Sunday, April 23, 2017

Vive La

Today's French elections are being watched much more closely than usual. It's that after Brexit, and Trump, everybody's wondering, now what? What's next? Will we finally  start tracking back toward what we think of in hindsight as normalcy or continue spinning out of control.....

Ah, control of what and of whom? I say let's go.

But anyway, most news accounts refer to what's going on in France in a cursory manner if at all. Diana Johnstone lays out the main issue in Counterpunch and how the candidates relate to it.

Many in the US still can't comprehend what's going on here, or grasp the political sea change that's taken place with the Democrats' utter abandonment of the working class and Republicans becoming the populists with the Tea Party and now the fer-crissakes-Trump. It's easy to be misled by all the references to nazism and racism and all that which gets thrown up by the people in the media who are vainly trying to make sense of it themselves, but who have no reference for any of it and can only reference each other. Perhaps by looking at the French case you can see more readily what's happening here.





Tuesday, April 18, 2017

No Outrage Or Cruise Missile Attacks When US Backed "Rebels" Kill Children

This is a seven minute compilation of video clips from the car bombing in Rashideen, Syria on Friday of a group of buses that were picking up civilians being evacuated from two towns near Aleppo that are surrounded by US backed Sunni "rebels" that killed 155 people, mostly children. In one clip the US backed "rebels" celebrate killing the "Shia pigs" on behalf of God, according to the English translated subtitles.






Multiple witnesses have said the suicide bombers lured children from the waiting buses by passing out bags of potato chips.

The buses were parked in the same place as evacuation buses sent by the Syrian government were parked in December that were also blown up. In that attack the evacuees had not yet arrived and most of the victims were bus drivers. I wrote a blog post about it.

There's been no outpouring of outrage or grief from President Trumo or his daughter Ivanka who reportedly was so upset by an alleged Sarin gas attack she got her father to bomb Syria.

Likewise the US media and political class have expressed no concern for these children's murders. President Trump, citing children that were killed in an alleged Sarin gas attack in Idlib, Syria on April 4, ordered a massive cruise missile attack on a Syrian air base three days later and before any investigation was conducted to determine who carried out the attack, which bore many of the hallmarks of earlier gas attacks carried out by the US backed "rebels" and blamed on the Syrian government by US media and ruling elites. Those gas attacks take place when US support for the "rebels" appears to be waning. Trump's cruise missile attack effectively salvaged his fedgling presidency as the media and congressional Democrats, who have long advocated for war with Syria and its ally Russia, quickly dropped their resistance to Trump and lined up behind him.

Some 36 people were killed in that attack, according to "rebel" connected groups. The Rashideen bombing killed at least 80 children and 155 total. In one of the clips a witness to the bombing voices her support for Syrian president Bashar al Assad. An article I wrote about yesterday that summarizes the situation in the Middle East explains that Assad enjoys widespread support in large part because the US backed "rebels" are much worse. American media and ruling elites call the jihadist militias they back the "moderate rebels" but virtually all are either al Qaeda or Islamic fundamentalists with the same ideology. They install Sharia law in areas they control and have committed multiple atrocities against civilians including beheading children and massacring civilians who were taking advantage of escape corridors set up by agreement between the warring parties. Syria under Assad is a "secular" state meaning people are free to follow the religion of their choice or not follow any.







Monday, April 17, 2017

Today's Radical Reading List



Communist Party USA photo

 Middle East Explained

If you're anything like me you're not Henry Kissinger, Hillary Clinton or a career employee at the state department and you don't quite fully understand what's going on in the Middle East but kind of want to. Well, if you have some spare time on your hands here's your article; Middle East Chaos - Imperialism, Islamic Reaction & Syria's Civil War. It's the equivalent of a day long seminar, I'll venture, and answers the question of how the debacle over there came to be by tracing its roots in Western imperialism, laying out all the actors and what their interests are, explaining the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, and showing how all of it ties together, and in many ways is coming to a crux in Syria.

It's written by an unnamed author at an obscure web site called Bolshevik Tendency but it provides a very comprehensive and understandable history and analysis of the region and from a Marxist viewpoint, which isn't as out of the mainstream as you might have thought.



