All posts filed under: Essays

Economics: Class War by Another Name

Frank Lee The terrible case which … socialists are able to make out against the present economic order of society demands a full consideration of all means by which the ownership of property may be … made to work in a manner beneficial to that large portion of society which at present enjoys the least share of its direct benefits.(John Stuart Mill – Essays on Economics – 1824 I recall an old anarchist cartoon which was in the form of a pyramid. The top stratum consisted of Kings and Queens, millionaires, billionaires, high-ranking politicians, the military, ministers and statesmen and various other high-falutin’ members of the ruling elite: the adjacent caption read – “We rule you.” The next tier down, consisted of the Pope, cardinals, archbishops, priests and other members of the clergy: the caption read – “We fool you.” Beneath that there were soldiers and militia and police: the caption read – “We shoot you.” And the lowest, broader and most populous layer was – us, the ordinary folk, the caption read: – “we …

Few Admiring Words for “Crypto-Socialist” Singapore

Text and photos by Andre Vltchek Imagine a country with 5.6 million inhabitants (of which around 4 million are citizens), surrounded by a collapsing giant – Indonesia – in the south and south-west, by the historically hostile Malaysia in the north, and that proverbial deep blue sea (Strait of Malacca, full of nasty pirates) over the horizon. Officially Indonesia has 250 million mainly desperately poor inhabitants, but my friends, top UN statisticians working in Montreal, Canada (at the UNESCO Institute for the Statistics), believe that it has, already since one decade ago, well over 300 million ‘souls’ (remember the “Dead Souls” of Gogol, a pre-revolutionary Russian writer and his iconic novel about corruption?), some of them actually ‘so dead’ to the Indonesian government that it doesn’t even want to acknowledge their miserable existence, let alone to feed them. Malaysia has 32 million people, and an incredibly complex and turbulent past. It is not a friendly country towards Singapore, which actually used to be a part of Malaya Federation for 2 years but got unceremoniously kicked …

CIA Hits of Yesterday and Today: Nicaragua Collection

When I was knee high to a grasshopper and listening to 1984 (For the Love of Big Brother) by the Eurythmics on my jambox, CIA agents were dropping tons of drugs on my state and training death squads in our forests. I had heard of Contras and Daniel Ortega, but I had no idea they had any impact on my life at all.

However, a couple of years later at one of my first babysitting gigs, I was getting a little girl ready for bed when I found a big plastic zipper bag full of white powder in her underwear drawer. “You’re not supposed to touch that,” she told me. I guess her parents thought that was a safe place to hide it. It had probably come from an airport in small town called Mena, but we’ll get to that later.

How to Maliciously Smear Your Critics (and Not Get Away with It)

CJ Hopkins The life of a professional political satirist is many things, but it is certainly never boring. Last week, for example, was particularly not boring. OK, I wasn’t called before a Senate committee to testify against a rapey nominee to the highest court in the United States, or smeared by the right-wing media for doing so, nothing that dramatic or consequential. No, while most Americans were parsing every “he said” and “she said” of the Kavanaugh hearings, I was embroiled in my own little sordid drama involving “going public,” and smears, and my colleagues attempting to assassinate my character, and so on. What happened was, I got the kiss-off from CounterPunch (where I had been a contributor for over two years) by CounterPunch’s Red-Brown Putin-Nazi hunting squad. That, or the editors just overlooked my submissions, or they decided not to run them, or they were going to run them, after having overlooked them, but then decided not to run them, because I’d already run them, after they didn’t run them … or something. I …

End of an Era: Big Agriculture and the Fall of American Dairy

J Birchfield The ongoing American dairy farmer debacle deeply bothers me, and every time I see another reference to it I’m forcing myself to think it through. Extra cheap milk in which to dunk your Oreos it would seem is the new cultural norm, along with some of the highest suicide rates farm families have ever seen. Disturbing. Social media posts, written articles, viral videos are all so eager to put on display the ‘been doing it for half a century’ old and broken head of the family farm, his wrinkled face crying, hugging a few of his closest family members, heads hung low and shoulders slouched, all taking in their last few moments of existence as tough, gritty, incredibly consistent, and innovative American dairy farmers. Over time, you either tune it out or embrace the collective nostalgia that for some has turned to anger and depression, crying out through the ripped and torn cultural fabric almost as intensely as a mamma cow mourns a dead calf. Of course, all along generating the buzz that …

