Bulletin N° 816
"Le roi et l' oiseau"
Un dessin animé français créé par Paul Grimault, avec des textes de Jacques Prévert
d'après La Bergère et le Ramoneur de Hans Christian Andersen, et sorti au cinéma le 19 mars 1980.
Subject : GAZA = GUERNICA : THE BEGINNING OF WORLD WAR III . . . ?
20 September 2018
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
The trajectory of my own education, like many non-fascist bourgeois youth of my generation, passed through the ideological formations of individualism, romanticism, political reformism, radical opportunism, and socialism. (For some obscure reason, I was saved from the influences of nationalism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and the more virulent forms of sexism - these latter cultural manifestations simply disgusted me from the very first encounter.) My interest in literature and in social history was, I suppose, a manifestation of my desire for greater self-knowledge: I was never keen on prêt-à-porter identity politics, even before the letter; instead I sought to understand the world around me. Though I was not always successful, this seemed preferable to the “security of belonging," which I long suspected was a delusion.
For better or for worse, this was the starting point of my intellectual development; and like many other people, it has taken me through a series of unexpected turns . . . .
For these reasons, I paid attention when Daniel Ellsberg (b. 1931) made his famous statement during the Anti-Vietnam War Movement: “The United States is not on the wrong side in this war; it is the wrong side!” The ideological clarity in the late 1960s energized the movement, and the growing solidarity with peasants who were trying to defend themselves against the high-tech imperialist massacres seemed to hold the promise of a new world. The movement in the US was naturally evolving into an Anti-Capitalist uprising against labor exploitation and in opposition to the private ownership of the means of production.
History is rife with similar acts of resistance against Militarism and Imperialism: The artist Francisco Goya (1746-1828), for example, was an effective critic of militarism; he captured contemporary realities and exposde the hypocrisy of the bourgeois revolutionary heritage of capitalist expansion in his time.
“The Third of May”
Another, ardent critic of the capitalist system was British historian E. P. Thompson (1924-1993), whose empathy and scholarly understanding of William Morris (1834-1896) is no less than remarkable. His 1955 seminal study of Morris’s political and spiritual evolution provides a detailed account of the evolution of a complex relationship between social life and intellectual development in Victorian England, where “only the ledger lives.” Morris came from a wealthy family, and, although he inherited substantial wealth, he maintained a critical assessment of his bourgeois origins and the milieu for his entire life, as indeed Thompson himself did :
[I]n the large middle class which stretched from Richard Potter and his fellow financiers at the top to the nonconformist tradesmen at the bottom, it ['Self-Help'] tended to take the form of complacent self-interest, shored up by occasional acts of charity and self-righteous philanthropy. The rich first robbed the poor, then preached to them that their poverty was the result of their own sin. The “Victorian” middle-class family was becoming (as Morris later described it) 'framed on the model of . . . an affectionate and moral tiger to whom all is prey a few yard from the sanctity of the domestic hearth'. Of course, there was lip-service enough to noble social ambitions. Paeons of praise to the achievements of capitalist society, rhetoric about progress, lofty schemes for social advancement, were on every politician’s lips. But so long as the prosperity of the few rested upon the hell of East London and the slums of the great towns, so long as the ethic of self-interest dominated in all social life, it was impossible for men to feel any real identity of interest between their lives and the 'commonwealth'. . . .
[T]he working of man’s conscience is a complex matter, and certainly many typical 'Victorians' did not feel themselves to be hypocrites. [They rather] liked to appear to themselves, as well as to others, as enlightened, humane, in the forefront of progress. To Mathew Arnold (whose Culture and Anarchy was published in 1869, the same year as a part of [Morris’s] The Earthly Paradise) the middle classes were not so much hypocrites as the 'Philistines', 'mechanically worshipping their fetish of the production of wealth and of the increase of manufactures and population, and looking neither to the right nor left so long as this increase goes on'. The Philistines, he said, 'have developed one side of their humanity at the expense of all others, and have become incomplete and mutilated men in consequences'. The word “mutilated” gives a clue perhaps as important as any other in Matthew Arnold’s book. The characteristic 'Victorian' middle-class sensibility was made up of a veritable complex of involuntary inhibitions and evasions, the sum of which made up that shallow culture in which both sentimentality and hypocrisy flourished. The greatest evasion of all was to be found in the hallowing of the 'laws of supply and demand”, as God’s laws” or “Nature’s simplest laws', to hide the fact of the exploitation of man by man. Around this central evasion a thousand others grew unchecked. The rentier class in the London suburbs, in the cathedral and university cities, might cultivate a love of nature or an interest in foreign missions and charities, while remaining in ignorance of the source of their own incomes. The sons of the self-made mill owners were given an expensive education, which equipped them with an earnest sense of their own moral mission of leadership, for no better reason than that their fathers had been able to pay their fees. In every field of life and of art these evasions and this confusion of wealth with righteousness re-appears. In complex ways (which [Samuel] Butler was to lay bare in The Way of All Flesh (1903)) the reduction of human values to property values, the pressure of ‘respectability’ and of orthodoxy, made the ‘Victorians’ ashamed of all the vitalities of life which could not be harnessed to the chariot of ‘Self-help’. The Middle classes eased their own consciences by accusing the poor of being guilty of indigence, intemperance, and sensual and sexual excess: even the Beehive announced in 1869 that one of the foremost duties of working-men M.P.s (if elected) would be to ‘diminish the growing passion for mere sensual indulgence’. It was as if the ethic of ‘Self-Help’ had desiccated man’s feelings, so that they were reduced to tinder within him. But let the spark of life enter through any route – the sympathies of love, the passion for truth or liberty, the energies of childhood – and all might be kindled to one flame or revolt. And for fear of this, Mrs. Grundy* covered her bare skin down to her ankles, gathered her children close to her, and tightened her lips in hostility to life.
