being “welfare moochers,” but don’t think twice about cashing their welfare checks every month.
    • They complain about coastal liberals, but taxes from California and New York cover their farm subsidies, help maintain their highways and keep the hospitals in their sparsely populated rural areas open for business.
    • They complain about “the little man being run out of business,” and then turn around and shop at big-box stores.
    • They make sure outsiders are not welcome, deny businesses permits to build, then complain about businesses, plants opening up in less rural areas.
    • Government has not done enough to help them in many cases, but their local and state governments are almost completely Republican and so are their representatives and senators. Instead of holding them accountable, they vote them into office over and over and over again.
    • All the economic policies and ideas that could help rural America belong to the Democratic Party: raising the minimum wage, strengthening unions, spending on infrastructure, renewable energy growth, slowing down the damage done by climate change, and healthcare reform. All of these and more would really help a lot of rural white Americans.
  5. Jerry Russell

    Jerry Russell Administrator Staff Member

    The author of the article above is a blogger named Forsetti, and the original source was:

    Forsetti posts at his blog every week or two.

    Of course religious fundamentalism is gaslighting. The stories are ridiculous, transparently self-serving fairy tales for the benefit of the elite, and yet treated by both Church and State authorities as literally God's truth.

    I think Caitlin Johnstone (quoted above) would agree; in another article, she says:

    ...religions in my estimation appear to consist primarily of the vestigial proto-propaganda of rulers who used them to control the masses...
  6. Jerry Russell

    Jerry Russell Administrator Staff Member

    You're making a valid point here (I think) but I'm not so sure that "the critical difference between Socialism and Communism" is the clearest way to frame it. Wikipedia says that the term "communism" was coined in 1777 to describe a communal lifestyle in which work and goods are shared. The editors don't seem exactly sure who coined the term "socialism", but it was in use by the 1820's by several theorists including Robert Owen, to describe cooperative ventures such as his commune at New Harmony.

    Marx took these two terms and gave them his own, rather idiosyncratic, definition. Robert Palermo represents what appears to be the consensus of a lengthy thread at Quora:

    In classic Marxist theory, Communism is the final stage of the evolution of human socioeconomic relations. In the Marxist model, the feudal state is overthrown by the rise of the bourgeoisie, ushering in the capitalist epoch. Capitalism is then overthrown by the rise of the proletariat, which ushers in not communism, but the Socialist state. Each previous step is the necessary precondition for the next.

    The socialist state is thus the pre-condition for communism, and its function is to alter the state of human material conditions in such a way that communism can function. The socialist state then "withers away," leading to the end of political power in any centralized form – including nation states, as communism as envisioned by Marx is to be an international system....

    In the most reductionist sense, socialism presupposes a strong centralized state, while communism follows once the state is no longer necessary. Marx summarized communism in this way: "an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all."
    Whereas nowadays, "socialism" is often used to describe moderate, liberal reforms of capitalism, such as trade unionism, "socialized" medicine, or poverty relief programs; while "Communism" is reserved to describe governments such as the former Soviet Union, in which most or all means of production were at least nominally owned by the state.

    Waldner's criticism of Marx, as I understand it, is that Marx defined a revolutionary process that was both unappetizing and impossible. And although the Bolsheviks swept into power under the banner of Marxism, it's far from clear that the process or outcome was exactly what Marx would have predicted or endorsed. A revolt of intellectuals, some with Western capitalist backing, rather than true proletarians.

    In reading Stalinist websites, I've been amused to learn that they regard Khrushchev as the arch-villain of the ultimate fall of the Soviet Union. They see him as a "revisionist" who first opened the floodgates to capitalist business practices, turning his back on what they see as hard core Marxist-Leninist-Stalinism. Mao also saw Khrushchev as a "revisionist", which led to the Sino-Soviet split.

    Similarly, Deng Xiaopeng is often seen as a "capitalist roader" who introduced a hybrid capitalist + communist system in China.

    It's interesting that in the recent US strategic plan, both Russia and China are described as "revisionist" nations, rather than as part of the integrated global capitalist economy. This is exactly the same word the Stalinists use to describe them.
  7. Richard Stanley

    Richard Stanley Administrator

    Regardless of when the two terms originated, even Marx differentiated the two, with Socialism being the predicate for Communism. Then, ... Communism ostensibly fades into Global Anarchism.