Likewise Palestine

Palestinian news Agency Ma'an News is publishing a three-part series titled Talking Palestine: What Frame of Analysis? Which Goals and Messages? that addresses the Palestinian question in a systematic and logical way by laying out the different lenses through which the Palestinian question can be viewed; the two most used being the settler colonial framework and the anti-apartheid framework, each of which has advantages and disadvantages and brings different aspects of the problem into focus.

Authors Nadia Hijab and Ingrid Jaradat Glassner of Al Shabaka, a Palestinian think tank, state in Part I, "The lack of consensus on a common framework of analysis to articulate the Palestinian condition prevents the adoption of clear messages to articulate both what has befallen the Palestinians and what we aspire to. It also obstructs the development of effective strategies for achieving these aspirations."

There you go. If everybody took that approach to every problem there wouldn't be many problems. There's a lot more like that at the Al Shabaka web site.

Note: Settler colonialism is a term used by academics to denote a particular type of colonialism in which the newly arrived immigrants want the people who were already there to go away. Basically they get rid of the indigenous population. The US and Israel are examples of settler colonial projects. They made/are making the native population "go away" by way of genocide and/or population transfer. The colonialism most associated with the British Empire and other European colonizers was different in that it entailed using the colonized population to administer the colony.



Periodic Daily Resurgence of Socialism Report

This one comes from the venerable old Communist Party USA in an article published on their web site March 21 titled Trump sparks communist growth surge.

It's a different take. I've been writing about the flood of new members into Socialist organizations and linking to articles that go into why these people are turning away from traditional party politics and toward Socialism, but in this article the author talks to party members about how they are reacting to the upsurge in growth; what they think about the upsurge, what new strategies and plans do they have in mind as a result of it, how they are incorporating these new people into the organization.

I call it the "venerable old Communist Party USA" because of the various Socialist groups that exist today that are directly descended from the old American Communist Party it's the only one that uses the name Communist, and that name has a glorious history and carries a lot of weight. Most of the key players and organizers who founded the American Labor Movement were Communist Party members; this was before the labor movement was co-opted by the Democratic Party and purged of all radicalism. The ones who had faced the hired guns and state militias who killed workers when they went out on strike were Communist Party members. They more than anyone or anything else gave you the standard of living you enjoy today and that many people including, amazingly, many Democrats, think was somehow always there and didn't result from many long hard years of bloody struggle.

And as thanks for giving American workers the purchasing power that propelled the United States economy to the top of the industrialized world, the American Communist Party bore the brunt of the brutal oppression that was waged upon Socialism by the American ruling class via the US government it controls, the media it controls and the many institutions it funds and has sway over. Through all these years that Socialism, and Communism especially, have been used as epithets and thought of as dirty words, the Communist Party USA never changed its name and its members were never ashamed to be Communists.



Note on the difference between Socialism and Communism: The two words are often used interchangeably and in practice it's no problem to do so, but technically, according to Marx and Engels, Socialism is the method, how you get there, and Communism is where you're going, the end state. The Communist state is the worker's state where workers, through the state, own the means of production and make all the decisions in a society that affect their lives, through a democratically governed state. The decisions that now are practically all made by Capitalists.







Saturday, April 15, 2017

Gerald Horne On Paul Robeson On Internationalism


"As I note in the concluding paragraphs of this biography, it is routine in the United States to announce that the real and imagined flaws of the socialist bloc have invalidated the very idea of socialism for all time. Yet despite the intimate tie between the enslavement of our ancestors and the rise of capitalism, there are few—even in our community—who have the gumption to announce that this horrendous tragedy invalidates the very idea of capitalism for all time."

That's Gerald Horne during an interview about his new book about Paul Robeson, the spectacularly talented singer, actor, Communist and Internationalist. It was conducted by Keisha Blaine who tried to get at what Horne thinks Robeson can teach the Left today, and according to Horne it was the globetrotting Robeson's emphasis on Internationalism, which he says Leftists of today by and large ignore.

Capitalists, of course, know about Internationalism. When they do it we call it Globalism, and under its guise Neoliberal governments worldwide have cleared the way with laws and treaties to make it easy for capital to move across borders. To compete, to stop capital from constantly pitting one set of workers against another in it's never ending search for cheaper and cheaper labor, labor organizing and organizing on the basis of class has to be international, too.