Of course, such a limitation of intellect and sensibility was not imposed suddenly and uniformly upon a whole class. Rather, it resembled a poison seeping through the veins of society, and yet continually resisted by the forces of life. Sometimes its oncoming was consciously felt, as by [Alfred] Tennyson (1809-1892) when composing Maud (1855):
. . . these are the days of advance, the works of the men of mind,
When who but a fool would have faith in the tradesman’s ware or his word?
Is it peace or war? Civil war, as I think and that of a kind
The viler, as underhand, not openly bearing the sword.
Sooner or later I too may passively take the print
Of the golden age – why not? I have neither hope nor trust;
May make my heart as a millstone, set my face as a flint,
Cheat and be cheated, and die: who knows? we are ashes and dust.
Peace sitting under her olive, and slurring the days gone by.
When the poor are hovell’d and hustled together, each sex, like swine,
When only the ledger lives, and when only not all men lie;
Peace in her vineyard – yes ! – but a company forges the wine.
And the vitriol madness flushes up in the ruffian’s head,
Till the filthy by-lane rings to the yell of the trampled wife,
And chalk and alum and plaster are sold to the poor for bread,
And the spirit of murder works in the very means of life. . . .’
Moreover, by seeking to describe the ‘typical’ Victorian attitudes, we necessarily pass over the spirited resistance to them in one field after another of life, the conflict within the middle class itself. These years are also years of great advances in scientific theory: of the battle between Darwinism and obscurantism: of the movement among women of the middle class for educational, legal and professional rights: of the militant secularist agitation in the face of Mrs. Grundy. The courage of Charles Bradlaugh and Annie Besant in publishing facts about birth control can only be estimated if we recall the virulence of the Christian tracts and handbills called forth by their action:
WHAT ARE THEY OFFERING TO US . . . ?
'Sensuality, Free Love, and a foul system by which animated nature can be destroyed, and increase of population prevented, thus opening
up the way for universal Prostitution. . . . This is the beastliness that is held up to the youth of our land, under the misleading names of Free-thought,
Agnosticism, Atheism, and Secularism. But which is in reality bold, rampant, God-defying, Christ-despising, Blaspheming INFIDELITY.
‘Be sure your SIN will find YOU out.’
But the strength of these ‘Victorian’ attitudes is to be measured less by the number of courageous opponents of them than by the degree to which even these opponents revealed in one part or another of their outlook the same impoverished sensibility. Even the finest and most sensitive minds did not entirely escape the taint of this poison (not Dickens nor George Eliot nor Matthew Arnold) although the fight they put up was strenuous, and their victories many times more noble than their defeats.(pp.176-179)
Even William Morris, who enjoyed a widely held respect for his views, his honesty and his courage, was not immune to bourgeois ethnocentrism of Victorian London. He nevertheless transcended his social class biases with astounding lucidity. The years 1887 and 1888, writes Thompson, were “confused years in the history of the British Socialist movement.”
They are the years of the confluence of the small clear-water stream of Socialist theory with the broad waters of the labour movement. Everywhere there were eddies, back-waters, cross-currents. Although Socialist opinion was spreading rapidly during these ears, there was no comparable increase in the membership of either the S.D.F. or the Socialist League. Indeed, one consequence of the penetration by the Socialists of the mass movement was the disintegration of the two Socialist bodies themselves.
Already by the first month of 1887, some of Morris’s first fervor had spent itself, and he looked on the prospect ahead with foreboding. He did not abate the work of the pro)agenda one jot. But he had came to realize more of the forces pitted against it. The ‘Revolution’ seemed less and less likely to fall in his own life-time.(p.503)
In February of 1887, Morris wrote an article for Commonweal, "Facing the Worst of It,” in which he wrote; “Though we Socialists [have] full faith in the certainty of the great change coming about, it would be idle . . . to prophesy . . . the date . . . and it is well for us not to be too sanguine, since overweening hope is apt to give birth to despair if it meets with . . . disappointment." (p.504) Morris then proceded to outline three possibilities of the system’s prolongation before ultimate collapse:
1st. the lessening of stocks and consequent slight temporary recovery; 2nd, A great European war, perhaps lengthened out into a regular epoch of war; and 3rd, The realization of the hopes of important new markets, which hopes are the real causes of hostility between nations.(p.504)
Thompson went on to comment on Morris’s prescience: “Apart from these three – recurrent and temporary trade recovery, war, and opening of fresh markets – Morris referred (can it be with a prophetic vision of fascism?) to ‘more speculative possibilities . . . which would lead to more ruin and suffering than even those . . . . These three possibilities, Morris felt, were not without opportunities for the Socialists, if the other current, that of conscious and organized hope could be brought to hasten the downfall of capitalism.” (p.504)
This discussion of “contact with the masses” continues with a rich description of Morris’s creative interactions with the working class, in an invaluable section entitled, “Jonah’s view of the Whale.”(pp.506-512)
Thompson maintains a historical perspective of his subject. He, for example, judges that Morris was in no small part responsible for the failure of the Socialist League to increase in influence and number after 1887, which instead was “left behind and isolated by its own purism.”(p.551)
Morris had summed up his position on electoral politics in a letter to Glaiser dated May 19, 1887, days before the Socialist League’s decisive Annual Conference:
We should treat the Parliament as a representative of the enemy. . . . We might for some definite purpose be forced to send members to Parliament as rebels . . . but under no circumstances to help to carry on their Government of the country . . . and therefore we ought not to put forward palliative measures to be carried through Parliament, for that would be helping them to govern us.(p.540)