    Funny, but this is what extreme '(l)ibertarianism' sees as its end goal, just coming from the opposition direction (using a different variation of David Nolan's two dimensional political construct).

    As I remember, Waldner's complaint was that Marx's entire construction was a deceitful ambush of the primary leveling intent of either the somewhat nascent 'labor' movement generally and the labor associated Socialist construct. The Marxian process and its real end, not the rhetoric, was such as the Stalinist authoritarian state - which served the purpose and profit of its sub rosa masters.

    In my opinion the real agenda of (l)ibertarianism is similar. Under the rubric of pursuing the (l)ibertarian end, ala the Mont Pelerin Society (monarchist) hidden sponsorship, the pseudo-utopia of libertarian Global Anarchy will not be achieved, but rather be demonstrated to fail miserably as even such as the American Republic and its 'Deep State' could not withstand the predations of such a driven individual as Donald Trump. If they couldn't stop such a beast then how could a bunch of disorganized libertarians?

    In other words, "you can't get there from here." And then this leaves the post-Aquinas Church, and maybe Space Jesus, holding their solution of re-imposing their caste system, this time on a Global basis. But, IMHO, likely not the rhetorical benign and dignified caste system, but the old feudal caste system updated for the new age. However, they have built and articulated the economic logic of the hybrid (capitalist / socialist) system. Europe, the USA, and others have developed their various versions of such hybrid economies, the latter more constrained by political considerations, such as right wing religious fundamentalism. China's Communists have fully embraced a hybrid model, albeit that they advantages built-in for Party members. On the other hand, a conservative American state, North Dakota, has a state charted bank whose mission is to provide capital access to its common citizens. Shocking.
  8. Jerry Russell

    Jerry Russell Administrator Staff Member

    Just to be clear, is this the definition you're also recommending? That is: Socialism is a moderate, practical construct that can coexist with capitalism in hybrid economies, while Communism represents a theoretical ideal of common ownership and sharing of all goods, as well as sharing all means of production?

    I agree that the Communist ideal is doomed by its own internal contradictions, namely that means of production owned by the "people" are in fact controlled by specific individuals; that is, plutocrats. Thus, revolutionary Soviet or Chinese communism tends to decay into oligarchic capitalism, rather than anarchy.

    I'm not sure if Vltchek would completely disagree with this theoretical analysis, but it's clear he has no use for it. He sees the world as a struggle between "The Empire" on one side, vs. those on the "other side of the barricades". And since the Empire is run by capitalists, he wants to be the opposite. Vltchek says here:

    Am I a Leninist, a Maoist, or a Trotskyist? Do I subscribe to the Soviet or the Chinese model?

    Honestly, I have no idea! Frankly, I don’t care much for those nuances.

    To me personally, a true Communist is a fighter against imperialism, racism, ‘Western exceptionism’, colonialism and neo-colonialism. He or she is a determined Internationalist, a person who believes in equality and social justice for all people on this Earth.

    I’ll leave theoretical discussions to those who have plenty of time on their hands.
    I'm sure he would say the same if someone asks him if he's a Communist or a Socialist. But even as a recovering academic, I'm not going to sign up for this idea that theoretical discussions are a waste of time.

    And it does look to me like Vltchek is falling into a trap here. Capitalism, as private, personal enterprise, is basic to the human condition. The problem with "The Empire" is not simply Capitalism per se. It's the union of capitalism with state power, which is Fascism. And it's the special Zionist, Apocalyptic Globalism that's driving our particular set of oligarchs in power.

    On the other hand, we might be making too much of the fact that Russia and China have gone a long ways down the Capitalist Road to revisionism. They're still on the other side of the barricades, and our Flavian Empire's nukes are still pointed at them; even if Putin is desperately trying to avoid an ultimate confrontation with the US and he wants to keep his "Atlanticist Integrationists" happy; and even if the Chinese leadership wants to keep accumulating foreign bank accounts.