By the way I'm familiar with Horne from his being a guest on Glenn Ford's Black Agenda Report several times to talk about one or another of his many books. The University of Houston professor is one radical academic, historian and thinker I recommend paying attention to. One thing he has done is remove the mask from the founding of the United States and shown with Marxist economic and historical analysis that rather than the great leap forward for humankind we think it to be it's a particularly unsavory form of Capitalist Imperialism that wouldn't even have been possible without the enslavement of millions of Africans and the genocide of the American Indian.





Friday, April 14, 2017

Thanks, Capitalism, For The Nice Retirement Gift!


“You had the Democrat mayor and a Democrat governor both trying to get injunctions against the union and that really was like the last straw for me with Democrats,”

Today's Resurgence of Socialism report comes from  Philadelphia, where the Philadelphia Weekly writes about the exponential growth of DSA's Philly chapter, the Democratic Socialists of America, and again, when they ask people swelling Socialism's ranks explain why they joined the DSA high on the list is the Democratic Party and how it sold out the working class. And, like it it says in the quote, have even turned on the unions and don't we know it in New Mexico where we've got a senator, Martin Heinrich and a representative, Michelle Grisham, Democrats both, who never utter the word union and refuse to back the Employee Free Choice Act and vote with the Republicans, who have never offered a single bill that would slow the flow of money to the top.


I know, it's been awhile since I posted about the rise of Socialism in the USA, more than 12 hours. Give me a break, I grew up during the McCarthy Era and believe me it was rough being a kid in diapers dealing with that, all the evil Socialism this and scary Communists that and it's been a long, lonely road what with Reagan and the Soviet Union breaking up and Democrats who are just like Republicans except for gay marriage and abortion and both parties bought off and saying yes sir and no sir to a ruling class that only gets more greedy and corrupt, strutting around, laughing, sneering, dancing on Socialism's grave.

Or so they thought. The fools never knew, couldn't have known that Capitalism was the best friend Socialism ever had, because when Capitalism could no longer deliver the goods and the Republicans and Democrats both said we can't afford the American dream any more and a few rich people had nearly all the money and we had nearly none, Socialism came roaring back.





Indications Of A False Flag Operation Continue To Pile Up In The Syrian "Gas Attack"


"It is noteworthy that the Russian government has repeatedly called for an objective, authoritative international investigation into what happened at Khan Sheikhoun. This is in sharp contrast to the conduct of the Trump administration, which has acted as judge, jury and executioner rolled into one—claiming to determine the facts, identify the perpetrators and carry out the punishment in a three-day period." (World Socialist Web Site)



Theodor Postol, professor emeritus of Science, Technology and National Security Policy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology has conducted a thorough examination of the US government's statement purporting to provide evidence the Syrian government staged a chemical weapons attack in the city of Khan Sheikhoun on April 4. Postol found that "the document does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the US government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack." His assessment goes on for 14 pages, goes into remarkable detail and leaves the US government's assertions in shreds.

Using Postol's report as its debarkation point the World Socialist Web Site deconstructs the propaganda tsunami by the US government and its media mouthpieces that followed the false flag attack and led to Donald Trump's order to fire $400 million worth of guided missile bombs into Syria.

While the Syrian government had absolutely nothing to gain by attacking its own people with nerve gas when it was routing the "moderate" US backed rebels, and the rebels, who were shown to be behind the same kinds of attack before, reaped a tremendous benefit from it, our media, our government, Republicans, Democrats, all act as if it's not even imaginable that Syria didn't commit the attack.

Being that the Iraq War was sold in precisely the same craven, despicable way, it's not hard to fathom why US citizens can be so gullible and the leaders and media they trust so disgustingly dishonest and immoral.





Socialism Goes Mainstream


Well, maybe not quite, but public radio is pretty mainstream, and on the east coast anyway has noticed that the Democratic Socialists of America are growing rapidly and devoted a seven minute segment to letting their audience know why. They went out and talked to some of the young people who've been swelling the DSA's ranks and I thought you might be interested in hearing them say why they've turned to the DSA and what their complaints about the Democratic Party are.

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I'd just add that this report was done in early February and put the DSA membership at 15,000 and I reported a couple weeks ago that it had gone over 20,000.

This report also suggests these DSA members had something to do with causing the Democrats  to start opposing Donald Trump's nominees when they were approving them before.