Thompson next discusses the anarchist influence that Morris was coming under in the increasingly alienated Socialist League:
After the [Third] Annual [Socialist League] Conference [of 1887] he made a more serious attempt to argue his case, and to present an alternative to parliamentary action, in a new lecture; 'The policy of Abstention', first delivered at Hammersmith at the end of July, 1887, and afterwards read to private meetings of Socialists in several places. In this he sought to characterize two possible Socialist policies – the policy of parliamentary action, and that of abstention. Advocates of the first, he said, ‘believed in what may be called a system of cumulative reforms . . . carried out by means of Parliament and a bourgeois executive'. They hope to elect sufficient Socialists to Parliament to transform it from 'a mere instrument in the hands of the monopolizes of the means of production, into a body which should destroy monopoly'. The policy of abstention he characterized in greater detail:
'This plan is founded on the necessity of making the class-struggle clear to the workers, of pointing out to them that while monopoly exists they can only exist as its slaves: so that Parliament and all other institutions at present existing are maintained for the purpose of upholding this slavery; that their wages are but slaves’ rations, and if they were increased tenfold would be nothing more: that while the bourgeois rule lasts they can indeed take part in it, but only on the terms that ye shall do nothing to attack the grand edifice of which their slavery is the foundation. Nay more than that: that they are asked to vote and send representatives to Parliament (if ‘working-men’ so much the better) that they may point out what concessions may be necessary for the ruling class to make in order that the slavery of the workers may last on: in a word that to vote for the continuance of their own slavery is all the parliamentary action that they will be allowed to take under the present régime: Liberal Associations, Radical clubs, working men members are at present, and socialists members will be in the future, looked on with complacency by the government classes as serving towards the end of propping the stability of robber society in the safest and least troublesome manner by beguiling them to take part in their own government. A great invention, and well worthy of the reputation of the Briton for practicality – and swindling! How much better than the coarse old-world iron repression of that blunderer Bismark (sic). . . .'(p.541)
“The Policy of Abstention,” Morris continued,“is founded on this view”:
'That the interests of the two classes, the workers and the capitalists are irreconcilable, and as long as the capitalists exist as a class, they having the monopoly of the means of production, have all the power of ordered and legal society; but on the other hand that the use of this power is to keep down a wronged population, which feels itself wronged, and is organizing for illegal resistance . . . would impose such a burden on the governing classes as they will not be able to bear; and they must finally break down under it, and take one of two courses, either of them the birth of fear acting on the instinct to prolong and sustain their life which is essential in all organisms. One course would be to try the effect of wholesale concessions . . . and this course would be almost certain to have a partial success; but I feel sure not so great a success sin delaying revolution as it would have if taken with the expressed agreement of Socialist representatives in Parliament: in the latter case the concessions would be looked upon as a victory; whereas if they were the work of a hated government from which the people were standing aloof, they would be dreaded as a bait, and scorned as the last resource of a tyranny growing helpless. The other course . . . would be stern repression . . . of the opinion and aspirations of the working classes as a whole: for in England at least there would be no attempt to adopt this course until opinion was so grown and so organized that the danger to monopoly seemed imminent. In short the two courses are fraud and force, and doubtless in a commercial country like this the resources of fraud would be exhausted before the ruling class betook itself to open force'.(p.541-542)
Thompson elaborates on Morris’ position in 1887: “Supposing the policy of abstention were adopted, what did it imply in immediate tactics?”
First, the preaching of the principles of Socialism as widely as possible. But, since a time comes ‘in such a movement as ours when it is ready to change from a mere intellectual movement into a movement of action’ (and Morris thought that this time had not yet arrived), it was necessary to consider what forms of action would effect the Revolution. ‘The real business of us propagandists’, Morris suggested, ‘is to instill this aim of the workers becoming the masters of their own destinies, their own lives’. Once this was done, the workers should be organized through trade unions in ‘a vast labour organization – the federation according to their crafts . . . of all the workmen who have awoke to the fact that they are the slaves of monopoly’. The one overriding aim of these unions should be the overthrow of capitalism, and the establishment of Socialism.
'Everything that tends to mask that opposition, to confuse it, weakens the popular force and gives a new lease on life to the reaction . . . . If our own people are forming part of parliament, the instruments of the enemy, they are helping to make the very laws we will not obey. Where is the enemy then? What are we to do to attack him? The enemy is a principle, you say: true, but the principle must be embodied; and how can it be better embodied than in that assembly delegated by the owners of monopoly to defend monopoly at all points? To smooth away the difficulties of the monopolists even at the expense of apparent sacrifice of their interests ‘to the amelioration of the lot of the working classes’? in short to detach a portion of the people from the people’s side, to have it in their midst helpless, dazed, wearied with ceaseless compromise, or certain defeat, and yet to put it before the world as the advanced guard of the revolutionary party, the representative of all that is active or practical of the popular party'?