    Having approvingly quoted Sophia Burns in this thread, I was curious to see what else she's up to. It turns out she's the co-founder of a nascent political party here in the Pacific Northwest, called the Communist Labor Party. From their website:

    Our method is Dual Power: a network of new, autonomous institutions that both meet people’s needs directly and resist the ruling class’s oppression – especially including white supremacy, patriarchy, ableism, and ecological destruction. Because we’re democratic and nonsectarian, our members include Marxists, anarchists, and people who don’t like political labels but believe in doing the work. We’re united not around having all the answers already, but through our shared, on-the-ground political practice.
    They go on to describe "Dual Power" as encompassing institutions such as worker-owned businesses and neighborhood vegetable gardens; as well as labor unions. As a progressive capitalist, I can get behind this! But unfortunately, it looks like I'm not eligible to join the Party: according to their Constitution, "Anyone who subsists on profits from landlording, business income from employees, or stock ownership" is automatically disqualified. And this, even though there's a local Eugene chapter, and one of my Facebook friends seems to be involved somehow.

    I am undaunted, however: I have signed up for their discussion forum, and am awaiting my approval to post.
  9. Richard Stanley

    Richard Stanley Administrator

    Trouble in paradise?

    In July 2009, deadly riots broke out in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, China. Nearly 200 people died, the majority ethnic Han Chinese, and thousands of Chinese troops were brought in to quell the riots. An information battle soon followed, as mobile phone and internet service was cut off in the entire province. For the next 10 months, web access would be almost nonexistent in Xinjiang, a vast region larger than Texas with a population of more than 20 million. It was one of the most widespread, longest internet shutdowns ever.

    That event, which followed similar unrest in neighboring Chinese-ruled Tibet in 2008, was the sign of a new phase in the Chinese state's quest to control its restive outer regions. The 2009 shutdown was the first large-scale sign of a shift in tactics: the use of technology to control information.

    "Xinjiang has gotten little attention, but this is where we're really seeing the coming together of multiple streams of technology [for surveillance] that just hasn't happened in other contexts before," said Steven Feldstein, fellow in the Democracy and Rule of Law Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

    Nine years later, Xinjiang has seen the widespread implementation of sophisticated high-tech surveillance and monitoring technology, what BuzzFeed called "a 21st century police state." But what happens in Xinjiang does not stay in Xinjiang. The technologies piloted there are already spreading across all of China, and there are even early signs that Chinese companies are beginning to sell some of this technology to other authoritarian-minded countries. If this trend continues, the future of technology, particularly for those in the Global South, could more resemble what's happening in Xinjiang than developments in Silicon Valley.

    Xinjiang is the home to the Uyghurs, a Turkic people who mostly follow Islam and have a distinct culture and language. Not surprisingly, the region has a tenuous relationship with Beijing, which is more than 1,400 miles away. Protests, riots and even terrorist attacks have been connected to the Uyghur struggle, which gives cover to Chinese authorities to implement the harshest strategies there.

    "Abuses are most apparent in Xinjiang because of the lack of privacy protections but also because the power imbalance between the people there and the police is the greatest in China," said Maya Wang, China researcher at Human Rights Watch. ...
  10. Jerry Russell

    Jerry Russell Administrator Staff Member

    Here is another view of the situation in Xinjiang province, by Tony Cartalucci:

    China’s western region of Xinjiang, a vast area home to some 21 million people, is one of several hubs of destabilization maintained by the US State Department and its vast network of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), covert programs, and overt political meddling. America’s “Xinjiang game” is part of a larger, long-term goal of encircling, containing, and undermining China in a bid to maintain American hegemony across Asia. ...

    By dividing the ethnic Uyghurs against Han Chinese, including the funding and backing of armed groups carrying out deadly terrorist attacks – not only in Xinjiang, but across greater China – the US hopes to make Xinjiang ungovernable, forcing Beijing to commit greater resources to quelling violence, instead of fostering unity and moving economic progress forward. ...

    Ironically, with US-backed NGOs using Uyghur’s as proxies in what is basically a terror campaign by with the ultimate goal of seizing Chinese territory, it is not Beijing that poses the greatest threat to the culture and traditions of the Uyghur people, but rather the NGOs “protecting Uyghur rights” while hiding a proxy war serving foreign interests behind them. ...