That was wishful thinking in light of the shameful way the Democrats rolled over and panted their approval at Donald Trump's reincarnation as warmonger in chief.

All except one, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who the Democratic Party establishment is now trying to destroy. That would be people like the Howard Dean, a pathetic weasel who has been running around trying to dissuade people from talking about single payer healthcare on behalf of big pharma clients who pay him big bucks to use his insider connections to lobby for them.












Thursday, April 13, 2017

Pipelineistan





Tim Canova, the Florida law professor who tried to unseat US representative Debbie Schultz in last August's primary, posted this map on Twitter as a reminder of just why the US and its allies are destroying Syria.

Existing pipelines and the routing of proposed ones are behind most of the warfare the US wages in the Middle East according to much of the serious analysis. Afghanistan is essentially about pipeline routes, and the US and its European allies attacked Syria because it's pivotal in whose natural gas reaches Europe. Europe would like to depend less on Russian natural gas and the US would like to prevent Russia from exporting any oil and gas at all and whoever wins in Syria wins control over pipelines and pipeline routes.

Donald Trump's been reversing himself on one thing after another and his about face on Syria and in the other cases is likely due to his being schooled on what's actually going on in the world, and of course on who's doing the schooling.

Canova's map portrays the situation in Syria generally, and Brazilian reporter Pepe Escobar, who coined the term Pipelineistan, wrote a coherent analysis in late 2015 in Counterpunch of the competing alliances at play there and why the US wants regime change and why Syria is being helped by Russia and Iran.













Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Migrants from west Africa being ‘sold in Libyan slave markets’


That's an actual headline from an actual article published in The Guardian the other day.

The disgusting situation it describes is the direct result of the US-led unprovoked war that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, and the people behind it were Hillary Clinton, Samantha Powers and Barak Obama.

Before it was ruined by their so called humanitarian intervention Libya was the most prosperous, secular and liberal country in that entire Middle East-North Africa region. Now it's three separate lawless zones that constantly fight each other, two ruled over by warlords and one by ISIS.

Of course it would really be more accurate to say that the fact that there are slaves being bought and sold in a country that was minding its own business and not doing anyone any harm is the fault of Americans who could care less what the Democrats do overseas and to average Americans as long as women can get abortions and men can get married and their stock portfolios are increasing in value.

With Democrats leading the way, or if not cheerleading and helping the propaganda effort, the US has now ruined Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan and as a consequence ISIS controls large parts of all three. Now they're giving Syria the same treatment. They've ruined the place, now they just need to topple Bashar Assad and ISIS can move in and take over.

There was once a chance, after Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, that that wouldn't happen. Hillary, if you'll recall, had promised to escalate the US war against Syria but Trump wanted to get out. But the Democrats' constant conspiracy theories about Trump and Vladmir Putin put Trump in a position where the best thing he could do was do a 180 on Syria and start calling for regime change, too.

It was a very good political move. He was a whipped dog and now he's riding high. It was cynical of him, too. And of course he didn't have to do a 180. He could have stayed out of Syria and kept spending all his time and effort fighting Democrats baseless conspiracy theories. Either way, this is the Democrats fault. They could have let him end it, they could have helped him end it, they could have given him the backing he needed in congress. They didn't, and when he attacked Syria, they stood up and cheered.






Sunday, April 9, 2017

Flagged Falsely

There has been no evidence presented that there was a gas attack before Donald Trump declared war on Syria the other day, but when there have been gas attacks in Syria they're invariably carried out by the US backed Al Qaeda militias they call the "moderate rebels." They did the attack that almost drew Obama into direct combat against Syria in 2013, that like this one was immediately blamed on Syria by the warmongers in Washington and their propaganda wing the US media. Actual evidence of rebel and Pakistani involvement that came out later was ignored by the mainstream media.

This piece by Scott Ritter enumerates the dynamics of why it happens -- it's when the US starts talking about getting out of Syria, as Trump Administration officials Nikki Hayley, the UN ambassador, and Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, started doing March 30, a week before this latest attack is alleged to have occurred.

Recall that the media led the cheerleading for the war against Iraq and the one against Afghanistan before it by uncritically publishing every word of propaganda fed to them by the Bush Administration and its pro war Democrat allies.