Morris suggested, according to Thompson, that “the policy of abstention, might be supplemented . . . by creating a truly popular centre outside Parliament (‘call it the labour parliament if you will’), deliberating at the same time, and whose decrees will be obeyed by the people ‘and not those of the Westminster Committee’. Its weapons of enforcement would be those of the strike, co-operation, and the boycott: above all, it would be continually educating the people in the administration of their own affairs. The plan of parliamentary action, by contrast, he prophesied would develop along the following lines:”
'Starting from the same point as the abstentionists they have to preach an electioneering campaign as an absolute necessity, and to set about it as soon as possible: they will then have to put forward a program of reforms deduced from the principle of Socialism . . . they will necessarily have to appeal for support (i.e. votes) to a great number of people who are not convinced Socialists, and their program of reforms will be the bait to catch these votes: and to the ordinary voter it will be this bait which will be the matter of interest, and not the principle. . . . So that . . . the Socialist members when they get into Parliament will represent a heterogeneous body of opinion, ultra-radical, democratic, discontented un-politicals, rather than a body of Socialists; and it will be their opinions and prejudices that will sway the actions of the members in Parliament. With these fetters on them the Socialist members will have to act, and whatever they propose will have to be a mere matter of compromise: yet even those measures they will not carry: because long before their party gets powerful enough to form even a formidable group for alliance with other parties, one section or other of ordinary politicians will dish them, and will carry measures that will pass current for being the very thing the Socialists have been asking for; because once get Socialist M.Ps., and to ordinary public they will be the representatives of the only Socialists. . . . So it will go on till either the Socialist party in Parliament disappears into the advanced Democratic party, or until they look round and find that they, still Socialists, have done nothing but give various opportunities to the reactionists for widening the basis of monopoly by creating a fresh middle-class under the present one, and so staving off the day of the great change. And when they become conscious of that . . . what can they do but begin all over again, and try to form the two camps, each of them conscious of their true position of being the one monopolists, and the other the slaves of monopoly'.(pp.543 -544)
This was Morris’s contribution during his “anti-parliamentary” period; he repeated them different ways hundreds of time and did not substantially modify them until 1891-1892. Nevertheless, he did successfully disassociate himself from the Anarchist faction within the Socialist League. While in practice the Anarchists could associate with the “abstentionist” policy he was advocating, Morris based his argument on his understanding of the class struggle and the class-character of the State. Thompson concludes:
His differences with the ‘parliamentary’ section of the League were on questions of taqctics rather than general theory, and his errors were derived from his feeling that the bourgeois myth of parliamentary democracy had taken on its most insidious and hypocriticaql forms in Britain. . . . The target for his attack throughout was Reformism, and it was his prophetic vision of the vista of compromise and careerism ahead which led him to over-balance in the opposite direction. Already in September, 1887, he was identifying his real theoretical opponents as being among the Fabians, and this despite the fact that Shaw was a close personal friend.(p.544-545)
Thompson concludes his chapter on this period of Morris’s life spent animating the Socialist League with the summary observation:
For five years William Morris had been in the very forefront of the Socialist propaganda in England – setting the fire aflame in new centers, patiently explaining this or that point of theory, encouraging the doubters, putting himself in the van of scores of actions, bringing his own special qualities of vision and enthusiasm to the new movement, spending his own energies without thought. The last two years, in particular, had seen an unending series of committees, lectures, articles and editorial work, open-air meetings and correspondence, which he had undertaken without complaint. Was it all to end in a faction-fight within his own party, and alongside it the birth of an new movement, Socialist in name but Radical and opportunist in reality? Whatever he may have said, by way of encouragement to his comrades, by the summer of 1888 Morris knew that somehow he and the pioneers had failed in their aim of building a revolutionary party. And from that time onward he looked increasingly across the intervening years to the future in which he never lost confidence.(p.600)
Reading this chapter of the life of William Morris, I was reminded of my own interests in grassroots organizing which stemmed from my graduate sschool days studying social history at The University of Wisconsin, beginning in the fall of 1968. In my final years of teaching American Studies at The University of Grenoble, I organized a series of conferences on the history and strategies of community organizing. A few examples of this work are below:
"The Art and Science of Community Organizing"
B. Films of Conference #2 roundtable discussions, published by chris Thorpe on December 29, 2012 :
1) Discussions at Round Table 1 : http://youtu.be/1vhHMHouwec
2) Discussions at Round Table 2 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pe7MAn_VbTM
3) Discussions at Round Table 3 : http://youtu.be/WHCePuN1fbA
I also conducted a series of public classes (called University without Walls) in March 2009 on the public tramway with my university students at the end of the work day, when the local high schools were also dismissing students for the day. Projects such as these carried on a collective tradition, the results of which are by no means obvious . . . .
Meetings such as these filled the last years of my teaching career; they were certainly in the anti-authoritarian spirit of William Morris. It was a search to free ourselves today from the tyranny of algorithms and “Artificial Intelligence” and an effort to enter into sentient reality with the intention of pursuing an uninhibited collective inquiry into the constraints that are imposed upon all of us by the capitalist political economy. From a historical perspective, this struggle against class domination and at times against its mystifying cultural hegemony was a necessary preliminary pedagogical exercise to enable us to learn the patterns of domination that limited our capacity to think clearly about the world around us and the role we wished to play in our lifetime.
*Mrs. Grundy, a fictional English character who typifies the censorship enacted in everyday life by conventional opinion. She first appears (but never onstage) in Thomas Morton’s play Speed the Plough (produced 1798), in which one character, Dame Ashfield, continually worries about what her neighbour Mrs. Grundy will say of each development. Since then the term Mrs. Grundy has passed into everyday speech as a criterion of rigid respectability, especially in contexts in which free expression is impeded by excessive purity.