    Just as Islam today suffers collectively because of Western-backed terror groups which in reality constitute but a fraction of 1% of all Muslims – and who practice an ideology that is in fact, the antithesis of Islam – Uyghurs will continue to suffer collectively because of a small minority of violent, loud, well-funded, and well-organized proxies propped up by the West – some literally based in Washington D.C. itself – for the West’s own ends.
    And, here's Jeff Brown on differences between Western and Chinese media control. Writing about a friend who has just had an article published in a mainstream Western newspaper, Brown says:

    In their article, they forcefully condemned a Communist country’s use of censorship to control its version of history. To get published in this newspaper is a quite an achievement. It is one of those news sources which is so well respected, that if they print something, it’s the truth. And if they don’t write about an event happening in the world, it never occurred. So, my friend can now stake claim as a mainstream “made” (wo)man in the news establishment world, and I am truly happy for them and their success. It is a dream that many a writer and journalist fantasize doing.

    Yes, this Communist country’s censorship is more overt, compared to what I like to call the West’s Great Western Firewall(GWF), but the aims and results are identical. Why do countries like Cuba, China, Vietnam, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, Ecuador and countless others not have faith in the West’s tried and true GWF, where the state and capital know that merely controlling the mainstream media is enough to define what is true, not true, what happened and didn’t happen? That the alternative media is too diffuse, too fractured and ultimately only constitutes feeble background noise, attenuated over time?

    The difference is that for 80% of the world’s people and their governments, they have been the victim of five centuries of Western colonialism and exploitation. And these countries continue to be ceaselessly assailed by so called Western “civil society” and “democracy” NGOs, to effect psyops, destabilization and ultimately, regime change through assassination, coups and armed uprisings (not to mention the economic and social predations of the IMF and World Bank) – especially if they have valuable natural resources and/or strategic locations. With these examples of “superior” Western virtues and civilization trying to tear the 80%’s countries apart, one can empathize with their belief that they need to be more controlling and heavy handed than maybe they would like to be. Being the aggressor and not the victim, the West plays by a different, privileged set of rules. For 500 years, the West has had and continues to own the copyright to the human race’s history books and current events. From the majority’s perspective, their histories have been written for them, by the West, against their will. These countries must battle against this massive, distorting prism of perceived reality, which helps explain their sometimes obsessive nature about trying to fashion their own pasts.
  11. Richard Stanley

    Richard Stanley Administrator

    Jerry Russell said that Andre Vltchek said:
    "He hasn't said anything about you, but I conjectured that he might feel your negative view of Russia is nihilistic."

    It would seem that "some religious theologians and figures of religious authority" have determined that you, as well as I, are ... Nihilists. Myself, at least, considering myself a Rationalist Agnostic Modernist, I am not totally certain that Agnosticism qualifies me as being Nihilistic though. I 'merely' reject organized Religion as being man-made.

    Nihilism has also been described as conspicuous in or constitutive of certain historical periods: for example, Jean Baudrillard and others have called postmodernity a nihilistic epoch;[5] and some religious theologians and figures of religious authority have asserted that postmodernity[6] and many aspects of modernity[3] represent a rejection of theism, and that such rejection of theistic doctrine entails nihilism.

    But at the end of the day, all these labels are crap, especially considering all the problems the theist Anihilists have created.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2018
  12. Jerry Russell

    Jerry Russell Administrator Staff Member

    With this, you are also a whataboutist. Or is that a thing? Maybe I should say, you are a practitioner of whataboutism. But that is impossible. Because as everybody knows, only propagandists engage in whataboutism; and they know who they are.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2018
  13. Richard Stanley

    Richard Stanley Administrator

    For some years now I have had this dread fear of someone calling me an Isis-ist, only because those Western proxies, the Islamic State of whatever, co-opted my once fetal notion of Is-ism. After writing the above and going to bed, I suddenly got this wave of anxiety about what I had written. At some point in my REM dream-state slumber I was told that I was a "Whataboutist". When I looked up, it was Uber-Whataboutist Donald Trump, Space Jesus, and Isis (aka the Virgin Mary) existentially smirking down at me. Then they all said in perfect harmony: "The Fake Truth will set you ..."