Book Review: Propaganda Blitz – How Corporate Media Distort Reality

We’ve heard a good deal of late about Western democracy, and I for one don’t knock it. I think it an excellent idea, but wouldn’t it require an informed electorate? And wouldn’t that require a media untainted by power and unfettered by any ties other than to truth? Truth in the sense of accuracy and immunity from entrenched interest; truth in the sense of facts and interpretations offered with neither fear nor favour on matters vital to the common good – like climate change, waging war, and levels of inequality both morally indefensible and socially dysfunctional?

Down with the Working Classes!

If the Left is ever going to come together to save the world from Donald Trump and his legions of fascistic Putin-Nazis, we’re going to need to confront our primary enemy … the international working classes. Yes, my comrades, I’m afraid it’s time to face the facts, depressing as they are. The working classes are not our friends.

9/11 Unmasked: A Remarkable Review

David Ray Griffin The book 9/11 Unmasked, which I wrote together with Elizabeth Woodworth, has received several excellent reviews. But the most remarkable of these was written by Philip Roddis, who in 2016 had written with vitriol (his term) about the idea that 9/11 was an “inside job.” He wrote: “9/11 Truthism is not only seriously crackers but reactionary too.” What is remarkable about Roddis’ 2018 review is the extent to which he reversed his previous position. Introduction Roddis’ reversal began after seeing responses to his 2016 piece. Most of the responses simply confirmed Roddis’ long-held “contempt” for 9/11 truthers. He had felt this contempt – he recently realized – because he had been “exposed only to lazy, simplistic and epistemologically naive truthers.” Put otherwise, Roddis admitted that his “exposure to truthism had come from armchair conspiracists too idle or brain fogged to put together a decent argument.” Given his long-held certainty that the truthers could not be taken seriously, he had felt no need to “engage with evidential flaws in the official account.” So …

Why I join the ILP

by George Orwell We’re republishing Orwell’s 1938 piece here for its continuing relevance in our times.  First published by New Leader on June 24, 1938, the text is also available at the Marxists’ Internet Archive. Perhaps it will be frankest to approach it first of all from the personal angle. I am a writer. The impulse of every writer is to ‘keep out of politics’. What he wants is to be left alone so that he can go on writing books in peace. But unfortunately it is becoming obvious that this ideal is no more practicable than that of the petty shop-keeper who hopes to preserve his independence in the teeth of the chain-stores. To begin with, the era of free speech is closing down. The freedom of the Press in Britain was always something of a fake, because in the last resort, money controls opinion; still, so long as the legal right to say what you like exists, there are always loopholes for an unorthodox writer. For some years past I have managed to …

The Fakest Fake News: The U.S. Government’s 9/11 Conspiracy Theory

Edward Curtin A Review of 9/11Unmasked: An International Review Panel Investigation by David Ray Griffin and Elizabeth Woodworth If you want to fathom today’s world, absolutely nothing is more important than to understand the truth about the attacks of September 11, 2001. This is the definitive book on the subject. For seventeen years we have been subjected to an onslaught of U.S. government and corporate media propaganda about 9/11 that has been used to support the “war on terror” that has resulted in millions of deaths around the world.  It has been used as a pretext to attack nations throughout the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. It has led to a great increase in Islamophobia since Muslims were accused of being responsible for the attacks. It has led to a crackdown on civil liberties in the United States, the exponential growth of a vast and costly national security apparatus, the spreading of fear and anxiety on a great scale, and a state of permanent war that is pushing the world toward a nuclear confrontation. …

A Diabolic False Flag Empire: A Review of David Ray Griffin’s The American Trajectory: Divine or Demonic?