The 24 items below will serve to remind readers that a Philistine is one who wakes up in the morning without a yesterday and a tomorrow - with no knowledge of history to encumber him, and no chain of “cause and effect” to distract his thinking. He is “free” in the most un-self-conscious way to plunder present opportunities, regardless of the consequences, which, if acknowledged at all, he simply shrugs off as “collateral damage.” To escape this impoverished existence, we must evolve out of it with practice and come to understand that: The sketch is to the painting what the painting is to the Landscape; that sentient reality should be the object of our thoughts and contemplations, and not the sterile abstractions that more or less govern the minds of our capitalist rulers who seek "to create the world in their own image."
Professor emeritus of American Studies
Director of Research
University of Paris-Nanterre
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
Russian military plane with 14 on board disappears during Israeli strikes on Latakia
A Russian military Il-20 aircraft with 14 service members on board went off the radar during an attack by four Israeli jets on Syria’s Latakia province, the Russian Defense Ministry said. Air traffic controllers at Khmeimim Airbase “lost contact” with the aircraft on Monday evening, during an attack by Israeli F-16 fighters on Latakia, said the MoD. The plane was 35km off the coast of Syria when it vanished.
Published time: 17 Sep, 2018 22:56
Russia detects missile launches from French frigate off Syria’s coast in Mediterranean
Published time: 18 Sep, 2018 07:43
Russian Il-20 downed by Syrian missile after Israeli F-16s used it as cover during attack – MoD
Published time: 18 Sep, 2018 08:53
Russia to Israel: ‘You are to blame for downing of Il-20 and death of crew’
Published time: 18 Sep, 2018 11:40
Israeli army blames Damascus for Russia’s Il-20 downing, mourns death of crew – statement
On the Air: 18 Sept.2018
Human Shields : The ‘Palestinianization’ of Russians
Russia formally complained to Israel about its air raid on Monday, which led to the downing of a Russian Il-20 plane off Syria coast. Russia laid the blame for the loss of live “squarely on the Israeli side”.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu spoke to his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman on the phone about the downing of the Russian Il-20 plane on Monday night. He relayed Moscow’s position on the incident, which blames the Israeli military for setting up the Russian plane to be shot down by Syrian air defenses responding to an Israeli air raid, an official statement from the Russian military said.
Published time: 19 Sep, 2018 10:50
Putin seeks to defuse Israel crisis after downing of Russian jet
Russian leader conciliatory as officials blame 'hostile' Israeli actions after Syrian forces mistakenly shoot down jet.
September 19, 2018
Russian Response Options to the Latest Israeli Provocation
by The Saker
Over the past 24 hours the Internet, including this blog, have been flooded with opinion on what everybody and anybody would do if they were in Putin’s boots. Proposals range from declaring an no-fly zone over Syria to, I kid you not, send a couple of Russian SSBNs (subs which carry intercontinental ballistic missiles) off the coast of Israel. Furthermore, since Putin has failed, at least so far, to implement any retaliatory measures, the usual chorus of “Putin is a traitor” has been swamping my poor mods with sanguine expressions of disgust about Putin, Russia and yours truly :-)
I do realize that nothing I say would change the minds of this latter group, but for the rest of us in the real world, a short reality check might be helpful. So, here it is a a short bullet-point format.
So let’s not speculate about all this and wait for the Kremlin to take some kind of decision. Then we can evaluate it. Right now all these speculations are just a waste of time . . . .
Can Russia Survive Her “Partnerships”? Has Putin Made A Strategic Miscalculation?
by Paul Craig Roberts
In an act of intentional deception, Israel used a Russian airplane to cloak an Israeli attack on a Syrian ground position, with the consequence that Syrian air defense missiles downed the Russian airplane with the lost of 15 Russian military lives.
In the words of the Russian Ministry of Defense: “The Israeli pilots used the Russian plane as cover and set it up to be targeted by the Syrian air defense forces. As a consequence, the Il-20, which has radar cross-section much larger than the [Israeli] F-16, was shot down by an S-200 system missile.” Russian Defense Minister Shoigu said: “The blame for the downing of the Russian plane and the deaths of its crew members lies squarely on the Israeli side. The actions of the Israeli military were not in keeping with the spirit of the Russian-Israeli partnership, so we reserve the right to respond.” https://russia-insider.com/en/russian-military-says-holds-israel-responsible-deaths-15-servicemen-reserves-right-respond/ri24780 See also: http://tass.com/defense/1022123
For a few minutes it looked like Israel was finally to be held accountable for its reckless and irresponsible actions, but it was not to be. Russian President Putin contradicted his Defense Minister by declaring the loss of Russian lives to be “accidental,” a result of a “chain of tragic circumstances.”
One wonders how Israel does it. President Putin covered up for Israel’s destruction of the Russian IL-20 just as President Johnson covered up for Israel’s murderous attack on the USS Liberty that resulted in 208 US Navy casualties. https://www.rt.com/news/438728-putin-israel-syria-plane/ As Israel gets away with everything, including routine massacres of unarmed Palestinian women and children, there is no reason to expect Israel to change its behavior.
Money: The Great Corrupter - David Harvey
Is the economy recovering, or is the system itself the problem? Economist and philosopher David Harvey on money; which he calls "the great corrupter". Professor David Harvey is one of the world’s leading Marxist thinkers and most prolific writers on class warfare, capitalism, crisis and how we find our way out. Harvey has also coined key social movement concepts, such as the idea of "the right to the city". His latest book is Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism. Also on the show: a look at a meeting of movements as activists from Black Lives Matter travel to Palestine.