    I woke up with a start, and a big WTFUBAR.

    In any case, the abortive 'Is-ism' essentially meant "What it is", and would have made me a "Whatitisicist" (or shortened to a Tis'icist :rolleyes:) in my own mind, at least. Sigh!!

    I wonder where such dreams come from? The aether, the aEthernet, the aInternet, the aDARPAnet? All of the above? Sigh!!
  14. Jerry Russell

    Jerry Russell Administrator Staff Member

    Another classic Vltchek essay appeared yesterday on RT, and got picked up by Global Research. Vltchek seems to be completely fed up with Ghandian non-violent organizing. I am not sure what to think about this.

    Recently, through Whatsapp, I received a simple chain of messages from my East African friends and Comrades – mostly young left-wing, revolutionary opposition leaders, thinkers and activists:

    “Free Africa is a socialist Africa! We are ready for war! The young Africans are on fire! Death to the imperialist forces! Viva Bolivarian revolution! South-South Cooperation! Today we take the battle to the streets! Africa Must Unite!”

    Such statements would sound almost ‘violent’ and therefore could be even be classified as ‘illegal’, if pronounced openly in the West. Someone could end up in Guantanamo for this, or in a ‘secret CIA prison’. A few weeks ago, I directly addressed these young people – leaders of the left-wing East African opposition – at the Venezuelan Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. Yes, they were boiling, they were outraged, determined and ready.

    For those who are not too familiar with the continent, Kenya has been, for years and decades, an outpost of the British, US and even Israeli imperialism in East Africa. It was playing the same role that West Germany used to play during the Cold War – a window shopping paradise, stuffed with luxury goods and services. ...

    Today, some 60 percent of Kenyans live in slums; some of the toughest in Africa. Some of these ‘settlements’, like Mathare and Kibera are housing at least one million people, in the most despicable, terrible conditions. Four years ago, when I was making my documentary film, in these slums, for South American network TeleSUR, I wrote:

    “…Officially, there is peace in Kenya. For decades, Kenya functioned as a client state of the West, implementing a savage market regime, hosting foreign military bases. Billions of dollars were made here. But almost nowhere on earth is the misery more brutal than here.

    Two years earlier, while filming my “Tumaini” near Kisumu city and the Uganda border, I saw entire hamlets standing empty like ghosts. The people had vanished, died – from AIDS and hunger. But it was still called peace. ...

    So, what is real peace for the people in Europe and North America? The answer is simple: It is a state of things in which as few Western people as possible are killed or injured. A state of things in which the flow of resources from the poor, plundered and colonized countries is pouring, uninterrupted, predominantly to Europe and North America.

    The price for such peace? How many African, Latin American or Asian people die as a result of such arrangement of the world, is thoroughly irrelevant.

    Peace is when the business interests of the West are not endangered, even if tens of millions of non-white human beings would vanish in the process.

    Peace is when the West can, unopposed, control the world, politically, economically, ideologically and ‘culturally’.

    “War” is when there is rebellion. War is when the people of plundered countries say “No!”. War is when they suddenly refuse to be raped, robbed, indoctrinated and murdered.

    When such a scenario takes place the West’s immediate reaction ‘to restore peace’ is to overthrow the government in the country which is trying to take care of its people. To bomb schools and hospitals, to destroy supply of fresh water and electricity and to throw millions into total misery and agony.

    As the West may soon do to North Korea (DPRK), to Cuba, Venezuela, Iran – some of the countries that are being, for now, ‘only’ tormented by sanctions and, foreign -sponsored, deadly “opposition”. In the Western lexicon, “peace” is synonymous to “submission”. To a total, unconditional submission. Anything else is war or could potentially lead to war.

    For the oppressed, devastated countries, including those in Africa, to call for resistance, would be, at least in the Western lexicon, synonymous with the “call for violence”, therefore illegal. As ‘illegal’ as the calls were for resistance in the countries occupied by German Nazi forces during the WWII. It would be, therefore, logical to call the Western approach and state of mind, “fundamentalist”, and thoroughly aggressive.

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