Edward Curtin The past is not dead; it is people who are sleeping. The current night and daymares that we are having arise out of murders lodged deep in our past that have continued into the present. No amount of feigned amnesia will erase the bloody truth of American history, the cheap grace we bestow upon ourselves. We have, as Harold Pinter said in his Nobel address, been feeding on “a vast tapestry of lies” that surrounds us, lies uttered by nihilistic leaders and their media mouthpieces for a very long time. We have, or should have, bad consciences for not acknowledging being active or silent accomplices in the suppression of truth and the vicious murdering of millions at home and abroad. But, as Pinter said, “I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory.” No one is more emblematic of this noble …

The Cell Phone and the Virgin: A Montreal Odyssey

Edward Curtin And the sun pours down like honey on our lady of the harbor And she shows you where to look among the garbage and the flowers There are heroes in the seaweed, there are children in the morning They are leaning out for love and they will lean that way forever While Suzanne holds her mirror” Leonard Cohen, “Suzanne” Before this historical chasm, a mind like that of Adams felt itself helpless; he turned from the Virgin to the Dynamo as though he were a Branly coherer. On one side, at the Louvre and at Chartres, as he knew by the record of work actually done and still before his eyes, was the highest energy ever known to man, the creator of four-fifths of his noblest art, exercising vastly more attraction over the human mind than all the steam-engines and dynamos ever dreamed of; and yet this energy was unknown to the American mind. An American Virgin would never dare command; an American Venus would never dare exist.” Henry Adams, “The Dynamo and …

Dead End Amerika

PA Farruggio Documentary film maker Marc Levin has a ‘must see ‘ film entitled Class Divide about the gentrification of the West Chelsea area of Manhattan (23rd street around 9th and 10th Avenues). HIs former documentary, Hard Times: Lost on Long Island (2012) followed four individuals who lost their financial sector white collar jobs after the 2008 Wall Street housing bubble burst. Viewing the film was disheartening, as we watch how devastated people who still believed in the false narrative of The American Dream can become. In Class Divide we learn that the western part of Chelsea, NYC is the fastest growing real estate sector in the entire city of New York. What was once mostly a low income working stiff neighborhood now hosts high rises and townhouses that cater to the super rich… not even just the 1%, rather the 1/4 of the 1%! Imagine a townhouse across from a Chelsea public housing project that sells for $ 10 million. For real! The sad irony to all this is that in 1937 director William …

Book Review – “Revolutionary Optimism, Western Nihilism”

David William Pear How can I write a review of Andre Vltchek’s new book Revolutionary Optimism, Western Nihilism? I am damned if I do, and damned if I don’t. Andre himself says that: There is nothing to add to the writing of maverick revolutionary philosophers. Hands off their work! Let them speak! Editions without prefaces and introductions, please; no footnotes! The greatest works of philosophy were written with heart, blood and passion! No interpretation is needed. If allowed to read them, even a child can understand.” He is speaking about the works of other great revolutionary writers, not himself. I think Andre is a great revolutionary writer, too. But, who am I to speak for Andre or greatness? Read his great works for yourself, and you will understand them without my introduction. You will find that Andre has the guts to put himself out there, let it all hang out, and expose his vulnerabilities as well as his wisdom… But I am damned if I don’t write a book review for Andre’s book, because I …

The West has Performed a “Philosophical Coup” Against the Left

It has been happening for quite some time, but no one has been paying much attention: Western academia, mainstream media, and the most visible propagandists, were trying to convince the world that 1) ideology has died, or at least became irrelevant 2) in case it did not die, the Left is actually… hold your breath…right-wing!

Especially the Left that is holding power, particularly in Asia and in Latin America, is being ‘re-defined’ in London, Paris and Washington. The Western propaganda gurus are apparently rejuvenated, lately, as there are great budgets available to them, in the United States, United Kingdom, and elsewhere. They are openly told to go after certain countries, particularly Russia, China and Iran.