The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business – RAI with Rana Foroohar (1/6)
with Paul Jay
On Reality Asserts Itself, Ms. Foroohar says financialization delivers stagnant wages, inequality and economic crisis; the Financial Times columnist and author of “Makers and Takers” says the financial sector represents only 7 percent of the U.S. economy, but takes around 25 percent of all corporate profit while creating only 4 percent of all jobs.
“Climate Capitalism is Killing Our Communities”: Protesters Disrupt Gov. Brown’s SF Climate Summit
As California Governor Jerry Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit kicked off Thursday, indigenous and climate justice activists blocked the main entrance in protest. While the protests took place outside the GCAS, Gov. Brown and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the U.N. special envoy for climate action, were inside. Protesters disrupted Bloomberg’s speech at the summit’s main plenary. Democracy Now! was there, in the streets and at the conference.
The Black Agenda Report
An Interview With Boots Riley: “In the World of Film,
We’ve Edited out All Rebellion”
by Chip Gibbons and Boots Riley
“Anonymous” Shows Split in Ruling Class
Black Agenda Radio with Nellie Bailey and Glen Ford
The “Anonymous” article in the New York Times is more evidence of “a real split in the upper levels of the US ruling elite,” said Dr Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American Studies at the University of Houston. “I can’t say that I’m that upset that they’re squabbling,” said Horne. “Maybe, if they’re fighting each other, they’ll have less time and energy to fight us.”
Erdogan, Putin to hold talks in Sochi over Idlib situation
Home Video articulation
HOLDING A WEEKLY VIGILE PROTESTING “MURDER INCORPORATED” AT ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN
Who Conflates Zionism and Judaism?
by Gilad Atzman
(Published on Sep 16, 2018)
Every Sabbath the good people of Ann Arbor protest against their local synagogue. They have been doing it for 15 years.
Censored Documentary Exposes Israel’s Attack on Black Lives Matter
“Israeli’s boasted that they were taking decisive measures to drive a wedge between established black community leadership and the new generation gravitating towards Black Lives Matter.”
Israeli operatives and their US lobbyists sprang into action when the Movement for Black Lives came out in support of the boycott Israel movement.
Exclusive footage from the censored Al Jazeera documentary, “The Lobby – USA,” shows Israeli government officials taking credit for attacks on Black Lives Matter and reveals an Israel lobbyist explaining how his organization shut down a BLM fundraiser
When the Movement for Black Lives released a platform in August 2016 that supported the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement and identified Israel as an apartheid state engaged in a project of genocide against Palestinians, the Israeli government snapped into action.
On the Censorship of Michael Hoffman's Books by Amazon
A couple of months ago I did an interview with one of the foremost scholars of rabbinical Judaism, Michael Hoffman. The occasion was the release of his latest book “The Occult Renaissance Church of Rome”. At the time I did not expect to have to ask for a follow-up interview with him, but when I learned that Amazon had censored his books (please see Hoffman’s own account of this here). Specifically, the ban is on three of his books. A complete ban (Kindle + printed book) on Judaism’s Strange Gods: Revised and Expanded, as well as The Great Holocaust Trial: Revised and Expanded, while his textbook, Judaism Discovered, has been removed from the Kindle. I felt that I had to talk to him again and he kindly agreed to reply to my questions. I submit to you the full text of our Q&A which I will follow-up with a short commentary.
September 11, 2018
by Thomas Gaulkin,
I learned a few things from reading an excerpt from Yuval Noah Harari’s book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, published in the October issue of The Atlantic. One is that it took a Google machine-learning program just four hours to teach itself and master chess, once the pinnacle of centuries of human intellectual effort, easily defeating the top-ranked computer chess engine in the world.
Another is that artificial intelligence systems may be inherently anti-democratic and anti-human. New heights of computing power and data processing make it more efficient to centralize systems in authoritarian governments, Harari says, and will render humans increasingly irrelevant. “By 2050,” he writes, “a useless class might emerge, the result not only of a shortage of jobs or a lack of relevant education but also of insufficient mental stamina to continue learning new skills.”
In other words, we might just be too dumb to keep up.
Harari thinks we can avoid the worst outcomes by encouraging decentralization of data and continuing to work on our own intelligence as much as we do on the artificial kind. “If we invest too much in AI and too little in developing the human mind, the very sophisticated artificial intelligence of computers might serve only to empower the natural stupidity of humans, and to nurture our worst (but also, perhaps, most powerful) impulses.”
From: "IAK Blog" <email@example.com>
Sent: Thursday, 13 September, 2018
Subject: IAK Billboard placed in Ohio, Palestine aid cuts, unarmed boys killed...
Reveals The Israel Project’s Secret Facebook Campaign
by Ali Abunimah and Asa Winstanley
Gaza Children Cinema
We are currently organising our efforts with our partner in Gaza, Palestine to launch the new phase of Gaza Children Cinema’s activities.
We are also preparing for Small moments of beauty + truth: Art inspired by the children of Gaza <https://gazachildrencinema.org/blog/small-moments-of-beauty-and-truth>
exhibition and auction (18-22 September 2018), the event is supported byThe City of Hobart, Australia to raise money and awareness of Gaza Children’s Cinema
Please feel free to share ERAP ideas and ways of collaboration.
Merci bien encours pour le soutien et la solidarité,
Ayman Qwaider for Gaza Children Cinema.
Gaza Children Cinema website <https://gazachildrencinema.org> | Facebook <https://www.facebook.com/GazaChildrenCinema/> | Twitter <https://twitter.com/gazacinema?lang=en> | Instagram <https://www.instagram.com/gazachildrencinema/> | Donate <https://www.gofundme.com/GazaChildrenCinema2018-2019>
*Upcoming Gaza Children Cinema event:
Small moments of beauty + truth: Art inspired by the children of Gaza <https://gazachildrencinema.org/blog/small-moments-of-beauty-and-truth>
(18-22 September 2018)
An exhibition and auction supported byThe City of Hobart to raise money and awareness of Gaza Children’s Cinema
*Gaza Children Cinema in media:
Gaza Children’s Cinema – film-inspired learning <https://www.eenet.org.uk/gaza-childrens-cinema-film-inspired-learning/>
ESCAPING WAR AND WEAVING MAGIC: THE GAZA CHILDREN’S CINEMA <https://grokonline.com.au/2017/10/28/escaping-war-and-weaving-magic-the-gaza-childrens-cinema/>
British Film and Theater Figures Condemn Israeli Bombing of Major Gaza Cultural Center <https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/british-film-theater-figures-condemn-israeli-bombing-major-gaza-cultural-center-1136297>
America is Looking More and More Like Pinochet’s Chile
by Ariel Dorfman
9/11 Legacy: Two Contending Fascisms
by Glen Ford
“The Clinton-Pelosi fascists invite Black people to fully participate in their own destruction -- and to feel honored at the invitation.”
Two fascisms compete for popular support in the US. One is blatantly racist, the other offers a devil’s bargain that demands Black people accept austerity and war. Both must be fought. 9/11 gave the rulers of the United States blanket permission to wage foreign wars at will or whim, while stripping down domestic civil liberties to fit the security demands of a perpetual war society. At the time, voices on the left warned of impending fascism -- and they were right, although many of these same people have since acclimated to the new order, and now scream “fascist” at the racist menace in the White House. And they are right, again -- but only halfway.
Two contending, yet interrelated, forms of fascism are vying for supremacy in the U.S. Both fascisms are anchored in the leadership of their respective duopoly parties, which together monopolize the national political conversation. Thus, fascism is “mainstream” politics in the United States, as reflected in the daily diatribes between the warmongering, Russian stooge-hunting, neo-McCarthyite, corporate Democratic “Resistance” and the race-mongering, Dixiecrat-Republican, law and order-loving (but also white mob rule-friendly) troglodytes aligned with Donald Trump.
“Fascism is “mainstream” politics in the United States.”
These are not polar opposite fascisms, of course. Both are American exceptionalist -- another term for imperialist -- and both are thoroughly capitalist, tailored to the rule of the rich. The major difference between the two, is race.
Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky
by Media Lens
Special Report: Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party's Radical Rise
What difference does a Party make? This week on the Laura Flanders Show, we talk about what's happening in the UK where one of the two main parties is picking up many of the radical demands coming out of movement groups seeking to transform the economy and society. In 2017, mainstream media predicted that the Labour Party would be crushed in the general election. Instead, it won its best result in 20 years, getting more than 40% of the vote under the leadership of life long socialist and anti-war campaigner Jeremy Corbyn. Although he didn't become prime minister, Corbyn did come close to unseating Theresa May . . . .
An Open Letter to ‘Socialists’ Who Might be Fronting for the Democratic Party
by Quetzal Cáceres
Any socialist who thought, as I did, that Ocasio-Cortez would be our socialist champion should watch the entire 27-minute PBS Firing Line interview to get a sense of just how bad this train wreck might be.
“In the long term, will focusing on running ‘socialist’ candidates within the Democratic Party impede building an independent socialist movement and organization?”
First, a confession. When I learned of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s primary victory against incumbent dinosaur Joe Crowley, I was, as embarrassing as it is to admit, moved to tears. I’m the emotional type, take after my mom. I’m also a Xicanx, a life-long socialist, and was overwhelmed to see a young brown woman step up and raise the socialist banner. Now, however, as weeks have passed since her primary victory, as she has made the rounds of the talk show circuit, been feted by progressive circles, interviewed by corporate and “Left” media, and shilled for Democratic Party candidates, she has said enough (and sometimes more disturbingly not said enough) to make one wonder if she’s making up this whole socialism thing as she goes along.
A further confession. I donated to her campaign. So I receive emails and will share her message, the same message she articulated at the recent Democratic Party love fest, NetRoots Nation.
“One wonder if she’s making up this whole socialism thing as she goes along.”
Ocasio-Cortez reassures us that she wants to bring back the Democratic Party of old. Okay, maybe not the Democratic Party of slavery, but you know what I mean, the real Democratic Party. The Democratic Party of the New Deal and FDR, of the Great Society, the War on Poverty and Lyndon B. Johnson (and Dr. King too because we all know how much the Democratic Party and LBJ loved Dr. King). Yeah, that Democratic Party. Ocasio-Cortez wants us to “come home.” Along with her ‘socialism’ message, it is hard to tell If she is also making this up by herself, or if she is receiving tutelage from someone in the Democratic Party’s Fairytale & Children’s Section.Ocasio-Cortez is messaging the Blue version of “Make America Great Again.”
The New York Times
September 16, 2018
Financial Calamity Is
Coming. Here’s What to Watch.
by MATT PHILLIPS and KARL RUSSELL
A decade ago this week, Wall Street imploded. Read our special coverage
The global financial crisis is fading into history. But the roots of the next one might already be taking hold.
Financial crises strike rich countries every 28 years on average. Often, the break between busts is much shorter.
Fast-growing pockets of debt, as in the last time around, look like potential sources of problems. They’re nowhere near as big as the mortgage bubble, and no blow-ups appear imminent.