The Sexual Passion of Winston Smith

There is a vast literature analyzing the political prophecy of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Big Brother, double-speak, telescreens, crimestop, etc. – all applied to our current political situation. The language has become part of our popular lexicon, and as such, has become clichéd through overuse. Blithe, habitual use of language robs it of its power to crack open the safe that hides the realities of life.

There is no doubt that Orwell wrote a brilliant political warning about the methods of totalitarian control. But hidden at the heart of the book is another lesson lost on most readers and commentators. Rats, torture, and Newspeak resonate with people fixated on political repression, which is a major concern, of course. But so too is privacy and sexual passion in a country of group-think and group-do, where “Big Brother” poisons you in the crib and the entertainment culture then takes over to desexualize intimacy by selling it as another public commodity.

They say there’s no “magic money tree”…well there is! But…

Bryan Gocke In Britain, if it wasn’t for BREXIT we would be discussing (among other things) Labour’s proposed economic policies, including an expansion of public sector spending. There would be a storm of media led disparagement about plans to stimulate the economy through borrowing and increased taxation and concerns raised about not paying down the national debt. As Theresa May said whilst campaigning for the last general election “There is no magic money tree.” I find it particularly disheartening that many well informed, left leaning people buy this criticism, worrying whether the country can afford improved public services and whether this will make Labour unelectable. The stock response of the Left to this would normally go along the lines of: The Tories are in disarray and deeply split over BREXIT and thus just might be even more unelectable than a slightly radical Labour Party. Britain is a rich country; surely it can afford better public services than it currently has? Labour’s proposals are, in truth, underwhelming! They represent such a modest step in a process …

Meanwhile in Ukraine….

In one of the largest, if not the largest, Neo-Nazi demonstration in Europe since WW2, 20,000 fascists and their supporters marched through the streets of the Ukrainian capital celebrating the birth of Stepan Bandera 01.01.1909 founder and leader of the ultra-nationalist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B) and its military wing, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) commanded by Roman Shukhevych. This organization which along with the equally collaborationist outfit, the 14th Waffen SS Grenadier Division Galicia 1, were responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Poles, Jews and Russians during the ethnic cleansing which began in Lviv with a pogrom of the city’s Jews a week after the German invasion in 1941, and in the western Ukraine between 1943-45.

An Open Letter to the People of Britain, from Vasily Livanov MBE

This open letter, from iconic Russsian actor Vasily Livanov MBE, was first sent to The Guardian. They declined to publish it, we did not. As with many of my compatriots, there are many things about Britain and the British people that I admire. As someone whose whole life has been linked with literature, cinema and theatre, I have the greatest appreciation for English literature and the arts, for its writers and playwrights, actors and directors. As someone who had the good fortune to have played the iconic Englishman Sherlock Holmes in a very successful Soviet film series, I was honoured to have been awarded an MBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. I am grateful for a chance to have been part of the mutually enriching cultural kinship and synergy of our two countries. As someone who has lived a long life, I vividly remember the years of WWII when the Soviet Union and Britain were staunch and proud allies in the fight against Nazism. Many Russians feel an affinity with many things English – …

Slow Suicide and the Abandonment of the World

Most suicides die of natural causes, slowly and in silence.

But we hear a lot about the small number of suicides, by comparison, who kill themselves quickly by their own hands. Of course their sudden deaths elicit shock and sadness since their deaths, usually so unexpected even when not a surprise, allow for no return. Such sudden once-and-for-all endings are even more jarring in a high-tech world where people are subconsciously habituated to thinking that everything can be played back, repeated, and rewound, even lives.

If the suicides are celebrities, the mass media can obsess over why they did it. How shocking! Wasn’t she at the peak of her career? Didn’t he finally seem happy? And then the speculative stories will appear about the reasons for the rise or fall of suicide rates, only to disappear as quickly as the celebrities are dropped by the media and forgotten by the public.