“But what we saw last time around is that things can creep up on you,” said Wesley Phoa, a bond-fund manager at the Capital Group. “You can turn around and in three years’ time you can go from not much of a problem to a pretty big problem.”
Students are borrowing at record levels
September 14, 2018
A virtual visit to a nuclear test site
by Thomas Gaulkin
It can be difficult to grasp how nuclear weapons shape world events without confronting the cold, hard facts. There are an estimated 15,000 nuclear warheads on Earth, and the nine nuclear states that have them ran some 2,000 nuclear tests to produce them. Sky-high numbers like that get you part of the way.
But to get a sense of the human side of things, it helps to be closer to the ground. Not easy when you’re talking about nuclear bombs, but an impressively immersive website launched this week offers a virtual shortcut. Nuclear Dissent presents an intimate, if narrow, history of France’s nuclear testing in the South Pacific and the ultimately successful attempts to stop them.
Up until the 1990s, France performed nearly 200 nuclear tests on the French Polynesian atoll of Mururoa, about 750 miles from Tahiti. Protests by local activists and members of Greenpeace (which, in one of its earliest campaigns, stationed sailboats within the 12-mile exclusion zone around the test site) led New Zealand and Australia to bring a case against France to the World Court, and atmospheric detonations were halted in 1974. But they went underground and exploded another 150-odd devices beneath the water before finally quitting under intense local and international pressure in 1996—the same year they signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty.
Designed to work with virtual reality devices as well as standard web browsers, Nuclear Dissent presents this history in five “chapters,” each in turn organized around three parts: a traditional video documentary segment, an interactive 3D environment, and a photo gallery, some with archival audio recordings. The first three chapters center on the accounts of two Polynesian men who worked on the atoll and two Greenpeace activists who were instrumental in sparking international condemnation of the tests. Multiple standoffs shape the history, from the 1970s sail-ins to the bombing of Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior boat by French spies in 1985, and riots in 1995 that precipitated the end of testing.
The final two chapters take up ongoing environmental and health problems caused by the tests (such as the potential collapse of the atoll, and lingering effects of radiation as far away as Tahiti), along with expert commentary on the persistent danger posed by nuclear weapons worldwide—ending with a tidy version of Alex Wellerstein’s NukeMap and a reminder of the current time).
Nuclear Dissent: An interactive VR documentary
Science & Environment
New El Niño weather event likely this winter says WMO
by Matt McGrath, Environment correspondent
Speculation over fate of missing Dutchman linked to WikiLeaks
Arjen Kamphuis’ effects found in the sea but his phones were turned on 1,000 miles away
The U.S. Goes to War Against the ICC to Cover Up Alleged War Crimes
by Murtaza Hussain
States has never been a friend of the International Criminal Court. While
relations between the U.S. and the ICC have fluctuated over the course of
different administrations, the American government has steadfastly refused to
take the step that 124 other states have of ratifying the Rome Statute and thus
becoming a member of the international legal body. The ICC’s mandate to
investigate war crimes has thus been hampered by the unwillingness of the
world’s sole superpower to commit to the organization.
States has never been a friend of the International Criminal Court. While
relations between the U.S. and the ICC have fluctuated over the course of
different administrations, the American government has steadfastly refused to
take the step that 124 other states have of ratifying the Rome Statute and thus
becoming a member of the international legal body. The ICC’s mandate to
investigate war crimes has thus been hampered by the unwillingness of the
world’s sole superpower to commit to the organization.
Recent statements from the Trump administration suggest that the United States is now preparing to go to war against the ICC itself, motivated largely by an effort to silence investigations into alleged American war crimes committed in Afghanistan, as well as alleged crimes committed by Israel during the 2014 war in the Gaza Strip. In a speech at a D.C. event held by the Federalist Society on Monday, Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton denounced the ICC as “illegitimate” and expressed his intentions toward the institution in no uncertain terms. “We will not cooperate with the ICC,” Bolton said. “We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us.”
In addition to this death wish against the court, Bolton said that the United States would retaliate against any ICC investigations into U.S. activities by sanctioning the travel and finances of ICC officials, even threatening to prosecute them in American courts.
When Bernie Sold Out His Hero, Anti-Authoritarians Paid
by Bruce E. Levine
Bernie Sanders, in his thirties, wrote and directed the documentary Eugene V. Debs: Trade Unionist, Socialist, Revolutionary (1979), and a picture of Debs hangs on Sanders’s office wall. But the arc of Sanders’s political career has moved in the opposite direction from the arc of his hero. Debs moved from polite dissent to courageously resisting illegitimate authority—landing him in prison and shortening his life. In contrast, Sanders moved from polite dissent to overt obedience—de-energizing anti-authoritarians.
Debs is one of several anti-authoritarians who I profile in Resisting Illegitimate Authority, a book about and for anti-authoritarians, many of whom have today been disillusioned by Sanders serving as a sheepdog for the Democratic Party (herding those who had fled from it back into it). Worse than other such sheepdogs, Sanders, from his earliest years in politics, has attempted to seduce anti-authoritarians by identifying with Debs but then, for career expediency, ignored what his hero’s life taught him.
Debs, in his twenties, was a successful Democratic politician but gradually became radicalized by his experiences. In his late thirties, when jailed for leading the Pullman Strike, it became clear to Debs that both the Republican and Democratic Parties were owned by the ruling class. Debs moved from dissent to disobedience—ultimately disobeying not only the Democratic Party but the U.S. government.